Hi Mom, Dad, Erin, Bayley (hopefully), Kegan (hopefully), Amik, Aislin, Noah, Ronan, Liam, and Fionn (whew!),
Recently, it's been raining a lot here in Vegas, getting really humid and because no one in Vegas actually seems to know how to deal with water coming from the sky, everyone is driving really slow when the roads aren't turned to rivers due to terrible drainage systems. One cool story about the rivers-for-roads that happened last night during P-day eve was that our zone leaders made it onto the news. On Grand Teton road in four feet of water, while pickup trucks were getting stuck left and right, our zone leaders (Wilcock and Pennington) as well as two other Elders (Long and Patterson, btw Elder Patterson is from Louisiana, but has a serious northern London accent that he started faking as a prank when he was fifteen and it stuck, he also has the coolest handwriting on the planet that looks like it's from LOTR) made it safely through the four feet of water while driving over rocks in their little silver nova and red corolla. One other thing that has unfortunately made the news recently, two guys dressed as LDS missionaries knocked on someone's door last week at 6:30 pm and were invited in. After about five minutes they pulled guns on him and robbed him. Similar stories have cropped up about two guys disguised in missionary attire robbing and sometimes beating or pistol-whipping people. We haven't been on the receiving end of remarks caused by this quite as much as we expected, but if someone does ask us our opinion, we are to recite our missionary purpose and refer them to church websites. Pretty crazy though, one of the things that makes me mad about it (other than the blatant one of what they did and how they did it) was that they were able to find someone who invited them in. It's hard to actually get that around here, especially when we're supposed to keep tracting to a minimum around here. Supposedly Vegas East mission isn't allowed to tract at all. This, plus our non-existent investigators last week (this area's last one was baptized shortly before I got here) made me feel real bummed when I got emails from my MTC brethren last week about the success in Missouri and Salt Lake.
I didn't feel like a missionary or that we were doing our best. Because of our lack of investigators, we've really been teaching just member lessons for most of the time I've been here and trying to work with the members to find new investigators. So, after being real bummed about our progress last P-day, I prayed that we would be able to somehow, through our efforts, get some new investigators. The very next day, we checked up on an old investigator named Jim Lodge who had dropped the missionaries before baptism knowing he'd have to either get married or move to a different place than his girlfriend (a non-active member) before being baptized. When we checked up on him though, he told us he's been wanting to get back to church and we decided that we'd have dinner with him either this week or next week. That was alright, but I was in the mindset that an old investigator who had already had all the lessons didn't really count. Not the best mindset to have, but that's how it was. That night we had a member lesson with Sister Conger who's a single sister, so when we taught her she had her non-active daughter (Tiffany) and her daughter's non-member boyfriend (David) along with their daughter (Daisy). We ended up having an awesome lesson with them and we challenged them to read the LDM and pray about it and they're going to be at our next member Lesson with Sister Conger! That had me buzzed for a while, but the truly awesome part came the next day when we finally were able to get a hold of and teach the first lesson to Traci who we had been trying to get a hold of for weeks before I was even here, she's friends with a member just down the road. Things like that happen more often than we'd expect, but It's still awesome when it happens.
I really like the ward here (Copper Crest), there are lots of really missionary minded members who help us out a lot. which is good because really the best way of getting new investigators is through the members. Our ward had a Pizza/Pool party the other night (that would be just a Pizza party for the Elders) where we got one of our recent converts, Andre, to come and I think it was a really good way for him to meat more members and have fun. The pizza was made by the Ward, Brother Stapely owns a big pizza trailer with ovens in it and we all made our own pizzas. I made one with Andre that was looked really good, we made it a thin crust. when it was done, I wasn't sure that it was the right one and then a kid from our ward walked up and took the whole thing onto his plate and walked off. "Okay", I thought, "must have just put the same toppings on top as Andre and I." The next Pizza though was the exact same toppings, but smaller with a super thick crust that hadn't cooked all the way through. After no one claimed it, I knew whose it was, it's that kid's! So Andre had his far less superior, doughy pizza while he scarfed down what I knew to be the best one there. While it was an awesome party, complete with cinnamon dessert pizza at the end, I had to face away from the pool as I realized that as I sat facing it I would fall back into watching the pool and getting to the edge of my seat if one of the kids was under longer than I thought was safe. So, in order to stop acting like a lifeguard and actually eat my food, I had to turn my back to it, otherwise I would find that I had been scanning the pool and had set my food to the side for five-ten minutes.
Something that my companions and I have been doing this past week was starting the day out with morning sports. We'll get up at about 5:40 (this is authorized by the Mission President, btw) and get ready and drive to a park next to a high school to play ultimate frisbee. We might try it every morning if people would actually come every morning, but even at just three days a week, we don't always get many people to come. Another Zone, Elkorn Springs, comes more often than most of the Elders in ours, but so far it's been an awesome way to start out our mornings even if I do get Frisbee-blocking-bruises.