Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Ward in Modesto

January 26, 2010

I'll be staying in Modesto. I'm not staying in the same ward, however. I'll be moving to the 2nd Ward. This'll be the third Modesto ward I've served in. My new companion's name is Elder Hansen. He's been there a transfer and is the district leader there. I really don't know him too well, except that he's quiet and fairly easy-going. Elder Daniels (my current companion) will be training for his last transfer, so I don't know who his companion will be. My new area's boundaries are really bizarre. 8th ward is tiny and is pretty much a small box of the map. 2nd ward is this really weird snake-looking thing. I'm not sure why they split it all up that way. It's pretty random-looking.

Today is going to be hectic. They've been adding/enforcing a lot of rules about preparation day which makes us have less time than before. I'm getting my hair cut, have to pack, and do all the regular preparation day activities. I'll most definitely not have time for a nap this day. I haven't really had one recently, so I'm not too surprised.

I got very wet this week. The valley doesn't get much rain. When it comes, though, it surely does. It was never a hard rain, but it was in great abundance. The streets flood because the ground can't soak it in and it's all pretty wet, biking in it. There was one point where I was on an exchange in 3rd ward and we had to come in after two or three hours because we were completely soaked through and cold. We threw our stuff into their dryer (they live in a member's home) and accidentally fell asleep. It was very comfortable, I admit.

Something occurred to me on Sunday. Most people that are giving a talk will talk more about them preparing to give the talk and/or apologizing, than actually giving the talk itself. There was one person who spent about five or ten minutes on that part alone.

I'm still excited about the missionaries coming to stay at the house. That's pretty wild. I'd better get on with the day. I hope you're all doing well!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Aaron at one of his baptisms

As yesterday was MLK Day, the libraries were closed. Unfortunately, most of the day was spent playing dodge ball rather than writing letters. Transfer calls are this Saturday, so who knows what will happen, like always. I'm guessing I'll be moved out, somewhere. On the other hand, if I stayed, I'd send home my fourth companion, and that would be kind of cool. I'm not looking to stay, however. Moving on is always very nice.

We had ward conference on Sunday. The stake presidency is really good. The whole thing was pretty missionary-minded, as well as home/visiting teaching.

It's been raining the past few days. It's stopped a few times, but for the most part it's been a constant thing. The weirdest thing about out here--It's been sprinkling, and to everyone, it's a bad rain storm that's happening. Not only that, but the streets flood. The rain sewer system is apparently very low capacity.

This week we took a part-member family on a church tour. It was just about the funniest thing in a long time. They are a Vietnamese family. The mother and the son are active, and the husband is not a member. A little background-- The non-member, the husband, speaks English with a poor accent, and speaks very, very fast. He's very intelligent and likes to talk a lot. The wife speaks pretty much no English. The 10 yr old son is autistic and is one of the funniest kids ever. He's always talking about Thomas the tank engine, or Japanese Talking Thomas (I'm not sure what that is, but I guess it's an offshoot or something). During the church tour, we're at the baptismal font talking about Jesus Christ's baptism. The husband is talking extremely fast about all his views on religion and his upbringing in a French monetary in Vietnam while the son is running around trying to tickle us and the wife is motioning us to stand closer together while she snaps picture after picture with her camera phone. It was ridiculously funny.

We watched The Testaments at an investigator's house. He loved it and kept saying so, but I think I enjoyed it just as much. Movies are always much better when they're on a giant television, which pretty much everyone seems to have out here. The giant LCD screens seem to be the norm out here. I'm not sure if that's the new thing, or if it's a California thing, or just a lot of people not having the proper priorities when it comes to spending their money. It's probably the latter, but giant TVs are great. The movie is really great as well. I just can't wait until they come out with Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration on DVD. I look forward to that time--any word on when that's supposed to happen? I'm pretty much out of the loop. It's the weirdest thing, even after a year of it, when things happen on the news and I hear about it days later when people make off-handed comments about it. A terrorist sets off his underwear bomb, earthquakes, political turmoil, etc. I'm glad to have a break from it in a way, to be honest. What's the weather like back home? Cold, rainy, snowy?

I think it's awesome that missionaries are going to living there at home. Do you have any idea how long? Did they give you the impression it was for a few weeks or more like six months? I've yet to live in a member's home, but there are definite advantages to it, especially financially. It makes missionaries have to be on their best behavior as well.

I was on an exchange this week and the elder played his Saturday's Warrior soundtrack...wow. That took me back and now...now I've been playing the movie in my head and can't get it out. It's pretty bizarre.

Hoping all is well,


Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010

Before you read this, let me tell you that Aaron is alright. He's not sick or injured; the doctor was just checking up on something. So now you can read this without freaking out.

I left the mission. Now, before anyone freaks out, I was allowed to. President Gonzalez set up a doctor's appointment for me in Stockton, which is about 30-40 minutes outside of our mission boundaries. Elder Daniels and I were the first missionaries, apparently, to leave the mission boundaries in about a year. Missionaries used to be allowed to go to the Oakland Temple if someone they taught was going there to get their endowment or get sealed. It was a fun trip with lots of pictures of signs to show our apostateness.

We had a few people flag us down this week, which is out of the norm. We'll be seeing how much fruit comes from that in this following week. The less-active man who came to church last Sunday and brought his friend--we took them on a church tour on Thursday and committed him to baptism. I love how they can work like that. Granted he didn't come to church Sunday, but we'll be seeing about that.

We had a zone conference on Tuesday. It's weird that they're monthly, but it's really good that they're so often and smaller groups. It allows for a lot more interaction. It's starting to get pretty foggy, but apparently the fog hasn't really started, so I'll get to see what blanketed fog really is soon enough. I'm out of time as I'm on an express internet computer. I hope everyone is doing great!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wow, it's exciting to hear that Salem's getting missionaries! With Salem, it's really the whole apostasy/dispensation cycle, isn't it? There are times when there are no missionaries present, then God decides that it's time to give us another shot. It cracks me up to think about it in that light. They'll be staying at the house too. That's pretty darn cool. I don't know how the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission works, but they need to focus on the less-active and part-member families. There are plenty of those to go around in that branch. Is Bro. Jacobs still the branch mission leader, or who is it now? They have been doing a lot of cost cutting in my mission the past while. They're always searching for members whose homes would suit the purposes of housing missionaries. Housing is expensive, and the less tithing-dollars that are spent on things that aren't needful, the better. I have only lived in apartments so far, but they're always looking for suitable housing that would be more cost-effective. They cut miles on cars, limit us on the thermostat...I approve of all of it, though. I love the idea of cutting unnecessary costs. Anyway, that's going to be exciting. I hope there are still missionaries in Salem by the time I get there and apostasy hasn't set in again.

This week was pretty good. We have a few really promising investigators that show real potential. Unfortunately, they're about all the investigators we have...but still. They're pretty good. As I predicted, things are starting to pick back up with the end of all the holidays. We'll be having another zone conference tomorrow, now that they're doing them monthly.
We also got the baptism numbers for last year. We had the goal of 1000 for the year. We came up short, with 937. No one is looking poorly on that, though, as the past two years yielded 588 and 519 each. This new goal for the new year is 1200. I'm especially excited for that because that was my guess as to what it was going to be. The mission and the stakes are working closer together this year. 1200 is all the stake's baptism goals added together and it worked nicely. The church tour program is going mission-wide as well. It'll be in full-swing in a couple of months, but everyone has the ok to begin. That'll really help the work in the mission.

I'm also kind of excited for the new year because it'll be my first full year in the mission. It's my 11 month mark, today. Needless to say, in another month I'll be a year out. That's so weird. I'm not sure, yet, if it's gone by really fast or really slow. It's been kind of both, so I won't worry about it too much.

Thank you to everyone who sent me letters and/or cards and/or a package recently. I've set aside today to cutting my hair, cleaning the apartment really quick, then catching up on my correspondence. I keep saying I will and I haven't, but I really, really will. It'll be my focus today. I really have no excuse, yet, today.

There are a few members in the stake that are dentists and we're going to try to get a cleaning in the next few weeks. That'd be nice. Typically members like doing stuff like that for free for missionaries, so I'm thinking I'm going to need to milk that while I can. I went to bed at maybe 9:00 on New Years Eve. That was so great, let me tell you. It feels right to me that it's 2010. I thought it would be really weird that the decade is over, but it feels and looks right. Hmm...
Things are going really well here. You're all in my prayers.
Happy New Year,