It sure has been an interesting/Deja vu week this week, being back in Santa Maria and all. It feels pretty good to be back though.
On Monday, Elder Kingrey and I were saying goodbyes to people all day long it seemed. It was so hard to leave, but I know that good things are happening there, and the Lord will take care of all of them.
When we got to Ventura the next day, I found Elder Snyder, and the member took us to Chick Fil'A before we headed back up. Elder Snyder is from Milad, Idaho, and he's a good missionary. He's 18 and fresh out of high school. He's diligent, hard-working, and obedient. He's a bit more somber and serious when it comes time to teaching lessons and talking to people on the street, and it's been a bit of an adjustment for both of us because I'm pretty casual and funny and I like to joke around with people a lot, and when it's time to be serious, I am. So we've been smoothing out the edges, but I think that we've got a pretty good rhythm down now. The joys of missionary life... :)
Area-wise, it's been going pretty well. There's not as many investigators in our teaching pool as much as we'd like, but the ones that we do have are pretty solid for the most part. In August, the missionaries here were teaching a 17-year old kid named Carlos, and he was baptized at the end of August. His parents and siblings attended his baptism and started going to church after that, and since then, they've expressed a desire to join the church! His dad's name is Ernesto and his mom's name is Kathy, and he has 2 siblings, with the older one, Caroline, being 11 years old. They have a baptismal date for the 23rd this month, but they need to learn quite a bit more material, and not all of them are on the same page--before they can be baptized. We usually see them on the weekends, and I will be having my first teaching appointment with them tonight. They did come to church yesterday though, which was nice.
There's another part-member couple named Katie and Anthony. Katie is a member and Anthony is not. Anthony has been studying with the missionaries for quite some time now, but he hasn't really committed yet to baptism. He's a really nice guy, but he just needs to look for the Spirit more and make that commitment. Tonight, we have planned to teach them a lesson all about the armor of God, and how the Lamanites were scared of the Nephites because of their armor, and we will tie it back to the fact that it wasn't as much their physical armor as much as their spiritual armor. Wish us luck!
As for the ward, they seem pretty nice, but not very much so for missionary work and having the missionaries over for dinner. There's a few nice people here and there, but we didn't have any dinners with members this past week. Blessing and a curse...good opportunity to lose excess weight! But little to no member interaction....pick your poison.
It's getting difficult to do missionary work now anytime after 5 o'clock. It's getting dark so early! We are not allowed to ride bikes at night, so on days that we don't have the car, we find ourselves walking around town and when it's time, ask the other elders to pick us up. So when we are invited in by an investigator or a less-active, it is much appreciated! There's been a fog that comes from the west the past couple of nights too, so that's been fun to drive in. :)
I was pondering a lot this week about how much I love missionary life. It certainly has its downs, but I just love how simple it really is. Solely looking outwards and trying to help others is a happy way to live.
I love this Gospel so much! What else can I say? It's TRUE! Talk to you all next week!
Love, Elder Harper
P.S. I found a Harper St.!, and also, here is my district (my companion is the one with the orange tie)