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Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello you all again!


Another week has come and gone. 
A few things that are in my head now that I probably will forget later.
It’s crazy here. You ask specifically for water and the people bring pop. I had vowed to only drink pop if that was the only option before I got in the field and now I realize that often, it is the only option. It’s crazy how much grape soda I have drunk. Sad actually.
Another thing is the black widows. They are everywhere. I can’t get a good picture of the big ones outside our door but there are tons of massive ones all over our complex. Luckily none in the apartment but we do have roaches which is nasty...
I'll send a pic of the scary ones soon.
I'll try to answer all the million questions y’all sent and then get to writing about what’s been going on.

1. Do you need us to send you a new suit that will fit? I need some time to figure everything out. First step is getting a good smile, then I can move on to caring about my threads. I don’t need it quite yet. 
2. Is your backpack working okay?  It's great. Thanks Jacob. Funny story about the backpack, One day it was especially delicious, I mean hot, and I sweat so much I sweat through my undershirt, through my shirt, through the backpack, through the liner and all the way through one of the pamphlets I was carrying and through my scripture case. It was disgusting. Luckily it didn’t go through the cover of my Book of Mormon cause I'd have been pissssssed.
3. Why are you in a three-pack?  I am a 3 pack because I was delayed.  3packs are rare. 
4. Where are your companions from? Elder Bennett is from Birmingham, Alabama and Elder Bishop is from Lake Orion. Elder Bennett has been out for 15 months and Elder Bishop has been out for about 8. They are both awesome guys. Elder Bennett is a runner and just an all around cool guy. We have some good talks. He calls me his son. An honorable title. He is my trainer so I will be with him for the next transfer and then who knows after that. Elder Bishop is a big computer guy. He loves Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. He was homeschooled and is from Michigan. He loves talking about fantasy stuff and loves Korean martial arts.
Elder Bishop, Elder Anderson, Elder Bennett
5. Have you been taking any pictures? I can’t bring my camera out and about because it is too dangerous. On special occasions I can but usually it has to stay at our house. I feel bad bc I want to take lots of pictures of all the cool stuff but there just isn’t a way too... :/
6.  Where did Elder Ruiz go? E Ruiz is in an English area next to the temple. I think its called sunrise? I'm not exactly sure. I only got to see him at the temple the other day and so we didn’t talk very long and not very loud either.
7. Did you know that there is a Zombie Apocalypse store in Vegas (the only one in the world)? Did you know that there is a Zombie Apocalypse store in Vegas (the only one in the world)?
8. What are you doing to stay hydrated if you can't drink the water?  I don’t know what will be the best way to get water. I'm still 'researching.'
9.  How is your bike? Bike is great! Light and fast. And the lights work really well as well. I'm not very good at biking but it's not the bike’s fault.
10.  How is your stomach doing?  Stomach is great except for sometimes the large amounts of greasy Mexican food get to me. But I'll survive.

Before I forget this, and/or run out of time....
I ate it Saturday. I fell soooo hard. I was biking and (of course) I was waving to everyone. I waved to someone and then saw someone else to wave and say hi to. I smiled at both of them but after I passed the second I was a little shaky and I tried to get up onto the sidewalk to turn into a street or something and the side of my wheel got caught on the curb and my bike stopped and I didn’t. I almost hit my head on a wall, which was pretty scary but I cut up my hands and my left arm pretty good? pretty bad. I had to bike home with blood dripping down the hand bars. And I ripped my pants. I looked like a wreck I’m sure.

How many missionaries are there in your mission? 
I think there are 210 missionaries? I'm not exactly sure. We lost 100 this summer so the mission is struggling to bring the number back up!
Tracting here is very different. Different than what I practiced for and different than I expected. I haven't knocked a single door that didn’t have an investigator, member, or someone like that on the other side. All we do is lessons and then sometimes (often) we do street contacts. People usually don’t listen to us but about 50% say they will check out mormon.org if we ask them. Most people here know who we are and what we do. We often get yelled at in the street, or stopped by people to pray with them for their families or things like that. But not too many return appointments. We teach about 1 lesson a day. I wish it were 5 times as much, but its tough. We bike soooo much, and go all over just to find people are no longer interested or not home when they said they would be. Oh well.
The ward is pretty small. I'd guess 100. But I'm not sure. It’s probs 100 active and then 400 inactive because that what the records would say. But since people come and go so frequently the missionaries are often called upon to find out if people still live there and are still interested.

The ward is all Spanish. The boundaries are the stake boundaries so there are 4 companionships in the ward. It’s kinda crazy. I haven’t, thankfully had to speak in church yet, or teach. We have 4 progressing investigators and a lot of people to contact so hopefully that goes up as we find more people interested and goes down as they progress and begin to make and keep covenants. Apparently it’s for every 100 1st lessons there are 13 2nd lessons. Just a fact someone told me.

Freak. Now I don’t know what to write. So much happens. We talk to so many interesting people and hear so many stories but I just don’t know where to start or what to say. One thing about our area, is everyone is drunk. It could be 11 am and people are just hammered. I'm not sure if they are still drunk from the night before but they are definitely drunk. It makes me sad. Just because they seem sad. So many people we talk to are crying and telling us these horrible stories and they just reek of alcohol. It's too bad. But it makes me feel good that we can give them some comfort. One specific story about something like this was Miguel. He stopped us in the street crying because of the things he had done in his past. He practically confessed his life to us. He was crying because he thought he was going to hell and he didn’t want to be alive anymore but he didn’t want to die and suffer then too. It was sweet to be able to truthfully tell him what he needed and wanted to hear. That because of Jesus Christ his pain is only temporary and there is hope for salvation for all of us. To share the power of the atonement for someone who needed it so badly was amazing. We prayed with him and by the time we left his tears were not for his pain but I think they were tears of joy. As we left I think he might have praised us more than he praised Jesus.  

Las Vegas Temple
The Vegas temple is sick. It's huge and so beautiful. The windows are also under the sun so when you are in it everything is lit up and is so pretty.
Las Vegas Temple
To sum up this week we biked all over the area trying to meet the people we had contact or try to find our referrals. Our agendas are filled with like the same 20 names everyday. Most days we get a lesson in with someone. But we definitely spend the most time biking and the next most time studying and the next most time teaching. I wish it were switched around a little bit.
Elder Bishop wants me to include that he made like a million pounds of cookies this past week.

Thank you this week to Grandma and the Dargers. You guys rock. I have so many of you that I need to write letters back to. I can’t promise them any time soon, but I haven’t forgotten about you all.
I love you all!

In the words of someone sometime, maybe only me -- life doesn’t get us down, but the way we think about it can.
-Sam
Braiiiiiiiinnnnnsssss.... I mean Baaaaaappptisssssmmssss

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