This is how things are going in Muncie:
Mission Leadership Council was POWERFUL. We really caught on to the whole "Spirit of Joseph" thing (Joseph of Aramathea who begged and boldly asked for the body of Jesus. Not giving up until he got it. That is the simple version but really it was more inspiring than that haha) It inspired us to be better and to do better and we were on board to get 4 new investigators for the week and every week for the rest of our missions! He felt inspired that if we worked and found that many of God's children each week that were looking for this message then we would see success in each phase of our work.
The next day we led a very powerful and revelatory zone meeting. It was great! Everyone was pumped and we really felt like the things that were talked about and trained on were inspired. As the week went on though, we were not seeing success with new investigators. We were working hard, we felt like we were petitioning God for Grace and doing what we could to receive it.
So, here we are on Saturday night, and we still have no new investigators. We were pretty down about it, but we knew that we could get 4! As we were setting goals we decided that we would have faith and set a goal for 4 new investigators in one day! We made plans that would support that goal. We had church, a bishop report, and then finding for the remainder of the day. We went to bed feeling good.
On Sunday, though, things got off to a slow start and we were feeling a little deflated. We got out to work a little later than we had hoped and felt an extreme sense of urgency to the point that we were getting a little frustrated. We talked to a few people. Some didn't answer, others rejected, some were on the fence, some were busy. Still no new investigators. We went into our dinner appointment with no luck.
After our dinner appointment it was 630 and we stopped the car right before our next destination and decided to say a prayer. I offered a very honest prayer that we had things we could do better but we really tried to find those who were looking for this message to share it with. The spirit filled the car and we felt somewhat confident. We knocked on the door. Jackie, the lady we were looking for came out, and we had a powerful lesson. She was crying the whole time. And wants so badly to overcome her addictions and be closer to God and feel confident in her standing with him.
We knew that was a miracle. It was about 7:45, so we went to our next destination. As we started walking to the apartment, we saw that the house we were going to had a group of people outside. We started talking to them, one of them being the girl we were looking for, and they invited us in for some food (which was the biggest surprise because that neighborhood was not the most welcoming looking). We accepted of course because food is good. :) We came in, asked if we could share a message, and they accepted. As we were saying the opening prayer we both realized how merciful God is when we just trust Him! There were 4 investigators there, all of them very receptive to the Spirit! The message was received well and at least one of them wants so badly to be baptized- before we even brought it up he asked us if he could be. We are going back tonight and they are as excited as we are to be with them again!
I guess the "moral of the story" is that miracles really do happen today. As I thought about this experience of setting goals to find God's children to teach and continuing faithfully clear to the end at 8 at night, I felt so privileged to be a witness to his power and realized this is the stuff you read about in the scriptures or hear about in general conference, and I got to be there! As we call down the powers of God and work our hardest, in faith, to receive his Grace, God provides. It was a very intense and spiritual manifestation of how God is SO involved in our work. More involved than us missionaries will ever be. This work is definitely not about us, it is not about a quota, it is not even about 4 new! It is about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We got 5 new investigators, each one we love and they want the Gospel in their life, because 4 was a divine mandate and it was God's will. And through our faith, we secured the blessings that God was willing to give us. We just had to keep working and trust Him.
Elder Mark Howland
This is a fun picture. Elder Macfarlane is on the right...he trained Elder Howland. Elder Bee is on the left...Elder Howland trained him. Very cool picture...