It was a pretty good week and definitely a good birthday yesterday. Everyone's cards got here in time and I just got a call this morning from the mission office wishing me a happy birthday yesterday. All the gifts will definitely come in handy, especially the keyboard. It was kind of weird just opening them alone at my desk but it didn't make it mean any less meaningful. So, thank you for all the emails and presents :) I didn't even think I was going to have a dinner appointment yesterday but it turns out Elder Simmons was lying to me the whole week. Actually, the relief society president volunteered not
knowing someone else had signed up. We didn't see the calendar until yesterday because of general conference so Elder Simmons told her we didn't have a dinner scheduled. It all worked out though. We just went to dinner at one house and dessert at another and did the whole birthday thing. It was super nice of them and we got an extra member lesson in!
The lady at our dinner appointment was talking about her mission in Mexico and how she fasted for 6 days because they had no food and that she walked around with no shoes because hers had worn out. It sounded rough but she talked about it as if it was nothing. That family is missionary-focused beyond belief too. She told us that missions never end and she has taken that to heart for the last fifteen years.
Now to the humorous part of the week. First of all, our mission started a challenge this week to read the Book of Mormon twenty minutes a day and also place at least one a day. A Book of Mormon
placement has to include the words "I know," "Will you," and "When can we?" Which also means our goal is to get one new investigator a day.
So, the night this challenge started we were heading home without a single placement and we decided to stop at one more house. Even before we could knock on the door we see this man sitting in his driveway smoking and drinking. The guy invites us to sit down, offers us a beer jokingly, and starts asking questions. At first they were pretty valid but he just kept getting more and more drunk until he starting asking about the most obscure things ever like where did God come from. I guess that's a valid question too, but he wouldn't let us answer before he asked another question! He also went behind a wall outside to relieve himself a couple times. We ended up staying until about 10:15 because Elder Simmons really didn't want to leave without answering his questions. But hey, we got the Book of Mormon to him and set up a return appointment.
So fast forward a couple days. We go to his house and knock on the door... no answer. So we leave and come back 30 minutes later to find him in his driveway again. He tells us he was just working on his boat and that he waved at us a couple times to get to come over to his shop. Anyway, we get talking and he tells us about his life problems as people do. All his questions totally made sense after a few minutes! He lost a child and a fiance a few years ago and is honestly seeking for answers about the afterlife. He told us that he really wants to just be our friends though and give us a break from teaching. It seems like he really cares and knows how to build relationships. He told us to do something for him (be genuine with him and don't treat him as a project) and offered us something in return (food.) Unfortunately we did not have time for salad. I left feeling like I specifically was meant to meet this guy and teach him about the plan of salvation as his friend.
One more funny story with him. After a couple days he phoned us while I was on an exchange. Apparently Elder Simmons and Allison were in an appointment so they couldn't answer. Afterwards, they check the messages and hear, "Hey. Call me back. *chewing noises* Yaa'll want salad? *more chewing noises*" I love this man.
Moral of the story: if you come across a drunken sailor... teach him the plan of salvation. Have a good week and keep on ponderizing!
Also, I forgot to mention that Elder Simmons and I were looking at FamilySearch and discovered that we are 4th cousins through the O'Brien side. Elder Simmons just came across a John O'Brien and he
turned out to be a common ancestor. The story is that John O'Brien passed away and one of his sons took his wife into his home in Idaho. The son's house then burned down and a bunch of the family moved to Raymond. This is where John O'Brien's wife died. After a while about half the O'Briens moved back to Utah and Idaho. This included Mary O'Brien who married a Simmons. The rest is history.
At least that's what I got from my short skim of biographies.
Elder O'Brien (the younger)