I really try not to be negative in these letters so I'm going to begin by stating some simple facts:
1. On Friday we got our car towed from an apartment complex for not parking in visitor parking. We just came out and our car wasn't there any more.
2. Yesterday we went by a couple less-actives we'd met before in a trailer park nearby. Security then came up to us and told us we're not allowed there because it's a no soliciting area and that they have towed us before for not complying.
3. By law, we are not solicitors.
4. The impound services sector is booming in Texas.
5. This morning I walked outside to find that my bike was gone. Yes, it was locked and yes it was the kind of lock that the mission office warned us people sometimes cut.
6. Our neighbor saw a "weird guy getting on a bike that said 'howdy!!' really harshly and left" late last night as she was walking in. He was on the ground floor though so she didn't think much of it I guess.
I was about to put "nobody died" as the seventh fact but then I remember that we witnessed a guy on a stretcher with a blanket over him being put into a weird looking vehicle as we pulled into an apartment complex. I felt so bad. And no, I did not share the Plan of Salvation with the family. We as a companionship decided the timing may not have been right for that one.
The rest of the week was pretty good though. Tomi and Oyin are all set to be baptized this Saturday which we're super excited about. We also got to meet with Amy and one of her sons. The other son had a football tournament. Things went alright with them but Parker was still quite shy. Him and Cooper really don't have any religious background so most things we talk about are pretty foreign to them. It may take a bit longer but we'll get them baptized. I think once they understand who Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are to them and feel the spirit they'll be ready. It's just a matter of helping that
Saturday was an interesting day for really good reasons. Elder Oaks came Colleyville this Saturday and led the first ever religious freedom broadcast. It was broadcast to all the stakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area so I got to watch it at the Denton Stake center. Elder Oaks gave a very precisely worded talk to start it off. You could see him following the words with his finger and everything. It was the strangest thing ever to see from an Apostle. He gave some closing words without notes though and acknowledged that he had read his first talk word for word. He didn't give much of an explanation from what I remember but we all understood. A couple other people spoke too, including some members who were specifically chosen based on their study of law and defending religious freedom. Basically they laid out what religious freedom means exactly, how it is and isn't being threatened and what we as regular citizens and members can do to defend it. They came right out and said that the church is not at risk of having to perform same-sex marriages. Religious schools however are at risk of being denied funding for example. It was an interesting couple hours for sure. I'll send the notes I took.
Well, have an awesome week and stay away from trailers and apartments as much as possible!
Elder O'Brien (the younger)