Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 5 - Steak and Ribs

    Hello All!

    That's what we had for dinner last night.  
Jealous, much? ; )  Raymond continues to be a great place!  It's hard sometimes to find things to do, but we manage to fill up our schedule with service and less-active/recent convert work, as well as the occasional investigator lesson.  I'm sure if we keep working hard and try to be obedient, we'll see some miracles here in Raymond.  We actually have a couple of, I believe, really promising investigators right now.
    We have fun, too.  It's great to be able to pick fresh raspberries right out of our backyard and play pranks on the Sisters.  (There's a companionship of sisters in Raymond as well.)  Last night, we got some pretty heavy rain and lightning and thunder.  It was an awesome display.  Then, we got a phone call from the sisters, who had apparently been out walking and were caught in the rain and had run into a shed in some field.  Right when we were about to drive out and rescue them in our pajamas, we found out they had set up the whole thing.  They were really just sitting on their porch laughing at us.  This will not go unanswered.
    One of our investigators is named Ben.  He's about 17 and is dating a member girl; that's how he started working with the missionaries.  He'll start grade 11 or 12 in the next couple of weeks. (They say grade first here.  Weird, eh? ;) )  When he started, he was meeting with the missionaries with his girlfriend's family, and wasn't progressing very far.  The last few times we've taught him, though, we've met just with him, and it's been great!  You can really tell that he's felt the Spirit, and that he has a testimony.  We challenged him to be baptized last lesson, and he said not yet.  I think he's a bit overwhelmed by that concept and he says he wants to understand more.  We addressed some of his concerns, I hope, and then just bore testimony to him that if he believes the things we've taught him and has faith that this is what he's supposed to be doing, he knows enough. 
    Now I'm going to get a little preachy, so feel free to ignore me. ;)  One of the hardest things about missionary work here is that almost everyone is already a member, which is great!  It's wonderful that in some places we have to deal with the "problem" of too many Mormons. (I'm looking at you, Saint George.)  But what does that mean for the non-members around us?  In Raymond, a lot of them are anti-Mormon.  Some don't really care about the church and aren't really interested in learning more.  How can we change that?  I really think the biggest thing we can do as members of the church and disciples of Jesus Christ is to "love your neighbor."  A lot of the time, as "Mormons", we'll take cookies to the new family on the block and introduce ourselves, and then really don't do a whole lot else except maybe invite them to a church activity once in a while.  Can't we try to be their real friends first?  There's really not too much of a difference between Mormons and non-Mormons; in the end, we're all children of our Heavenly Father, and he wants us to be friends!  Part of the reason we meet in church every week is to strengthen and edify one another.  I think we can do that with everyone as we really try to "take upon ourselves" the name of Christ and work as hard as we can on acting as He would act.  I really think that if we all start to love our neighbor a little more, the natural consequence will be many more people interested in why we love people so much and why we're so happy.  Then, we can let them know as their friends, not their weirdo, cultist neighbor.
    I hope you're all doing well and having a great summer!  You're great people.  I love you.  Be good.  Have fun!
       Elder Hafen

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