Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The first thing I can think of, happened about a week ago. The first part is studies, when I received a super strong prompting to study The Plan of Salvation, so I was like, “Okay,” and I did. Then we biked out to visit some investigators, who lived down on Camp Street by the waterfront. But, for whatever reason, we seriously could not find the street. People gave us crazy directions. Elder P’s GPS would tell us to leave Harrisburg, it was nuts. Super discouraging, but finally we found Camp St. I realized that I had switched the addresses – instead of the people we had meant to see, we had the address of an old referral who hadn’t been super interested the last time we stopped by. But, we were already there, and it had taken forever, so we tried the door. She opened it, let us come in, and was super glad we stopped by. She had a ton of questions about our purpose here on earth and what happens after we pass away, which was what I had been compelled to study that morning. So it was really incredible! We were guided to where we needed to be at that time. Awesome!
Another new thing is Elder P! He’s from ID, been out for just under a year. So far, we haven’t had any contention or anything because he is just really laid back. He doesn't want to cause waves, I guess, so he just goes with it. Which is good because this area is way different from his last one, and I’ve been taught how to do things differently from other missionaries I guess, just because we teach so many lessons here in Harrisburg.
The other thing is that he is not a Spanish elder. And with Elder L gone, the weight of our Spanish lessons (which have picked up lately) is all on me. So, I’ve been studying way harder. It’s been way tough.
So, I had been out on a team up with Brother T and we had been trying to locate a Carmen M, a less active member from Peru. We had the address, knocked on the door, and a woman named Carmen let us in, all excited about the missionaries, who had met with her in the past. So we taught her, and she was enthusiastic, so we came back a week after. As we taught her and her brother and sister-in-law, she told us she didn't think she had ever been a member of the church, which was weird. (All this in Spanish, by the way.) And things like Joseph Smith and the Book Of Mormon all seemed really new to her. So, we asked the ward council about Carmen M, and they told us about some much older lady with a 20-year-old son. So it turns out that this was a new Carmen M, who had moved into the same house, who had previously met with missionaries. So now, this Carmen M is our new investigator!
Monday, December 9, 2013
So, last Sunday when we did our weekly call in report to our district leader, he asked, as he always does, what did we want to learn about in district meeting. I said “How to Begin Teaching,” which is a section on page 187 of Preach My Gospel” that we use to establish a relationship with those we teach. So Elder D. says, “Okay, you’ll teach that.” So I taught at district meeting last week on “How to Begin Teaching” and it was pretty awesome! Showed a clip from Elder Holland and just discussed everything. So that was cool and taught me to never respond when asked what I want to learn.
So on Thursday I was in Hershey on exchange with Elder D. as well. I’m pretty glad I am in a walk area because there is so much dead time just driving to appointments. Though I guess the trade off is you don't freeze, but anyways, we had got a legit media referral for this Chinese guy named Y. L. He grew up in Mainland China before coming to Penn State and had no concept of God or religion or anything. So we did some “How to Begin Teaching” and asked him to pray if there was a God. He did, and then we had the inspired idea to have him pray again, in Mandarin. He was worried because he didn't know how to say things like “Heavenly Father” or “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," but I said, “Well, I know that grandfather in Mandarin is Y Yea Yea, so just address him as father.” He was like, “Ok.” So he did it, then stood up and was like, “I feel something peaceful, and happy. I think it is God.” Wham! Legit!
In other news, work with less actives is just taking off. It’s so cool, seeing these hearts soften and people gradually return to church. The N family for one. We really want J to start getting prepared for a mission, and so we’ve been working with him. And Sister N just got a new and better job, so we told her, “Look, you start coming to church and see what happens.” We’ve also seen Sister M, who hasn't been to church in decades, just start coming. That’s been awesome. She has two young teenage kids as well; who we’ll start teaching the discussions once she is more solid. They are pretty into mutual though, so that’s cool.
At the bike shop, I learned how to fix brakes, totally, like completely taking them off and replacing them with better ones. R. the guy who does all of it is pretty cool. He’s older and has a pretty Pennsylvanian accent (something not too common in the inner city) and he just rattles off analogies all the time, it’s pretty funny. But he is a bike genius, he can basically fix anything, and he is really willing to help out. By the way, we're going there Saturday mornings now because it works better with our schedule, which is pretty dandy, except freezing, because it is not heated. It's pretty bare bones. It’s a bummer it gets broken into so frequently, because the bikes that are there, that he sells and repairs, are so cheap! But that’s the way life goes. Oh well.
So the Harrisburg Inter Faith Council is Wednesday night at the chapel; it’s like a big old service with tons of religions, from Buddhists to Muslims to everything. We (the missionaries) are passing donation baskets for a scholarship that the council sponsors. So that’ll be unique, for sure. I’m kind of holding my breath that something crazy happens.
I love you all!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
The BIG thing that's happening is TRANSFERS. I'm not leaving. But Elder L is. We kind of expected it, c'mon, the guy's been here 9 months. But it's still sad. He's going out to Pittsburgh and he'll be a District Leader out there. I still don't know who I'll be with. I got recommended to train but there aren't very many missionaries coming in right now, so I won't be. I'm a bit bummed. But it's ok! So I'm here, no word on who my new comp will be yet. But should be exciting, I just really hope the guy has a serious work ethic and dedication. This is a busy area; I know I was (and sometimes am) exhausted by the end of the day a lot. I'm kind of nervous, because Elder L and I are at a point where we're working super well together and I don't really want someone completely new to adapt to! But we'll see.I'm pretty excited on the one hand for a new companion to shake things up and stuff, but it'll be stressful and tough to get him up to speed on everything and get to a united point. But we'll see. I'll find out tomorrow, so you'll have to wait a week!
Highly typical to get no warning. We were with the Zone Leaders when they got the calls, and when they gave the calls too. It's pretty blunt. But Elder B is leaving, and so that means there’ll be a new ZL as well. And Elder D is leaving so we'll get a new DL as well, probably my companion. So there'll be a bunch of new faces showing up.
So, Gettysburg: I kind of wrote a lot about it in the letter. But basically it was really cool! We did the free stuff, mostly because we didn't have that much time. So we saw part of the museum but didn't go to all the things, which was a bit of a bummer. I would have loved to see it all again. But Bro V was a one-man tour, he just showed us all the important things on the battlefield, talked about strategy and troop movements, and provided tons of trivia. The civil war was pretty sad because families and friends were just fighting against each other! There's one monument to a general who died in Pickett's Charge, who as he lay bleeding out, asked to see one of the opposing generals, with whom he had been best friends. He was informed that was impossible because his friend lay dead on the ground about 20 yards away. Pretty sad, right? And we took loads of pictures. I'll get them to you in the next email. It was LEGIT! I realized how much I missed history and stuff! It was a long day, but we got to run around a lot at Devil's Den and so we had a truly great time.
So Thanksgiving was awesome! We had the Turkey bowl in the morning, not a huge turnout though because it was freezing! But still fun. Elder B loves football with a passion, so he had the time of his life. After, went to the M's for dinner. They live in the ZL's area, a less active family but super nice. Sister M refers to us, instead of THE missionaries, as HER missionaries. So that's pretty fun. We ate a decent plate there. Had real legitimate pumpkin whoopee pies, by the way! Thought you should know. You can pass that on the Char and Stan.
Then we went to the M's, who also had the L's over. Two super friendly families, just tons of food. We ate a ton there. Then went to Brother B's apartment. He was kind of in a bad mood but we had a third meal. By this point we were all so terribly stuffed it was almost miserable. I can't recall ever being more full in my life. But then we played Uno with Brother B a bit and he was just having the time of his life! Cheered him right up. So that was pretty good. And that was Thanksgiving!
And the winter clothes came pretty much just in time, because now it's pretty dang cold here! It's snowed but nothing heavy yet, nothing's stuck. The only problem is lessons to women when there's not a man present, because we just have to stand outside and teach and it's bitterly chilly! But things are just moving along pretty well!