Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lots of Less-actives with a chance of progressing investigators. (Plus torrential rains all week)

Hi. Everyone.

Well, I'm now in warm, sunny Los Angeles (well, not so much on the "sunny", due to said pouring rain). There's SO much to do in L.A. Somehow many of the previous ASL missionaries didn't do such a good job because 70% of the whole Torrance 4th Deaf Branch is Less-Active, so our main priority is drag- er.. uh... bringing them back to church. So far, It's going well. My new companion and I have been able to bring three less-active people back last week, and we have been working on BRTing (Build Relationships of Trust) with many other less-actives so maybe things will be a lot better this week. I've heard a lot of Elders complain that getting Less-actives back to church is like trying to herd cats, and, like cats, if you badger them too much, they literally hiss at you.

But at this moment, I'm too happy right now because I'm FINALLY out of the MTC. I mean, I couldn't be any more ectastic. That morning, I actually dragged all the other hald-asleep elders out of bed and hurried all of us along to the front of the MTC where a bus was waiting to take us all to the airport. As the MTC shrunk into the distance, I loudly said GOOD-BYE for the whole bus to hear. Some of them even cheered along. LOL. At the airport, we all went in to check in out baggage. All of mine are totally packed to the seams, and apparently, they said that one of my luggage was overweight, and they had to charge extra. Guess how much? $90 for a over-weight bag! Flying highway robbery. but unfortunately I couldn't do anything about it, so I had to fork over a lot of money for baggage and service fees. >:(

Anyway, after we went through security, Elder Hadlock and I zeroed in towards a Burger King and ordered a crossiant breakfast. Tasted like HEAVEN. That's right. You know it's really sad when after 2 months on MTC food, all we could think of was fast food as if it were sent from on high. Whatever. At least I had real food again. I also caught the headlines of today's newspaper. Apparently there was a violent earthquake that levelled Haiti just the day before. What exactly happened? Are the Church sending humanitarian aid to Haiti ASAP?

Anyway, Fast forwars 4 hours later. Here we are, in the Mission President's office in LA. All five of us ASL elders went through a little orientation, had lunch, and net our new companions in LA. What really stinks is that the ASL program is really small so three of the elders (Van Dam, Franco, and Western) had to be put into the hearing program, which left only Hadlock (who is deaf) and I. Our new companions are Elder Cordy and Elder Lingam, who I was put with. Thus began my adventure in one of the biggest cities in the world. What you have to understand is that after all of this, they basically drop you off like a sack of potatoes and you get right to work.

That late afternoon, Lingam and I visited my first real teaching appointment with a woman named Nancy. She had been taught all the lessons and have really committed to baptism, so we went ahead and gave her the litany of baptism questions. She passed! and baptism was set for last sunday. after this meeting, her friend, Leo, seemed interested in learning more about the gospel so we went ahead and taught him aboutthe Restoration. It went fairly well. After that, Lingam and I got settled into our apartment and made plans for the next day.

Thurdsay: we had a meeting with one member in out branch named Eric Townsend, I think out ward mission coordinator or somthing like that. We planned out all of the next week. Mostly Hadlock and I just listened in, trying to learn a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

That night, we had a dinner appointment (all 4 of us ASL missionaries) with Branch Prsident and sister Sutton. Dinner was DELICIOUS. we chatted a lot and shared some spiritual thoughts. Later that night, all of us went to the churchhouse where thay had a Video Phone and I got to call my family and say hello and I'm safely in LA, etc. It was really nice to see home once again, at least for a moment. After that, the branch had a bi-weekly Sports night where we played volleyball, basketball, etc. Funny thing though, only a FEW people showed up, so it's wasn't very fun compared to gym time in the MTC with 100 other elders and sisters.

Friday was my first real missionary day and we had a District meeting. Guess who I found there? MY BROTHER! He leaped on me (his way of saying hi) and we caught up at lunch in the mall. After that, Lingam and I went out teaching all day. it was fun and we got one less-active family to come back to church (which they did!) Saturday wasn't so much, though, because almost everyone wasn't home at one point, Lingam got a little discouraged, but, somehow maybe by miracle, a ice cream truck drove by. I bought us some vanilla ice cream, and Lingam felt a lot better afterwards. Ice cream makes for awesome emotion medicine, especially when it comes unexpected. We had Ice Cream every sunday and wednesday in the MTC, but somehow it wasn't nearly as exciting, because we knew that it would be there, whick made it kind of boring. Just a little piece of wisdom for you guys there.

good thing though is that out last house for the night, someone WAS home, a recent convert-gone-less active man named George. We committed him to church the next day (and he did!).

Sunday was a special day because we had a regional conference by the General authorities (President Uchtdorf, Elder Holland, Elder Edgley, and Sister Namikami (I think that's how her name was spelled but I'm not sure.)) Oh, Jared was there also. We found said less-active people there and said gratefuls that they were able to come to church that day.

Monday (P-day): basically, we just tided up our apartment. the Library was closed in observation of MLK day, so now you know why there was no e-mail yesterday. we had a fun p-day activity: Bowling (ZL-approved, mind you) with all the local missionaries so I got to meet a lot of Jared's companions. it was fun, and I was able to not sink a lot of gutter balls.

anyway, that's my adventure so far. Stay tuned next week!

Elder Zack

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