Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 12: In which I lose my trainer, we challenge a lack of faith, and explore an abandoned mine.

Alright, time for some crazy news! Despite the fact that I'm not finished with my training yet (not for another transfer), Elder Wunderlich is being transferred to a different zone in the mission. He's being made a zone leader up in Omack. Same stake, different zone. He'll be by here every once in a while for the Mission Leadership Councils in Yakima (the Omack zone leaders stay the night with us the night before because it's so far). I'll be finishing my training with Elder Aguire (or Aguirre? I'm actually not sure), who was actually training my MTC companion this last transfer.

This last week was really, really slow. It felt like wherever we tried to go, everything fell through. Our lessons fell through, then our backups, then no one wanted to talk with us. It was hard, but that has never discouraged me. I know that some weeks will be slow, and others will seem like miracle after miracle.

In an effort to find some more people, we went to the hospital this week to try to arrange to help out and talk to people who are going through a crisis. That might help with finding, although I'm not sure how eager the hospital chaplains were to let us help a lot. They were definitely nice, and very accommodating. They seemed very glad to get our contact information.

Bit by bit, we're trying to get better at planning together. We're trying to implement all of the points in Preach My Gospel. We still need a lot of practice for it to truly become natural and a habit, though.

I think one of the most powerful experiences this week was when I was on exchanges with Elder Brassanini. That happened to be the day we had planned to go by one of our investigators. We hadn't had a proper appointment with this particular investigator yet, but so far, he had seemed pretty wishy-washy when it came to keeping commitments. When we finally met with him and his wife, it became abundantly clear after only a few minutes that there was zero faith in either of them.

In a rare experience, a lesson that could have been extremely uncomfortable was very powerful. It was not a usual lesson, but a loving cry to repentance. They both kept saying "Yes, yes, we have a lot of faith. Heaps of it. We are very devoted followers of Christ. We're Catholics!" At the same time, the wife said "I'm a Catholic. I don't really care if I'm wrong or not, that's what I am and I don't want to change." Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a Catholic; that's great! What saddens me is that so very often, people are afraid to even experiment with new things, out of the fear they might be wrong. Why can't we all be more open? I sincerely hope I would be!

These people, whom I love so dearly, were astoundingly unwilling to change. Despite knowing that such things are quite common, I was incredulous. Why would anyone be so, so closed to hearing a simple message? When their lack of true faith (as opposed to simple belief, which doesn't involve action) became clear, I felt myself speak with a power not my own. To be honest, I often don't like being as direct as we were with people. It often makes more enemies then friends. However, that lesson, Elder Brassanini and I were both extremely direct. In short, when they refused to pray yet continually professed their faith in Christ, we asked: "If you have so much faith, why not show it with a simple prayer? Is that so hard?" When they again refused and yet again spoke of the great faith they had, Elder Brassanini said "Then your faith is only with words and not actions?"

It was not your average lesson. It was very direct, without any beating about the bush. Without a miracle, we will almost certainly stop teaching them for the time being. However, I do believe that such miracles are possible. They were both doing some serious soul-searching during that lesson, of that I am sure. I saw it in their eyes. The spirit was also extremely strong, calling them to repent. The only question is, will they fight the spirit like they were clearly doing before?

Sometimes, I think we are too timid or polite to follow such inspiration. It's hard to say something as harsh as that to someone, even if done out of love for them. I know that as we try to be better and follow the spirit, we will have words put into our mouths. In two very different ways, it happened with Kenia and it happened again this week. With such miracles occurring day by day, my faith is growing continually stronger. I doubt I have ever had as much as I do now, and for that I am eternally grateful. I receive witnesses in my heart every day of the truth of this message. I only wish that people through all ages were not so stubborn in their hearts and quick to do evil. I hope that I will be able to be the Lord's tool in helping to sift those faithful few from the proud masses. I am not perfect myself, as I will be the first to admit. Still, I know that with the Lord's help, we can strive to be better every day.

Alright, now for what we did for fun last Monday! We went up near a little town called Leavenworth to hike. To save my mother the effort of looking Leavenworth up and stalking me, I'll just tell you basically what it is. Leavenworth is a little town in the mountains that is very... German. It's advertised as a "Bavarian Town". It's not like an actual town in Germany, but it has tons of signs in German, at least one little bakery, and a bunch of German restaurants. It's a kind of fun place, even though we only drove through to get to our hike.

The hike was gorgeous. It was drizzling a bit, but it was a fantastic mountain view. We also went through a really awesome abandoned mining tunnel. It went through a mountain. Picture time!
 These two are from Leavenworth:

This is the river we saw on the hike:

These next few are the abandoned mining tunnel:

This is us emerging from the other side of the mountain:

This is the bridge we crossed on the hike:

Basically, it was awesome. Most Mondays we just spend playing chair soccer or something as a zone. This last week was pretty awesome, though.

Much love,

Elder Adams

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