Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 30, 2013 - pictures! yay!

 "That is Tony's daughter Lola"

"and that is Gordon Moses and Ginger Prestwich. :) hhaa"

April 30, 2013 - "week 4 letter" (I'm not sure what he meant by that, maybe month 4?)


I am sorry, but I am mentally exhausted. I will try to write a decent letter, but I have been going crazy for the past week.
In case you are following my mission letters, I have an update on the Marcus story. I told that same story to my new companion, and he thought it would be a good idea to make a comment to Marcus about doing 'Evil deeds' this is a summary of how that went.

Marcus walked past us, and gave us both hand shakes and said whats up, he kept walk past us, and Elder Fultz decided to say "Hey Marcus, have you been up to any Evil Deeds lately??"

my hand immediately cover my face in unbelief. 

Marcus turned around and started cursing up a storm, of slurs and threats.

I apologized to him for my new companions mistake, and he told me to teach him how to deal with people properly. (or he would have to teach him too)

so for the last 4 days or so Elder Fultz has been scared to death, it has been quite fun actually haha. I know Marcus is a good man, and is actually cleaned up, and helps at a NA and AA class at a local christian church. But Elder Fultz didn't know that. So I have been freaking him out and having fun with it for the last few days. 

yesterday we saw Marcus up on his balcony lifting weights with his shirt off, so it was pretty intimidating for Elder Fultz, I greeted him and he said "hold on, I'm comin down!" 

I kept saying, "oh man, get ready Elder" haha he told me I better protect him, and he actually seemed very scared. I told him it wasn't my business and I didn't want to get shot so he was on his own. 

Marcus came down and I gave him one of those hand shake, shoulder bumps and then he just stared at Elder Fultz haha. He told Elder Fultz that he was sorry for responding in such a hostile way, but Elder Fultz should think before he speaks, especially because he is a "Vessel of the Lord" and represented the church. He then stated that ELder Fultz wasn't worth going to prison for. haha

Elder Fultz Apologized, and then we walked around the complex with Marcus for about and hour, talking. He gave us a lot of advice on how to read other people and taught us techniques that should help us "spread the good news". He wanted to make sure we weren't judgmental to people. he told us the 12 step program needed to be revised because Marijuana is a medicine in California, not a drug. and then he asked some insightful questions about the church. 

He shared his respect for the church, and said he would let anybody try to tell him bad things about Mormons, and that he would come to missionaries for the questions he had, if he had any more. then he asked me if I thought he should by an Audi A7 or a BMW 7 series. I told him he should get out of our crappy apartment complex before he spent money on a nice car. haha he told me he owned a 3 bedroom place in crown valley, but stayed in the complex for the women haha.

other than that, we are doing the typical mission thing; finding, teaching baptizing. what an amazing life :)

Godspeed SpiderMan
-Elder Strong

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23, 2013 - A mission story

So I want to send home an experience that Elder Anderson and I had about a month ago. It is going to be one of my favorite mission stories I am sure. I hope you like it!

It was in the middle of the week, around 7:50 or so. Our plans had fallen through, and it was dark, so no one we wanted to visit would answer their door. We got a call from one of our ward missionaries, Tony. 

"Hey Missionaries, I'm over at Starbucks with my friend Adam, if you aren't doing anything, you should come over. bye brothers!"

I looked to Elder Anderson for direction of whether or not we would walk down the street to where Starbucks and Tony were, or if we would stay and aimlessly walk and knock doors at our apartment complex until 9 o'clock.

"I think that it would be good to see Adam, especially since he is with Tony tonight." said my trainer.

So we made our way through the gates of the Alicia Plaza, trying to speak with the few people who came across our path. "no halba ingles" the majority declared. We then came to the street that would lead us to Starbucks. It was a well lit road, on a fairly quiet night.

About 70 yards in front of us was a figure dressed in all black, walking with sort of a limp. He seemed to have a sort a swagger that made me assume that he was listening to music. I realized that at the speed of his step, we would eventually walk past him.

As we approached him, we decided that we would say "excuse us" and step in front of him, and that we would try not to startle him in the dark. But when we got about 2 car lengths from him, he looked back at us, and then dodged away from the road and went behind a street light, out of view from us. Elder Anderson and I were concerned, thinking that he might be trying to get behind us to attack or rob us. So I decided that we would keep walking and as we walked past him, we would try to talk to him, so he would be sure that we were aware of him. 

As we walked past the pole, we turned the corner and said something like: 

"Hey, how are you?" 

The man slowly looked to the left, and then to the right and said, "who ya'll with?"

"We are Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." we boldly stated, cautiously awaiting his response.

"Ya'll Mormons?" the man said. "Where ya'll from?"

I told him, "I am Elder Strong, and I am from Utah"

He laughed and said, "Course you're from Utah" he looked at Elder Anderson and said "you're from Utah too"

Elder Anderson said, proudly, "NO, I am from Alabama!"

He was surprised to here this and said "hmm, I am from Louisiana"

We asked him for his name, "Marcus" he answered.

"Well Marcus, we are out here sharing a message about Jesus Christ, do you have faith in Jesus Christ?" one of us said, I don't really remember who started it.

He told us he was christian, and asked us where we were walking too, we then walked with him down the street towards Starbucks. We told him about the Book of Mormon, and that it was another testament of Jesus Christ.

He asked us to give him one of the books, we handed a copy to him, he flipped through it, and read a scripture (I wish I remembered the reference) the scripture that he read said something about wicked men, who would do evil things for gold and riches.

"wow!", he slammed the book and pushed it back to Elder Anderson. 

He told us that he knew that we were "God's Soldiers" and that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. He was very afraid of what he had read. Curious, he tried again, opened the book, and read a similar, but different verse. "yeah, thats fa sho"

He told us a recap of the past 10 minutes or so. "So I get dressed up in all black, in the night, to go do some 'evil deeds', and then two SOLDIERS, of GOD come and get in my face and show me a book that tells me that exactly what I am doing is wrong." he was very perplexed, and said "yo I gotta go back to my place, I will see ya'll around"

We gave Marcus a Book of Mormon to keep. We see him around the complex a lot. He is like 6'4 and fairly built, all tatted up and kind of looks like a tall, rough P-Diddy  he has told the story to all of the guys around the complex, and they all tell us that he is a pretty sketchy guy, has been around southern OC a lot, been to prison(or something) and was involved in a shooting and thats why he limps. Whenever he sees us, he yells across the complex "ELDER ANDERSON!!!" and when we see him closer, he always shakes our hand. He wont tell us where he lives, and he told us he doesn't want us to be a part of his "business" but will never deny the things that he felt and experienced with us that night. He told us he was planning on robbing the gas station on the corner, and that he probably would have stuck us up if he thought we had money. 

Marcus is a really funny guy, someday, probably far away, he will let the Missionaries teach him more. 

Wow, that took a long time, hope you like it!
Elder Strong

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 16, 2013 - New Comp.


So I got a new companion and stayed in Laguna Hills, his name is Elder Fultz, he was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania. So basically, he loves chocolate. He likes to sing, and here is the kicker; He is going home in 5 weeks... so yeah, haha he is almost done with his mission, and I am supposed to make sure he stays focused, and finishes out strong.

We set 2 Baptismal dates together this week. so far, so good. and we have been pretty busy.

One of the People we are teaching who has a baptismal date is Liz, she is a cool girl, she is 23, but she wouldnt let us send her to the singles ward. She is really close to a few families in the ward. The L........ are family she clings to the most, and we have taught her several times there. Jami L...... is the mom, and she has basically said she would be our moms if we needed her to be, so we are doing our laundry at her house from now on to save money. she is awesome, she feeds us well and helps us teach Liz. Its members like this who make missionary work happen. (well, a lot easier at least)

I have been eating really healthy recently, I switched to unsweetened almond soy milk and eat more fruits and veggies. After a run in the morning I eat wheat toast, an egg and half of an avocado (mmmmmm). and if we have a regular plan for lunch I make some jasmine rice and grilled chicken. I have surprisingly become addicted to Indian Food on my mission, a couple in the ward has taken us to a nice Indian place a few times and it is SOOO GOOOOOD. Trader Joes sells a really good curry sauce that I can cook chicken in. or I make a tarryaki stir fry with broccoli. Most missionaries don't take the time to cook, but I eat really well, and I get exactly what I want, and spend the same on groceries. Elder Fultz was like "wait, where is your Peanut Butter?" and I just laughed at him. Thanks for the combined effort of parents, grandmothers and various YM leaders for teaching me to cook. 

I guess you can tell by the fact that most of the content of this letter was focused on food, that I don't have much more to say. The Mission has jsut kind of become a part of me, and I keep on going every day with the same work and same purpose. 

I love you 

Elder Strong

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SEE YOU SOON! - Not goodbye

Zoe leaves tomorrow, it has been really hard on us. We will miss her very much.
It has been so nice getting to know her.
I'm ready!
 Let the count down begin!!!!
(I need to get a picture of her printed)
 Breakfast with Zoe at iHop.
(I promised I wouldn't put these pictures on FaceBook (becasue she didn't do her make-up) but I didn't say anything about my blog.)
Love you!!!
Isn't she beautiful?!?!?!
We will miss her.


April 9, 2013 - Pictures

 "my BFF Courage, Tony's dog"
 "this is Finn from a TV show J and I like"
"Elder Anderson and I got food poisoning from In-N-Out and Tony called and complained, so they sent us a ton of these free meal vouchers haha"

April 9, 2013 - "Elder Elder Elder, can't you see?"


So... today is Transfer Day! and I am getting a new companion, we don't know where elder Anderson is going, but he is hoping for the Carlsbad YSA ward. I hope my new companion is a cool guy of course, I will give yall the details next week.

This week has been pretty weird haha, with conference we lost a lot of our usual routine, and  it has thrown us off a little bit. Sunday neither of us locked our apartment door, and so, naturally, our 77 year old French neighbor Monique, walked into our house at 5:57 to wake us up by touching our faces. yeah... that was really strange, we have been sure to lock the door since. 

Conference was amazing, we got to watch it at the stake center, our mission president told us he would rather us not watch it with investigators.

Our only progressing investigator is Alan, and he is on probation, so he probably will not be able to get baptized while I am here. we have not been able to find any investigators for this whole transfer really, and that kindof makes your mission super lame. when you don't have anyone to teach. The other investigators we have are Nataly, a 9 year old girl, her mom is super nice, and feeds us peruvian food all of the time, she is not a member(we are working on it), but her sons are, Nataly is 100% knowledgeable with the lessons, and is ready to be baptized but her mom Angelica is not ready for her to be yet. And then there is Liz, who has been super busy lately.

I am excited for a new companion and also a new ward mission leader, hopefully the future holds a  lot of new people to meet. We need to find a way to get people to like us haha. 

I love you guys so much, thanks for everything, I hope everything is okay. I bet you never thought you would have to say good bye to two missionaries that you loved. Thanks for being good for Zoe :)

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2, 2013 - "Pichas"

we went on a hike last P-Day! this is me and my Best Missionary Friend Elder Wilde
 here is a scorpion we found on our hike, we also saw some coyotes and some asian people.
 Elder Anderson has been sick... we had to buy.. supplies for him. yeah...
 This is a missionary handbook from 1937
A Panorama of us at a "Single Adult FHE" we go every monday and chill with our favorite old folk in Laguna Woods.

so Tony bought me a gnarly sailboat tie :) haha

April 2, 2013 - Happy Springtime

Hey how is it going?

Is it finally warming up in Utah?

it is basically PERFECT here haha sorry. 

Easter Sunday was a great time, we met with a ton of members that wanted us to come over and bring the spirit into their home. it was nice, we got like 6 Easter Baskets (we gave away all of the candy to investigators) and we got fed 3 easter dinners.. but the best part was being able to teach about the savior, and everyone was so eager to hear what we had to say.

The whole town was going around to different easter egg hunts, one of the rich people churhes in the area had a huge easter egg hunt, where they dropped 10,000 eggs from a helicopter, and also had a parachuting Easter Bunny haha. It was pretty intense. A lot of people asked us why our church didnt do something like that, and we told them that it was because we spent a lot of time with our families mostly, and I think most people can respect that. 

The Bishops daughter had her Fairwell talk on sunday too. Her name is Emily Braithwaite, and she is going to somewhere in Japan, she goes into the MTC tomorrow. she gave a really good talk, I love the Bishop and his family, they are all superstars. Bishop Braithwaite is the CEO of Hoags Hospital if you have heard of that. He is super busy but still takes time to correlate with us every week. Missionaries are a huge part of wards down here, we work with ward council constantly and it is crazy sitting down with all of these business men and women, and tell them the ways they can help us and teach them how too. it is really cool.

I keep forgetting to say this; Does anyone know Anne and Bob Bradshaw? they are in my ward here, and they are from England, but they lived in Spanish Fork, by where the Halls and Beatty's and Kimballs live. Bob worked in Mapleton as the City Manager, and they lived there for a while too. They are SUPER cool, and we love them. I think they said they were in the wolf hallow 2nd ward.

Anyways, it is potentially the last week I have left in this area, I love it here, and I will miss Laguna Woods. But odds are I will stay. but I will probably be getting a new companion. We are going to go to the Laguna Hills Mall today so me and Elder Wilde can get matching ties, he is a cool kid, he reminds me a lot of Tyson. 

Well, I am out of stuff to write, sorry that I don't have a story right now. maybein the next few weeks.

Love you 
Elder Strong