Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

Well, I'll start out by saying that I'm getting transferred. I've been in the Modesto 5th Ward for 4 1/2 months, but am now moving to the Visalia 2nd Ward. I leave Wednesday. I keep hearing "It's so nice down there!" Then I'll hear twice as many people saying "It's about 10 degrees hotter down there." It got up into the 110+ degrees yesterday when they were telling me that, so...we'll see. Yeah, it's been up in the 100s lately. That's not too unusual here in the valley, I guess. It had been pretty mild so far, which is unusual for the area, with weather only in the 80s or so. But yeah, apparently I got attached to the ward here, more than I had thought. They had me bear my testimony at the end of sacrament meeting. It went fine. I blubbered though.

This morning was great! Our bishop took us to his office and to a sporting goods store. He is a big game hunter, who has been doing it for 15 years. His office is so stuffed with exotic animals/animal heads that he has to lend them out to various stores to put them on display. I'll be sending another picture CD soon. I took a lot of pictures. I swear, that man has any animal that is in existence...including those that no one knew existed...weird looking stuff, some of it. He gave each of us a strip of elephant skin as well...pretty sweet.

This last week had been really good. We redoubled our efforts and were able to teach twice as many lessons this week as last. We were also able to find a few new people to teach. We had been finding it hard to find anyone new or to catch anyone at home to teach, so our gusto had been lacking. Oh yeah, my new companion's name will be Elder Dixon, and it's an all-biking area. Elder Jorgensen's new companion will be Elder Taylor that was in my MTC district. Apparently they are just switching us because he's currently in the Visalia 2nd Ward. I'm bummed about leaving this area because I know everyone in the ward very well, and I know the area very well and I've been getting well entrenched in my little comfort zone. Also, there are a few baptisms, and maybe more, that will happen here this next transfer that I really wanted to be here for. The three that are set were supposed to happen this transfer, but all got pushed back for one reason or another. However it'll be great to be moving on and experiencing new things and meeting new people. I've gotten to the point here where I wasn't sure what else I could accomplish in this area. It'll be good. It's nice that it's a desert here, because it isn't raining on us most of the year. It gets kinda hot though. But there's relatively no humidity, so it wouldn't be like Illinois or Missouri. Today will be busy packing, along with everything else. I think I'll take off to spend the rest of my time while I'm waiting for others to get done, writing real letters. I'm not a fast writer (I prefer typing), so I don't get too many letters written, so sorry about that to anyone who hasn't been written for awhile. I hope you're all doing really well.
Love,
Aaron

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Missionary Field is Closed?


This is a picture that Aaron had taken at the MTC in Feb. I'm sure this has been done many times, but it's still funny and I thought you might enjoy it.


--MomAdd Image

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transfers are coming up

You can't be serious all the time!
Escalon is a small town a little bit north of Modesto (part of his area)


I think this was taken at a zone conference
There are several tall elders, huh?

No real furniture in his apartment -- just what is necessary for the work to be done.

June 22, 2009

Hello again, how is everything? Things are pretty much the usual here. I'm coming up on being here for 4.5 months in this area. We get the call on Saturday that says who, if either of us, gets transferred in 9 days. Time is going so fast. I hope I get transferred and I don't. We have three baptisms set for next transfer (all three of which I thought would happen this transfer), but at the same time... We did have a couple baptisms coming up this Saturday, but they're moved back again. It'll be ok though, they'll make it. It'd be good to stay as I know the entire area very well and most every member of the ward, whether active or not, very well. It would also be nice to go and get moved around a lot because that would give variety and a little less mundaneness to everything. I'm not sure what else I can do in this area. It's been really good though. When investigators come to church, it's always exciting...but when a less active individual that we've been working with and invite to come back starts becoming active again, it's so great! We have several individuals and families that we've been working with that have started coming back to church that haven't been in years. There's one in particular that came yesterday with his daughter. It was really great! About a week ago, we were at a family's home and they had a baby that was only maybe 5 days old. It was a boy, it was about ten days late...it was kind of weird. It was almost an identical situation as Drew it seemed. The stake here had a youth conference last week ago. Apparently that's a new concept out here. They kept referring to it as a mini-EFY. I guess it went really well and everyone that went loved it. The weather hasn't gotten too bad here yet. The highest it's gotten was 106, back in April. Apparently the weather has been extremely mild this summer so far. It's only been in the 80s-90s where it's usually in the 100s. They tell me that the valley is a dessert. They have irrigation canals all over and everyone has sprinkler systems because it just doesn't rain past March. They don't meter the water here either which I found strange. They don't have water towers either. They have pump stations scattered throughout town. We went to the Fresno temple on Tuesday, which is always really cool. I drove and we took another companionship with us. It's interesting for me to fit into our Corolla (which is pretty brand new, less than 5000 miles on it) when I have the seat all the way back. I fit, but I have to do a little maneuver to get my legs under the steering wheel. When I have to move my seat forward to accommodate other passengers into the back seat, driving a couple hours each way is....fun. Yeah, my legs got really cramped, but I'm ok. The car is really neat though. The antenna is a little bump near the back of the car. The most interesting thing about it, in my opinion, is that the headlights are automatic. They come on or go off depending on the lighting situations, so I don't have to worry about it at all. I'll be driving home at night and they'll just click on. It's great. Oh yeah, I got the package you sent, Mom, thanks for that! I admit I was disappointed it wasn’t really a grain mill, but I guess it's for the best. We don't have a Kitchen-Aid anyway. Oh well. I've been reading the New Testament lately along with Doctrine and Covenants. Good stuff. It's nice to have a greater understanding of things. That happens when one actually reads them. There used to be a church bookstore in the shopping complex about a block from our apartment. It's a shame it went out of business. On the other hand, with a missionary's allotment, it's all for the best perhaps. I think I mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again. This ward is a melting pot of financial levels. We have everyone from neurosurgeons to those on welfare, and everyone in between. It's interesting finding out what everyone does and (as an afterthought to gospel stuff) trying to figure out what I want to do and what I would need to do it. I was talking to one of the neurosurgeons here in the ward and he said he had to go to 14 years of schooling for it. Not that I was ever considering anything like that, but yikes! A mission certainly gives you a view of the rest of the world (and how much I like my own little world :)). Down the street from our apartment lives a Hindi family from Fiji that we talk to occasionally. Instead of a lawn, they have bean plants growing in their front lawn. It's peculiar, but in a weird way, bean plants do more for you than a grass lawn will. I'm out of time, but it's great hearing from everybody both with emails and letters. I'll try to write a few letters today. We have to do a ton of stuff today, but I'll try to rush and get a few out. Bye for now!
Love,
Aaron



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 15, 2009

I'll be sending my box off this afternoon. It's pretty light, but I'll have to use the debit card for it. It has a picture CD in it, I hope it works. I got the letters from Mom and Jeanette this week with the pictures in it. That kid is pretty darn cute. I imagine once he becomes human color and all the wrinkles are ironed out, he'll be even cuter. I kid, of course.

It's strange, when I first came out, everything was new and exciting, so I had lots to write about. Now everything is day to day and I have to keep trying to think of what is going on that I can write about. Well, transfers happen in just over two weeks from now, so we'll see. Our temple trip has been rescheduled for tomorrow instead of Thursday. Apparently they had double-booked. Ok, I really can't think of anything else to say. I hope everyone is doing really well.
Aaron

June 8, 2009

Yeah, I got the message from the mission about Drew! It totally made my day. It takes like a week between the time when a letter is sent and the time I get it, I think. It has to come to the mission office, then get forwarded onto me. This week's been full of mostly good news, let me tell you. I get the message saying that Drew was born. Later I find out that we are going to the Fresno temple on the 18th (it says in our resource binder that it's once every three transfers, but it apparently is every other transfer), I find out about Dustan's mission call today (really awesome!!). Good times, good times. I found myself this week (several times, weirdly enough) wanting to watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure. So was Drew born with a mischievous 'Clifford' smile, big lips, horns, an Indiana Jones hat on...any of that? Make sure that Dustan knows that he shouldn't bring his Pokemon on his mission--or is he still saving those for his honeymoon? HAA HAA. I'm so excited; I think our missions are even near each other, if not butting. We were doing our weekly planning on Friday, and then our stake correlation. It all took several hours of sitting at the desk. I may rationalize it to be because I was in an uncomfortable chair on a plastic desk with no computer and I wasn't about to lay down or lounge, but I found something to be very disconcerting. I found myself being very antsy and restless. I wanted to get moving and go out and work, to be doing something more than sitting around. I have this fear. I fear that when I get home eventually, I'll have to retrain myself to be able to sit in front of the computer of television for hours on end. It will be difficult, but where there's a will, there's a way. Like I said before, it says in our resource binder that it's every 4.5 months that we get to go to the temple, but apparently it's wrong and we can go on the 18th. I'm excited about that for sure. It still kills me how small it is. The changing rooms are itty-bitty, so sticking a few zones into them was interesting last time, and will be again. Alright, I'm reenergized for the week. I'd better get on with it.
Love,
Elder Barnard the 2nd
(Michael was the first and Dustan will be the 3rd...elder, anyway)

Monday, June 8, 2009

No baby as of yet, and you plan to induce on the day I get to check my email...so I'll find out in 7 days!! I know the plan. My nephew is building the suspense. Tricky little guy.

It turns out that attachments don't work with the library's emails. All pictures will have to be sent snail mail.

Elder Jorgensen got a letter this week from a friend of his that is serving in the Missouri St. Louis Mission and is currently in the Frontnac ward. It's really a small world in the church. Two elders in my district are having to leave their apartment in a member's home today, so they'll be staying with us for "a day or two" before the mission can find another place for them to live. Our apartment is just big enough for two people, so this is going to be interesting to have house guests, especially since we'll be sharing the same schedule, pretty much. So this is going to be interesting.

Thank you so much for sending that package, by the way! The day I got it was the day I picked up our bikes from the shop, and I used the tool right away. I really, really appreciate it. Plus, it's really nice having more than two choices of clothes to sleep in. I'm going to buy some Peter Pan peanut butter today at Walmart. I've had a few different brands out here so far, but it's just not the same. Maybe I'll get some good potato bread while I'm at it.... It's the first of the month so I have money again, but I think I'll probably go over my budget for this week. We'll see. It all works out. I'm hoping to send my box home today, so it should arrive sometime this week. Anyway, I hope you are all doing well, and I'll write more next week.
~Aaron