Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Hello, hello, Marhaba, hello, ahlan wu sahlan, hello...." - Every single Chaldean in El Cajon

First off, last P-day was super crazy. I didn't get to send as much as I was planning to in my email or send as many letters as I wanted to because I was kind of pressed for time. 

So, let me start off by discussing what I was going to say last week!:

- THE 11TH PLANET IS COMING!!!!! At least, according to some guy on the street we talked to. He talked about how the Earth's plates are shifted and tilted in ways they shouldn't be (which is evidenced by the crazy weather and the fact that the Moon is sideways) and that a calamity is coming. There's an 11th planet, Zenu, that is on its way around the two suns we have and will cause a 90 degree shift in the plates, causing major catastrophes (this isn't a new event; the parting of the Red Sea is somehow evidence of this happening). Obama, Russia, and China all know and they're trying to tell people, but the 1% won't let them. And something about spark souls, service-to-self souls, service-to-other souls, higher-density aliens coming down to us... That blank look you're probably giving your computer screen is the exact same look we gave him. He was nice enough to give us a website: zenutime.com. I can't look it up because I'm not allowed to, but if anyone dares to go on there let me know if it's as crazy as I think it is. 

- We've got a few investigators. Teeba is an older Iraqi lady and a John the Baptist follower. She's hesitant about coming to church and getting baptized, but we're working with her. She LOVES the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, but she's not too big on the Book of Mormon. Amir was an older gentlemen we met on the street who wanted us to teach him. He ate it all up, but he wasn't too good with keeping commitments (more on that later). Akheqar is an Assyrian man who was very accepting of our message. We haven't been able to get ahold of him lately, but we're doing our best. Suhayla is the mother of Mario and Marceleno and has been taking lessons for six months. 

Now, onto this week!

Amir got set up for a baptismal date!... and then got dropped. :( We visited him the other day and his wife said they're both too old and too sick to read, come to church, etc. It's heartbreaking to drop people like that, who have accepted your message and then don't keep commitments. I feel like there should be a part of the Area Book that includes, "People who we've dropped for now but will be contacted in about six months" because at this point, it would be full. 

Suhayla (Mario and Marceleno's mother) called us this week. She said she promised God that she would give up tea and threw out all of her black tea. She also called us to say that she wants to get baptized! She's getting baptized this Friday at 6 with her sons (their baptism had to be pushed back for reasons). 

We contacted a young man (we think he's in his late 20's) named Basim. We met with him and his mother and they both were very accepting of our message of the Restoration. He was saying throughout the lesson, "This is true! I know it is!" He attended church with us this past Sunday and thought it was amazing. 

We also contacted a Muslim family, Noora and Osama. Muslims are very... difficult to teach, but not for the reasons you'd think. In the case of Noora and Osama, they were very accepting of the message of Jesus Christ being the Savior and all of the Restoration. But in order to teach a Muslim family, we need to follow a few guidelines and have our mission president join us to over the questions with us:

Arabic Speaking Elders (R to L)Elder Greer, Elder Jackson,
 Elder Hawkes, Elder Poffenbarger
- We cannot directly proselyte to Muslims unless 1) We are in a community that has "religious freedom" (basically if they have Muslims and a bunch of other religions living together without problems) or 2) They approach us and ask to learn more. 

- We need to get permission from the head of the household (the father/husband) in order to teach them. 

- They cannot be planning to move back to the Middle East or to any country without religious freedom (Muslims who convert to Christianity are generally not accepted by their community and their lives would be in danger if they moved back). 

- We need to be not teach to groups of young male Muslims or young men who look like they'll be a problem. 

- If anything happens (e.g.: We get threatened or attacked), we are to cease all contact with them and report it to our leaders/mission president. 

If the answer to any of those questions is in the negative, we cannot continue teaching them. 

Fortunately, President Schmitt came with us to Noora and Osama's house and they are going to be staying in San Diego and want to learn from us. They're very accepting of us and very willing to hear what we have to say. 

Tonight we as a zone have the opportunity to go to the mission president's home for his daughter's birthday party. After that, we've got a dinner appointment (we're going to Rubio's with a member family) and then it's back to proselyting for the rest of the week!

Please write to me and email back when you can. I love hearing from you all! 

-- Elder Hawkes

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