Missionary work can be a pretty funny thing. Since the beginning of the year we've been tracking how many people we invite to hear the Gospel. It is usually a little less than the 10 a day Elder Ballard asked us to do. Last week we invited 148 people, and didn't find a single new investigator. At the same time, we found two lost sheep, found a former boxer for the English elders to teach, were invited immediately in by a Salvadoran sister who we'll teach this week, we got a bunch of free tacos, and well, we invited 148 of God's children to come closer to Him, so it's a pretty good way to be. It's funny because, in the end, it really only takes one door. We can't ever really be discouraged, because the next person we talk to soon might be the newest, strongest member of the ward.
Our ward is pretty fun, Raul received the priesthood yesterday. Two separate families that lived in our area sporadically decided to reactivate themselves after months and months, and weeks after we stopped inviting them. They arrived just in time to hear Obispo Jacob speak in church about "the anatomy of an offense." We've an semi-investigator who loves church, just doesn't feel like it's worth his time to let us teach him anymore.
After two months in the van, we pieced my bike back together and went out to preach on Saturday. It was a lot of fun, one guy pushing his Fiesta-mart groceries home asked us who Jesus' abuelo's name was. We asked him what he thought our purpose in life is. Amazingly, he didn't really care to know. Talking to another man about God, he enthusiastically told us to look up the 7-pointed piñatas that apparently represent some 7 capital sins. Another was captivated by Jesus life between ages 12 and 30. It's amazing what distracts people sometimes from finding what really matters. One man let us in immediately, told us he was a less- active member and told us we had ten minutes only to talk to him. Helaman 14:30-31 and Alma 34:31 came to mind. He's just another of so many people who let borders, jobs, and money ruin their family and their faith. It's amazing how many people have had previous contact with the church. I contacted a lady in the laundry-mat last Monday who ended up just being a shy new member of the ward. This week doing laundry this man once was really sick and the elders visited him and his family many times. Several people we ask already have the Book of Mormon. Another lady knew and loved the Ramirez family from our ward. You really just don't know any of it until you talk to them.
So, the 40 day fast. It's going a lot harder than I thought it would. It's about 99% mental work, 1% physical with about 500% spiritual blessing. It is depressing and just about impossible to memorize a list of things you do wrong and fix them all instantly. So now I've got my list of things drawing away from the Spirit categorized, I have plans to search the scriptures and PMG for help and answers, and I'm getting accountability from my companion. Prayer is essential. Just like you always taught me about "decide now not to drink, because in the moment it is too late to decide." The same is true about one of our biggest addictions: our problem with punctuality. That is something I never heard from any RM or conference story is how hard it is to be on time when you have back-to-back hour long appointments with travel time, members coming with, people loving to hear from you, people who don't want to pray, people with doubts, and the worst: want they offer you amazing Mexican food when you're on your way out the door. We're working on it.
I know God loves us and has a plan for us. It's awesome to know and even better to share. I love Moroni's invitation, it is the same as ours: "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." Moroni 10