Man, I can't believe Brandon's headed home this week. Y'all must be so excited! What else is weird is that means I've been out six months already. :o
This week was cool. It had its successes and its failures. I conducted exchanges with Elder Larson on Wednesday. We went to his area, which has been struggling for a while now. I'm not really sure how to help them. They just don't have anyone to teach, and finding is difficult too. Elder Larson struggles with street-contacting, and having served in a bike area for three transfers, that's one of my strong suits. He and Elder Wells work very hard, and they are very obedient, but I don't know about their faith. I think they're in one of those "dead areas" where its reputation precedes it and so they don't expect anything to happen. I have consulted with the zone leaders about it, and I think they're going to exchange with Elder Larson and Wells in their own area where there is a lot of street contacting to be done, so that they can get some good practice in.
Tami wasn't feeling well this week and had to cancel our lesson. She didn't make it to church for the same reason, but we stopped by a few times to see how she was doing. Those visits really brightened her day.
We also found two new investigators this week, both of which are pretty solid. I was on exchanges for one of them, so I haven't yet met her, but the other was a referral, named Christina Sowell. Her late husband, to whom she was married for 34 years, was a member of the Church. She worked a lot with the Relief Society and even sent one of her sons on a mission, but never joined herself, as she was raised Catholic. Now she is questioning the Catholic church, stating that she "can't deal with the hypocrisy anymore". She wants to know what the Mormon Church is all about, so we're the right guys for the job!
Here's a funny story: Spending the day in Thomas Lake ward meant being on bike. Since Elder Wells spent the day in my area, I used his bike while on exchanges with Elder Larson. Elder Wells' bike isn't the nicest. In fact, it's in rough shape. The brakes don't work at all, it's auto-shifting function is hardly functional, and for bonus points, I'm pretty sure it's a girl bike. So we were riding down a hill, gaining speed and all, when a couple of teenagers on bikes come around the corner ahead of us and start riding straight at us. Keep in mind, this missionary has no brakes. I made eye-contact with one of them shortly, and he rode off the sidewalk and onto the grass, as though to go around the tree at right and then get back on the sidewalk after we passed each other. Well, in a split second he was back on the sidewalk and I knew it was all over. While he tried to veer off the other side of the sidewalk, it was too late. My front wheel rammed into his back wheel, I flew off into the dirt, he flew off into the street, we both rolled it out and were all good (though the helmet I was wearing split in two--I don't remember hitting my head). After getting up, helping the other guy up, and dusting ourselves off, I heard Elder Larson say, "Julio! Where have you been man?!" I had just engaged in a dramatic bicycle crash with one of their former investigators, that they hadn't heard from in a while. Talk about street-contacting!
Something else funny: While helping a family move up the street, we decided to get creative with the trampoline. Basically, we took the legs off, rolled the rest of the structure out of the back yard, and put it on top of the small U-Haul truck and drove it to their new house a few blocks away. It looked really awesome!
I must admit that progress with Elder Julius is slow-ish. I'm definitely doing a lot better at avoiding arguments about stupid things and keeping conversation positive. This will likely be our last week together, as he'll probably go back to Spanish next transfer. I'm determined to make it a great week!
We had a super fiery-awesome zone conference this week. One activity consisted of getting up on a soap box and preaching to a crowd of "hecklers", which were just other missionaries. But it was a good practice in deflecting silly anti questions and teaching with power and testimony.
Side note to Dad: Do you remember how I was super reluctant to buy the grey suit for whatever reasons and we argued about it and stuff? Well, I get compliments on it more than anything else, and now it's my favorite suit! So thanks! Haha.
Thanks for keeping me updated on life at home. It really means a lot, especially since I'm the only one out here for a while. I love y'all!