Ya, good call on not forging the signature. I'm sure that Spokane County Jail gets pretty good phone reception though, you could use your 30 minutes of phone time to talk to me! haha I printed off the paper just now, I'll fill it out and send it. Problem is that I don't know where a FedEx is... I know there isn't one in Santa Cruz. I'll have to tell the zone to keep a look out for a FedEx in their area. It's super expensive to send stuff as well, so be prepared for like a $60 sending fee. When the office sends us stuff to the Bahamas, it's like $55 for sending one sheet of paper. Yeah, hosed again. But thank you for taking care of this for me. I realized it would expire pretty soon and was ready to just hand the keys to my companion but this way is better. Thank you!
Mark is home! That is so crazy! We got to email the last three weeks of his mission which was nice. I feel the same way too when I run into people here I haven't seen in a while. You should've seen the Mandeville fun day, I was handing out hugs and handshakes like it was my job. I like what you said about maybe that's what it's like in the celestial kingdom, seeing everyone again. That's what happened in my dream last night. EVERYONE from my mission was all congregated in a central location. Companions, members, investigators, converts, it was an awesome dream. When the alarm went off at 5:15, I had to let it go another 5 minutes to finish it up.
Linley is pregnant??? Since when?? Shooks, I feel like the I'm going to have to have a sit down and get to know the new cousins. Austin and Paisley won't have a clue who I am. You're right, every one's birthday this year is a milestone. That didn't even cross my mind. I feel the same way though, Mac and Summer to me are the same 12 and 14 year olds they were when I left. Henry sounds like a handful. The dogs here are crazy. But the way to make them stop barking is to pretend to grab a stone from the ground and they take off running like their tail is on fire. Or actually grab a stone and it's the same effect. Dogs are nothing to people here, but if you mess with someones goat you better run because you will have the owner chasing you down with a machete. That's a lesson young missionaries learn very quickly from their trainers here "DON'T mess with the goats."
Well this week was quite a great week. Monday we went out to Jack Sprat and kicked it on the beach. Jack Sprat is that sweet little pizza and seafood restauraunt on Treasure Beach outside of Junction. That was a lot of fun, we had half the zone there (Mandeville and Junction Sisters, Juntion Elders and Hopeton Elders). Today we are headed out to Negril for P-day with Sav Elders and Negril Elders then we will do splits with Negril, then tomorrow morning head back to Sav for a baptism interview. We drive so much here!
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. We have Zone Meeting the week after Zone Leader Council every month. It went really well, It's usually lasts about 3 hours and Elder Nugent and I do most of the teaching. I love teaching in that kind of setting. I don't want to be a teacher at all as a profession, but teaching as a missionary is the best. We focused on how we as missionaries can learn from the Lord by improving our prayers, the importance of the Book of Mormon in extending invitations and then the doctrine of desire. Basically we just take what President Hendricks taught at ZLC and teach it to the zone. It's great. The Assistants came out to for it and then Elder Worley and I went back to Kingston and did a trade off. I love that guy, he and Elder Hitchcock, and Elder Taylor (who is doing very well on the homefront by the way). The Kingston ZL's and Assistants share a sweet house now so I got to see both Elder Hitchcock and Elder Gray. We didn't get to teach as much as we would've liked due to a meeting with the Branch President and our appointments dropping through and the drive time back to meet up with Elder Hefner and Nugent but it was a good trade off nonetheless. We had a family home evening with some members and we had the lesson- Elder Worley and I didn't miss a beat with our teaching together- just like the olden days! haha Good to see those guys again.
Sunday was quite the day. I will start this story by bearing my testimony that fasting is a truly powerful way to receive blessings God is willing and ready to grant us. I fasted for the purpose to strengthen my faith. I got what I asked for. We had planned a terrific day out after church, the highlight being the lesson we would have with C and M and their whole family (yes, I said a married couple with four kids and a car, can you say score?) Thursday's lesson with C and M was so great. We originally planned to explain that if they weren't going to act that we couldn't teach them, but M was home as well and so we taught both of them together- I felt prompted that we needed to talk about eternal families (which was something we had already planned on teaching but never had the chance to teach the, together). Elder Nugent finishes the opening prayer and says, without communicating anything to me "Tonight we wanted to talk about families". Can you say Spiritual prompting between companions who are on the same page? Check! It was awesome, great lesson, M was literally giddy about us coming back over to teach the whole family. So we planned that lesson for Sunday at 4. Before our Branch Presidency meeting The 1st councilor (and only councilor) suggested that we go to the hospital in Black River where a member's 7 year old son is and give him a blessing. He had a really bad asthma attack and had been in the hospital for 5 days. We felt really good about going so we called President Hendricks and got permission to go to Black River. There was a branch there but it's been closed for almost 20 years and to go there you need permission from the mission president. So we finish out meeting, do the tithing, hop in the truck and look at the gas gauge- less than 1/8th of a tank. Great. Our bad, should have filled up Saturday. Oh this story gets better, so not only are we supposed to make the 60 kilometer round trip to Black River, but also the 50 kilometer round trip to Nain where a member had been planning on feeding us all week... on 1/8 of a tank? Yikes. I was praying in my head the whole way to Black River hoping that our gas would at least get us there and back to Santa Cruz. We had to cancel the lesson with Milton and Claudia. As soon as we got to Black River the glass light went on- great. We figured we'd have about 50 kilometers left until we were Found On Road Dead (we drive a Ford Ranger, get it?) We give the blessing, it went very well, then we start our journey back to Santa Cruz. By the time we reached Santa the needle was flat on E. We weren't about to buy gas so we just kept going. I honestly thought we would run out. I thought "There is NO way we can make it the almost 100 kilometers on empty. No possible way. Even if God wanted to help us He wouldn't because it was our own fault for not filling up." But we went on. The dinner appointment was wonderful, chicken, pork, rice and peas, then bread pudding and ice cream for dessert. Absolutely delicious. We finish up, get back in the truck, the needle is now hovering below the line. We took a different road than when we came and were able to coast much of the 25 km home. And sure enough, we pulled into our house without a problem and had enough gas to get to the station to fill up this morning. It may sound like a silly story, but I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for us. You don't just travel 100 km on empty. I feel like when I have had experiences where I've drawn closer to the Lord, many of them I have put myself in the pickle. He merciful and His grace is sufficient for all those who repent and come unto Him. I know that to be true.
C and M tie into all of this as well. M fabricates and welds burglar bars for peoples houses (everyone has bars over their windows, porches, and doors). We offered to drive them up to the house where he would install them, hence why we got up at 5:15 this morning so we could help him. He asked for our help yesterday but we explained that we should avoid doing our work on the Sabbath. So we drove them up this morning and in talking with them after, M says they were all watching the clock waiting for us to come. The whole family was there ready and waiting and when we called and had to cancel they were SO disappointed. We felt so bad, thankfully we are rescheduled for Tuesday evening. There is such a difference between those who are prepared and who are not yet prepared. M and family are anxiously awaiting for the Gospel and to come to church Sunday. There isn't any dragging involved, only encouragement. I know the Lord is preparing people for His gospel, especially now as He is hastening His work.
We gotta run, it's a two hour drive to Negril so we better hit the road. I love you! Have a fantastic week!