Dear Family and Friends,
We got calls last night. Remember how I said there's a 50% chance that Sawyer and I stay together and a 100% chance he goes ZL? Well, he went Zone Leader and we are no longer companions. However, the 50% thing was spot on. I'm getting inter-zoned to a different apartment just up the block. I got the shaft of it all: lost our big apartment with an amazing view, lost my swagger wagon (van), and lost my companion, and it's looking like I'll get the worse Spanish area. They are putting 6 Spanish missionaries in the Spanish branch instead of four so our areas will be moved around. I'll be taking over ours and to say I'm a little nervous doesn't do it justice. I'm predicting a hard transfer. I will know my new companion on Wednesday.
My new address is 1334 Ave B #174, Yuma AZ. I'm close enough to my old house that any letters I haven't received yet can be picked up any day. I'm seriously only moving 2 blocks.
This was a fun week. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at a member's house and had a good time. I'm not a big fan of being painfully full but I'd rather be that than painfully hungry. Afterwards we got invited to an investigator's house for some food. They're going to get baptized.
Remember our recent convert to the Spanish branch a few weeks ago? The one whose family is now investigating? The ones who were going to get baptized by their recent convert father? Yeah, well things were going really well with them. Really well. The daughters really wanted to get baptized and the mother was overcoming her concerns. Then she asked us for a triple combination so she could cross reference scriptures. The next day we went over and she had clearly stumbled into some anti-Mormon literature. She was pulling out all these deep doctrine scriptures that made everything seem terrible, commenting on the cursed Lamanites skin, etc. It was bad. I was on exchanges that day and the Elder I was with didn't do much. The lesson went horribly and the rest of the day was bad. We went home after that and took a 30 minute breather so that I could recuperate from the stress. It was really bad. Anyway, we've been working with them slowly and have found her real concern which was that she was afraid of concern. We brought some great fellow-shippers over and have settled most of her concerns. Now the trouble is putting them all back on date for baptism. I'll be doing that without Sawyer and with my new companion.
We have one investigator who is progressing very quickly. We've taught her probably five times and she has taken right to everything we've said. She has a very strong understanding of the Bible. We will be helping her overcome her addiction to smoking, the only thing standing in the way. Not too worried about it, she has lots of faith. Our lessons with her have usually been on the longer side since she's a talker; around 45 minutes to an hour. We have been strongly encouraged to teach 15-30 minute lessons and get out so that you don't satisfy their spiritual needs so they want you to come back the next day. Well, we were getting ready to leave this week after an hour long lesson and she said, in Spanish, "You guys always leave so early! Why? Every time you come over I always feel...just better. I'm happier and feel like I'm learning a lot. I'm drawing closer to God and understanding verses I've never understood before. When you guys come you bring light with you. Thank you. Thanks you. Thank you." It was pretty great to hear something like that. She will likely be baptized the 3rd week of teaching her - a fast one.
There were 3 baptisms in the district this past weekend, none of ours. Elder Sawyer and I went to each one. Very....unique baptisms. The first one was ridiculously long. It started off wrong when the other Elders noticed that the baptism before theirs had drained the font and locked the font doors. Bad start. It went on to start 30 minutes later and have lots of people running in and out of it making loud, loud noises. While they were changing, their ward suggested really weird hymns to sing that no one knew. I almost requested #233, Nay Speak No Ill, the song that no one knows. But the spirit was already gone haha. The pianist was lost, the singing was terrible... I'm pretty sure the Elders who baptized her were losing hair over it.
The next baptism was the Sisters'. They were baptizing an over age youth with two less active parents. Actually, a less active father and his girlfriend. Well, fast forward to after the baptism. The Bishop got up to do his welcome and ended up talking for 30 minutes...to an 11 yr old girl. And then for the closing prayer, the girl's father's girlfriend (whew) got up and gave the most interesting prayer I've ever heard. She bore her testimony in her prayer and spoke to the girl...all during the prayer. The baptisms were great, just interesting.
The baptism was even better because Elder Boyd ripped a huge hole in his pants. It was so bad that we had to take him to the library and fix it. Since none of us can sew, we ended up taping his pants and coloring the tape black hahaha. It was pretty ridiculous looking. It was a pretty bad repair job because by the end of the service had ripped twice the size.
There was a big debate in the YSA branch about legally wrong vs. morally wrong and the thin lines between the two. Interesting situation, that. You can make a good debate on either side I think
Last night I got to bless my first home. We went over to a members home who is, according to her, Palestinian. Raised in Jerusalem a Muslim and converted to the LDS church 2 years ago when she married her Mexican husband. I think they're the most diverse couple in Yuma and one of the coolest. He was watching a movie on his new 3D TV yesterday so I got to see it just for a second. But then afterwards they told us about a spirit that had been haunting their home and stuff. I kept an open mind since I'd never... well, I kept an open mind about it. They asked us to bless it and I did. It was definitely a unique experience. But afterwards they taught me how to throw punches. Both of them were boxers growing up and pretty competitive ones at that. They asked if I'd ever gotten in a fight since I'm big and from the DC area and when I said no he laughed and brought out all their boxing gear. Now I can throw a sweet punch and a left hand jab. Unstoppable! "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing..." I'm basically invincible now.
Not a ton else happened this week. It was a harder week in the mission - most of our lessons cancelled and things were just hard finding people. I'll miss being Elder Sawyer's companion. We had an awesome 12 weeks. We're both glad we'll still be in the same zone.
Thanks Natalia, Jamie, and the Arlington Ward Young Men for the letters/package this week! [He left his mom out and Eric and William who write weekly letters. . .] You're all great! Letters will be sent to everyone from last week and this week today, I promise.