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

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