Wow, this week was a really great email, thank you for the time and effort put in Kjanela. I have never heard an English person say "Salty" in context of something being "cool". No I don't know who it was for sure, but if I had to venture a guess it would be McGueniss. He is a crazy man, literally. Oh, job searching, not a very fun thing to be doing, but completely necessary. Good luck with that!! You are a Senior now!!! That is really strange to think about Kjanela, when I come back to BYU you are going to be a Freshman with me being a Sophmore. For some reason I thought you would all stay the same age while I was gone. :) Oh, you should go running with mom and Dallin in the mornings. Best time to run. Have I told you yet? For morning exercise we go running on the beach 10 yards from our house. It reminds me a lot of Hawaii. The Island is amazing!!
Well, this week..... This week has certainly been a unique experience that I will not soon forget with all of the foreigners coming in for the TT and the locals leaving. Elder Sturt warned me that for the next week we would be doing very unusual missionary work like tracting in the afternoons far away from busy roads. It was a great learning experience and will help me to be more appreciative when things are back to normal. During this time we have been able to do service for members as well as quick, short visits to members and Less Actives just so I could get a feel for the ward before I have to show someone around myself. Despite the craziness we have been able to see many many blessings come from our efforts with the ward.
Like I said last time the ward is really something else. I have been able to gain fairly good relationships with a number of them already. The Sayle daughter won't stop talking about you Keana, she thinks you are amazing but is hurt that Kjanela rejected her friend request. I told her, "well, you win some and you lose some don't you?" She is just as crazy as you as well Keana. Imagine that. :) Being here feels a lot like Hawaii. You know what an Island feel feels like right? This is the exact same. Not much crime, everyone is pretty laid back, not much out of the ordinary. Life just goes on, and on, and on. Unfortunately that can mean that people do get in ruts with the way they are and don't want to come out.
I wanted to share a short story or experience about one of our investigators here. (This is answering more of your question Carisa) Her name is Jerry and she is from China. Jerry does not speak any English, and it has been great to speak only Chinese with someone to keep up the language a little bit. She is a very sweet 38 year old woman with a daughter who is 11. She loves reading the Bible and is now reading the BOM more now that she understands that the BOM is all about Jesus Christ. We were in Church this last Sunday and I was asking her how many times she has been to church and how she likes it. She turned to me and said, "I really love the feeling I get when I come here, the atmosphere is wonderful, the people are so nice, but the thing I love the most is the way it makes me feel. She doesn't quite understand it yet, but the spirit brings that warm feeling to all people. I am fortunate to be a person who knows what that feeling feels like and what it really is.
President Bullock mentioned in his email to me that I should learn everything I can from Elder Sturt and that I can "feel" the mission culture from serving with him. I must say that I have been able to do just that over the past week and a half. Elder Sturt and I were talking and I told him that the greatest thing I have learned from him thus far was to ENJOY my mission. Too often I find myself feeling like I can't have fun because I am a missionary. Elder Sturt always reminds me with his attitude and personality that you are supposed to have fun and enjoy your mission. When we become robots we don't become our best self. He reminded me of what you said about becoming OUR best self and not trying to become the Best Elder Sturt or anyone else besides yourself. He has taught me the true importance of gaining trust in relationships by being yourself and truly showing love for those you meet. I am grateful for this unique chance to be working with someone so knowledgeable in missionary work this far into my mission. Now I just have to use what I am learning later. :) The fun part.
Honestly there is not much specific to mention about this past week. We did a lot of service and Member house calls and tracting during the day which is strange in itself, but overall it was just a wonderful week in the life of a missionary. This morning we did go play Golf with a man named Jed Power who is not a member. He knows President Bullock and invited us over for Tea later in the Transfer. There are some really good people out there in the world. From what I hear, the news does not make the world sound like a very nice place right now. Despite all the craziness, on the bright side, there are good people everywhere who are fighting for what is right. They should put that on the news for a change.
Forward with Faith,