This last week was great! We taught a lot of lessons and got nine new investigators. It was great! Plus, Elder Cupp isn't sick anymore. That's always a good thing. It's starting to warm up here. I didn't wear a sweater all week. That said, I feel like a wimp because the times that I did wear sweaters were when it got below 70 degrees. Don't judge me.
Elder Cupp and I have found a gold mine for people to talk to. It's this park on Jefferson and Broadway. Every day people just go there to play basketball or soccer and just to hang out. They're prime targets. Elder Cupp and I just go join in. It's amazing how much less of a monster people see you as when you slaughter them in a pickup game of street ball. I don't know if it's the wingtips but I can dunk it fairly easily now. It helps.
We've seen an increase in the amount of drunks this week. On multiple occasions we've been coerced to pray with them in the most inconvenient places and for the most outlandish things. I'm not sure if it's a problem or a blessing but I doubt any of them remember it once they're sober. For example, a lady called us over to the middle of a putting green yesterday. So we went over and she immediately grabbed our hands and closed her eyes and just stood there. After a few seconds and some odd looks from impatient golfers she explained that she needed a prayer so that her boyfriend Randy would come back to her. She also instructed us not to pray for anything else. So we said a quick prayer with her. I'm glad Elder Cupp said it. I don't know if I could have said it and kept myself from breathing in her strong scent of alcohol at the same time. We ended it as the golfers were coming to break it up and left her with a "Jesus card" which apparently she couldn't leave without. It was a good experience.
Last week we went to Goldfield Ghost Town with Elder Mellor and Elder Robbins. Fun fact: Elder Mellor is from Kennewick. It's weird how I've never met him before. Anyways, this place is this really old deserted town right beneath the Superstitions. It was awesome! It was definitely the best P-Day I've had my entire mission. It was fun getting to goof off for a little while. This place also has the largest venomous creature exhibit in Arizona. I think I would have been better off not knowing how many ways there are to die if I get lost in the desert. They had a huge scorpion about the size of my head. According to them it's common here. Needless to say, I didn't sleep that night.
I had a great experience this week. It's awesome being able to see the hand of The Lord guide His work here in the good ol' AZ. A few weeks ago, Sister Boutchyard and I were scheduling dinner appointments. She didn't want to schedule one for Saturday night for some reason and I didn't argue. Being fed is a privilege not a right so there's no point in arguing. Also, for some odd reason, I didn't want to be fed that night. Even though it was weeks in advance. I didn't think anything of it until Saturday. Elder Cupp and I were riding around just talking to everyone and we saw this kid walking down the street. For whatever reason, I really did not want to talk to him. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It was really weird, but I didn't do it.
So we kept riding and eventually found ourselves at a house we had been trying to get into for days now. The family living there had not been to church in a very long time due to their son's death. Apparently he was just about to leave on his mission and then he died due to heart problems one night. Therefore, the bishop asked us to stop by. It has been three years since he had seen them and they need to come back.
Just like normal, they didn't answer the door. I turned around to grab my bike and saw that kid again. This time he was leaning against a retaining wall across the street. So I grabbed my bike and along with Elder Cupp walked over to him. He was holding a teddy bear in one hand and a rose in the other. I could tell he was somewhat uncomfortable but I couldn't decide if it was because we caught him in the middle of his grand scheme to get a girl or because he saw our name tags. It was probably both. I asked him what he was up to and he said he was just waiting for his girlfriend. As I was about to bring up the church a tiny, white, Toyota pickup pulled into the driveway of the family we had been trying to get ahold of. A man stepped out of the drivers seat and yelled, "Elders! Bring him over here!"
Confused, I stood and watched as that kid walked over to meet the teenage girl who came out of the passenger side. I quickly put two and two together and walked over there. I shook hands with the man bishop had been wanting us to find and then proceeded to help them carry groceries in. When everything was done and they couldn't think of anything else we could help them with the man asked, "Do you two have a dinner appointment tonight?". Before I could even think about it I told him that we didn't. He automatically replied, "You do now! Be back at five and we'll make sure you're fed".
So we got on our bikes at about 3:30 and rode around the avenues. It was very successful hour and a half. We got a few new investigators, including an old RLDS man. I'm excited to teach him. I'm intrigued as to how much he already knows about the gospel. Anyways, we showed back up at five. Dinner wasn't ready so we sat down in the family room and began to talk. That kid sat there and listened intently. We came to find out he's not a member. In fact, he doesn't belong to any church whatsoever. So we taught him.
The lesson was great! Even this family, who hadn't had the opportunity to feel the spirit due to their inactivity at church were able to bare their testimonies and share experiences with this kid which promoted him, in return, to share experiences that he has had which lead him to know that there is a God. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray about it as it asks us to do in Moroni chapter 10. He promised he would do it that night. Also, the family who had not been to church in three years came to church with that kid on Sunday. We weren't able to catch them before they left but we will on Tuesday.
They shared with us that the kid usually comes over on Friday nights but for some reason they didn't want him to this last week. They said they were busy. So instead, they invited him over on Saturday night. Right when we happened to be there. And God made sure we were there.
It's amazing to me how God had put that plan in motion weeks ahead, if not months! Even just for as simple a meeting as that was. He made it so that we would be able to eat with that family and teach that kid that night. He also made sure that events led up and happened so that we would be at that specific place at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. To be honest,before that event the day had not been going too hot. Now I can't even begin to explain how much I appreciate all the rejection and perspective failure that was put in place to bring us to that exact location at that exact time. It's crazy how much God does control. It's amazing to me how events take place that at the time seem terrible. Yet the fact of the matter is that as long as we trust Him and His divine will, and do our best to align our will with His, things will ALWAYS work out.
Sincerely, Elder Earl