Monday, August 25, 2014

Super Hot Weather and Teaching Baptisms for the Dead

Me and Elder Steed had to get serious and throw down with a couple people this week that just weren't moving forward or not thinking straight.  It worked with one guy, but with another we had to drop him.  

But this week was super duper hot!  And because we had to save 250+ miles in case one of got transferred, we biked a lot this week.  But neither of us are leaving so now we have a lot of miles.  Anyways, biking was super fun. When I’m on my bike I never usually feel the heat.  The only thing I feel is the wind, which in Port Lavaca goes in all directions, so it is always against us.  But then when I get off my bike, I noticed that my shirt is sweated through, that my arms are shiny from sweat, and its super hot, haha. Its good though, we get to talk to a lot more people.  

Then this week we met a guy named Joel.  We started talking about Christ’s original church.  He said it was the Catholic. Well, I just threw in baptisms for the dead to see if he knew about it, and he said it was a false doctrine.  So for the next 30 minutes, I just read to him from the bible.  I whipped out John 3:5 and talked about how everyone needs to be baptized to go to heaven. Then in Acts 10:34-35 or something like that I showed him that even if you grew up in China and never knew who Christ was, that you can’t go to heaven without baptism.  I showed him that was unfair and God is not like that so we read in 1 Peter 3 and 1 Peter 4:6 about how Christ went to the spirit world to teach all those who never had the chance. Then I finished with 1 Corinthians 15:29 and told him how in that scripts, the people are doing baptisms for the dead even though they don't believe in a resurrection.  And we came to the conclusion that there IS a resurrection and baptisms for the dead doctrine IS in the bible, so it HAS to be part of Christ's church.  Well let’s just say he didn’t have much to say after that except that we could come back and teach him more.  Afterwards I felt like I was a little to harsh but we decided that we felt the spirit so it was good.

Also this week we found a new investigator named Hailey.  She is a friend of a member and she is super solid.  She let us hold her pet rat our first lesson.  He is so rad!  Black and white and his name is Socrates.  But rat tails are super weird though.  And yeah, she is down if we come by every day or so and she wants to learn more and read the pamphlets we give her.  Pretty much she is golden so far.

And finally we teach a guy named Mr. Floyd.  He worked for the city for 17 years so he knows everyone.  He is just a crazy old black guy but he called us one day and asked us if we wanted to go to the store with him and get some brisket and he would cook it for us.  So today we went to the store, bought a $40 brisket, like 16 lbs, and he is going to spend all week prepping and cooking it for us.  Then on Saturday we will go over and eat some of it while we drink "soda-water" with him. Haha, he is just nutty, but probably one of the coolest, nicest guys I’ve ever met! He lives life according to the bible, does everything possible for the community and not himself.  And he knows everyone so he goes around all day saying "Hello" and "How’s your husband?" and "Is Billy still at Texas A&M?" stuff like that.  He just wants everyone to feel loved.  I hope I can be like him one day.

Elder Lund

PS. When I get done with the #mishlife I want you to teach me all your wisdom and business skills.  I have decided that this week.

Monday, August 18, 2014

One of the Hardest Lessons of my Mission!

Me and my bird friend Paco saying Hello!
Elder Steed's rendition of Elder Lund and a Hispanic Ryan Gosling

This week I saw a firefly for the first time!  It was so rad!  Just a little green light moving around in the air. I tried to catch him but his light went out so I lost him. And we went to eat at a member’s house this week, the Balderas. They remind me exactly of the Palfrymans in our ward. But we went to help the Hermana get ready for her seminary presentation and after she made us some super good tacos with beans, carne asada, and egg.  And for sauce they gave us habenero salsa and it was neon lime green. I thought it was nuclear!  It was super spicy but super good tasting.

This week I taught the hardest lessons of my whole mission!  There is a guy named Don Baker who bought a Book of Mormon at a yard sale and has read it and believes its true.  We always talk and teach him on the phone but he has never let us go to his house.  Well he called us this week and said we had to come over.  So we went over and turns out he wanted to talk to his 30-yr old son who wants to commit suicide.  So we just talked to him to see what he likes and find out what he is looking for.  Well turns out he has an IQ of over 150 and he is just too smart for the world.  He takes sedatives to calm his mind down so he is more normal.  But he tried a bunch of churches and prayed and studied and said he has received no witness that God loves his children or that he has a purpose in life.  He only believes in what has physical proof but he does believe in a "higher power" and Joseph Smith was inspired and saw a heavenly being.  But he believes there is nothing else in this life and he is just like a long distance runner who can run no more.  He just wants to be done and he doesn’t believe in a life after.  

Well everything we tried to teach him, he would just interrupt and give us some science fact and say we were wrong.  Also, from the beginning he kept saying he thought they were going to send someone older with more experience. Pretty much after 15 minutes he just said we were wasting our time and kicked us out of his house.  Man, I felt like the worst missionary ever after that!  But me and Elder Steed decided we did the best we could and now we just pray for him. The dad has a Mormon friend that is coming to visit and the son said he will wait for him to see what he has to say so the son will be good for now.

Besides that, this week we didn’t have much work.  We have had a couple people say they don’t want to talk to us anymore and a couple that just look out the window at us and never open the door. So we spent a lot of time on our bikes, which biking is always fun.  And we have been sick of getting flats and the patches not working so we just went and got the super thick tubes with slime in them that fill up holes.  No flats yet!  Anyways, we were just talking to people all week.  Usually no one is outside in this heat, but one day, everyone was outside and we spent most of our day just talking to random people.  Only one person said we could come back and gave us their address, but hopefully all the others will feel something and call us.  But we did get pretty nice tans.  And then we found out that a recent convert here, Dominique Campos' mom, Cristi, has been reading the Bible and hard core studying it.  Then when her husband gets home from work, he sits down with his Bible and talk and study what she read.  That’s so cool!  Then we go over and she just gives us highlights of the last few days and teaches us.  Missionary work is the best!

Elder Lund

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Fruits of 30-Minute Prayers!

So this week our Zone Leader has encouraged us to say a 30 minute or (2) 15-minute prayers before we leave each day.  At first it seemed super hard and super weird that before we left my companion would pray for 15 minutes and then I would do the same right after him.  But let me tell ya, they work miracles! At the beginning of the week, we just drove around all day looking for people to teach.  It was pretty rough.  Then by the end, we started to be blessed with most of our investigators.  With Dominique, she usually likes to put up a sassy front and not show her true desires, but we found out she has kept in contact with a previous missionary and she told him she wants to be baptized "hopefully soon."

Then with a man named Baltazar, we haven’t taught him for a month and then we saw him two days ago.  We found out he has been living the Word of Wisdom for 3 months and the law of chastity for almost a month now.  He also got a new job so he doesn’t have to work with shrimp any more (he is allergic to shrimp). and all he wants to do is read the Book of Mormon and go to church so we were able to get him a DMV book so he can get his license.

And then there is a young guy named Stalin.  I had never met him in my whole month here but Elder Steed said he was super prepared, we just could never see him.  Even his neighbors would tell us to leave because he is not interested in religion!  Well, we finally got in a few days ago and taught him the restoration. Turns out he loves religion and wants to find out if this church is true because he has "nothing to lose."  Then we passed by last night and turns out he had read the intro and a few of the first few pages and said he was interested!  It’s like the first person I’ve ever taught that does their reading the first time!  But we were able to set a baptismal date with him and hopefully we are going to teach him and his wife and kids tonight.

The only bad thing this whole week is that Darlene has been sick the past few weeks and we have not seen her at her house or church, and she is supposed to be baptized this weekend, so we will really have to work on that.

Also this week, Elder Steed and I got super sick.  I think we ate some overly ripened bananas.  They didn’t look or taste bad, but they were a bit soft.  I don’t know but I just know that we only got a few hours of teaching in until Elder Steed started throwing up and we had to go home for a bit.  Pretty much Elder Steed would just throw up, sleep on the bathroom floor for about 30 min, and then wake to throw up again.  This went on for a few hours while I just sat there dying because my stomach was super tight, but I couldn’t do anything.  I read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon and talked on the phone with investigators.  Then we took some medicine and I threw it all up.  

Well, it was about 6:30pm by then so we decided go out and teach. Our stomachs hurt a bunch, but no upheavals. We ended up seeing a guy who is never home and helped him to de-stress a lot and talk things out.  And he opened up about how he is doing a lot of bad things and just can’t seem to get himself to turn away.  At least we know what he needs now.  He is the guy who grew up with Lords of Dogtown.  

And we ended the night knocking on some trailer and then I just heard breathing so I turned my head and about 5 feet away was just a huge cow just chillin’.  It was super cool.  We just stared at each other for a while and then I tried to touch him but he sauntered off to eat some grass.

And I decided that I have become lactose intolerant on my mission. I suspected a month or so ago but now my hypothesis is a fact because every time I drink milk or do anything dairy, my stomach dies afterward.  I’ve heard it happen to a couple missionaries here too. Like it happened to Elder Johnson, but then he just ate ice cream everyday for a year and got over it.  So pretty much every day for the next year is going to be a battle.  Should be fun...

Elder Lund

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lots of good people in Port Lavaca!

Ya everything’s good here in Port (Lavaca) and we are focusing on a couple people right now.  One is Dominique Campos.  The Campos family is the best!  The mom, Christi, calls us her boys (as in sons, not the ghetto way) and she wants us to call her Tia which is aunt in Spanish.  So the dad has been a member forever and the mom and other daughters got baptized a year ago. But Dominique is still strong in her Catholic church.  And she hasn’t liked missionaries in the past.  But when I got here we just tried to be her friend and help her out.  Like we just helped her on a school project and we went to one of her bible camp skits at her church. And now she is super cool to us.  We gave her the blueprint talk and she really opened up and felt the spirit.  But she will never admit it in front of anyone.  She only opens up if we text her about something otherwise she is just her normal sassy self.  So hopefully we can slowly work with that.

Also, we are teaching a girl named Darlene Flores.  She is a single mom who is unemployed and living with a friend who is a member at our church.  Darlene has been to church every week for about two months now.  It is just super hard to see her outside that, so we have only taught her a couple lessons.  She has a baptismal date for Aug 17 and all she needs to do is to stop drinking coffee and she will be solid.  And its just because she has been to church so many times that she has a testimony of its truth even though she hasn’t really been taught much.

This week we taught a Santa Muerte worshipper.  It was pretty crazy.  I used to see them a lot in my last area but, I actually taught one here.  They are super crazy.  They believe in God but this lady, Santa Muerte, is the one who controls life.  She is the one who has the power to let you live or take you in any day.  So all of her followers have a statue of her in her house and they pray to her and give her sacrifices.  They give her whatever she tells them.  Sometimes its fruit or food, sometimes money or cigarettes.  And all of her believers have super strong feelings because they have all talked to her and made deals with her.  I’m pretty sure that they are just making deals with the devil though.  And of all the missionaries I’ve talked to, I’ve only heard of one have some success with a Santa Muerte person, because they believe that if they stop doing what she says, she will come and kill them, and they all have seen signs like when they forget to pray one day and they get super sick.  So they pretty much believe that once they get in with her, you can never get out.  Pretty nutty stuff.

But those are the main people we are working with.  Other than that we see some other people, but they don’t really progress or change.   But we do have a lot of possibilities so that’s super good.  Anyways, hope you have a good week

Elder Lund