Well, this last week was a bit slow. We are doing a lot of looking for new investigators and the like, but though we have found some people who were willing to hear the message at first, none of them wanted us to return and continue sharing the message. I guess all that we can do is to enable their agency as much as possible.
2 Nefi 2:16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
So, I guess that is what we'll do, just do the best we can to love, and teach clearly so that others can see the good of what we are teaching and then allow them to use their agency. I think that a lot of the time, all that we can do is be that one Mormon guy that they met 2 years ago that seemed like a good kid. I have definitely allowed my drive for the work allow me to be maybe less than gracious. Accept or not, we must show love. It is a difficult thing to do though sometimes, being persistent, but not overbearing. I don't think that that is a lesson that can really be learned in a book, but even in the last couple months of doing this in the field I still don't think that I have gotten a whole lot closer to the answer. Well, I guess that is what eternity is for.
We had a zone training this past week and I was asked to read from and comment on some parts of the white handbook. Interesting how bearing your testimony will often help you better understand Gospel principles. I had one of those experiences, and it was pretty eye-opening for me, so I am going to quote myself ("Oh John, that was a new one!"), ' Throughout my mission, my companions and I haven't been perfect, or anywhere near it, but I think that we are a lot closer than we used to be. I have seen that the Lord sends us down blessings though. He wants to bless us, and though I know He isn't waiting for us to be perfect to do it - that would leave us in quite the drought- , but I do think He is waiting for us to try.' What a blessing that the Lord looks for our small steps of progress and blesses us for them.
Yesterday was really cool for 3 reasons: 1) Tonini received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of Priest. 2) We started having a third hour of church. This is going to be really good in helping some of our recent converts understand the Gospel at a deeper level. 3) Mark came to church again (he hasn't missed since he came for the first time four weeks ago). It was cool seeing him, Tonini, and Vellai Pali sitting next to each other in Priesthood - can you say future Bishopric?
Mark is set to be baptized on the 27th of this month. He is getting himself ready by coming to church, reading (he is in the Book of Alma), and starting to live the commandments (he said that he would live the Word of Wisdom when we taught it on Thursday). The only problem is that he is busy and can't meet us very much. So, though his baptism isn't for another 3 weeks, we have a limited amount of appointments with him and we have to put a lot of information into them. He is a smart guy though and should be okay in digesting it. While we were at his house on Thursday we set out the game plan for helping him be ready for baptism and showed him the baptismal interview questions. He asked about tithing which we haven't taught yet, and not having enough time to teach about it well, we gave him a couple things to read about it. He still came to church, so it doesn't look yet like it was a deal-breaker. We are excited to meet next time with him and help him find the Gospel even more in his life.
Well, that about sums it up. Congrats to the grad! Way to make it through high school Brigham, you look stunning in your green robes.