Monday, January 31, 2011

A Great Week in Greenville

Dear Family,

On Monday, 24 January, Elder Fisher and I had four lessons scheduled in 3 hours after preparation day ended. I was excited to be able to teach and have a productive day even with the limited time afforded to us. As we went form appointment to appointment, nothing was going as planned. Nobody was home. All four of our appointments were "no-shows," but that didn't bother me one bit. I was worried about Elder Fisher, I didn't want him to get discouraged by the way things were going. I asked him how he felt the day was going and he thought it was great! I love serving with Elder Fisher. He always has a positive attitude and is willing to work all the way to the end.

As we were talking while we drove, we decided that God allowed us to miss our appointments so we would be able to meet Cheryl. We drove over to her house and as we knocked on her door, Cheryl's nephew answered the door without even knowing who it was. He recognized us as missionaries from the church so he told us to go into the back and see Cheryl (I don't think he knew Cheryl was a little hurt with the Sisters leaving). As we introduced ourselves to Cheryl, at first she was a little hesitant, but as we continued to get to know her, she realized that we are not all that bad! :) We set an appointment to stop by and see her. Later at the appointment, Cheryl told us that she was not planning to meet with us, but because of her nephew and the Lord allowing us to miss our appointments, she has begun to progress again. She is doing great with trying to quit smoking. She is amazing. Cheryl did catch the flu-bug that has been flying around like crazy out here. As soon as she gets back on her feet, she will be progressing further in the gospel. The difficult part about teaching Cheryl is that we always need to get a member to be with us for appointments since she lives alone. Don't get me wrong, I love members and their testimonies, but I think I act differently when members are a part of the lesson. I'm much too formal. I've recognized my promblem and am going to continue to be personable with or without members around. :)

Tuesday we had a fantastic day. We began with a lesson with Melissa. I don't know if I've told you about her, she is great! She was in the same boat as Cheryl. When it came to "The Elders" in her words, she felt we were going to be "stuffy." She had determined that she would meet with us once to keep her word with the Sisters, (the sisters made her promise to speak to us at least once) but after meeting with us once, she was going to stop taking lessons! We were blessed to have the spirit really strong at our first meeting and since then she has continued to progress greatly. Before we left our apartment Tuesday morning, the thought came to me to grab my talk entitled, "Why we Forgive." I decided to grab it and see what was going to come from it. During the lesson she expressed her concern that she did not feel it possible that she could ever forgive a certain individual for the actions they had made against her. I pulled out the CD and gave it to her. As she read the title of the talk, she began to weep. She said "how did you know? Both the Sisters and you always know what I need." It was a very tender moment.

Afterward we were able to teach a young man named Daequan. He was babysitting his nieces and I think was bored, so he let us into his house. He was very quiet at the beginning, but he told us we could come back by the next day.

We had Sister Leckie come with us to Cheryl's and I was a little nervous how to bring up baptism because this was the first time meeting with her. I did not want to seem pushy, but Cheryl told us at the beginning, "I have made changes in my life,and I'm continuing to try to quit smoking so I can get baptized." It was a great way to begin our lesson. :)

Later that night, we had a really cool experience occur. (Not like we didn't already have some great experiences throughout the day. :P ) Elder Fisher and I prepared a lesson for Carol (the mother--she is in her 50's) and her daughter, Charlotte (daughter in her 30's). Charlotte was taught by the Sisters a couple of times, but this was Carol's first lesson. We had discussed watching the Restoration DVD, but when we began to talk to them, I knew our lesson plan was not what they needed. Instead we read Alma 36. The spirit was really strong as we read from the Book of Mormon and taught. At one point Carol whispered to herself, "I know this story." We stopped and asked her if everything was alright or if she had a comment/question. Carol did not say anything, but I could tell she was searching, trying to remember where she had heard the story before. After we finished the lesson, we told them that next week we wanted to watch the Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration DVD. As I briefly outlined the Joseph Smith history, Carol stated, "He looked everywhere for the truth" then she continued to tell us the Joseph Smith story. I asked her how she knew the story, and she just stared at me "I don't know...."
"Did the Sisters teach you about Joseph Smith?"
"No they did not...I don't know how I know this, but I do."
The spirit was really strong. I'm not sure how she knows it, but she has been prepared. We are teaching Carol and Charlotte tonight.

Wednesday we had our return appointment with Daequan. We started our meeting with two clips from We watched Paris Thomas. Paris is from Georgia and I thought he would relate well with Daequan. As the movie ended, I felt prompted to watch the clip on Valentino. Valentino is Hispanic and lives in LA. I was not sure how in the world Daequan was going to relate to him, but we watched it anyways. After watching the video, Daequan let everything out. He's in a gang, he's shot at people and been shot, beat up and he's beaten others up and he's been in jail twice. It was crazy, but he told us everything about his life. He has a desire to change, but it's going to take all his effort and the Lord's help to get him out of the gang.

Thursday we had a DDM and worked in the Easley area because the missionaries there have been struggling. That evening we had a lesson with Alex, a 9 year old. She is getting baptized on the 12th of February! She came to church with her family!

Friday was a great day but I don't have time to talk about it!

Saturday was a testimony building day. We did not have as much success as I expected, but we worked throughout the Day. At 8:53 p.m. we met Twon. Twon is elect; he is prepared for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! It was great to see the blessing of sacrifice. (We could have gone in early because we had not taken dinner that day, but we decided to work through it!)

I need to close. The Church is true. I love you all!

Elder Cowan

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