To my 72 strong family crew,
Today was our preparation day, and from 10:00am-6:00pm we have time to prepare for the week by doing laundry, shopping, cleaning and other things that will make the week more productive. And although we have then only a small 3 hours in the evening to proselyte, tonight was a huge roller coaster of emotions and success. Let me tell you a short story, I will try to tell it without crying, but y'all won't notice that anyways because this is an email. Haha
Faith is the name of a young 12 year old girl whom I met this time last year. She came to church on her own and asked us personally if we could teach her about the gospel. She said she had been baptized when she was 8, but her parents had never taught her about the gospel. We obviously agreed and started teaching her. Because of her parents we were only able to have our lessons out on the doorstep and for several weeks we thoroughly enjoyed meeting with this super awesome, spiritual-minded girl. She was so eager to learn and she kept every commitment with integrity! She just beamed with light each time we saw her and I really looked forward to meeting with her every week. Then we both got transferred and sister missionaries came into the area. Because of the transfer of missionaries, Faith ended up not being taught by missionaries anymore. Then exactly a year later, I was incredibly blessed to come back to this very same area. There are many people to whom my hearts belongs to here in this stake because of the long time I've been blessed to serve with all my heart here. But Faith stuck out in my mind a lot. We went back to her home one day and met her. I couldn't contain my smile when she brightly stepped out into that same front porch that we had taught and testified about our Savior Jesus Christ on. Upon catching up again we started teaching her again and helping her start to come back to church again. Soon we started having lessons in her home with her step-father as well. He is a super nice guy but has come off before as not wanting anything to do with the church. We now for the past month and a half have taught them once a week and have had some super spiritual and good lessons with the two of them. Her step-father even started coming to church! We washed his 67 Mustang with him in preparation for a car show, we wrote them notes and secretly delivered them each week, and we prayed earnestly for these two. We saw many awesome things happen in their lives as eh embraced the gospel. Last night however, we received word from Faith that she left her home to live with her grandparents. There has been far too much conflict and hurt for her in her home between her mother and her, and she couldn't take it anymore so she left to another city. Today I had bought a small model muscle car for her step-father because of his love of cars and wrote a note thanking him for his friendship and love he's shown towards us. So I put it in my backpack and we headed out after dinner to visit him, even though we knew that Faith had left, and that we probably wouldn't see her again. We sat down and we hadn't been there for 2 minutes when her mom stood up and tore a strip off us and proceeded to yell at us, the church, and God for about 45 minutes. She explained how missionaries coming over before had driven her daughters away from the church, and herself included. She told us how much Faith's step-father didn't actually want us to come over. They both wanted to run away from the church and had moved time and time again because members and missionaries came by trying to show their love and concern for them. They didn't want us to come over anymore. She accused us of Faith's damnation, and that we will bring her to hate the church just as they do. My heart broke as every word tore at my love for these people and especially Faith, this beautiful, extremely smart and super strong in the church girl seemingly was taken from our lives forever, when she once used to be such a light and joy to our life. My tears stung on my cheek as they ran down, while we were quietly sitting on their couch being chastised. As we left I quietly and inconspicuously placed his little car I bought and note on the coffee table. I gave him a hug and told him we loved him. And then it started to rain on us. We then went to a man later after that bad experience and we gave this man a blessing. Before the blessing we taught a little lesson. We started to read in Ether 12 about faith and how it proceeds miracles. We shared our testimonies and felt the Spirit so strongly and shared a video that went perfectly with what was shared. We all had tears in our eyes as we then proceeded to place our hands lightly on his head and gave him a priesthood blessing. We had such a contrasting, wonderful experience with him that I'm kinda doing okay. I still really miss Faith and hope I get to see her again and can help her with staying strong in the gospel and being happy. I love you all so much! Have a great week!
Love Elder Patterson
We also got free ice cream at Dicky's bbq and grill. It was awesome! :)