Sometimes we meet interesting people. We met an African guy in the park named Jeremiah, like the Biblical prophet. Man, this guy knows his Bible. We sat with him and talked for a while. He vaguely mentioned that Mormons in African and Utah are nice people, but here in Texas they aren't. We tried to probe into that a bit more, as well as teach him about some of our basic beliefs. He told us some crazy stories, quoted scriptures, then accepted our offer of a free Book of Mormon. After we gave it to him, he said "You know, I was baptized into your church about 8 years ago." Then he said some more crazy stuff, mixed in with some less crazy stuff that was evidence that he might actually know what he is talking about. I mean, not everyone who thinks they know stuff about Mormons can bring up the names of past prophets. When we went home that night, I did find his name in a list of the people in the ward. So who knows? Hermana Pollock said he reminded her of Rafiki in The Lion King. Pretty much.
Sometimes we start our morning ready to taking on the world. And the weather is perfect and we have the windows down and we sing on our way to a super promising referral. The subsequent rejection hurts quite a bit. Life just feels like a lot of extremes right now. Seguimos adelante. We move forward.
We had another lesson with our investigator who was previously disappointed in the fact that we don't know how to cast out demons. We brought a member with us, who apparently lived for a few years in Africa when she was younger. They hit it off great, and we learned a lot about demons and African cultures and other interesting things. Our actual lesson was on fasting. He was a bit disappointed in our form of fasting: skipping two consecutive meals, usually on a monthly basis. He was hoping for a few days straight or something. I don't even know how to respond to him sometimes. Other people think the things we do are to hard and crazy. And then he goes and pretty much tells us "that isn't even a challenge, so how could it possibly be effective?"
A thing that I loved. So on Saturday night, we had a lesson with one of our progressing investigators. He talked a lot about his kids and how he just wants the best for them, even with the problems going on with their family currently. And one of them isn't even his son, but he talked about all of this boy's little soccer trophies like it was the greatest recognition in the world. Among other things, we talked about the Holy Ghost and its peaceful, guiding influence in our lives. At church the next day, he got up and bore his testimony! He talked about feeling a nice, warm feeling when learning about the Church. "Yesterday, I learned that I was being touched by the Holy Spirit." He started tearing up and to me it was amazingly simple and powerful. I am so glad that God is the one in charge here, not us. We couldn't do things like that.
So Hermana Pollock is going somewhere else, and I am staying here. It feels like a lot of responsibility. Whoever comes here tomorrow won't know where anything is, who the people in the ward are, the struggles of the people we are teaching, nothing about this area. Sometimes I don't even feel like I know those things. Especially directions. Last night I felt a kind of tired that I had never felt before. My knees hit the ground and all I wanted in the world was to hear someone say "That's enough. You did enough for today. You can let go of it now." Days are heavy sometimes, too heavy to carry more than one at a time. I already knew it was overwhelming to look too far into the future, but too far back is just as bad. Every morning has to be a completely clean slate with no regrets from the day before. And then I can get up.
Definitely the most special thing that happened last week. Elder Nelson came. That was just a crazy range of emotions. Some parts of nervous anticipation, some perfect tranquility, some "maybe I can just run away", a prayer that came out of my mouth without me even searching for a single word (gift of tongues? I do believe so). And then I went back to my seat and felt like I was shaking for about an hour afterwards. Like hard to even stand up kind of shaking, with my mind in a similar useless state of "What just happened?" But actually, it was great. Really.
One of the things I liked that day was the quote "Success is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm." And then Elder Nelson talked about the origin of the word enthusiasm, which signified "to have the Spirit of God with you". That is how we overcome things.
He talked about one of the greatest challenges in life as The Gap. The Gap is the area between where we are (or think we are), and where we need to be. We will often be given tasks that seem beyond our abilities. And then we do them. With God, all things are possible, or something along those lines. He qualifies us for the thing at hand. People around us may never know the truth: that this thing we accomplished was previously impossible, at least for ourselves alone. We can have the greatest enabling power in the universe on our side, if we ask for it. Don't forget that.
Have a great week. Les quiero!