Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30, 2009

Aaron writes home that he went on splits with one of the AP's. They tracted for about 5 hours, talking to everyone they saw. They went to the home of a young man who had been taking the discussions. No one had been answering the door at that home for some time. He said they knocked on the door and knew someone was standing just inside the door without answering. They waved through the peephole. This time they knocked again and Aaron called out, asking if that young man (by name) was home. His wife opened the door, was very nice and said they wanted to set up a date for baptism.

Aaron's companion is due to return home on Wednesday, so he will be getting a new companion then. He's studying up on the ward directory, investigator list and map of the area so he will be ready to help the "new guy".

Anyway, all is well in Fresno. He says he was glad to hear from several of you. Keep those letters coming.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ok, this letter came today -- I should be caught up

March 23 2009
Ok, I'm back on track here. Now that I have the right email address to email home, maybe everyone (including me) can stop wondering why there are no emails being sent. This week's been pretty good. We got a few return appointments from tracting, which is something new. Thus far it had been a complete waste of time. Some of our investigators are progressing, and others are being stubborn, not keeping their commitments. But overall it's been good and some of them are nearing the point where I think they'll want to be baptized. I don't know if I mentioned it or not in one of the other emails, but I went golfing a couple of weeks ago. It's a lot of fun, but my putting is atrocious. There are other words that could describe it, but that one fits pretty well. I like driving though. Our investigator with the baptismal date (the one that had a stroke) is doing well now. She's in a rehabilitation center, working on getting her movementback, especially in her "paralyzed" side. It's weird that I've been here for almost four weeks, on Wednesday -- a week away from my two month mark. Time is going by so fast, it's crazy. My bishop is currently in the arctic, hunting his polar bear. I find that pretty funny. Our miles inour car are nearly gone, so we have to budget them a lot. It'll be a whole lot of walking and bike riding and bumming rides off the members for the next week and a half or so. Ok, so this is how I think I'm going to work all this, with the email (I might have mentioned it another week, not sure). This form email, I'll send to Mom, who (pretty please) will put it on the blog, where everyone can read it. I may from time to time choose to reply to an email, not sure, not a lot of time here at the library. All mail will get a response though for sure. Everything reminds me of movies and books anymore. I find myself wanting to watch them and read them all the time, even movies I probably wouldn't've when I was at home. Yesterday I had this great longing to watch both UHF (Weird Al's movie) and The Stupids. Maybe the next 22 months will get that out of me, or maybe I'll have to go on a movie and book binge when I get home -- Hopefully not too bad anyway. It's weird that I'm going to be here when Karen's baby's born, and that he'll be, what, a year and a half when I get home. I did the "flattened chicken" joke out of a cloth napkin at dinner at a member's home yesterday. They loved it. Karen, I'm still routing for the name Hellspike, even though it was apparently voted off. I think it still deserves merit. The goal of 1000 baptisms for 2009 is for the whole mission. We should be good for it though. A member was showing us his family history on his computer the other week (might have mentioned it, again, not sure). It was crazy stuff. He had like 160,000 names or so; all his ancestors and all their kids and their kids, etc. He had a whole room devoted to it with a couple of computers and filing cabinets. Alright, I'm off to work. It was good hearing from everyone who I heard from. Bye for now,

Aaron's next letter (Mid-March)

Dear Mom & Dad, Mid-March 2009
I'm really hoping I am remembering the right email address. I really don't remember anyone else's. The lady that we had the baptismal date for that had the stroke is doing well. It was actually a serious double-stroke and a brain hemorrhage. Medically speaking she should be dead, but instead of getting worse, she's still getting better. Even her left side, which was permanently paralyzed, is getting movement and feeling back. It's pretty sweet, not gonna lie. Plus, she has lots of family that aren't LDS and they're there all the time, so we get to talk to them. We've been doing a lot of tracting this last week. No one has let us in yet, so it's a little discouraging, but we've gotten a few people who have tentatively invited us back. I've been wanting to watch various movies lately. Everything seems to remind me of them. Someone will be talking about their Scottish ancestry (oh....I want to watch Braveheart...) Someone else will be talking about Book of Mormon war tactics (oh....I want to watch the Last Samurai...) I'm doing fine, but missing it. No one is allowed to tell me anything about any good movie that comes out while I'm gone, or TV show...or book. I'll have catching up to do when I get home. We cleaned out the fridge, finally. It's nice to be able to open the fridge without the stench of rot filling the apartment. Now we won't have to worry about that until the next thing in there goes bad. I'm still really enjoying the drive between Modesto and Escalon (the town maybe ten miles north that we cover). It's lined with almond, walnut (and I think peach) trees. Most of the blossoms have fallen and the leaves are growing in their place. I can't wait until spring really settles in here. Everybody has landscaping around their houses (everybody.). I'm sure it'll be really nice (more so then now) when it's all really in bloom. I made a CD of my pictures so far. I'll send it once someone sends me music Cd’s (hopefully) and reuse the bubble wrap envelope...if that's what they send. I really have no choice but to be cheap. Oh, Dad, if you would, could you select some talks by Leon Skowsen that would be missionary appropriate/useful/fun/etc, and put them on a CD’s? I'd appreciate it a lot. Anyway, all family members can write me emails (Mom or Dad can give you my address). All else, please write me. Many of you, I don't have your address still. If you write me, I promise I will write you one back. Anyway, I'm going good out here and keeping very busy. I look forward to hearing from everybody soon.

Aaron's first e-mail (early March)

These e-mails, posted at Aaron's request, are late since he got confused about my e-mail address and sent them to the wrong one for about three weeks. Anyway, here is the second one: (the first one just said "I am here in California and wanted you to know I am here and doing well.")

The days have been going progressively faster, it seems. The first few days in the field went sooo slow and the days went sooo long. Now they fly by without reserve. We had two baptisms Saturday, very busy day. I did the closing prayer at Matthew's (9) and the Holy Ghost talk and a witness at Amanda's (23). Then on Sunday I participated in the confirmations for both of them...pretty sweet. We taught this 82 year old who was excited about it and committed to be baptized on the 4th of April. Then last night we get a call that she's had a major stroke, so we went to see her. She's paralyzed on the left side and there's a large possibility that it'll do it again and it'll get worse, who knows. As of last night though, she had her ability of speech and the use of the right side of her body. She certainly didn't lose any of her wit though. The told us she'd be up and walking around soon and available for her baptism on the 4th. Who knows, miracles have happened before. This week, we're hoping to commit four more people to baptism. It should all work out I think. I'm going golfing this afternoon, believe it or not. A member of the bishopric is taking us to lunch, then out golfing. If we have time to do the 9 holes, I'm hoping to get a good 30 or 40 over par. I'm a realist, what can I say. When we get back to the apartment, we're going to clean out the fridge. There's this potato/beef dinner thing that's been in there, uncovered, since before I moved in a week and a half ago, and if you open the fridge, it fills the apartment with the most horrible reek. So we try to avoid opening it as much as possible, and if I have to, I hold my breath, and go quick and get out of the kitchen. Fun stuff. It'll be nice not to have that in there anymore, we've just been forgetting about it. I had fish the other day, real fish. I have never had it unless it was tuna or if it was in portion or stick form. It was orange...something. Pretty tasty actually, I was surprised. We've done a lot of service the past week; yard work, painting, helping someone move a ton of heavy stuff...good stuff. Oh yeah, we went to the Fresno Temple on Tuesday. That thing is SOOO small, it's incredible. It's right next to the stake center (actually built on the stake center's already bought land). It's smaller than the stake center too...I think...pretty sure. I mean, you walk past the recommend desk, and look to the right, and behind glass doors is the baptismal font. It's all just right there, kinda thing. It's really pretty though. I'm glad I was able to go. We're allowed to go every third transfer I think it is. If you want, you can put my emails on the blog and use those. Mom & Dad, I got your letter a couple days ago, I was glad to get it. I'm still going to try to write real letters, but with the amount of time I have to actually write, I may just have to accept email as the main communication. I bought some cheap CDs at the MTC bookstore to listen to (all the hymns on 14 discs was like $7 and each of the seminary soundtracks were maybe $1.50 each), but I want more songs. So if people have missionary appropriate music they could burn and send me, I'd really appreciate it. Mom, if you could I would like a copy Hims, both discs, and whatever else. Jeanette, I want a CD with that one that talks about "He gave me nothing that I wanted, He gave me everything I need" and the Sharing Time CD. I'd really appreciate it. Having a budget of $135 a month actually isn't hard to live on when you have dinners scheduled most every night. Currently I'm subsisting on our member's (and investigator's) dinners, ramen, oranges, and cookies that everyone seems to think we're in diar need for...and a multi-vitamin every morning. So it all balances out. It still kills me that nearly everyone has fruit trees just growing in their yard, and most of the time, the trees will be filled with oranges or lemons and they just leave them. The blossoms on the almond orchards are still in bloom, but are starting to fall off slowly. The strawberries, I'm told, will be coming out soon. I'm really excited for that. I can't wait to gorge on those. We have cell phones in this mission which is really nice. You can get calls wherever you are. That has to be such a benefit over landlines, especially because we're home so seldom. Yosemite National Park apparently isn't too far from here; I'm hoping we can arrange for members to take us. I'm also hoping next spring I'll be serving in the Fresno area. The church owns a vineyard where the missionaries harvest, sundry, and collect them as raisins for (I think) the bishop's storehouse and to sell for revenue. I think that'd be pretty fun. We went to a bunch of houses yesterday, and twice, in two different families, the people tried to push off their nieces on Elder Whitney (who kind of looks like Matt Damon, who also is leaving after this or next transfer). It was all pretty funny. He was getting so uncomfortable and red in the face. I laughed at him -- a lot. I love the bike I got for the mission. It's a lot of fun to ride, being all brand new and all. It's pretty snazzy. Ok, my time is running out, but I want to say that I'm doing great, I'm working hard, I'm exhausted and hoping for time to take a nap as it's p-day, and pretty happy. So...yeah. I hope everything is going well at home, and I'll be happy to hear from everyone on this coming Monday's email...right? :D Ok, later--

Friday, March 20, 2009

Letter from Aaron

We got a letter from Aaron today. It seems he has been e-mailing me (his mom) regularly since he got to California, but was using the wrong address. Oh, well, at least we have it straightened out now. He is doing well. He says that he is very lucky to have started out in a very productive area. He's keeping very busy. Last year they got 616 baptisms and have set a goal for 1000 this year. "We'll get it," he said. I sent him Dad's and his brother and sisters' e-mail addresses as he said he didn't have them with him. So you should be hearing something from him before too long. As for his friends, you will have to write to him and wait for a letter. He's not allowed to e-mail anyone except family. He would love to get those letters by the way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Word from the Mission Field

We got a letter from Aaron's mission president, letting us know where he was being sent as his first mission area. He is now in Modesto. Alan says that he looked it up and there are 7 wards in that city, so Aaron should be kept busy. The mission president enclosed three pictures. (So VERY nice of him to do that!) One is of Aaron with Pres. and Sister Gonzales, one with his trainer, and one with the new group of missionaries. Alan says, "Aaron is the tall one." That will probably be the first thing that people notice. After they get to know him, they will think about what a great missionary he is though.