Monday, April 22, 2013

22 April 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Remember that awesome 11 day baptism person? She dropped us this week and decided she wanted to die Catholic after passing her baptismal interview. We were pretty bold with her.
I'm tired. So tired.
This week we got to go to the temple in Mesa. Elder Arndt and Kirton managed to make it without throwing up this time which was nice! The session was great and it was fun to see all the missionaries there. Elder Myler was there that day and we had a nice talk. He is serving in Maricopa in Casa Grande zone/city.
We had a great lesson with one of our potentials this week. She has read the entire Book of Mormon and believes it is true. After the lesson when we tried to set up a return appointment she said no. Ahh. Her parents aren't very open to the church and as a result won't be able to talk with us unless a miracle happens.
This week was another week full of anti's. I don't think people in the zone believed how much we got anti'd until we went on exchanges with some of them. This past week was dominated by inactive returned missionaries who have served full missions and then come to the decision that the church isn't true. One such guy we found on accident went on to say that, "the information cybersphere proves everything is wrong! All the journals, the letters, they're all on line and prove that everything is a fraud." At one point he asked me what 2+2 was. I told him 4 (yay math class!). He said that that religion and science should never disagree. He told us he would destroy our faith.
At this point I was getting a little frustrated. I asked him what 2+2*2 was and he wouldn't answer it. Instead of answering it he started swearing at us. My intention was to explain that the answer is not 8 and that we get 6 by knowing how to do the background stuff etc etc but never had that chance since he completely lost it. Elder Kirton thought he was going to punch me. In retrospect, maybe not the best thing to say to someone who already hates us but it makes a decent story and I am so sick of getting anti'd all the time. Every day.
Yesterday someone called us children of the devil and God doesn't let him talk to us.
This week for exchanges we went to "little Mexico," 2 streets of 5 houses per with the only Spanish people in Queen Creek. Everyone said no.
This upcoming week our zone is going for the OYM (street contacts) record of the entire mission. We've spent the last week motivating people to get 140 OYMs in a week. A couple of us will be shooting for 400 which should bring us to around 1,720 in total. The magic 8 ball said it was possible.
Apparently the Beach Boys came to Queen Creek two days ago for a concert. There were thousands of cars, my goodness.
On Saturday was the open house for one of the new chapels here in Queen Creek. It is the chapel the Spanish ward meets in. They threw a big open house with lots of people to give tours and tons of carne asada. We ended up eating 6 tacos. There were probably only 5 non members that came during the entire 3 hours it was open - a giant flop. The carne asada was good though? Afterwards they gave us a ton of leftovers, two giant bags of Spanish rice and a large bag of uncooked carne asada and tacos. We need to find someone to grill the meat before it goes bad. I'm stoked, that was the first time I've had it since leaving Yuma.
We ate those 6 tacos around 3 pm and dinner was at 5:00pm. I was so stuffed after those tacos and then dinner was only two hours away. That was a mistake. For dinner we had sonoran hotdogs. Two giant hotdogs wrapped in bacon with onions, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, and other things that I still don;t know what they were. I haven't felt so sick from eating so much in my entire life. Afterwards they gave us a cupcake which just about killed me. Not too bad of a hotdog though.
During the dinner someone came inside the house and the host's son ran over to the door and walked with the man who came in. Before we saw him he yelled, "This, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that there are Mexican red-heads!" He was straight up Mexican too.
This morning we got special permission to go on a sunrise hike. We woke up at the lovely hour of 4:00am and were all out the door at 4:30. We drove over to the San Tan mountains and walked 2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down. That was one of the steepest hikes I've ever done.
Inline image 1
The sign didn't lie.
Elder Kirton and I ran up ahead of everyone then realized that we wanted a better view of the sunrise so we climbed another part of the mountain that wasn't really part of the trail. At one point I stopped for a breather and stood vertical, put my hands forward, and they touched the side of the mountain, the side I wa s about to climb up. Nevertheless we made it to (almost) the top and realized that going down would be a bit tricky.
Inline image 2
The picture doesn't really do it justice.
The view was superb though. See other pictures as well. We could see the Gilbert temple from the peak which was pretty cool. We had a view of the entire valley. No one else came with us up this part since the way to the base of that extra mountain was pretty killer as well. We kept an eye out for rattlesnakes on the way up. I grabbed a cactus on accident and cut my hand and then Elder Kirton tried to push a big rock down the trail that ended up landing on my leg. Somehow it didn't do considerable any damage. The rock was 2 feet across. All was well and the view of the cactus filled desert was cool.
While reading in Jesus the Christ this morning I found a cool line: "The capacity to be grateful is a blessing." I guess that's something I can seek after. In the Christlike Attribute section of Preach my Gospel it talks about how they're all gifts from God (Charity, love, patience, etc). I never thought that gratefulness was as well. It's a way we can qualify ourselves for more blessings by showing that we realize where all blessings come from and humble ourselves.
We picked up a potential investigator for the Spanish ward. She is a friend of a couple getting baptized next weekend in another area. She came to church yesterday but we didn't get to talk with her. The Spanish ward really reached out to help her feel welcome and that was great to see. We're going to call her today and set up a lesson. Hopefully something will come from this.
Thanks for writing Grandpa W, Susie, Mom, and Natalia! It was great to hear from all of you!
Happy Earth day!
Elder Johnson

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