Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Well, time has sure flown by since last week. Last week I was so tired all day every day, buuut I went to bed an hour early one day and woke up all fixed and ready to go! Exercising in the morning is actually not hard to roll out of bed to do when you have a companion. But our morning alarm is the weirdest thing I've ever heard.
I didn't ever plug in my alarm clock because we use the cell phone we have to wake us up. While I was in the MTC, Elder Bennett who had been in the mission field 3 months as a trial mission who then came to the MTC mentioned that one of the things I would hate most about the mission was the Good Morning alarm. He would sing it and being the funny guy he is, I thought it was hilarious. So I hear that alarm, and my first thought is him and I start laughing, and I was awake instantly. It goes like this: Goood morning, ding ding ding, ba ba ba BAH ba buh buh buh BAH BAH GOOD MORNING!!! and it kinda repeats. Look it up, because I obviously cant record my voice doing it. It was fine for the first few days. Now everytime I hear it..... ooooh boy its annoying! But it still wakes me up. I was having a terrible nightmare about being in CS 240 again but without having done any of the programs but was getting ready to take the programming test and the final. Most. Stressful. Dream. I've ever had. I was freaking out the whole time when suddenly..... GOOD MORNING! I've never been more happy in my life to hear that tone. So happy. But, I sleep with the fan on and the window open, because it makes the room terribly cold. And Elder Peterson and I both love sleeping in the cold. The only thing is, the nights are so cold... you can see your breath. And all I have is that grey blanket, whereas Elder Peterson has this huge o comforter, so if you find it within your hearts to send my comforter out, it'd be greatly appreciated. I hope dads enjoying the memory foam! I do not want it :), if my bed was any comfier I wouldn't want to get out! I just want to be warmer. Yes, I did close the window one night, and turned off the fan another, but I love hearing the outside noises and the cold. It's odd. I'll go to sleep fine, wake up at 2 a.m.thinking I'm snow caving again because I'm shaking like the attachment to the sonic bomb that vibrates. It's all good though, I started using my dry clean towels as blankets too :) It's a good time. Anyways, enough with pointless stuff! After I emailed last time, we went shopping, and that was alright, I was very smart in the way I shopped, and budgeting and spending money here for food will be easier than one two three. I love the no sales tax here, so I don't have to imagine what the price of things really is, they tell you what it is hahaha.
We went and taught the Sparks. They were an inactive family but apparently they have made a lot of progress since they were first taught. They were both there (and so was the baby) on Sunday and Erich (the 15 year old son) helped us teach primary, but I'll get to that. Sister Sparks is a lady who has a son and a baby living with her, with the dad in california, but divorced I think. Erich is a 15 year old boy who does not have the priesthood yet, has an earring and dresses like a classic skater guy, but is nothing like them. It's weird, he is super cool, and very very smart. We taught them the ten commandments and showed them the DVD we show people as our thought and then extended our challenge to pray for missionary opportunities. We then eventually had dinner with the Corterra's, and it was these super nice burritos. Oh man, the food here is amazing. Oh my it's good! But don't worry, I'm not gonna come back all fat hahaha :). That night we played this dice game they invented called Farkle. Yes, I had to ask them many times what it was called because I kept hearing something else. it's similar to Yahtzee but more intensive and risk involved. And I won. they all said beginners luck, but I know better ;)
Wednesday we had our district meeting. We practiced door approaches and all that stuff, it was way fun. the Zone Leaders drove us to it. We live in the Quatama ward, with a member family, the Carstens. They are who introduced us to Farkle. Man I gotta start out chronologically. I don't know if I mentioned them last email... We live right across the street from the church (ish). The Carstens have a son out on a mission and two daughters who have moved out. They moved to a smaller home after their son left but they have a ton more property. It's like an acre or so, massive field and stuff. Bro Carstens in into cars, so he has a shop where he is repairing and restoring an old mustang, and the people next store have a fully restored 1927 car. I don't remember the model, but the outside (body work) is amazing! beautiful car, too bad it probably doesn't even get 5 mpg haha. Bro Carstens is also fixing up other cars as well, and after we taught the sparks tuesday, we brought Erich over to show him. He knew more than I did, and Elder Peterson is reaaaaaally car smart, but Erich knew almost as much as him. It was a good learning experience for me to learn information completely irrelevant to missionary work ;) but it was a good fellowship activity. The Carstens are great. Sister Carstens is a teacher at a local elementary school. Oh, and Brother Carstens is probably the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He does it on purpose because apparently here in Oregon the Bishops are MEAN! That's their reputation, so he doesn't want to be called to be bishop, so he is the exact opposite, always super nice. It's quite funny.
Anyways, back to the district meeting, Elder Balewis (Lewis) is in my district, I am so excited because he is awesome. His companion and I were temp companions for the district meeting practices. The practices we did enabled me to learn about the M.I.T. (the most important thing) that should be in every lesson. What is it? The Atonement. We should also bring up the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end) in every lesson as well. So overall, great experience. Though, as the Zone Leaders were driving us back, they took a wrong turn and ended up on Highway 8, or TB highway or something, the road with all the fast food, and yup, we ended up stopped at the light RIGHT NEXT TO JESSIE'S HOUSE!!!! I could see Alvina Place!!! AAAHH!!!!!! We were turning left instead of right, so one turn took us away from her house. I had felt funny being on that road earlier. I wasn't paying attention when we turned on to it, but then I started seeing things that gave me major Deja Vu, like I had been there before, because I HAD! Oh, it was so mean of them. I started freaking out when I saw it, and I was fighting the desire to beg to go right so I could talk to Jessie about Missionary work... and passing out Book of Mormons, and ask for referrals, you know, strictly business :)
We had dinner at the Hoffmans in this ward (not the Hoffmans you know I'm afraid) and then we actually went to Mutual with the priests. We went over to an inactive members home and they taught us how to make crepes. The one boy in the family we were meeting with is priest age, but doesn't come to church anymore, so they got to know him a little more, and Erich who is teacher age came with us because there are only two teachers haha. It was fun! Their leaders are loud. Opposite of Utah. The kids were so eager to learn (probably because it was food) and the leaders were sitting back and talking. The youth kept turning around and saying "Leaders! Ssssshhhh!!!!!" It was hilarious. Never seen that before....
Oh, Elder Lewis's companion, Elder Alatini, reminds me of Leafy Green. Yup, Lefanoga, YOU! Not because he is from Hawaii, but because he talks like you. But you are WAY cooler than he is. He is a punk, and tries to act all cool. It's hilarious, I tease him all the time, but not nearly as much as you. Buuut, unlike you, he is nearly a foot taller than me, and his thighs are as big as I am around my waist, ok, not really, but his legs are massive!
We had the "greenie" meeting on thursday, it's where the newbies went for training and our trainers came with. It was long but good. Didn't really learn a ton, but learned about driving, and learned more about missionary work in general. No need to go into a lot of detail about it, but it was early in the morning til 4:15 in the afternoon. long ha, but not as long as the In-field Orientation at the MTC. We got a list from the Bishop with Potential Elders on it, and we tried to contact some of them with no luck, but there is a family that just said it was a bad time, so we will try again. We taught the Coneley family that day. Sister Coneley has been through a lot, she is a recent convert, and we shared some mormon messages with her and her two daughters. The one with Thomas S. Monson in the military about standing for whats right, even when you think you stand alone, and another about patience and the role of the holy ghost. We learned a lot from her about her past and how that stuff tied in. That lady has been through a lot, and there have been some crazy people in her life.
Oh as we were walking around that day we would talk to people on the street, one lady claimed she couldn't speak english, but had been here for 14 years... we automatically assumed she spoke spanish, so we asked her about that and she told us she spoke Ukranian..... odd... hahaha, language is a good excuse not to talk to missionaries, whether it's true or not! :) That day was the day I got GP's package and Rebekah's letter. One of the best days. I loved everything in the letter and everything in the package. Everybody kept asking me if it was my birthday or Christmas because all of the presents were wrapped. I had to explain them and the red ribbon on top, and started talking about GP a little bit, gag gifts, and his prank calls about being Gordon B. Hinkley.... haha, it was a good conversation.
We ate dinner that night with the Lady next door, Sister Nut. ha, what a name! Whoever wanted to marry her could go around saying. "Yup, judge all you want, but I'm marrying a Nut." Oh boy that's hilarious. :) But she is a sweet lady. Her friend Sister Erickson was there spending the day with her. And guess what?! She's from DENMARK!!! AH! I've never heard a Danish accent really, unless you count Dad's? But we talked about Denmark for a while, and she's going to teach me a bit. I was going to send a huge letter to dad in Danish saying that I actually had to learn Danish for my mission, but I knew he wouldn't buy it, but I'll try to communicate in what little she'll teach me and help me with. But she is cool! She told us her conversion story and we actually shared in with an investigator and his semi-less active wife. She is coming back though (I think?). And we almost got him to set a baptismal date then. His name si Craig, and the missionaries have been teaching him for a long time. He reads from Gospel Principles. not so much the Book of Mormon. Prays earnestly for an answer, and hasn't received anything yet. We each shared how we got out witness, and I think Elder Peterson and his wife's discouraged him because they knelt down and got theirs before they stood up. But I think mine gave him hope. When I tried to learn of the Book of Mormon's truthfulness, NOTHING CAME! I had wanted to cry then, because I didn't get what I was expecting, and I was worried about the gospel in general (this was 10th grade by the way, and this is a condensed story), but essentially I learned about the Lord's time table, and what real intent really is. It's not the same as a sincere heart. Having real intent is having intentions to ACT upon your answer and CHANGE based on what you get. But when I was praying about the book of Mormon, nothing came at first because all I was going to get out of it was "Cool story Bro Mormon, I like this". I wasn't gonna change anything, but in that year, once I figured out how learning of it's truthfulness would affect me, I got my answer. It was a long and complicated journey, but if you treasure up and always think about it, when your answer comes you WILL be ready. I wouldn't have heard it otherwise, but once I noticed it, floods of emotion came to me! It's actually a cool story when it's not reader's digest, so if you want to hear more let me know. But anyways, he asked about baptism and we went over the questions with him, and he is ready, but not, because he wants his answer. He accepted the Soft invitation to baptism: "When you come to know this is true, will you be baptized?" But he won't set a date, he is too scared, even though we assured him God would help him be prepared by that date and he would get his answer. I think he is missing real intent. But we prayed and fasted yesterday for him to get his answer this week, so when we go to meet with him friday, we'll see if it worked. his appointment was super early in the morning too, not typical for a meeting but it worked because of his work schedule when nothing else would have. the other stuff up until craig was thursday. Craig was Friday, and also Friday morning we went and played Basketball with the district. I'm still not terribly good, but I am WAY better than I was when I played church ball. I think playing ball at the MTC and becoming more sure of myself and not caring what people think has made a lot of difference. I'm pretty decent now. But 3 of the people in my district played in High School, and one in COLLEGE! he is HUGE! That's the zone leader, but he wasn't there, whef! Nobody coulda beat him I don't think. Peterson and Alatini are the two who played in high school. It was crazy, and fun! We also fasted yesterday for Michael to stay for our lesson today. We teach the arrowoods, and he always leaves when we try to open with a prayer, apparently the lesson last week was the longest he's ever stayed. (Idk if my companion keeps making stuff up, but if he's not, my experience here has been WAY better than it should have been). Our lesson today is to help michael with his doubts, and help us relate to him. He is a teacher (age wise anyways) and the rest of the family is coming back to activity. Pray for him eh? I'm not sure if we are allowed to ask that, if not, then forget I said that :D
There is an older couple, Jeanne and Al, that we teach. Al was baptized recently due to their teaching, but Jeanne has health issues apparently. We had an odd lesson with her after hearing two stories from her that kinda contradicted each other. Idk, but we got everything sorted out. She'll be baptized soon enough, she knows it's true :) Al is 88, and she is 68. We talked to Al about the priesthood, and he is going to start working then to get to that point, going to interview with the bishop and stuff. I interviewed with President Morby, and I learned that I can't wear tie tacks on my coat lapel anymore :( oh well, back to the tie, but in my picture they took for the greenie meeting, I'm wearing the tie Rebekah gave me, the tie bar AND tie tack she gave me too. Basically a Rebekah outfit. lol, and that's what the whole mission will see of me when they look me up? Idk what that means, so maybe it will be used at Transfers? Who knows, but I looked good :D
On saturday I also did service for an older couple in the ward. The wife is apparently a little interesting, and denys that she was baptized, and her husband is not a member. We painted the fence and talked to him about his religious background. We also talked with her. She is strange, will only call us by our first names because she doesn't want us to exalt ourselves above others... it was weird, but when she said that she hopes she didn't offend me by that, I shared that by being referred to as Elder, it doesn't exalt me, but humbles me. I am a servant, and I represent Jesus Christ, therefore "Elder" reminds me of that and motivates me more to be like him and less like Thomas, and that I had never thought about it in a prideful way before. She liked that a lot. That's essentially what I said. We talked with her about her interesting ideas about Christian Science and Healing and other such things. She admitted she was baptized (six months in the making, and I was there to get it out of her hahaha, thanks to Elder Peterson, the ward council went nuts when they heard that "SHE DID???? NO WAY!!!!!"), but doesn't claim to be a member. Buuut said she was a follower of Christ, and if that's what "mormons" were, then so was she. She said that we have the best Church on Earth, but she thinks something is missing, and that's where her "ideas" come in. But you just have to sit and listen and nod, even if you don't agree hahaha.
Ok, here's the part you've been waiting for. the naiveness. On Saturday we went to go teach the Acords and Nate. We taught the Acords, but nate didn't answer. Oh, while on the Acords, they went to the visitors center by the temple, and the parents are going to be married Nov 26, but anyways the little girl said that when they drove up to the temple she felt "warm and protected" The dad starting freaking out saying: "It was so cool! Listen to her!!!!! AH! It's exactly what we felt" kind of thing. We talked about the spirit and ended up reading from the Book of Mormon with them. Anyways. We left this Apartment building where the Acords and Nate lived and ended up by the train station. Apparently this is a WAY sketchy place to be at night. But we were going to walk through it. We tried to place a book of Mormon with these 3 people, but they didn't want it, but we talked with them for awhile, but because they hardly read the bible or anything at all, they didn't want to take our book, because it would be wasted. They are good people! And they almost read it, but their friends showed up, and kinda made fun of them. SO it was a total lehi's dream moment. Anyways, we walked up to the train station, and there are three guys. One middle aged man on his phone by the tracks, and two men behind us. We almost went to the 2 guys, but decided not to (I was too busy trying to find somebody to teach that I wasn't listening to what was being said) The 2 guys call out to us as we pass by, I turn around and ask if they were talking to me... they weren't, but to their other large friend in front of me. I looked up and this big man said to me: "They ain't talking to you cuz... bladklajt;ldisht" I didn't hear the last part as he walked past us. I wanted to go talk to the man on his phone, But Elder Peterson said we needed to leave.... NOW. and I was like "But what about that guy, he could be ready for the gospel" But he said "No... NOW" and I asked him if he had had a bad feeling, and he said "Yes! Let's get out of here!" And I turned around, and there were five of them, stealing bikes, clipping these chains and all. I turned back, and the man on his phone was gone. They I looked at our path where we were going to head, aaaaand, it was blocked. 3 men stood there shoulder to shoulder with bats. Looking right at us. They knew we had seen the bikes. The one on the right called out to his buddies by the bikes: "These youngins see you!" So the other five guys turn around, drop the bikes and start heading towards us. I turned to my companion, and he was pale, what could we do? The only way to run was blocked. One of them asked us how much money we had on us, and what was in my bag. I told him I had no money, and my bag only had scriptures in it. See, I knew where we were going, so I left my wallet home. But he didn't believe me, and wanted my stuff. But my letter from Rebekah was in there, and so was my marked up quad. And I know they said not to resist, but my first instinct was to say no, and it came out of my mouth. They freaked: "What did you say little man?" And more confidently I said it again. by this time, the five men behind us were spread out, and we had about 3 feet of clearance on both sides to get out before we were surrounded. And the dudes behind us had those chain clipper thingies. Elder Peterson tried to tell me to stand down, but no, I was mad. You don't treat people like this. One took a step toward me (from the front) and I took a position that I saw Elder Freshour do back in the MTC (freshour is a black belt in Tae Quan Do, I didn't think they did belts in anything but karate, but I guess I was wrong... anyways) He stopped. And the people behind me laughed and laughed and one of the guys, (I didn't look at him) said: "you goona faaaight?" then they all started laughing. Elder Peterson tried to calm everything down and told me to give him my back. But nope. But I quickly realized that I don't know the first thing about combat, so my life started flashing before my eyes. I knew I had to give them my bag, but I liked my stuff. But then I had this instinct. I resumed my relaxed standing up straight pose, I dropped the fake martial art pose. The guy started coming again, and in a voice that I never thought I could muster I said: "Touch me not." (coincidentally we had been reading in first Nephi about this story) and he stopped. Before anybody said anything I said: "The Spirit is strong within me, and if you touch me, you will be struck down by the power of God." I then explained that as missionaries we represent Jesus Christ, and they needed to leave, else they be destroyed. It was the cheesiest thing, but, it got them. I felt so powerful. They parted, and we left. Just walked through them. No harm, no nothing.
So, overall, a pretty interesting night. Ok, just kidding, that didn't happen. There really were bike thieves, but there were only the first three, after he had his feeling we left. The other guy didn't disappear, and nobody showed up. I recognize that telling that story was very mean, but if I'm right, nobody bought it. But I haven't been able to pull a prank in a long time, so there you go. My first and last story on the mission ;) Don't worry, I know what to do if that actually happens, I won't resist, but I won't be carrying around precious items. I have something worth living for, so I won't die over a bag that I can rebuy. Speaking of such, can you also send my backpack? I'll wear shoulder bag to meetings and such, but a backpack works for bike riding I think... well, hold off on the bag, I'll check and make sure, but it seems like a lot of missionaries do it, but I want to see how my current bag works with the bike riding. I'm sorry if I scared any of you. Know that I'm safe, and that I feel your prayers helping me. I still have work to do and people to teach, I'm not leaving Earth for a long long time.
So on sunday we had to teach primary. We made a life-size picture of use and cut it up like a puzzle. I forgot to take a picture of it cut up, but I'll send a picture of it put together before cutting it up. We had to teach because they had the primary program that week. in the second hour some people came without their hearing aids, got up and said: "we can't hear, so we are going to go home" it was hilariously said, but we went and talked with them (this was jeanne and Al) and ended up setting up a time to take them to the visitors center. Anyways, we did the third hour on missionary work, and as they shared examples, they got to start putting the pieces together of the puzzle, until they figured out it was us. So the little things you do can turn you into a missionary too. THis wasn't just sharing time, but the whole 45 minutes... yeesh. Erich shared his conversion story, which involved little kids doing missionary work and being examples to him which "sparked" (hehe) his curiousity. Anyways, that day we also went tracting for my first time, and placed 3 copies of the Book of Mormon. too successful, and 4 families want us to come back. Amazing, simply amazing. My companion said he has never seen that before. We prayed for inspiration for an area, and there we go, he felt like we should go there. He is a great guy, truly in tune with the spirit, and I am trying to learn from him like crazy! We also spent an hour talking with a Jehovah's Witness. It wasn't contentious in the slightest, just asked him questions and read from the Bible. nothing came of it but increased knowledge and increased desires to read the bible. We didn't have time to talk about authority or where his translation of the bible came from, but we tried to ask him how he knew his church was the one faith, etc. And he said he read the bible and was convinced. We asked him if he had ever asked God about it, if he believed in prayer. Nothing. He believed in prayer, but had never thought to ask about his choice of religion. odd... anyways, he didn't take the book of mormon, but hopefully we've started him on the path. We didn't get to challenge him either (at least, not bring it back up, we did challenge him to pray about the book of mormon, but failed to remind me of that at the end) his wife kept saying: "Your dinner is ready" and then "IT'S OVER READY!" So he went in, and that's when we went home and cooked our first meal since we've been here. Members provided the food too. it was good! Breakfast for dinner, my favorite thing, and we have left-overs, hooray! Missionaries love left-overs, and I am not a picky eater at all. While the food here has been good, sometimes people's cooking skills are odd, but I eat anyways, and it's been good for me. Anyways, this has been a huge email, so I'll end my week there, because that's pretty much it :)
I hope life is going well for you all!
~Never give up, never surrender~ <---- (lol at cheesiness)
ps, sorry for the scare, I hope you forgive me. I just miss telling stories... :(
pps, love you all :) and Jessie, I live like a mile from you..... :P
And one last thing about the thieves at the train place (the Max), I didn't know they were thieves til I got home, because thats when he told me what they were saying. And i was like: "really?! no way, no no no!" I really hadn't realized, I thought they were locking up their bikes, I couldn't hear them, but I was wanting to try and give them a book. *facepalm*. His bad feeling came from hearing them....