Wednesday, March 27, 2013
So this week has been great and hopefully I'll have time to get a good email. So this week we've found a lot of new people to teach, and set one for baptism. So Monday after dinner we visited 1 less active, a former, and a potential, and got lessons set with all. One former investigator named C is a 50-60ish year old man with a younger family it seems. We will be teaching him for our first time tonight. He's got all sorts of Black art I guess, it's just tons of paintings and stuff of African American people, as well as African, but I don't think he has any recent ancestors from anywhere but the US.
Then we have A, who I tracted into before Christmas, and he said he was interested in hearing a message about Christ, but he's been real flaky and unpromising, til we finally got a lesson set for Saturday(on Monday night). So Saturday (on exchanges with Elder P), we went over for that appointment at 1, and he was just getting home and had possibly forgotten, but left his friend hanging outside and came in and had a lesson. It went great. He's about 50, he's black, from San Francisco, and does some type of work with a utility van. His wife is white, he's got 7 kids, 5 grandkids, and the youngest two kids are 14 and 15 and live with him. I'm not sure how many of his kids are from what marriages or how long he's been married, but it could very well all be one. (It looked like he had family pictures with his current wife and all his kids at a younger age, but I didn't pay enough attention.) He also had a little decoration thing on his table of like a snow globe with a bride and groom, that said "forever" with a ribbon thing. But we taught the first lesson which went great. He has always believed in Christ, was baptized in some church long ago, but has been anti-denominational and doesn't like the overall influence religion has had on the world. But he understood perfectly well why an all loving God would establish a church led by a called prophet, understood how it was lost after the apostles died, why it needed to be restored, and that if he can come to know Joseph Smith was a prophet, it would without a doubt change his life. It was amazing how fast and casually he came to all the right conclusions as we taught, so the lesson was very smooth, short and complete. He also liked and enjoyed the brief purpose of life... to have a body, and how that and the resurrection, returning to live with God, and the importance and value of family made perfect sense. He cut me off early in my baptismal invitation by saying "yes I will", and agreed to prepare for April 20th. He then mentioned he was baptized long ago, and started to ask if that meant anything and all I said was"with the restoration of the gospel, and prophets, came the authority..." and he cut me off nodding because it just made perfect sense, and he had no problems with it. He felt the same way about why the ancient Americans would not have been left by God and knowledge of the atonement, and has a very open and ready mind to read the Book of Mormon and find out if it's true. He knew very little about us, but is a listener, and now knows what he needs to know about us, and is excited to find for himself if its true. I really hope this goes well, and it seems he has a great family we could help get involved. He also said he loves to research, and understands that Satan opposes truth and that we are the best source for answers about anything he finds. He also was excited to ask who the prophet was today and where he could hear from him. It's just so exciting because he seemed so flaky, uncommitted, and to be honest I'm not sure why we were as persistent as we were.
But this week we've also met and got in with a few inactives were excited to teach, one Sister D who nobody knew, and she's an older women from the Philippines that can't go to church because she works at Taco Bell, she hadn't met anyone from the church in the years she's been in this ward, and she wanted us to come in (but we couldn't) but we read some scriptures and talked about the gospel and all at the door, and know we have some good fellow-shippers picked out and a return appointment, and she's also got an inactive daughter we haven't met who lives there.
We also visited another inactive family where an inactive girl married a non member and has 3 kids, and we went happened to talk to the active grandmother who was visiting for the week, and she told us the situation, and came to tears thinking about a home teacher that her daughter had that did so much for her grandkids and got them to all sorts of activities and was real close, then he moved, and the home teachers haven't done much for her daughter or daughters family. But she came to tears thinking about the love and devotion some home teacher she has never met or known anything about, and how he touched her life. It's amazing the power home teachers and all can have, and it is so sad when we meet people who are in such a worse state then they could be if they would have had some solid home teachers.
We met with a bunch of other less actives this week and then saw quite a few at church which is great!
A and A and Z are still doing good, they're an amazing family, but still struggling to see them at church. The H are a Hawaiian family of 9, and 4 were baptized about 8 months ago, (the mom and three youngest, 8,10, and 14) and most of the family goes to church but won't get baptized. We're now teaching some of them, but it kind of switches between with of the other 5 (well four of the other 5) make the lessons and church. It seems they all know they need to but there's a lack of commitment.
We also got a new investigator this week, J. We had a little time to kill so we tracted. We parked the car at a corner, walked up the street and turned right and went to the last house, and then we were going to tract our way back to the car. The very first house (so the farthest from the car but first we knocked), this family let us in and we shared the first lesson. The father is J who is of a Vietnamese family, and about 30, he's really cool, and loves Bible study, he was excited to share what he'd recently studied in Ephesians about the armor of God. He's just a really happy guy and eager to do what's right and delights in righteousness. He has no specific denomination, but has this Jehovah's Witness couple that comes over and studies with him once a week, and he studies on his own though. His wife is Filipino I believe, and they have two young kids. She's going to nursing school and I don't remember what he's studying. But we taught that, he's excited to meet again and read from the Book of Mormon. So we'll see what comes from that. But that's all we had time for before dinner so then we walked all the way back to the car, so that was the one house we've tracted this week. The one we walked an 8th of mile to get to, then just walked all the way back to the car past 30 other houses.
But then Saturday on exchanges we were gonna tract the rest, and we got out of the car, before we knocked any doors, this big guy (40s and kind of fat, but also really buff) approached us, and tried to start a fight with us for 1. having no right to say we know anything because were not 23 so our frontal lobes aren't complete, 2) that were offending people by saying we know what's true 3) that we follow a man, not God, because we can't touch him, which makes us a cult, and host of other things. But I think we kind of embarrassed him, he expected to pick an easy fight on some kids that knew nothing but what our parents told us was right, but we had an answer for every question and our testimonies never lacked, so he got stuck and left on a note of advising us to think more about our approach (because it's offensive to say we know something that others don't, because Christ didn't judge), and that we be careful and stay safe because "800 project 8 housing kids walk through this neighborhood and your gonna get shot for offending them by thinking you know something". He also told me if he was violent he would have hit me in the face for my offense which was having confidence to answer his retaliations with things I know... and remember, he approached us in the first place... But that was fun, lasted 45 minutes, and again we didn't get time to knock on any other doors in that neighborhood.
We also met a guy T in a parking lot, he's a black kid, 24 years old, and was hanging out with a bunch of thugs, and so we talked to them for a bit, which was fun, they were hilarious, but most of them left after 10 minutes to go to a party, but this one T stayed behind and talked to us for almost an hour. He clearly was much smarter, intelligent, and respectable then his friends, and he knew it, and was living the same life, but knows perfectly well it's not doing him any good and he has a potential in life. He talked about some experiences he's had the past couple years, with going to jail for some bank fraud, and some wrong accusations he truly miraculously escaped, and how he's really been able to see God is watching over him, now he just needs to find out what God wants him to do. He really is a good guy, despite the bank fraud. I don't know if you remember me talking about S, the guy that wanted to recover his life a while back with the grill and was a great father? Any ways talking to T, we realized they were friends, and S who is now taught by Elder Park and Campbell because he's singles ward) had told T a lot about the missionaries, the church, and our church services, and so we got an inside scoop from T, about S's excitement over the church and the truth he thinks he's found, and it was clear it meant a lot, and he's given up drinking, and is working on marijuana, and still lives with his girlfriend, but really has his heart set and is working towards these things. S is also a rapper if you look him up. But so that was exciting.
We had a great new member lesson with M and A, taught lesson one with tying in priesthood auxilliaries and missionary work, and that was a particularly great lesson, the spirit was very strong, and M opened up about a lot of extreme opposition from friends and family, and her strengthened testimony of prayer and forgiveness as she has straightened many of these as full offences out by diligently exercising faith, and praying, letting go of pride and all that, and they've also done a load of missionary work for being a member for one month, and also the way her family has been blessed with her relationship wit her son.
But I'm almost out of time, we've had some fun taking pre-mission kids out, and it reminded me of how my eyes were opened when I did that, even if lessons cancel. Missionary work can be a lot of fun.
Another funny story, the other day this neighborhood security guy who has been after the missionaries long time, had quite a bit of drama in the past before getting chastised, talked to us. We were standing in front of a less actives door who wasn't home for the appointment... we were with the Elders Quorum President and a member of the Elders Quorum, when the guy pulled up, rolled down his window, and started making fun of the one guy in the Elders Quorum and how he was way older but looked better. The guy was pretty offended (rightly so, the security pulled up rolled down his window and started dissing) but the Elders Quorum president diffused things and then the security started accusing us and asking us about what we were doing, realized unfortunately we were doing nothing we cant, and then just started making small talk, and about his 5 sons who are LDS. The whole time the one Elders Quorum member was clearly offended and keeping to himself, but then invited the guy to hear about the gospel and have a visit from, us which the man declined, but I could see how that him extending the invitation, released a lot of his anger, and helped him forgive which was cool. The old cocky jerk guy ended up being pretty funny and nice, but still just an old jerk, but any ways that was a funny experience. I've got so much more I'm sure to talk about from this week but hopefully this will suffice for now, and let me know what's up!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Things are going good, the weather is great. This week we had a lot of lessons cancel which was rough but we got to meet with quite a few inactives. This coming week looks great, we have a lot of lessons planned and it looks like we can do a lot. A was baptized Saturday which went great, even though it had a bunch of last minute difficulties. And President Black happened to come, but Bishop Clawson is super clutch and things went great.
We got a new investigator hopefully, a couple in Cimarron ward in their 60s, have a daughter who had a baby and just got married, and her now husband came to church and is real nice, so hopefully we can reactivate her and teach him. He's got a really busy schedule as a truck driver but we've got an appointment for Sunday at 3.
It's crazy how fast time flies, I'm at 8 months today. That's a long time to see the changes in peoples lives and all, especially thinking back to people I first new in my last area. And Mother's Day is coming up which is crazy. I don't even know when it is but it's gotta be sometime. (Nathanael is able to call home on Mother's Day)
It's getting too warm too fast, I'm not excited for summer, heat isn't nearly as enjoyable in pants a shirt and tie and dress shoes without being able to swim. Everyone's got pools too. And no we didn't celebrate St Patrick's Day, but some random older people invited us to lunch with them yesterday, (no mention or hint of Saint Patrick's Day) but they fed us cabbage soup, which was a big bowl of water, with about four small little leaves of cabbage that dissolved when you touched them.
But yeah, so yesterday we did a little family home evening with the S's (an active family) and we brought J and her kids so that went great at she got to meet more people, her kids got to meet some more people, and the S kids had such a great famliy home evening, they're a really cool family. And I think it was great for J as there's not a lot of people in that ward that would click with her I guess as it's a LOT of old people. But B is kind of difficult to teach and Brother S did a great job relating the Holy Ghost to the rat in ninja turtles, it makes me really want to watch them, I really feel deprived... action, dark city scape, goofy but cool reptiles doing ninja things....
Monday, March 11, 2013
So this week has been good of course. We taught a good amount, A is going to be baptized Saturday, and we've got a few loosely set. We got a ton of inactive and part member families referred and contacted last week, so we are excited to be meeting with them shortly.
We got to go to the Zions Youth Symphony, and brought A, M and their fellowshipping family the Bs, but the last concert was way better I swear. Today at Walmart (in my old area) we ran into quite a few people I knew, including C's grandma who works there. She's doing great, she just gave a talk in sacrament meeting which is a huge deal (she was less active for a long time, is older, and has a strong accent) and C is still going to church. So that's exciting; we had found them by going through a random list of all the members in the directory for the Sundance apartment complex, and she hadn't been to church in years just because, and now she's active with her grandson so that feels really cool.
I also recently found out that C was finally able to change up his work schedule, has been fully active, and was able to bless his baby daughter in sacrament meeting which is amazing. It's so cool to see the amazing fruits from visits like those, to random inactive people. Both of them were found by the same Sundance apartment list, and the other lady, Sister T, lived in there and we met with her some, and now she's almost ready to go through the temple for her first time.
But the work is still going well here, recently we had two dinners where teenage kids brought nonmember friends, which is cool even though neither have gone anywhere yet. I don't know if I mentioned A and Z yet, but they are 10 and 8, living with their grandma, but they were being taught a little north of here and just moved to the ward. The grandma is really nice and used to date a member, who gave A her own Book of Mormon with her name on it and a case, and A has been going to church for two years now, and loves to read the Book of Mormon, and her little brother loves it too. They are still attending their old ward, but we've got them coming to our Thursday night activities. We should be able to baptize A and her brother as soon as we get the stuff figured out. They are very attentive and smart. The grandmother works near the strip, and gets home late Saturdays so it's hard for her to get up in time for church, but she takes A and Z when she can. Otherwise they get a ride, which they themselves seek out, and they always wake up their grandma Sunday mornings so she can take them to church The grandma I think knows the church is true, and admitted that she knows she will "fully commit herself sometime".
So that's some of the exciting happenings here, continue to let me know how all you are and I'll try to do better at writing and get an SD card out soon!
Monday, March 4, 2013
So, once again things are going well. A was confirmed on Sunday, things are great and I'll send pictures soon. So M's daughter is set for the 16th and we've got a few we're hoping for soon. There's a Hawaiian family, parents +9 kids, and they've been investigating forever, and almost a year ago the mom and 3 kids were baptized, and things are recently looking good, and hopefully soon we'll set dad and some more of the kids, it's mostly teenage and young adult daughters. They're all on different levels, but dad especially has been active for a while and holds a calling in scouts. Our ward mission leader, Brother C is Hawaiian and is close with them.
Saturday we had a ton of service, the last project was supposed to be 2-3 hours, someone in a family is moving, and they wanted their stuff from the family storage unit...10x10x20 filled to the max, so it took forever with a ton of people, to empty it, and find the few boxes the one family member needed from the back, it was ridiculous and that was 1(the biggest and most packed) of 3 units. So it was digging a huge tunnel in boxes, it was pretty cool. But then at 4 we realize the Uhaul keys were lost, so there was a whole long process of contacting uhaul, traveling to their office for a spare key, and the ward mission leader was our ride, so we were there til 630, and then he took us and picked up KFC and ate at his house because we hadn't had dinner yet.
So things are looking good in our area, and M is slowly but surely progressing. She jokes a lot about her baptism, she knows it's coming. We're going to again teach about it and then set her with a date. We're still working on this inactive list, and we've had some success, and it's really interesting hearing about different less actives feelings and thoughts towards the church and themselves... everyone is so unique...
We met one guy the other day, we were asked to visit, he's older, and his wife who was an active member just died... she was sealed to her husband, then he died, and she had been married to this man, E for 19 years. He's a really good and smart old guy, originally from Norway but his English is great... he really loved her. Apparently though he is extremely well acquainted with the church... and has been taught several times, and really admires and loves the church, so we'll have to figure out what his hold up is soon.
In Cimarron ward there's a group of 3 older people (2 of which were long time inactive, one was baptized 5 years ago and has been active) but they are all taking the temple prep classes so the bishop has asked us to teach them the missionary lessons, as a refresher as well. One of them talks a lot, but it's fine. But yeah that's kind of things here.