Hi family! I'm low on time so I'll share the best stuff from this week.
Elder Bowen finally got a bike last Saturday from a lady we've been doing yard work for. It was a piece of junk but I fixed it up for him. He claimed he knows how to fix stuff really well but we eager to sit back and watch me do it. It's all good. I finally got his brakes fixed yesterday so we started riding bikes for the first time since he's been in the mission. I was really excited because I'm tired of walking all the time. We got about 10 min into the day, then I hit a bump and my bike tire went flat in about 3 seconds. We walked our bikes back to the apartment. En route, we talked to a lady that was walking by. We asked how her day was, and she said it was good, and asked how our day was. I said we were doing well, until my bike tire went flat and I showed her. She looked at it and said "Oh my. Well I hope it stays that way!" and walked off. It was a great start to the day!
On Tuesday Elder Gibbons of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission. We had 3 zones meet in Carlsbad for the conference I went to. I was asked to play piano by the APs a few days before. They had two songs picked out, one of which I could play. I asked if we could play a different one, and they asked if I could just learn it. I said I could, and they were happy. They also mentioned that President wanted it to be "General Authority perfect!" No pressure! I got it learned though, and it went okay.
The computer just asked me if I wanted 30 more minutes of time! Yay! I won't use it all though.
Elder Gibbons talked a lot about member missionary work with us, and how it is done. He first started with the doctrine of it and why members do missionary work. The First Presidency said that missionary work is centered in the ward, not in the missions. The bishop and stake presidents hold the priesthood keys to find investigators. The mission president holds the keys to teaching and baptizing investigators, and the missionaries primarily do the teaching. The missionaries will have their own efforts finding investigators, but the primary responsibility lies with the members of the Church. As a missionary, I have noticed how much more effective "member referrals" are than us tracting and talking to people on the street. In our mission, 63% of baptisms in the last year came from member referrals or part-member families. Only 11% came from tracting and 15% from street contacts. So "logically", missionaries will see results like this, and then spend most of their time knocking on doors and talking to people on the street. Really, missionary work should be focused more on the members of the Church. In our mission and other missions in the world, we are trying to start a major change and instead of focusing on finding people on our own, and then asking for a referral from members here and there (and 99% of the time, no one has a referral), we will focus on helping members in their missionary efforts. Elder Gibbons asked us to not ask for referrals at dinner anymore, but rather to focus our conversation on helping the members in their efforts. We'll see how this goes! President Cook and really all of us feel really strongly that this is the right thing to do. President Hinckley said something to the effect of "many look at missionary work as simply tracting. Those who are familiar with this work know that there is a much better way, and that way is through the members of the Church." If we are to do the Lord's work, we need to join together the Missionary Church and the Member Church and make it the Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Gibbons said that members need to realize that 1- Missionary work is NOT hard 2- Missionary work is NOT complicated and 3- You will NOT lose your friends in inviting them. It was a really good zone conference. I wish I had time to tell you all I learned from Elder and Sister Gibbons and President and Sister Cook, but I don't have time. But that was the biggest thing he talked about.
We had a really powerful lesson with Ceyda on Tuesday night. She had an experience where she clearly heard the voice of the Holy Ghost telling her something she needed to know. She said for sure she wants to be baptized into the Church. When she talked to West, she asked him if it was really important to him that they get baptized together. Otherwise, she'd go for it right now. West said it was definitely important to him and that they should wait. He said "I was the one who got you into it in the first place!" It was pretty funny. West and Ceyda are looking at February for baptism, since he'll have a 2- week leave from his deployment. I hope I will be in a place that I can go to it. They are probably my favorite investigators of my whole mission, maybe combined with Patrick from Mira Mesa. I've felt a really strong connection with both of them. They have grown so much since I first went over with Elder Farley. Ceyda told us that every time they go to church on Sunday (Saturday for West in Afghanistan) they will talk to each other for a good length of time about the things they each learned in church. They are so cool!
Sister Poe wasn't able to make it to church this week. Her daughter from Chula Vista (about two hours south of Vista) was going to pick her up to take her to see her grandaughter in Juvy, and that was during church. Sister Poe's daughter never showed up, so she called her later and was mad at her for not showing up, and that she had to miss church for nothing. She is planning to go this Sunday.
There is a young couple in the ward we're working with, Amanda and Mario . They have been working with their neighbors Jerica and Junior, and next week we should begin to teach them. We had a BBQ at the  on Sunday that they went to and had a great time! Junior is a BUFF Tongan. He laughed when I called him Junior Seau. He used to play linebacker. I would NOT want to get hit by him.
About a month ago I had an idea of having a movie night with the ward at the church. The ward liked the idea, and tomorrow night we're having the Missionary Movie Night. The ward is excited, and a lot of people are bringing their friends, and some of our investigators are going to come. We're going to play Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It's the really good Joseph Smith movie that played at Legacy Theater in Salt Lake for a long time. Elder Child gave me a copy of it last November so we're going to watch it. We're going to have popcorn and pink lemonade, and people are going to come in PJs and bring blankets and beanbags and such. Pretty much like the Timpview Pillow Concert but for a movie. It's going to be awesome!
Well I've ended up taking a lot longer than I thought! Good thing I got extra time today. Sounds like football season is going to start soon. Go UTES!!! It won't be a big distraction here, because no one cares about college football in San Diego, since San Diego State hasn't been good for a while and they're in a dumb conference now. Sunday nights are always funny because the streets are lined house after house with a bunch of guys in every garage sitting on a couch watching the Chargers games together and holding beers. We've learned that generally guys aren't interested when the Chargers are on. I wouldn't be either though, if my team was playing!
I hope you all have a great week! I love you all
Elder Jon La Follette