Monday, June 10, 2013

Buenos Dias

Good news! I got my Visa on Friday. My companions from the MTC and I went to the consulate downtown. We sat around for several hours and when we finally got to go inside, I discovered Little Mexico. Literally everything and everybody inside was Mexican. I loved it. There was not a word of English! What really surprised me was how brief my "Interview" was for the Visa. "Como esta?" Bien. "Nombre?" Dorro. --- That was all. They took my fingerprints and a photo and I was done. The purpose of my 8 hour adventure Friday was a 30 second process. I did shock several Mexican families by speaking Spanish to them. One lady made a funny joke to the woman seated next to her and I laughed. The whole group looked over at me and I explained to them that I am a missionary and a Mexican on the inside. They laughed. Good times. I can't wait to go to Mexico!

Speaking of which, the mission still has no idea when I will leave. Quote, "We have no idea when you will leave. We will give you about 24 hour notice." The "likeliest" date I will leave is 24 June, the day of transfers into Xalapa. However, based upon everybody I've talked to, the Church likes to send you off to your original mission as soon as possible. I will email you my departure time the day before I leave, which could be anywhere from tomorrow to 24 June, but no later than 24 June. Before we left the consulate, I asked the senior missionary who drove us if I could personally hold and handle my passport before he took it back to the mission office. I wanted to ensure that my visa was actually there... Because sometimes with Dorroughs, simple things like actually inserting a Visa into the passport don't happen. Rest assured, my Visa is ready and I have seen it.

So far the only Spanish I have been able to speak was to one person... and that person was the Ice Cream Truck Lady! Her vehicle was stopped in a neighborhood and we were walking by making some visits, so I stopped by the truck and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. I told her to compare it with the Bible and to pray to know it is true. Beside that, no Spanish! However, we have a French speaking investigator. This is a cool story.

We were driving to visit an investigator when we saw a black man with dreadlocks standing against a streetlight with his back turned to us. I felt that we should say hello to him. "Let's go talk to that man," I said. "Sounds good," Elder Conklin replied. We parked the car and headed over to talk to him. We greeted the man and when he responded it was clear that he did not speak very much English. "How are you doing today?" It sounded French... but who speaks French in Las Vegas?After a brief introduction, we learned that he is from Gabon, Africa. He moved to the United States two years ago and he had just moved to his home in Vegas that week. He gladly accepted us to go to his home, where we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" and told him a little bit about our Savior. It was clear that he felt the Spirit (despite the awful costuming of the movie) and his eyes were watering as he told us why he invited us inside.

In broken English and his French accent, he told us, "Me was sitting inside reading my Bible (bee-bluh, as they say in French) and me walk outside and pray, ask the Lord to guide me and help me change my heart in life. Right after me pray finish, you guys say hello to me. Me know the Lord sent you to help me." He knew we were sent from on high to help him. Now the only thing to do was help him -- which is very difficult because he does not speak very much English.

The Lord's hand in preparing this man to be taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not end there. We set up a return appointment for two days afterward and obtained a French copy of the Book of Mormon. The next night -- the very next night -- we had dinner with a young married couple, the L family. Brother L told us a mission story and we asked him where he had served. Quebec, Canada. Speaking French. Needless to say, having dinner with the only member of the ward who speaks French the day before we were going to teach the first lesson to a man who speaks only French was too good to be true. The lesson went extremely well. Brother L translates what we say when our investigator does not recognize a word and Brother L translates all of the investigators answers back to us. We have taught him two lessons so far and he clearly receives and understands everything that is taught. The only explanation is the Holy Ghost. "Me love the Book of Mormon. It is so much simple than the Bible. It help make life simple."  "Me want to be in the Celestial Kingdom. Me want see all three of you there and we all be with my family and with our friends together." He came to Church on Sunday and loved it. He is scheduled to be baptized on 27 July. Truly, he was prepared by the Hand of the Lord. Less than a week after moving, he prays for guidance. Less than a minute after praying for guidance, the Lord sends his servants to talk with him.

We gained two other new investigators this week: a teenage boy named Q and a middle aged lady named S. I actually didn't get to teach Q because I was downtown getting my Visa, but we have another lesson set up with him. S was raised a Jehovah Witness and she didn't like it so she stopped practicing as a teenager. She just moved to Vegas a couple weeks ago and she is very open to our message.

So far, 100% of the people I have met and taught have been by street contacting. In my 3 weeks so far in Vegas, I have had a grand total of 3 people open the door whilst tracting. Imaginably, that is an extremely low number of people to be home when it's 112 degrees outside. Three. Whole. People. My companions said it wasn't like that previously! Whatever ju-ju I brought into the companionship has helped a lot with street contacting but has hindered tracting substantially. We think perhaps nobody answers because three strangers in white shirts and ties at the door looks intimidating, whereas two people isn't really scary. We're not quite sure, but we are having wonderful success regardless.

Thanks a million for the family pictures! I appreciate them a lot. I already used them in a lesson to help keep a 9-year old girl awake while we were teaching. We ended up looking through all three Elder's family pictures and having some nice bonding time with the family!

Of all the things in my mission, I am most grateful for my companions. They are hard working, obedient, respectful, totally goofy, and they have common sense. From the other missionaries in my zone and the stories I have heard, I basically got the best of the bunch. They rock.

I will let you know approximately 24 hours-ish before my flight, whenever it is! Though "likely" it will be on the 24th, we may never know with my luck... speaking of my curse, I BROKE a self-checkout kiosk at Walmart this morning. I inserted my cash and the machine self destructed! It made all sorts of loud sounds and the screen went red. A special employee had to come by, open up the machine, fiddle around, and fix it for me. "This has never happened before." No kidding. That should be the new family motto.

Anywho, I love you! Hopefully I will be in Mexico soon!

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