On Monday, I got my new companion, Elder Mackey! He's a fun guy, and matches me pretty well in just about everything. It's really weird- my first companion was 24, and had a vastly, vastly different background than me. Elder Mackey is literally the most similar person to me that I have ever met. We focused on planning for the first day that we were together. With Elder Wilding, who had been in the area for 9.5 months, we didn't plan very well, because he knew the area and the good people to visit. With Mackey, we planned nearly 3 straight days worth of meetings and things in one hour of companion study, on Tuesday. And we're feeling the blessings already- that day we had lunch with a less-active member who accepted a call as ward missionary, and got him to commit to help with that! Then, we visited our entire teaching pool, which keeps slimming down. We talked with a bunch of members to try and get to know the area better, and got a bunch of good information on a bunch of less-actives. That night, Elder Mackey went for a haircut at a member's house in his last area, and I got a taste of what it is like to serve in a YSA ward. It was pretty awesome, because many of the members are missionary age and will hang out with you.
Wednesday, we had service at Habitat for Humanity again. It's always different, and this one was lots of fun- chipping concrete off the ground with pickaxes and shovels. The workers had sprayed stucco, which is a form of concrete, all over the walls of the houses, but a lot had fallen on the ground. That had to come off. After 2 thrilling hours of that, we cleared it up, then got busier with missionary work. One of our investigators has been investigating on and off since he was fourteen. That wouldn't be such a problem, except that he's nineteen. In thirty seconds on the doorstep, Elder Mackey kicked him into gear, all but literally. Later, we tried to visit a whole bunch of people, then went to the YW fundraiser for this year. It was a spaghetti dinner, with a silent auction for desserts and other various things, like tickets to baseball games, Disneyland tickets, an hour massage from a chiropractor in the ward's business, and a whole bunch of random favors from the youth. The fundraiser was wildly successful, raising nearly twice as much as planned. Then, during planning that night, we made a bunch of appointments with members for power lessons.
Thursday had yet more going on. We had district meeting in the morning, then helped a realtor in the ward, Sister Lamb, help move one of her clients out. They had lots of stuff that needed to be shifted out to the driveway, including an enormous weight machine that we had to carry down the stairs in one piece. After that, she took us out for ice cream, and talked about how she was being interviewed for the third TV show about one crazy experience she had as a wedding photographer, where one woman arranged for her husband to be killed. Then, we had a meeting with our ward mission leader, and caught Elder Mackey up with most of our investigators and our ward mission plan. After, he showed us the electric bikes he sells, which were surprisingly cheap and lots of fun to ride. Later, we had dinner with Sister Lamb, at a really awesome sushi place. It was called Sushi In Motion, where all the food ran by your table on a conveyor belt, and you pulled off whatever you wanted to eat from it. It was a great idea, and done pretty well. That night, we had a lesson with a member. He is quite a character, whose roommate is trying to get him to write a thesis on all the research he's done on the Bible and some of the stories in it, and collects instruments that he can't play. We tried to teach the Restoration lesson, but ended up listening to him talk for an hour and a half. What's more, he lent us two violins at the end of the lesson. We got to meet their dog, Hairball, too.
Friday was weekly planning. Then, we tried to visit a bunch of people. Every single person we tried to visit wasn't there, but we still found two new investigators, in the least likely place I would have ever guessed. One of our investigators is dead set on being outside of any particular religion, because he believes they are all right. When we knocked on their door, two of their children, who were 16 years old twins, answered and talked to us for a long while. Both of their parents cycled through at some point, and invited us in. We left their kids with a Book of Mormon, and an invitation to read and pray about it. That night, we had a lesson with Emily again. She is the stake president's son's "friend who is a girl", and knows a lot about our church already. We taught the gospel lesson, and got her to commit to be baptized and set a date!
Saturday was the biggest service project that I have ever seen. Easily 200 or 300 people showed up to help clear back the brush at an equestrian center. All of them were wearing Mormon Helping Hands t-shirts or vests, and spent four hours with chainsaws, rakes, weed whackers, loppers, and pruning saws. The city had provided two enormous dumpsters, which proved to be wildly optimistic. We filled both of them to overflowing, and left a pile of junk next to them that'll probably fill three more. Someone flew a quadcopter with a camera and filmed it, and I heard that you can see the video on Will Love's Facebook page. Afterward, we tried to visit a bunch more people.
Sunday was super busy, for a Sunday. We had ward council in the morning, then double attendance at our Gospel Principle class. After church, we learned that somehow we managed to seriously offend the parents of the twins we taught Friday. Exactly how is beyond me, but our former ward mission leader is sorting it out. Later, we visited a bunch more people, and narrowed our teaching pool down to under 10 people, with return appointments with two. At dinner, we taught a full lesson to the family, something that we've been asked to start doing.
Things are pretty different than home, meal-wise. When I first came out, I thought I'd cook 3 course meals every night. The next day, I thought I'd live off of pop tarts and freezer dinners. The actuality is somewhere in the middle, I cook often, but it's more or less the same stuff- hobo dinners, rice, and spaghetti. It's pretty good! Your guess was right about making divinity, I did make it by hand the first time, and it did hurt my arm. I also started playing tennis in the mornings during exercise time, because my apartment has a court next to it and we got some free racquets from other missionaries. That's been it for this week!