Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Enter in Silence. Please Remove Your Shoes.

Last night we received our 6 week transfer call. They finally decided Elder Janis and Elder Goates was too powerful of a companionship and Elder Goates is getting transferred. Staying in the Gilbert zone, I have been asked.......................... TO TRAIN AGAIN! I hope I train the extent of my mission. Nothing is more challenging and I'm grateful for the challenge to help a brand new missionary adjust to the mission. What a privilege. I'm so pumped that I lost about 2 hours of sleep last night thinking about how awesome it's going to be to welcome this new missionary into the best mission in the world and into the best area in world!!! Good things are coming. Miracles are happening. It's a wonderful time to be a missionary and to just be alive!

Elder Goates and I found 2 new investigators this week. I won't use their real names so I'll refer to the 70 year old Vietnam vet as Al and his 60 year old wife as Carla. They are so strange... We were told by one of our members to stop by their home to see if they'd be interested in hearing a message about the temple so the following day around 7:00pm, we knocked on their door. Carla came to the window and told us they were sleeping and asked what we wanted. We told them we had come to personally invite them to tour the Gilbert Temple and wanted to share a message with them. They told us to come back the next day and they'd love to hear the message. 

The next day we went over with our member and we were able to have a discussion outside their home about temples. The door was kind of cracked open so we were able to see inside a little bit. It was weird. All I could see was a sign that said, "enter in silence. Please remove your shoes." and a big picture of an indian guru hanging on the wall. They invited us to come back the next day for lunch, and honestly I don't really know why because Carla told us we were probably not going to be speaking and we would be eating beef stew in a sitting position on the floor. So we didn't think she was inviting us back because she wanted to hear more. Well, besides the fact that this was setting up to be the funniest moment of our missions, we accepted the invitation and made plans. 

The next day we showed up and knocked. Al opened the door in his wheelchair (he's paralyzed from the chest down) and he instructed us to take off our shoes and to enter in silence.. just as the sign said. We did so and found Carla in the kitchen stirring a pot of beef stew. On the counter there was a candle burning and incense burning from somewhere else. The lights were dimmed which emitted only enough light for us to see pictures of indian gurus all over the walls and on the shelves. THEY WERE EVEN ON THE MICROWAVE. Carla provided us bowls and started juicing fresh grapefruits. The stew was delicious and so was the juice. Different from what we were expecting, Carla started conversation with us and started asking us questions. She wanted to know all about our missions and where we were from. We got to know her and Al better too. Although they are very strange, they are the nicest people I've met in my life. As far as religion goes, they're pretty abstract. They meditate a lot and do yoga to connect with God. Al actually taught us how we can feel God. He had us rub our hands together and then pull them slightly apart. He told us that the energy we felt between our hands was God. Elder Goates and I thought that was pretty wack but we humored him. After lunch we set up another appointment to come back to answer more questions about our religion and about temples. Carla also promised to teach us some yoga and meditation. 

We came back two days later and we found the house exactly the way it was the last time we had been there (candles burning and incense. The pictures were still there too.. :(). We sat down to begin meditations and Carla looked at us and said, "I'm so happy to see you both! After our last visit I knew that God sent you to us. His spirit is radiating from you. The night after you left I had dreams about Jesus all night and when I woke up, I told Al that I had dreamed about Jesus all night and he told me that he had too!" That was pretty cool. Meditation was actually super nice. We then were able to share more about the gospel and set up a time to see them again. I'll keep you all posted for sure :)

We had the opportunity to hear from a member of the 70 this week. Elder Holland was actually supposed to speak to us and then the night before the conference he received a special assignment from the 1st presidency and had to find someone else to speak. The wife of the member of the 70 spoke and said, "It was like we had all bought tickets to see the Beatles and instead we had to watch the dixie chicks." She also said, "It's not the messenger, it's the message." I thought that was pretty cool. My favorite part of the meeting was actually when we sang hymns. Our mission combined with the Phoenix and Tucson missions so there were about 700 missionaries gathered together. A key learning I took from the meeting was to be faithful in all things. We never give up hope. It was inspiring and motivational.

Have a great week!

Love Elder Janis

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