Dear Family and Friends,
Firstly, Happy Birthday Eric! What did you get me?
So this week was Habanero week. I don't know if Mom put up that letter I sent home explaining it in ridiculous wording haha. If not, here's an account:
Last Monday we finally got around to eating habernos. The Elders out in Foothills came down and picked up 6 habaneros for 40 cents total. We met at the stake center. I was pretty confident walking into it. Elder Lanier decided to show me a video of him eating one which I regretted seeing. Everyone was procrastinating eating it so we played basketball for 30 minutes until someone said we should just get it over with. We all ate the entire habanero at the same time. The video I have is pretty amusing. No one reacted for the first 30 or so seconds because the pain didn't set in for a bit. And then it hit everyone at once. I don't think my eyes have ever watered as bad as they were. Waterfalls don't even compare to the amount of tears that were falling in that gym. We chugged some chocolate milk out of a yoohoo can. Elder Lanier and I took turns chugging it but since we only brought one can and it was quickly gone. We ran out to the water fountain and found that only one of the two worked on that side so we took turns there too. All 3 working water fountains in the building were in use. After about 5 minutes Elder Lanier called himself good and went back. I kept chugging. My throat started to close off and it was quite a bit harder to breathe. Every time I inhaled it felt like it was fueling the fire burning in my throat so I tried not to breathe much. My ears started to burn a bit but were never too bad so I did the only thing I could do and kept chugging. My eyes continued to water. I walked back into the gym thinking all was well and I heard someone ask me if I was high. My eyes were pretty bloodshot. You'd think that after 10 minutes it wouldn't hurt so bad.
I ran off the the bathroom feeling pretty sick and started to throw up. Let me tell you, the seeds going down were bad but coming back up was just terrible. My nose was pretty runny so I decided to blow it. Bad. Idea. My nose has never burned but it was an inferno that afternoon.
Anyway, dwelling on that experience isn't helping. I'll leave it there. Rest assured, I'll never take another habanero again. I won't feel bad saying no to Mexicans offering me hot food either. When we tell them we ate habaneros they always laugh at us and call us silly. One told us about her niece eating one and having to go to the hospital because it gave her blisters all over her mouth and throat.
I would not recommend a habanero. I would send the video home but the file is too big.
Went on an exchange with Elder Lanier this week. He is a missionary called Spanish speaking but is in the English only area of Foothills. It's driving him crazy. He came down to Yuma and was in heaven since everyone is Mexican. We went and knocked some doors and met the laziest dog I've ever seen. It was a massive bulldog that couldn't even walk. It tried to push the screen door open so it could eat us but we just held the door closed. It probably couldn't have run either. That same afternoon we went and found a Jehovah's Witness and talked to him. He had just gotten out of jail and was going on about how bad his life was. We spoke about how it could be better. He said he wanted it to improve while sipping his 40 of beer. Elder Lanier told him that there was no better time to start than the present, got the guy to give him the beer, and poured it out all over the ground. It was a pretty bold moment and we're hoping for the best for the guy. Unfortunately he is in the area of the other missionaries so he's there work.
That day was also the first day Elder Lanier has driven in weeks. I'm not allowed to drive yet ...driving me crazy, no pun intended. Anyway, he was really distracted and ran a couple stop signs and was on edge for the rest of the night. It was hilarious to see him sitting on the edge of a seat driving like a blind person. He struggled for a while to figure out how to turn the lights on and since we were driving in the 'counties' (dirt road areas) the lights were a little important.
We implemented a new means of finding investigators this week by delivering baptismal invitations for one of the 8 year old boys getting baptized. We asked him and his parents to make invitations to their non-member friends and if we could deliver them. We went around inviting said people to the baptism and said that the ____ family had asked us to share with them why Ben is getting baptized. Most people said no but we got in with one family who we're pretty sure will be baptized soon. Really good people.
We were on slate to get a baptism this past week. Everything was going well and the programs were made. Fast forward to the day of. His wife starts yelling at him five hours before the baptism and tells him that if he gets baptized then she will divorce him. This is the investigator who has read the entire Book of Mormon in 3 weeks. He loves church and loves the gospel. The baptism fell through and now we can't go by as often. Hopefully things turn around. Keep him in your prayers, we don't know how to approach his wife.
So every month we get 1,100 miles to drive in the swagger-wagon since our area is rather large. Since there are 5 weeks in October we are basically out. We can average 11 miles for the next 3 days and we have two lessons on two different days this week that are 30 miles away. This will be a fun one! We're also out of money for this month since there are 5 weeks. This will be a faith week. I have 1 cup of cereal left, 1/4 a gallon, a box of mac n cheese, and a box of spaghetti for 7 days.
The Yuma Valley Ward, formerly the 9th ward, threw their Halloween party this week. We went expecting it to be pretty small but when we were 2 blocks away we could hear music playing. They were using their entire parking lot (pretty big...) as grounds to basically have a mini carnival. There was a dunk tank that the Bishops would go into (good idea...), some basketball hoops, and some other activities as well as lots of food and lots more desserts. It was a lot of fun and the weather was perfectly permitting.
Speaking of halloween, our mission president has asked us all to stay indoors all day. We can leave once and that is to drive to the church at 8am and read the New Testament with the zone (10 missionaries) until 4pm. After 4pm, we drive home and stay in our apartments. I'm going to sleep all afternoon and write letters if I get any by the 31st. President Howes has OK'd both of those things. Elder Sawyer and I were going to go dressed up as Joseph (and the coat of many colors) and Potipher's wife. It would have been golden. The Assistants to the President asked everyone to go in suits that day. And we're out of money. Lame. Just imagine it though.
So I've had a dream before where people were talking to me in Spanish but this dream I had this week was the first time I've spoken in Spanish in my dream. And the worst part was that I couldn't understand anything that I said. That's a pretty lame feeling haha. Elder Sawyer said I was sleep talking in Spanish too.
We had a super bold lesson with 'Carlos' this week. We walked up on him drinking and smoking last week with his friends so he fell off his baptismal date. We went and sat down with him for an hour and just laid it out how it was. I was pretty surprised at what I was saying since they were things I would never imagine saying. I guess that scripture is right that what to say will be put in your mouth in the moment. We left and he was re-energized to stay away from those things. He is on date for this weekend. As is 'Jackie'! We're looking at two baptisms this week. Hopefully both can avoid alcohol and smoking.
I've seen weird things over the air in Yuma this week. They look like super high balloons: bright silver, circular, and small. But the weird thing is that they disapear after a few seconds. Just gone. ALIENS. Kidding about aliens, but it's weird none-the-less.
What is the Church's stance on medicinal marijuana?
One of our dinner appointments cancelled this week. Our ward mission leaders wife brought over a little bit of heaven. Rotisserie chicken! That was the day we biked 20 miles and we scarfed that food like there was no tomorrow. I expected to have more spaghetti and more rotis chicken. Woe is me.
It's so great to hear of all these new people going on missions! As we say in spanglish, B N H O! (bien hecho/good work). I would venture far enough to say that I am fluido en spanglish now.
We named our bikes this week. Swagcycle was fitting for mine.
I almost died this week. Well, other than the habanero, I had a near death experience. Elder Sawyer and I were biking home at 8:50pm and I was on the curb of the road and he was on the sidewalk. I could not have been further over. A silver malibu crested over the hill about 200 feet from us and started drifting towards me. Kept coming, coming, and coming. It was going about 30 mph and we were going 15 mph forward. I started to get a little nervous so went far enough over that my wheel was scratching against the sidewalk. He kept coming. 15 feet away I started to get really nervous and half dismounted my bike ready to jump but he kept coming. It wasn't until 8 inches away that he swerved away from me. I saw my entire life flash before my eyes right then. I'm not ready to go yet. I'm going to appreciate life a lot more now. The guy was really drunk since he had just watched a big baseball game and was 'celebrating' by driving drunk. But all is well so that's all that matters!
It got 'down to 70' this week. It was funny to see all the Mexicans in the Spanish branch (now named Rio Colorado) in coats. Good times. I'm pretty excited for this new weather gig.
At church yesterday we heard a pretty good story about one of the guys growing up and working. His Dad was making him do a ton of manual labor and the kid yelled at his dad, "Well it's not exactly easy!" And the father replied, "I know, that's why I asked you to do it." He said it pierced him to the core and related it to the trials we face on Earth and how we can overcome anything.
I heard this week that a lot of missions are saying no more knocking doors? Apparently no more in Mexico and Hawaii?
When fasting, missionaries in AZ are encouraged to still drink since we're out in the dry heat.
HOCKEY! One of the YSA members gave us 6 hockey sticks to use and today for P-day we are playing floor hockey at the stake center. Sawyer and I have been shooting a tennis ball in our apt for the last 2 days in anticipation. I miss hockey. And ice. I did have a dream last night that my ____[?] iced over. That was a weird one.
I made a sad realization this week. Elder Sawyer and I have killed more cats in Yuma than we have baptized. He hit a kitten in the swaggerwagon a couple weeks ago. We haven't had a baptism yet.
To explain those two pictures, the ballot one was funny because that guy changed his name to Pro-Life. I laughed. And the gun one was in a ghetto apt complex.
Thank you Doug, Natalia, Eric, Will, Mom, Grandma and Grandpa J for the letters this week! Hopefully I'll have time to write everyone back this week. You're all a priority though!
Love you all,