Last week I bought bleach for my laundry, and I put all of my white shirts into the washer together. I had never used bleach before, and I knew how bad it could be if I happened to use it wrong, so I made sure that I looked at the directions. The back of the bleach instructed me to "fill the washing machine with water and clothes, then add 1 cup bleach to soap and water solution. Wait five(5) minutes for solution to settle, then begin regular wash cycle." So, I waited 5 minutes, then started the regular wash cycle. Out came wonderfully white, pure white shirts.
This last week has been much more trying than I initially expected after reaching this area. We have had miracles of course! We have just also had many many frustrations. Finals week for the University is coming up and everyone is going out of town or is too busy to meet with us. It has been really crazy trying to find people that will actually connect with us and be taught something! Not to mention, this town has been ghostly for the past week with Thanksgiving break being in session.
The more and more I consider the time I spent bleaching my clothes, the more I think about what President initially asked me to do when he sent us to this area. He asked Elder Ontiveros and I to "Whitewash" this area. I had never thought about that phrase until now! I started to think about why anything would be "whitewashed". I think the reasoning would have to be because something was previously stained, tainted, or soiled. This area had some ground in distrust for the missionaries, be it member, nonmember, and less active. The Lord didn't even trust the missionaries here for a while! To align this with my allegory, the whites were put into the washer, and the Lord applied the bleach. He put his Spirit over this area, and He is softening the people here, but it does require some time and some patience. I honestly think Elder Ontiveros and I got tossed in with the wash. God doesn't waste his resources. He's bleaching his missionaries too! I feel like each day is a serious personal purification. Soon, out will come wonderfully white, pure missionaries and members.
There has been such a cool miracle here though! A majority of the people that we have contacted have been Chinese students studying here at Truman State, and they are really cool kids. Their culture is so unique and interesting. I find it truly fascinating! But one young man in particular that I have to point out is N*o (yes, just like the Matrix). We knocked on his door the other day, and as we spoke with him, we asked if he believed in God. "No." He said, a bit puzzled that we would even ask.
"Well," we replied, "God exists! He made you. He is your Father!" N*o nodded. "N*o, if God made all of us, do you know what that makes me and you?" I asked.
He shook his head again, this time a little interested, "No..."
"That means we're brothers, man!"
"Oh! Cool!" He said, a smile coming across his face.
We went back two days later and shared all about who God is and how awesome it is that we get to pray. A chinese recent convert came along with us. It was such a powerful experience to see this young man who had had no idea who God is or, for that matter, who HE is, begin to understand. He does have a long, long way to go before he can really make the baptismal promise, but he has identified the Spirit speaking to him. The next day when we were in the church building showing him around, he identified the Spirit in the chapel, saying that the room "feels good."
Don't take for granted how incredible it is that God is real, and that you know that! Also, don't take for granted that He has ASKED you to talk to Him. That is such a marvelous blessing and privilege.
I love you guys! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!