I'd be lying if I tried saying this week was good. It wasn't horrible, but it was a long week. We had a lot of appointments fall through, we had some tough days figuring out the area and people, and an overall pretty stressful week. That being said, I kind-of expected that and now I feel like we've figured some things out, and we definitely had a couple bright spots. We had a lesson with Juan on Friday and taught him the Plan of Salvation and afterwards invited him to be baptized the 7th of September. He didn't except the commitment, but we talked with him for about 40 minutes or so about it, talking about his concerns, his fears, and everything. By the end of our talk he was firmly committed to continuing reading, praying, and searching for the answer. Then we happened to run into him on Sunday and were able to talk with him a little about it and he is really thinking about it a lot, it's definitely something that's staying on his mind. He may not be progressing as quickly, or as steadily as we would like, but he's a special person and will be baptized if he continues doing what he's doing now.
We also had a miracle yesterday in finding. Elder Debora felt like we should knock a row of doors while we were out last night, and after rejection at the first door, and nobody at the second, we met Janaro, who turns out to be the son of one of our less-active members. He's not the "golden" investigator, but he's very religious and willing to listen to us, and seems like he's willing to act, which really makes the difference. He's very set that the Bible is the only word of God, but he's completely willing to listen, and even says, "For all I know, I might be wrong". But really just the fact that he's the son of a less-active member that we've been working with and we found him by knocking on a seemingly random door strengthened my testimony that the Lord is in charge of this work, not us and he can lead us to the people we need to meet.
Alright, so now you're wondering why I titled my e-mail "Surprise!!". To set it up a little for you: We've been hearing about, and to some extent experiencing, great changes coming to missionary work. I think we've heard all sorts of rumors about all sorts of things, and to some extent I've already told y'all about one thing that we as a mission have: Facebook. But we've all heard about a lot more... It just so happens that my parents have been hearing (from my grandparents) some "rumors" that are a little more solid. So my dad sent me this question "What are the rumors floating around your mission?" I've decided to answer this question for all of you. The answer is: there are no more rumors; I have an 8873 (for D&C 88:73), or as the world might recognize it, an iPad Mini, in my hand right now. You heard (read) right.
We are the first entire mission in the world to have them (districts and zones have had them before, but not an entire mission). Obviously there's a lot of restrictions installed on the iPad, and they are just tools to extend and augment our missionary work, but they are and will be such a blessing. As part of this, we are now allowed to add anybody, sometimes including friends and family, on Facebook. We can teach ANYBODY in the ENTIRE world right now through Facebook. We can teach them through Skype and Facetime as well. As President Donaldson, the President of the Missionary Department of the Church said, "If anyone was counting on the Second coming on not happening because China and the Middle East aren't open yet, well,... They're OPEN! The entire WORLD is our mission."
There's so much to tell, and I don't have time, but the one thing that I want to emphasize is that the Work of Salvation, the Work of the Lord, is HASTENING. With it, we must also hasten. This is the Lord's Church. This is the Lord's Work. He is hastening it. It WILL hasten, with or without us. Now is not the time to say "my friend's not interested, he smokes (or drinks, or isn't religious, or whatever)", "I've shared the gospel with her, but she's not ready yet", " I've already shared the gospel with all my friends", "They haven't been to church in years, why would they now", "There's other people doing my family history" or many of the seemingly acceptable excuses that we sometimes hear, or say. The Lord is Hastening, and we must Hasten to keep up. Like they stressed in the Work of Salvation broadcast, the work isn't separate, sometimes we don't need to share the gospel with a non-member, but we must all adopt the Missionary purpose into our hearts, to always be "Inviting others to come unto Christ" whoever they may be.
I love y'all and will try to answer all the questions you have over the next few weeks about the changes we've had in the mission. If you write me questions over e-mail or mail, then I'll try to address them in my general letter, or personally. I'm super excited to keep you updated on everything that will happen in our mission, and in Vacaville.