Well this week has gone pretty well. On tuesday I did divisions with one of the companionships in the area. I went to Libertad with Elder Bowers, and Elder Rodgers stayed in our area with a brand new elder. I got to do the interviews with the Quiñones family. They are 4 in total, the parents, a daughter of 13, and a son of 8. The first interview was with the father, and was really spiritual. I felt the spirit so strongly the entire time, and so that was really cool. We had a really good conversation about some gospel themes, and then finished it up. Then I interviewed the son, and that was just a quick interview. Then the daughter was really nervous, but I just lightened up the situation, and then it was really spiritual as well. Then the mom was really nervous as well, but her interview turned out really well also. I love doing the interviews, because I feel so much love towards these people who I only talk to for like 30 minutes, and feel the spirit so strongly throughout.
Also in the interchanges, we went to the house of an evangelical guy that knows a bunch of stuff about the church, and basically just likes to argue. Elder Bowers told him that I had more time and experience, and that I could answer all of his questions. So then he started his attacks right off the bat. It basically turned into a bible bash, because that's what he wanted, and so I gave in. Every time I would prove him wrong on a point, he would just change subjects. Finally I just put away the Bible, and bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon. He then proceeded to throw out all this supposed "scientifical evidence" that the Book of Mormon was false. I simply told him, well quite honestly I couldn't care less if all the scientifical evidence in the world proves that the Book of Mormon is false, because I have an undeniable spiritual witness that it is true, and there is no way I could ever deny that. Well needless to say, he changes subjects again and started attacking the church. I just told him that the contention is of the devil, and that we weren't there to argue. He kept on going, so I shook his hand, and we left him there yelling things at us.
On Thursday, we did divisions with the Zone Leaders to do our interview for Paola (14). I went with Elder Merrill in Kary Rory and my companion stayed here again. She passed the interview and was all good. Unfortunately nature was not on our side this week. The day before, she started having her.... feminine problems.... Well needless to say we had to postpone the baptism for this coming Saturday.
On Sunday we had 4 investigators in the meeting, which was really good. We also started picking up our lessons with members, and some of the other indicators. We have been working so hard for so many weeks now, and we are praying that it will be paying off now. We have people with bap. dates for the next three weeks, so if we keep it up, we can actually start baptizing every week. We are praying with everything that we can accomplish that. We are already about half way through this change, so in 3 weeks there's a good chance that we will have a change. I don't know if I will go or if my companion will go.
The elders that had the family that was baptized also got robbed on sunday night. They were walking along, and apparently some random guy just came up to them with a machete, and robbed them. They just threw the cell phone, and ran, so they didn't get hurt or anything..... but now they are phone-less.
We are really working with the members now to get them more excited for missionary work and get them more involved. We have a plan of 10 families who we are working with to get a reference every month from them. If we can do it well, we should start seeing a lot more success in our area. We are thinking of more and more things that we can do bettter so that we can see more and more success as missionaries. It sure doesn't come easily though.
After 8 full weeks of hard work, and mental exhaution, we are now finally seeing the fruits of our work starting to appear. I feel really good about our efforts with these weeks, I think I have suffered more frustration and exhaution in these 8 weeks than I thought I could possibly bear. It is amazing to see how well the Lord knows us personally and gives us such trials as to help us push ourselves to the very limit of our strength so that we can become that much stronger. Our personal progression is like a muscle, it needs that maximum resistence to be able to reach it's potential. If we don't reach that top resistance, than God knows we can never reach our true potential. I remember that when I started lifting a little in college with Michael, I was even more skinny and quite frankly weak. I would get to a point with the lifts (bench press or others) in which my body would tell me to stop. My natural response was always to try and put the weights back. Michael, knowing the need for more resistence to stimulate the growth, would always push it back, and tell me to do one more. I would do the one more, and at that point I was always passed my usual point of exhaustion. Then once again I would attempt to put the weights back, adn once again Michael would tell me to push out one more. at that point I would usually say, I can't do one more, I'm already passed the point of exhaustion. But he wouldn't let me put it back. Whenever I would go and do that very last one, even after the exhaustion, I could never get the weights all the way back up by myself, but he would let me sit there and struggle a little bit with it before reaching out and lifting the rest. I've come to realize how similar that experience is in the real life. I think god understands this need for stimulation of growth. He pushes us to that very last limit, and even lets us sit there and struggles sometimes to try and get it back up. He also always reaches out eventually to lift the rest. I now am understanding the great need for trials in our life. I have been praying a lot to my father in heaven that I can reach my true potencial as a missionary, and well I guess he knew the only way I could start getting there was a trial to the very limits of my strength.
I am so greatful for my father in heaven, and the great blessings and the great trials that he gives me. I know that he always knows what's best for me, and the best thing I can do is trust in him, and keep going.
Elder Ryan Griffin