Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 10: From Layton, UT

Hey everyone!! So for those of you who didn't get the memo I am currently serving in the Salt Lake City Mission until I get my visa. I have been assigned to serve in Layton Utah in the Layton Central Stake with Elder Napeahi. Elder Napeahi is a cool guy, he his Hawaiian and is a bigger really nice friendly stereotypical Polynesian. He runs on Poly time which means we are always running late and staying at appointments or meals longer than we plan so we usually don't finish as much in a day as I would like but at least I have a super nice companion that I get a long with and is easy to talk to while we are walking from appointment to appointment. So in the Layton central stake there are four missionaries who cover the area, Elder Napeahi and I, as well as Elder Putra and Elder Lusk. We cover 3 wards, Fox creek ward, North park ward, and the 6th ward, and we also cover a Tongan Branch. Elder Napeahi and I don't have a car but our apartment is right between the North Park ward and the Fox Creek Ward. Our church building is a 2 minute walk away and anywhere in either of these two wards are no more than about a 10 minute walk away. These two wards as well as the Tongan Branch meet in our church building, but the Tongan ward is huge and goes all the way up to Ogden and all the way down to SLC so we don't usually tract or contact referrals in that branch but go to their ward services and help members of the branch when they need help. On the other hand the 6th ward boundaries start about 15 minutes away from our apartment and are 4 times the size of the other two wards and they meet at a different building. We don't have time on Sunday to attend their ward but once or twice a week we will get a ride over there and spend most the day in the 6th ward boundaries contacting referrals and going to all our sixth ward appointments that week. Missionary work here is really different and really weird, we are not allowed to knock doors unless we have a referral from someone to do so. This is because with all the members that already live here our chances of contacting a non or less active member are about 2-10. We do get quite a few referrals here though and our main focus in this area is re-activation. The members here are so kind and love doing everything they can to help the missionaries which is awesome! :) We have at least one meal with a member everyday and sometimes twice a day, so we are getting fed well. If we go out to eat about half the time a member will offer to pay for our meal because they love helping the missionaries. For example, one day we were really hungry and didn't have any food at home so we went to Cafe Rio, as soon as we got in line an older gentlemen asked if someone was paying for our meal. I replied no and so he insisted on paying. Another time when we were at Walmart shopping for groceries we had a member come up to us, tell us how grateful he was for the missionaries because they changed his life 40 years ago, handed us a hundred dollar bill and said I want to pay for your groceries. It is a completely different missionary world out here in Utah but I can say that we get treated like kings! ;)

I have had lots of homesickness since I've been here, it is really weird because in the MTC I didn't feel homesick at all. As long as I'm out and about doing our various activities during the day I don't get that feeling but every morning when I wake up and do our morning routine I miss home a ton and it kind of hits me every morning that I won't see you all for 21 1/2 months!! I'ts really weird to think about but I really miss home and that is probably the hardest part about being here so far.

So I'm going to take this time just to let you get to know a few of my investigators and a few stories I have with each of them.
1. Loui and Ally are a part member family. Ally has a really strong family but has been inactive for almost 10 years now. When the missionaries originally contacted Ally she was living with her boyfriend Loui. They started taking the discussions, Ally is slowly becoming reactivated and Loui accepted the invitation to be baptized. Loui and Ally got married in Nov and were planning on having Loui's baptism in early December. To understand the next part of the story Loui has a very colorful background, he has done almost every drug known to mankind, he has been to jail twice and is coming from a very very colorful background. When he went to do his baptismal interview the District Leader had to then refer him to the Mission President because Loui had confessed to killing a man in prison out of self defense. The Mission President had to send in a request to the first presidency to see if he can be baptized. His baptism is pending on that request but Loui has gotten really discouraged about waiting so long and has taken smoking back up. So that is Loui and Ally, even though he has quite the colorful background it is so amazing to see how far he has come with the gospel in his life!!
2. Sevon and Hillary are the next two investigators. Sevon and Hillary are both non members and are living with Sevon's parents. His mother has been a member almost her whole life and Kevin, his dad was converted a year ago and is really faithful. Sevon is on house arrest and just barely got out of jail for reasons I don't know and don't need to know. His girlfriend Hillary and him are both awesome and seem very interested but keep putting off wanted to take the discussions because they are "too busy". It is really sad to me and we will keep working with them but a lot of people would judge Hillary immediately because she has huge gauges, is covered in tattoos and other body piercings but is the kindest nicest lady ever. 
3. Steven and Maria are the next two investigators and have the coolest story as it pertains to me. I forgot to mention this but this mission does have Spanish speaking missionaries and branches but I got assigned in this area to speak English. Steven is a less active member who was reffered to us by the Bishop, he has a drinking problem and got a fine from his land owner who is now making him go to the 12 step program (a church sponsored addiction program) due to an incident he had on New Years. We went to visit him and he let us in. I don't know how this works at all but he is married to a Peruvian woman who doesn't speak English, and he doesn't speak Spanish. I was able to translate some things he wanted to say to her, and I was able to talk with her, practice my Spanish and teach her a little bit about the church, we are going back this week to check up on Steven and I told Maria I would bring her a Spanish Book of Mormon because she used to have one but lost it. She is really really kind and is really grateful for us when I told her we were here to help Steven get back to church and help him with his problems he is having. I'm really excited to talk and teach with her again and it was such a cool experience for me!
4. Able and Chance are our next investigators. Able is married to Misty who was less active for a long time and the sister missionaries just re-activated. She has a daughter who is nine who has been working with us and the sisters who was just baptized on Saturday which was such a cool experience. Chance is Audra's (the daughter who was just baptized) older brother. He wants to be baptized also but wants to do it the same time as his dad. We will start teaching them on Wednesday and I'm really excited for that opportunity! 
5. Lastly Georgieann is a new convert, she was just barely baptized about a month ago and is so so so amazing!! She is 72, is the nicest, sweetest lady ever and has booked our calendars to feed us every Friday night. Her daughter in law who lives with her has been a member her whole life, converted her husband about a year ago. She is very funny, very loving and her attitude and spirit reminds me exactly of Grandma Call. She just got a visiting teaching assignment which she is so excited about and is loving every second of being LDS. Her son doesn't have his temple recommend because he still drinks coffee. Just an example of the kind of lady she is she took the coffee maker, smashed it on the floor and said "Trent, I'm going to the temple in a year and I want you to go with me, your giving up coffee because I'm going to the temple and you're coming with me!!" haha she is my favorite person here in Layton and she makes me feel right at home. 

Well this email was really long and super jammed packed full of info so I hope you all like it. I miss you all and would love to hear from you! please write me letters and I will write back. My new address is:
Elder Taylor M Adams
1654 N Hill Field Rd Apt 4A
Layton UT 84041

Love you and miss you all!!
Con mucho amor,

Elder Adams 

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