Wow, this past week seems like just yesterday, but so long ago! We have been so busy that it's probably literally killing me! A long dormant Bronchitis seems to have re-emerged, well, probably not that bad, but I have this super annoying cough! It thrashes my voice around though. Just like the good old days back in Utah!
Monday was pretty chill, played basketball with the district for p-day, and taught some good-ish lessons.
Tuesday was difficult, we had our lessons fall through, and did a lot of walking. We also had a follow-up greenie meeting. First time they've ever done that! And it was veeeeeeeery long! Everybody from my district who came out with me was there, EXCEPT for my MTC companion, Elder Solomon, he is in the Mt. Hood area, so he had his meeting the next day. This meeting was only like four hours though, so not too long, and we did a lot of practicing teaching. We had to report on some stuffs, and then practiced and learned different ways of teaching 6 lessons. It was a very intense role-play, but very very realistic, the most realistic since the Progressing investigator in the MTC! Wow! Definitely going to use the pamphlets now! And that evening, we were invited to go play basketball with the Elder's Quorum, we got the appropriate permission, and are turning it into a finding and fellowship activity by inviting our potential and current investigators and less-actives to it. So double whammy with basketball.
Wednesday we had district meeting, the last one with the Zone leader Elder Olsen, but Sister Pauga (one of the sisters in this ward) is leaving to go home today, so it was her last one too. She is the one who gave this cough! Rats! And it is spreading to Elder Peterson, and getting around too! It's all this singing we've had to do! We had to sing in Church last Sunday, then they asked me to sing a solo yesterday.... Yikes! Wasn't for sacrament meeting though! 2nd hour! Remember how I said my voice was thrashed? Yeah! I sang it down TWO octaves! These Elder friends of Kito would have loved to hear it! The upside? It turned out not to be a solo. Some guy didn't get the memo and started playing the accompaniment to the song on his phone/table (The song was: When he comes again, they were talking about the second coming). He very well may have been trying to prevent me from singing a solo, which makes sense, he is the one guy in the ward who has frustrated me the most :) lol, I must have prayed for patience or something lol! But anyways, his phone starts going off, and the people who asked me to sing did NOT specify which verse, or anything, so while I tried to clarify, the one teacher honestly didn't care, and so they just said to have everybody sing! But you couldn't miss my voice yesterday... anyways, I practiced for it a lot, and it sounded really good too! Good thing it wasn't a solo though, because our class was huge that day! The room was filled! Literally double what it was the week previous, really though! Half the people hadn't even been there before :P anyways, it was good! But back to Wednesday.... We went out to eat as a district to Panda Express, and I realized I didn't have my wallet, but had brought my yogurt and chia seeds :P so I sit down, grab a fork, and start stirring in my seeds and eating. Everybody rolled their eyes at me, and my 6"7 other zone leader (who already is pretty intimidating) ordered me to bless him with charity, and that he wanted those blessings, and when I tried to say I was fine with my 90 cal yogurt ;) he got very frustrated with me, and of course, not wanting to chase away the spirit and replace it with the spirit of contention, I let him buy me some orange chicken. It's all good though, I'll pay him back this week. Also, we were invited to young men's that night, because they were playing basketball, and friends were being brought. So, triple whammy, super exercise ;) It was great, we got to know some non-members, and got to know the members more, and learned of some needs and referrals. Very cool.
Also on Wednesday, we went to go share a thought with a part member family, and we made the mistake of asking if there was anything we could do to help them hahaha, nah, it was fine, but I spent the next hour and a half fixing their printers. I didn't use the internet, or any books of any sort, don't fret! But I got the two hooked up to their ancient computer that is connected to the modem, then got their tiny laptop to be able to print without having to be connected to the printer directly, so I had to enable all the sharing and all that jazz. I have never had any experience with modems before, so all their other questions dealing with answering machines I could not help with. I also taught them how to use the fax part of their printer, because that's what they really wanted, Buuut they still want to read in the book, and get their answering machine working again, so I delegated to another member of the ward due to time constraints. Ha! We went back there on Friday for our scheduled lesson, and the investigator set a date for baptism. Her poor health though. She has chrome's (Krohns?) disease, so she is sooooo thin right now. She is losing weight like crazy, and she is in danger ha! But she has overcome it before, so she is striving to beat it now, and because she set a date, we know that the Lord will help her be ready by the 21st of this month, but in church yesterday she was saying that she was going to be baptized the 12th.... -_- hmmm, oh well, I don't mind having a baptism on my birthday! :) Anyways, can't skip Thursday!
Thursday... was Thanksgiving. Whoa! I thought I would be super homesick all day, but nope! Lemme explain why! So, first off, we had gotten permission from President to go to the Turkey bowl. But my left arms was KILLING me, I must have pulled some muscle at some point, because my forearm was super sore, and so was my upper arm, so I couldn't put my hands that high above my head (I'm fine now) so what did I do? Well, I was strictly defense, and a rusher of course, but the "little" kids relieved me as rusher toward the end because they couldn't keep up with the receivers, so I switched to that for awhile. Was it flag? No! Was it touch? Sometimes, but for the majority of it, it was tackle! My first tackle football game. There was a joke that if someone got hurt, it was bound to be a missionary, and maybe that's true, Elder Peterson ended up in the splits when he slipped on some mud, ha! I only got mildly beat up from all the tackles I did, but honestly, you should see the other guys ;). Speaking of guys those, the sister missionaries came! And trashed everybody, that's where the touch comes in, but they still beat the crap out of each other. What a companionship inventory! Lol! The one sister on my team did a lot of sports in high school, so she did most of the catching and receiving for our team, well, at the beginning, til her companion started knocking her to the ground! I on the other hand, despite the fact that I was not on the same team as my companion (who played football in high school mind you) I could always say that I had his back. Whenever he caught the ball or was running with it, I had his back. Get it? Yup, I took him out! BOOM! He kept telling our QB to pass me the ball, I think now because he wanted to try and take me down, but because I didn't want to raise my arms high to catch the ball, I was the short pass guy. Oh, speaking of short stuff. On offense, I was the only blocker, and kept ALL the guys off of our QB :) one of which had played football in high school as well. I shoulda been a blocker on a football team I guess ;) lol, who knows! It was a lot of fun, and I always dove for the ball when the other person wouldn't catch it, and always came within inches of it.... shoulda worn cleats ha! Well, enough about football, back to the work! Well, one last thing, the way my companion moved and made these mind blowing catches, it was like watching dad play! It's the same with the basketball! Holy moley dad! Why didn't I ever learn those skills??? Ok, done with that now.
While I thought I would be homesick all day, it proved to not be the case. Why? because i put my time into assuring that other people were having great thanksgivings! We had lunch with this Elderly couple that we teach. They didn't have anywhere to go, and all of their kids didn't want the mom coming out to visit because the trip would kill her. Literally though. This lady has 3 clogged arteries in her heart, only one left! They want to do a heart transplant but she refuses because she believes she will never die, that she can heal herself with her faith. That science is of men, and not of God. Confused lady, but maybe she can heal herself, but she believes the priesthood has no power, so no blessings there. ANYWAYS! They were home alone for Thanksgiving, and we offered to spend some time with them, but they told us to have lunch with them, and they ended up cooking what food they had bought for thanksgiving dinner, because it was just going to be the two of them, they didn't want to go "all out" but had still bought a great deal. So we had dinner for lunch, and played this game called dominoes with them. It is their favorite game. No, not setting them up and flicking them. It's very fun actually, I plan on teaching it to ya'll when I get back! But we spent the afternoon with them, teaching and sharing messages and eating and having fun. Totally made their day. They were so happy we were there! Lol, speaking of them, we were there on Saturday, and some Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries showed up. The husband who is not a member wanted us to answer the door, but the wife said no, and she talked with them, told them they were welcome, but due to our presence should come back another time. She is very friendly, and hears everybody out. Ha! Don really wanted us to talk to them though. We don't know what would have happened, so I'm glad we didn't. :)
Moving along, we had a great Thanksgiving dinner with the Farrers! The sister missionaries and a couple other families were there, and it was insane with the amount of kids that were running around! We bowled with a frozen turkey, and I hold the record for hitting the most pins down from the farthest away. Score! We played a couple of name and strategy games with the guests. It was great! So that's two dinners. THEN the Bishop had us come over.... oh boy.... that was the start of 3 consecutive days at the bishops house with his family. great time! Had pie the first night, and they had us for dinner the next day, and we had enchiladas and martinellis! Yippee! Then the third night we just had our meeting where we discussed the work and laid out our plans and discussed tactics! Fun times!
But! Lastly but certainly not least! I was actually not away from my family for thanksgiving! Obviously this ward is my family away from home, buuuuuut as you all know, I actually got to see my family in the flesh! Jessie and Eric! And Aaron and Audrey brought me a pie and those amazing wraps that didn't last very long at all. And sparkling cider! What a great moment in time! It was a half hour in between the turkey bowl and the lunch, so it was perfectly timed :) It was good to see them! Because passing by their house normally stressed me out, but not anymore! I'm good now! The reality that I AM actually in Oregon has now settled in, and I'm fine! Not homesick in the slightest! I passed by their house again last night while headed up to the visitors center with some families for one of the concerts that they do every night. That was great! But man! Seeing those Hornibrooks was terrific! As you have probably seen, I was smiling like a dork! So happy to see them, and so happy to be green enough to have gotten permission to have seen them. Sorry for looking like I got hit with a two by four, buuuuut we had just smashed our faces into the ground playing football, so I have a little excuse :) playing tackle football in a suit, no bueno. Haha, no, we were not in suits, and at this time not dirty either, just bruised :) What a great time! Love you guys! Keep up the work, the time when I'll be transferred into your area is fast approaching! :)
Ok, Friday was pretty typical, a nice cool down day. I already talked about it earlier, that was the gist of it. Just finished weekly planning for and hour and a half or so, mixed with everything else, dinner with the bishop, that was the enchiladas. We got to watch the new Mormon message about Christmas, I recommend you go watch it now! :)
Saturday was pretty chill too. I know that we had service scheduled, but due to rain only taught! We had dinner with arguably the best cooks in the ward! Yup, the Rice's! Pretty coincidental name eh? Their non-member parents were visiting for dinner too, and liked the message we shared. Me and the Grandpa were cracking jokes all over the place, Brother Rice thought they were so dumb, that he wanted Elder Peterson to smash their make-shift martinelli bottles on our heads :( Elder Peterson did too! obviously jk! :) It was a good time, but I have to be careful in laughing, cuz I start coughing something awful! Thank goodness for GP's cough drops he sent. What an inspired gift! GP saves the day again!!!! :)
Then on sunday, all the priests told us when they were free to go on splits, and we had a guy who hadn't been to church for years there, and he volunteered to go with us! YES! and we also had an investigator who is priest age say we could call him anytime! We have our first lesson with him this tuesday(tomorrow) it's pretty sad though, for mutual this week they are going to do baptisms, and he isn't a member yet :( he went all through primary and church til he was 11, was never baptized due to his inactive father, and after all these years, decided it was time for him to come back and be baptized. WOW! He turns 18 on the 28th of this month, but we'll get him baptized soon enough. Initially his family wanted the dad to baptize him (3 weeks ago) but last week said that his dad wanted nothing to do with the church, so Nolan told his dad: "I'm getting baptized, whether by you, or someone else, it will happen!" Stunned the dad, hopefully the dad eventually comes back! But the Bishop offered to have Nolan baptized that night, scared the poor kid, because of all the time it would take to interview and teach him everything again. And while he knows he'll be baptized, I don't think sunday was the right time. The bishop said they could get him to the temple on wednesday if we hurried. It was a joke obviously, but still, they are having a potluck on wednesday, then they'll go to the temple. We might go for the dinner, and while they go to the temple, teach Nolan the next lesson. He went to primary, so it will mostly be a refresher he says. So we will probably teach him the lessons pretty close together, especially because he's already been reading the Book of Mormon and we have already committed him to pray about it and we haven't even had our first lesson yet haha!
Well, that's the main gist of it. But one last thing: in the days preceding Thanksgiving, we would go around to less-actives and others sharing this message about thanksgiving, and I would quote Braden Johnson on something he said to me in a letter right before I left. And after we shared our message (it was a Mormon message) I would tell everybody that this would be my first thanksgiving away from home, and asked it we could do the tradition that my family did (and I guess everyone else practically) where we all go around sharing what we are thankful for before dinner, but in these little family settings, we would share our testimonies and what we were thankful for, made me fee closer and closer to home each time. It was terrific! I would quote Braden on his "we leave our families for a little while so that others can be with theirs for Eternity" that I have in my scriptures right before the Book of Mormon. It was very powerful, and the Spirit was always so strong in the room. I love you guys! I hope you guys had a blast without me this thanksgiving! Any whackee six throw-downs??? What went on? Did you follow the tradition? It would be pretty ironic if not, because I spent all this time in doing it out here hahaha :)
Praying for you all,