The best news of the week goes to......Kenny! He is getting baptized on Saturday. We are all really excited. He hasn't smoked in almost a week, and his conviction level has deepened every day.We had a lesson with him on Tuesday, he had almost given up. He told us that he has learned a lot from us and that he knows there is more that he needs to learn but that he isn't willing to listen. He started to cry at this point and said that he doesn't want to give up his freedom, how he likes his life. Sister Larsen testified powerfully to him about how he can receive the strength he needs and that the Lord is on his side, and that is when he decided he wanted a blessing. One of the members that has formed a deep friendship with him, his name is Suwoei and he has only been a member for a year but recently went to the Temple to receive his Endowments, so he has been a great example to Kenny. Anyway, Suwoei right before the blessing had Kenny roleplay as if Kenny was the missionary teaching Suwoei the word of Wisdom. Holy cow the spirit was so strong! I have never seen the Word of Wisdom taught so well. We were all speechless and Kenny actually received revelation for himself. He received the confirmation that he was doing the right thing and that he needs to give up his old life. He asked one of the Elders for a blessing of strength. The blessing was way powerful. The Elder said that he had been thinking about what to say in the blessing but that he had no idea and that the blessing was going to be completely on the Spirit from the Lord, and that is exactly what happened. My favorite part was the beginning. It started off by saying that Kenny had chosen in the Pre-Earth life to come here, he had chosen God's plan and that now was the time to make that choice again. Then it was followed by more inspiring things that Kenny needed to hear. It was exactly what he needed. Then a couple days later Kenny was eating dinner with some of the Elders and Suwoei and he came and found Sister Larsen and me and he was very serious. He said that it just hit him how important this decision is, and how serious it is, but how ready he is to make that covenant. Ever since then, he has been so determined and his testimony has been strengthened a lot! The past couple weeks, I have wanted him to be a little more serious about everything, because he jokes around a lot. I felt that he needed to have more conviction, so we had been praying for that, and Heavenly Father answered our prayers. He is so prepared and ready to be baptized.He passed his interview on Saturday. And the best part is that he recognizes baptism as just a step. His next goal is to go to the Temple as soon as possible, and get the Priesthood, and go on a mission one year from now. I am so glad that he has a vision for himself and that he is making plans and setting goals to get there! That is so important for us to do that in life. Now if he could just find forms of identification so he could get a job and a place to live....haha we'll take it step by step. I can't wait to send pictures from his baptism next Preparation Day!
The bad news for the week would be Eric dropping us for real this time :( That broke my heart. Man, someone dropping us has never hit me that hard before! I knew that I came here specifically (among other reasons) to meet and teach Eric, so I was really sad when he dropped us. I felt a little like the sons of Mosiah when the scripture says, "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." And that's a little dramatic, I think that Eric will accept the Gospel eventually, maybe he just needs time or more good contacts, I think I am just being a little selfish because I won't get to see it happen. Regardless, Sister Larsen and I have become good friends with Eric so even if we are not able to teach him, we can still be friends that can support him. That was the hard part for me, he came to the lesson with thank you/goodbye notes for us, and started off the lesson by saying this is going to be our last lesson. Therefore, when we testified, asked inspired questions, did everything we could have done and more, it didn't help because he had already made up his mind and wasn't open to the spirit. I just wanted to shake him and say, 'do you feel that?? that is the spirit telling you to keep learning!' but I can't control agency :( haha. But hopefully if we keep in touch with him, one day we will be able to know that he has accepted the Gospel.
We found a new investigator Zason last night. He is from China and is really interested in learning more about the church because he has never had a religion and wants to be able to understand more about God. He is way solid! It was funny because he didn't know his schedule off the top of his head so we got his number and told him we would text him later that night to set up a time to meet with him, but he thought we were going to meet up that night so when we texted him he said that he was sad we weren't going to be able to meet up that day but that he would love to meet up this week. He is really funny! We are actually teaching about 5 people straight from China, it's crazy. Thankfully some recent converts have just returned from going home for the summer to China so we will be able to have them present in our lessons. And it's also cool because there are so many Chinese investigators here that they have a separate Gospel Principles class for them on Sundays. It's pretty sweet!
One of the coolest things happened to us on Friday...We had just finished having a lesson with Rashonda and were going to the kitchen to eat dinner but we saw this YSA age girl sitting down. I stopped and said, 'hey I don't think I've met you yet, what's your name?' She said her name was Jenna. I asked her what ward she was in and she said, 'actually I'm not a member but I think I would be in Riverside ward.' So I was like, okay so what are you doing here? And she said, 'actually I was hoping to talk to someone.' I was like holla!! So we pulled her into the Bishop's Office (Did I ever mention that that's where we teach our lessons?) and asked her what was going on. She said that she just got married a month ago, and that her husband Wendell is an inactive member of the church. She told us how she and her family are very strong Catholics, but that in the past month everything has changed for her. She said that on their wedding day, right after they said their vows, the thought came to her, 'you know, this is great, but now you guys need to be sealed.' Sister Larsen and I's jaws dropped haha. She then went on to tell us how she has read the Book of Mormon and been asking Wendell's family some questions and asked us, 'could you teach me the Plan of Salvation? I want to hear it from a correct source because the only thing I've heard is from some members at the Catholic church who were excommunicated from the Mormon church and are now Catholic, and I want to hear the whole thing from a true source.' Holy Cow. At this point I was about to just be like okay who put you up to this?? Haha. But we taught her the Plan of Salvation and at the end she just cried. I asked why she was crying and she said, 'I don't know, it just feels right.' Then she told us how she was kind of doing this behind Wendell's back because she was worried what he would think and didn't want to make him uncomfortable but that she wanted to meet up again this week for another lesson. She asked for homework, something she could read so we gave her a bunch of chapters to read. Later she sent us a text, and this is what she said!: "Hello Sisters! This is Jenna. I want to thank you so much for meeting with me today. I really truly felt so uplifted. I just want to let you know I talked to my husband about our meeting, and he was actually so thrilled! He was wondering if you would like to come to our house on Tuesday evening to do a discussion with both Wendell and I. He even said he wants to be a part of this and maybe even baptize me if that is what I choose. Can you believe it?!" And then she asked if she could feed us dinner before the lesson! Man she is crazy prepared! So we knew that because she is married we can't teach her, buuuut....we wanted to procrastinate as long as we could haha. I didn't care if we were the ones that baptize her or if it is the other missionaries, I just wanted to teach her! If I could have taught her until the day she got baptized and then hand her over, that would have been way awesome! Too bad it doesn't work like that...The bishop of the Riverside ward actually called them (I guess that was probably inspired) and invited them to attend that ward, so they couldn't come to our ward yesterday. Then, they met the missionaries in that ward and now we have to pass her off to them :( So we just get to teach her on Tuesday. Sad day. But hopefully she will get baptized before I leave so I can go!
Chenwei is doing so great. He came to church again this week, and the Gospel Principles lesson was on Tithing. After the lesson, he was asking a few questions to clarify but then he goes, 'it's okay, you don't have to ask, I already know I am going to do it.' He is so awesome! He's reading the Book of Mormon and praying and feels that everything is true. We are way excited for him. Actually, he is in the library we are emailing from right now haha so that is funny.
Okay well this email has turned into a novel...sorry about that. Just know that the work is hastening! That is for sure. Missionary work is such an awesome thing. We as full-time missionaries and member missionaries get to see the miracles that come from it every single day. I encourage you to share a mormon.org card or a smile or a Book of Mormon or an act of service with someone today. Don't forget the quote from the First Presidency, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words." Our actions are so noticed by others. We can be an example anywhere we go. Here is one more quote to leave you with, it was given to me by a friend:
"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." -Charles R. Swindoll
Have a great week!
P.S. Go Bucks! Cheer for OSU this football season :)