I'm not dead, I promise! My plane didn't crash, my companion didn't stab me in my sleep, I didn't get hit by a car... I'm alive! No, really!
It's been crazy the past little while. I got to San Diego a week ago today (after waking up at 3 A.M. to get on a bus to get to the train station to get to the airport... ugh!) and it turns out P-days are on Tuesdays but I couldn't email last Tuesday because there was a distinct lack of computers at the mission home. I sent my parents a letter and it may or may not be on Facebook now. In any case....
I'm serving in El Cajon right now. My trainer's name is Elder Poffenbarger. He's from Virginia and started Arabic work about 18 months ago. El Cajon is full of Chaldean Catholics, Muslims, Assyrians, and just about any other religion from the Middle East. The nickname for the city is "Little Baghdad" and it lives up to its name; businesses usually have their names in Arabic as well as English, there are a lot of Iraqi markets and businesses here, and the majority of people speak Arabic. It's almost a rarity to find someone who speaks English well enough that we can teach them in English. When President Schmitt says "Arabic-speaking", he means it!
We have two baptisms scheduled this week. Two brothers, Mario and Marcelino, are getting baptized with their mom's permission. Their mom has been receiving lessons as well, but she won't commit to a specific baptismal date just yet, which is mildly frustrating since she wants to get baptized and she's probably more ready than her sons are. :/
|The Arabic materials at the MTC bookstore didn't offer a lot of choices.|
We also added a bunch of investigators this week. We were out street contacting and had prayed that we would find someone to teach. We met an Assyrian man who let us walk with him back to his apartment. When we got there, he got his wife to come into the room and we were able to teach him the Restoration. He seems really open and accepting of our message, which is exciting! Another man was a referral that we had met on the street earlier. We went to teach him and it turns out he and his family have been praying for the past little while that we would come and teach them. That was really cool.
Our mission is one where we would normally have a car, but we're car-less for 6 to 10 weeks. Our car was totalled by a distracted driver about two weeks before I arrived in San Diego, leaving my companion with a concussion and a dislocated shoulder (he's fine now, don't worry!) and our area (Hillsdale-Arabic South) without a car. There is a lot of walking right now until we get another car, and that is all dependent on when SLC wants to give us one. I'm hoping for sooner rather than later, but we'll see.
The weather is lovely. It rained yesterday which was unpleasant since we forgot our umbrella. But hey, at least it wasn't snowing! I feel bad for you Utah folks who have to deal with that stuff right now; it's sunny and 60's for the entire week this week. :P
I am about 90% sure that I've covered everything. I can actually send pictures from this computer, so let me go ahead and send those in another email. I promise there won't be a super long drought between emails this time around!
-- Elder Hawkes