I feel like I have lots to say, so I'm sorry if this email is scattered and all over the place!
As for who we're teaching... Please pray for Rick (who I wrote about last week). He's still reading the book of Mormon, but something was really off in our lesson with him this week. We're not quite sure what it was. Also pray for Harold. He's our most solid investigator right now; he has come to church the past 4 weeks and we meet with him about 3 times a week, but he won't accept a baptismal date and is still skeptical of some things (for instance, the word of wisdom not allowing us to drink wine, when Jesus drank it in the New Testament). I know he sees truth here, he sees goodness and light, but he just believes he needs to know EVERYTHING before he's baptized. He's also trying too hard to intellectualize everything, when what he really needs is spiritual confirmations of what we teach.
We had a neat experience last night with some members. The Apos are a young family who moved into the ward in August from Logan, UT. Brother and Sister Apo both grew up in St. George, UT, so they haven't had much experience living in "the mission field". The got a dog a few weeks ago - a big, beautiful German shepherd - and had some dog trainers come over to teach them how to train him. One of the trainers, Michelle, noticed the pictures of the temple hanging on their walls and asked if they were LDS. That led into a long discussion of the church, and Sister Apo was finally like: "Hey, you know what, I actually know some sister missionaries who can answer all your questions. Why don't you just come over for dinner and I'll have them over too and we can talk all about this?" Haha! Perfect! So we went over last night and had a really great dinner with Michelle and her two young kids and her roommate Micah, who actually grew up going to church with her dad who is a member, but never actually got baptized. As we talked to them over dinner, they told us about their Christian backgrounds and how they'd wanted to start attending a really structured church, with good morals and values. They'd decided to start going to the LDS church to try it out (but AH, they live out of our area). They'd met with some elders before but were unimpressed and the lessons weren't really going anywhere... you can imagine Sister Cook and I'd frustration over that - Michelle and Michah are 2 of the most PREPARED people I've ever met and the elders in their area are really letting the ball drop with them. But they really enjoyed meeting with us and having us answer their questions.. "We weren't sure what to expect," they said. "We've never met sister missionaries before. We were thinking y'all would be kind of like nuns? We had no idea y'all would be so normal and stylish!" Haha. We had a long conversation about tithing, temples, missionary work, and the nature of God. Sister Apo was basically doing all the teaching, though. It was so refreshing to see members get so excited about missionary work. Brother and Sister Apo jumped on the opportunity to share their beliefs, and it was really rewarding to see as a missionary.
We had another experience I wanted to share from a few nights ago:
On Saturday night we didn't have any appointments after dark (which is really rough, especially in our area of Vegas).. we had some less-actives scheduled, but no one was answering their doors, so we were ahead of schedule and running out of names to go to. After going through our names, I went ahead and grove to our first name. I pulled up to the house and it was completely abandoned and boarded up. Sister Cook was on the phone arranging rides to church for our investigators, and we were 5 minutes ahead of schedule anyways, so I just sat and waited for Sister Cook to be done. I was wondering/debating whether or not we should even try the house. Sister Cook finished and we were about to say a prayer and get out oft he car when I noticed some people walking towards us in the dark and I thought: "Oh good! People to talk to!" They looked like they were struggling with something - groceries? We got out just as they were passing out car across the street and sure enough - it was a black family (a mom, 2 teenage girls, and a young boy about 10 slowly making their way home from Wal_mart on FOOT with more groceries than I've ever seen! 2 full carts worth and more in their arms.
"Do you need any help?" we asked anxiously.
They stopped and stared, then the little boy nearly shouted: "YES! Yes please!" I felt immediately that it was no coincidence that we were there at that time. This was divine intervention. We started to grab some bags from them and asked how much further they had to go.
"Oh, we've got a ways... down the street and across that road and back down that road..." said the older of the 2 girls.
We realized we had a problem: we could help them with their groceries, but then we'd have to walk all the way back to our car... by ourselves, in the dark. That was not going to work, but we couldn't just leave them to trudge home without SOME sort of assistance.
"Well, I'll tell you what. We can't give Y'ALL a ride, but we can drive your groceries to your apartment!"
"Okay!" While there was no hesitation from the kids, you could tell their poor Mom was skeptical, but how could she turn down the aid they so desperately needed? She consented and we loaded up their bags and bags of groceries into our trunk and back seat, then rode over to their apartment complex to meet them there. After about 10 minutes or so, they walked up and we helped them unload their endless bags of groceries. They were so appreciative and grateful and as we finished, the Mom said: "Do y'all have a card or something to your church?" Of course we jumped right on the opportunity and gave her our information, explained we weren't the missionaries over their area, but that we'd pass their information along to the elders. She explained that she'd just moved here from Chicago, and that she'd been looking for a church to attend with her family. (!!) We were bummed that they didn't live in our area, but we knew that our meeting them didn't occur by mere happenstance. I strongly believe in the power of service and what it does to others, and ourselves.
Have a wonderful week. I love you!