Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"You just went from 'I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus' to 'Let it Snow'." - Elder Hawkes

From 8-18-2015

Elder Greer whistles a lot, but sometimes he gets just a few measures of a song stuck in his head and sometimes he accidentally blends two together (as mentioned).

This week, we...
- Help move the world's heaviest china cabinet
- Meet a man who's read the Book of Mormon!
- Visit إخلاص (Ikhlas) again
- Go on exchanges and get lost going to the San Diego Institute building
- Teach Morad and Miller
- Have an Iraqi breakfast with our ward mission leader
- Try to visit potentials on the Virgin Mary's feast day (that should
tell you how it went)
- Dress up to teach a Primary class about miracles
- Drop سيف (Saif)
- Drop ولسن (Wilson)
- Sort-of kind-of teach Nishwan the Pancake

First off, we have a family in our ward, the Wurtz family, who is planning on going on a mission this year. They needed some help on Wednesday putting stuff in their garage and a storage unit in preparation for their departure. As missionaries, we get really excited whenever someone needs furniture moved from Point A to Point B, so we eagerly accepted the opportunity to serve. The first little bits were easy; they needed some help bringing a heavy glass table to
their storage unit and then wanted us to help them move their couch down to their garage. After that, though, was when Challenge Mode started. They had a china cabinet that they were giving to their neighbor and needed some help putting it in her garage. The cabinet came in two pieces. The bottom half was pretty easy to take down because it was just like moving a bulky dresser. The top half (where the china would be stored) was a monstrosity. I knew I would need help
at some point but wanted to go as far as I could before calling on Bro. Wurtz so there would be less work for him.

"As far as I could" was about 20 feet.

I was lifting it and doing my best to carry it while keeping it steady, but as it started to
tilt left my back tilted left with it and
pulled a muscle. Bro. Wurtz asked if I needed help and I immediately said "Yes!" With some repositioning and careful lifting and moving down the stairs and out to the garage, we finally made it. We celebrated our victory with the Wurtz family by having a spaghetti lunch partially in honor of Elder Greer's upcoming birthday (August 31st). Sleeping was rather uncomfortable that night. My back's fine now, don't worry (still a little sore but not bad). But I've officially ruled out "professional mover" as a future career.

Later that day we were going to teach a young man who said we could come back another day. We got in the door and his father accepted our visit but didn't seem interested. Then he asked us, "You're Mormons, right?" We responded truthfully in the affirmative. He mentioned that he'd read the Book of Mormon but that there wasn't really a difference
between us and the Catholics because "We all teach about Jesus." Since we felt he was essentially handing us a teaching opportunity on a silver platter (most people we meet have never heard of the Book of Mormon or Mormons, and most don't even read the Bible, so this guy was a miracle in our eyes), we opened up the Book of Mormon and started to
discuss its role. And he had definitely read it before! But at the end of it all he restated that he didn't want to change because "There's no difference" and so we thanked him for the opportunity to talk with him and went on our way.

On Thursday we added a lady named بالقوش (Balcosh/Balqosh) whom we had met and taught before. She's shown a little bit of desire but we've definitely got our work cut out for us. She loves Jesus and has a lot of traditions that we're going to have to work on. She said she was going to come to church, though. Skipping ahead a little bit, we stopped by on Sunday with Bro. Seba to pick her up for church and she wasn't home. So she didn't come to church.

We also taught إخلاص (Ikhlas) again. Her life's a little crazy still. Her husband is doing better. She wants the church to give her a loan so she can buy a burial plot. We told her that we don't do that. She's nice, and she likes having us over, but she isn't really interested right now in progressing.

On Friday I went up to Arabic North on exchanges with Elder Jackson. They had a Muslim potential who said they were going to meet at the LDS Institute after mosque to talk about our message. It turns out, though, that when we loaded up directions we typed in the wrong road. The LDS Institute is located on Montezuma Ct. in San Diego, but we typed in Montezuma Rd., which is an entirely different road (if there's one thing I'm learning to like on my mission, it's Utah's grid
system). So we wound up going to the wrong place and calling the APs (who cover that area) to figure out where in the world we were going. All the while the potential was texting us telling us that he was almost there and wondering if we were coming. Then we turned right instead of left on the road that would take us to the institute building and wound up in Lemon Grove. As we were driving the right way to the institute the potential texted and said that he had to go and maybe we could try another day. It was admittedly very frustrating.

That day we also taught Morad and Miller. Miller is going to Michigan again because "There's tons of work there!" Morad... let's just say he's going through a rough patch right now and is losing faith. We taught about prayer and the Holy Ghost and Morad was really not having any of it. :( At the end he prayed though, and he said we could come back, so we'll see what happens.

Saturday, August 15, was the Feast of Assumption for the Virgin Mary (the day that the Catholics celebrate Mary's supposed ascension into heaven). We learned that as we talked with people all day and got a lot of "Today's Mary's day. Do you love Mary?" responses. "We love Mary, and we respect and revere her, but we don't pray to her," was the usual response we gave. We didn't get a lot of teaching in that day (we did teach one person which was a miracle for us in that she let us in to teach her on Mary's feast day). But one awesome thing that did happen was that we got to eat an Iraqi "poor man's" breakfast with our ward mission leader after our Saturday language study with him.

And oh my goodness where has this been my entire life?

The breakfast consists of Arabic bread (kind of a cross between pita and tanour bread if you know what the latter is), tahini (sesame paste), cream, apricot jam (in place of dried apricots), and date molasses. We warmed up pieces of bread on his gas stove, split it in half so it made a kind of pocket, spread the cream (which had the consistency of butter) on the inside, then put apricot jam and date molasses in it and ate it. Remind me when I get back to make this for you all because it is amazing. Another thing that he did was mix some date molasses with tahini to make a sort of spread similar in consistency and taste to peanut butter.

I feel like a part of me is now filled that I didn't know was missing.

On Sunday we helped teach Primary about miracles of Jesus. The Primary Presidency had a bag of Middle Eastern clothing and headscarves that they gave us. So Elder Greer put on a ثوب ("Thob", a Middle Eastern robe) and a headscarf and I put on a headscarf (we did get a picture taken). As we were waiting to go in, Sis. Cody walked by and spotted us. She died laughing. It was a great lesson, too.

We also dropped سيف (Saif) because we haven't been able to see him. Hopefully we will be able to see him again soon.

Yesterday we dropped ولسن (Wilson). We had a lesson with him where he spent half the time sharing his belief out of the Bible. We finished up the lesson on good terms, though. We'll go back in a few months and see if he's willing to change. We also ran into Nishwan again (you may remember him as the pancake I mentioned a few emails ago). He spent a portion of the time trying to bash with us and told us to not use the Book of Mormon. He wants us to come on Thursday at 8 with Bro. Seba to talk about his belief. We'll see how things go.

That's it for this week! Thanks everyone for your letters and your emails! Happy 20th Anniversary (this past Sunday) to my parents!

-- Elder Hawkes

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