Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Sorry. Just playing 'footsies.'" - Elder Greer

You know when you say something and at first it sounds okay but then you re-evaluate?

This week, we...
- Meet with a former and find out he's super dropped
- Help move a family out and get lost on the way there
- Add an investigator who's concerned that we'll decrease his faith in Mary
- Have dinner with a recent convert
- Visit Ikhalas and get four referrals from her
- Go to the San Diego temple with Suhaila!
- Spend three hours teaching two less-actives and two families... at the same appointment
- Help tie back a fence while a police helicopter circles the neighborhood
- Have dinner with a four-year-old and her family
- Teach people English in their home

So first off, we called up a former investigator we've been wanting to keep track of. De'a, if you'll recall from more than three letters ago (I don't keep track of when I send what I send, really), had surgery and insisted on moving around despite it. A few weeks ago we went back to find him on the couch writhing in pain. He had had a stroke after a recent surgery and wasn't feeling great to say the least. We gave him a blessing, told him we'd keep in touch and pray for him, and left. We called him, and he had fully recovered! He wasn't in any pain from the stroke or the surgery and said he was doing wonderful! 

Elder Hawkes name right to left
He then proceeded to rip into us and tell us we were totally wrong. 

In short, he was very rooted in tradition and not willing to read further or do anything. He had a big problem with authority (even though we walked it through with him three or four times and he agreed with every point) and said "Come back any time to talk about anything except this." So now he's reallydropped. At least he's feeling better.

On Thursday we went and helped a family move out of their apartment. Elder Poffenbarger and I forgot to write down the address before we left, so we knew the approximate area but not the exact area. After driving in circles for a good five minutes, we finally spotted a U-haul truck and figured that was the place. It was. 

We added an investigator named Sa'id. He's got two very young children (one of whom loved our pamphlet so much she tore off the front cover) and is very Catholic. When we invited him to be baptized if he knew our message was true, he responded that he was concerned we'd build his faith in Christ but tear down his faith in Mary (in case you haven't gathered or I haven't mentioned, praying to the Virgin Mary is a BIG deal in the Chaldean community). Still, he accepted an invitation to learn more and actually set up an appointment, so at least he's interested. 

On Friday we had dinner with a recent convert, Mohammed. He fried up turkey and beef kebabs and chicken for us. I came away from that dinner very full. With Chaldean recent converts and the normal ward members, I don't think I have to worry about whether I'll be eating dinner on my mission or not!

On Saturday we visited Ikhalas and found out some more cemetery information. It's all super expensive, unless she gets cremated, which she isn't going to do. We taught her about the Gospel and invited her to be baptized. She's a little hesitant because she doesn't want to create a rift in her family, but she's willing to do it if she can without getting her family all freaked out. We then asked her, "Who do you know that we could teach?" She took us out to her back porch, pointed to four different doors in her complex, and said, "Go teach them. They need to hear this!" Moral of this story: Ask EVERYONE for referrals!

That evening the youth in the ward went to do temple baptisms. Suhaila and her boys came too. All the Arabic-speaking missionaries got to go with her, which was awesome! (I'll explain the rules of temple visits for us at the end of this email) Suhaila just did confirmations (31 of them, apparently!) because she didn't want to get baptized, but Mario and Marceleno did baptisms and confirmations. We talked with them last night about their experience and they all said they loved it and would love to go again. We told them they can go anytime they want since they have recommends and also told Suhaila she could get her endowments in a year, which she was excited about. 

On Sunday we had a dinner with a member. The rules for member dinners are that they can only be one hour and they have to be done by 6 P.M., unless there is a less-active or non-member there. They called us and asked if we could reschedule for 5:30, which would give us only a half-hour to eat. We told them we could, but that they'd have to invite someone over or make sure everything was wrapped up by 6. So they called their less-active mother, a less-active down the street, and another member family (referred to as "Family B" in this email) over! We were there from about 5:15 to 8:15 eating and teaching them. We went over why we follow certain things like the Word of Wisdom and how we follow them because God told us to. Family B had a four-year-old daughter who was being a normal four-year-old and not really paying attention, but everyone else was on board entirely! We had some long discussions about the Book of Mormon, apostasy, and the Second Coming. By the end of it, we had enough time to park the car and walk down a street or two to find some people!

Sunday night and early Monday morning it rained, which made pulling dandelions at the part-member's house easy. After we did that, an older lady in the ward asked us to help her tie parts of her wood fence to the chain-link fence behind it. It was a pretty quick and easy job. While we were working, a police helicopter was circling overhead, telling the neighborhood about a fugitive they were looking for. We're pretty sure they found him, because I thought I heard them say, "Get on your knees and put your hands up!" but I wasn't sure, and then saw it fly away after a while. So that was something. 

Last night we had a dinner at Family B's house. They informed us that their four-year-old had in fact been listening to the lesson on Sunday because she said, "I listen to you [the girl's mother] because God told me to!" We had a very fancy dinner of Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets (as requested by the daughter) and salad. One of the most interesting member dinners I've had so far, that's for sure! We also taught Muwfaq (a former investigator) and his wife basic introductions in English at their home last night. They want us to come by more frequently to help teach them English. 

That's it for this week as far as memory (and my planner!) serves me. I love getting email and hand-written letters, so don't be afraid to write! 

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

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