Every week we write an email to the mission president, telling him how we are doing, how the work is going, and all that. I had previously mentioned how every time I try to do some self improvement, everything around me falls apart. I don't know if this is common for other people as well, but it is pretty discouraging. Anyway, he gave me a few suggestions of things to read, which I did the next morning. That was both amazing and humbling. It was definitely inspired council. I was reading aloud some parts to my companion and she was cracking up. "It's perfect for you!!" So yes, God is watching out for me and inspires the servants He calls.
Also, we have been having a competition in our Zone to get the highest number of certain things per day (most people invited to church, most doors knocked, most lessons with less active members, etc.) Tuesday was "Most thank you cards delivered". So we drove pretty much all day dropping off thank you cards at the houses of members. It was an adventure. We trashed our miles and didn't teach any lessons. But everyone told us that they loved the cards, so it was worth it. And we won the competition that day. I am working on being competitive. It isn't really in my nature, but it is good motivation, I suppose.
We learned a new and useful piece of information about public transportation. We take the DART train to the Salvation Army when we do service there. When I first got to this area, my companion said "Just buy the College/Trade Day Pass," so I did. I mean, no one treats me like an adult, so why should I buy the Adult ticket? I am taking a few semesters off of college, but that is still where I belong. Plus, when we went to Mexico, we went under a student VISA or something. We pay to study, preach, and serve. So I have always bought one of the College tickets, because it just feels right. Before, last week, there had been no problems.Even when the DART police come and check, they just say "Thank you" and keep going.
Apparently, you need to have a valid student ID to use one of those tickets. If they ask you for ID and you don't have it, you get thrown off the train.
So they threw us off the train and told us to buy Adult tickets before they fined us $50. We bought new tickets, waited for 20 minutes, then got on the next train. Our trip ended up costing us each $7.50, and the Elders laughed so hard when we told them.
Another confusing situation that I felt unprepared to deal with: a deaf couple showed up to church on Sunday. We had never met them before. I ended up being the first person to greet them. He was a member, she wasn't. I used the little bit of ASL plus fingerspelling that I know to introduce myself. Then, the conversation got too complex and he brought out his phone to just type what he wanted to say. Our ward doesn't have interpreters, so I don't think they got much out of the service. After the meeting, we gave them the address of a different ward that has interpreters. So that was a new experience.
We arrive to a lesson early one day, and we decided to spend a few minutes knocking and talking to people who were outside. We were a bit hesitant to do that, because it was in the same apartment complex that we live in, just on the other side. But we did it and talked to some people. Then, some lady who was walking her dog told us to stop soliciting. We said we weren't soliciting (which might have been a lie because I am not quite sure on the definitione. But we weren't selling anything, which I think is what that means). She told us we were, we said we weren't. She said that she would call security on us. We said ok, then arrived at the door where our appointment was. As we were walking into the house, the lady called after us "Hey, give me one of your cards!" So I did. She said "Since you didn't stop, I'm going to call security right now!"
Then we went and had a good lesson and never heard from that lady again. I think security might have had a hard time throwing us out of our own building, but who knows.
Writing it out, I can't even figure out why the week felt so long. We knocked more doors than usual, but the rejection to doors knocked ratio wasn't even that bad. We have been getting up almost every morning to go running. That feels like accomplishment. We have had bad Italian food too many times recently, so we have decided to never have it again.
We had a particularly heartbreaking lesson on Saturday, when we were told that our recent convert doesn't plan on coming back to church. She also doesn't want us to keep coming over. So that was pretty painful. We will keep on praying for her, but there isn't much else we can do for now. For anyone who is planning on going on a mission, please know that it is hard. You see miracles and watch people lives change for the better. You meet amazing people and just live on top of the world sometimes. And you have your heart broken on a regular basis. But we love it, somehow.
I guess I just want to say that I know that these things are true. I know that truth is unchanging, and it doesn't matter how busy we get or the way other people act or the trials that come. I know that I have a purpose here, as we all do. I know that Christ lives and still guides His church today. I know that life is a messy sort of thing, but we can find peace and even joy in it. Thanks for everything.
Have a great week!