Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"I'm Syrian Orthodox. I'm not Catholic... Thank God!" - Our neighbors

I really enjoy Christian's e-mail subjects. 

This week has been an interesting week. No new investigators, sadly, but got a few lessons in that really helped. 

Remember last week how I said Teeba would probably get dropped? She got dropped. In Iraq her religious group was heavily persecuted and those fears are deeply rooted inside of her. We told her to call us when she's ready, and she said that she would join the church when she was ready. I hope that's soon. It was really heartbreaking to drop her. It takes a lot of courage, I learned, to drop someone. 

Suhayla's boys got the Priesthood. Mario and Marceleno are now a teacher and a deacon, respectively. She has been working on getting people to church (she described it as "fishing"). She sat down with one of our investigators, Sandra, and told her how amazing baptism is and that this church is what she needs. She's so awesome. 

Speaking of Sandra, we're working with the ward to get her boys some more friends so that they can come to church. We're also working to get her to accept a baptismal date. We had a lesson at the San Diego temple with her and she said that it looked like something she had seen in a dream once. She's wanting to join, but she wants her entire family on board. We're working on meeting with her husband to get him added as an investigator. 

Basim is awesome. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and he ate it up. He's been coming to church, reading, praying, and keeping all his commitments. He had a few clarifying questions to ask us about the Fall of Adam but was perfectly fine with it all. We're going to move up his baptismal date for sure. 

Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Oakes, got released this past week and will be the High Priests Group Leader. We had a wonderful dinner with him and the rest of the group leadership on Sunday night to discuss what they can do as high priests to get more involved. We're 90% sure that the former Elders Quorum President, Brother Seba (who is the embodiment of awesome!), will be the new WML. 

Brother Seba, by the way, is awesome. I know I've said that before but it's true. He's a Chaldean convert of several years who speaks perfect English and Arabic. We love having him over for lessons because he can relate to the Chaldeans we talk to. He and his wife helped us teach Sandra at the temple on Saturday, then afterward they took us to dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant named "Aladdin Cafe". We ordered several large plates of food and ate family-style. We had fresh-baked flatbread, hummus, baba ghanoush (an eggplant spread that is amazing when done right and awful when not), kebab, and baklava. Best part of it was the fact that we had leftovers the next day!

By the way, given the quote you may be wondering "Why don't you go talk with your neighbors and get them to join?" Elder McCombie (who went home the same day I arrived) and Elder Poffenbarger tried several times. In fact, pretty much our entire complex has been tracted out to no avail. Most of them just aren't interested or don't want to keep commitments. Our neighbors think we're the coolest thing since sliced bread, though, and so they stop and say "Hi" to us and give us chocolate every now and then. 

I think that about covers it for this week. It's really flown! Thank you all for your letters; I love getting mail!

-- Elder Hawkes

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