So, another week has gone by! It's been pretty wild. I'll get into the details of what happened in a minute.
Elder Johnson's a really cool Elder. He's way more mellow than Elder Vaca Guzman, but we do some pretty random stuff occasionally. Like throw nails and screws at an apple. It was rather fun, and a good way to relieve stress. At any rate, he's a very excellent missionary, and I'll be able to learn a lot from him. He also is doing a great job as a District Leader; he has a lot of love for the missionaries, and tries his best to inspire them to reach a little higher.
We've definitely had an interesting time here in Taft, now that Elder V's gone. We went and visited Carmen, who'd been a really solid investigator, but some issues came up, and she got scared. Her son called a lawyer on Elder V, and the lawyer told her a lot of lies about the Church, and Elder V called him out on it. Regardless, because of the situation, he promised her he wouldn't come back, which was really hard on both of them. As soon as he left though, me and Elder Johnson came to see her, and she was hyper excited! She pulled out some chairs, sat us down, and taught US the restoration. With later lessons, we've realized she's not really a "progressing investigator," because she know's it all now! Looking back in the Area book, it's really clear how much her testimony has grown. So, we're planning on having her baptized on the 22nd! Elder Vaca Guzman is going to be WAY pumped to hear about it, he really loved her, and promised her when he stopped teaching her that she would be baptized.
Then, when we were tracting in Maricopa, a small town that we cover with Taft, a young boy, about 2-3 years old called out "Hi!" and waved at us. We went over and said hi back, and the mom came out. She started talking with us, and was very attentive, and interested in what we were saying like few people I've taught yet. The husband also came out, and was super friendly and excited to see us. He said he was Southern Baptist, and really loved what we're doing, going on helping people and what not. He told us that God had sent us there, so that he could send us to go and help out a woman who really needed God in her life. We asked if we could come back and talk with him and his family, though, and he said absolutely! The wife was still kind of in shock, because little Matthew (the boy) is hyper shy, and rarely speaks to family, let alone strangers on the street. As a matter of fact, when we said hi back to him, his face changed, like "Oh, man, what am I doing!?" During the entire visit he hardly looked at us. So, we'll head back over this week, and see why exactly he called us over. The woman that the father told us to go see was VERY disinterested, but we did our best to talk to her and share a bit about what we teach.
Probably one of the biggest miracles of the week happened last night, though. We'd had a rough day, no-one was home, Alicia's family might be taking her back to Oaxaca, and even our dinner appointment cancelled on us. So we felt a bit down, but went over to a family's house to help set up their Christmas stuff. The father and his brother are both less-actives (IN-actives, really) and the two oldest girls are very recent converts (right before I showed up.) The mom pulled her records from the Church a long time ago, and while she believes in the Church, and in Heavenly Father, she has serious problems with Him, and has a lot of very difficult-to-answer questions. Despite her outward appearances and personal vices, however, she is a really wonderful person. So, after we got done setting up the stuff, Elder Johnson told her that we need to share a message, and to my surprise she said "sure". So, since the kids were all in bed, we taught her as an investigator, for the very first time. The Spirit was very strong while Elder Johnson was teaching, and it was great until he told her that Christ knows what we're all going through. She said "I know he died for us, and that he suffered a lot of stuff, a lot of really hard things. But that was 2000 years ago, and the world was completely different back then." I realized while she was talking, that she was expressing her deep, real concern RIGHT THERE! She doesn't understand the atonement at all! So, I testified to her that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered more than just for our sins: He felt all of our pains, weaknesses, trials and fears. He knows us more than anyone else can, and we know this because of the comfort and support He gives us. I told her about scriptures in the Book of Mormon that teach us this, and she blew me out of the water when she said "Well, I guess I need to read the Book of Mormon again." So, we gave her a copy, asked her to surprise us, and we all left wondering how on earth it all happened!
Well, I've gotta wrap up, so I'll just say; it was GREAT to see Elder Jenkins again. He's struggling with the language a bit, but it's coming along, and Elder Johnson was really happy to train him. We talk a lot about the funny stuff he says and does, and we're really excited to see how he turns out, because he's gonna be legendary.
As far as Christmas stuff goes, I really have no idea. I seem to be holding up pretty well with what they give us; It's not expensive to live out here in Taft. So, whatever you think is a good idea works for me. The only thing I can really think of is a small assortment of photo's from our family, and important stuff that happened in our lives. I've seen how cool they are to have around; Elder V used them all the time, and Elder Johnson has a set too. Wish I'd have thought to bring them already!
I love you all, keep up the good work, and have a great week!
Love,Elder Matthew David Clough