Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, Merry Christmas everyone! It's that time again. Thanksgiving went well. We've had a few turkey dinners so far. We had a nice small family dinner on Thursday with a family. On Saturday we had a 2:00 dinner with a huge family and ate a ton, then followed it with a 5:00 turkey dinner where they expected us to be hungry. We didn't tell them we had just stuffed ourselves silly. It was...rather painful, actually. It was all really good at all the dinners, but it was--yeah, we were supported with the ability to sustain it all. At the big dinner, they are related to a huge family from my training area, Modesto 5th Ward. They were all down for it and it was a lot of fun to talk to them and catch up. Some of them were here a week ago and I got to talk to them then, but this was longer and there were more of them.

It's been getting cold around here. It is nothing compared to the Midwest in either temperature or humidity, but I don't bike in it back home, either. We had such a great week in the district. It was nuts. We went from having 3 investigators with baptism dates to having 13 for December. More can be set, as well. There is definite potential for more. Everything looked up this week. I'll be starting the exchanges this week. I hate exchanges, but I'll make them good this time. I also have a zone leadership meeting in Fresno on Wednesday. It'll be every zone leader and district leader in the mission meeting together. I'm sure it'll be mostly about, "What can we do for the missionaries to really encourage them to do everything they can?" We had a goal this year of 1200 baptized in 2010. The way it's looking we'll get the same amount as last year, or thereabouts: 900. That isn't bad at all, but I know how much President Gonzalez wants to surpass that, at minimum. It just hasn't been as much of a priority as last year was. It'll be good, though.

December is going to be great. It's nice being with a Spanish-called missionary because, apart from having language study, which is a great time to get things done, he has a lot of enthusiasm toward baptism, which is something I may have lacked. Spanish speaking people just about flock to the font. What is everyone doing for Christmas? How was everyone's Thanksgiving? What are the plans? We don't have any Christmas plans, yet. I don't even know which rated G movie we are going to watch. It's an important decision that can't be made rashly, after all. I hope everyone has a great week!

Aaron

Belated Photos from Yosemite

Here are just a few of the pictures Aaron took on his trip to Yosemite. A very nice senior couple took them to Yosemite on their p-day. We've had his picture CD for a couple of weeks or so, but I just didn't think to put them up for you. Sorry.


A lovely rushing water scene. Makes you want to be there.
This is even better with Aaron in it.

The cliffs are really high.

The smaller waterfall in the lower left
shows you how big this one really is.

An overview of the park.
Aaron zooms in on what appears to be an avalanche.

In the background you can see the remnants of the avalanche.

Aaron clowns with the sign.

This obviously wasn't at the park, but it was on the same CD.
Baptismal pictures are always keepers.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Three Thanksgiving Dinners Coming Up!

Well, transfers happened. Elder Goodsell is now in Visalia, and Elder Moore is here with me. It turns out that Elder Moore was called to a Spanish-speaking mission, so this is his first all-English area and his first time with an all-English companion. I think he's still confused why he's here, but he's adjusting. I get language study in the mornings! I'm so excited about that. Having that extra hour in the morning to get things done and catch up is so nice. That's going to help me out so much. Maybe I can learn a bit of Spanish while I'm at it.

We had a really good day at church. We had six investigators there. Some of those are regulars, but some of them it was their first and second times. We had a couple of investigators that should have been there that weren't, so that's always a bit frustrating, but ok. They'll come next week, naturally. The talks and the musical number were really good, as well. I ran into a family that is in my first area, the other day. They're related to a family here, and they were visiting.

We have at least three Thanksgiving dinners this week, coming up. There is one on Thursday itself, and then two on Saturday with families that are having their's then. I thought I was gaining weight, but not yet. I'm not losing anymore, though, so that's good. I have had a cold since Thursday morning. Elder Moore came here with one and by the next morning he decided it was time to share it, I guess. Our apartment had a Mexican makeover. He isn't Mexican himself, but Spanish-speaking, he has accumulated all of these flags and posters and maps and sheets that he has hung on the walls so they wouldn't be white and blank. He is from the Seattle area and his dad's in the Navy. He's been out for about 15 months or so. A couple of months before he goes home, his family will be moving to San Diego, so that's where he'll be going to. My first companion had that happen to him, where his family moved while he was away. I would have worried about that if I didn't know how much Dad hates moving.

Today should be very busy, as usual. I have to prepare everything I need to for district meeting tomorrow, and also cut my hair, and clean the apartment, hopefully write a couple of letters, and all sorts of things like that. I'll catch up. The weather has been kind of erratic, but cooperative. It's rained four times in the past week. Three of those times was at night, and one was while we were at church. Those are my favorite kinds. That's very acceptable. I really don't care for biking in the cold rain. That's ok, though. It comes with the territory. In a couple of weeks, we should be having a temple trip. It's been longer than usual since I've been, so I'm really looking forward to that. The week after that, I believe, we have our Christmas zone conference. I sent pictures in this time, so hopefully I'll be in the slideshow more than last year's. I hope everyone has a great week!

Aaron

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

I'm glad you're home and had a good trip. The Ring Christmas Bells CD is just the case. I still have the cd in a case, here. I would like the Christmas In Europe and the Josh Groban: Noel. That should be sufficient. I hear you're celebrating Thanksgiving this Saturday at Jeanette's. I still can't believe it's been two years since I got my mission call. I think I got it on November 14th or somewhere around there. I'd have to check my old journal. I'll write the rest in my email and letter. I love you both.

Love,

Aaron

Holy cow...I'm staying. This will be my fifth transfer here in the Merced 3rd Ward. I'm excited because I pretty much really wanted to stay. There were a few reasons I wanted to get transferred, but overall I really wanted to stay. Elder Goodsell is going down to Visalia 1st, one of my old areas. Two other elders in the district are heading to Modesto 8th and Visalia 2nd, also two my areas. It was pretty weird. I really am glad I'm staying. I still have a few things I really need to do while I'm here. I know it.

Well, we had a zone conference with Elder Skybrowski of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy and his wife there. It was good. We got chastised about a few things, and it was overall a good experience. Their son had served in the mission and had been an assistant a few years ago. Their son and his wife were there and spoke a bit. I met his son earlier in the year at a baptism in Modesto. It was someone he had taught years before who finally got baptized, so he and his companion at the time both came back to baptize one each. It was pretty cool.

Due to having zone conference with a General Authority this past week, transfer calls were late. During that week, President Gonzalez would normally be at the transfer board (a board that has all the areas and our pictures on felt or something). Instead, he had three of the days where he was at zone conferences. We didn't get calls until this morning. All the elders in the district were constantly calling..."Helloo.....where are the transfer calls...?" I basically told them to endure to the end and they'll come when they come. I'm jaded to the calls by now, I think.

We had a goal in the zone for everyone to set a baptism date with someone new and also to bring someone to a baptism that was happening in the district. We didn't have anyone, then on Sunday a lady brought her son to church and he said he wanted to get taught and baptized. Now, he isn't the most golden investigator, but he seems very sincere. He also came to the baptism that happened last night. It was pretty neat to see. Also, that baptism, I had been on an exchange last transfer and had taught her a lesson that was one of the best I had ever been in. It was really neat to be there. I have to run because I have no time left, but everyone have a great Thanksgiving!

Aaron

October 25, 2010

It's starting to get more rainy. So far it's been pretty good. I don't mind gentle rains, which it is mostly here. Even when it pours, the raindrops are still quite small. It's just a lot of little drops. Every once in awhile we'll have a real downpour with big drops and the works, but it isn't the usual thing. It's Elder Goodsell's birthday, today. He's 20, and is pretty excited about it. It kind of reminds me of Jason, a bit. We have a couple people set up for tonight that know it's his birthday, along with the lessons. I'm sure it'll be recognized and everything. I wrecked my bike this week! It was a real blow to my pride--an even bigger blow to my pride than my body and bike. It's the first time I have ever wrecked my bike, which was a pretty good accomplishment and I was hoping that I would never do it. There was a storm drain grate that is broken or too small or something that my front tire went into and I almost went over the handlebars. I was able to go sideways, somehow, and only landed on my side. My front wheel got messed up and both sets of brakes. They're mostly fixed, now, but I may have to have the bike shop look at that back brake...I'll look at it again today. Apart from that, I skinned my hand a bit, my right leg got scraped up by the front gears, and my left leg is kind of bruised and swollen in places from my bike (and me) landing on it. I'm ok, though. Like I said, it was mostly my pride that got hurt, thankfully. I need a little humbling every now and then. I did a couple exchanges this past week and will be doing two more this week. Today, like I say every week, is going to be very hectic. I have a lot of cleaning and other things to take care of. It'll get done, though. Last week, they wanted to go play basketball and it was a waste of a needed day. I have to go, but I love you all.

I'm on the 15 minute computer again. This is the second time I've logged onto it, so I have to do my emailing in spurts and hope no one reserves the computer. The week went pretty well. We still haven't been able to meet with Erin, which is really a bummer. We're going to call her member sister today and try to get that going, again. We had stake conference, yesterday. It was...pretty boring. There were one or two interesting things in the talks, but it was overall pretty boring. One guy from our ward spent his talk expounding the book of Revelation about the seals and the eyes and the horns and the books, etc. It was...interesting. We had several investigators there, though, so that was good. None of the ones there are progressing toward baptism, though, so that's too bad. Maybe they will, though. Who knows. Our mission president's wife and another senior sister have been touring the mission to certain areas and doing apartment checks. It has always been the zone leaders that do transfer apartment checks to check up on their cleanliness, but they were doing something special. They stopped by our apartment, and although overall it looked pretty good, there were a lot of things they were asking for that was mostly deep cleaning things...and a few regular maintenance issues. It's all about having time for it though. I just need to be using all my time effectively like I used to do. Today will be a lot of cleaning after I get all the preliminary things done--mostly finishing the district meeting agenda and things like that that I have sitting around. I also have some sewing I really need to do. I have a couple pairs of pants that I can't wear because they need sewing that badly, which shows just how bad it has gotten. Not too, too much is happening right now that's too exciting, but I will be sure to make exciting things happen. Have a great week everyone!

I asked my mission president again about Christmas CDs because apparently the music policy has changed a bit. It doesn't necessarily have to be an LDS artist. If you could sent the Josh Groban: Noel and the Christmas In Europe CDs again, when you get home of course, that would be outstanding. I was excited to hear that they are now allowed. My bike's problems now aren't due to it breaking just because it stinks, but from an alternate source, which is nice. Like I said in the other email. It's ok mostly. I just need to do something about that back brake. Hopefully it won't take too much. You're on the train right now. The Amtrak comes through Merced all the time with three or four cars on it. I always love seeing it pass by. I'm pretty sure I never came through central CA before, but just on the coast, but I don't know. Either way it's interesting to see. I love you both--out of time

Love,

Aaron

November 1, 2010

How is your trip here in California? I hope you're having a great time. I can't believe you were in Merced! That's crazy. The Amtrak passes by on the tracks all the time. What time, about, did you pass through? Do you remember?

I don't have a lot of time on the email today. I have had a full hour, but the missionary department had us all doing a mandatory Preach My Gospel survey that took a really long time. We had a great thing happen this week. I was on an exchange with an elder in the district (It's all in the same city, so we're all right next to each other. There's no going from city to city, here.) on Wednesday, and I ran into Erin, the investigator that was going to be baptized and then she got embarrassed, walking home from school. I talked to her a little, but then she stormed off. I talked to her sister on the phone the next day and was trying to figure out what could be done to help her. A couple days later we were at the stake’s Trunk or Treat activity (which went well and was a lot of fun) and she surprised us by being there with a smile on her face, apologizing for the way she acted. She was just embarrassed. I'm not sure if I told you the details of that whole situation. I don't have the time right now to do it, but let me know if you don't know about it. We have an appointment with her tomorrow night. It'll be really good to be teaching her again. She shows a lot of promise. I went on another exchange last week and will be going on another this week. That'll be the last of them.

I got so much done last night. We had to be in at 6:00 for Halloween, and that allotted me lots of time to get everything done. It was the end of the day, and the end of the week, and also the end of the month, so there was a lot of paperwork and reporting over the phone that took a long time. I also got things straightened up around my desk, a few little projects done, and district meeting sorted out for this week. I still have a million things to do, but they are getting done. This week is going to go really well. We have made a lot of goals to really pick things up from what they've been. It'll be exciting. I hope you two have a great trip for the rest of it. I look forward to hearing from you. I love you both.

Love,

Aaron