Happy Thanksgiving!! This past week was a pretty average week with some ups and downs. It seriously feels like I was sitting at this computer writing you yesterday -- time has flown by so fast.
This week we have been working a lot on trying to get members to come teaching with us so that our investigators can have members to fellowship them. It is a lot better when a member invites them to come to church for a number of reasons, one being that they are Hispanic and can relate/communicate with them a little better. It is really great to have them in lessons because almost all of them are converts and can share experiences on how they came to know that the Book of Mormon is true, and especially how they were able to overcome certain cultural beliefs. One huge thing in their culture is praying to and essentially worshiping various religious icons. Many of the members can share experiences on how they were able to overcome their habits of worshiping these things. We were able to get a couple of families to come and teach with us, which isn't ideal but it sure is an improvement since our ward has never really been missionary-oriented.
Another great thing that happened this week was that Elder Biddle and I found eight new investigators, which is really good. Right now we have a lot of investigators but Elder Biddle and I can only consider them "progressing" if they are going to church because that is about the hardest thing for us to get people to do. A lot of people will read and pray and even say that they will come to church but when Sunday comes around, we only have two or three that are actually there. I am hoping that as we strive for more member-present lessons, that number will rise.
We have a couple of investigators that aren't completely grasping the importance of our message (reading the Book of Mormon) no matter how hard we try to make it clear. I say the Book of Mormon because it is really the only way that they can come to know that this church is true. These types of investigators just see two white guys who are super nice, struggling to speak their language, and talking about Jesus (whom everybody loves) so they invite us in to preach to them. I say that because every time we ask them a question they say "Uh... no se hermano, qiero que hablen ustedes," which basically means, I have no idea I just want you guys to talk. We will literally feed them the answers but its like it goes in one ear and out the other, or they are just too embarrassed to get it wrong, though that's definitely not the case for everyone.
I had a really cool experience last night with a woman named Brenda, who we taught for the first time. After we explained the importance of the BOM she asked, with a sincere look of amazement and desire on her face, "Puedo recibir respuestas de mis preguntas mediante leer este libro??" (I can receive answers to my questions by reading this book?) We promised her that she could if she read it with faith and prayed with a sincere heart, real intent and having faith in Christ. She was so excited that she started reading in Nephi I as we left. I am excited to see the result of her willingness to know the truth and her faith in the Lord.
I continue to feel the help of the Lord in my ability to speak Spanish even though some days are still worse than others. I pray for the gift of tongues, and for me to become a more charming person so people like me more. [This is the first time in his life that Elder Kinney has ever used the word "charming"!] I can already see that it is working a little bit but it would help if I could be a bit more conversational in Spanish. I am continuing to learn a ton everyday. I am studying the book "Jesus the Christ" everyday so I can learn more about the life of Jesus to be able to teach certain principles of the gospel. It was great to write you guys again. Happy Thanksgiving!!!