We've heard tell that the first 18 year old missionaries are coming in April, and transfers will begin occuring in 9 week periods instead of 6. Apparently the group is going to be huge, and the following group in June is going to be even bigger. It just so happens that many missionaries will be going home around that time, so all the leftover missionaries (including me) will be training. President Hawks said that basically everyone in the mission will be training by this June. I'm going to feel like a veteran with all the new people. It'll be cool to take part in such a huge transition. Guess I better mature up one of these days.
Elder Farnsworth and I have had a lot of faith exercising this week. With several people being baptized and the others being dropped from investigation due to either a lack or unwillingness to progress, we're getting back to that time where we really need to start finding some new people to teach. When we planned for Friday and Saturday's events respectively, Elder Farnsworth felt like we needed to find 4 investigators, saying that we were going to find a family. The mission has been very focused on finding families to teach ever since President Hawks has come in. There's a list of goals that every missionary is required to read every day that we all call "the Faith paper." It includes a process of prayer and mental work that President Hawks wants us to utilize to increase our faith and "draw on the powers of Heaven."
Well, Friday and Saturday we came home with 0 new investigators. As we planned for Sunday, Elder Farnsworth said we should go finding for 3 hours after church and find a family. He asked me how many investigators I thought we could get. In my mind, I thought maybe one. But I didn't want to be faithless. So I pulled out the Faith paper and read the sentence, "Exercise the mental work necessary to really believe it will happen and pray for the gift of faith to make it happen. (D&C 90:24; Matthew 21:22)." Then I said, "let's find three." Elder Farnsworth said, "We're going to find a family." I said, "OK."
So we got on our knees, and we begged Heavenly Father to find a family. I told God that if we didn't find a family in that 3 hours, we'd keep finding until we did. In my personal prayer that night, I felt a lot of mental pressure. It was really like it says in Ether 12:6, about how miracles don't happen until the trial of your faith. My faith was being tested a lot, and there were plenty negative influences telling me "it's not that you're being faithless, you're just being impractical. People have agency. You can't just make that happen." It was one of most powerful prayers I may have ever offered to God, literally begging for the miracle and the faith to make it happen.
The next day we searched. We only talked to families. Surprisingly, there were many of them out together that Sunday afternoon, and as I talked to one family another would pass by, and I could only hope and pray Elder Farnsworth would catch them. By the end of the three hours, we were empty handed save one phone number that could potentially be a family in the future and a second run-in with one we'd met a couple months ago, who seemed they might have interest. Elder Farnsworth said, "You told God in your prayer last night that we'd keep finding, I think He's testing us." I said, "Yeah, I thought of that." We kept finding. My legs wanted to fall out beneath me because we also happened to be fasting, but I was praying every moment I wasn't talking to somebody that my attitude would stay believing and hopeful and that we'd find a family.
Then the moment came. I sat down with a woman and her child and began talking about eternal families. She told me how she was usually very busy, but was interested in coming to our activities. Then her husband walked over with a 12-pack of beer, greeting us by saying, "I love Jesus." I don't think he was drunk. Surprisingly, he liked us. So we taught them about eternal families and how to pray. We got their number and their address. We rescheduled them. They became new investigators. God answered our prayer. We found a family.
They aren't in our area.
I think God is still laughing, and I know Elder Farnsworth did all the way home, exhausted and hungry and our faith increased a thousandfold in a way we didn't exactly expect. But the miracle came. The one thing I wish anyone might understand from this story is that one should never be afraid to be very specific in their petition to Heavenly Father. He really does answer our prayers. The truth of it is, if you really expect to increase your faith, you really have to work for it. It's not that Satan wished at that moment to drag me down to his state of misery, because he knows that he can't do that. But what he can and will keep trying to do is stop me from becoming better, from exercising that much more faith and becoming that much more convinced that I can, through the help of the Spirit, find and change more people. To break away from our comfortable spheres and shape a new and greater one is always where we face the greatest trials of our faith, and if we endure, I witness that God really does bless His children with miracles.