Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"One does not simply turn down Klature." - Elder Hawkes

"Klature" (كليتر) (don't quote me on the spelling) is a cookie/jelly
roll stuffed with dates. Standard issue in Chaldean households it
seems. And absolutely delicious.

This week, we...
- Do service for a man who wants to be taught in September
- Get bread, date syrup, and honey from an investigator's son
- Help Mohammed set up a phone line
- Choke on the smoke from a fire south of us
- Get famous!
- Drive out near Qualcomm Stadium to contact some people
- Have Morad and Miller at church!
- Get fed nachos and root beer floats by the Relief Society for Father's Day
- Dig the Panama Canal (at least it feels like it!)
- Walk around in National City for a little while and talk to a nice Indian man
- Teach Morad and Miller a little bit of the Gospel
- Find out Ramadan started a few days ago from a Farsi-speaking Afghani

Wednesday morning we started the day off by doing service for a
potential investigator named حسيب (Haseeb). We showed up to his house
at the time he requested and he told us, "I don't think I have
anything for you to do." After a bit of persuasion, he let us pull
weeds in front of his house for 15 minutes. Right after that we went
and did service for a 90-year-old in our ward who needed help moving
her trash cans out front. Once we moved the trash cans, she gave us
some ice cream and cookies and apologized for the lack of home-baked
cookies. We didn't care, we were getting fed ice cream!

We went to teach Marvin, Morad, and Miller about the Gospel but they
were really upset at the fact that they had gotten in an accident that
day. The man they got in an accident with was apparently an
Arabic-speaking man who told them they had to pay him $1200 or he'd
call the cops because they didn't have insurance. Not a great teaching
environment. So we changed our plans and emphasized the need to pray
and read the Book of Mormon to gain peace and comfort. It went well.
The next time around they were a little less upset.

That night we visited اخلاص (Ikhlas) and checked for her understanding
about the Word of Wisdom. We read D&C 89 with her and afterward she
committed to fast and pray about quitting tea. Her son, وعد (Wa'ad),
offered us some water which we graciously accepted. He then brought
over some date syrup, honey, bread, and three spoons and had each of
us try the syrup and the honey.

I love date syrup.

It had the texture of molasses but the sweetness of dates and honey.
Apparently it's like peanut butter in terms of use (essentially
meaning they put in pretty much anything and everything they want).
I'll have to buy some next week.

As an aside they were impressed that I knew عربي المصري (Egyptian
Arabic), even though I haven't really spoken it a whole lot since

On Thursday we went and visited a less-active who let us film his
player piano and gave us some statistics about it (there's only one
person in San Diego who repairs them, and in the 1900's it cost about
as much as a house to purchase). Elder Greer in the lesson asked him
"What can you do to progress?" He said he'd get back to us after
thinking about it for a little bit. And that's one of many reasons why
Elder Greer is awesome.

On Friday a fire started south of us in the Spring Valley area. It got
put out pretty quickly, but the smoke and haze from it did not help
breathing at all. That evening we went over to visit محمد (Mohammed)
and helped him set up a phone line. While we were helping him, he
microwaved some hashbrowns and beans and gave them to us. We had just
eaten before that appointment, so we were stuffed by the end of the

On Saturday we found out that we've become famous! Bro. Seba had his
nephews from New Zealand over while they visited the Carlsbad mission.
One of them is a teacher at the New Zealand MTC and he jumped on the
opportunity to take pictures and sit in on our Arabic study Wednesday
night. Well one of his friends runs a blog called "Missionary Geek"
and he wrote an article about us that was then shared on Facebook by a
bunch of people and the Preach My Gospel Facebook page. They had taken
a photo of Elder Greer's nametag, so overnight he and the rest of us
became famous apparently. We also found out that there are other
Arabic-speaking missionaries around... somewhere...

We drove out to the area near Qualcomm Stadium (where the Chargers
play) to contact some potentials. None of them were around, but we did
get to talk with a few interesting people. One of them said she was a
witch who couldn't convert to Christianity even if she wanted to. Once
we asked her if she knew Arabic speakers, though, she calmed down a
bit and said, "Yeah. Over in those complexes." People are weird.

On Sunday Morad and Miller came to church. Marvin was sick and Ikhlas
was visiting her husband in the hospital. In third hour the Relief
Society fed the High Priests, Elders, and Young Men root beer floats
and nachos. It almost felt like cheating because they announced it was
for all the dads!

We taught a man named Alex on Sunday. His cousin was around and he
identified us as the Mormons. Despite the understanding of who we are,
his cousin provided good input into the lesson and allowed us to
teach. We got to the Book of Mormon and invited them to read and pray
about it. Alex said he'd pray about it while he read it to know if it
is true. After the lesson, the family pulled out a big tray of
klature, cookies, and other snacks and gave us some Pepsi and water to

I love Arab hospitality. Sometimes I wish they didn't pull out so much
stuff, though!

Yesterday we drove to National City to contact a Muslim referral. He
wasn't around, so we wandered the area and talked to a very nice
Indian man who gave us some water bottles and asked about the temple
and church buildings. We gave him a pass-along card and invited him to
visit the nearest church building (which we didn't know because we're
based out of El Cajon, not National City!). After that, we taught
Marvin, Morad, and Miller. They had calmed down quite a bit and were
happy to have us over. We taught them the Gospel and started talking
about faith and repentance and then they got distracted. They talked a
lot about other people's sins and how they need to come to church
also. After trying to get them focused again we had to go but told
them we'd be talking with some members to have them over for dinner
and fellowship.

I also found out Ramadan started a few days ago. I'd like to wish all
my Muslim friends a "رمادان كريم!" ("Ramadan Kareem!") (The keyboard's
a bit glitchy when it comes to switching from Arabic to English and
vice versa. Oh well).

That's it for this week. I'm currently with my companions at a
member's house watching them have a go at a batting cage. That Padres
game really affected them, apparently! Thank you all for your letters
and emails! I love getting mail of every kind!

Shoutout to my friend Tori Miner who got her endowments last week in
preparation for her mission to Tonga! And shoutout to my awesome dad
and grandparents who have helped me get through 19 years of life so
far! Love you all!

-- Elder Hawkes

An article about the Arabic Speaking Missionaries in San Diego

This article is about the Arabic Speaking Missionaries in San Diego. I shared it with Christian and he laughed at one of the picture captions because it was while they were trying out different phrases and ways of speaking with Bro. Seba (who assists them in learning Arabic in his home each week). The caption reads "The missionaries teaching an Arabic man."

"We're just going to be نمشي-ing on the شارع." - Elder Greer, to the English-speaking Zone Leaders

It translates to "walking on the street". It's funny to me because he
said it to the English-speaking Zone Leaders and really because I
didn't find anything else really funny to put in the title this week.

Spoiler alert: Padres lost.
This weekly email, we...
- Help a less-active move a bed into his house and then help interpret
Isaiah chapters with him.
- Help Ikhalas move along towards baptism
- Go on splits with the high priests and find out the two people we
want to contact have moved
- Meet a guy sculpting a statue of Jesus for his Catholic church (who
isn't interested in our message)
- Drive out to Lemon Grove and find a Saudi Arabian exchange student
- Add a really smart guy!
- Teach Ikhalas the Word of Wisdom
- Have Ikhalas come to church!!!!
- Stumble through a Gospel Principles lesson about tithing
- Get cold water from a bunch of people
- Teach Marvin, Morad, and Miller and get a baptismal date!
- Lastly, go to a Padres game

First off, we helped a less-active member move a bed and bed frame
into his house and then asked him if he had any questions from his
personal reading. He said, "Yeah, actually," and then proceeded to
turn to 2 Nephi, in the Isaiah chapters.

Oh boy.

So we helped him gain some insights and told him that basically once
one understands the current events of Isaiah's time it's a lot easier
to understand. After that, we went to Ikhalas. We helped her find out
about her husband's medical condition (and I learned that I don't know
a whole lot of medical terms in Arabic!) and then taught her about
church attendance. We committed her to come to church.

On Thursday we went on splits with the High Priests. I went with Bro.
Knight, a member of the ward, and together we contacted his home
teaching families.

Turns out that both of them had moved away a little while ago.

So we went back to the church building, exchanged back, and wandered
the streets of El Cajon to find people.

On Friday we met a man who we received as a referral from a street
contact. He said he wasn't interested in hearing our message because
of a few typical reasons ("No prophets after Jesus" and "No scripture
after the Bible" being chief among them). Regardless, he invited us
into his home for a minute and showed what he was making: a life-sized
clay sculpture of Jesus for his church. He said his plan was to finish
it, put it in a box, and write on the box "Though He died for us, He
is risen and we worship Him" or something to that effect. He is the
first Chaldean sculptor I've met. Pretty cool guy.

On Saturday we drove out to Lemon Grove (which just borders San Diego
proper) to contact a referral. The house number we got didn't exist,
but we saw a house with a similar number and knocked on it. Turns out
that our referral did live in that house, but he was a Saudi Arabian
exchange student who wasn't home at the moment. We left an Articles of
Faith card in Arabic with our phone number and asked the host family
to have him give us a call. He called us a day later and said he
couldn't learn from us and wasn't that interested anyway. Oh well.

We added a man in our potential investigators pile named فاخري
(Fakhri) that day! The information we had for him was "Come back when
the semester ends." So we went back! Turns out he had graduated
college a mere 10 days earlier and was the oldest graduate in the
class. We were able to teach him the Restoration in English with only
a little bit of clarification in Arabic and handed him a Book of
Mormon. He said he had trouble seeing and was afraid that he wouldn't
be able to read. Elder Greer felt prompted to give him a blessing, and
so we all stood up and blessed him. He's got some really good

We also taught Ikhalas the Word of Wisdom. She said that she doesn't
drink or smoke and hates coffee, but that her only concern is tea. She
said, "I'll work on quitting it." (!!!!!!!) We also got her a ride to
church for the next day.

On Sunday we had Ikhalas come to church! She really enjoyed it and
said she would be back next week. The ward did a tremendous job
reaching out to her and saying "Hello" despite the language barrier.
That same day I gave my first Gospel Principles lesson in Arabic. It
was about tithing. Bro. Seba told me beforehand to pray about it and
be very careful about what I said in the lesson because it's a
sticking point for a lot of people. Despite the stumbles and the
awkward pauses now and then, everyone said I did a good job. I need to
practice more. :|

On Monday we went contacting during the heat of the day, so it was
nice that almost every door we knocked on people offered us water! We
got to see some of the formers in the North area and invite them to a
ward barbeque next month. We also got in the door with هسيبة
(Haseeba), a lady Elders Jackson and Greer have been working with. We
taught her about prayer and church attendance after showing her
"Because of Him".

Also on Monday we were able to teach the Plan of Salvation to Marvin,
Morad, and Miller. They were off and on in terms of focus, but we
finally got them to settle down and focus on the lesson after a bit of
metaphorical wrangling. By the end of it, we invited them to baptism
and they kind of hesitated. I bore testimony about faith and baptism
and told them that essentially "You have the faith to do it, so why
don't you?" They finally agreed to a baptismal date for July 18th!

Lastly, today we went to the Padres game. A member of the ward had
season tickets that he gave us and his recently-returned-missionary
son. He bought us lunch and souvenirs and we all had a good time at
the game. The Padres lost in the 9th Inning, 6-5, against the Oakland
Athletics. Yay sportsball!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Don't get in fiddling competitions with the Devil." "Yeah, he's much better than I am." - Elders Hawkes and Greer

iPads have arrived in the California San Diego Mission!
It's time for a selfie!
The Devil went down to Georgia....

Welcome to my weekly email, wherein....
- President Schmitt's 5-year-old son plays volleyball with us
- Elder Hawkes gets frustrated at a racist man
- We get fed a full meal by a potential and his family
- We lay down some mulch in a garden for a family
- Help Fawzi find a job.
- Wander a neighborhood and wind up teaching an author
- Go to a barbeque with Fawzi where he talks guns with some ward members
- Have my birthday! :D
- Have Zone Conference wherein we talk about the Book of Mormon
- Teach a man who needs new glasses
- Oh yeah, and something about iPads.

First off, on P-day we played volleyball with the missionaries in the
San Diego East Zone, including the APs. President Schmitt showed up
with his son, Clayton, who proceeded to play volleyball with the rest
of us. And he did a pretty good job! President gave us some Costco
pizza for dinner and then sent us all on our way.

On Wednesday we spent most of the day contacting people. We had a
potential whom we had met on the street and seemed interested, so we
went and got in the door with him. The son (I'd say probably in his
20's or 30's) didn't like us over. He proceeded to tell us we were
wrong, they know everything about Jesus, and we need to go preach to
Muslims. He then proceeded to tell us how he wished all Muslims were
dead because they're all evil and untrustworthy. I'll admit I lost my
cool a little bit, but we were able to get out the door pretty quickly
before anything escalated further. After that experience we went to
another potential's house. He wasn't home, but his family was and they
invited us in, telling us he would be home soon. While we waited, they
got out a tray of Middle Eastern food they had bought from the market
recently and invited us to eat. Feeling very awkward about it but
nevertheless doing as instructed, we sat down and had a decent-sized
dinner. He eventually came home, but said he had to leave for work in
a little bit so it would be best if we came by another day. At least
his family likes us!

On Thursday we went to a ward member's house and helped shovel some
mulch down on top of their plants so that more water is retained (San
Diego is in a really big drought right now!). After that, we met with
Fawzi to help him find a new job. A ward member, Bro. Oakes, was
gracious enough to let us come over to his house and do some job

On Friday we went on exchanges with Jamul. Elder Avery came and joined
Elder Greer and I in Arabic work for the day. We found a few Muslim
potentials that weren't too interested once they realized we were
Christian preachers. We also had a guy ask us our opinion on scalping.

Scalping is bad. Don't do it.

Turns out he was trying to mess with us a bit and wasn't too
interested. Regardless, what an odd thing to say.

On Saturday we decided to walk around in a neighborhood near the stake
center where we had never contacted people. We asked a lady if there
were any Arabic speakers in the area and she pointed us to a house. We
went and knocked on their door and they initially said, "We aren't
interested. We don't have time." They let us in anyway because
politeness. We got some water, chatted them up about gardening, living
in San Diego, and Arabic. Shortly thereafter, they sat down with us
and we were able to teach them the Restoration. Turns out they know
the Mormons and have been interested in what we believe. The husband
also wrote a book about Botnaia (باطنايا), a Christian city in
Northern Iraq. It's now sitting in my makeshift bookcase, collecting

On Sunday it was my 19th birthday! :D The APs took time to wish me a
happy birthday, the few ward members that knew wished me one as well,
and my companions couldn't stop saying that it was my birthday. The
Dreesen's (the members we're living with) had us for dinner, which was
nice. At the end of the night, President and Sister Schmitt called and
sang "Happy Birthday". It was a really good day. On a related note,
thank you all for the birthday wishes!

Yesterday we had Zone Conference. President Schmitt talked about how
we can further use the Book of Mormon in our proselyting efforts. We
also had a bit of a Q&A session about iPads and President
re-emphasized the fact that it's a tool, and nothing more. "The iPad
hasn't been set apart as a missionary. It doesn't have the Gift of the
Holy Ghost," he said.

After Zone Conference, we went and talked with a man about Section 8
complexes. We also shared the message of the Restoration with him and
his daughter. He couldn't see very well and told us he needs new
glasses, so we wound up reading most of the stuff for him. We also
taught Marvin, Morad, and Miller. Not much to report on that front,

Lastly, a few things about the iPad:

- I can email every Tuesday from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. (PDT, of course).
If you email me during that time, chances are I will respond.
- We are currently in Phase 1 of iPad training, which means we do not
have the Area Book on it yet, nor are we allowed to use Facebook. The
Area Book app will be available in a few weeks and Facebook
proselyting will be available in about a month or two.
- Despite the fact that I am able to read emails every day, I will
continue to only respond on Tuesday as per President Schmitt's

That's it for now, I think. Thank you all so much for your letters and
emails! I love getting mail! Take care!

-- Elder Hawkes

Sent from my iPad

Monday, June 8, 2015

"What do you see in this picture?" "Jesus... with beef!" - Elder Jackson and Morad

He was looking at a picture of Jesus holding a lamb. I'm still laughing about it.

Welcome to my weekly email, wherein...
- A missionary goes to the hospital after almost losing a finger setting up volleyball nets on P-day
- The Three Musketeers/Nephites/Stooges/Whatever go to transfers and get everything worked out with housing, phones, and cars
- We get a baptismal date for an investigator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Elder Jackson has Chick-Fil-A for the very first time
- We add two investigators at 8:50 at night! After discussing it for 15 minutes and praying about it!
- We have district meeting with half the zone
- Elder Jackson stops sleeping on the floor and we do some rearranging in our apartment
- The aforementioned investigators drop us!
- Our baptismal date investigator gets even more solid on the date!
- L. Tom Perry passes away :(
- President Schmitt speaks at Stake Conference and reminds people of their role in missionary work
- Elder Hawkes tries (and fails) to translate a talk on-the-fly at Stake Conference
- We teach a potential who is very adamant about praying to Mary
- We drive out to Spring Valley to contact a referral and wind up at a halfway house
- We go on splits and find that Morad's brothers have returned!

First off, after emailing last week we proceeded to go to Arabic North's apartment and shove all their stuff into their suitcases. We knew we'd have to make several trips, so to save on miles we focused on packing up clothing, study materials, and the basic necessities first. We then rushed back to our apartment, got some laundry done, and went to P-day sports at the El Cajon stake center. The zone decided they wanted to play volleyball, so we started setting up the nets and the poles. Some Elders from La Mesa were with us and they started working on the poles. Suddenly we hear a *SLAM!*, someone crying out in pain, and see Elder Gillespie (one of the Elders from La Mesa) clutching his thumb and running into the kitchen, moaning in pain and shouting, "Someone get me some napkins because I'm going to need stitches!"

The volleyball poles are designed to be in two parts. The top part can be adjusted to be raised and lowered according to the needs of the players. As Elder Gillespie was setting one of them up, apparently it slipped and landed on his thumb. The La Mesa Elders grabbed their stuff, helped a sobbing Elder Gillespie into the car, and rushed to Grossmont Hospital (the nearest hospital). We saw him at transfers the next day and apparently it was so deep he almost lost the thumb. 

And I'm going to stop now because if I go any further I'll probably throw up on the library's nice shiny Chromebook. 

So we cleaned up, played some volleyball, went out contacting for the day, and got everything situated (for the most part) at our apartment. 

At transfers we found out a few things: 
1) We're staying with the Dreesen's
2) We're in a district consisting of the Hillsdale Sisters, Fuerte (the Zone Leaders), Jamul, and us. That's more than half the Zone. 
3) We're going to be using North's phone and North's car

After we got everything worked out with the mission office regarding all that, we went and taught Ikhalas. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted a date!!!



We told her June 27th as a date and asked if she would pray about it. She said, "I don't need to. I know it's a good day!" 


On Thursday we went up to Arabic North's apartment to drop off empty suitcases (they're keeping the apartment and will likely move a companionship of Arabic Elders in after this transfer or the next). Elder Jackson was hungry, so we went driving around trying to find a place to eat. A while ago Elder Jackson had mentioned he had never had Chick-Fil-A, so when we found one I suggested it. And now Elder Jackson has had Chick-Fil-A! 

I took a picture to commemorate the occasion, but I left my camera at the Santee apartment. :(

That night as we were wandering the streets we walked into a complex where Elder Greer knew there were potential investigators. We knocked on one door at about 8:45 and they invited us in. We weren't able to get through all of the Restoration, but we asked them to read the pamphlet in preparation for our next visit. We set up a time to come back and left for our apartment. While we were on our way we talked about the two people we had just taught. The question was whether we should add them or not. We felt that from a Preach My Gospel definition they were added, but we weren't sure if they were shaky enough to discourage us from adding them. We prayed about it and came to the conclusion that "We set a goal to add two investigators. The Lord provided a miracle." So we added them!

We had the first district meeting of this transfer. Sister Stewart in the Hillsdale ward is training Sister Whitcomb and we have a new Zone Leader, Elder Harris. Zone picture will come eventually. 

On Saturday one of the members was kind enough to donate a bed and frame for us. We talked with the Dreesen's (the family we're staying with) about it and they helped us do some rearranging in our apartment because they had a lot of old stuff they were storing in the room. After doing quite a bit of rearranging, we picked up the bed and got it set up. Now Elder Jackson isn't sleeping on a camping pad on the floor anymore! 

Also on Saturday we taught a man who knew we were Mormons. We taught him the Restoration but he wasn't too interested in hearing it. He then asked us about Joseph Smith and polygamy, saying "Mohammed practiced polygamy!" This tells us that:
1) He has Internet
and 2) He's likely had contact with Shadow Mountain.

In other words, we didn't add him.

We went back to the recently-added investigators' complex. We knocked on their door and asked if we could come in. "No. My wife is sick in the other room." "Sorry to hear that! Another time?" "No. We don't need you!" And with that, they dropped us. 

Elder Hawkes with his companions
We taught Ikhalas about following the prophet and reading the scriptures. She's still solid for baptism on the 27th. She wants to make sure nothing gets in the way of that day. She also wants to come to church with us before she gets baptized (she hasn't been able to thus far because she's had to take care of her husband).


Also on Saturday we got word that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve had died. :( He was always so full of energy and doing things! I will certainly miss hearing from him at Conference. 

That evening we had stake conference. President and Sister Schmitt spoke about member-missionary work. President Schmitt had all the missionaries come up front and stand by him. He looked at us, then at the audience, and said, "These are the part-time missionaries. They serve for a season and then they go home, as some of you just learned with Elder Poffenbarger in the Hillsdale ward. Or they get transferred after six weeks, in which case you can blame me for that." He then had everyone in the audience stand up. "If these are the part-time missionaries, who are the full-time missionaries? You are." 

He's so cool.

On Sunday we translated for Mohammed at stake conference. I figured I'd give it a shot and put on the headphones for the first speaker. I got maybe 10 words out before I passed it off to someone else because I couldn't translate what the speaker was saying! Next stake conference I'll make an extra effort to get ahold of talks beforehand so I can actually translate!

Also on Sunday we taught a lady the Restoration. We invited her to be baptized and she said, "Yeah." We continued on and when we got to prayer she said, "This is true. I believe this. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!] This is the same Bible. All the churches teach the same stuff. There's no difference." And then proceeded to discuss how we had to pray to Mary, admitting that it wasn't found in the Bible or any other of the teachings of God at any point but still pushing the need to do so.

Yesterday we went on splits with a ward member. Elder Jackson and I went to teach Morad, intending to teach the Word of Wisdom. And it turns out that Marvin and Miller have moved back to El Cajon! They said that missionaries in Detroit went and contacted them, but it was all in English so they couldn't understand. So we went over the Restoration again with them. Their dad actually read the pamphlet with them and participated in the lesson, which is a huge step forward!

I'm 90% sure that that's it for this week. Thanks everyone for your emails and letters. I love getting mail from people, so don't be afraid to write! We'll be getting iPads on Monday at Zone Conference, so I may be emailing you all from that next week!

-- Elder Hawkes

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Can we help you move?" "No thanks, I'm God." - Elder Poffenbarger and a lady in El Cajon

Downtown El Cajon. Good times, good times...
This week, we...
- Go to the mission conference
- Help a person move apartments and get invited back to move someone else
- Have a mental block about what happened in the week because so much has happened
- Skipping ahead a little bit, drop Elder Poffenbarger off at the temple for the day and have fun as a trio
- Almost tract out an entire complex because of referrals
- Have fun teaching potentials
- Spend an hour sitting around outside a hospital waiting for information
- Teach Morad, who agrees to baptism!
- Cry at Elder Poffenbarger's last member dinner
- Cry at Elder Poffenbarger's last appointments teaching people
- Cry as we drop Elder Poffenbarger off at the airport
- Get a sneak peek at what's happening tomorrow at transfers for us!
- The meeting is not about iPads, it's about helping us be fixed in our purpose as missionaries
- iPads are a tool to help progress the work, nothing more
- Do the things you're supposed to be doing and don't the things you shouldn't
- Work!
We'll have our Area Books and Planners in an app that helps out a lot. We'll also be able to use Facebook and Skype for lessons and contacting people.
After the mission conference, we went to help a ward member's neighbor move apartments. As we were moving, a Chaldean family approached us and asked what we were doing. "We're moving this person." "Do you do it for free?" "Yeah." "We're moving next Monday. Could you come help?" "Sure!" Opportunities present themselves sometimes.
There's been a lot of stuff happen this past week, so I'm not entirely sure what happened on Wednesday or Thursday, so let's skip to Friday!
On Friday Elder Poffenbarger had "Departure Activities". We drove to the temple and I got picked up by Arabic North while Elder Poffenbarger and the car did the temple and the other stuff that departure activities have in store. We wound up getting six referrals, all in the exact same complex. So we wound up going and contacting a bunch of them! We taught in a trio this family that was really hung up on the word "Nabi" (Prophet). The old tradition is "Jesus is for Christians, prophets are for Muslims." So even after explaining the role of a prophet, he was still hung up on the word. More on him in a bit. In the same complex, we wound up trying several doors. And when someone wouldn't answer we'd move on to another door nearby. We've still got a good amount of people to contact, but we've also made a good dent in the complex as it were.
On Saturday we went back to the complex to teach some more people. We had a YSA member and his girlfriend come with us to teach people (which in my opinion is a weird date idea, but I'm a missionary not a dating counselor). We taught Prophet Man and his family and still didn't get through to him. He did say he'd read the Restoration pamphlet and the Book of Mormon, though, so that's a major plus! We also taught a man in the complex named Mateek. He had read the Restoration pamphlet the other Elders had given him and said he thought it was cool. We taught him and he seemed pretty open. The member (in English) invited him to be baptized and he said "Yes."
Then we translated it into Arabic.
He didn't say "No", he just said "I've already been baptized."
On Sunday we went to a hospital just outside of our Zone (with President Schmitt's permission, of course! [We cannot leave our Zone without his permission]) to go give a blessing. We gave them the name of the patient and they said they didn't have any record of him. We tried three or four different spellings over the course of an hour and we still got back nothing. So we went over to the ICU and asked if we could visit him in Room His-Old-Room-Number (he apparently got moved). For some reason the ICU had his info but the hospital itself couldn't find him in the computer. Regardless, we gave the blessing and left.
The other interesting thing about the hospital visit was that we met a guy coming out of the hospital who told us he was an Odinist skinhead from Idaho who had overdosed on meth and tried to commit suicide.
His advice: "Don't overdose on meth!"
The Kopchak family with the Arabic Missionaries
In hindsight that could have been a good email title.
Last night we taught Morad and asked him about baptism. He said, "I want to be baptized..." (!!!!!!!!!!!) "with my brothers."
His brothers are apparently planning on coming back and so he wants to get baptized with them. We'll be teaching him and working on getting him a date.
Elder Poffenbarger had his last member dinner and last teaching appointments yesterday. Many tears were shed from many people.
This morning, we dropped him off at the airport and President gave us a heads-up about transfers.
We are the first Arabic trio in the California San Diego Mission! At least for a transfer there will be just three of us.
Crazy things happened last week, and crazy things are going to happen this week as we work out this whole 'trio' thing! Thanks for your letters and emails; I love hearing from everyone!
-- Elder Hawkes