Things are well here in Onehunga. Elder De kock and I have been digging through our Area book, and have been organizing routes and areas to go see old investigators, and possible investigators. As we go about our day teaching appointments. We have found several new investigators, and we have found some old ones that are still interested. We are carefully taking notes so we can keep the area book updated for the future. It's been tough to get teaching appointments. We often speak with people the day before, then they are know where to be found when we come visit them! Then we have to fill that time with finding people, and talking with people on the streets.
We have one Catholic fella who at first really wanted to do a Bible bash type deal/doctrinal bash. After much discussing, we have got him to use the same version of the Bible that we have when referring to scriptures. This is important because he would often use a more modern bible translation. Which can make it easier to understand, however many truths are lost in it because it has been translated in mans understanding, not with the power of God. Something very significant that he has learned is that The Book of Mormon is what we claim or know to be the "Word of God", and it provides us with the correct view, or way to interpret what the bible scriptures say. He actually originally thought that Joseph Smith knew the language the Book of Mormon was written in, and Joseph Smith translated it with his knowledge, and then used the "scripture" he had to start a religious sect. But we made it clear that it was by the Power of God that he did so. Therefore making it the word of God. We could sit there and talk about clashing doctrines all day, and we will never make ends meet because we see the bible differently. He is seriously investigating the The Book of Mormon to see if it "Holds Water". As he has been studying it, we have been there to answer his questions about it, and help him understand it. He has grown to trust us, especially as he has had lots of expereince in speaking with many JW's, Islamic, Hindu, and other break offs of the Catholic Church. I think he is beginning to understand that there is something more behind the Book of Mormon. I look forwards to helping him understand more!
We also have a fellow named Eddie. He is about 65 years old, and has been involved with the church for a good 10 years. He reads the Book of Mormon, has paid tithing, and comes to sacrament, and knows to turn it away because he is not baptized! He knows more about the Mormon Church than most members do! He has been friends with many members, and seen them pass on to the next life. He has seen all the Bishops be called and then released, He has also spoken with many missionaries through out the years. The first missionaries cam very close to baptizing him, however something came up and he didn't for some reason. Since then it has been difficult for missionaries to come close to him and speak with him about his concerns. Me and Elder De Kock have been able to come close to him, he says that he trusts us and likes to speak with us. Eddie is actually quite wealthy. He has a second house in Auckland, and also in California. He was a Professional diver, has so many cool stories about his job, and I have impressed him a bit with what I understand about it. He is also a Jeweler, has owned companies that manufacture plastics, a plumbing company, and to top it of he has a college education in psychology, and has worked in mental hospitals. I know it sounds like a lot to claim but it is all true! He has a shop with all the tools he uses for Jewelry including furnaces! He actually taught at a University in California, for diving, but while he was there he took classes in psychology for himself. That's where a lot of his wealth has been made. The thing about Eddie is that he doesn't show it. He looks like a normal old British guy with bad teeth. Oh and did I mention that he plays the Organ, and that he is a professional? Yes he has a full on pipe organ in his other house here in New Zealand. He has played for local churches, but unfortunately he does not play for our church because he is not to impressed with it, and he doesn't get paid like he does in other churches he plays for... haha. I mentioned that mother plays the organ and that she has one herself in here house! It made me wish that I played at least a little because then I would be able to connect with him on another level. I haven't seen it because it is at his other house in Auckland. but he has tons of stories about playing for other churches, and listening in on what they teach. It has helped him believe more in the Mormon doctrines. We have been speaking with him since I started here in Onehunga. Just recently it got to the point where he was speaking with us about baptism. He doesn't really touch on why he hasn't been baptized. Eventually though as we spoke with him, we noticed that he would only talk with us outside. He originally would speak with us in his house. But he would not invite us inside when we spoke with him. Eventually, after inviting him to a baptism, to see the fount (because he had never seen one before, and he was curious) however he fell ill just before the day of(He was honest and felt bad) one day after church we spoke with him and he basically told us that we where not the missionaries to baptize him, and that we would have invited him to see the fount at church that Sunday if we really wanted to baptize him. His claim being very unreasonable, to turn us away. Me and Elder De kock rode away on our bikes quite irritated, we had gotten to know him so well and then he through us away. We got put in the category with the other missionaries, even the ones that tried to teach him the Plan of Salvation with the little cut outs when he knew very well what it was all ready. We then decided that we should go back to his house not more than an our later than when he turned us away and just tell him that he needs to be baptized NOW, and that there are no perfect missionaries, or perfect wards. We walked up to his house and rung the doorbell, he didn't answer, we rung it again, he then came out wanting to know what it was we wanted, and let us know that he was watching a yacht race. Elder De Kock then said "Eddie................... You need to be baptized", The three of us had a good conversation, I told him that he was missing out on the blessings of partaking of the sacrament, and the Holy Ghost, he replied, and said that he new that. We also explained that no missionaries or wards are going to be perfect. He seemed to take it well and we left on a good note, giving him a week to think about it. We returned later and rung his door yesterday. He did not answer. We returned later in the evening, and rung the door bell. He poked his head out one of the windows and said "and what do you guys want at this hour?" We told him we wanted to speak with him. He simply said "oh not right now I'll catch you guys later". I know you guys where probably wanting an amazing story, but it is the reality of missionary work unfortunately. We will return later in the week to say hello again, and hopefully he will be more willing to speak with us. Me and Elder De Kock think that he has a bit of pride. He wants everything to be perfect, or wants the people of the church to live up to what they are suppose to be. Unfortunately he has seen the ward at the chapel that he considers his "Home Ward", degrade a bit. The chapel isn't as well kept as it use to be, and the meetings aren't what they use to be unfortunately. For example, the deacons like to wear white shoes sometimes when passing the sacrament, and Eddie himself doesn't find this appropriate. Eddie himself unfortunately holds this against them in a way. The speakers aren't as prepared as they use to be, and what really gets his goat is when people are on their phones at church. It's sad that he is letting small things like this keep him from getting baptized. He also may have an issue with smoking. We where talking with and Elder form Germany that previously served in this area, and has actually caught him smoking. So maybe that is where fit is really stemming from. Either way he is to prideful to seek for help, and except the faults in people. Either way we will try to keep working with him, and I'll let you guys know how it goes. He could certainly use a few prayers. Eddie is a great guy though. He does not have a family, and he looks at people with family's and in a way envy's it because he never took the time to settle down and start one. He has fellow shipped many boys in the past with what they want to pursue, including a boy he sponsors in yacht racing. He doesn't do it to make him self feel better, he expects good grades out the boy and more. He wants him to get a good start in life. Considering he is pursuing yacht racing I think he has some big stuff in store. I don't think it's the big million dollar yachts, just smaller more average racing. I would like to research it myself, to figure out what exactly it is but I can't. :/ Me and Elder Dekock took a bit more time out of our schedules to write so thats why its so long and detailed! I hope you guys enjoy it! I know a lot about Eddie sounds crazy, but it is true, and there is so much more I could tell you guys!
Also I mentioned Mace before. He is doing well however he isn't very disiuplined and hasn't been reading or praying. So we have been REALLY encouraging him to do that. Please pray for him.
Yes, I chuckled at Jennifer going to Salt Lake. Not because it's bad but it just.. ya it was inspired of the Lord for sure... Hannah going to New Jersey is cool also is pretty awesome. The only dear John I was worried about was for her boyfriend in serving a mission! But it looks like hes safe for now. They both e-mailed me about it, so that was it has been exciting for me to see where my friends go on their missions!
Anyways tell Grandpa that I love him and that I do often think back to coming to his house and helping out in the backyard and all the fun things that we have done! I think it would be nice to e-mail him also. So I have not received the package that you guys have sent unfortunately. Maybe this week. I will let you guys know for sure.
I think of so many things that I can tell you guys during the week but I usually forget quite a bit! Something big was meeting an Apostle! I met Elder Anderson! I shook his hand, and he talked to our mission about teaching people and gave us some wonderful insight! It was a great experience! I totally blanked on telling you guys about that! It was on the 20th of Feb I met him.
I cant think of anything else, hope all is well I love all your e-mails!
Love you all hope all is well!