Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"How do you say 'Quantum physics' in Arabic?" - Elder Jensen

*checks Google Translate*: فيزياء الكم

This week, we...
- Go out of chronological order in this email to talk about Basim
- Have lunch with عادل (Adil)
- Add a family!
- Sort-of-not-really bash with some people
- Teach Fawzi and commit him to do more to come back to church
- Add someone else!
- Pass Shaima off to the Sisters
- Listen as our investigator says he's going to join the Mafia (without actually knowing what the Mafia is)
- Do service at a school (with permission, mind you!)
- Show up to the Halloween party and meet some nonmembers there
- Listen to the Primary program than teach the Law of Chastity in Gospel Principles
- Get some hints from President about some transfer possibilities....
- Have an all-around awesome Monday!

First off, if I had to sum this week up in one phrase, it'd be this: The right place at the right time, every time. The more I read that the more it sounds weird but I'm going to keep typing and go with it before I second-guess myself. 

Going out of chronological order... let's talk about Basim. 
This is what I imagine the Elders were doing afterreconnecting with Basim.
Once upon a time, Elder Hawkes was new to the whole "being a missionary" thing and was being trained by one of the most حديد missionaries on the earth, Elder Poffenbarger. The two of them found and taught a young man named Basim. Basim was the miracle child. He understood everything we taught and accepted it. He prayed about baptism, he prayed about the Book of Mormon, he prayed about Joseph Smith, and he knew all of it was true. He asked us, "When can I be baptized?" And we told him April 18th. 
Flash forward to April. Basim is still solid, but he's got some external pressure on him. First off, his family isn't too thrilled at the idea of him getting baptized. Second off, since he's the only person in his household capable of working he gets a job that provides him with long hours and no time to meet with us. So unfortunately he drops us, but he says we could try in May. 
Flash forward to May. Elder Poffenbarger calls Basim and Basim tells him we're liars and that he doesn't want to hear from us ever again. With much sadness to be had we put him in the mental "Forever Former" category but pray that he'll be willing to meet in the future. 
Now to last Monday/Tuesday. Elder Poffenbarger and Elder Jackson are home now. We're in a trio. We knock on Basim's door (with Elder Hawkes almost ready to call it off and run back to the car) and his mom answers the door. She says he isn't home but that we could try another time. We leave her with our number and ask her to call us if she needs any help with anything. About a half hour later, Basim calls us and says he need
s "urgent help" with something and asks if we can come Tuesday at 8 with Bro. Seba. 

So last Tuesday we went to Basim's at 8 with Bro. Seba. 
The details of what they need don't matter and are confidential, but suffice it to say that it has Bro. Seba wringing his hands and not feeling good about it but he reluctantly agrees anyway. On Wednesday at Language Study Bro. Seba hesitantly tells us to deliver something that will help to Basim and his mom. On the way Elder Greer and Elder Jensen felt that we shouldn't do it. I'm ashamed to admit that I felt the same but didn't want to say or do anything for fear of Basim rejecting us again. We agree (along with Bro. Seba) that we aren't going to follow through with it and instead tell Basim and his mother that we didn't feel good about doing it and so decided against it. At this point Elder Hawkes is again nervous. But there's nothing to worry about, Basim and his mother understand and thank us for being honest and say it's no problem. His mom tells us we can teach Basim and Basim says we can come back Saturday at 8. 

So we went back Saturday at 8 and re-added him! :D
We reviewed the Restoration with him and while the details were a little sketchy he remembered most of the concept and most importantly remembers believing it to be true. We invited him to baptism and he said he'd be baptized on November 28th. On Sunday we reviewed the Restoration again and went over the Plan of Salvation and he's still solid. Truly the Lord prepares the hearts of people!

Back to chronological order...
On Wednesday we had lunch with our Muslim friend in National City, عادل. He fed us a really good Iraqi meal consisting of حموس (Hummus), كبّة (Kubba), and a few other things. It was really good! We also got to add a family that the Zone Leaders had found while tracting. To make a long story short President felt that we should go tract the areas near the stake center before the Mission President's Fireside last Sunday and the Zone Leaders found this family. We taught them (and by them I mean the dad, since the daughters couldn't really understand a lot of words and wanted to be taught in English) the Restoration and the dad, Sabri, said he'd read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover and that after that we could teach him. To wrap up the night, we got a call from the Zone Leaders that there was a really awesome Arabic conversation going on where they were and that we needed to come ASAP. So we went, and the people they were talking to proceeded to sort-of bash with us. I say sort-of because they were wanting to bash but we were really really working hard not to bash. Eventually we just gave them each a Book of Mormon, a Restoration pamphlet, and an invitation to pray about it. One of them was saying, "If I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God then I also have to believe the Qur'an is the word of God also!" 

That sentence had so many logical fallacies in it that it made me cringe a little even when writing it. 

Anyway... on Thursday we did Weekly Planning and then taught Fawzi, our less-active recent convert. He's still having Word of Wisdom problems, but he's getting better. We talked about faith and reminded him that if he wanted the Lord to bless him with a job that would allow him to come to church on Sundays, he needs to put forth his effort and look for work. It was a really great lesson that did a lot for him, I think! 

On Friday we didn't have district meeting because Bro. Hemmingway, the Director of Proselyting at the Church Missionary Department, came down to do a special MLC with us that all the zone leaders and district leaders had to attend. Since this email is long enough I won't talk about everything he said, but he essentially told us to be better at setting goals and achieving them; finding referrals; and having the faith to baptize. After that we went to a restaurant called Wings 'n Things. It was... okay. And really not noteworthy. We passed Shaima off to the Sisters, since Habib decided to move to Las Vegas. We also added a man named Ashur who was originally having the attitude of "All the churches are the same" but by the end was willing to give the Book of Mormon a chance. 
We went to go visit Morad on Friday and he started it off by answering the door with rap music blaring in the background and swearing at us in an attempt to be tough. He quickly changed his mind about that when we started to turn around and leave. He told us that he was going to join the Mafia... and then he talked about how much he loved the police in El Cajon. 

Woah woah woah. "Morad, you know that the Mafia is against the police and hates them, right?" 
I guess it had never dawned on him. 

We had a good lesson after that. We shared a little bit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him and reminded him of the importance of baptism. He agreed (sort of) to a baptismal date of Nov. 14th! :D He's got some Word of Wisdom problems to sort out and he needs follow-up on everything else, but he's slowly but surely inching forward. 

On Saturday we got permission to help out at Jamul Primary School by moving some mulch around in their garden. They fed us Subway in exchange for our labors. Very much worth it. We had the ward Halloween party that night, and we weren't sure that anyone was going to come. We went anyway and it turns out that Jenny (Muhammad's wife) and her kids came. We were grateful they were able to come, and they had a great time. We invited them to the Primary program on Sunday and they accepted the invitation. 

On Sunday Jenny and Muhammad came to church and listened to the Primary children blurt out "GOD GAVE US FAMILIES!" and some other songs. Afterward, I taught the English Gospel Principles class about the Law of Chastity. Nothing too noteworthy about that; I just explained what it was and how following it was a principle of faith, as with all the commandments. I said that the way to know if it's from God is to live it and ask. It was pretty good. 

Yesterday we had an okay lesson with Morad. We went in expecting to teach the Gospel and the Word of Wisdom, but we didn't really practice or prepare as much for the Gospel part as we did the Word of Wisdom part. So most of the lesson was really kind of directionless and didn't feel like a good lesson. Live and learn. 

Also, President gave us some interesting hints about transfers in interviews yesterday. We know for sure that someone is coming, and President told Elders Greer and Jensen, "I wouldn't be surprised if two came in this transfer..." So now that's an option on the table. I guess we'll see in two weeks!

Thanks for enduring this novel, everyone! Thanks also for your letters and emails! Don't be afraid to keep in touch!

-- Elder Hawkes

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