Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Original Prankster

Monday, 12th of August 2013

The transfer calls were announced today, Elder Blanco is going to the Mesquite zone and will be speaking Spanish, Sam will be staying where he is and will be getting a new companion called Elder Ballard. He doesn't know much about him apart from he has been out 6 weeks longer than him, but he thinks they will get along even though they've never met before.

This week was pretty funny, Sam has been having prank battles with the other elders who are staying with them (Elder John & Elder Harper). It started when Harper didn't put the lid back on a bottle properly, threw it for Sam to catch and he got covered in water. So Sam decided to pull the pipe out of the cistern in Elder Harpers bathroom, Sam and Elder Blanco thought it was funny because they heard him thudding around in the bathroom, then he burst out the door and said "I don't know what you guys have done but I'm NOT mopping that up", the bathroom got a little bit flooded but nothing got damaged.

Every time they go tracting, when they get to the last door, they jokingly say "Here comes the Ensign story". They were on the last door of the street, and so far only 2 people had answered and they weren't interested. An older lady answered the door and invited them in before they even said anything, so Sam and Elder Blanco were thinking she was a member who wasn't on their record, since the only people who normally invite them in immediately are members. It turns out she saw the Book of Mormon musical, had a lot of questions, knew a lot of people at her work which were members, and was reading about someone's story on how they joined the church and how it changed their life. She was really happy to see them, but they didn't have time to teach her, so they have set up an appointment for Tuesday, and hopefully all will go well!

One of the Zone Leaders (Elder Crapo), taught Sam a system that he has been using for memorizing scriptures, he said people have done research on it, and if you keep it up every day for 2 years you can end up with a photographic memory. He said his old Bishop did it, and he can look at any page of the Book of Mormon for a few seconds, then you can ask him what the 4th word on the 17th line is, and he can tell you. Sam couldn't really explain how the system works, but looking at how it's set out it's a really clever system, the way it's set up, you wont forget the old stuff you have memorized, and you can constantly learn new scriptures. Sam wants to keep it up for the rest of his mission and then he will know almost 600 scriptures. So far he has memorized 'Our Purpose', 'The Standard of Truth', 10,11,12th Articles of Faith, Alma 7:11-12, Moroni 10:3-5, Alma 32:21, and the 13 steps to weekly planning. He is going to order the seminary scripture mastery cards and learn all 4 years worth. He is also going to start doing 'The Spartacus Workout', as he thinks it looks like fun, but he will let us know how it goes.

When Sam is out contacting people he picks up any change that he finds on the floor, he has already found a few dollars worth of change! Today he printed out his sisters first scan photos so he can look at them properly back at his apartment as he wants to try guess the sex!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Quick Update

Monday, 29th of July 2013

Not too much stuff happened this week, but here are the highlights:

- Sam slid off his bike, luckily he was only going 5mph and he landed on his feet, but one of the pedals got a bit bashed up, there was oil on the road right on the corner, there was no grip at all!
- He tracted into a satanist, she looked like a man and had expanders in her ears and her ear lobes were all droopy
- There's been a lot of lightning lately, and it's been really windy, Sam and Elder Blanco had to fight the wind all the way back home yesterday.
- Sam and Elder Blanco have set up a game, they are sort of running the work like a business, it's made them talk to a lot more people and hand out a lot more pass along cards and pamphlets, they keep finding new ways to make the work fun.
- They haven't been doing a whole lot of tracting, here are the stats for the last 4 weeks: 198 doors knocked, 131 people weren't in, 44 people weren't interested, 1 crazy person (satanist), 15 people from other religions and 7 return appointments (they all flaked on them).
As you can see tracting isn't the best use of time, he is looking forward to when they can start using tablets and computers to proselyte, then they will be able to reach a lot more people, and waste a lot less time.

When The Rain Came Down...

Monday, 22nd of July 2013

This week has been an eventful week for Sam!

He had dinner with the Roper family, for a change he shared something with them for the spiritual thought. They watched a video on youtube called 'Brad Wilcox - His grace is sufficient'. It is the best talk Sam has ever heard, he explains perfectly how Christ's grace works, how the atonement works, and our whole purpose of being here. Sam really wanted us to watch it as he said it will change your whole perspective of what repentance really is, and how much Heavenly Father loves us.

On Friday Elder Blanco went to a leadership training meeting, so Sam was on exchanges until 4pm, in a completely different area. It was a good day for him as he felt he has definitely grown in confidence. In each situation he found he would naturally take the lead, whether it was in the conversation, sharing a scripture or a lesson, Sam didn't think he would be able to do that, but he had been praying that he would be able to be more confident and it definitely worked for him!

They had an interesting discussion with a man who had all sorts of concerns, they talked about the atonement, fall, restoration, spirit world, 3 degrees of glory, baptism, parables and black people not having the priesthood until the 70's. The guy would ask a question, then as Sam would start to explain he would bring up something completely irrelevant, then as he would explain that then he would keep interrupting. Sam explained that the church had no official statement on the priesthood not being given to black people, however he told him he had discussed it before. He explained, and he agreed that the people at that time were still biased towards black people, he then explained that with the priesthood comes a lot of responsibility, however because of the way the people were at that time, they wouldn't be able to fulfill their responsibilities. He kept asking the same question and Sam must have explained it 10 times to him. Sam said he was friendly but pretty ignorant.

After exchanges Sam and Elder Blanco went to check on the Wagasky family, they are the people Sam had his first meal with in the field, they were preparing to move so they wanted to see if they needed any help. On the way to their house, they could see a thunderstorm which was weird as they could see the lightning, but couldn't hear the thunder. It started to rain and the sky was black, and it was nearly constant lightning. They were inside talking to the family and Sam started to feel sick, completely randomly out of nowhere, so he stood outside for a few minutes and vomited four times, then was fine afterwards! Their phone went off, as they received a CMAS alert for flash floods and severe hail, the rain started coming down really heavy and the lightning was insane. Luckily Brother Wagasky gave  them a ride home, and they saw some INSANE lightning, you could see the bolts going straight across the sky, and a lot of fork lightning. It was almost constant lightning, the longest time he counted without seeing a lightning strike was 5 seconds. There were storms on Sunday as well, the wind was really strong, Sam sat out on the balcony and ate his cereal and watched the storm. They are going to have another storm today, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last night they had another really cool experience, one of the members didn't show up to church so they went by to see how she was doing. While they were there the young men's president also came and told them that he had been praying specifically for us. Literally 10 seconds after they left, a guy shouted out to Elder Blanco 'are you guys Mormons?', he told him they were, and he told them he wants to join our church, and wanted to know how to do it. He is called Christopher Williams, and seems pretty genuine in wanting to meet with the missionaries and learn. He said he invited the missionaries back to his house 2.5 months ago, but they didn't show up, however Sam and Elder Blanco were both in the area 2.5 months ago and they have never met him until now!