September 1, 2009
It's amazing to think that something like that rattlesnake is around where you live. Judging by its belly, it had already eaten. You don't hear of it too often, but they're in the Ozarks along with mountain lions. I think it's best if they just stay where you can't see them. The only wild animals I've seen here are birds and these squirrels that live underground. I'm not sure if they're actually groundhogs or not, but they have big fluffy tails. Apart from that, only the time we went to the Sequoias have I been outside of cities, so there isn't too much going on, as far as wildlife. There are millions of big rats here that they call Chihuahuas. They're all over California and need to be stamped out. Actually I've come across some that I have loved. Most of the time they're a six inch dog acting like they're 6 feet.
We set a couple more baptism dates with investigators that had them in the past. They should start happening sometime in the middle to the end of September. We currently have four dates, and two or three more that can be set, and we probably will this week. I can't believe it's September already. Unfortunately, even though I like to think of it as being autumn now, California weather would beg to differ. I think it's supposed to be cooling down sometime soon. It should start being much cooler in maybe a few weeks, maybe a couple months. I've gotten used to it, pretty much, but it'll be great when I'm not in a constant sweat and used to it.
We went mini-golfing yesterday. I came in second to last, but got a hole in one, so I'm happy. Zone Conference was this past week and it was really good. We've had a mission goal since the beginning of the year for 1000 baptisms. The past several years, I think they've gotten around 400-600 a year. We're currently at a little over 500, but are a couple of months behind. August had more baptisms, though, than we've had in...I don't remember...several years anyway. They're really pushing for it now and have gotten the whole mission more unified in it. I found out that a few of my investigators I taught in Modesto have been baptized. That's always really exciting for sure. There was an area seventy and his wife that came to speak as well. It was really peculiar and fun. His wife talked for about an hour and a half about the tribes of Israel and a whole lot of pretty deep doctrine (she kept referencing to Mormon Doctrine, so I wasn't sure about some of it). It was enjoyable, but very much a change of pace.
I love that Dustan is in the MTC. It's weird how slow time went in the beginning of my mission, especially the MTC and my first transfer, compared to how it's moving now. Before a day was a week. Now a week is a day. I imagine what everyone says, that it just goes faster and faster is true. It's like a graded slope. I picked up my picture CD and will be mailing it today. Packages sent to me are given to the zone leaders who bring them to us at district meeting, zone meeting, zone conference, etc. It's a fairly effective system, really. I hope everyone is doing great, and I'll write again later.