How yuns douin!?!? Golly bum, I just had the best darn week I'ze ever could have!
If you think that was poor grammar, y'all need to come check out South Knoxville, true definition of Redneck. I thought Yuba City, CA was bad, but Yuba City ain't nothing's n compared to South Knox.
My first area is West Knoxville. We live off a road called KingstonPIKE. Literally Pike is spelled all caps on the street signs. It's a dream come true because I'm serving in a college town. University of Tennessee is right up the highway. It's also pretty cool because we live about 10 miles from Greek Row at UT. I'm trying to convince my companion we should go proselyte the frats...what's the worst that could happen?
My companion is Elder Beard, and it's interesting because he can't grow facial hair. We are the only two missionaries from California. (He's from Redlands). We both played water polo and swam. All though he was a bigger polo player, I still love him.
We have become the notorious companionship from the West Coast. It's cool though, whenever other missionaries try to hate on us, we just show them our planners. We committed 4 people to baptism in my first lesson, and found 3 new investigators and 3 potential investigators. We have the best numbers out of anyone in our district and zone! No companionship has more baptisms planned in the whole mission.
My companion and I are on bikes, so we can stop and talk to people on the street. There are only about 10 bike areas and we are the only one in our district. The rest of the mission has cars, which would be nice, except you can't talk to people while you're driving. That's against the law, but on bikes...it's perfectly legal!
In my first lesson this past Thursday, held at Samantha’s house, a recent convert, we got to teach her family about the Laws and Commandments. Samantha has a 19 year old daughter named Dominique, who wanted to get baptized, but had a smoking problem. We found out she had gone the 1 week required to pass the baptism interview and she was at church yesterday with Samantha and Majinque.
Samantha's sister, Mortisha (who absolutely mortifies me with her glaring expressions as we teach, and no, does not work at a mortuary) finally decided she needed to be baptized. Buster, a family friend whose been living with them really wants to be baptized, but we can't clear him for the interview because he needs to go till at least Thursday without smoking in order to qualify for baptism. (Smoking is still cool here if you couldn't tell). The last commit was a miracle and shows how God works and prepares people to hear His word. Dominique invited her friend Sameisha, over that night not remembering we had an appointment. When we got to the house, Sameisha never moved from her seat. She sat the whole 45 minute lesson very quietly listening.
At the end of the lesson as we were wrapping up, she interrupted us by saying," So about this whole baptism thang...I ain't never been apart of no church, but after what y'alls been talking about with the prophet and modern revelation, I know I need to join y'alls church. Their is just something about what y'alls is saying that got me feeling like yous is different from all those other nonsense preachers over across the street."
Boy do the people talk differently down here, but the spirit touches us all the same way. The spirit told her she needed to be baptized by priesthood authority and she hasn't even taken any lessons on the gospel or plan of salvation. Talk about promptings by the spirit!
Well, we are the buckle of the Bible Belt and I knew the day would come when the battleground would open for me. Bible Bashing. So we were helping a member clean up from a fundraiser at a local baptist church their school was using as an event venue. We tried to be as non threatening as possible (just as Dave Chappell would say), but alas, word got out that the Mormons had stormed the beach.
One of the paid workers for the church suckered me into agreeing to come to a breakfast and bible study on Wednesday morning. I acted interested but really I was in it for the free meal. Elder Beard wasn't so exited though, he knew something was fishy. I tried to get him to agree, but he refused and we got into an argument. He wouldn’t tell me why he wouldn't agree, I was getting upset...but as we were preparing our weapons of war against each other, the women was calling in reinforcements… AKA the pastor.
When the pastor arrived, we recognized the situation and quickly pulled out our Bibles. If you want a visual, just go watch the final scene of Star Wars: A Phantom Menace, where Qui Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi pull out their light sabers quick when they run into Darth Maul. Same idea, just a little less violent. We went back and forth between James chapter 2 and Ephesians 2 and other bible verses. We were mainly arguing over whether or not faith is enough to be saved without works.
The end of the bash was the best part. The lady who called the pastor was now standing beside her pastor. I guess the Sith always travel in two, but anyway, the pastor gave us his tracking pamphlet that said believing in Jesus Christ was all that's required to be saved. I told him," Well then why do you proclaim you are the true church, and all other churches are false?" He said, “because we baptize and they don't." Elder Beard said, “well the pamphlet you just gave us didn't mention baptism anywhere...." The pastor was SILENT! That was the lightsaber that cut Darth Maul in half. The lady who was with the pastor was silent. We said good day and walked out, but as we were walking down the street, the lady came to us and gave us her information. We still need to set up an appointment, but I think we just got a new investigator from Bible Bashing. I'll let y'all know how it goes next week!
Well that's about all the interesting stuff that's happened this week. I hope everyone is doing well back home or wherever you may be!
-Elder Scott Kuhnen
Quotes from this week
"If dis be a bill collector...I rebuke you in the name of Jesus"- Precious Dodd (A less active member's voicemail)
"This too shall pass...like a kidney stone" -Brother Webster (Talking to the bishop about being tired in ward council)
"You know what after you endure to the end of all this world crap, You is going to see God and he's going to be like 'Well Child ya did fine, heyahs a smoothie'". - Roger Johnson (Recent convert who calls us whenever he's bored)