Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy year mark to me! Wild, right? The day of my year mark was one of the worst, most hard, most testimony building experiences probably ever on my entire mission so far. (So mom, I really know that the spirit prompted you to pray a little harder for me. Thanks for being in tune.:)) Oh, and it'll probably take up this whole email. Ready?
We are teaching J. She is soooo cute. She's 28 and single and attends a Pentecostal Church called 'Harvest Time' (creepy title...) anyway. She's been meeting with us, and is also trying out many many different churches. She's on the 'I want to find truth for myself' journey. And she's making some good progress!
Well, J told us she has a lot of questions about certain topics between our church and her Pentecostal church. She told us she was meeting with her pastor and would like for us to join her to talk about a few things.
EEK. But... we agreed to it. Thursday evening we followed her to the church. We walked in the door, and immediately I felt something different, something... off. I didn't feel like I was walking into a church, I felt like I was walking into a very worldly place. Like a mall, or a Jr. High. (And may I remind you... this is the first church I've ever been in besides the LDS church. LOL. ..ehhh.. besides the cathedrals on HT 2 summers ago... but I count that as art more than anything.)
The church smelled like coffee. There was a food stand. There was an auditorium with a band playing. Every thing about it so far was gross gross gross. We head to Pastor K's office, and J stops us before we enter and says:
"Oh, I should probably warn you... I didn't tell him you were coming... oops!"
AHHHHHH J!!!!! I already had a feeling he'd be ticked. But then again, everyone is 'Minnesota nice' here, right?
Pastor K was about 6'5. Had NO light in his eyes. And was immediately rude. Right off the bat.
We sat down and started talking and OH MY HECK. His posture on the couch was just disgusting. His arms were both out on his couch and his legs were sprawled out and... he was basically 'star fishing' (a move my companions and I make on the floor after a long day of working) anyway, according to a friend we told this story to a couple days later, she mentioned that that is an 'authoritative position' someone who thinks they have a lot of power. Which just disgusts me even more.
J started off by saying, 'Ok... I just had a few questions about the differences between these two churches; lets start with this question: Why do you guys have water for communion rather than wine like we do?'
Pastor K answered for himself first. Then for US. UGH! Instead of going on and on I'll just give you the juicy parts.
*He would never let us say our part.
*Wherever we could squeeze something in, he'd cut in and put in he 2 cents.
*Whenever we bore (or tried to) testimony, he'd mock it, LAUGH, and tell us our testimonies were wrong. In front of our face. That, to me, was the worst part.
Mom and dad, I don't know if you remember this, but it brought me back to that moment I had with you a little over a year ago about a week before I headed out, I had a complete melt-down/anxiety attack freaking out about leaving because 'I wasn't ready.' I wasn't a scriptorian and didn't have the confidence in myself to be a missionary. You both looked at me and said something that has honestly kept me going for this entire year: "You have a testimony and that is all you need."
Then a week later, I had my last inter with President Jones and he asked me what I'd be sharing with the people of Minnesota, and I named off a thousand things, and he said: "Yes, those are all right, but I think you're forgetting one of the most important things: You're going to share your testimony."
So, I think that that is why this whole experience hurt me the most, because I was trying to tell him what I believe with all my heart, and he took what I said and destroyed it.
One of the things we talked about was how we learn truth through the Holy Ghost and faith and that the Holy Ghost is also called 'The Comforter' so he testifies of truth through our feelings and by us doing our part through faith. He 100% disagreed with that.
I asked: "Pastor , how do you know what you know is true?"
"I just... know! If it leads me back to the Bible, it's true."
He'd compare the 'good feeling' of the Holy Ghost to a basketball game.
"You're confusing an adrenaline rush to the peace and comfort of the Spirit."
he said: "You just can't trust your feelings!"
Finally I asked J how she came to know what she knew was true. She shared two very beautiful personal experiences of how she came to know something was true because she FELT it. She got really emotional as she shared these stories, and then Pastor K replied:
"Aw! That is amazing, and so true! I can definitely relate."
So after an hour of being disrespected, hurt, annoyed, and the lump inside my throat about ready to cry, I prayed HARD for charity and biting my tongue I told him we appreciated him letting us into his office tonight and what he did was great and that it was nice to meet him. His response: "Yeah, my door is always open. I just REALLY wish you shared the truth. You missionaries have so much zeal, and I admire that, but you think that that will buy your way to salvation by doing that, and it won't."
Man, I just really at that moment felt like scum. The spirit was gone.  I was frustrated. J felt really bad afterwards but thanked us for coming. The moment we got in the car, I broke down... it was just really hard for me. We headed to the Bible study that we were late to, and I cannot tell you the absolute peace and comfort I had when we walked into our church. The elders were teaching when we walked in there, and one of the elders said something as he was bearing testimony and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. It was perfect. Later, my 'Eau Claire parents' came and chatted with us, and we felt SOOOOO much better after that. I know know know with everything inside me that Christ's church is RESTORED. It's here in Eau Claire and people pass by it a thousand times a day not knowing that the truths and Priesthood and keys are all BACK! Even though my testimony was really hurt and hit on May 15th, it is even stronger than ever.
I'm sorry this is forever long, but an ending to this crazy tale: J was just flat out confused about everything even more after having us and Pastor K talk together.. Her family and friends are trying to anti her and are telling her not to get 'involved with the Mormons'. She told us she prayed and prayed very hard to know if she should go to her church, her moms church, her friends church, or our church. The answer was clear to come with us! So she came yesterday. And she was even taking notes. She told us she received answers to her prayers. YESSSS. Heavenly Father is wonderful. I'm so so so joyful to be a member of this TRUE church!
I love and adore every one of you's.
<3 Sister Beeson

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