Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm Singing in the Rain!

Yes that is a cheesy title but I gotta have a little fun with it. So
this week flew by really fast! I can't believe I'm already writing a
second letter from the field. So I'll give you more of a description
of where my area is since I'm getting more familiar with it. Like I
said before, I'm in the Lehighton area, and we have our one branch,
the Lehighton Branch. So our area is huge, we have a ton of different
little towns in it. I live in Palmerton, and we also serve in
Slatington, Lansford, Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Nesquehonig, and a lot of
other small towns. Our area is pretty big and spread out. Palmerton is
kinda that typical small town you see in movies and stuff, so there's
no big name stores, but it's probably one of the better towns to live
in in our area. There's trees everywhere! It's way cool, and they have
pretty big hills, but everyone calls them mountains, which is so
wrong. I tell people they are nothing like Utah mountains and some
people respond saying that they always thought Utah was flat. Utah and
Idaho, where my companion is from, are like completely unknown places
to the people out here!

I think I'll just point out some stuff that happens each day during
the week. So last Monday we went to family home evening with some
families here. There's the bakers and the ulmans who switch off
between which house we go to, but they all have it together, so we
have dinner with all 20 of them and then we teach a lesson. I guess
they've been having missionaries over for years to do that.

Since Monday was Labor Day, most stores were closed so we made a stop 
on Tuesday at this dairy up the road. Elder Stimpson was a farmer back
in Idaho, but more a dairy farmer than a potato farmer. So he loves
cows, so he loves going up to this dairy. Honestly the chocolate milk
is AMAZING! It's way nice to have fresh milk! Elder Stimpson liked the
smell of the cows too which doesn't really make sense to me. Later
that day we went and helped Brother Roseler out with his yard and they
fed us as well. Sister Roseler is a convert and she was baptized early
this year, Brother Roseler has been a member for a few years, and they
have two little kids. They feed us on Sunday nights so I look forward
to that, because they are an awesome family. Anyways they rent a house
on this huge farm and so we offered to help take care of the massive
yard if they need it! They are moving in January to San Antonio, Texas
in January so maybe Davis Wesche will run into them somewhere!

Wednesday we found ourselves in a situation where we needed cash, so
we went to rite aid to get some cash back. We were thinking we could
just buy a soda or candy or something, but then we found possibly the
last case of Baja Blast in all of the Lehighton area! I like to call
that tender mercies of the Lord! Later that day we taught our
investigator Casper, the 9 year old that's getting baptized, he's
pretty quiet, but when we can get him to talk he's really a smart kid
and seems to understand what we are reaching!

Thursday we had zone training. I found out there's a Sister missionary
in our zone that went to Jr. high and high school with me so that was
cool to talk with her a bit. Then we are some lunch with the Elders in
our district, they are a buncha cool dudes! After zone training is
where is got really good! Our plans kinda fell through for that day
and it was pouring rain so we decided to stop by some members houses.
First we stopped by sister carols, who was just getting ready to take
her granddaughter to rehab, so they asked us to give her a blessing
before she went. Afterwards we stopped at the Kennedys to see Brother
Kennedy, who is a little less active. He's a way cool guy, he's super
short, but he plays golf, loves football and has a huge guitar
collection. I could talk to him for hours. He even fed us dinner too!
Before we left his daughter, who investigated the church, but then
decided she wasn't into it, asked us if we could give her a blessing
before she had surgery that week. I thought it was interesting that
she asked for it because she's not a member ya know? Maybe her hearts
being softened by the lord! Then Sister Kennedy had been really sick
for a few days so Brother Kennedy asked us to give her a blessing too!
Blessings on blessings on blessings. We then went and visited Brother
Unger who has five cats, and Elder Stimpson bought a green laser
pointer so he played with the cats most the time and Brother Unger
thought it was the funniest thing! Afterwards we went to visit a lady
who was baptized right before I got here, and we found out from her
friend she's being evicted. So we called her up and she was super
positive about it, and almost saw it as a blessing. So me and Elder
Stimpson decided to go get some slurpees, and when we got home we were
hungry so we fried up some spam. It's not that bad honestly. We have a
Jewish friend here named Jeff, and somehow Jeff ends up with all this
spam, but it's not kosher so he gives it to the "Gentiles", which I'm
not gonna pass up because it's free meat (kind of). Free food is good
even if it's gross.

Friday's we do weekly planning, which takes up a chunk of our day, so
after that we went to the kellars to do some more service. We decided
they are like our grandparents here, they are the best! We visited
Jenny that night and she's super optimistic about the whole eviction
thing so that's good! She's also the one that thought Utah was flat.

Saturday it poured rain again, so we did a service project with the
branch where we put together hygiene kits for the homeless. I heard it
was a church wide thing, but we had a good turn out from our branch!
It was cool to see the members participate and be so excited. After
coordination meeting with our ward mission leader we visited Jeff the
Jew, who is really one of the coolest guys. He's read all of the Book
of Mormon, doctrine and covenants, and the rest of the lds library.
He's very smart, so I think his brain does too much work, and prevents
his heart from feeling the spirit. He talks a ton though, he told us
"if you ask a Jew the time, he will build you a watch" so we ask him
something and he will just go on about it! It's sick! Sometimes he's
talking about pizza and it somehow transitions into something about
how he lives around a bunch of druggies! He loves the church too, so
it's nice because he is very supportive and loves the missionaries and
honestly I've learned so much from the visits we've had with him!
After our time with Jeff we went to a baptism for a members son, which
made me realize that it was just a little over 10 years ago that I was
baptized. I probably went to the temple for the first time really
close to 10 years after I got baptized.

Sunday is always a good one, being able to go to church and such. We
have long branch council meetings in the morning which are actually
enjoyable. So the reason for the title of this email is that it rains
here all the time, which I love, but after priesthood I get told I'm
part of the branch choir, which literally has 8 people in it. We are
really bad, but people don't mind! After choir our branch does a pot
luck on the 2nd Sunday, so we got some more free food, and later that
night we went to the Roselers for more free food!

Well that's pretty much it for this week, all the days are starting to
mold together, so it's a good thing I keep a journal to remember what
happens each day! I hope everyone's doing well wherever you are!
Something I learned this week is that a testimony is more about what
experiences you've had and what you do with the testimony and what you
do because of the testimony. So I challenge you all to go out and act
on your testimony, instead of just telling someone what it is, go show
them the good that you have learned from the church, and how a true
Christian should act. We have been sharing a Mormon message, where a
man tells his friend he hasn't missed a day of church in 30 years. His
friend goes on to say "wow that's impressive, but what were you doing
with all that time you weren't in church? I hope you were being a true
Christian" I know this work is hard, but it's worth it, and if you
focus on others more than yourself, you will know true happiness.

Have a good week!

Elder Dylan Smith 

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