There's a great story one of my MTC teachers shared that I've found to be extremely applicable to this mission. He related an experience where, in a missionary training, the instructor brought in a beautiful, huge, chocolate cake! He looked at the young Elders and said, "Now, who would like a piece of cake?" Many hands went up and a young Elder in the back was selected. As the missionary stood up and began walking up to the front of the room, the instructor reached down and grabbed (with his bare fist) a piece of cake. Then, he threw it at the Elder! He then looked at the shocked Elder and said, "There you go! You may now have a seat!" The surprised missionary sat back down and the instructor again asked, "Now who would like a piece of cake?" This time, not a single hand went up. Scanning the room, the instructor pointed at another Elder and said, "You! Come up here and have a piece of cake." The Elder stood up, very hesitantly, and began to walk to the front of the room. The instructor then took out a plate, knife, fork, and napkin. He very carefully cut a piece of cake, placed in on the plate with the fork, and gave it to the young Elder.
Sometimes, missionaries have the tendency to throw cake in people's faces, especially on Temple Square! We teach people all day long about the restored gospel, and those we teach, ask a lot of questions. It is so so so easy to just begin "throwing cake in their face." I've found that the best way to reach the hearts of those we meet on Temple Square, is to teach the doctrine and principles very very simply. Learning is always progressive, our investigators do not need to know everything at once-in fact, they shouldn't! You would never stick a 4 year-old into pre-calculus class! Likewise, you would never teach someone, who is just beginning to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, about "deep doctrine's" or things that really aren't going to help them progress toward receiving the ordinances of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, simple enough for even a child to understand. Because it is simple, that is how we should teach.
Earlier this week, after a long busy day, my companion and I went to the Joseph Smith Memorial building to get some ice cream in the vending downstairs. As I was trying to decide which kind to get, I didn't realize that I was biting my nails again. (I'm trying so hard to break that habit, I promise!) But anyways, suddenly this little old man walked up to me and started flicking my hand! Hahaha! He said, "No! Don't do that!" (Referring to me biting my nails.) So I laughed and apologized and mentioned how I've been trying to stop for so long! Then, he got a really serious look on his face and said, "Don't say try! Just do it!" Then he just went and sat down at a table! We turned back to the vending machine to get our things, but the card reader wasn't working. Then we heard the old man say, "Sister Davis!" (as he started to get up out of his seat and walk back over to us) "Give me your daily planner!" He walked up, handed us a couple dollars, took my daily planner, and walked back over to his seat! Hahaha:) We gathered our spoils and then I walked over to say thank you. He handed my daily planner back to me, pointing to something he had written in the front page. It said, "Try is a word of the devil." So now, every time I open my planner, I think of that old man. Haha:)
The next morning when we woke up, our roommate, Sister Brock, was not feeling well. She had been really sick all night long and was to the point where she was in immense pain and couldn't keep anything down. :( We ended up taking her to the emergency room, and she went into surgery that night. She'll be in the hospital for a couple more days and then stay with a family member here in Salt Lake for a couple weeks to recover. We're going back to the hospital today to visit her and see what we can do. We're keeping her in our prayers!
On a more lighter note, we had an extremely awkward experience the other night. For dinner we decided to go to Nielsen's Frozen Custard (I know, I just can't stay away...). When we got there we pulled up to the drive through window and I explained the complicated menu to my companion. After ordering, we pulled forward to wait for our custard. About five minutes later this young man brought us our custard. Now, you know that a conversation is going to end badly when someone starts a sentence with, "Now I know you're not supposed to think about this because you're a missionary...but...." and then he finished the sentence with, "how long to I have to wait to take you on a date?" If you know me, you know that when I feel stress I turn to flowers and ice cream. Since there were no flowers nearby (and I didn't even realize I did this until after the fact but) I immediately looked away and started eating my custard like a crazy women and I was just stuttering and so confused and then my companion in the passengers seat was looking at this kid like he was soo dumb and really...it was just the most awkward thing ever. And what made it more awkward was that he said things like "Oh have you not been out very long? Oh wait, you have a boyfriend don't you? Wait, you don't have a boyfriend?" And it was just SO awkward and finally I said, "We need to pay you." And then he leaned up to the car and said, "Oh, it's ok, I never make missionaries pay." So, at that point we just said, "Oh! Alright, well thanks! Bye!" So yeah, then we drove away and just babbled on about how shocked we were and how awkward it was and yeah....anyways. There's my humorous/awkward story for the week.
Yesterday we had a really neat experience in the South Visitor's Center! A man came walking in and I felt like I should talk to him! So I said hello and asked him where he was from! It turned out he's from London and was in Salt Lake visiting on business for a couple of days! As I asked him about his religious background, he expressed to me that right now he's not really sure what his beliefs are or what there is to believe in. Right after telling me that he said, "Do you have any books or information that I could read up on about your religion?" BAM! We armed him with a Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith pamphlet, a pamphlet about Temples, and a pass along card to mormon.org. We also asked if he'd be interested in keeping in touch to help him learn more and answer questions. He said he was traveling back to London the next day, and then to Africa a week later, but that he would love to keep in touch! Without hesitating he gave us his address and email! Wow! He is so prepared! By the time he walked out the door there was just such a light in his countenance that he didn't have when he first walked in! It was incredible! I love seeing how the gospel can really influence lives for the better, even in just such a short amount of time!
Ok last story for this week, I promise! This morning we were doing our monthly car reports and as we were walking in the underground tunnels we saw Boyd K. Packer! A security guard was pushing him in a wheelchair to the Church Administration Building! He looked up at us, smiled, and gave us a little wave. :) Oh he's just the cutest old man ever!!!!!!:) :) He's pretty old but you can really see the pure love and humility in his eyes. It was such a tender mercy.
Alright well sorry this was so long! There was just so much that went on this week, I wish I could talk about all of it! Anyways, I love you all very very much! Thank you for all of the love and the prayers.
On Sunday I got to announce for Music and the Spoken Word tours! Woo!!!
Sister Wu (from China) and I. She was the sister that I took around when she first visited one night from the MTC. She's so cute!:)
Sister Ichimaru (from Japan), Sister Wu (from China) and I. I just really wish I was Asian and as cool as them haha:)