So this week has been up and down, all over the place with our four solid investigators. Ok, so first with Liz and Vanessa: Liz and Vanessa did come to church this Sunday; that is the good news. They showed up 30 minutes late, but whatever, they got there. Last week, we had sat them both down and talked to them about no more cussing, fighting, watching bad tv shows, and just some other basic stuff they need to do to keep the spirit in their home. We taught them both the law of chastity. Vanessa didn't like talking about that in front of her mom, but we did it. Liz also has a boyfriend that she needs to get rid of. He is mean to her kids, doesn't like God, and breaks the commandments with her, so for Liz it was a pretty easy decision to say that she needed to break up with him, but I kind of doubt that she did. Whenever we talk about her sinning, she starts to smile and kind of laugh to kind of soften or start to justify it, but we just keep a straight face and don't laugh about it, but she still doesn’t quite seem to take things seriously especially when she is admitting to us that she broke some commitment. So they also have committed to stop drinking coffee, alcohol, and tea. So they were on track to get baptized this coming Sunday. Then, we went by yesterday, and the day before Liz had gone out dancing and had coffee that morning. She just kind of laughed and said sorry, so she clearly felt it was an obligation to us and not to God. So we had a long talk with her about why she keeps commandments. Then she decided to drop the other bomb and say she is being blessed and got a job! And that they want her to work everyday from 11 to 2 (church is from 11 to 2). So we went into keeping the Sabbath Day holy and told her yesterday to pray about talking to her brand new boss which would probably mean she wouldn't get the job that she is trialing for. She has bills she needs to pay right now, so we just told her Jesus Christ knows about her bills, and he will take care of things if she can just get to church on Sunday and keep the Sabbath Day holy and not work at all. She is thinking about it, but it isn't looking good. Now that she is happier with her son out of jail, she is starting to seem to care less and have less real intent which is pretty frustrating. This is what she has done with this missionaries for years except she has never gotten to church before so she is improving.
Vanessa is awesome. She tried to get her cousins to come to church with her. She doesn't want to give up coffee, but she agreed to try it. She was scared we would get mad at her when she told us she had a boyfriend. We found out her depression is a lot worse than we thought, so we need to get her happier. She is still cool, but she is just 13 so of course she flakes out on lessons to hang out with her friends. We always get frustrated, but then we go to talk to her, and you just can't get mad at vanessa.
So now for Ana and Angel. It started being awesome last week when we went to dinner with them at the end of p-day. At the end of dinner, Angel told us how they started praying together, and how they were now getting along. He said their life changed, and they know it was because of the things we told them to do, and they wanted to get baptized. Ana also told me about how she prayed for help from God a few weeks ago and really needed His help to fix her family, and the next day was when Elder Ward and I found her. She had never heard that before. She said her reaction was, "Why did God send me two white kids?"...but they said they loved us and were happy to see that two young men could actually care about them, and they wanted to keep going on the right path. SO it hasn't been all roses and butterflies since then, however. We took Elder Falabella's counsel and had been focusing on the head of household the whole time (what he call's "the Ammon effect"). I guess that means we neglected Ana, and she had a ton of doubts the past few days. They got lazy for a couple days and didn't pray together, and we could tell immediately because of the little bickering comments they make at each other. So we told them to start doing that again. But then Ana brought up how she was already baptized in the Catholic Church, and she feels like that is betraying her church. We talked about when Paul went and re-baptized the Corinthians and retaught apostasy and tried to fish around for anything else. She didn't say more. Yesterday we went by, and she was still unsure so we pointed out the signs and miracles she has already had and said not to trust us, but God and to pray last night to ask if she should get baptized. Angel is already on board and excited-though if he can just resist drinking. They went to church this last Sunday and third hour was about the technical details of priesthood ordinances which consisted of a bunch of Hispanics arguing with each other, but somehow Angel still liked it. We stopped eating sugar all this week in order to support Angel holding strong with no alcohol the week leading up to his baptism. WE HAVE COOKIES AT HOME...it's the worst...and that means I can't get an ice cream bar or muffins today at Costco...I will have to get double next week. A few people have offered, but we resisted.
Ward council was pretty tough this week. The young woman's president yelled at us and our ward mission leader, because our investigator flaked out on her. Someone brought up the complaint that we don't bring our investigators to church to meet them, so they can't fellowship. Then I said that we had nine investigators in church last week and not one person said hi to them, and they were kind of surprised. I guess they didn't notice them there. Next time we are going to do better about introducing them to everyone. It’s just almost impossible, because they show up late, and we have to sit them right down. The good thing is that for third hour the elder’s quorum president sat by Angel; so he has met one person. We are pretty worried about them staying active since they really have no fellowshippers, and the ward has said no to giving them one, because that's "not their job." Sister Bluvan was the fellowshipper for Liz, but she moved to Mexico on a days notice last week for the summer. The Cornaby's were helping with Ana and Angel, but then they moved to Arizona without telling anyone last week. It was pretty weird; especially since Brother Cornaby had been called to be the young men’s president just two weeks before that.
We had a zone study last week to start off the transfer. Our goal for baptisms was 21. That is definitely more realistic. I had to kind of step in and cut in half the number that everyone came up with, but I guess it's a work in progress. People just get so excited setting goals and so quickly decide they can find and baptize ten people when they haven't even evaluated, and we just nos quedamos como what?!..but it was better than last transfer, so we are getting better at our goal setting skills. We asked what things they wanted us to do for them. They said bring them out to eat as a zone and have a bbq as a zone on p-day, temple trip, stuff like that, so we can do that. It's hard for me to do that. I just want everyone to say we want you to work extra hard and give us more time for our areas...when in reality everyone just wants more time to hang out and "build unity" with other missionaries. I guess I just need to find the line, but I do give in a little and go and visit missionaries and things like that so that they will trust us.
We went to Buffalo Wild Wings last week as a zone, and that was the greatest discovery of my life. WOW- that place was amazing. The Asian zhing sauce is what I recommend to everyone.
SO we have a crazy story of the week. We went to go visit a potential this week and parallel parked on the sidewalk. Then they weren’t home, so we walked up a block or two away to do some other visits. Thirty minutes later we get a call from a guy yelling at me on the phone saying my corolla is blocking his driveway. He was very, very, angry so we walked back, and I realized I parked our car directly in front of his driveway, and he couldn't get his car out. Obviously it was my fault, and I was kind of confused how I didn't notice or remember to move it at least. He wanted us to just walk away. He was turned around by his house, but I walked up and made him shake my hand and said sorry. He started yelling and swearing at me and asking why I was that stupid. I just said sorry and started to walk back to the car. Then finally he yells out, "Well, while you're here just get over here and give me a blessing then!!!" So we stopped and were kind of confused and walked back. For the next 90 minutes, he talked about how his life was falling apart. He was getting a divorce, dealing with false drug charges from his x-wife's x-husband, and now he was just informed he couldn't go to law school anymore, and he was graduating college that week. It had been a few years since he had tried to go on a mission, but wasn't allowed to because of his tattoo. Then he paid out of pocket to get his tattoo removed, but by the time that was done, he was mad at the people in his ward for judging him and left the church. Four months before that, he had walked in with two missionaries flirting with his wife, so he said for that he hates silver corolla's and that was the one car that would push him over the edge. He had called President Hiers and gotten our number. He said he was leaving his house to go check into a homeless shelter and then go kill himself, but our car blocked his way out. Then he said how for weeks he had been praying for help, and God wasn't answering. I said, "Well, he sent us here to block your way out of the driveway," and he kind of sat there and was like, “Oh, yeah. I guess that's true.” So we gave him a blessing. He kept apologizing for getting mad, and we apologized again for the parking situation. He said he almost keyed our car, so we said thank you for not doing that.
We got to see Elder Ward get his son last week. Most of the Spanish missionaries went to go see him since it's Elder Bess's last transfer of the mission, and he is finally getting a grandson from Elder Ward. (He is Elder Ward's dad.) So that was pretty fun to see. They usually make it a big event and get the new missionaries really excited to be there and talk about how awesome their dad's are. It's really cool to be there. Elder Pyne is also up in Logan now. He hasn't said much about how he is doing, but we are going to get him down here for Ana and Angel's baptism. We already got permission from President. Elder Ward is doing lots of good things. The leaders are beyond excited to have him up there.
So last thing that is a HUGE concern for Elder Plowman and I: We will see what feedback we can get from the normal world. So in this mission, when you see another missionary, no matter how long it has been since you last saw them, you give them a hug. Even if I just saw Elder Ward yesterday, it doesn't matter. That's just the way everyone in this mission is, even for the missionaries you don't know. It's really weird getting off the bus from the MTC, and all these guys come up and hug you. But it just happens, and a week later you are part of it, too. So when we get home what on earth are we supposed to do? That would be weird to go into the normal world hugging everyone, but then you can't have that awkward two second..uhh are we going to shake hands or hug? So, we were talking about it this morning and decided we have no idea how to act in the real world anymore. We are open to feedback.
Any new finding ideas or motivators? We keep going out to tract, and it’s hard for me to knock doors when I already know who lives in every house and what they are going to say. I guess I have never run into this problem before. We have tried to work with members, and we already visited them all and didn't get referrals, so we are back to finding on our own efforts. Just shooting for new ideas. It’s hard to keep knocking doors I have knocked twice already.
Well, I hope all is well. I love you all tons! Tote-zeens! (Best Two Years reference)
PS Mom: Sorry your birthday letter was in Spanish. I just rushed through it and Spanish happened to be working faster than English that day...next time I will do English! How is your hand doing? When did this happen?