Dear Friends and Family,
I am once again thrilled to have a quick moment to write you all.
My first two weeks with my new companion have been awesome. We are in the middle of busily riding our bikes all over the city meeting with family members to help them write up mission plans for themselevs as part of a big missionary movement our Bishop would like to see come to pass.
I feel like a horse, I just pedal all day and due to my lack of cooking skills I eat oatmeal with berries and apples ALL DAY.... I have vowed that when I return to college I will take a cooking class because I really eat like I am in a famine.
It is a bit frustrating because every P-Day I come and open up your e-mails and have to quickly put them in a Microsoft Word document so I can print them and read them later so I cant really respond to your questions in e-mail but none the less I read them and I love to hear about your lives.
I have fallen in love with my area. I want to labor here my whole mission which I know is not a possibility. I have been doing my best to "win my ward members", I feel it is going well. I spoke in Sacrament on Sunday and I have never felt so inspired by the Holy Ghost on the Stand. I spoke on "Looking Outward each Day". This subject really became to dear to me as I thought what it meant during the week. I had just got done with a really insightful study in which I was reading about Christ answering a "certain lawyer" trying to tempt his knowledge, upon which He delivers the "Parable of the Good Samaritan", SO POWERFUL. The Lawyer asks the question "Who Is My Nieghbor?" and I am so glad he asked. The bottom line of what Christ said is that even your enemy is your neighbor and you should love him. This is so hard. Putting away your own ambition for the needs of others and a love of God, thats the challenge of life.
I got done with my studies feeling so light and ready to lose myself that day and as I began to make my oatmeal and apples my buddy Elder Rangel asked me if I would make him some breakfast, at the very moment I had just sat down in my chair and was ready to devour! I let out a little rumble and hesitated, "Futsac" I thought ,("That is Prince Family Slang for "Frick!")and then, honestly, a sadness came over me. Here I am proclaiming to follow Christ learning about loving my enemies and I wont make my brother some oatmeal. It really hit me how far I have to go but being conscious of it is the first step. Needless to say Elder Rangel got some oatmeal that morning. I tell you what it is the small things that are teaching me so much.
I did get to read a little opening of Dad's e-mail to me this week, in short what I read was "Dude... relax.. breathe.." haha I love it. Well to my family and friends and particularly to you Dad, just know that I am a pretty serious guy but I do stop to laugh some times like this little story.
I met a homeless women a few days ago and as I was telling her about the gospel I asked if she would mind if I asked her a personal question, she said she didnt mind. I asked what she felt lead her to a homeless life, "Thats easy" she said "Gambling". "Ok" I said , "so what do you believe could truly change your life for the better?". Expecting her to go within and perhaps give me something deep, "If I won the lottery". Oh Boy. I thought of imitating Dr. Evil saying "You just dont get it do you? You dont." I just shook my head. It was funny but it was sad at the same time.
I wish you all could see my area. There is so many boarded/abanded buildings and homes, half of this city is just decaying. It has the strangest energy. This city has the Nations best Hospital Care and yet the health of the city is horrible. I expected hard times in proclaiming the Gospel but the challenges are so different than I thought. The hardest thing is what goes on in your own mind, thats the first step it to quiet you natural man and rely upon the sprit, but the challenge I face with the people of east Cleveland is illiteracy. It's hard to tell them what a dispensation is when the don't understand the basic alphabet. My heart really does hurt for these people. I truly grow to love the ones I meet.
One of the sections we study from in Preach My Gospel is called "Teaching People Not Lessons" this section has become Holy Writ to me because that is the only way to get through to 90 % of the people I teach. I try to just be genuine and not afraid to say the wrong thing but focus on coming from the heart and loving as I believe the Savior would. At times I feel that I am not a really "by the book" missionary when it comes to my teaching. Proclaiming is something that is a bit new to me, I have always leaned towards the thought that people will be better taught when you listen to them instead of have a rote agenda. The spirit guides, that is my belief.
I tracted into some asian exchange students this week and invited tem to church, their was two of them initially and they showed up on sunday to church with two other friends. I taught them about our beliefs and how the sacrament was conducted, they were so interested and stayed all three hours. I love moments like that. In one of my first letters I wrote of a man that I met at a gas station that showed up at church, well that same man was evicted from his home and I lost contact with him. Still, through the weeks I prayed for him and sure enough he showed up to church yesterday and I got his new address!
We have a handful of investigators and I have alot of faith in them. We are teaching a woman who lives across the street from us named Rose. She is a black woman in her 50's and a mother of 4. She is afraid to leave her home because of the stress she feels, she apparently has been assaulted on the streets several times and now fears going anywhere without her boyfriend. We finally got her meet us around the corner at a coffee shop and she said she asked God if we were supposed to be teaching her and she said that the reason she is meeting with us is because she got her answer! I am pretty excited to keep helping her.
I have to go but I want you all to know that your words mean so much and that. I love you and keep you in my prayers. Listen to your hearts and reach high! Hope you have a great week!
Love Elder Prince