Just two more of these to go! Crazy how the time flies. Just crazy. It doesn't even feel like I've only got two weeks left. Last week was super busy- we went shopping, and I got myself an American flag scarf that I love to death.
Two weeks ago we had the Turkey day party. That was pretty fun- we the missionaries put together a little skit on the origin of Thanksgiving. We had a bunch of food, there were a lot of people, and it was just fun. For Thanksgiving, we had a Zone activity where we had a giant nerf war in the Park Slope church. Elder Calhoon happened to have a ton of blowpipes, so we had enough for everyone. I got some sick rug burn, and perfected the art of the impromptu tank (a big table flipped on its side that we pushed up to the enemy lines). When we played medic there was a bit of a squabble (let's just say I'm starting to not like liberals more and more) but overall everyone had a blast. Later we went and gave a blessing over the phone to one of Hno Mainato's relatives in Equador (Mainato was my first visit in the field). We then stopped by Pedro and Rosalia (I taught them when I was first here. They haven't changed) for tamales. Then we went over to the Marochos' for dinner. I have found that I absolutely love goose, and I like it more than I like chicken. It was a delicious dinner. Unfortunately, either my tummy couldn't handle so much food, or else those tamales had a little something in them, and I almost upchucked everything that night. I was up on the toilet until one holding a plate of peppermint candies (they actually saved the day), until the offender left in the form of diarrhea. Yup. Lots o' fun.
It feels like Christmas, though. In the Dunkin' Doughnuts (best caramel hot chocolate around), they've been playing Bing Crosby's Christmas album, which is the soundtrack of Christmas, as we all know. Also, in the streets of Ridgewood, where we live, they have loudspeakers up playing Christmas songs all day long, with lights and everything. It makes me super happy.
Let's see, what else... not sure if I've told you about it, but I also had an interview with president- I now have a new temple recommend, which expires in March. Apparently that's standard protocol, so that you have to talk to your new bishop.
On Wednesday we had a long morning. We always go to help out a local food pantry and senior center. The day before, they had been expecting a delivery of turkeys and other food, which never came, so we had to do double food pantries today, with no turkey. I was on door and security duty, calling out people's ticket numbers and ensuring order. Things were hectic, but proceeding smoothly until this one lady shows up. She leaves after getting her order, flinging the door open, smacking this poor young Hispanic lady (HL). When HL protests, this Crazy Lady (CL) goes over and starts spewing foul and filthy language at HL. The situation escalates, and I can quickly see that if I don't get in between them, there's going to be a fight. Without even thinking, and really before I even realize it, I'm right in between the two, one arm holding back HL, the other warding off CL, and I am bellowing with all the intimidating authority and confidence I can muster, pretty much banishing her and kicking her out, and she just flies out of there, like flees with her tail between her legs. The rest of the pantry proceeded pretty much uneventfully, though we almost ran out of food. That confrontation earned me a ton of respect from everyone, though. The same lady came back around for round two, but we had the whole squad of volunteers to bring to bear on her, and... I don't think she'll be coming back anytime soon. So, I think that's the closest I've been to getting in a fight on my mission.
On a sad note, on Thursday on exchanges I got a prompting to go visit a family I was close to when I was here the first time, so we went. Francisco and Jonathan are their names. The moment we entered the room, we could feel the spirit leave at the door. Turns out while I was gone the two of them had joined the church of Satan. They were showing us stuff they had from the concert of a satanic band. We could feel the evil clinging to that memorabilia. We were able to get the Spirit back, though, and started talking about the new church initiative #LIGHTtheWORLD. Starting when we said the name of Jesus, Fransisco got a huge headache and had to go lay down. Jonathan started talking about what he believes now. It's straight from Korihor outta the Book of Mormon. He indulges in various sins, mostly from the word of wisdom, and feels he can control it. It's like Satan doesn't tempt him, because he doesn't need to. He believes that premortally Satan was greater than Christ, and was gods greatest creation. He even hails him as a bringer of truth and knowledge. It's sickening. I have never seen Satan's cunning and craftiness manifest like this. Lies and half-truths. It's just so sad for me, because I knew him before he changed. I've been good friends with them. Both Jonathan and Francisco exhibit all the signs of being servants and slaves of Satan. It's so sad. I guess I can understand the Nephites a little better when the Zoramites fell away, or when Korihor or Nehor were preaching.
Satan has a great hold on this city, guys. He is present in the full force of his cunning and craftiness. I'm just grateful that I am so blessed to have the Melchizedek Priesthood, and to be considered highly enough to be numbered among what the Lord has to send to such a place. We left the house, and it was like everywhere I looked I could see the effects of Satan. We got home and had a serious council together. This is the sort of thing where J&F could be tried for their membership and excommunicated. After meditating, we found that the real problem with Jonathan is that he is rationalizing his sins- bring his ideals to the level of his conduct, instead of repenting- bringing his conduct to the level of his ideals. After that, at midnight, we were hungry and a little sullen, so we ate some thanksgiving leftovers. While we ate we shared some truly edifying experiences from the mission, significantly about the priesthood and Priesthood blessings. We could feel the Spirit flood into the room. We said a prayer asking for protection, and slept like babies. We called President Reynolds the next day. I think we threw off his whole day- when we told him he was like 'Oh wow. That's bizarre.' He didn't really tell us too much we didn't know. We are not to visit that house again unless a member of the branch presidency accompanies us. I'm just sad that this happened in the first place.