This week flew by. We're getting on our first plane in a few hours. Then we'll time travel 24 hours into the future when we cross over the date line in the ocean.
This week we taught "real" investigators who were either real nonmembers or members who were actors. So it's always a guessing game to figure out who's real and who's just a really good actor/actress. Our first one was Ny, a super quiet BYU student from Madagascar (pretty sure she was acting) who had a Catholic background--we taught her four lessons and eventually committed her to baptism. I would be really excited if she were real, but she's probably already been baptized into the LDS church, so it's not like we're not going to double dip her haha.
The second investigator was Chrissy, a girl in her 20s who looked like a straight-up BYU student but was super stubborn--she was basically agnostic and refused to pray because she wanted to "remain neutral as long as possible" on the idea of whether or not God exists, and she believed that by praying she would be choosing to believe God was real. There was a point in several of the lessons where I felt like I was just reciting phrases and teaching the lesson too straightforwardly, so I just told myself to shut up and let the Spirit talk. I relaxed and said what came to mind instead of going with the plan. The lessons went much better from there.
Unfortunately Chrissy still refused to pray by the end of our last lesson, because she only wanted to learn about our religion but not take any step of faith to progress. It was sooo frustrating. I was tempted to ask her if she had seen Shia Labeouf's "Just Do It" video, and then say, "That's exactly what we are asking you to do! Just do it! Just pray and ask--that's all you need to do." I guess you get investigators like that in real life though, so it was a good experience.
One of the most important things I realized this week was that we are not teaching investigators anything new. Every one of us chose to come down here in the pre-earth life. Every one of us chose God's plan, fully aware of the decision we were making. As missionaries we are helping people remember why they are here, what their purpose is, what they need to do to make it back. We are helping them remember something they once knew but have since forgotten.
One of the scariest things of going on a mission for me was leaving behind all the control I had over my life in college and at home--I had control over the people I wanted to meet, the places I wanted to go, the things I wanted to do. I've had to really accept that God has a plan much better than mine, and He's got all the variables covered. He's seen the puzzle box with the completed picture on it, and He knows exactly where the pieces go. You and I might throw in a piece here or there, but Heavenly Father is constantly working on it, putting the pieces in the perfect places. I think we overestimate how much control we really have. We really convince ourselves that the outcomes are determined by our decisions, but the way our lives have turned out up to this point is due much more to Heavenly Father's influence than to our own. Something to keep in mind.
One last thing--the other day we were role playing where Elder Van Wagoner and I were investigators and one of the sisters in our district was the missionary. She asked something like, "Do you know who the Holy Ghost is?" and Elder Van Wagoner goes, "Well, I've watched a lot of Ghostbusters but I've never heard of that one." It was soo funny hahaha.
I've got a bunch of pictures I want to send you guys, but the MTC computers are weird and won't let you upload photos unless you have a special SD card reader. I'll send you plenty next p-day. Get excited.