I WENT FISHING!!! Oh ya! Elder O'Driscoll and I went fishing in the Lake of the Woods and caught some fish too! No worries, it was all from off the dock...The bad news is that I forgot my camera back in the apartment and you will have to wait until next week to see pictures from my first ever fishing experience. We fished off a member's dock and I went up to ask the member if we could (could still see Elder O'Driscoll, mom, no worries there) and by the time I came back he had a walleye on the dock and caught a fish with his first cast out. Sheesh. After a while I felt a tug and reeled in the fish that was a real fighter--he was only 4 inches long. Ga. Elder O'Driscoll said that his walleye (about a foot long) fought less than that thing. We were out there for about 2 hours and he was catching all sorts of stuff and I wasn't getting anything. I would get something hooked and then when I "reeled" it in the minnow was gone, but no fish. So one time I was getting a minnow onto my hook and Elder O'Driscoll bent over to help with something and picked up his rod---and a fish. That is how his fishing was. But I got the last say, because I walked away with a Northern Pike! It was the biggest fish we caught. Call it beginner's luck, but I got it. I probably caught 6 or 7 fish by the time we quit, but only kept my Northern Pike, about 18 inches long, and 2 perch, about 8 inches long. We took 5 or 6 fish home total, and will be eating some good fish this week. Oh ya. I took a number of pictures and a couple of videos...I can't believe I left my camera in the apartment. Ga. The lake country is some of my favorite. So beautiful! I almost feel like I am in Seattle because of the hills and lakes and trees, just no mountains. Mosquitoes aren't too bad--yet.
This past week had all the emotions of a mission compounded into 1 week--highs, lows, heartbreaks, everything. We set 2 baptismal dates with 2 people this past week. Garnet, and Matt, are totally different people that we found while street contacting in "downtown" Kenora. Garnett's date is for Sept. 3rd, but his date is kind of shaky, as he is not the most commital person. Matt has a BD for Sept. 17th, and he has some Word of Wisdom things to overcome, but he is willing to try the Book of Mormon and take Moroni's challenge. So those were good news. We have been working with Nick and Crystal and Crystal dropped her baptismal date, which was a big low, especially for Elder O'Driscoll because he is very emotionally involved in the conversion of that family. Nick is still set to go for his BD on August 20th, but the Branch President is still waiting on his paperwork to be able to marry them before that. Keep those prayers coming! Sunday was neat, with another 90 or 100 or so people at Sacrament Meeting. It was disappointing to see so many people that had said they would come to church not come, even with their rides all lined up and ready to go. We made almost 2 hours of calls trying to get 14 people rides, and 2 people came. Now, I know that I need to be grateful for the 2 people that did come, and I am, it’s just hard when a huge amount of people did not come. Ga. It was then, after that, that Crystal told us she was "done". But we honestly feel that we did all that we could, and we are satisfied with that. THAT is probably the hardest thing about missionary work: I can do everything in my power to do better, and be better, and get people prepared for baptism, but my efforts alone do not determine how people progress. My success is measured by my devotion to the work. When I was in high school track I would just practice harder and apply myself more and I would do better and hit my goals. Missionary work does not work the same way, and I sense that parenthood is not either. Maybe this is preparing me for that...yikes. This week just reinforced that principle to me.
We have run into A LOT of drunk people this week, and you will have to wait to hear most of those stories until after the mission. It all makes me despise alcohol so much more. Ugh, it ruins families! While tracting we heard a couple shouting at each other REALLY loudly and we stopped and listened and things got so out of hand that I made my first-ever 911 call. Being here in Kenora these few weeks has made me really appreciate the Word of Wisdom, because SO many people drink and smoke here. That garbage transforms people into indescribable things. Sick. I am realizing that blessings can simply be the absence of evil or destructive things. Blessings are seriously underappreciated, like clean houses, working appliances, working cars, decent mattresses, things like that. Luckily I have all of them in Kenora. See? I am blessed, especially with the absence of bed-bugs.
About my return trip...I guess we will see what happens when things get closer to that time. Which reminds me, when do I need to look at BYU stuff again? Dad, that is your job to keep me posted on when I need to look things up and when I need to do everything necessary. I do still have a lot of time left to serve, but I am now "over the hump".
We are now teaching an artist who can whip out just about any sketch in no-time. We spent a little time going over his sketches and stuff. Pretty neat, because his entire house was full of artistic stuff. Super creative. I have lots of little stories about random things. No real story here, it just stuck out from this past week.
I see a lot of new Focuses and Fiestas on the streets here. Dad, remember to keep every Car and Driver while I am gone, it’s going to be a great day catching up with all that! Elder O'Driscoll and I call our companionship the "Holy Hand Grenades: just exploding the Gospel".
Say hi to Josiah Smith again for me. I hope he is doing really well.Love you all,