Sorry for how short last week's letter was. We were at turquoise lake and we had a dinner appointment to go to, so we had to read and write letters in 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the turquoises I got were tiny flakes, but it's stuff that can be shined up and potentially used for some kind of homemade jewelry. It was cool just scanning the ground and sifting through the rocks to find a million shocks of green and blue mixed in with the dirt. Finding anything bigger was difficult, and most of the pieces were half hidden within chunks of rock. I got myself a nice little baggie full of rocks and stuff, though. When I get home, we can do more stuff with the turquoises, and it might be cool to make something with it to remember my mission a little more.
One cool thing that happened was that we were helping one of the members move, and then this army jeep car pulls up. This thing is heavy-duty and looked like it came straight out of the war zone. In it were more members coming to help out, but while driving behind the moving van to the new home across town, we got to ride in it. Then Brother Ponder pulled off the street and onto the hills on the side of the road and we took a trip through the hills. I wish I had my camera on my so I could show you the near-vertical positions that little jeep was in. It was like a roller coaster, but without the reassurance of a track. And Brother Ponder did things like go down a hill, then throw the thing in reverse and rev it back up the hill. One of the girls who was with us was screaming the whole time and Brother Ponder just yelled back, "Hey, we've got the sister missionaries with us! We've got nothing to worry about!" It was awesome! Then after a time, we pulled back onto the highway and drove over to the house. It was a cool experience, and I took a picture of the jeep once I got my camera just so I can have some evidence of it.
So for sad news, the investigator who tried to drop us last week did actually end up dropping us. That was mostly frustrating because she had read all the pamphlets and seemed enthusiastic about how they outlined her beliefs perfectly. She just refused to accept the Joseph Smith story and refused to read more of the book of Mormon because it "wasn't for her" and didn't want to join an organized religion. I spent a long time trying to help her see the potential she was missing, but we can only stress the restored gospel so much before we have to back off and let them make their own decisions on the matter. That doesn't make me any less sad, though. I mean, if you're in sight of the goal, that's the time that you push forward, not back off. :(
But for every sad experience, there comes a happy experience.
In the first two weeks of being in the mission field, the Elders had given us a referral. Danielle had actually street contacted the Elders. They had been walking by and she stopped them to ask them what their beliefs were. So they referred her to us. We tried to get in contact with her, but she had a baby, and then consistently, every time we stopped by her house, she was either busy or not home. We were getting a little discouraged about coming simply because we didn't want to seem like a bother or creepy strangers or anything, and it had been over a month that we'd been trying to see her. We were about to just call her contacted and stop seeing her when she met us outside as we were walking by. She talked with us, told us she was still interested in seeing us, and set up an appointment time. We showed up to the appointment, but she wasn't there. Discouraged once more, we moved on. Later in the day, however, we checked our phone and there was a voice-mail left by her! The message basically said, "I'm so sorry I missed the appointment! I got called in at the last minute for a job interview and I forgot my phone at home so I couldn't call you guys! I just wanted you to know that I'm really not trying to avoid you, I really want to meet with you, and even if I'm not there, I'd like you to get to know my 14-year-old daughter because you girls seem very professional and nice, and I really want some good influences for my daughter. So please keep coming back and we'll set up a time that actually works. Thank you for being so patient with me!"
So we finally got to meet with her this week. And she's amazing! She talked about how she's heard a lot about the Mormon belief, most of them anti, but she wanted to hear about it from the source, and she's really looking to include God in her life more. She talked about how she went through AA to stop drinking, and that helped her find her faith in God. She had a lot of questions about the church, and it was cool because at one point she was like, "Oh, you guys don't smoke, do you? That's ok. I need to quit anyway. It's bad for my health and a huge drain on my finances." She is so ready to change! And she was really excited about getting her daughter into the Young Women's program. So, yeah. We're super excited for her!
Oh, another cool story. We were walking down the street and there was this teen going the other way. We stopped him and started a conversation with him. At first he was like, "No, I'm not interested in hearing a message from you guys," but Sister Pfeifer kept talking to him, and as we talked, he finally admitted that he wanted to come closer to Christ, he just didn't feel worthy of it. We set up a return appointment with him, and we brought Jess (Our recent convert) with us. Well, the teen wasn't home, but his older brother was! So we started teaching the older brother, Saul. Saul at first was saying, "I'm an atheist," but as we spoke with him, he admitted that he did believe in God, he just wasn't so sure that the bible was true and wasn't sure about the religion his parents had brought him up in. So we talked more with him, and Jess turned out to be such a huge help since she used to be Catholic just like he was, and she just connected with him really well. Saul turned out to already have a copy of the Book of Mormon someone had handed him before, but he had never read it before because he "didn't have the time," but by the end of the lesson, he was like, "You know what? I will make time! I will just watch less TV." It was amazing just seeing the change the spirit brought to him. It was a conversion from Saul to Paul. He wouldn't set up a return appointment with us, but he gave us his number and promised to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
Well, I think that's all I've got for you for stories this week. As far as my knee goes, it's not healed all the way, but the pain has dulled, and I'm fine with doing missionary work without having it looked at. I've been icing it and elevating it, and I'm sure it will heal eventually. If it's still bothering me in a few months, then I'll have it looked at. I'll be fine, Nathan. I'm not going to die.
It sounds like Dad and David are having fun with the play. There's a big youth activity that's preparing for a play next July. They're going through a lot of the Book of Mormon stories in this play, and there are five stakes participating in it. If you consider how huge each stake is down here, that's kind of a big deal. A stake here doesn't consist of one city, it consists of a whole bunch of cities scattered across Colorado. So, yeah. All the missionaries on the Western Slope of Colorado will be ushers for the play next year. Should be fun.
Anyhoo, I'll let you guys go now. I love you all! Be awesome, be happy!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones