So in the Taft area; it turns out we work in 11 different towns: Taft, Ford city, South Taft, Taft Heights, Maricopa, Mickittrick, Valley acres, Dustin Akers, Derby Acres, Fellows and Tupman. Most of our work had been centered in the first five there, but Elder Buckmiller and I have been tracting out the different villages and some pretty crazy stuff has come to pass. First off, on Thursday we went out for operation "STOMP! Maricopa" and ran into Nelson, a guy from El Salvador who moved here three months ago. The lesson we taught him was exceedingly good, and when we gave him a Book of Mormon in Spanish, he asked if he could have one in English too, so his kids could read it. So we gave it to him. The last time we talked was really good too. They all seemed very ready to get the Gospel, so it was cool to find him. Later on we went out to Fellows, and while there found a guy named Levi. Levi looks like Brian, only thirty years old, but he seemed very... strange. He seemed really beat down, and when he said stuff, it made no sense whatsoever, until I realized that he was making intensely complex puns. For example, he asked us, "Do you know what a belfry is? I suppose I can't ask you to look for it yourself, it'd be a really long Steeplechase." But as we talked to him, I felt like there was a lot of pain in him of some kind. Elder Buckmiller studied micro-expressions (Sherlock Holmes style of reading faces to discern thoughts) at one point in time, and realized someone close to him had recently passed away. He promised Levi that Christ could help him with the pain and confusion he's feeling and stuff like that, and when Levi said something on the lines of "I just don't know where I fit in, you know?" I felt prompted to testify that he is a child of God, and that's how. So we left him with a restoration and a plan of salvation pamphlet, and he asked us to come back tomorrow. It turns out he was too busy yesterday, so we couldn't teach, but it was un-real to see the difference in his eyes. He was more talkative, made more sense, and it was like he was a completely different person. The Gospel is just cool.
Another crazy, kinda scary thing that happened was that Mynor got sick. His stomach had been killing him, so we promised to come by the next day to see how he was. Well, when we came by again, he could hardly move, he was sweating all over and looked awful. So we called up Sister Morrow, who is a nurse, described his symptoms to her, and she said he'd better book it down to the ER, because he's probably got appendicitis. So we called Carlos to give him a ride to Bakersfield, convinced him to go, (He's from Guatemala after all) and last I heard, they took it out, and he's laid up on pain-killers in the hospital. The poor guy was feeling really alone and everything, so we called him up to keep his spirits up. Hopefully he'll be home soon and we'll bring by some of the ward members.
Also, yesterday a total miracle happened. Jose, who is an AWESOME dry-Mormon, came up to us and asked us to start meeting with him. To give you all some background on him, he's been coming to church since before I came out here, but that's not all; he ALSO drives an hour out to Bakersfield to attend all three hours of the YSA meeting there! Missionaries have tried for ages to talk to him, but he's told us he wants to finish the Book of Mormon first. Well, he's not done yet, but he's fast coming to the conclusion that this is the path he needs to take. He went to another church recently with his girlfriend and said, "It was a nice concert, but I just didn't feel anything." So, we'll be working closely with him to see what goes down.
Keep me posted on your lives! I love you all, and hope everything's going good. Work hard, and play harder!
Elder Matthew David Clough