Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Butter makes everything... buttery." - Elder Campbell

Elder Hawkes and Elder Belnap

Elder Campbell is one of the two new Arabic missionaries. He's minoring in Linguistics and he came in knowing no Arabic.

Also, my motivation is very much nonexistent right now, so this email won't be the same as other emails past or future. Pinky promise.

Welcome to my weekly email, wherein....
- Elder Hawkes gets a new companion!
- We get two investigators with a baptismal date!
- We drop a man who didn't fully realize what our message was about
until our second visit
- We have district meeting, and then Elder Hawkes does a baptismal interview
- We get some people to church
- Elder Hawkes realizes how much he needs to improve... well, pretty
much everything

Let me start off this email with a story.

Once upon a time Elder Hawkes didn't go by Elder Hawkes, he went by some sort of weird name that he doesn't use anymore. He also was a lot younger and inexperienced in Arabic. In an attempt to learn Arabic a little more, he went to Startalk Arabic 2010 and Startalk Arabic 2011. While there, he met a young man with the last name of Belnap. And he
and Belnap were roommates in 2010 and good friends and partners in 2011. We both kept in touch after the camp but never really interacted beyond that.

Flash forward to last Tuesday. Elder Hawkes, Elder Greer, and Elder Jensen receive a call saying that they're all training. And also would we mind hosting a new missionary for the night? He just got in and he needs a place to sleep, get him fed and show him the ropes, make sure he's at the Mormon Battalion at 8 A.M., etc. So we drive to the mission home and who does Elder Hawkes find but the now-Elder Belnap, the same one that had been his Startalk roommate!

At this point it is certain that Elder Belnap is the "Studied Arabic for five years" missionary that President told us about. The question remains, though, who will be training him? Elder Hawkes assumes that Elder Belnap will be with Elder Greer and Elder Jensen.

And then transfer meeting happens on Wednesday. I'll spare you the details of us getting lost on our way to the Mormon Battalion and all the other crazy things that happen that day. The moment of truth comes. "In El Cajon!" President announces from the pulpit. "In the Hillsdale Arabic Group. Elder Greer, please stand. Your new companion will be Elder Jensen, and together you will be training...

"Elder Campbell!"

And so that's the long way of saying that I'm training Elder Belnap in Arabic North. How many missionaries can say that they were roommates with their companion before the mission? I certainly can now!

To be honest, aside from transfers our week hasn't been that exciting. I've learned that I really need to work on planning, finding, and teaching. We had a training yesterday for all the missionaries who arrived from about May onward (which is actually over 50% of our mission) and since my trainee needed to be there, I had to be there. And I'm really glad I went because I know exactly how to improve my planning, finding, and teaching this week and in the coming weeks. I'm not going to get into specifics, but suffice it to say that I have been a very poor planner up until recently (read: yesterday).

Now, onto what happened this week! Again!

After getting transfers all situated (including getting lost trying to go to the grocery store and winding up having to shop right before we went home), we taught some people. As is prone to happen in missionary work. I think that this week I'll do a more person-by-person thing.

So first off, the two with a baptismal date. Their names are Nabil and Nazhat. We added them about two weeks ago (I think it was two weeks). We went back this week on Thursday and taught them the Restoration again to make sure they understood it. Elder Belnap invited them to be baptized and they accepted! We offered them a date for December 19th. At church on Sunday we taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was a really great lesson. They were asking questions about baptism that really showed their spiritual desire: "Can you get baptized when you're old?" "You can get baptized again?" It was an amazing lesson!

Morad: He's still doing okay. He's still struggling with the Word of Wisdom and won't make his current baptismal date. We taught him on Monday about the Holy Ghost and about church attendance, emphasizing that if he was baptized and received the Holy Ghost he would receive greater guidance in finding work, starting a family, etc. It was a really great lesson... and then he got sidetracked towards the end of the lesson. :( And we almost got him with a new baptismal date. We still feel like we need to keep him, so I'll let you know how it goes. He's going to get baptized before December, I know it!

Maryam and Frial: It hasn't quite clicked for them. We read the Book of Mormon with Maryam on Thursday (Frial wasn't there) and she didn't quite get it yet. We're going to be working with them this week to get them baptized before Christmas.

Amer: Got dropped. He essentially didn't know we wanted to teach him something new and reverted to his traditions. It would have been so easy to just bash with him, but it wouldn't have gotten anywhere. So we dropped him and we'll follow-up in about six months.

And with that my motivation is completely and totally gone. Thanks for reading this email everyone. I promise my motivation will be greater next week!

-- Elder Hawkes

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