Monday, September 27, 2010

The work is going well.

It's been a really good week. My exchanges are over, which is something to be very thankful for. I had a couple this week. They didn't go badly or anything, but it's always nice to have them over and out of the way. The ward is doing amazing in their work. Missionary work has really been on the back burner, lately, but they're turning up the heat a little.

We got a new assistant ward mission leader the other week and he's gone to town, rallying the troops. It's nice. We had our first Missionary Coordination Meeting that I have had in this area. They're doing all new things to get the ward active in the work. We've been having some success ourselves, as well. We still don't have anyone with a baptism date right now, but we have a few that I feel are a matter of a short amount of time. I think with a renewed ward effort to do their part, that'll quickly change around.

I had an intense dream the other night. It's too complicated and personal to put on here, but it was really intense. It was a dream within my other dreams. I was scared that I would wake up and forget it in every other dream I had that night (That included when Elder Hansen and I were a pizza delivery team.) When I woke up, I prayed fervently and went and wrote it down. Thankfully I was able to get it all down and still haven't really forgotten it. It was a good experience, I think.

I made a package to send home today. It's nothing too exciting. There's a picture CD and letter, letters that I've accumulated, and the ton of coins I got from that really nice lady. There are one or two other knick-knacks in there, but that's the bulk of it. I'm just thankful for flat-rate boxes. I'll be finding out on Saturday about what transfers will hold in store for me. More and more quickly these transfers happen, it seems. They don't, but it seems as such. Here's hoping everyone has a great week!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interesting . . .

All I know is, the first email I open was pictures of a newborn baby in the arms of my parents and siblings, sent by Karen, with no explanation. Then, when I read the email from Mom, it all came together. I was trying to figure out just who this baby belonged to. That's awesome that something came through with the foster parent thing. I guess those kind of things happens without a whole lot of notice beforehand; possibly any.

We had a really good week. Most of our key indicators have shot up, recently. The only real thing we've done differently is try to set up as many appointments with everyone that we can. There is a sister in the ward that has siblings that aren't members of the church and wanted to learn more, so we're teaching them at her house. We have only been able to teach them once, but we have another appointment tonight.

I will be making another picture CD today. I don't have my box ready to be sent home, yet, but I will mail that next week. It's mostly packed full of old letters and coins, so it's very very heavy. Thank goodness for flat-rate boxes.--$10.-something for the whole thing.

The apartment is getting clean, today. I always say that and it never really happens. Some stuff gets picked up, or maybe something gets vacuumed or something, but it hasn't really gotten a good cleaning because things always come up--legitimate things or laziness...either one. Today, it happens. I started this morning and it all looks much nicer without papers everywhere and things getting lost.

I'm out of time. I hope everyone has a great week!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Crazy, busy week. . . .

This past week was so crazy-busy. It was really good because we really only had to plan backups...mostly. Some days were more filled than others, but it was pretty packed. We had a lot of appointments, mingled with two exchanges, church, weekly planning, zone/district meeting, preparation day, two days of 'specialized training' for the new Preach My Gospel focuses, etc. It was nuts. This week will be I was with one of our zone leaders in their area on one of the exchanges. It's always kind of awkward being in a Spanish area because, well, I don't speak Spanish. I spend all day with my eyes flitting back and forth as they fluently prattle on, with a half-smile on my face so I don't look bored. I never really know what to do in situations like that, so I just look like an idiot. Every now and then someone will say something, and everyone's eyes will look in my direction and everyone laughs. Language barriers...I definitely need to break through a couple of those some day.

I was on a normal (English) exchange on Saturday. We spent the morning doing service for a friend of some members. She is older and disabled and her garage was packed and unusable. We and several members of the ward went over and took everything out, organized it, cleaned out the garage, then put everything that didn't get thrown away back inside it. It was amazing toward the end, because we were telling more about ourselves and she asked us why we were helping her, and she bursts into tears and says "I mean, you don't even know me!" She continues by throwing her arms around the other elder who, with wide eyes, pats her awkwardly on the back. Then she turns to me and I just put my arms out and accepted the inevitable. She was very appreciative of everyone's help and invited the missionaries back, any time, to talk. Earlier in the day, I overheard her say, "Oh, it's just a bag of old coins. It was my parents, but I don't really care about it. Just put it over there and maybe I can find someone who wants it." I felt like a dog who hears the words, "Do you wanna go out?" I asked her if she wanted to sell them, but she gave them to me. There isn't anything (to my knowledge) too valuable, but I just love old stuff. It was really nice of her.

We had a reorganization of the Elders Quorum in our ward, since our president moved due to work. Now, the man who was serving as 1st councilor is our assistant ward mission leader. He'll do really well with it. We'll be having a zone activity, today. It'll probably be volleyball or something, with fewer missionaries as last time. Some of the companionships that live farther away have decided to not come. There are still a lot that will be there, I'm sure. I spent most of last preparation day catching up on some stuff.

We had two days of the specialized training in Turlock. President Gonzalez bought everyone lunch from a taco truck (mobile Mexican-food) on Friday. A lot of them look like a converted RV or something, kind of like you would see at Grayville Days or something, but this one was a huge bus converted into a sit-down or take-out restaurant. It's kind of bizarre, but amazing food. Amazingly fatty, I'm sure, but really, really good. We have one more day of the training; then we will get the new DVDs and training packets for the new focuses. Applying them in teaching is actually really amazing. They're all stuff we should have already been doing, but now the focus goes onto teaching skills over learning and giving lessons. It's the next step, like Preach My Gospel already did. It's the middle of September. The days are starting to get cooler, sometimes. Some days it's still in the high 90s or in the 100s, but lately it's been in the 60s-80s. Last year, in Visalia, it was 100+ constantly until one day, all the sudden, the 'fever' broke and it was in the 70s. That was hard on my immune system and I quickly developed a terrible cold and lost my voice for a few days. I'm glad it does a gradual thing, here. I hope everyone has a great week!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Photos of Aaron

While looking back over Aaron's blog I realized I hadn't put any more of his pictures on it like I said I would. Here you go:
Aaron and Jeff Wilson clowning when they discovered they shared the same ward building in Merced, CA.
This one is for Karen who said it was her favorite. Aaron is loving the packing pillows that I put around his birthday presents. Imagine what he would have done if I had used bubble wrap!
Yum . . . You've got to love California fruit.
Aaron with his last companion, Elder Nelson at the Fresno Temple.
District meeting I think.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Little old grape picker, me.

I had a dream last night. I had just gotten home from my mission (not a usual thing in my dreams)

and had moved in with Karen and Mike. Jeanette was there. She was very, very angry with me because she was under the impression that I was enrolling mid-semester into Advanced Video Game Playing. Supposedly, Karen and Jeanette had worked very hard in the Basic course and were now at this point, and I had the nerve to suppose that I was good enough to come butting in without any of the preliminary classes. It was a strange sort of thing.

I don't have too much time today. Yesterday was Labor Day, so we're doing our emails today. I

didn't have time to get any letters written yesterday, so none are coming from me this week--sorry. The church owns the welfare farm that makes raisins in Medera, CA. We went there on Saturday for the harvest. We used a hooked knife to cut down the bunches and then dump the bucket of grapes onto paper trays that are laid out between the rows. They will lay there for a couple of weeks in the sun and dry out. In about a couple of weeks, people (hopefully we'll get to go) will go up and somehow turn the grapes over to get it even. Then they are rolled up in the trays so they can dry the rest of the way somehow. Once they are all dried up, they get dumped into the bin on a tractor and sent to some facility where they are dried further and stored. I didn't find out until the dinner after we did the grapes that the grapes dry up into rock-hard little wrinkled pellets. They can store for years, then when they need them, they somehow rehydrate them, box them up, and ship them out whenever they need to. I was pretty impressed with that. It was a lot of fun, doing the harvest. It's dirty, my legs still hurt from kneeling in the positions we had to to reach up and cut, and the vines are full of these gross-looking spiders, but it's really great. I certainly wouldn't want to be a field laborer for a living, but once a year is just about right. Our rows of grapes were right next to the Visalia rows. I ran into several people from Visalia 1st. I was really happy about that, as it had been a year since I had seen them. We had one investigator come, as well, Ricardo. He has come a couple other years as well. The harvest was so much better than last year's was. It was at least 3-4 times more, I would imagine. I'll be sending a new picture CD...within a month or so. I'm not sure when. I'll try to get more taken and get that out soon.

We have a week full of appointments and things happening. We have 23 appointments, not counting two more training meetings, preparation day, district meeting, weekly planning, and church. It's been and will continue to be a very busy and good week. We had the first of the 'specialized leadership training meetings' on Thursday. The Tuesday one was canceled and will be rescheduled for sometime. It was a lot like a zone conference, just more specific. We'll be having a couple more this week. We will also be going on two exchanges. I also hit my 19 month mark. I'm feeling older by the day, just about. Feb. 9th seems far away because it's next year, but when it comes down to it, I can count the months on one hand.

I guess I'd better get back to it. Have a great week, everyone.