Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My last transfer -- I'm still in Merced 3rd Ward

Well, first thing's first--I'm staying. This'll be my 6th transfer in the Merced 3rd Ward.

I expected it, but couldn't be sure. I'm OK with staying and it isn't a problem or anything. The only problem with it is that I have more of this tendency to give up with some of the people (especially the less-active ones that we're working with). After trying everything you can think of and seeing no success in some, it feels pointless after awhile. On the other hand, I'm really glad I'm staying because it's a lot less hassle. I know the area and the ward very well and that helps. Elder Moore is going to Porterville and Elder Ramos is coming here. I'm told he's from Mexico, but I can't verify that until Wednesday.

It was awesome to get to talk to just about everyone on Christmas. We did end up watching How to Train Your Dragon, in the evening. It was wonderful. It could be that I hadn't seen a non-church movie in 365 days, or it could have been really good.

We had a couple of dinners that day. I'm definitely... sugared out. We have gotten so many cookies and pies and candy and treats of all kinds that I gave a pie to another companionship this morning because we have too much stuff. I still eat it all, but not as much as I would normally. Some of it is amazing, though. I'm going to have to collect recipes on a few things.

We moved out a family that we were teaching. They moved to Fresno. We sent the referral on and have gotten word that they were contacted, but it's still a bummer that they moved. He was returning to activity and she was being taught and coming to church. She was one of our most progressing investigators. That's ok, though. The church is also in Fresno.

I've had a cold for the past week or so. It's letting up a little here and there, but it's still lingering. I think it'll pass soon, though.

Sunday was interesting as half the ward were gone. Either everyone was sick, lazy, or out of town. There really weren't that many fewer people, though. The other half were made up of people visiting.

Hopefully everything will work out well for transfers this week. Only my companion and one of the zone leaders are changing in the district, though. I heard something funny that's happening, though. In the Merced area for the Hmong work, Elder Nuttal and Elder Tuttle will be companions (both Hmong speaking.) That'll be too ridiculous...funny, though. Bye

Aaron

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

I am kind of amazed that it's Christmas-time. That's wonderful, of course. We still don't have any definite plans for Christmas itself, except where we will be spending our Christmas dinner. I may have said it last week, but it's a great family and it'll be great. I still don't know what movie we'll be watching, though. They lightened the restriction on it, this year. They also added some. It can't be longer than two hours, but it can be PG if it's animated...like some Disney- or Pixar-type. We'll probably be watching Toy Story 3. We'll see, though. It warrants further discussion.

We will be using our cell phones to call home, as it falls on a Saturday and I think they have the free nights and weekends thing on the phones. I'm not sure exactly when the call will take place. I'll make it after 3:00 central, though. I'll try to keep it some time in the early-ish afternoon like that. I'm looking forward to that, of course.

It's strange, hearing about things like snow and freezing rain. It's winter-time here (ok, technically it is still fall for another day or two or something)...I know it's winter-time because it's in the 40s and it's raining a lot. When I say raining a lot, what I actually mean is often--well, even then, I mean non-stop. For the most part, it's a light rain, sprinkle, or drizzle, constantly. It's very gloomy outside. That's ok, though, because that's better than it pouring on me while I'm racing my bike around. I haven't seen snow since I was in Provo, unless you count on the distant mountains.

This past week was really great, actually. We had four more baptisms in the district, including one for the senior couple up in Mariposa. They have been struggling for awhile and it was really great to hear that their baptism went through. We had an amazing thing happen Friday night. Our teamup stopped off at his house and came out with a huge bag full of home-made chocolate chip cookies. Then when we got home, there was a plate of treats in a bag on our door handle from another couple. Then another family walks over in the rain to give us a plate of fudge. All of that happened within about 30-45 minutes of each other. That very afternoon I was thinking, "Wow...I need some cookies." Now, granted, that was not really a need. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't having a blood-sugar crash. I just really wanted some cookies. The Lord provides, I guess. We also had a bunch of people that came to church that was really good to see them there. I have no go because I have no more time left. I'll talk to most everyone on Saturday!

Merry Christmas!!

Aaron

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I baptized Erin

I gave my farewell testimony, yesterday. We had our Christmas zone conference and all the missionaries that came into the mission in the past couple of transfers and those that go home this and next transfer bore their testimonies. There were a lot. It was a strange kind of thing being one of the ones giving the farewell testimonies.

They had another slideshow of pictures from the year. This one was an improvement over last year's. I didn't see the finished copy of last year's, but this one was pretty good.

We had a baptism. I baptized Erin on Saturday. It was touch and go because she can be shy sometimes, but it happened and was awesome.

They had a stake fireside thing on Sunday evening that was really good. There was a little bit of speaking, but mostly it was singing and instruments. Most of the ward's had choirs and others got together to do special musical numbers. One or two of them weren't very good, but most were really talented. Today, Wednesday, is our preparation day because we had a temple trip this morning. I love the temple. I really do. I don't like leaving it, to be honest. It's so weird that Christmas is a week from Saturday. I don't know what the plan is for it, yet. I know who we are having dinner with, but I don't know anything about time. I'll get back to everyone about my time to call. Everyone have a good week.

Aaron

Monday, December 6, 2010

We're sacrificing to progress the work.

It was a busy beginning of the week. We had a Mission Leadership Council meeting on Wednesday, where all the district and zone leaders and the assistants had a meeting with President Gonzalez in Fresno at the mission office. I was there in April and of course when I got into the mission, but it's still weird being there since it was the first place that we went and spent the day, so long ago. It was a good meeting. The next day we had an emergency zone meeting with the whole zone, here in Merced. It was just all about how we can best fulfill our purpose and help those who have already shown signs of progression to accept a date in December and make it. We have a lot of potential in our area. They just aren't doing it. There's something lacking that we haven't been able to place our finger on. In this ward, we haven't really had the problem of getting our investigators to get to sacrament meeting. That has been fairly easy for most of them. It's going any further than that. We have an investigator, Ricardo, that just finished The Book of Mormon this week. He's been working on it for a few months and has completed it. We have a baptism coming up this weekend. I'm pretty sure we'll be doing it on Saturday afternoon. Her name is Erin and she's the 15 year old sister of an active member who has been meeting with us for three or four months. There have been a lot of ridges and hills in her teaching, but it's good now. She seems pretty excited.

I had an exchange in the Spanish area. I really don't speak Spanish, but I do understand a lot more than I did before my mission, to be sure. If I were to get proficient in it, I would have to actually study. Everything I have is base observation. This exchange still involved a lot of blank stares and half-smiles on my face, to be sure.

During the zone meeting that we had, it was decided by everyone that we would sacrifice listening to music for the rest of the year, to be able to baptize. I'm not a fan of not listening to music, especially around Christmas time, but they don't call it sacrifice because it's easy. I had just received the package with the two Christmas CDs, the day before. I got to listen to Christmas In Europe a couple of times before I have to pack it away again, and Elder Moore had the Josh Groban one, so I've listened to that a few times earlier. Oh well. We'll do what we can.

So what's the overall plan for the family on Christmas? Where will everyone be going and doing? I'm still not sure where I'll be going on Christmas or how all of that will work. I'm really curious about when transfer calls are going to be as well. The day we would normally receive them is on Christmas Day itself. I don't know if he'll get them figured out before that and get them out on Friday or if they'll get stalled and we'll get them on Sunday. Maybe he'll be making calls on Christmas itself. I don't know. Whatever it is, it'll be interesting to see. I'll be starting my exchanges with the rest of the district this week. I have four more to fit into the next two weeks, I believe. It'll work out. Things are going pretty well right now.

Aaron