So a few weeks ago I was called to be 2nd counselor in the RS. I'm not really trying to make an announcement about it, but I just want to set the scene for the following events. The Sunday after new years day, I guess the presidency thought they would break me in(perhaps the same concept as ripping a band-aid off quickly so there is less pain). They all went out of town, including the secretary, and I was left to go to ward correlation meeting, conduct RS, and teach the lesson all by myself. I was suddenly feeling the great responsibility of the RS in a family ward(my previous RS experience was only in a singles ward, which only offered a glimpse into what the organization entails). However, I was up to the task and I represented as well as I could. Believe you me(I don't even know what that means), teaching a room full of ladies is much easier than facing 35 cynical teenagers 5 times a day teaching high school.
So after the lesson was over and everyone was dismissed, a lady approached the table where I am packing up my things and tells me that she needs to give me her name and phone number. I ask her if she is a new member trying to transfer her records. She says no, she is not a member at all she just found our church and would like to start coming and learning more about it.
Now I don't know how many of you have been missionaries, but this is what we like to call a "golden contact". As most of you know, I served as a missionary in the Canary Islands of Spain and I can count on NO fingers the number people that I saw through to baptism. It was a very difficult mission(right Michelle?) and although I feel that I worked as hard as I could to offer those people every opportunity to accept God's plan, it is very discouraging and oft times heart breaking when people I came to care deeply for did not choose those things that would bring them true peace and happiness.
Then there is Irene. She has a desire to know the truth. She not only desires to know the truth, but she intends to be obedient to that truth once she is sure of it. I have accompanied the Elders twice to her home and have been amazed by what she has taught me. On our first visit, she told us a little bit about how she comes from a reformed Jewish background and doesn't practice a religion currently. She visited Utah twice in the past year, once during Christmas to see the lights on temple square. She purchased herself a giant-sized triple combination and has been reading the book of Mormon furiously the past couple of months. She has marked some of her favorite passages, one of which is Alma 32. She loved how faith can begin as a desire and be planted as a seed in your heart and through study and action she hoped she might have that tree that Alma spoke of one day. She asked amazing questions that may have appeared to have simple surface answers, but showed how deeply she was thinking about everything she was learning and studying. She asked: Does God continue to progress? Are Martin Luther and Joan of Arc considered prophets? How does repenting work? Does God hear your prayers when you are just starting out or do you need to practice? Can you pray for people to help them make it to the Celestial Kingdom?
When we are there teaching her it is like we are just reminding her about everything she already knew before she came to this earth. It has been an amazing experience so far and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be witness to her journey.