This past Wednesday we were able to go on a historical tour of Irvine and that was really neat! We saw the school that Edgar Allan Poe went to and we saw some old castles and buildings that were built in the 1500s or earlier. It was crazy! Also that day we tried an authentic Scottish food that is common for the locals to eat. They're called bridies and they're kind of like mince pies except it's ground beef instead of lamb. It's onions and ground beef and a sauce of some sort in a pastry. It was SO good.
We had an interesting experience a few days ago. We were leaving an investigator's house and this lady walking her dog saw us and stopped us. We didn't even say anything before she proceeded to tell us her life story and her experiences with religion. She told us that she had a really good friend who was a member of our church. After talking for about 15 minutes we managed to talk with her a little and Sister Birch asked her why she had stopped us. She thought for a moment and said, "I thought you could answer my questions." We quickly asked her if we could talk with her and help answer her questions but then she told us quickly that she wasn't interested and walked off soon after that. It was kind of sad and all I wanted to do was to be able to talk with her and help her but she wouldn't let us. Learning to accept that other people have agency has been a lesson that I've learned a lot this week. For instance, we had 8 specific people tell us that they were planning on coming to church yesterday. None of them showed up. At first I was really disappointed but then it made me think more about agency and about how Heavenly Father feels when all of us make promises or commitments to Him and then don't keep them. It was pretty humbling for me to think about. I am so grateful that we have the ability to choose and especially choose to follow Jesus Christ. Because that's how we really learn how to trust in Him and that's when our faith grows the most.
Yesterday, all the missionaries in the ward and the ward mission leader gave the lesson the last hour. It was a combined relief society and priesthood class. We talked about how the ward and the missionaries need to work together in order for the work to really progress. It was really neat as we discussed all the many ways that everyone can do missionary work. It made me think about how missionary work was so hard for me to do (or so I thought) before my mission but that it doesn't have to be! Even doing something like inviting someone who is less-active over to your house for games and a spiritual movie can bring that person back to church, but beyond that, help them gain greater friendships with people in the church and just help them feel better. You never know the impact you can have on people by reaching out to someone and being an example of Christ.
Hope ye's are doing well!
Sister Caryn Jackson