Dear Family and Friends,
So this month, the Yuma zone set a baptismal goal of 22 baptisms for the month of December. To put things in perspective, there were 4 in September, 8 in October, 0 in November, and 0 so far in December for this month. Usually Yuma baptizes the least in the mission so 22 is a pretty lofty goal. As of today, there are 25 people on date to be baptized in Yuma. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. Everyone is working hard and pushing hard and we're starting to see results. At the Spanish branch yesterady, there were about 50 people there, 10 of them being our (the Sis Drake/Thompson, Elders Lanier/Sawyer, and Valdez and my) investigators. The branch was ecstatic to see everyone working hard. Hopefully we can get some referrals out of it. We got a text from the AP's this morning saying that our zone was carrying the mission in new investigators and people on date. Represent!
Elder Valdez and my goal for this month is 3 baptisms. We're going to be getting two this week, one on Wednesday and one on Saturday. Originally both were scheduled for Saturday but we got a call from one of them saying, "guys...I don't want to be baptized on that day. Can we move it up so I can go on the temple trip?" Sweet! So that's happening on Wednesday. He asked me to confirm him which will be my first spanish blessing. Nervous doesn't really cover it but I'm working no subjuntive tense right now so I can at least conjugate some of the verbs correctly.
There's an elementary school that is having snow made for a day and they're going to dump a couple truckloads of fake snow on their grass. We are definitely going to be there. Not to play, of course, but to talk to people...right?
We spent two hours in the Emergency Room this week. We got a phone call asking to go give a blessing so we headed over and got our ER passes and went inside. The first one took a little while since the guy was pretty hurt so once he was all, well, fixed up, we gave him a blessing. On the way out, we got called over by an elderly coulpe to give another one. That one took a lot longer since he was in there for a stroke. The hospital had a pretty cool system for stroke patients. They wheel'd in a monitor with a video camera and started a video chat between the hospital ni Yuma and the stroke response squad in some other city far north by show low. Through the video chat, the nurse that was 4 hours away diagnosed him, prescribed him, and sent him to get some treatment. It was a pretty cool example of modern technology in hospitals (obviously everything in hospitals is modern, but this was just cool).
While passing past a room in the hospital we heard an elderly man say, "grrghghhh, not dying before my wife was a big mistake."
One of the investigators we're teaching lives in San Luis, a 70 mile round trip. Our Engilsh ward goes from Yuma to the border. But the missionaries in San Luis have been teaching him even though he'll be baptized for our ward and technically be our baptism because of the inconvenience of going down there. Anyway, we went down last week to talk to him and taught him the first lesson, about the restoration, all over again to reinforce it. He didn't have a very good grasp of it. Anyway, at the end we told him we were usually in Yuma and made the trip down here just to see him. He said, "Oh man, I wish I'd paid more attention!" Haha, I couldn't decide to laugh or slap him haha. He was involved in the lesson and when we asked him questions while we taught he answered them mostly correctly. But at the end when we asked the same questions, he couldn't respond to any of them. He has a slight mental condition so that probably played a role. Good guy though.
I just remembered that Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 came and spoke to the mission this week. Probably should have written about that first. But anyway, he came last Friday. He also brought Bishop Stephenson (Presiding Bishop), Elder Gonzalez (Bishopric of the Seventy), and Elder Wright (don't remember). I was expecting a big change in the mission but nothing of that sort. But before I get to what he said I'll rewind a little bit. Since Yuma is so far away from, well, anything, the trip to Gilbert was an all day thing. We left at 10 am on Friday and stopped for lunch at 11:30. It was a place in Dateland (lots of date farms) which sells Date shakes and Cactus shakes. Not a fan of date shakes. Nope nope nope. Cactus wasn't too bad though. Anyway, we spent too long at lunch and got on the road a little later. We were supposed to be seated by 2pm at the stake center. To preface the next part, Yuma has a reputation has the outcast. We don't get invited to any mission activities other than the christmas parties, we don't get to go to the temple, and we don't know anyone since we don't get invited to Mission Presidents Firesides. Well, all of Yuma zone walks into the chapel at 2:15 and see everyone sitting down and the chapel of the stake center full. Everyone watched us walk the walk of shame. President gave us an unhappy look. So we pull up some fold up chairs right in front of the overflow section and sit. Then the whole zone gets up to use the restroom since we didn't get a chance en route so 12 missionaries get up and walk out after already being late. Right after we sat down, Elder Cook walked in the back doors and I looked at him. First to see him! And also the one to not stand up when I should have. Bishop Stephenson was walking in behind him and motioned to us to stand up to show respect haha. Que oso. Anyway, I'll be sending copies of the notes I took home but suffice it to say, they spoke a lot on, well, being better missionaries. Elder Gonzalez talked about establishing the church, Elder Stephenson spoke on invitations rather than assignments, and Elder Cook spoke on testifying and getting rid of all our childesh habbits to prepare for the huge influx of missionarise next transfer since the mission is going from 170 missionaries to 250. Threw down on immaturity. It was a good meeting though.
They all finished speaking at 5pm. We had the chance to visit with other missionarise for 30 minutes after and I got to see Elder Myler (he's training), Elder Jacobsen, Sister White, and Sister Crawford, all of whom were in my MTC district. It was nice since I haven't seen any of them since September. They're all doing well and having much success. Kind of thought of when Alma ran into the sons of Mosiah.
So we left Gilbert at 6pm and headed to Chandler to eat as a zone at some place callde Barros. Elder Mackay told me I needed to eat the medium sauce'd wings which I did. If that sauce was medium, I don't want to know what hot was. We then left dinner at ~6:45 to drive home. And then at 8 we realized we were lost and still 2hours from Yuma. Fast forward to 8:45 and someone tries to call President to tell him we'll be late but doesn't leave a message. Actually, I'm not even going to try to explain the situation. Lots of misscomunications and we didn't get home till way after curfew and President didn't know until the next day and we had to get a ride home with a member and we didn't have our house key because someone had our keys and more and more. Just a crazy confusing night. He comes on Tuesday for interviews and we're all expecting a throwdown on how we should have been more responsible. Which we should have.
But back to the meteor! So at a certain time later in the evening when we were still waiting for our house keys to get to us we saw another large meteor go across the sky. It went straight down, lasted for abuot 3 seconds, dissapeared behind an apartment and then the sky lit up. Either it exploded in the atmosphere or hit the ground, all I know is that it got really light really quick. Pretty cool thing to see.
We spoke to some Jehovah's Witnesses this week on the street. They were going door to door and were only like 16 years old. We asked them what they believed and they showered us with pamphlets and information. Now I've got some stuff to study (since it's all in spanish). When we offered them a Book of Mormon, their mom came walking over and pulled them away. Next time.
We also spoke to an less active part member family this week. The wife answered the door and told us she was never going back to Church since someone their offended her. She said that she told her husband about it and he stopped going as well. It was a pretty ridiculous reason. I tried to tell her the importance of church but when she wouldn't listen I was just bold with her and told her that she couldn't expect God to forgive her if she couldn't forgive others. She said she knew and then left. What a silly excuse to stop going to church.
Some of our investigators tried to put money in the sacrament tray at church yesterday haha. Guess we didn't explain that one well enough.
This morning at 7:30, a kid showed up at our door and gave us a plate of sugar cookies. He's not in any of our wards. We also had a member give us well over $200 of candy and fruit this week. See pictures.
And before I forget, I almost went to Mexico on accident this week! We were driving in San Luis and got in the Mexico line on accident. Well, we got to the sign that says, "no turn backs" and freaked out and barely got out... But don't worry, we're still here!
"One of the sins that most of us will be accountable for is ingratitude."
Gas prices have dropped close to 40 cents in a month, what's happening?
I made the mistake of buying premade cookie dough from the grocery store last week. Never again. I ate half of it before I realized it was only Wednesday.
I'm 85% sure I saw the F35 flying last Tuesday. My only concern would be the nose looked pretty pointy and it was quiet and relatively low.
How do vending machines count cash?
Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Johnson, Annie, Katie, Mom, Eric, Will, Sister Hines, Sister Hauer, the Hall family, and Natalia for the letters! Everything sounds great for you guys! I'm running behnid on responding so hopefully I can get back to you all soon but thank you so much for writing!