Thursday, September 17, 2009

Greetings From Albuquerque

Wow! I’m in Albuquerque! I have to admit, it was a little bit of a culture shock to be in subdivisions, drive on highways (with lots of cars), and have a map so detailed you have to go to Kinkos to blow it up! But it feels a little bit like home here in Albuquerque, aside from the adobe architecture, I mean. Nonetheless, it is weird getting used to living in a new place!

Sister Lamb is a wonderful new missionary. She doesn’t even act new at all! I am very excited for this transfer, because she’s a hard worker and a good teacher. I think we will get to see miracles this transfer!

We cover two wards here in Albuquerque. We had four “official” investigators at church on Sunday, and another non-member that one of our investigators brought with them. Hopefully we’ll get to start teaching her soon. But let me just think abut this for a minute…FOUR investigators at church on the first week of the transfer…before we even know how the area works ourselves! It was super exciting.

Most of our investigators are sincere in their desire to learn. They aren’t just too nice to tell us not to come back, or intellectually curious, or lonely. They aren't crazy either! They actually have been searching for the truth and have a hunger to learn! These are the kind of people I have been hoping to teach my whole mission…and even when I was still contemplating the decision to serve, I hoped I'd find people like this. I am so grateful to be here.

As I said last week, I have been seriously considering the Lord’s declaration that the field is white already to harvest. He has promised that there are people ready for the gospel. Before I even left Bloomfield, I prayed very hard that the Lord would prepare people here in Albuquerque to receive the message, and that more importantly, we would recognize each other. I find it fascinating to see how many church headquarter referrals were generated during that same time I was praying. And we have gotten three member referrals this week as well. Once again, it is clear that Heavenly Father really does hear our prayers!

President Anderson always tells stories about how through the Spirit, missionaries can have a profound influence even when we think we’re failing. I always love those stories and hoped that I could have similar experiences. Well, I had one this week!!

There is an amazing recent convert in our ward. Our ward mission leader told us about her and told us how at stake conference a few weeks ago, President Anderson and the Temple president had both invited her husband to take the missionary lessons. Well, naturally, that made our ears perk up, so we stopped by the house on Saturday afternoon.

Her husband opened the door, and we chatted with him for a while. He told us that his wife wasn’t feeling well, so we said we’d try back again another time. As we walked back to the car, I remember telling my companion about how I got the impression he wasn’t too excited to see us there. Oh well. We’ll keep trying, I thought.

Then on Sunday, his wife bore her testimony about how her prayers are beginning to be answered and that her husband is taking an interest in the church. She said that after we knocked on the door, he told her that there were new sister missionaries and that they seemed very nice. Then later in the day, he asked if she could get out her DVDs on the history of the church. They watched them together all day. And he asked her what she thought about them. She bore a simple testimony and turned the question back to him. He said he thinks they are very good, and asked that they watch more of them after she got home from church.

I realize, that we didn’t really play a role in this…she had been praying for the past few months that this would happen, and that so many other people have played a role, the Holy Ghost being the most important factor. But I appreciated that she mentioned us. Even missionaries need encouragement sometimes!

Then, oh my goodness! We went to see one of our investigators! We went to visit her, and she told us her whole conversion story, about how she was raised Catholic and came to a point where she knew it wasn’t quite right. She didn’t believe in the Trinity so she started attending a non-denominational church. Gradually, she brought her husband and family along with her to this church. Then a few months later she started reading the Book of Mormon. She read it in about a week and knew it was true. It filled in so many pieces, she said! She’s read the Book of Mormon twice and has read the Pearl of Great Price and is now in Section 80 something of the Doctrine & Covenants. She knows so much about the church and loves it…but wants to bring her family along with her. She said she’ll point out bits of Mormon Doctrine, but she doesn’t want to freak them out by making them think she wants to switch religions every few months. So she said it will be a gradual process, but she isn’t afraid to be the leader! Amazing! Some of her extended-family has expressed some anti sentiments, and she deflects them off and defends the church even though she isn’t a member…yet. I hope we get to see a miracle in this family’s life this transfer!!! I hope they develop a curiosity of their own. This woman says she tries to attend the LDS church once a month (she wants to join) but at the same time, she loves attending church with her family. The church they attend together has a rock band and is very new age, so her teens seem to like it. She said the LDS service is very different from that church. Our services weren't as emotional, but “do you know what it was?” she said. “It was sweet. It felt like home.” When she imagines what it would be like to be with God, she imagines that it would be very much like home, and peaceful. I am so excited to be here!

These are just two examples of the people we’re working with! I didn’t even talk about the people who DID attend church this Sunday and who have already expressed a desire to be baptized. The list could just go on and on. As the mother in our lesson last night said, “I feel that God just has a pitcher full of blessings waiting for us, and He’s just wondering when we’re going to start!” She too, feels like she knows the Book of Mormon is true and she hasn’t even read it yet. But when her family started dissing on it, she was amazed at how passionately she defended the book! She said “I don’t get passionate about ANYTHING really, besides my family, so I feel like there must be truth to this.” Her husband has a light in his eyes, and you can just tell he absorbs everything he learns.

THEN… There’s a sweet 20 year old girl who has been searching for the past three years. Wow! I keep thinking of other stories I could share, but I am seriously going to run out of time!

This is the best time to be in Albuquerque. The Balloon festival is around the corner, and it’s chili season. We helped one of our part member families peel green chilies on Saturday. And I am converted to all things spicy! They grew up in Santa Fe, and told us about all the festivals and folk legends that are happening there this time of year. So it was a super fun day. I'll have to tell you about the Black Arroyo, and Zubrona (sp?) later!

Before I left Bloomfield, two of our investigators gave me the sweetest gifts. One of them gave me a book about the Navajo creation story, and wrote his testimony inside. WOW! I am amazed at how much he knows! He said, read this book as a conversation starter, but don’t believe it! Because it’s silly. The other investigator gave my trio matching Navajo necklaces. So sweet of them!

I miss you all a LOT!

Gotta run. But have a wonderful day!

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