Monday, April 27, 2015

Ice Road Truckers

So, This week we taught a lesson to a couple named Jose and Maria. Joseph and Mary. They have a few kids and I'm really disappointed that I forgot to ask if one of them is named Jesus. But I'll try to find out and let you know.
Nothing stands out as super exciting this week... But it was definitely a good week! We taught several good first lessons (about the Restoration), including one to a lady named Mercedes who the missionaries have been teaching for a while. We re-taught her the message of the Restoration and invited her to be baptized. She said "Of course!" and then asked, "We'll have to have some more lessons first, right?" Right. Then we explained the importance of coming to Church every Sunday, and she said, "I'll talk to my boss tomorrow about changing my schedule." Like, seriously! Was that hard?? 99/100 people so far have said, "I can't; I work on Sundays." Excuses... So anyway, we're pretty excited for Mercedes!
Oh, I decided this week that I officially speak Spanish now. Here's why. First of all, we had our breakfast coordination meeting with our ward mission leader on Tuesday. Later that day, Elder Ramirez said, "Ese burrito fue muy rico!" (That [breakfast] burrito was really delicious!) And I paused and said, "¿Qué?..." Becuase I thought he had said, "That little donkey was really delicious." Burro = donkey, -ito = little, burrito = little donkey. That's true Spanish right there. That's situation number one.
Number two: We were standing outside someone's door after knocking on it and I said, gesturing to the skis leaning against the wall "They're probably white, because I've never seen a Hispanic ski here." Elder Ramirez replied, "True." Then I noticed a soccer ball on the ground and said, "Oh, but they do have a football." Fútbol = soccer ball.
Number three: I said porcuz instead of because.
Number four: One of the members asked us at our dinner appointment who we were going to visit that evening. I told them we were going to see a lady named Malena. "Who's she?" the member asked. "Oh, she's just an ancient investigator we're going to try by." Antiguo (ancient) investigador = former investigator.

So anyway... I guess the most notable day of the week was Saturday. We always go to Leadville on Saturdays and visit Sister Bradford. She's a less-active widow in the ward. And Saturday was her 84th birthday!! Elder Ramirez and I got her a birthday card that had a picture of an old couple on the front, then pasted our faces and torsos over them. 

Inside it says, "Happy birthday from the DYNAMIC DUO!" When she opened it she laughed and said, "Ooooohhhh..." like Mrs. Doubtfire (she does that a lot), then continued to laugh and say ooooohhhh... for about two minutes. She said it was the cutest thing she'd ever seen. I don't know if I'd go THAT far, but it was pretty good!
Then, since Sister Bradford is a hoarder, we helped her throw some stuff away as a birthday present. We spent quite a bit of time in the living room going through papers and throwing away documents and notes from the 80s and stuff like that. Unfortunately she wanted to keep aaaalll of the filing folders. It's unfortunate because that means she plans on filling them with more stuff. But we got rid of about four big garbage sacks of papers and nick-naks! We loaded them into the back of her truck to take to the dump, and she said, "That'll do for today; let's take it over to the landfill." But I told her they were going to charge her the same to dump her truck whether it was full, half full, or empty, so we might as well fill it! So we went out back and through away practically an entire bathroom she had sitting out there. I guess some time a few years or decades ago she must have remodeled the bathroom, and all of the old cabinets and counters and the sink were sitting on her back porch. We had spent a couple of hours the weeks prior to her birthday picking at and breaking up the ice that was holding the ancient bathroom captive. then we took it to the dump and got suuuper muddy. They don't call it mud season for nothing. She tried to give us each $20, but we told her she could just take us out to dinner instead. I'm glad we did too, or she would have had birthday dinner all alone. Also, we wouldn't have had dinner. So we taught a lesson and went to a Chinese place. All in all we spent four hours with her before dinner. I think it was good for her to have people with her on her birthday, because she doesn't get many visitors! Also it was pretty fun.
There are a lot of families moving out of the ward. It's pretty sparse in sacrament meeting. Long-time active members in the ward are retiring and moving out of town, while some young families are relocating for better jobs or better weather or what have you. So we're reeeaaally hoping some of our people will start coming to church! We keep inviting them! The Church is a little different out here, or at least the wards are. I don't ever remember being back home and thinking, "Oh man, our ward is shrinking," or, "I really hope some more people move in soon." It was just never a problem. Our ward was like a half square mile of populated area and filled the chapel to overflowing every week. When they realigned the boundaries to keep our newly-relocated bishop in the ward, we took in six new houses and like four active families! I guess that's Mesa! But anyway, it's just interesting to see the different challenges that face the organizations of the Church in different parts of the country.
Speaking of different parts of the country, this is definitely a different part of the country. It's been snowing a TON lately! Elder Ramirez always shivers and chatters his teeth when we go outside in the snow, and every time I say, "Dude! It's like the same temperature it's always been, it's just snowing!" And then he says, "I'm from Perú!" Oh well.
I learned a lot this week in our Gospel Principles class. I was teaching the class with Elder Ramirez, but I guess when you learn something from what you say, that's how you know you're teaching by the Spirit! We were talking about the principle of agency. I brought up the concept of God's omniscience, or His ability to know all things from the beginning. If He knows exactly what each of us will do, why do we need to go through this period of testing? Why do we need to actually exercise our agency? Because when we make our own choices, we are responsible for our actions. God is perfectly just, and justice is the eternal law the binds consequences to actions. If we were to receive consequences without performing the actions (consequences can be good or bad), that would not me just. Just as  performing an action and not receiving the consequence would be unjust. We bear responsibility for our actions! So that's one reason we're here on earth; so we can be judged according to our works and reap the consequences, the punishment or the rewards!
Pretty cool huh? I thought so. I'm just so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel that makes the concepts of the Gospel so clear. I know this Church is led by true Prophets and Apostles! The message of the Restoration is true! I know it with all my heart! Stay bright and choose the right! Be excellent to each other!
Elder Rogers
p.s. Ice Road Truckers. It's been snowing a lot and the roads have been icy, we have a truck, and I drive it. On the highway. So that makes me an ice road trucker.
p.p.s. Oh! I almost forgot to share this amazing quote from the chopsticks wrapper at the Chinese place in Leadville:
"Welcome to Chinese Restaurant
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsicks
the traditional typical of Chinese glorious history
and cultural."

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