Monday, November 23, 2015

November 16, 2015

Hello Mom!

This week:
Back to the buzz cut, Raking leaves, colder weather, teaching children, pre-Thanksgiving feasts, and inspired tracting!

Yes! Your guess was correct! The beanie was the thing I needed. And just in time too! Last P-day we went to a barbershop so I could get a haircut (Elder Beatty offered to do it. I turned him down). Knowing me you probably knew what happened; I got concerned with sounding competent about how I wanted my hair trimmed, and eventually when we got there I just told the lady to do 3 on sides and 5 on top (my cadet cut). She could only do 4 on top, so I settled with that instead. I'm not going to lie, my head's been getting colder because of it, but the hat came just in time. Additional thanks for the other things as well, I had fun telling Beatty about all the Staff shenanigans I was involved in Senior year.

So the routine followed pretty standard the past week, the days seemed to repeat themselves frequently, but we did have a few pretty cool experiences. Probably the biggest one was we arrived to a members home for dinner earlier than she expected. It being dark, we thought about just sitting in our car and waiting when I had a hunch that we ought to knock on the doors on her street instead. It wasn't really an inner conflict, it just kind of seemed more productive. So we did, and about 6-ish doors in we met this one guy named Art. Art seemed happy that we came by, and told us he had a Mormon friend in the ward, whom we knew. We scheduled a time to visit back with him, and he gladly said we were welcome too! Holy linoleum! A new potential who already had a friend. And to think we could've just sat in the car and waited! We offered a quick prayer of thanks after that one.

We also had the privilege of meeting a certain man named Jose this last week. He was keenly interested in what we had to say, and he shared with us how he wanted to become a "warrior" to God. We walked down to a local Mexican restaurant where we sat a talked over glasses of water. We are really looking forward to meeting him more often, he has a sincere desire to hear our unique message. We left him with a Book of Mormon along with the Restoration pamphlet, so we hope the best for him. I do hope he starts to feel the spirit more in his life, because he's felt it before!

Every year Yakima has a community leaf rake, and so we had the opportunity to participate in that. All the missionaries in our and two other districts showed up for it, and we had a good turn out! We raked this huge yard that an elderly widow owned, and it definitely felt good to be giving service to our fellow Brothers and Sisters. Sunday, Elder Beatty and I were asked to give talks on the basic beliefs of the LDS church. I taught the Restoration, and Beatty the Plan of Salvation. Later on, we were able to teach the Restoration again to the grandchildren of an elderly sister in the ward. I've found it different teaching children rather than adults about the gospel. Children carry such a wonderful spirit around them. We invited all of them to baptism, and they said they would! The rest of their family is less active, so I hope that this will really re-invite the spirit more abundantly back into their lives.

There was also the ward Thanksgiving party a few days ago, and it was another awesome opportunity to get to know more people! And you a lot of pie. 

Sorry if my Betty Crocker stories caused you to have concern. We have been getting fed really well by the ward the past few weeks. Only occasionally do we eat at home, and even then I'm usually clever enough to remember our experiences cooking to make something worth-full. Elder Beatty on the other hand....let's just say he's a goner when it comes to cooking. But he's a cool companion, we get along great! The jerky helped a lot with that, too.

Not to many other things are happening this week. I suppose that it's important to remember that the Lord's work is composed by those moments where the spirit is manifested through you, and we had a good week in terms of teaching by the spirit. Thanks again for your insight, I guess we all have different reactions to the spirit, and some are more emotional than others. But nevertheless, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and as such the Holy Ghost still speaks to us in ways that we understand. We just need to listen for them. I love and appreciate all of you and what you have done to teach me to walk in the light. It sure hasn't been easy to do so, but the rewards for faithfully following the Lord's will, no matter where we are, are just as limitless as they are unique! 

But still, thanks for you love Mom! I still wonder what would I do without you and Dad and all the good, yet slightly painful, lessons I've learned in my life!

Love you!

November 23, 2015

Hello Mom!

This week;
Rainstorms, name games, sloooow days, dang good diet crashing, getting the joint offer, inspired tracting again, and SNOOOOWWWWWW!

I'm not going to lie, the whole gift rotation kind of confuses me as to whom gives to whom, but I think it's a great idea! Just remind me every holiday season who I'm giving too! In terms of Christmas packages, is it possible that you can send me the two extremes of sustenance? i.e. homemade bread and MRE's? During the moment where sis. Lewis sent you that picture we were talking about my past life and I told her about your amazing baking skills. I just thought she would enjoy a loaf if you could send it. As for my inquiry regarding MRE's, don't worry, I am well enough off when it comes to eating. In fact I've developed some pretty good cooking techniques. I just thought it would be a fun idea/tradition to maybe carry a few around with me for the duration of my mission and then down it all at the end., you know, look cool in front of my companions. 

But in terms of Yakima, this last week we had some crazy storms blow through. On Tuesday of last week we had companion exchanges with the district leaders, and I was pleased to be in the company of a certain Elder Peterson. We got along great! Turns out he had the sames likes as me down to YouTube channels! But I always had a hard time with identifying him as a Peterson. His companion, Elder Brinkerhoff is a little more classier and simply looks like a Peterson. And vice versa, Elder Peterson carries the perfect persona to identify as a Brinkerhoff. It's just one of those funny moments.

We had some really slow days this last week though. I think it was Wednesday everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, fell through. The primary plans fell through, the back-up plans fell through, and heck, even tracting the dang street proved not only ineffective but close to pointless. And to top it all off, contacting people on the less active list led us to moved-out addresses and please-stop-trying-to-contact-me-but-here-take-some-fresh-peanut-butter-cookies-with-you people. I love Yakimans!

But we also had some good days too! The less-actives we were able to contact were warm and welcoming. Some have a sincere desire to come back to church but have hectic work schedules that don't allow them too. Others simply just need to feel the spirit rekindled in their lives, and we are there to help guide them! After all, the spirit is what makes people feel happy. We had such a day this past week, and we were able to teach an awesome lesson to a certain Sis. Cardenas. Her story is incredible, and she has been inactive for almost 40 years! But now she is so determined to come back to church, and she has shown us that she is ready to have the spirit come back to her life tenfold! 

Later on, the ward mission leader took us out to Miner's, the local dang good burger joint in Yakima (ask Grandma Swapp if she knows the place!), where we completely wrecked out diets. If you ever get the chance to visit Yakima, you gotta try Miner's. It's that good!

The day afterward we were back on the Less Active list, and we ran into another moved-out address. No one was home, but the owner and his buddies pulled up as we were walking away. One of his pals identified us as missionaries, and we got talking to the guy who lived there (who was respectful but showed no interest), and whaddya know, said roommate asks us if we want to smoke some weed. I quickly and slightly gruffly told him "nah!" And turned him down again when he said that it was "in our mission." No idea what he was getting at there. But Beatty and I thought it hilarious afterward how non-chalantley the guy asked us. I remember Hill doing the same to mess with Mckay and I in Staff, but never has someone just asked me to smoke as if they were asking if I wanted a glass of water or something.

Good times!

Still, come Sunday we were able to get Jose and the children we taught last week to church! And teach them later on too! I know that the Lord provides means whereby his children can learn of the truth, and it's an honor and a privilege to be out doing His work in the field. I am also grateful that Elder Beatty can get through to people a lot better than I can. Jose had some concerns regarding the reverance of worship, but Beatty was able to answer him in a way that spoke to his spirit, so hopefully we can teach him more! I also forgot to mention that last week we felt slightly prompted to tract a certain street we had travelled on before. We decided to go door-to-door, and we knocked on this one door that was on a side road. The lady who answered told us that she had just learned about a tragedy in her family. Beatty quickly got around to letting her know that we were here to help her out, and she agreed to let us come back to teach her about life after death. God is good.

And....we still don't really know what goes down Thanksgiving. I'll let you know what happens!

As always, thank you so much for your email! I love you all and hope the best. I'm thankful for all of you guys!


Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

Hey Mom!

This week:
Effective tracting, guard dogs, sentiment and spirit, punching pumpkins, and CURSE YOU BETTY CROCKER!!

It is good to hear from everyone! Sounds like you guys are all holding together well. I just realized that I've been out for four months now. Whaddya know? That's already 1/6th of the mission! Nice to hear that you were able to witness Adam's physical feats of wonder. He's a pretty great guy. I probably should've made it a point to email more of my friends, but I'm afraid that I never got their email addresses or anything, but oh well. Time will come with it! I'll just see if I can get them from Mckay.I forgot to say last time, but because of the colder weather, I have now resorted to P90X3 indoors, so sweats aren't needed now. 

But yes, this week we did a lot of tracting the past few days. I'm not going to lie, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it certainly is a challenge. I just always thought the concept of knocking on yon stranger’s door and asking them if they'd like to hear about a message about Christ was a little sketchy. That is, until I actually tried it. Statistics still speak truth, out of the many doors we tried, not too many answered positive, albeit the folks were polite! But we actually, believe it or not, found two new investigators this last week while doing it! We felt inspired to try by this one less-active, and after we found he wasn't home, tracted his neighborhood. About 3 doors later, we met the Toscanos family, who eventually let us in and allowed us to teach them the Restoration. It was pretty cool! Felt pretty awkward at first building up to that, but in the end, they'd say they’d read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Awesome! We also ran into this one lady yesterday who has such a strong faith in Jesus Christ, and told us that she wished more people would have faith themselves. She said that through that faith, she had been healed of asthma, but she still had a leg problem. You can probably guess what we decided to do, and she said she would be more than happy for us to give her a priesthood blessings sometime this week. Double Awesome!

Man, tracting is effective to certain degree! I'd still rather work through members, but I guess the Lord prepares people in the way we need to see them.

And I also had my first run in with a guard dog this week. It wasn't too intimidating, but it was unchained and growling, so I just did a to-the-rear and we decided to come back a different day. There are worse dogs in Yakima though, last week we walked by this one fenced home and there was a family of Rottweilers in the yard, and papa dog was the biggest dog I've ever seen. Funny, when we talked to the neighborhood watchman, Bro. Harold, he told us that he had to whack that one dog with his cane once or twice, and how the animal department wanted to put papa dog down on certain occasions. Don't worry, I have no aspirations for trying a dog's patience.

On a brighter note, I've really been trying to get over my feelings against sentiment. Whenever Elder Beatty and I sit down to discuss what to teach, he likes to speak softly for the spirit to be more present. I'm perfectly fine with that, but if there is one thing Cadet Staff did to all of us, it's to take orders and carry them out, not let emotions get in the way. I've been doing my best, but oh man...I love spirit, but I hate sentiment! Where do I bridge the two?! I do my best to teach with spirit, but I do go a little quickly sometimes, and....argh. I think you can see my dilemma here. I can teach by the spirit, but outside of lessons, sentiment isn't my priority. Could work on that.

But, to cool all that mental conflict off, we destroyed our jack-o-lantern. So we set it on the ridge of the open trash can and each took turns throwing punches into it in the hopes it would snap. It didn't. And eventually I detected just how stupid this probably looked to anyone watching from their homes, so I settled for a Leonidas-like kick to finish it. The only problem is that my heel missed the majority of the kick, and I pretty much just tapped the pumpkin with my soul and kicked the can with my heel. After the pumpkin fell in, we just decided to leave it there. In other fun stories, remember Bob and Priscilla? Well, the last time we saw them, Priscilla gave us each $20. We immediately told her we would not take it, but I knew well enough that she wasn't going to take it back. So to avoid priest-craft, we are going to return the money to her next time we see her. Could you please pray that she isn't offended that we give her the money back? Because she is such a sweet old lady. I don't want to make it seem like we are being rude or anything.

I also took the time to buy some Betty Crocker Bisquick this past week. We have a waffle iron in our home. I'm not too happy about that decision now, because those shortcakes and waffles were probably the best/worst thing I've eaten on the mission so far. They were awesome! But they were so unhealthy! And this past week, we probably were exposed to more advertisement for all new movies than ever before. It's crazy to see how Star Wars is capitalizing on ep. 7. Not to mention the next Hunger Games, the new Bond movie, etc. But don't think I'm losing my focus! I am staying strong! There will be plenty of time for that later on in the future. It's all good.

In terms of needs, we're doing fine. Our iron is being repaired so hopefully we get it back soon enough. But can you send me that picture of staff from the awards banquet in that care package? The one with the whole staff on it? I thought it would be good to have something animate to describe my past life with me. Could you also please send a more-conservative? Elder Beatty has confirmed the one I have doesn't cut it. Other than that, thanks for your emails! It really is such a blessing to be serving the Lord, and I know that this is His work that we are called to do! And man, is it awesome!

Love you all,

P.S. We also helped a guy build his back deck a few days back. Brought back good memories of certain walls and fences that were built. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 4, 2015

Hello Mom!

I'm forgoing the week in words for now. A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED this last week, and I'm not certain I can narrow it down.

But, this week! Man oh man, where do I start?

OK, on a spiritual sense, we have been getting referrals rained on us this past week. I've got a good feeling that the ward members are starting to trust us a little bit more, so we are able to work more fully with them. One that we contacted are this elderly couple named Bob and Priscilla. They are a sweet old couple, but Priscilla's going through some mental challenges right now because of a series of procedures she's been through, but I can tell that she is sincerely interested in us teaching them! We were also walking in the park a few times, and on both instances we shared a pass along card, and during the other, actually had a good spiritual discussion with this one lady by the name of Sandy. We talked a lot to her about faith and hope for the future despite the turmoil of the times we live in. It was good!
Believe it or not, but we actually may have found a new investigator tracting as well! I'm not going to lie, I wasn't really expecting it, but this guy named Mark opened his door to us, and straight up said that he would like us to come back! I just hope it all goes well.

Yakima has some beautiful parks. I took a picture from the shade of a tree, and have attached it. I'm not going to lie, I really like this one. I almost thought it may be good enough to sell to Microsoft for desktop pics or something.

Halloween was good, not very eventful, but we did get to go in early for it. The trunk 'r treat went swell as well, and we were able to talk to a lot of people during it too. We also tried out this one brother's salmon ladder. A salmon ladder is when you do a pull up and then try to use the upward momentum to move the actual bar upward to a higher anchor on built frame. I couldn't do one. Beatty could do three!

We also went to the temple today. The closest one is in Columbia River, and while small, I could feel the spirit there a lot! I am so grateful for the blessings that we can receive in the temple. I love this gospel, how it doesn't change but rather is revealed! I've come to love that Article of Faith.

We do a lot of service here in Yakima. This past week and a half we did some veggie sorting at the local food bank donation center, and we also had the awesome opportunity to go and pick apples in an actual orchard. Darn, I forgot my camera for that, but I can now safely say that I ate two apples right off the tree. And they were good apples too! What an appropriate Gospel-related theme, harvesting fruit.

I was pretty glad to hear you guys helped Brooke out the way you did. It must've been bad if Dad said it was worse than his mission pads. Still, happy she's doing fine so far. And the kittens that Daniel and Hannah have right now sound so wonderful for them! Is it possible you can send me a picture?

Love you all! Hope all is going fine for everyone. I'm keeping my hand in good condition, and I hope that we all remember that Christ is the Lord, and as we approach the holiday season we can remember the gift that He is, and the gift He gives to all of us! Even the chance for eternal life!

Love you,

Elder Michael Camit