-this week has been WAY hard. You both know that we have been working hard and trying to find investigators. Specifically we have been looking for a family of 7 to baptize in the month of October. We drew a picture of "our family" and taped it to our door, and we have been praying everyday that we will find them.
We knew that this week was pretty much the last week we could find our family, and still be able to baptize them in October because they have to come to church at least twice before they can get baptized. Anyway, we decided it was "do or die" this week. We decided that we were going to do literally everything we could to find them. So, we decided to sacrifice talking/singing/thinking about wordly things (no movies, no worldy songs,etc). We decided we were going to talk in Spanish everyday. We even started calling former investigators while we were driving in the car so that no time was wasted. We were exactly obedient to all the rules of the mission.
On Friday, we have what's called "Find a Family at Five Friday". That is when the entire mission spends one hour knocking doors from 5:00-6:00 in an effort to find a family. We decided that Friday would be the day to find our family. All morning we thought about a specific prayer that we could say that would help us to find our family. We decided to pray that we would find our family of 7 during the hour, they would all be home, the mom would answer the door, they would invite us in, and that they would agree to say a kneeling prayer with us. We were so excited. We started off the hour strong, only knocking on doors we felt impressed to knock on, talking to everyone we met in the street, and being super excited. 5:30 came and went. 5:40. By that point we were feeling a little desperate, so we LITERALLY ran from door to door. We knocked on all the doors with latin lights, suburbans, mini vans, and Santa Maria statues, but to no avail. Eventually 6:00 came and went, but we didn't stop. We stayed positive. Finally, at 7:45 (almost 3 hours later) we decided to call it quits. We had invited a couple of people to church, but we hadn't been able to teach anyone the Restoration. We were super disappointed. I was so tired, my feet hurt, my head hurt, and my voice even hurt from talking to so many people. We did not know why God had not answered our prayer when we felt like we were doing literally everything we could to qualify for his help.
Well, yesterday we had church. We didn't have any investigators there, and so all hopes of a random family showing up were gone. We came home after church and we just cried for a little while, but then we made cookies for our neighbors, and I felt better after that, but we still couldn't understand why we hadn't even been able to find one person to teach when we had worked SO HARD this week. Not only that, but we haven't had any solid progressing investigators for the last 10 weeks. We know that no effort is wasted, and we are planting seeds, but we really want to baptize someone. Especially because all of the missionaries around us are baptizing in the month of October. We have fasted and prayed, our families have fasted and prayed. We just couldn't understand it.
Last night we called to account with our District Leader on the phone. We expressed to him how we were feeling, and after thinking for a while he told us to ask ourselves the difference between these two questions: "how much must I pay?" and "what can I give?" At that moment I realized that my mindset has been all wrong. I know that the Lord promises to bless us when we obey him, but the mission is not about sacrificing enough that the Lord feels obligated to bless us. It is about asking ourselves what we can give to the Lord because He has already given us so much.
We really don't earn anything, because no matter what we do we would still be unprofitable servants. In the end, we find more happiness by asking what we can give because as Christ promised "he that loses his life for my sake shall find it." I have really been working hard since the very beginning to give my heart and mind to the Lord, but it was a great reminder for me to continually ask "what I can give?" rather than "what must I pay?". Even though I'm still feeling sad that we won't be able to baptize anyone in October, I feel like I have learned more about humility in the last 2 weeks than I ever have in my whole life. The chance to see how people live here makes me really grateful for everything that I have. I really am grateful for the chance I have to be serving a mission, and even though knocking doors for 4 hours a day isn't always fun, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.