Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"How much do you want to bet this road is a circle?" - Elder Hawkes, while getting lost on Monarch Ridge Circle

Welcome to my weekly email! Wherein:
- We show up to transfers when we don't have to and burn through 70 miles because of it
- Elder Poffenbarger and I finally listen to something other than male acapella(sp?) CDs
- Elder Hawkes almost Bible bashes an investigator
- We eat food with the ward and collectively decide "The Lion King" is the best Disney movie
- We get lost in two different gated communities
- Zone Conference happens and is AWESOME. 
- We find out more about the local anti-Mormon church

So first off, TRANSFERS. I'm still with Elder Poffenbarger, but Hillsdale (the English speaking portion of our ward) and Fuerte both got white-washed. Here's the lowdown:

Some sisters were serving in the Fuerte ward but living with a member of the Hillsdale ward. The Zone Leaders (E. Scott and E. Dimond) were serving in Hillsdale and living with a Hillsdale member. E. Poffenbarger and I were serving in Hillsdale but living in an apartment in Fuerte ward boundaries. The El Cajon zone has had some trouble with mileage lately and President wanted to figure out a fix for that. So transfers happened last Wednesday. E. Dimond got put with E. Fiso (who came from Imperial Valley where it's about the same temperature as the surface of the sun every day) and moved into our apartment in Fuerte boundaries. The sisters stayed with the Hillsdale ward member but got put in Hillsdale with us. We moved into the member's home where E. Dimond had stayed previously. 

Got it?

Basically, Hillsdale (our ward) has sisters now instead of elders, Fuerte (the ward next to ours) has elders now instead of sisters, and everyone lives in their respective area boundaries again, saving everyone on miles, time, convenience, etc. Yay! It's almost like our mission president is inspired or something. 

Old Apartment

New Apartment
We thought there was a trainer-trainee follow-up meeting, so we went to transfers. When we stayed after for the meeting, President Schmitt turned to us and said, "Haven't you already attended this?" We responded that we were told we had to go for a follow-up meeting. He smiled, shook his head, and said, "This is your follow-up." He gave us both hugs, told us to go to work, and waved at us on our way out of the chapel. So that was our follow-up meeting. 

I'd now like to take a moment to brag about my dad. Most of you know him, and he's a cool guy, wouldn't you agree? I asked him "Would you mind digging through my music collection and burning a CD with some music on it [within White Handbook guidelines, of course]?" So when we get our mail on Tuesday, I find that he was not only packed one CD, but three CDs full of music, a box of Skittles, and a Subway gift card. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just one of many reasons why my dad is awesome. 

One of our investigators, Bulabek, is a Sudanese man who is a Seventh-Day Adventist. We talked with him about a pre-mortal spirit world and he would have none of it. We then brought up that the way to know it was true was through the Book of Mormon, and how everything we believe hinges on that. He got a little defensive when we brought up the Book of Mormon. Come to find out, he thinks we're trying to replace the Bible. I start talking with him about the Book of Mormon and why it's necessary as well as backing up pre-mortality with scripture and suddenly I get this feeling that I should really stop. Bulabek was getting more defensive and I was about to cross the line between backing something up with scripture and Bible-bashing. Fortunately, we all let cooler heads prevail and he agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We'll be visiting him this coming week to see if he did. 

The dog is named Peaches. She's the dog of the members we are living with.
Super friendly and playful. Not a very good guard dog.
Basim is still awesome. Bro. Seba, the new Ward Mission Leader, got him a copy of the Gospel Principles book in Arabic for him to look through. Turns out he's been reading that and the Book of Mormon and praying and keeping commitments. We taught him about tithing and fasting and he accepted and understood the doctrine. The ward is already looking to get him home teachers and a calling.

On Friday night the ward hosted a potluck/game night. We invited our investigators and recent converts to attend. Basim joined us, as did a recent convert Mohammed and his family as well as Suhaila and her family. We had a lot of great food and got to know each other a lot more. We played a game called "Majority Rules", where a question was asked (e.g.: "Which Disney movie is the best?"), each table comes up with an answer, and the answer that is said most often is considered correct and everyone that put down that answer gets a point. In essence, we determined that dogs are the superior pets, "The Lion King" is the best Disney movie, and "I Am A Child of God" is the best hymn. Even though we were having to translate on-the-fly, everyone had a lot of fun and got involved. 

On Sunday we were going to pick up a talk so we could have it in front of us while we translated for the Arabic-speaking investigators/recent converts. E. Poffenbarger and I found one gated community where we thought the address was, so we punched in the gate code to no avail. We finally had someone open the gate for us and as we were driving around we realized that we were in the wrong place. So we exited, found the right place, and got the talk. On our way out, we were trying to find a supposed exit that would place us near the church building, so we kept driving on this road named Monarch Ridge Circle. Like the name suggests, it was a circle. We didn't find the other entrance, so we just cut our losses and went out the way we came. 

Lastly, in El Cajon there is a Baptist church named Shadow Mountain. The members have always been strangely anti-Mormon (requesting Book of Mormon copies only to blast missionaries with anti material, protesting at temple open houses, etc.). They apparently even have anti-Mormon classes. E. Poffenbarger, at a member's house, pulled up a profile from a man who used to be part of Shadow Mountain before he joined the LDS Church. In his profile, he talks about how he went to temple dedications and handed out anti-Mormon materials, met with government officials in Russia to try and hinder missionary work, and even bought a temple recommend for $600 and attended endowment sessions using it. So I learned that Shadow Mountain has entire groups dedicated to missionary work to "rescue" Mormons, newsletters designed to discuss how wrong Mormons are, and even buys up temple recommends from people to take notes on what goes on in temples. The more you know. 

I think that's all for this week. Thanks for writing to me, all those that do, and feel free to write me anytime! 

-- Elder Hawkes

(P.S.: If you want to read the former Shadow Mountain member's profile, go to and look up "Victor Garcia")
Elder Christian Hawkes
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111

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