Monday, January 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2015

I can't believe it's almost Christmas haha it feels like not that long
ago I left home and was seeing Halloween decorations everywhere I
went! This has been an awesome week, we have definitely been very very
very blessed! Buckle up and get ready for a long email!

Monday the Bakers cancelled on us so we stayed up in Lehighton and
decided to go visit Mike, the smoker on his porch. Well he wasn't home
but his wife said he'd be back soon so we sat on his porch and talked
with his wife and their neighbors. Mike came back so we talked to him
out on the street in the rain, don't ask me why. The past times we've
visited Mike he's pretty much told us that we can't really teach him
because he's way older than us and has had a hard life, so I figured
instead of teach him lets just talk with him about the gospel. In
times past he's told us that essentially the way to make it back to
heaven is by believing in Christ and doing Christlike things. He's
read and studied religion all his life so he is pretty knowledgeable
and set in his ways so pretty much church and the Book of Mormon are
not important to him. For some reason my comp wanted to talk to him
about prophets and he kept saying the same thing over and over trying
to convince Mike there was a prophet. Mike said he didn't want to
argue, but my comp started arguing with him anyways. Then at the end
Mike was like why are you sitting here arguing with me about prophet
prophets prophets, then he pointed at me and said why can't we just
sit and talk about Jesus like he wants to. So that was nice to kinda
have a confirmation that arguing is never the answer. I asked him if
we could say a prayer because I was hungry and wanted to get some food
and he said of course! So we prayed and went home to eat. He's a great
guy, but my comp is kinda scared to go there now so we've been forced
to drop him. I made some awesome grilled tuna sandwiches that night

Tuesday morning we helped Tom put up his ceiling. I think it's called
a drop ceiling, not too sure. We helped Tom out with a few other odd
jobs which is always a blast, I love being around that guy! He took us
out to Chinese buffet which is always a plus:):) Later that night we
went to the Kennedy's because Sister Kennedy was in a car wreck the
day before and she needed a blessing. She's been in way too many car
accidents over the last few years, but she always walks away with just
scratches and bruises. She's definitely blessed! Anyways we had an
awesome visit with them and they fed us Chili for dinner! Bro Kennedy
puts up a little Christmas village each year so I'll toss up a picture
of that! After that the Uhlman's needed help moving some stuff out of
their storage unit into a UHAUL so we helped them out with that, they
really appreciated the help so that's good!

Wednesday morning we walked around to try and see less actives and
potentials, but no success so we came back for lunch and I sat on our
roof and played my ukulele so that was awesome! We went to Bro
Schoenberger's to help him move his piano to put a carpet underneath,
but first he took us to a surprise lunch so I ate a good amount that
day! After some good heavy lifting and rolling and unrolling this
massive carpet he gave us some ice cream sandwiches and we were off on
our way to go visit with Jeff Wartluft! We got there and it was him
and his mother in law Betty. We really emphasized what the Book of
Mormon is since Jeff is finally reading it. I used the object lesson
my brother in law Derek taught me which helped a ton! They really
understood what the Book of Mormon is all about and they are more
willing to learn now, hopefully they will progress! He also sold me
this way sweet shirt, I'll post a picture of that too! Afterwards we
went to Sister Carols for dinner, which is always interesting. We had
Chili there and then she ended up giving us all this food to take home
as well! After that we met up at the chapel to deliver some Christmas
food baskets to the members in need with Bro Fegely. It was actually
really fun just driving around with him and spreading a little
Christmas love!

Thursday we had district meeting, which was way good! Elder Martinez
had us meet in the Chapel and we first talked about Christmas
traditions we did back home. As I thought about it all my families
traditions have changed, whether it was the home tour we used to do or
whatever, but I talked about what my dad and I have done for the past
few years. Nothing big, but for the past 3 or 4 years my dad and I
watched "It's a Wonderful Life together" right before Christmas. I
don't know if he'd consider that a "tradition" but it's definitely
something I'll really miss this year. Then we focused on our
patriarchal blessings and how we can use something we found in there
to better our missionary work. I was the only one who said I hadn't
found anything yet after the 5 minutes we were given to study, but I
guess I'll have to keep searching! We ended by going into the relief
society room where Elder Martinez bought us all Santa hats and we took
a nice district picture! We went on exchanges that day so I went over
to Stroudsberg with Elder Laine, the one from Finland. It rained all
day, but we still walked around to find people to teach. We had dinner
with this awesome family, the Macias's. Me and Bro Macias are bros
even though I've only met him twice. Nicest family ever! We were
talking about their Christmas tree and how their ornaments all have
meaning from what happened that year, and then they get pajamas on
Christmas Eve just like the things my family does! Elder Laine thought
that was super cool so he wants to take that tradition back to
Finland. All of the lessons cancelled, but at the end of the night
around 8ish we were walking to see a potential and there was a guy
taking out his garbage so we were like "Hey do you have a few minutes
to watch a video about Christmas" and he was like "sure!" So we showed
a Savior is born to him, and he loved he. Then we found out his step
father was a Mormon and they used to have missionaries over at their
house all the time and we were like yo!! So we capitalized on that
because he said his stepdad was a thug before we found the church, and
we asked him if he'd like to understand what changed his stepdad and
he said yeah! Then he asked why bad things happen to good people and
luckily I've been studying the bible out here so I talked to him about
the story of Job, and that pretty much answered his question! I hope
they get to teach him!

Friday morning we met with the district because Elder Martinez
volunteered us to do something for the talent show at the Christmas
conference. We are doing some comedy skit and honestly it's probably
not that funny, but missionaries don't have too much comedy in their
lives so we are hoping for a few chuckles! Afterwards we went with the
Stroudsburg elders to help some guy named Brad move some stuff. I'm
thinking we are going to be moving a couch or tables or something. We
get there and Brad, who's gotta be like 50 brings us in and he's like
"this is the best part about a bachelor life" as he points to his
custom hot tub sitting in the middle of his living room. Whatever
Brad. So we move this huge hot tub and all these parts into a UHAUL.
He asked me how long I've been on my mission and then he said "so this
is probably the first hot tub you've moved" yeah Brad and it's
probably the last. Now I just have this thought of this  single old
chubby guy chillin in his custom hot tub in his living room. He told
us there's a feature so if too many people get in it won't overflow.
Yeah Brad I'm sure your the only one who's ever been in your weird
indoor hot tub. Yeah see ya later Brad. Anyways we came back to our
area and did our weekly planning. After planning I was in the process
of making some spaghetti when a member called and said she had dinner
for us to pick up that we didn't know about. So I hurried and pounded
the spaghetti so we could go pick up lasagna. We were supposed to have
a lesson with Ice Cream miracle Jon Boyer, but he was getting his car
fixed so he said he'd call us when he was home, but he never did.
Since we were out and about we thumped on his door and he said he just
barely got home! We had an awesome lesson with him. He told us he's
pretty much been investigating for 3 years, but moving is what stopped
him from being baptized. He has even been on temple grounds a few
times! He wants to be baptized on Jan 2nd, so I'm hoping everything
works out for him!

Saturday morning we had a quick lesson with Jon because he wanted to
start reading the Book of Mormon with us! It was sweet! We taught
about prophets and prayer and such by using the first two Chapters of
1 Nephi! After that we went to Lori's to help her split wood. She was
borrowing one of those cool wood splitting machines so we used that!
She fed us Chili, which I just realized I ate 3 times this week and I
don't even like chili, and hot dogs and Mountain Dew!!! It was super
fun honestly, I love doing service! Afterwards we had a lesson with a
referral from church HQ, Chris. Well the referral is special needs. It
was interesting because his special needs girlfriend was there too!
They talked about how they are going to get married and stuff it was
pretty sweet! I don't know exactly how it works out here, but I guess
people with special needs are taken in and given a house to live in
(his was pretty nice) and they have a care taker who comes and spends
time with them. His care takers name is Cheyenne, she's about 22. So
everyone sat in on the lesson and we shared a Savior is Born and they
want us to come back so that's way cool! We went to have a lesson with
Charles at the church. We pull up and we see his car with two people
in it and we are like what on earth? So they both get out and it's his
inactive twin brother Joseph and I was mind blown! You know one twin
for a while and finally meet the other half and I'm tellin you it's
nuts. I also heard Joe wasn't into coming back, but I guess a bribe of
Taco Bell from Charles got him to come. We had an awesome lesson with
Charles about repentance because he's no longer vaping which is super
super rad! Then Joe opened up to us about everything and told us he
wants to come back! We gave him a blessing and later that night he was
texting us that he read Enos, omni, Mosiah and all that stuff then we
got another text "just kidding I'm at the Great Wall of Alma now"! We
went to Jeff's because he's got me convinced wet shaving is the way to
go, and he had a razor and stuff for me. He ended up feeding us and we
showed him and Mary a Savior is Born and they loved it so much that we
showed them the Christmas video from last year and even the Easter
one! Afterwards we planned on doing a little finding but it was way
too cold to go outside so I thought hey lets go to Slatington to see
if we can see Jenny. I haven't seen her in like 2 months because she's
been working every single day but I guess I had a prompting to see
her. We parked our car and started walking and there she was walking
back from the convenience store and we yelled to her and she was super
excited to see us! We pretty much caught up with her on a bunch of
stuff and with everything that's been going on and the stress she's
started smoking and drinking coffee again, which I figured, but I'm
glad she was honest with us! She's been in contact with us a lot since
than so she's getting on the right track!

Sunday we didn't have branch council and we don't workout on Sunday's
so I took my time shaving and man is wet shaving the way to go!
Anyways church was pretty basic, all the people I was hoping would be
there didn't show up, but that's okay because the day gets better! We
went to Bro Unger's house because technically he's "reactivated" as of
last week, but we still felt like we should go visit him. He was
playing songs for us on the guitar, and his son James was sitting on
the couch. James is 20 and inactive. I've talked to him a little bit,
but nothing worthwhile. During a pause between Bro Unger's song I just
say "hey James, you play the guitar?" And that sparked a conversation
so I got up and sat with him on the couch and just talked with him
while my comp got serenaded by Bro Unger hahaha. I pretty much just
listened to James and he laid out his life for me, and doesn't go to
church because he knows what he is doing isn't in line with the church
and he wouldn't feel right going. I didn't try to preach anything to
him, but I just talked with him and related to him and before we left
he thanked me for just talking to him because for the longest time
missionaries have been "scared" of him or something like that. I'm
definitely not the most spiritual missionary, by a mile I'm not. The
small things like this remind me that I don't have to be, if I'm
myself that's what truly matters, even if I'm just Dylan with a
nametag that says Elder Smith, I can still help people. Afterwards we
visited with the Grubers and had an awesome visit and he asked the
question "What is happiness?" And now I have that question in my mind,
so I'm going to start asking people what they think is happiness and
write all of it down. Afterwards we went to the Roeselers for dinner
and man I love that family. They will be moving to Texas at the end of
the month and I'll miss them a lot.

I just realized a buncha weird things happened this week, I ate a ton
of chili and I wrote a really long letter, but the most important
thing is I love it out here. I miss home and I'll miss Christmas at
home, but this is where I should be. Bro Schoenberger was talking
about college and told his kids "7 years will pass by whether you go
to school or not, so just go to school" That helped a lot. 2 years
will go by whether I'm here or home, but I have the rest of my life to
be home, and 2 years to be on a mission, so just go be a missionary.
It's really been an awesome week. As far as my back goes, I'm feeling
a lot better, so thank you for the concern and prayers, I'm sure that
was a huge factor. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas wherever you
may be, and for my family I love you and I can't wait to talk to you!

1) Bro Kennedy's Christmas village
2) the district
3) the dopest shirt from Jeff Wartluft

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