Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"You're saying it's 'Murica. I'm saying it's the Nephites." - Elder Poffenbarger

Alternate email title is "I need an email title. Quick, say something funny!" from yours truly. 

Before I begin, P-day next week is on Monday the 18th due to our mission conference on the 19th. Don't be confused when you receive emails from me on the 18th and not on the 19th. 

This week, we...
- Have a throwdown by the Zone Leaders at Zone Meeting about teaching and planning
- Have exchanges, delaying our weekly planning
- Stumble through a lesson with Ikhalas while on exchanges
- Exchange back and spend the afternoon helping the third-biggest area in the zone, Jamul (delaying our weekly planning further)
- Have MTE's, where President Schmitt throws down about the exact same stuff (and have our weekly planning delayed even more)
- Have a breakthrough with Morad!
- Find out some key information about iPads
- Teach the Restoration to a very very Muslim family
- Attend a baptism with some former investigators (and have our weekly planning delayed even more!)
- Have a non-member who isn't an investigator show up to sacrament meeting 
- Don't give the Sunday School lesson in Arabic (did I mention our weekly planning got delayed even more?)
- Skype our families! :D
- Drive out to downtown San Diego to visit a potential that isn't home
- Pull some dandelions and make a four-year-old's day
- Find out the poor condition of an investigator's husband's health
- Teach Morad about baptism
- And finally, forget to bring our camera to emailing thus preventing us from sending pictures that should have been sent a few weeks ago

And all of this can be summed up in one phrase:
WOW. What a crazy week. 

So first off, last Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. The Zone Leaders taught us how we were planning and teaching incorrectly and how we need to do better. Basically, we weren't planning right, setting goals right, or teaching right. They showed us how we are expected to plan, teach, etc., and they're very right. We were doing things very incorrectly. It's like they're the Zone Leaders or something (and like President Schmitt knows what he's talking about!). We also had exchanges that day, which resulted in me taking over the area and Elder Jackson coming with me. 

We stumbled through a lesson with Ikhalas about obedience and baptism. My Arabic is good, but it's not that good. A lot of what she said went over my head and over Elder Jackson's, too! She's still not sure about baptism and concerned about her husband (more on that later). We told her to pray about it. We also spent most of the day working on finding new people, which led to some decent potential investigators being written down. 

We exchanged back on Thursday, which would normally lead right into Weekly Planning. NOPE. Jamul, the third-largest area in the zone (aside from the Arabic areas) needed some help contacting former investigators and less-actives. So we as a zone went to Jamul for the afternoon to help out. I learned how crazy a GPS can get when in a rural area (Jamul is VERY rural) as we would pass by where we were supposed to turn because the GPS thought there was another way to our destination and then have to drive another half-mile down the road to make a U-turn. When all was said and done, we got some good contacts for Jamul and went back to our areas to finish what was left of the day. 

Christian via Skype on Mother's Day. 
On Friday we had MTE's. I described them a little back in February but basically President Schmitt calls everyone in a few zones together to give us instruction on how to improve our proselyting, scrambles companions for the day, and sends us out. I wound up taking over the area again, only this time without an Arabic speaker! We went and visited Ikhalas, who told us that her husband was sick enough to prevent her from leaving the house. We taught her about prayer and invited her to keep praying about baptism and for her family's health.

We also had a breakthrough with Morad! We re-taught him the Restoration with an emphasis on the restoration of authority to baptize, then asked him if he would be baptized. He said, "Yes!" We then asked if he would be baptized on June 6 and his brain must have caught up to his mouth because he said, "Hold on. You can get baptized again?" "Yes, because the authority to baptize was lost, but it's been restored." "Let me ask my cousin about this." We asked him to pray about it, and he said he would. We also got the address for his brothers in Michigan.

At the MTE follow-up meeting on Saturday, President re-emphasized the points he talked about on Friday: We need to improve finding and praying in particular; we must teach quickly and simply; and we need to ask everyone "Who do you know?" He also told us that iPads are not, in fact, coming on the 19th because the 19th is Part 1 of 3 different meetings about iPads. Meeting 1 is a general overview. Meeting 2 is about the Area Book application (all our paper records will be shredded after being entered into the iPads, so everything needs to be up-to-date!). Meeting 3 is about online/Skype teaching and another "Don't be stupid" reminder. Then we get iPads... sometime. 

After the meeting we went back to our apartment, had a little lunch, and went out for the day. We went to a potential's apartment who had said that we would come back that day. They were very Muslim. Which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. I love Islam and the Muslim people. I've been to mosque a few times and I've always had a good experience. The people are very friendly, very hospitable, and very willing to at least wish us luck. When it comes to teaching Muslims, we generally don't do it because 99% of them aren't interested and with the 1% that are we have to jump through a lot of hoops. This family was asking us questions and at the end of it agreed to read the Book of Mormon (on the grounds that "You can't refute something if you haven't read it!") and wished us well. 

The Zone Leaders had a baptism on Saturday. We called some former investigators, Nather and Siham, to come with us. There were a total of 8 people there, not counting the bishopric members or the person getting baptized. Despite that, it was a good baptism and Nather and Siham said we could come back if they're around. 

On Sunday we had an Arabic-speaking non-member at church who wasn't an investigator. That usually doesn't happen. In fact, that's the first time it has! We taught him a quick 5-minute Restoration before the meeting began. He left after sacrament meeting but promised he'd be back the next Sunday for church. Since no Arabic speakers were around for second hour, I didn't give my Gospel Principles lesson. Maybe next week.

We Skyped our families. Elder Poffenbarger's family is pretty cool. Mine is too, but that goes without saying. :) It was nice to see everyone again and to hear from each of them. 

We also drove out to downtown San Diego to contact a referral from the APs (Assistants to the Mission President). They weren't around, but we got to know the area a little more. And by that we mean, there are a total of maybe 5 Arabic speakers in the area, all of whom are Muslim. Probably won't be going back that way for a while. 

Yesterday we pulled some dandelions at the part-member family's house. We're almost done with all the dandelion pulling; just one or two more visits and it'll be done! We had the member's four-year-old grandson with us (he loves helping us) and it made it a lot more fun than it already was. We also finally finished our Weekly Planning yesterday! :D

We taught Morad about baptism. He's a lot more open to it now, but he's still not sure about a date. We also got a call from Ikhalas. Suffice it to say her husband is in the hospital and isn't doing too well. 

Lastly, I forgot my camera! I promise I'll have pictures next week! 

Thanks everyone for your letters, emails, carrier pigeons, etc. I love getting all sorts of mail! Talk to you all on Monday!

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

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