Los Angeles has so many apartment complexes and houses with barred windows and doors that it seems that if you can afford to live in a decent looking neighborhood without bars on their houses, you're considered part of the upper class.
This week have been bittersweet for the most part. I'll just go ahead with the bitter and get it over with.
Despite our constant efforts to help Eddie Parker change his life and come back to church, he ultimately decided to apostasize from the church by declaring that he had been baptized into another church. For the last two weeks, after seeing considerable improvement into him, to go the opposite way behind our backs, made absolutely no sense to me. It puts a giant "What the flip?" above my head. (I would make it bigger but there's no font size option here on MyLDSmail.net) Afterwards, I got a little discouraged and prayed about it, then I was inspired to read page 170 of "Preach My Gospel"
I will quote:
"When people choose not to investigate the restored gospel, your work is not wasted. Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants. He often reaches out to His children through you. Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them and may plant seeds that future missionaries and members of the Church will harvest.
When people do not accept the gospel, do not be discouraged. You have raised a warning voice. You have given them a clear choice. Disciples of Christ feel sorrow when people choose not to repent, but they maintain a vision of who they are and what they are doing. They continue to diligently move forward."
I understood more clearly now that in the grand scheme of things, those we teach will either or not count themselves among the Lord's Elect. What really matters right now is to just continue moving forward. Now is not the time for licking wounds. There are hundreds and even thousands of other people who seriously need the guidance of His gospel, especially in a world that is slipping further into apostasy from all that is good, moral, and sensible. We will try to visit Eddie again in a month or two and see how he is doing.
All bitterness aside, this week brought with it a string of promising investigators, especially a man who we've begun teaching named Evaristo Romero. He seemed to accept the teaching very well. We was able to go to church with him last sunday, and Evaristo desired to come to church again next week! He is a humble person and has kept all his committments to read the scriptures and pray. This week, we will teach him more lessons and maybe even discuss baptism. Although Evaristo doesn't have a car, he doesn't mind riding the bus since he lives near the Metro bus/train system.
We've received "intelligence reports" that there is a possible deaf community in the town of Carson, near a large LDS meetinghouse there. We are planning to *cough* tract *cough* this week, if the rumors proves true, we just might have a gold mine of possible investigators. How awesome will that be?
Last saturday, we all got to go to the temple with the deaf branch. They have a monthly temple excursion and we were invited to attend, with the mission president's approval. It was my first time seeing ASL versions of the temple ordinances being performed. Although I will not disclose for the sake of temple sacredness, it was a really interesting experience. Afterwards, all of us ASL missionaries went to dinner at a really delicious hawaiian-themed burger restaurant near the temple.
This Thursday will mark the start of my 4th month into the mission. In other words, 1/8 of my mission is over. Hmm. I could have sworn it didn't feel like that long. Yikes. There's just SO MUCH TO DO.