Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cleaning Up....Moving Up

Elders D and Colvin in the new apt.
Oi from Kansas City!

Well, week 2 here has flown by! Unfortunately, the elders before me used up all the miles on the car that we shared, so we were biking for 2 weeks. Also, apparently it was the hottest 2 weeks that Kansas City has had ALL year! So I've just come to accept the fact that I'm going to sweat, so I might as well be happy as I do it. I am so grateful that my parents got me a 3 liter camel pack! I'm not going to lie (especially since I'm a missionary now) it is at least 25 lbs every morning, but I drink at least that much water every day, so I am really glad that I have it! My companion actually almost had a heat stroke and passed out one day! No joke! He was about ready to kick it when we made it to a member's house for dinner. (Sidenote: The members here are amazing! They find some way to feed 2 sets of elders in one ward every single night! It definitely makes shopping a lot easier!) Anyways, we pumped some more fluids into him and he got better after a while. After that, we actually went to the O's house (the little girl who was just baptized) and they gave us banana bread with vanilla ice cream. It was SO GOOD!!!! That's something that I'll definitely have to do more often. 

Elder M and district leader, Elder B
We have done a ton of finding, we lost a couple investigators, and we gained some. I guess that that's part of the work. We're working really hard and a lot of the people that we're teaching right now are going through some really tough times. P is getting evicted and we have no idea where she's going, and A (our new investigator who I'll write more about in a bit) is going to leave for prison in the next couple weeks for 5-7 months. We're constantly finding new people (who aren't necessarily interested, but don't tell us straight up), but there are these few people who we find who are so prepared to receive our message, it's uncanny. A is definitely one of those people.

A: Oh my gosh. So we received a referral from the H's (an excellent family in the ward who's constantly giving us people who MIGHT be interested), and he is the brother of a sister in the ward who just became reactivated recently, and she is... Interesting. All we knew going into this appointment with him was that he was her brother and that he was going to prison. Sooooo we were a little nervous. It turns out that he has always had kind of a troubled past, and that he was in a divorce a couple months ago that really put his head in a bad place. Anyways, during the past couple months he's been trying to get his head screwed on straight, making better choices, etc. So as we were meeting with him (we had a member present) We were just discussing church things with an emphasis on how we focus on becoming the best that you can be, and how we are here to help people. He said that one of the reasons that drew him into talking with us was because he knew that the Mormons (now he refers to us as Latter-day saints too.. Score!) were very open and receptive to all people. Anyways, he had lots of questions and we had lots of answers for him! As we were teaching he really seemed to understand the things that we were talking about, or if he didn't understand, he would ask questions. He is probably the most perfect example of someone who was lost and is now trying to find the way in life. Hopefully we can help him to find the way to happiness. He is very dedicated to learning more and more. He came to church on Sunday, we have already visited him twice in the past 5 days and are going over there again tonight. I can definitely already see a change in him and I can't really describe how I fell about all of this.. It's something that I could never have imagined without actually coming on a mission and experiencing it for myself.

That has to be my all-time favorite thing so far as being a missionary; seeing the change that comes about in someones life as they strive to become better. We've met people who don't want to necessarily join the church and be baptized, but that isn't our main focus as missionaries. I have discovered that our goal is to 'help others to come unto Christ'. I've learned that sometimes being baptized isn't something that some people need right away. Sometimes it's all we can do to try and help them to improve their overall quality of life. However, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the way to be the best that we can be, and emulate our Savior Jesus Christ is by being baptized and following His gospel. It isn't easy, but I have seen lasting peace, joy, and happiness come into people's lives as they embark on that journey. It may not be right away, but all journeys in life begin with a single step. We are here to help people to make those steps along the way. I sincerely hope that that is one lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life, not just on my mission. 

Questions that we (the Family) have for you and Sister Colvin: His answers are in Green
1. How are you surviving the HEAT WAVE? The news says it is pretty bad!  We had the heat wave during our bike week. Shoot me. We were biking at least 10 miles a day in 85+ degree weather (in full missionary garb) soooo it was miserable. 2. Taylor, are you walking, biking, or driving? 3. Taylor, have you contracted fleas or rabies in your teaching appointments? 4. Garrison, did you get your bike seat? Does it help?  Do you have someone’s old bike, or how does that work?  I got my bike seat on the day that we switched over to a car, so I haven't gotten a chance to use it yet, but I'm sure that it'll be a lifesaver. Right now I am just using an old bike that works pretty well that some of the members donated to the missionaries.       5. Levi wants to let Garrison know that he is down to 175 lbs cause his muscles are wasting away laying in bed.  How is your weight challenge going?  Ugh. That kind of makes me depressed... Haha I hope that I am just getting stronger (and I actually think that I am now) but I am pretty consistently at 188ish lbs. Not too bad, but not too great. I look at myself, and I don't think that I'm that much fatter than I was, but I'm getting better. 6. Taylor, have you had problems keeping weight off? 7. HOW’S the toe? And the feet? 8. I am curious as to whether or not the packing list and method actually worked for you? 9. Do you get to listen to music?  The packing list has saved my life. I have only forgotten 2 things in all of my moves so far, and one of them wasn't on the list (it was the MTC water filtration system that they gave us... I left it there!) I also left the MP3 charger there too! I was kind of mad about that one, but my companion has a cord that charges it so it's all good for now. I would like that iHome speaker thing though, because these speakers are really weak for some reason...   Speaking of music... DAD WHY DID YOU PUT NOT APPROVED MUSIC ON MY MP3 PLAYER???? Haha I got to the end, and there was some rock-like (definitely not church) music... Our mission president allows any EFY music, classical music over 100 years old, hymns (not super jazzed up), Motab, and I think that's about it. So you should send me more sheet music!!! I would love to have some more fun songs to play. I'm starting to work on How Great Thou Art (and All Creatures of Our God and King is in the bag!). 10. Do you get to read church magazines?  Do you want me to sent you some?  Church magazines would be awesome!     11. Is there anything that you forgot that you wished that you had? 12. How do you send emails when the library is closed on federal holidays?  That's the reason why I'm emailing today!!  13. Are Sundays extra tiring on your mission? (Levi’s question)  So far, no, but fast sunday was HARD! We do a full 24 hour fast, but we do a lot of work on sundays! We have to get to the church by 7:30 for ward council meeting, and then we proselyte/visit people after church. I like it a lot though. We have 2 sets of elders in our ward, so we have plenty of missionaries. 14. How are you getting along with your companions?  So far my companion is great, he's really smart (34 on the ACT and going on a full tuition scholarship to BYU) and he knows the area really well. Which is a HUGE blessing because I would get lost SO fast here! There are literally NO landmarks. We get along pretty well. 15. How did the move for Garrison go, or did it go?  The move went great, but it took up 2 days (so we didn't get a lot of mission-related goals done, but we cleaned up the apartment after 6 years of elders (not pretty). 16. How does the whole meal thing go for you, do you fix breakfast for yourselves/companions? How many nights a week do you get meals from members?  We now get to feed the missionaries every night in the Spokane mission!  We make breakfast and lunch for ourselves, but so far we have been fed by members EVERY night. 2 sets of missionaries in the ward, and the members feed both sets, EVERY night, I love it. 17. What has been the most surprisingly easy thing for you to adjust to on your mission? Really, I've been surprised at how easy the whole transition has gone. I haven't really had any difficulty making the change except for # 18. 18. What has been the most surprisingly hard thing for you to adjust to? Not playing ANY games except on P-day, and planning out every day. 19. What are some of your unique mission rules? (another Levi question) Unique mission rules... I guess one thing (not really a rule) is that when missionaries leave, the mission president has a meeting with all of the leaving missionaries AT ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN! I think that's awesome, and I hope that he'll do that for me too.... But we'll see. 20. Do you get to read any blogs online on your pday? Have you seen your own blogs? Nope, no blogs for us! Kind of sad, but we really don't have that much time.
Anyways, back to Kansas City, it's been great fun, I've met great people, and I'm having fun. (Who said that work couldn't be fun?) It's definitely an experience that I will never forget, and already (in just the 8 weeks that I've been gone) I have learned so much and felt things that I know that I could never feel if I was back home. It is a really amazing experience and I am truly blessed.

Elder Colvin

Apartment pictures:
My second week in the field, we spent 2 days cleaning my old apartment that had housed elders for the past 6 years (unspeakable filth), and moving into a member's "basement" apartment/missionary mansion. 

Old Kitchen
Refer filth - inside was worse!
Interesting wall paper
Let's just say that it was a vertical move: My mother has already told me that this is wayyyy too nice of a place for elders to live in, and I agree.  I am doing all that I can short of being the nanny to keep this place clean.
Entertainment center with temple TV
The Big Comfy Couch
Weight training
P-Day paradise

Sun room orange tree
Too nice for Elders

Big Bathroom!
Can't seem to get the comp to make his bed.

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