Nathanael Pyron

Nathanael Pyron

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29

Dear Family,                                                                                                        
     So today we did get to go to the temple, and unfortunately I might not have a lot of time for email today. 
     So last week on Monday night we met with J.  He’s about 50 and from Chile, been in US for like 15 years I believe.  He’s been a member for about 5 years.  He’s got some problems that make him semi-active.  He has schizophrenia, and has all sorts of theories on what it "really is” about some Russian x-ray testing thing from satellites and Bill Clinton and stuff.  He knows the voices aren’t really there and he does his best to ignore them, but he believes it’s not schizophrenia; it’s the satellite x-ray warfare experiments.  But they really give him a hard time even though he knows perfectly well to give them no thought, they just are solely negative and scare him and make him feel awful about himself. He’s found the only way to combat them at all is service.  So tons of families in the ward have him do yard work for them, because he’s an extremely humble hard worker that loves to do it.  For a couple of days out of a month he usually gets really bad headaches that make it impossible for him to hold a job.  He is provided with enough to rent a room from a member, and the families always feed him dinner. He’s not always at church but he tries.  He really has a strong testimony of the love and support of the good people of the LDS church, and cries when he talks about them and all they do, so we dropped by to visit with him Monday night, I didn’t know him that well. We talked and got to know him, shared a message, and he really loved it.  We’re going to swing by and meet with him like once a week in evenings probably.  He texted a few members after our visit telling how awesome it was, so that’s exciting to see the difference we can make. 
     Tuesday and Sunday we met with G.  He was a referral we got from a member we tracted into, that had brought him to church once, and to a Gladys Knight thing a couple of years ago.  He’s a 72 year old black man from southeast Georgia and then a long time in New Jersey.  He’s really neat.  He’s got a nice home where you can feel the spirit.  We haven’t met his wife yet. He’s been Pentecostal his whole life but is interested and likes to talk.  He apparently was really strong and went to New Jersey a little after high school to pursue a boxing career.  He said he started that type of training too late but still knew several professional fighters pretty well.  He worked moving cargo at I believe the Newark Airport and loves talking about how he could lift 100 pounds over his head with one hand easy.  Then when we has in his 40s (still doing that easily), there was a bag of luggage well overweight someone snuck on, and thinking it to be about 50 he scooped it up, and it was actually over 200, and he broke his back in two places but the x-ray didn’t show it so he kept working for another 20 some years, just as strong, even though his back bothered him. Then just 3 years ago they realized it was broken in two places, and there’s a surgery they were going to do that they never do on people that old but then they saw how great shape he was in and did it, and so he was kind of in a brace for almost two years but has it off and is walking and everything again.  He’s always saying how bad he wishes he could lift, but the doctors only let him do so much but he does have a bench in his backyard he still uses.  But because he couldn’t walk for a while, he had a bunch of unworn new shoes, and he gave me a pair of Rockports, that are super comfortable and conservative enough, and they’re like brand new, so they’re working out great.  But we’ve taught the first lesson and he definitely felt the Spirit strong but was kind of uncomfortable by what its telling him and the significance it all has, so that should go good.  He read some from the Ensign and is going to read from the Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately his wife’s not interested which is a big deal.  She’s not against but just doesn’t care.  The lesson part goes quick, he kind of likes to move fast and talk about what he wants, but he asks a few gospel questions that didn’t really have to do with the lesson but he’d been wondering about for a while, and he listens enough to understand the message of the restoration, but I guess isn’t comfortable enough to embrace that he wants it and all.  So  hopefully that all goes well.
     Wednesday night we had a lesson with P, the daughter of a member in our ward.  She’s recently gone through a divorce, and then her new fiancĂ©’s death and been kind of depressed.  She’s a very good woman and has always been Christian and pretty active but denominations never appealed because she didn’t always agree with things, for instance she’s always believed Christ to be the Son of God literally.  So the lesson went great, she loved it, and is really excited to learn more, and just solid, but she lives in Henderson and will be getting the rest there. 
     S- I probably mentioned is now getting taught in Green Valley (other mission), but is going to church there and still progressing!
     Sunday we taught J, she attended church by her home in her rightful ward, alone.  At the appointment we taught the 3rd lesson and remaining commandments.  She’s done good with coffee and tea and all, and is sticking with it, and agreed to pay tithing.  She cried about having to leave this ward though, she knows it’s right and it’ll be fine, but said change is hard.  She’s going to be baptized there in a couple of weeks, (only because her fellowship family is going out of town for a bit), so we’ll probably go to that.  She even talked about teaching Primary, how great a way that would be to review things.  She also mentioned how all of her friends have had awful things to say about the church, especially about racism, and showed her some anti websites, and she shared those experiences, and how she prayed and they just don’t bother her because she knows what’s right.  She knows the church isn’t racist, so she doesn’t care to know if or why they ever may have been, it just doesn’t matter to her.  So it’s unfortunate we won’t get to teach her any more. 
     Yesterday after doing some service we were called to come see an inactive lady from another stake, staying in a rehab center in our area.  She wants to receive the lessons, and a member from her ward was going down to visit, and wanted us to come to be introduced, so we ran down there (in our P-days from service.)  We beat the member there to the room so we got to talk to the lady for a bit.  Her name is M, she’s really old and frail, and really funny/sassy, I guess.  We talked to her for a little, until the member arrived, and then told us we had to be wearing a mask and gloves and apron, but we shared a spiritual thought and set a return time.  So that was kinda neat, the lady was baptized in ‘96 in Alaska, is/was an alcoholic, and doesn’t know a whole lot about the gospel, and I guess her bishop’s plan is for her to be basically prepared to go through the temple when she gets out of rehab.  I’m not sure why she’s there but has been either for 6 weeks or since January, we heard two different things, but basically she’s been off coffee and stuff for a while, has loved Relief Society visits and stuff so is really prepared in that sense, and now is going to receive all the lessons.  So that’s pretty neat.
     And so that’s about what’s been going on here.
     I still love studying the scriptures and writing, it’s amazing how much there is to learn.  Elder R is doing good, learning.  Every morning he reads a Book of Mormon chapter, and then we review it hard,  then he has this journal we dedicated to the Book of Mormon, where I lead him, and I break each chapter down based on what happens every x amount of verses, and he records his little study guide outline according in this journal.  So we’re on 1 Nephi 9. It’s something he’s excited about, so it’s moving, and he retains some.
     Hope to hear from you all, love you, hopefully I’ll send the SD card soon.

     Love, Elder Pyron

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 20

Dear Family,
      So this week has been pretty good.  We’ve got transfers tonight, but I and the entire district are staying where we are.  So I’m excited, I’ve already spent the majority of my mission here in Cimarron Ward.  I got here early December I believe, a lot different than living in 3 different places your first 3 transfers.  Now I’ll have been kept put for 5, who knows maybe 6.  It’ll be weird for the new mission president doing transfers his first time.  But anyways, this week has gone well.  
     T wasn’t able to make our appointment Monday night, but E was and we taught the third lesson.  She understood pretty well and had actually read the first 12 chapters of Nephi.  She enjoys learning about it and all, and doesn’t have or see a problem with any of it, but just doesn’t have the internal conviction of how important it is, why she needs it yet.  So that’s good.   We showed up for J's appointment but he wasn't there so he haven’t seen him yet.  I was pretty shocked, so I hope things go well.  Sunday morning no one was home, but we left a card with a message for him.  I hope we get to see him again before he moves. 
     Tuesday we tracted into this guy named M.  First he talked to us through the door, and was saying he was Baptist and started talking about awful things that have happened with association with the church, especially a recent thing about a baptism. It sounded like it might be a recent thing in the news.  But he then let us in; he has no teeth, he’s going through some  operations to get them though.  He had them all pulled so they could do this.  He had a really nice 3d tv he could talk to which was cool, and had a little bird that wanders the house and a crazy dog.  But he talked a lot and told all sorts of stories.  I’m not sure how much is true, he seems very emotionally involved with them and there’s no reason yet that I’ve seen to not believe any, other than that they’re crazy.  But some stories about his time in Iraq, his PTSD.  And then some other strange significant stories of heroism in the war, and then about being the one with the nuclear weapon’s codes.  And some stuff about when he found out about his wife, and some of his high school accomplishments... So it’s really unbelievable things, but he also for the most part has these stories down in a detailed way, and actually does seem to know a lot and answers questions well and confidently, so in my opinion he’s just developed his own life story and has been sticking to it for a while now, so I have no idea if any of it’s true.  His house is just covered in bird crumbs and stuff, but he does have some nice stuff and it doesn’t appear he works.  He also talked about his experience with his mom’s death in the hospital, and how strongly he felt the Spirit, and the experience he had there that by which he knows there is a God.  So we worked with that experience and talked about the Plan of Salvation in that and the return appointment we had for the next day, so who knows what’s what, we’re doing what we can, so I hope there’s some honesty in him, that his spiritual experiences at least are real.  Even though it’s a lot of him talking, he’s come a LONG way since our initial contact, he was very against it, but has read some now, and really likes it, and wants to try church and read the Book of Mormon, but he’s got some intense mouth surgeries soon ("first one to do this new operation in Nevada") so we’ll see.
     Thursday we had a good Lesson 2 with J. Wow.  She understands great, and we basically taught Lesson 3 with it, as well as several commandments.  She really loves it, is being baptized June 1st, and excited for the blessings and testimony building experience of giving up tea and coffee even though she doesn’t understand why.  So that’s exciting, she’s a neat lady.  She’s currently looking for work.  Although she’s "interesting'" she’s smart, doesn’t do dumb things, and is normal to talk to and everything.  She’s got a car, and control of her life and everything, she’s responsible and all. 
     So we had a lesson with K Sunday at the church, but he didn’t go to church because he thinks it’s too much to take in and wants to go slowly, last time they started about the law of consecration without defining it at first, and though he did figure it out, and learn about it, and he understands that’s what’s going to happen when he comes to a church meeting full of people who have known the church a long time, he takes no offense and isn’t annoyed but wants to move slower.  But we got him to commit to attending Sacrament Meeting.  So he had been reading quite a bit from different resources and likes to learn extremely carefully and slowly, always checking footnotes and what not, and writing down everything.  So he came with basically a list of words and things he’d thought of that he wanted to understand so he can better take in what’s happening at church, so we basically taught the whole time just showing in the scriptures how the Priesthood is passed down, how the church is organized, offices of the Priesthood, how people receive callings etc.  So it was kind of fun for me, using the Bible to explain all these things, and he now knows it all pretty well and has it all written, but I think it went well at the end how we really smoothly showed how the important thing to take from it all is that God works in a very orderly manner, and that all these different things is the way God still works in the restored church, with restored keys.  And so it felt rather complete I guess when we finished, and we can move into Lesson 2 smoothly next time.  Other missionaries had taught him and he had studied the restoration, so he was already set there, but this just reestablished it as he felt he needed.
     Elder R’s learning a lot.  He’s pretty comfortable in telling me the main points of all the different PMG points now.  Now he knows the basics well enough to know what we believe, and how the lessons kind of are to flow.
     But that’s what’s going on there, gotta go.
     Elder Pyron

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday, May 13

 Dear Family,
      It was great to get to talk you all yesterday!  So I guess I’ll update some of the things from this week.  Monday night we taught another lesson to T and E, and again tonight for lesson 3.  They like meeting and all, and learning, but I’m not sure how committed either of them are.  Tuesday we taught J again, we read Mosiah 17 and the first half of 18 to talk about Baptism, with a cool story, and I brought pictures of Abinadi in King Noah’s court and then the one of Alma and all baptizing, pictures make things great.  So he’s still doing good; we talked some about him on the phone.
     Wednesday we were on exchanges, me and Elder C were in my area, so we tracted a lot and some success.  We met one 19ish year old girl that said we could teach, she just moved here with her family from Florida and said they were looking for a church and set up info and return appointment, then later we talked to a girl coming home from school that was interested, then we realized they were sisters, so hopefully we can meet with their family sometime.
     We met an Orthodox Jew that let us in and talked for a little over an hour.  He had a big beard and yarmulke and all, there’s a lot around here.  But he talked a lot, he knew a lot about religion and all, and I think he has very little chance of accepting the gospel, but he’s nice and wouldn't mind meeting again.  He’s very well read, and thinks he has all authority to Old Testament meanings considering its the Jewish book, and he reads it in Hebrew, and he’s read plenty of books that try to dispel the Jesus of the New Testament and everything.  But he said we felt like brothers to him, and loved the good we do, and agrees SO well with our explanations of repentance and our purpose in life and family values.  He’s a really funny guy too, his name is Mosha, English translation is Mike he said, but he lets teenagers call him Moses.
     We tracted into an older lady who was busy and really appeared uninterested but she ended up saying we could try again in the evenings.  We didn't even see her face, and she really was just nice.  But we returned a few days later in the evening, and she wasn't home, but her boyfriend was, and he asked for a Book of Mormon, said he'd read it, and we talked for a bit and we’ll follow up with him sometime soon.
     We tracted into a lady A I believe she’s from Ethiopia.  At first we heard yelling through the door and it sounded like she was telling us to go away, but eventually she opened the door and asked what it is we have that’s so important we needed to knock on her door and all.  She was very pushy and all, but as soon as we said Mormon, her countenance changed, she said she had thought about attending a Mormon church with her friend once, and she gave us her number and said she was busy, but would be free Tuesday, and apologized for being all rude, so we’ll see what happens there.  She looked almost Hindu or something and had a veil type hood thing.  We talked to her neighbor at church Sunday though, but apparently she’s Christian and has a cross tattooed on her forehead.  So that was cool.
     We tracted into a guy named C, he was older, from Yugoslavia, and started out “you guys want me to go to church? where and when is it?" he was pretty talkative and kind of loud, had an accent, and cursed a ton, but he was funny, and we talked for a bit, and we’ll hopefully be teaching him soon.  He wants to got to church in Spanish because it’s beautiful but I doubt he speaks it.
     We were walking down the street later and a Mexican guy in a truck started waving insanely, stopped in the middle of the road, got out with a huge smile and started hugging us, he said he found Jesus 3 days ago, for years he was addicted to pain killers but was freed from that and he was filled with Christ.  His name was S and we referred him to Spanish missionaries, his English was weak.  But he also kept saying "I have a special daughter" and pulled out his picture of his 11 year old girl that sure enough was special.  But that was cool.
     We tried to visit one lifelong inactive guy again, I may have mentioned running into the guy with half of a head.  But he wasn’t home, but his nonmember wife was, and we talked for quite a bit. She’s a strong Christian, and has had tons and tons of close family and friends who are LDS and she loves the church, knows it well, uses the temple square genealogy thing quite a bit, but we got her hooked on the genealogy resources nearby, and are getting her set up with some ward members, and she’s excited even though she made sure we know she’s not about to join the church.  Her husband hasn’t been in the like 45 years they’ve been married so.
     That day we met another inactive that started by punching his screen door thing (out here they’re all metal sheets with holes, so we cant see in), and all we could see were his MASSIVE fists resting on the thing, and he said in a deep dark voice "I’ve fallen from grace", and he was acting all angry with himself and sounded distraught.  Then I said something “oh no such thing”, then he said "I kicked my dog... and I didn’t have to" and he sounded like he was crying, and really mad, so we talked about that for a minute, then he said "just look at my dog" and opened the door and his dog came out... the dog was fine, and he was smiling, and he just said "sorry, I got married a couple years ago to a nonmember I’ll come back on my own time, I’m fine", and then we talked about where we’re from and whatever, but that was funny.  He has the biggest hands I’ve ever seen though… he was like 6'1 and just had a huge head and huge hands.  But he looked like a normal good guy.
     But then we talked to some of his neighbors for a bit, one was talking about how he had a lot of LDS family and he lived in Salt Lake, and how one time he got lost and wandered to the 3rd and 4th floor of the temple, and how trippy and weird it was.  People like to joke about that stuff a lot.  People think it’s super political.  Like people that are anti-ish and know anything about it never believe that we’ve been in.  It’s a really common thing to think you have to earn your way through several different degrees to how far you can go, and only the very top leaders can go to most of it...
     But then Friday we had Zone Conference and President gave his departing testimony and all.  We had dinner with J; we brought a member with us.  She’s pretty unique and crazy, but normal too.  She grilled steaks and talked a lot.  She’s a great lady, but a little scattered, really talkative, and down to earth though. She wants us over again, and she’s trying really hard to do missionary work on her neighbors.  She does a lot of good.  She’s done everything, part time inventor it sounds like even.  She got a patent on "bed bras" she invented, it’s an easy to put on bed skirt, and they started selling them at Walmart, then Big Lots bought it, now it’s kind of over.
     Saturday we met a real old Italian man named A, sitting in his garage with a trash bin separating clumps of grass from all the dirt on the roots, while listening to Fox news or something.  He started out talking a lot about politics, and the evils of the Democratic party; he loved to talk.  He had a really hard life, really learned the old values of integrity and hard work better than anyone, and loved giving us his words of wisdom, and they were great, and he credits everything to God.  Then he talked for a long time about family, when he lost his wife of 52 years 7 months 3 days and 2 hours... He had so many wonderful insights on families, how important they are, different roles, humility, God, service and everything so aligned with our own, but he’s never had a real affiliation with a church, but is Christian.  We really focused the conversation on Christ near the end, he TALKED, but we gave him a plan of Salvation pamphlet and he was crying kissing Christ’s picture on the cover by then...We shared nothing that was new to him, but we’ll hopefully be able to go somewhere with him, he’s such a great guy, maybe too talkative and old to make all these steps and all though.  He was also paralyzed waist down, and working to satisfy the neighborhood about the conflict of the dead grass, and the city trying to limit water use.  But he was also taking care of his handicapped son who lives with him.  Oh we sat to help with the grass while we talked; he is such a generous man as well.
     But after that we tracted our way down to Brother F's and he fed us, and we talked for a while.  He says A (above) is a millionaire but spends none, I’m not sure I believe it.  But Brother F is interesting, he just likes to pick fun and challenge people.  He told some stories from friends who served missions, and things he’s seen, that he tells in a way like he’s not trying to make fun, but they make the church and missionary efforts seem like a complete joke, and I don’t believe a lot of what he says.  He also talked some about the 9 classes of angels, how they only do the dirty work for good, and how Mormons are the originators of them being just heavenly messengers resurrected and all.  Luckily I knew something about the nephilum and giants, and that cherubims and seraphims are also in the Book of Mormon, and so he also resorts to using the internet, and getting things a little off topic, so then the angels moved to Greek mythology, and he told how our belief in baptism, and John the Baptist is based off Achilles’ mom not submersing him completely as an infant so his ankle remained, and how that full submersion would make one immortal, and the whole genealogy on those Greek mythologies, and the people that believe those were captured by Romans right before New Testament or whatever, things I don’t know enough about, or really care.  But he’s nice, and likes talking to missionaries. He also was making fun of his own baptism, how he did it just for his wife, and he got his jack Mormon friend to do the baptism, and no one else knew how his friend lived as he did... but hopefully an impression was left. 
     So yeah, that’s been most of my week.  Yesterday was good.  I missed the story about J but hopefully I’ll cover that next week.  Actually I’ll just hit it real quick.  She’s an African American lady about 60, she’s from San Francisco originally, and she spent a long time doing a lot with Salvation Army.  She used to live in a room that the C family rented out to her, so they invited her to church, she’s been twice now and is very studious and taking it seriously.  She learned a ton in the lesson we taught her in the C home Thursday night and it went really well.  She’s got a great understanding, believes the Joseph Smith story, and all.  So we went into the lesson thinking she was just a lady no deeper than I love Jesus and all, but turns out she’s a fantastic woman.  So we weren't planning on it but at the end I committed her to baptism, she gladly accepted, and then I asked if May 25 worked, and at first she panicked, said that’s really fast, and it seemed bad, but then she calmed down, realized she had panicked for nothing, told us that, then said she knows that if baptism is the right thing, God will help her get there, and there’s no point in waiting for those blessings.  So she’s excited and working hard.  Yesterday after church I asked if she learned anything, and she said she heard a quote she really liked "live so people who don’t know Christ, will want to by meeting you" which I could tell really touched her, despite all of the other small details of things about the church that was probably brand new, that one quote really touched her the most, she knows what matters, the things most important to repentance, Christ, and ultimately Salvation.
     Oh and dad you mentioned the piano comparison the other day I believe, but I actually had already shared that comparison with them, that’s a great talk.
      But yeah, thanks for your letters and everything.  Sister S said that I sound just like my dad; I had never heard that before.  Happy Mother’s Day and birthdays I missed.
      Elder Pyron

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The mission president's wife met with the missionaries and asked them to share words of advice, wisdom, counsel or one liners that their moms had shared with them throughout their lives.  Nathanael's was:  "You don't want to put it off till the last moment..."

Monday, May 6

Dear Family,
      First of all, happy birthday mom and dad, sorry I missed it earlier.  So for skype we’re still setting one up but could you guys make me an account and give me the username and password? Just have it ready for me if/when I or a member asks like Sunday AM.  What times don’t work for you?  And about the bike, yes more will be on bike, but they are also getting a lot of new cars, and I still have my bike. (I spent my third transfer on one). 
     But anyways, Monday night we taught two friends of the family we ate dinner with, they were two 17 year old girls.  Both are from Christian homes and have attended some youth activities or whatever and we’re doing another lesson tonight, so hopefully those go well. 
     So this week we've been tracting a lot, we've met a lot of interesting people, got to talk to some really cool people with all sorts of different views on things, and we met quite a few less actives by accidentally tracting into them.  One was a lady, who has been a cocktail waitress on the strip for 20 years, has been inactive just as long, isn't in our ward records (until now), but she does a lot of missionary work.  She has plans to work with a certain neighbor, has worked with others, and apparently used to give out cards at work as a waitress... She’s super nice and kind of crazy busy.  She gardens and loves sharing those things and how great they are, and always trying to give us a ton of food, and we’re going back for steak Friday.  She really likes the gospel, but doesn't fully understand certain parts.  Anyways that was cool.
     But we also got a new investigator K that just got passed by some other missionaries. He’s attended church twice, really likes it, but likes to take things slowly, and doesn't want to meet with missionaries yet.  J couldn't make church yesterday, he pulled his hamstring really bad and his dad wants it rested.  But we had a great lesson Tuesday.  He was just really happy, we met outside and the weather was perfect.  He asked a lot about the mission, and what deacons, teachers and priests were, and he thought it sounds awesome. I think he wants to serve a mission, so we talked a lot about baptism and his parental situation.  His dad says he’s ok with whatever J wants to do.  J isn't quite to the point where he KNOWS it’s what needs to happen, because if he did, he would act on it more boldly.  We also went through the pictures in the beginning of the Book of Mormon, he shocked me how much he remembered, it’s been a long time, but he’s real got a visual memory.  He knew who Ishmael and everyone was, and has started reading in class again, he had lost it for a while and was reading the Bible.  But he’s going to be moving within a month it looks like, either to Green Valley (Henderson) or to Palo Verde which is close to where I live, and our zone, but not our ward.  I think he’s starting to lean toward Green Valley, he lived there a while back, and it’s not a bad area, but it’s up to his dad.  So we’ll see. They’re actually looking into the apartments where I live which would be neat.  But so Wednesday night we walked with him up to mutual and half way there a member on their way with a kid close in age was stopped at a red light and he got in, it sounds like he enjoyed it. That was his first time.  But yeah, he’s a great kid. 
     This week we had exchanges twice, that was fun, both times I stayed in our area.  We met one less active that looked just like Count Olaf or whatever, with weird hair like spike backwards (maybe 75 years old), and he had one leg like 10 inches shorter than the other, so he had one shoe that had a 10 inch sole, it was creepy looking, but he was a nice guy, actually from Detroit and watching a Tigers game when we walked in.  A was at church again, we got to meet his older brother the other day, they’re great kids.  S couldn't meet this week, but we will soon. 
     Elder R is learning a lot, we’re going through different Book of Mormon stories and stuff. Yesterday we did another little FHE with the Ss and G, her son is going to be baptized June 1st or 2nd which is exciting, his dad and grandfather are coming down to do that.  Anyways, I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.
     Love you all,
     Elder Pyron 

Monday, April 29

Dear Family,
     So things are still going good, we had a good week. So first, you asked about Elder R. We still get along well.  He’s extremely easy going, always smiling.  He’s a good listener and is humble. He learns something new every companionship study and I’m learning a lot in the process. He’s a good kid. But anyways, it’s been an interesting week.
     So Monday night we tracted into this home of a women with a young family, and at first had no interest in what we were saying (as she was very set in her other Christian views but finally accepted a visit on the terms that I would share only from the Bible.) We talked on the porch for almost an hour before that happened and then her husband got off work and we came in and talked an hour more. It's fun learning from others views of the Bible, and different passages. She has it strong in her head we don’t believe Christ to be a deity and that we are good people severely misled by Satan’s hand and the publishings of man. They are very faithful Christians, really good people, really active in their church with great children and very strong testimonies of Jesus Christ. They are well studied. It kind of felt like a member’s home. But so we talked / taught a lot about her questions, especially relating to our belief in the atonement... that we know we can become something through Christ, vs. her belief we are nothing no matter what, saved by grace and faith (which she interpreted to be belief), and no works. It was really cool and I learned a lot in the teaching process. She really felt we came by for a reason and that was for her to teach one of us and she noted Elder R's smile and quiet sincerity, really felt this was for him, focused in on him, bearing her testimony, telling him not to care what I (Elder Pyron or the church thinks) but to keep it just between him and God. He was affected by her testimony and his eyes watered and he didn't say anything.  He wasn't about to be swayed by her teachings but he sure looked like he would have accepted an invitation from baptism by her. But they accepted a return appointment for Thursday, and they had all their materials ready to disprove us further, (none focused on Joseph Smith or anything, all just her apparent "Biblical responses to what we teach"). It was amazing, I learned a lot of new things through the Spirit, I knew I was so prepared spiritually, so many of the verses she brought up, I had happened to study the day before or so, and had a scripture based response to all of her concerns. It was really cool. We talked a lot about heaven and hell, Luke 16, and priesthood authority, and again, works being essential to faith, how the atonement frees us from the bands of death, making us free to do good, His way etc.  They didn't accept a return appointment but still very loving and nice, and their views of our religion I believe were truly changed.
     Wednesday we got a referral for someone that the Spanish missionaries had tracted into. He had served as a ward mission leader, high councilor etc, ordained 70 (when that happened oft) until he had his records removed 7 years ago. 8 years ago his wife had major concerns with polygamy and wanted to leave the church and stopped going and though he had no concerns, he wanted to bring her back, so he studied and prayed much in order to do so, and after a year decided he no longer believed it to be true. We met with him for a long while though he doesn't care to change. He’s a very spiritual man, (he doesn't look like one, he looks like an ordinary handyman). He has a belief in God, and Christ, but not Joseph Smith or the church. But every morning when he prays he thanks God for the LDS Church, his time in it, and all he learned. He "receives deep revelations from the Holy Ghost" and has a book he gave me about his religious beliefs - So basically God is perfect, aka complete, so we cannot give him increase. The only thing that can be perfect and added to his nothing. If you have nothing and add upon more nothingness, it is not changed, and there are evidences all in nature, the sun appears from nothing when coming over a can infinitely reduce a fraction but to start at zero and slowly add it increases, but begins at nothing. And love is more abundantly received by giving, so god is love and nothing, and Christ's atonement allows us to put off our imperfections which are something, so we can eventually be cleansed into nothing, which would be to more fully purify God, who IS nothing. So he has cool insights, his little revelations or ideas were something I really felt I could relate to...all the time in sacrament, things begin to make sense in an amazing way I can’t really describe, which was what he said he had his whole 40 years in the church. But he clearly took symbols too literal or something, or got carried away in tools for understanding to be the actual case, perceived inspired ideas to be revelations. And he says we are on earth with no complete truth present, so all are confused, able to follow as they may and thus clearly make their true nature manifest and absolute truth being accessed would bring greater condemnation. He believes the church is so great, so inspired, prophecies fulfilled etc, because we have the most faithful members, and God answers the faithful prayers most abundantly. So anyways that’s our probably one and only meeting with him.
     We had J at church again and he liked it again. We got to talk to his dad Tuesday... when he was growing up his dad rented a room to missionaries and so they heard all the lessons, really loved them as people, and the things they taught, but not to be true. So he’s way supportive of J studying and all, but not interested himself.  He’s a great coach and mentor to J, has done a lot for him.  But they’re moving real soon for the better high school.  So this is J's 8th grade year, his first running track. He just had his first meet, 8 schools, he got first in all 4 events. 2:17 half mile, 17 on long jump, 58 second 400, and in the 4x4 he ran last, got the baton in 3rd place and won.  And the mile is his best event but for some reason his name was scratched off that event.  He runs like a 4:50, hasn't timed in a while.  When I was in 6th and 8th grade I never saw anyone break 5. Not to mention first year running.  But anyways…
     So we also taught S again, this time at the grandmother’s.  She seemed much more comfortable, asked a lot of good questions, and really likes it.  She says it all sounds true and feels good.  She dropped out of high school, but by her questions and all you can tell she’s pretty smart, and wants to really understand.  When talking about the Spirit world, she had lots of questions about baptisms and work for the dead came up, and it was really special for her, and she’s excited to be baptized so she can do work for some friends she’s had pass. R loved it to and had good questions as well.  He clearly was/is a very talented good kid.… he’s very nice and personable, and you can tell he really is a smart guy. I really hope things work out for them; they've got so many problems, but so much potential. 
     And I guess the last big thing would be this guy S.  We tracted into him, he’s a less active member.  The house had like 50 huge Samoan guys all tatted and with weird braids, and one of them (S) came out and talked to us outside for a bit.  He was extremely nice, and wanted to meet up again.  So Saturday he came and met us at a park with his kids, and we talked for an hour or so, it was great.  He’s 25, grew up LDS and active, mostly in San Francisco, but some other cities in the west as well.  He said he grew up in the ghetto, his family is great, his parents are very active and because the neighborhood was dangerous, his dad set up a boxing ring in the front yard with a sign, so that people could make or lose their egos being big and bad without it being as dangerous and he talked about how he and his cousin would go out there and just destroy lines of people that would come fight.  So his dad had the missionaries over all the time and he really loved them but had a kid at 18 or 19, didn't straighten up enough to serve, and has mostly been less active for 6 years.  He’s got twins that are 6 as well as a two year old.  He lives with his Methodist girlfriend who is their mom and she’s also Samoan.  He lives with her family of sorts who are Methodist if anything, that’s why he met at the park. He told his kids to have questions for us so they asked about Jesus and prayer.  He’s an extremely good guy and loves people and the church.  If he could I think he’d "hang out with us" for hours everyday.  About two years ago he was active for about a month and then got a job where he worked on Sundays, moved out, and no one had contact til we tracted into him. No one realized he eventually moved back in.  So a few of the Elders Quorum members remember playing basketball with him and only have great things to say about him.  They’re excited to see him again and all.  But anyways that’s him, well probably meet with him quite a bit.
     But I’m running out of time, hope to hear from you all some more, love you all!
     Elder Pyron