Things have been pretty good this week. We haven't taught too many lessons because we've had quite a few meetings. The whole exchanges every night thing is getting better. It's still a little tough trying to balance which appointments are in which wards, but we're getting there. Last night was sure fun. Brother Smyth (Villa de Paz Ward Mission Leader) and I went out and tried to see some potential investigators. We saw a few people and even set up a few return appointments for later in the week. We went to the last house on my list, Brent, and knocked. He's really hard to reach, but we tried anyways. After knocking a second time he opened the door and was about ready to attack me with a cattle prod! He held it over his head and was half way through swinging it when we both kind of screamed a little bit. He apologized and said he was afraid of who was at the door because a few houses down the road was broken into the other night. I apologized, introduced myself and told him we were missionaries. We eventually left after a conversation on the porch, and Brother Smyth just laughed at me on the way back to the church. I was laughing too. I've heard of missionaries getting guns pulled on them, but never a cattle prod. That's certainly a first.
Michele had her baptismal interview this week and she's all set for baptism. It was originally going to be the 26th (tomorrow), but nobody from the ward would be able to make it. Instead, Michele asked if we could do it on Nov 13th, so that way more people from the ward could go, she could tell her friends, and she could read more from the scriptures to better prepare herself. I'm happy for her and she's pretty happy too. We're still seeing her on a regular basis to help her get ready. She's been cleaning her house a lot lately. The furniture is all clean, she's taken out the trash, cleaned the carpet and kicked all the animals outside. I didn't recognize the house the last time I went to see her. I say it a lot but she's really turning her life around.
On Saturday the city of Tolleson (about a mile down the road from our apartment) had a city pride day where youth all contributed to cleaning up the city. Youth from the church, schools, and all over the city got together to paint houses, clean streets and take care of litter. All of the Elders in our district (eight of us) met up there to help too. A couple of the Spanish Elders were there as well. It was funny because we were all in jeans and t-shirts, and a few of the youth in our wards thought it was a little weird not to see us in shirts and ties. The group I was in with Elder Abel and the Spanish Elders painted a house. In our group of about thirty youth/us, we painted a single story house with two coats in about 3 hours. It looked pretty good and we worked hard. I was exhausted by the time it was over. We came back to the apartment, showered and crashed for about an hour before we got back out to work.
We had an interesting experience on Tuesday this week. We were in the apartment cleaning during lunch, and we heard a knock at the door. It was a guy named Jesse, probably late 20's, who I've never met before. He lived in the apartment complex and told us he'd seen us around. He was a member of the church, very innactive, but was having a rough time with life. He was going through a divorce and nothing was really going well with him. He wanted to know how he could come back to church and how to have the Holy Ghost back in his life. We gave him the information for the bishop of the Crystal Gardens ward and he said thank you. We saw him at the service project on saturday, and again in the singles ward yesterday at church. He looked very happy and thanked us for helping him out. It amde me think of a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called "To Acquire Spiritual Guidance." When talking about that guidance of the Spirit in ones life, Elder Scott says:
"Have patience as you are perfecting your ability to be led by the Spirit. By careful practice, through the application of correct principles, and by being sensitive to the feelings that come, you will gain spiritual guidance. I bear witness that the Lord, through the Holy Ghost, can speak to your mind and heart. Sometimes the impressions are just general feelings. Sometimes the direction comes so clearly and so unmistakably that it can be written down like spiritual dictation.
I bear solemn witness that as you pray with all the fervor of your soul with humility and gratitude, you can learn to be consistently guided by the Holy Spirit in all aspects of your life. I have confirmed the truthfulness of that principle in the crucible of my own life. I testify that you can personally learn to master the principles of being guided by the Spirit. That way, the Savior can guide you to resolve challenges of life and enjoy great peace and happiness."
I love how simple it is. Elder David A. Bednar says something along the same lines. If we are being good and keeping the commandments, we'll be ok.
I hope everyone back home is doing well. Things are great in Arizona. Things are even better now that the heat has died off. It's been in the 80's and 70's every day this week, and it's supposed to get cooler. I love it. I miss you all and hope to hear from you soon. Take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner