Monday, August 29, 2011

A "Greenie" Missionary ... Ever Learning and Growing

(As tradition dictates ... Elder Fox finally received his "Greenie" Package!)

(This poem was also included.  It's special to Elder Fox and our family because of the connection to our ancestor Benjamin F. Johnson.)
Hey!!!!!

So I got the “Greenie” package this Friday!  I also got the package from the Steingraber’s too.  The CTM said they don’t forward packages but they did with mine.  (Probably because the CTM is in my mission.  The Mission Office, where everything gets sent to, is right by the temple and every week during multiple days there’s buses going there.)  However, on the package from them … on the part that you write what it contains … it said a book and a bag of chips.  The book never made it to me.  When I got the package, it had been opened and stapled shut.  Oh well.  It was so awesome getting that stuff.  Our ZL's went to the office on Wednesday and they said there wasn’t anything there except some letters, but on Friday at a ward activity a lady in our ward brought my packages!  I guess she works by the Mission Office and had to stop by there for something.  While there, she asked if there was anything for us.  I was so grateful she did!  I really needed those “pick me ups” cause this last week, and that day, was rough.  On top of that … we ran out of food and money and don’t get more money until Thursday this week so we’re rationing the food from the packages.  Haha

Now, to expand on this week being rough … a lot of our investigators, no matter what we tried, weren’t progressing so we had to try and find more that would accept the gospel.  We can’t be spending all our time on people who don’t want the gospel when there could be other people who need it.  We started knocking on doors, and as a result … got doors slammed in our faces … people telling us to leave … all that good stuff.  One time we were talking to some people in the road and after we finished talking we walked past a bar.  Some dude that was there shouted, "If that American stops by here, I’ll kill him!"  Needless to say, I didn’t stop.  haha  Oh drunk people.  I have some pretty good stories from people we encountered in the road that were a little intoxicated.  But, ya, lots of walking and lots of rejections.  That’s one thing I don’t like about the whole numbers thing on a mission.  If you look at our numbers from this week it looks like we didn’t do anything.  It looks like we just hung around our house, left for a bit to teach, and came home  It doesn’t show all the roads we walked working our butts off.  But, hey, that’s a mission for you.

I did have two really neat experiences though.  Well, I had a lot cause a mission is full of them but these really stood out to me.  The first one was with Mary.  She was an investigator we had when I first got here but we ended up stopping teaching her.  When we were thinking of how we could get more investigators I said, “Let’s pull some people out of the area book.”  We were looking through it when Elder Henrique saw Mary’s name and said, “Let’s try her again.”  So we started working with her again.  We set up a date for her to be baptized.  Like most investigators, we were worried for her so we had been praying that everything would work out well.  One day when we stopped by, she seemed different.  I could tell something was wrong so I said, “Ok Mary, what’s up?  There’s something going on isn’t there?”  She told us that some people she works with were talking bad about the church.  They were saying a lot of untruths.  For example, they told her that if she gets baptized she’ll always have to wear a skirt or a dress and never pants or shorts.  They told her that she can’t listen to music or watch movies.  Just crazy stuff like that.  We explained to her that all the things she asked about were fine.  We explained that we, as Missionaries, are the only people with these rules because we need to focus on the work we’re doing.  Then she was like, "Ok good … but one more thing.  When I clean I like to listen to music and sometimes … not always … it’ll be a song that I really like and I’ll start to dance a little.  But it’s just me and no one else is in the room.  Is that bad?"  I was like, “Uh, no.  Why would it be?”  She said, “Well members can’t dance right?”  haha  Oh man!  Some of the stuff she heard!  I told her how we would have dances in my Stake before my mission all the time and it’s totally ok.  So that was all cleared up and she didn’t have anymore questions.

The next time we stopped by she was down again but this time way more than before.  It was easy to see there was something seriously wrong.  So again I asked, “Ok Mary, what’s up?  Because normally your really happy and joke around with us and stuff.”  She started saying some new stuff she had heard from her boss (who is very against our church) that day.  She told her, if she gets baptized and follows the teachings of the Prophets, she’ll go to hell and that we think Heavenly Father is the brother of Satan and just tons of other really bad stuff.  We answered her questions and used a scripture for everyone of them too.  It was sweet how we could find a scripture to respond to everything.  After everything was explained she was a bit more normal but still seemed unsure.  Elder Henrique was trying to find a scripture but couldn’t, and while he was looking … James 1:5 popped in my head … the one Joseph Smith read to make him ask which church was true.  I didn’t want to interrupt Elder Henrique because that’s kind of rude and who knew … maybe he had something crazy good, so we waited.  Then I got the feeling to share the scripture.  Again I brushed it off and waited a bit.  Elder Henrique said, “Oh, I don’t remember where it is.” and then I got a strong feeling and almost heard something in my mind like "SHARE IT NOW!!!" so I did.  It was so awesome because I don’t think I’ve ever spoken better Portuguese for one, and two, the spirit was so strong.  I explained to her that the things we taught her, and the responses to her questions, were true.  And the other things she heard, are not.  But if she still has doubts … do as the scripture says … and do as Joseph Smith did … and ask God.  I promised her that if she did, she would receive a response and she would know that this is the truth.  This is the right thing to do.  Not only that, but that she would know it’s what she needs to do.  We marked 2 Nephi 31 for her to read too and then we left.  The next time we saw Mary was at church on Sunday and she was so excited and happy!  She was just beaming!  When we asked if we could have her baptism announced during Sacrament Meeting, she said yes!  She’s getting baptized this Saturday!!!

The second experience … there’s this family we’re teaching and they’re so cool!  One of the guys is never home because he always works or is at school so we have never taught him or talked to him really.  Elder Henrique and I were walking down the road one day and he recognized us and called to us.  He was working so he couldn’t talk much but we told him about our ward activity and asked if he wanted to go.  He quickly said, “Ya sure.” and then went back into the store.  So we were at the activity waiting for any of our investigators that we had invited (which weren’t many cause we didn’t have too much of a heads up) but no one was coming.  I was praying someone would come and I actually specified Guilherme.  Right before we went inside the church to get started, a car pulls up, he gets out, and comes running over to us.  He made a lot of good friends that day and loved the activity too.  The only problem is that he works every Sunday and it’s hard to teach him because he’s never home.  And he’s 15!  What kind of life is that for a 15 year old?!  But during the opening of the activity, I said a little prayer thanking my Heavenly Father that he came.  I could feel the spirit, and a feeling of comfort and love, really strong.  It’s hard to explain.  The feeling really strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father does hear our prayers, that he loves us, and that me and Elder Henrique are doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

Well, I’m getting short on time so I have to go.  I love you guys so much and thanks again for the packages!!  Oh, also, I got a letter from Eldon using Dear Elder but I don’t have their address but … “Thanks for the story Eldon!!!”

Love you guys!

Love,
Tavin

PS - Mom could you get Sister Nielson’s address for me?  She promised me she would write but hasn’t yet so I want to write their family and see how they’re doing.

3 comments:

  1. Loved all of the recent posts and the Greenie package!! Those are so fun!!

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  2. Awwww I love my brother soooo much! It is so like Tavin to look at the good when he is having a tough week and it would be so easy to look at the bad! So proud of you Tav! xoxox

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  3. My mission pres' wife would always say that "when you are green, you are growing... when you're ripe, you rot." Keep on growing!

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