Hey y'all --
I hope that all is going well over there in the Newport. Not gonna lie, it was looking like a great week this week -- we have kinda been without rain and so everyone has been like "Y'all are from God, pray with us so that we can have rain," and so we have been praying with them and we received rain, and it has been raining the last couple days so that's good, right? So yeah, we went out this week and we were having a lot of success ... me and Elder Burger are killing it ... we have raised the attendance in our branch a ton since I have been here, and we are just overall doing really well.We have a guy out here named F.M. He has been having trouble with the church because the last misson presdent released him from his calling. So for the last two years F.M. has just been kind of trying to find fault with the branch president and with the missionaries, and so Elder Burger and I have felt that we need to focus on being more like Christ and how to develop the attributes of Christ with him. Our lessons have been super good and we were finally getting progress with him ... he has made a lot of progress ... and we thought that maybe this week he would come to church, and other less actives we have been working with would come as well ... we felt that we had finally gotten to them which is an amazing feeling because as missionaries that is what we pray for!So Sunday comes and we are stoked (excited) to go to church. We woke up and got ourselves ready and we went to the chapel. It was raining super hard and and the lights didn't work and the water was out -- we actually had to fill the Sacrament cups up with the rain water. Elder Burger and I prepared everything for church and then we sat there and waited ... and waited ... and waited ... NOBODY came -- not ONE person came to church. It was fetching ridiculous! President McMullin has given Elder Burger and I the authority to direct the meetings if the Branch President doesn't show up, and so Elder Burger and I had Sacrament Meeting! Elder Burger directed and I said the prayer, and then we blessed and passed the Sacrament, and then we both gave talks. After the talks, we sang a hymn and ended with a prayer. So it was pretty interesting ... no members showed up, but we still got to have Sacrament, so that was cool.So after the Sacrament Meeting in Neuland, we were supposed to go out to Paraiso with the Stake President in the afternoon to have church with those members. So we called the Stake President and asked him when we were going to go, and he said "I postponed my branch this morning because of the rain, so I have to go to my church this afternoon." So we were kind of confused because we had never really heard of church meetings being cancelled because of a little bit of rain, and so we decided to call President McMullin, and he gave us the permission to go to Paraiso and hold their Sacrament Meeting.
So Elder Burger and I went to Paraiso and we went to everyone's house and told them we were holding church at 5:00 and asked them to come. We thought the people would be excited about having church, especially since they thought it had been cancelled, and we really thought we would have a great attendance, but NO, about half of the people we talked to told us "It's raining and we really don't want to go to church today, we will come next week." Elder Burger and I were super bugged about that because since the members didn't think they were having church, they decided to use the day to gamble and do sports. They chose to do those things over what they needed to be doing on the Sabbath. So Elder Burger and I were kind of upset, but we went ahead and prepared the Sacrament and got things all ready.
So 5:00 rolls around and one of our investigators, E.V., showed up ... and he was the only one! Then about 20 minutes later, F.M. shows up ... then at 6:00, two more families show up. At 6:00 we were still waiting for the Branch President to come and preside and we didn't know what was going on and so we called him and told him we were waiting at the church to have Sacrament Meeting. So we call the Branch President and ask him when he will be there because there were people at church waiting to have Sacrament Meeting, and Branch President says "You know, I am just not feeling church today, so let's just cancel if and have it next week." At that point, Elder Burger and I tried to explain to the Branch President what his responsibilities were and that he needed to come to the church and preside. His response was "Yeah, but I am a little tired today and I just want to enjoy my Sunday." So once again, we called our Mission President, and after he had a good laugh about the whole thing, he gave Elder Burger and I permission direct the meeting, which we did.So here, this week, we had done such good work with the members and were so excited to see what our attendance would be, and we had a total attendance of 13. Elder Burger and I were a bit frustrated, but we got over it -- however, we will definitely be having some intense conversations with the members this week.
So all in all we had a good week and made a lot of progress, but it all got forgotten because of the rain. I was thinking about how ridiculous this all was because the people have been praying for rain because they need it so badly, but as soon as they got the rain they were like "Yeah, we can't go to church because it's raining." The people really should have been thanking God for the blessing of rain, but instead they just decided to forgot Him. I have been reading a lot in Helaman and Third Nephi, and it really is crazy how exact our situation on Sunday was with the people in those chapters. The "pride cycle" is real, and our Lamanites are in a state of wickedness right now. One thing I know for sure though from reading the scriptures is that they can and will change. I just need to keep working super hard with them. :)Anyway, I hope you all are doing well. I sure love y'all!!!
Filling the Sacrament cups with rain water!!!