Monday, July 20, 2015

"Now you're comparing Egyptian Arabic to quantum physics!" - Elder Hawkes

Please remember that they aren't the same thing.

This week, we...
- Get measurable rainfall
- Help report a car accident at the stake center
- Teach a man who promises to speak فصحى (and then proceeds not to do so)
- Celebrate a birthday by breaking the Word of Wisdom
- Go to a barbecue
- Do a day exchange with Jamul
- Find out President Packer died :(
- Go to a baptism with some investigators
- Turn in early and update Area Books
- Have an awesome time at church (despite the lack of investigators)
- Teach the Word of Wisdom to Marvin, Morad, and Miller

First off, after sending my weekly email last Tuesday we actually got
rain! A thunderstorm moved in and dumped some rain on us as we were
driving to the stake center to get mail from the Zone Leaders. Once we
got there, it turned out that someone had crashed their car in the
parking lot! D: It looked like they were trying to do doughnuts in the
parking lot and wound up losing control (because it was raining).
Whatever happened, they wound up crashing into a concrete pillar
holding up the lightposts in the parking lot. The guy was okay and
everything else in the parking lot was okay (aside from some dirt that
got displaced from a center island and, of course, the guy's car), but
the stake president still had us give his contact info to the police
so that the driver could be in touch with the church if anything came
of it. To my knowledge, nothing has.

On Wednesday we got in touch with a member who agreed to come teach a
potential with us. We knocked on the door and the potential let us in
to teach him. He started talking شامي ("Shammy", Syrian dialect) and
Elder Jackson asked him politely if he wouldn't mind speaking in فصحى
("FusHa", Modern Standard/formal Arabic). He agreed to speak فصحى for
our sakes and so we thanked him and began the lesson. Once we got to
the First Vision, he told us (in شامي!) that he really wasn't
interested and that we would be better off going and talking with
Muslims because he was Catholic and didn't understand other churches
(in that many words). So we thanked him for his time, shook hands, and
left. Afterward we all told the member that he essentially got as much
out of it as we did. شامي is weird.

On Thursday we went to teach فوزي (Fawzi), one of our recent converts.
It was his birthday, and his family had bought some cake! :D So we
sang "Happy Birthday" to him in Arabic and he offered us some cake. We
took a bite of the pieces we got and after tasting it looked at each
other, then back at him, then told him that it was definitely
coffee-flavored cake. He was a little embarrassed because he didn't
know it was until we told him! We put the cake away, reminded him that
it's alright because he wasn't aware but now he is, and carried on
with the lesson. And that's how we celebrated a birthday by breaking
the Word of Wisdom! Right after that, we had a ward barbecue in honor
of Independence Day that فوزي was able to attend. It was a
well-attended event and we were able to have a good time with some
investigators, less-actives, recent converts, and members.

On Friday we had district meeting and then exchanges with Jamul.
Everyone had events the next morning they needed to be at, so we did a
day exchange. I went to Jamul with Elder Corum while Elder Avery
joined Elders Jackson and Greer in Arabic work. Jamul is a very big
place, I learned. Very rural. Not necessarily my cup of tea. We spent
a lot of the day driving on dirt roads from house to house passing out
flyers for the ward's 4th of July breakfast. Meanwhile, Elders Avery,
Jackson, and Greer taught a very frustrated Morad about prayer after
he had a long and tiring day at work; got one or two potentials; and
got one very inebriated potential to yell at them about how our church
was wrong (complete with a list of 14 points about what we believe
that's wrong. I'll take a picture of it and send it to you all). Fun
times. Also that day Elder Avery forgot to give us Jamul's phone, so
we couldn't make calls or texts. Nor did we find out until we
exchanged back that President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the
Twelve died at age 90. :( I always liked hearing from him.

On Saturday the Sisters had a baptism that we were able to attend with
Marvin and Miller. Afterward, Miller and Marvin told us, "We thought
baptism was hard! But it's so easy!" They were a lot more excited to
get baptized after seeing one. The ward had set up a box in the back
of the room where people could write their favorite scripture down and
put it in the box. Marvin and Miller didn't quite catch the concept,
so they wrote down their names and what they liked: baptism. They're
so cool.

We got instructed by President to turn in early on Saturday so that
there was no chance of us getting hurt or have anything happen to us.
We spent the night updating our Area Books in preparation for the
digital Area Book Planner that we'll be getting next week. President
told us it'll probably take us about 2-3 weeks to input everything
from our paper Area Books to the digital Area Book Planner, so he
wants us to take an hour each day (aside from Sundays and Tuesdays) to
input information once we get the app. I'm so excited to get our Area
Book online! It's going to make updating things a lot easier! :D

On Sunday none of our investigators showed up to church. :( But we
still had a good time! The Gospel Doctrine lesson was on the Sabbath
Day and the instructor discussed how we shouldn't focus on what we
can't do on the Sabbath, but rather what we can do. He left us with
two caveats:
1) Don't judge others for doing something or not doing something on
the Sabbath, especially when you don't have all the information
and 2) Don't "put on the Pharisee hat" and worry about what one
shouldn't do on the Sabbath. Instead, focus on what you can do.

The third hour lesson was about pornography and how to better teach
the danger of it to children and teenagers. It reminded me of a quote
by Russell M. Nelson we saw during our Digital Age meeting a few
months ago which said, in essence, that the days are gone where we can
quarantine people from sins such as these and it's time to immunize
them by teaching them correct principles. Really insightful lesson.

Yesterday we spent a lot of time walking around and contacting people
(as usual) and ran into two Iraqis visiting from Holland. They taught
us how to say "Good morning" in Dutch. It was kind of strange learning
Dutch from some Chaldeans, to be honest! In the evening we taught
Marvin, Morad, and Miller about the Word of Wisdom to prepare them for
baptism (on a related note, their date is going to be moved back
probably to July 25th so they can be taught everything). They said
they'd be willing to follow it but that they weren't sure if they
could or not. Understandable, it can be difficult at first. We
committed them to read D&C 89 and pray about it, and we will be
bringing a member with us who can better testify of the benefits of
following the Word of Wisdom.

Lastly, transfer calls went out today....


Elder Jackson is going to be picking up a companion tomorrow! :D :D :D :D

Whether that means that President is opening up the other Arabic area
again, or it's going to be an English/Arabic split, or something
totally different, I don't know. All we know is he's picking someone
up tomorrow and that the APs are going to call us tonight to talk
about what's happening.

That's it for this week. I will be sure to let you all know next week
what happens at transfers tomorrow! Thank you all for your emails and
letters of support and encouragement! I love getting mail!

Also, shoutout to my sister Tiersa who turned 15 on Saturday and to
both my parents who are celebrating their 44th birthdays today! Love
you all!

-- Elder Hawkes
Elder Christian Hawkes
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111-4912

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