I'm not ready for the summer to come yet. It was in the upper 80s this week. To think that it can still get 40 degrees warmer...
This last week we were biking around town and hopped off the bike to knock on a door. As soon as I knocked, I heard a gun get cocked and then the door open. There was someone standing with a rifle by his leg. Turns out it was a cop. He said that people have been targetting cops and he was doing a checkup on his 'weapons.' He had a flak jacket and helmet on the ground and that's all we saw but it's a little nerve wracking to hear a gun get cocked behind a door haha.
We were teaching a lesson to a recent convert this week and during the lesson there was a knock on the door. An Elder that served here who has since gone home walked in! He was in Yuma when I first came in and taught and baptized the man we were visiting. He lives over in California somewhere and it was pretty funny to see him walk in. He's the second missionary that I've served with who has come back and visited us after their mission. We got to catch up for a little bit and it was cool to see and hear about everythjing that he has done since he finished his mission.
Someone asked what one of the more interesting parts of teaching people here is. I would probably have to say hearing people "pray in tongues." While we are offering a prayer or they are praying, we'll hear them start whispering and making weird clicking sounds and whatnot. The first few times it was really surprising but since then i've kind of moved past it - it's pretty distracting. Definitely interesting to hear as I've never met someone who does that before. When we try to teach them that we don't do 'that,' they are amazed that anyone can "talk to God not in tongues." We testify that God understands our thoughts and the feelings of our hearts and we don't need to try to speak differently for him to understand us. Christ taught the way to pray.
Found this cool quote from 1976:
"In the last 126 years, the world's population has increased four fold, but Church membership has increased 56 fold! In other words, Church growth was 14x faster than the population growth. In 1850 there were 60,000 members of the Church vs a world pop of 1 billion. In 1976, there were 3,650,000 members vs a world pop of 4 bil." Now, there are over 15,000,000 members worldwide.
While biking this week, we heard someone yelling at us from the side of the street. We pulled over and she said, "Do you guys have a book for me?" Just what missionaries want to hear! We pulled it out and she tried to grab it and run. Weird first impression... We taught her a little introduction using the pictures inthe front of the Book of Mormon and the whole time she was asking crazy questions about crazy things. Really weird. We ended with a prayer and asked when we could come back. She told us that all she wanted was a copy to read sometime. We left our names and number on a card in the Book as well as a reading. She tried to invited us into her home at the end but we declined and she got pretty offended. She said, "Is there an evil spirit in here or something!?" Maybe something will come of that?
This week was a pretty hard week. We found only two new investigators and had lots of lessons cancel. A usual week has about 5-10 new investigators, 4-9 of those being people we talk to on the street, ~1 being a referral. We got called out this week for having too many investigators without a baptismal date. Preach my Gospel says that by the second lesson, the person should have a hard baptismal date. Pretty intimidating, that. Well, we took it to heart and repented. We put 5 people on date for baptism this week for this month. It is always interesting to see how people react as you extend that invitation to be baptized on a certain date. What it does it, I guess you could say, weeds out those who aren't prepared yet. We are here to teach those who are ready to accept the gospel and make changes in their life today.
Along with that goes dropping investigators. When someone isn't keeping commitments like coming to chruch, reading, or praying, they aren't progressing and they're not dedicated. We are taught to "drop" those investigators. This week we will be dropping probably 6 people which is very intimidating. We're going to call it a "faith drop" since we don't have many names to teach right now. We need to find people who are ready.
Something funny happened at church yesterday. We were walking around the hallway to the other side of the church and we heard someone say, "Elder Johnson, Sister (Cassie) Rasmussen says hi!" I stopped and said, "what?" This member had been in San Diego to get sealed to his family and went on a tour. Guess who their tour guide was?! Hahahaha, what are the chances.
This week we went to visit some of the members who are over 8 years old and not baptized (Over age youth - OAY). We tracted the neighborhood of one of them and every. single. person. except two slammed the door or yelled something at us. Probably won't go back there for a bit.
Working yesterday was interesting. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday, no one wanted to see us or come out with us.
Got to see a plane get fueled mid-air! Pretty cool.
One of the things that we've been working on is inviting members to do things. In the General Priesthood meeting which we missed, someone spoke and challenged everyone to set a date and not a name. What that meant was that, for example, "But Feb 28th I will find someone to invite to Church and talk to the missionaries." Setting goals this way can encourage us to work harder and with a deadline we are more diligent in our efforts. So that's my invitation to you! Pray and set a date so that you can take action in a missionary way. You'll be amazed, I promise!
This week on Thursday we'er going to be having a baptism. We are very excited and so is she. I say it over and over, but it's awesome to see how far the gospel takes us. More on this next week.
Thanks Mom, Eric, Tanan, Will, Sister Hines, and Susie for writing this week! It was great to hear from all of you!