This morning we got the phone call that I'll be staying. And everyone else for that matter. Only two people in our zone of twenty are going to be moving. I wonder who my new companion will be - there's a good chance I could get Elder Myler, my MTC companion, again. We'll see.
It's RAINING! It has rained for two days. I don't even remember it raining for more than 2 hours in the past year. Arizona is crying that Elder Harder is leaving.
This past week we trained the zone on Tuesday about using the internet for proselyting. It's so exciting but President Toone is concerned that people are wasting time. Not surprising. It's hard to be proactive and effective on Facebook.
But once you figure it out and hold yourself accountable, miracles happen. I've seen some amazing things through Facebook that have made me so happy. The fear is that people will lose focus on their geographical area and focus too much on Facebook. President Toone is asking for a re-reinforcement of the rule of one hour per day.
I was so dead from that hike last week. After emailing and getting the groceries we all went home and died and slept until 5pm. Definitely didn't drink enough water. I guess two water bottles isn't enough for a 7 mile hike in Arizona. Lesson learned.
There was this really cool member that took me out to the best steak dinner I've ever had. It was at longhorn steak house and was the most delicious steak I've ever had. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. He worked in healthcare and went on about Obamacare and stuff so I asked him some questions just to get understanding because I don't understand anything about anything political anymore since I stopped paying attention. Well, he got stumped and changed the subject.
On that topic, it has been cool to see how far I've come in regards to that. I remember really struggling at the start of my mission to leave my interests behind. I'm proud of myself in that I've been able to do it and focus on the work.
This week we did one of the coolest things I've done on my mission. We got to teach a lesson over Skype and to none other than my good friend Scott! We had a great discussion and it was an enlightening experience to see how far my vocabulary and IQ has dropped.
One of the things that Elder Harder and i have focused a lot in this transfer is "culture." The mission president doesn't control the culture, rather the missionaries do. We have made it our best effort to do all we can to be missionaries 24/7, especially when shopping at Walmart or going out to lunch and really never forgetting we have a name tag on. I don't mean that in the maturity sense, or maybe a little, but rather the doing everything we can to talk to everyone we can way.
An example of that was going out to lunch with the Assistants. We went to Costa Vida. While ordering our food we struck up a conversation with the food person. Found out her cousin is on a mission. She is meeting with missionaries this week. Once we sat down at our seats two guys came up and sat near us. We struck up a conversation and things stalled and they stopped paying attention. I tried talking to them again and talked about what they were majoring in and one of them mentioned their father helping him get to school etc. Bing bing bing. I asked him what things he liked about his father/family, like what made them good. The conversation went from there and then he was hooked. He is also in contact with the missionaries this week and thanked us for making that moment the highlight of his day.
Just a really cool moment spurred from a really tame conversation about school.
Moments after he left two members in their 20s who go to ASU came up and said they were impressed with that and we had a really cool opportunity to invite them to take part in the work of salvation as well!
You never know who's looking and when you are who you're supposed to be, things just work.
Along the same topic, we were on our way home, late, with some other missionaries. They walked right past someone right by the door to our apartment and we stopped and talked. He said he wasn't interested before we said anything. So we started the conversation off about his job. He went on from there to tell us the trials he's going through right now but declined a visit. We taught prayer and had him say the closing prayer and then afterwards felt impressed to invite him to let us come over the next day at a certain time. He energetically accepted and we handed him off to the other missionaries. Cool.
That's something I've really learned this transfer - how to slow down and connect with people. It's easy to be robotic and start a conversation with, "Hey, we're the missionaries and we share a great message about Jesus Christ. Would you be interested in hearing more about that?" That invites a no. What we've been doing is going up to someone working on their car and saying, "What year is that?" And then from there we talk about cars for a bit and find a way to connect it to the gospel. It's a lot harder but a lot more rewarding. And it works.
We had a cool experience with teaching a part member family. We invited the nonmember to get baptized and he accepted. Haha. More background. The Bishop told us that missionaries have been going over for years (and then stopped for a while). It's cool to see how sometimes all someone needs is an invitation. Keep that in mind for anything.
Last night was Elder Harder's last night to proselyte. We had an amazing experience with someone we've been teaching for five weeks. I wrote about him praying for the first time last week. Last night we went over and spent the first while talking with him about his interests. We connected with him like we never have before. Before we left we shared a scripture and then he asked if he could share something with us. Of course. He told us that his daughter, a 7 year old, has been happy that he has been meeting with us. In fact, he told us that everyone who is important to him knows he is meeting with "the Elders." He said his daughter came for a weekend to stay with him and said, "Daddy you know that I love you, right? And you know that God loves you?" He said as soon as she said that he felt a really different feeling and had to sit down to digest it for a bit. He said in his closing prayer that that memory will never be forgotten. It was such a cool story to tell. Elder Harder said goodbye afterwards and the guy said, "You can tell all the people back home that you've touched someones life. You've touched mine." It was so powerful. I was so happy to see how far has come, it was a very rewarding and peaceful moment.
This morning Elder Burgess, one of our roommates, fell asleep for a second during personal study and we decided to play a prank on him. Elder Friley, his companion, took the phone and changed our contact name to "Mission Office." For transfer calls we get a phone call from the mission office saying if you're staying or leaving, leadership changes and whatever mas. So called and asked for Elder Burgess. He was nervous on the phone since he had just finished his first 6 weeks of his mission. On the phone we said, 'Hello, Elder Burgess, this is President Toone. I'm here with an assignment from the Lord. Will you serve as a trainer for a new missionary?" He accepted. Then we all started laughing and now he'll never fall asleep during personal study again! So funny.