Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015 First week in Yakima

Hey Mom!

This week:
The "ghettos" of Yakima, the penthouse big-house, polite folk, Seahawk fandom, and rain!

Ok, to answer your questions, I got the box, logistics here are good (they're working on fixing our iron), my hand here is healing pretty decently, and it's all going pretty well so far!

Please don't be panicked by the first phrase in my week in words. But yes, I am serving now in the lesser-down, but not-to-bad area of Yakima. I say not-to-bad because normally I would define streets named after numbers as being a little sketchy, but 16th Ave, is actually pretty decent. The neighborhoods are practically the kind Uncle Larry lives in.

In fact, this whole transfer really shook the mission up, A LOT. So I don't know if you know, but the Yakima mission has been open literally for as long as I've been out (total time). So to get 27 new elders really was a huge addition for them. But because of the huge increase, there was a lot of scrambling done here, and in the end of it, I found myself living in an apartment for four with just me and Elder Beatty, with a new car, and a new phone! I guess it's safe to say we got the light side of that one. Our ward is named formally the Yakima 1st ward, and before the transfer we used to cover a YSA branch as well. Now we only cover the family ward. The Trunk or Treat is coming up too! We hope to really use that as a finding event, along with a Harvest dinner that they have here in November. Actually we had a baptism my first Saturday here. His name is Javier and he is 9, and I guess Elder Beatty and the previous Elder taught him. Still, the spirit was there! Everyone seemed very happy for him.

Oh, and yes, send packages to the mission office. Also, if you were wondering why I didn't call the day I departed, well...let's just say that I wasn't quite feeling like it. I'm sorry that's a horrible reason, but I guess I was more anxious to get going to Washington.

The  town of Yakima itself is actually pretty nice. You've already read about my first street-contacting in  the letter. I guess people here are more prone to being polite than in Vegas! In fact, we have found a new potential investigator named Jesse who we found through tracting out of all things. So we hope the best for him and his family! Still, we went to Wal-Mart my first day in, and funny thing, this elderly gentleman walked up to us and first asked Elder Beatty how come his shoes weren't as shiny as mine. We got talking to him and he expressed to us his concern for declining morals and how his grandchildren were going to go through that. He was very appreciative for the work we did. Whether or not he was a member, I don't really know, but people here are somehow kinder!

Heck, just right now, somebody called out my first remark about Yakima over my shoulder in the library in a friendly way!

Unfortunately, due to transfers, we lost a good amount of investigators in the YSA ward, but I have faith that through the spirit, grit, and hard work, we can find people to teach here as well! I guess it would help if I was a Seahawk fan. Everyone around here has some kind of fanfare for the team. I asked if team spirit was like this before Feb. 2014, and turns out they didn't.  I've also heard they've been doing rubbish this season, but I don't really care. Feel like there's too many strings pulling the pros.

Oh, right, my companion! Elder Beatty is from Snowflake AZ, and he's a pretty cool dude. Has cleaning standards as well! So we do our best to keep the apartment in good condition. Every morning we usually take a jog around town, so it helps to know the area.

Right, how's Vegas going for you guys? It's about the time of year the weather starts cooling off there. I don't really know what you'll be using my room for now. Storage? I don't know. But be certain Smokey's staying in good condition. Tell Evan I said hello! I hope she gets better some way or another.  But still, thanks for all the love you guys have sent me, I'll be certain to keep you updated on what happens.

Love you!

Got a picture of a caricature that Elder Bass (an MTC missionary who's practically a younger uncle Gus) and other MTC pics that I wanted to show you guys. Thought you'd like it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Michael in the MTC

October 14, 2015

On Monday, September 28, 2015 we received word that Michael would be receiving a mission call from the First Presidency by 3:00 pm that day, and that we could pick him up at the Nevada Las Vegas Mission Office the following day.  We picked Michael up on Tuesday morning, unopened mission call in hand, and brought him home.  With parents and maternal grandparents present and siblings listening in on a conference call, he opened his mission call and found out that he had been called to serve for a period of 24 months in the Washington Spokane Mission.  (Having already served for 3 months he exclaimed, "Twenty four months!  Haven't I already paid for my transgressions?!)  He was to report to the Provo, Utah MTC on October 7, just 8 days later.  The following week was a whirlwind of happy activity as he prepared to leave.  One of the highlights of that week for me was accompanying him to the Las Vegas, Nevada Temple for him to receive his temple endowment.  That was pretty special.   One of the highlights for Michael was returning to the Nevada Las Vegas mission to witness the baptism of one of his investigators.  
It was actually good that he was able to come home after 3 months so that I could see that he needed a lesson on washing his white shirts.  Hopefully he'll remember to buy Spray-n-Wash, Oxyclean, and to use hot water:).
Michael has now been in the MTC for a week, and the following is his first email home.

Hey Mom!

This week:
Back in the system, classroom Canadians, hiding under beds, and the most non-ghetto laundromat ever!

So.....where do I start?

It was odd to have to live with guys who weren't quite used to the schedule. But all of them are great! I room with five other guys, so we have a full house. Elders Beck and Harris are both from Vegas, and we have other Elders named McGoy, Bass, and Candstandse. They're all pretty good guys, but they can be a little rowdy sometimes. Already twice we have had knocks on our door after 2215 telling us to quiet down.

All of them, including the sisters in our district, are either going to Arkansas or Canada Vancouver. One of the sisters is actually from Canada, so we are always making jokes to her about the words "about" and "sorry." But on a more spiritual side, the classroom is working out pretty well! Our teachers are focused, and we do our best to listen. Right now, Beck and I are teaching two investigators for training, and turns out one of them is an actual investigator who has the job of actually letting us practice! Both experiences are going really well!

Food here is nice. I'm limiting myself on seconds, but I'm afraid to say that I'm the not best at making healthy selections. Don't worry, every morning I'll usually go and run a mile and a half at the gym, and I have been improving with those times. I was also looking at exercise rep records at the gym, and evidently somebody was able to crank out 1052 sit-ups once. I don't know how, but I'm not planning on beating that anytime soon.

I also pulled a bit of a prank on my district leader, Elder Constandse. I got back to my residence earlier than the others after zone prayer, so I decided to hide under my bed and see how long they'd fall for it. Elder Bass was in with me on it, so I pulled all my luggage out from underneath my bunk in the most unorganized manner, and what do you know, when the others came in, they seriously couldn't find me! Elder Constandse was getting really worried, and by then everyone else had figured it out (thanks to Bass giving some tips). So when Constandse sensed that something wasn't right with my absence (he was about ready to go outside to look), I crawled out. He was relieved. That was until he opened his closet and found Elder Beck inside of it. Yeah we got him good.

Funny though, the MTC laundromat is probably the most non-ghetto laundromat I've ever been in. It's nice!

But still, thanks for the love and support! Yakima's just around the corner, and I've discovered that it gets pretty rural certain places. Anyway, I'll let you know how things go, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Love you!