August 18, 2014

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This was probably the most dramatic week of my mission!!! Mostly yesterday was dramatic so I’ll start there and go backwards.

So we started joining a city prayer circle Wednesday mornings with leaders/pastors/preachers of different Christian congregations and the mayor and some policemen. So this week we were planning a Back-to-School event with a few Christian rock bands and hamburgers and hotdogs. The goal of the prayer circle and events is to unite the area…they talked about how divisive all the denominations are and how ridiculous it is, so they wanted to have an event where we come together for Jesus and all get along, etc., which I thought was really cool and humble of these leaders. I have a lot of respect for so many people in the area but JEEZ LOUISE there is so much immaturity in the way they view/treat people of other denominations. So we talked about this and how the press would be there and that our main purpose was to come together in our faith in Jesus Christ, not promoting any particular doctrine or organizations besides that. The event was yesterday and Sis. Goslewski, Elder Froelich, Elder Udy, and I were there to help out. We were there really early and just talking to the mayor (who is the coolest guy btw) and then one of the religious leaders from the prayer circle (I’ll call him Mr. British Guy) started talking to me and Elder Froelich. We had already been able to tell at the prayer circle that he didn’t like us and looked wayyy down on us so maybe I should have expected him to be antagonistic but hey we were all there for Jesus right? "Do you all know about your church’s history?" he asks in all his British flair. um no I actually don’t know absolutely anything about my church’s history, why don’t you tell me? "I read this book about your church and it’s really quite fascinating.." Awesome, I’d love to hear about my church from someone who has read one book on it, go ahead! And he proceeded to tell me about the Book of Abraham, how it doesn’t match up with the Egyptian characters at all, and how embarrassing that is, and how the Book of Mormon is in the language of the King James Bible, and how silly it is that Isaiah is quoted almost word for word, and how embarrassing it must be that it talks about horses in there and that there is no DNA evidence for Lamanites/Native Americans and how if he had things that embarrassing in his church, he’d take a look at it and wouldn’t be able to go forward, and he asked Sister Godlewski if she believed it because she grew up in the church, and was absolutely so intent on his Mormon-bash rant that he wouldn’t even give me more than 20 seconds of talking at a time before he’d start talking over me with the next thing, "and Joseph Smith had 40 wives and was an alchemist" etc etc etc as if I didn’t know any of that or spend months and months of pain and study over all these types of things. I tried to talk to him about my faith crisis over all this and the different things I’ve learned and experienced, but he was way too rude to let me talk. And because I already had a headache that day and really just wanted to have a fun afternoon with fellow Christians, it really upset me and I went in the car and cried, hahaha. It is just so frustrating that here I am after struggling so long to understand the hard parts of the church, I definitely don’t believe in the Book of Mormon because I grew up Mormon, I really am smart and thinking for myself, but Mr. British Guy thinks I’m an ignorant little kid and I hate that. One of the preachers from another church saw my red eyes and made me tell him what was wrong, I told him about how someone was disrespectful and trying to tear down my faith, and he told me to let it roll off my shoulders and to tell the person I was here for Christ Jesus and I didn’t want to discuss doctrine…..he would probably be surprised to know it was the Catholic priest, one of the head leaders of the event, who made me cry, haha. And the mayor was super nice too, he made me tell him who it was and then told me not to worry about him (I got the feeling Mr. British Guy is kinda like this with the other church leaders). So later as the event was rolling, the priest came up to me and I think it was an apology but I’m not so sure…."You’re a wonderful girl"…thanks…"and we all need to find faith our own way"….yep…."and I’ll pray for you and your search for truth" and he proceeds to pray for me RIGHT THERE. uh thanks, I gotta go cook some hamburgers now though… It was just out of control. You could destroy any religion by spouting off all the weird/bad/misunderstood things about it, I wish he could recognize that about his own church and at least be a little more humble, if not polite. Oh well I forgive.

You got kitties without me!!!!!

That’s cool Jerry and Danielle got to road trip to Idaho!! I miss you two and you should send pictures of Liana and baby precious Desmond. How long are Tobin and Trista in Idaho for? You two should email pictures and stories too!!

We found a family that is just so nice and humble. It’s hard because the mom only speaks Spanish, so we’re going back with Brother Santiago, but our two visits have been uplifting and good. She has 3 daughters and 1 son, maybe there are more family members but that’s all we’ve met.

We’re teaching a guy named Ricky who has had the Book of Mormon for years and he has been reading it a lot more recently but really loves it. I’m excited to talk to him and answer his questions because he has good ones. The difference between a good question and a bad question is the difference between Ricky and Mr. British guy…Ricky wants to learn and Mr. British guy doesn’t give a person 20 seconds to talk. They have some of the same questions but the conversations are totally different.

We had a baptism on Saturday!! The Bradney family had all been baptized/reactivated except 17-year-old Katrina because she wanted more time to decide. Elder Froelich baptized her. She is so cool. We visit that family almost every day because the support is really important for them right now.

I’m grateful for the Book of Mormon and how awesome it is to help us understand the atonement. I’m grateful for the experience the Bradneys had on Saturday at Katrina’s baptism. It was special for them all. Dawn (the mom) bore her testimony and it was so sweet and sincere. I’m grateful to be here!

Oh gotta go! I didn’t get through all the stories but oh well. I am so sorry for anyone I still need to write to or reply to!!! I’ll try to find time in the next few weeks! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Love you all!

– Sister Victoria Hale

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