My dad is constantly reminding me that I should be talking about the people I'm working with. So I thought I would try to do that today.
It is something I find very difficult, given that I only have 15-20 minutes to write this Epistle, and the EXTREMELY complicated nature of just about everyone I work with. I find it hard to even begin.
A very good portion of the people I work with on a day to day basis are practically (or in many cases literally and medically) insane. And it's really not their fault. I spend most of my time in the Ghetto. I would guess there is a 10% employment rate or so (if that). Most everyone is living off of welfare, in Goverment housing. The ones who ARE employed generally have massive Cadillacs or H2's, HUGE flat-screen TV's, and not enough money to put food on the table. As someone coming from a nice little ritzy Suburb, it's something I'm really not sure how to explain to all of you back home. The term "Baby-Mother" and "Baby-Father" is far more prevalent then "Husband" and "Wife". As missionaries we practically start salivating when someone we talk to on the street says something about being married.
Of the specific people we work with.
Selena is a complete sweet-heart. She is an older lady who is a widow. She lived with her druggy daughter for a while in Anacostia, but now has her own appartment two floors down from us in the high-rise we live in. Several years ago she decided to get closer to God. She gave up Alcohol and Drugs, and started faithfully attending church. She went to a REALLY weird church, which according to her charged 30% tithes, and had most of their sermons consist of a man ranting at the ladies for wearing too much make-up. When we came in to her home and actually taught her something about God, she was hooked. When we taught her the Plan of Salvation she just kept saying "Oh My Gosh. I never heard of this at my church!" Assuming the swelling in her legs isn't too bad, she will be baptized this coming Sunday.
Tyrone. Tyrone has met with, and stopped meeting with, at least two other sets of missionaries before we got here, but never been able to understand their message. Somehow in meeting with us this time he became convinced that we would lead him the right way towards God, and he could trust us. He's willing to basically do whatever we say. The only thing that has been keeping him from baptism is that he needs to know for himself that it is true before we can let him make that Covenant. His whole family grew up singing, they used to sing Gospel as a family at a church. He now lives in his deceased mother's home. He has no job, and if you ask him his career he'll say he's a singer but that he hasn't done that in a while. He lives off his monthly government check. He is very humble and knows that his comprehension "aint all that goood, man" but truly wants to do the right thing. I've come to love him very dearly.
Darryl. Darryl spent the last 5 years homeless after his wife apparently kicked him out of his own home that he built. He has a problem with Alcohol. He was making progress until the last time we went over there. He was drunk, and apparently his "fiance" (whom he had not been dating a week before) had moved in with him. As we were leaving he gave me a big hug, gave me a kiss on the neck and cheek, and said "I love you". We were all laughing pretty hard about the kisses. We've been meeting with Darryl for the past couple months, and we think we're about to lose him, which is really too bad.
Ok now I'm out of time.
I'm doing really well. I'm learning so much. I don't have the time I wish I did to communicate with all of you, but know that I am having the time of my life. I love these people so much, and find such great joy in watching them grow in the gospel. Yesterday was my 6 month mark. I plan on making the next 18 months even better!
I love you all
-Elder Ted E. Bear