We are working with a less active who works at Dunkin Donuts and he hooks us up with free donuts. I've already gained 20 pounds since I've been here in Middletown. Jk I'm only kidding. However, if New York ever decided to invest in a real donut place like Krispy Kremes we could have a problem on our hands.
Us missionaries went over to help a lady in the ward who has recently moved back to the house that she grew up in. Her parents have both passed away and so she wants to go back to her childhood house and fix it up. Cute story right? Well it would be but her father grew up during the depression and that influenced him to keep everything, even if it was useless. He was a hoarder. We went over there and for a couple hours we went through junk piles in the backyard. We found some crazy stuff in there. We found bowling balls, 4 sinks, a toilet, dozens of old leather shoes, and huge old glass bottles that looked like they could've stored moonshine at some point. We didn't nearly finish and won't finish for a while. Missionaries have been going over there for a couple months now. It was an adventure going through all that stuff. It felt good to be able to help out too.
Thursday we were supposed to have an appointment. We drove on up to the house and our hopes were shot when the house was dark. We knocked on the door anyway aaaaaaannnnddd nothing. We had just done been juked out of our missionary cleats. As we walked away from the door, we muttered to ourselves the two words that all Mormon missionaries say frequently, "flip elder." Our backup plan was a less active lookup and that guy wasn't home either. Our backup plan had fallen through, and we still had an hour before it was time to go back home. We were wondering what to do. After multiple more times of the words "flip elder" escaping our lips we decided to go visit a potential investigator who missionaries had talked to a couple times but never have been able to get a lesson with him. We drove on over to his street in our church issued Lamborghini (It’s really a Ford Fusion) while bumping rap music (by that, I mean EFY soundtracks). When we stepped out the Lambo there was a group of about 8 or so guys (20's, tall/strong, all African American) surrounding a car listening to rap music while sipping on booze and smoking joints. Our potential investigator was outside his house, not necessarily with the group of younger guys by the car, even though he knew them because they hang out on the block often. We went up and started talking to the potential. He is a good guy and the conversation quickly to turned to God. After a few minutes, one of the guys hanging out by the car walked the 50 feet or so over to the three of us and started listening. Then with a beer in his hand he asked us to start telling him what we believed, he said, "if you're out this late, what you have to say must be important." It was only 8 o clock but it had gotten dark, and when it gets dark here that's considered late and white people don't usually go out after the sun puts its shades on. He told us he had been told about God a thousand times but didn't really know if He was there, he said he didn't know what his purpose was here on Earth. We started teaching him that he can communicate with God through sincere prayer to know He is there. We taught him about what our church believes about our purpose here in life. He was interested and then started to confess to us things he has done wrong over the years and wanted to know how to be forgiven. This was music to our ears because obviously, repentance! We started telling him about how he can be forgiven for his mistakes. When we started to do this, something interesting happened. One by one the group of guys walked over and without a word being said they stopped and listened. The rap music that had been blaring from the car just seconds earlier was turned down. As Elder Judd and I talked to this group of guys, nobody spoke a word, they just listened. After we finished describing how to repent most of the guys walked back towards the car, still not saying a word. We kept talking to the original guy that approached us and when we talked he poured the rest of his beer out in the dirt. He was already letting the Gospel of Jesus Christ change him. We had to go at this point so we got his info and are going to try to talk to him in the future. I don't know if any of those other guys benefited from hearing us preach about repentance but it was cool to see that they came over just to hear what we had to say. Moments like that make the mission worth it.
Elder Tyler J Johanson