|A mail lady in Ogden, Utah|
Taken earlier today. Those are some awesome icicles!
I almost had a mental breakdown this week. I was reading the last talk by President Uchtdorf, and I thought for a second, “Do I really want to be an accountant, or do I just think that will get me lot of money?” The rest of that day I stressed about what I want to be when I grow up. It only lasted a day though, now I am focused again and just decided that I can worry about that in eighteen months. The thought that ran through my head was maybe I can just do business and then start some local gyms or something since that’s something I would have an interest in. Then I realized that gyms are like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and are such a worldly place. I guess it’s good that I don't have to worry about that for a while...not that I don't want to be an accountant...but I just realized I wasn’t sure yet and you know me, I have to have everything all set and planned out.
Elder Simonsen went home this week, and they had a farewell dinner for him with like 20 people from our ward. When there are ten Hispanic ladies all screaming across the dinner table at once, I can't understand one word that anyone is saying; man they can really get hyper. It was a really cool experience. We all went around at the end, and everyone said something about Elder Simonsen. I know I have talked about him before, but basically the stuff people talked about was how he is awesome for being one of four members in Greenland. What I said was how in my first transfer I was down once, and he told me more or less to suck it up and remember my purpose, and that I am here to serve. Then I said how we as members of the church talk about the pioneers with such reverence and respect, and we have the honor to know a pioneer personally. So everyone went around and said they loved how quiet, humble, and powerful he was as a missionary, and then it got to be Kevin’s turn to speak. Kevin is in the ward. He is a fifteen-year-old kid and is the definition of obnoxious; he is hilarious all the missionaries love him, but I feel so bad for any of his church leaders. So it got to him, who has never taken anything seriously in his life, and he started to cry, which surprised everyone. There was a picture of Elder Simonsen’s family sitting on the table (none are members...they think he is going to school right now in the US). Kevin just basically said, "Well everyone said what needed to be said, but no one really said the obvious (this is where he started crying)...The first thing you need to do when you get home is baptize that family." So Elder Simonsen is home now and bringing the gospel to Greenland for the first time. Hopefully by starting with his parents. I am sure I will hear about him again one day.
So Brother Harris gives us rides around everywhere. He is a retired man who lives alone and likes to get out and help us. We went in his house after helping him shovel his snow the other day, and he showed us his hobby. He brought us into a room and the entire wall was filled with little lettering. He pointed and said, "Well, this traces my family history back to Adam." It was cool. I didn't even know that people went back with it that far, but he did it after years and years of work. He told us the only really hard thing is to trace back to Charlemagne...then after that there is a company that traced it back the rest of the way. I couldn't believe how many names there were.
So we had zone conference this week. It went really well. It felt a lot like it was directed to me, which is always cool. It was a lot about setting meaningful goals and staying positive with investigators. Then we drove home (it was in Brigham City) through a really bad snowstorm. That night, no one was allowed to leave starting at like six because the storm was so bad. They even cancelled school the next day. It has been really, really cold and snowy.
Diana is doing well, excited to get baptized. Church was good and bad for her this Sunday. She came with her little kids (all under the age of eight...darn), and they were overwhelmed with people saying hi to them which is good. But second hour was awful. The lesson was on sons of perdition and becoming gods ...perfect for someone who hasn’t even been taught the plan of salvation yet …and she was sitting in the front row ...that’s just great.
We have two other baptismal dates for in February. This is really bad, but I can't remember his name. I was on exchanges when they found him, but he and his son are getting baptized in a month when the rest of the family comes up from Mexico. I guess the dad has been taught before and didn’t want to get baptized, but now that his son is going to do it (ten-year-old), he has had a change of heart. Plus Elder Martinez was the one teaching him, and he is a stallion.
We had a fireside on Sunday; kind of like the ones in Arizona that we did. It went well. Our bishop is from Brazil and says some pretty offensive things sometimes. He had one really good line I had to share....he was talking about how we had to switch buildings to get more room...he said "We as Mormons have lots of church buildings but it’s all the same church...We have lots of buildings kind of like you Catholics have lots of gods"...no wonder people always get offended, ha-ha. Brother Rubio shared his testimony, so of course, the meeting went really well.
Mom would really like my landlady. We live in a duplex, and she owns the whole thing. We have two carbon monoxide detectors, and when she found out the battery was dead in our smoke alarm, she about killed us. She comes over a lot to make sure we are keeping things clean. She is older and lives with her husband who has dementia. She has always been close with the missionaries. It’s hard to describe her: she swears and yells a lot and calls us dumb missionaries but loves us more than anything. Before Elder Jones went home, he would go over there when his anxiety was bad so she could talk to him and calm him down. She has had a really hard life. She was an entrepreneur and talks about how she fired four of her sons for being screw-ups and kept on working to make money. She made money, but now it’s all sitting in a bank account, and she will die without spending it, because her husband has dementia and doesn’t want to move or go on vacation. She is really the one who inspired me to make sure I do what is important in life rather than just trying to make money. She takes us shopping and goes to a local place, because she won't support Wal-Mart, because she has almost gotten kicked out of there before for yelling at people that act ridiculous in public. She is pretty funny; we love her.
We will extend an invitation to the Carrera family this week. The parents are being a pain, but the son is awesome. We went by to visit (he is 15) and asked if he had read The Book of Mormon. He said, “Yeah, I passed that Nephi book. I like it; I feel close to God when I read it.” Elder Martinez asked him about putting himself in Nephi's shoes. He said, “So what would you do if you had to leave everything and all your friends.” We expected him to say something like, “Oh yeah, no way! That’d be so hard!” but instead he told us, "Yeah, I would do that." I was kind of surprised and said "Really? Why?" and he said, "Well, it’s what God wants, and it would end up helping other people. You kind of have to think of others more than yourself you know?" So he should end up getting baptized with time. We can't get them to church for now because of work, but that is our next challenge.
We are working with David as well. He is pretty tough, because he just talks and talks and talks. He has all the right concerns and good desires, but can't keep quiet enough for us to ever share more than two minutes. It’s a challenge. Manuel is still being a pain about marriage, so we are going to bring Hermano Rubio since his testimony is the strongest in the world, and he had to get married in a week to get baptized. Other than that, just lots of potentials.
We finally made it out to west Ogden (across the bridge: sketchiest place in the world, I decided) and contacted some former investigators, and all we found was a guy who wanted to bash. So nothing out there for now. With meetings, exchanges, and getting snowed in, it feels like I have never really been in our area, but hopefully this week won't be so crazy. Although it didn't start out well. We went to get our headlight fixed yesterday and spent four hours waiting for that to happen. I guess some brackets were broken, and they had to get a part. I'm not really sure, but it was a monumental waste of time. Like I said, this week should be more productive.
I love you all and hope you are doing well!