Sunday, May 4, 2014

[1/27/2014] Week 47: The Other Shoe

Dear Mister Pham E. Lee,

I don't know about the Fusion. Probably, but we don't want it back, because the Corolla has a USB port for playing music, which makes life easier. Either way, we don't use it much because the sisters in the Blaine ward lost their car, so we share the Corolla, and they use it most of the time.

But thank you for the animated GIF. It made my day!

Right now, Elder Lovell and I have the largest teaching pool either of us have had our whole missions. We have 10-12 investigators with 6-7 that are making real progress and two with baptismal dates with more to come this week. Of those 10-12 investigators, 7 come from FAMILIES ("FAMILY" is an all-caps word in our mission)! We have been immensely blessed! We keep racking our brains to try and figure how we could possibly deserve all the work that Heavenly Father has given us, and we keep coming up blank.

The Denogeans are doing wonderfully. Brother Denogean has not chewed tobacco in over a week, Sister Denogean is done with tea, they are both still working on coffee, and neither has touched alcohol since 2013. Get this, Brother Broyles (member fellowshipper) decided it wasn't right for him to sit and watch Brother Denogean suffer through quitting tobacco, so he decided he'd give up energy drinks right along with him. So now they both endure headaches together every day. What a guy! Since the Word of Wisdom, we have also taught Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, The Law of Chastity, and The Law of Tithing and Fast Offering. The third-mentioned item was one of great consequence, but the Broyles were there to testify of the countless temporal and spiritual blessings that come from paying a full, honest tithe.

On Wednesday, Elder Lovell and I received a phone call, out of the blue, from a man named Dustin. He heard from someone who lives in his area that he could receive financial help from the Church (cue heavy sigh). Well, then we learned that his life has totally fallen apart in the last year or so. He's lost his wife, children, house, vehicles, etc to divorce. Bishop Jenkins said that he would be willing to meet with Dustin after church on Sunday. Upon request, Dustin was totally open to meeting with us before then, so we rendezvoused at his motel room (get this: right next door to where Tyson and Desiree were living) on Friday afternoon. At this point, Dustin just unloaded. He wavered back and forth between total composure and just-controllable sobs. He began military service as an Army Airborne Ranger when he was sent to Iraq as a seventeen-year-old kid. Four tours and PTSD followed. He has been a Catholic for most of his life and still holds to that, but is completely open to reading the Book of Mormon and definitely felt the Spirit while Elder Lovell and I shared aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Dustin greatly enjoyed all three hours of church, was introduced to Brother Broyles who was also an Airborne Ranger, wasn't able to meet with Bishop because he was called into work, and agreed to meet with us this evening. Here's the twist: when going to meet with Tyson and Desiree for one of the first times a few months ago, we actually contacted Dustin outside his motel room and offered him a card. He accepted it and briefly dismissed us, refusing to talk with us (Elder Lovell and I both recall this). He didn't want to talk to us because he was overwhelmed and crying. He retreated into his motel room with every intention of throwing the card away, but instead, for whatever reason, set it on his counter, sat in the corner next to the wall, and listened to our discussion with Tyson and Desiree just next door -- apparently the walls are pretty thin. I guess he liked what he heard.

Question: how is Christian doing on his mission papers? Just curious. I'm so anxious to know where he goes!

Also, the journals are good (and I will definitely use them as study journals or something), but not the same as the ones I have been using. The ones I have are 10.25 in x 7.5 in with rounded leather binding and cool stripes on the inside cover. I think the model number is MJ80-9328 (found on the UPC sticker on the outside back cover). I will send some pictures of the black one I am currently using.

The journal that Dad got me before I left was brown with cream-colored paper, but otherwise exactly identical to the journal pictured. If possible, I'd like to switch to another brown one so that it's an alternating pattern of journal color in which my mission is recorded forever.

I know I'm being super persnickety, but it would be really cool if y'all could help me out. If not, I will make do!

If you can help me, try to hurry! I only have like eleven days left in my second journal!!

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

[We sent him journals.]

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