This week was certainly a good one. As far as missionary work goes, it's still kind of the same--stagnant and rough. Getting flipped off, barked at by dogs, the whole shabang. This week, a guy in his car at an intersection yelled at us all the way accross the street! Isn't it GREAT being a representative of the Lord???? I sure think so!
We're continuing to work with members, and yes, there's been a slight improvement in the enthusiasm for missionary work. We've received some referrals from members, and that was a total blessing! We're getting more and more acquainted one with another, and I feel that they're trust in the missionaries.
I'd like to tell you about an experience I had yesterday, hence the subject line "contrast of spirit". Before church yesterday, I asked Heavenly Father to allow me to feel an increase of the Spirit as I attended church and paid close attention to the messages that the speakers and teachers would give. Over the course of my mission, I've detected a few ways that I feel the Spirit, and one of those ways is definite inside me, and I know it to be the Spirit.
Well, a recent convert of about a year spoke yesterday about how he was drafted to play for a major league baseball team, the Baltimore Oreals, before he was a member. During a practice though, he tore his rotator cuff. The doctors said that many surgeries would have to be done, and he knew that it was the end of his baseball career right then. He said that while working out one day in Santa Barbara, he met a girl there and they became quick friends. This girl was a member of the church here in Santa Maria, and she invited him to go to church with her. To put it simply, one thing led to another and now he's a member of the church and he's married to this said girl, and they are now preparing to go to the temple. He said that he knows that living a life in major league baseball was not the kind of life that the Lord had in mind for him, and that he felt happy with his new life here with his wife.
Anyways, as he gave this talk, and as we were singing the intermediate hymn afterwards, I felt the Spirit so strongly, a feeling that I didn't want to be anywhere else but that church building right then. I knew that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. It was such a powerful experience.
Now, the contrast. Last night, we had just finished having dinner with a member, and during dinner we got a call from a less-active member, and he left a voicemail. When we got into the car, we listened to it, and he said that he wanted a blessing. This man had come to church that day highly intoxicated. You could smell the alcohol in his breath. Bad. So we drove over to the place that he was renting from, and as soon as I walked in, I knew that there was a different vibe about that place. We told him it would be best to give him the blessing when he was sober, but he insisted. So, we gave him a blessing to help him get over the addiction he had.
After the blessing, we told him we were going to get rid of his beer, and after he said OK, we proceeded by dumping his vodka down the sink. Well, he started to go beligerant...he was really having a mental breakdown. As we continued to search the house, we had to rip some glasses of alcohol out of his hands as he tried to drink them. We kept telling him, "this is for your own good..this is for your own good." When we went into his room, we noticed that alcohol was not his only addiction...he had cigarettes and pornography all over the place. We got rid of it all, and a member came and picked him up to go to de-tox.
From this experience, I not only felt bad for him, but I also made a firmer internal resolve to never live my life as I saw this man was. This man was a slave to so many substances, and I never want to be like that. I know that the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity are true commandments from the Lord, and, that when followed, bring us true incomprehensible joy. I'm thankful that I've been taught these commandments from my youth up, and I want to live them fully throughout my days.
That is what I meant when I said, "A contrast of spirit".
It's experiences like these that help me truly to learn the Gospel.
I love you all, and I hope you have a GREAT WEEK!