So my p-days are on Mondays. There is so much to email you about so I'll start with as early as I can.
Tuesday this week our district woke up at 3:00 a.m. to go to the airport. O man was that tough. I am so glad I got to talk to you mom. Sorry to have woken you up. Sorry I wasn't able to call you when I got to Detroit. We had so little time to get to our next plane. The flight was great. It was weird and cool to be out in the real world as a representative of Jesus Christ. It still is cool. I love it. What an honor and a privilege to be able to do this marvelous work. We arrived on Tuesday and were greeted by President and Sister Pitt and the assistants and some of the zone leaders. I love President and Sister Pitt. They are so amazing! I cant even describe it in words. They radiate Love and kindness. They are so spiritual and smart about the scriptures. They are both just so fantastic and I love them both sooooo much! We went to the mission office and had an orientation. Then we went to the Mission home and had Dinner. It was so awesome to have real non-MTC food. President gave me and another elder an assignment to eat the remaining cake after dinner. It was so delicious!
Wednesday we had interviews and were instructed by the Assistants. We got to hear some converts stories and they were very inspiring. At the end of the day, they took us to a mall area and told us to go and give out some pass along cards, but we couldn't proselyte because i guess we aren't supposed to do that there. It was difficult and fun but awkward.
Thursday we had transfers. Beforehand, we were at the mission home (that is where we had been sleeping for the past few nights) and we finished breakfast and were waiting for everyone to be ready for a quick devotional. For some reason, somehow, we all (we all being all the elders and sisters that were just came out to WVCM, there are 20 of us, biggest group yet) gathered in the front room and started singing hymns. It was so fun, and no one told us to do it, we just all wanted to. It was cool. So at transfers meeting I got assigned to labor in Gretna Virginia. Its at the edge of the mission, and is a 5 hour drive from Charleston. So Thursday was a day of much driving. I got to Gretna and met my trainer. Elder Ochsenbein (to help you out it is pronounced oxen-bein) He is great. He has been out 10 months and I am his first son (trainee).
Friday we worked. It was great. We went and knocked on some doors, taught a lesson to an investigator named Ed. That was cool. It was funny because at the end of the lesson, we looked on his wall and he had 2 pictures of the D.C. Temple on his wall. We asked him about it and he just said he saw them at a garage sale and thought they were cool, so he bought them. He was glad we told them what they were. The work here in Gretna is kind of slow right now for various reasons. We are working hard to pick it back up. It's great though.
Saturday came around. This was a cool day and I will tell you why. ELDER OAKS (you know his position), ELDER HALSTROME (presidency of seventy), Bishop COSSCE (presiding bishop bishopric I think that is how you spell it) and ELDER LANCING (of the seventy) came to the WVCM! We woke up at 2:00 and drove 5 hours to go hear them speak to us. We got to shake their hands and everything. It was SOOO awesome. Elder Oaks is so funny in person. He is a lot different than in conference. After he talked to us, we drove back to Gretna. 5 more hours of driving. SO this week has been a lot of waking up early and traveling. It was so great though. Something I liked from his talk went something like this. It was a story from some missionaries in Europe somewhere where there was a really hard mission. What kept them going though was something their President said. He said something along the lines of "Whenever you knock on a door, and the person slams it in your face, someone gets baptized in Mexico." It was pretty funny
Sunday was a great day too. They always are. Elder Ochsenbein and I got to bless the sacrament. We are in a branch of about 60 people. It is so different. But at the same time it is the same spirit, same gospel, and same doctrine. We taught the Gospel Doctrine Class. That was also very fun. I am really getting a lot less nervous to be in front of people.
Mom, dont freak out at this, I am doing great. Now with that prelude I'll get on with something that has really increased my testimony. At the MTC, I got sick with a cold. It was pretty terrible, but I prayed for strength, and endured the work, and I was able to have a great MTC experience. Now, I was all better by the time I got here to Charleston, but on Friday, I got sick again with another cold. Thats ok though, because I get to experience great miracles and I get to exercise faith. I am Praying for strength and I am receiving it, and I am being able to work harder then I think I have ever before and I feel great about it. Also, I am getting better really fast. I know that Christ will strengthen us when we are keeping the commandments and acting in faith.
Something else that I would like to share, Yesterday, we had a member come up to us and tell us that Sister Hooper left us some food in the fridge, so we went and got it and took it home. Later we were at another members house who has some Less-active family members and she gave us 2 dozen eggs from her chickens. Then At our dinner appointment that night, The family Sent us home with some food. I am so grateful for this. I can feel the love the Lord has for me because of the great blessing of others serving us. I cant really describe the feeling, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for the food that we have received.
Something that President Pitt shared with us that really touched me that I would also like to share. He was talking about how Heavenly Father is our father. He gave me a new perspective about it. He said something along the line's of "Heavenly Father is our father, so he does fatherly things. In the Pre-earth life he did things with you that you enjoyed. He probably passed a football with you, Played with you, Sat with you, Talked with you, Cared for you, Was interested in you, taught you, helped you and loved you." That really hit me, He is our Father, and he Does Love us. He is our family. He wants us to return to live with him so that we can continue to live together forever. I don't know if this makes total sense but It helped me understand a little more the love He has for us.
I hope this all makes sense. I am trying to type very fast, because I don't have much time.
O, one more funny story. So people down here have the southern accent. The other night, I was saying my personal prayer before going to bed. I realized that as I was praying in my mind, it was in a southern accent. I didn't even mean to do that but it just happened. It was funny.
This place is great! I love missionary work. This isn't my mission or my work. It Christ's Mission, Christ's Work. I am just here to play a part, a role, in this great and marvelous work. I know that this work is for a reason, and that the Gospel is the only way we can return to live in the presence with Heavenly Father and Partake of Eternal Happiness and Joy.
Something that I keep thinking about is how great this work is. Something I am going to always try to remember, is that no matter what kind of success I am having in an area, the church as a whole is having success. All 60,000+ missionaries in the work and 14 million members in the world are on the same team, doing the same work, just in different parts. Together we are successful. Now success isn't determined on numbers, rather on effort.
I love you all, and am praying for each of you. Thanks for everything!