The last few weeks were a drag. Our situation was looking so bleak... Besides our few progressing investigators, we had no other investigators or members we were working with. So our days were full of mindless contacting and getting rejected.
Just when I thought I couldn't take much more, it started turning around. The bishop called us up and asked us to come to the church early Saturday morning. We came to see the bishopric, Elders Quorum President, Ward Mission Leader, and Young Men's President there waiting for us. We all split up into groups and visited A LOT of less-active members. I also got some good time talking with the bishop, and I felt like that was a good trust builder for him. After the activity he invited us to come with him to various meetings, including Priesthood Executive Committee, as well as to come over to his house and eat dinner. Just in a couple of hours we had gotten to know five new people, as well as some good referrals.
That night we were invited to attend the Adult Session of Stake Conference. Elder Huang, a newly called Seventy and current Asia Area Seventy, presided at the meeting, and President and Sister Blickenstaff were there too. It was a very different meeting... We played games and there was lots of cheering, very different from the usual meeting held in the chapel. We played one game that represented the importance of priorities in missionary work, as well as the importance of heeding the bishop's counsel. On one side of the gym were the bishop and his two counselors, and four members. A third of the way down the gym were two investigators. An investigator requires two people to take them to the bishop, and they were successfully integrated into the "ward" when they shook hands with the bishop and his counselors. Two-thirds down the gym was a less-active member. They required three people to escort them back to shake hands with the bishopric. At the end of the gym, there were two people who hadn't been to church for over ten years because they were offended by someone in the church. Because they were resistant to the thought of coming back, they required four people to greet them, pick them up, and carry them back to the bishopric. The game was interesting to me because it facilitated a lot of communication and cooperation between the members and the missionaries. It clearly defined the importance of the Bishop as the leader in the conversion, retention, and re-activation efforts. Plus, it was fun to see my companion, Elder Hintze, just pick up a guy all by himself and cradle him across the gym with all of us running along behind. He got a lot of cheers!
Sister Blickenstaff stood up afterwards and talked about the area's goal to have a new temple built, and I was excited to see her implementing the map I had drawn to illustrate the project. A lot of members in our ward recognized the picture and turned to me and asked, "Did you make that!?" Sister Blickenstaff had told me earlier how much she loved the map that we had passed out in a fireside, and that she had saved her copy for future inspiration.
I feel like things are changing. The key is to keep the momentum going. Elder Hintze and I are pushing for some projects to do, and the ward has been really pitching in lately on starting activities. Miracles are on the way!