Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spiderman and the Mentally Challenged

Even Superheroes like hanging out with the Elders.

Napa Zone Conference

Napa Zone Conference

Buenos Dias!

I know I say this just about every email but we had an interesting week to say the least.

We had another zone conference this transfer that was pretty much focused on iPads and online missionary work in preparation for getting the new iPads. Like I said before, we will slowly be getting Facebook back, but I probably won't use it. There are so many restrictions on it now, which is to keep us safe, but also a lot of productivity is lost as well. We can only proselyte to people on Facebook who live in our area. So it's kinda pointless now. I'd rather just talk to people in person if I can only teach to people near me. We have an all mission conference on Wednesday and Elder Nielsen is coming back to teach us how to be safe with our devices. So we'll see how that goes.....at least I'll get to see everyone!

I love my ward and they sure are taking care of me, but we are getting too much pizza and too much In-n-Out Burger! No more please! I don't like complaining about something as precious to me as food, but it's killing us. I'm thinking that Sister Ellen Frederickson needs to figure out how to get that Cajun goodness to where I am! I want a crawfish "bowl"!

We had a really powerful lesson with one of our investigators about repentance. We were planning on teaching him about the plan of salvation until he opened up to us a lot and told us stuff that he hasn't told anyone before. So we took that subtle prompting and changed our lesson to the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance. It never ceases to amaze me what people confide in us. We are just two strangers, kids nonetheless. But people trust us enough to tell us things that most people would pay hundreds of dollars to tell a therapist! It just strengthens my testimony that we are not just stupid kids, (not to say that we aren't, because we are,) but we are also set apart as representatives of Jesus Christ. Now I'm not saying we are perfect like Him, or even comparable to Him in any way. Frankly that'd be sacrilegious. But I know that we have the authority given by Him to teach his gospel, and to testify in His name. Everywhere we go people can see this.

So we have some pretty funny less actives in our ward. This one women we are teaching said she was reading in 1 Nephi 25, which would normally be a good thing, but unless she miraculously found the 160 pages Joseph Smith lost, there is no such thing as 1 Nephi 25. I asked her more about this mysterious "Chapter 25". She couldn't remember much about it, but apparently it's when the Nephites and the Lamanites were fighting. Good progress! She narrowed it down to almost the entire Book of Mormon! At least we know what book she's reading. Another less active we are reading the Book of Mormon with absolutely refuses to say the pray or read with us. So we were reading to him when I noticed that he was looking everywhere BUT his book, and that he was closing his eyes a lot. From this I concluded that he was either narcoleptic or not paying attention. So we were reading 1 Nephi 2:11 and I decided to improvise a little to see if he was actually listening. "Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father,that an angel of the lord appeared unto them and rebuked them saying, 'Join thou the Mormon church!'" Elder Chan was looking at me like I was crazy, but the member didn't seem to notice, which confirmed my hypothesis.

One fun fact I recently learned is that Napa wasn't always known for its wine - at one point it was known for criminally insane people. Delightful. Earlier this week Elder Chan and I discovered this rather large mental institution on the corner of Imola and Napa Vallejo highway. This explained the multitude of apartment complexes around Napa that were erected for housing the mentally disabled. There are at least three complexes built to serve this purpose. We've seemed to stumble across the path of several "mentally hysterical" (a nice way of phrasing it) individuals this week - one of which was particularly interesting to exchange words with. Now when we first met with Darren, we didn't know his elevator didn't got to the top floor, and we simply just thought he was weird. But during our second visit we discovered he was insane when he proceeded to tell us that he was born in the 60's but killed his father in the 50's. He also mention how he's 140 years old but he's aging backwards, so he'll be 139 next year. Then he told us he's so old there wasn't a written language when he was born. He looks like he's 50 years old to me, but who knows how old he is! He told us he used to kill 200 people everyday when he was in prison for the life sentence he was serving, but when I asked him why he wasn't in prison now he said he was on his vacation time. He's also a judge, lawyer, executioner, and a librarian. So, it turns out that everyone we are teaching aren't even remotely accountable! But they sure are entertaining to talk to!

Saturday was absolutely dreadful, and quite possibly the longest day of my life. So many of our appointments fell through and only two of our planned appointments ended up being there. It was pretty rough. The strange part about it was that our day could easily be summarized as a petting zoo. We spontaneously visited two less active families, both of them found it necessary to introduce us to their livestock. One family brought us to their backyard to show us some baby goats. The other was working in his turkey pen. He told us that the 13 baby turkeys in the pen are for the Napa County Fair, and the harsh reality is that all of them were doomed to be dinner. At first the thought of turkeys being bred to be destined for an oven was a bit depressing. Then I thought: "wait a minute. I bet you'll all be delicious..." And then I got over it.

Well that's all for this week! I would like to take an excerpt from Elder Parker Hamrick's email to close mine: "LOVE you all... With all of my body... I would say my heart, but my body is bigger... well sort of... It's just super skinny..."

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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