Well hello there!
Things have finally started to slow down enough for me to be abel to actually talk about what the heck has been going on the past few days.
So...I'm in the good old city of Klamath Falls, Oregon serving in the 5th Ward. The neighborhood that I'm covering is known as the "Mills Edition" because the rapid growth in population when the lumber mill went up required houses fast. But, since the mill has now shut down, the area has as well. In my past letters I would say how sketchy downtown Roseburg was, but to quote the great Elder Redding, "The Mills Edition makes downtown Roseburg look like Sugarland, Texas". The area is very economically challenged, but with that comes humility in the people which makes for an awesome pool of people to teach.
My companion this time around is named Elder Best from Detroit, Michigan. He's been out for roughly 14 months and has been in K-Falls for 6 weeks. If you're wondering if I've already made the "you're the best missionary ever" joke, the answer is yes, several times.
This week has definitely been one of the most difficult and rewarding weeks of my mission. It was surprisingly really, REALLY hard to say goodbye to Roseburg. As much as I may have discredited it, I grew to love the area and love the people. Having to move 100 miles away and start all over was really tough. But, as the week went on and I started to meet people and become familiar with the area, things got easier and easier.
And, holy cow, the people here are awesome. I'll talk about specific people as I start to get to know them, but we have a really wide selection of people that we teach - which is fantastic! The members of the ward are all extremely supportive of the work we do and are always willing to help us out. But, that's not what you want to hear, you want fun stories don't ya? Well, you're in luck!
This week we've been doing one thing and one thing only; area book clean out. We go through our records and visit potential and former investigators and try to get in with them. So far, it's really worked! We visited a guy named Justin and his wife Ayla and they actually invited us in right then and there. We had a great lesson with them.
We've been teaching several people with a knowledge of the Bible and it's been great to show them what the Book of Mormon can do for them, and how God truly hasn't stopped speaking to us.
There area also some investigators who's circumstances are really humbling. We teach an 18 year old girl named Miranda who is basically trying to decide between getting baptized and her family. There are also the Quayle boys, who's father won't allow them to be baptized even though they know it's what they want to do. It's circumstances like this that truly make me grateful not only that I have grown up in this Gospel, but now have the chance to share it with all these people.
On a less serious note, we taught this black guy named Lesley out on his front porch for 2 hours...in the 25 degree weather...without our coats. It was worth it though because Lesley is hilarious! He continually would say, "if you haven't noticed, I'm a brother" and then just go off on crazy wild tangents and stories. It was good fun for sure.
I would have to say that the highlight of my week was the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional yesterday. We watched it at the Quayle house on their teeny tiny old computer, but the experience was amazing. Feeling that love from the general officers of the Church toward our Savior and the humble means of hearing this message really touched my heart and I felt the Spirit very strongly.
While serving so far the holidays have been very different from how they are back home; you really get the true sense of what it is we're celebrating, especially now as we celebrate the birth of Christ. If you didn't get a chance to watch the devotional, please do. It's awesome! And remember the words found in Moroni 7:40-48 during this Christmas season.
"40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save he shall have hope?
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope throughout the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
43 And again, behold I say unto you that the cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for non is acceptable before God, save the meet and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confess by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and enviethnot, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evel, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye haven't charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faith. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fall --
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
God Bless us, everyone!