Mormon Missionary Monday: Week of 6/20

For those of you who want to know how my bro's doing in Cali, then read on! Monday is my favorite day now because it is mail day! I love it!

The only thing that I don't like about his emails is that he never capitalizes...I guess he doesn't have time when he is writing in the Apple store on P day....

this week has been pretty regular i guess. it's the first week that hasn't been really crazy or anything really out of the ordinary that has happened.
tuesday started off normally, studies, workout, etc. we had a zone conference at 9. it was pretty awesome. we had the 3 valley zones get together, our zone is pretty small, only about 14 missionaries total, we had maybe 50 missionaries attending the conference. president martin, his wife, and the assitants to the president (AP's) all gave trainings on different subjects they felt inspired to share. the AP's training was on creating good habits here because that's one of the only things we get to take back with us. president martin is a huge business guy, ran pepsico for a while and also fritolay. he's world renowned in the business world and had alot of great insight on the habits to develop and that the mission help you with. the ap's focused on the spiritual aspect of things. it helps each day to wake up, pray, and study the scriptures. it sets the mood for the day and invivest the guidance from God in your life. they had alot of quotes from top business executives and professors from around the world, mormon and not, commenting on how the mission is the thing that changed their lives and it's why they are the top of the business world now. the experiences you have and learn from on the mission are completely applicable to daily life and any profession, esp business. you have to work with people, sell religion, get along with someone 24/7 that you have never met before, work in a heirarchy of leadership and a chain of command, plan, follow through, get to appointments, give trainings, receive trainings, and so much more. they said to focus on forming good habits that you can take back in daily routine, but also in your personality. how you listen, treat others, develop relationships, etc. it was a great training that lasted until 4. we had a couple appointments with some lessa ctive members that we are working with to get back. we met with a family that was less active for dinner. their son was never in church, but since coming back, we have been able to teach him the lessons and he wants to get baptized on saturday! we're starting to put everything together for that and see if his dad can baptize him, they dont remember if he has the proper priesthood authority yet, but we'll keep working on it. we had a wonderful dinner and a lesson, he's only 13 but very sharp, quiet, which makes lessons more of a presentation, but he can tell us what we taught him in detail afterward. he's a solid kid, with a good group of friends already in the young men's program in the church area.
wednesday we had exchanges. exchanges is where the companionships swap, or exchange, companions for a day. i left my area to go with elder smith, a zone leader. he's over the singles ward in our stake, so they have a little more area to cover. his companion, elder brinkerhoff came down to encino, my area for the day with elder schiess, my companion. we switched tuesday night, and woke the next day. same routine, wake, pray, workout, shower/get ready, study. we had a zone-district mtg at 11 with the district leaders and the zone leaders. i am neither so it's extra study time for me. i read through some of the talks given in general conference this past time loking for some good stroies to share. elder smith had set up a busy day for us so we got started right after lunch. monique was first. we picked up a recent convert, hugo, who has his mission call to texas to come with us. we met with monique and taught her the word of wisdom and the commandments. we also planned out her baptism for sunday. she was way excited and loves the church. her mother had been taking the lessons, stopped for some reason unkown to me, and monique started taking them. we left there and dropped off hugo and went to see hao. a chinese man who doesn't have a strong belief in God, more of a superior power. we taught him about king lamoni's father's conversion and prayer and how he can know for himself if God is there. the prayer goes: "o God, aaron (a missionary teaching the king) hath told me there is a God, and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me?" a powerful lesson, with just the desire to know God, he will let us know he is there. he prayed, got nothing immeidiatley but said he would continue to try. we left and took a short break, it was way hot, then we went knocking for an hour. we just knock on people's doors and see if they might be interested in the gospel and Jesus Christ. it's fun because alot of the people here are jewish so they don't want anything to do with us, and the rest are catholic. we try anyway though. we went to see one investigator, annetta, a hungarian young lady, maybe 22, in the united states for about 3 months, and living with a guy whose family is LDS. she got a book of mormon on sunday and read all of first nephi by wednesday when we stopped by (53 pgs.). we were impressed, talked for a bit and promised to stop by another time (we can't be with a sister alone, another sister has to join us or another brother just for safety and precaution). after that we met up with the sister missionary companionship who had an investigator to pass to us. since elder smith and elder brinkerhoff cover the singles ward (an area plus all the young single adults in the larger area) they wanted to pass the investigator to them. joey is a single polynesian 27 year old, catholic background. we taught him the plan of happiness or plan of salvation. he asked about alot of things, but though it made sense overall. we asked him to be baptized, and he wasnt ready to make the committment but would pray about it, and said he was searching for something deeper. his catholic baptism was more tradition he said, and for a saving ordinance he felt like there had to be something deeper about it, a more personal decision than just because of family, also he wondered about the baptism of fire the scriptures talk about and the receiving of the Holy Ghost. we got to tell him about all of that, how the Holy Ghost can be with continually after one is baptized. he was excited but sober about it, its intense stuff to talk about but he's a deep thinker and is quick to pick up on things. we went from there to our dinner appointment with a member who is engaged and moving out of the house he shares with 5 other guys all renting out. he served a mission in argentina, a great guy with alot of good advice and great stories. we went from there to story time, some of the ward get together each wednesday night to talk about a topic from general conference. we brought the topic of focusing on what matters most and not getting distracted. we shared president uchtdorf's story of the lightlbulb and the plane crash to illustrate. it was a great discussion. we returned home and swapped back to normal areas.
thrusday wasn't a very good day. we had very little planned out and alot of time to figure out what do to. we studied, had companionship study, planned out the day, and went out. we had a couple appointments that all fell through, we thought we would stop by some elderly sisters and those wh are home-bound, but none answered. we scrambled for our dinner appoinment, but finally got it set up and went. we rushed from there to our lesson with david, another investigator in a less active family. he's also gettng baptized on saturday. he came to play basketball with us, ws interested, came to church, loved it, took the lessons. we'll teach him the last one this week and he'll be baptized on saturday! but that was about it on thursday, nothing really intense or interesting.
friday was very interesting. we started off normally. we had a district meeting where those members of the area get together and elder schiess, district leader, gives a training for us. we took lunch with the whole zone. we went from here, dropped off our car and elders smith and brinkerhoff's apartment, and went to give a baptismal interview to monique. elder smith was at an eye appointment, so we both went with elder brinkerhoff. we arrived, had hugo and sarah, another recent convert, come with us, but monique wasnt there! she had to run to the hospital with friend who had some serious sickness or something. we returned to our car, which wouldn't start. we popped the hood. one side of the battery was completly corroded over, we knocked on a door to get some tools to get the wires off to clean it. the car still wouldn't even turn over. we gave it a couple jumps from hugo's car but it still did nothing. we were stranded. we called pep boys to get a tow and it was estimated to be about and hour and a half for it to arrive. elder schies drove back with hugo and sarah to get our car while brinkerhoff and i stayed with the broken car. the tow came, jumped us, and the car started. we slowly followed the tow truck to pep boys and got it checked. meanwhile, elder schiess and elder smith arrived with our car. brinkerhoff and schiess left to do monique's interview, leaving me and elder smith to tend the car. they got it fixed, the battery wasnt holding a charge at all so they replaced it. by now it was 5:45. elder schiess and i had dinner at 6 and elder smith and brinkerhoff for 6:30. we went on exchanges again. elder smith and i drove for a ways to our dinner with leslie, a wonderful young sister. her mother was visiting her as well, she rents from another member too. leslie had homemade everything, enchaladas, queso dip, salsa, rice, beans, it was very good. we left with a spiritual thought and drove back to elder smith's apartment. elder brinkerhoff and schiess came back, and we went home. a long, exhausting interesting day.
friday was also kinda interesting. we play basketball with some members and their friends as a way to get potential investigators, like david. we played at 8 till 9 and left to get ready. we had a missionary blitz with the sherman oaks area. all the missionaries from our zone get together with the ward members, go out and knock doors. it's great for us to get out, it helps the members see what the missionaries do and say, and gets them excited about missionary work. it also gets alot of ground covered for that ward. i went out with brother stroud, a younger guy, just married in january, to a recent convert, baptized in january. they are in a band together, and have been working with each other for like 15 years. we had a couple lessons later, and set a baptismal date with another investigator. we contacted some, and hopefully get some calls from that as well.
i'm about out of time for emailing so i will stop there. sunday was great, but nothing incredible, we went to two baptisms for our area, monique and another lady in another ward. but yeah. a good week full of adventure and work. we are always tired but its a great feeling knowing that there is nothing better we could be doing.
-Elder Bates

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