We've been able to talk to a bunch of people this past week, and while we don't actually have any "progressing" investigators; many are close, and some miracles are definitely in the works.
First off, one of the highlights of the week has definitely been the discussion at the college. We showed up Wednesday at noon at the school and found where we were supposed to meet; which was a small open amphitheater in the middle of the campus. We were a bit nervous about it, because when we showed up there was nobody there. fortunately, the person who arranged for us to come and speak found us and took us to the room where we were supposed to meet. We waited for a little bit, and before long we had a decently sized audience of 20-30 people. So, since none of the other religions showed up to speak, we had the floor for all of the 30-ish minutes. So, we figured we'd just declare the Restoration as usual, since it explains everything we believe. Elder Mortimer did a fantastic job, and we both felt the spirit super strong while we taught. The students were surprisingly attentive, a few were even taking notes. At the end, we passed out a bunch of Mormon.org cards and "business cards" to get a hold of us if they had any more questions. A couple students asked some good questions. Hopefully some excellent seeds were thrown out there. On the way out of the college, a teacher called us over, introduced himself as a member from Delano, and gave us a referral for the man sitting directly in front of him! It was a tiny bit awkward but the man took it well. We had to run to make it to President's interviews on time, but he invited us to come back and talk at the same time another day. Miracle!
My interview with President Castro was superb. It truly goes to show how inspired he really is. I was a bit worried about going in, because of my inadequacies as a missionary (let alone a trainer!) but he helped me feel comfortable and excited as always. We talked about a lot of things that really helped me overcome some problems, and I've been feeling pretty fantastic ever since! In kind of a strange way, I feel more "like a missionary" now. He also mentioned how he's seen artistic talents bless his own life and the lives of others, and encouraged me to continue using them to lift others, but be sure that's what's happening. As we talked on that, I felt a spiritual confirmation of what I hope to do someday. I'm really grateful too for the way I've had the opportunity to do exactly that out here as a missionary.
After that, we had the Traveling Trainers come out to help me and Elder Mortimer improve. Elder Gigena served with Elder Mortimer out here, which I was super excited about; Elder Gigena is a BOSS! They worked hard and he learned a ton! I got to work with Elder Aguirre, who follow-up trained my follow-up trainer; Elder Johnson! He's a really spiritual, awesome guy. That came in a lot of handy when we went to teach Jasmin; as we taught the Plan of Salvation, she expressed a lot of the trials and heartaches that cause her to disbelieve what we were teaching. Elder Aguirre handled it wonderfully, testifying and teaching in such a powerful way that they both shed tears. It was really hard to see her struggle so much due to the intense trials she has faced. I can't even imagine! At any rate, Elder Aguirre and I learned a lot from each other, it's a pity he and Elder Gigena are finished with their missions this transfer! AHHH!!!
Sunday was one of those crazy roller-coaster days! We didn't have any "investigators" come to church, but if you remember how we'd run into Layla, she did! She came with the Morrows, and although the testimonies were super weird (we were dying over there worrying about how she was taking it!) she enjoyed it pretty well, and even came to the YSA break the fast dinner at the Pease's home. She's accepted a book of Mormon from Sam, and she seems super ready for the message! As soon as she is ready to meet with us, things will roll just fine! At the Pease home, I'd been talking with Brother Pease about his "born in the church conversion story", and mentioned how hilariously ridiculous my own is. He invited me to share it as the spiritual message, so I did. I've told it so often by now that I've got it down to a pretty funny, but for me and for some, a pretty powerful account. I felt the spirit super strong, and when I testified of how grateful i am to be a missionary and see people grow and change, it was really hard to keep my cool. Cami and I both broke down. I really do love this work so much now!!!
At any rate, I've got to get moving, we've run out of time, and we've got to get the car's brakes changed so it's another P-day in Bakersfield! I love you all, and I hope all is well! Thank you for the card; the message has been repeated to me over and over this week. Gotta Love those trials!
Elder Matthew David Clough