I'm starting to realize that there is rarely such a thing as a typical week for missionaries. Every week has some training or conference or event that makes it special. This week we had two big events, one was the Trainer/Trainee meeting, and the other was Stormin' Mormon night at the Lake Elsinore Storm game.
Trainer/Trainee meeting was a lot of fun because we got breakfast, and to see all our old MTC buddies again. Well not all of them, the Ventura Elders aren't here of course. Everyone is doing well, and it is just fun to hear about all the other parts of the mission because we're all so isolated in our own sections of Riverside. It keeps us from being disillusioned, thinking that all of Riverside will be like our first area. I did get a little scared because one of the Sisters from my MTC District wasn't at Trainer/Trainee meeting and I was starting to think that maybe she got sent home, but then I saw her at the baseball game and her companion had been sick for the last 4 days and she'd been stuck in the apartment.
On Friday night, the whole mission got to go to a Lake Elsinore Storm game. They are a single A minor league team for the Padres. Every year they have a "Stormin' Mormon" night where they recognize all the members and missionaries and stuff like that. It was a lot of fun, though it will be more fun next year. For all of the more experienced Elders it was a chance to see all their old friends, but I don't really know very many people yet. The Storm ended up losing in extra innings I think We had to leave in the top of the 10th after the visiting team tied it up with a home run in the Top of the 9th.
When I tell people I'm from Oklahoma, most people just say that that is cool or something along those lines. A lot of them make the comment that neither me or Elder Camper are from Utah, which is probably a rare occurrence. A few people will ask what part and talk about family they have down there or ask about the tornadoes. I like to tell people that my sister lived 1/4 mile away from the big tornadoes in 2013 and everybody looks so shocked and surprised and wonders why we still live there.
This week we did more "finding" than we had in previous weeks. We spent a couple of hours walking around neighborhoods multiple times this week and overall it went pretty well. Most people we talked to seemed pretty receptive, nearly everyone we talked to took a card with our number and told us to call or come back at a specific time, which is better than sometimes. There were a few times where people just refused to talk to us, but that's alright too because at least we aren't wasting our time or theirs. Yesterday when we were walking down a street this guy saw us coming, so he started to take his dog and walk inside his house, but we could still talk to him so we said Hi, but he pressed the button to close the garage, so I figured that conversation was over. But apparently his garage door was broken, so we awkwardly spent 30 seconds trying to talk to him while he kept pressing the button frantically trying to get it to go down. We got the point and walked away but I thought it was kind of funny. The rest of the week we found quite a few people who we got names and numbers from, but unfortunately not all of them turned out to want to talk to us really. There were a few that we decided would be better to pass over to the YSA or Spanish missionaries, which is really tough because you don't want to let go of the people you found because you've got to go find more, but it's more important that they get taught in the best environment for them.
There is one lady we were able to have a lesson with. We saw her outside watching her son play, he's like 1 year old. We went back the next day in the morning to teach, but we couldn't find someone to teach with us so we did the lesson outside. It went pretty well I think, though her son kept running off and she'd have to go check on him. I gave him my box to look at and play with and he seemed to take a liking to it, carrying it around all over the place. One time though he took it off and dunked it in some water they had out there, but luckily it survived unscathed. Good thing we taped it up so well! We haven't been able to visit her again, but she did like some of the things we talked about in the Plan of Salvation, so we're hoping to finish discussing it and see if she has any questions.
Another person we want to start teaching soon is a guy who walked up and talked to us at church yesterday. He said that he had attended an LDS church with his wife for 16 years, and they'd moved down here recently. Unfortunately she'd died recently, like a week or two ago, but he said that he really liked it, and he figured that he should do what he'd never done before and get baptized. So we're really excited to go and teach him, he is a really nice guy, we're going to go see him tomorrow hopefully.
Talking to people on the street really isn't as bad as I thought it would be, there's always something to talk about and most people are pretty nice here. Yesterday, Elder Camper put me in charge of it, he said that he wasn't going to say anything until I'd already started a conversation, so that was kind of a scary idea, but we'd been role-playing it in companion study and I'd seen him do it a few times. The weather here has actually been pretty nice recently, only like 75 degrees in the mornings and evenings, so we don't mind going out. Hopefully we go out on our bikes soon, I want to try it out before I'm going to be depending on it for daily travel someday.
One last cool thing we're doing is that the missionaries for the three wards in our building want to do a combined activity. It will be a big dinner with skits and fun entertainment from each ward, followed by a church tour and video and comments from a member of the mission presidency. In our training videos it talked about the importance of activities and members in getting people to come to church and we decided we wanted to try it out. We're going to be organizing like the whole thing, it will be in like 6 weeks so we've got plenty of time to figure it all out. We have a guy in our ward who runs an improv group made up mostly of members, we want to see if he'd be willing to do a short little show for us maybe. The focus is just to get people to see that Mormons are real people who have fun and we don't sacrifice pigs in our churches or anything, so that they will be more comfortable coming.
I don't remember if I told you but we've started going to a member's house for FHE and playing games with them. The boy normally has a non-member friend over it seems, and his grandpa is a recent convert as well, so it makes a nice way to end our P-days. We've played Catan a couple times, Elder Camper likes it a lot too, and the member we borrow games from also has the basic set for Carcassonne so maybe we'll play that in the near future too.
That's all for this week, thanks for everyone who is writing letters and e-mails, I love reading about how things are going back home.
See you soon,
"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work." -Gordon B. Hinckle