Monday, 19 January 2015

Catching Up! Area Three: Bakersfield

It has been a long time coming since I have updated this blog. (THAT'S MY FAULT!) But everything has a silver lining, and this is no different. If you know Elder Sommerfeldt, you'll know he really isn't one for elaborate sentences, detailed paragraphs - any kind of wording actually. His emails home are more so a run-on sentence stream of consciousness than anything.

So, (with a little editing to make it legible!) here are photos from James' last few months of his mission. For some context, since the last blog post, he was transferred to Bakersfield, and then to Little Rock, where he currently serves. This post will cover his time in Bakersfield. HE STILL CLAIMS PALMDALE IS HIS FAVOURITE. Without further delay, here is a look back at James' mission, from Summer 2014 to now:


"Ok so last week was rather a disappointing week. We had a lot of less active visits but let me tell you those were the longest lessons of my life. All they did was talk, they just wouldn't be quiet. Oh well. Most Latino youth here prefer to speak in english to everybody except older Latinos cause they don't know english. I sort of understood the less actives, Elder Gomez did most of the talking. On the plus side I am sending some pictures although some of them are from my time in Lancaster. 
Elder Gomez drew me has a pokemon, but I need some help coming up with a name, he's a Rock/Ice type that's a T-Rex. BTW, Elder Gomez's pokemon is Fire/Steel. We hear stuff about the World Cup right now, but Elder Gomez hates Argentina; he's Mexican. But yes I was cheering for Germany, after all I was wearing the jersey. 

So this week I threw up after working out, sigh, there goes 20$ of protein down the sink drain. Other then that not much happened. No investigators at church, all of them are avoiding us but whatever. On the plus side I have a fighting pokemon team planned for when I get home, I think I will call this team Royal Rumble. We have one of those door pull-up bar things and I was doing all sorts of exercises with it. I was at home when I got sick, and I believe the brand of protein powder is Whey-Protein; tastes bad by itself but throw into a blender with a banana, choc milk, and peanut butter and it tastes great. I'm not really buff, just started this routine. But make sure it's well blended or else you will be eating protein chunks and that just tastes gross.

Luckily I am in car this area so I can avoid getting into any bike crashes like in the past.  

Hello Everybody,

Ok to answer some questions my favourite colours are purple, green, blue. 
We used to, for service, go help out at the food bank but we don't do that anymore. Too many people and not enough things to do. Also my comp is leaving and I am getting another mexican companion. Still a JR. comp and I'm not DL. Wow, avoided leadership again. I have a goal to avoid any leadership throughout my mission, fingers crossed. My new comp is from Mexico but lives in New York now, Elder Gomez is from Mexico but lives in Texas. I have to move apartments even though i'm not leaving though, so I'm packing like a mad man. Elder Lopez its happening tomorrow. As for Elder Gomez, he's going to Lancaster.

This new apartment is way nicer than the one before and we have a giant couch that even I can lay down comfortably on. Plus, it's also a hide-a-bed; my bed sucks, it feels like I'm sleeping on bricks. The reason we moved was because a new english area opened up and a senior couple was moving out, so now we live in the senior couples old apartment and english missionaries live in my old one. Also last night my car battery died so we got a new car today. It's just as bad as the last one.

I spend a lot of time driving around, just to put into retrospect I drove about 300 miles in one week. So yah, I think I will go over my miles limit this month oh well. I kinda hope they take away my driving privileges so I don't have to deal with driving here. On the plus side this week was a good week lots of new investigators, yah. It's still hot and not looking forward to the winter here cause then all the smog gets thicker and it still stays hot. Its ok though, I'll get transferred to Ridgecrest where Death Valley is just cause Pres. loves to see me suffer in the Californian desert. Oh that's life I guess. Or I am hoping I will get sent up to the Mountains where there is actually snow and I can have a white Christmas and where its cold :). 

Hello Ya'll, so this week was a really good week yah! 9 new investigators and a baptism, yah (not mine but cool anyways). Some of them are in the same family, some of them spanish, some english. Also went to Burger King, paid using coins and coupons - now I feel what it's like to be poor. Also just bought some sweet paisley ties, I guess that means I am not poor, I kinda contradicted myself there, oops. And happy birthday Josh! Just 2 more years until you can go on your pokemon adventure, haha. Oh and those pictures of the receipt are what happens when a Star Wars nerd gets a receipt (or in this case his companion's receipt). Who gets it? :) 

So this week was pretty funny cause my comp got racial profiled, I will explain. We were doing service for a member and we are cleaning their windows. Elder Lopez took off a screen and then a cop pulled around to check out what he was doing. And when he looked over at me, I said, "oh we're cleaning windows." The cop then said, "oh, I thought you were breaking in." Haha, pretty funny. Also we went to a Swap Meet on Friday and set up a booth, I felt like I was in Mexico. No white people, no english, just Mexicans everywhere. Oh, a Swap Meet is pretty much a flee market, you buy things for cheap, knockoffs, that kinda thing. We were giving stuff for free like Book of Mormons, pass-along cards with our numbers on it, pamphlets, stuff like that. So yah, that was pretty fun minus the sandstorm after we got there. Luckily I was still in the car. Other than that, a pretty standard week, some new investigators, one at church. The mission's goal is to have members present for every lesson and our Bishop's goal is to re-activate less-actives, although the problem with less actives in the spanish mission is that they are muy flojo (very lazy) so they are not really our priority right now. 

So this week kinda sucked. I crashed the car (sort of) and now I am busy filling reports right now. This sucks. We hit the curb, and yes I was driving. "Meet the Mormons" is coming out soon, but we don't get to see the movie in theatres. We will be able to watch it when it comes out on dvd. 

So this weekend was alright, went and watched General Conference at the Stake Center, met a crazy man, had a baptismal interview for a deaf person and his mom. Unfortunately nobody in this whole entire stake knows how to sign, just his mother and brother. He speaks ASL, his brother does not know spanish and his mom is still learning ASL. She's the one getting baptized, but I don't know much about them cause they're not my investigators. Basically we need to find somebody that speaks english, spanish and ASL cause it will have to be translated into 3 different languages. Fun right? My comp's the DL so he had to do the interview while I waited outside. The son's 8 years old, I believe. Also found out kids are vicious cause his little brother bit my leg while I was waiting outside. When the kid bit me I yelled "argh!" To get him off I shook me leg a bit but he wouldn't let go of his death grip. Children, right? Anyways, the crazy guy was a huge conspiracy theorist, so that was a waste of time. And to answer your question, the best fast food place right now Carl's Jr.

So this week was pretty disappointing at least for the Sisters. For me there is no such thing as good or bad weeks, just another week in the mission (EDITOR'S NOTE: I KIND OF DOUBT THIS CLAIM.). So the Sisters had a baptism but a few hours before it, it got cancelled. Their investigator found some anti-Mormon stuff which caused doubts for her. On the plus side I discovered that my camera had a few special effects on it so that will be the pictures to follow.
Oh! It is not safe in Bakersfield right now, Sisters almost got kidnapped and there is a crazy clown running around at night with a knife. Oh well, what can you do? Must be the air. But don't worry about that, an Elder taught me a little Jujitsu so if I get in trouble I know what to do. Anyways enjoy the pictures.

Well to answer the question of last week no, that's not my comp's baseball, its the Buena Vista missionaries' baseball where Elders have singed their names on it, including me. It stays behind for the next Elders to sign. I forgot to to mention but a few weeks ago I went and watched "Meet The Mormons" before it came out in a Stake Center. The whole mission watched it in various chapels around the mission. The Candy Bomber was pretty cool as well as the football coach. We don't really play football here because I am a spanish Elder, so it's soccer. 
Oh, and haven't heard anything about the crazy clown, maybe because they have the Police helicopter up every night flashing the search light around. Just once I want it to land upon me, I'm still wishing for that. Also, got in a bible bash with a Pastor's wife (or rather my comp), that was interesting. So yah, my crazy life. Oh! You should ask missionaries over there in your Wards what they do for Halloween, usually they switch their name tags around with their comp. =)

So not much happened this weekend, but I did go to a lot of parties. Friday was the Ward's Trunk-o-Treat and it was funny trying to listen to the Bishop trying to speak english during the costume contest. For example when a kid said he was an angry bird, he -on the microphone- said, "nin(y)o bird," aka "kid bird". Pretty funny. We also crashed a wedding too, pretty fun. I'm sure Matt knows what happens when Hispanics have a party (it becomes a dance party). No parties on Sunday, after all gotta keep it holy, but on the plus side had a confirmation, baptismal interview and investigator at church, nice. Oh, and Halloween for missionaries means go home early and sleep. And ask the missionaries if they switch name tags on Halloween, apparently its a thing. I did it for awhile at the Trunk-or-Treat. There I got a little bit of chocolate, and a lollipop thingy, but missionaries play tricks all the time. For example yesterday I saw english sister missionaries sitting in their car, and it was dark out so I decided I would scare them. So I walked up to their car (still didn't notice me), went over to the passenger side (still didn't notice me), and then I banged the passengers window! I freaked out the Sister sitting in the passenger seat and she freaked. Like jumped and looked very scared, pretty funny. We have a pranking war going on with those Sisters since they live in the same apartment complex as us, so we'll see if they get us back. It's pretty even right now, a lot of TP'd doors and silly stringed doors. Oh, and since it's my One Year mark, burning a white shirt is what you do.

NOV 2014
Last week was pretty uneventful, I had to deal with a cold for 3 days, fun. Spent Halloween just sitting inside, it's cold here, and I haven't ridden a bike in a long time. You mentioned Christmas lights, interesting that you would say that, because as a spanish missionary I always look for houses with Christmas lights. I will explain why. Hispanics never take down Christmas lights here so you always look for houses that say "Mi Casa es su Casa," have a Hispanic name, suns hanging on the walls, beat up truck, or those icicle looking Christmas lights. 
We had Stake Conference, a 70 came, pretty cool. My comp had to translate one of the sessions, glad I didn't have to do it. To Mom, I already got my flu shot, the mission covered it.

So quick update: I am getting transfered. I am kinda sad, but glad at the same time; it's a bitter taste. On the plus side, 2 investigators came to church. Yah, still fighting this cold I have had for a week, it sucks. Oh well, what can I do, I am just glad I am leaving just as the smog is coming in. I ain't kidding when I say Bakersfield is one of the dirtiest cities I have ever seen. You know a city is dirty when you can see the pollution in the air 5 feet in front of you, maybe that's why I am still sick. Oh btw, yes I did get some packages, so thanks! In fact I am wearing those socks right now. Sweet p-day tie and sock day, nice. I am getting transferred tomorrow, but I'm not exactly sure where. However, through my spanish mission connection, I think I might end up back in Palmdale, quite a few spots opened up there recently. I call this transfer Operation Banishment because when your mission is the largest geographically in California, everyplace outside of Bakersfield feels like banishment. To answer Dad's question, north of Bakersfield, there are spanish missionaries in Taft, Ridgecrest, and Mammoth. Got to go, talk to y'all later somewhere else I guess. Love y'all."

Stay tuned for part two - Little Rock!

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