Happy Stormy Season! Lots of rain here! And when there is no rain, it's really hot outside! I am actually coming to like it, though (or at least I'm getting used to it).(I told Jacob that his cousin opened his mission call and is going to Brazil in November.) I'm not gonna get to see him dangit! Tell him he's going to love it! Time in the mission field is really divided in three equal parts, according to community observations here: the 3 months of training at the beginning, the last month at the end, and the 20 months in between. XD. (I told Jacob that our plums and nectarines are on and that we are enjoying fresh fruit.) I really do miss fresh peaches, cherries, and plums--although fresh passion fruit, bananas, and starfruit certainly don't disappoint.
Anyhoo, my mind is kind of blank this week; we'll see what comes out of the recesses of my id.
Ah, as far as your experience, mom, that is actually REALLY common. Like, every other person here. (I explained in my letter to him that I got to go out with the sister missionaries. Here is a piece of what I sent him "We met with a lovely lady. She was very nice and said she loves to study "the word" and is very knowledgeable. Unfortunately she was more interested in arguing (even though she was very nice and didn't raise her voice) about points of doctrine. We started talking about the nature of God and then she started bringing up other doctrinal points. We would be explaining one thing and then she would skip to another point of doctrine that she wanted "clarified." Needless to say we bore testimony and left on good terms but she is definitely not interested in being taught (even though she says she is.) It reminded me how grateful I am to have the fullness of the gospel in my life and I need to not take that for granted.") I don't mean to speak bad of Pentecostals and Evangelicals, but I mean rather to speak honestly and directly--quite often they tell people to argue with other churches. You have no idea how many people shout at me "Joseph Smith is in hell; repent before you join him" and then add "Christ loves you" to make it not sound insulting. Our problem here isn't that people don't believe in God; on the contrary, it is that they believe in a different God. It's the same Bible and the same teachings, but apostasy is real, my friends. And it can actually be rather frustrating at times, because people become unwilling to even hear what you have to say about the definition of faith because they think you're just trying to get them into your church to get yourself or your pastor more money (because ALL the other missionaries and churches here seem to be like that).
We were thinking this week a lot about our teaching approach after some exchanges we did, and we really feel we've been going about proselyting wrong. We know that the Spirit does things for us if we put in our part, right? Doing our part to open people's hearts, to gain their trust, and to strengthen their testimonies includes getting to know them and being their friends to a degree. We can't pray and ask the Spirit to reveal to us someone's necessities if we haven't first tried to find them ourselves. We met with a couple of people this week in which we tried the approach, and both really opened up to us. We got them talking the first five minutes of the appointment, and we came to know a ton about them and what they could potentially need. Of course, we need moderation in all things, and we can't go around just making friends of the missionaries--they need to know our central purpose, or they will never progress.
Last week we went shopping in Bravo, a small chain but high quality grocery store here in the DR, and found tons of american products. I got mint dark chocolate milky ways and a decaf Coke, and Elder R**** bought Welch's grape juice and A&W Root Beer (WHICH ALMOST ISN'T DRUNK HERE--you can't find it in any soda machines). All people drink here are Country Club sodas (crappy Coke fruit brands that taste like carbonated cough syrup), Sprite, Fanta, and Coke. And if the US has a soda problem, the DR has a soda epidemic. EVERYONE drinks soda with almost EVERY meal, even if they make natural juice to accompany it. Thank goodness I haven't picked up the habit.
Oh, guess what? I haven't mentioned it because I thought I would just keep dealing with it because the hole was small, but my brown shoes have a hole in them. My left foot gets soaked when it rains. Time to use the 2-yr guarantee! XD (not necessarily--I can deal with it if it's too much trouble to get the shoes from them).
Also, today we ate in Sbarro and it was really good. Beef & Tomato pizza is deliciously acidic and savory.
Also, we FINALLY married and baptized (well only baptized the wife and an 11 year old daughter) the M****-V**** family after a YEAR with missionaries! Elder T*****, who is ending his mission in my district, was the missionary who contacted them, and Elder Sm*** got to come back from San Pedro (about 2.5 hours away) to baptize them.
Have a great week guys!