The work here is super different from my past areas because here not everyone knows who we are. In Valley City, everyone knew (or thought they knew) who the Mormons were, and on the reservation, pretty much everyone is or has a family member you is a member of the church, so they all love and respect the Church. When Elder Samplina (did I tell you about him? The Elder that got hit by a car the day before we arrived in Poplar?) got hit, everyone in town knew withing minutes (they all have police scanners in their house so they all know everything that is happening around town) that he had been hit and they were furious! The guy who hit him was despised by many after that. The gangs out there make sure that no one messes with "The Jesus Crew" haha! But, out here, we're just a bunch of young adults wearing name tags and suits walking around talking to people. Most of them are very nice to us too, so that's good!
This week was one adventure after another! We cleaned out a guys chicken coup (he has about 25 chickens, and he hasn't been home for 3 months, so you can imagine how much there was. There was in the worst places about 6 inches of nasty, and in the not so bad places only about 1, maybe 2. But since it was below freezing, it all came up in chunks, which was nice.
I had 2 exchanges this week! The first was with Elder Griffith on the other side of Bismarck. He is a funny guy! We had a blast, and for the first time in a long time, I went tracting (for those of you who don't know what that is, tracting is knocking doors). Almost no one answered the door, but we got a good laugh out of one guy (Meaning we laughed really hard, not him.... he wasn't too thrilled). While we are at the door, I've got the window in plain sight but can't see in, so I am doing everything I can to not make it look like I'm looking in, cause that's just rude. But, I couldn't help but look when the blinds, which were completely open, closed suddenly. then, soon after they closed, they re-opened. Then closed again. So, we chuckle to ourselves, wondering what this guy is thinking, then we knock again, since he just tactfully gave away his position. A little later, he comes to the door with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, steps outside with us, and we asked him how he was doing. He doesn't say a word, but proceeded to remove a cigarette from the pack and light it. Once he had fumbled for a bit trying to get it out and lit, I thought he was going to blow it in my face, but he didn't. He just said "You've got 3 seconds to get off my porch." We graciously complied, and told him to have a great day! Honestly, he seemed like a nice guy. The reason I say that is because he plays a really terrible mean one.
The second was with Elder Gates, who, if Benedict Cumberbatch were a Tim Burton character, he would look just like him. I went to Dickinson (we crossed the time change, so I was all out of wack haha) and we taught some awesome people there!
This week I learned a very valuable lesson and I want you all to take it and burn it into your memories, never to be removed. First, The Atonement is real, and it is for all. Not just some, not just most, it is for all. Jesus Christ didn't suffer for those that He decided He wanted to save. It was for every single person who ever has been and ever will be on this earth. That means that no matter what you have done, if you truly ask for forgiveness and forsake your sins, you will find peace that can't be found in any other way. Second thing you must understand is that there is an adversary. He wants you to be miserable like he is. He will do anything he can to make you be miserable. He knows what to do to get you to go the way he wants you to because he has been doing this for countless years and he has it down to a science. One of his tools is to convince you that the Atonement is not for you, that it won't help you, or that it didn't exist. Never believe this lie of all lies. If you feel there is nothing that can help you through a trial, turn to the One who knows all things! He didn't feel everything you felt so that He could say "Quit wining! It's not that bad! I felt it too, you know!" He did it so that He can comfort you perfectly to your needs. What a great gift. Remember that. Utilize that. The only way to true and lasting happiness is through Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, your Brother and friend. I wish I could just tell you all the things going on in my head, but I can't, so I hope this made sense.
I love you all dearly!