June 06, 2011
I have to admit that each week I sit at the keyboard and find myself with less and less to say– and that’s pretty alarming.
Don’t I always have a buckload to say?
I love reading your letters more and more each week. How did Jesse do in school this year?
I’ve decided the theme of my life in Valencia is: Try New Things.
Here’s a list of a few new things off the top of my head…
*Whitewash an area.
*Eat 80% organic/imported/gourmet/natural/gluten-free food at all dinner appointments.
*Train a greenie.
*Teach rich white American people.
*Knock the gigantic gold-encrusted front doors of rich white american people.
*Have a companion with the emotional capacity of an Elder. She doesn’t know what to do with me!
*Invent a Bible Basher’s Book of Mormon. This thing is awesome and so fun to make. It’s full of post-its and color codes and bookmarked things for a man down the street who wants to get in our face. We already told him we can’t teach him unless the spirit can be there, which will require some level of sincere intent on his part. He admits he doesn’t have that. But he has questions and all these bookmarked answers should keep him busy learning! There are verses that show that the book of mormon itself is a fulfillment of prophesies found in the bible– prophesies the book of mormon has made that have come true in our day– etc. I won’t bore you with all of it but it’s AWESOME.
*Scale the rockface to dodge the river to make it to the waterfall.
*Fall down the rockface and into the river anyway. Uh…I didn’t swim! It’s okay! No rules broken! ; )
*Teach a future pro-basketball player.
*Teach a youth fireside.
*Do hours and hours of prep-work to break through the superficial gunk.
Here’s an example of what I mean: We cleaned Neighbor’s house for two and a half hours last Thursday. Neighbor is a friend of someone in our ward. She is suffering from a fatal disease and needs help. We love to help! Later we bring by her prescription. She invites us in and have a conversation with her for an hour and a half or so. Not a lesson really, just a conversation where she slowly opens up to us… and I mean slowly… we teach and testify where we can, which happens naturally because we love her and this stuff is all we ever talk about anyway, so it kinda works it’s way in. She talks cancer and spinal cords and we talk prayer and word of wisdom. All of this totals to about four hours, which some would argue is a waste of time. But the spirit is saying: Stay. This is how you will earn her trust so I can show her what she’s searching for. That’s how most of this area is. It’s so much work to get past the walls and the things people are pretending to be so that they will finally will reveal their true selves to you. It’s a slow process. It’s very different from Mission Hills where most people talk straight-up to you in the accents of their native lands from their rickety apartment doorways. I miss that place but I love being here. The work intrigues me. I thrive on bustin down walls and getting to the heart of things. One step at a time.
(I still throwdown with the straight-up talk though. What do you want? What are you afraid of? Who do you want to be?
I love straight-up talk but it doesn’t fit here as often as it did with my people in my last area. They need time to develop the courage and the patience to face those questions.)
*Watch half my p-day food go through the scanner as fruit. I love fruit here. Strawberries are like nothing you’ve ever had in life! Dang good and they’re even cheap. Today I got raspberries, blueberries, bananas, avocados, and blackberries. Mmmmm bring that mess on home.
*Make friends with a whole ward in 4 weeks. I still love coming early on Sunday and waving to all our friends as they come in. I feel more at home every Sunday, which is a miracle, because this place is not what I would naturally subscribe to as home. God is stretching my perspective. (I can belong here too.)
*Run run run every day every day and almost kind of start to like it. Maybe.
*Have a birthday as a missionary! Brother and Sister Hall signed up for dinner (remember the faith guy?) and they’re going to make me a cake! I was so thankful and I even got a little choked up about it. Someone loves me enough to think about my birthday cake!
He’s been making a plan to talk to his parents about getting baptized. He’s old enough to do it without their permission but he wants their support. I think it’s better that way. We’ve tried to give him tools (scriptures, prayer, etc.) and then let him work out his own plan. He prays about his ideas and what he wants to say until he can put it all together– then he prays again and changes it according to what he feels. Then he prays again and reads some more and it’s been a process of personal revelation for him over the past few weeks. He is really learning how the spirit speaks to him and that God is there to help him study it out and make the right choices. Isn’t that beautiful? He is eighteen and he is learning this. He finally picked a day to talk to his mom and then he fasted for help. It was hard for him! He came to our lesson that day just achin and groanin! But we brought seven other youth to the church and I made dinner for everyone! We broke our fast and had a lesson about David and Goliath and conquering fear. A few days later he had a priesthood blessing and we should hear from him later today about how his talk went with his parents. I love being a missionary!
I love you!