Dear Family and Friends,
It has been another great week here in Mesa, busy and slow at times, but always full of learning. The weeks already go by so fast now, even the days go by fast.
This past week was somewhat slow in terms of finding new investigators but we were able to teach a bunch of good lessons. Some of the days this past week, especially Saturday and Sunday, we taught almost no one... We went by every single investigator, less or inactive member, and assignment that we had and they were all busy or not even home. On Sundays all of the Mexicans that don't work, buy a couple "thirtys" of Budlight, gather outside on the street or on their lawns, blast ranchero music, get drunk, and do inappropriate things . . . all in sight of anyone walking down the street and in front of little kids too. When we go up and try to talk to them they will usually be super friendly but when we start talking about Jesus they say, "estoy borracho" which means I'm drunk (a borracho is "a drunk"). This is a very common thing to see on largely Hispanic streets on Sundays. So some days were kind of frustrating but it doesn't get me too down because everybody always says that a mission is hard and that you have terrible days -- I really haven't had a terrible day yet.
This week we did make some progress with some of our investigators. Margarita is continually progressing and getting excited for her baptism on Dec. 4th so I am really excited for that. We have been teaching her the commandments such as the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, which she totally understands and has no problems with, so it is awesome. At first, when I committed her to a date I wondered if she said yes just to make us happy but she is really grasping it now and moving forward, so thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case. She is also the one investigator that we have that continually comes to too all the ward activities and to church every Sunday.
Another set of investigators that we have are named Moises (Moses in English) and Reina, who are an odd couple in the sense that I don't picture them together . . . and neither do they for that matter. Moises is a 40 year-old Mexican man that is super awesome and smart. He keeps all of his commitments, speaks only Spanish, reads his Book of Mormon every single day, and is very motivated. His girlfriend Reina is about the same age but is white, speaks only English but can understand everything in Spanish, smokes, has tattoos, and is a recovered drug addict (aside from the smoking). We have committed them to baptism but it is really weird because Reina wants to go to an English-speaking ward, but Moises can't understand English. Moises wants to go to the Spanish-speaking ward, which Reina could do because she has no problem understanding Spanish. I have been helping Reina get over smoking and it seems to have been helping. Since the first time I talked to her, she cut down to 2 a day, and the last time we talked, she said she was going to quit all together. Moises doesn't smoke or do anything bad and he hates it when she smokes, so I can tell that she has good motivation. It is awesome seeing the power of the atonement work in people's lives as they pray to be relieved of burdens in their lives such as this addiction. I am really hoping when we go back tonight that she has completely stopped and that I will see them in the Spanish ward on Sunday.
Yesterday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leader, Elder Morgan, who is such an awesome missionary with a ton of experience and wisdom to instill into others. I learned a ton about how to get members to come to lessons with us, something that is a problem in our ward, which has a 12% monthly home teaching rate (that has been addressed), a Bishop that we can never get in contact with, and members who always say they are busy when we want them to come out with us. Our mission goal is to have 100% member-present lessons, which we almost never have. And the ones where we do have members present, it just happen to be because the investigator conveniently lives with the member (like in Margarita's case). Anyway, every time we eat dinner with members, I am going to commit them to give us a date where we can take them to a lesson with us. After going on that exchange with Elder Morgan, I realize how awesome lessons are where the members are there -- comfortable, and engaged. That is one of the biggest things that we will be working on in the near future.
I want you to check and get back to me if you got the letter I sent you, if brother Read got the letter I sent him, and if Aunt Jill got the letter I sent her. This is really important because I have sent Jeremy 2 letters and it appears he hasn't received any of them, so just send me a confirmation if those people received their letters. Also send me some pictures of Chris's baptism too. I just sent him a package today. I saw that dad sent me an email saying I got a package at 10:30 this morning but I haven't been home so I don't know what is in it yet. Anyway, it was great to write you again. I hope all is well. Matt, practice the piano I want you to be really good when I get back.