Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

Hey Mom!

First, thanks very much for you spiritual insight. I am truly blessed to have such great parents who have taught and reared me up in the gospel. I say this now because I thought my "week in words" sentence sort of interrupted the good feelings I had reading it, but anyhow,

This week:
Windows of Heaven, first week of school, the most interesting man on earth, of conservatism and roadkill, cruel ironies and ward parties, and a Thorough-good run in!

Still, keeping in the spirit on things, Kempton and I were incredibly blessed this last week! To start, we were in the "awkward hour" of 8-9 at night when we decided to go and try a referral that Elder Holt and I had received my first week out. We had tried many-a times, but with little success in meeting him in person. Well finally we go over there this last week at that late hour, and whaddya know, he's out in his garage! His name is Dave Matthews (fancy that), he's a big black guy who was very friendly to us. And when we finally met him, we were very much pleased to see he was searching on of his own intent. He wanted to know more about the LDS church from the direct source, and readily accepted not only a Book of Mormon, but downloaded the pamphlet app in his Iphone as well! He told us he would read it, and we even set a return date. Awesome!

We also had a lesson with a certain McClain family. They were member referral and we were happy to see that the wife is definitely interested and the husband is also interested in learning more. He even asked us about church, and we hadn't even mentioned it yet! And we also may have a new investigator in the other ward as well if we can catch them.

So we had 3 new investigators this week! Outstanding! The first week of school certainly helps in the sense of scheduling. Everyone is back onto a more predictable schedule now.

Oh yeah, and we also met with a member in the other ward who kept dropping bombshells on us. We visited his home after some plans fell through at the awkward hour (we had a member with us), and he let us in. In the next hour we learned that this guy collects and displays guitars, knives, and has four aquariums, two of which contain GIANT piranhas. About two feet long. He also showed us his guns, and he told us about his experience raising five Alaskan wolves and two falcons, and he had the crematory urns to prove it. He also forged a couple of broadswords that he hung on his wall, that he both made and can fight with, and he had so much recording devices that it filled up half of his living room. In a sense, he was hoarding really cool stuff. 

And meanwhile Kempton and I road killed a chipmunk. Our staunch conservatism only resulted in us laughing to death after. But the next day, I did feel sort of bad when other chipmunks were kind of approaching their flattened comrade like they were slowly realizing who it may have been.

I've also had to attend a ward party this past week at a swim pool at a rec-center, outdoor. It really wasn't that bad watching people swim. They were enjoying themselves, and we had a different job to do. But a more crueler irony is that I thought that Kempton having a gluten-free diet would result in healthier eating. I was wrong. 'Cause it turns out that every time someone gives us sweets for free, I'm the only one who can eat it, and I hate wasting food! 

But I had the perfect run-in to help that out. When we were at a Why I Believe fireside Sunday, Bro. Thoroughgood walked in. Of course I talked with him afterward, and I learned that he had moved to the Willows and is still an active member! And then he asked me if I was still exercising, motioning to my gut. Moment of Clarity. So today I gave all my sweet food we had been given to our DL's, Elders Tonn and Larson. So I am now RECOMMITTED to lose weight. Get some!

Other than that, that was our week. Enjoy your guys's time at the ranch! Please send pictures if you can! Brooke has sent me some fantabulous pictures last couple of weeks! Love you all, take care, and remember that the Lord guides us all through prophets these days, and always will until He will rule on this Earth again. I know that will happen and I know that this is true.

Take care, love you Mom!

Elder Michael Camit

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

This week:
Elder Kempton, angry preachers, with Tonn again, praying in Mandarin, unfortunate family ties, and other hooplah!

Elder Holt is gone. I don't mean that existentially, he's just gone home. I guess he was my missionary Dad. I still have a half-decent time grasping that concept. But Elder Kempton is a good guy. He understands the concept of pre-missionaries, but it took a couple of days to get used to him. In truth, he's a bit of nerd. But we're coming along to see our strengths and already I think we're making a good companionship.

But one of the first impressions we had of each other is when we were going to dinner, and happened upon this man who we contacted as normal, stating we were missionaries. He responded that He was our missionary instead. Immediately the thought "ah crud this guys wants to bash" flagged in my head. Sure enough the first thing he asked us after that is that if we were aware that the Savior warned of false prophets. He went off of that. Slammed on Joseph Smith (who's name he never mentioned), the idea of celestial inheritance (based off his concept of divinity and astronomy), yadda yadda yadda. I just stood straight, toothless smiled, and tuned out. Kind of like I would do with Captain or Venegas. Kempton took it a bit more personally. I intervened between them when I sensed it was getting a little heated. I just bore my testimony to him about what I knew to be true in heart. It didn't calm him down, but I knew that contention never solved anything, so we just left shortly after that.

If anything, I was more ticked at his claim aliens didn't exist. The hopes and dreams I have of joining the Space Force in the future certainly didn't like that. 

But funny thing, because of him snamuing our schedule, we were able to contact several potential investigators, a less active sister, and also get a couple of return appointments!


But on a more working note, we had exchanges with Tonn and Larson again. And I went with Tonn again. We had a pep rally that morning, so that killed my time with him down to only about 3 hours (we had to exchange again early). Still, we actually got a long a lot better than last time. 

And I forgot to mention that Elder Kempton actually had all the Piano Guys songs, and the whole Lamb of God performance on USB. Sooooo, I guess I didn't actually need those CD's. Sorry. But don't worry, I'll be seeing you guys in one transfer anyway. 

In terms of teaching, Ruby is coming along, and I could tell the last time we saw her that she is starting to grasp it. She still has a long way to go, but we invited her to say the closing prayer, and she said it in Mandarin. I didn't understand any of it, but I could feel the Spirit telling me it was for things worthwhile. It's fun to know that God speaks all languages, and that his Spirit can be felt in anyone across the world who accepts or is accepting his Gospel. I love how I have seen that!

We were also able to teach a lesson to a certain Irvin. He's a single adult who lives with his aunt and uncle. He has a slight mental condition, and he even accepted the invitation to baptism when we asked him. We were feeling pretty good about him afterward, until we met his aunt in the neighborhood afterward. I immediately identified her as the local anti. All she told us was that she never wanted us to come back again in one of those "this is my world" tones. She had nothing on Venegas. But because of Irvin's condition, we can see how legal action would get involved, so unfortunately we had to drop him. For now, whether in this life or the next.

But I got to cut this a little shorter. So glad to hear about Aunt Teresa and her children! Also glad to hear about Brooke and Jordan as well, along with Daniel and Hannah. He actually emailed me this week! Did he tell you of the experience he had with the Italian family at Brick Oven? Because I thought that must've been so special!

Anyway, take care. Thanks for all you guys have done for me! I guess that is the case, Mom. There's no one to send off to school anymore. That must feel kind of surreal not getting up and making breakfast. Did I ever tell you how much I loved and appreciated you for that? Because I really did. And I remember you telling me I could pay it all back by being a good boy, so I will!

Love you all!

August 17, 2015

August 17

This week:
First transfer, Rain storms, Road rivers, Learning Mandarin, Ross J's Hawaiian kitchen, Holt's farewell, good ole' Elder Tonn, and Winnie the Pooh songs!

Yeah, we got hit by that HUGE rainstorm Thursday. I've heard of black-outs, white-outs, red-outs, but this was the first time I have ever been caught in a grey-out. Visibility was still good, but it was literally dumping gallons a second over here in Henderson. so much so that certain streets became rivers and we couldn't even see Black Mountain. We took cover inside the home of Bro. Leo's mother, Sister Chapman. She is a very sweet and kind elderly lady. Her family addresses us as "brothers" and she offered us some wafer cookies and a buttered homemade tortillas. During which, yes, the power went out. I've included a video I made during it in the email.

In terms of teaching, we had a chance to slightly visit the Acosta's. We're still working with them, albeit Sis. Acosta works for MGM and has a booked schedule. But shoot...I Just KNOW they're ready. I can feel it! I pray for them every day and that we will somehow find the opportunity to teach them! We also stopped by JR's place, he's doing well. We hope to get him to church and all that. But we taught Ruby again, and she's progressing both in her knowledge of the gospel and in English as well. The Simpsons have been crucial in fellowshipping, they bring such a good spirit, and they can translate some harder terms for her into Mandarin. Holt tried to remember the term for priesthood (I'm not even going to attempt pronunciation) and got the last part of it wrong, resulting in the term "Holy Pig" instead. Language can be funny sometimes, maybe I'll pick up Spanish sometime.

But we found a great place for Hawaiian BBQ this last week called Ross J's Hawaiian kitchen. One of the members took us there for dinner. His name is Bro. Deverra and he's from the Big Island. I asked him if they offered Kama'aina discounts, but he told me that only locals eat there anyway. And yeah, it was good. Definitely had the portions right. Got my fix of chickens katsu and Hawaiian Sun i! It's off of Sunset and Sunset if you're interested, you guys'd love it.

Also, Holt is going home tomorrow! Back to South Bend Indiana for him. Funny though, he's staying there for only a week before driving (and yeah driving) to Utah state. His Mom's going with him. Are you going to do that Mom? Drive to Rexburg with me when I get home? I think I would really enjoy that.

And we also had a hilarious incident with Elder Tonn this last week at district meeting. He was telling a story that related to the lesson when he did a dramatic pause. The sister's in front thought he had stopped and proceeded to ask him questions. He responded very calmly "You didn't let me finish my story. You are sadly mistaken..." in front of the whole district. We all had to stifle laughs during that.

In addition to good times, I've brought back a lot of my Winnie the Pooh songs to lighten up the moment. Particularly "up, down, touch the ground" But after all the fun stuff that happens, I still remember my purpose out here.

I really did like the story of Peter you sent me. It's true on how the work is rolling forward. I found a scripture in the Book of Mormon in Alma about how the Lord sends his teachings to all of his children across all nations, and it gives me hope that maybe one day the gospel will be taught to all people upon the Earth. I don't know how the Lord would do it, but He has an infinite amount of ways to accomplish his purposes upon the Earth.

And yeah, I am so glad that this church is run by a prophet who speaks directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. This world is getting rockier every day, and I don't even need to watch the news to sense the change. But when we root ourselves on the rock of our Redeemer, driving down into the rock rather than waiting to sink in, we will be strong, together across the world.

Other than that, the week has been pretty good! I really appreciate the love and support you guys have shown. Thanks for your prayers, and keep in mind I'm already half through my first part of the pre-mish! Can't wait to see what happens next transfer, I heard my new comp, Elder Kempton's his name, is gluten free.

Take care, and remember that I love you guys!

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015

Hello Mom!

This week:
leaking water heaters, more exchanges, teaching families, youtube captions and successful cooking.

This morning I'm doing fine. Good to know that you and Dad are active in exercise recently. And good to know you got Harley involved as well!

By the way, how's Smokey doing? We've run into few cats out here, mostly dogs. Small dogs at that. Holt thinks they're of the devil, and it's not that hard to see why. They're loud and they distract from the message. That and they just appear plain try-hard. 

As mentioned though, mid-week we noticed that part of the carpet was wet. It didn't take long to infer what the problem was. We opened the door to the water heater, and sure enough, there was a puddle filling the room. Fortunately, previous missionaries had placed rubber wall protectors along the bottom of the walls, so it could've been much worse. Still, called maintenance and they sent someone over to fix it. Turns out the guy, Jack was his name, had been contacted by Elder Holt while he was in North, but expressed no interest back then. Still, we actually ended up just plain replacing the heater, and soon another guy was there and they swapped the equip. with a new one. Pretty efficient too! 

So no damage to the apartment, but it did explain why we got a letter from HOA last week regarding water damage. Still, problem solved!

But on a more serious side, we were able to contact the Acosta family this last week. We had met the mother about 3 weeks back, and were finally able to catch her last week. Funny thing though, we were in the adjacent neighborhood when I felt like we ought to have gone to the other neighborhood. We went there, and met this one guy who decided for us to return to the next day. So the next day we returned, but he didn't answer, and so we walked around, and that's when we caught the Acosta's!

The family was awesome! The mother is a widow (her husband was baptized a member), and she had four other children, three in baptismal age. We had a member with us who connected really well. It was pretty dang cool how it all tied together! We teach them again tonight.

Had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. The guy's name was Elder Herrera, and he's a first generation convert. Day went well.

Also had a lesson with JR. He was doing ok. He did read his section we asked him to read in the Book of Mormon, and he still seemed interested. But he told us the next time he's open for visit is in a Month. We were kind of skeptical, but we hope that he's sincere in his interest in the Gospel. As PMG says, we are guides, they need to make that step. 

On a more humorous level though, we taught Rubi again, and showed her the Restoration video a couple of times. I say a couple because first we pulled it up on YouTube and put the English captions on. Don't know if you knew already, but captions can be pretty inaccurate. The scene at the beginning where the narrator says how "millions found renewed faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ," the captions said "millions found renewed faith in stomach pains." We got about halfway before Brother Simpson (Rubi's relative) remembered he had the DVD, and we pulled that up in Mandarin with English subtitles. It sounds like a really hard language to learn, but would definitely be helpful!

I would also like to confirm that I for the first time have successfully cooked meat other than jerky! One of the wards decided that they wanted less-actives doing dinner with missionaries, so we had some empty days last week. I know. But we got through, I just made some ground beef and Holt and I had taco's. We had to substitute scrambled eggs for most of the toppings, but I was feeling pretty good about myself afterwards.

Thanks for the care package too! Jerky was a real treat! I gave most of it to the ward mission leader, I felt like he would love it. He did. But the Rice Krispie (I think that's how you spell that) treats were great as well! Really appreciate your testimony as well. I took the time last Sunday to bear mine on the "divinity of the great and marvelous latter day work."

The only thing I can really ask for is the guacamole recipe. One of the members generously donated some assorted fruits and veggies, including avocados.

But thanks again for the love and support! Glad to hear everyone is doing well. When are you and Dad starting that exercise class you were talking about before I left? I've found that I work out more consistently out here now that I have a set time to exercise.

But anyhoo, take care and have another awesome week! I'm praying for you guys too ya' know!


Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015

Hello Mom (and eveyone else)!

Exchanges, mini-missionaries, Mandarin BOM's, Missionary rap, creeper mode, and Good ole' James!

Sounds like trek was a real blast for those who went! I defenitely would've wanted to go had I not been out here, but there's a good time and a good reason for me to be out on the mish. Also good to hear that the garden is coming back to life, and that you all are getting around fine with the work at the Ranch as well! And the Church History tour really is a blast, both spiritually and patriotically.

And as you can tell from the title, it was a pretty unique week! We had exchanges last Tuesday and I went with a certain Elder Tonn, or as I called him, comrade Tonn. They cover the area around Russell and Boulder Highway.  Funny thing (thank the first amendment), he had been serving in Russia for 13 months before he was re-assigned here stateside. We still don't really know for what reason he was, but his companion had told Holt it was for safety reason. Tonn had been arrested numerous times and I guess the Russo's started to think he was more than just a missionary. The info didn't really surprise me. Elder Tonn had come from a family with anti-missionary feelings, and the guy had an attitude that is best described as a "speaks softly, carries small stick" vibe. Yeah, it was a looooong day working with him. I gained a mountain of appreciation for Holt and I's area. Still, Tonn and I taught a lesson to an investigator and I was able to share a scripture to help her out (Alma 23: 21-22, I think), plus, we had an excellent dinner with a wonderful family!

After that, though, the week progressed as normal. Holt and I spent a good deal of time trying to re-contact less actives and former investigators. And whoop-de-doo, no old mean folk in the process! We lost Cindy and Shawn though, but were blessed to find a new investigator named Rubi, who is visiting her family in the ward. She is from Taiwan and speaks Mandarin, and we were able to have her family help translate when we taught her.

Come Saturday we were assigned a mini missionary. These are Priests and Laurels who spend a certain amount of time working with full timers to see how the work is done. Holt and I were told we would have 2, and so we scrambled Friday during weekly planning to get a plan laid out. Come the next morning, and only one shows up, evidently there wasn't a second. His last name was Moon and since we had planned so excessively we didn't worry about running out of things to do. He accompanied us to two lessons, the one we gave to Rubi, and another to a boy named Kevin. The former lesson went much, much better than the latter. Kevin seems to be going through a struggle as to the direction of his life. That's what I inferred.  

But on a more fun side, all the companionship's with a mini missionary got together at a chapel to have lunch, and on the way back I decided to give my missionary rap skills a test. Holt laid down a beat and it was going really good until I wrecked my flow about second verse. You do a lot of gospel-related shenanigans when you're out here I've learned. Also during exchanges we had to get inside a gated community, the same one I spoke about before, and since our remote was broke we parked a little way up the street and simply waited for someone to drive up. Kind of felt like creepers doing it, but we had Priest Moon look up funny Patrick quotes off his iPhone while we waited. 

During exchanges though Holt and Simpson (Tonn's companion) went to go visit a referral they had received that led them to the home of our old friend James Koch, the guy who had gone off a religious rant to us before . Holt was too late to react when they realized where they were at. Holt told me this time, James brought out his views of the Mormon church. It wasn't pretty. But Holt and Simpson were able to correct him in all of that and eventually he just started to rant about old-guy stuff.

By the way, how long does one boil eggs for? That's the only question I have this week. Meals are going fine, and laundry is going smooth as well.

But all in all, it's been one heck of a week. And hopefully this one is even more exciting! Much thanks to your prayers and concerns and I hope all goes well with you guys as well!

Take care and remember to know that God loves us all.
Love you guys!