Hello Mother, Father, everybody,
It was interesting to hear what kinds of foods you generally eat. Are your eggs just chicken eggs, or have you branched out to eggs from ducks or other types of fowl? I just get chicken eggs. Question: our fridge really does not keep anything cold. Is that a problem to put eggs in there? Like will they go bad or is that fine. If I wanted to I could get things where they eat little baby ducks out of eggs. Like the little fetus or something. But that's never appealed to me. I really haven't eaten anything that weird here, just because I usually steer clear of it. If I wanted to, I could eat weird stuff.
Do you ever get a chance to play a piano? My piano skills are deteriorated enough that it'll take a fair amount of practicing to get them back--as has my critical thinking ability. I think on such a superficial level now that if anyone asks questions that are somewhat deep, I just draw blanks. I'm not sure what that stems from, but it's probably from just having to teach things so simply and basic that I've lost the ability to think deeply about stuff. I'm not even joking here....
Is it quiet at night when you go to sleep? Um, quiet is relative. It's more quiet than it is in the day, but since we're right next to the road there's still cars and motos that will go by really loudly. But usually by the time I get in bed to sleep it's nothing that's going to keep me awake.
Do you ever bake food, or do you mainly cook on a stove top? Elder Cook bakes food. I don't. I'm just not a very talented cook, so mostly I don't even try. I don't deviate much from the rice, eggs, noodles, bread, water combo. But I have gotten 2.50 banana bread that is a pretty nice bit of heaven.
Do you ever listen to any music? Do you ever have a chance to sing? Do you ever sing when you teach lessons? Some of the other guys have music on iPods and I listen to that. Like Cook has lots of Disney songs and stuff, so I'm free to sing to those. And there's a piano guys CD that we used to listen to a lot. I never sing when I teach lessons.
Will Elder Yorgason be going home after this transfer, or will he have one more? Are you still the district leader? Yorgason has 2 and a half transfers left. I'm still the district leader, and they added a new companionship to our district at the start of this transfer. It's for one of the new areas that they just opened up a few months ago. So that's cool that I get to check up on their status everyday. How are your English classes going? Do you ever use the Gallop book we sent you at Christmas? English class attendance has taken a nose-dive and we're not positive why yet. I haven't used the book yet, but in the near future I will.
So probably the most interesting thing that happened for me this week was talking to white, Christian Americans about the Bible. On Thursday we ran into two guys from America who teach the Bible in English here or something. The one guy looked like Tim Lincecum and was wearing a Giants hat backwards. He's like "hey are you Mormons?" They knew a lot about the Bible and they love using the different translations and looking at Paul's letters in context and all kinds of Bible stuff. We talked to them for a while, then as we were getting up to go I asked them what denomination they were, and the main guy kinda tilted his head back to the ceiling and goes "ahh, ya know, at this point I don't even really know anymore. I...probably find myself between Calvinism" and something else. That guy literally belongs to the church of Jamie and Chris (that's their names). Like they talked about how such smart people translated the Bible ("smarter than all of us"), and how that makes it an accurate translation, but yet they leave the interpretation up to themselves. It was nice to talk to intelligent, God-fearing people though...
...Which leads into the next day when we were eating at another American place, just Elder Cook and me in the store. Then a whole truck-full of white people pull up and we're like ok we gotta get outta here. But we were waiting for food, so two white guys came over and cornered us. They're both from America. One was 18 and the other was 20. Neither of them looked especially clean and they were pretty hippy. But we talked to them for a while about normal American stuff. They were here doing some Christian thing, but also finding out about how to stop sex trafficking? I don't really know their purpose for their "mission." Then I asked them what denomination they were and they said nondenominational. But yeah, so it got on to the BoM and the one guy was asking questions about it. Let me tell you, it is really hard to try and teach this stuff in English right now. Really, really hard. I'm stumbling all over my words and saying weird stuff. But he got the gist. Told him about how Joseph Smith read in James. He pulled out his ESV Bible and read it. (Hey note to self and to all other people: stick with the KJV). Anyways, we finally wrapped it up and they kind of understood. But then this guy took his turn (and felt really uncomfortable in doing so also) and said "I just think that Jesus is enough. I would just advise you guys to step back and look at your life and make sure you really know what you're doing before you go and try to convert people." He went on a bit more but ended up saying there couldn't be more than the Bible. And before that he asked about how the Bible said "no more shall be written" in Revelations. But Elder Cook clarified how that was actually written before most of the books in the bible. He shrugged that one off. I asked them if they had a copy of the Book of Mormon, would they try to read it. The main guy's like "no, personally I wouldn't." The other guy was like a uhhh sure yeah definitely. I don't know. They were nice guys but I just left that conversation feeling a little less than satisfied. If these guys would look at it rationally and humbly they could learn so much more. Like, if you really believe that Saul saw a vision, is it so hard to believe that Joseph Smith did too? We went through some hoops and I don't know if they'll actually get a BOM, but maybe. It's good that these people have good experiences with Mormon missionaries though cause we're cool guys.
We had a guy get baptized the other day. The district president did it. He's not the smartest guy--definitely a faith guy, but he's great. His neighbors have been trying to get him to go to church for years and he'd always tell them it wasn't his time. Then one day 4 weeks ago we stumbled on his house, and he said it was his time. He wouldn't have gone to church on his own for whatever reason, but now he goes every week all three hours and loves it.
Another thing that's funny is how we watch the Restoration video with a lot of people when we're looking for an easy, but still quality lesson. But these people really relate to the colonial shots--like plowing the field with and ox and planting corn, and seeing chicks, etc. etc. They're like "wow, just like Cambodia." We tell them that this was 200 years ago in America, but I think it still doesn't register much. They probably think that America is just the same now as it was then, because it pretty much is that way for them.
That's all I've got. I'll send some pictures off. I miss you guys, but it sounds like you're getting off all right without me!