My dearest family,
I have never loved being a Missionary so much! This past week has been incredible! Words cannot adequately express the exhilaration I feel for missionary work right now. But I'll give it a shot anyways.
I'll begin with last Monday. So after I emailed you, the rest of the day resulted in a rockin' game of basketball (how I've missed my time in the church gym with the boys! Josh, Jordan, Ty, and J-Bird, I did you proud) and a nerf war. After hastily gathering our laundry from the stake offices and zooming back to change into proselyting attire, Sister Young and I zipped over the fox island bridge for tracting at 6pm. Sister Young has introduced me to a whole new world of tracting. She goes completely off the spirit. Sister Brown and I would look at a map and decide where to go the next day, trying to follow the spirit and be inspired which geographic area to go/where we haven't done before.Sister Young has introduced me to a new method. We say a prayer that Heavenly Father will guide us to wherever he'd like us to go, whomever needs the restored gospel in their lives. And then we drive. And whenever Sister Young or Myself (whomever is driving) feels we should stop, or pull off in a certain driveway, or take a side road or a back street--we follow that prompting and knock those doors.
As it so happened on Monday, Sister Young pulled off about halfway down the highway through fox island. The first door we knocked, a kind woman named Carol answered the door. "Oh, I'm Buddhist, I don't have interest in joining your religion," she explained. "But I do have a sister who is LDS, and she has grandchildren on missions!" We chatted a little, said a prayer with her, and went on our way. We knocked a few neighboring doors and were able to give a Book of Mormon to a woman from Spokane who was visiting family. As we walked back to our car at around 7pm, Carol bustled out of her front door and called, "Wait! Sisters! Have you eaten?" We responded that we had not. "My sister tells me she often feeds the missionaries! What kind of Buddhist would I be if I didn't invite you in! I have a quiche that just came out of the oven. Let's eat on the deck." So, with that, she invited us inside and we enjoyed her gorgeous view of the Puget Sound while discussing our beliefs. She's preparing her cabin-style home for sale, and a real estate man showed up towards the end of the meal. While she chatted with him we left our card on her deck table and waved goodbye and thank you.
The next day while checking up on potential investigators, we got a phone call from Carol. "Sister Boren," she asked, "do you have any Boren relatives in Alaska, Washington? My sister is married to a Boren!" She asked for my Father's, Grandfather's, and Great Grandfather's names. She wants to find out how we're related. Now, if that whole situation isn't a miracle I'm not sure what is. This sweet woman is now involved in family history research with her sister in trying to find out how we're related, after inviting us to dinner on her deck porch while we were out knocking doors. Sister Young knew where to drive that day!
Similar experiences have happened all throughout this week. While putting an address in the GPS for Horsehead bay, the GPS directed us to take a side street--Dunbar--to turn around. As we drove up Dunbar I remembered we had two potential investigators that lived on that street, Sister Brown and I had previously knocked into them. Both happened to be home, and BOTH invited us to come back. That might not seem crazy to anyone but a missionary . . . but we were delighted!
Friday night I was feeling exhausted and somewhat discouraged, but I still wanted to follow the Spirit while tracting. After saying a prayer, I drove to a small 'DEAD END' street off of a busy highway. The first door we knocked on was Kathy. She opened up when we began sharing our testimonies of Jesus Christ. She feels like she's entered a really dark time, she recently divorced someone she'd been married to for 22 years. She feels that Jesus has been with her all her life and provided her with the help she needed when she needed it. She said maybe this was what she was looking for, and even asked us if she could buy a Book of Mormon. We explained they were free and handed her a copy. She said she'd finish this week.
Earlier on Friday we tried visiting a potential investigator (his name is Jay) who had invited us back. Sadly, he didn't answer his door. After visiting Kathy I continued up East Bay drive and felt prompted to pull off the side of the road to a grouping of three or four houses. We knocked on the first house, nothing. As we walked to the second house, a BIG white truck pulled into the first house's driveway. Much to our surprise, Jay hopped out of the driver's side. This home was on the other side of town from Jay's! Turns out this house was his parent's place, they were out of town so he was coming to water their plants. He said he'd still like us over and we set up another appointment. As we walked away I just shook my head and smiled. God works in mysterious ways.
Another miracle came after Zone Conference on Thursday. All of the missionaries in the Northern part of the Tacoma mission gathered for further training on missionary work. President Weaver showed us the book of Moses--it is essentially God's planner! God planned to create the earth, and the order he would create it. And then he followed that plan. He asked us to plan with faith.
So, the next morning, Sister Young and I (during our weekly planning session) felt like we should pencil in a baptism for the following Saturday, June 15th, at 2:30 p.m. That afternoon we had a lesson with Darren & Brandi. Darren originally had his baptism set for August 31st, after he takes his trip to get married to Brandi and his family are in town. He explained to us that he feels Satan is trying so hard to make him break the word of wisdom and the other commandments he's been trying to keep in preparing for his Baptism. He decided a few things right then and there during our lesson. 1) He was going to pitch a tent in the back yard that he would sleep in until he and Brandi get married, so he can keep the law of chastity. 2) He wants to be baptized and receive the gift of the holy ghost as soon as possible. 3)His baptism will be on June 15th at 2:30 p.m., and he wants the Bishop to baptize him.
Well, turns out we already had a baptism scheduled for that day.
Blessings from planning! Sister Young and I called President Weaver as soon as we giddily got back to our car. God sure loves us!
As of right now, Sister Young and I have 9 progressing investigators and 23 investigators total.We are overwhelmed and delighted with how the work is progressing. God is hastening his work. Sister Young and I have been in the mission field the same amount of time--this is our second transfer. We are still new and trying to figure out what we're doing. We know we are young and inexperienced, but so eager to learn and such fervor to go forth. At Zone Conference, President Weaver gave us some exciting news. On June 19th, Elder Piper of the 70 will be coming to our Mission for a Mission Tour. He will be inspecting our work here, making sure missionary work is being conducted correctly. Sister Young and I both decided we want to be as strictly obedient as possible, so that all things are in their proper order when Elder Piper comes. All I can think to say to describe what we're doing is 'pedal to the medal, captain!' We're studying the white missionary handbook and aligning ourselves with it's rules, practicing Spanish as much as we can (Sister Young is so good to help me practice), clean our little blue house, and use every minute of our day wisely. We go for a run every morning and are eating healthy. This might sound strict, but I have never felt more like a soldier! :) In the best way. Sister Young and I still share jokes and crack up every so often. We come home feeling fulfilled and happy. We're exhausted, but it's more like Missionary Fun, not Work.
Another tremendous announcement--June 23rd, there will be a gigantic worldwide broadcast about Missionary Work. President Monson will be speaking. It will be broadcast from the Marriott Center. Truly, God is hastening his work, and this meeting will explain part of why. I encourage all of you to go, if you can. I have never been more excited for my Birthday!
One last story--we had an investigator named Asan (Islamic for 'beautiful') come to church yesterday. He is a big, tall, strong, dark man with an accent that sounds like downtown Chicago. Luckily we were standing in the parking lot, otherwise he said he would have turned around and driven away. He's been muslim his whole life, but wants a greater sense of peace and knew Christianity was the way to go. He was sweating bullets all the way into the chapel. We sat down, and he said, "i gotta talk to y'all outside!" so we followed him into the hallway. "i'm not chickening out or nothin, but this is makin' me nervous. Work with me here. I'll come next week. I promise." We tried talking with him and walked into a classroom to say a prayer. He said, "Sisters! I need baby steps! I don't want to do this. I'm used to walking into a room and being the main guy." We talked a little while about humility and how it's here that he can gain that peace into his life again through repentance. We ended up with a compromise: He sat on the couch in the foyer for about 30 minutes with us, all through the sacrament. Sister Young opened up to "Be Still My Soul" and had him read it. He smiled at that. And then he decided to leave. "Baby steps. y'all. Y'all are just too much. I'll be back for the full hour next week, I promise. Maybe I'll bring my family. See you Tuesday." And he drove off. Sister Young and I breathed a sigh of relief that at least he had stayed. I never thought about church being nerve-racking before. Satan does all he can to keep us away--but there's happiness and peace to be found through Jesus Christ! I KNOW that to be true.
Scripture of the Week: Enos.
Hymn of the Week: I feel my savior's love
I love you all deeply.