Monday, January 30, 2012


So we woke up to big fluffy flakes outside this morning, and people keep leaving the library door open. They need to repent. It's delightful to have p-day with us once more, AND to have MONEY to buy a BUS PASS! Huzzah! No more walking all over creation and wearing out shoes that need to last another nine months.

Updates on Winchester:

-No new investigators this week, but we've had some really cool conversations and teaching experiences on the street, and we found a potential named Shawn who is willing to listen. The ward is still going strong with their fast for us, so we're trying to capitalize as much as we can.

-Our recent converts are solid. Chris got his patriarchal blessing yesterday (finally) at the stake center in Southampton. No word from him yet, but I've no doubt it blew his mind. He's got a few friends that have been intrigued about Mormonism ever since he joined, so we're encouraging him to arrange an appointment.

-We taught 8 RCLAs this week. Ewan is ill, so it's looking bad to see him next week, but he and Jack Marston got on famously. Ewan is 23, well talented (art, graffiti, models, canvas) and really funny, but he's just antisocial. (I can relate). I think next week for church we will go and pick him up so he'll feel more comfortable.

-There were 4 less-actives to church yesterday! It's awesome! After so much time spent in Weymouth with no reaction from anyone, I'm pleased to see that people do come back in the end, if they're prepared. It's like joining the church again, I guess.

-We taught formers Carla and Bruna this week:
Since they were Winchester's only investigators for about two months, the sisters taught them as best they could, brought in members, and made it all the way to tithing (the last lesson before baptism) when they didn't want to live the word of wisdom. Apparently Portuguese food calls for a lot of alcohol traditionally (look out, Howard) and they weren't willing to give it up. So their baptism for Christmas Eve was postponed. They stopped coming to church and stopped progressing altogether. After fasting and prayer, Sisters Kernek and Sebald dropped them. Bruna is continuing to come to youth, but she doesn't speak to the missionaries really.

Sister Sebald decided to drop by. After many attempts, Carla opened the door and did not look pleased to see us. Whatever spirit had been in their home during the transforming teaching weeks had fled, and the place felt cold and dark. Sister Sebald told me to stay on the couch and speak to Bruna while she went into the kitchen and asked Carla what her problem was. Then it all came out: all the financial problems, the fact that she'd lost her job (the job she got while meeting with the sisters) after she stopped coming to church; they were having to sell the car and move and she wasn't buying enough food for herself; all the anger as to why God would let this happen. Carla really softened under Sister Sebald's influence, and she was much calmer and Bruna was really happy by the end of our visit.

We set another appointment for the weekend, but there was no answer. It's tough. She hasn't got a job, but her 13 year old daughter has two Blackberries and a Macbook, Hollister clothes, and their car they need to sell is brand-new. It's just a mismanagement of money, that's all. What I really know is that they are not ready to hear the law of tithing. We left them in their letterbox, but I think there's nothing more that we can do--maybe future missionaries, maybe Bruna's Young Women, maybe a new member friend, but now is not the time (at least, not for us) to bring them into the church. Poor Sister Sebald. They were her miracle.

I'm so grateful for the Church and how it truly prepares us for life. If we abide by its principles, we can avoid massive consumer debt because the things of this world don't matter much; we spend more time with our families and spouses because we want to be with them forever (and therefore spend less time at work); we avoid getting cancer due to alcohol or smoking; our relationships are enriched and we're much less likely to end up in prison because we understand that everyone is a child of God...the list goes on. Sometimes tragedy strikes. Oscar Wilde says that in life there are only two tragedies--when we don't get what we want, and when we do. He's right. I'm grateful for prophets and apostles who aren't afraid to tell us NO because they can see much farther than we can the consequences. The needless consequences of decisions that would bind us hand and foot. None of us needs to live in debt or be morbidly obese or even be obsessed with World of Warcraft. These are silly diversions that enslave us, literally. I'd rather test my strength on tragedies given me by God Himself to help me learn and grow, rather than waste my time and energy on trials that came because of my own wrong decisions. I know that God will never give us anything we can't handle, but I have full faith in my own stupidity that I can.

It's interesting to be a missionary and try to explain that this Church will help anyone overcome anything. They don't believe a platitude like that because they've not experienced it. That's where commitments like, "Will you come to church with us on Sunday?" come in. They have their agency, but we do our best to testify and teach correct doctrine so they will make those changes. That's about all we do in the grand scheme of missionary work. It's tough when they don't choose to accept a commitment, but we can't force them. We merely invite. The only baptism ever recorded during Jesus' ministry was His own. I think that has grand implications for us. Even if no one in Winchester looks on like they said they would, at least I am. That helps me.

Thank you so much for all your support and love and prayers. They're needed here--there is someone searching for us, and we're trying to find them. Pray that we'll find them.

Love from,
Sister Willard

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