One week in paradise! It has been great. I love being in West Point, UT. If it wasn't cold and in Utah, I would move back and live here one day.
I am jumping around-out of order, but Sunday was very welcoming. We went to three sacrament meetings that day, and one of them had a primary program! I sang along to all of the songs under my breath; they all made me think of Mom. It made me love the stake right away, and we got front row seats.
Other good news, Chad's mom wrote me!! It was from both of them, but she wrote it. It was so good to hear from them that they are doing well; an answer to prayers.
I started out in the area a day earlier than everyone else, because Elder Harper's companion had already gone home. We had a lesson that night with our investigator named Theresa. She is an older woman, but she is in a lot better shape than her husband who can barely walk or speak. She has lots and lots of questions. She was raised catholic, so it is a big change for her, but she wants to know more and does extra reading on her own. It was a great way to start out. She is a little hard headed, but so am I, so I love her. She is great. She will start reading The Book of Mormon more and be set. The second lesson we taught her this past week we talked about church. She said she hadn't ever gone to church, because her husband (member) had never invited her. (Invite the ones you love to do things that you know will make them happy! You will regret it if you don't). He had a smart remark that I couldn't understand, because he mumbles very slowly, and then he said he would start taking her to church in two weeks. He has been sick and thinks he will feel better by then, but I wouldn't want to rely on him for her church attendance. He is in pretty rough shape.
So a little more about this area: We cover one stake, the West Point Stake. It is a wealthier area which is different form what I am used to. There are some pretty big houses out here, and not one single apartment complex in our whole area [bye-bye tracting :( ]. It is a very, very different work. We visit members all day and ask for referrals. Then the weird part is, we don't contact the referrals; we talk to the members about what they can do. It is a very slow way to do missionary work, but it is more realistic to what I will be doing once I get home. Elder Harper is a people person; he sold alarms for a year before his mission and was good at it. But he still has found that allowing the members to do it works better here since obviously everyone has been contacted by the missionaries so many times. We have done the contact ourselves only a few times, and it was only successful once. It is just different. I don’t know what to say to wealthier people; they seem to already be happy with life and not have time for anything else.
One family that we contacted was pretty new from Memphis, and there are a lot of them living in one house. The grandma answered the door and invited us in. She had lots of questions about plan of salvation type stuff which we answered for like ten minutes. Then her daughter walked in who researched religion/witchcraft for eight years and started to shoot down the church. We weren't fighting her, but we sat there talking wasting an hour of our time and hers and leaving very angry. We should have just left early on. We left inviting them to read The Book of Mormon, but she is convinced she already got an answer that it is a lie. It was aggravating and threw off our lesson following that, but it was with recently reactivating members so we told them what happened, and it felt good to kind of vent about it to them.
So funny story of the week: We were at a dinner appointment and somehow essential oils (doterra) came up. In fact, I think I brought it up. Then I made a comment about it being the placebo effect with some sarcasm about it being able to cure cancer and heal your soul. I can't really remember, but Elder Harper laughed, because he likes to drive around big trucks and blow black smoke into the air and anything natural or organic is just gross to him. Anyway, the two teenage boys (16 and 18) roll their eyes and kind of give a face that says "here we go again" as the parents launch off about how doterra oils are going to change the world, and they are amazing. They sell them. Their brother was the one who patented them and sells them around the world, and we should never buy normal medicine again. SO that was pretty awkward. What are the chances? But that's what I get for being sarcastic. They kept going on about it, and the teenage boys kept telling them things like, "Mom, they don't care about the dumb oils!" but she just kept trying to sell them to us. She mentioned later on she was going to give us some before we left but didn't end up doing it. No worries. I pulled it off well, though, saying my mom had sent me some and talking about how we eat organic food at home and grandma makes bread with lots of grains in it, and I used homemade soap once, and they seemed a little more satisfied. It turns out a LOT of people use doterra in west point… Elder Harper let me know after dinner. In fact, it came up again in dinner last night, and the lady sent me home with some (no sarcastic comments from me that time, though-read more about it at the end).
So, I have said before the two things I miss about home are seafood and chocolate chip cookies. One night this week, I saw a huuuge bowl of cookie dough, and I told the mom so she sent me home with a bag of it. So good! I think while there, Elder Harper and I had 20 cookies fresh out of the oven. Then after dinner, we gave their 15-year-old daughter a blessing. Her mom asked for it, and the girl just nodded her head that she did want one. Pray for her; she is struggling with pretty bad depression right now. I don't know the whole situation, but pray really hard for her.
We live with Sister Techmire. She is an older woman, and it is a big two-story house. We have the back end of the house which has an upstairs and a downstairs. We have our own fridge and stove, but we share most pots and pans and see her plenty. We leave the door open to our half of the house, and she walks over to us a lot. It is kind of weird; I didn't think we could live with girls. We have a little tunnel on the top floor that goes down 20 feet, then turns and goes ten more feet into a little tower room with windows on all sides. In that room, there is a trapdoor with a ten foot drop into the bottom floor of the house. Tomorrow morning, she is having 5 kids under the age of seven come over to play right during studies. Their play area is where our desks are to study. She warned us to hide anything we value; it will be fun.
Our half of the house gets really, really cold. I guess there are worse things, but we usually wake up, and it is 57 degrees. Too cold for me, but Elder Harper loves it. I am sick, and it's hard to get better when it's so cold at night so I put three extra blankets on my bed.
I got sick yesterday a couple hours after getting the flu shot. We had interviews, so while Elder Harper and I gave a training to the zone, President pulled people out for interviews and Doctor Nellis pulled people out to give flu shots.( Doctor Nellis told me knows Grandma and Grandpa Bassett. He met them through their temple calling.) So an hour after that, I started to feel sick and by night I was sneezing and congested. After a little bit, Elder Harper reminded me it was because of the flu shot, so I know it wasn't just in my head. I hope it wears off fast.
So everyone that I talk to asks if I am new…not sure why. I guess I give off the greeny vibe, because people always seem to think I am fresh out of the MTC without even talking to me. Maybe it's just because I look young.
So we helped some missionaries move the other day. I bent over to pick up a box and tore a hole about eight inches long in the butt of my suit pants, and it's not on the seem; it's just off center right through the middle of the fabric. It was kind of weird trying to move things around after that, because the fabric was hanging straight down and there was no way of hiding it.
Our zone is a pretty good. We had our start-off zone study, and it went well. We have four Spanish in our zone, and I have done one comp study with the younger companionship who asked me for some help. This week I am going on exchanges with them to help them find some people to teach since right now they don't have anyone. I can tell they are discouraged and just don't know how to do anything. They both have had very little time in the mission field and neither of them have had strong companions. I will keep a close eye on them this transfer.
Our stake president is awesome! His name is President Wayment. He gets things done quickly. We don't have a coordination. The local area seventy said we aren't allowed to have coordination meetings anymore (no idea why). He just told the stake president he doesn't think they are effective. So we have a weekly meeting with the stake president. That isn't really a coordination meeting, but he gives out assignments and helps us get things done. The members here are very kind. People are loving towards us. Everyone here who isn't a member has heard it all before and doesn't have time, or they are anti so it's just a matter of waiting for miracles and encouraging the members. I love it, I think it's just having another area again that makes me appreciate it, but West Point is a great place.
Elder Harper and I get along very well. We have a goal to gain weight this transfer. I have a goal of ten pounds, and he has a goal of as much as he possible can (which will end up being like 20 pounds). He has had goals in the past to lose weight and has failed, so he decided he can lose weight at home and might as well support me and gain weight with me. We have four eggs with ham, cheese, toast and a protein shake every morning and have either talapia, burritos or chicken for lunch always with potatoes. We eat about four potatoes a day; it's just a good life. I still haven't gained any weight though. I am afraid I will lose all the weight I got as a traveling trainer. I have two pairs of pants that were tighter before around my thigh. I wore them yesterday, and I can't tie my shoes in them, Elder Harper had to help me, ha-ha. Luckily those are the only pants that fit like that. Go squats! Elder Harper inspires me. He played football in high school and at that time could deadlift 500 pounds. He is just barely stronger than me right now since he hasn't worked out in a while, but he will leave me in the dust here pretty quick.
Well, that's all for now, I think. I am working on loving people as usual and don't want to be sick, so there are two things you can pray for Mom and Dad: Vitamin C getting used well in my body and loving people. Pray that I figure out how to work an area like this. Elder Harper and I will probably be together just for a transfer then I'll be left here.
Love you all!
PS Love you, Mom! I'm excited to talk to you at Christmas, too.
Mom, some lady last night gave me some called "breathe" to inhale from a piece of cotton (I am sick and congested), and it worked well just like Vicks Vapor Rub. She also used the lemon kind in her smoothie, but I think it made it taste oily.