(Funny coincidence, Elder Gandy, one of my great friends from West Valley City, is serving in my companion's home ward. Elder Davis's family actually had him and his companion over for dinner right before he left for his mission. It's a small world when you're a Mormon!).
Alexandria is so cool! There're hardly any white people here, I love it! I've met people from West Africa, Ghana, El Salvador, Panama, Cuba, and Uzbekistan, and I've only been here for a few days. It's pretty different from Reston. Reston's orderly, somewhat clean, organized, but Alexandria is a little bit ghetto. I think a good description for this city is cluttered. There're just so many things squeezed in the same space. There're lots of apartments and high rises, and there're only a couple of neighborhoods with towne homes. There're lots of cars parked on the sides of the street, bumper to bumper, and people will walk across a busy road without a second thought. Which is kinda unfortunate, because we have this big van. It's actually more like a boat. It's nearly impossible to parallel park it! But we have started a few conversations with people because we've had to back each other into the spaces.
The people here are very humble and generous. Even if they're not interested in hearing what you have to share, they'll give you the time of day just to speak with them. In fact, one of the coolest miracles I've seen on my mission happened my first night here. Elder Davis and I were searching for a potential investigator named Mohammad. (Around here, everyone has that name. No joke!) We knocked on what we thought was Mohammad's home. Instead, we found a different Mohammad (he and his family is from West Africa). He said, "Do you wish to speak to me?" We said yes, and he let us right in! We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and about Joseph Smith. We invited him to read and pray about it. He told us he would for certain. Then his older brother, Adrris spoke to us. He told us that what we were doing was very challenging, and that we have much control and discipline for what we are doing. He told us he was so very proud of us for serving God. He even told us that our jobs were more important than a doctor's or a policeman's, and that we were welcome to come inside his home at any time. He said, "My wife is Christian. If I am not here, tell her that you are friends, and that you have been here before. She will let you in." I have never met a more loving, welcoming and generous family! They said that if what we shared were true, then they would "convert to our religion."
We had another fantastic miracle on Saturday night when we taught David, one of our investigators about the law of tithing. David has been investigating the church for a month now. He always has an armory of questions for us, and when we're not there to answer his questions, he goes on Mormon.org to chat with other Mormons. One night, he was chatting about tithing. The person he was speaking with made it sound like blessings only come from God if we pay 10% of our income. David was really worried about that! We did our best to address his concerns and meet his needs, but luckily we had Brother Harris there with us. He bore his testimony about tithing, and explained why he felt it was important to pay tithing. The Spirit was strong. We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, to come to church, and to be baptized. He accepted the invitations to read, pray and come to church, but he shied away from answering the baptismal invitation. Later that night, David texted us and said, "Thank you for the visit Elder Davis and Elder Hensen? I don't think I'm ready to be baptized though, i don't think." We replied, "Continue reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. When you get your answer, you will want to be baptized." He said, "OK." The next day he came to church. The ward showed him lots of love and friendship, and he said he had a great time. He stayed for all 3 hours!!! I'm totally pumped to keep teaching David - he's got a lot of sincerity and real intent.
I'm really thankful for the opportunity to serve here in lil' Africa/Ghana/Ethiopia. Elder Davis and I are going to have a fantastic transfer together. I have high hopes for the fruits that will continue to come from our hard work and obedience!
BTW, Facebook is cool. We're not allowed to do any proselyting until a certain time appointed by President Riggs - Ipads hang in the balance...
The Lord is hastening His work! The field is white, already to harvest - many, many souls are craving for the full truth restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.
Love you all!