This week wasn't too bad. It was slower then usual but other than that nothing much has changed. I still get up to see the Superstition Mountains out my window, I still ride around with helmet hair, I still talk to everyone (usually they don't talk back), I'm still a missionary.
We got doors slammed on us a lot this week. One man even slammed the door, realized he had more to say so he opened the door back up and slammed it again when he was finished. Then he yelled at us from his window. It made my day. The best part was it wasn't even his house. No worries though. We'll be back. I'm beginning to feel like I didn't pay close enough attention in English class. In my mind it doesn't make sense to reply with "nope" after I ask how you're doing today. Maybe that's just Arizonian for "I'm doing well! Thanks for asking! The weather is great today isn't it? Also, if it's not too much to ask, could you do me a favor and let me follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the proper priesthood authority of God?". Who knows?
This week has really made my appreciation for prayer a bit better. Friday was probably the least successful day of my mission so far. Elder Meline and I rode around from house to house for hours but nobody wanted to talk to us. It was about 8:30 and we ended up hitting a dead end next to a pond. All of our options were pretty much gone but we still had at least half an hour left to serve that day. We were exhausted. We were hopeless. We were clueless. Elder Meline then voiced the obvious answer to our problems. We needed to pray.
After we had voiced our concerns and asked for the help and guidance that we knew our Father in Heaven would offer us, we found our answer. It didn't come immediately. It wasn't blatantly obvious. It just all worked out. We decided to go try and talk to a man we had tried earlier today. We rode across the street to the LakeView apartments but found another man walking down the street. We stopped and introduced ourselves but he insisted that he had to make it to the bus station or he would be sleeping outside that night. I said that wasn't a problem and we could walk him there. He agreed and so we began walking. His name is Ryan. He's a single father of a little six year old girl named Madilyn. He is in the final process of getting her back from the state. He has been fighting for her for the last 20 months and is now just two months away from getting her back. In the midst of all this the state gave her lasik eye surgery resulting in her being legally blind. In other words, he's had a hard time.
Because of us simply being on the same side of the road as Ryan we were able to discuss how families can be together forever. We talked about how Madilyn won't be blind forever. Christ suffered in Gethsemane. He died on the cross. He rose again so that Madilyn can rise as well. Her lack of sight is only temporal. She will see again. And Ryan will be right there next to her seeing exactly what she sees with perfect vision.
We gave him our number and left as he boarded the bus. He was the only person we were able to talk to on Friday but somehow those thirty minutes made up for the 23 1/2 hours that had felt empty. God was there for us all along. We simply needed to stop and notice. Henry B. Eyring once said, "The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are." I had never found that statement more true then I did after meeting Ryan.
To further push the point that apparently I needed to hear this week, all the talks were on prayer this last Sunday. One thing that really stood out to me was an analogy used there. If we are thirsty and there's a spring right in front of us where will you drink? There are cows drinking directly above stream from you. Will you drink right where you are now? No. That's disgusting. If you drink right there the water will be mixed with whatever bacteria flows downstream from the cows. You want to go to the source of the water. That's where you can drink freely without the worry of disease or uncleanliness. Prayer is like that. You need to go the source. God is always listening and will always give you pure, clean, and 100% bacteria-free answers. You simply need to choose to walk past the cows (metaphorically speaking) and reach the source. Life's a lot easier when you let God help.