Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Modesto

Well, to start, Christmas was great. During the day, most of what we did was watch movies. Mr Kruger's Christmas, Joy to the World, and of course, Mulan. We chose Mulan because once we thought about it in consideration, we couldn't get the songs out of our heads. It surprises me that it's rated G with some of the stuff in there, with the violence and stuff, when other movies that are harmless are PG. I don't trust the rating system at all. Critics and the rating people make no sense. By the way, the songs are still going through our heads. Good times. I kept getting giddy when the movie was starting because I didn't have to turn away from the TV. It really doesn't take much, does it? Christmas dinner was really good too. It cracked me up that Pakamer put in her two cents on the phone call by rubbing her head against it. That is, at least, my take on it. Dustan was able to call home for two hours, I hear. That's so crazy. My mission was very adament -- 40 Minutes. Every mission is different.

This next week is New Years. That's really weird to me because the decade is almost over. On New Years Eve we go into our apartment at 6:00. It's weird, but as a missionary I'm glad that the Christmas season is getting over. By that, I mean that now people may be less busy where they can actually let us visit them. The work has been really slow the past few weeks because people have been so preoccupied with Christmas that they don't have time for to think about Jesus. It's a little backwards, but that seems to be the way of it. It's almost 2010. How weird is that? I'm getting to be an old man. In this next year, I'll reach the point where I'm a quarter century old. However weird that may be to me, I'm sure it's even weirder to you, Mom and Dad.

I met a guy last night that said he had been to Salem, MO before. He works for some cannery that works with US Foods. It's very seldom that I've met people that know where home is. Elder Daniels, on the other hand...he's from St. George, UT, where there are two YSA -stakes-, alone. Everyone he runs into know people he knows or have relatives that live there or whatnot. It's pretty weird, because I've yet to meet anyone, my entire mission, who has known anyone that I know.

Today we're going to have our zone activity. I don't know what it's going to be, but it'll likely be something like volleyball or kickball. We'll see. Zone conferences are going to be different starting the first of the year. They're moving them from every six weeks to every month. They're also making them smaller. They used to have three. One for the north zones, one for all the Fresno ones, and one for the south. Now they're making it to where there are only going to be two zones per conference. They're wanting to make them more often and smaller groups, but I think they may kill themselves with how often they're going to be. We'll see. Speaking of, we had our special Christmas zone conference this past Tuesday. It was mostly normal, except Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, and they showed a slide show DVD of pictures missionaries sent in. I, I regret now, didn't send any in. I send all my pictures home though, so I'm not worried about it. It was a lot of fun. So everyone, I hope you had a good Christmas, have a good New Years, and a good week.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Aaron is calling on Christmas.

This week is Christmas...weird. It doesn't really feel like it. I'll be having Christmas at a family's home. I'll write another email with the specific information for the call. At Christmas, we get to watch one rated G movie. (It doesn't take much to excite a missionary.) I know nothing about it, but I guess it's supposed to be good; the movie 'Up'. It should be good. We're eating dinner there, getting our call from home, and watching our movie at their house. We also have a late breakfast planned at another family's home. We are getting our packages tomorrow, on the 22nd. I guess they have a special Christmas zone conference in addition to next week's regular zone conference. We'll get packages then. It's disappointing I won't get the CDs until tomorrow, but so be it.
I ate a king crab leg last week. I really do prefer processed foods versus raw substance, but it was a fun experience. Tomorrow we'll be going to Fuddruckers and I hear they have ostrich burgers. I'm really looking forward to that, for sure. Elder Daniels is great. He stays on task and is a hard worker. He's kind of a neat-freak, but that's ok because many of my cleaning ethics have slacked and it was pretty bad. He only has two transfers left. If we're together for another transfer after this, he'll be the fourth companion I send home. Elder Jackson is home, now, which is kind of a weird thought.
As lame as I know it is, as we have no Christmas tree in our apartment, I think Christmas Eve night, I'll put any gifts at the foot of my bed like in Harry Potter. That's going to be pretty awesome.
You might think that the work would be really good around Christmas because everyone would be all excited. Unfortunately, it's kind of the opposite. "...maybe after the holidays settle down." It's been good, though. We've been working a lot more closely with the members this past week. Someone gave us a twelve days of Christmas gift bag thing that has 12 packages in it. Thus far it has been mostly chocolates and various sweets. I guess more insulation can't hurt. It is winter-time.
Hey, it's about to start getting lighter, earlier. I'm looking forward to that. It's nice when it's still light when I go back inside instead of it being 4:30 and getting dark. I don't know how well I would have favored if I were in northern Canada or Alaska and it was the 6 month/6 month thing. I hope everyone has a really great Christmas!!


Aaron also writes that he will be talking to us on Christmas from a member's house. He gives us the phone number and asks that we call there at a certain time. That way the call doesn't cost him anything nor does it cost the California family. We have unlimited long distance, so it's ok from this end too. He can talk for 45 minutes only, so be thinking what you want to say so there is time for all of us to talk.
See most of you soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Staying in Modesto

Well, we got our transfer calls last night. Elder Jackson, naturally, is going home this week. I'm staying here in Modesto 8th and my new companion is going to be Elder Daniels. Elder Daniels is currently one of our zone leaders. It'll be interesting, but it'll be fun. A lot of people in the zone are being moved out. There are three elders here that have been here for nine months and they're all going.

This past week we took a guy that we had met on the street a few weeks ago and helped him fix his bike, on a church tour. We committed him to baptism for January. Unfortunately, he didn't show up for church. It's amazing how fast the Spirit can act on people though, during the church tours. It's something that's slowly spreading across the mission. I'm sure it'll be a program that will spread elsewhere as well. It isn't going too far too fast because they don't want to stretch it too thin.

We were invited to a member's home last night for pie, hot chocolate, and a lesson. I'm pretty sure they were actually just trying to advertise their two daughters that just returned home from college for Christmas, to Elder Jackson. It makes me laugh. It really does.

I'm not really sure what time I'll be calling on Christmas. I guess it'll have to be sometime in the evening. We'll see.

Yesterday and today are and are going to be extremely busy. Not only do I have to clean the apartment very well, and Elder Jackson will have to finish packing and getting all that done...all the members seemingly want to spend time with Elder Jackson before he goes home. We have five appointments today...on a preparation day. Four of those are in the evening and one is a lunch that a member insisted on taking us on. It's going to be crammed, and I'd better get to it. I hope everyone is doing great!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awesome week!!!

Ok, I have to make it very, very quick. I had to use an express computer (15 minutes) because all the computers are full, as our ride was late in picking us up. This week has been truly amazing, and it takes a lot for me to say something like that. On Tuesday, Destiny got baptized. That will have been the first baptism in like nine months that I was able to teach, and see baptized while I was still in the area. It was really good. Both parents got emotional and it was good.

We started teaching a couple of really good part-member/less-active families (my favorite kind) that are both interested in learning. We set a baptism date with one of them for the middle of January on the first lesson (a church tour). They came to church on Sunday, which is a sign that they will actually go through with it.

On Saturday, it was truly amazing. I don't have time right now to tell the whole story, but suffice it to say that I was surprised to find out that the baptism that we were asked to help at was for Jeanne Fisher, the 82 yr old lady that had the stroke at the first part of my mission. It was incredible. I got really, really close to her and all her family while I was in Modesto last time. Now I got to be there and participate in the program. I was more thrilled than I could imagine.

Transfer calls come this Saturday. President Gonzalez asked Elder Jackson in an interview if I was ready to take over the area, so I'm sure I'm staying. He's still going home next week, and trying not to get too trunky. Some pretty good stuff is happening. I hope everyone is doing well and keeping sane and merry in this time of year. Later--


Friday, December 4, 2009

November 30,2009

I'm so excited. Destiny is getting baptized tomorrow. It's been so long. Everyone has waited until I left, thus far. It's going to be really good. I haven't bought any of those clothes I was going to, yet. I should be doing that right after I leave here. I feel like such a wuss here. I doubt it's gotten below 50 here and I'm freezing. I got too acclimated to the summer I think. Elder Jackson is fine. It'll be really cold and he'll go outside in just the short sleeves and no jacket and love it. It's probably for the best. He goes home in just over two weeks to Illinois, so it'll likely be much colder.

Thanksgiving was good. We spent dinner at a member's home with their family. It was weirder that it was a bigger family dinner and we weren't part of the family, but it was fun. Thanksgiving, to me, has always been the kickoff for the Christmas season, as I may have said before. We found another part-member/less-active family this week that are excited to take the lessons and to get involved in the church. It was great, and I'm excited to start really teaching them.

I'll hit my 10 month mark this week. I'll be into the double digits. I feel like I'm a little kid saying I'm nine and three quarters months old. As I was thinking of writing that, the whole Harry Potter - Platform 9 3/4 came to mind. I had to laugh. What they say is right though. After the initial six months in the mission, the rest seem to fly by. The days are sometimes long, but the weeks are short. I still find it hard to believe that it's the last day in November, as just last week I was saying how I can't believe it's the last day in October, etc, back to like July or something.

My ankle and wrist are doing fine. My ankle is still swollen and a little tender, but has full range of motion and is doing fine. That's about it. I hope all are doing well.