Man, was that conference good or what? I'm way bummed out, it ended too quickly...
What does everyone think about the mission age adjustments? Pretty crazy, huh? I suddenly feel like a very old missionary :P There's been a lot of talk here among missionaries as to how that will affect us. With the younger elders, the talk is mostly about what maturity levels will be like (they're already pretty low at 19), and how we think they'll do here. With the younger sisters, some elders are feeling like its time to start buckling down and being more obedient... haha More sisters likely, and they'll be "our age" haha. It's funny to watch everyone process it all.
One thing I realized that's kind of weird... remember Rachel? That one sister I have? haha. Yeah, she's technically eligible in April now... weird stuff.
Speaking on Rachel, Elder Call got your letter. He says it's hysterical. "Man, your sister is awesome! I almost wish this were real!" He says, then he suddenly smells the perfume on it... "Yeah, definitely wish it were real." haha. It was funny. Thanks for the good laugh.
Sorry I didn't email yesterday. The libraries were closed for Colombus day (or for Canadian thanksgiving... who knows?)
Mom, thank you too for the package. We decorated our apartment all up, and it looks very festive now :)
So, word of the week: Poindextrous - to be able to communicate equally well with nerds and normal people alike. New goal in life? I think so! haha. I love though how the definition excludes nerds from being normal... Maybe it's the other way around? who knows! I just thought it was funny.
This week was busy busy! Last Tuesday was my 5 month mark, and I spent it on an exchange with Elder O, who came out of the MTC the same time as me! So, us two 5-monthers worked together for the evening, which was way fun seeing how we've both grown in the past 5 months.
We've been noticing a pattern lately called "nothing happens before school gets out." It's kind of a bummer, so we've been trying to find ways to fill that time using things other than just knocking on closed doors of empty houses. The solution we found? SERVICE!!! It's awesome. More service is always good and we had a little confirmation today that it's the right thing. In Zone training this morning, we received word that President Riggs wants us to find time to do more service! How cool is that? We buckled down, thought, prayed, went on our exchange and both came back from that thinking: "man lets find more service." And it's EXACTLY what President Riggs wants us to do :) It's amazing to see just how much we're guided by the spirit here.
But, MAN! Service has been awesome! This one lady in our ward had surgery recently, so we spent a couple hours last Thursday practically relandscaping their backyard. Weeding, trimming, mowing, we just did it all, and it felt SOOO GOOD!!! I never thought I'd say this, but I miss yard work! The sun beating down on me, the sweat dripping down my face, little bits of dirt stuck under my fingernails, small cuts and scratches from the more tenacious and aggressive weeds, the smell of freshly cut grass, MAN I miss that! It was great. The best part of all though is the feeling you get from doing something for someone that they can't do themselves. I'm crazy excited for this service push!
I finished reading the New Testament in my personal studies this week, which officially marks that I have read through all the standard works. It felt great to hit that goal after having it for so long. I'm almost done with Jesus the Christ too, and I think that may be hands down my new favorite book. I've learned so much about our Savior and what He did for us. Most of all, I feel like I know Him better, like I know His character more. It's just a beautifully written book, and I can't wait to finish it and read it again.
Mom asked how it felt to baptize N. The only way I can really describe it is incredible. It almost didn't seem real that I would have the opportunity to perform such a vital ordinance for someone I love so dearly. The idea that it won't be the last time I have the opportunity to participate in something like that is just humbling. We had to perform the ordinance twice because his knee came up the first time, but the second time was the charm, and he was very grateful. When we got back to change, he stopped me, threw his arms out, and said: "hang on. You're not getting away from this wetness yet." And gave me a huge hug. He told me that I am one of his best friends and thanked me profusely for helping him find this truth. He was just so excited. It was an amazing experience.
Well, the weather is cooling down here! We're starting to wear sweaters more, and starting to have to plan for member rides and such to avoid the rain! haha. Elder Ca and I both love riding our bikes in the rain, but it does make people a bit less likely to allow your entrance... particularly in an area this well-to-do... We've had a few killer lightning storms (which were really funny in the trio because Elder C has a fear of lightning), and some days where the weather just can't make up its mind. Nothing like "mini-Isaac" that we had though, the winds haven't even come close to the 70-75 that we had that day.
Oh, just a bit more business while I'm thinking about it: Dad asked how finances are working out in the field. I use my mission card for "mission things" like food, hygiene supplies, etc. Extra things (like cardigans, notebooks, etc.) I use my credit card for.. I'm actually on the verge of getting my monthly allotments reduced because I'm not using it all. After 5 payments of $165 a month, I have about $480. So, I'm not even spending half of what they give... In fact, in order to keep my allotments, I've been nominated to buy the entire zone pizza for Halloween... haha
So, how did everyone like conference? Pretty amazing, huh? Any favorite talks? I loved the one by Elder Oaks about our call to protect and stand for children. I hope they gave him some extra security that day as he left... haha It was amazing though! It made me very grateful for my parents though as I was listening to him. As he talked about children who suffer and have hardships and how we need to help them, I couldn't help but think of the foster children I had the opportunity to meet, and that's not even half of the ones my parents have taken in. And on top of that, my parents aren't the only people I know who foster! I testify to anyone out there who has ever, for whatever reason taken a child into their home, that they change their lives. I saw that in all three of the foster children I met, and I promise that their lives are better because of the things you have done. I tear up just thinking about the positive impact you have on these helpless children.
Today, in zone training, we closed with the hymn "we are all enlisted." The 3rd verse caught my eye. "fighting for a kingdom and the world is our foe. Happy are we. Happy are we!" .... why?!?! The entire world is your foe, and you're HAPPY?!?! But as I thought about it, I realized that no matter what happens in our life, we can be happy. President Uchtdorf said just last weekend: "Happiness is not dependent on external circumstances." WE make the choice! In Alma 4:11-14, we read about a people who are exposed to major wickedness, yet they find joy. I testify that we can find joy through our faith and through the hope that we have in Christ. What a wonderful opportunity to hear from our prophet this week. Our cups are full, and I encourage us all to read, study and pray about the things that were said. I love you all! Thanks for your letters and prayers.