Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"The sun didn't exist before Jesus was born!" "That's why everything was black and white back then!" - Elders Poffenbarger and Jackson, respectively

Sent to us on April 2, 2015

Hahahahahaha! The ultimate April Fool's joke! You all expected an email from me yesterday, but I'm sending it today! Totally an April Fool's joke, and not a symptom of the libraries being closed yesterday due to Cesar Chavez Day! Hahahahahahahaha!


Welcome to my weekly email, wherein: 
- One of our investigators leaves for Michigan without telling us
- A Chaldean couple actually recognizes "the Mormons"!
- We re-meet and re-add a guy we lost contact with months ago
- Elder Hawkes once again throws large pieces of wood around
- We add the uncle of a former investigator who tells us he's a Communist
- Bro. Seba, the Ward Mission Leader, hosts a barbeque and a TON of people show up
- President Schmitt hosts us for dinner and we get to see his cockroach-killing skills
- Our driver-side door betrays us

So, last email I told you all about Marvin, Morad, and Miller, three young men whom Elder Poffenbarger taught way back in the days of Elder McCombie (whom, I should mention, is now added to the email list). They've been prepping to go to Michigan for a little while because they've got family in Detroit. Well, last week we went to teach them and there were only two around. We asked what happened to Marvin and they said, "Oh, he went to Michigan yesterday." Wow. The other two are already packing their stuff and prepping to go, so we may not be able to see them soon. 

We had some cool experiences adding people. One couple, Nather and Siham, actually recognized us and said, "Are you the Mormons?" After E. Poffenbarger and I had picked up our jaws from off the floor (most people think we're the Jehovah's Witnesses or Evangelicals), we said, "Yes we are!" They asked us, "What's different from your church?" and we were able to teach them the Restoration! 

The other experience was when we were contacting a referral. Back in January (about 5 days after I got here) we met a man named Akheqar and walked with him back to his apartment and taught him the Restoration. We both forgot to write down the correct address so we couldn't find him again. Last week we went to contact a referral in the complex Akheqar was in and we both remembered the approximate location of Akheqar's apartment. The next night we went back and found him! He was sitting on his couch with the door open and he invited us in. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true. We re-taught the Restoration and asked if he would get baptized if he knew this was true. He and his son, Yusef, both said, "Of course we will!" When we meet him this Friday we'll nail down a specific date. 

On Saturday we went and did service at a member's house. He had some old fenceposts that he needed us to throw into a trailer. After he cut them all in half we grabbed them one-by-one and threw them into the trailer. I found it rather amusing that the latest service we've been doing involves me throwing around large pieces of wood. 

We also added another investigator named Malik. He's the uncle of a former investigator named Teeba and belongs to the same religion as her (Mandaean? John the Baptist followers). We were talking about the Restoration and after the lesson was over he was telling us his story. He's a journalist from Iraq and knows Arabic, English, and Russian. He also said he was a Communist. A Communist John the Baptist follower from Iraq who worked as a journalist. That's a first. 

Bro. Seba on Sunday had a barbeque and invited the Elder's Quorum and some of our investigators and recent converts. We had Suhaila and her family, Sandra and her family, Mohammed (a recent convert) and his family, and Basim, along with a bunch of ward members. Lots of food. Lots of good company. Good times. Afterward, Basim told us how he's been facing some family backlash because of his decision to get baptized. Bro. Seba and Bro. Faradjian both told him their stories and gave him some advice: follow what he feels is right. Afterward he felt a lot better and told us he wants to get baptized still. He's on track for April 18th. 

On Monday night President Schmitt had us and Sandra over for dinner. We had a wonderful time. Andrew was well-behaved and Alex was Alex. After dinner we had a quick family home evening where Sister Schmitt talked about sealing. Halfway through the lesson all the kids start screaming. There was a huge cockroach (a few inches) on the back porch that they were looking at. President got everyone to calm down and we finished the lesson. Afterward, E. Poffenbarger took a shoe and tossed the cockroach into a nearby bush. President grabbed the shoe and one other shoe, calmly walked over to the bush, found the cockroach, and nonchalantly proceeded to smash it. "Better out here than inside," he said. He's way cool. 

Lastly, the door. We were out contacting some people on Monday when suddenly my door (the driver's-side door) stopped opening from the inside. Elder Parkin (the mission fleet coordinator) took a look at it yesterday and said, "Yep. You've got a busted door." So we've got to take it over to a Ford dealership in La Mesa (about a 10-minute drive) tomorrow to get it repaired. Fun fun fun!

This weekend is Conference weekend. We're not going to understand anything because we'll be watching it in Arabic! Let me know if they get into any crazy deep doctrine or anything. :)

That's it for this week. Thanks for writing me, everyone. I love getting emails and hand-written letters! :D

-- Elder Hawkes

Elder Christian Hawkes
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111

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