Mom and Dad,
Yes, I have a lot of explaining to do... Sorry it is Wednesday and I am just now emailing you for last week. We went fishing on Monday (more details to come) and then I was in the middle of emailing on Tuesday when I had to go run an errand for the Zone Leaders which took up some of my time while Elder Hawkins was in a meeting. After the meeting we went to lunch and came back to the family history center to find that the center was closed and I couldn't finish my email to y'all... I finished everyone else email but the main one to the family. That's my story and I am sticking to it, because it's true! :). I also saw the weather report of Minot and let me tell you, I am jealous of your 80 degree weather! It is over 100 everyday and it is not fun. It is my last summer here so I will suck it up. Ready for my week? It'll be a few extra days so here we go :)
Last Monday was a pretty laid back p-day. We did our usual thing at the stake center and then we played basketball. I just kicked it with a couple of Elders since I am not a big basketball player. After Christmas night, I am not a huge fan of missionary basketball so I tend to stay off the court. After that, we did a little bit of shopping and we ran home and relaxed there. When the other Elders got back, I stayed home with Feist and we worked out in the garage. We did chest and we killed it. I was sore for almost four days. Everyone else went out to go check some stores out and things like that. Our dinner was with the Hartvigson family and guess what we had? BRISKET! They just killed a cow and they have all this meet and so we got to eat the brisket part of the cow. I was super excited because I haven't had brisket in forever! We had a lesson with them and they showed us a video that the young men of the stake did for girls camp. It was pretty cute, it was all about modesty and being a righteous daughter of God. It was super cool. We then got our OYMs and called it good for the night. It was a pretty laid back P-day but it was still a good one.
Tuesday was a pretty full day planned but then Hawkins got sick... He came down with some sort of stomach virus thing that was cleaning his system out. It was bad, he wasn't feeling too good so I told him that we were going to stay in so that he can sleep and get better. We were able to go out that afternoon but he stayed in for the morning. I stayed up and read my scriptures for as long as I could before I went insane so I caught up on a letter until we went to dinner and out to work. We did though get a referral sent out for the missionaries in Perris, CA so we got a little bit done. I did though get set up for my training that I was going to do on Wednesday for all the districts in Hemet so that gave me some time to prepare for that.
We had to end studies early so we could go up to the stake center to get the chapel ready for my training on Wednesday. I can't remember if I mentioned this training before, it was one I did out in Moreno Valley while I was Zone Leader there. It is all about the Atonement; I first gave the Elders instructions and prepared them for what was about to happen. I told them that whatever they put into the training is what they are going to get out of it so that they were in the right frame of mind. I had them blindfold themselves and let Hawkins and I lead them into the dark chapel with light music playing. I sat them down and then put on the part Finding Faith in Christ where Christ preforms the Atonement for all of mankind. All they heard was the audio so they had to picture it in their mind and let their mind focus on what was happening. When that finished, I played DJ with the mic on the pulpit and put more music one while I read Bruce R. McConkie's talk titled "Purifying Powers of Gethsemane." That talk is so powerful! I then had all the Elders open their eyes and remove the blindfolds while I stood at the pulpit and talked more about how we need to apply the Atonement into our lives and also to why every missionary is here in Hemet. I hate that I get so emotional when I do these kind of things but it went well. I blame you two for making me so emotional! But it went really well, it felt like the message really impacted every Elder that was there. There was one thing that really irritated me was when the ZLs walk in LATE and then walk right up to the front of the chapel during the middle of the training. Those two missionaries are trying my patience... But they are my leaders and I sustain them so I have to be patient. After the training, I came down with a super bad migraine which knocked me out for the rest of the day. It was actually a really bad tension headache but that was what I labeled it at the time. I couldn't leave my room or do anything because the light and movement killed my head. But I had to suck it up and go teach J.R. and go to dinner with the Stevenson's. They are an awesome family; the daughter's non-member boyfriend was over and we watched some Mormon Messages with the family. It was a rough dinner and lesson but I sucked it up and dealt with it.
Thursday AND Friday was kind of in the same boat as Wednesday. I still had my really bad headache and I could not kick it. I tried everything: Excedrin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and even two Rock Star energy drinks and it still wouldn't leave. I was running out of ideas and I had so much medicine in me that I was having a hard time falling asleep to try and kick it. The only thing we did those two days was get our OYMs and go teach John P****. Remember John? The huge guy and his family that we tracted into the other week? We had a sit down lesson with him and taught him the Restoration. It was a good visit; it was just him and us. We learned a lot about him and his past in why he was never baptized even though his whole family was. He then showed us a video of him on YouTube doing a backyard brawl and knocking this other guy out. It was to show how rough of a past he had. He is open to hearing our message so maybe we will see some progress. He wants to take us fishing on Monday so we talked a lot about that. That was the only thing that we got done those two days due to my freakin' headache... But I got it checked so hopefully it will get better.
Saturday was my official sick day. I did not leave the apartment all day and it was miserable. I slept all day and didn't leave the house. Elder Spencer did come and see me though so that was nice. He had just been with Anita at lunch in Moreno Valley. Spencer is an Office Assistant so he travels the mission delivering things for other missionaries so he stopped in to have lunch with the MoVal ZLs and with Anita. The only bad thing was that the ZLs were on AP exchanges so Elder Drasbek was there. The reason why that was bad was because he said something to Spencer about being on Anita's iPhone setting up the scriptures for her. He flipped and called Spencer out on things and that set him off. Spencer called me and he said that Drasbek also said something about me talking with her too and that it was "not approved". That didn't set well with me either because I do not see any harm in talking with her but other people see that it is. But I'll make it work.
I was super excited to teach the youth on Sunday, even though I was still not feeling good at all. However, we had something cool happen before sacrament meeting. Ross S***** came up to us and said that he is going to get baptized next Saturday. That was a shocker to us because we weren't even expecting that from him. Best part is that he hasn't smoked since that Tuesday! It was super exciting to hear. We are going to have two baptisms next Saturday: Ashley D**** and Ross S****. It will be a busy Saturday for us but that is okay; that is what we live for as a missionary. Our lesson for the youth went really well. It was a lesson on the Atonement with an awesome object lesson. We had the young men's president do had to do 15 push-ups for every doughnut that the youth ate. Even if the youth declined it, he still did the 15 push-ups. He did almost 100 push-ups in less than 10 minutes. He was the man! We made the connection to how we shouldn't waste what our Savior did for us. I wasn't feeling good so I had zero tolerance for people talking and not paying attention so I would call kids out if they were messing around. I guess that is Dad's side in me ha. Other than that, it went super well. After church, we had our lesson with Ross and we brought Brother Cole with us and Brett his grandson. It went well, we finished up the commandments with Ross and we are preparing him for Saturday. After dinner, we took studies and called it a week. It was kind of a ineffective week but we made it the best we could.
So rewind to Monday and the reason why I missed emailing when I usually do! We got invited by John to go fishing up in Anza. We had saved our miles for the month so we had enough to drive up there and back to stay under! It was awesome but we went up there with his family to a private lake in a neighborhood that his buddy lives in. Since it is private, we didn't need a license :). We fished all day and I got super burnt... I will send pictures but don't laugh at how red I am! But it was a good afternoon, we got to know the family really well and spend time with them. John is an awesome guy, really a good father, husband and role model. There was a single mom that came with us with her two younger children that John and his family has taken watchful eyes over. The father of the family was caught molesting the four year old daughter and then giving his two older sons drugs and money for drugs. The father isn't in the picture anymore but the family is still feeling the effects of it so John invited them to come with us. That really impressed me and how John is with the boys. It was a good day overall and we even went to our Bishop's neighbor to offer to bless his home and family. That was just the icing on the cake.
So an update on my health: I went in to see urgent care and to get my headaches looked at. Come to find out, I was actually having really bad tension headaches and bad allergies that were causing the headaches. So I got a nasal spray and some pain medicine so when the headaches get bad I have something to combat it with. I made sure that the pain medicine were not narcotics so I am good in that regards. So I am going to get back on allergy medicine and see if that helps with anything. Oh and I am almost out of contacts... So I am not sure how we want to work that out. Other than that, I am doing well. I have had my ups and downs, physically and emotionally but I am staying focused on the task at hand. February is coming close... I can't afford to lose anymore time! I love y'all and miss the family dearly. Again, sorry it took forever to email you back but I am doing okay, I promise! And also, Victor has a date for the temple! We are going July 9th; I am so excited to get to go with him. Going to the temple with him will be the highlight of my mission for sure. It will be hard having him leave to Arizona and losing daily contact with my best friend but it’s okay, that is where he needs to be! So that is the next thing coming up, besides the two baptisms on Saturday. Have a great week and talk to y'all soon.