Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"It looks like some of the skin got damaged and I'm bleeding. It's okay, it was weak-sauce dermis anyway." - Elder Belnap, after getting his thumb stuck in a rolled-up window

Sent on Nov. 24, 2015
Each week the missionaries get pizza for
their district meeting. I wonder if they do this.

To be honest, the first sentence is a bit of a paraphrasing. But the second one is word-for-word.
In other news, I actually feel like writing a weekly email this week, so I'm going to write one and you're all going to enjoy it

This week, we...
- Have a mixed-up language day
- Teach a Jordanian whose neighbors invite themselves over just as
we're wrapping up
- Have a great lesson with Morad!
- Almost tract out an apartment complex
- Have another awesome lesson with Morad!
- Drive to Poway only to meet a person who isn't interested
- Have a not-so-great lesson with Morad
- Almost trip over ourselves when a guy says he's really interested

So first off, MTE's were this week. MTE's are essentially inter-zone exchanges. President gathers all the missionaries of two or three zones together, gives everyone some instruction, and then scrambles companionships for the day. I wound up with Elder Browne, a Spanish-speaking missionary, and stayed in Arabic North. That night we found more Spanish speakers than we normally do in a week. The entire night consisted of us essentially walking up to people who looked
either Mexican or Chaldean, and telling them, "I speak Arabic and he speaks Spanish. Which one do you speak?" Sometimes we'd speak to them in Spanish and they'd be Arabic speakers. Sometimes we'd speak to them in Spanish and they'd be Spanish speakers. We didn't talk to any Spanish speakers in Arabic, although I think that would have been
highly entertaining.

On Thursday we exchanged back and had a lesson with a Jordanian man named Samer. Elder Belnap and he were conversing really well because Elder Belnap studied in Jordan before he came out and my Jordanian dialect is at "I could probably fake it for a few minutes" level. We were doing well and the lesson was awesome. He said he'd be baptized
if he knew it was true and was willing to at least listen to what we had to say. As we were wrapping up (after the closing prayer and at the point of "When can we come back?") his Palestinian neighbors invited themselves over. He got a little flustered at that, I think, and so said, "You can come back whenever" and rushed inside to be with his guests. The neighbors were rather apathetic towards our invitation to learn more, but we'll see.

Onto Morad, Part I!

Part I consists of an awesome lesson. In Weekly Planning we had told each other and the Lord, "Morad needs to commit to a day to quit smoking and he needs morning reminders about church." In the lesson he repeated back to us almost exactly what we had talked about in Weekly Planning that afternoon. He said, "I want to quit smoking. I really want to." We committed him to stop by November 27th. Then he said, "I need to come to church... could you guys call me in the morning around 9:00 to remind me about church?" It was really awesome! He's progressed so much since we first starting teaching him!

On Thursday night I realized I hadn't done a lot of planning for district meeting. In a panic, I looked through my old plans to see what I hadn't talked about with regards to Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel ("How Do I Find People to Teach?" I had told the district we'd go over that). Fortunately, there was a lot. I made sure it all flowed together nicely and set everything up and come Friday it went great. We were leaving and Elder Greer told us, "Hey we're going to hang behind for a minute. There was a guy who walked in here and he looked a little rough so we're going to see if he left." About 30 minutes later, they showed up to their apartment where we were studying. Turns out that the guy that wandered in was high on heroin and passed out on the front lawn due to an overdose. They wound up having to call paramedics who got his heart started back up and wheeled him away. Just a reminder to all of you: don't do heroin. I told the elders that they should have given him a pass-along card.

We had received a referral from a guy on the street who pointed to a complex and said, "There are five or six Iraqi families in there." So we were going to go tract it out on Friday when out walked a guy from his apartment. We talked with him and he said the other missionaries could visit him and that the Iraqi families were on the other side of the complex. So we went over there to check it out and one of the first doors we find has Iraqis.

Who are Muslim. Who aren't looking to convert to Christianity. Nice people, though! They pointed upstairs to an apartment and said, "You could try them." So we're going to go visit that apartment!

On Saturday we had Morad Part II wherein we had a good, albeit uneventful, lesson about obedience with him. He was down to one cigarette and he promised us "After this pack I'm done for good!" We told him we were going to hold him to it and follow-up. He came to church on Sunday after we reminded him about it. It was great to see him there.

On Sunday we wanted to go up to Poway to try some potentials we had there. Poway is towards the northern part of the mission and as we learned on Sunday it's a 20-minute drive from our apartment in Santee. We drove up there and after getting some semblance of an idea of where we were went to go visit people. The only person we were able to visit
due to time constraints told us he wasn't interested. He pointed us to a few doors we could try and actually knocked on one of them to get the residents to come out and meet us. They weren't interested. At the end of it all we went home feeling a little downhearted because we could have used our time much better.

Yesterday we spent most of the day walking around. At the end of the night we had Morad Part III.

Turns out that Morad went and bought a new pack yesterday. We brought a member of the Bishopric with us and he was on point. We talked with Morad about what he loved more: God or the cigarettes. He answered God. We then encouraged him to gather up all his smoking materials and throw them away. He wouldn't do it. We were pretty sad about it, but
we did the next best thing: Each of us signed his pack and told him, "Now that you've promised to quit, if you have another one you'll see these signatures and remember your promise." We still feel good about him. Could you please keep Morad in your prayers?

That's it for this week everyone! Thanks for your emails and prayers. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

-- Elder Hawkes

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