Monday, March 5, 2012
From Elder Stacey 3/05/2012
This last week, I've decided, was the warm before the storm. It began much like the week previous with not a whole lot new going on. We have been making frequent visits to everyone preparing for baptism, and we had been doing a ton of service, so there hasn't been a whole lot of time for finding new people this week. We did find one guy who was a referral from some members of the ward, and I don't think I've talked about this guy yet. Anyway, he is a 19 yr old who got kicked out of his home and is living with his 18 year old friend who, himself left home because of an abusive father. He bought a double-wide trailer for 100 dollars (so I guess you can imagine what shape it's in) and put it on a small, rocky lot. They can't afford to hook up the house with electricity, and I don't even know if they have running water in their house. They have no stove, so they just open up cans of food and eat cold food out of the cans. As one of the members put it, "They are camping in a double-wide trailer." Despite their very humble circumstances, they were pretty optimistic about their situation and were doing what they could to fix the place up by themselves. It has been good for the members who referred him to us as well because it has given them the chance to do missionary work. The members are and older couple who are recently returned from about 15 years of inactivity and they are just on fire. They were so happy to help these guys out with anything they could as far as getting dishes and helping pay for gas and what not. But they were even more excited to have us come over to meet them and share the gospel. Our first lesson with them went pretty well and because of communication errors, we have not been able to meet with them since for an actual lesson. Like I said, though, it was the warm before the storm. First of all, the Stevens (who are the members) have been going very much out of their way to help these two guys out, even to the extent of giving what little extra money they have left over from their needs to help pay for gas for these guys and other needs. In return they tell the Stevens that they will do certain things like go on a tour of the church and go to church (how cool is it that all the Stevens want in return for their service is for them to find the gospel.) which they have flaked out on every single time. This has really upset the Stevens because of their lack of commitment. At this time might I just say that this happens quite a bit I'm sure all over the world, but is very prominent here in Libby, that people in situations like that will use the church and good people like the Stevens and when they are done with what they need, immediately turn their backs from them. It's a really tragic cycle and in order for either of these guys to help themselves in the long run, they need to break that cycle and culture that is so prominent around here of using the generosity of people. I don't mean to sound negative or rude or anything. It's been on my mind a lot lately and I don't really know how else to write it. It's just the way it has been and unfortunately the last baptisms in Libby within the last year were all welfare cases who have all become less active before I even came here, and in some cases within a week of their baptism. I have also seen that mindset be the one hangup from people becoming strong and active members of the church. I have faith that the gospel can break that cycle and can change the nature of everyone. So I really do still have hope for these two teenagers, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be able to change them. Also, Satan started working double-time on the families preparing for baptism on Saturday which kind of erupted toward the end of the week including yesterday. The step-mom of one of our on-dates went to jail for some unknown parole violation that they won't tell to anyone, and she might not get out until after the baptism, in which case, the baptism of this girl would have to be postponed. Also, the mother of the Bailey family, (who is doing fine now) had kind of an emotional breakdown yesterday about the baptism of her oldest son. It was apparently a hard week for her for multiple reasons, and her emotions were just piling up. Finally, something happened on Sunday that just pushed her over and she just erupted into tears and expressed some doubts she had about her son getting baptized. We were able to talk to her about her concerns and told her that having it so close to the baptism, that Satan was going to do everything in his power to prevent her family from joining the church. All these things combined have made for a pretty hectic week, and as I look at what I've written, kind of took it's toll on me as well. The end of yesterday ended well for a good outlook for this week. Like I said we were able to talk with Sis Bailey and she is doing fine now and is excited about Saturday. We taught the other family getting baptized, they are doing great and are ready for this Saturday as well, and these baptisms are so great to look forward too. Pretty much the whole ward is planning on attending, as well as some of the stake leadership and mission president. So I'm so excited for this week and for these baptisms. I love you all, I love this gospel, and I love being a missionary. Have a good week everyone.