Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

Hey Mom!                                                                                           December 19, 2016

This week:
Really cold weather, Elder Mayes, snow shoveling, bike excursions (in the cold) and prime rib!

To answer your immediate questions, we'll probably be skyping next Sunday around 2:00 our time. Not certain if that equates to mountain time, or if church in Alton is still at 9 in the morning, but either way! I guess we'll be talking to you then! Also, the reason I didn't have a Santa hat in that picture was because all those elders were from the same zone that decided to do that. In my defense, I was wearing my red tie.

As far as winter logistics go, I am staying warm! I do kind of miss not wearing my Newsie hat though, but I think it probably wouldn't have cut it for the cold. The Balaclava serves just as well for biking and walking, but as you saw from Bro. Richeson's email, 6 F is really cold. As a matter of fact, during the middle of the night it dips decently into the negatives. Fortunately we are indoors for most of it, and two of these occasions was for the ward Christmas parties! Both were stupendous to say the least, and while 4th ward dished out a great breakfast, the ham they served at 7th ward was absolutely superb! They even let us take a plate of it home for the holidays, and that was really nice.

I also am now serving with a certain Elder Mayes from Lovell, Wyoming. He got transferred in from Wenatchee. We've both been out for 17 months, so our teaching styles are pretty hand-in-hand. And the best part is, he appreciates my bone-dry sense of humor too! So we've been getting along great. His introduction into the area went smoothly. Our first day was spent walking around and helping people shovel snow after the fresh fall that took place Weds. night. So we shoveled the walk of the Brights in 7th ward, and also for an elderly lady named Pat who we had served before. It went well! But the majority of our work took place in seeing Less-active members of the wards. 

Those were awesome moments! As few as they may have been we got to know a lot of new people. A lot of new friends made! And both ward councils were really pleased at our efforts, something that always feels nice. I guess one funny story came when we took a biking tour across our area to Dune Lakes, housing for the ludicrously rich. Long story short, on route I actually stopped in front of a random house to let Elder Mayes catch up on bike. Because we were in no rush we decided to knock on the door, and turns out it was another LA member of the ward we hadn't known about! His name was Cameron, and he said we could come back to visit. Cool! When we got to Dune Lakes we biked around the whole one-street development looking for a house for a home belonging to a lady named Kelly, who lived at the very end of the whole road. Fortunately we took a shortcut back, but it dipped from the 10-15 degree range down to the 5-10 during the ride.

You know that line from the Sleigh Ride, "our cheeks are nice and rosy..." Yeah I don't think whoever wrote that knew what preliminary frost-bite felt like. Don't worry, we weren't in that range. But at one point it did get cold enough where we could see the shadow and mirage of our own breath. But at the end of the week we were treated to prime rib by the Calaway family. That was dang good prime rib, but the company the Calaways provided was even better! And in the end they gave us each a gift of a nerf gun. Hooray!

But probably the coolest moment occured when on Sun. one of the High Priests, Bro. Lybbert approached us. He had previously been out with us to see various LA/PMF families in the ward. One of the families we visited was the Hutsells, who have a daughter going to the temple in preparation for her mission to DC. Because we took Bro. Lybbert out with us to visit them, Catherine, the daughter, was able to find a ride down to the temple with him, and he really enjoyed talking to her on the way down. So Bro. Lybbert thanked us for introducing him to the family. Tender mercies you know?

Yeah, I guess I'm actually going to be calling you guys on Sunday, that'll be great! I love you guys all so much and am glad that you love the Lord. Keep finding ways to share that light He has given us, you never know how much light one small little flicker of a spark can create.

Love you!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 12, 2016

Hey Mom!                                                                                           December 12, 2016

This week:
The Christmas gathering, bike crashes, colder weather, and white elephant exchanges!

To answer your question, yes, I do know Elder Bird. As a matter of fact, he came out with me to the WYM. Funny story about that, when he stepped into the airport, Pres. Lewis embraced him and said something like "Elder Bird! Now all we need is Elder Bee," and then Elder Bee walked up and said "here I am." Yeah, kind of an old joke from the guys that came in then.

Also had to chukle at your Driver's license escapade. I always liked to say my incarnation of hell was being stuck in the DMV, with your number about to be called, but never being called for the rest of forever. Gives me the geebies just to think about it.

Yep, this week was the 2nd Christmas gathering of the mission, housed by the Yaetes in Quincy. They are a very kind family, when I served in Ephrata they had us over for P-day at their home a few times. All the North zones in the mission came down for the event, so I got to see Elders Painter, Allen, and a few others again! There was a very nice brunch, one that included famous Washington apple pie, and during the program every zone gave a musical performance followed by testimonies of Christmas. It was a lot of fun! We sang Little Drummer Boy, and some other zones included cello solos, ukulele accompanists, and professional-grade singing as well. After that we all watched Ephraim's Rescue, a very appreciated break from our media library.

I also got your packages,(Grandma Camit's also came on time as well!) but I haven't opened them yet. I decided that this year I would wait until Christmas to open them. That being said, is there anything perishable in any of them? Just thought I'd ask because I'd rather not have anything go bad for the sake of holiday tradition. That would be quite tragic. But either way, thank you so much for sending them! A package sent to a missionary is kind of like winning the lottery for most of us. Thanks again for all you love and support!

When we got back, it appeared that most of our appointments had started to fall through. Blast it all, the Sanzone's lesson fell through, but 7th ward is doing a great job in keeping them friend-shipped, so we can at least know we're not the only line of contact between them and the church.

For the rest of the week, things got a lot colder in terms of the weather. The first snow actually fell on Monday, and the first bike crash occurred the following day. You see I'd be fine and all to walk, but along with there being a mile-gap between our areas, Elder Sorenson insists that we bike for the sake of time. Guess I can't blame him. But several covered-ice slip and falls later, I think we may decide to change that. Especially for this next week, as on Sat. the high is supposed to be 9 F with a low of -7 or something like that. Yeah, it's getting cold here on the basin. As a matter of fact, Sorenson is actually getting transferred to Zillah on Weds. I'll be receiving a certain Elder Mays, so it'll be fun to see where that goes!

Work wise, we got in with a lot of Less Active families this past week, and most all of them agreed to let us come by and practice the lessons with them! It helps a lot to be a friend before you try anything else. Actually, just be a friend. Christ-like Love has a way of making things fall into place. One experience that sticks out was while we were out tracting in the said-cold, Matt Alvarado, a Less Active but super-solid member, was out to get his mail and invited us in. We talked a lot about his mission experince, and we got to practice a lesson with him. That prompted him to share with us what he called a "3-min Restoration," something he learned on his mission from the grandson of Pres. Packer. It lasted more than 3 mins, but let me tell you, it was like a spiritual shock-wave that showed us a new perspective in teaching. Hooray for being in the right place at the right time!

On a more humorous side of things, we had a breakfast/white-elephant party with the 7th ward council. It's funny because the last white elephant gift exchange I went too, I got that bar of Jesus soap that Hill had found from somewhere. I wasn't expecting that again, and fortunately I landed with some creme wafers instead. I think the next time I do one of those I'll just wrap a picture of myself for my gift. I'm not trying to be prideful, but someone suggested it and I thought it'd be pretty funny.

Anyhow I'd better wrap this up before I become too concerned in what I don't have time to include. There's so much that goes on, I wish I could just write it all so fluidly. But, life marches on. But yes, I am super looking forward to Christmas to skype back to you guys! I think it'd be a little fun to try to do a family Christmas sing-along or something like that. But always know that I love you guys no matter what season it is. I love how the Savior's love goes to all mankind, I've been turning a lot to hymn 198, O Savior, Thou who wearest a crown recently. Truly remarkable how much He lives for us, all of us. Sometimes I'm in awe in how patient he is with me. But we all have a divine potential, and He's helping us get there!

Love you all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

Hey Mom!                                                                                           December 5, 2015

This week: Nothing too exciting...tragically. Um...we got a pizza? 

Well, glad to see you guys were spared from a T-bone accident. I guess God's not quite ready with your guys's reception party! Having the temple as part of your trip probably helped a lot as well too! Funny though, I've never heard of Dad being the one to almost get in an accidentšŸ¤”.

As for the idea you had about the Christmas money, I think it would be a great idea to help someone out with! We'd have to get a plan laid out to utilize it to it's max, but in the end I guess as long as we serve someone this Christmas season. Either way, the best spirit we can feel is that of love and service. Nothing else beats that too much! And to answer your question, our Christmas party is actually tomorrow

I also loved the Christmas devotional as well. What Pres. Eyring talked about really helped build an eternal truth I didn't quite grasp until last year's Christmas. Who says that it's just a Christian holiday? The world perhaps, but Christ did live and die for the whole wide world. We celebrate the birth of the same divine being who became our Mediator with the Father, the Prince of Peace. His love is there for us, all of us. That's why we celebrate!

In terms of excitement this past week, there's not much to say. We did get to briefly visit the creche-festival at the church, and for the time we were there it was very special seeing all the displays that people put so much time into to commemorate Christ. We didn't stay for too long though, we didn't have any investigators come with us, and we didn't want to appear like we were ducking in just to get a break. But we know the members of the ward are good enough to get that part of the job done.

On that note, the family we helped someone from 7th move in, the Sanzones, said we could come by and teach them tomorrow! They have a daughter that goes to 7th ward mutual, and they've always been impressed by the family emphasis the church has. Hooray for family! We also got the chance to tract into a few great people who said we could come back too. One of them was a lady named Velma, and when we tried back her husband, Ishmael let us in in the middle of the Washington-Colorado game that was going down. It was clear that everyone's mind was on the game, so we just talked and set up a return appointment. Still! They mentioned having missionaries over before, so you never know what can happen.

I guess on a more humorous note, we were almost attacked by a giant tumbleweed last night. And even then it wasn't that exciting. Just biking in the dark when all of a sudden our low-power bike lights caught a 5 ft. Tumbleweed plant directly in front of us. At first I legitimately thought it was a monster of sorts, but then we swerved around it and saw it was just a giant ball of dried twigs, or whatever the heck those things are made out of. Looking back I do wonder what it would've been like biking into it. Meh, another time perhaps.

Yeah, it wasn't all shock-and-awe this past week. I guess you could say the pinnacle of action was watching a few C-5 and C-130's line up for landing, the weather plummeting to the low 30's, singing Christmas hymns at the Alzheimer home (Sis. Berenado's lessons are coming in handy for that one), and giving a Book of Mormon to a lady named Margaret! She's from Kenya originally and loves God and all good Christians. She also had a nice impression left of the church by past missionaries as well. She was ready to let us in due to the cold, but we couldn't due to us not having another man with us. We bore testimony of the Book and on eternal families, and she seemed pretty keen on reading it! 

Anyhoo, hope you guys have another great week in December. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year I've come to know. I love the spirit of Christ, and the smell of cookies too! I hope you guys take the time to appreciate the simple things in life this season. And I also hope you get the chance to build some snowmen too! I always loved Christmas time at the ranch. 

Love you all!