Happy Monday everyone!
This was a great week for Elder Pickard and I, and I felt like we found great success finding people this week who were willing to listen. It’s not that we did our work any differently this week – we just had the Spirit with us more and I think people felt that as we talked to them.
One example was a contact and subsequent lesson we had toward the end of the week. Elder Pickard and I were walking though center, trying to find people. Finally, we saw a young dad with a stroller and young daughter through the center. We stopped him to try and talk to him, and to my surprise, he was more than willing to listen to us. We talked for 15 or 20 minutes, at which point his wife walked up. With the entire family now there, we taught them about what we do as missionaries and explained to them the idea of a restoration. Both of them were very interested, and they invited us over to their house the next day so that they could learn more. I can’t remember the last time I went to a home to teach an entire family, and Elder Pickard and I were obviously excited.
So, on Sunday night we went over to this couples’ house to teach them, and oh man – it was a lesson unlike anything I’ve had in a long time.
We started off by trying to teach them about the Restoration and Joseph Smith, but the further we got into the lesson the more I realized that something just wasn’t clicking (especially with the mom). Abandoning the lesson plan, I jumped right into this concern and started talking to them about who God is and what His nature is. It was then that we realized that they didn’t believe in God as an individual, but more as an “energy” or “positive idea”. This is a super common belief here, so we spent some time talking about this and what it means to have a literal Heavenly Father. Again, we just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Finally, with the right questions (and more than a lot of help from the Spirit), we finally got to the heart of the issue. In her high school years, this woman (now 30) went to a Catholic high school and was fairly active there. As part of their religious training though, they had a number of Catholic priests come and visit the school to give talks about exorcism and Catholic experiences with evil spirits. The negativity of the topic really started to eat away at this teenage girl until it lead to nightmares and other emotional problems. This continued and continued, until finally she had her own experiences with “dark energies” as she called them. I wont relate exactly what happened, but she opened up in a surprising way and talked to us about how dark and evil she felt during those two years of high school. As she was struggling with all of this she made a decision – if she stopped believing in God as an individual, she could also stop believing in the reality of evil. So, from high school on, she made the conscious decision to not accept the reality of God, thereby keeping herself “safe” from the reality of evil.
All of this opened the way for us to bear testimony about the unmatched power and love of our Heavenly Father, and it was probably the strongest testimony I’ve given in a long time. I’ll admit – tears were shed on both sides of the table haha. At the end all 4 of us took turns praying, and the woman’s prayer was one of the sweetest prayers I’ve heard. By the time we left, the Spirit was as strong as could be in that house. It was an amazing lesson for me, and I think it helped build my testimony just as much as it helped build the testimonies of the couple.
There isn’t too much else to report this week. We had zone conference in Ljubljana on Saturday (as always, zone conference was wonderful) and then we had church on Sunday. All-in-all , a great week, and I definitely can’t complain.
Well, I hope everyone is healthy and happy, and I hope you have a great week. Hear from you soon!