July 1, 2013
It’s going good here. Its been thunderstorms this last week, and they are supposed to continue! So it’s getting a lot more humid with all the rain, but at the same time cooling down, which is nice! I have asked for a less-active list from our branch so we can follow up on them. The problem is, with our limited miles, and the fact that most of the less-actives live out in the boonies, its hard for us to find the time and miles to see most of them. But we are getting a few who are close to coming back to church.
We didn’t ultimately go to the Baptist church as we ended up having church on Sunday. If you didn’t count the 2 visitors from Virginia who showed up, a high council member, and us, there were 3 members of the branch there. But it was still good. We taught a sunday school lesson on the word of wisdom, but some got stuck on the idea of eating in moderation and wondered if we should give temple recommends to fat people because they aren’t obeying the word of wisdom if they indulge themselves that much! Anyway, it was another ridiculous lesson at church with a ton of speculation and false doctrine, but we managed to straighten most of it out the best we could.
It’s supposed to rain here for the 4th with thunder storms – so there will be a lot of noise here. We may either go to a member’s or stay on the porch and watch just because if they aren’t a member, they are most likely going to be tanked hillbillies playing with explosives, and I think they would think 2 kids in white shirts would be a fun target! We do have a ton of fireworks in the house that our landlord must have left. We can carry them for protection!
Training [the new missionary] is good. I think everywhere now is training for 2 transfers. They instituted the 12 week program where the trainer has to train for 12 weeks and prepare that missionary to be ready to train the 3rd transfer if need be because of all the new missionaries. We were told that we are getting in the high 20's of new missionaries coming and mid 30's the transfer after – the majority being sisters!
Thanks for getting the pictures ready! I have been working out for the half hour in the morning and then when we get back at night, we have an hour or so after planning of free time that I use to lift. Also we went and got 3 huge semi-truck tires. I’m not sure how we managed to fit them all in our little suburu, but we did, so we get to flip tires as well, which is a pretty good work out. It helps we have a huge back yard! With all the protein I’ve been eating (mostly chicken breast and broccoli), I’m hoping to get to 180 at one point. It probably won’t happen on my mission just because I don’t have enough weight to get there. Maybe when I get home and can start at the gym again.
I am getting a few letters and more is always better. Please post on facebook the address to the mission home and tell everyone to write me. The mission home just because I have a feeling that because the branch is struggling and shrinking that when Elder Price gets his visa and leaves they will shut the area down for a while. I’m pretty sure Pres Pitt doesn’t want to have someone serve in this area for too long. At least I hope I don’t have to serve like 4 transfers here, but we will see.
The mission home address is 888 Oakwood Rd. Suite 310 Charleston, WV. I don’t remember the area code, but I’m sure you could Google it to find it!
Jay didn’t make it to church the other week so we have to reset his date, although the good news is his fiancé is starting to sit in on lessons and was excited to come to church this week. Unfortunately, she was called into work at the nursing home. The cool thing about that is there is a lady there we take the sacrament too, and Tabatha (Jay's fiancé) told Nelly (the Member) that she was going to come to church with us but had to work, which is cool because if she told us I would have felt it was an excuse but because she willingly told a member she was wanting to come it makes us think she is genuinely interested, and if both of them are they will help to push each other!
We are also close to setting another man and his wife on date soon. He is the one who is a free mason, and she is the one who had her mother condemned to hell by a Jehovah witness elder at her funeral. So she is really enjoying hearing about the plan of salvation!
Like I said earlier I’m sure people here celebrate the 4th here just like everyone else, except they probably go a little more overboard, a lot of alcohol and recklessly using explosives for terrible ideas (ha ha). It should be a fun time!
The thunderstorms here are nothing like back home. It continues strikes and rolling thunder for hours. Because of all the lighting, the whole sky looks like a strobe light. It’s really cool. Sadly, we haven’t had any super close yet! I love storms, one day our basement flooded because of all the rain. That’s another thing the rain here isn’t constant like back home but every week or 2 it pours! Like if you stand outside for 5 seconds you can’t be any more wet than you are. We enjoy going for runs in it, a good change of pace!
Love you guys!
July 8, 2013
We have reset Jay's baptism, and he has got 3 of his kids back for the summer -- 2 of which are over 8 and he is interested in having them baptized as well. His fiancé works at the nursing home where a less active woman we visit stays, and she has been working and talking with her. They are planning on coming to church Sunday! Also we went to visit the Baptist pastor and went into his church where he was doing a practice wedding ceremony. The people there saw he is talking to the Mormons, and I think he got some flack. Oh well maybe they will be curious too! We hope we didn’t offend him!
We have been playing basketball and it’s been really productive. We are teaching 3 new people who are really good kids and getting a less active member back to church that way, as well as another kid who is the cousin of 2 of the kids we play b-ball with. His mom is less active, and they want to come to church as well. A lot of missionaries would shake their head at us when we told them about the basketball thing, so it’s nice to see results come from it!
On the 3rd we went with the less active we play basketball with to watch him light fireworks and that was cool because we had thunder and fireworks at the same time. Although it’s a lot more relaxed around here in the 4th cause there are no places to buy fireworks except for the grocery store, and people here are really poor anyways, and it’s illegal to have anything that shoots up in the sky, like the mortars we always have. So just a lot of fountain fireworks.
Today we are going fishing and playing basketball then going out to eat with the kids we play basketball with -- about 8 of them. So it will be a fun day. It’s nice to be able to have them around because they have become actual friends as opposed to people we teach and talk to some times. They are always inviting us out to do things with them. It helps me feel like a real person sometimes! The other day they took us noodling! Sadly I forgot my camera! I got a 40 lb. catfish! It wasn’t an extreme sport and we weren’t swimming! So we were good to go! It was an interesting experience knowing a huge fish in is this hole, but you can’t see it and you have to stick your hand in its mouth keeping your thumb on the outside so you can grab it once it bites. It was a lot of fun. I’ll have to take you all one time when we take a mission tour! They sometimes invite us to cookouts they have and other things, which leads to questions and things so it’s all worth it! It also helps us relieve some stress and enjoy our days some more!
Training is good. My companion is a little messy. He leaves dirty bowls on the tables, couch, floor and when he eats food is everywhere, and he doesnt even pick it up. Oh well, I guess I know how mom feels now... SORRY MOM!
I think Oliver [our family dog] likes to play a little rough after what we all put him through. I remember when i would play with him he would run at me, and I would grab him around the head and flip him over. He loved it! So I’m sure Ryan’s dog wasn’t ready for that! Does he still howl if you howl at him?
I really am enjoying my mission! It is a lot better than I thought it would be! I sent my camera card back it should be there today or tomorrow!
Do we have any pictures from my surgery? I think I may have left them at the docs office before. If not dont worry about. Elder Price was just curious to see them, because he wants to be a doc later in life.
Love you guys!
July 17, 2013
I don’t know how Joe didn’t enjoy EFY. Even when I wasn’t excited doing anything church-like I was always excited to go to EFY!
Well at least Jonathan will have a cool battle scar! He needs to make up a cool story for it now: like he got in a fight with a guy who had a knife and got stabbed, but still whooped up on the other guy! That’s crazy how good of a runner he is! Are you going to put him in like classes or something to help them train him? The earlier the better!
It’s really hot and humid here – in the mid 90's with at least 60-70% humidity. I was talking to Ryan, one of the guys we play ball with, and he said August gets even worse – like a lot worse. Up to 90%-100% humidity all the time if not above. So I’m not too excited for that. If I wasn’t a missionary, I would be all for it, having great time for swimming and white water rafting! Then the river would feel amazing and lakes would be a pool!
You need to tell Jake to check his e-mail or his spam folder. I sent him an e-mail a while ago and I still don’t have a response. When is he turning in his papers? After fall semester? I’m not surprised that he makes those video's! Did he ever make a "Harlem Shake" Video?
That’s crazy how big the ward is. It has 10x more primary children than our branch has people. For that matter, about 100 more than our whole branch roster has! It seems now like they may shut down this branch pretty soon. We have had a member from the stake presidency here 3 straight weeks, and they have been talking about it for a while. The other week we had 8 people there – the missionaries, 2 visitors, and President Hunter who is in the stake presidency – so 3 actual branch members!
Other than that the work is going well, we met a kid named Dakota while playing basketball, and he is a really nice kid who wants to do the right thing. He had been adopted twice and all over in detention centers in his life. They had found his birth mom, and he is living back with here now and has done a complete 180. His mom always tells us how much of a blessing it is to have him back, and that these kind of situations never happen. What’s cool is that he has been here only a month now and his mother is a less-active woman who is not on the roster because she moved here and never had her records transferred. Now that her son is taking the lessons, and has been set on date for the 3 of August, she is beginning to want to come back to church. When we ask when we come back she makes sure it’s a time when she is off work and at home. So maybe the Lord put Dakota back in her hands so that we could find him and help him come to the church as well as bring his mother back! Pretty cool experience!
We have been playing basketball with the youth here. They are all are 18-19 years old. They are all very nice and respectful. We met them all playing basketball, and they have really started to like us. Since there is almost nothing to do here we will go and fellowship with them, most every day, whether its basketball, fishing, frog giggin, or noodling. It helps us to get to know them better and especially when you fish, there is plenty of time to sit and talk about the gospel. They always tell us, “I never thought I would be this close with a Mormon before.” They keep telling us we need to come back after the mission so we can do some more things together. So whether they come to the gospel now or later, I think its productive. Since it’s their first encounter with Mormons, and we have become some of their closest friends here. I think that later when they are married and have families and slow down with all the things they do at this age and missionaries knock on their door, I’m sure they will be really receptive and want to listen and learn more.
My ankle is doing better. Both my ankles give me trouble. I usually roll both of them on a daily basis. I just think they are so messed up that it has to get rolled pretty bad to hurt. But now it’s doing better it was just sore for a few days.
And for my birthday I’m not too sure what I want, there aren’t too many things i can use out here. Although I would still like a pair of cowboy boots for p-day at least :) My nike free runners are trashed. I have used them for everything that has to be done in rain/mud/mowing grass etc... so I don’t really have another pair. But that’s all i can really think of.
Love you guys!
July 22, 2013
We are really excited for Dakota and his mom as well to start to come back to church! Jay is not on date anymore because he didn’t make it to church this week, so we will go back and try and set another date for him. He is really eager and wanting to do the right thing. I think he is just having a hard time grasping how serious and life changing this really will be and that it’s not just another baptism.
But he did have a crazy experience a few days ago, and so did we. There was a pretty bad thunderstorm just like there has been for the last 3 weeks! Jay was at the library, and we were walking there to go on LDS.org, and we were about maybe 100 yards from the library, maybe closer (I don’t remember too well) and lighting struck the side of the library. All I remember was a flash and then my ears were ringing because the thunder was so loud! It was crazy. So we went in to the library to see what happened and check on people. Jay was there with his kids and was so happy to see us because apparently the strike just missed him. He was pretty startled and hard of hearing at the same time. He told us the side of his head was still really hot from it. People who were on the computers got shocked because they were holding the mouse. Not too bad but it was not pleasant, I’m sure. We later learned that the lightning struck one of the electric lines that go to the library right above it, and now over the door to the office there is a huge mark from it. It’s crazy. Now the computers don’t work right and the automatic doors just randomly open. It was pretty crazy! I’ve never been that close to a strike before!
We have taught the guys we play basketball with 1 formal lesson – to Ryan and his brother Jordan – and the others will ask questions occasionally, so we are still just introducing them to the gospel. We actually had a cook out with Ryan and his girlfriend, and asked them if they would like to come to church, both said they wouldn’t mind and should be coming this week! Playing basketball and things with them has really made it bearable here. My first transfer I thought was going to shoot myself! Now I really enjoy it here. What’s nice also is all those guys we fellowship with see us as really good friends of theirs and aren’t intimidated like most people are around us, which is great because they are very open and not afraid to say what’s on their mind, which allows us to be able to help them some more!
I know they have been thinking about closing the branch for a while. The closest building is about 40 miles away from us. So if anything they would have to shut this area down or give us a lot more miles, and it would be pretty tough to get people to drive 80 mile round trips every week for church, especially investigators, considering the majority are on welfare and either don’t have a car or money for gas for those kind of trips, but we will see.
That’s good Joe is starting to get a little more crazy one the tubes! I’m sure he enjoyed that a lot more than just a slow straight ride! That’s awesome about Jonathan! I don’t think I ever ran the mile that fast until like high school or something!
I still don’t know who to root for [in college football] now! I feel kind of bad but I still lean toward UW. I’ve been a fan too long to just go with a school I go to, although if Boise State were in the top 10 again I would have to go for them, just because they need to play for a national title and beat someone like Bama or LSU to prove themselves, even though they already have by beating Oregon twice, Georgia in the Georgia dome, Oregon State when they were top 15, as well as Arkansas, Virginia Tech when they were good, and others! And of course the 2007 Fiesta bowl Vs. Oklahoma!
One thing I haven’t gotten yet on my mission is a companion who likes football. Well, as much as I do, I guess. They have all been the kind who will watch it sometimes but they don’t really care to much for it. But Ryan who we play basketball with loves football, so when we are with him we will always talk about it, which is nice.
I am excited for my present! [Josh’s birthday is on August 6th]. You got me too excited now! Thank you for ordering my work boots! I feel bad always asking for things, but I’m out of protein powder and out of support card money. Elder Price and I share one because he is going to Argentina so he doesn’t have a card for here so they put both out money on my card, and he is quite the spender....
P.S. I have a question for you, and if you don’t know, I plan to ask Pres. Pitt. I was reading through D&C the other day and came across D&C 84:41 and not sure exactly what it means. Because I thought there was only one thing you could do to not be forgiven, but maybe I just interpreted it wrong. It would be interesting to know and good to know especially for a few people in the branch who have family members who have be excommunicated and have fallen away from the church.
July 29, 2013
Dakota is doing well he came to church yesterday, and is scheduled for august 17th! He came along with Ryan, Jordan, and Ryan’s girlfriend, Kelly. It was a really cool experience to find out later from some members that as we taught gospel principles to them, they had a meeting about closing down the branch. President Schweinbraten (the branch president) said later he was going to agree to close it until he saw us come in with 4 investigators. He ended up telling us that he was done and us bringing the investigators that week gave him hope, and that we aren’t closing the branch just yet. It was really cool to see the blessing it was that they all decided to come that Sunday and not one week later.
Not only that, but after we reported out numbers to the District Leader and he to the Zone Leaders, we got a call that night from them telling us how amazed they were with that number. They said they have never seen anything even close to that before. The Assistants also sent us a message earlier in the day pretty much thanking us for working hard in this area. So that was really nice to get that reassurance and to know that this is actually a really hard area, and that others know it, and it’s not just us.
Tomorrow we have interviews with President Pitt, something that I always look forward to. We get to talk and hang out with a lot of other missionaries and be able to sit down and talk with President Pitt one-on-one which doesn’t happen too often. Sometimes is blows my mind the things he teaches us, and how knowledgeable he is. I would not be surprised in the least bit if he was called to the Seventy or even the Quorum of the Twelve sometime after he is done being the mission president. He is a great guy.
Thank you for that explanation on D&C 84:41. That makes sense. I had looked around and found a quote from Marion G Romney. I would paste it here but Lds.org won’t work now. It said something kind of like what you said. It’s sad to think about, especially for a family in our ward who is very active and their dad, who has been to the temple and everything, has refused to come to church anymore. He enjoys his beer too much. But our branch president is working with him.
I did get my shoes and boots! Thank you. I got a good chance to break them in today. We went to a member’s house and dug a 3/4 mile long ditch and ran power lines to his home. It was quite wet as well, but the dirt here is really cool – a lot different from back home. Here it is like clay. You can pick it up and pack it like a snowball almost, and it all sticks together. Now the boots are nice and muddy and look like they should! Thank you guys! I don’t think my free runners would have handled that.
Of course I miss a great summer! Have you guys been up at the lake much? We have been doing a lot of fishing/frog giggin and basketball with the non-member youth here. They said they would like to come back to church as well as try bringing a friend or two! Who says hanging out isn’t productive! It’s definitely a blessing from the Lord though to provide this opportunity to relax and joke around with some good friends and turn it into teaching opportunities and willingness to come to church. So far on my mission I have seen the most success when we don’t push the gospel in their face, but just be friends with people and occasionally bring it up, and leave it if they seem to be getting irritated. In Ashland as well as here.
Jay is doing all right. He is planning to be at church this weekend with him and his kids and hopefully his fiancé too. The only problem with him is they don’t plan on getting married anytime soon. I think it’s because they receive more money for raising the kids and not being married than they would if they get married. They live together which is a problem, but we hope to help him work it out, and act on the faith he has and get married.
Love you guys!