Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010 -- Praying, Asking Good Questions, and Teaching Famous People

It’s been another great week full of lots of work and great experiences.

I am still amazed by all that I learned in the revelatory experience with Elder Bednar. My companion and I have put in practice what we learned and have seen the blessings in our work and our personal lives.

One of the things that he taught us, as I told you last week, is about praying with faith. I’ve tried to put those principles into practice as much as I can. (For example, we always say a prayer before using the mission van. Instead of praying that the Lord protect us, I have started to pray that the Lord helps us to remember the principles of safe driving.)

I had a very special personal experience with praying with faith this week. We were eating with a family in our daily meal and they asked me to say the prayer. When I pray in members' houses, I usually ask the Lord to bless them with His Spirit. As I was about to do so this time, however, I stopped. A thought came to my mind: “And what are you doing so that His Spirit can be here?” I finished the prayer, but that thought stayed in my mind.

As I ate I was having an inner battle. I know that it is always good to share a thought with the family after eating, but sometimes it’s hard. Unlike in the United States, we hardly ever eat with the whole family. Usually the sisters serve us and we eat alone. This particular family is always very busy, and my companion and I had things to do and people to see. But I kept feeling that if I was praying in faith, I needed to do something to invite the Spirit.

Thankfully, my companion saved me. “I want to share a scripture,” he told me. And I was amazed. After we finished eating, we shared a scripture, the sister looked happier and we left. When I asked him why he had decided to do so he said, “Because I felt like I needed to.” The Spirit had given us both the same prompting; only he was quicker to act on it than I was.

We have also worked hard to put in practice the teaching techniques we learned from Elder Bednar, treating our investigators as agents, not objects. We have had some great lessons by asking questions that invite investigators to think and act for themselves instead of guessing what’s in our head.

Unfortunately, this week we have also had some difficult teaching situations. Twice in the same street we came across people who politely invited us in only to take out their Bible and start to bash. Thankfully we didn’t fall for it. (That’s another thing that I’ve learned that I hope I never forget: how to talk to people who are strongly opposed to the Church or our beliefs.)

Our bishop last Sunday also taught us a lesson on teaching by the Spirit and learning by faith. He told us to come to his office during priesthood meeting, that he was going to have a class with all the recent convert and investigator men. He said that it would be a question and answer session, and that we, the missionaries, would give the answers.

At first, I wasn’t to excited about the idea, not sure how it would work out. But I was amazed at what happened. The bishop, as if he had also heard Elder Bednar’s talk, did everything to make a comfortable learning environment, and invited those present to act for themselves. He asked us the first question as an example, then let the next person in the circle ask.

The next person was a man named Adán Alvarez. He has been attending our ward for a little over a month with his wife. As his wife is a returned missionary, we just assumed that he was a member of the Church.

His question caught us by surprise: “I talk to my wife and come to church with her, and I feel good, but all of my siblings are Jehovah's Witnessess, and they also seem to be right. How can I know what church is true?” It was a sincere question from the bottom of his heart, and my companion gave a powerful answer about prayer and the Holy Ghost. We have now began to teach Adán, and he is a great investigator.

These past two weeks in the stake center that is attached to the mission offices there have been about 60 people who have come to be trained for the census that starts next week. They have been here about eight hours a day from Monday to Friday. Seeing that none of them are members of the Church, we decided to take advantage of the fact that we had 60 investigators in the church building.

Last Wednesday during their lunch break, we invited them all to watch “finding faith in Christ,” which we put on a screen with our projector. We had a table full of books and pamphlets when they left, and offered to send the missionaries to visit each of them. Several accepted copies of the Book of Mormon (and we saw them reading them later), and a few gave us their address so that the missionaries can visit them. It was a great experience.

Yesterday we were knocking doors on a street when we came to a building that looked more like an office than a house. We hesitated for a moment, but then decided to knock and see what happened. A short chubby man with a mustache and a cigarro opened the door, and I began to introduce us. He invited us in.

There was so much smoke from his cigarro that it gave me a headache, so I decided to start with the Word of Wisdom. As soon as I started, he put out his cigarro and listened to us with interest.

It was a nice little office. In the garage we could see a glipse of what looked like an expensive red sportscar. On the wall their was a picture of a man playing the drums, and a clipping from a newspaper about a musician named “Choche.”

When we finished the lesson, we asked when we could come back. “Not until next week,” he answered. I am going to California for my work this weekend. “What do you do?” my companion asked. “I’m a musician,” he answered. “Are you Choche?” asked my companion. “Yes, I am,” he answered.

Apparently our new investigator José Luis is a famous musician known as Choche. He is part of what I understand to be one of the most famous and popular older groups in Mexico: Los Broncos or Gigante de America. We have high hopes that he will accept the Restored Gospel.

[The picture below was added by the editors].

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