Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

Busy week that ended with Joseph's baptism.  He is incredible!  He called us up four weeks ago while we were in transfer meetings and said he had been talking to missionaries online and wanted to see if this is something he wanted to do.  On the second lesson he had already read 140 pages of the Book of Mormon.  He has the best questions too!  I'm so grateful to have been able to participate in his teaching process.  It's been amazing!  He was really nervous for the baptism and said he was about to faint during the talk right before he actually went into the water.  We waiting on the side for a couple seconds, then he said he just felt an overwhelming calm and it was all okay.

It was interesting.  Joseph brought a friend who is a staunch atheist to the baptism, and to church earlier that day.  He was bagging on religion, organized religion, the existence of God, EVERYTHING.  He needs to see God to believe Him.  So in the end, after answering many, many questions, I just said you know what, just read the Book of Mormon then... He surprisingly agreed but said he wouldn't pray to see if it was true.  I told him, you use the scientific method to prove stuff in science right?  So you have to pray to prove stuff with spirituality.  He said he still wouldn't pray.  I told him what he's saying is the same as him saying he wants to see bacteria but won't look through the microscope.  Well you can read about bacteria all day, but if you don't look through a microscope, you won't see them (unless they're really big... then you don't need a microscope).  His response to that was, "you use too many analogies."

We had more multi-zones this week and gave the same trainings.  It's funny because we give the same presentation five times to different groups in the mission, so it's like Groundhog Day!  We had our one for our zone, La Sierra, so we finally got to hear the vehicle presentation (there are vehicle inspections every multi-zone, but we've been skipping out on it).  Elder Puskas, the vehicle coordinator, did a small presentation on blind spots.  I guess the Chinese mentality of only look forward and don't worry about anything behind you, doesn't fly here.

We had another scare when we were picking up dinner Saturday night.  We pulled up to the street only to see this big dog standing in the middle of the road.  It seriously looked like a coyote-wolf-dog.  That's a thing now.  It came and stood in front of our car and wouldn't move until we honked the horn and crept forward.  So we end up in the driveway of the members sitting in the car debating what we would do.  We would open the door a hair, and it would come over slowly.  Finally, the member came out.  She said we don't have to worry about the dog and gave us our food.  Still not trusting the dog, Elder Fischer stayed in the car as we backed out of the driveway - that thing was SCARY okay!  

We met with an 84 year old investigator with cataracts in his eye.  He loved what we had to discuss with him about Jesus.  He said, "I'm all about Jesus in the morning, in the evening, and in the night."  When we got up to go, the Elder I was on exchanges with offered to help him and reached out his hand.  The investigator popped up out of his chair faster than we imagined!  He said he might be 83, but he can still stand up!

I was in Lake Elsinore on exchanges in a more rough area, and we were walking to a lesson after dark.  Some guy asks us if we're okay and says we shouldn't be walking around that late.  We made it safely to the lesson though!  He wasn't a member, but a lot of members get really scared in some of the areas we go to.  Some of them told the sisters in our ward that we shouldn't go to "Gould Street."  Gould Street is where some of our best investigators are! I'm being safe and everything, but the name tag makes me feel a lot safer.  I was thinking about it, and I probably wouldn't be walking in some of the neighborhoods at 8 pm by myself.  No reason to be there!  But as a missionary, it's fine. 
In one of the places, we contacted these two guys sitting in their car with the windows rolled down.  They were higher than kites.  It just stank - so much weed.  But they said if we came back we could talk to them, as they were just giggling to themselves - it was honestly pretty funny to watch.  I told them to say hi when we came back, but just stay high for now.

 Joseph's baptism!!!

zone conferences with our "home zone," La Sierra

Fixing Elder Foy's tie, still have that comp unity!

getting a rundown on blindspots

Find me!

group in the mission office - serious, then SMILING! whenever Elder Puskas pulls out his iPad, we gotta get in the picture!

the office is making me fat

 stealing the iPad's always fun

too scared to get out of the car - the dog was obviously hungry for some Elder Dyer and Elder Fischer.  I hear missionaries taste good.

find me!

throwback pictures that we found on one of the office senior missionary's iPad

 messing around in the office

this past transfer's outgoing

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

Multi-zone conferences this week so really busy.  I'm still recovering from my little incoming missionary bug and it's weird because it's throwing my hearing off its game.  I feel so out of the conversations I have, so now I know what it's like to get old right?  We've been training a lot on contacting people.  We're trying to help the missionaries understand that contacting is FUN! You get to talk to random people on the street!  What more could you ask for?  Some people get kind of worried about being awkward in the contact, but let's face it, we're missionaries not pest control salesmen, you just have to get over it!

I had a great conversation with this Mexican guy who was drunk.  Poquito English! :) but my Español was sufficient.  We showed him the video "Because He Lives" about Jesus Christ and he was just ooh-ing and ah-ing, he loved it so much.  I asked him where he lived so I could send the Spanish missionaries over (as good as my Spanish is, he needs the professionals) only to find out that his home was over by a bunch of bags.  He's homeless and was pretty intoxicated, but who knows, maybe down the road he'll find a way into the Church.  They're the people who need it most.

Speaking of languages, I gave a Chinese baptismal interview for the Chinese Elders the other day.  It was weird to speak in Chinese again.  I was a little rusty but it went over fine, the investigator understood me!  The interview took me back to the UCR campus at the institute there.  It was cool to see some recent converts and be back on that campus where I had such a great time!

We have this amazing investigator right now who had previously spoke to missionaries online.  We had an awesome lesson with him about the Atonement and about Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us.  He really connected with the fact that Jesus felt everything and therefore has perfect empathy for us.  He felt it and is loving church.

On the downside, three of our investigators that are kids are being held back by their dad.  He just won't let them come to church!  It's like he thinks we kidnap people's kids.  He's perfectly fine with us coming over and teaching them.  They love it, and have even changed in the time we've spent with them, but unfortunately father knows best right?  It's so sad because every time we go over the kids are teaching their family members how to pray and answering all the questions perfectly.  Hopefully something softens his heart!

We had a surprise visit at one of our dinners from three missionaries that had previously served in the mission.  One of them was Elder Johansen!  Well, he's Christian now (that's his name).  They were staying at my Bishop's house and we were having dinner there.  It was nice to see them!  On Sunday, they helped with some of our investigators that showed up to church which was cool.  Elder Fischer and I were busy up on the stand singing with the men's choir (they needed voices).

Elder Johansen visited!!!

Throwbacks to Corona because I have no pictures this week:

With Khai, one of our investigators, showing him that my planner beats his phone any day

Corona Zone Conferences from August

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October 12, 2015

Transfer week is a very long week, much longer when you're sick! The incoming group from the MTC brought a bug with them and unfortunately, this time, I wasn't able to avoid it!  This group of missionaries is awesome but they weren't very amused at Elder Fischer and my training on contacting people.  Maybe they were just nervous to be out in the field.  Usually we get lots of laughs from our role plays but this time we had a very silent crowd.

In other news, after three areas with Norco (AKA Horsetown USA), I have finally gotten out!  Our Bishop has been requesting Sister Missionaries in our ward for a really long time, and this time he finally got his wish.  So we gave the Sisters that are now in our ward the Norco side!  They'll do great, it's just harder for me to love someone when their horse is causing my eyes to itch and my throat to constrict.  Just kidding (about it being hard to love)!

We stopped by a Jehovah Witness the other day pick up a Jehovah Witness Bible that she had apparently offered us before.  We learned a lot of about "J-Dubs" while we were there.  AND we got a church invite, so now we can go to a Jehovah Witness service!  Should be fun.  While we were with her, we asked if we could pray with her.  Unfortunately she declined my offer because she said she had to cover her face when we pray. I was surprised but interested at why.  She said it's because men are apparently higher than women, "God created men first so they are higher than us and we have to respect them when we pray."  Interesting...  Good thing we don't believe in that!  It was a bit much to hear to be honest.  She said it's because Eve was taken from Adam's rib so therefore she's lower than men.  She didn't really understand my understanding of that being symbolic for Men being side to side with women, hence the rib being on your side.  But hey, not everyone gets it!

Pretty amazing how many blessings we're getting.  We had very limited proselyting time last week, and to put the icing on the cake, I was really sick.  But prayer works.  We were sitting in the car after a long day of training and office work and we prayed for help to find the ones that are ready to hear what we had to share.  Then we exercised faith and got out, despite the headaches, and BOOM, 20 feet from our car, this guy at a bus stop was just waiting to hear us.  We ran into three other people at an investigator’s house that wanted to hear more too!  Pretty grateful for the blessings we've had!

My bags are packed!!! NOT

Elder Pritchard, who lived in my apartment complex when I was in Riverside by UCR, at the mission home ready to go home

My zone leaders back in Jurupa

Feelin' sick

My Tom Yom soup for my sickness

One of our investigator's blue nosed pitbull puppy 

With my Bishop's son.  He just left on a mission to the Dominican Republic

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 5, 2015

We had transfer meetings all week, deciding where all the missionaries were going to spend their next six weeks in the mission.  It's interesting because before I was in the office, transfers were always a really exciting time to find out who was going where.  Now I know everything that's happening so it's not as crazy.  It's like making a movie instead of watching it, it's fun to see the results but you don't get that same excitement.

We had to prepare for a mission leadership council meeting this past week to add some extra stress to transfers.  We hardly had any time to actually do missionary work!  It's amazing to see the blessings we got though.  We've been praying for "who the Lord wants us to find that day" and on Tuesday, we were at the church building around 7 pm waiting for a member that was coming out with us.  This kid walked by us and said hey.  Turns out he'd been going to church for 6 weeks and hadn't been taught by missionaries yet.  So he just walked right into us!  

Later, we were in a meeting with our mission president, discussing transfers and we got a call from a guy who had been chatting to missionaries from the church online and was ready to meet with missionaries in "real life."  Miracle because he's been looking for a church for over a year and a half and he found us.

We were making transfer calls from the mission office Saturday night.  It was getting late and we walk outside to the car only to find this big black truck parked about 20 feet from our car across three parking spaces.  So naturally we look at each other, and run back in the office.  At this point we're freaking out because the truck wasn't there 10 minutes before.  So we spend the next 30 minutes scouring the office for weapons (for self defense of course).  Unfortunately no one got the memo to stock the mission office with things more menacing than a hammer, a yard stick, and a steak knife.  All this time we're checking the window to look at the truck, still parked there. 

Eventually we decide we need to turn the lights out so that this potential carjacker or threat or whoever it is, doesn't have the upper hand.  So we're freaking out in silent darkness for a while until we look out the window again, and the truck's gone.  Finally, to make a long story short, after many prayers and thoughts of all the possibilities, we summon up the courage to run outside with our hammer, yardstick (for range of course), and steak knife, jump in the car and drive away, safely.  The truck made a surprise appearance Sunday evening when we were doing numbers at the office, but luckily I had my really bright flashlight attached to my belt, to blind any potential attackers :) and nothing bad happened.  So moral of the story, always bring your flashlight, attached to your belt...

We'll be picking up the new missionaries tomorrow and starting a new transfer, so lots of excitement for that.  This is the first time since I started my mission that I've remained with the same companion for the second transfer! 

Next week is Columbus Day, apparently, so I will not be emailing on Monday... Probably...

Matching as usual for mission leadership council

Matching as usual for mission leadership council

Changed ties during lunch to see if anyone would notice...

Changed ties during lunch to see if anyone would notice...

Thank you mom and dad, now my apartment smells like Shangri-La

Smells like home

Not creepy, just too excited about the scent!