"Everything is almost always usually okay."
I was faced with grief on Tuesday. You see, on July 31 Elder Andrasko and I had an amazing lesson with a Martha Prentice. Here's a segment from my journal from that date:
"She's a 71+ year-old woman living in a health clinic. She has a neat roommate named Maryanne too. We awoke Martha. She said things like, 'I need more religion in my life. You boys will come back, right? Thank you for coming. Come back any time you like. I wish I had something to give you.' It was very difficult to understand her. The Spirit helped incredibly... I want to see her again soon. I feel so much sympathy and love for her..."
One-hundred-fifteen days later on November 12, I finally returned to the rehabilitation center on Seville Street. Elder Wood and I signed in and started to her room. I had been there before and I was very excited to see Martha again, a promised return. I walked straight to room 108 with Elder Wood close behind. I arrived at the room and found a woman I did not recognize. I abruptly turned to the sign-in office and prayed and prayed I simply had the wrong room. I reached the nurse and asked for assistance. The nurse then kindly informed me of Martha Prentice's recent death. I was heartbroken. I still had the sense to ask for Martha's roommate for many years, Maryanne. The nurse led us to her room, but Maryanne was asleep. Elder Wood knows where she is, so I Maryanne will be well taken care of.
I feel terrible I didn't return to Martha in time to see her again alive. But I can rest well knowing I kept my promise. I did return. It is my hope Maryanne will have the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ with Martha helping her from the other side. Elder Wood will have to keep me in the loop.
We have an investigator named Emma. She is a very stubborn lady who will not attend church for the life of her. We've been trying to soften her heart for weeks. It helps I absolutely love meeting with her. Emma is very intelligent. She is a professional therapist and we share a lot of interests. Emma taught me a valuable lesson, and that is this: everything is almost always usually okay. She admits it is nonsense she tells her young clients to make them smile after some rough sessions. There is a silver lining in everything.
Elder Wood and I went on exchanges with the zone leaders, Elder Clifford and Elder Waldron. Fun fact: Elder Waldron was trained by Elder Hilborn also many transfers before my arrival in Kansas! Elder Clifford and I were privileged to meet some very neat people. The most significant of them being Raul and Ethan.
Raul has worked with the missionaries for weeks. He's had a rough go in life because he is a few shadows older than me and has a three-year-old daughter. He went to court the very day we met with him and has been doing everything he can to stay out of jail to take care of his daughter. Since his arrest, he's wanted to make a change. The missionaries met with him soon after and committed him to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elder Clifford and I had a great lesson with him. Both of us were inspired and impressed to promise Raul if he committed himself to following the example of Jesus Christ, court would go his way. He would not dread his court dates. it was a powerful promise the both of us were nervous to make. However, there is no denying the power of the Spirit when it comes to the heart with that magnitude. A powerful experience.
Meeting Ethan was really fun. We approached a young family cleaning their garage and offered to help. Unfortunately we arrived too late and they were nearly finished. We offered the parents a copy of the Book of Mormon. Their son Ethan surfaced and inquired further about the Book of Mormon. We explained all we could in the five minutes before the family had to leave. Ethan would say as we read to him from Moroni, "It makes so much more sense than the Bible! Can I have my own?" His father wouldn't allow Ethan his own copy, but we committed the whole family to read those holy scriptures every night as a family to build their testimonies in Christ. Hopefully very soon we can commit them to continue in furthering their quest to learn and practice the very true gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the exchange, I noticed Elder Waldron's rice-patty hat. I gently removed it from the rack and gestured for Elder Wood to take it with pleading eyes. Nothing needed to be said. Elder Wood jubilantly donned the hat and ensured we had adequate stereotypical facial hair for him. I snapped this picture as all of us laughed.
Here is big news! I'm getting transferred to Great Bend!! Salina Episode 2!