Monday, January 24, 2011

They Call this Winter??

Hey Everyone!

Life got a world better this week upon my discovery of J&L Oriental food mart. I HAVE FOUND GOOD RICE. And also some Furikake (rice seasoning) as well as some japanese Jelly cups. It was awesome! I finally got to use my rice cooker and almost cried at the beauty of that first bite of rice. Ok well maybe I'm a little to excited about rice but needless to say it was a huge moral boost.

We've been keeping busy this week again with more Elders crashing at our place overnight so they can attend training meetings and the like. So our schedule's been put a little off but I think its fair to say that making exceptions to the schedule IS part of the schedule, seeing as it happens so often. Monday for P-day was spent almost entirely at the Stake Center where most of the Elders Played some ball and I played on the piano in the chapel, Because it was one of the few times when I'd have time to play a in tune piano. So I was cool with that. This week I'm hoping that we can get into some more diverse activities. I'd like to go for a drive up along the Blue Ridge parkway which has some good views of the valley, or to the Museum of Transportation downtown is said to have some cool things to see. Elder Pendleton wants to try and get out to see more too before he leaves so hopefullly next week I'll have a good adventure to tell yall. <---Dang strait I'm using the Lingo.

We've had some really cool meetings with investigators this week. The first one was with Danny, a man who is married to a member and we helped their family move in a few weeks ago. He's super friendly and open to talking with us just to learn more about the Gospel and what we believe in general. He's got some sweet storys as he served two tours in Iraq and has been hit by IED's twice. But he's just chill to have us come over and teach him whenever! Missionaries love people who are open to listen. He also cooks a mean pulled pork.

One morning we got a call from a member asking us if we'd go with him to check on some families he'd been assigned to visit. They were all people who's records were in the church but hadn't been heard from in a very long time. We almost didn't go because it was going to interfere with another plan we'd made to do that morning. But we decided that it could be good to meet some less active members. We drove to at least 6-7 houses and didn't get an answer until the last house, in which there lived a sister who answered the door. As we talked to her we found out that she'd been dealing with a lot of medical issues and couldn't make it to church for a few years. Also that her husband was very hard set against the church and would not let her talk to the missionaries when they came. But what she told us next brought tears to my eyes. She'd been wanting to come back to church. She missed it and the blessings it brought into her life. She had prayed that morning that Heavenly Father would help her get through these times because she didn't think she could do it anymore. She told us that we were an answer to her prayer. We were able to give her a priesthood blessing for her health and she asked if she could hug us before we left. Its been a long time since I've given and received such a sincere hug. It just reminds me of how much Heavenly Father loves his children and knows how to answer prayers.

Its a good thing that I have experiences like that too because another lesson that I taught this past week was not so well received. We met again with a family and tried to share with them the message of the Book of Mormon. They had very strong biblical beliefs and were good, honest and happy people. I had such hope going in because we had left a copy and the wife seemed very keen to read it! Things started off pretty well, but I could tell something wasn't quite right. The wife had in fact read much of the Book of Mormon and recalled to us many passages. But The Husband and chosen not to read it and instead to remain firm in his original belief that no other book could be compared to the Bible. I discerned that while she had read she began to ask questions. And he would not open his heart to the message so he shut them all down and dropped what he'd known to crush all questioning. They even looked up some Anti, whether his intention was to destroy or to find out more information they took the words of others instead of finding out for themselves about the things that were written. To gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon you have to read and study it for yourself. It just doesn't work any other way. It doesn't matter if we are preaching for it, or others against it, the Truth comes from reading, pondering and praying. Anyways, they gave back the copy against all our pleading. We left on good terms, but I left with a hole in my heart because such good people had declined to hear us out and find out for themselves. Its frustrating for a missionary. I can understand why people don't want to listen to us, why they might be opposed to us, why they might think we are fools. But so few actually listen to what we're asking. So few try to hear us and our message without judging us.

Thank Heavens for Crawford this week. Later that night of the same day we visited Crawford in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He'd been admitted for having fluid in his lungs or something like that. Crawford has been investigating since before I got here and he was in fact the first lesson that I taught in the field. We told him a little about what we'd gone through that day and he comforted us. He is one of the few who has persisted in knowing the truth. He has struggled to lay aside his preconceptions about us and understand what we're teaching him. I've seen him grow so much just in the time I've been here. He is still working on finding out if this is the path that God wants him to take. Being sick has humbled him quite a bit. But even though he does not yet believe, he understands our message. He knows that what most of the world thinks about us is untrue. He has opened his mind to the possibility that it could happen, and that has made all the difference. Elder Pendleton and I are nearly convinced that Crawford knows what we say is true, he just hasn't found out that he knows yet. We visited him last night and told him about the Word of Wisdom. He accepted every word. In fact he got to many points we were teaching before we did! He smokes, and knows he needs to stop. I'm so hopeful that Crawford will be able to and progress because he has opened his mind and his heart to our Message. He's beginning to change for the better. It has been a great week in the Kingdom.

I hope everyone back home has been staying safe and warm in these cold conditions. I love you all and Can't wait to hear from people about life on the home front! Which reminds me, HEY FATTY (oliver), I finally got your letter from before Christmas. Either the mail is way late or you slacked hardcore. I'll write you back soon. And I'm working on a list of letters to write to everyone else who's sent me mail. {if you want your name to get to the top of that list a second letter would promote a more rapid response ;)}

I love you all and wish you the best from the South!

Elder Sunada

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