Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 9 - Communists, Preachers, and Greenies!

Bienvenidos mis Amigos!

So this week didn't consist of too many crazy experiences, but that's alright we had some good stuff happen!

So Tuesday we had Zone Conference! Basically all the zones in the Las Vegas Valley gathered at a Stake Center and we had trainings and pictures and more trainings and most importantly food! It was good enough that I didn't fall asleep!

Later we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I got paired with Elder Miller for the day. All of the lessons we had didn't show up so we ended up tracting. As we were walking along the road we met a man named Steve. He was waiting for his brother Lewis to come get him. So we waited with him. When Lewis showed up his brother explained how Lewis is a pastor. We then said hi to Lewis and he responded with, "I have a scripture for ya'll..."

We then started preparing to bible bash.

But that didn't happen! Lewis then quoted a scripture about doing good in the world and started a 20 minute preacher rant about how much he respected the missionaries for what we do! He ended with a 10 minute motivational speech for us. It was so great. 10/10 way to end the night of tracting.

Wednesday exchanges ended and Elder Hodge and I got back to work. We met a man named Arturo, who had met with the missionaries before. He said his brain was messed up from living in a communist country in South America and he was being hunted by communist spies. Arturo is an odd man.

Thursday we had even more exchanges! Elder Hodge sent me to the Montebello West area (We are in the Montebello East area) with Elder Dillender. As you know Elder Dillender was in the MTC with me and we came out at the same time. So we were two greenies trying to missionary like we knew what to do! We had a few lessons and taught a woman about how we all chose to be here on this world and everyone is here by choice. We actually did a pretty decent job with our Spanish! The spirit really helped out with that day of missionary work.

Friday we ended exchanges and Elder Hodge and I had a meeting with the Mora family. They were baptized a month ago and they haven't come to church since. The father started with drugs, smoking, gambling, and pretty much everything that the commandments tell us not to do. We had our Ward Missionary Leader, Hermano Villalobos, there with us. Basically we had to reprimand the dad for completely pushing off his family and leaving work and not being a good father. I pulled out a scripture in Nephi about living after a manner of happiness and asked if he was happy with his life. It was pretty hardcore.

After we went to Hermano Solis's house and he gave us Chiles. Él dijo que los chiles fueron un pocito picante. They completely tore my mouth apart. It hurt a lot.

Saturday we helped a member move some random stuff onto a trailer. I got my finger poked by a rusty screw. Hopefully I don't get tetanus! We met a man named Miguel afterwards. Miguel is a sad little man who said he doesn't believe in anything and when we die we will just cease to exist. So we set up a return appointment for later today! I'm set on baptizing that man. He needs something in his life so he won't just be depressing 24/7.

The night ended with a temple tour with the Mora family. It was so cool. We had a really bien time and they really felt the spirit. I really really like the Las Vegas temple. It's most probably my favorite one ever.

Yesterday was Sunday!

So for sacrament meeting they had all the missionaries speak and also Villalobos. Elder Dillender and I each just had a scripture to talk about and give our testimonies. I talked about Alma 7: 14-15 and explained that it was the reason I was here on a mission and is my purpose here. Elder Hodge, Elder Martinez,and Hermano Villalobos gave actual talks. I was told afterwards by the members that maybe one day I would get there!

Elder Hodge had to give a baptismal interview later that night, so I got to teach the investigator's family about the restoration! All by myself! And it wasn't too terrible!

It was a great week! We got a ton more investigators and had the best tacos ever from this lady cooking outside her house!

Until next week!
Elder Lawson
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Also here is a video of me eating a chili! You don't get to see the full extent of me chugging bottles of water and crying, but that's okay!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 8 - Lamborghini's and a Crazy German Lady - April 17, 2017

Buenas tardes mis amigos,

So the week started off way good! We got five new investigators on Monday night! It was these two individuals and a family. They all seemed like solid investigators, so we made a plan to see them on Wednesday. Well Wednesday came and we went to their houses they were all at their homes...and nobody would open the door for us. So we ended up dropping those five new investigators, which blows for them because we had some cool stuff to tell them that would make their lives better.

Wednesday we had exchanges, which will happen a lot because I'm the district monkey (The district leaders companion), and I got put with Elder Gonzalez for a day. We went to a possible investigators house to talk to this guy named Oscar but ended up talking to the kid's dad, his name is Oscar as well! We said that we would come back on  Saturday to talk to Oscar and his son Oscar. Then we tracted and did our other Missionary stuff.

Thursday exchanges ended and Elder Hodge and I were tracting and met this old and crazy German lady! It was a pretty terrifying experience because she looked pretty freaky herself and she had us come into her apartment where she told us about how she regretted everything in life and wanted to kill herself because both her kids were dead and how God hated her and all her "friends" took all her stuff. She ended up saying something about ending her life at least 24 times in the 30 minutes that we were there. It started to really make me mad because at that point it's obvious she was just lonely and wanted attention or something. We kept telling her about the Plan of Happiness for us and how we make our own joy in this life. And she just didn't listen. We tried tons to help her but she just wanted to be miserable in her house, so we said we would have other missionaries come by and see her. We then left.

Friday all the new missionaries and their companions went with the mission president and his wife to the temple so that was fun! The temple here in Vegas is soooo freaking amazing. Definitely the best one I have ever been to!

Saturday we went to see an investigator who lived near the crazy German lady. So naturally we went back to see her. She was a lot happier and said she had a gift for us. We were very scared of what it could be. She then brought out a book called "Drifters Freed". Her daughter wrote's really poorly written. So for fun I read Elder Hodge passages of it while we are driving! It's just so cringe worthy.

Yesterday I met Elder Wilkins! For those of you who don't know, Elder Wilkins has tons of cousins and relatives that live in Willard and I know quite a few of them. He goes home in like 8 months so he is almost done here. He is from Clinton, MO. So that was pretty sick because I was hoping to run into him!

Also we found a centipede in our apartment last night....We used "Drifters Freed" to smash it.

Also we went to the Lamborghini dealer on Thursday! They had four there and I got a sick picture next to one. It's so good.

Everything is all good here on Eastside Vegas! They progressing investigadores are progressing and the people that don't want to hear our message are just telling us that they are catholic and to go away!

Until la próxima semana,
Elder Lawson

P.s. The pictures are of our view of The Strip from our apartment on the mountain, me flexing on some little Mexican man painting, some super cool missionary next to a Lamborghini, and Elder Wilkins and I.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 7 - Mexican Funerals, Weddings, Food, and Exorcisms - April 10, 2017

Viva Las Vegas mis amigos!

So Wednesday after a mess of train rides and an airplane trip, I plus the rest of my travel group walked off the airplane to see the wonderful sight of slot machines everywhere. We had made it! Eventually we met out mission president and ate lunch and hung out at the mission home for the day until we went to meet our companions! I was insanely nervous because what if my new companion and I just didn't get along? But good news! We do get along! His name is Elder Hodge and he is from Virginia. We both like ODESZA and not biking so we get along wonderfully!

Basically the week started with saying goodbye to our district one by one until it was our time to leave on Wednesday. It was super sad, but also really exciting because it meant we were leaving soon!

Then Wednesday after the trip and meeting our new companions, I got into our car and went straight to a dinner appointment where we had real Mexican food. Also the head of the house was drunk and cried telling us about Jesus and how great the commandments are. It was amazing! Then we went home and I unpacked. Our apartment is on the east side of Vegas on a mountain and I can see all of Vegas and the strip. It looks lit at night (pun very so much intended).

Thursday we had some new missionary training and taught some of our first lessons and had even more Mexican food! We had dinner at the Ward Mission Leader's house. His name is Hermano Villalobo I think? Names are hard to remember...Anyways! We had more lessons and continued missionarying after with a new convert named Chris. He has full sleeves and tons of other Tattoos, it's so great!

Friday we attended a funeral for some guy who was in our ward. Then we had more lessons and had our weekly planning!

Saturday started with some people randomly bible bashing with us after they drug us into their home. Then I got to drink some flower juice stuff and it was sooooo good. I chugged two glasses and the Peruvian family who gave it to us thought it was absolutely hilarious. They now love me a lot. Then we attended an awkward Mexican Wedding and went on splits afterwards.

Sunday started with a super long church meeting that I almost fell asleep in and then actual church and afterwards a recent convert told us her grandmother was a witch and did black magic and it affected her kids and her house was all weird. So naturally it ended up with us walking 3 miles with a teenager from the ward (Memo is his name) to her house. Once there I got to perform an exorcism! We are still wondering if maybe we will have a door to the underworld open up in our fridge or something now....So that was quite the experience!

Entonces, it's pretty awesome being here in Las Vegas! I've had tonsss of awkward and uncomfortable experiences with random people and it couldn't be any better! I love it so much here. Basically it's like walking around the trailer parks of a Grand Theft Auto game teaching people about Jesus and the gospel. It is definitely sad seeing all the poverty and the things that some of these kids are exposed to at such a young age, that's a bit of a downer, but we have something to tell them that can let them know that there is hope!

Also all our lessons are in Spanish and I understand a good 5% of what is said. It's wonderful, but the people and other Elders say my Spanish is actually pretty great for being here only 5 days!

It's such an insane experience being here in Vegas, but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else right now!

Until next week!
Elder Lawson

P.s. Here are some pictures of us at the wedding, walking to go do an exorcism and my companion and I!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Conference in the MTC - April 1, 2017

We are alll sitting in the gym that has been converted to a stadium style event for watching conference. We have the lovely opportunity to sit on nice and hard plastic chairs for a good ten hours over these next two days. I miss my red couch a lot.

Week 6 (My Final Full Week at the MTC!) - April 1, 2017

Hey Guys!

So this week we did a ton of stuff! Well as much as you can do sitting in a compound 24/7, but hey we are figuring out things to do! Also as the title suggests, I leave next Wednesday morning for Las Vegas! I'm ecstatic. It's going to be so cool actually being there and teaching real people and not understanding a word that they say. Also it will be super hot, but that's okay!

Anyways Sunday we sang our goodbye song like every district does the Sunday before they leave (Ours was a Sunday earlier because General Conference is this weekend) and I totally forgot the song we sang, but part of it was in Spanish and that was the most important part. After we had our temple walk and I got a sick selfie with our Branch President (The sorta leader guy over our zone), President Jeffs. He is a lawyer, but he is a cool lawyer, so it's all cool if you talk to him and you don't have to worry about getting sued by him. At least that's the conclusion so far. More test are needed.

A few weeks ago we got our travel plans for Las Vegas and there are 8 people total in our group that are going to Las Vegas. Three of us are in the same district, so we were very curious who the other five were.

On Monday while heading back to our residence we met a few guys who are going to the Reno Nevada Mission. We told them that we are going to the Las Vegas mission. We were then quite surprised when they told us that they have five sisters in their district who are going to Las Vegas Nevada the next week! We had found the other five! Well sort of...But not really. The Elders told us that the other five had been looking for us because they wanted to meet up and see who the other people going to Las Vegas with them were. We exchanged classroom numbers and said that we would stop by later to meet them. No one was there when we stopped by after gym time. Nor were they there a few days later. We quickly lost hope.

On Tuesday we had our devotional and a member of the Seventy talked to us. He is giving a talk in General Conference on Sunday. His name is Elder Palmer, so definitely watch out for him. He gave a really good talk. I enjoyed that a lot.

On Wednesday we got a new district of five people. 3 Elders and 2 Sisters. We later introduced the Elders to the wonderful game of Pencils (or Spoons, whichever you prefer) and explained our ways of life and the monarchy system which we would like to establish in our zone with Kings, Lords, and lowly peasants. They were very disappointed to find out they they would start at the bottom as farmers and with time they might be able to work their way up to baker or even a blacksmith. We have yet to instate this new system.

Thursday we had our last class with Hermano Hunsaker. He is the mysterious teacher who started out as Michael and turned into Adriano. We have yet to find out his real identity. We got a sick picture afterwards.

Friday we had In-Field orientation. It is a last minute event to teacher all the departing missions some stuff that they should know before they leave. I have forgotten everything they said.

During the orientation Elders Gerber and West were meeting a lot of people who are going with them to Ohio next week. I quickly realized that maybe those five Sisters were in that same room with us. I announced a bit loudly to my companion, Elder Wardell, "Maybe those five Sisters that are going to Las Vegas with us are her.". Then we watched as a girl sitting in front of us turned to her companion and asked, "Did you here what that guy just said?". Five girls sitting in front of us all turned around in unison. We had found them!! We quickly introduced ourselves and started talking about the mad search that had taken place that week between all of eight of us in hopes of finding the missing half. We were then separated into rooms and decided to eat dinner together. So after orientation that is what we did. They all were super cool and it was sick getting to know other people that we will be with for the next two years. Also definitely a 10/10 story.

Later that night we had our last class as an entire district with Hermana Peacock. Also another sad class, but we did get a picture with her as well!

It was a super fun week and I'm really sad to have to say goodbye to half my district on Monday and then the rest on Tuesday and sometime Wednesday. They have all quickly become some of my best friends. It's going to suck, but they will do great in the places that they go too.

I'm really excited for this next week and all that will happen. Also my P-day will change when I arrive in Las Vegas, so my emails will most likely be on Monday. Which is great because by my next email I'll be in Sin City!!!!!!

I hope everyone is doing great!

Elder Lawson