I'm going to write my "main letter" first so I make sure to say what I want to say!
It's been a good week. I guess most of them are good as a missionary.
First off John is progressing really well. We emphasized one lesson the importance of baptism, and made sure he knew he has to quit smoking before he is baptized. The next lesson he was in a strange mood. He sounded very sarcastic the whole lesson, it was kinda annoying. He was convinced he was already saved, and that baptism didn't really matter. He wanted to keep meeting with us, and would go through baptism, but he didn't really care. We were pretty frustrated when we left.
We went back again yesterday, and he was very different. He said he had prayed long and hard, and that he felt he should go through with this. He described having a very powerful experience. He was worried he wouldn't be able to prepare himself, saying that the Lord asks very hard things of him. We shared 2 Nephi 23:25 (I think that's it) and helped him realize that the Lord steps in after we do our best and put in effort. He is already in the process of quitting smoking, and is veyr excited for baptism, and especially excited at the idea that he can go in the temple after he's baptized. He's always loved looking at pictures of the Salt Lake Temple (he lived in St. George for a while), and we showed him pictures of the San Diego temple. He is more excited and motivated than I ever thought he would be. It is very exciting to see.
Billy isn't doing as hot. He's gotten in a lot of arguments and fights with his roommate. Both are big black guys with bigger egos. Sometimes it's funny to hear stories about their quests for domination. But Billy has been pretty upset, and we're doing what we can to help him out, and maybe to find another place to live. He's just not getting along. The HP group leader Bro Zierden is having separate appointments with Billy to help him sort that out (Bro Z used to be a police chief and the sort), and to help him gain a spiritual testimony, on top of what we're doing with him.
Zion hasn't showed really any interest in the lessons, and pays attention to about 10% of it. We will read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with him, explaining every 3 verses or so, and summarizing the chapter in the most basic terms when we finish, and then summarize it again simpler, and then we will ask him what the chapter was about. He usually doesn't have a clue. We are going to try to teach him tomorow, but will probably end up dropping him.
Last night we had a FHE with August and Shai--I don't know if I talked about them or not. August is a LA member, baptized 6 years ago, and Shai is his 12yr old daughter, not a member. We have been teaching them, and August will baptize her when Bishop Marler gives the OK. We had a lesson last night in the Julien family's home. They are a fun family, and Bro & Sis Julien are U of U alumni, and big red Ute fans like me, so that is always fun. They also have a next door neighbor, non-member, who are U of U alumni, and not interested in the church. Funny how that works!
The rest of our investigators are doing okay, nothing really new to update though. We've been getting a couple new investigators, but I will tell you more about them later. Nothing huge yet.
On Sunday, we were asked by Bro. Cottam, the choir director, to help sing in the choir in sacrament meeting. We sang a cool arrangement of Our Savior's Love. It was pretty neat to do that. We actually had dinner with the Cottams that night as well, which is always fun. Bro Cottam is a jazz trombonist like me, so we talk jazz music whenever we are around each other. He is in a group full of LDS jazz musicians. Our stake president is the drummer. Bro Cottam also served his mission in France, so we talk a little bit in French. He's a very easy person for me to get along with. He looks like Dr. Fullmer, but with gray-white hair (Fullmer's getting there).
Last week we had interviews with President Cook at a nearby church building. That was the same building that Eric Weddle goes to church. Elder Bailey and I made sure to stand at the pulpit for a few seconds so we could say we stood where an All-American Ute and now Charger stood. Hopefully we have a stake activity sometime and I can go meet him!
I finally got to ride my bike again yesterday. I had a flat tire two weeks ago, and I repaired it last week, and we went down the hill and it popped. I patched it again, and it popped in a different place. One of the members bought me a new inner tube, and it finally works now! Now my knees and legs are sore, because biking in Escondido is like biking up or down Quail (by Timpview) all day long.
That's about all for this week. The transfer is almost over already, the mission goes by quick! 99% change neither I or Elder Bailey will be transferred though.
I hope you all have a great week! I appreciate your love and support, and your prayers. I pray for all of you as well.
I hope you all had a great week. I had a good one, kinda average, but an average week isn't bad.
Yesterday was a pretty bad day, I dunno if it was my worst one, but one of them for sure. We were really excited because we had about 6 solid appointments throughout the day, and everything was going to work out. We got Elder Bailey some new bike stuff and we were really excited to work. We came outside and it was about 85 degrees (much hotter than it has been so you could definitely notice) and no clouds. We got to the bottom of a very long hill on our bikes, and then out of nowhere my bike tire explodes. The air was gone in about 2 seconds. We walked back up, patched the tire, pumped it up, and were all set to go, rode down again, and then it exploded again... in a different place. We just put our bikes away and decided to walk. We walked all the way across Escondido to John's house, (about the distance and "difficulty" of walking from our old house to Timpview) and he is always there 100% of the time for lessons, but he wasn't there. Frustrated, we went a little further to Zion's house for a lesson, and he was there. He didn't pay attention to 90% of the lesson and just smoked the whole time we were there. We'll probably drop him. He just doesn't care about anything we're saying. More frustrated, we walk back to John's house, and he's still not there. So we walk back across town and back up all the hills to dinner at home, where a member was going to drop off food. She forgot. So, we ate an orange and a glass of water and then got dropped off at the church for another appointment after. The lady we were teaching was MIA for about an hour, so we missed that, and she called us later at the end of the night. Another missed appointment. Then we saw Billy, but he spent the hour talking about himself again, and didn't have one second of silence for us to cut in and teach. We almost walked out of the lesson. Finally we shared a scripture and left. We went to another appointment (Donna) and she wasn't there either, and of course didn't answer her phone. So we walked back up the hill again to the Boroughs (at a quick pace it's about 25 min about a 30 degree angle) and finished our day.
Other than that my week was good though!
Our investigators are doing okay. We are meeting with Jamie tonight. We haven't seen her in a while, but she is doing super well. She is dating a new guy now. He came to church twice (he is a member for Carlsbad) and helped us move stuff once. He is way nice, and will be good to Jamie.
John is doing okay as well. We are still trying to get him motivated to quit smoking. He wants to be baptized still. We see him mostly every day. I don't know if I said but he looks like Jeff Foxworthy. We had taugh him about the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure), and he is consistenly reading and enjoying the Book of Mormon.
Zion doesn't seem to care about anything, so we're probably going to stop teaching him soon.
We are teaching Shai [edit last name], who is August's [edit last name] (a recent convert and less-active member) daughter. August has been trying really hard to meet with us and come back to Church. He also wants to baptize Shai, so he is working with Bishop to get that squared away. Shai can't wait to be baptized. She is 12 and a ball of energy. She loves to draw and understands the plan of salvation really well. She has a short attention span, but she is fun to teach.
Billy is having a hard time overcoming his own pride. He loves (LOVES) to talk about himself, and how awesome his past was and all that stuff. He has interesting stories, but it's easy to get tired of them after a while. We can squeeze in a couple minutes of lesson in, then he tells another story--that originally is relevant--and then gets us off subject again. It's been kinda frustrating. The high priest group leader, Brother Zierden, who is a former cop and a large man that just sounds like he has a lot of authority in his voice, has felt inspired to work with Billy on these exact problems. He couldn't have started at a better time. I will let you know how Billy's heart changes! Billy still loves the church and meeting with us, but has a very weak testimony, despite what he says.
We have met a couple less-active or inactive people that we are now teaching. One of them is Malina, 30, who was baptized last April in like Virginia or something. She has been inactive but still reads her BoM, and wants really badly to come back to church. She is a lot of fun to teach. We're still getting to know her.
We also had our first appointment with Suzanna, another inactive since she was married at 18 (raised in the church). She wants really badly to quit smoking, so we're excited to work with her.
That's about it for now!
I appreciate your prayers and love. We're staying pretty busy. I love you all. Have a great weeK!
Hey family! I'm short on time but I'll write as much as I can
This week was a good one!
We finally got Elder Bailey a bike. He got an old one for free from a member family, the Fraedrichs. He didn't care about having a nice one, so that was neat for him to save $300.
LAst Friday and Sat I went ot Vista for the day for a leadership training. All ZL, DL, and trainers go. It was pretty neat to see how to be a better missionary, and to better use the Spirit in lessons and finding new people to teach. Heavenly Father definitely knows his children, and leads us to them and their needs. It's amazing how many people we meet that are ready for the Gospel.
We have a new investigator named Lahraseb [edit last name]. He is a political refugee from Iran, and is now good friends with the bishop. We got him a Farsi Book of Mormon, and it is weird looking! It's pretty neat though. He is a Christian, and really likes the Church.
I'm not sure whether I mentioned Zion [edit last name], a new investigator or not. He's from S. Carolina, and a good guy. It's hard to have focused lessons sometimes, but he is progressing well. He was as high as a kite one lesson, so we had to reteach it! That was funny. He seemed non-interested in the Church yesterday, and we were thinking of dropping him, until he said that he "feels his Spirit again" when he meets with us. He said it was a long time since he felt that good, so we're going to continue meeting with him. I'm excited to see where it goes.
We've been having a great week working with members and such. Most good/great weeks for missionaries here include 1-2 referrals. We currently have 15 to contact, and we've already contacted 16. Some are inactive members, some are nonmembers. It is really neat to see blessings flow in. We are staying very busy!
John accepted to live the Word of Wisdom this week. Now comes the process of quitting smoking! He seems determined though. I am excited. He loves reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with us. It's pretty neat to see
Thank you for your love and support! I hope you Utahns are keeping warm! I am doing very well, and staying busy.
It's been a good week. I hope everyone had a safe and good new year.
My new companion is Elder Bailey, from Ephraim UT. He is a sports nut like me, a Utah fan, a Jazz fan, and life-long baseball player like me. He also played saxophone for 6 years, and likes music. We get along well. He is willing to work hard and try new things, and jumps out of his comfort zone well, even though he is nervous a lot. He is learning really fast, and is a really good missionary. It makes being a "trainer" pretty easy.
It's been raining a lot here in Esco, and apparently snowing other parts of California. It's been a little chilly, but the only time I've been cold here was last night. It was about 35 degrees with rain (wet clothes contributed).
We have picked up 2 new investigators, Donna (a former investigator) and Zion, from South Carolina. Donna has been going through very deep depression lately, and has been praying for help from God. The other night, we felt impressed to visit her, although she wasn't planned in our evening. She let us in of course, told us her life story, and said she wanted to be baptized before we ever mentioned baptism. I expect she will progress really fast, and is excited to learn. Zion is a middle-aged black guy from S. Carolina. He has heard of Mormons and LDS people, but never knew that they were the same group! He is pretty interested to learn as well. He told us some things we didn't really want to know, but it was a good lesson. We will probably run by his place on Wednesday. I'll let you know how it goes.
John accepted a baptismal date for Feb 5. He went to church this week and absolutely loved it. It was testimony meeting, but it went well and the Spirit was strong--whew! Missionaries always worry about bringing investigators to a fast and testimony sacrament meeting. But it worked out. He wants to come back every week. I'm excited for him.
Still no word from the First Presidency for Jamie, and Billy has a parole hearing this Thursday. A lot is depending on that hearing, so keep him in your prayers, please.
I'm sorry this week is short, but that's all the time I have. That's really all I had to say, too. There's one story I told Mom and Camille about biking and knee pain, so if you want to know about that, ask them.
Hope all of you are doing well. I appreciate your emails, letters, and prayers. I lvoe you all very much. Have a good week!