Hi everyone! This is going to be a pretty short post even though there's been a lot of stuff happening, because, well, we've been so busy that I haven't had time to write it all down as it happened, and we've had a lot to get done today as well!
I'm going to focus mostly on this last weekend, because that's when most of the exciting stuff started!
We had an amazing lesson with a less active member who was a referral. Elder Sansom referred to it as "textbook" and said that he's only had maybe 1 or 2 other ones that went that well. We switched off, citing scriptures and bearing testimony and the Spirit was really strong. Upon leaving that appointment, I was at such a Spiritual high that I was definitely starting to get why everyone says you never want to come home!
On our way back to the apartment, E. Sansom stopped and felt prompted to knock a door that we were next to. A man named "Wander" opened it up and talked to us a bit. He's got a really crazy schedule, and we've never actually gotten into his house, but we keep giving him challenges to read different parts of the Book of Mormon and he keeps achieving them and having more questions. We joked that if we had to teach every lesson via a 45 second door contact, I guess we'd be happy to do it.
I also got certified to do online proselyting, which we do through Facebook as some of you may have seen on there. I can't really look at anyone's posts (part of the app that Elder Sansom made shows even your newsfeed all together so that you can focus), and I can't chat with anyone from home, but I can add friends. Our Facebook proselyting involves using the program that Elder Sansom made, which lets you search by area and by different criteria (for example, people from Puebla, Mexico, people from Santo Domingo, people who have listed "Spanish" as a language), then there's another button that will click every single "Add Friend" button on the results page for you.
We go through, messaging pretty much everybody and try to steer the conversation towards the Gospel as quickly as possible, though we definitely get to know some really cool people! We've even run into some of them walking on the street and recognized them from chatting with them! It's apparently been just as effective or slightly more effective than knocking doors has been for finding people who are interested in our mission. That's good, because we got whitewashed into this area, meaning that both of us are new, and we didn't have anybody who the previous missionaries there were teaching, so we've had to start pretty much from scratch. We do have one couple who had been taught before who want to be baptized really bad, but we're still trying to help them get to church.
Anyway, sitting in a McDonalds for the free wifi and talking to confused people on Facebook in Spanish has been a pretty funny means of trying to find people to teach.
Friday was Zone Conference! It was really cool to be able to meet everyone in the zone. We had some really great talks, and took a group photo! I'll try and get it on this email, but if not I'll upload it to my blog later.
I went on my first exchange to Patterson! I was with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Risenmay, who's a great guy and has been in Patterson long enough to know the tricks of getting around. That's good because Patterson is also the sketchiest place in our mission. People in our mission joke about wanting to go to Patterson to get a "Patterson-esque" story. It was recommended that I bring a wallet that didn't have anything in it... just in case.
It turned out to be really good though! We taught some personal English classes and met a lot of the people they're teaching there who are all really close to baptism! We met a member lady there who served a mission in Peru way back in the day, and she didn't have time to cook before we got there so she got us Burger King. We ate Whoppers and drank Inca Kola while she showed us mission pictures! It was a great time!
We finally met our ward! It was great, but it was a little sad to see that we only really have one active family from our area. We asked one of the other missionaries who'd been in Passaic for a while which families were our area and which were not, and he pointed out one family and then was stumped. We have a lot of inactive families and members, but trying to get the ward to focus on them (because our job is mostly finding new people) has been difficult at times. We still have great hope though!
Apologies for the short email after such a long one last time, but we've got an appointment soon with Wander. Hopefully things will settle a little in the coming week so that I can keep a better record of it and send it all out next week!
Elder Kai Reyes
It's apparently common to see Elmo strapped to the front of trucks. This was my first time.
Also, an attempt at cooking for myself. Not bad?