It has been a very busy emotional week for us in Northridge YSA. Our week started off with meeting with a guy, I'll call him Red. Red came into our church building 3 Sundays ago looking for the Bishop to confess. We met with him instead and talked to him about repentance. Come to find out that he is a member! So we set appointment times to meet with him. Then we found out that he is homeless, a recovering heroin addict, and just got out of prison. We set a time for Sundays to meet with him half expecting him to show up again. Well the next 2 sundays he has come and we have had lessons with him. We got a call from him just a couple of nights ago. He was venting and very upset. When we got him calmed down we talked about the things we could help him with. The poor kid hasn't done laundry in 5 weeks, he hasn't had a shower in 1 week, he as no place to stay, he hadn't had a meal in 2 days, his girlfriend has not been a good thing for him, and he smoked weed to calm his problems down in his mind. So we made a sandwich for him, gathered the extra snack food we had, put a small hygiene kit together and gave it to him. He was definitely touched. Okay so now that I have given you the current problems with him let me give you his background. Red grew up in the church. Around 11 years old the male figure in his life started injecting him with Heroin. By the time he was 12 he was in the Skinhead gang (american natzi gang: the gang where only white people are acceptable and all other races don't belong in america nor do they have the right to mix with white people) Since then he has spent time in and out of prison and running the streets. I want you to take 30 seconds and think about how your life would be if someone started your life out injecting you with Heroin. Would you be like him? I think we all would be. His lifestyle was determined by someone else. Yes he has made choices but you when you are addicted to heroin you go where you can satisfy your addiction aka gangs. Red is amazing though. He remembers so much about the church! I has a primary song Nephi's Courage that he has remembered all these years. Its the only one he can remember. He has come to us to get help to change his life. He told us that he read the bible in prison in a week. He understands that he is the Prodigal son trying to come back home. In the last 3 weeks he has made amazing progress! He has done everything he can to become an inactive member in his gang by gang standards so that he can find God. If he deters from the lifestyle of finding God, his gang will kill him. He has taken huge steps to disassociate himself from people who do heroin. He asked to be taught the law of chastity so that he could start dating girls in the church. When we taught him yesterday about having the potential to be kings and queens and that we needed to act like we had the potential he immediately changed the way he talked about people. We also taught him a list of meaningless substitute words for his swearing. When we heard from him last night he didn't swear once! He also talked about treating a girl like a queen. hahaha Red is so precious. He is really trying. He told us that he wants his mom and sisters back. He said that he wanted the God he grew up with back in his life because the pagan Gods haven't done anything for him. He has prayed everynight this week and when he read the Book of Mormon he cried. He is doing everything he can to change. He even went to the family ward to get the message because he needs church and wants to replace drugs with church. He also told us that he isn't racist when it comes to church because they are all his brothers and sister in Christ. I hope you can see the love we have for Red and what a precious soul he is to God. Our bishop has been wonderful for Red too.
We also had a heart ache this week. A dear sister in our ward was killed in a freak car accident. She was standing at a bus stop when the car accident happened along with 2 other ladies. The cars were racing the local street at 90 mph. A van pulled out in front of them. Both cars ran into the van knocking it over. It flattened the sedan and the truck rolled and spun out taking out the bus stop and a flower shop. All 6 people involved in the accident were taken to the hospital in critical condition. She died early in the morning. She had only been a member for 2 years. I am so glad that she had the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life. I know that she is going to be an amazing missionary in the spirit world! Our testimony meeting was themed around the plan of salvation. Her death has really united our ward and it has been amazing to watch. I have many opportunities to reflect on the plan of salvation and it amazes me just how much more I learn each time. I know that there is life after death and that we all have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again.
This week we also had missionary leadership council. In this council we talked about lowering the goal of 1000 baptisms to 300. I was actually really disgusted with this idea. I told President Hall that I wasn't okay with lowering it because we had already committed to the Lord of working to 1000. I did some math and found that it really is possible for us to reach this goal of 1000. We have 75 companionships in our mission. If each of us baptized 2 people every month to the end of the year we would reach 900 baptisms. Then we would add the 124 we already have. We would reach 1024 baptisms. This number isn't including the increase of missionaries we are getting in the next couple months. ITS POSSIBLE!!!!!!! So President set a month goal of 30 baptisms for our whole mission in the month of July since our average is 21. We had a mission fast yesterday so that we have the Lord extra help in reaching this goal. I know we can do it!!!! Our zone is opening 3 new areas and Chatsworths zone is also opening 3 new areas. The work is hastening!!!!!!!!! I am so excited!
Well this email is really long and I need to go. We are starting exchanges this week and I know we will see miracles! I love you all very much!