Rain and snow today! This past week the wind has been blowing and howling and the temperatures have plummeted to around freezing. I am still not used to this when it is still only mid-October. 2 weeks ago it had been about 75 for a number of days in a row and my fingers keep hitting the wrong keys because they are still thawing out. Phew.
I guess you probably would like to know some about my new companion Elder Perkins. Let's see...this will be more fun if I hint at things first, then tell you the reality: he is bigger than I am, plays sports, wants to work hard (and stay in the field!).....is 6'3" and weighs 300 lbs, played college football on the offensive line and brings that kind of work-ethic into Kenora. Alright! Let's go to work! We have already had tons of stories--mostly good ones--after only 1/2 a week. The first night a member prepared an interesting stew for us...it was really good, especially the fact that we were eating bear meat. Seriously. Really good too. The next night a Mennonite family invited us in for their Sabbath supper and fed us Bison meatballs. Tasted great. Saturday we knocked on a door and a guy offered us a piece of cow tongue. Guess who ate some?! Didn't really like that so much, it left a gross aftertaste, but I definitely ate it! (Even with all the crazy foods I have eaten on my mission, I still can't down tomatoes, they are just wrong...)
Elder Galbraith, Elder Woods (TJ's trainer), and Elder Perkins
Some spiritual things...I really liked a quote from President Paulson during the trainers and new missionaries meeting: "The Lord disguises His miracles to the world as coincidences." I am pretty sure you would absolutely agree, but to further illustrate the point, let me share a story from a set of sister missionaries up in Saskatoon back in March or so: These 2 sister missionaries were walking along the street (as many missionaries commonly do) and 1 of them saw an onion on the side of the road and passed by it. The other, following along, stopped and picked it up, after seeing that it looked like it was still fresh from the store. The first asked, "Why did you pick up that onion?" The 2nd responded, "I don't know", but continued as if nothing happened. Just a short ways up the street they saw another onion. The same thing happened: the 1st sister missionary passed it by and the 2nd picked it up, and the same conversation took place. Now, both of these sisters ARE NORMAL, just to put that out there! Continuing along the street they saw an apple and this time the 1st sister picked it up thinking, "why not?" Now that they had these 3 items, they paused and decided that they should visit a nearby grocery store and see if a shopper had reported losing any food. They found one close by and talked to the manager and the manager referred them to the produce section, where they went. When they arrived back there, the worker at the produce section approached them and asked who they were. They said they were missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and upon hearing that he turned around and went to the back of the store...and returned with a Book of Mormon and said "I have a few questions for you". 1 month later he was baptized. 1 month. Miracles happen, and can happen in the strangest ways. Honestly, who would think of grabbing and pocketing an onion on the side of the road--multiple onions--and then to return them to a grocery store? Who would do that? Who would do that unless inspired by the Holy Ghost to do so? That grocery-store worker had been prepared and the Lord saw fit to lead those sister missionaries to him while at work. Truly, as President Paulson said, "The Lord disguises His miracles to the world as coincidences."
Speaking of scripture mastery, I was hoping that you would be able to send a scripture mastery card with all 4 years of seminary scriptures on it. They shouldn't be much, and I have seen them before. There are cards that have all 4 years on that one card. Good for you Mom to try that. I have been terrible at memorizing scriptures and Elder Duncan of the Seventy urged us to do so. I figured I can always trust a General Authority, right?
I really liked Dad's comments on faith. I think I have mentioned a number of times that I am a huge proponent of faith and works, and faith in action. 2 Nephi 25:23 and 2 Nephi 25:26 are 2 of my all-time favorite scriptures. We are saved by the Lord's grace after all we can do. We do our part by obeying the Lord's commandments (why else would he give them to us?) and by doing so we show God that we really DO want to follow Him--even to the point of giving certain habits and activities up--but we cannot be saved by ourselves. The grace of God is what saves us, after we do all we can to show we really sincerely want to follow God. SAVED BY GRACE AFTER ALL WE CAN DO. Simple enough. This past week I reread a Conference talk from April that I really like called "What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?" I reread it a couple of times and gained a few ideas about the type of missionary I need to BE in Kenora. I need to BE a missionary, not just DO missionary things. You catch on? It has helped a lot, and Elder Perkins and I have already found so much success. We have already got 11 appointments set up this week and many are with new people we are excited to work with and have so much potential. We had to drop the baptismal date (BD) with Lauri because she needs to come to a minimum of 3 times to church prior to baptism and she only had 2 Sundays to do so, but while tracting yesterday we were let in and set one with a young father named Leo! Way exciting. He was glued to the Restoration pamphlet after we gave it to him after the lesson. I love seeing that. Lots of good things happening here, and I expect more good things to come. Thank you Mike for your loving email, I needed help refocusing, and it drove me to BE better.
You mentioned Kalai, and you should search for the song "Onward Christian Soldiers" by him. A very interesting rendition that frankly annoyed me when I first heard it, but I really enjoy his unique style. Hope that helps. No, I have not received anything from Grandma Jeannette lately, but I did send something off to her 3 or 4 weeks ago.
Way to be Jared Tryon! I love that kid more and more. Leading the choir, eh? Probably just prepping him for leading Mo-Tab someday. He could if he keeps up all the music he is doing. I love the Tryon's weekly letters too, oh, so good, and I literally CANNOT wait to see this year's pumpkins. I still have last year's taped to the wall. That impressive. Uncle Robert turns 70 on Halloween? That is scary. Ha. Go BYU. Way to be UW, someone told me they were #22 and I did not believe them.
That is about it. I love you and thank you for your emails and support. Godspeed, continue praying for Kenora, I will continue praying for the house.