Hey Mom! March 20, 2017
First thing's first, good luck with the move! I hope the team does a good job helping you guys out, and I hope that the house will be everything you guys have dreamed/built it up to be. But the best homes are always founded on those principles that strengthen us as families.
Well, Coulee Dam is about the closest to Vegas that you can get in the mission I say. There's the dam, and also a casino. The area covers roughly 2000 square miles, and includes not only the townships around the dam, but also Coulee City, Nespelem (the reservation), Keller, and a few others around the area. Elder Saitman hails from Bountiful UT, and hasn't had too much real-world experience up to this point in life. We get along alright, and I hope I can be one of his companions who actually gets along with him!
Turns out the nearest elders live in Omak, 56 miles away, and we have 1700 miles to use every month for all proselytizing purposes.
In other words, we're isolated. But you know, that's all not that bad! For one, Grand Coulee Dam looks a lot nicer than Hoover does if I'm honest. And the mighty Columbia River starts right at it's base. The drive from Coulee city up to the dam is about the prettiest you can get, black and brown rock canyons spiced up here and there by the waterfalls caused by the snow melt.
The ward is small, but large in heart. heh heh, since I didn't have to memorize two wards, I almost got everyone's name down just yesterday! They are all wonderful people, and I think I will come to like them very well. Still haven't gotten a gist of what the work is like in the area between travel and other factors. But you know, I wouldn't be surprised if I finished up here. And part of me would like to come back for one of those laser shows they do on the dam every summer!
But the real humor came the actual transfer day, when Elder Mayes was still packing his gear after a solid day of doing just that. The guy suffers from severe retail therapy, and among other things he had to find room for were a skateboard and rice-cooker. We laughed it off and ultimately got packed, and did a final cleaning of the Jones's downstairs apartment. I'm going to miss them because they were probably the nicest folks who could ever house missionaries. I'm glad to hear the galoshes, thermals, and gloves made it back, and even then, packing was something else. But we got it done!
Elder Uceda was at our latest Zone Conference, and that was really cool! We talked a lot about sincere and earnest desire to read the scriptures and praying about the Book of Mormon. And you know, it was super cool! Basically that whole promise in Moroni 10:3-5 can be used as a step-by-step thing. Really ponder the blessings the Lord's given you, and then truly pour your heart out in prayer, having a sincere desire to act on whatever answer you receive. The answer itself is inevitable.
Apart from that, the actual birthday went really smoothly! Elder Saitman made breakfast for the two of us, and since it was my first Sunday in Coulee, got to meet a whole new bunch of friends! It was awesome! And to top it off, they asked us to bless the sacrament (small wards and few hands). I haven't done that since I was a priest 20 months ago. When I did it yesterday, I had this whole new appreciation for just what the Sacrament meant, both in general and personally. I would attribute it to what I've learned about Christ's atonement even more as a missionary, and because of that, breaking the bread and blessing it seemed like one of the best things I have done for a long, long time now. And don't worry! Actually got a cake, sort of. The Barrys had us over for dinner, and recently they had a birthday celebration, so there was a half-served cake they re-candled and sang too. It was nice!
I would've loved to send some pictures, but I am afraid I cannot, due to the tech we have at the FHC. I'll need to bring an actual USB cable. But in the end, know that I love you Mom! Still don't know what I'd do without you in my life, 20 years into it. Let me know how the new house lines up. Also, could you please include the Barry family in your prayers? They just had a grandson pass in an auto accident. Times like these always make me thankful for the Plan of Salvation, makes life a whole lot more happier whenever hard times come. An assurance that our loved ones who pass before us do indeed live on until we can re-embrace each other!
In the end though, love you always!
forgot to mention, thanks for the prayers! They really do carry us over a lot of high mountains, and teach us a lot about what goes on on top of them.
Love you! I'll keep you guys in my prayers.