Dear Family, Friends, People,
There are so many thoughts and feelings running through my mind and heart at this time I simply don't know where or how to start. I'm so grateful for the wonderful family and friends and support that I have out here. It makes all the difference in the world and has made all the difference in my life growing up. Thank you. I appreciated all of your words this week. I can't believe the first quarter for Ste is coming up! That's ridiculous; and Lake Powell? That'll be sweet. Ste looks grown up in those pictures, awesome. I'm glad Rachel was able to have a great birthday! Hope the travels have been fun and safe. Brother Badger (the "blog-guy") doesn't read Rachel's blog just said it was linked to him - from a friend he graduated with who he says knows all about everyone, almost creeper stat - but yeah! ha. That's funny Ithaca went apple picking, we thought about doing that today but I don't think Elder Daniels-Brown and I are going to. haha. It has certainly dropped in temperature and fall is in the air! The cookies you sent were way fresh, surprisingly ha, thanks. But no goodies for me please - people just stuff our faces with food all the time. I feel bad not eating; and I eat whatever people have - SALAD, fish. HA. I've been the least picky of my companions I've had, so take that! All the grief I took. :) just kidding, but seriously. ha. Anyway, our apartment isn't too awful it's been cleaned up quite a bit and is in great shape at this point. Thanks for the letter Rachel, that was way nice. And Mom, as always, your letters are greatly appreciated and I love them so much, thank you.
So, perhaps, I have some things to relay to you all that may be out of the ordinary for a change. To introduce it all simply, this week has been an eventful one: full of learning, growing, stretching, refining, up's and down's, high's and low's, stress, success, hard work, and - of course - a PUTRID odor. I'll walk you through my week, I suppose to give you maybe the slightest taste of what this week has been like for me. Monday was a great day. Elder DB and I went to the mall and checked out some stores. They have TJ-Maxx here which rokked my world. Found Panera bread it's way close (the Badgers have been and love it, also say it's way better than Paradise so I'm stoked for them to take us, ha). The end of the day when we worked was good; and, to be honest, I was finally able to feel a sense of resolve and comfort (The Holy Ghost) here in Saratoga with all of the surrounding factors involved. The Spirit was in our companionship and I was excited for a great week of work. Tuesday, to make it short, after District Meeting I went on exchange with the Elders in Greenwich. I went there and was serving with an Elder, Elder Slagle, who, to put it appropriately, isn't all there. Greenwich is a tough area without anything going on right now so all we got to do was knock doors. Finally when the night was over and we were walking home, the unthinkable happened. We were walking on the sidewalk (mind you it is pitch dark, and the curb isn't right next to the street like it is back home) and I heard rustling in some bushes next to the sidewalk a few feet ahead. Startled, I stopped and listened and heard it again. Suddenly, a flash of black and white darted out of the bushes; right then when I realized what it was, it was absolutely too late. I GOT SPRAYED IN THE FACE - IN. THE. FACE. - BY A SKUNK. Yup. You read it right. It's official. You can check that one off of my bucket list. If I could express to you how bad it smelled I would. It hit me primarily on the right side of my face in between my nose and mouth, on my shirt, on my tie, on my backpack, and on my suit pants (wearing suit pants because we wear suits to District Meeting). Such a joke. Everything smelled. Oh yeah, and Elder Slagle didn't get hit at all. HAHA, how wonderfully perfect. It was, quite frankly, hilarious. I was laughing, surprisingly, so hard (at the whole situation). We got back to their apartment and I called Sister Bulloch to see what to do. I heard about tomato juice stuff, etc. Long story short we ran to the store and came back and I took a tomato juice bath (or actually rinse, in the shower). Seemed to work alright (my hair still smells if I really search for it, and yes, even after I cut it when I got back to Toga). In my mind all my clothes were goners; I had already accepted that they would have to be thrown away because there was no hope. Regardless I soaked them overnight, as directed from Sis Bulloch just out of a guess not quite sure (OBVIOUSLY because I'm the first elder to have this happen) in water baking soda and vinegar. To my amazement and shock, when I woke up and smelled everything it didn't smell. Miracle. Anyway, it was ultra stressful and tough to focus with that going on. Wednesday, I knock doors all day with Elder Slagle then I get back to Saratoga in the evening. I can honestly say it felt homey getting back there; I didn't realize how much I would appreciate it. (Getting sprayed by a skunk on exchange is the worst thing too, with no extra clothes, etc, I got a new shirt Elder Slagle had unopened that didn't fit anymore that was my size - tender mercy - among other such tender mercies). Anyway, it was great to be back and in the great situation with Elder DB we were in when I left. Thursday it rained all day. Elder DB forgot to hold on to my bus pass from the Elder that exchanged here so we were without bus riding abilities, and couldn't go forward with the plans we made for the day, and it'd be idiotic to bike in that rain. So we got to walk to the bus depot to get passes, in the rain. About an hour walk, one way. Tender mercy involved - it was September 30, the bus pass he didn't have for me expired the next day in Oct. and we would have needed new ones anyway for the month of October, ha! Blessing in disguise but certainly tough. Friday, we were blitzed by the Zone Leaders. Long story short, I learned a lot from them. How to consecrate our efforts to the Lord: our thoughts, words, and actions. Awesome, long tough day though. Saturday and Sunday were amazing. Conference put the cap on this crazy week! We watched in our church building, weren't able to get any investigators there, but that's alright. I'm so grateful for Conference, and the Spirit of Conference. My heart is so exceedingly filled at this time. I am so grateful for the guidance, direction, and counsel we are able to receive from modern day prophets and apostles. We are blessed to be the beneficiaries of the direct words of wisdom, learning, and divinity given from these men. I truly had prayers answered and concerns addressed through both the messages from the speakers as well as the Holy Ghost. I hope you all did as well. Conference, I am so grateful for it. I could say so much about it all but won't. It did, though, certainly make me feel connected to all of you. So much, it was really neat; and actually emotional just as Conference was starting Saturday morning session, thinking about that. How cool, too, to see Mark and Jean! haha, that was so cool!
More-so, quickly, on the work aspect of the week we hardly were able to see our investigators this past week. We knocked a lot and talked to over 100 people, more than I have since I've been out. This upcoming week, though, we have more solidified plans with people and look forward to that. I know, as Dad reminded me, that there are people here prepared and waiting to hear this joyous message. Such a good reminder, thank you. It's promised several times in scripture, perhaps the most profound in DC 4, that the field is white and ready to harvest. They certainly are out there; after I thrust in the sickle with all my heart, might, mind and strength, I know the Lord will uphold his end of the promise - otherwise he would cease to be God - and allow us to find them. How comforting.
I love you all so much and appreciate your kind words. This past week I have learned a lot. A lot about the Gospel, a lot about missionary work, a lot about myself. I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the experiences I am having here. And we should all be grateful for the experiences we have each day, good or bad, tough or easy. It builds us to who we are, need to be, and can ultimately become. Please continue faithful and the example that you are to me and the entire world. I love you so much.
PS. Attached are some pictures hopefully you will enjoy. See, I'm happy and loving it all amidst all of the craziness! Elder DB and me. Prior to my tomato rinse. The clothes in baking soda/vinegar. My package!
I love this work, it is, in reality, divine.