Sunday, December 15, 2013

[11/04/2013] Week 34: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Hey, y'all!

This ended up being really a pretty good week, somehow. In all, we taught 17 lessons to investigators and less-active members, which is a hefty number for us.

On Wednesday we had so many appointments set up! Like 7! That doesn't happen. Well, 5 of them fell through. But it's ok! Because we replaced them with other valuable teaching appointments. We got to teach Gilda, who just received her patriarchal blessing, and then we taught Tia the Ten Commandments.  She got an especial kick out of the tenth commandment as listed in Mosiah 13... But what was interesting to see was when we talked to her about sharing the gospel with
others at school, she recoiled, saying, "I won't be doing that because some people might get offended if you try to talk about religion with them." Noting as well the struggle she had understanding homosexuality and happiness that I mentioned in an earlier email, Tia, who is 8, is growing up in a very different world than even I grew up in. And I just barely graduated high school! We taught the Josh and Justin Copenhaver a lesson on faith and repentance that evening. They were tired, so we had to make it simple, brief, and to the point. I've been kind of worried recently about how we're going to prepare these children for the baptismal interview when it comes time. Justin especially has a hard time talking to people he doesn't know and remembering things on top of that. I talked to Elder Stack, one of the zone leaders, about it, and he pointed out that it's just like the interview that a bishop would have with an 8-year-old child of record. If they have the desire to be baptized, and they know the basics, the interviewer can kind of help them along.

Our Halloween was bueno. We had a mini-exchange with the zone leaders on that morning, which went well. They joined us for companionship study, and then we all spent two hours in Seattle Hill. We contacted a long uncontacted former investigator, but he was busy and told us to try back by another time (story of my life!). While walking past the Lanes' (newly moved-in family from Arizona) house, one of their youngin's poked her head out the door and inquired, "Do you guys want breakfast?!" We told her we had had breakfast, but that we'd like to share a message. Of course, we didn't leave without a few strips of bacon and a mug of hot cocoa. Members like that just brighten your day as a missionary. Afterwards, we went and visited John, the wealthy man, who was home! We talked a lot about how his work is really causing him a lot of stress; how he just wants to spend more time with his family. I did the best I could to console him with the Book of Mormon (Alma 58:10-12), and I think it was helpful for him. We had a prayer with him and set an appointment for the following afternoon to read more with him.  Elder Stack and I talked a lot about Elder O'Rullian, whose family called him again on Thursday evening. Really, he knows all the answers to the issues he's facing, but he's too bitter about it all to even give it a shot. His attitude has improved quite a bit since Halloween. He was super down then, but he's still struggling now. On Thursday, we had dinner with the Johnsons, who invited their daughter's basketball coach, Dan, over for dinner (Yeehaw for member missionary work!) and we had freshly caught salmon (yum!). Dan left with a Book of Mormon and a commission to read and pray. Sahweet. On Halloween, we had to be in our apartment by six, so we did just that. We only had like three trick-or-treaters, but we roasted marshmallows over the stove and made s'mores! Yeah!

Friday was ok. Both of our lessons we had set up with investigators fell through, but we got to teach Brother Lothyan and Nalina with Giovanni at our side. Giovanni is such a stud, I tell ya. Just a few months ago, he was not active and in jail. Now he's fully active and on the road to the Temple, joining us in as many lessons as possible.

We kicked Saturday off with a lesson with Jeff Schmidt, the football coach, at 8:30am. His schedule shifted up last-minute, but he still wanted to be sure we met, so he asked if we could meet even earlier (really good sign!). As soon as he walked in, he started talking about how baptism was really his main issue now and that was what he wanted to discuss for the thirty minutes he had available. We read with him and Brother Noll in 2nd Nephi 31 and then he was on his way. Brother Noll pointed out that this was good, because he got a short, powerful shot of scripture and then he drove to Everett, which meant sitting alone in his car with his thoughts for a few minutes. That's where the Spirit works on ya! We stopped at Burger King (I know - HFCS) for lunch. In line, I noticed a man glancing at our nametags and then away several times, saying nothing. We sat down, and then he followed, sitting across the aisle from us. Shortly thereafter, he piped up, "Can I ask you guys a question?" What followed was a long conversation with a born-again Christian about his beliefs as compared to ours. He learned quite a bit, especially that we weren't too different, he and us. Though, he had a hard time with the fact that we don't qutie believe in a "hell". Hey, man. God loves us all. All in all, he was super, super respectful of our faith, and especially of the work that we do as missionaries. Gotta love true Christians! On Saturday night, we got to see Justin again, and guess what! He watched the conference talk from President Uchtdorf! And guess what else! He committed himself to watching more conference talks on Sunday! Yeah!

Sunday was super bueno. We had four investigators at church! Tia and Tiffany came and stayed all three hours. Giovanni brought his son, Mateo (9-year-old UBC). And Jeff Schmidt came as usual. But here was the weird part. Sister Burns, Jeff Schmidt's ex-ladyfriend, came in and sat down right there next to him! And they chatted like BFF's the whole time. When we talked to Sydnee Burns, she said they were way over, which was good because that sort of told us that Jeff was investigating for himself. Man, I sound like a gossip-girl right now, but it was a huge surprise to us. He's still wanting to get a lesson set up this week, so it sounds like things are still good. After church, we taught a few more lessons to less-actives and watched the Testaments with Mateo. Good day!

Apparently my whole family is going healthy on me. Working out, drinking skim milk, and shunning high-fructose corn syrup. Meanwhile, I'm getting fed huge member dinners plus dessert every night and driving around in a car all day. Sheesh. Sorry if I'm fat when I get home.

I'm glad to hear y'all are doing well. I keep praying for everyone, especially Seth and Christian. I can't believe Margo is doing so well! I'm so proud!


Elder Martin

The picture is of me with a minecraft thing on my head that our ward mission leader's wife made for his son for Halloween.

I really feel like my English/writing skills have degraded since I've left on my mission. Bleh.

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