Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hard Weeks are Hard

Sunday, July 18, 2010
Hello family and friends, it's another pday so I get the chance to write you all. This week we haven't seen any success, once again we didn't have any baptisms this transfer and worst yet, we didn't have anyone come to church. These past couple weeks have been really challenging and sometimes it's gotten the best of me but I'm still trucking I guess. Can't lie I saw it coming because we were see great success and I think I got a little confidant in what I was doing, so I'm thankful for the trials that have been set before me because it has given me the opportunity to reflect and change what I have been doing. It's still a bummer though haha ;) I hope you are all doing well and that you are having a great summer.

As I look back at the week we didn't do much. Because Elder Carroll got hurt, we were asked to take some of his appointments so that his area wouldn't completely die. Problem is now some of the people are really attached to us and don't want to have hem back. For example, the Andrade family. Recently in the area of Wilmington there have been many golden children baptisms, meaning that the children were the ones ready but the parents didn't get baptized. The only problem with going ahead with the baptism is that they go less active really fast unless the parents are showing support to the kids and/or members are going over there constantly to show support to them as well, of which none usually happens. The Andrade family is way nice, they are from Honduras and have two kids that got baptized, Daniel, 14, and Mayeli, 11. The parents have been taught a bunch so when we went over there we only talked with the kids because the parents didn't want to come out. As we got talking the kids said that they had been going to a different church because they were all confused and they had some friends that said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was bad. So they stopped going for about a year until we came over. Plus they said they didn't have any formal clothes for church and the other church was casual dress. We then had a sort of a questions and answers time to resolve all the questions that they had about the church but they still didn't want to go to church so we said we would go over again the next day since we were already running late. That night I couldn't sleep thinking about them and thinking that there was something more to the picture that they were not telling us, I didn't know why at the moment but I felt something was up. The next day we went over and Mayeli wasn't there so we were talking with Daniel when Elder Richins got a call from someone that he had to take so I stayed with Daniel for a little. We got talking about his family and that's when it all came out. About a year ago, his dad got in trouble with the law and went to jail not knowing that one time was his final straw, he ended up frying deported to Honduras and never talked to him again. He is a stud though. He kept his tears in but you could tell that they were about to come out. He said that that is when his "step-dad" came in. Luckily he has been treating them like their own but he said they stopped going to church because they were angry and didn't want to do anything they didn't want to do. Plus, they are in a financial pinch so they don't have much and they are too embarrassed to go to church because they have no formal clothes and because they haven't been in forever. Man I was a wreck right there, I can't imagine what that must feel like having a dad one day and then the next he is gone, after all, he is pretty much dead to them because they can't get a hold of him. Gosh these situations really make you think of all the blessings you have. After Elser Richins came in the daughter came in and I told them that I had a surprise for them but they needed to come with us. We called a member to pick us all up and we took them to the mall and I told them go buy some church clothes. They didn't believe me so I had to help them pick it out and I took them to one of my favorite stores H&M. They were so happy and the cool thong was so was I. We got REALLY behind on our schedule but it was worth it. And what made it all the better was two things: (1) they came to church and (2) Daniel told me thanks for being his older brother. Charity never faileth that is for sure.

I also went on splits this last friday with Elder Apo who is from Samoa. Turns out that we know someone in common, Nick Bigler. I don't know him but I know that he is from our stake and that has got to count for something, right? It was fun going on splits with him, especially, because their area touches the beach. Naturally, we went there. haha. It was way cool, we did service most of the day and I got to ride a broken bike and somehow I managed to get back in one piece. Then another interesting thing that happened is that we walked into a church building that I had never been in before and I was looking at the missionary wall and I found someone I know. Marc Oslund from my BYU ward. It was pretty cool seeing his pictures. The funny part was that I remembered that he was from California but I had no idea that his family lives within my mission boundries. So I got permission to go visit them after email. It was an interesting day that day.

Alright enough with the sappy moment, now onto the funny stories. So this week we got threatened with our lives right outside our apartment by these two cholos, no worries it was taken care of give me a minute to explain, and we didn't think too much of it because that always happens to us but that was until we found out they live either right next or in our apartment complex. At first we were pretty freaked out because, well that is a little scary but that all changed Sunday morning. At about 3 in the morning we heard some people screaming and yelling at each other saying "I don't give a ****" and so on, rather colorful words, and it woke us up. NOT COOL. Anyways we woke up to see what was happening and that's when a huge fight started happening. The started throwing fist and the one guy that was getting wailed on landed on the car and the car alarm started going off. So, of course, we stayed and watched because it was pointless to try and sleep but it eventually started getting worse. A couple cars came with some more cholos and the one guy that was getting wailed on was saying "chill out man, chill out" and I think that mad the other people even more mad for some reason, so they all ganged up on him and were kicking him and punching him while he was on the ground. The girlfriends were all freaking out and crying, trying to make everything stop but it didn't change anything, they only got hit. Just shows that alcohol only makes problems because they were all drinking before the fight happened. Eventually, some of the people left and the guy was still on the ground, so we called the cops and two firetrucks came instead and the cop came later. It was so weird having them there because obviously they couldn't do anything. PLUS when I was calling 911 the operator asked me to go down there to ask if the guy was ok, and I said "heck no I don't want to get in the middle of this that is why I'm calling you." Silly LAPD. Eventually the cops came with an ambulance and they took the guy away but the other people that live under us got cited, so hopefully things will quiet down a little. They are way annoying. Moving on a little things in our apartment got a little worse, I got bed bugs and boy they are way nasty. I woke up the other morning with like 20 bug bites, 6 on my left foot and 5 on the other. It's sort of hard to walk because some of them are on the bottom of my foot but I'm still moving along haha. We might have to leave our apartment to get it bombed by the experts and what not. I heard that a couple of other missionaries had to stay in their car for 3 days while they were fixing the apartment up. That would be pretty cool. Haha.

Like I said before my week hasn't been the greatest, had some cool experiences, but none the less it's been hard. Carrying the area by yourself is not fun but hopefully I will be able to get some work done in the up coming transfer. I heard this poem the other day that helped me, it says:
What God Has Promised by Annie Johnson Flint

God hath not promised
Skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through.

God hath not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain.

But God hath promise
Strength for the day
Rest for the labor
Light for the way;

Grace for the trials
Help from above
Unfailing sympathy
Undying love.
I know that sometimes things get tough but I also know that is the only way we learn. Plus God wouldn't put us through something that wasn't for our good. I know that it is hard to see that sometimes, but I know if we start believing not just accepting things will go way better because our perspective will change. I love you so much and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary. It's hard but worth it. Church is true.

Elder Leavell

Oh my pday might be switching to tuesday soon because all of Los Angeles County Libraries are closed on Mondays now to save money, so just a heads up, it's nothing for sure yet.

Oh another note, Sister Ludwig, I talked with Drew today, he was on at the same time as me. Seems like he is doing very well! It was legit talking with him.

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