Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saga of the Crummy Bike

I only have...well, five minutes left. We got here late and I had to get a 15 minute computer.

I'm doing very well. My bike wheel broke, so I had to order a new one. It hasn't come in yet, but the office assistants will bring it from Fresno with the rest of the packages for missionaries.

It's been a good week. We go to the temple next Tuesday, so that'll be our preparation day. I'm looking forward to it. It's been too long. It's handy also, because the library will be closed on Monday the 5th because of the 4th. I'm staying very busy with everything that is going on. This next week will be a good one, I know. I hope everyone is doing great. I'm sorry again for the briefness.

Aaron

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010

Service Project
New comp -- Elder Nelson with Aaron

I think this is his district

I titled this one "A good armrest".

I love this one of Aaron

It has been really nice the past several days. It hasn't reached the 90s and has had a nice wind (everyone out here hates wind and considers it terrible weather if there is any...I can't quite figure that one out). It's been great!

After getting a letter from Mom on Saturday, Sunday morning I walked into the chapel at the church right before the Asian branch was about to meet. As the branch president was walking by, I reached my hand out and while shaking his hand (he giving me a curt nod as he was passing), I said "I'm Elder Barnard -- Salem, Missouri." I gave him a second while he did an almost cartoonish double-take. "Wait....what did you just say?" "Salem, Missouri." "Wait...what? Really? I'm..." I laughed pretty hard. The branch president for the Asian branch here in Merced, CA is Jeff Wilson, of the Salem Wilsons. Our whole short conversation he had this dumb-struck face as if he couldn't believe it. He told me he's heading to Salem in a week or so. I think that's the first instance where I've seen anyone out here that I have met before.

Audrey Abney gets home this week...that is weird.

We've been knocking door-to-door a lot, recently. Many of our investigators, we've been dropping. We're in the finding mode, now. It's gone ok. It's not an altogether effective way of finding people to listen, but it's a way that forces you to talk to as many people as you can. Our zone conference was good. It's always enjoyable to listen and be uplifted. President Gonzalez gave us all great advice (referring to making his wife happy by doing what she says). "A happy wife is a happy life." It's always really good. I hope all is well with everyone!

Aaron

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Bike Trails

I gave a talk on Sunday. They called and asked if I could do it a couple days before. It was mostly introducing myself and sharing a little something. It went pretty well. We weather is getting up into the 90s regularly. There's still another week of spring left, technically. It'll be hitting 100s soon enough. I think my Minnesota companion is evaporating, slowly. Nothing too interesting happened, this week, to talk about. The work goes on. Merced has a few creeks and canals that run through town. That isn't unusual, but what's nice about it is they have long skinny parks that run along them with bike paths that go under the roads. That's really handy and nice for traveling. I'll be sure to say more next week. I hope everyone is doing well.
Aaron

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Modesto is good!

Merced is an interesting town. It's more like Visalia than Modesto. It only has a population of roughly 80,000, so it's quite a bit smaller than either of the other cities I've been in, yet too large for my taste. Merced, along with the usual abundance of English and Spanish work, has a very large Hmong population. There is a branch here with two sets of elders. My companion, Elder Nelson, it turns out is the same one that Elder Dickson trained a few transfers ago. Merced's streets are weird because, like a lot of cities out here, they formed around the railroad, and the railroad goes in a kind of NW/SE direction. A good chunk of the roads are diagonal, which makes it less easy to ever know which way is north, to find my way. The ward seems really good. I'll be able to tell how everything is better as I go along, but I've met a lot of really nice members. We have evening teamups and dinners most nights. Those things are definitely pluses. The apartment isn't quite as bad as my last one was when I came to it, but it's a close second. It really hasn't ever been cleaned, either. That'll really start, today. No preparation has really been done, either, with the area book and other things. It has made it very difficult to figure out just who all we're teaching and information about everyone. I'm getting it all worked out, though. It'll be organized and comprehensive when I'm done. The apartment's cleaning will also take off, today.

They had made plans before I came here that today we were going to go to Yosemite. The guy who was going to take us, it turns out, wasn't able to do it today. I want to make sure I got this transfer, though. The waterfalls are still running, and I want to see it all. Merced is much closer than Modesto, so we'll have more time and all. It's for the best, anyway. There's a lot I needed to do today and going would have made it very difficult. We have our next temple trip in a month, on July 6th. It'll be a good transfer. I hope everything is well with everyone.

Aaron

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm off to Merced!

The library was closed for Memorial Day, so I'm doing my email today. Well, I'm being transferred to the Merced 3rd Ward. It's weird leaving Modesto. I've been here since mid-October (I don't remember the date.) What's weird about this is that Elder Hansen is also being transferred. He's going back to the ward in Modesto that he served in before he came to the 2nd Ward. I know the elders that are being doubled-in here. It'll be in good hands. Elder Dickson (my third companion) is one of them. It was hard saying some of the goodbyes, here, but it'll be a good thing for the area, I think. It's something like a blood transfusion. It's been a busy few days, with the cleaning and packing and organizing and working and everything else that we're rushing to get ready for transfers. It was really rushed on Saturday because both of us gave our talks (very fitting, since it was our last Sunday there). It was a lot of stuff to fit in at the last moments. The talks went really well. I think both of us did a good job on them. The bishop got really choked up when he was announcing that we were both leaving them, at the pulpit. That was really nice. He's been a good bishop to be in his ward.

Victoria, the sister that I mentioned last week, that was getting baptized in the young single adult branch, was baptized on Sunday. On Saturday night at about 8:55, those elders called and asked if I would give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Then we were also asked to give the missionary presentation while they were changing. It has been crazy-busy.

I ate an elk burger at Fuddruckers, yesterday afternoon. It was great! I had that, since they were out of the ostrich. I really want to try ostrich, but I guess I'll have to wait a little longer. We went to Ross, as well. I got a new pack of black socks (never-ending process--replacing socks) and I finally found a great pair of shoes. They had one pair of good black shoes that were in my size, and only $25. I was pretty excited for that. I hadn't been able to find anything anywhere.

It was a normal preparation day for Memorial Day. We ate at the Chappell's house for dinner and they had a picnic theme going. I'm actually going to miss quite a few people and families in this ward. I've been here for three transfers, so it's been awhile, but there are also a few really good families. I haven't felt that way about all of my areas. It's been pretty scattered. The baptism should still be happening on Saturday for the three kids. Elder Hansen will be able to go and baptize them, since he'll be so close. We helped the one family by working on their roof, again, Saturday. It had rained a couple of days this past week, which made them sweat a bit because they were having to cover their roof with tarps, but they made it through. It was while we were on top of the roof that we got the call from President Gonzalez, telling us what was going to happen with transfers. It's been an exciting few days. Everything is planned for, for the most part. We'll see how well the execution of everything works out. Have a great week, everyone.

Aaron