I promise that will make sense...later on. I promise I tried to think of a HSM reference...but fortunately none came to mind. Actually, had one come to my mind, I think I would've been seriously alarmed.
A few things that seem to just thrive in good ol' Louisiana.
1) Doughut shops. Unfortunately, I still have not been to one. I don't know how that is possible, but it's probably a good thing.
2) Church and pastor billboards. They look like ads for TV shows, with little taglines like "Religion? Ain't nobody got time for that - It's all about The relationship" and all these glamour shots of guys in suits adjusting their watches. But nope - just ads for pastors. Weird.
3) Riding lawn mowers. Is that what you call them? Sit down lawnmowers? Lawn mower rides? Hmm, I don't know - one of those. But everybody has them - because of course since plants grow here on their own (I know, weird) everybody has to mow their lawn all the time.
4) Law offices. Seriously. Each street corner has at least one church and at least one law office. Southern law is where it's at apparently.
5) Roadkilled armadillo. I have yet to see a live armadillo, sadly, but I've walked/biked/driven past my fair share of pancaked armadillos. They actually roadkill pretty neatly - not nearly the mess the possums make.
A few stories from this week.
First of all, my first week here, our whole district was together at the church for p-day and another elder called and was asking who the new missionaries were here and Sister Barton said "Sister Enright" and the elder said "oh I know her - she was in High School Musical." We don't know why he said this, probably just to be goofy because, well, yeah, but Sister Barton was just like "yeah, that's her" back and then Elder Weeks (my district leader) looked at me and was like "you were in High School musical" and I just said "yeah" back and then we carried on and it has never been brought up again. Fast forward to the other day, so about 7 weeks later. During nightly phone calls, Elder Weeks tells us he needs us to just be honest about some questions he had, one of which was "Sister Enright, were you really in High School Musical?" At this point we started laughing pretty hard because that had never come up since that first p-day, and asked Elder Weeks if he'd thought all this time that I had been in High School Musical, to which he said yes, in fact he had even emailed his younger sisters who are big HSM fans to tell them he was serving with me, a girl who had been in High School Musical. Then I asked him if he'd been confused at all by *me* being in HSM and he goes "YES! You are probably the least High-School-Musical person I know, and I could never figure it out!" Hahaha. Now he'll just have to break the news to his sisters.
There are a lot of crazy people here, and they're pretty much the only people who want to talk to us. So yesterday we were talking to these two guys, one of which probably wasn't quite all there, and they're just talking and talking and talking and finally one of them looks at me and goes "you look like someone who's in the theater business - are you a theater girl?" and I said no, not knowing exactly what he meant but assuming it should be taken as a compliment, and that he was referring to the fact that I must look like some glamorous celebrity (apparently those Catholic prayers for my face have been working) and he takes a minute and goes "are you sure? You really like you're a theater cashier." So yeah, apparently I look not quite like a glamorous theater-life lady, but the cashier girl. I don't really know what that means, but whatever.
We had a tough week when it comes to investigators. A lot (meaning pretty much all) of our investigators just flake out on us allllll the time. But this week we had some really awesome experiences with this less active man in the ward named Duncan. When I say he's less active, he's not less active in the sense of someone who just doesn't come to church - he has strayed far away, is a chain smoker, hasn't been to church in 12 years, and in fact when Sister Barton first contacted him about a week before I got to this area he didn't even consider himself a Mormon anymore and thought the Book of Mormon was completely false doctrine.
But we have been working with him a lot, and recently we've been focusing on the Book of Mormon with him, and reading it with him. At an earlier appointment with him , he had finished the chapter we had left with him and told us that he had loved it and that it had strengthened his faith tremendously, and so we began to leave him with reading commitments every time and he has just been so good about reading. When we met with him last, he told us he loves it and has made it a goal to read the Book of Mormon on his own every day. When we asked him why, he said "because I'm getting so much out of it!" The last time we showed up, he had cut his hair and told us that it "felt like the right thing to do" and that he is making changes because he just wants to stop doing things that are keeping the spirit away. He's been to church two weeks in a row now, and yesterday showed up in a button up shirt. It is so incredible to see people change their lives like that! And it really was all because of the Book of Mormon - Duncan's story has strengthened my own testimony of the Book of Mormon, it's just incredible. And he even invited a friend who is not a member of the church to meet with us when we were there last time and then as we're sitting there talking about repentance he looks at his friend and says "you just gotta get baptized! Then you can get the holy spirit with you!" Hahaha. It was brilliant. The Book of Mormon really does change lives - it is really the answer to everything if you will only read it.
Love you all! I am into my second transfer now and I cannot believe I've been here that long already, time goes by so fast, it's crazy!