Monday: I've been having a bit of a sleeping problem lately. No matter how much sleep I get, I still feel really tired all the time. So, I called Sister Petersen, the Mission Nurse, and she gave me an oral exam for stress. She had me call and set up an appointment with the LDS Family Services therapist in Manhattan.
Tuesday: Woke up to our landlord, who was holding an armload of stuff that had been in our car the night previous. He explained that a hooded man had come to the door at 6 am that morning with these items in his arms, explaining that it appeared that our car had been ransacked, and these items had been strewn about the street. The only things he took were my companion's iPad charger and pocket translator, and my shoulder bag. It's funny, though, for a few reasons. 1. He took everything out of my bag except the pass along cards I had in the front pocket. 2. Not only did he not take the $20 bill we had in the front page of the operator's manual and my companion's expensive sunglasses (a gift, apparently), both of which were in the glovebox, which he definitely went through, but he also apparently missed the church prepaid credit card we use to get gas. Pretty weird, and now we don't leave anything of any value in the car if we can't see the car itself.
Thursday: The day we scheduled the therapist appointment. At 5 in the morning, I woke up and barfed my guts out. That whole day I was just out. I can think of few instances where I've been in more pain. I slept for pretty much the whole day and felt more tired than ever. One interesting part of this tale is that it's the first time I've actually considered taking laxatives. The logic was, if I recall, 'If it's a choice between it going out the front door or the back, I'll take the back.' We rescheduled the appointment for this Wednesday.
Friday: I felt well enough to go out and proselyte, but the whole day it felt like a freight train had run over my back and then backed over me a couple times to make sure it got me good enough. Called Sister Petersen about it, and she says it's most likely related to my stress problem, as the Trapezius muscles are one of the first ones to ache under stress.
Saturday: We did service for a VA hospital, doing some gardening work. It was good hard work, and I loved the chance to not talk to people and just work. It felt good. We went home after that, I took a little nap, and then a cold shower. I felt so good that afternoon. I felt like a new man. Showers can work wonders. Woke up that night with more stomach pains.
That's pretty much how the whole week has gone. Fun fun fun :/
I'm sorry I didn't write last week. We got haircuts for free from an investigator out in Huntington, and had to drive all the way out to do it. I'm the designated driver, so I didn't get to email. It was worth the drive, though.
Investigator/RCLA of the week would have to be Axel. He's a less active, who... Needs some help. Without saying more than is proper, he's having a lot of identity issues (gender identity included), has some substance abuse issues, and some emotional problems. It's been interesting seeing him grow over the past couple weeks. The thing is that he was born into the church, and so he knows all the answers, but it's just a matter of taking the steps to enact change. This week we've seen some real change in him. He's told us that he's feeling the Spirit more, and he's decided to tackle his swearing problem first, where at first he was just overwhelmed and wouldn't choose a specific problem to tackle. More than that, when we visited him on Wednesday, we also taught his friend, CJ, and it turns out that this friend is super interested in the church, and Axel turns out to be a great missionary and started sharing the gospel with him. He also asked for some pass along cards he could give to a couple girls who work at the hair salon he works at. He comes to church every week, and instead of going to Gospel Principles we sit and talk with him about his life and how he can improve it. It's basically a lesson.
Another family that we're super excited about as of late is the Padilla family. They're Puerto Rican, she's been an inactive member since she was 18, he's a navy recruiter, and their son (B, for now) is 15 and has depression. They went to church back when the Westbury branch was just barely formed, so they had a weird experience, and there's no youth program to top it all off. However, Wednesday before last we took Hermano Haws over, and made a ton of progress. Hermano Haws shared the scripture where it describes Captain Moroni, and really related it well to B. It was so cool to see the light bulb come on over his head that the scriptures are actually super cool. The main drive of Hermano Haws's plug was "Faith now." We took that and ran with it. We shared Elder Holland's testimony of the BOM, and asked them if they felt it was true. Hermano Padilla pretty much testified to us that he knows Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and that the church is true. Just, the whole lesson was spectacular. One of the best I've sat in. It also provided some great insight into their family and what they need. Basically, B is the key to everything. Because of his delicate emotional situation, the parents will go along with whatever he wants. That means we either a. Send him to youth in the English Ward and then to the Spanish services, or b. Defibrillate the youth program. We're banking on option b. This is going to be so cool- we're planning a massive, sweeping restart on the youth program. There's a lot of youth in the branch area, but they're all inactive. The most common reason? 'There's no youth.' Therefore, we're just going to invite them all to the branch missionary FHE activity we have planned- get them all together so they see 'oh, hey, I'm not the only youth here.' There's a teen who already comes to church on Sundays (although she sits out the second and third hour) who shows a ton of potential. Las Missioneras are working with her, and apparently she's actually super solid. From what I've gotten from talking to her, she seems pretty cool, too. A black belt in Tae Kwan Do, plays the piano, and spends a lot of free time in service. A great leader in the making. The Missioneras are taking her teaching with them, and apparently she's a great teacher with a great testimony. We think that if we can get all these youth together, they'll be more willing to come to church, and we'll actually be able to get a youth program started. Also, fun fact, Hermano Haws served in Brittany's mission!
Glad to hear you're all going to have a great time in Hawaii... Without me ;) Really, though, go have some fun. It sounds like you all need the break.
All my love,
Elder Richard Brandt Hull