I'm almost approaching 4 months in Banff (and with Elder Mercado). Next Tuesday, I find out what's happening so we'll see where the Lord needs me. Challenging week for Banff. Satan is doing everything he can to stop the work from progressing not only with our investigators but with ourselves as well.
Dan has been blowing us off these past 2 weeks ever since we met. He says we can come over and say hi but we stop by and he won't answer the door. His roommate Kyle (member) went to Ukraine for 2 months on Tuesday so the support system is no longer there. We're not giving up on him but we are moving on and finding new investigators. Word of Wisdom (specifically, cigarettes, alcohol and coffee) must be bothering him right now and there may be some guilt that he's feeling right now.
Antoine's date dropped as well because he didn't attend church this morning. Bro Mcouatt (BML) stopped by and Antoine was too tired to go. Perhaps the Lord is telling us as missionaries that we need to stress the importance of Sabbath day even more. He is still open and receptive to the lessons. Elder Nielsen and a member (teaches French at the high school) were on splits and taught Antoine about the Atonement. They emphasized the importance of putting off the natural man. They were also able to committ him to live the word of wisdom for a week. He's trying to substitute hot chocolate for coffee and is showing desire to keep that commandment. He is reading the Book of Mormon and is asking us lots of questions about it! He has been praying and feels like he hasn't received an answer yet. We talked about how we need to pray with "real intent" and "faith in Christ". It's obvious he is praying with a sincere heart but he needs to exercise his faith in Christ that if he does recevie an answer, he is willing to act on it. We'll be setting a date for him this week.
We met with Lorne on Friday. We were concerned that he felt too pressured from the invitations to be baptized. Last Sunday, Tiffany called us, she said she told Lorne that the missionaries were giving him a break. He asked, " Why? I miss the spirit with those guys." So naturally, she scheduled a dinner with us and him on Friday. We talked afterwards and Lorne has been having some trials with work, exhaustion, stress and everything else. We had a lesson planned on forgiveness but as Lorne talked about scriptures and prayer, we threw the lesson plan out the window and went to the basics of the gospel. We found out he hasn't been praying about anything we've been talking about and committed him to pray about the Book of Mormon. We watched the "Choose this day" message by President Eyring and afterwards Lorne laughed, "I get it." There will be no progression with him until he decides to do those small and simple things. Tiffany has been dating and living with him for the past year. He probably knows more about the church than I do. It just goes to show that action is what really shows our faith in the Lord.
Well, this isn't probably news you want to hear but tension has been building in our companionship especially on Wednesday night with Elder Mercado and Elder Nielsen. After the lesson, they got into an argument and I told them that neither of them were to talk until we got home. When we got home, I took both of them into seperate rooms and got them to vent and get their anger out. I told them that they needed to make compromises with each other: Elder Mercado needed to control his anger more and Elder Nielsen needs to calm down his critiscms. We had a solid comp inventory and hopefully everything continues to work out. We have really made improvements in our proselyting. Elder Mercado thought it would be a good idea to walk the side streets more than the main ones and sure enough we gave out more copies of BOM and bore our testimonies more often. The Lord is here and can cast Satan out of this area only if we are willing to humble ourselves.
This past Zone Conference was amazing. We heard a talk from Elder Holland given to mission presidents about the Atonement. I`ll never forget what he said. He said a lot of missionaries struggle with the trials of a mission. If we are doing the work of the Lord, have an added measure of the spirit with us, have angels watching over us, then why is the work so hard... He said because the road to salvation is not a cheap experience! If we are truly disciples of the Lord, we have to experience a small measure of what he went through in Gethsemane. Welcome to the journey of discipleship.
I want to leave you with my testimony that anything we go through has been met and encountered in Gethsemane. It has already been challenged and conquered by the Holy One of Israel. God will not give us what we can`t handle. With faith and pereserverance, we can develop that relationship with the one who triumphed over death. He loves us and has given us tools in this life to bring us to him. As a representativie of Jesus Christ, do not take the Book of Mormon lightly. I would not be out here getting rejected, laughed at and mocked by the world if I didn`t know of the power it can bring to us in our lives. It is true and if you want to have this knowledge, you must do as Moroni says in chapter 10, ``Receive these things`` and then ask God. I know that by doing that, you can know that Jesus is the Savior and has prophets leading and guiding his church today.
P.s. The San Juan family was at sacrament meeting on Sunday and are doing missionary work. Talk about the elect!