Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017

Hey Mom!

This week:

Snow, Ice, rain, freezing rain, fog, and more rain, and all in that order too!

Sorry to hear the plow gave out on the truck, the hydraulics at least. I kind of feel sorry for Dad working it alone, but it's a good thing we got the snow blower at least! Also great to see how much snow is on the ground this winter, it's about time! hopefully this fills the lake up a little more. By the way, how's Smokey taking the weather? The ole' cat probably likes being back in a more open place, finally put that coat of his to work.

But as you can probably tell from the week in words, this past week almost shot us down for work due to weather. I kid you not, a legit ice-storm blew in Tuesday night which shut us down for the rest of the evening. When we woke up and moved out the next morning, the ground was a solid sheet of sheer ice. Nobody was out, anywhere. 'Matter of fact, I slipped on my first step out in a comical fall. Fortunately we got a ride to where we were going. We ran over to the the DL, Elder Dalton and Goodwin's home to talk to them, and then we all ice-skated to Taco Bell for lunch. Still, the weather wasn't horrible enough to make bread, that's only when we get shut in all day.

The ice didn't stop. For the next few days the weather changed constantly from rain to ice, which would eventually freeze again at nightfall, turning Moses Lake and probably all the Columbia basin into a mega skating-rink, shutting down most facilities and activites. We don't have yak-tracks, but in a sign of growing member trust, Bro. Phillips in 7th ward volunteered to look into purchasing some for us. But you know, despite the setback, we actually saw some pretty good success for what there was!

We weren't able to meet Kristen, but we got a call from Bishop in the middle of zone Conference informing us that Kristen had been taken into custody. Details are odd. But her boyfriend, Rob, was all of a sudden interested in learning more about the Gospel! So we got together with him, had a real spirit-filled lesson, and he came to church Sunday too! Later on during the day we got texted by a lady named Natalia, informing us that they just moved into the ward and that her husband was interested in learning about the church! Go humanity! It was almost as if some rain froze together in the form of a blessing and smashed right through the roof onto us! 

And you know what else was funny, what bare-little tracting we did, we found ourselves in the right place at the right time! Passed out a few pamphlets, talked story with some people about the ice, good times! We also had two great lessons with less active families and part-member ones too! The first was with the Hudsells, Dad's not a member. But their daughter is getting ready to depart for her mission, and that has softened his heart a whole lot, or at least enough to be welcome to us coming by! The second was with a fellow named Matt, who served his mission in Salt Lake. Our fellowshipper, Bro. Baker, did a great job helping him know where his heart was at, and in the end Matt told us that we were an answer to his prayers the past week. Cool!

Dalton and Goodwin got in a car wreck due to the ice, they were in the back when the Spanish elders were driving. Everybody was fine, but Dalton got a concussion and Goodwin got some deep bruises. We had to drop by the past few days to visit with them while they were recovering so they don't go nuts, and we also got to administer to them by blessings. I'm so grateful for the priesthood that allows us to help and heal others.

Yeah, overall, things went by incredibly well the past week, despite weather. But you know, that's how the Gospel rolls on, no matter what happens. I'm glad to hear that the house progresses! I love all you guys, and I hope that you all take time to read the scriptures like you said. I always love reading from the Bible and Book of Mormon, inspired works they are! There's about an answer to all of life's questions in their pages.

Love you all!


PS: notice the reflection on the ice, that's how sheer it was.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

January 16, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           January 22, 2017

This week:

Going sub-zero, teaching my pre-mission self, pizza 'n more pizza, chocolate babka, and more!

Wow, just reading about your experience at the interior store was starting to mentally exhaust my mind! But it sounds like the house is coming along like clock work! I hope at least.

To answer your health question, I didn't get sick. And I don't think it was the flu. I am really grateful that we live with the Jones family where they allow us to read their books when we're stuck inside for sickness. I guess you could say I broke during that and read a few pages of the Complete Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and a compilation of Medal of Honor recipients.

There's weren't too many spiritual highlights of the week, although the spirit was super strong nonetheless for what did happen! We got to read with Kristen 1 Nephi chapter 1, and she also accepted a baptismal date! But we agreed to keep it loose to accommodate her schedule because we can't get any contact information from her. While we were closing the lesson, her friend Bree walked in and started to listen with her. And in the end, they both committed to coming to church! Find when you teach moment! Unfortunately they didn't actually come, but we're still going to work with them! We also got to teach with the 10th ward sisters to a referral given to us, for a fellow attending their ward named Sky. That was a great lesson! Spirit was felt really well.

I guess you could contribute part of the slow in work to the weather and our lack of wheels. The record of coldest temperature worked in was broken on Thursday night when the sky cleared up and it dropped down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. We walked to the Garza', a friendly family who met with missionaries before, and after a very lovely visit with them, walked back. Both ways, I could start to see icicle drops form on my eyelashes, and when I looked in the mirror back at home, my balaclava was iced over where I normally breathe. I actually have to give deep thanks for sending me the new boots, they work as well as the galoshes, and a third of the weight!

Last week we also got to go with Bishop Allred to meet with a couple named Sage and Kaylee Utter. They're less-active, and Bishop asked us to see if we can start teaching them. Sage has Asperger, and so when I explained my brief case to Bishop, he immediately knew I was at the right place and right time to meet with Sage. So on Tuesday we went over to see them again to get to know them. I decided to take Bishop's advice to see if our personalities line up. And you know, he wasn't off too much! We sat down with him, and so we just got talking to him about the things he loves to do, which basically curtailed my pre-mission life. Youtube, video games, and good graphics. Elder Mayes was also a gamer before too, so the three of us really hit it off!


And now's the part where I confess that in an effort to ultimately gain his trust, we also allowed him to showcase some newer games to us. I know, not the best action ever. But in the end we got to make a new friend! And he's perfectly cool with us coming by to teach lessons.

We also had one of those episodes where we got fed pizza for three days straight. Not as bad at pasta for a week, but still, when Sis. Pack dropped off dominos on the third day she said that she had hoped that we hadn't been getting fed pizza for everyday the past week. She, along with Bro. Jones found it hilarious when I told them the truth. To wrap it all up, Elder Mayes came down with the plague again on Saturday, so we stayed inside after going around with Bishop Allred again trying by more LA  members. This time, I made some chocolate babka, which is a fluffy sweet bread with chocolate swirls baked into it. You know, it came out pretty good! I would suggest the cookbook Bread Illustrated if you ever see it. know that's about it. I hope you guys stay safe with all the snow that's being blown around and all that! Moses Lake has been getting some pretty heavy snow as well. But we march on! I can't blame people for saying we're crazy. I prefer peculiar, and you know, Hoorah for Israel!

Love you all!


Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                                

This week:
4th quarter, clear cold and snow cover, teaching well, moving trailers, "Galtwin," and more bread!

Glad to hear the house is coming along? So, what are you deciding for flooring and all that? I've always wondered what a house that we designed looked like. As a matter of fact, I always found it funny to recognize how skilled you guys are to do that type of stuff. Either way, keep me updated on how it looks! 

As for us in Moses Lake, things progressed really well this past week! I guess apart from more important matters it's official; I'm in the last quarter of the mission. And dang, it's awesome so far! The only down-side for us was the weather. Weekly, the high was about in the late 20's, the low dipping down to about 2-4 Fahrenheit with wind-chill. On Sunday it snowed all day long and dumped more snow on Moses Lake than the city's seen in the past few years! So we spent all of last night shoveling people's walks and pushing 2-wheel drive cars up steep driveways. 

But on a more work basis, something pretty cool happened! So a gal named Kristen came to church last week our of the blue, and bishop was able to set up a lesson for us in his office with her on Tuesday! We and a few members of the RS were there, and I'm not going to lie, that lesson was probably one of the best lessons that I've ever got to be in. Never mind how we taught and all, the spirit was super strong, and there was such a clear feeling to what the spirit was having us teach! Kristen felt it too! She loves likening the scriptures, so she was super excited to start the Book of Mormon, and she also said that she'd get baptized when she came to know of it's truthfulness! We and the members there immediately bonded with her, and there was such a great feeling of family during it.

What was funny was that as we were walking out of that lesson we got text-dropped by another pair of investigators. Cory and Danielle had been meeting with elders for a while, and although they told us they were going a different route, they were super appreciative of all we and the ward did to help them out. Bittersweet, but the Lord has a timetable much more expansive than ours.

But I'll tell you this much, we had a lot more humorous experiences this week than I've seen in a while. On Tuesday we helped the friend of a family in the ward move out of a trailer. When we got to his place it was clear that we'd be getting our hands dirty. The guy hadn't been very good to keep things in order for one thing, the fact that he was getting evicted that very day didn't help with packing either. After we helped him and his boys load up a truck full of random items they ran off to their storage. That's when a posse of youth showed and leaders showed up to help. They did a lot. The guy had an entire room that wasn't packed, so for the next two hours we broke things down and boxed stuff up. One of his sons stayed behind to help. He wasn't terribly proud of his Dad's way of living, but he was super appreciative of the ward's help. 

I think that's a mental side-effect of the mission, you learn what not to do in life in terms of living. 

We also bonded more with the zone by adopting "twitter" names for each other. Not certain if it's real or not, but in the end it's basically a heads-up text about spiritual/amazing things that happened to us during the day. Elder Mayes and I settled for the callsign Camaezmint. Elder Dalton and Goodwin (who are the type of guys I straight up hang out with) in 5th ward settled for the glorious title of Galtwin. Not certain why I find it so funny, it just sounds so dumb! Galtwin. *Sigh...I see myself gaming with these guys when we're all done!

And I made more bread this past week too! Elder Mayes came down with a small flu, and so after deciding we'd take the day for recovery (a wise guess because it snowed later on), I figured I'd pull another recipe from the Jones' Bread Illustrated book. This time settled for making some Challah, which is a sweet bread shaped in a dense 10-inch braid, with another smaller braid baked on top. It was really good! I think I'll get myself that book when I return.

Yep, life rolls and and life is good! Thanks again for all you guys have done to help me out with! Always remember that I love you guys. Don't know what I'd do without you! Seriously, I don't.

Love you

Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Mom!                                                                       January 2, 2017

Once again, I'm still grasping the fact on how the house is the only project I remember where it's not just Dad and I who are working on it. And it's even weirder to see how smoothly it seems to run. You know, I feel like I'm identifying to be a "desert dweller" as far a climatology-home goes. People tell me when they hear I'm from Vegas that I'm not used to the snow. I guess I've seen both white-out and sandstorm.  Can't wait to see what else that goes too.

I also find it funny that between your 3 sons, Daniel has the most class when it comes to how mission culture affects us. I can see Daniel singing Italian while making pizza, bread, and pasta perfectly, but I can't really see Paul singing hill-songs over a BBQ, and I can't really see myself singing who-knows-what grilling hot-dogs at a Seahawks tailgate.

Meh, good times!

Speaking of Good times, what did you do for your birthday? Can you believe that 2017 is already upon us? Hard to grasp, but we got a great start to the week this past week! On Thursday Elder Mayes and I went down to the food-bank to serve from 10-12. We weren't able to get a ride back, and our afternoon plans were super loose, so we considered staying from 1-3. It felt odd, I'm still working off the E-burg service surplus from that time, but we felt oddly at ease with staying. So after lunch at the local teriyaki joint (that was nostalgic), and a very fun walk back to the food bank, we went back to work.

 Eventually the whole zone showed up, and we were all making senior bags in an "assembly line" manner. I was at the end with another volunteer tying the bags together. All of a sudden, this guy asks me, "so what is the Book of Mormon about anyway?" So we got talking, learned he's very religious and loves to read the bible, and in the end he took a copy of the Book of Mormon and told us he was very interested in reading it! His name is Mark, and the sisters who cover his ward were there too! They got him hooked up, and Mark said that he'd like to come to church, and also try to invite a friend! Go humanity!

Another experience last night also makes the highlights. Kid you not, we were walking around in a blizzard around 4th ward. Not only was it snowing, but it was drifting too. We figured it'd be a good chance to get inside with some potential investigators. When I first came into Moses, we tracted into a lady named Stephanie. We decided yesterday to go try by, (previous attempts hadn't worked) and she let us in! And we got talking to her family, and they are actually super-interested in getting some life questions answered. Stephanie's whole family is LDS, and we also got to teach half of a mini-Restoration to their 9-year old son, Issac who is super curious about God. The husband, Nick, is the owner of a local pizza joint around here, and he said we were more than welcome to swing by for lunch sometime and we can talk to him then. He believes in a Higher Power, and although he doesn't really know why so much bad happens in the world, he wants the best for his family. Kind of goes to show, someone tells you you can come back, never doubt it. This will be a great moment for teaching in 4th ward. 

And Bishop in 7th is going to set us up for a lesson with his friend who came to church too! 

Yep, good week this week! I also got the chance to make some Hokkaido bread on Saturday when we couldn't proselyte, and you know, bread-making is pretty fun! Therapeutic I would almost say. And speaking of medicine, don't worry about the Aczone stuff, I've got it covered with what I got. I'd love to talk more about what happened, but I am out of time. Until then, know that I love you!