Monday, July 23, 2012

WEEK 12- illness and wellness

WEEK 12- illness and Wellness

Hello from Ashburn!
I was asked how transfers work... Normally, transfer days are Tuesdays. So, the Assistants and the President are at the transfer board starting around Friday night. Before then, the DLs are supposed to write "outlines" recommending who stays and who goes from their district. They give those to the Zls, who make a summary and pass it up, and the APs and Pres will use those and the spirit to figure out what happens! Tuesday night, the APs call the ZLs, who call the DLs, who call the companionship with what we call "transfer calls." Basically, you get told whether or not you're staying or going and that's it. If you are both staying, that's the end of that. If either one or both of you are going, you meet at the Centreville Stake Center Thursday and we sit in the back half of the chapel. Then Pres stands up and calls out, reading the entire list of who is where, and the new companion ships sit together in the front half of the chapel.
I love what mom said in one of her letters: "There are such highs and lows in the mission, but it really is one of the highs of life." So true
Dad, I liked your stuff for mom while you were at camp! I'll have to take notes for 20 years or so from now when it's my turn... haha
That's so cool that our ward is doing a 40 day fast! Ashburn ward did one just a bit ago. And I was placed here on day 37... No pressure, right?
So, I'm starting to get reviews back on my “scare”... so far, I know I got mom and Rachel. Anyone else fall for it? Dad says mom almost called the mission home!!!  ( HE IS SUCH A BOOGER!)
Rachel, I'm sorry about the guy who looked like Peeta. I meant it as a joke not to trust him, but I guess my brotherly instinct was just too accurate... I do have a new rule for you and Rebecca though... You have to marry guys who served in D.C. South... Nobody else will cut it. If you want pictures, or recommendations, let me know ;)
Rachel asked a really good question: What's it like being the missionary? Well, it goes something like this: Being a missionary, working hard, focusing on work, what time is it? I check the time, notice the watch, remember who gave it to me, smile, enjoy it for a moment, then look back up and I'm a missionary again! Focused and ready! Then I realize, I never really looked at where the hands were on the watch, so I look again, note the time, and keep moving. As we're riding our bikes along, I'm anticipating where we're going, thinking about what we'll do there, maybe singing a hymn, then I see a restaurant we used to eat at, or se something I would normally text her and tell her about. But I can't, so I keep riding my bike and go back to my hymn. but I've gotten really good at smiling, enjoying the moment and the memory, then getting back to what I need to be doing.
Now, this week.
Oh, just a heads up, I may not be able to write next week... Our P-Day is getting moved to Friday, and we'll likely be busy for most of that. President Riggs may say "email on Monday still," but if he doesn't, you won't be hearing from me for two weeks. So, don't worry if that happens. I'm alive and well.
So, crazy flashback: About a year ago, we were in Kirtland, Ohio visiting the temple. There was a stake youth conference going on there. At one point, I was in the gift shop, reading a book, when one of the youth leaders comes running in: "Hey!" he says, "We're all waiting for you! Let's get back on the bus!" I was very confused obviously, then figured out that he just thought I was one of his youth. "Oh, I'm just here with my family." I said, pointing to dad (who successfully identified the truth of my story [twinners!]). The leader grew a very puzzled look on his face, but accepted my story. "Oh, ok. weird." He said. I asked him why. pointing over his shoulder, he says to me: "Well, some of the girls on the bus just told me specifically to not forget you." Guess what stake that was? Ashburn! haha. Yes, I'm serving my mission in that same stake right now. So far, I've avoided recognition ;) haha. Just a funny story to start.
We had a SLOW week this week. Elder Ravia was down for a couple days sick, so I was very grateful to have received those talks you sent. He's doing better now, but lets just say we have big goals next week to catch up.
I attended two baptisms this week, but Nate was unable to join me at either. It was pretty sweet. Ashburn led the mission in baptisms this week! I'm pretty sure that's unheard of :D We're pretty excited.
There was a 7 stake youth conference this week, which was way neat. we spent most of Thursday helping load up a truck with set prices for that. It was four elders, and 3 other guys. I gained a couple new nicknames for my performance there. I was the "packer." They started by giving us a pile of stuff and saying: "if we can fit this into half of the truck, we're in good shape." So, I climbed in, they handed stuff in, and I got it into 1/4 of the truck :) (Thanks for the genes dad). It was pretty crazy, we used these frames that we stacked up that had lots of space underneath, and I was just climbing all over the inside of those frames as they passed huge pieces of lumber in and I would tetris them into place while slowly being lifted closer and closer to the ceiling. Then, they wanted more stuff in the back when it was almost full, and I wiggled my way in there with the stuff and got it all the way up. It was pretty fun! It felt like when we were living in Grandma and Grandpa's house during their mission in Japan. They had one room they had put all their stuff in and I used to challenge myself, seeing how many routes I could find to touch the back wall.
One problem with the service. It was a record-breaking day. Triple digit heat, about as much humidity as if we were SCUBA diving, and we were in a truck doing heavy lifting in a small space... Long story short, we were literally soaked in sweat. And I mean SOAKED!!! It looked like we'd gone swimming. Wood was sticking to us, we could leave wet spots in the shape of our bodies on the ground, and we were dripping. I've never experienced anything like it. No joke, I lost five pounds. Literally, in the seven hours it took us to load the truck, I lost five pounds of water from sweating!!! It was crazy! So much fun though.
Illnesses are being recovered from, wellness is happening in the area, and we're all loving our missions. I love you too, and I pray for you all. I hope all is well. Until next week! (or the week after) Hopefully I have something new to report by way of people then :)
-Elder M. Larmer Hodgson (formal, eh? don't worry, I'm still a pretty informal guy... haha)
P.S. - listen to "The hardest things I've ever loved to do" by the Nashville Tribute Band. I'm pretty sure it's my current favorite missionary song.

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