Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 37:Well isn't that a little funny?

I say that, but do I really mean it? I think so. I gave myself a few chuckles this week. Is it funny to the rest of the world? We'll find out.
I failed to bring up a service project from two weeks ago in last week's email. Why would I want to bring it up? I don't know. I like talking about service projects. This one was pretty fun. We were moving firewood onto the porch for Sister Casperson who can't do it herself. We did it the fun way though. The four of us elders formed a fireman's line and chucked the wood at each other until the last person(me) got it onto the porch. I wish I had had my camera with me on that occasion. It was a humorous sight. What made it all the better for me? I didn't have gloves! I had wood flying at me just as fast as I could throw it away, and I had no protection for my hands. How many slivers did I walk away with after handling more than 100 pieces of wood? Just 1! Miracle? I think so.
Another reason I've got to laugh is a speaking assignment we got yesterday. After sacrament meeting, we were pulled aside by one of the branch president's counselors. He told us the branch president wanted to talk to us. We went into his office and had a word with him. He wants us to speak in sacrament meeting next week. Why is this a reason to laugh? It's the deaf branch. Initially I was kind of glad to have another speaking assignments. Every now and then it is good to get up and share from the pulpit. As I sat pondering what I should talk on last night, "I had an apostrophe. Lightning had struck my mind"(Hook. Anyone? Anyone? Ok...) Is it oxymoronic to speak in a deaf branch? That's when I chuckled. Admittedly, the branch is attached to a ward, so there will be those who understand my words and those who might have to watch the interpreter.
I was slow to catch on to it being St Patrick's Day yesterday. I walked into church, and an awful lot of people were wearing green ties. I just figured it was a sign of unity for the almost missionary who was giving his farewell talk. Nope. It was St Patrick's Day. I kept track of when it was all the up to the day before...I must be getting oldtimer-I mean-alzheimers.
Like I think I said last week, we've come across several less active parents with unbaptized children. If I failed to mention that, now you know. If I did, the trend continues! We have started teaching another two families where some are members of the church and others are not.
I've got one more story from yesterday. After that mission farewell, we got to go up to our mountain town, Fairfield. It's not too big of a town, but it's still big enough that you can not know how to get from point A to point B if you aren't there regularly as is the case with us. Elder Shumway had never been there before, so he was driving completely on my directions(which are usually pretty decent). My memory failed me for the second time. We were driving on the main road that goes through town and made it to the opposite end without turning like we were supposed to. I looked around to find a marker that would point me in the right direction. What did I find? The church's steeple. Keeping my sight high and looking ahead for a goal to reach helped us make it to the church. I didn't see my goal when we were driving through the first time because things(buildings) were getting in the way. We can't let objects get in the way of us reaching our goal. Luckily hindsight is 20/20. I was able to see the goal once I had gone beyond the point of reaching it. There are times where we don't get a second chance, but when there are chances to turn around and achieve what we want, we need to take that opportunity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Week 36: Time keeps rolling along

Times they are a-changing and a-flying. We had a zone meeting this week(hence the picture with all of the missionaries), and we were told of another change in mission policy. Missionaries are now allowed to email anyone and to receive emails from anyone.(I've even got a copy of the letter from the mission department to prove it if you don't believe me.) This'll make keeping in touch with whoever a lot easier, don't you think? Letters are still great though! Hand written letters beat an email any day of the week! I'll keep writing letters, so you shouldn't either(when the occasion arises that you can write a letter). I've got the same Wendell address(3134 S. 1900 E.) for at least 2 weeks. That's when transfers come up again.
A lot of fun other things happened this week. I talk about time flying for a few reasons. Stateside Mission Problem #1230981048 is one of the examples of making time fly: having to wax a car. Elder King and I finished washing his car, so we decided we needed to wax it. From his experience, you had to leave the wax on the car for a little while before wiping it off. Well...We let it sit a little too long. It took us an hour to wipe off what it took us 10 minutes to apply. It didn't feel like an hour. It felt like it was blasting by! It wasn't easy, but walking 20 miles a day would be a lot harder(...I don't actually think I would mind that over waxing a car though...being me)
Something else that blew by this week: a hailstorm! A really awesome, intense hailstorm! Those 'little' things in my hand? Pieces of hail! Marble size! I was standing outside when I saw clouds off to the west. The wind was blowing east, and I caught my glimpse of the first bolt of lightning! It was pretty cool, so I stood outside and watched for as long as it was safe. I moved inside once it the storm got close enough. Good thing to! After about a minute of watching the lightning from the window, there was a bolt and loud crack of thunder right overhead! A cloud of dust rolled through pushed by the wind. Then there was that hail! That monstrous(for a southern californian) hail! It only lasted about a minute, but it completely covered the ground! A few minutes later, the clouds rolled on and the sun shined just like it had earlier in the day(like when we went running earlier in the morning for the first time since winter hit back in fall).
Speaking of that run, my feet probably don't like me too much for what I did to them this past week. I wore ankle weights, but they weren't good. They cut my legs up from rubbing and what not. At some point during the week I kicked the treadmill and bruised my left foot. Saturday I kicked a flaming stick and bruised my right foot.
A flaming stick I say? We went to a service project Saturday. The objective: clean up this man's property. What did we need to do to complete the objective? Bonfire! That's a 13 year old standing next to the pile of wood we were burning to clear up the property. I had fire duty, so I got to make sure the fire didn't spread to far. That sucker was hot! I also had to help flip the wood so that it all burned(hence my kicking the flaming stick). Oh, and the wind was blowing. This obviously pushed the fire in one direction, so flames would indescriminately pop up 10' to 20' from the bonfire on that REALLY hot side of it. I would then have to go over to that hot spot and stomp out the fire with either my foot or a shovel and dirt depending on the size. That was hot! Now I've got the tiniest inkling of what it's like to be a firefighter.
This week we were also able to find some part member families with unbaptized children, the Hulmes and the Hardmans. The parents have to been to church in a while, but the kids seem to be interested in baptism, so we'll see if we can't get them all to come to church together. Since we've known them, they've been coming to church, so that is a plus.

We got to go to the Twin Falls temple after our zone meeting. What we didn't realize was they only do a session every 2 hours. We got there about half an hour after the most recent session had started, so we got to spend time doing other work. That was my first time being since I was in Socal. Things are looking up! The sun is shining! The tank is clean! There is plenty of work to do!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 35:Waiting for the top to blow off

Life is good! The sun is shining! The snow has melted! It's 45* outside! I get to go hiking in about an hour!(See, emailing first this time to make sure I don't run out of time.) I'm glad to be in Idaho right now!
Looking at the number of investigators we've got right now, you wouldn't think that we were doing that much teaching. We are. We've got a lot of families that are partly members and partly not who we've made contact with. Our job is to teach them truth in a comforting environment. Right now we are working on setting up that environment. In one of the six wards we cover, we've got six or seven potential investigators. They're all under the age of 18 which means we just need to get the parents on board to! With each of these youth, at least one of their parents is a member. We're hoping to help each of them out very soon. We're looking for similar work in the other wards, but nobody has been home to want to talk to us. Unfortunately, that's going to get worse as we get into spring and everybody goes out to work on the farms. We've just got to get ahold of them before Spring really roles in.
One thing I've noticed is the degenerating state of the world. We'll visit members, non members, and less actives members, and they will all tell us the same thing: The world sucks right now. I've started to notice a difference between the groups though. Those going to church recognize the terrible state of things but have a hope for something more. They're very optimistic. The non members are doing well despite the way the world is rolling. The less active members caught my attention though. They see the bad and try their best just to survive. Things aren't going great for them. They're just doing what they can to make a living. They don't hate life, but it could be going a lot better for them. Is there a correlation between this and their not going to church? I think so.
On the fun side, we got to go to a dinner/auction for one of our wards. It was really cool! The bishop was the auctioneer...He was intense! "ebubuebuoiearlksjdfo190kljsdfoiewmfi200aksldfjwoeij210lskdjflskj210210210SOLD!" That's the best I can do to mimic his speech. It was incomprehensible, and I don't actually think he was saying anything. He was being really noisy for not using any actual words though. What did I learn from this? Auctioneers would be great rappers.
We also had zone conference Friday. We got together with all the other missionaries and learned a little bit more about the plan of salvation aka the great plan of happiness. Each of us was given a packet with one reading assignment per day until Easter at the end of March. It's entirely centered on Christ's atonement. The packet is full of articles written by general authorities, and some days just have scripture references. The first day I got to read Matthew 26-28. The thing that really stuck out to me was the hate that the high priests had towards Jesus. He's going around helping people(like they're supposed to), and they hate Him for it! They hate Him so much they would rather have a murderer loosed than He. Even when He is up suffering on the cross, all they say is "He helped a lot of other people, let's see if he can help himself" and "If he is the son of God, let God save Him"(paraphrasing) Despite this, Jesus Christ still loved them just as He loves all of us.
TTFN!
Elder Soren Mann