Dear family (and others)!
I'm glad you enjoyed the photos! The salmon was GREAT. :) That was the living room in our apartment! We don't have a couch or anything, so it doesn't look furnished, but it's still really nice.Those other pictures were taken from our water tower... hehe... It's still my apartment! Anddddd transfer news:
I am... Staying! I'm still in Paynesville 1a, District Leader, all that jazz. But Elder Pishl left. He went to New Georgia 1. I'm kinda bummed, 'cause he was a really fun companion to have and made the weeks fly by, but hey, it is what it is! Now I have a new companion, Elder Larsey. He's from Ghana, and he is also my MTC! [meaning he entered the MTC the same time as Rain, in September] No one else in my district changed, so now it's me with Elders Gharbin and Jemba in the apartment. No one else really in the zone changed, either. It was odd. And now it's going to be my first time living in apartment with no Americans: I hope it goes well! I know it will be another great learning and growing opportunity over the next six weeks. Elder Larsey is a really nice guy, so it will be good. It already feels different without Elder Pishl, though. Definitely gonna be different.
I'm so glad you're okay. I hope you continue to feel better... I wrote you a letter this week about physical goals! I'm super excited for you to read it. But I think I'm going to spoil the big thing I told you and say it now: I want to do an Ironman. I also want to get into swimming for exercise. So, that will mean some changes in my habits back home! I think it would be such a great accomplishment.
Chuck A Rama by our house?! That may throw my last paragraph out the window ;) That's very dangerous. For us, that is.
Ooooh! I'm excited for the birthday box! Remember to have a letter from you guys in it. I like those letters that y'all include. If it fits, maybe you could send me a "Missionary's Pocket Reference" book? It's a small blue spiral bound book. Thank you! One month from today and I'll be 19! Whoah!
Sam's BBQ was good! I had a meat kebab thingy, two of them. The meat was AMAZING. It was a very fun event with tons of us there. Also, remember not to drink the mixture of strawberry and ginger... It hurts. >.< Why do they make it?! [Review of the special lunch they had last Monday]
Yes, in fact, I do have good stories! Mostly because I decided to write in my journal very intensively this past week for a few days. One of the days that I wrote about took 10 (yes, 10) pages of my journal. That is why I don't, and can't, write everything. It's crazy. So I'm going to use my journal to write this one...
Elder Pishl and I stayed inside until nearly 2:00 because we were receiving water in our water tank. They gave us two more barrels for water storage, so now we have 3! They also filled up (by the way this is straight copy from my journal, mostly.) every single bucket we have in the apartment. So we stayed in until then. Then we went to the cook shop that we like where we got our normal, a hundred Liberty bowl with two spoons. We split it - it has rice (duh), chicken, and "stew", a good soup. We also get apple fanta when they have it. On the way to the shop Elder Pishl and I had a fun time talking about our prom memories, it was good! After the cook shop we went up Pipeline Road to Whein Town. We had been praying a ton the night before and that day that we would be able to see at least 4 people. We, on our way up, had a little miracle happen. First, a man named Jerry, who we had never seen before, stopped us and asked for us to study with him. We told him we'd be back later, after a different appointment, and we were on our way. Then we kept walking and a girl stopped us. Her name is Tea-girl, and she wanted to study with us, too. So we said the same thing to her! We finally got to Whein Town and went to El.
The lesson with El. was incredible. He's progressing SO much, except he isn't married. He's working on that. Well, we sat down with him, and (keep in mind, we had already given this guy a triple combination, a KJV bible, and a true to the faith. The first time we came back after the triple combination he had already read the first 6 chapters of moses) he had already read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon to chapter 25 of 2nd nephi. It was amazing. So, we answered some of his questions from the Book of Mormon (who is the stem of Jesse? Christ. Those sort of questions) and then we talked to him about the articles of faith. The night before, when we were planning, I felt that we really needed to teach him the articles of faith, and then that morning I felt that we really needed to focus on article 6, us believing in the same organization as the primitive church. After reading it, he sat there looking at the scriptures, pondering, and I saw his question form as he put the pieces together. He asked, "wait... so... That means the church has all these things, too? Apostles, prophets?" and I knew it was the right thing for us to teach him. I pulled out the picture I have of all the first presidency, quorum of the 12, and the seventy. We looked at each group with him. He loved it. We then talked to him about receiving the Liahona - how it was the words of those men inside it. He went on to explain himself how it made sense for it to be called the Liahona because just as upon the Liahona was written the words of God for Lehi to follow, we have the words of the prophet and apostles for us to follow. It was super sweet. Then we closed the lesson, had soft drink with him, and left. We walked back, first to Beyon & Hawa. Toma is usually with them, but she was busy that day. Toma and Hawa came to church for the first time last Sunday. We followed up with Beyon on the Law of Chastity; she's been keeping it! Her boyfriend doesn't yet understand, though, so we're hoping to be able to explain it to him sometime. We extended to Hawa a commitment to keep it. She said she would, but she has a boyfriend. We're hoping it goes well with her. Then we went back up the road to see Tea-girl. We had a lesson with her and talked to her about coming to church. She said she goes to a different church, and she wants to be baptized this year. We spent a long time explaining to her that the baptism she's wanting to do is not correct, and we're holding her to saying she would come to church the following Sunday, not this Sunday. We finished with her and went up to Jerry. We taught him, and he has some major doubts about Joseph Smith, whom he had heard about before. The man is a strong Christian, and I'm praying he will understand our message. We then went to the Book of Mormon class: no one had shown up. So... We left. But Elder Tolar called us and said they had a few investigators back at the church whom they needed another set of missionaries to go on a split with them, so they could teach both. So I taught with Pearmain. We taught a woman named Mami and her daughter (8 yrs). It was a good lesson (you may have seen photos, Elder Berrett took some). Then we caught bike and went home!
Anyway, that was one day. We have lessons SO often. I counted how many lessons we had this transfer: 111. Even with several really rough weeks. El. is amazing. I read some other elder mentioning how many investigators came to church... Well, this past week, here in Liberia, in my area, we had 9 come to church. That's not uncommon... We get more than that consistently. Liberia mission is different, and it is blessed. I'm grateful to be here. Here are some notes that I made to write about:
We had a bat in the apartment one of the days! It was an adventure getting it out of our room. I eventually hit it midflight with a shirt, and that threw it against a wall. Elder Pishl pinned it with a broom and dustpan and took it outside, where it flew away.
There was a wedding on Saturday! Food! Mmmmm. :) They feed the missionaries WELL. It was in my branch, but not my investigator or anything.
There's a family, the Thomases, who we are teaching. Two sisters, in two different households. Both have come to church, and they say that if they can't make it to church they will make sure their sons are always there. Their sons are mission age. :D
There was a crazy thunderstorm. I went outside at night with it, and I FROZE. Ah! :)
I received Dearelders this past week! They were good. [I send updates from many of his missionary friends this way, copying and pasting emails or excerpts from their blog posts.]
If you have any specific questions about missionary work here, please ask specifically...I can expound on areas, but it's harder to figure out what areas to expound...
This week has been good! I'll keep you updated on how everything goes. I pray for you all every night, and I love you all. Thank you for the support coming from home. Have an amazing week. :)
P.S. I'm 6 months this week! Only 3 more times! :D The time has flown by. I also thought I should let you guys know, my return day isn't the 20th of September, 2015. It is the 15th of September. Thought you outta know! :)