Sorry I forgot to send my last email. At least this week you get two. I wish I could have been there to hear you all sing/to sing with you. I'm sure it was great. I hope everyone had a good day back at school, even though you probably didn't sleep very much. We've all secretly wanted to go back to school before after a few weeks of summer.
Last week I wanted to have time to talk about a lesson we had with an investigator named Vanessa. We've been teaching her for quite some time. She's 18 and has had the lessons taught to her by many different missionaries. She has prayed about the Book of Mormon and has told us that she knows it is true. She continues to go to church but still has something holding her back from becoming a member. She says she doesn't know why but feels like something is holding her back. Last week we had a great lesson with her about the plan of salvation. We were reading Lehi's dream in 1st Nephi. She asked about the significance of all the elements in his dream, like the iron rod and the building on the side. We read Nephi's interpretation and took advantage of her backyard to illustrate the principles of the dream and to cliken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our dprofit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23)
She had a few trees in her backyard and a plastic hose just chillin on the ground. We presented the tree as the tree of life and the hose as the iron rod. It was a bit silly, but she really got thinking as we used this example. It was thrilling as she asked questions, just like Nephi does in chapter 11, that lead in perfectly to the next explanation given. She asked about the people that ate the fruit and then fell away because they were ashamed. We likened her house to the big and spacious building, with material treasures and things of the world. She understood the analogy well. We asked, after explaining everything, where she would be in this analogy. She replied that she feels like she's on the edge, looking toward the building that represents the world. It seemed like she answered her own questions while thinking about this analogy. It was a pivotal lesson, and it has made her think more and more about what decision she wants to make with the knowledge she now has at hand. She went to church again this Sunday and liked it. The hard part is getting her "fellow shipped" with the members.
This experience made me think a lot about how Jesus taught. The book Jesus the Christ taught me that in more than one occasion, He used his immediate physical surroundings as the theme our background for his parables. In the parable of the sower, the path and field that He mentions could be found behind where He was teaching. The subject of His parables almost always pertained to the work His listeners found themselves in each day. When you teach in this form, the student cannot help but reflect on what you teach as they go about their day, because the setting for your teachings is where they live! Now I know that every time Vanessa looks at her backyard, or at that tree, she will remember 1 Nephi 8, and she will remember what she learned when we talked about that tree.
I don't know if she'll decide to get baptized soon or not, but I'm glad to be a part of her learning process. She has already used phrases such as "When I get baptized" or, "After I get baptized." I hope it's soon!
This week we found a bunch of new people, but very few of them are progressing. The members are starting to give a few more references than normal, so I hope we can do divisions with them and get them more involved in the work. It's crucial that they are involved and that they invite instead of us. Adriana, Akira, and Fabricio are hard to contact because someone in their family died. We can't visit them for awhile because where they live is very dangerous.
Sorry for the recent lack of pictures. It's just that not a lot is new. Tell me what you want pictures of.
Have a singular week,
Quick letter from last week -
Today I have to be really quick; sorry I can't respond to all your emails. We had a zone activity today and have very little time to send emails. This week went very well. We found a lot of new people to teach. It's refreshing to change our routine a little bit. We're staying in Palmas for the night and we get to do divisions with Elder Stacey and Elder Silvera.
I love you all!
- Elder Young
(I wrote this all last week and I had to leave quickly, so I forgot to send the email)