I've been in Indianapolis almost a month now, living on the south side since August 21st. It feels like I've been here for a while which I suppose means that the transition into missionary life has been a smooth one. I arrived in Indy at the cusp of transition from a summer schedule to a fall schedule, so all the missionaries here are undergoing changes which has made it easier to jump right in. Various people in the household have been out of town the last month, so we haven't had a whole "normal" week yet. Despite this, there have been many chances to start doing missionary work. It's been really cool to see the fruit of the mission work done the past year/summer when meeting our friends in the neighborhood whose lives look a lot different now that we are in them. It has been common this last month for south siders to share how the Holy Spirit is changing them. The Lord's mercy and grace in people's lives is delightful to see.
A fun thing that happened the other day was running into an 8 year old girl while doing mission work on Union. Shania was walking down the street with us when we ran into two other girls playing in their fenced in yard. She made a face at them which clearly showed she wasn't very pleased to see them, and I asked her why she didn't say hi to them. She said those girls curse at her and she "could never say hi to them." I told Shania that Jesus told us to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you. She pointed to Claire and said, "that's what she just told me." I got out my New Testament, I had been reading Luke 6 in mission prayer earlier that day: "Bless those who curse you, and pray for those tho spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other also ... But if you love those who love you, what credit is it to you? For even sinners love those who love them..."
Her nose cringed up, particularly around the "offer the other also." "I can't do that" she said as she looked up at me. "But this is what Jesus tells us to do" I said. "Well I love Jesus." She decided to try to be nice to her "enemies". She exchanged a few words with the girls which was better than ignoring them as she had done previously. As we were leaving the house 20 minutes later, the little girls called out to Shania as she walked down the sidewalk with us "Shyanne (they couldn't seem to get her name right), come over here." I looked at her, "can you be nice to them, here's your chance?" "I'll try..." she replied. I think Shania learned something, and I saw in her a real regard for and desire to do what Jesus teaches in the gospel. Next time I see her I'll ask her how turning the other cheek is going.
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