This week has been pretty interesting.
Monday: We have been able to start talking to Jaylene again! She has also been keeping her commitments of reading the Book of Mormon! Yay! We read the first few chapters with her and explained what they meant. It was good to go over it slowly with her, so that she understood what everything. There is so much information in the first few pages of the Book of Mormon that a lot of people don't understand. They skip a lot of words while reading. No wonder they are so confused when they read! That is something I have noticed about the people out here... they all can't read very well and they have no motivation to learn new things on their own. You have to poke and prod them every step of the way. So when we find someone who will do things on their own and can understand it pretty well It's GREAT!! Jaylene needs the motivation to do it and the belief that she can do things on her own. But for the most part we don't have to walk her through what she Feels. She knows how she Feels when she is reading, and is around us. So that is good.
We also talked to Marie, the German Exchange student that is staying with the Biggs. We still aren't sure how much she understands but she does enjoy when we come over. We taught her about the Resurrection, Final Judgement and the Three Degrees of Glory. It was interesting to hear what she thought was going to happen when we die.... Heaven or Hell.
Tuesday: We went and talked to Lucy. Well this time Lucy talked at us for basically the entire time. So it wasn't that eventful of a meeting with her, but we did talk about a few things that she saw and didn't really like about the Mormon culture. How we are all super clicky. We stick together and don't let anyone in, until they are one of us. Unfortunately it is true. Especially in the West because it is more densely populated with Mormons. She told us how her Son wasn't accepted or loved by any of the Mormons until he was baptized. She told us that everyone at his baptism told her how proud and excited they were for him. That made her mad - like he wasn't good enough before, and that he had to be a member in order to be accepted. On the other hand. She loves church here. She has been going for at least 5 weeks now. She loves the members, the lessons, and the atmosphere of church. So She is sitting on the fence on how she feels about us right now.
After Lucy we went and talked to Darren. He is a Man who lives next to Shawna. He is average height, and very thin. I'm taller and bigger than he is. Anywho, He isn't the greatest of people. He isn't rude or mean or anything, but he is a drug dealer and smokes all the time. He is amazing in one way. He can see the light that we have around us, and he is very observant and perceptive. He can make things click in his mind. That a lot of people we have to explain 20 times to before they even understand what we are talking about. Darren really wants to change his life, and he knows that the things he is doing right now "parking his car in a restricted zone and not paying for it thus he was thrown in jail" He doesn't want that anymore. He wants to be a better example to his son and to his wife. He can't keep living like this, or he won't be living much longer. One thing that he tells us every time he sees us: I want to be able to smile all the time like you ladies do as you walk around. I want to be Happy. It will be an awesome miracle when he turns around and makes his life right.
That night we went on Splits with Jill. It was so crazy trying to get Jill here, because she didn't have a GPS and she kept doing the opposite of everything we told her to do... so finally we told her to stop at the Dollar Store and wait for us to come and guide her to where our appointment was. We went over to Jaylene's. Jaylene explained what she read in the Book of Mormon to us. It was great to hear her making connections of the things she was reading all on her own! After that we taught her Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance. She sad she already knew all of that stuff but would look for more ways to apply it to her life. It was nice to have Jill there to have an extra testimony of what we were telling her to be true.
Wednesday: It was another strange day today. No one was home. We finally were able to talk to Gus though! Gus is an interesting man. he is in his 70's. He has been in and out of Prison for stealing and beating people up. He was in the Military and had been in a war. He had his license taken away for drinking and driving too much. Lets just say he has an interesting past. He has been through everything imaginable! He even was homeless for a while and lived in the back of a Bakery in a garbage container, and he would wait in there till the bakery people would throw their left over bagels of the day in the dumpster - It would make him warm and it fed him. He told us it was wonderful. Also at this moment his worst enemy in the world had moved in across the street from him and had tried to jump him a few nights earlier, but luckily another neighbor was out and prevented anything from happening. Let me remind you, Gus is 70, and he was being jumped by some 30-40 year old guy. Gus told us that he wasn't allowed to have a gun, but he did have a pellet gun, and a machete in case he broke into his house. He said that he would get him good if he broke in. You are probably wondering why in the world we would ever, ever, ever talk to this man. He must be crazy or something. Gus has learned a lot from God, and that he is still alive for a reason. He has done a lot of bad things, but he has also done a lot of good things. He has a twinkle in his eye of hope. He knows that there are bigger and greater things out there that he doesn't fully understand, and he has that desire to be good. So we are working on him. We read from the Book of Mormon with him the story of Ammon and how he defended the kings sheep and cut off the arms. We then left the next chapter for him to read. Gus is half Native American so when he heard about the Great Spirit he was super excited. He is a great old guy.
After talking to Gus we headed to Mutual. Sister Richards and I helped out by being 'Flight Attendants' it was a Culture night. They had the countries Japan, India, Guatemala, and Germany. They learned about what customs they had and the food that they ate - each country had some food to try it was fun. The safety video was pretty awesome. It was 'New Zealand Airlines' and it was Lord of the Rings based. It was super funny, I suggest if you ever have time to look for it... I don't really know what it is called... but yeah. Anywho, after mutual we went over to Mandy and Michael's. We taught Michael the Word of Wisdom and then told them that we were handing them over to the Elders, because they were in the Elders area and that was the only way that Michael was going to continue progressing. He needs Male support now.
Thursday: We met an interesting 'family' today. We mostly talked to Kelly and Junipher. but there was also a man named Brian. They live in a trailer that is basically a shack. They have one couch and a very small TV. Kelly is an interesting lady... She has 5 children, and she is expecting her 6th. All of her Kids have different fathers. She told us that she had really bad luck... ehhh... I think it's a little more than luck against ya... Kelly also told us that she kept getting ripped off by people she had given money too. We can't exactly tell her that what she is doing in her life is what is causing all the problems, because that is not our place; we probably would never be able to talk to them again. soo we sat and listened to her problems. After listening for a while we taught her the Restoration. She latched onto current day prophets. She said that it made complete sense to have someone to lead and guide this crazy world today. So I guess that is one good thing. She also expressed interest in watching General Conference. I don't know how that will work out because she doesn't live anywhere near the church building, and she probably doesn't have Dish, or whatever TV thing we need to watch General Conference on. General Conference will be from 12-2 and 4-6 here. I had to remind Sister Richards that because we were in a different time zone, that conference wouldn't be at the same time as it was in Utah/ Idaho.
Friday: We went to Jaylene's with Sister Kritzwiser. We taught Jaylene about Baptism. Jaylene told us that she was glad that we had taught that because she really had no idea what it meant. She hasn't ever been baptized because her mother told her that she needed to find out the meaning of baptism before she would be allowed too. She also asked several other people and they all told her that it was up to her to find out the true meaning of baptism. Jaylene didn't even know where to start so she didn't even bother looking for the answer. So we were the very first people to ever explain what it meant to be baptized to her. No pressure or anything. Sister Kritzwiser was awesome to have out with us. She happened to have the same job that Jaylene had and she has also not had the best marriage. so she was able to relate to Jaylene very well. Sister Kritzwiser also made it possible for Jaylene to attend the Ward Picnic we were having that night as well. Sister Kritzwiser is a stellar woman and I wish more of the members were like her.
The Picnic was pretty great. There was about 1/2 members, and 1/2 non members there, about 50-70 people. It was a big potluck. For the most part the food was awesome, and the games were awesome, basically the whole thing went really well. Jaylene's kids had a blast! so that was great!
Sunday: Church went really well, sister Richards and I taught the Preach my Gospel class on Developing Talents. The class is getting bigger every week - a wee bit claustrophobic - but it was all good we all love each other a lot, right?! We had two member meals!! it was great! The first was lunch with the Lyons. Sister Lyons is a runner. She ran in the Saint George Ironman I believe at the same time as Ana! She talked about how the weather was super terrible and the swimming was a disaster. So I think it was the same Ironman... Anywho, for dinner we ate with Sister Despain. She has a non-member husband who is rather interesting... He has a super deep scruffy voice, and didn't really want to socialize with us. Sister Despain is an awesome lady, who does her best to share the gospel.
That night we went and taught the Bradley's about Tithing. It is really hard to keep the lessons short because Ronda can really go off on the hard times in her life that related to money, and paying tithing. But it was good to go and talk to them.
Well I've got to go. Just remember that the gospel is for everyone not just for those who look like they would fit into the gospel. The Brightest Diamond is found in the biggest and blackest piece of Coal. We all are being put through the refiners fire. How we take the heat determines how we grow.
I love yah all and I hope everything is going well!!
Sister Karen Call