To my loving fans,
We spent a lot of time this week finding due to the fact that we had to pass off a couple of our investigators to other missionaries. We had several interesting experiences. That is to be expected when you are tracting here in Manassas. For example, we were let into houses on back to back nights so that people could "bible bash" with us. Saturday night the guy let us into his house and the first thing he said to us was "Here is what is wrong with the Mormon church." He then proceeded to rip into us for a while. He got pretty animated and passionate about it. I saw that it wasn't going to go anywhere, so I changed to topic of conversation. He had mentioned that he was a high school football coach, so I mentioned how we both played football. We talked for a few minutes about football and he began to soften up a little bit. At the end he asked a little bit about our missionary service and we ended up leaving on a much more positive note!
Last night was even more strange... We were tracting (on Super Bowl Sunday) and we were let in by a group of 6-7 African-American males in their late 20's. Right away they pulled out their bibles and started to "teach us". They then spent a long amount of time proving to us that Jesus was black and that black people are the real children of Israel and the chosen people. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my entire mission... It was a great example of why we need the Book of Mormon and Prophets. People can interpret the Bible in just about any way they want and have it mean anything they want it to.
On the better side of things, we have started teaching two former investigators this week. They were both taught in the fall of 2014 and we felt inspired to visit them. The first guy’s name is Jeff and he is an alcoholic and smokes a lot. He was very passionate (to the point of using a sailors vocabulary) about how much he wants to change. He said he feels like he has no purpose and feels empty inside. It will be a lot of work to help him overcome his addictions, but he has a very strong desire and that is huge.
The other one is a 77 year old man named Larry. He is Methodist, but for 20+ years was a member of the RLDS church because of his wife. He has met with the missionaries on and off for about a year. This time something is different with him. He told us the reason he never went anywhere with the missionaries in the past was because he wasn't willing to do anything. For some reason he is ready to change now. He told us he doesn't want to die living how he is right now because he wants to keep progressing. This new realization has caused him to want to act on our invitations and give a real effort to finding the truth. He set goals for himself to read, pray, and come to church. He will also be pondering and praying about when he should be baptized!
To go along with the events just mentioned, we also had many people slam the door in our faces. Several of them were because "we are watching the super bowl!" (haha). One guy told us to come back the next day, so we did. When he answered his door this time he pretended that he never met us or told us to come back then slammed the door. We had several of those head scratching moments this week. I just don't understand people sometimes. We just shrug it off, laugh a bit, and move on. If you get offended easily in missionary work then you are going to have a rough time!
Have a spectacular week!
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission