Monday, July 21, 2014

Success and Failure

Hey Family!
It is the strangest experience. The mission has ever surprised me with it's ability to stress me out and bring me joy. Don't get me wrong, it has always been worthwhile and impressive, but the range of emotions within a single hour could not BE wider.
Let me tell you a little about it. There has been quite a bit of struggle to keep the zone working effectively. There are so many different personalities and perspectives to work with and so many differences in upbringing. We have converts, lifelong members, the previously less active, etc etc.
This last week, we saw the biggest drop in number of lessons taught in the entire time I've been here. It was painful to hear. Immediately my mind jumped to all the things we could have done better, what we could have improved on, how we could have increased this or fixed up that, but at the end of the night, I was so frazzled that I could hardly think straight!
But here is the weird part. There is so much joy in me when I look at the people that we have worked with. Dorrinda got baptized this weekend, and it was so powerful. She stood up to bear her testimony and talked about how her entire life she had searched and searched for the word of God. She knew that there was much of it contained in the Bible, but that there were also lost books of the Bible that she needed to find. One day, while over at her boyfriend Brian's house, she had stumbled across his Bible, but she noticed that it was much, much bigger than her own. She wondered what was so different about Brian's Bible, because she knew Brian was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she had always wondered if they read the Bible.
She perused through a few chapters in Acts, noticing that some of her favorite memorized scriptures were identical. She checked out a bit of John, and noticed that was the same too, but suddenly she came across more books that she had never heard of. Nephi, Helaman, Alma, Ether, and on and on.
She called out to Brian to ask him all about it. Brian hadn't been to church in a few years, but he started by going onto and showing her the Restoration video. She was interested.
"Well," said Brian, "The Elders are coming over tonight to teach me. Do you want to learn more?"
When we showed up that night, almost 2 months ago, she was so prepared. She is reading the Book of Mormon and understanding it so well. She has quit smoking. Brian has come back to church. They have offered to go teach with us! They are so amazing!
So, we move forward. I think I'll always worry. Even if everything was perfect, I would still find something to worry about. What can I say? It's a gift. ;)
I love you all so much!
Elder Brown
PS We went to the Nauvoo Pageant again and guess who I saw there? RHONDA CARTER!!!!!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D She is the greatest! I saw a bunch of people from Fort Madison too. Rhonda is going to get her endowments here soon! I'm so excited!

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