Editor's Note: We did not receive a letter from Elder Latimer this week because we received something BETTER -- a phone call. Missionaries are allowed to call home just two times a year - on Christmas and on Mothers' Day.
Josh arrived in Charleston, West Virginia on December 18, 2012. He met his mission president (President Pitt) who is from Centerville, Utah and, according to Josh, is "awesome." He knew before going that President Pitt was friends with our friends the Nash's in Centerville, so they had something in common. His first assignment is in Ashland Kentucky - a small town on the Ohio River in the Northeast corner of Kentucky. It sounds like it is a mining town, as Josh describes the air quality as horrible and that they are not supposed to eat any fish out of the river. He and his companion (Elder Hudson from Edmonton, Alberta) were transferred in to the area new so they have spent the past week going over the records and figuring out who is being taught and reconnecting to various investigators (people learning about the Church).
He said that the "real" mission field is a lot more fun and interesting than he expected it to be. He had a chance to talk to all his brothers and mom and dad. He is in a "car" area (most of them are) and he and his companion are the only ones in the city although there is another companionship across the river in Ohio. They spent Christmas eating with investigators and members as it was difficult to have formal teaching appointments given the holiday and their newness to the area. He is serving in a ward, albeit a small one (about 100 members or so). People are very friendly. He described one experience his companion had where after a lady told them they were going to hell, she offered them a glass of water!
He got his package from home, which in addition to food, included a "blow up" pillow tie, speakers for his missionary iPod, a back scratcher, a Nerf hoop, and a few other goodies. He gave his mom and dad their best gift this year -- a call from him and a knowledge that he was doing well and doing right.
He was glad to hear the Seahawks are rolling and was even o.k. with the outcome of the UW/Boise State bowl matchup (either way would have been fine with him). Mostly, though he is enjoying his work and is excited to be serving.
Please write when you have time, his new address is:
1541 Prospect Place, #5
Ashland, KY 41101
We are very grateful for his good choices and know that the Lord will bless him for his sacrifice. Merry Christmas to all!