Let me introduce you to Patrick

Monday, August 18, 2014

I was going to do hashtags again this week, but hashtags don't have the capability of describing the craziness of this week.

I don't remember why, but Monday and Tuesday I was just completely bummed and worn out, and I could feel my patience thinning with every single person we talked to. By Tuesday night, I just about lost it. Our last appointment for the evening was with one of our investigators who we are trying to help overcome a couple addictions. He didn't know we were coming and the moment we walk into his house, all I see are inappropriate scenes on the TV. Yeah, I just about burst into tears. I couldn't feel the Spirit as we were talking to him. I went to bed that night absolutely fed up with the world.

The next morning I was just so down-trodden. Gah. But thank goodness for extra rooms! I decided I needed to say a prayer out loud to get me over this hump. I know that prayer works, and that Heavenly Father is always listening. I know that He allows me hand over my burdens to Him as many times as it takes. Anyway, I had an insanely good comp study with the Spirit that morning and I was just so ready to go out and kill it. Thursday and Saturday were looking pretty slim with appointments, but somehow we were able to fill it up with a bunch of people we had contacted all throughout Wednesday :D

Anyway, I wanted to talk about a particular new investigator named Patrick. Anything in brackets will be whatever I was thinking at that time. This is a crazy story. Trust.

We went to contact a non-member referral and ended up at an apartment complex. The Elders who served here over a year ago left us some former investigators with "Greenview Apartments" as their address [Gah. Elders -_____-"]. But as we were contacting this referral, we noticed we were at Greenview Apartments, and shouted for joy so we could contact the two former investigators who lived there. We tried contacting a lady named Brenda first. We knock on her door and a young man opens it. He isn't wearing a shirt and looks slightly confused [and my under-my-breath reaction to that is always "it is not that hot! Put a shirt on!"]. 

Patrick here has a speech impediment, so it was really hard to understand what he was saying. But he said stuff confidently as he asked us questions. Part of me is saying [do I really want to ask if we could meet with him?], but the words that came out of my mouth were: Hey, we'd love to teach you about Christ! [Oh, the missionary me...]. We leave his apartment and Sis Tonnies says, "I am not sure if I feel safe teaching him. I couldn't tell if that was a speech impediment or if he was on something." [Way to make me feel like I should have gone with my other instinct].

On Thursday night, we called him to confirm our appointment with him on Saturday morning. Trying to understand what he's saying in person isn't as hard as trying to understand what he's saying over the phone. He starts rambling on about a bunch of things and I head him say "26". So I say:

Me: did you say you were 26?
no I think I'm 27 now...." 
Me: [Say what? Ok, whatever.] Continue what you were saying.
Patrick: You know when you asked me if I was 26, you sounded like you were looking for a boyfriend!
Me: Uh, no.

So I'm thinking [WHAT THE FREAK! Why why why do all the guys in this area hit on us?!]
But then he goes on to say that the reason why he wants to meet with us is because he's a little angry with God because his grandfather died from cancer, and that he's hoping we could help him rekindle his faith. And so now I'm thinking [ok Sister Limas, he has potential. Just love him. Just love people. The gospel is going to help him.] So I'm trying to let the guy know that our message will help him build his faith in Jesus Christ, but he interrupts me and says, "But if I tell you guys I don't want to meet with you anymore and you still show up to my apartment, I WILL call the cops." [Oh for pete sake's. We aren't going to come if you don't want to meet with us!]

Saturday morning comes and Sis Tonnies and I look at each other with a "you-ready-for-this?" glance. The moment Patrick gets down from his apartment he comes towards me and he says:

Patrick: So do we kiss now?
Me: What?! NO! [Oh my lanta. What is wrong with the world.]
Patrick: On the phone you really sounded like you were looking for a boyfriend when you asked if I was 26.
Me: NO. I am currently not looking and am SO not available for dating right now. IM A MISSIONARY.

He starts talking to Sis Tonnies and she is thankfully explaining more to him as I storm off and try to get my head wrapped back to Spirit mode.

We are walking to the park and the whole time he kept bringing up things about his life, and I'm thinking [oh my goodness, there is hope! The gospel totally covers this!] So Sis Tonnies and I keep testifying about how the message me have to share will help him resolve alllll the concerns he just brought up. [BOO YAH. 'How to Begin Teaching' done like a boss as we're walking the streets of Charleston!]

We finally arrive at the park and he is parched. So he tries to buy a drink from the vending machine. He had pre-warned us about his anger issues. He tries to fit the bill in the machine but it wont go in. So he flings his wallet past my face and I'm like [geez, calm down. Spirit says: Sister Limas, don't freak out. Just be kind. Show him patience so he learns how to be patient]. So I get up and tell him to give me the money and I get the drink for him. 3 bottles of Sprite came out. Win!

We start teaching him the Plan of Salvation and he kept making obnoxious comments all throughout it. Sister Tonnies and I were doing the best we could to teach in unity, and trying not to get distracted with all the irrelevant things he was saying and all the spit that was coming out of his mouth. [Oh heavens. Just try not to look grossed out.] But to be fair, he took the lesson quite well. At the end of it Sis Tonnies asks:

Sis Tonnies: Patrick do you know that what we've said is true?
Patrick: It has to sink in a bit. But I want to believe it's true.
Me: Patrick, you said you want to build your faith in Jesus Christ. One way you can build your faith is prayer. You can pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him if these things are true.

We go into further detail about prayer and Sis Tonnies asks him to say the closing prayer. We bow our heads and there is silence. I look up and he looks at me and says, "I can't do it." I calmly assured him, "yes you can". He bows his head again and he starts sobbing. [Woah, is the Spirit touching him right now?] Then, wait for it, HE TOTALLY FREAKS OUT, GRABS HIS STUFF AND MAKES A RUN FOR IT. He trips and drops everything. He's sitting there prostate on the ground crying and yelling at us.

I am sitting there, feeling like I'm not in my own body, watching a dramatic tv show about missionaries and excited to see what's going to happen next, except the only problem is that I am the missionary and realize we need to fix this problem. I turn to Sis Tonnies and whisper, "what did we just do?" and she says, "I have no clue".

What happened next was all the Spirit because I was quite surprised with what happened. I calmly told Patrick to sit back down and that Sis Tonnies would say the closing prayer, knowing he may or may not physically harm me because of his anger issues. After the prayer he starts yelling at me. YELLING. Oh my lanta. He's going off saying, "WHY? I told you I was uncomfortable!!!! That's what pisses me off! When people don't listen! It was so awkward! WHY DID YOU KEEP TELLING ME TO DO IT?"

And to my surprise I didn't feel anger, or frustration, or contention. I didn't feel like I was about to go off right back at him. Nor did I feel apologetic or bad about what I just tried to do or what had happened. To my surprise all I felt was genuine love and compassion for this guy. Heck to the yes he freaked me out. But all I could feel was love. I opened my mouth and waited for the Spirit to say something, and then it came: "Because Heavenly Father knows you can."

Out of no where I start baring testimony with a solid and stern, but loving and concerned voice. I bore testimony that the Saviour died for him so he could overcome his weaknesses. I bore testimony of change and how awkward and uncomfortable it can be, but that change is possible because Heavenly Father sent His Son to die for us so we can become who He wants us to become. And of course, tears are starting to form. It came out with such boldness, and in the midst of it I could feel just a smidge of the immense love Heavenly Father had for him.

Silence. As Sister Tonnies bore her testimony, I stood up and picked up everything he dropped, hoping he would realize that all we wanted to do was help. As I sat back down I asked him boldly: Patrick, do you still want to do this? [Because clearly, we're still going to keep asking him to do things and I don't want a drama episode every single time!] He said he did. We committed him to pray in the privacy of his home and ask Heavenly Father if he was there. All throughout the time we were together he kept saying how sad he was that he didn't have a girlfriend and how he never got dates, but as we closed it just came out that he was lonely and never got visitors. [Part of me is like what is with the world and "needing" a girlfriend. The other part of me just felt for him. No one likes to feel alone.] Only conclusion to that: invite him to church! :D

Sorry, that was long. But you needed to hear all that to see the miracle that happened next.
Patrick came to church. Bro Hawk picked him up and they walked in during the opening hymn. To my surprise I lit up when I saw him. [What the cheese? He left me spiritually exhausted yesterday. Why did I just get so excited?] He sits in our row, but on the other side of the disability couple we usually sit with. On his own, he's figuring out what song we're singing and opens the hymnbook and starts singing. After Sacrament Meeting I went up to him, and he looked different. He definitely cleaned himself up a little more. I say:

Me: We're glad you came to church!
Patrick: I did what you said and I prayed last night.
Me: You did?! That's awesome! And?
Patrick: I didn't get an answer. But I know Heavenly Father's a busy guy.
Me: [Are you for serious? He actually prayed?!] Don't worry. Just keep praying, and He'll answer soon enough. He'll answer in His own time.

We go to gospel principles and our lesson was on "Heavenly Father's Family". Patrick kept participating and asking questions. Elder Flowers was sitting beside and thankfully answered them with perfectly. Bro Emmett, our ward mission leader, was teaching the lesson and Patrick was totally engaged. He kept making comments and saying my name and what we taught him, relating the lesson back to the Plan of Salvation lesson we taught him. I'm sitting there like [are you for reals? Is this even the same person we taught yesterday?!]

The Elders said he participated really well during Priesthood as well. After church, we went to say goodbye and he said, "I am definitely coming back. I haven't been to church since I was 18 and I really enjoyed myself".


And just to add the cherry on top: Our atheist investigator, Leon, came to church as well! He too participated in class and totally enjoyed himself. He even made a comment about what being brothers and sister of God would mean to him. AND, when we closed our last lesson with him he said he wanted to know our opinion of being women in the church. Sis Tonnies said that we could answer his questions next lesson, but I told her after that that isn't our purpose and telling him about our roles isn't going to build his faith. So we didn't really know how we were going to avoid the awkward. We decided though that we should teach him the commandments so he could put it to the test and "experiment upon the word". What was sacrament meeting about? The Word of Wisdom!!!!! AND, he talked to Bro Baumann about Institute so he's going. And the talk they are studying his week is "The Moral Force of Women." YES! MIRACLES!

The whole time during sacrament I was just begging and pleading with the Lord that everything at church would be tailored to what the investigators needed to hear and that they'd have the ears to hear it. GOD IS PERFECT BECAUSE MIRACLES HAPPENED! It was such a huge testimony to me of how much Heavenly Father looks after the well-being of His children. All Sis Tonnies and I can do is work and fulfill our purpose to the best of our ability. The rest is all Him. As Dallin H Oaks says, "this is the Lord's work. Let Him do some of it." And He always does.

Sorry that was so long! It has just been such an insane week!
Last but not least, here's our Christ-like attribute for this week:

Hope is...

  • Looking forward to the future.
  • Trusting that the Lord's promises will be fulfilled.
  • Knowing there's always a reason to smile.
  • When the dawn breaks the darkness of the night.
  • Remembering the best is yet to come.
  • Knowing your Saviour's love is what helps you press forward.
  • The source of peace.
  • Courage and faith in the Lord's plan for us.
  • Accepting the worst while expecting the best.
  • Knowing the Saviour's got what you can't do.
  • Believing in second changes.
  • Knowing no matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.
  • Expecting exaltation.
  • What allows you to never give up.
  • Letting the Lord be your light.
  • What replaces fear.
  • Patiently waiting upon the Lord.
  • Remembering tomorrow is only a day away.
  • The reason WHY you "just keep swimming".
  • Knowing every story has a happily ever after.
  • Knowing that those who are gone will someday come back.
  • Letting go of the daily struggles by having an eternal perspective.
  • Knowing your atheist investigator is going to be baptized.
  • Knowing we are perfected only through His perfection.
  • What keeps us holding on.
  • Loving the Lord and His plans.
  • Knowing you can become who you want to be.
  • Being willing to make small sacrifices for a bigger price.
  • Understanding that there is no such thing as an end.

And my two favourites:
  • Not knowing all the twist and the turns, but knowing your journey is clear.
  • The reason I smile everyday.
I know I can sound dramatic about how hard things can be. But I seriously have never smiled so much in my entire life. I'm pretty sure Sis Tonnies thinks I'm a little crazy. I always look so mellow when I wake up, but the moment I'm done with the studies and sharing what I learned I just can't stop smiling! This week we stopped by Marla's house. She's one of our investigators and she is just way funny. She said something and I went to open my Bible to give her a reference. Then she says:

Marla: You're a hopeless romantic, aren't you?
Me: Uh, what?
Marla: Yes you are!!!! You glow whenever we talk about love!
Me: [I look helplessly over at Sister Tonnies and they are both laughing hysterically at me]

Marla's boyfriend walks in and he looks confused at why we're laughing. She summons him over and says, "This girl right here knows her Bible better than any preacher I know. And when she talks about love, she just lights up!" 

After our appointment I say to Sister Tonnies:
Me: Ooooook. We never talked about romance with her ever. And you talk way more about it at home.
Sister Tonnies: I may talk about it more, but you definitely show how much you love love.
Me: WHAT?!

Oh dear. Anyway, I realized that we had talked to Marla about love. But our last lesson I had talked to her about the pure love of Christ!!!!! And President Monson's general conference talk, "Love is the essence of the Gospel".

Then I realized, whatever glow she claims to see isn't because of love and romance. It's because I LOVE THE GOSPEL. I LOVE MY SAVIOUR. AND I LOVE TESTIFYING OF HIM. There was a couple times during the 1/3 of my mission where I was completely out of hope. I didn't know who I was anymore or what I was doing and didn't understand why I couldn't just look forward to things positively like I used to. In a desperate attempt I would study Hope in PMG, wishing it would help in some way. But studying it made me realize how much hope I used to have and showed how much I lost. And I didn't know how to gain it back. But if I were to sum up my 15 month experience thus far, HOPE is what I've been able to gain out of it. When I got sick all I could hold on to was the Saviour. Holding onto Him is what makes healing possible. No anxiety, no doubt, no sickness, no heart ache, no depression, no amount of rejection, fatigue, or sadness cant not be healed and overcome through hope in the Saviour's grace. He's the reason I'm still out here. He's the reason I'm capable of still pressing forward. And because I recognize it, I can't help but feel so darn happy inside. He's the reason I have a reason to smile everyday. That's the reason I go out every day: to share with the world that I know what His grace is and that there are so many precious and beautiful promises to look forward to. 

My favourite scripture on hope:
"Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it". -- Romans 8:24-25

So yeah, I might not know all the twists and the turns. But I know my journey is clear.
Just to end this I wanted to share the song that that line comes from. All my companions will attest that every time I go to the bathroom, I sing "7 am the usual morning line up!" (When Will My Life Begin). I sang it because it was catchy. But in relations to hope, my song has changed. This is the song I sing ALL the time now:

So yeah. I don't know all the twist and the turns. But I know the Lord's promises. I know when we stay faithful, He fulfills them. That's why my journey is clear.

Anywhoooozers. Sorry I brought up love. That's next week's attribute ;)
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Be good. Stay obedient. Share the gospel. And just LOVE LOVE LOVE.
With more love than I know what to do with,
Sister Limas :)

2nd to last transfers' planner :)

We had to. 

We got to cook breakfast for lunch at the Clowards :D

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