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Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to the Jungle

Well. Missionary work is so fascinating. When a companion leaves, your whole life changes because you're with them 24/7. It almost seems like you're in a totally different place!
That I guess would be the best way to describe the week. It was the same area, but it was completely different. Good, rewarding, and awesome. But nothing like the last week. Life is good.
Elder Smith is from Pocatello, Idaho and is one of the funniest people that I know. He always has a smile on and is telling a joke or doing something to make others laugh. He was big into dirt biking and snowmobiling before the mission. He's really good with people and he's a great story teller. 

MONDAY! (Last full day with Elder Slik.) We were going to have a lesson at the Mag's house but that didn't work out. But we went there anyway for Chinese food: Elder Slik's favorite. Then we went to the Marx's and saw Vicki and Sister Marx and Chris and we talked with them, then to the Martinez family, and then to the Stephens - all families that I love and look up to a lot. It was touching how they all expected us to come back to visit. It was also weird because it felt like we both were leaving. Dream team made a big impact on the wards and I think for all of us it was hard to grasp that we would be splitting up. 

TUESDAY! What a crazy day. Saying goodbye to Elder Slik was suuuuper hard. I almost cried. I never understood when members would tell us stories about how they cried when they got transferred until that moment. It was so tough. I'm going to miss him/ I do miss him a lot. But it's good. I'm not depressed, or even sad. It's just different. But then I met up with Elder Smith and the fun began! It's going to be an adjustment to get used to his style of missionary work and life, but it's good. I've learned a lot from him already. We went out with Rigdon and had some pretty good experiences. We felt prompted to go see Parole, which was interesting. Idk if I've said much about him and his situation but that is for another email. But he said I was just thinking about us. He invited us in and sat us down and said he was just on his porch smoking a cigarette and thinking about his life and he really felt God tell him that he needed to change some things and start going to church and right when he thought that, we showed up! He was blown away. He said some words to describe the experience that I've never heard before. He was really committed to coming and everything which was new. We were kind of taken aback at how serious we was. Usually he's all jokes but he really is looking for a change in the family. That night we took out Chris Marx and visited Melissa and Bailey and we had a good experience with them. They gave us a referral and Bailey even walked over to the house to contact it with us. Then we had a blessing contact with a cool family of five. After the prayer the oldest son said, "I felt good!" So we set up another time to come by. It was a sweet experience with a family. Then we had a pass off lesson with Suzie. That was so, so hard. But it was a good experience. We taught about the Book of Mormon and talked about 1 Nephi 4. What used to be a doubt for me has now become a strength to my testimony. But anyway we taught a lesson with the YSA sisters present so that they could continue to teach her and she could get the support she needs from that ward. She's so special. Awesome young woman. We'll stay in touch with her though. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, does it not? 

WEDNESDAY! DM today was good. Lunch with Severina. She's incredible too; such a good example of love and service. She's spending all her free time preparing to go to the Philippines and teach her whole extended family about the church. She wants her grandsons to serve missions. It's humbling. She's also preparing to get her patriarchal blessing. Then we visited the Rossers. They love to serve us. We talked to a few people on the street. They tried to scare us by saying that they were followers of Illuminati. When I wasn't scared off they dropped it and actually listened to what we had to say. Then three of our appointments fell through. Its afternoons like that that make passing off solid referrals tough. People like Suzie don't flake. But I know that by being obedient (not to mention considerate of what is best for the investigator) the Lord will bless me and help it all to work out for the best for those that I serve. We had a cool experience that night though. Our lesson fell through and so we went to one of our backups. She was home and so, soo excited to see us. She invited us into her home and we prayed with her and set up a return appointment. It warmed my heart to see how happy she was to see us. There are so many wonderful people that we get to work with here in Vegas. Then we taught Parole and his fiancĂ©e Keisha. They really, really want unity in their relationship and peace in their home. Definitely a major motivator for them meeting with us and wanting to come to church. Righteous.

THURSDAY! This morning the boyfriend in a la/pmf [less-active/part-member family] called us and told us that he wanted to have a lesson that morning. So we went over and he invited us to teach him. He made us sing opening and closing hymns and asked a ton of questions. He wasn’t all there. He asked how soon he could be baptized and we explained the interview and the qualifications. Then he set up the next appt for 3 weeks away. Shrug. We had coordination which was good. I really love the Egans. They're such a nice couple, such strong testimonies and desires. They just want to help everyone. We taught Keisha a lesson and she was really excited to come to church and be a good example to her family and to Parole. Then we taught an awesome lesson to that family that we prayed with on Tuesday and they invited us back for the next day!!

FRIDAY! We did service in the morning of knocking nuts off a tree.  We visited some members including one member who beat cancer twice. Then we taught that family the Restoration.  They're called the S. family. They accepted the invitation to be baptized and to read the Book of Mormon. It’s almost too good to be true. Then we visited Stephanie. She said that she's going to start going to the Baptist church. :( :( </3 She's not nearly as happy as she was before. Then we moved a piano.

SATURDAY! Good DM.  Then we had to help some missionaries in the zone resolve some problems. We visited some members, some active, some less active. One is a woman who hasn't walked for like 6 months. It's pretty sad. She can hardly move and because it’s so hard she just lies in her bed all day :/ Life is tough without hope and without goals. The Cotners took us out to Olive Garden. Dang! That place is nice! I like it a lot. The Cotners are like the coolest people ever. I really like them. I want to be like them, not blowing tons of money on useless things but helping others and making them comfortable. Then that night we taught another lesson to Keisha. (Spoiler alert: She didn't end up coming to church! Parole was going to but he couldn't because he ended up having to babysit his brother's kids.) During the lesson, Parole's sister and her girlfriend got in a fight in the other room and I thought someone was going to get shot. It went from spiritual to just a mayhem in a moment; people swearing and crying and yelling and throwing things. @_@

SUNDAY! Robert came to church! He said that things have calmed down and he's ready to meet whenever we are. Yay! :) Bonanza View had 150 people at church which is like 50 more than usual so that was cool. We had a good visit with the clan and Brother Jewitt that night. O! and we had a cool experience with being prompted by the Spirit. We were going to visit this one potential investigator and right before we knocked we felt prompted to wait and knock the door below us. And we did and the family below, who we had never met, invited us in to bless their home! Then one of the family members who was visiting, referred us to her daughter and herself!!!! Then when we left, the guy whose door we were about to knock on, showed up and we had the chance to talk to him. He wouldn’t even have been at home if we'd have knocked then and we would have missed him and the chance to meet his downstairs neighbors. It's hard to explain over email but it was a powerful experience. I love feeling that guidance. The Spirit is real. He will guide us as we seek to listen. I know that.

Sorry for the rushed email!
I love you all so much! 
Sam

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