Hola, mis amigos amados y familia asombrosa!
[Hello my beloved friends and amazing family.]
This week has been pretty average for around here: super awesome! Elder Boren and I have been working with a ton of cool people. We met a cool guy named Rafael, who loves having us over and talking with us. We also met an awesome guy named Miguel, who decided he wants to be baptized in a month! We taught him the Restoration, and he seemed to understand it really, really well.
We've been trying to work with Juana more, but she hasn't answered the door for a week. Analy has also become hard to find again, partially due to the people she lives with. Basically, Analy lives with people who hate us. She told us that if they say she's not there, chances are they're lying and just don't want Analy meeting us. They won't even tell her we stopped by if they can get away with it. I'm not going to lie, it's a little frustrating to have to deal with, but such is the meat of life. The freedom to choose, even to choose to restrict someone else's freedom, is an unalienable right we have. It really is a double-edged sword.
Still, though, the ward here is getting a lot stronger. It's plain to see. The happiest thing for me to see is to watch as Hermana (Sister) Ramos, a less-active member, has begun really taking more steps to come back and prepare for the temple! It's awesome to see how happy it makes her. The people she lives with also hate us, but not to the point where they try to obstruct us meeting. They're fine to let her do whatever she wants, they just don't want anything to do with us themselves. However, despite all those challenges, she has begun to rediscover her testimony a bit. She was never very far away, but had begun to drift further and further. The more she comes and the more she shares, she will continue to grow and grow until nothing can stand in the way of her happiness. That in itself makes me happy.
The English-speaking Sister Missionaries in our area actually told us to go by a lot of people this week! Many of them were ultimately uninterested, but we did come across Jessie! Jessie is super cool. She recently moved in, along with Blanca (whom the Sisters had told us to stop by). She has kind of been looking for a place to go to church, so she's interested in what we have to say.
Lester, the recent convert here, is so awesome! He's doing great. The youth leaders here keep talking about how amazingly he's doing. There's still a ways to go, but he's still doing pretty well. On a separate note, we also did a little service for Bob (or "Prospector Bob", who I mentioned a few weeks ago) this week as well. We were digging little tunnels under his house with pickaxes and shovels. I know, right? It's sweet.
We had an awesome lesson with the Parrish family last night. It was super cool; we talked about missionary work and did some role-playing to help them feel a little more comfortable about it. Really, at least to me, doing missionary work is the greatest expression of love we can give someone we care about. They're an awesome family. They speak English, but are serving and helping out in the Spanish Ward.
Now, time for a little bit on the weirdness of Elders when left unsupervised. First of all, the Zone Leaders occasionally light their hands on fire. Yep, you read that right. The pour hand sanitizer on their hands, rub it all over, make a "thumbs up", put their thumbs together, and light their hands on fire with a lighter. They call it their "Bold Switch". You know, to make them more bold. If a lighter or hand sanitizer isn't handy, no problem! They put their thumbs together and make a sort of jet-fighter/flamethrower sound, in place of actual fire. Did you know that with nothing more than yourself and a lighter, you can actually shoot a fireball out of your mouth? Yeah, I'm never going to try that. Hey, I don't even really want to set my hand on fire!
They also initiated something in our apartment called "Dino fights". Occasionally, after we're all ready for bed, if there is extra time, we have one of these. Basically, you crawl around on your hands and knees and butt everyone else with your head. You can also throw them around and stuff. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without dinosaur sounds. We occasionally film them. The best one involved lettuce; I sort of won, since I ate a lot of lettuce.
So, um, yeah. We're kind of starting to go nuts. Well, we already were, but it's getting worse. Elders can be weird.
So, I'm pretty sure that's it. I'm not sure there's much left to talk about. Transfers are coming up. I really hope I don't have to leave here. Of course, now that I'm starting to say that, I can practically hear the Jaws theme in my head... Or the ticking of a big grandfather clock in an empty room... or a constant rapping from underneath the floorboards...
[Q&A from Editor Mom]
So, how was the temple trip? - The temple trip was awesome! Because the temple is outside of mission boundaries, we have to spend as little time there as possible. Because of that and logistics, there was no way to do or get grandpa Mike's work done. I'm really, really sad about that. Sorry.
I sent the other pair of sub-standard boots that we had fixed. I don't expect them to last long, given your track record. - I know, I know. Apparently walking so much destroys shoes. Thanks for sending them; I can use them very well. I also bought some shoe glue today to fix up my other, nicer boots. All the same, I'll probably want to reserve them for less walking and more meetings in the future.
How are your tennis shoes holding up? - Super great! Muddy, dirty, and the like, but really good. Sturdy little things.
How are your shirts, pants & suits holding up and do they all still fit? - Everything still fits! It's great! I don't believe I've lost any weight, but everyone tells me it looks like I've lost fat and gained muscle. I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep on exercising, huh?
However, I have some news quite sad to me. My wonderful, nicest blue suit ripped. Also lost a button, but that's no biggie. I have the button. But it ripped in between the legs, and not on the seam. :-( It's really sad. I'm not sure if we should try to fix it here at some point or if I should have it sent back for a possibly more thorough and less-visible repair (I don't know the tailors in the area).
Did your ward have a trunk or treat party? We're you able to take an investigator? - Yes to the first question, no to the second. We didn't go.
Any plans for Halloween? - Well, we're not allowed to be out of our apartments past , and we can only visit members past . Because of that, the rest of P-Day ends early at so we can actually get something done. After we'll probably be cleaning and just doing standard P-Day stuff at the apartment.
Did you get a flu shot? (You should) - No, not yet. I need to check with the Zone Leaders (in our apartment) on what policy is on that.
Ben on a temple trip. (He's in the back in the middle.)