Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016

It was a weird week that ended in a brother's baptism!  Always great to witness someone enter into covenants with Heavenly Father.

We had multi-zone conferences this past week.  Elder Warren and I gave a training, Deja vu, except we only had to give it once, not like what I call "missionary groundhog day."  It was a big blessing because we were with the Corona zone for the conferences.  Elder Fischer gave his outgoing testimony there.  I'm going to miss him a lot.  He's been one of my huge examples in the mission.  Our mission is going to lose a powerful leader and incredible missionary, and I'm going to lose one of my best friends out here!

We all wore our matching "Families are forever" ties that I gave to some other missionaries.  Best part was, President Mullen wore his purple one as well!  We obviously had to take a matching tie picture, then sneak one picture of "the pod."

We had another training during the week about increasing the unity in our zones.  The Assistants related it to the film, "Remember the Titans" – how we want our missionaries to remember the days they spent not only in the mission, but our zones.  Good thing Jurupa zone is also known as paradise!

It was Elder Westenskow's birthday this past week, so we got his key and snuck into his apartment to make a scavenger hunt.  Maybe I'll go into that field when I get home because it was fun.  I'll be the person that maps out the Amazing race :).

We had fun with one of our eight year old investigators, acting out various stories in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, including the story of Ammon and David and Goliath.  His name is David, so he made a very good David across from Elder "Goliath" Dyer.

The funny 6 year old member came up with another comment this past week.  She asked if we still had to wear seat belts in the car, because our shoulder bags look like seat belts on us.  She never ceases to crack us up!

We had a Stake service project this past Saturday.  We had to make trails at a nature center.  It involved literally pushing all the plants out of the way.  Very good workout that brought a lot of sweat and a nice farmer's tan, complemented nicely by some stinging nettles!

Class registration coming up for college.  Not fun at ALL!  Time flies...

the pod is back! (with matching ties)


Jurupa zone (aka paradise)

Somehow President got in on the Chinese ties!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 18, 2016

The daughter in one of the recent convert families here who asked about babies having jet lag from heaven made another fun comment this past week.  She was looking at this book full of pictures of Jesus and she said to herself (but we heard), "Wow, Jesus Christ was able to be resurrected, that's so great (很棒)."  She's only five years old!

We sat down and had hilarious conversation with some old ladies at a park.  They were going on and on about how we should go be on this really famous Chinese dating talk show and find ourselves Chinese wives.  I always tell people Elder Warren wants to find himself a nice Shanghainese wife who he can cook and clean for!  They all had very different opinions but they were all very good friends and hilarious.  I had to pull out a recorder and start recording the conversation because it was so funny.  One of them was very against China, another was very patriotic, and the one in the middle was exactly that, the one in the middle between the two.

We had exchanges and I got to bring our resident Canadian, Elder Gulbranson into "Chinese land."  It was cool because after this specific lesson with an investigator that was 100% in Chinese, he said, "I don't know what the heck you guys were saying, but it must have been good because I felt the spirit really strongly in there."  Cool how that works.

We had a dinner at one of our Shanghai investigators' houses.  Very authentic, very delicious.  It was fun to hear so much Shanghainese, almost like I was back in Shanghai.

We had another Chinese sacrament meeting this past Sunday.  We do it once a month - break away from the English group and do our own with about 30+ members.  The people who were supposed to give the short talks did not show up, so with about 20 minutes to go in the meeting, the time of course gets turned over to yours truly.  I spoke on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Chinese of course.  It was kind of fun as I shared a lot of stories.  I managed to take up the time to the extent that they had to skip the closing Hymn for the sake of time.

On a "blitz" in Eastvale, we contacted these two guys who were [doing some not entirely legal things] in their garage.  One of them had some family that were members of the church on the East coast and had studied with missionaries before so he was very sympathetic.  The other was another nice guy who knew his Bible pretty well.  We managed to talk to them for half an hour.  Early in the conversation, the guy who had family who were members (Tom - changed the name) leaned over and said, John (changed the name) you chose to come here...to earth", to which "John" replied "What? That's crazy."  He let it sink in for a bit and you could see the cogs turning in his brain.  We showed them the Easter Hallelujah video to which he said, "so that's pretty much saying we'll see our grandparents again."  As if on cue, Tom freaks out and says, "I don't know how you got that from the video, but that's EXACTLY RIGHT!!! That's what they believe!!!" It was a fun time.

We had a zone meeting this past week, and we decided to ramp it up and make it really professional.  We enjoyed it!

Elder Warren and I teaching three hilarious old women at a park.  The Sister missionaries in our area snapped some pictures from a distance.

Chick-Fil-A with the zone at our Zone Meeting!

Our Zone meetings are legit - complete with name cards, capri suns, and fruit snacks

One of the sisters drew our entire zone.  Which one is me?

I've developed a system to eat my snacks without getting my hands greasy

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

Hilarious moment with one of the recent convert families in the ward: They have a new baby that's about a month old.  Thomas Spencer Li (the baby - named after Thomas S. Monson) sleeps a LOT, as babies tend to do.  The five year old in the family asked a hilarious question.  She said "Mom, Tommy sleeps a lot, is it because he hasn't gotten through the jet lag from coming all the way from heaven?"  We couldn't help but laugh.  I suppose he does have some jet lag to overcome!  I wonder what time zone heaven is in?

Had a nice trip to the good ol' California DMV this past week to translate for a recent convert.  Advice for everyone, go in the afternoon - you don't have to wait five hours!  We ran into another member there, the one who asked us about year ago (as we were waiting in line) if he could help us with anything.  Memories!

During a zone "blitz," where the whole zone goes into someone's area and walks/talks to people for an hour and a half, the Elder I was with and I ran into a very interesting guy.  When we contacted him, he said "I would never talk to you guys, do you know all the terrible things you do?" Somewhat surprised I asked what he was talking about, he then told us "GET OUT" repeatedly many times.  It's nice to have the random mean contact mixed in with everyone else.  Brings us back down the earth!  It got me thinking about how mean people are to us sometimes.  Shouting/throwing stuff from cars as they pass by.  I thought about it and who on earth else would they do that to?  I figure, if Jesus went through worse, I can get through random old Joes who think they know their Bible so well.  Highlight was our Capri-suns after the blitz.  It brought me back to soccer games as a six year old!

We had to translate for an investigator at this Christian pre-school.  Their son was biting other kids.  At first I was a bit apprehensive to go to this Baptist pre-school, because they don't seem to like our church that much, but the lady was SO nice to us.  She said missionaries even come by her house sometimes and help her around the house.  Nice breathe of fresh air.

Every morning we'll pray to find the person that Heavenly Father would have us find that day.  It seems like, without fail, we always run into THAT person that has been prepared for us to make contact with.  We might run into this really mean guy, then talk to that one person.  It helps us to keep moving forward knowing that we have to talk to EVERYONE to find that one person.  Very rewarding work.

Capri sun selfies with the zone

The zone got headbands

Selifes with a really big pug!

We had dinner with a great member family who have a really fat Puggle.  He just had his hair cut, so we had to get pictures.

He's eating my ear!

The missionaries in the stake, in between Conference

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016

I misplaced my planner this week, so that was a huge bummer because now I don't remember what to include in this email!  Woe is me :). 

We got to watch General Conference this past weekend which was great.  Everyone should go watch it too, or else they're missing out on a TON of fun stuff.  I was readily equipped with all my snacks to watch at the Church building.  It's all online now, so General Conference at the Church building in the area is just a party for all the missionaries.

In between conference sessions on Sunday, a member from our ward called and invited us over for lunch.  We made dumplings with them.  I need to get my dumpling making skills back on point because those were some lousy looking dumplings.  They still tasted good though.

I've run into a bunch of people from Shanghai recently which is awesome because I can talk to them about home, but I wish my Shanghainese vocabulary was more extensive to get "in" with all of them.

We taught one of our investigator families how to hold a family home evening, complete with the cookies and ending with a game.  They now know how to play Uno!

We seem to be lucking out with all the meals our Chinese friends are feeding us, not just members of the church.  Good old Chinese hospitality, welcoming us into their home to share food!

we had a family home evening with one of our investigator families

No pictures this week, so throwback to my first MLC out of the office

Let's play spot the Elder Dyer!: