Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013 - Message from the Orange Curtain

Hey Guys,

This last week has been really good. Yesterday, I got to teach a few really deep lessons to people with strong religious beliefs. So… that was kinda scary haha. Most people here are agnostic or just don’t really care about religion, but the ones who have deep rooted beliefs that want to talk to you, usually want to have a scripture bashing party.

The first is a guy we met on the street named Edward. In Laguna Hills, there used to be a retirement community, but long story short, they decided they wanted to be made into their own city, so that their tax money didn’t go to waste, like on schools, or parks for kids or programs to keep kids safe and well. It is called Laguna Woods. They don’t really like us in their, but we have a pass to get in, to visit some members there. Anyways, we met Edward, who is 87, and he told us we could stop by. Turns out, he is a very Devout Catholic; he gets the Vatican News, and follows everything very closely. Luckily, he really respects LDS folk, because of our values, and says he has never followed any of the controversy that surrounds the church, because he doesn’t appreciate it when people do that to the Catholic Church. All he does everyday, is two sessions of Mass in the morning, then he comes back to his empty apartment and reads. We gave him the Book of Mormon, and he said he would have it read by the next time we came back in a few weeks. He is more Mormon than Catholic, he just doesn’t realize it. The only problem is that he loves his mother Mary more than anyone else in the world haha.

The other Intimidating meet up was with a family, well, the mom and dad of a family named the Esquivels. The Father is a Marine, was on duty for 28 years prior and is now working on base in Pendleton doing unnamed things. He is really down to earth and we were making good progress with him, until his wifey showed up. She is a Scary Born Again Christian who goes to a church called “Saddleback Church” (named after the mountains here). All that I have to say about Saddleback is this: Great and Spacious Building. They have a big Sunday meeting that they film and put on T.V. like the 700 club, they talk in gibberish and call it the gift of tongues, and they have a course, not even joking, that is focused on “The Mormon Church” full of Anti-Mormon literature, that meets every Thursday. So that has been a lot of fun to deal with. After the “lesson” I was shaking a little. I felt like we taught very well. The spirit was with us but she had no room for it. It is sad because the Husband is very nice and wants to meet more. She just wants to keep us away.

The thing I learned was the Importance of Members help. Both lessons we took Members with us, and with out them, we were just two scared boys with an important message to try and squeeze out. But Brother Oldroid and Brother Dugan saved us.

Me and my Trainer had a break through, I was getting pretty sick of him, so I just laid it all on the table. Here is the short version:

He is trying to make me become a new version of him, and he is stressed out because he is a district leader and a new trainer.

I don’t want to become a new version of him, and I am stressed out because the whole world is watching every step I take; the missionaries are watching me because I am a greenie, the ward members are watching me because I am a missionary, and  the rest of the world is watching me because I am a missionary, and they think I am there to destroy their beliefs.

So basically we are both under a lot of pressure. So we are going to try to make things more fun. And we are going to be ourselves more.

Missions are cool, and I am so happy here, even the hard things are really fun to figure out, and the good over weighs the bad.

I love you all so much,

Elder Strong 

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