elder egbert versus the sponge

that’s me.  i’m a sponge.
friday night, we were planning for the next day, as part of our daily planning session. after planning all of our lessons, (all 1 of them… lol) we planned for our contacting hours. saturday, there was a lot of time for contacting so we wanted to spread out and cover as much of our area as we could. we started up north, in the afternoon we planned on going to centre ville, and then we planned to go to a park later at night.
elder divis piped up.
“you know what you should do?” gahh… sometimes elder divis says the weirdest things, so i was pretty concerned lol.
“you should pray for revelation and then each of you go pick about 5-10 streets on the map.  when me and johnson would do that, we would always have at least one street that was exactly the same. it was pretty cool and we found some cool investigators that way.”
that’s kind of a scary thing to do. to conjure up enough faith to find one specific street in a HUGE area.  buuuuuttt, we decided to take the chance and go for it.
we said our own individual prayers and sat in front of the map for a good 15ish minutes, writing down the names of streets that we felt prompted. i felt really good about a few of them.
we compared, elder hurd read his list to me. and none of his first streets were the same. he kept going, and my hope was dwindling.
he had almost finished his list when “annnnnddd…. rue de constantin”. i looked down at my little post it note and about halfway down the paper was a little
rue de constantin

i could help but smile. that was a pretty cool experience:).
so yeah, when 6 o’clock pm on saturday came around, we grabbed our bags and set off toward the bus stop. while waiting for the bus it began to rain. just lightly, so to be honest, it felt really good. it hadn’t rained once since i had been in france so it brought a smile to my face.
the travel to the rue was about 40 minutes long, because it was way on the edge of the town. and once we stepped off the bus, we realized something.
it was raining. hard.
but ça va, you know what i’m saying?
we started ringing doorbells, talking to people on the street, trying to find who heavenly father was directing us to, all in the pouring rain. there were a few people who rejected us but they were pretty nice about it. nobody seemed to want to hear our message. the whole time i kept saying to myself
“there has to be someone here. there HAS to be someone here…”
we knocked doors for a while, probably an hour or a little more than an hour, in the pouring rain. it was wonderful:). but sadly, nobody wanted to listen to us. we got to the end of the street and came to the last house on the block.
“c’mon, let’s go one more” i said to elder hurd. we walked up to the house and confidently pressed the doorbell. a buzzing sound rang in the distance (because i’m france, you have to ring the doorbell from the street and wait for them to come out. it’s pretty coolish.) we waited for about 20 seconds and then…
nothing.
nothing happened. they didn’t come to the door. the lights were on and everything. discouraged, and soaking wet, we turned and walked back to the bus stop.
why did this happen to us? i was so confused. didn’t heavenly father tell us that we needed to go knock doors at rue de constantin? we both felt good about it… so what happened then?
truth be told, i don’t know what happened. I was expecting to teach someone, or give someone a book of mormon or pray with them or SOMETHING. but sadly, nobody wanted to hear us. so yeah, i don’t have all the answers to why nobody was receptive.
but i do know that we went for a reason. that reason could have been to talk to stephan on the bus or to teach us about diligence and hard work. i don’t know… all i know is that his ways are not my ways so i can’t really complain lol.
earlier in the week, we lost contact with viviane for a few days. she texted us on monday night and told us that she wanted to stop preparing for baptism.
we were shell shocked. viviane was the most golden investigator ever. how could she, of all people, want to not be baptized that suddenly? it wouldn’t have been as bad, but then she wouldn’t answer our calls or texts; she seemed to just drop off the face of the earth. so, we did what any crazy missionaries would do, we went looking for her:).
we didn’t know exactly where she lived, but we knew the general area, so we prayed our little hearts out and got on the tram which would take us to her suburb. i won’t explain a lot, except for our search was unsuccessful. and that we had a run in with a couple muslim dudes. haha we passed right by them, and one of them said, sternly
“témoin jehovah?” that’s the thing… here in france, everyone thinks that we are jehovah’s witnesses. the tj’s made missionary work a lot harder here…
after we explained how we weren’t jehovah’s witnesses, he started asking us questions about Mohammad, about the Quran, about other muslim stuff that i didn’t know about. elder hurd did a good job to answer their questions in a non-in your face kind of way, but i knew they just wanted to argue so i just told them thanks and to have a good day and then sort of pushed elder hurd down the road away from the men. i felt kind of bad until they started laughing at us while we were walking away.
the good thing about that day, was that eventually we found viviane. she finally texted us back and we went to meet her at the park right next to our house, place de la république. she told us some pretty sad stories and said she was kind of disappointed in us because neither of us went and talked to her at church on sunday.
that was like a bullet to the heart.
it crushed me. i can’t believe that i was so thick in believing that viviane didn’t need any more help. man, that was rough. that was officially the first time i almost started crying in public. but we learned our lesson and we are slowly trying to lead her back in the right direction.
wow. that was a lot of words. i’m sorry, i need to find a better way to write emails because I feel like i write wayyy too much hahahaha. so yeah, all of you that are still reading, props to you😘💕👍🏻. (and yes, i have emojis…) here’s a spiritual thought though, just to end my filibuster.
i was reading, this week, a talk by jeffery r holland titled: the laborers in the vineyard. it’s very, very powerful. when i was reading it, i didn’t really expect it to hit me as hard as it did. he says,
There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord.”
the first time i read through that, i thought that he was talking to the people who are not members or who were members but had fallen away. but i am positive that this was directed at everyone.
there is no problem which we cannot overcome. there is no dream which cannot yet be realized. Jesus Christ is begging us to follow him.
“So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.”
don’t delay, everyone. the bridegroom is coming. and he wants YOU at the wedding. let him help you. let him guide you. let him lead you through this life, through this tiny blip in our eternal adventure.
i love you all.
-elder egbert
image1
the view from the apartment in strasbourg
image2
weird mixture of cocoa crispy cereal
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