Tuesday, December 11, 2012
1st Week in the Field
December 10, 2012
Hello family and friends! It is so nuts that I'm here. It's all kind of been a blur this week. Thank you to Mom, Emmy, and Tara for the letters. I'll try to get responses out this week, but no promises. So I thought that I felt good about Spanish leaving the MTC. It is definitely not the same language coming from the lips of a native. Wow...it's been tough. My companion is Elder Flores. He is from Virginia and his parents are from El Salvador. He speaks English better than Spanish, but he's pretty good at both. Unfortunately he can only give me my least favorite response to any grammar question: "I don't know, it just sounds right." Ugh...! He's been speaking to me in all Spanish. I admittedly have been getting a little frustrated the last two days, but I'm seeing improvements. I just need to be more patient.
I am serving in the Belvedre 2 ward and I'm in the north portion of the ward boundaries. It's right in the middle of East LA (it may technically be LA). It's pretty rough, but I haven't ever felt in danger. I've just been "cautiously aware" of my surroundings. If you want to see what my area looks like, hop on Google Maps and look at were the 10 and the 710 cross and that's my area. Most of our investigators live near City Terrace Drive. Our area is huge, so we have a car. That's a huge blessing.
Mom and Dad, that bike you got me was sooo pretty. I am so grateful that you bought it for me.
We've eaten with a member almost every night. Nothing scary yet. But I attached a picture of some carne asada street tacos the Elders Quorum President's wife made. Oh...my...gloriousness. They were everything I wanted to experience in the realm of food while being here. I've seen a lot of Orange Fanta, a lot of bottled water, and a lot of iPhones and satellite dishes in homes that I know can't afford them. It's been sad to see that.
We don't have any solid progressing investigators at the moment. There are potentially some really really good stories coming, so stay tuned. We had a confirmation on Sunday of a guy who had to come over a heavy drinking problem. He is such a funny guy! And he speaks English really well, so that makes it easier to relate to him.
Cool story of the week. We are teaching a lady named Flor. She speaks English and Spanish equally well, so we teach in English so her son can understand. We drop by her house to talk to her, but she was busy. We walk out and start talking to this 75ish year old man sitting on a bus stop bench drinking a ton. He said that he had an appointment of some kind in the morning and he lived in a different city. He traveled there because there would be no way to get there in the morning (for some reason). It was kind of a cold night and he was planning on sleeping on the street. His plan was to drink until he passed out so that he wouldn't need to deal with the cold. We tried to convince him that it was too cold and that we would try to call somebody to come take care of him. He refused to move. We finally convinced him that he couldn't stay there. So we walked back to Flor's house (maybe 50 feet away) and asked her if he could stay the night on her couch with how cold it was. This single mom living in the roughest part of the town takes this drunk old man in for the night. We later found out that she fed him too. Sooooo cool! I don't know if I would have done that. The people here have such big hearts. I love it. Almost everybody is willing to strike up a conversation. It's super cool.
Well, I love you all! One of the things that I've liked doing here is listening to conference talks while I'm showering, getting ready, or am in the car. So, PLEASE download some of your favorite talks and burn it on an audio CD and send it to me! I would absolutely love it! That's what I want most for Christmas, to be honest. That, and letters. So write me! Thanks for all the support. Have an awesome week, because I know that I will!
Elder Tanner Christensen
p.s. I GAVE A TALK MY FIRST WEEK!! It went pretty well. Nobody believed that I got here on Tuesday. It was awesome. The topic was the Ministry of Christ. LOVE YOU!!