It has been another great week. First of all, Lily and her sister were baptized on Saturday :) That was awesome to see some of our work pay off. The room was packed at 9 a.m. with friends and family. It was great to see these girls take a big step in their life, and what is also amazing is their dad's story. His name is Sam. He was raised in an LDS family, but fell away from the church in his teenage years. Not long after, he was in a gang, living that lifestyle. A bit later, he realized this wasn’t the life he wanted to live. To get out of that life, he went on a mission and became fully converted to the gospel. But not long after his mission, he fell away again. Recently he has absolutely turned his life around again. When he saw the missionaries (us) he asked us if we could start teaching his kids and have them baptized as soon as possible. Seeing him in the font, somebody who has absolutely turned his life around for the better, baptizing his daughter, brought me such joy. It really teaches me you should never judge somebody by what they look like. Sam has tattoos from neck to toe, but has fully changed his life and has absolutely turned to Christ and wants his family to have the gospel in their lives. It teaches me that as missionaries we need to talk to everybody, no matter their appearance. I have loveddddd teaching the Fluckiger family.
Alright, so last Monday night we had a lesson with Alex and his family (The Russians). We decided to bring a guy from one of our wards who speaks Russian with us hoping maybe Alex will understand the lesson a little better. So we get in there, and these guys just start chatting in Russian. Laughing and joking and just being friends. And they talk back and forth for about 45 minutes. I have zero idea what they are saying, but at one point I could tell they started talking about the restoration. He seemed to understand it waaaay better in Russian. And at the end of the lesson we asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon. He said in a thick Russian accent. "I don't need to, because I know that it true. I just don't think I need it. The Bible is enough for me. It's like when I eat sandwich. I eat sandwich and I full. I need nothing more. Bible is sandwich. Book of Mormon is dessert. I don't need dessert. I am filled."
Soooo basically we just need to help him understand why the Book of Mormon is needed. I'm sure Nelson can attest to this, but the guy that came with us to that lesson said that Russians have a really hard time understanding the priesthood and authority. He said that you can talk to a Russian all day about authority but sometimes they just can't get a grasp on it. So hopefully we will be able to get through to him about those things he doesn't understand. Nelly should just come down to Ogden for a few weeks and help us out for a bit haha.(Cousin Nelson served in Kiev.) We have two Russian investigators including a family. One of them is an 18 year old kid that says he's from Moscow, but won't tell us where he lives. He's a mysterious kid. But we have a few guys in our wards that can speak, so we have some good help.
We have a few new people we are teaching this week, so I will update you on them as they start to progress. So frustrating - this one family we've been teaching canceled on us for one of our lessons. They are a busy family, so it is hard to get a hold of them. And then they weren't at church so that was a little saddening, but the willlllll be there next week. Let's see what else happened this week. I've been eating a bunch of Taco Time because we eat free. I’m soooo sick of it hahaha makes me feel so sick.. but hey, it’s free food. Thank you Aunt Renee sooo much for the pumpkin pie. I have absolutely loved having a slice after a long day of work. Also having a guitar here at my apartment has been nice. Whenever I have extra time (which is rare) I can just sit back and strum for a bit.
So, one thing I have learned about Utah missions is that there are actually a lot of people to teach to here. Before I got here I didn't really think there were that many non-members. And sadly, that's what a lot of the members think here too. But there is tons of work to do here. I feel bad for not going on more splits with the missionaries when I was a priest. Because that is what we need haha. Member help is soooooo needed and it helps the missionaries soooo much.
Thoughtful member texted this to me after feeding these fine missionaries :)
One thing that has bugged me a bit while being here is when people are legit scared of us. We are innocent young boys walking around with smiles on our faces, and I guess people are a little frightened by that. We had somebody shut the door on us the other day and then lock the door with like 7 different latches. Not kidding. The poor guy was scared. I love being a missionary here though. Just going up to people and talking to them about anything and being friendly is amazing. I'll definitely miss being able to talk to people in English as much as I want.
Another little story. So we went and visited somebody who was on the nonmember list. And it was an older lady in a wheelchair. Turns out the whole right side of her body is paralyzed and she has a prosthetic nose. She also really, really struggles to talk to us. But she really wanted to show us around her house. So she showed us around and then took us into her garage and there were a ton of paintings and like 15 Bob Ross books. Haha. She then expressed her love for Bob Ross and showed us all the paintings. After going through them, she offered us one! Haha I was actually way excited 'cause they were all actually pretty good. So we each chose one and promised to visit her when we are in the neighborhood. And even though she isn't a member, we noticed tithing slips all around the house, so that's good too.
I love being a missionary and teaching the gospel to people. There is nothing I would rather be doing than to be meeting new people every day and handing out copies of the Book of Mormon. It's awesome when they open the door and you immediately try to find something in the house or something that they are wearing to talk to them about and build some kind of connection. 90% of the time it has to do with sports of some sort haha. Yesterday we were knocking doors at around 2:00 and I knew that's the time that people like to sit down to catch an NFL. We knocked one door and a 20ish year old guy answered the door holding a Budweiser. I asked him what game he was watching and he seemed surprised that I knew he was watching football without even seeing his TV. He said he was watching the Niners game, and I told him I'm a fan. We talked about football for a while and he invited us to come back a different time. So there are good things that are coming out of all that fantasy football playing and all sports watching haha.
We had a Stake Conference broadcast yesterday and Elder Christensen and Elder Gary Stevenson spoke to us. They talked a lot about missionary work and how members can get involved. So I was glad that he shared that message. They also talked about how the Book of Mormon is such a great main conversion tool. They both shared very good messages. Oh and yesterday evening we went to visit an active family. And it turns out both the mother and father served in the Roseville Mission. And the wife (totally forgot their names) served in Gridley for 7 months. I named off just about every family that I know from Gridley and she says she remembers all of them. Apparently Bishop Havens (Ryan's uncle) was her bishop while she was serving there. I think she said it was 16 years ago. But yeah that was pretty cool to make that connection.
Quick update on my elbow - rehab has been going great. My very loving Uncle Sam has been doing a great job, and the numbness and tingling has pretty much all gone away. President Jaggi is going to call my Philippines mission president tomorrow to see when I will be sent out there. He said it's most likely that it will be in 3 weeks, at the end of the transfer.
Well I'm looking forward to a good week hopefully with lots of work and lots of finding new people to teach. Hopefully I'll have so cool experiences I can share with you all next week. I love being a missionary and I love the gospel. Going to try and make the most out of these last 3 weeks here in Ogden. Love you all.