Well, hopefully this letter will be a little bit longer than last weeks! I've got the iPad now, so it's a lot easier to write emails on p-day and just send them when I'm near wifi.
So I guess the first thing to talk about is the weather. I'll start by stating the obvious. Las Vegas is hot. I'm actually getting used to it though! anything under 105 is actually pretty comfortable now! It's not usually too windy, but when it does get windy, it feels like the hot air that blasts out of an oven when you open it. I was surprised to find that even the locals complain about the heat, even on some days I didn't think it was that hot. I guess I've just resigned myself to being hot and sweaty for the next 700 or so days. But on the bright side, things should start cooling down soon! Some of the projected highs for the coming week are below 100! Everyone says it's actually fairly nice down here in the fall and spring and will be in the 70s ,most of the time.
Some fun facts about the Nevada Las Vegas mission: There are about 121 languages spoken within the borders of the mission, so it's very diverse! The mission office keeps copies of the Book of Mormon in tons of different languages, and they say that they go through all of them pretty regularly. Las Vegas is one of the few missions that has been approved to take its number of missionaries to 220. Almost all missions have a cap of 200, but president snow has gotten special permission from the first presidency to have more because of the high conversion rates of the mission.
We recently started teaching an interesting group of people. There's a very well off family of members who have 3 foreign exchange students living with them right now, one from Russia, one from China, and one from Vietnam. We've started teaching the 3 foreign exchange students, and it makes for an interesting lingual experience! They're all pretty good English speakers, but occasionally it's hard to communicate concepts. Luckily we have the miracle of technology! We can have the iPads out and automatically translate everything with the google translate app! I think they're mostly interested in the lessons for the purpose of learning English better, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, so who knows what will come of it!
Sundays are a little interesting now, just because I'm used to them being a day of rest, but now in some ways, it seems like the most stressful day of the week trying to sort out ways for all of our investigators to get to church. I'm finding little times to relax and enjoy the rest though, like when I take the sacrament.
I noticed what you said about people of other faiths doing their best to follow Christ. We talked to a guy named Robert, who shared a lot of views with the church, and is a very devout Christian, but not LDS. His son is a recent RM, but he seems pretty happy with where he's at in his own religion. But he really is an awesome guy striving to do his best to follow Christ!
There are definitely some houses where it is easier to feel the spirit than others, haha. We actually have 3 baptisms scheduled for this month! Our first is scheduled for Thursday and 2 more scheduled in September! I feel very blessed to be in an area where people are so prepared to hear the gospel. My branch president in the MTC said something cool about not knowing how we affect people. Abinadi died believing that he hadn't been able to help anyone, but if it weren't for him, we wouldn't have the 2nd half of the Book of Mormon, because it all stemmed from Alma. It's just impossible to see how far our influence extends! But you can rest assured knowing that if nothing else, you've had profound influence on me! I'm the man I am today in large part because of you. Seeing a lot of dysfunctional families this last week has given me a newfound appreciation of how lucky I was growing up to have such amazing parents!
That's all for this week! Thanks for your endless support and love!
Q&A - 8/31/2015
1.) The hardest part of your week? -- It definitely was a little daunting this last week to think about everything in terms of, "I'm going to be doing this for the next 2 years." Never having a sleep-in day, only talking to family once a week, etc. But as I'm starting to settle into the routine more, I've been able to get out of my own head a little bit and live in the moment more, so I'm doing much better!
2.) The best part of your week? --I've found a new appreciation for my personal study time! It really does make or break my day. If I don't have a good personal study of the scriptures in the morning, than I don't have the spirit with me as much, and it just makes everything about the day harder. But when I've had good personal study, I don't even notice the hard stuff as much, because I'm so much more focused on the positives!
3.) Dad wants to know when your District Meetings are and how big is your District? --Our district is made up of 9 people. 6 elders and 3 sisters. we don't really have a regular day for district meetings, just whatever day it happens to be scheduled for that week.
4.) What's the p-day activity for the day? --every p-day our whole zone (about 15-20 people) gets together at the stake center for sports! basketball, volleyball, and a game local to the las vegas mission called knacky (sort of like a combination of ultimate frisbee, and rugby, played with a football.)