It's been another great week here in sunny Arizona! Hard to believe that Christmas is coming when its 60-70 degrees outside and there are no clouds in the sky. For some reason I don't think that I will be having a "White Christmas". Nevertheless, there is definitely the Christmas spirit in the air here. We have met many people that are nicer than you'd expect them to be. I do have, however, some stories about very unchristmasy happenings.
A few days ago, we went to visit a man that is not very active in the Church. He has some mental struggles and a smoking addiction. As soon as we walked in, I could tell he was a little off. A few minutes in, and he admitted to doing "something wrong." He told us that he was pretty high. Apparently he had given food stamps to a friend and the friend repaid him with "spice." He told us that he had smoked some a few minutes prior, and he did not like what it was doing to him. He made the decision to get rid of the rest of it. He pulled out the containers (2 of them, they were clear plastic cylinders with a black plastic twist on lid, much like something that would hold make-up) that had this herbal looking drug in them. He asked us to dispose of them. There was no way we were going to touch it! We said, "We think it would be best if you got rid of them. Just open them and flush the stuff down the toilet." He agreed and then asked if we could read Doctrine and Covenants 89 with him (he wasn't aware that it was the doctrine discussing the Word of Wisdom (which is a kind of health code that we follow) so that was kind of neat). After we left him, we started to exit the complex when we heard a woman yell HEY to us. We went back to see what she needed. When referring to the man that did the “spice,” we could defiantly say that it was a depressant...this woman was on something else. She spoke sooooo fast. The bits and pieces I caught were about "walking with Satan" how he's in her apartment every day, "the Holy Spirit in the Church helps with all" "the Church is true" "it talks about Ezra Taft Benson in the Bible" and she said she knew we were busy and bid us farewell. None of it made sense; then she was gone as quickly as she appeared.
We have been able to get hold of a Christmas tree that we placed in our apartment. It's pretty basic but we really like it.
We also acquired a scorpion. It came from one of the members who lived on the reservation. It was dead, but we had it for a bit.
One of the Zone Leaders went on exchanges with me, and we worked in his area with his other companion (2 Zone Leaders with 1 other missionary = their companionship so I just swapped with one of the Zone Leaders). They serve on the Indian reservation here. A lot of crazy things happened but the biggest one was in the evening. A member was performing the "hoop dance" at the casino, and we were invited to go watch it. The hoop dance is done with hula hoop type rings that they place together and intertwine on their bodies to make the shapes of various animals such as the turtle, eagle, etc. So we drove to the casino. We went inside and experienced an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. We asked the first person we found that works there where the hoop dance was so that we wouldn’t just wander about. They weren't aware that it was happening but they said to check the "showroom." We searched for it for a minute and had to ask another worker, "Where's the showroom?" With a confused look on their faces the pointed us in the direction we had asked to go. It turns out that there was a "Christmas" show happening in there. I place that in parenthesis for reasons I'm sure can be figured out. We then learned that there are, in fact, two casinos on the reservation...we ran from there like we were fleeing from Sodom. We quickly drove to the other casino and the cycle restarted. We asked for the showroom in this casino and received the same turning of heads and confused looks. Then, we learned that the show we were looking for was just outside the casino, and we could have found a way to get there without going through the actual casino at all. We showed up just in time and saw the hoop dance. It was really neat to watch. Apparently, some of the performers were in a music video for Nelly Furtado. The fastest way back to the car afterwards was...through the casino. We again waded through this land of sin and busted out the other end as if to be fleeing from Gomorrah. We were still in awe that this had all happened but at least we got to see the hoop dance.
Those are my exciting experiences for the week. It's been a good one. I hope you all are having a good holiday season so far. May God bless you all.