Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 2: Cockroaches, Ping-Pong, and Speaking Spanish...

"P.S. I am pretty famous around here with the Latinos, because of my last name - HA!"

This week has been pretty up and down, pretty hectic, and pretty awesome.

Last week, my companion, Elder Odle, and I were supposed to teach a lesson to our investigator Valeria (the investigator is actually an actor that he gets to practice with), however we legitimately had zero time to prepare for it.  We basically walked up to the room, said a prayer, and asked for help to know what to say and know what to talk about. This wouldn’t have been too bad if I was teaching in English, but since its Spanish, we were both basically planning on failure.  We walked in there, and I can’t exactly tell you what I taught, because I don’t remember.  But the spirit was strong.  We talked a bit of the restoration and Joseph Smith and modern revelation in our day.  It might not seem too cool to you guys, but you have to understand that we walked in there blind.  We didn’t know what we were going to say, we didn’t know how we were going to say it, and we literally just put everything in the Lord’s hands.  I’m not going to say it was a mind-blowing lesson or anything.  But, the spirit was strong, and we did well.  We got her to commit to another visit, the following day.  And, we rocked that lesson as well, and committed her to baptism.  It was a cool experience.

My morning teacher, Hermano Guiterrez, is awesome.  He is so nice and loving and helpful and just -straight up- an amazing person.  We got two new investigators this week (actors).  One named Judit (who is actually Hermana “N”) and Juan (who is actually just Hermano Guiterrez).  My companion and I both did very well in our lessons Monday and Tuesday with them.  Judit is a very tough character to teach.  She is the kind of person who is super busy and doesn’t have time to talk to missionaries, so getting through the door to teach her was almost impossible.  My companion and I were struggling because we thought she would just let us in, like Valeria had.  We were standing at the door trying to convince her to let us come inside to share a message with her, but she just wouldn’t listen.  My companion had been struggling earlier this week with his Spanish.  So, I suddenly had the feeling to testify of the truth of our message, right there on the doorstep.  I promised her that if she let us in, we could change her life for the better.  She just paused for a moment, and then let us in.  In our lesson, we talked about the characteristics of God, and discussed a few scriptures, which are all actually pretty cool.  If I remember correctly, we began with Acts 2:27-29, which explains that we are the literal offspring of God, then we moved on to 1 John 4:7-9, 19 which talks about how our Heavenly Father loves us, and why he loves us.  Then we moved on to Alma 18:32 which is the story of when Ammon taught King Lamoni about the creation and about God.  He teaches that God knows all of us personally and individually, and He knows the desires of our hearts.  Then we moved on to….oh man… I think 3 Nephi: 14 where it talks about how Heavenly Father wants to bless us and help us, just like any other father would want to help his child.  The character, Judit, didn’t show a lot of emotion, but we did leave her a Book of Mormon, and we did schedule another time to meet with her.

Our other investigator, Juan, was awesome (Hermano Guiterrez).  He used more language we could understand, so we actually got to fully have a conversation with him.  We talked about work, family, and how his wife is about to leave him.  We asked him if he was interested in knowing more about God, and we gave the same lesson as we gave to Judit.  However, instead of just going scripture to scripture, we were able to ask him questions about how he felt, having him read scriptures outloud.  He just opened up his heart to us because of the way we made him feel.  My companion and I are both really good at getting people to trust us.  We’re pretty good with all the social queues, like holding eye contact, smiling and being sincere.  He told us he had problems with drinking and drug use, so we told him we could help him stop.  We testified and promised him that anything is possible with Christ’s help.  We talked about the atonement, which we were NOT AT ALL prepped to do, but it was awesome.  Then I offered to say a prayer.  He asked me how to pray.  I explained to him how to pray.  I didn’t even know I COULD explain how to do that in Spanish.  It was so cool.

I have one more little spiritual experience to tell you.  Last week, I found 300 pesos in the bathroom - which is about 30 bucks.  I asked all the elders around my dorm if it belonged to them, but they all said no.  At that point, I assumed it belonged to the Mexican Elders who live in our dorm, who we rarely see.   So that night, while Elder Cook and I were playing paper basketball, they came in.  I remembered the money I had found.  In my very broken Spanish, I asked if it belonged to either of them.  One of them just looked at me like I was stupid, so I must not have said it very well.  But then I explained again and he said it wasn’t his.  I asked the other elder if he had lost any money.  AND, he HAD lost some three days before, and he had been looking all over for it.  He said he lost a green bill and a red bill, because he didn’t know how to say 300 in English.  I told him that I thought I had found it, then grabbed it, and handed it to him. He just looked down at his money for like 30 seconds.  Then he looked up at me, his eyes welling up with tears, and he asked where I found the money.  After I told him, he started tearing up a bit more.  He said he had been looking everywhere for 3 days.  Then he said “you saved my life; without this money, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to my first months rent on my mission.”  Then he hugged me and told me that he would help me with anything because I found his money.  I obviously declined all of that, because to me it was just 30 bucks and I was just giving him back his money.  It was like the coolest thing ever.  It gave me a really good idea of what it’s like for missionaries that are much less fortunate than I am.  What an awesome experience.

Okay, now I’ll tell you about a couple devotionals & adventures with my companion.  So, elder Odle has been pretty quiet lately, and I had thought he was homesick or something.  So, I decided that instead of going to the gym with Elder Burdge, during gym time, we should all play sand volleyball as a district together.   Elder Odle loves loves loves volleyball.  It ended up being super fun! Volleyball is actually one of my favorite things to do now.  We all love volleyball, and play whenever we can.  And, other than Elder Odel, I am probably the best player.   I make a lot of cool dives; its super fun.  My district kinda hates me for it, though, because they aren’t super athletic.  I wouldn’t say I’m VERY good at the sports we play, but I pick up stuff pretty quick.  OH, and a side note.  I am also the best ping-pong player in ALL of dorm “B.”  We had a competition one night, and I legit beat like 20 Latinos in a row in ping pong, in addition to Elder Cook, and all the American Elders.  I haven’t lost :-).  I’ve gotten really good. :-)

I’ve gotten both of dad's care packages, which were SWEET.  I’ve shared with everyone.  I have kept all the food in my room, which ended up being a TERRIBLE idea, for reasons I’ll explain in a second.  I also got Doug’s care package, which was sweet.  I have yet to get any of Amber's letters which BUM ME OUT because I want to frikken read them, but I can’t.  So, works.   Henry sending me stuff works, but regular mailing and take forever.

So, a funny story: (Ok, insert from mom here.  Before reading this, you have to understand that Mason has serious arachnophobia.  He hates all kinds of bugs, and I’ve had to kill all bugs for him since he was a small boy, and nothing has changed, to date).

Earlier this week I was taking a shower in the evening, and out of nowhere I hear Elder Cook scream, “OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, WHAT IS THAT THING, IT’S FREAAKKINNN HUUUUUUGE SON, WHAT IS IT, WHAT IS IT.”  I’m just like, “oh my gosh, it must be some kind of crazy animal in our room; I’m going to die.”  The bathroom door was open because there is a divider between the shower and the toilet, so more than person can use the bathroom.  And, Elder Cook says, “ITS A MASSIVE COCKROCH, OH MY GOSH IT’S HUGE.  I NEED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT THING, OH MY GOOOSH.”

Then I started freaking out, and I screamed from inside the shower, “GET THAT THING OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW; GET ALL OF MY FOOD OUT OF MY FREAKIN’ ROOM, THROW MY TRASHCAN OUTSIDE, AND THROW AWAY THE CAPTAIN CRUNCH, OR MORE OF THOSE THINGS ARE GONNA GET IN HERE!!”  Then he yells back at me, “SNOW, IF I CATCH THIS THING, IT’S GOING STRAIGHT INTO THE SHOWER WITH YOU.”  So I yelled,  “no it isn’t, no it isn’t, no it isn’t! I am totally freaking out because they all know how afraid I am of bugs.  So, I run butt naked out of the shower, slam the door, and lock it.  I quickly dry off, and I’m only in my gym shorts and glasses at this point.  Elder Cook somehow herded this massive thing outside by the time I got out there.  I ran and got my Captain Crunch that Doug so kindly gave me (WHICH I WAS ENJOYING TREMENDOUSLY), and my trashcan full of candy wrappers, and I sprinted outside to throw it in the trashcan out there.  HOWEVER, as I was dumping the trashcan out, I see that massive Son-of-the-devil just perched on the top of the trashcan.  I, straight up, just dropped everything I had and screamed!   There happened to be 10 Mexican Elders walking by at that precise moment, and they all literally fell to the ground laughing at this little white kid screaming and running away from a cockroach in his underwear.  One of the Mexican elders PICKED THIS THING UP and threw it at another elder!  Then, it jumped like 8 feet from one elder to the wall and then RAN BACK INTO OUR ROOM.  Somehow, Elder cook killed it and threw it outside again.  Anyway, they all enjoyed a good laugh on me. HOWEVER, I found out the next day that the bug was no cockroach, but it was in fact a much different insect, and it was super poisonous!  I forgot the name of it, but man that thing was the size of my FREAKING HAND.  It was NUTS.  Anyways, thought you guys would enjoy that little bit.  I am so stoked that I am going stateside now, you don’t even know!

That’s all for my adventures this week.  I love you all, and I miss you tremendously, and, even though life is easier for me now than it was a couple weeks ago, I still think about you guys every day.  I miss Brooklynn, Dallin and Brennan and you guys, too.  Someone pleas tell Brennan to write me a dang email, so I can be caught up on Walking Dead.  I am dying to know what’s going on.  Give everyone my love, and tell Brook and Dallin they can hang in my room as much as they want and play on my computer (if one of my friends hasn’t already claimed it) and do whatever in there.  Just don’t erase my chalkboard wall.

I love you all and I miss you like crazy, but I feel pretty good now, and I’m  STOKED to be on a mission, for once.  Until next time!

Elder Snow

P.S. I am pretty famous around here with the Latinos, because of my last name - HA!

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