Another good week in PA. A lot of my time this week was spent entering our area books online. Soooo much work, and our area just condensed two areas so we have two area books to enter, which means we're typing and entering every lesson and person ever taught and recorded. Funnnn. We've tried to keep it entertaining by doing it on Main, wherever we can find wifi. Despite the hoursssss spent entering info we still had a good week.
This week was Jeep Festival downtown here. The Jeep was actually invented right here in Butler of all places, haha. So the road was blocked off and everyone with a jeep could drive down Main. Over 3,000 jeeps showed. The line to drive through was like 5 miles. Kinda cool. I got interviewed by one of the TV crews there representing Jeep, haha. Signed a release form and everything. They asked me who I worked for, and I told them I was a missionary for the church. Accidental advertising haha.
We got to meet the Spanish speaking guy we talked to in walmart on Tuesday! We really don't know how to pronounce his name... but it sounded something like Guacamole, so that'll work for now. He brought his friend Alejandro. They are in the US for the summer working. They helped us with our Spanish, and we helped them with their English. Conversation quickly turned to them wanting to know about the church. What is starting as language practice will lead to something more. They both asked for Libros de Mormon. Fue muy bien para usar nuestros Espanol! Finalmente. Ahora vamos a visitar con ellos cada semana. Las personas Mexicanas son el mejor. Todos son simpatico y amoroso, es sus culturas. Estamos ensendando a las tres personas en Espanol ahora! Estamos haciendo alguna cosa correcta!
We got to see Ivan again this week, he still feeds us dinners haha. Ivan is very racist, he hates Mexicans, and gets a little jealous when we see our Mexican friends, haha. Ivan is a special one!
Bill has made so much progress since we met him. When we first met him I really never thought I would be able to help him, the scientist with all his deep deep doctrinal questions and concerns. He has picked the Book of Mormon apart, word for word, line for line for 20 years, I felt so inadequate for the job haha, my knowledge being very basic. I thought he would need a much more experienced missionary, haha. I've come to realize my basic, simple knowledge is exactly what he needs. He needs to get to the root of it.
Is it true or is it not true?
His baptismal date is still set for July 11, but we still have a lot to teach him, including the Word of Wisdom. He surprised us by bringing his mom to a baptismal service we invited him to on Saturday and to church yesterday. She was nice, and by the end of the day she said "Wow, I'm really shocked. I didn't think you guys were Christians."
Isn't that interesting that nobody thinks we are Christians...? The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints? Hmmm. Our religion is possibly the most misunderstood.
Anyway, Bill has really come around. When we first started teaching him, he would tell us how the Book of Mormon was true, but the church today was not. He still has some issues with D&C, but he is really a changed person since we first met him. He understands now.
This week at Katie's we met some more interesting people. We met another nice guy who casually struck a conversation as I poured his drink. "Oh hi, you look very nice today. Oh yeah, I'd throw the Book of Mormon in an incinerator if I could."
Haha. We actually ended up seeing him later this week and were able to teach him and he said he'd read it. (1 Point missionaries)
I got to go back and teach the family of seven. We were on splits that night, so I was with a member in the ward. I was really nervous knowing I would have to do all the teaching on my own, haha. But it went so well, and she will be bringing her family to church this week (hopefully.) Her husband hasn't warmed up to the idea of Mormon missionaries yet, but I think he will.
Kind of funny. None of the members will even go with us into the areas we live in teach. (Downtown Butler) Too dangerous. Hahah.
We had lots of crazy weather this week. Flash floods all week and a tornado went though Butler. The storms are so cool here, it doesn't rain here, it DUMPS. And the lightning and thunder is awesome. Never more than a few second in between lightning. On our way to our dinner appt Thursday we had to stop and walk because a huge tree had fallen and blocked the road. (In the storm.) by the time we got to the members house, they had all their things ready to take downstairs for the tornado haha.
I have gotten to see fireflies for the first time! They are just starting to come out, they're amazing! Feels like you're in a movie.
The highlight of my week was returning to visit Phyllis, the Roman Catholic older lady. First we asked her if she had started reading the Book of Mormon. In 5 days, she had read all of first and second Nephi.. Not only that, but she said she would pray after every chapter. She has been very sick, and has quite a bit of pain when she talks, yet she said she reads aloud every time so she "Understands and doesn't forget anything."
"I didn't know God commanded someone else other than Noah to build a ship." (Nephi)
"I don't like how those two brothers treated their brother." (Laman and Lemuel)
When we first met Phyllis, she told us she does not attend her own church because of her bad back, but when we asked her if she would go with us this week, she said "Well, I don't have any skirts or dresses. Can I wear my blue jeans?"
She is so sweet and cute. She told us she feels comfort when she reads the Book of Mormon. You don't meet many people like her, let alone anyone that actually reads when you commit them to haha.
We're still teaching in the many halfway/ 3/4 houses in Butler, we lost Ryan this week though. The guys are kicked out of the house if they are caught drinking or doing drugs again. We've witnessed some pretty intense fights in those houses haha. One night we were at Ivan's and some of the guys got home and first started yelling at each other, then it turned to screaming, then it got realll physical haha. Pretty crazy. But that's what you get here. Haha. Sometimes other guys in the house will come out to smoke and join our lessons, so we'll be sitting with sometimes five or six guys, all smoking and covered in tats, teaching haha. What a sight.
Our new district is interesting to say the least. They definitely live up to the Pittsburgh party mission rep... I'll leave it at that haha. Don't worry, the only partying I do is at our halfway houses with all our buds. Jk.
I honestly feel like I have smoked after walking out of lessons, everyone smokes here, during our lessons. I'm always struggling not to cough or choke haha. It has brought our some asthmatic symptoms. Most nights when we get home we smell like a casino... yummmmm.
Oh!! My other highlight.. Thomas called yesterday!! We got a call from a number we didn't know and there was a recorded message saying to press 1 to accept a call from Butler Prison. We only had literally 30 seconds with him until it cut us off, but he called to tell us he hadn't gotten out, but to keep praying for him, he has a court date Tuesday and might have another chance. He sounded pretty down in the dumps, I hope he gets out. Sister Davis and I were so bummed when he didn't get out the first time, but then we started thinking- maybe it has given him more time to read the Book of Mormon we sent in. We'll see! If he doesn't get out we will be sending written lessons through the guy in our ward who goes into the prison regularly.
Thank you for all the letters and support! Much appreciated. Keep them coming💜
"...everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of good things to come. My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel."
"Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."
Nos vemos. The church is true.
Xoxo Hermana Sears 💜