31 August 2015
I was in mourning for Hermana Fullmer for at least two days. I still miss her but for the first two days I was SAD. Everything in our house from her water bottle to the tortellini I ate with my new companion and the appointments we set together reminded me that she wasn't in Chile anymore. You'll have to make sure she gets this email unedited if I don't have the email address right. I'm happy to be working with Hermana Souza, though. We have had exchanges together before but she is more fun than I even thought. She's so cheerful and makes me laugh all of the time. The other day we were reading the Book of Mormon with a convert, and her son. We were reading about Nephi in the tower and how he is crying out in anguish about the wickedness of the people and they hear him and start to gather around below. The story just struck us as funny and we had a little giggle attack. I don't think the new convert was really paying attention to the story and didn't get it so we started telling it in our own words and she joined us laughing. Also I remembered Allison's missionary letter and how she pointed out that the missionaries greeted people 50 feet away. That's Hermana Souza. She yells at them in her Brazilian accent, "¡Buena!" and "¿Que tal?" because she thinks it sounds funny and they are different than Portuguese phrases, apparently.
Some news for Hermana Fullmer that no one else will appreciate as much:
1. A hipster friend of our ward mission leader’s sister read the chapter we left in the Book of Mormon and asked his friends questions about it. He believes in kharma and dharma and says his religion is his music. He sent a CD with Hermana Fullmer which the rest of you can listen to if you look up Dani Blue Oficial. I'm sure you can find it. We ate lunch with a sister in the ward and she said she hopes we can find a way to keep teaching him because he has been having panic attacks.)
2. We met the girlfriend of a man we have been teaching! They're back together apparently. He wasn't answering his phone so we knocked on the door when we had an appointment and this woman with a lot of black eyeliner came out and threatened us. (Family, see also the same thing that happened with another man’s girlfriend in Calle Larga only I'm actually scared of this lady because we saw what she did to her boyfriend’s face with her nails when they broke up. I'm not so sure we'll be teaching him anymore. At least, not without calling him first.)
We have been receiving revelation about how to work better and have formed a plan we are calling "Inundar Los Mares con el Libro de Mormon," using President Benson's phrase about flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon. It's especially clever because Los Mares means The Seas. The idea has been on my mind for some time but several things happened this week to cause me to discuss it with my companion and put it into action.
As we were walking down the street we passed a plaza and saw a large group of adults. I felt the prompting to contact them but wasn't about to interrupt what looked like a formal meeting, so we kept walking. Then a young woman from the group left and approached us, practically skipping with enthusiasm. She said, "You're not from here, are you?" We told her where we were from and introduced ourselves as missionaries. She is a woman from Argentina who is here working with the group we saw, selling funeral things door to door. She told us that she had met missionaries in Argentina and asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon. She also told us that her boss is Mormon and I asked her if her boss was there. She said he was so I asked if we could talk to them and he let us speak to their whole group. I don't think I've ever contacted so many people at once. We gave a two minute little speech about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and gave everyone pass along cards, inviting them to meet with the missionaries. The woman from Argentina was the only one who gave us her address and phone number but everyone else listened and accepted a card. We thought it was interesting that she remembered the Book of Mormon and wanted to read it. We are realizing as we talk to former investigators that few remember what the missionaries taught them or what they heard in church but EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE BOOK.
The same evening we knocked a door and talked to a man who wasn't too receptive but I decided we were going to leave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. As we gave it to him his demeanor changed and he agreed to let us come back and gave us a referral.
After this and many more experiences we have decided to start doing more contacts with the Book of Mormon, using the format that is in Preach My Gospel chapter 10 about teaching as you find and finding as you teach. It is helping people realize that our message is different than any other Christian religion. We are inviting everyone to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon even before we enter their homes, hoping to show them that we are not preaching our own doctrine and ideas and that there is evidence of our message. We are marking the contacts who have copies of the Book of Mormon in our planners so we can be sure to go back and follow up.
Another idea for contacts came as we listened to Stake Conference. All of the talks were about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and as we walked home I asked Hermana Souza what we could do as missionaries to keep the Sabbath Day holy. It's usually the same as other days except we don't do exercises or buy things and we go to church in the morning. Hermana Souza suggested that we talk about the importance of the Sabbath Day in contacts and ask people how they spend their Sundays. It has helped us find something in common with many people who see the Sabbath Day as something important and are spending time with their families and it helps us remember that it is a special, different day.
Yesterday we found a new investigator. (Hermana Fullmer will remember him as the atheist who has a dog named Peppa.) He doesn't believe in God but seems to have real intent. We read a scripture about faith and left him part of Alma 32 to read. We taught him how to pray. Usually we write down the steps, a little formula so they can fill in their own words, for people so they will remember. He, however, ran to get a pen and started taking notes about how to pray. He wrote it down himself as we taught him. I asked if we could say a prayer and he asked if one of us would so he could see how it's done. That's the idea, isn't it. When I finished he said, "It's just like a conversation!"
One more contact, a funny one, happened last night. We were talking to a woman who was watering her grass when a newly baptized teenage boy in our ward came up and joined in on the conversation. The woman was telling us that she didn't have time and that she was busy when he chimed in the Chilean equivalent of "C'mon lady. It'll do you good!"
I love you all! Have a great week!
Hermana Eva VanCott
Hermana Eva VanCott