I had a great week! The weather this week in Alabama has been something else. Last Tuesday, it was really nice outside with the temperatures in the 50’s and then on Wednesday it got down to the teens and stayed like that on Thursday. Then on Friday there was a full-blown snow/ice storm. It snowed in the morning and then towards the afternoon it began to sleet and then there was freezing rain to finish off the night. Needless to say we were freezing, but the weather also made for a lot of fun. If anybody ever says it doesn’t get cold in the south, they are lying to you! It gets very cold here!
Well, we had one very cool experience in particular this week while we were tracting in a set of apartment buildings in this crazy weather. We were knocking on doors and not seeing much success and then we knocked on one door and a Cuban man answered. He tried speaking in English to tell us to go away and then we told him we could speak Spanish and he then proceeded to say, okay – I will tell you to go away in Spanish! He said he didn’t like religion so he was not interested. But not being deterred easily, I asked him why he didn’t like religion and he said that there were too many churches and there should only be one. “Well, hello – that is our message,” I said to him and after giving us a weird look he said, “okay, okay, come in.”
We were able to teach him a lesson filled with the spirit and bore heartfelt testimony that our church was the true church of God. When we explained that he could know for himself through reading the Book of Mormon that the things we were teaching were true, he enthusiastically grabbed the book in my hand and said he would read it to know for himself. It was a pretty awesome experience, except for the fact that he was speaking Cuban Spanish, which is really hard to understand. But we got through it all right. This experience tracting, like many others we’ve had, are examples of the need to push through a little bit, even with seemingly tough people because we have found that they are really wonderful people once they let down their guard. They might say no right off the bat, but that doesn’t really mean no. No doesn’t mean no until they shut the door. Before that moment, I need to do everything I can to keep them from shutting the door. There is a talk by Elder Holland entitled “How Ever Long and Hard the Road”. It is a really awesome talk in which he explains that “nothing very valuable can come without significant sacrifice and effort and patience on our part.” If I have learned anything about being a missionary, it is that it requires a lot of sacrifice, effort and patience – three characteristics that are invaluable in achieving great things. I try to remember that when the times get tough and I get lazy and tired and fed up with disappointment. If it was easy, anybody could do it. I also think that these three characteristics are byproducts of faith. When we have faith then sacrifice, effort and patience will follow. And the other way around – when we show sacrifice, effort and patience our faith is strengthened. I guess I am really trying to say that they go hand in hand and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to strengthen my faith everyday while serving a mission. I love and miss everybody back home and hope you are having a wonderful week.