Saying goodbyes is no fun at all! I had to say goodbye to Johansen and everyone in my old area last Monday – all the families in my last ward, my investigators, and the missionaries serving around me. Moving isn't much fun either. We packed up the red Corolla and drove to University of California Riverside. I'm living right next to UCR. It's more "California-y" than my last area. Tons more palm trees and just a lot of young people.
We have to walk everywhere here, because my new companion, Elder Heaton, can't be on bike for health reasons. We walk a little over a mile to the Institute of Religion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at UCR (the "Institute") to teach lessons. It's funny because on the walk, we run into a ridiculous amount of Chinese people.
Seriously, there are more Chinese people than other nationalities. We just kind of assume most of them are Chinese when we start to talk to them and for the most part, they are. We go up to them and say, "Hey do you speak Chinese?" Most of the time they respond. Sometimes the Chinese people pretend to be Japanese because they've gotten so many of our English class cards. We teach 2 English classes for an hour and a half every week at the Institute. The classes are really related to religion (aside from a spiritual thought at the end). So as we walk, we pass out of ton of our cards.
At the English class, the first time, we started with conversation, just having conversation topics, and then moved to slang words. It was funny hearing middle aged Chinese men shouting "DUDE" and "BRO" and "STOKED." Last time we talked about food and they all got into an argument about how much and when to tip in America. It's all very fun.
The funny thing is that we get a lot of students from UCR (Chinese) who are applying to grad school. They want us to read/edit their essays, which is very fun! But we do a lot of them! My head starts to hurt after a while. Service is service though! I feel a little inadequate to help them with grad school personal statements though. Most of them are electrical engineering. Lots of technical words!
Teaching Chinese people about the gospel is different. They ask a lot of more specific, directed questions than Americans. It's fun, but difficult sometimes when they just keep peppering me with questions! One of our recent converts, when we were going over new member lessons we have to teach, we reviewed the commandments. He got all serious and said, I broke the law... last week my friends and I went to the beach and I didn't know you couldn't park at the space I parked in. I got a ticket for 53 dollars. I am sorry, who do I talk to.
We laughed and told him it was okay, not intentional. He was surprised. In his prayer at the end, he said it was nice to meet Elder Dyer (Dai Zhang Lao). He thanked my family for allowing me to be here and said (wo zhi dao ta men dou shi hao ren) [“I know they are all good people”]. Very nice man.
It's weird because it's so cold at nights compared to the day when it's only 50 something or 60 degrees. I'm started to acclimate to the freezing weather though! (just kidding).
Last night, I was walking around and saw a tank top of a guy that said Koh Samui 2014. He was from SAS Puxi! It was funny seeing someone from SAS (Shanghai American School) all the way in the US!
Other than that, things have been fun. We get the occasional "Hail Satan" from passing cars, but people are generally very nice - especially Chinese people - especially when we give them free water!
Elder Jacob Dyer
2700 Iowa Ave Apt. 28
Riverside, CA 92509 (I think that's the right zip code, not sure)
Our free water stand - a lot of people took it!
Elder Heaton, Elder Dyer, and three investigators, and a small member on the left who really wants to go to Taiwan on a mission
Last picture with Johansen (at the Webb's house)
Elder Dyer, Tom, and Elder Johansen