I cannot believe all that has happened since I have been here. I feel like I have had an entire 2 year mission experience in these last couple weeks I have been here. And I don't even know where to start really, ha ha.
One of Devin's first photos from Louisiana
Well this week was crazy and I will just kinda go day by day. So last Monday I started to get agitated was just super stressed out. Then we got a call from a man in our ward and we went over to his house to give his wife a blessing. I was able to perform in the blessing and it was a really cool experience. It was cool because I prayed that I could get over my frustration and this experience made me realize that I was really blessed and that things are going to come up and things are going to be hard, but it is really how we react to those situations that decides things. I prayed for challenges, patience and humility and I am getting it, ha ha. In the moment it is hard, really hard, but I am grateful for the outcome and I know that it will make me better and help me best help my investigators. Do you think you guys could put Alma 26:12 on my cork board back at home? I think that is a good scripture that describes how I want to be on my mission.
(Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.)
This week I went on an exchange to LSU with Elder Ageda and that was a crazy experience. We did this thing called Free Speech Alley, where we set up a table with Book of Mormon's, pamphlets, Bibles, DVDs and two big signs that said "Ask a Mormon." More often than not we were ignored, but some people came up and were genuinely interested. I talked to one girl who used to be an atheist but now is a devout Christian. She asked me a lot of questions and was, in a really polite way, teaching me. I also talked to and atheist and a guy who grew up Catholic at the same time. We were having two separate conversations and it was going really well until they started talking to each other and they found out they both had the same problems with the church and started talking to me about that. It was a really cool experience for me because I was able to stick up for what I believe and just share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with them. But we passed out a lot of Book of Mormons and there were a lot of people who came up to us and were super nice and interested in finding out if it is true. It was a really good experience. Later that night we got a text from one of the members and he had extra tickets to the LSU basketball game. Elder Ageda called Pres. Wall and he gave us permission to go ha ha. I was really scared at first since that is not something you usually do on your mission, but I was grateful for the opportunity and it made me want to do better and fulfill Pres. Wall's trust in us. A few other funny things that happened: I forgot my towel, so for 2 days I used a 10 x 10 inch hand towel to dry myself and I woke up one night and my arm was completely numb. I could not move it at all. I struggled to get it out from under my body and started waving it around to get the blood moving. And I kept hitting myself in the face because it was so limp.
We had a pretty slow week this week and we weren't able to see two of our investigators (partly because one was completely intoxicated when we went to see him on Saturday). But we were able to see L_____ this week and he moved places. His new place is much nicer and more inviting for the spirit I would say. He is doing a lot better than he usually is and we think it is because of his new place. The missionaries have acually been teaching L_____ for about a year and he is cousins with one of the members. But one cool thing is that Saturday night, things were moving pretty slow and it was getting time to head in. We decided to stop by this family's house that we have been trying to meet with. They are usually busy and we can't seem to sit down with them. But this time they let us in! We introduced the Book of Mormon and they were really receptive. The dad's name is W______ and his wife's is D________. They have 4 kids. They are a good family and that is exciting to start meeting with them.
Food has been coming in a lot these days. Sis. Johnson invited us to her Brother's birthday party and we were the only white people there. They had loud hip hop and rap music and tons of good food: grilled chicken, dirty rice, shrimp pasta... And there were probably 80 people there. It was a good chance to meet a lot of people. Yesterday was fast Sunday and testimony meeting was interesting. One brother was wearing an orange plaid trench coat with a black and orange "I heart Jesus" tie. He used to be a preacher and his testimony was like a power sermon. It had a good message. We had "break the fast" after church and there was some really good food. We had red beans and rice with brisket in it, pasta dishes and fried cat fish. Good good stuff. And for desert we had peach cobbler.
It is good I have that work out schedule. But last night the H______'s invited us over for dinner and a lesson. She and her son are members, but her husband is not. She is having us give the lesson to her and her son, for her son. But she also let us know that she really wants her husband to hear them as well. And he has been agreeing to sit in on them. She is in a tough situation and taking baby steps is really the way to go. We taught them the plan of salvation and it went alright, but not as good as we had hoped. We will keep teaching them though and trying to invite the spirit. But they made dinner for us and they fried up some bass and frog legs. I had some really Louisiana cooking. They soaked it in milk and then rolled it in a mixture of corn meal, salt, pepper and this spice called "Tony's" And I felt just like Guy [food show host].
I love you guys so much and let me know how I can make these letters more satisfying. I will tell you one more funny story. I was reading Emma's letter and I kinda got teary, just realizing how much I love you guys. But at the end she wrote "If you need anything, just ask." and "If your companion is mean, I can help." I started laugh crying... Thank you for the letters and I can feel all of your prayers. I know Heavenly Father is blessing me so much and I am grateful to be out here. And I am sorry about this letter, it is all over the place. I have to get going. I love you so much!