I'd say "diligence" would describe this last week. We've made sure to work very hard every single day, even if we haven't had success. I take comfort from Preach My Gospel, which assures me that No Effort Is Wasted.
Attitude is just so important. Some missionaries are not fond of knocking on doors. I can't say that I love it, since I know that there are more effective ways of finding people to teach, but I can have fun out of it, and it is very fulfilling for me. It's a win-win situation: if nobody answers the door, you move on to the next one. If they are not interested, you move on to the next one. If they are interested, then you get to teach them. Where's the con here?
It's even more fun if your companion and yourself make little games every now and then, like having to work a certain word into a door contact. Elder Christensen, my District Leader, suggested "apostolic interregnum."
Monday night a member of our ward, Brother Ritter, called us up to ask our help in moving a washing machine. The game plan was that we needed to take his old washing machine -- one of those old, big, heavy ones -- located on the second floor, move it downstairs and out the front door to the garage, and then take his new one from the shed in his backyard through the front door and put it upstairs. Brother Ritter is 67 and Elder Shumway is a pencil, so I knew who was going to have to do the bulk of the work here. Thankfully, I was strengthened by the Lord and somehow managed to haul both laundry machines down and up the stairs. It was a wonderful experience, and I had a great time.
Saturday night found us in a snowstorm five miles from our bikes, late in the evening with no appointments and very low probability of teaching a lesson, due to the weather. It was a situation where we'd probably have been very justified in just staying home and working about the apartment. But, of course, I'm a trainer, and I felt that I needed to set a good example for Elder Shumway. I want him to be a diligent missionary -- to be better than I am at everything, in fact -- so while I probably would have sat indoors under other circumstances, that night I decided to get up and keep working, braving the snow and the weather. We didn't get in any doors that night, and the going was slow since we didn't have our bikes, but the Lord knew that we were trying to be diligent, and I know that He will remember us.
Sadly, the snow scared the members here, and Church was canceled. I was very put-out. It's crazy how much you look forward to Church when you spend your entire week talking to people about the Gospel.
This was an important week for me. I remembered a lot of important things that I'd sort of forgotten:
1) We are here to invite people to come unto Christ. We are not here to prove that the Book of Mormon is true, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet, or that President Monson is a prophet. We are the Lord's representatives and we are here to teach people about Him. Everything else will naturally follow if they gain a testimony of Him.
2) As missionaries, we must respect people's agency. We will constantly invite, we will constantly teach and exhort, but we must respect people's agency. Too often we are in such a hurry -- since we might be transferred at any moment -- that we end up pushing people. This is not the Lord's way. He does not force the Atonement upon us any more than He forced us to follow Heavenly Father's plan and come to earth.
3) Lightning bolts during a snow-storm look really cool.
Well, I love you all so very much. I am safe, I am sound, I love getting letters. I know that the Savior lives, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I love my companion, I love my area, I love my Mission President, I love my mission!