Week One – Newport Beach

It’s been great so far! I made it through the MTC, so I must be  able to make it through at least the first 6 months of my mission, right? Yup! The area that I’m serving in is the Newport Beach 1st ward, and I kept hearing from all the other missionaries how lucky I am and how awesome the ward is, and I though to myself, “yeah, maybe they say that about every area?” Nope. It really is all those things. The members are AMAZING and take such great care of us missionaries. We have a dinner appointment every night, and even better, they are all super involved in missionary work! Even (maybe so far as especially) the old people!

But enough about them, let’s talk about my trainer, Elder Prevette. He’s a convert to the church, so he has a super strong testimony, and he even got special permission to have his family come visit so he could baptize them all! He is super chill, knows how to play the guitar and uke, is a rubicks cube MASTER, and knows how to speak Marshallese. He’s pretty great.

So, we get to our apartment, and find out that WE HAVE NO CAR. Normally, that would be fine if we had a normal sized area, but we have a pretty big area to cover, and, we have to cover Lido Isle and the Balboa peninsula, which are hard to get to even if you DO have a car because traffic is TERRIBLE in that part of the city, seriously, I don’t know why people live there. Anyways, long story short, we now have bikes that a member is letting us borrow until our cars get out of the repair shop, which might be a few more weeks.

On the upside, we are getting to know our area really well, which helps us get around easier. And, it helps us to not get fat as fast (because, ya know, members feed us every night and we live around the corner from a Cafe Rio) Ah, California how I love thee!

Alright, story time.

So, my comp and I were walking around trying to stop by some of the member’s homes to try and get to know them before Sunday. So, after taking literally the slowest route to get to this small island neighborhood, we run into B. Tinder. (I can’t use his whole name, but his last name really is Tinder) Now, when you first meet him, B. seems a little wonky. There were notes in our area book about B. Tinder, and as we’re walking down the street, this older gentleman in a black with white stripes track suit calls out to us, “Hello, Elders!” which doesn’t really happen a lot in So Cal. So we stop and talk to him and he’s all, “Hello, I’m B. Tinder! The other missionaries were meeting me, and I’m anxious to hear the third lesson!” So we set up to meet with him after Church on Sunday.

So, Sunday after church, we get to his house and he welcomes us in, and this guy has a NICE house. He’s got an indoor pool right off his living room, and a bunch of paintings on the walls, a nice fire place, a GINORMOUS tv and sound system. So we start talking to him about his life, and it turns out he’s had a pretty interesting life.

He grew up in North Carolina, and his parents had a shaky marriage, his dad was an alcoholic and his mother was a faithful Jehovah’s Witness, so that wasn’t a good recipe for a family. Anyways, he was strong in that church, and eventually joined a Christian commune after high school. Then he met his ex wife, and after a while, the missionaries found them and they were all baptized. He said the main reason he was baptized at that time was because his wife was, and that he never really developed his own faith, just relied on her’s. Well, later on down the road, he developed a smoking habit and was excommunicated for reasons that we didn’t ask about.

After that, he and his wife got divorced and he started to try out lot’s of other different religions, and he then realized that none of them offered the things we did, and he realized at that point what he had lost in his life. Apparently, he’s been meeting with the Bishop for years and working on quitting smoking, and now finally he’s in a place where he can be re-baptized!

He had such a strong testimony, and all his experiences have made him humble enough to have faith in Christ. We’re working towards getting him ready for baptism (I think hes ready now, but, oh well) sometime next month, and he is such a great person!

Well, that’s my story for this week, I’m not going to be able to send pictures until next week because I don’t have my camera with me (oops) but then I’ll send tons!

I love you all, I love being a missionary, and I love the opportunity I have to teach the gospel!

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