Elder Richards is awesome. We're having way too good of a time together! We're on the same page on just about everything except which cookies and ice cream we like. I'm a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream guy and he likes everything but plain chocolate chip and vanilla.
night we had a lesson with a guy I'll call Greg for confidential purposes. Greg grew up in the R-LDS church (now called the community of christ church) and has been meeting with us for about 2 months. He has been out of town for a family reunion and a wedding reception in his home town. He has a few children from a previous relationship and his new wife has a few kids from her last marriage. She is LDS and before they left we were really close to setting a baptism date for Greg. Since it had been awhile we asked Greg how he wanted to move forward with the lessons, baptism, and church (we always had a tough time getting him to church). He told us, "Well, I believe God gave me an answer and you aren't going to like it. God told me I've been saved and I need to start going back to my own church." I told him that was his decision and we would respect it but inside I was ticked because his church didn't make any sense to me so I decided I would question him a bit. I told him there were a few things I didn't understand about his church.
For example, they believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet but they believe in the Trinity. I asked him, "If you believe Joseph was a prophet, do you deny the first vision which teaches that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings?" He looked a little confused and didn't say anything so I kept going. "Your church doesn't believe in baptisms for the dead but that came as revelation to Joseph Smith. Also you believe that the prophet has to be blood related to Joseph Smith but your leader isn't even blood related anymore! How do you explain that?" Greg couldn't answer our questions so he changed the subject. After we left Elder Richards and I were a little discouraged because he was set on going back to his church and his member wife seemed like she was just going to do whatever he did. The next morning at church we were very surprised to see them both walk through the doors into sacrament meeting!! I greeted Greg and expressed how glad I was to see him there. He looked a little embarrassed but smiled and took his seat.
We had interviews as a zone with our mission president this past . It was a very powerful meeting! While individual missionaries were interviewing with our mission president our Sister Training Leader, Sister Segura, gave a training, Elder Richards trained, and I finished with a training. Sister Segura focused on finding families to teach and had a few missionaries come to the front and hold their breath as long as possible. The example she made was that we need to want this as bad as we want to breathe. Elder Richards trained on using the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon to teach people what the Book of Mormon is about.
In my training I focused on personal conversion. On the chalk board I drew a line representing the pre-mortal life, mortality, and the post-mortal life with an arrow pointing both directions to show eternity. I then compared that graph to another graph depicting pre-mission, mission, and post-mission. I made the point that our missions represent a very insignificant amount of time but how consecrated we serve will largely determine the rest of our lives. I shared the story of Cortez who landed on the Mexican coast in 1519 to conquer Mexico. The first thing he did when he landed was command his men to burn their ships so that each man would be 100% focused on their mission. The only option was victory. Although the odds were 300 to 1 they conquered. I then gave each missionary a piece of paper to write something down that was holding them back from giving their missions their all and then we went outside and burned all the papers on a paper boat I made and named the S.S No Retreat :D
Thank you everyone for your prayers, love, and support!!
Love Elder Janis