Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Monday, October 15
So again I have had a great week. So Monday we went to a huge bowling alley attatched to a Casino for our Pday activity, so that was fun. There is money there, we saw a few lambos just as we were walking in the parking lot. Unfortunately I was kind of sick again for a little like Monday - Wednesday so that's not fun. I am still meeting lots of very neat and interesting people, especially having Elder G's area too. We had dinner one night with a man in the ward, who is one of the most loving, spiritual, charitable people I have ever met. His name is Brother L, he takes a lot of time visiting and teaching people. Another really cool person I have met is Brother B. He is owns a pizza shop. It's a nice pizza place, and he feeds all missionaries as often as they come by for free. It is a super cool place. (he gives all our own $20 pizza for free, it's CRAZY). This is the 4th Pizza shop he has owned, and kind of does it for fun now, each of his previous 3 he sold. He does a TON of missionary work there, like when people are sitting down eating he sits with them and talks, and usually bears his testimony, invites to church and has given missionary lessons several times. He's a really nice and spiritual guy. There's a lot of needy people he knows really well, and helps out a ton. Often he lets these strangers spend a few nights at his house or gives them a job and stuff. He's also very blunt, and confronts people about things like drug use and their struggles. He goes to the temple a few times a week, and has a lot of very interesting experiences he has told us about.
But so this week I have also had a few good street contacting successes. It's so weird, I have had 3 good ones my whole mission, and for all of them for whatever reason it is always at a time when I'm outside the car, my companion is in, so I'm alone. One was a 20 some year old guy that had just moved into our apartment complex from another state, and he had a marketing teacher who he really respected who was Mormon, so we talked for a bit and he asked for our number.
Then on Saturday, I met a guy from Fairfax, VA. We talked for a bit about the church, and he talked about the Mormons he knew and the respect he had for us. So it was neat, I kind of got to bear my testimony of how the Lord blesses us, kind of confirming the things he admired about us and all, so we talked about 10 minutes, he tried to give me 5 bucks and then I challenged him to take the lessons and so he took our number and stuff. For both of these my companion was in the car, and both people lived out of our ward boundaries which is a bummer.
Then I think Monday night we didn't have a dinner so we called Brother Y, and he told us to come by, and took us to the neighborhood country club. It was nice. We were following him and his huge group of friends in his Escalade, we were in our mini van, and he drives like 85 on this busy 40. It's funny, he's so like distanced from the world and everything around him. I bet he had no idea. He's pretty neat. It's so cool, and all the people that work there treat him like he owns the place, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. When we were there we were talking to his wife about the neighborhood and stuff, and asked if it was true Nicholas Cage used to live in there. It took some prying by Elder G, but so they lived in one house, sold it to Nicholas Cage, while they moved to this house next door, so they sold Nicholas Cage a house, lived next door to him, and then Cage couldn't afford it and left. He always says how much he loves spending time with us. Oh and he left with his party to see the debate at 6 and left Elder G and me there, so we had like this country club to ourselves.
But so that night we taught one of our investigators who is making a lot of progress. Oh so the other night we had HUGE storms, with hail and stuff (really the storms were short and no wind and not that bad compared to VA) but Vegas terrain and all is awful so it runs down the mountains and all the way down the hill to the strip, and we got caught in this on the way home, with bad flooding. We saw several cars stuck in the water, and drove through many areas with very fast running water about 3 feet deep at some points. The roads there are so nice too! When we got home our front license plates case broke and the plate bent and flipped up so only the two top screws were in and it bent so you could only see the back and it stuck straight up. That was a lot of fun, and man I miss storms. But now there's rocks and gravel all over the streets. Our zone leaders just got their car out of the shop, and yesterday was the first day we didn't have steam coming from our hood when we drive.
So we went on splits the other day and I was with Elder M from Nashville. I like him a lot and it was pretty fun. In the AM we did this donation drive, because Saturday AM all these gated neighborhoods left their gates open for like an annual yard sale thing. The church building had DI (like Goodwill) trailers and we had this letter from their ward mission leader, with details and the guy with a trucks number, so that people could have all their left overs picked up if they were big and had the info about receipts and all. Four sets of missionaries did about 20 homes each, so it was pretty successful I think. Of our 20, lots were really excited and thankful, and we had one guy start throwing a fit from afar as we were coming screaming "NO SOLICITING IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD" and stuff, it was weird, he was all like panicky and stuff. I don't know what his deal was, probably that he didn't have a single customer at his place, and everyone else had like 20. Poor guy, maybe next time. So in Elder Gs area we got two referrals that worked out ok, one is in older lady who said she was going to go to church, didn't, and then left 3 voice mail on Elder G's phone late last night, saying something about how she got dragged out of her apartment and thrown in jail over a false accusation and is already back home. No idea what's going on there.
The other one, a woman named A, didn't have time for a lesson on Saturday, accepted a Book of Mormon, came to church with her son and sat with us Sunday, and set up a lesson for 6 that night. (she only came to sacrament because she had work 11- 5) So we came for the lesson, she had begun the Book of Mormon and loved church. Golden Investigator. We asked why she was interested in the church and went on and on about how she was raised Catholic, thought nothing made sense and everyone was hypocritical, she saw how happy the Mormons were and how straight their priorities and all were, and how family oriented and serving they are, while also being very faithful Christians, with religion that made sense. It was like a 5-10 minute testimony of exactly what God's most valuable gifts are, and that she knew it was time for her to find out for herself. The lesson went perfect, she understood and loved everything, and was very spiritual, excited, and committed. It was ridiculous how true and correct SO many things she said were. I wish I had time for it all. We mentioned prayer to open the lesson, and she kind of jumped in, said she felt confident enough to "start" and went at it. She was sitting and talking, not eyes closed or anything and didn't open or close as we do, but said the middle content of one of the most spiritual, heartfelt, prayers I had ever heard. All the things she was thankful for, and the things she wanted. And then afterwards, we described prayer a little more and she loved it. It was so cool, and she had never been taught to pray any way other than the memorized ones she learned at Catholic school. She was SO prepared. And she knew very little about our church from the beginning, like just observing people she knew were members so it was a really cool experience. She had a beautiful nice home, in a modest apartment, and is the single mother of a 16 year old girl and a 2 year old son. She works two jobs to take care of them, and the kids are really good kids. The son was as happy and obedient as any two year old, and the 16 year old was very quiet, but nice, like all she said was like do you want me to get you some water, and took our cups and stuff but she was really interested in the lesson. Any ways, that was by far my best teaching experience, because it was all new to her, but she was still accepting, but also understanding and understood things on a little deeper level.
We also gave Art his baptismal interview yesterday and his baptism was announced in Sacrament meeting. Saturday at 10 am. Stake conference though so confirmation is the next week. He also somehow got his wife to come to church yesterday, and she had no idea he was getting baptized til it was announced in Sacrament! She is also leaving for some time on Tuesday so she won't make it. I saw them standing in the foyer, and Art and her looked very happy, Art may have been glowing. And it was so neat because that may be the first time I have ever seen Art genuinely smile. He is very particular, serious, and private. He's got a distinct personality. He's loving, but he may have scared me as a child. But I think great things can come from this and really hope they do.
Another really cool experience I had was the other day on splits. Elder M really missed his last area where he had 16 baptisms, so he was excited to go back to his old Zone, which was mine, and I made a long list of less actives to visit in Pirate's Cove. It was night and dark. As we are driving, list made, I felt really inspired to go visit someone in Sundance instead, which was fine because it's the other complex where I played basketball once. We knock on the door, and wait and it seems no one's home. Elder M started to walk away after a while, so to stall I dropped and started to tie my shoes. I did that for a bit, still no answer, so I started to walk away. As we are about 15 feet from his door, it opens, and he says "COME IN!". We sit and start talking to him, he is the one baptized 2 years ago, came here from Africa a year before that, and works a job that is weekend only so he can't make church. And he spends lots of his weekday free time volunteering at the DI. His wife is a nonmember from Chicago who I haven't met yet. We talked and laughed for a while, and then he got a lot more serious. He said that prayer and scripture study is getting hard for him and asked if it is because the Spirit isn't as strong because he hasn't been able to make church in forever. We talked for quite some time, and he talked about how when he came here the missionaries were his only friends, who he loved a ton, but how he only got baptized when he knew it was ALL true. The church has still been a big part of his life even though he can't make meetings.. Like he had recorded conference, and had pretty recently bought a big tree of life painting. But he had no idea of who his home teachers were or anything, and had little contact with ANY members for a long time. He felt really bad that he most likely wouldn't be able to be the one to bless his daughter who he is expecting in December, and he was really sad. He was really scared of how recently prayer wasn't AS important to him, and when he read the scriptures he tended to get distracted, and didn't find the same love and joy as he did when he was able to attend Sacrament meeting every Sunday. So now we are going to visit him every week to talk, and read the scriptures together, and hopefully talk to his wife, because he really wants to be sealed to her, but with life, getting her baptized hasn't been his top priority which he feels bad about. It was an amazing visit, and he is real cool too. I am so excited to help him. Every night we send him and K scripture reference texts now.
Sunday night we had a little preach my gospel class at J's home. He is headed to Brazil on his mission in February, and does a lot of our missionary work now. Another guy J also comes to these, I think I mentioned him, he is 19. A few weeks ago while we were doing this, he began his mission papers, and is preparing now. He was only baptized 10 months ago. Our lesson there was a lot of fun and really spiritual, and J is getting really excited to be able to serve. He's a really fun kid.
Anyways, I wish I had time for more about these people but I have to go soon. I'll try to do better writing, and I think money is a good gift. I've got a list of things I want, but I have little time, and it is just easier for me to pick them up. Please keep writing, I really do appreciate it.
Love, Elder Pyron