Riding the Golden Bear
Medford, Oregon Temple
Foursome Serving in Crescent City
Mom asked me some questions in her email so I am going to do my best to answer those right now. My days here are pretty awesome. We wake up and go walk for like 15 minutes then we come back and take turns showering while everyone else takes naps. We then eat breakfast, and then do personal study for an hour, then companionship study for an hour. Since I and Elder Waites are fresh, we then do a thing called 12 week studies, which we will be doing for, you guessed it, the first 12 weeks of the mission. We then eat lunch and afterwards all split up into our companionships and go out and teach lessons, do service, etc. We usually eat dinner at members’ homes for dinner but occasionally we have to fend for ourselves so we go to BK or Taco Bell. There aren't many fast food chains up here so we have to pick and choose. I mostly eat sandwiches and ramen for lunch. I enjoyed the spoon very much, but the pyrex bowl is a little bit big. I still use it though because it reminds me of home. The area that I am in goes from Crescent City, all the way up to the Oregon border where there is a little town called Smith River. It’s about 25 minutes away. We also go over to Hiouchi, which is about 15 minutes to the east of us. We cover a place called Gasquet, which is pronounced Gaskee, but nobody really lives there that we teach or is a member so I haven't been there yet. We drive a lot and our area is one of the biggest areas in the mission. If you go onto lds.org and look in the missionary section under mission maps you can look at all the wards, stakes, zones, and areas of each mission. It is way cool. I am in the Crescent City 2nd ward area. There are a lot of cool people in our ward. I like pretty much everybody that we have gone to dinner with. I can't say that I love any one family especially or have connected with anyone yet, because I just love everyone. It really is a cool ward. On P-days we usually shop, clean a little, email, and play some ball at the church. Today we are going to go hiking in Stout's Grove, which is where they filmed Star Wars. They actually filmed a lot of Star Wars up here. It seriously is Endor. The Temple was so awesome. I finally got to see a different video which was way nice. It was the one where Satan is in Saints and Soldiers is what the other Elders were saying. It is hard to find my way to some places, but luckily there is the highway 101 that runs through the city so most places you can get to by either going north or south on the 101 which makes it easier to find things. I better learn quick though because Elder Searle and I both think that he is getting transferred at the end of this transfer. We don't have anything to back that up though.
As for the investigators, we set a baptismal date for one of our investigators, Ervin Strickland. He will be baptized on August 20, at 7:30. I am so excited for him and this decision. His wife is an inactive member of about 20 years, and his kids are not members. They are 12, 10, and 5. He and his wife both really want to be sealed together in one year, and they are going to bring their 5 year old with them to be sealed. He wants his other kids to go with him as well but doesn't want to force the church onto them. When we told him that he could baptize his kids he got really excited though, and I think that they will all be baptized eventually and be sealed. It is amazing to see. This guy used to be a huge druggee and gangster, but in the last few years has really turned his life around. It’s amazing to see how the gospel can change people’s life. We have several other progressing investigators, and I feel good about several of them.
This week I had a really cool experience. It wasn't really consequential but cool nonetheless. We were on a blitz so we had a bunch of names to go visit, and I was with Elder Waites. We went to all the houses and nobody answered, and one house we didn't want to knock because they had a fence with a huge dog inside the fence that we would have to go through to get to the door. We didn't even attempt the first time we went around to all the houses. We made a quick pit stop for a McDonald’s $1 drink, and then decided to go to all the houses again. We went around to the houses again and when we got to the scary German Sheppard dog house, we didn't know what to do. We wanted to contact the guy, and also we weren't even sure if it was the right house, because it didn't have an address on the house or the mailbox. So we decided to say a prayer, which we hadn't done the whole time we had been looking for people. So in the prayer Elder Waites asked that we would find the right house, that we would be protected from the dog, and that we would find Israel, who was the guy. So right after we were out in the street looking for the house, and we saw the house number on the curb. It was the house with the dog, so we go up and Elder Waites bravely goes through the fence and right up to the door, without the dog attacking him or anything. I timidly followed but as soon as Elder Waites knocked, the guy answered. He was just leaving too. It was so cool. Everything that we asked for in the prayer was immediately and specifically answered. The guy ended up being semi interested, and his wife had taken discussions from the missionaries in the past. We gave him our number and he said that he would give us a call. It was such a cool experience. I had never had a prayer answered so quickly and directly before. It was like the Lord was right there guiding us as soon as we remembered to pray. It reminded me that sometimes all we need to do is pray, and Heavenly Father will help us. We think that we can do it on our own, and we try our best to do things, but we just need to call on his name and he will provide. Even the savior, in 3 Nephi 17:3 tells the people to pray about the words that the savior speaks. You would think that hearing from the mouth of Jesus Christ would be enough, but even He asks us to pray to the Father for understanding. I also recently finished the Book of Mormon, and it strengthened my testimony even more. It is such an amazing book. It truly is the word of God. It is another testament of Jesus Christ, or Another Covenant of Jesus Christ. A covenant that if we will read it and abide by its precepts, that we will know it’s true and will be able to follow its steps on our way to Eternal Life. The Gospel is so simple, and so complex. It’s fascinating and amazing to learn more about it each day, or to have your testimony strengthened each day about something you already knew, or thought you knew. I also started reading the New Testament this morning, so if anyone wants to read it as well and share your insights I would love that. Or any insights or revelation that you received, just go ahead and email it to me. I can read emails any day of the week and would love to hear all of your testimonies and knowledge. I love you all and pray for you each individually each night. Thanks for everything