Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Salt Lake City vs. Oakland

This week was significantly more exciting than last week! So, I realized that in my email last week, I forgot a very important detail about the area I'm now working in. We were driving through it one day and the GPS was taking us some crazy way and as I'm looking around at the houses and stuff I realized that my area is a perfect mix of downtown Salt Lake City and Oakland. It SO WEIRD! We have a really nice downtown part where the church is and it's all hip and cool looking. And then right next to that is the legit ghetto. Five blocks over you run into the rich nieghborhood that is surrounded by more ghetto. It's the strangest thing. But I like the ghetto and I like the downtown so I guess I like this weird mix of perfect SLC and crime capital Oakland. Minus I think there isn't really crime here. More than what is normally around I mean.
Saturday was a crazy day! We were able to drive up to somewhere like an hour and a half further upstate to help the stake clean a Liahona camp they use for girls camp. None of the members ever go to help so President Morgan volunteered all of the missionaries in our stake, which also means I got to spend a good part of the day with all of the missionaries from my old zone! It was the best! Then that night there was a stake activity in our chapel, so I got to see all the members from both of my old wards. It was so much fun! I just stinking love them so much!
I also just stinking love this ward too! There are a lot more members that have been members for their whole lives and gone on missions and stuff so the ward is a lot more functional. Everything runs pretty smoothly and there are actually people to teach the classes and stuff. I had forgotten how wards really run things so it's kind of refreshing. It's also sad though because there are a lot of people that have harder problems than the people in my old ward. Instead of dealing with a dysfunctional ward, everyone has personal problems like people dying or abuse of many different kinds or addictions. It's really sad and we feel sort of useless to help them with those things.
We are working with some awesome investigators. First we have Maribel. I think maybe I mentioned her last week? But she's been investigating for about a year and she can't get baptized because she is living with a guy she's not married to and she doesn't really want to marry him. But she also doesn't have money for her own apartment. So the elders told her she couldn't get baptized and she took that as she couldn't be a member of the church. Technically, that is true. She can't be an official member of the church. But through some awesome talks and lessons at church on Sunday and a couple lessons that we've taught her, we've been able to help her realize that while she might not be able to get baptized right now, she can still do everything that a member does and then when she is able to get baptized, she's already ready and prepared and living her life as a member. She was so excited once she figured that out! She went on and on about how she's going to come to church every Sunday and how she's going to pay tithing. She's the cutest! Now we just have to figure out how to get her to move out of her apartment....
We are also working with Fernando and his son Fernando. They are the cutest little family ever! Fernandito (little Fernando) basically runs the show. After each appointment he'll say "I'm available tomorrow at 5 if you want to come then." It's the funniest and we love him. However, we don't love that he get's really distracted in lessons and stops paying attention. Luckily, we figured out that if we only stay for 30 minutes, he'll pay attention to most everything. They have been investigating the church for a while as well. Fernandito LOVES it and wants to get baptized. But Fernando wants to make sure that he understand why he should get baptized and what he had to do if he gets baptized (like come to church every week and stuff). Fernando also likes the church and has a lot of faith. But he's afraid that if he get's baptized that he'll mess up and not be able to keep the commandments and then he'll fall away from the church. Both of those are real concerns and we don't want either of them to get baptized unless they really understand and have faith that they can stay strong in the church. But we're also trying to help Fernando understand that we all make mistakes and we're all still trying to follow the commmandments. But they're awesome and we love working with them. It's been cool too because we have to take a female member with us because there are no girls that live in the house. So we've been able to see how awesome the members are as they bear their testimonies and try to help. It's the greatest.
Ok I think that's all. I hope you are all enjoying the nice weather and loving life!
Hermana Parkin

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