Our job as missionaries is to invite people to do things. We obviously can't force anyone to act, so we just invite. And it's frustrating when people don't keep their commitments because it means we're not progressing with them. Lots of disappointments on missions!
The interesting thing about having gone to a year of college before my mission is that I'm around lots of people who only know what high school is like – all good fun.
I was at the mission office the other day for interviews with the mission president, and it was so funny listening to the senior missionaries talking about their "grandbabies". Each of them were sharing pictures. At the mission office I got a chance to watch "Meet the Mormons", a new documentary that is out in theaters. EVERYONE GO SEE IT. It was so good, it was just like a documentary about 6 very different but very interesting people. I loved it!
One funny thing about the church buildings is that police cars seem to gravitate to them, to just chill out in the back where nobody can see them. One time we walked out of an empty church building on a weekday, and there were two police cars just chilling out back, they were just talking. I guess Mormon churches are the place to be!
We got to visit the temple this past week. So we drove out to Redlands and got to visit the Temple. I spent a lot of time in the Celestial room, beautiful. I was there for a long time just pondering, beautiful interior and you can really feel the spirit! Afterwards we went to Cafe Rio and I got to try it for the first time! It was good!
When we walk around neighborhoods, we talk to a lot of people and ask if we can pray with them. One house had the parents and two small girls (the older one 5). When we asked them if there was anything in particular they wanted to pray about. The older one blurted out, "I want to be a mermaid with a real mermaid tail" (Halloween's coming up). Her mom explained she can dress up as Ariel, but it won't be a real mermaid, so she said "fine I want to be Elsa [from Frozen] with all her powers." It's funny the imaginations of children.
We went to a senior center to feed a bunch of old people (around 60 or 70), and it was super fun. We started in the kitchen, prepping food and getting it ready to serve. Then we had a food line where we dished it all up. It reminded me of summer music festivals at Sisters' Pantry (I was really fast). There was some congressman there and the mayor of Riverside. When they had us go to the front to thank us, they had us say where we were from. When I said China, they started cheering. It was pretty funny.
Our work with our progressing investigators is slow. K., the one who's been in remission from cancer for 4 months fell and hit her head. She had a minor concussion, chipped tooth, and half her face was black and blue. Crazy... Then she was back in the emergency room a couple days later for something else. So lots of work with her if she's going to make her November 1st baptism date. We're going to give her a Priesthood blessing, so hopefully it helps!
Elder Johansen and Dyer at the Redlands temple
Elder Jacob Dyer's language study notebook, a great conversation starter (and yes he got the two sides of the river flipped, but he wanted Pudong on the front cover).
Redlands California temple