That's the way it goes. You get two people in a car who have no idea where they're going or where they are and it's only a matter of time before someone gets both of them lost.
Anyway, it's been a big week and it's going to be an even bigger one this week, starting today at 5:45 A.M., so let's talk all about it!
This week, we...
- Inadvertently get a family upset when we tell them we don't follow the Pope
- Get lost in Chula Vista
- Help finalize everything for, and then participate in, the ward activity
- Teach a man named Lewis
- Meet two of North's investigators at church (who have a really cool story!)
- Accidentally convince a 90-year-old Chaldean lady that Jesus is coming at that instant due to a lunar eclipse
- Have a lesson that starts out with a discussion about whether we should pray to Mary or not
- Get a call from a lady who wants help paying rent
|L to R: Elder Hawkes, Elder Greer, Elder Jackson, Elder Jensen|
- Teach a group of women we contact on the street
- Wave goodbye to Elder Jackson (and find out the wrong way to get to the airport)
- Find out what's going down tomorrow at transfers....
On Wednesday we started the day off right by contacting a potential investigator and sitting down with him and his family. He said from the beginning that he didn't have enough time to hear our message but that we could come another time. We figured, "Well, we're sitting here and we've been trying this guy for a while, so let's start something up, set an appointment, and then go." So we introduced our message and asked if we could come back later, to which he said okay. And then here's where the fun begins: He asks us if we want coffee or tea. We respond that we don't drink coffee or tea because we don't believe it's good for us. He immediately counters by saying, "Well, the Pope drinks coffee and tea, so it's okay!"
Side note: In Arabic, just like any other language, there's the direct way of saying things and then there's the indirect and in most cases lighter and fluffier way of saying things. Think of it like trying to feed someone rocks versus Jolly Ranchers. Both are pretty solid and easily capable of destroying your teeth, but one at least tastes a little better. Anyway! In this case, I said, "لا نؤمن بالبابا" which means "We don't believe in the Pope." In hindsight, what I should have said is "لا نحفظ البابا" which means "We don't follow the Pope." As you can see, there's a difference between the two. And I discovered just how big of a difference that is just after I said it. Immediately the man got upset. "You don't believe in the Pope?! Are you Christian or Muslim?!" At that point I was in damage control mode, so I told him (or tried to tell him) that one can be a Christian without following the Pope. He wouldn't have any of it. Needless to say, we left and won't be going back anytime soon.
Also on Wednesday, we had English class down in National City, so we figured we'd try some potentials in that area that we haven't been able to yet due to their distance. Due to the fact that Google Maps doesn't like to work without wi-fi, we had to screenshot the directions before we left and hope for the best. Hence, the email title for this week. We were driving in the Chula Vista area, trying to find this potential, when we wound up going left instead of right and wound up in the completely wrong part of the city. So we tried turning around and it turns out we were trying to go to the person we had just come from. Eventually we found out that the person we were trying to visit wasn't actually in Chula Vista, he was in Spring Valley, which is quite a distance aways (Chula Vista is directly south of San Diego and closest to the border, whereas Spring Valley is just south of El Cajon, which is directly east of San Diego). So that was how we got lost in Chula Vista!
On Friday we had the ward activity, which was a multi-cultural festival called "Around the World in 80 Minutes". It was a lot of fun! The members were really excited about it and invited a bunch of people (there were 23 nonmembers there, and only 3 or 4 were people the missionaries had invited). The food was great, the information was great, and everyone had a fun time! Elder Greer and I got some Middle Eastern garb from some members, which was awesome. With all the work that went into preparing it, we were all really grateful that there was a good turnout and that everyone had a good time. In fact, that's pretty much all anyone could talk about on Sunday during ward council and church!
On Saturday Elder Greer and I taught a man named Lewis, a former from the days of Elder McCombie and Elder Jackson. Initially he was very closed off and not participating at all, but once we got to talking about the Savior's ministry and the Atonement he really opened up more. He still had the Book of Mormon that the other elders had given him, and it looked like he had read at least some of it. It was really great to see how people who are closed off will open up once they feel the Spirit and understand our message!
On Sunday we didn't have any investigators at church, but Arabic North had some really cool people that I'll tell you all about later. That evening there was a lunar eclipse that had everyone excited. People were out on the streets taking pictures and videos, especially when it turned red. We were inside a complex and asked an older lady (I'd say probably in her 90's at least) if she had seen the eclipse. Excitedly she ran (read: hobbled) over to a spot where she could see it and started jumping and dancing (to the best of her ability). Now, I'm not a big fan of people falling and hurting themselves, so with Elder Greer not too far from me I ran over to her and asked if she needed help. She waved me off and asked me, "Does this mean Jesus is coming?" Not wanting to launch into a big explanation of "Well it might, but it doesn't mean that he's coming at this instant because not all the prophecies have been fulfilled" I just resorted to saying, "Maybe..." And then she got even more excited and jumped up and down even more. "Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!" I asked her again if she needed any help (because it seriously looked like she was going to fall over and break something) and she brushed me aside, saying, "I'm going to pray to Jesus because he's coming! 'Our Father which art in heaven hallowed be they name...'" At that point I left and helped my companion out in talking with some people. She didn't fall over, thankfully.
After we convinced the old lady that Jesus was coming (that's a phrase I never thought I'd say), we went and had a lesson with another family. From the beginning they had questions about how we were and what we believed. And by "what we believed" I mean "whether or not we prayed to Mary." They were very adamant about it, so after a little back-and-forth we just dropped it. Another lesson where as we went along they got progressively more willing to listen. We didn't get through the whole Restoration lesson, but we were able to get some good starting points in.
On Monday we got a call from a lady asking for some help. We went over to her house and it turns out she wanted us to help her pay her rent. We talked with her about how we don't give out money to people and she was insistent that we help her with her rent. We were really powerless to do anything and so just encouraged her to pray and have faith and then left. It's tough not being able to help any more than that sometimes. Also on Monday we had a lesson with a group of women who were sitting outside of their apartment. We taught them a little bit of the Restoration and when they said that we could come back another time we got an appointment set up with them. So we'll see what happens there.
We're getting into the closing chapters of this novel, I promise!
This morning we woke up early to take Elder Jackson to the airport. We picked him and Elder Jensen up from their apartment and immediately started driving towards the airport on CA-54. And then traffic got bad, so we went down to I-8. And traffic was still bad! We made it to the airport though, and after a quick picture with him said our goodbyes and asked about transfers. President told us "There's no one coming in with Arabic experience." *hold breath* "But right now you're slotted to pick someone up." *and exhale* And now here I am, emailing you all! :D
Transfer calls came in just about an hour ago, and here's what's going down *cue drumroll*:
Elder Greer is going to be training a new missionary and I'm going to be in Arabic North with Elder Jensen! :D :D
This coming-up transfer is going to be a lot of fun! It's so great that Elder Greer gets to train for his last two transfers! I can't wait to find out who the next Arabic missionary will be!
And that's it for this novel (I don't think I broke any records with this one, though I came close). Thanks everyone for your emails and letters! I love getting mail and hearing from you all about how you're doing, so please keep in touch! Have a great week, and enjoy General Conference this weekend!
-- Elder Hawkes
Elder Christian Hawkes
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111-4912
Sent from my iPad