Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"You speak Arabic? Ha! You just activated my trap card!" - Elder Belnap

From January 26, 2016

Not too much to report this week, so I'll be brief. 
This week, we...
- Throw furniture off of a balcony, set off a fire sprinkler, and rearrange furniture... All in a five-hour period
- Get Morad interviewed for baptism
- Push back Morad's baptismal date

So how about that missionary broadcast on Wednesday? It was awesome! There was a ton of focus on the Preach My Gospel Fundamentals, especially about the Doctrine of Christ. What was great was that there wasn't really anything new discussed: It was all stuff I'm sure we as missionaries have heard before. The Lord teaches and works through repetition, and it's so great that there was a lot of that. The Fundamentals are there for a reason, and it's great to be able to refocus and reemphasize those. 
After the broadcast, Elder Belnap and I rushed over to give a blessing to one of the Sisters' investigators, then grabbed something to eat and rushed to a service opportunity. The Church donated 40 bed sets to a homeless shelter and it was our responsibility to help put everything in the apartments. It was not the best coordinated service project, but we got things done.

There were 20 apartments, each of which needed two beds and a dresser. As luck would have it all of them were upstairs! We spent about half of the time getting rid of the old furniture and the other half putting everything in the rooms. Initially we were moving all the furniture down the stairs and helping to get those unloaded, but then the management had a brilliant idea of just tossing the old furniture over the balcony. And that's when things got fun. In coordination with one or two other missionary companionships (we had all the missionaries in the El Cajon zone there, plus some members) we would lift the furniture (usually heavy wooden bed frames) up and then push it out so it landed in a nice good pile on the pavement below. At one point Elders Jensen and Campbell set off a fire sprinkler after they hit it with some of the furniture they were getting rid of, which almost ruined the dressers we were supposed to set up were it not for the quick action of some of the missionaries. All in all it took about six hours to get everything done and we only stayed for five. I slept well that night and I think I'm still a little sore from it. 

This week was all about Morad. He quit smoking and after some maneuvering agreed to quit drinking tea. We got an interview set up for him for Saturday and after a 20-minute discussion about why the interview was important and how it wasn't that bad and Morad you need to be there, he showed up promptly at 7:00 for the interview. He passed with flying colors (he was a little confused about the Law of Chastity and thought we were suggested celibacy) and everything seemed set for this Saturday. 

And then last night happened. 

He went and bought a new pack of cigarettes yesterday morning because he was stressed out. We were really sad to see it and he definitely understood that it was not a good thing. We brought a member with us that the Ward Council had recommended and it went well. He recommitted to live the Word of Wisdom and prepare for baptism on Feb. 6th. During the lesson he kept talking about how he wasn't sure if God really loved him, and we testified throughout of God's love for him and His happiness at Morad's willingness to listen and progress. It was really a sad lesson, but at the same time we felt so much hope. He can be baptized, I know it. 

That's it for this week! Thanks for your letters and emails and more importantly your prayers and support for Morad and for us. Please pray for Morad and I'll let you all know next week how he's doing!

Happy birthday on Jan. 29th to my friend Millie in the Japan Tokyo Mission! It's so great hearing from you and being your friend. 

-- Elder Hawkes

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