Monday, May 4, 2015

4 May 2015

Tuesday, we finally had a long-time mystery (two days) unfolded to our understanding. The investigator who we somehow offended actually had a somewhat understandable reason, albeit one that was substantially misplaced. We were teaching his kids, a twin boy and girl about 16, and he went off to the next room to smoke. The girl was answering almost all the questions because the guy wasn't talking much. That was probably because he'd just returned to his church under the urging of his girlfriend, and wasn't too convinced he wanted to switch again already. Anyway, the investigator heard it all, and afterward started thinking and overthinking what he had heard, because he hadn't seen it. He thought that we were "displaying undue interest" in his 16 year old daughter. Not true, but it's a sticky situation that we have to clear up before he'll think about us teaching again. Later, we tried to visit a few more longtime investigators, but to no avail. That night, we had a really interesting dinner conversation- the husband was a nondenominational Christian convert, and the wife a former Roman Catholic. They talked a lot about their conversion experiences.

Wednesday, we tried to visit people in a Californian trailer park. This may have been a mistake. Completely literally, every guy who opened the door, and there were three of them, was old, shirtless, and had at least a major head start on a potbelly. Then, we had a lesson with a part less-active family, specifically the active daughter. Her parents weren't home, so we ended up teaching her on her front lawn. She had been going to church on and off, mostly on for just the last few months. The original intent was to give a practice lesson, but as it turned out, she had only a basic grasp on what we believed. That lesson ended up taking 3 1/2 hours, but we answered all her questions. Then, we tried to go to dinner. The operative word in that last sentence was tried. As it turned out, we were an hour early on accident. So, we just tracted around. This was a very interesting experience. All the many, many people who answered their doors were incredibly active Christians who all went to one of two or three churches, all of which taught venomously anti-Mormon classes. The net result of an hour of tracting was largely just having 10 people call us a cult, some of which offered to explain why, later. We asked when we could meet up with the two that did, and one of them made an appointment with us a year from now. Well, that's in the area book, so the future missionaries will have the incredible pleasure of meeting her. On the other hand, it was a refreshing change to have other people tell us what we believe for once. Who would have guessed- we actually don't believe that Christ is our Savior and we don't hold the Bible as canon. Wow, I've been teaching false doctrine this whole time! That night, we met with our ward mission leader, and he gave us a few books to give to the ward missionaries to help them prepare for a huge combined lesson we'll be teaching in a few weeks. 

Thursday, we had district meeting in the morning. After that and lunch, we tried to visit half the less actives in a ward, with a shocking (shockingly low) level of success. We met with all three ward missionaries we tried to visit, and gave them the books our ward mission leader told us to hand out. We had a very early dinner, then tried visiting more less actives. We got several appointments for later, but that was about it.

Friday was weekly planning. That took a long while, especially because we did it in two sessions. We now have a solid plan for next week, though. We then visited a bunch more people, again with little success, then helped a family move. They were doing it as a last minute thing, and really needed the help. They were both in their 60s. The wife had an artificial knee, and the husband had COPD, so carrying boxes and furniture up the 28 steps and around a corner to their new apartment was not very doable. At first when we put all the stuff in, we just threw it every which way, but ended up completely reorganizing it later. It all worked out in the end, though. 

Saturday was nothing but service. In the morning, we spent up until 1 helping the same family as last night move the rest of their stuff over to their new apartment. Funny story- the wife had a safe that she needed opened, but had lost the key. I got it open (more or less legally) without damaging it fairly quickly. Then, as we packed up all her stuff into the U-haul, someone packed her purse in with it. That wouldn't have been a problem, except that her keys to the new apartment were in there. When we got there, I tried picking that lock too, but it was too stiff. That's a little funny, that the apartment door was much harder to pick than a safe. Eventually, they found the key and the moving commenced. After we finished there, we immediately had to head over to a storage unit and help another member of the ward do some last-minute moving there. That was the impression we were under, anyway. When we got there, she pointed us to the locker that had all her stuff in it. As we walked closer, the pile of stuff didn't seem too bad. It was a lot of stuff, but not a massive amount. Then we got to the opening of the locker, and I saw the actual contents. It was the size of a one-car garage, and was 3/4 full of junk. There is no better way to describe it, because among the various things in there that I noted: 3 huge trash bags full of empty water bottles; 1 box full of empty baby food jars; 10 loose sheets full of childhood art; and 10,000 miscellaneous pieces of things that will likely never be used again. The sight of all that made me cringe, until she explained that we weren't moving all that, we were just adding another bunch of stuff to it. In the same storage complex, but on the other side a quarter mile off, there was another (much smaller) locker full of stuff, mostly furniture. Us, and two other missionaries, had to haul it all off to the other locker and fit it all in, using nothing but two Corollas and our ingenuity. We did it, but it was close: a matter of inches, and it took hours. 

Sunday was pretty typical. We had church in the morning, which was pretty average besides us not having to teach Gospel Principles because the class had vanished. Then, we had a lesson with a less active family, and talked for a while before planning when we could come over to do a bunch of service for them, like taking down their Christmas lights. Later we had dinner. It was an interesting situation, as between the couple and their three guests, the average age in the room was 60 or 70, us included. We heard a bunch of good stories, and had leftovers from a wedding reception the day before. It was really good! Right after, we had a lesson with a recent convert, then Persian.

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