One of the reasons that Elder Saldaña doesn’t like me that made me laugh is because I walk too fast (never heard that one before). It amazes me how much that bugs people, oh well. I guess I walk too fast. I can work on that.
WE have taught a couple more first lesson this week. The Spirit sandwich is great, but it kind of messes up lesson one. We extend the commitment right after the first vision, and that kind of feels like the end, so the restoration of the priesthood and The Book of Mormon always get skipped which is a problem. At this point in the lesson, I just kind of cut in and teach them after the commitment, because he really just thinks we should finish there which I know is not what we are supposed to do. They mentioned that specifically in the training.
So Dad, I got the new jacket. I just like getting new stuff I guess, because I was just so happy. It was 70 degrees that night, but I still begged Elder Saldaña to put his on, and we wore it out tracting for an hour "FBI style" just because I was so excited to have it. So I can't wait for the snow at this point. Oh, one thing...can you send some sweaters? Missionary appropriate ones? Sweater season is coming up, and I don't have any, so if you find any send them on down. Oh yeah, Emily sent me a package this week with protein bars, and they are so good. (Thanks Emily!) So, if you ever need ideas, there it is…protein bars. They are the best.
I had the most aggravating experience this week. We have a dryer in our new house; it leaks some type of ink or grease that got black stains all over five of my white shirts. I was furious. I washed them four times with bleach then let them air dry and the black stains are still there but a little faded. When I mentioned it to the others that I live with, Elder Jolley said, “Oh yeah, that sucks; it did it to mine yesterday.” "Why didn't you tell us that then, Elder Jolley?!" that was frustrating. ha-ha. Elder Saldaña didn't believe me that it would happen again, so he put his shirts in, and it ruined his, too. We called our housing coordinator who said if it continues to be a problem then let him know, but of course, none of us want to find out if it continues to be a problem, so for now I am just air drying my laundry.
There was another horse walking around on the street. Hyrum is a funny place; there is a guy up the street that has a pet goat (in a neighborhood), and he just lets it out in his front yard to keep the grass down. It’s not even tied up, so that’s kind of different.
I always got frustrated with how much my companion texted, and it turns out he isn't even that bad compared to others. His old companion just did 9000 texts last month, and yes, he still has his phone which is just incredible to me.
Some guy this week showed us the ‘sealed portion’. It is a published book with a copy of a first presidency letter declining it. It is called the sealed portion, but it is supposed to be the 116 pages which are two completely different things...there’s your first clue there’s a problem...
We are teaching a woman named Marta this week. It turns out we are teaching her daughter, too who is dating one of our less active members that we are working with. We didn't make any of these connections until somebody told us how they were all related. We kind of had an “aha moment” that three of the people we are teaching at different times are related. But anyways, Marta told us at the last lesson that she has already read The Book of Mormon and is considering baptism. That was a surprise. We had a couple other people say that this week, and then Elder Isla told us they have said that four or five times in the past, so maybe not, but we will see.
So we had an interesting experience with some witnesses of Jehovah this week. They were a referral, and it turned out they just wanted to bash. The man and women were a genius with the Bible, and I don't understand the hard Bible passages in Spanish most of the time, and Elder Saldaña just doesn’t know the Bible. But he wanted to stay and keep arguing despite me trying to get him to leave over and over. We ended up staying for an hour and a half and missing dinner and not having the Spirit. So I made it clear afterward that that wasn't happening again, and in that situation, we should just give testimony and leave. Anyways, I was silent the whole time, because I didn't want to fight, but I still was getting angry inside. But the guy made us look like absolute idiots, because of how well he knew the scriptures, and how we just really didn't know the context of any of them. Good learning experience of what not to do I guess. I was more mad that we missed dinner though.
So can someone explain to me what happened about Emma Smith? Missionaries were talking about how she lost her faith and all these things, and I know she didn't go to Utah, but it made me mad that they would ignorantly deny all she went through and be so quick to call her a traitor. I stood up for her but really didn't know what happened with her. Did she start another church? Just curious.
So I have some insights, not very spiritual ones, but it entertained me one day in personal study this week, so I will share them. Reading about Aaron and Ammon and their missions…poor Aaron. I feel so bad; he watches Ammon come with his recent convert to break him out of jail. Then after that he continues to work without success while Ammon is still converting the whole world. When he finally has success with the king, and his heart is filled with joy (what an understatement that must have been!). He has been trying and trying and FINALLY someone says, I will believe anything you say, and it happens to be the king who says it. Pretty cool. In the middle of the story, I wrote two letters for Aaron and Ammon. I'm sure they didn't have mail but if they did it would've been something like:
Things have been pretty rough in the mission. I keep getting spit on and thrown in jail. I talk to everyone, but they all hate me and nobody listens and there definitely isn't member support. I hope things turn around soon.
Hey this is Ammon! Sorry about the mission; sounds tough. I am having my fair of struggles as well. King Lamoni is building some new synagogues for my recent converts, but they keep getting filled up, so we are just running out of space, because there is so many of them! And on top of that, people keep passing out for two or three days at a time, because the spirit is so strong when I teach. It's a tough life. Love you bro!
Like I said, one of my less spiritual insights, and my letters that I wrote in my study journal were a little longer, but I just thought it was interesting how different their missions were. No wonder Aaron accused Ammon of boasting; he was probably just a little bitter.
SO we had dinner with some non hispanic members this week. We gave them some service, and they fed us afterward. There were a couple interesting conversations. The first one (this guy is a convert), asked what we thought about people being born into the church being more valiant in the preexistence than recent converts. Of course, I denied that and said that wasn't doctrine of the church, but Elder Saldaña said that it was true, because lots of apostles had said it, and they are smart people, and we should listen to them even if it’s not doctrine. The guy wasn’t happy about that and neither was I. Anyways, we changed the subject and started talking about missionaries. This particular family is one that missionaries have been known to go hang out at their house and waste time. I found out in the past, the zone leaders told them to stop going to their house…for good reason. The man of the house said that was insulting to him, and that he is just a nice guy, and the zone leaders and mission president don't have a right to order the missionaries around. And Elder Saldaña agreed, and they just bad-mouthed our current and previous zone leaders the whole time. I just was silent, because I was so angry. We won't be going back to that house again. But the problem was/is that my companion was saying this to them, too; it was frustrating. What I wanted to say to that man was that the problem was that there are two missionaries in Idaho right now that still text your 14 year-old daughter every night until midnight, but I just kept silent. I don't really know how to handle those situations. If I said something, I would just fight with them. I know I would, but if I am just quiet like I was, I feel like I just allow it to go on. What should I do?
So, last night we had a cool experience. It was eight thirty, and we didn't know what to do (this always happens). People tend to get frustrated when we stop by at eight thirty, so we are learning how to be productive at that time, because I just refuse to go home thirty minutes early. We pulled over and prayed to be guided. We started driving, and I randomly yelled out to stop and start tracting. The first house we went to were white members, and I was just going to contact them. Then Elder Saldaña said, “Well we prayed to be guided and the Lord brought us here, so you need to find some way for us to help you, because the Lord told us to come here.” That kind of surprised me, but the guy looked at us kind of funny then asked his wife. She said, "Uhh, I guess they could help you take apart that bed downstairs and take it outside." So that's what we did. It took like 20 minutes, and we did what he could've very easily done by himself, and I was just confused as to why we were there. My mind set was like, “Oh well; it's better than nothing I guess.” Then we were about to leave (in the basement at this point), and he said, “Actually, could you give me a blessing?” Then he just kind of unloaded how his life was falling apart, and he couldn't pay child support for his last marriage, and his wife was pregnant, and they weren’t sealed, and he felt like he was failing and all this other stuff. So that was a surprise. I guess we learned not to question the Lord. So, that was a very effective use of the last 30 minutes of our night.
I haven’t been able to go to the gym with my zone leader, but that’s fine. The one he uses is a little farther, so my companion would prefer not to go. I think I am going on exchanges with him this week so I can then. We are only supposed to go on exchanges with the district leader, but the district leader’s companion asked specifically not to go on a split with me, because I wouldn't let him watch movies and play basketball all day, so the zone leaders are just doing it instead. ha-ha. I apologized that I was the cause of conflict, but they said no that it was for the right reasons, and it probably wouldn't end well if I went on an exchange with him. I am excited to learn a lot when I have that opportunity to go out with the zone leader though. Hopefully he can answer some questions I have about teaching. He is a really great missionary and loves hard work .
Well I hope all is well. I love you all very much! Take care