Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 41: In which I review our schedule, Elder Fordham lassos the vacuum, and Brenda & Crystal are baptized!

A Thousand Words.

Esta semana fue loca, pero tambien milagrosa. Estoy agradecido que todavia vivo.
This week was crazy, but also miraculous. I am grateful that I’m still alive.

First of all, a quick overview of the schedule.

6:30-10:00 Get ready, Personal Study (1 hour), Daily Planning (30 minutes), Exercise (30 minutes)
10:00-5:00 Normal missionary stuff like find/teach people, Companionship Study (30-60 minutes), Language Study (30-60 minutes)
5:00-6:00 Dinner
6:00-9:00 Missionary Stuff (again)
9:00-10:30 Ready for bed, Write in journal, get to bed.

Pretty much, the schedule is a lot more flexible now. I'm getting about the same amount of sleep, but if I can get faster at getting to bed and everything else, my companion and I could choose to go to bed as early as 9:30. It's awesome.

Also, a big thank you to everyone who helped make my birthday and Valentine's Day special. My grandparents never miss a beat. I am so grateful for them. And thank you to everybody who remembered my birthday on Facebook. I don't have access to Facebook right now, but my parents passed on your good wishes. Thanks!

This was a crazy awesome week. It was kind of like a miraculous roller coaster. At the end, miracles happened. Here's a picture and an excerpt from my letter to President Lewis. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

In order, left to right:
Elder Fordham, Elder Steadman, Crystal (she's 10), Brenda, Rosa (she's 4), Christopher (he's 13), and Bishop Risenmay.
Brenda and her daughter Crystal got baptized Saturday and confirmed yesterday. Brenda was baptized by Bishop Risenmay and confirmed by Brother Gilbert (1st councilor). Crystal was baptized by me and confirmed by Elder Favila, another missionary in the district who talked to her for a little bit of time while his companion, Elder Aguirre, interviewed Brenda alone.

It's been a crazy, crazy week.

It started last week with the experience I described last week. Something felt wrong, and we thought it had to do with an enmity between Brenda and another lady, who is ironically one of the other missionaries' most promising investigators. Brenda and this lady had a lot go on between them. Basically, we began to feel that the enmity between them might be just a wee bit too much. While we can't expect anyone to be perfect for baptism, the hatred between them was almost to the point where it was holding Brenda back from having a broken heart and contrite spirit. We went by the next day, talked about forgiveness and repentance, and things felt a lot better. We went by the day after that, too, and set up the baptism for Saturday. We spent the entire week focusing on forgiveness, repentance, and the meaning of the baptismal covenant. Every time we went over, things felt better and better. She was contacted every day, though not always by us. 

Of course, the nature of things is that the greatest trials often come right before the greatest of blessings. On Friday, Brenda had an extremely stressful experience and was greatly tempted. While she did resist the temptation, it was so great that she began to worry that she was unworthy or unready for the next day. She was in tears, she was so distressed. However, we felt completely at peace. We knew that she just needed that extra week of preparation and time. We couldn't even talk to her face-to-face, because she couldn't bring herself out of her room. However, we invited her family to pray and ask her to do the same. She later texted us apologizing that she couldn't talk to us, but we invited her to pray to know what the Lord wanted her to do and we also invited her to simply come with Crystal the next day so we could prepare Crystal and talk with her.

The next morning, she didn't come early. In fact, she later told us she almost didn't come, but that she took our invitation and said a prayer. That gave her the strength and comfort to come to the baptism. She felt ready, like Crystal, to make that great promise. The service was truly beautiful, and the spirit was very strong.

I personally experienced mixed emotions when I heard that between the baptism and confirmation, after nearly 3 weeks, she began to relapse. She gave in and lit a cigarette. When I heard that, I was devastated. However, it is very interesting that as she began to take a single breath of smoke, it tasted completely disgusting to her. It was, to her, utterly abhorrent. She didn't even finish that first breath, but immediately stopped. That experience, for her, gave her the resolve she needed to fully put that challenge behind her. It is a testimony to me of the power of the spirit. The spirit basically just said "Nope!" and it was what Brenda needed at that time; she needed that last, final confirmation. The spirit comforted both my companion and I, and we knew that everything was going exactly as the Lord had planned.

Yesterday was an incredibly special day. Both of them were given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and that was followed by a very tender and spiritual testimony meeting. Earlier in the week, 2 people had passed away in the ward, and one of them was relatively young. That Sunday, a baby was also blessed just prior to Brenda and Crystal's confirmations. 2 8-year-old children had also been baptized Saturday night in the ward.

The whole ward was filled with the spirit with all that had taken place, and it was almost as if the wonderful Plan of our Father in Heaven had been shown in part to those blessed participants in that meeting. It had been lain out for view in simple glory. Birth, Gospel, and Death. Everything fit together for one short time, and it was truly beautiful.

I love you all, and am so grateful for your support and prayers!


Elder Adams
Questions from Editor Mom:
Have you sent the extra quads back and ended up with a good set? - Nope, but I plan to today.

What birthday gifts put the biggest smile on your face? Did you play the game? - I don't know, but my mouth about dropped open when I opened the tie clip. I also loved the ice cream, wow! Thanks! I loved all of them. I've also been working on putting the scripture stickers in my new Spanish Quad.

How are Brenda, Crystal, and the others doing (MES, I know--(main email stuff)? - Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words...

How's life in Othello? - Pretty much the bomb.com!

What's your favorite go-to meal these days? - Hmm, I don't know. While I do like cereal for a really fast thing, I prefer bologna, Monterrey Jack cheese, Miracle Whip, and mustard sandwiches. Fast, easy, filling. Also, if I have a little more time, grilled cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip. A little less healthy, but still yummy.  

Do you have dinner appointments most days? - Almost all the time this month, and every day for the first half.

Are you totally focusing your efforts in Little Mexico, or are you working in other areas of town, too? How do you decide where to work? - It honestly depends. In the past we've only gone to Little Mex Wednesdays and Saturdays, but we're going to go more often now. We usually pray at the beginning of a planning session, then think about where feels right to go. We usually try to focus on areas that haven't been worked in the longest. There are also some trailers in the opposite direction from Little Mex we are trying to visit more often.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned about your companion? - Hmm, good question. He likes to lasso things, I guess. He has tried to lasso me on occasion. He's much better at lassoing the vacuum, though.

What percentage of your time do you end up speaking Spanish do you think? Do you speak Spanish to your companion most of the time? - It depends. We speak English probably most of the time, but we also try to use Spanish when we can. We plan in English. Maybe 70% English? 75? Something like that.

How does the change in missionary rules affect your schedule? Are you getting enough sleep? - Uh, big question. I also don't have a ton of time. I think I might just have that be most of my big email.

Do you check your email every day? - No, we don't have access to email except on Mondays. We do try to check the mail every day, though.

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