Monday, August 29, 2016

Words of High School Wisdom

This past Sunday was amazing.  Kayla (a youth non-member) came, like usual.  Her very good member friend took care of her.  Patty also came.  She is a lady who stopped meeting with the missionaries right before I got here and has lots of questions.  Patty got a little freaked out when Elder Hunter and I called her one day, because she didn't recognize our names or voices.  She also found a bag of oranges at her front door from her neighbors, who are members, and she was worried about what she had gotten herself into.  After a few months and an invitation from a member family recently, she came to church.  She has come the last three weeks, but we have not been able to nail down a time to meet with her for a lesson.  Fortunately, that family invited us over for dinner with her tonight.  I expect that the dinner and lesson will go well.  Finally, another investigating family came to church.  We taught them the Restoration lesson on Saturday.  The son (11yrs old) listened for almost the entire lesson.  He even ran to his room to get his Bible.  His parents weren't able to stay for all of church, but their son did.  I was grinning from ear to ear, and I think it was a bit obvious, but I couldn't help it:)

Do you want to year a funny story?  This Tuesday we had MLC again.  That is my last MLC (Mission Leadership Conference).  President and Sister Felix fed us all breakfast at the Mission Home before the meeting started.  We had waffles.  The MLC was focused on real intent, focus and teaching repentance.  That was wonderful and much of the content related to my recent studies/thoughts.  After lunch, the Assistants asked if we would pick up supply orders for our zones from the mission office.  Our zone had ordered 3 boxes of Books of Mormon in addition to other materials.  The boxes have 40 copies of the Book of Mormon and each box is about 35 lbs.  I thought I was tough, so I picked up two boxes and let Elder Huston take the other box plus the bin of the other materials.  Well, I did fine picking them up with my legs, not my back.  The problem came when I had to put them down.  We walked out to the car and I squatted down in my suit to set the boxes down, so that I could pop the trunk.  As I did so, I heard a big ripping sound and looked down between my legs to see a 8" tear in the seam of my pants:)  I tried to keep my cool, but Elder Huston decided to announce my ripped pants to the elders around!  We still had 3 hours more of MLC.  Of course I was embarrassed, but there was nothing I could do.  Thankfully, the tear was between my legs and it was hidden by my suit coat, but still.  We had a good laugh.

As we were walking down the street last week, we ran into a member of the ward who is showing sheep in the fair, which happened to be last week.  With this member was a journalist who is fascinated with our church.  She took pictures of us and asked about our missions.   For the paper, she is following this member all fair week and was/is going to make an article about her.  I used my livestock judging skills and taught the member about how to tell if a lamb is too skinny, too fat, or just right by comparing how it's loins feel to her fingers, arm and back of her hands.  The journalist took pictures of us feeling/petting the lamb.  She also said that she had lost her copy of the Book of Mormon when she moved and would like a copy.  We gave her one and got her phone number.  She said she is interested in learning more.  So, we may be in the newspaper.  Good publicity.

Hyrum wrote some advice to Rowen about going to high school.  I wanted to share it with you:
The best advice I can give to Rowen is to do the small and simple things in your life, like daily prayer, scripture study, serving others, smiling, and keeping up with homework assignments.  Don't let them get piled up.  Don't procrastinate.  Consider not doing homework on the Sabbath.  I never did, and Heavenly Father blessed me for that.  Stay away from temptation on the internet, in the locker rooms, and when you are alone, tired, angry, or sad.  Enjoy learning at school even if your friends think the teacher is dumb, or school isn't cool.   Be social, but spend your time in a manner and in a place and with whom is most important.  That may be uplifting a friend, being with family, or counseling with a coach/teacher.  You do a great job of these things already, but just don't forget them and don't get distracted from the things that really matter to you.  That's for you to decide.  Explore and develop your many talents.  Continue to be the spiritual giant that your Heavenly Father wants you to be.

I love this great and marvelous work!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Eating Balut

Kayla, our 16 year old investigator, is progressing very well.  She asks the best questions and says wonderful prayers.  Her prayers are super sincere, engaged and personal.  Kayla is on track to be baptized on August 20.  She moved the date so her sister could attend. 

Madelene has the new member “glow” :)  She looks like she belongs.  She’s happy and understands what is taught more readily.  She took us out to dinner and told us about growing up in Beverly Hills.  She lived near Marilyn Monroe.  They were friends with Frank Sinatra and Madelene had met Shirley Temple’s family.  Madelene said that Shirley was a miserable little girl who just got bossed around by adults.  That was sad to hear because Shirley is such a cute little girl on television. 

Funny story (sort of):  Elder Bronson and I were on exchanges in his area.  We were on bikes and trying to talk with this guy on the sidewalk, when from my left side I heared this super loud train honk.  I turned toward the sound and there’s this guy in his black suburban holding out his iPhone.  He laughed at us and yelled, “In the name of Jesus!” and then drove off.  The guy we were trying to talk with was embarrassed and walked shamefully away.

Another story: We ate dinner with a Filipino family.  The last time we ate with them they joked that next time they would feed us balut.  Well, they didn’t forget.  Thankfully, they fed us a wonderful meal and then they brought in 10 boiled duck eggs with the embryos inside and expected us to try them.  They were still hot when we got them, so as I pealed mine and waited for it to cool down a bit, I did my best to muster the courage to eat it.  The kids were laughing at us and video taping us, but they didn’t want any balut.  This was a bad sign . . . Finally, I was ready.  Although it looked disgusting (veins on the yoke and the mangled, hairy baby duck, gray on the side) and smelled a bit odd, I just closed my eyes and bit in.  I just got part of the yoke in that bite and it didn’t taste too bad.  That gave me a little more courage to finish.  Honestly, I felt the way I did before going down that slide at the Kalahari that drops you and then climbing the stairs to do it again.  I knew I would finish it, but I was not comfortable.  The baby duck was a bit crunchy and kind of stringy.  I finished, but one was enough for me.  Elder Palmer did it too.  His baby duck was a little further along in its development, so his was more crunchy and feathery.  He was a good sport though.

Transfers were last week.  Hyrum stayed in Thousand Oaks, but got a new companion.  Only 7 of 80 companionships stayed together this transfer.  He is now a Zone Leader and had to move into an apartment with another set of elders.  His apartment was going to be given to some sister missionaries.  Twenty-two new elders came in this past transfer!  As of today, Hyrum has 5 weeks!  He will return home September 14!!  We can’t wait :)

This week our ward got to do a training for the entire mission leadership (district leaders, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and YSA missionaries). We were chosen to show what we do to be so successful and to give the missionaries tools to use to help the other missionaries in the mission become more unified with their wards. We received a lot of good feedback from President, the assistants, and the missionaries.

Elder Palmer & Elder Ruby at a picnic

Twins: Elder Ruby & Elder Palmer