This week was kind of insane.
This city can be so absurd sometimes, and I absolutely love it.
Here's a summary of my week:
1. Elder Hansen turned 19! He's so young!
2. One of the people who was interviewed to be baptized last week gave us a heart attack by disappearing.
3. My family had Jackie Chan over for dinner in Utah.
4. We baptized two people yesterday!
Let's start from the beginning:
Elder Hansen turned 19!
I'm terrible at baking, but managed to make a cake out of a box (with some assistance). He's a super solid guy, and an incredibly hard working missionary. Trying to keep up with him while biking up hills evokes memories that are a mix between Scouting experiences and rugby conditioning. I've learned a ton from him this transfer!
Being a missionary in terms of age is weird, because back home everyone treated me like I was super young (rightly so). Here however, you'd think I was absolutely ancient. With all the missionaries fresh out of high school, the people who I interact with are 18 or 19 and practically think that people over 20 are part of a different generation.
One of the people who got interviewed for baptism last week, sent us a message saying that she overheard a malicious neighbor planning to push her down the stairs or plant drugs in her apartment to try to get rid of her (she's a sweet old lady who definitely does not do drugs).
We tried to contact her to get clarification, but she never responded. We tried contacting her several times throughout the day, and couldn't reach her.
Then, the first counselor contacted us to ask if the baptisms were secure for Sunday, and we had to explain that one of them was confirmed, but that we weren't sure about the second. We had to explain that we were still trying to make sure she was okay and also not wrongfully arrested for drug possession.
Fortunately, the next morning she called us and said everything was fine. She had left the city for a little while, but was back and excited to meet with us again. She was able to be baptized yesterday! More on that in a bit.
Meanwhile, at home, my family has been sending me updates because apparently Jackie Chan literally came to visit my family. I have no desire to leave the mission field anytime soon, but it was definitely hard to accept that my family sat down for dinner with a legend like Jackie Chan and I wasn't even there! People on the mission didn't believe me until I showed them the photo of him with my family. I'll attach that if you don't believe me.
Finally, to top off the week, I was able to personally baptize two people, and the first person that I had personally found and taught! This email is called "Greenie Moves" because we made several during the course of the baptism. Number one was forgetting to take any pictures, so apologies right off the bat for that one. Number two was that I forgot to bring a spare shirt to the baptism, so I just had to go without a shirt and tie (in my sweater) until we managed to get home two hours later. Expect some pictures next week, though!
Danny and Mayra were the two people who were baptized yesterday and who will be confirmed next week. Despite being run by two fairly new missionaries, the Spirit was really strong during the meeting, and it was a beautiful moment for me to be able to personally help these amazing individuals out of the water and see how much they'd changed since we first met them. Alma talks about becoming "new creatures" by baptism, and it I have an even stronger personal witness of the power that repentance and baptism have to change the course of someone's life.
The story of finding and teaching Danny is really amazing, and I'll put it in my email next week along with the pictures so that you have a face to put it with.
Overall, this week was really amazing. I thought last night after it was all done that the craziness in Passaic had been used up. Of course, then last night we knocked into a deaf teenager's house, a house answered by a completely naked child who asked us, "What do you want," and a man who answered our "How are you?" with "Eating pineapple." and then ate pineapple through a 30 minute conversation about how he had tried all of the different churches in the world.
I love New Jersey.
Spiritual thought this week is about prayer and faith. We've been teaching a lesson about how simple and powerful faith is. We know the sun will rise tomorrow even though we haven't seen it because it's happened a million times before. Through scripture study, we also know that God has made miracles happen millions of times before. We were reading Hebrews 11 and talking about how if Moses could part a sea, Daniel could tame a lion, David could slay Goliath, all using faith, that don't you think we could get help overcoming a financial problem? A difficult family situation? Even just feeling down for a day or misplacing something small?
The attached scripture from Mormon talks about the promise that with enough faith, Heavenly Father will answer any doubt that we have through prayer. I challenge all of us to think about something that we're struggling with and bring it before our Heavenly Father.
I testify that if we have enough faith, enough belief that we will receive an answer, that we will receive an answer.