Hey Mom! December 19, 2016
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.