The World Cup Brings People Together written June 30, 2014
Thursday was a fun day. Elder Mendez had a trip to the temple and so did one of the zone leaders, so I went on an exchange all day with the other zone leader, Elder Broadbent. We had some fun adventures together. We started off by meeting with Taylor at Starbucks again. It's always funny to meet there because people look at us weird. We taught him about the priesthood to prep him for receiving it soon. He seems pretty excited about it. He's still killing his new job as a salesmen. He recently tied a record for the third most sales in one day. And he did it two days in a row. Solid. Guy is a champ.
We didn't have a ton going on after that, so we drove around and tried to look up people during the afternoon. The most exciting part was when we found out that the US was moving on into the semi finals of the World Cup. They lost to Germany, but Ronaldo pulled through for us, beating Ghana so we could move on. Thanks Ronaldo, you're the best. We didn't have too much success with finding, but Elder Broadbent wanted to go talk with his landlord about something. They live in the second floor of a house. On the first floor live a retired husband and wife. We stopped by and the husband, Rich, had apparently just bought some new fish for his salt water aquarium. He still had them in bags and was slowly introducing them into the water. I guess there was a high difference in salinity, so he had to slowly introduce them into the tank so that they didn't get sick. I was fascinated. Elder Broadbent talked with his wife about temples and family history and I talked with Rich for the next hour about his salt water aquarium. I had no idea how much care and maintenance went into these things. The fish were really pretty too. They were called yellow tangs. He had one, but he bought three more so that they could have a school. He had thirteen fish total in the tank and there were a bunch of coral in there too. I don't think I'd ever want to own a salt water fish tank, but it was cool to learn about and see the fish.
We left from there to go help a family in their ward with a move. There wasn't a ton to do, but we still got free hotdogs out of it for dinner. After that, we headed over to try a Hispanic guy that they had been teaching. He spoke alright English, but there is no Spanish unit in Elder Broadbent's area. If he wants Spanish services, he has to make a twenty minute drive to our chapel. But Elder Broadbent wanted me to speak Spanish with him to try to explain some things more clearly. We sat down with him, he was from Lima, Peru. He didn't want to speak Spanish with me at first, but I wouldn't speak English, so he eventually moved over to Spanish with me. We discussed the Book of Mormon with him. He insisted that it was just a book. We debated how to know whether it was more than a book or not. We got into some interesting discussion about whether organized religion is good or bad and how to deal with the necessity of tithing and funding in a church. He has had some bad experiences with churches taking money and isn't keen on giving money to any more organized religions. In the end, he agreed that God does answer prayers and was willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It was a cool lesson and I felt good because I taught it all by myself. Elder Broadbent understands a few words here and there, but he doesn't speak Spanish. So I felt like a hero afterwards.
The next great adventure was on Saturday. I had another exchange with the district leader, Elder Coca. We didn't have a whole lot planned on that day either, so we went out to put up flyers for our English classes. We decided to park our car and walk down the street to hit up all the businesses we could. It ended up being really fun. We walked past an Italian ice cream shop and a few members were just pulling up. They stopped us and insisted that they buy us some ice cream. So we stopped and chatted with them for a while. Then, while we were placing flyers, the game of Chile against Brazil was coming to a close. We saw bits and pieces in the difference stores as we walked. Then, we happened to be in a soccer store right as they were starting the penalty kicks. So, of course, we stopped and watched with the workers in the store. We were all rooting for Chile, so it was a disappointing end. But it was fun to be in this store and cheer with these other people. The World Cup, just bringing random people together on a Saturday afternoon. The last fun thing that happened was that as we were getting back to our car, a woman stopped us and told us she was looking for the Mormon church. She had just moved here from Mexico and didn't know where to find the church, but she recognized us as missionaries. We chatted with her a bit and got her phone number to get in touch with her and visit her sometime. She wasn't sure if she could make it to church the next day, but hopefully the next week she'll be able to come.
It was a fun exchange with Elder Coca. It led up to Sunday. There wasn't much happening on Sunday either. The fun event from the day was that we got invited over to have dinner with a family in the branch, the Usma family. There are a bunch of return missionaries living in New York right now, all here for the summer to sell pest control. Some of them have come to our branch because they served Spanish speaking missions. The Usmas invited them over to share dinner with them and they decided to invite us too. So we all chatted and enjoyed some lasagna and salad. It was great. It's interesting that these guys all only have knowledge about one culture from their missions. They were in that one country and learned about that one culture. But I've been exposed to a bunch of difference cultures out here. I don't know any of them very in-depth, but I know a little bit about a bunch of different countries. It's pretty cool.
And that's the tale for the week. It was a good week. This is probably my last week with Elder Mendez. We've been together for a long time and we're probably being split up at the end of the transfer next week. It was a good run though. Hopefully we'll have a good last hurrah this week.