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Monday, December 17, 2012

14 year-olds

Thank you to the Peterson's for the awesome pecans!  They were so delicious so thanks to y’alsies. And Sister Franco says they are super-duper delicious and she could eat them all day if she had enough and that she has already eaten them all and is sad because there are no more and she is not going to share because they are soooo delicious.

Okay. So the mission is totally indescribable. I wish I could somehow show you what life here is like. I mean if I wasn't a horrible person I would be taking and sending pictures..... :( anyway, so many incredible things happen all the time and there is no way to properly describe it all.  But of course I owe it to you all to try. So here it goes.

Monday night I got a haircut which was pretty cool. My hair was getting super long and so it was nice to cut it back down to a professional length. My part is a little different but it’ll get back to normal eventually. So just so you all know parts are a big deal here. In some ways you can tell who is new and inexperienced by their part or the lack thereof. You can also tell at the temple and things the west missionaries because they don't have parts. Oh snap! Then after all the p-day things we did we had a FHE with a less active family that was bomb. We have been trying to get them to at least read the Book of Mormon because they always flake on church so we have been starting small. We sat down with them and together as a family, with the 3 intruder missionaries, read 1Nephi 1 and talked about it as we went. It was a really good discussion and everyone was involved and interested. Then in the middle of it the punkish 14 year old son came home. In my head I was fist bumping like crazy. We invited him to sit down with us and read along and for a second looked like he was not going to but he sat down (intentionally secluded) and only texted a few times and answered a few questions and talked a little bit. He even got excited when he had an idea about the end of the chapter.

A little back story on this guy, he doesn’t like church. His mom says she hasn’t been going recently because she doesn’t want to leave him home alone. He is kind of at that (what I, only because I have been through something like it, would call) confused stage where he acts like he doesn’t care about his family or anything. But he is usually rude to his mother and siblings and always is running around with his friends, refusing to help around the house.

Back to the story, as we finished the chapter and talked a little bit about it he seemed to get a little more interested. He opened up about his doubts that there was even a God. The three of us each took turns talking about God and how we can know that he lives and loves each of us and in the middle of talking about prayer his brother and sister started fighting so things got loud and crazy and we stopped talking. Then when everything calmed down a little bit he says "can we please continue, I liked talking about this." Boom. My heart melted to see that something we had talked about had caught his interest and he wanted to know more. There was also a change in his demeanor and body language as well that I had not noticed until then either. He was more attentive and his phone was in his pocket instead of lying on his Book  of Mormon. So we said a few more words about prayer and then invited him to pray. He said he hadn’t prayed since he was a little kid so he would need help. I'll take that any day. It was no King Lamoni prayer but it was humble and sincere and everyone felt something, but more importantly he did.

I was thinking about this the other day. I have been so lucky out here on my mission to see people do things that make them happy. And prayer has been one of them. There is such a power in sincere communication with deity, especially for the first time.  Anyway, they invited us to come back next Monday for another reading of the Book of Mormon and I can’t wait :) It was so cold that night. I thought my ears were going to fall off! But a little after 9 pm when we rolled on home we made some hot chocolate to keep us warm while we planned.

Tuesday was interviews with President and Sister Neider. I love them both so much. They spend so much time and energy (all of it) to help the people of this city and the missionaries that are serving them. It is a pleasure to meet with them and hear their guidance for how I can be a better servant of the Savior. I hope so bad that I am making a good impression on the both of them. I'm not like preoccupied about brownnosing or anything like that, I just hope that they know I am here to work and not to screw around. President talked with me for most of the time about the good things I was doing and that he has good feelings about me. So that made me feel good. It was pretty short which was fine. I didn’t have too many questions and he didn’t have to rebuke me or anything so that was a good sign I guess. With Sister Neider we talked about Christmas and consecration (sounds like a book title) and she asked me to talk at our mission Christmas training/party. She gave me a story to animatedly read and asked me to bare me testimony afterwards. So that was kind of unnerving but it wasn’t a big deal. I 'm used to making a fool of myself. Oh my gosh. Tuesday we went to go see a member that is living in a ... salon de fiestas... a banquet hall. He can’t work because he can’t walk because he can’t take care of his diabetes because he can’t afford it ... because he can’t walk or work. Its sooo sad and his situation keeps getting worse and worse and he says he will probably lose his feet soon. It is so sad to hear such horrible stories especially because we hear and see them every day. He used to have a wife and 4 kids but when the economy went south he lost his job and his wife left him. Now he literally has nothing to his name except the clothes on his back and the special 'shoes for people with no toes' on his messed up feet. It makes me want to cry. But for every tear of sadness there are 2 of joy.! One of our investigators (not Juana, a different one of the 6 [now 5] that are in the same situation) called after our meeting with this man and told us she wants to get married! It was soooo exciting. Talking to her about it on the phone she was so giddy and excited. We set it up to have it done by the bishop on Saturday. She said that after she gets married she wants to get baptized. So sick. Her 9 years of investigating are about to come to a close.

Wednesday was Zone Meeting which is always cool. We get lots of training and the chance to talk and discuss the work with lots of other missionaries. I like learning from other missionaries, young and old. Ugh. So Wednesday I found out that a man, Frank (who I had contacted in the street a few weeks ago) decided to stop taking the missionary lessons. He was going so solid. He had a baptismal date for the end of the year and he was overcoming his alcoholism and his smoking problem and he was reading the Book of Mormon and doing everything. It was so cool to have talked to him and then talk with the other missionaries about his progression. We even stopped to talk to him another day to see how he was doing and he gave us a referral. He had been going to the activities and ugh. So last week he asked his boss for a day off on Sunday so he could go to church. And he got it so he and his whole family walked like 2 miles to go to church. They had been praying all week to know if they were making the right decision and they got to church and it was a horrible experience for all of them. In gospel principles the teacher and class members made racial comments about Frank and his wife. In Primary the kids were made fun of and in the third hour Frank’s wife was insulted in front of the whole Relief Society by a woman who she had never even seen before. Sunday night Frank told the missionaries that he had gotten his answer. That broke my heart to hear that. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with His restored gospel we should be nicer than anyone else. I know that no one is perfect but there is no excuse for the way they were treated. I don’t have time to rant as long as I'd like to explain the situation but I was furious. .... deep breath,,,, deep breath.... everyone makes mistakes. Truly Frank could come to realize that everyone is human and that he doesn’t need a testimony of humanity but a testimony of the church but oh well.

Then one of the less active boys in our area asked what he needed to do to prepare to serve a mission so we talked a lot about that. It would change his life and his family’s life forever if he went. I pray (literally) that he does.

Gotta move on! Thursday was the leadership training Christmas party for the mission. It was from 9 - 4 and it was really good. Half was super spiritual training and the other half was about the spirit of Christmas. It was great. I think some people got suppper trunky but they have their agency right?
Santa (President Neider), Elder Talmage, Elder Sam, Elder Bennett, Mrs. Claus (Sister Neider)
 I promise I am not that fat...I was talking during the picture...like I always do.  Wowzers, I look so fat. 
Friday we had a great lesson with Juana about her goals for reading the Book of Mormon and she set some awesome, stretching goals which are going to help her so much in her life. Then we had a dope lesson with a young boy. Ahhh I dont ever have enough time. So we were there to teach his mom but she was tired but he said form the background, you guys can teach me if you’d like! He was super interested and super mature and 14. It was such a contrast to the boy from Monday but it was cool to see them both learn and progress even just a little at a time. Ugh. Remind me when I get home to talk about him if you are still interested.

Saturday was Jovita's Wedding!@$!@$!@$!@!!!!! It was so exciting to watch that and share that day with her. She was indescribably happy. I wish I had time to say more about her. It was a great day for her and her family. Then we met with Antonia who is bomb. She is such a great mother and the kind of parent I want to be when I get older, such faith and such desire to be better for her children.
Jovita's Wedding (She is the one in white)
Sunday was great and fairly normal, church and lessons but at 8 pm we had a lesson with a man named Oscar who was super nice and super open but he always said Dioscita.... which was a little wierd. For you gringos that means Little God. It’s super Mexican.

Puppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They peed on me.
KK I've got to email prez. Sorry!
I love you all so much!!!
byeee
Sam

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