Well like always, this has been a crazy week, but this time it had a few more twists. I was pretty dang anxious to meet my new companion on Tuesday, but it turns out that I had no reason to be nervous. His name is Elder Ryan Larson and he's from Spokane, Washington. He went to a year at BYU before coming out here, so we're the same age. E. Larson is really smart and loves to work hard. That's a pretty good combination. He was able to participate in a mini mission (his senior year he served with a missionary in Spokane for about a week), so he's really been able to hit the ground running. Ha it's made my job pretty easy. But we've been able to get a lot of good work done! His first night here we were able to have a lesson with Elvis and that was a lot of fun. Teaching him is always such an awesome experience, and I'm glad E. Larson was able to experience that on his first day. We were also able to have a lesson with Marinette. I don't know if I've ever told you about her before...ha so if I have this will be a refresher. She's a Haitian lady that met with the missionaries a couple of years ago, and we've regained contact with her. Now you have to understand, Haitians are...a lot of fun to work with. Ha they're hard to describe...imagine Jamaican, but with a bit more of a french accent to it. Actually, funny story about her: One of the first times I called her I got her voicemail, and her greeting goes like this, "In da name of Jesus Chriss, God bless you for calling me today" haha I just about had tears in my eyes when I heard it. But our lesson with her was actually pretty productive! She was asking some questions about prophets and also about some of the set up of the church. Tell Uncle Kirk I'd like him here to help translate what she's saying (she'd much rather be speaking French). She also promised us that she'd be to church on Sunday...not quite sure what happened there, but we'll be checking in on here again soon.
Now we did have a bit of a downturn....remember Gina, the lady that I was really excited about teaching? Well we had a scheduled appointment with her on Thursday, and since our area is so big we had to plan our entire day to be down in that area to save miles. So we end up tracting for quite a while, and then when 7 rolls around we headed on over. She's the only house down this little country lane, and when we get to the end I see that her gate is chained and locked shut....I was a little thrown off, and then I saw an envelope addressed to me taped to the outside of the gate....I jumped out and opened it and read basically along the lines of "I can't see myself ever getting baptized into the Mormon church, and I don't want to waste your time anymore"....ugh, I was really disappointed. Occasionally I would like to take away people's agency, but I guess that might not be a very Christ-like attribute....it is really frustrating, but there's not much we could do.
So there's another guy that we've been teaching as well. He's an older Italian man named Mario. It's pretty appropriate to hear that he used to run a pizza shop. Haha anyways, his sister in Italy is a member of the church and we've been trying to convince him that the church isn't just for rich people. Well we stopped by on Thursday night and offered to watch Finding Faith in Christ with him. He LOVES talking about Christ, so we figured that would be a good idea. He lives in a really small trailer, and when his DVD player wouldn't work on his living room TV we resorted to the only other option: sitting on his bed in his tiny room where I could probably have laid down and touched all four walls. It was really great though, and we even put the language setting on Italian so that he could enjoy it more. Ha it would have been a sight to see. The whole time he'd sit there and repeat whatever Christ would say in Italian and then nod his head. After it was over he was very intent on us watching some of his "Jesus movies', but we had to go. Ha but while we were about to walk out the door he said, "you guys are my best friends". That was pretty cool to hear. You get to meet some amazing people while on your mission.
So last but not least, you'll never guess who decided to make her merry way to the Citrus Ward building....none other then my dear Aunt Heidi! Haha wow, talk about a crazy experience. It was really cool to see her, though. Haha it was like meshing two separate worlds together. I didn't quite know how to react. But I was reminded of how much I love my family, and how lucky we are to have each other. One of the reasons why I love the gospel is because I know that without it we wouldn't be as close as we are. Well I love you all so very much! Congrats on the wins Britt, Whit, and Braydy! I'm so proud of you guys, and can't wait to hear how things continue to go!
Elder Kade Bartschi