Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week 40: New Investigators and the First Native Bosnian Missionary

Hello once again, friends and family. This week was one filled with a lot of contacting, and the weather's been getting pretty hot recently (nothing absurd, though).

Last Monday we had a lesson at a little cafe with a dad-age Muslim. Despite being at a cafe, it was a pretty good lesson. We usually try to avoid restaurants and cafes for lessons, even though that's where all these people insist on meeting, because they're usually loud and distracting and the waiter interrupts at least once, but this one wasn't very busy at the time, so it worked out fine. During the rest of the day we did the typical P-day stuff like email, and go to a museum. Later in the day we had another lesson, but this guy was a former-christian. He knew his Bible pretty darn well, and apparently used to be involved with a church, but isn't anymore. He ended up steering the conversation through the topics of truth, chakras, rainbows, octaves, and the Bosnian Pyramids. That was a fun one. Then it started raining pretty hard and we got ditched for a different lesson.

On Tuesday we briefly stopped by the work place of a potential investigator, and gave her a copy of The Book of Mormon. She said she wasn't really interested in talking about religion, but I think it's always worth giving them a copy of The Book of Mormon. We got ditched for a lesson, then went to visit a member that's been a bit sick. On the way back from that visit, the city's electric trams stopped working, so it took us a bit longer to get back than normal. We did make it back in time for ECG, though.

On Wednesday throughout the day we actually saw 3 of the ECG regulars around town. One of them actually walked right into the church while we were doing studies, so we got to "practice" teaching the plan of salvation to him. Through the course of the day we knocked on 107 doors. Our district meeting with the sisters ended up being at McDonald's. Elder King and I got to meet the Newtons' kids and have lunch with them, and that was pretty great. Also, while contacting we started talking to people on benches more. I don't know why we hadn't ever done it before though, since they're pretty much sitting ducks. They're a lot less likely to run away from us because they "don't have time". Anyway, there was one lady we talked to on a bench where Elder King showed her a picture of his family, and the whole thing went really well.

Thursday was another big contacting day. We contacted over 100 people, and actually got a solid 5 new investigators. One of the last people we talked to was a poorer guy that lives out of town, but comes into the city to try and provide for his family. Really hard working guy. We set up to meet with him "in two days, at this very spot" and he said sure. We got his phone number, but couldn't check if it worked. To be continued.

On Friday we had a lesson with our main investigator (he's been around for a while now) and we talked about faith, read Alma 32 together, and talked about the Word of Wisdom. That one is pretty hard for people around here, since everyone drinks coffee at the corner cafes, and almost everyone smokes too. A bit later in the day, we were waiting in front of BBI in the main square to meet up for a lesson, and this older guy comes over and starts talking with us. We sit down with him, and we start talking about religion, why The Book of Mormon is important alongside the Bible, etc. It was going pretty darn well for a good while, until he gradually started trying to "Bible Bash" (have a scripture-quoting battle) and convince us we were wrong. I also gradually realized that his beliefs lined up with the Jehovah's Witness beliefs pretty darn well. Turns out he definitely was a JW. At the end we of course offered him a copy of The Book of Mormon, or our card, and he said no. I guess he wasn't interested. After that we did some more contacting, went up some hills, got ditched for return appointments, and tried to follow some questionable directions to some house somewhere and couldn't find it. Just an average missionary day. Though, somewhat near the end, we went back to that spot where we said we'd meet the guy "in two days", and he showed up! So, we had a lesson with him in the park. He's really humble, and already believes in God and Christ even though he hasn't had the opportunity to read the Bible yet. He'd already done some reading in The Book of Mormon that we'd given him. At the end, we invited him to be baptized, and said yes, so that was pretty darn cool. Honestly, I felt like I was in South America for that lesson, but then again I haven't ever been to South America, so I wouldn't actually know.

On Saturday we got ditched for some lessons, cleaned the church, and then had a really short lesson with a very loud and easily-distracted young man. Since it was raining, I did a lot of phone calls while Elder King worked on preparing his talk for church.

Yesterday, Sunday, it was raining. That means that no one came to church except to the really consistent members. It was definitely good, though. Church is always good. I got to translate on the spot at one point, and that was really fun. I discovered that I definitely don't know the way Bosnians say "left-overs" for food, so I ended up just saying "the remaining foods." Translating is a really interesting thing. After church we got some information from our branch president about the members that I haven't met yet, and a bit later went out to visit a member (who I had already met) that happens to be the mother of the first missionary to serve from Bosnia. He's getting home in just over a week, and she's immensely excited, and honestly so are we. We hear that he's absolutely awesome. For the rest of the day we did planning and some calls.

This week's homework is to read Alma 42. It talks a lot about the plan of salvation and stuff. See if you can learn anything new that you can apply to yourself.

That's all for now, folks. Have a great week!

Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

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