Don't forget to take pictures!
This past week has been pretty crazy! It started with me being the best I probably have ever been. Then it went sour and it was just dumb. Thankfully we have the sacrament each week to renew ourselves as we come to that meeting with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
By the way, a mission is just one long string of awkward experiences. When you serve a mission, embrace the awkward and embrace the Lord.
I will go at this email using a day-by-day format, as it is the best way to address this crazy week!
Monday, March 18, 2013
We had our preparation day. Before we emailed, we wanted to go hit up a Karen store and an African store to see if there was anything we could by as souvenirs. The Karen store we went to was actually a food market, nothing we wanted to keep around. Then we went to the African store and started looking around. When we were about to leave the storeowner asked what we were there for. He then related to us that a few months ago, some guys with suits came in, then a few weeks later the FBI came in and took away his food stamp machine. So he was curious. After we told him we weren't with anyone, a Policeman walked in. Super awkward! The cop asked him about someone who was hit and killed in an intersection down the street the week before. Then we played some sports at the church, I didn't as I have a broken finger. I did commentate for an entire game of Foosketball (you throw a football into the basketball hoop using the rules of Ultimate Frisbee. One of the BEST games ever!) which was a party. I surprised myself by how fast I was speaking.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
We were invited by a couple of members of the ward to go and do service for the organization "Meals from the Heartland." It is an organization that packages meals and then sends them to certain places in Africa, South America, and Iowa. We were part of the assembly line of putting Protein, dried Veggies, Vitamin powder, and Rice in a bag and weighing it to be between 390-393 grams and then sealing the plastic bag using a sealer. It was lots of fun! The member of the ward who invited us works for New York Life. Elder Hess and I each worked alongside one of her coworkers. He talked to us for about 90 minutes as we were working and invited us to lunch sometime after we talked about missions and things. It was way neat! We had our first member meal in about 2.5 weeks and they made BLTs with turkeybacon for dinner. It was marvelous! Then we went to Dawn's house, Dawn was recently rebaptized, and talked to her and her daughter for awhile. It was an odd lesson, because each of us spoke for about 5 minutes or more at a time. It was great though. We helped unearth some of her non-member daughters concerns and the Spirit was strong. Dawn and her daughter Integrity make some of THE best hot cocoa ever. And they make it every time we come over!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Today was an early morning as our district met to have individual interviews with our mission President at 6:30am. My interview with President Jergensen went well. We talked about how far I have come since I got to Des Moines and the improvements I have yet to make. As another district of missionaries came to be interviewed at 9:45, we talked to all of those missionaries. Those new to the zone, brand new missionaries, and the veterans of the zone. Our zone when I came up to Des Moines had 11 companionships in 2 districts of 5 and 6. My second transfer here, we had lots of visa-waiters in tripanionships and added a second companionship to the spanish branch here. So we had 12 companionships in two district of 6 each with about 5 tripanionships. Then this transfer, our zone split into 3 districts with the addition of 3 companionships of missionaries. So 3 districts with 6, 4 and 5 companionships in each one. In our zone, only 2 units only have one pair of missionaries in their ward, out of 8 units. I talked to a missionary I served around in Kirksville. It was sweet! Sister Jergensen, our mission Mom, talked to me about my finger and gave me the ok to play sports! I can't get fully into it until the end of May, but something is better than nothing! Then our District Leader and his companion bought us lunch at McDonalds.
Thurday, March 21, 2013
District lunch and district meeting. I gave a training at district meeting. Today I got kind of mad at the world and didn't really let myself out of it. We had Cobb Salad for dinner at a member's house after a crazy lesson. This 10-year-old Karen girl we are teaching is also being taught by the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW). We went in, then her mom went to go bring her home. She brought Stephanie the JW with her! It was one of the most awkward experiences I have had on my mission. She told us, quite haughtily, that she served full-time for her whole life and not "just 2 years." It turns out full-time for them is only about 70 hours a month, or if they get really busy 96 hours a month. I am sorry, but all the time I donate in this 2 years will be more than you ever donate. And the fact that I will serve in callings for the rest of my life, adding up to at least 70 hours a month, will easily outdo your service. But anyway... She left, we taught a lesson on recognizing the Spirit, and then she came back at the end right when the investigator, Blay-Blah is her name, was going to pray! Super frustrating, especially when Stephanie said she wouldn't be back until Saturday.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Pretty average day actually.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
We helped out with the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. Then met with a Less-Active named Edward Hargrove and his nonmember family. Edward contacted the missionaries after discovering he had testicular cancer. He is good now, but said that that was God's wake up call for him to get back into church. So he came to church Sunday for the first time in 10 years! We dropped by our investigator family the Guerrero's today and read the Book of Mormon with him. His countenance had changed and he stopped us before we got halfway through with 3 Nephi 11 saying he would read it later. Sad day. :( We also have a full-time car rather than being in a car share from now until April 25th. A missionary went home Saturday morning. :( Today I came out of my funk that I was in from Thursday to today though. :)
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I love church! It is the best thing ever! We thought it was Fast Sunday today, so we fasted two weeks ago, then today, then it is really Fast Sunday next week. At church after Sacrament Meeting we talked to Dawn about her daughter Integrity. Integrity almost got baptized last year, but then she doesn't like it when missionaries get transferred, so she decided to stop liking the missionaries. She told Dawn, "I'm disappointed... I like these missionaries." Well, that is a good thing! Elder Hess and I believe that she is one of the main reasons we are still in Des Moines together. We are making plans to help her and to just be real with her. In fact, we are going to take bacon to their house to our lesson tomorrow. :) We had a great homeade asian food dinner yesterday at a members house. Complete with lots of fresh fruit: mangoes, grapes, and blackberries. Those kids are the cutest and love their fresh fruits and veggies! We then showed them the most awesome video ever. Check out "Come See the Light" on reflectionsofchrist.org and watch it with Easter in mind! We then went to the Guerrero's. David Guerrero's girlfriend is a member from Utah. She was going to marry David, but found out he is a drunk and not willing to change even though he needs it. She is praying about keeping her Spiritual side of life. She said she isn't willing to give it to be with him. Which is hard, but super awesome she is that converted! We got a referral from the same sister in the ward that works for New York Life tonight about some awesome people they met when looking for a member of the ward. The member didn't live there anymore but the sister said that "These people need to be Mormon." So we stopped by and found some new people who are curious and want to read and pray about the Book of Mormon to find out if it is true or not. Super awesome!
I love you all and hope you continually find your strength in Christ.
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Nothing Less than 550
Nothing Less than 550