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

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