Good thing they haven't found my bed yet. Poor Elder Myler is getting eaten alive. We tore the house apart this morning and somehow did not find them. Three apartments in the Phoenix South zone are infested now.
...South Phoenix is under attack!
This was a week of success on Facebook. I committed two people to get baptized in Africa, sent three referrals to local missions, two were contacted, two have a Book of Mormon, two are reading it, and one is meeting with missionaries later in the week.
The people of Africa are prepared.
This past week I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Nelson He, totally by chance, was traveling through the Arlington 2 ward when I gave my farewell talk. He entered the field six weeks after me and is a wonderful missionary. We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of success in those few 24 hours. He will be living in the same apartment building as Elder Myler and I and we hope the three of us are in the same ward!
This week was also a week of continued miracles in the South Phoenix zone. Things are exploding. We've seen our average lessons double for two weeks straight now. This week was particularly exciting as the success was spread very evenly across the entire zone. Every Sunday night we meet at 8:30 to report stats and send them to SLC (via wifi sync) and it was so exciting to watch companionship walk through the door at random intervals and shout for joy as they reached a goal they set and run around and give everyone high fives. There is a special family feeling in this zone right now that is drawing everyone together. It's amazing how happiness is the best medicine for anything.
With that success so evenly spread, we often wonder what makes it so hard to put people on date in our own area. We've never done more than we are now but the people just aren't saying yes to the invitations. We extend invitations literally in every single lesson. But joy is abundant in the face of opposition because this is the Lord's work and we know who wins at the end of the day.
Montana del Sur is a ward that never ceases to amaze me. The Bishop has been a member for 16 years, three of which in the Mission Presidency and three of which as a Bishop. He is a saint of a man and a living example of love, consecration, and service. Nothing makes us happier than when we get a call during the week from Bishop saying, "Elders...I've been thinking and praying about _____ (investigator.) How is he/she? How can I help?"
This ward has the missionary spirit because the Bishop has the missionary spirit. It's amazing!
The temperature has been uncharacteristically nice in Phoenix this past week.
One of the things that never gets old about missionary work is talking to the most interesting people. This past week we visited a home that was listed on the membership list. As we got closer three men approached us, obviously drunk, and when we asked if a woman lived there they said, slurred voice and all, "SHE'S DEAD..." Ok..."Wait, she lives down there, by that red truck!"
We thanked them and walked away.
There was no red truck on the entire street. There was a red bush.
DID I MENTIONED THAT WE HAVE BED BUGS?!?!?
On Friday afternoon during my spanish study I finished my reading of the Book of Mormon in Spanish. It took me 10 months to read the first 100 pages and two months to read the last 500 haha. I guess I wasn't really trying for those first 100.
That book is true! Before I read it I would pray. After I read it I would pray. And every time I read it I knew that it was true. Read it. It will change your life! Reading it has brought me closer to God and has helped me make even the smallest of decisions. I set a goal to finish it in a certain amount of time and I made it. It was an enlightening experience. I'm currently reading through the New Testament and set a goal of four weeks to read the entire thing. The scriptures are the best.
Spanish wards are exciting in ways that English wards can never be. For the Mothers day party on Saturday the ward had a dinner that was prepared entirely by the men. Guess what we ate? Spaghetti with meat sauce and salad haha. Then there was a night of talents. The Elders Quorum did the best mariachi that I have ever seen. Except none of them sang or played an instrument. They made instruments out of cardboard and danced to Mariachi music and pretended to sing and play it. It was absolutely the funniest thing that I have ever seen before. They did a great job and it made everyone laugh.
Next week I'll have the pictures.
There's just a different air in Spanish wards. In the face of so many trials there is so much joy! True joy comes from faith.
Happy Mothers day Mom! It was fun to Skype home yesterday and talk to you. Did my letter get to you this week? Thank you for everything you have done for me! You'll find more in that letter :)
I have had the best timing to go on a mission ever. In the past two years: missionary age has changed, my mission has been split, I've experienced two mission presidents (each for a year), online proselyting has rolled out, we have received iPads, AreaBooks have gone electronic, a temple open house has happened. Can you imagine more exciting things happening!?!?
Yesterday at church I saw something very unique. I saw a family of 5 Muslims walk through the door and sit down! I went over and introduced myself and quickly learned that they came with their friend, a retired Air Force officer. He had served for years in Iraq and this man was his translator. I don't know how much detail I should go into for safety reasons but it was an amazing experience to meet this humble, humble family. I tried to shake his wife's hand and was politely denied: Muslim women do not shake hands of foreigners. They were very scared that they would offend me with that. They are an angelic family.
The man that brought them was sent by the First Presidency to be the first mission president in Afghanistan. He organized the church there, was the first branch/mission president,, baptized the first convert in Afghanistan. During his service he had zero proselyting missionaries with which to work. And do you know what is cool? I'M TEACHING PEOPLE IN AFGHANISTAN OVER FACEBOOK!
Good things are happening. Next week is transfers. If you would like to send a letter (which you should) and cannot do so by Thursday, you will have better luck sending it to the Mission Office. I hope and pray that Elder Myler and I stay together. This is our last transfer. If this was ever likely to happen, the timing is perfect for it now. I'm going to remind the Office that we have bed bugs and we wouldn't want to spread them around the mission with a transfer :)
Have a fantastic week!