Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 15, 2017

Dear Family,

Once again it is time for another "we just talked yesterday, what do I say?" email. Luckily I get to actually pause and think while I'm writing so I've actually remembered some things I didn't talk about. I mentioned that Wednesday was a pretty unique day and I actually remembered everything this morning! So, it began with a bible referral appointment. When we showed up she was waiting on her porch which is totally weird because almost nobody even keeps their appointments, let alone waits outside for them! We talked with her for about a half hour and shared a little of the restoration with her. Turns out her husband is atheist and she was planning on leaving him hay day. She was surprisingly casual about it... Anyway, the guy came out at one point to smoke and just stared at us the whole time. 

After that appointment, we went to another one with a referral from other missionaries. Her name was Terry and she was pretty solid. We asked about her relationship with God and she described some experiences she's had that have impacted her. We then taught her a little more about the restoration and asked what she'd do if she found out it was true and she said she'd have to join the church. We then explained a bit about baptism and she said she'd be baptized if she finds out its true. We asked her how she'd find out and she told us she'd read the Book of Mormon and come to church. Of course we told her to pray about it too but the point is she gave all the answers we were hoping. She didn't actually make it to church unfortunately but neither did any other investigator so...

After our lessons we went out for some Mexican and saw some nasty words about Donald Trump in he bathroom. We then went to the church to get some referral info and Jeje dropped us over text but said she'd still come to church. 

The rest of the afternoon we contacted potential investigators and that's when two homeless people asked us for money within a single minute. I didn't have any cash but Elder Brinkerhoff had a $20 which he didn't want to give out. Had. The first guy said that was fine and moved on. The second guy said he knew we could just go to an ATM and get more and other stuff like that so Elder Brinkerhoff caved. 

Later that night we had a lesson at the church and Jeje was there bringing her son to cub scouts. Long story short we convinced her to keep meeting with us. 

It wasn't the weirdest day ever but a bunch of random things happened that made it unusual I suppose. Oh, and just to clarify from yesterday, of the stories I said I'll tell when I get home none of them involve having guns pointed at me. I hope you find comfort in that. 

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 8, 2017

Dear Family,

It's been a good week in the lone star state. Real summer is starting to creep up on us slowly so we had a couple days in the low 90s and high 80s. It's going to get pretty toasty this summer I think.

Hard to believe it's already Mother's Day next week and time to Skype again. I'll either be calling at 4 or 5 your time depending on our schedule that day. I'll shoot ya'll an email that morning and let ya'll know! And remember, it's 45 minutes this time! I'm not even going to talk about what number call this is for my mission. Anyway, looking forward to it.

So quick taco story. There's this fancy/hipster taco place, Velvet Taco, that I've been wanting to go to ever since I got here and we either haven't had the time or money to go until this week. On Wednesday for dinner I finally got to experience these miracle tacos for myself. I got a brisket and a pulled pork taco and they were seriously the best I've had ever. The brisket one had cheese melted on the outside of the tortilla. Crunchy. Delicious. Amazing. I spent about $9 on my two tacos and Elder Brinkerhoff spent about $11. For the next few days we couldn't stop talking about it and kept wondering when we could go next. Two days later we were on exchange (Elder Brinkerhoff was out of the area) and our dinner appointment wanted to take us to Chuy's, another Tex-Mex place. Turns out there was going to be a 45-60 minute wait because everyone was celebrating Cinco de Mayo. So where did we go instead? Velvet Taco. Elder O'Brien: happy. Elder Brinkerhoff: not so much. This time I got some sort of buffalo chicken taco and, get this, a water buffalo taco. Remarkable. That wasn't as short as I thought... oh well.

None of our main investigators were able to meet with us this week unfortunately. I'm thinking Jeje may have kind of gotten cold feet after we committed her to pray about a baptism date. She also has been battling allergies lately which doesn't help. Texas allergies are quite literally the worst for some. Luckily It hasn't really affected me. Hopefully this week she'll get feeling a little better and we can help her move forward. I have no idea what's going on with Marcello. Apathy and fear maybe.

We have Elder Lawrence of the seventy coming to our mission tomorrow so that will be exciting. I've been lucky on my mission to meet quite a few general authorities and I always come away a little happier and more confident about the work. It's nice to get that boost once in a while.

Have a nice week! Sorry I can't share my heavenly tacos with you!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

April 17, 2017

Dear family,

No weird stories for this week, just an awesome one and a couple funny ones. I'll start with Monday, that's when most notable things happened. I sent a picture of the text we got last week but I'll explain a bit more. So, Brother Johannsen was baptized when he was a kid and apparently it was essentially against his will and as he grew up he came to hate the church quite a bit. Around the same time I came to the mission, he was led to meet with the missionaries again and, long story short, they couldn't find his records so he got rebaptized just over a year ago. Since he decided to come back to church he's been really pushing his wife to join but she was pushing back for a while. He let off for a few months and I guess she decided to really read and pray about the Book of Mormon and come to church more often. The second one we noticed of course so she was on our radar a bit. Anyway, on Monday she decided to get baptized. She's been taught the lessons and everything so we set the date for this Saturday. I honestly didn't think those kinds of things actually happened but there you go. Definitely will be an exciting weekend.

Later that night we'd finished up for the night so we were just relaxing in the apartment when suddenly I saw an odd, brownish spot on the carpet. We both checked our shoes and turns out Elder Brinkerhoff had stepped in dog poo and got it all over the carpet. 🤢 Nasty... We got all of it out though!

I think it was a couple nights later that a huge storm came through overnight. I always enjoy storms so that wasn't a problem. However, in the morning, I got out of bed and was about to get ready when Elder Brinkerhoff informs me that the roof is leaking... on my bed! A couple buckets and some shifting around of furniture and that was fixed. The roof is a bit more of an issue though. Hopefully the mission office can get the landlord on that soon.

The only other news I really have is that I'm staying in Fort Worth 8th with Elder Brinkerhoff for another transfer. I was pretty excited about that. The rest of the Zone is changing a ton though. Even within the last transfer we've had three missionaries go home for different surgeries and such. That's never fun to hear about. Let's hope everyone sticks around for a little longer this transfer.

Hope y'all had a happy Easter and hope your week is awesome!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 1, 2017

Dear Family,

Happy May! Hopefully spring is making its way up there. It's been down in the 50s and 60s the last couple days so I for one have been freezing.

We had a great week other than nobody showing up to church. We've gotten the whole situation with Jeje living in another ward sorted out. Apparently her ten year old son told her that if she switches churches one more time he's not going so the Assistants and the Stake President have given us permission to teach and baptize her with the goal of getting her to her proper ward soon. So, we're trying to coordinate something to help her son make friends there. We almost set a baptismal date with Jeje on Wednesday but she wanted to pray about it. At first she said, "It'll happen before you leave Elder O'Brien!" then I told her that might be in a month and she wasn't quite as sure. She totally could though! We'll just have to see.

I can't remember if I've talked about Marcello and his family before but I'll explain just in case. They live next to one of the ward members and Marcello met with the missionaries several years ago when he lived in Arkansas. There are six in the family. Anyway, we had a church tour with them on Saturday that went decently well. They had a lot of questions which their neighbors helped answer for us since they came along. We talked a lot about baptism when we got to the font which prompted a lot of the questions. Marcello seems to have an attitude that he isn't capable of staying true to any commitment like baptism so he's mostly just meeting with us because he knows he should. That's something though! He didn't end up coming to church so of course the rest of the family didn't come either. We'll keep trying!

Love y'all! Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious week! (Challenge accepted and accomplished Julie)

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

P.S. The mission office called me and said they're sending my flight itinerary soon so that's weird.

April 24, 2017

Dearest family,

I can hardly even remember what happened this week other than the last three days but I'll do my best! Luckily we didn't have any dog poop or leaky roof incidences, just the regular sort of random things. We were finally able to get in contact with a couple of referrals that we've been trying to for a while. One of them is named Jorge and was a referral from California. He had met with missionaries there a couple years ago and even had a baptismal date! A few days before his baptism, he drank a coke or something and thought he broke the word of wisdom. That led him to get super depressed so he smoked a cigarette... Oops. He seems to being willing to give it a try again so hopefully that goes well. We're meeting with him again tonight.

Sister Johannsen's baptism of course was the most eventful Part of the week ...

Somehow I hit the send button prematurely with my elbow...

Sister Johannsen's baptism of course was the most eventful part of the week. It was a little stressful putting it all together but it turned out quite well considering. There was also a funeral that day for the last bishop of the ward who passed away after battling cancer for six years so the baptism was a good pick-me-up for everyone. It was one of those events that everyone was hoping for for a while. Definitely a good day.

That's about all I've got this week. Sorry for the short email! I still love ya'll and hope your weeks are glorious!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

April 10, 2017

Dear family,

Well, it's been a fairly average week. Again, not too weird not too normal. No bearded ladies or anything. I think the weirdest thing that happened was that we went to visit a guy who was taught pretty consistently a few months ago that was never dropped. His first lesson report said he was totally crazy and ready for the gospel at the same time. By the end we determined he was mostly just crazy and probably not fully capable of grasping Doctrine much at all. He has an interesting story though and has been in the local news a couple times for non-crime reasons. He has lithium poisoning apparently and was homeless for a while. While he was living in the forest off of East Lancaster a couple charities took notice of him and he did a little painting for them. He then discovered he actually has quite a talent for abstract art and auctioned some off to help support other homeless individuals. The charities got him set up with a home and other amenities so he's doing a little better now. This has been within the last couple years.

Anyway, he also believes the heavens have called him as a high priest and doesn't quite understand why people don't take him seriously. We talked about random things for a bit and tried to direct it towards doctrine but Texans like to talk, so... The visit ended with him explaining some of his art to us. At first it didn't really make a whole lot of sense but the longer I stayed the more I understood. He pointed out a mustache playing piano in one and I could totally see it! Seriously. Elder Brinkerhoff said I was crazy but haters gonna hate. I'm going to have to google this guy's name when I get back so I can show you. I have a few pictures and a video that Elder Brinkerhoff took.

This weekend was definitely an up and down one. Most of Friday and Saturday was spent contacting people who were either too busy or not really that interested. Yesterday made up for it though because we got four bible referrals. One of them we taught within an hour of receiving the referral. She seems pretty open but I'm not quite sure about her husband. We'll see. There was another one named EJ who was originally contacted by one of the Spanish companionships. His brother joined the church not too long ago so he had heard a bit from him and was super excited to get a Book of Mormon. He also is recovering from a bit of scuffle with one of his other brothers. Apparently his brother is going through some things and got irrational for a minute, had a sword for some reason and went to hit EJ with it. EJ put his hand up to block it and now his hand is not doing so well. Go figure. He said he's totally forgiven him though. That was definitely not the type of story I've heard before. It sounds like he has a lot of potential with his brother and all so we'll see what happens!

Oh, also, I had super awesome cake yesterday. It tasted exactly like orange creamsicle and I didn't even get a chew in before I could tell it was amazing. I may have to get the recipe before I leave.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)