Well, here are some missionary adventures for you:
Tough. Things are picking up but not at the rate I'd like. It's hard because it feels like all the skills and tools I've learned this far on my mission are not as needed here, I am having to learn new ways to find and rescue and everything. It's a bit discouraging. What is really making it good is that we are getting along really well with the members. And the branch leadership is really missionary oriented. Last week was our first ward council because of the conferences and stuff and so being able to report we had contacted every person on the list they'd made, and being able to report a lot of progress, was all really good. We made a strong first impression and showed them what we could do.
The Chili pepper thing- well, I definitely didn't encourage him... but I didn't stop him. Elder B will do just about anything for a dare. This pepper was a bit too much for him... Our assistant ward mission leader, a recent-ish convert named Z, is trying to go into the hot sauce business. He got ghost pepper seeds this year (at a dollar a seed!) at he ran out and gave us the pepper after a lesson we had at his house. He left us with a strong warning to not swallow- it's a good thing he didn’t or he would have been in unending agony. As it was he barely survived. The guy who gave it to us told us when he makes hot sauce he has to wear a respirator and take breaks every 15 minutes or he could seriously injure himself. I don't know about you but that sounds too hot. Just too hot.
Weekly Service opportunities:
Here is an excerpt from my letter to president. “Well, we tried really hard to set up a weekly service opportunity. We were told by basically everyone that they just didn't need any help. I don't know how you can turn down well-dressed free labor, but they did it. We bounced around from the library to the food bank to the clothes tree to the rescue mission, and were politely turned away (and in one case, kicked off the premises.) But it's okay. We're going to keep trying. “
There's this LA guy named Brother C. He's built like a small tank and has a voice like rolling thunder and a personality to match. He knows the church is true but is a girl’s softball coach and their practices are always Sundays. Ergo, he's been inactive for a long time. The first time we came by, he was really in our faces. Very confrontational, I believe Elder B almost peed his pants. We basically finished off by powerfully testifying, confounding him, and then leaving. So we decided to come by again. This time, we focused more on helping him. We got to know him, broke down his gruff exterior, and really talked with him. He expressed his testimony and his vision of getting to the temple. He really wants it- but at the same time, he doesn't want to give up Sunday practice. He has a vision, but no goals or plans, so it is essentially worthless. I straight up told him so. Next time we meet, he agreed to create goals and plans to achieve his vision of the temple. Hopefully we'll see a sign of progress soon!
We also had a cool experience going through our member records; we stopped at a trailer park to find some person, and instead got a new investigator! The member hadn't lived there in years, but this lady was really nice. Her name was C; she had only recently started to get back into religion at all. We taught the restoration and she told us "All the things in this church just make sense." So that was cool. What was not cool was her crazy dog, an Australian sheepdog that leapt around a bunch and head-butted me twice, nearly biting off my nose. It wasn't fun. But so is life.
Here's the story of C. So she has had a really rough past, she has been bounced from foster home to foster home, believes that God must not like her if He does exist. Wouldn't even pray when we first met. As we have taught her, her heart has softened a ton! She has been reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us that she feels "tingles" whenever we talk, telling her that this is right, and she needs to give prayer another try. She's been praying. She doesn't feel like she's gotten much of an answer yet but she wants to keep trying. I thought it was pretty cool.