The sun and warm weather came back this week so we have had a week filled with sun and fun! It was really cold at the start of the week, but it really warmed up when it got near the end of the week. We also met a lot of new people!
One experience that we had occurred last Friday. We were walking through a neighborhood and since we are in Decatur Alabama (most churches per capita in the U.S.A) we ran into a church in the middle of a neighborhood. We noticed that there were a lot of Hispanic people all filing into this one church and we ran up to one of them and asked what in the world was going on. The lady we asked said that they were having a church service and then asked if we would like to come in. Now we don’t have too many opportunities to speak to a lot of Hispanic people here in Decatur, Alabama because, well, we are in Alabama! So although we were a little hesitant, we said: “Sure, why not!” But we had no idea what we were walking into. From the outside of the building, you could not hear a sound. It was a perfectly normal and quiet neighborhood with a church at the center of it. Inside was a different story. It was a Pentecostal church and they really love their Christian rock music. When we entered the building, we basically walked into a Christian rock concert. People were singing and clapping to the music as well as praying and shouting praises to God . . . quite a scene! But it was really cool and really interesting to see how other people worship. It sure was a heck of a lot different than the way we worship, but it was really fun. My companion and I eventually got into it and started clapping and moving to the music too so we wouldn’t look too out of place (even though I was taller than everybody in that building by about two feet and stuck out like a sore thumb already – ha!). After the meeting was over, we were able to talk to a few members of this church and got their information so all in all it was a great experience.
I learned a pretty big lesson from this though. While in this church, I was thinking about how weird and out of place I felt and then I thought about how people who come to our church for the first time might feel the same way. I put on the shoes of an investigator of the Mormon Church and really empathized with them. I was reminded that the only thing that really keeps investigators of our church coming back each week is if they are feeling the spirit and if members are doing great fellowshipping because if all investigators felt like I felt in the Pentecostal church, they would probably run for the hills once they had the chance and never come back. The spirit is the most vital part in conversion. It is the only way to be truly converted and steadfast in the church. If you don’t consistently seek to feel the spirit, eventually you will drift away from church activity and forget those times you did feel the spirit or perhaps try to rationalize it away.
I am so grateful for the chance I have to be on a mission and to consistently feel the spirit in everything I do. I love and miss everyone back home and hope you are having a wonderful week!