So pday was really busy this past week. Our cars rear left brake light went out and so we took it to get fixed but it wasn't just the bulb it was electrical. So we spent all morning getting it to the right place with an electrician. Then the other elders had to drive us everywhere to do laundry, get food and such and then we went and played bball and ping pong at the church. The zone leaders came to our building and played with us so that was fun. Crazy how out of shape I am.. Can hardly play 3 games of half court without needing to lay down! I've been giving elder Sambat lessons on how to play bball and he is actually very good now! He had never touched a basketball before. We had to end pday early because we had to go get our car back so that's why I didn't send a weekly letter. We had dinner at a Filipinos house and they invited two other missionaries from the Arcadia mission as well so that was cool! They cover part of our mission and the Arcadia mission because they speak Tagalog so that was fun for Elder Sambat haha. Starting to warm up again after all the rain we had last week.
Today we went and did service for an old less active lady. She is a hoarder and has 6 book shelves full of random books that she has never read before. She just collects and never throws them away! Same with her clothes. She lives in a small apartment and she added a closet but that wasn't enough so she also has clothes piled in her bathroom. Kinda crazy. We are trying to empty it out so that she doesn't get kicked out. Then we spent a long time trying to contact referrals.. It's so hard finding them here in LA because they never answer their phones and when we try to go to their address, it's gated. But we did meet a few interesting people on the street! Met a guy who lived in Downey who had Jehovah witnesses that kept trying to visit him but he said it just didn't feel right. He told us he felt a different, "Good glowing" feeling that came from us! We tried to get his info but as soon as he found out we were Mormons he said "Oh never mind you guys have too many rules." Seems to be that way for most everyone here in LA haha. Lots of people we start talking to ask "So what's not allowed in your church?" It's just so sad to see how so many people have no desire to change. Even when they know it's for the better. But on the other hand we find people on the street who are super prepared and ready to change. Evidence to me that Heavenly Father puts prepared people in our path. While we plant a seed in others who aren't quite ready yet (Alma 32). Then Heavenly Father can work with them till they are ready to listen. Makes me so grateful that I was born into the church.
Today we helped a member move into the ward. He lives with his girlfriend who isn't a member and he said he planned on bringing her to church this Sunday so possibly a new investigator! Spent most of the day again trying to contact our many referrals that we have. Found a few so that was good! 2/3 spoke Spanish though.. Haha. 2 of our appointments fell through but we had a lesson with one of our investigators and our ward mission leader came along. Our investigator has a hard time with faith. He feels he needs facts and evidence to know. Doesn't believe that we have a living prophet because of church history. For example he asked, "If they are prophets, why did they delay giving the blacks the priesthood?" So it's hard but we brought it back to the Book of Mormon and how gaining a knowledge of it's truth will help him know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Our ward mission leader invited him to watch the talk given by Elder Holland on the Book of Mormon so I think that will help a lot. Elder Holland is the man. We had dinner tonight at the King's Buffet so that was awesome! Our recent convert took us there. He got baptized a few months before I got here. Elder Sambat and I are getting nervous for transfers this upcoming Tuesday! Neither of us want o leave. I feel like I'm going to get a trainer call haha. Listened to Hugh B Browns talk on the profile of a prophet today. Probably one of my new favorite talks. Who knew that Dad was right all these days about how I should have listened to conference talks while mowing lawns! Definitely wish I had done it.
We went and did service for sister Lee again and got rid of 6 bags of clothes. Took us an hour and a half! She gave us ice cream though so I was happy haha. We did our weekly planning today which takes about 2 and a half hours and then we had a lesson with an investigator named Manny. He has been investigating the church for a few years and has always been hung up on a few questions. One main on is in John 4:24 which states that God is a spirit. He asked us "Who do I believe? Jesus or Joseph?" So it's been hard answering his questions because he seems to not be looking for answers but just for more doubts. We asked him what answer he was expecting to get when he prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and he said "I'm waiting for God to "Change my mind and heart" so that I will know." So we explained agency and the fruits of the spirit. He has so much potential and knows the bible inside and out but won't accept Joseph Smith. We left him with a talk by Hugh B Brown entitled "Profile of a prophet." What I've definitely learned on the mission is how important it is to ask questions and just listen. Often the investigator answers their own question or says something that we can get a lead from. A missionary teaches but more often listens and is just there to testify. The spirit does the teaching and converting. We are there to invite it.
Today we had district meeting and I had to give what we call a "Stepp" (scripture, testimony, experience, preach my gospel and a promise) talk on the importance of member present lessons. The scripture I used was Alma 9 verse 1 and then Alma 10 verse 12. Just shows how important it is for investigators to see that normal people have testimonies as well (because missionaries aren't normal). We have had so many lessons without members present and it seems like the investigator still makes progress but when we bring a member they accept our invitations and keep their commitments. Makes me with that I had gone out with the missionaries more during high school. I regret so much not inviting the non members in my grade to activities and church even. I've got some work to do when I get home haha. After district meeting we had exchanges with the Spanish elders. We had no lessons set up for today so elder Meherg and I drove and walked all over trying to find our referrals and less active members. One huge thing I am so grateful for back home is the lack of gates around houses!! It's so annoying going to someone's house only to find that it's gated and they won't answer their phone. But we did meet some awesome people on the street. Set up an appointment for tomorrow on the street which was awesome. We got a text from one of our investigators and she said "I read the last chapter in Moroni and I challenged his promise. I felt a warm peaceful feeling go through my whole body as I prayed. I know it's true." Soooo that is amazing!!! Just another testimony to me that the spirit is real. We all have access to it. Just gotta pray sincerely which is the hard part.
So today we exchanged back, went and did service again for sister Lee and we got all the clothes done! Her apartment looks so much better now. She actually had a ton of nice skirts and dresses so we took all of the clothes and put them in the young women's room at the church. We went to our investigators house for our lesson and she had a friend over who had just talked to missionaries the week before! Shared about the Book of Mormon and she said she really wanted one so we gave one to her and read the intro with her. She teared up and she felt it must be true. She and our investigator both committed to come to church tomorrow! I love how the Book of Mormon speaks to people. Read the intro and bear your testimony and bam! The spirit is there. Had dinner with the Tongan family in our ward. They are so cool. We asked them if they had any friends they were working on to bring to church and they said their neighbors were ready for us to come over and that he would set up a visit with them... Woo! I love this ward. Super cool thing that happened tonight was before we went and visited our less active we decided to walk the street for a bit because we were 10 mins early. We were going past a 99 cent store and a lady called from across the parking lot for us. We had never met her but she was one of our referrals that we had been trying to get a hold of. Her son was with her and she told us that he wanted to get baptized and asked us to come over this week! Definitely a miracle.
Well church was awesome! Our bible bashing investigator came to church!! Miracle haha. He had a great experience and we feel like he is going to be more receiving now. Our investigator who has been moving her date back each week came up to us this Sunday and said she was ready to be baptized and that she wanted to do it next week! So cool. It was so hard to set a firm date with her before. Had a long day of trying to talk to people on the street and contact referrals but did find one! It was weird because in the info it said he really wanted to get a Book of Mormon and wanted to be baptized. So we found his apartment, knocked, he opened the door and I asked if it was him, he said yes and that he wasn't interested, shut the door. And we had just received his referral the day before! So we were super confused. We tried to go see our investigator who didn't come to church after that. Her grandma answered the door and we saw her peek around the corner in the back of the house. Asked for her and her grandma told us she wasn't home sooo yeah. Rough time! Tonight we went to our other investigators house who is a famous fashion designer in Guatemala. We watched the John Tanner Story with him and during the part where he get healed, our investigator paused the movie and said "I can feel it. Chills up and down my arms." He committed to be baptized and to start coming to church! Annnd we got transfer calls afterwards. I'm getting transferred to Inglewood in the South West Los Angeles Branch. My companion will be Elder Stevens and we will both be new to the area so that will be fun! Apparently it's a very "Ghetto" area. Just what mom wants to hear haha. It's rough to leave Hollywood with everything about to pick up but it''s all good! I'll miss the people but I want to explore the rest of the mission too! Mixed feelings. Gonna miss Elder Sambat. He's been such a great companion! This transfer flew by.
ST- No missionary effort is wasted. Every member a missionary so think of some way you could plant a seed in a non members heart.
Love Elder Bennett