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Monday, October 14, 2013

Dang

Every week is so good! I'm sure you all are sick of hearing how "sick" and "sweet" and "bomb" everything is all the time. I feel a little repetitive saying each and every week how great things are, but that's life.
Good area, good companion, good stuff.
Something cool that I discovered this morning while I was studying was the connection between the Savior’s parable (Matthew 13) of the sower and Lehi's vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8). Both outline similar situations and talk about the importance of not giving heed to what the 'world' thinks or says. I dunno I thought it was kinda interesting.
I don't know what to say...
Oh. Transfers are tomorrow, but it’s okay because THE DREAM TEAM LIVES ON!
It's been an awesome week!

MONDAY! We had dinner with Severina. She made us soooo much rice. She just loves to feed us so we ended our P-day a little earlier and went there and she had bowls and bowls of rice waiting for us. She's such a sweet woman. She's the elect that everyone always is talking about-seeking for the truth and feeling of its truthfulness when she finds it. One thing did make me kinda sad though. She was babysitting four of her grandchildren and it was hard for her because they were all just running around and being crazy. They would like jump on her and make tons of noise and stuff, but she is so patient with each of them. I love kids and I would have been at my wits end but she was calm and playing with them and giving her attention to them. It was a great example of love and devotion. As crazy and the kids are, they're what's most important to her. It was only sad because she didn't have too much support. I love her.

TUESDAY! Today was Elder Daniel's last district meeting. It was good. Rigdon came with us and so he got that experience of role playing and stuff like that. Elder Daniel will be going home this week- it's crazy that the mission ends. He was really good about always being smiley and jovial. It's a good quality. And he really loves the people. He always has something good to say about those whom he is serving. We taught a few pretty good lessons on Tuesday. I'll highlight two of them. The first was with Stephanie. She's from Louisiana (or Georgia I can’t remember which). She's in her 50s and is a really sweet woman. We taught her the Restoration but we did it using a lot of scriptures from the New Testament so it was powerful. She felt the Spirit and "got chills all up [her] arms." We invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she accepted both of those commitments and she also accepted the invitation to be baptized. It was cool. We had received a training recently (in MLC) about how we should be doing so, and so in our effort to be obedient we did and she said yes! It's definitely one of the highlights of those first lessons - will they say yes or no, do they have real intent? Exciting. She's a really sweet woman. We also had a lesson with the husband in a PMF [part member family] named Tyrone. He's white. His wife set things up so we were a little leery of what was going to happen but we sat down with him and he actually was interested. Although the wife just laid into him after a few moments of the lesson she stops and says, "So are you going to do it? You can’t smoke, you can’t drink, you can’t be sleepin’ around with other women. You already don’t do those things so you should be fine. Are you going to get baptized or what?" It was pretty funny, and really abrupt. She's trying to return to activity. It was a good lesson when we talked mostly about prayer. For dinner a member took us out to Applebee’s. It was good but he ordered us sooo much food. I was like in shock. On a side note, I’m pretty sure Applebee’s is President Neider's favorite restaurant. 

Elder Slik's shoes - read on
WEDNESDAY! Wednesday was a good day. We started things off awesome with an appointment with Stephanie. She had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon the night before after we had the lesson and had received an answer that it was true. She described it as peace as she was praying. We then had a lesson and read from the Book of Mormon to explain more of what it was and why it was so important and what it being true meant for her in her life. She then committed to be baptized on November 9th! It was pretty cool. A little while later her son came in to join the lesson. His name is Andre and he is like 6'6" and 307lbs. He told us. He used to be in the Air Force. We were talking with him and he really opened up to us. He told us about some of his struggles and temptations. In his own words - "I don't drink. I don't smoke weed. My problem ... is women. I've got 9 kids and I’m 34 years old! They be comin’ up on me all the time!" He was telling us how he has a hard time keeping the women away from him. He then told us how he knows he is sinning but he doesn't know if he wants to stop. He was 100% open with us about his life and feelings and it was good. I really like this guy a lot. Good heart. He was just really real with us and that impressed me. But anyway, that's how we started the day off. Then a little later we explained to a kid the difference between God and Jesus. He had a lot of questions and it was cool. Kids are surprisingly interested in learning more about that kind of stuff. And missionaries are unsurprisingly open to explain. A little later we went by to teach Tyrone. About 10 minutes into this lesson he and his wife get into a fight about what they should do about the people who stole their stuff. Apparently right before we got there someone walked in and then walked right out with a laptop a DS and their hard drive. We didn't even know and then things got weird. As we left Tyrone had a bat in his hand and was saying that he was going to teach these people a lesson or something like that. It was weird. We got out.  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/gen/39.12 see Gen 39.12. Later we drove by and saw someone getting arrested, luckily not Tyrone. Welcome to the ghetto. Tyrone is a really interesting guy. He is really confused about what is true and what's not. He has had a hard past. Bad family relationships, he got ran over by a bus and saved miraculously. His father's girlfriend (before he died and I think she also broke his parents’ relationship apart) was a devil worshipper. That really messed him up to get involved with all that. Point of story, hard life and he's confused. Point of me telling you all this, it was a weird apt. We also found ES' shoe. See his email for more details. ["Like 3 weeks ago one of my athletic shoes randomly disappeared and I just did not know what happened to it and earlier this week we were driving home from our morning sports activity and Elder Anderson tells me to pull over cause he saw my shoe in this random field by our apartment and I did not believe him for a second cause he is always messing with me but I was convinced to stop and check it out; Well we walk out and lo and behold there my shoe is out in the field without its shoe laces just chilling. I have no idea how it got there, some homeless person must have taken it or something and then realized its worthless and just salvaged the laces and moved on."] BOOM.  Then nearly at the end of the day we had a lesson with Sister Marx' best friend Vicky. It was basically all about how Vicky wants to join the church but her husband for some reason is opposed. We taught the Plan of Salvation and talked about receiving strength through prayers. I was almost crying the entire time. Vicky is a really amazing woman. She knows the church is true and wants the peace she has felt in church and while reading the BofM in her life always. I've been praying more than I think I ever have before that the Lord will soften her husband's heart. 

THURSDAY! We got our oil changed in our car in the morning cause apparently it was long overdue. So ES and I sat in Pep Boys and practiced reciting the Articles of Faith from memory in the voices of the apostles. It was a blast. I love Elder Slik so much. He's been such a good influence for good in my mission, helping me commit to be better, more loving, more efficient, and more obedient all the time. He's a great leader as an administer and a minister. It's a learning experience every day to be his companion. I owe a lot of my growth to his good example back in Los Feliz. After the oil change was done we went to Subway and saw Clara there! It was really nice to see her.  I like her a lot but because of family issues we haven't been able to see her. Apparently her high blood pressure is due to the contention over her will and stuff. It's sad. But Clara is so sweet. Oh I didn’t mention this earlier but we got a new senior couple that will be serving full time in the Bonanza View ward. They're really nice. Elder and Sister Egan. It'll be very interesting because we are like the only ward in the mission to have this. The area is very small and we won’t be dividing it up so it will be kind of a first come first serve basis for teaching investigators. So we'll be playing this one by ear. We had a meeting with them and the bishopric which was good. I love both the wards we're serving in. We have such great people. That night we got an urgent call from a member who was having serious pain and so we ran up to go give her a blessing. As she lay on the couch thrashing in pain all she could talk about was what still needed to be done for the ward activity the next day. It was funny to see how we get sometimes. There was something seriously wrong with her but all she could think about was assignments to be made and what small tasks needed to be completed. She's a wonderful woman and it was an honor to be called on to serve her. Then we taught Tyrone that night the Restoration. It went well, it was just interesting to think about that lesson in comparison to the time we taught Stephanie. Totally different. Our lessons to those of strong Christian backgrounds are soooo different from those who don't have much religious experience at all. It's cool, but it puts a lot more pressure on us. But that's how it's supposed to be. And I do enjoy thinking. 

FRIDAY! We had district meeting. I like district meeting. I do miss training though. I just don’t miss the apprehension. Friday afternoon ES and I cooked a chili. There was a ward party and we entered into the competition. It was fun cooking it, but the chili came out very average. The secret ingredient? liver spread. Brother Deleon gave us the recipe and he is a good cook but we just don’t have the skills he does so it came out dece. We later visited Toni with the Egan family. The Egan’s are so nice. Sister Egan is so excited to be out here serving because she never served as a young woman. Apparently they have been planning this mission since they were dating. So it’s cool to be a part of it. We visited some members, including one RM who just got back from Peru and was struggling adjusting to the language difference. He kept using Spanish words and you could tell by the things he was saying that he was thinking in Spanish and translating to English before he spoke. That night was the chili cook off and we didn't win. Sigh. I wanted to win really bad.

SATURDAY! Today was an interesting day. We started off by helping two different families move. The first had soooo much stuff. They had one of the huge moving trucks fulll of boxes, and boxes, and boxes. It was a very interesting situation. They had a cat that had peed over like everything so my allergies were killing me. But it always feels good to help, especially those who aren’t in a position to help themselves. Later we moved another family and it was interesting to see the contrast of the two situations. Vegas is the city of black and white, poverty right next to wealth, sin right next to righteousness, happiness surrounded by sorrow. We visited a family (non-members) who have 30 desert tortoises. They showed us their house and all their animals. They even invited us to Easter dinner. They're Southern Baptist and not interested in learning more about the church, but they were super happy to show us their animals. I love animals. That night we had a lesson with Shenika. Idk if I have talked about her in the past. She's like ready to be baptized but it’s just so hard to get lessons with her because she is so busy. She grew up in a Mormon foster home but couldn’t get baptized because of legal reasons. We are there teaching the first lesson and we get to the First Vision part and she says, “I already know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I believe what he said is true.” Boom. Testimony builder to me that there are people out there waiting to hear the truth and to be pointed in the right direction. The Lord is preparing more people. A note about the hastening of the work. The Lord is calling more missionaries, but that's not to over saturate the mission field. He is also preparing the hearts of more people.  I know He is. And He is asking all of us to take part. http://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/welcome-to-conference-october-2013
President Monson God's chosen prophet today. Anyway. She wasn’t just prepared by the hand of the Lord. Her co-worker talks to her about the church every day. She told us about how happy and excited about life he always is. It really struck me in the lesson what an influence he had on her interest. Ben was his name. I hope to be a 'Ben' to many people now, and forever. After that we had a weird experience. Friday night we contacted a less active man and he was drunk but invited us over to his home for dinner the next night. We didn't think he'd have remembered but used it as an excuse to go by and hopefully sit down with him. He remembered. He made us a feast of beans and salad and stuffed pork chops and veggies. It was crazy. And delicious. As we got to know him, we could see how great of a guy he is. He is just a little tied down by a few of his vices. He was rough and gruff and scary on the outside, missing teeth and a foul vocabulary but as we talked with him we could feel of his love for us and his family and others. It was a (perhaps needed) reminder that God loves all his children and they all have worth. His friends came too. Joseph was so funny and one of his biker gang buddies came too. Chaz. Slik described it as sitting at meat with the publicans and sinners (Mark 2:16-17.) Not that we too aren’t sinners, but that peoples choices don’t determine their worth. I love those guys. :)

SUNDAY! Great day. In BV the sacrament meeting was all about missionary work. We had a few people we didn’t expect to come to church show up which we were excited about. I don't have too much more time but one nonmember gave one of our investigators a ride to church and we are having a lesson with her tonight and she already says she wants to go to church every Sunday. That was cool. At Frenchmen Hills, our ward went through a lot of changes. So Sacrament meeting was about a lot of that. But President Neider came and presented during the 3rd hour to everyone but the Primary. That was cool. It made me feel good because a lot of members told him how much they love Elder Slik and me. I was blushing and beaming. I know it's a lot of Elder Slik's doing but I still feel good that I was included and people know me. It means a lot to be remembered and for people to say such good things about us. After ward council, the members petitioned to have Elder Slik and me stay together as long as possible. President said at least another six weeks and maybe another 12!!! One member also started crying because of the growth he'd seen in his son since we started taking him out to lessons. It meant a lot to me. Later in the evening we were teaching Tyrone and our WML [ward mission leader] kinda laid into him, but it was good, for a while and was being really bold and ES and I were kinda scared that it was going to freak Tyrone out, but when he said, "Is that something you want?" without hesitation he said, “Yes.” Then the lesson was real good from there. I love serving here. I love serving. In case there is any doubt - I'm a happy camper.

Life. Is. Good.
That's all I’ve got time for!
I love you all so much,
Sam

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