Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week of March 3

We got this letter from Ben a couple days ago. The first part is not included, it is lengthy apology to us for not being able to write more on March 11 when he emailed and for not being very detailed about the things he's doing. He divided events day by day, sort of, and we kind of mashed it together. All names have been deleted. These words are all his (except the green parts):

We played soccer as a zone Monday, obviously a typical p-day activity here. It's usually a good experience, but even with missionaries it sometimes gets out of hand. We went to the home of a family my companion reactivated and they fed us lunch and cake. It was fun, but we left later than we should have and only had time to teach one lesson, which is typical for a p-day. 

Monday night I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which turned out good, miraculously. I say miraculously because I have messed up brownies from a box several times in my life, but have successfully made cookies without measuring cups and without a temperature gauge on the oven. We have three choices - hot, hotter, and hottest. To measure I figure a cup is a little less than a quarter of a liter, mark a cup with that and split the liquid for a half cup, quarter cup, etc. So far it's been successful and it's really good to have American desserts again.

We got electricity back on Monday  after not having it for five days. It wasn't bad except that we couldn't iron our shirts. Luckily our hot water is gas operated. (Note: the electricity was off because the previous missionaries failed to forward the bills to the mission office - for three months!) I didn't get any mail at the district meeting this week.

We had lunch in an interesting part of town. I literally thought it was a junkyard, but in actuality it was a community of homemade shacks and fences made primarily of junk metal. There was nothing to be seen of concrete paths, everything was dirt. It was the poorest community I have seen in my life. I wanted to take pictures, but didn't feel comfortable. We could see light through the walls of the home that we ate in, but they had a huge TV, tablets, and one of the biggest sound systems I have ever seen. It's sad where some people put their values, especially when raising kids. 

My companion had a bad attitude a couple times this week I’m thinking it might be more effective to lead by example rather than discuss ways to improve. I have to be very tactful with him. He’s very needy, and this is hard for me because I don’t want to talk to him every minute. In truth, we don’t have anything in common apart from being missionaries, and I wouldn’t be his friend if I didn’t have to be. (This part was significantly edited as we thought it was mostly written to the family and not for publication.) 

I felt my first significant earthquake Wednesday night. Around 1:30 in the morning everything shook violently, I woke up, realized it was an earthquake, and went back to sleep. I thought maybe it was a dream but it was a magnitude 5.3. Pretty cool. 

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on the door this week and one of the other missionaries in out house accepted some literature which the zone leaders shredded. It actually made me pretty upset. He shouldn’t have accepted the literature in the first place, but how can we complain of persecution and that our literature is destroyed and turn around and do the same thing to another religion?  Other missionaries have questioned my faith because I defend other religions, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses. I often hear other missionaries spreading falsehoods about their doctrine, something else we complain that others do to us. I think it’s sick and I also think it’s sick that they question my testimony because I defend other religions from persecution. In my opinion, if they are preaching Christ as our Savior, they’re on my team. Even Joseph Smith helped to build a Catholic church. I wrote more in depth about this in my journal.

We have a really interesting situation. We have a girl that we invited to church, she has come twice, and has gone to mutual (youth activity), but she’s technically not an investigator because we haven’t taught her a formal lesson. Usually the problem is the other way around, we teach lessons but we can’t get them to come to church. We are hoping to be able to meet with her and her family next week. We also taught my favorite investigator. He is in the air force and we talk about the military a lot. We have become good friends and he has invited me to spend p-day with him, which would be really fun. He wants to be baptized and we have set a date for April 5. 

That’s all for this week. I’ll try to be better about writing you more often.