June 6, 2012
Some big news and good stories this week so be prepared people! Let’s start with Sister Burtis, a missionary in our zone. She’s way solid. She woke up Thursday night with severe stomach pains, and had her appendix removed the next day. She is recovering and is back doing missionary work. President Clark asked me and Elder Wood to assist him in giving her a blessing so we were with him when he called her parents. Sister Burtis got on the phone after he called. At one point she covered the mouthpiece on the phone while her mom was still talking and whispered, “You really shouldn’t have called her,” then picked up the phone again and kept trying to calm her mother. Really funny.
The next day some lady called the office and requested that missionaries come to the hospital and “pray for her brother.” Elder Wood and Swingle with the guy while Elder Splendlove and I waited in the lobby. Well, I struck up a conversation with a Chinese woman and she asked if we would go and pray with her husband in another room. We did, and on our way back to the lobby a lady approached us and asked if we had permission to pray for her patients. The answer was no; I’m not even sure how do get that permission, but I did explain that we were invited to see the man we did and she apologized for bothering us. I guess she thought we were going door-to-door, praying for random people (which means that some one at some point has actually done that). The nerve of some people.
Last week this guy named Steven talked to us in Chinatown and invited us to a get together for his friends. He said most of them were Chinese Christians. So we went to some stranger’s party. It actually turned out really well. Most of the people were Chinese and really nice. We taught some good short lessons and had some boss Chinese food. Also, we got to know Steven better and he came to church and stayed for four hours! There was a fireside from some CES guy that came from Utah and Steven loved it.
Priesthood on Sunday was training about priesthood ordinances. I discovered the pharisaical tendencies of people in the Church. It’s a good thing our stake president was there to correct some strange ideas that were discussed including disposing of consecrated oil in topsoil, making sure not to consecrate too much or too little oil, not allowing the oil to touch the person’s hair while anointing, etc. If the Church didn’t have a Handbook of Instruction and standardized manuals there would be new sects popping up everywhere. Steven really enjoyed it for some reason and actually asked for a blessing after church. That’s the first time an investigator has ever asked for a blessing my whole mission.
Last night we went to Sister Liu’s house for dinner. It was with Elder Valentine because Elder Wood double-booked appointments. It turned out well. We took Laurel with us and she loved it. She loves meeting new people. It turns out that a lady baptized by Elder Teng was there. She has been getting a lot of pressure from anti-her Mormon friends. She asked questions about polygamy, why we have “another Bible”, the identity of the Spirit, the Trinity and all kinds of doctrinal questions. Now my Chinese isn’t bad at this point so I can communicate just fine, but no matter how I explained this stuff it wasn’t sinking in. Laurel also tried without success. It seemed that everything was right to have a good discussion with her. The Spirit was there, we were in a member’s home, and there was no contention. I’m afraid she has totally closed her heart to the promptings of God and anything coming from the Spirit. I finally had to stop her from looping and suggested she pray which she refused to do. I invited her to church but she said she doesn’t have time. I invited her to read. Also cannot. The scriptures tell us that we learn line upon line and precept upon precept, and then warn that if we don’t nurture our testimonies what we learned will be taken from us. I’m afraid that is exactly what happened. Her gospel hard drive rebooted and she lost everything on the screen. I left that appointment extremely disappointed at the ground she has lost. It’s going to take a miracle of considerable size before her heart is softened again. Fortunately, God has the power to do that if she will ask.
Just two more e-mails!