Wow this week has really flown by! That's what happens when you're doing the work of the Lord. Very similar to last week, Elder Patterson and I have done a lot (I mean a lot!) of tracting. Basically, if we're not in our apartment studying during a planned study time, we're out in our area tracting. We still only have one real investigator, too. Real in the sense that he is progressing and making commitments. And we've only had one actual lesson with him as of yet.
Here is a crazy story that happened this week:
We ran into this guy named Peter, just walking his dog in our area on Tuesday night (I think). The first thing that was different was that he was white and spoke English! Our area is very very VERY Latino :) That and the fact that he called us Elders! So we get to talking with him as we do with everyone we run into on the street and come to find out that he is a former member of the church. We ended up having a half hour conversation with him about why he left the church and things like that. One point that stuck out to me was he focused on the fact that we do not have a paid clergy in our church. Instead of recognizing what a blessing it is to have leaders who are called of God, he spun it so that it seemed like only a paid minister can give you what you need since a bishop in our church doesn't go to school for his degree. It was amazing talking to him to see how destructive Satan is and how hard he works to deceive us. I mean, he was a former member who went through the temple and everything and just one day decided to stop coming to church. He was a former priesthood holder and he and his wife had callings! He and his family had their names removed from the records of the church and started going to a Presbyterian church. That really surprised me as well: the fact that they were able to even go to another church after experiencing the True and Everlasting Gospel. At any rate, it only helped to strengthen my testimony that our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church upon the earth who holds all the keys and ordinances necessary for eternal salvation.
I experienced my first exchange of the mission this week! I'm not sure if I have already told you guys, but there are four elders living in our apartment: myself and Elder Patterson, but also the Spanish elders from another area super close that I just forgot the name of as I was about to type it! Anyway, the other two are Elder's Beckett and Habel. So on Thursday I went with Elder Habel to his area and Elder Patterson went with Elder Beckett in ours. It was such a neat experience going and teaching the people that the other two elders have been teaching and working with the past couple of weeks. Seeing the people we have heard so much about!
A unique thing about teaching Latino people in the US is that they are super super friendly. So much so that instead of saying they aren't interested in our message, they will give us fake names, phone numbers, house addresses, etc. for our return appointments. It's so frustrating, but kind of funny at the same time. Take yesterday for example. We were scheduled to meet with a man who on Friday of last week gave us an address and house number. We only contacted him on the street, and we were going to talk to him more about eternal families. We walked up to the door he gave us and knocked. It was a completely different person, a woman, and she had just moved in with her small children. We ended up giving her a Libro de Mormon, so that was fantastic, but as we walked away we tried calling the number the guy gave us to get his real address and within a couple seconds realized he gave us a random number...Grr... :)
The work is going great! I'm loving it so much here! Everything about the mission is the best! Learning and teaching in Spanish, tracting, biking in the rain, everything is so neat! I'm loving the missionary lifestyle. Thank you for everything! I love you all!!