Okay, here are some stories from this week.
One night we had some extra time to go tracting before heading home. So we pulled over to the side of the road to get out a map so we could pray and ask God where he would like us to be. As soon as Sister Richardson said 'amen' I pointed to a random place on the map. Alright! So we drove to the street that I pointed too, parked the car, and started to knock. It was about 8:45 when it started to get really dark and no one was listening to us. Then we saw what looked like a homeless man walking towards us in the dim light that came from a yellow street lamp. My companion said, "Let's talk to this guy." As the man got closer I saw that he had a basket rolling behind him and he was wearing a neck brace.
"How are you doing, sir?" I said, as the man got closer. Once he was close enough I realized the person I was talking to was our investigator, Rich.
"Rich! What happened to you?" He had band-aids on his face and looked pretty beat up.
He told us that he had been walking to Aldi earlier that day and he fell in a ditch and broke his neck! He also had to get stitches above his eye and on his nose. Poor guy! It's because his vision is so bad. I then asked him where he was heading to now and he said he was going to the store to get a 12 pack of beer.
"Rich, you don't need to drink. Come on, we'll walk you home."
"I haven't drank in two days. I need to get some beer." He replied.
"Rich, you don't need alcohol, you need love. We have love! Come on, we'll walk you home and talk with you."
He slowly turned around and started shuffling home with us on each side of him. I then explained to Rich that God didn't want him to drink and that we had prayed and come to this street. We explained that we could have been anywhere in Jacksonville and we just happened to be on that little road at the exact time he would be there- there is no such thing as coincidences. God always has a plan.
Rich told us that he had been given some medication for his accident and that the pharmacist told him that if he were to drink while taking this medicine- he wouldn't wake up. God saved Rich's life that night. How grateful I was to be an instrument in his hands.
The next day we had a great lesson with him on the atonement and he prayed at the end! He has been really struggling with prayer and he's making some big steps.
Story number two!
We keep meeting people who want to prove us wrong and it is quite off-putting. We met one of our investigators dad who claims to be a prophet. He preached to us a ton and it was really weird. He also spoke in tongues... what? We left that appointment so confused and slightly amused. He was a nice guy though!
Then the next day we went to see this cute, old lady that had invited us to come and visit with her. We walked into her room and there were two men in ties sitting at her table. ....snap. Here we go again. This time though these guys really wanted to try to prove us wrong. They started out nice and then just stomped on our beliefs. It was really lame. We bore testimony and totally taught with love while he was contentious. In my mind I really wanted to just stop him and ask why he was treating us this way and that Christ would never put people down. Buuuut I just smiled and let him talk. It went on a lot longer than we probably should have let it but we left grateful for our testimonies that could not be shaken.
Reflecting on this I realized that being called to serve in the Bible belt isn't just for anyone. I know that the Lord would only send people here who really are strong in their faith because it is hard to be told that what you've known your whole life is a lie.
I felt bad because there were some points where I just laughed at those men because they were so confused.
My testimony will always be built on Christ and NOTHING can change that. I will FOREVER know that this is Christ's Church and no amount of anything can change it. I have had too many prayers answered and seen way too many miracles to ever doubt it. I am so grateful for my testimony and the sure knowledge I have that this gospel is true.
Thanks, Mom, for helping me be who I am. I love you!!!
Happy Mother's Day!