March 12, 2013
Hey! How's it going? Here are the answers to some of your questions - mosquito net, yes please send me one. The four missionaries in my district who will be eventually going to Maceio are here with me, along with four other missionaries waiting to go to Argentina. I see Elder Rutledge about once or twice a week. We are in the same zone and I think he is serving in the Carlsbad 3rd Ward (right next to Lego Land!) I'm glad everything is going well back home. Now it's story time...
So my ward is literally nothing but hills. It seems like we are constantly biking, walking, running, sobbing up a hill. On the bright side, I now have the calves of a Greek god. On Sunday we were riding our bikes out to Camp Pendleton to have dinner with a family. It's about a 40 minute bike ride from where we live and it's mostly flat once we hit the coast so it was a pretty great ride out there. BUT, on the way back my tire popped five minutes out of Camp Pendleton. So we had to walk about an hour to a member's house and stash our bikes there while we met with another family. There was much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but I'm over it.
Each morning we have roughly two hours of companionship study because I'm training right now. We fashioned together a dummy made out of a milk jug, a hanger, and a broomstick and call him Israel. He's pretty nice and we teach him every morning. The other missionaries find it weird whenever they come over. I also got to go on exchanges with the district leader and his companion the other day. It was really cool going into another zone and I learned a lot about the different styles of teaching other missionaries have.
On to the weird/interesting things that have happened this past week.
So there's this one family we teach and the mom is divorced and remarried. Her ex husband, the girl's dad, lives in North Carolina. Oh, and she's also excommunicated. We go over to her house to teach her two daughters. Her daughters are really receptive and they're progressing really well. Everything goes well during our lessons until the mom cuts in. She gets mad at us and tells us we are making her daughter uncomfortable and tells us how much she despises it when Mormons make people uncomfortable. She then proceeded to ask for a priesthood blessing and asked for the visiting teachers to come by. ????? The next time we went to her home to teach the daughters she proceeded to yell at her kids telling them how she loves the dogs more than her own kids. It was awkward to say the least and the "questionable" photos on the wall don't help. As a missionary you never know what kind of home you will be walking into.
The other day we were going out to teach a lesson and we brought a member with us. At the last minute our investigator canceled on us so we got a ride in our member's Trans Am to our next appointment. It was really fast, loud, and we were filled with much joy. Our next appointment was with a man who was from out of the country. Everything started off real well, but then things got weird. His language kept getting more and more violent and then he started becoming more and more profane. Eventually it got to the point where the spirit just told us to leave and we got out of there real fast. It was the weirdest thing and the stuff he was telling us was crazy.
Just last night we were out trying to find some people to teach and we met this guy who spoke Spanish who seemed really receptive and we gave his information to the Spanish sisters. By the way, my Portuguese has come in very handy. I can understand the Spanish speakers quite well. They can usually understand me pretty well, but I have to explain to them first why I'm speaking Portuguese in the middle of Southern California. Literally a few minutes after we talked to him we came across this guy who turned out to be an anti! We answered his questions, but he would then twist our words for his own nefarious purposes. He just started letting into us about how we believe in a different Jesus, how we're all confused, and how God will essentially forsake people who wouldn't have the opportunity to hear the gospel. He just ranted for over a half hour and then I just shared my testimony with him. I told him everything I knew and my reasons for being out here. I told him of the sacrifices I had/have to make to be out here to serve my mission and that if I didn't know the gospel to be true I wouldn't waste my time out here. After that he really couldn't say anything. He just muttered something about a different Jesus and went on his way. The weird thing is I can't exactly describe what he looks like and I don't remember the sound of his voice. He was also standing in the dark the entire time and we were standing under the streetlight (like the only one in all of Oceanside) so there was some interesting coincidental symbolism there. Like I said, it was a very weird/interesting week.
Anyways, sorry I didn't send pictures this week. I'll be sure to send some next week of the ocean I can never touch. Oh, and real quickly, sorry if there is anyone who I haven't responded to. I don't think the MTC forwards mail so if you don't hear back from me, desculpe. I hope everything is going well and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you! Oh, and tell Ethan happy birthday from me if you haven't already.
Eu amo voces - muito,
P.S. I just learned that all missionaries can now communicate with friends and everyone through email! If you would post my email address on Facebook or whatever this "social media" thing is that'd be great.
Everyone can now reach Elder Johnson at tjohnson@myLDSmail.net.
So much faster than snail mail!