This Saturday night we found out that Elder Lenon is being emergency transfered (moved unexpectedly due to an emergency) to Napa because an Elder there is having to go home due to a family emergency. So, needless to say, the past two days have been pretty crazy. I don't know if I've really been given enough time to truly realize what's happening and what it means with Elder Lenon leaving. I know I'll miss having him around, he's such a loving person. I think the part that hasn't really sunk in yet is that Elder Debora and I will not have Elder Lenon's knowledge and confidence in the area anymore. As I think about it, it's kind-of scary to know we're going to be in this area with only 2 weeks of learning it. However, I know the Lord will give us the support we need here. I'm still trying to stick to my mantra, "Come What May and Love It".
We had some really, really neat experiences this week too, that helped me begin to see deeper into the real meaning of missionary work. I believe it was on Friday we went to dinner, and we shared a thought and the Spirit was incredibly strong in their home. I really realized how powerful it can be to have missionaries in the home of strong, faithful members. Then we went to visit a less-active member, but when we got there he was outside with a friend drinking. He started out pretty nice, inviting us to sit and talk, but quickly he and his friend started to try and tell us how wrong the mormons are. It was just soo incredibly obvious to me how much this less-active member lacked the Spirit, it was incredibly sad to me to see someone acting so poorly that the Spirit was that lacking. It was hard for a while then too, we left pretty quickly and tried visiting some people, but nobody was home, people didn't want to talk to us, and it was hard until as we were driving home we saw a potential walking home and felt like we should stop and talk to him. We talked with him, found out he'd been reading in the pamphlet we left, and set an appointment with him. It seems like a pretty small thing, but for us it was a miracle, undoubtedly. I learned a lot about the difference the Spirit makes, even with non-members, and how easily you can really tell who has the light of Christ, or the Spirit, and who does not.
Also, on Saturday we had a little bit of a similar experience, not the same, but we had a tougher night trying to find and talk with people up until the last person we had planned to visit that night. We parked, and started walking, when we saw a guy sitting on the ground next to the sidewalk. Elder Lenon started talking with the guy and he started off nice, but seemingly uninterested. He told us that he believed in God, but not really anything else in particular, and said repeatedly that he'd "given up on God". We continued to talk with him though and found out that he'd actually been to Church, he'd dated a Mormon girl, but that he didn't like anybody telling him what to do, like stop drinking, go to Church every Sunday, and stuff like that and so he'd broken up with her that day actually. I don't know about my companions, but at that point I felt an incredible sensation that God loved him, and I shared that with him. At that point the contact changed. We weren't there to "tell him what to do", or because we're missionaries and talking with people is what we do, but to share the love that God has for him and be his friends, and he actually started to cry because of that. That was the single best contact that I've ever been a part of and I see a new level of sharing the Gospel with people we meet.
I've learned a lot this week I feel. I still don't feel like I really know what I'm doing as a missionary, but I've begun to see some of the why. I've begun to see how the Savior's Atonement applies to other peoples' lives, not just my own.
I feel I begin to see the simplicity of missionary work, and also the deep complexity because all we need to do missionary work is true love, true charity, but it's finding, developing, and applying that true love that is hard. I still have a long way to go on a ton of accounts, but I feel like I'm starting to "get it".
I love you all, and my love and prayers still go out to the Mount family in particular, and all the rest of y'all too.