Here are some of the things we talked about:
I asked what the most embarrassing time was so far. He said that it was when he was doing some street contacting and found out the women they were talking to were actually men!
We asked about what the membership was like there. He said the branches and wards were small. A big percent are inactive. One thing they are working on is going through the ward lists and visiting those they don't know. They try to get that magic number where they can become a ward, then big enough so that they can have a building. They don't have organs, and maybe out of their whole membership they will have only one person that can play the piano. He said that they sing mostly a capella, or have someone play out of the simplified hymn book, or play with one hand.
When asked what it was like for the members there and what challenges they had, he said that everything was just worse there for them compared to us at home. For example- because of the heat, immodest dress was more prevalent. He said think of Westview High school and the bad stuff there (language, sex, etc) and multiply it. He also said that marriage isn't the norm. Most couples have lived together for years and aren't married- even with children. He said that if they find a couple that are married, they jump at the chance and teach them because it means pretty much a guaranteed baptism.
When we asked him to tell us of a spiritual experience he has had, he told us that everything about a mission is spiritual, non-stop. He loves studying the scriptures, prayer, teaching, and conferences with the other missionaries. He especially liked having Elder Cook visit with them, and loves learning from his mission president, who he said is awesome and was sure that he will be a general authority some day!
Here is the nice note I got today at his normal email time:
Mon 5/14/2012 8:34 AM
i love you too mom!
you know what´s weird? i will probably be home next mother´s day!
it was great seeing everybody! but its still is weird, mom´s keeping me all updated on everything so i dont have anything to talk about! i´m trying to get back up some pictures today, so ill try to send you guys some!
i love you all!
Leadership Counsel with the President
The names of those in my zone that are from my same group.
(have the same amount of time on the mission)