Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2nd letter

Life has been pretty good here in Syracuse. We've been doing a lot of teaching and there are a couple people that are ready for baptism! It's so cool to see the change in people's lives when they start to accept the Gospel. I can't wait to get back out there. Our area has a very large percentage of members so we teach a lot of inactive people, but there are a few who are non-members. It's pretty funny here though. There are the two sides of a coin. There are the people here that love us and always want to give us stuff and then there are so people who hate us and want absolutely nothing to do with the church. A lot of people eventually soften their hearts though and let us at least talk to them, if not teach them. Our days are real slow in the afternoons. Nobody is ever home so we do a lot of walking around, checking referrals, and talking to anyone who is home really. After dinner things pick up though. We visit a lot more people because they are actually home. We also tend to teach a lot of kids around here. I don't know why but it's just how it's been. It's like 3 of 5 people we teach/visit is a kid. I think I have a couple decent stories to tell this time so here we go! 

The other day I was on exchanges with my Zone Leader. We can upon this house that is right next to the stake center. The Relief Society President of the ward whose boundries the house is in said we should go over there. We knocked on the door and this girl(around 16,17) answered the door. We started talking to her and eventually asked if they'd like to meet with us sometime. She said that they were supposed to be the "Untouchable House" and they wanted nothing to do with us. She said that if her mom had answered the door she would have slammed it in our face. So the daughter said that they didn't want to meet with us. Ever. We asked if there was anything we could do for them and she said we could clean up their yard. We asked what time would be good and she went to ask her mom. The mom said that she didn't even want us to help them and that she going to have some other people do the work. I thought it was funny that she'd deny free work but I guess that's just how her mind works. I just thought that story was funny mainly because they called themselves untouchable. When I talked to my companion about it when I got home he said that they never go there because they hate us. It made me think that we should just keep stopping by every now and then because you never know when someone will be ready so that's what we are going to do.

Now it's time for the funniest experience ever. A member(Bro. Bond, on of the coolest guys ever :P) called us and asked if we could help him give a blessing to one of the families he hometeaches. We went over and gave a blessing to the husband and then the husband gave a blessing to the wife. After the blessing we heard the wife make a noise like she was surprised. I was thinking, "Yeah, that was a great blessing" and then I saw her staring at something. I looked over and saw a massive pile of dog puke. The dog threw up in the middle of the blessing! The dog then walked about 10 steps and threw up again! Just as we thought it couldn't get any worse he moved again and puked a third, and final, time all over the floor! But wait, there's more! Just after the dog threw up for the third time we hear a voice in the corner say "Mom, I just threw up." Her son had puked all over the place too! It was incredible! There was dog vomit and human vomit everywhere. One of their other dogs then started to eat the first pile of half-digested food. That was when Bro. Bond started getting queesy. Luckily he was able to hold it in and we got the whole mess cleaned up. We concluded that the dog was possessed and was purging evil spirits because it was so spiritual in that house. It was literally one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

1st letter

The weather here isn't too bad. I apparently missed a huge storm. They got over 20 inches of snow in 24 hours. It's generally not too cold unless the sun is down and the wind is blowing. It's starting to warm up and it feels great.

So, my companion's name is Elder Walz, he has been out for almost a year. He's a cool guy and pretty funny. The craziest part is that he is also from Mesa, but, check this, his name is also Connor! It's a crazy coincidence haha. We live with two other missionaries, Elder Heintz(our District Leader) and Elder Barnes. We live in a pretty nice house with plenty of room in it.

Our area is in Syracuse. It is about a 2 sq. mile area with 8 wards in it. It's a few miles away from our house though and we don't have a car or bikes since our area is a walking area. We have to get a ride from members to and from our house everyday. It's a good thing the members are so nice.

There are a lot of members here which makes tracting hard since members always want to talk to and/or feed you. Speaking of food, we are fed very, very well. We have dinner appointments everyday except for Tuesday, which is our P-day, unless we schedule it ourselves. A lot of our lessons are with part member or less active households.
It's hard to find new investigators unless someone gives us a referral. It's been quite a blast so far though. We had a baptism on my first Saturday here. I never got a chance to really teach the kid(He was 9 yrs old) but it was a really cool experience. Elder Walz and I got to be witnesses for the baptism and I got to bear my testimony on baptism as DJ(the kid that got baptized) was changing.
Everyone says I was lucky to come into a baptism that soon on my mission.

We also gave talks on Sunday. They called us up Friday night and asked if we could speak in sacrament. That gave us a whole 2 hours to prepare because we get 1 hour of personal study time each day, which we used to write the talks. I think it went fine though, I talked about Sacrament and Elder Walz talked about Baptism. The youth speakers before us took up a whole 2 minutes so we were left with like
45 minutes between the two of us. It was a pain in the butt.

We are teaching a couple kids that just recently got baptized. They have twin step-sisters that just recently put in their mission papers.
Their family is real cool and their step-mom is super nice. She is always trying to feed us or buy us something that we don't have. Her husband is not a member so we are trying to work with him. We play basketball with him on P-day evenings. I hope that he will finally accept to sit down and listen to us. He told his wife that he is learning by watching their example. The family thought it was a lot of pressure but it's also a great opportunity for them to help teach him.
He's a really nice guy and likes talking with us but he's not quite ready for the discussion yet, I guess.

There are a couple more families we are teaching but I've only met with them once so I don't know much about them yet. I am excited to continue meeting with them. There are some that have committed to baptism in April and it's super awesome to hear someone make that commitment.

I went on an exchange yesterday with an Elder Connell(Who, believe it or not, used to live in Mesa, and is Elder Walz's cousin) He has been out for just over a year and we went to teach an old lady in an assisted living home. It was a cool experience because it was the first time I've helped teach the first lesson. She seemed to be really interested and receptive to what we were saying. She is getting married on April 6th to a man who is a member. She has heard a lot of misconceptions about our church that we got to clear up. For example, she though that we worship Joseph Smith like other religions worship Jesus Christ. But the best one she said was that the church went into our bank accounts and took out our tithing without our permission. It look a lot not to bust out laughing but we quickly explained what tithing was and how it worked.

That's about all I can think of at the moment. I can't wait to keep working with people. It has been really fun, albeit VERY tiring, so far.

Elder Connor Ervin