Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 20 Letter

Hello world!
Writing from Geneseo College! 'Tis a happy place. Just a heads up, my "t" and "y" are awful on this computer. So, I'm trying to pay attention to it... but if a word doesn't make sense, look for places that a t or y would help out.
That being said, it's been an interesting week. First weeks in new areas are always weird, because you know no one, and everyone just relies on your companion for everything. Haha, but then to make it more confusing, Elder Ryser hates talking (I think at least partially because he doesn't like English haha) and so he wants me to give most of the answers, even if he is being asked most of the questions! But, it works out nicely, because normally it's harder to really get to know people the first few weeks because you just ride your companion's coattails. But, as it is, I'm catching on quick!
Haha his English is pretty funny. He was in the part of Switzerland that spoke Swiss German, which is a random conglomerate of about 75% German, 15% French, and 10% made up words. To make it even better, they don't have a grammar! Haha but, it makes listening to him pretty funny. Not only do his w's turn into v's, sometimes he over compensates and makes his v's turn into w's. Then his sense of plural and singular gets a little skewed, so we go and visit lots of mans and womans. And probably the best is how all of his j's turn into ch's. I was QUITE surprised when "Chong Moon" turned out to be a white man named "John Moon" and we spent about 10 minutes searching the ward list before I realized that "Chudy Torture" was actually "Judy Georgier." Haha but I like him a lot. He's a funny guy. Plus, we get an extra hour of study so he can learn English. He said when he got to the MTC, he knew how to say "I am Elder Ryser," but didn't know how to say, "I just got here." Still, they decided that was enough and put him in the 2 week class with all the other fluent foreigners.
Anyways... Geneseo. Haha when I was in Warsaw, Geneseo seemed huge. Warsaw had about 4,000-5,000 people in it; Geneseo had about 10,000. After half a year in Buffalo, a city of almost 260,000.... I feel like I'm right back in the country again! Hallelujah! It's funny to be in this weird mix of students, professors, and people exactly like Warsaw and Freedom. They are two very different cultures just mixed right in together.
So, we are working with a few recent converts. Both Bridgette and Barbie got baptized within he past month. It's funny, though. Bridgette, who didn't even know who Moses was before meeting with the missionaries, knows all the answers when we teach her. Barbie, who has been going to church her whole life, really can't answer any of them. But, they're both nice... so all is well.
Then we have a pretty funny teaching pool right now. We have people like Tommy, who has been meeting with missionaries for over a year and is a marijuana enthusiast. Then there is Sharon who has been meeting on and off for about 13 years and got really upset at us this week because we only spent one hour with her and TWO hours with Barbie (we went over to Barbie's a second time this week because her grandma passed away...). And then there's Vincent who is actually progressing pretty well and has come to church multiple times, who started getting "famous" on the radio when the government shutdown because he is a big end-of-the-world prepper; he especially likes to learn about the Church's stance on the Second Coming.
Really, though, we have some pretty legit prospects. Linnea, who is Vincent's wife, is apparently even more into learning about the LDS Church than him. She has come a few times even when he hasn't, which is especially cool because when the missionaries go there, he absorbs all their conversation.
Then there's Randy who is a stud. He has spent the past few years by going to jail on the weekends. But, about a year ago, he asked the missionaries to come visit him. Since then, he's read Genesis, Matthew through Jude, and 1 Nephi through Helaman 6. He also read part of Exodus... but thought God was kind of mean so he skipped to the NT hahaha. But, he is really cool. He used to not care in the least bit about religion, but now is all about God, and loves how all the books weave together so well. He said he and his wife have been struggling getting along, especially while he'd been in and out of jail, but kept on emphasizing how much he wishes that she would just read the Bible with him. His jail time ended last week, and so now he's excited to come to church finally! Unfortunately, we'll have to wait at least four months before he can get baptized, because of his probation.
Then there is Shane, who I actually haven't me. But he is really good friends with a member of the ward, and called a DIFFERENT member of the ward who works on a radio show and is very open about his Mormonism on air to ask about where and when church is! He has come five times since and went to the sites with Elder Ryser and Barlow last Sunday. He is pretty booked this week, but we have an appointment with him the following week and he is already planning on coming to church on Sunday!
Finally, there is Jenn. She came to church for the first time with her mom yesterday. She's probably in her 20s, though. We didn't talk with her much, because Elder Ryser spent most of his time with Barbie who was crying for 2 and a half hours, and I was brand new and had no clue who was always there and who was new. But, that worked well, because I was teaching SundaySchool (baptism by fire, eh?) and just treated her like everyone else in the class and she was as involved and interested as anyone! Maybe even more, actually! I was great. We're going to call her mom today and see how Jenn felt about it all and see what her thoughts are on how to approach Jenn from here.
Oh wait, not finally! We also went tracting on Tuesday (my first day in Geneseo) and met a lady named Valerie who we are meeting with tonight. Haha it was one of those awkward times when you knock and they yell out, "Come in!!" Haha luckily, we had a wonderful conversation with her about the Book of Mormon and a miniature Restoration lesson. She even wrote our appointment for today on her planner!
Well.... I should probably go. I took some pictures of Geneseo. But then it snowed. So, this is a poor representation of my area at the moment. It looks prettier now and will look even better by the time it turns green!
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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