Pday was awesome as always. We went with our district leaders to their church and played bball and soccer there! The gym has a carpet floor but it wasn't too bad. Just like the white church back home but bigger and only one hoop. But man my cardio is gone! I can still jump, shoot, all that but not by the end haha. Get tired so fast! Can't do my jump program in the mornings now either because our roof isn't high enough. We also went to yogurt land so that probably doesn't help haha. My knee hasn't bothered me too much so that's a blessing. It does seem to ache here and there though. The emails are all delayed though so that was annoying. Only had 3 emails this morning then around 5 they all started popping up. I forgot to send my weekly letter! Whoops. So you get 2 this week. We went to a part member families house tonight for dinner. The dad isn't a member and usually avoids the missionaries when they come over. Just goes into his room or watches tv. But this time he sat down and ate with us! Got to know him and he really opened up. He even joined us for the message and prayer! Work to do there. Super excited for what this week will bring!
This morning was pretty crazy. We spent it running from referral to referral appointments giving bibles and book of Mormons, setting return appointments. I hate staying in the car it just makes me tired. Finally we got to a set appointment with our investigator Justin. He's the golden one who asked to be baptized. We taught him the 3rd lesson because his uncle apparently told him that any Christian can baptize him so we had to reexplain the priesthood and how it's mandatory in order to baptize someone. He understood it and said "yeah that's what I thought I just didn't know how to explain it to him." So it was all good! He is super excited to get baptized and he even gave us a referral of his friend! Awesome guy. Afterwards we had a lesson with Gregory and one of our members came with us. The members is Russian and just moved to the states 3 weeks ago. He is a convert of 5 years and served a mission! Super awesome guy. Really thick Russian accent but speaks good English! Sadly Gregory wasn't there but we went and tried our backup and she was! Huge blessing that brother Artukov was with us because she is an older single lady. She was the one who came to church but didn't feel welcomed and brother Artukov related to her super well and shared his experience when he investigated the church. We basically just answered a question here and there and let him teach haha. Was awesome! She really opened up and committed to read, pray and come to church again! Then we had dinner at a Tongan families house so that was awesome. They usually make us sing for our dinner but they forgot so yay! Haha. Was a great day.
Today we had a lesson with a new referral and it was actually two referrals that lived in the same house. It was a husband and wife so we taught them both. Everything was going awesome until we quoted the first vision... Soon as we said "2 personages" the husband said "Wait wait wait, you're saying they are separate?" And it just went off from there. He had been raised up believing they were all one being so it took forever trying to explain. He just wasn't willing to accept it even after we showed him multiple scriptures. To me it's so simple but he could not get his head around it. 'Twas a rough time. Afterwards we had a lesson with our progressing investigator who is awesome as always! Taught him the word of wisdom and he said "Yep I can do that. And if I find a hidden treasure that makes me rich I'll get baptized that very day." Haha his baptismal date is the 21st. He's only 19 and will be the first to join of his family who are all baptist. We had a lesson fall through with Gregory again today, but street contacted around his house and found 2 people who gave us their info and asked us to stop by! So that was awesome. Had correlation with our branch mission leader who is awesome! He is so hard core it's crazy. Helps a ton. I remember the missionaries back home talking about how Mark Harker was the best ward mission leader they had had their whole mission. Now I understand what it means to have an awesome ward mission leader haha. Then we took a bible to a referral and he let us in! Taught him the restoration, invited him to be baptized, read the Book of Mormon, pray and he accepted! It was so cool. He is such a sincere guy and the lesson was super powerful. We didn't set a date though but we do have a return appointment. Awesome day as always!
Contacted potentials this morning and found 2 who were interested! We also went to a house that was a former investigator but they had moved, so we explained who we were and she was super interested and invited us over tomorrow! Super cool. Then we had a lesson with our investigator Gregory finally and in the past it said that the missionaries had taught him the word of wisdom so we followed up with that and he didn't know anything about it... So we taught that and he wasn't super willing to give certain things up. Sad because he was one of our baptismal dates for the 21st. Gonna continue to work with him though. He's coming to church this Sunday. We then had a meeting about the need to contact referrals and apparently Gladys Knight is coming to the mission in April and we are going to have to prepare to contact a ton of referrals after she performs for investigators. We then did weekly planning, and then went to contact potentials, referrals and an investigator we hadn't met yet. We found him, he's 17 and apparently his family didn't want him to take the lessons because they wanted to learn as well so now we are teaching the whole family! Super awesome. Oh and a funny dog story. So we had to go up and down this one street twice and there was this pit bull that would go crazy each time we went by sticking it's nose through the fence and everything. So the second time we went by it came rushing to the fence at full speed from the house, went to stick it's nose through the fence and misjudged the pole and ran straight into the pole.. Haha. Probably one of thee funniest things I've seen an animal do. It stopped barking, just stood there. Saw a few people dancing down the street so that's always fun to watch! What's funny is that they all dance very similar haha.
This morning we went to a referrals house and he was interesting. Had a lot of visible illegal drugs in his house all beside his bibles haha. He wanted a Book of Mormon but the print was too small so we scheduled a different time to come back. Had zone training meeting after that and it was super good! We have a really big zone. 15 sets of elders, no sisters. I played the piano and yes mom you would be proud because I can now play several songs from the actual hymn book haha. President Weidman came to our meeting which was super cool and talked about the need to speak with everyone. We definitely saw the blessings that came from that today as we talked with everyone we could see! Helped a guy move a fridge into an apartment and the lady in the apartment was super interested, gave us her info and asked when we could come by! So new investigator! I was on exchanges with Elder Bair who is a super cool guy. He is very smart. Dinner tonight was super awesome! Had roast pork, potatoes, carrots and jello! Nice to have a dinner that was similar to moms cooking. Then tonight we had a lesson with our 16 year old investigator and our branch mission leader came with us. Her mom had met with missionaries many years ago and so we taught them both! Well the mom kinda just listened in here and there. But she accepted to be baptized on the 6th of March! And both her, her mom, and her little sister are going to come to church on Sunday. So cool!
We ran around a little this morning from appointment to appointment mainly setting return appointments haha. But we had a set lesson with our investigator Keith who is super solid. But we didn't have a baptismal date with him! So we set one today for the 21st! Haha. He is so cool. Reminds me a lot of Campbell. Super chill, smart and always crackin jokes haha. He is definitely going to get baptized. Very golden. Oh one funny thing that happened this morning was we got a referral for a lady who wanted a bible so when we got there we introduced ourselves, gave her a bible, and as soon as we said we were Mormons she gasped and said "What?! I don't want this bible then." And gave it back to me.. So we asked her what she had against Mormons and she didn't have any real reason so explained that we believe in God, Jesus and the spirit and she was super surprised, we explained what the Book of Mormon was, and she took the bible in the end haha. So interesting how Mormons have been labeled as "non believers of Christ" when the whole entire Book of Mormon is about him. Crazy that everyone who is "anti Mormon" that we talk to doesn't know that. Shows how much work there is for us as members to do. We also had a lesson with our other investigator Justin who is also golden. He is all about baptism haha. Taught him the plan of salvation and afterwards he told us that he had invited all of his family and friends to his baptism on the 21st! Then we had a cool experience just before dinner. We were early so we decided to walk around the streets for a while and as we walked by a house a guy called us over from his porch. He explained that he was a shuttle driver and that a guy who he dropped off at Disney land told him to talk to the next 2 guys he saw in white shirts and ties with name tags on. He promised he would so that why he called us over. We taught him a short restoration lesson, got his info, and a return appointment! So cool. We are hoping to have 5 investigators at church tomorrow! This area is on fire.
Had 3 investigators at church today! Justin, Desiray and Keith. It was Keith and Justin's 2nd time and they both stayed for all 3 hours! 19 and 18 years old. Desiray is 16 and had to leave in the 3rd hour but it was all good. Just so awesome because we found Justin 3 weeks ago, and he's getting baptized in 13 days! After church we were planning to go to appointments but some crazy stuff happened and we ended up going on exchanges. I went with Elder Pearson and we took 1 of his investigators and Keith to the visitors center. It was Keith's first time seeing the temple and he loved it! When we got there and just walked around it for a bit he said he felt just a peace, as if he weren't in LA anymore. Then we went on a visitors center tour and it was super good. Afterwards we went and saw a former invstigaotor who is 17. His Aunt is super anti Mormon and came to the door and told us she never wants to see us on her property again so now we have to meet with him somewhere else. It's a pretty tough situation. Again she said "We are Christians, and don't want part in your program!" I think that's probably the main thing that's been getting on my nerves is how many people think we are "Mormons" and not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Whenever we tell people we believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit they are always shocked. Some people do know us as the Latter Day Saints though. But it was a good week! Keith and Justin are looking solid for the 21st. Our other investigators need some work but that's all good.
Hope you all have a great week! I do miss home at times but the mission is a once in a lifetime chance and has been an amazing experience and helped me grow a ton already. Time flies when you're having fun and time has definitely flown by. Shows how being in the Lord's service is the best thing we can do. Be a part of the work of salvation. I liked this quote below. Helped me remember the eternal perspective.
Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.-Rosemary M Wixom
Love Elder Bennett