Monday, February 23, 2015

23 February 2015

This has been a fun week! I went on exchanges with one of the two Elders Johnsone (for who knows what reason, the two elders in the whole mission named Johnson ended up in the same companionship). That was fun- they were on bikes, and up until then I'd been in a car. Strangely enough, being on bike is a lot harder. But there are some crazy slopes in the area, and going down them, we'd hit about 40 mph! That night, when we were clearing out the area book, we knocked on this person's door. A large black man opened it, and greeted us like we were his best friends ever. I haven't been cussed at yet, but this was still miles away from the normal "who are you and why have you dared violate the sanctity of my doorstep?" sort of deal we usually get. The fact that he was holding a mostly empty wineglass in his hand may have had something to do with it. We started talking to him, and learned that the missionaries had talked to his son. A woman came up, whom he introduced as his wife-to-be, also holding a wineglass. We talked for a bit more, and they kept raising weird points about doctrinal differences that didn't actually exist. Then, after we mentioned the Book of Mormon, she burst out "Oh! You're Mormons!" Keep in mind that we always introduce ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but since she missed the introduction, she'd assumed we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We left after a bit more talking, but it was funny. 

The craziest thing happened the next day- I learned how to solve a rubik's cube. What's really funny is that that day, I ate at McDonald's too, and despite eating at the one I worked at once or twice a week for a year without getting sick, the meal I had there apparently wasn't quite as high-quality.  Then, we set up for the talent show that the ward was having the next day. That took a while, because around 3-500 people showed up. It was pretty awesome- there was a world-class jump roper, a 3-year old playing "Sonatina" on the piano, a Disneyland Latin band, sword fighting demonstrations, and the first country music that I've ever heard that I liked. 

Friday we had district meeting, and I heard a great new finding method- surveys! Basically, we ask about their beliefs, and share ours, and then ask them if they would be interested in learning more about the church system that Christ set up on the earth with the same authority that the early apostles had. We've only tried it for a little while, but we've had some great conversations. Unfortunately, the one investigator we've found since I came in (this was a week or two ago) had to be transferred to the YSA missionaries, but he was a great find, and has been taking the lessons. 

Saturday was...interesting. we had 7.5 hours of finding. We did loads of tracting, with the new method for part of it. We visited a bunch of less-actives, and Elder Wilding spent an hour on Facebook while I read my scriptures (Pres. Taggart doesn't let new missionaries do Facebook tracting for the first 6 weeks as a sort of cooldown period where we get into the missionary mindset). Dinner was the really interesting bit, though. Wilding has been in the area for over 7 months, so he knows a lot of the families really well. One of them, the Shaw's treats us just like family- a little too much so, sometimes. This is the same family that has the giant tortoise, by the way. .When they opened the door, I got shot in the arm at close range with a confetti gun that left a crazy bruise. After dinner, Sister Shaw showed us pictures of her playing with tigers in Thailand, too.

On Sunday, we did all the normal church stuff, plus ward council- at 7:30 in the morning. That wasn't a problem for me- I always wake up at 6. But my companion gets up significantly later, normally, so he was wiped out all day. In the evening, we started teaching Andy, our recent convert that got baptized last week, the new member lessons. That was fun, especially since wee had some priests there too. This was both Elder Wilding's and my first lesson with priests present. It went pretty well regardless, though. 

We're going to be getting new iPads in the mission in a month or two,
but they'll be $400. We probably don't have to pay, as either I'll get
a loaner just like the other missionaries who are staying less than
six months, or maybe they'll just give me one. I haven't heard much,
but the new iPads sound nice. Apparently, they have double the memory,
and won't constantly crawl like these do. They're still better than
paper, but not by much currently.

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