Tuesday, March 31, 2009
"HOLA? HOLA?" "...." "QUIEN ES?" ".....oh, there we go, my headset is plugged in now" "NO HABLO INGLES!" "Sorry- I mean, Lo siento..." "QUE QUIERE?" "uh.... Hola, puedo hablar con... Ricardo?" "Si, de parte?" "uh......(hey, Elder, what's de parte mean? oh, ok, thanks) Uh, the, I mean, la Iglesia de Jesu Christo de los...."
I hate calling people in Spanish. BUT I DID DO ONE COMPLETELY IN SPANISH, THE WHOLE CALL, AND GOT THE GUY TO SAY HE'D GO TO CHURCH WITH HIS MEMBER PARENTS IN GUADALAJARA WHILE HE'S ON VACATION! At least I think I did. I didn't really understand him even when he tried to speak English, and I think he was maybe just messing with me, and I think I that was actually last week, and I probably already told you about it, but whatever, I DID do a whole conversation in Spanish, once... BOOM!
Well, this has been a week. Good stuff, hard stuff. Challenges and good times. I decided the best way to deal with this all is to follow the advice given in our Mission Conference this Sunday: One lady said "LIGHTEN UP" and stop worrying about everything. The Lord's in charge, just smile and work! That, and laugh lots -- both key parts of this work, the work of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This is after all the plan for us, to have eternal happiness and joy with them and our families forever, right? Start teaching people through a smile and a happy attitude, with a testimony of the truth right behind.
TWO MORE WEEKS!!!!!! GAHHHH!! ES LOCO!! Am I ready? I GET MY FLIGHT PLANS THIS FRIDAY!!! Ok, actually, I just get my bus ticket. Everyone else gets their flight plans. Plus side, I can bring luggage that doesn't have size or weight restrictions. Which means all the stuff everyone else can't fit in their bags.... More people left this week from our zone – it’s crazy, we are the "oldest" district in our zone, our 8 people. And all the others above us are gone. Quite sad, we had a 26 year old, Elder Clemmence, who was the coolest shower singer EVER, he'd put on concerts every night while he showered, we could hear him all over the floor, very good singer belting out "WHEN THE MOON MEETS THE SKY, LIKE A BIG PIZZA PIE...." or practically any song imaginable. Gone. Sad. And many more friends. Off to Chile, Florida, California, Mexico...
Hmm, well, other news... oh man, ok, missionary work this week (ha, ok, its ALL missionary work, but) on Sunday, I decided I wanted to make a phone call in the Referral Center, apart from the ones I HAVE to do in Spanish. So I did some in English. And I got one guy, Herman, from Ohio. Sounded quite Evangelical, 68 years old. His wife is basically in a coma I think, and he spends all day taking care of her. So, he has time to spare, and DEFINITELY has time to talk about God. I spoke to him for about 30 minutes. He accepted a Book of Mormon from missionaries 4 years ago, but didn’t let them in because he was busy. He says he's read it some over the years and liked it. We had a good conversation where he went off talking about God and the world and such and "I lik' what you sayin', exactly!" when I talked about following God. I shared the Joseph Smith story because he was talking about people interpreting the Bible all different ways. He only interrupted me like two times to tell an unrelated story. But I told him to read 3 Nephi (which he looked up while I spoke) and I'm calling him back tomorrow to talk more. SWEET!
Also, they have a teaching situation called "Progressing Investigators" here. There are a lot of practice sessions we do teaching other missionaries or a teacher or something, but to make it more realistic for us, they bring in 8 “actors” (who are actually people who are converts to the church). They "live" in one of the buildings, and act like normal people out in the real world, who we can go contact and teach. They NEVER break role - if you pretend to hand them a Book of Mormon or something, they look at you like you are stupid. They act like the hallways are their neighborhood and go visit each other. Way cool. HARD. Our guy is "from Italy" and we're teaching him in Spanish. He likes to argue, and last time he taught us a 20 minute history lesson of the Catholic Church. We managed to get him to take a book of Mormon at the last minute, but dang, it was hard. Very cool though. More about him later, we’ll see if we can get him to try praying and realize that God loves him...
Alright, time's going down. Hmm, OH GENERAL CONFERENCE IS ALMOST HERE! I'm not sure I've ever appreciated it like I do now. We have a prophet on the earth, and the 12 Apostles, speaking to us this weekend. We can watch conference on the internet or via satellite at our church buildings or our homes all over the entire world, translated in every language. It’s incredible. I extend the same invitation that my Seminary teacher, Sister Greco, gave me once: pray, and come to conference with questions that we want answered, and they will be answered in some way. It’s a promise, and I know it’s been true for me. I challenge all of you to do it!
All right, I must be go. Thank you all for your letters and love. Thank you Grandma Pat for taking all my stuff to OGDEN! Alright, Love you all, and good week to all of you! -Elder Christopher Thelin