Monday, August 30, 2010

We are SOOOOO busy now!

The ward in Visalia is the 2nd Ward. It was my second area. Bishop Henrickson was the bishop at that time. I may or may not have known anyone with the last name of Sannar. I'll have to look through the stake directory I have and see if it rings any bells. I found out about it yesterday at dinner. It's bizarre. It seems so random, too.

Transfers happened on Wednesday. Elder Nelson is now in the Fresno North Stake and I'm here in Merced, still, with Elder Goodsell. He's from Peoria, AZ, near Phoenix. He's 19, and it's his third transfer. He's 6'3", so he's my second tall companion. There were a couple of really cool coincidences that happened. He has the same pillowcase, for instance. It's the one with Mario on one side and Zelda on the other. His looks newer, but it's the same one. Then I find out that Sister Willardson, a sister from my MTC district, served in his home ward. His mom is a ward missionary and she and her companion were over all the time. Elder Goodsell is just about as opposite as it is possible of Elder Nelson. Where Elder Nelson is quiet, meek, and doesn't speak up too much, Elder Goodsell is loud, boisterous, and is self-proclaimed immature. It's taken getting used to, the big switch, but it's working out. We get along really well and we'll both learn a lot this transfer.

We're going to need to make a push to get to Yosemite this transfer. We really are. Even though it's only his third transfer, my companion has already been. We're much closer here than in Modesto. I'm going to try to get the zone leaders to organize a trip as a zone activity. That would be a good excuse. Next transfer will be our next temple trip. That'll come before I know it.

We had an amazing speaker on Sunday. He is the farm manager for the local raisin farm in Madera. His whole talk was talking about how back in the 30s or something, the prophet decided they needed to invest tithing funds instead of letting it sit in the bank and crash when the market does. I had no idea that the church had so much property, farmed so much, and was so huge financially. They have farms and things that are welfare farms (like the raisin farm, here), but they also have tons of investments and money-making things. They use it all to grow and help others, exponentially. He told several stories about how the church stepped up and donated so much of certain resources at different times. There was one story where there was a country under civil war and genocide and they needed a monstrous amount of powdered milk immediately, to feed 1.6 million (or around that number) refugees and no one could do it sooner than 60 days. The church got it all together and had it donated there in three days time (including travel); all because a year earlier the prophet had told them they needed to build a new powdered milk plant of monstrous capacity. They made that “starving-person slurry stuff” that starving people have to eat. He wrapped it all up with how there is definitely a prophet of God on the earth today. All of his story and the entire talk had me wide awake and it was pretty amazing. I can't believe General Conference is coming up so soon. It happens at the end of this transfer.

This Saturday, we are going to the grape vineyard to do the harvest. Last year, the crop was pathetic. They had a bad frost early in the year and a whole summer of scorching days that killed a lot of it. This year is supposed to be the biggest crop they have ever had. It'll be a lot of fun being out there, again. I'm hoping to get to go again in another couple of weeks to roll the grapes after they have laid out a couple of weeks.

With the new set of Preach My Gospel DVDs and the new missionary program, there will be specialized leadership training. Two days this week and two next week will be taken up for the training. It's for trainers, zone leaders, district leaders, and also (we just found out this morning) it will include the companions of district leaders. With the grapes, church, district meetings, weekly plannings, preparation days, etc, this means there are two solid weeks where we are in practically half-days. There aren't any days for two weeks where we are out proselying the entire day. It'll be interesting. I'm looking forward to going, though. I definitely have a lot of room to grow.

In closing, I finally saw Backwards Man walking backwards. In Merced are the Merced Superheros. There are only a few. Out of all the homeless here in town, some of them have interesting characteristics to them. Zombie Man pushes an empty shopping cart and doesn't bend his knees or elbows as he walks. Beaver Man (who I heard has died some time ago) walked year-round bare chested and looked like he had a fur coat on. Backwards Man walks pretty much everywhere backwards, without looking behind him. I had only seen him walking forwards until a couple days ago. I was pretty excited about that. I'm not going to lie.

Anyway, we have a very full week ahead of us. It's going to be interesting, trying to get as much work done in the little amount of time that we have. It'll be good, though.

Aaron

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