So lets see . . . we'll start with the crazy Jamaican man.:)Last week, we were heading to some apartments to find a former Spanish investigator, and as we were in the parking lot, we came across this big guy and this tall skinny Jamaican man with long dreadlocks surrounded by kids as they drew permanent marker designs on their car. We stopped to talk with them and Jay, the Jamaican man, told us that "we didn't want to hear what he had to say about religion, especially Mormons." And then he got into this intense discussion (expect he was the only one talking) about incarnation and a bunch of REALLY crazy stuff. Sis. Chris was getting frustrated and started arguing a tiny bit, which is something you just can't do as a missionary. She was smart and knew she was getting mad, so she turned in the middle of a sentene to go talk to another lady close by, leaving me in the jaws of angry Jay. :) He turned on me, and I just stood there smiling as he said that we weren't there to help people, we were there to brainwash and preach something that we actually knew nothing about. But finally he calmed down, I said, "Jay, I honestly don't understand very much of what you said, but I do know that you are a child of God and He loves you alot." He looked up from drawing on his car and for the first time a trace of gentleness came onto his face and he said, "Okay, well now I want to hear what you have to say." We talked for a few minutes, and he wanted to meet and "talk religion" but I knew it wouldn't be a good use of time since he really has no interest. Anyways, by the time we left the parking lot, Jay and I were like best friends and he went on and on about feeling my "pure love" in the air around him. Haha, there are some crazy people in the world, and somehow as missionaries we manage to find ALL of them. We are like magnets for crazy people. But it makes for awesome stories and many good laughs.
On a more serious note, Steve is doing wonderfully! He stopped smoking on Saturday, and we've been trying to keep daily contact to help him through this super rough week. He is still going stong, despite the cravings and the headaches and just says, "Jesus is helping me. He won't let me fail." Seriously, he's so amazing, he blows me away. On Monday morning we went on a walk with him as we read General Conference talks from the Ensign, and we were led to the cemetary where we just walked around quietly enjoying the peace and the beautiful flowers that were everywhere in honor of Memorial Day. We came across an old woman trimming the grass away from two graves, and as we greeted her, she stood up, caught a look at our black name tags and said, almost in a whisper, "Oh . . . . I see who you are. I am one of your faith." Then she just started to cry, and after a moment of silence, Sis. Chris just went up and gave her a big hug. It was wierd how we all understood each other and loved each other right away without having even said anything.
I looked at the graves and noticed that one was a man who had died about 15 years ago and the other was a little boy with the same last name who had died at the age of 9. This sweet old woman was in the cemetary on Memorial Day, trimming the grave sites of her husband and little boy, and the missionaries just happened to walk along. We talked with her for awhile and then invited her to read a Conference talk with us that we had been about to read. She was more than happy to, and we all sat down in the grass to read President Monson's talk from general conference, and what do you know. The talk was all about the Plan of Salvation. It was one of the most sublime moments of my life as I got to sit there in beautiful Spokane with my dear companions, our faith-filled investigator Steve, and this dear woman reading the words of a prophet of God about the divine plan of happiness that a loving Heavenly Father has for each one of us. Being a missionary is the best thing in the world!
We get to receive that kind of divine guidance all the time, where to walk, what to do, what to say. Little miracles like this make me wonder how much more we could accomplish if we were always listening to the whipserings of the Holy Ghost. I believe that Heaven is so much closer than we sometimes realize, if we just take a pause to listen and look around us.
Heavenly Father loves you and will answer your prayers!