Saturday, December 2, 2017

Week 79: In which I am transferred to Moses Lake, I begin my service as district leader, and Jay commits to baptism.

Dropping the Base
written 27 Nov 2017


Here I am in Moses Lake. It's been quite the busy couple of days. After saying goodbye to some dearly beloved members and my wonderful companion in Toppenish, I came here to Moses Lake. We work only with those who speak Spanish in the northern part of town and a bit outside of town limits. We have a car, and I'm the new District Leader here. That means that I am responsible to help out, teach, inspire, and encourage the Spanish-speaking missionaries in Moses Lake, which is our Zone. We've had a lot of crazy days with a lot of planning, but even though we didn't have a lot of time, we were able to see the following miracle:

We found a few people that seem to have potential, and are excited to go back this coming week. Also, we've talked with a couple of our investigators, and they seem to be doing well. One of our investigators, Jay, committed to baptism! We asked him why, and he said that he wanted a fresh start to be free of the mistakes he's made in the past. He's leaving in a few weeks for the Holiday Season, but we're excited to see where that leads.

So, things are very exciting here in Moses Lake, the Prophet's Puddle. 

I'm super glad to be here with my wonderful companion, Elder Shoemaker! He is very buff. He works out a lot with weights in the mornings, and so is very strong. He also likes food a lot. We're going to get along just great. :-)


Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

How are you today? - I'm doing resplendently well, thank you!

Have you had a good week? - I was sad to leave Toppenish, but I was super glad when I arrived. I do and will like it here. We've been ridiculously busy with planning and getting things figured out, so for a while, we didn't even have a lot of time to do normal missionary work.

Has anything Dad or I have written to you about our missions been pertinent or helpful as you cope with everyday mission life on your own mission? - Yes, absolutely! I love reading both of your mission accounts. I find things to learn from both of your experiences. 

What is a "prophet's puddle"? - That's my nickname for Moses Lake. You know, Moses = Prophet, Lake = Puddle.

Are you still feeling sad about the transfer? - Well, not really. I'm happy to be here. In a way, yes, because I love both Elder Rigby and Toppenish, but I also love Elder Shoemaker and Moses Lake.

Did you know your companion or anyone in your district or zone before the transfer? - I didn't know my companion, since he spent his entire first year waaaay up by Omak. I did know Elder Buchanan (who goes home in three weeks and was in the Othello Zone when I was there) and Hermana Burrup (who was in The Dalles Zone while I was there). Other than that, no.

How's your apartment? - It's decent. We're living with 2 other English missionaries, one of the other District Leaders and his new greenie.  It's a super nice apartment, but just a bit cramped because there are four of us. We're working on some home improvement projects today :-)

What's your new area like? Is it a pretty place? - This new area is absolutely amazing, and I'm really excited to be here! There are some amazing opportunities for missionary work here, and I already love the members. One of the members of the Branch, Sister Luna, is actually from Massachusetts! Her parents were visiting for Thanksgiving, and are from Olivia Iverson's ward.  Hermana Luna used to occasionally visit the Lowell Ward to play sports and things, even. She married a Peruvian. Small world, eh? As far as vistas, though, Moses Lake kind of lacking. Like Othello, it's pretty flat and brown. The only thing to break it up is a super funky looking lake (after which the town is named). Other than that, natural beauty-wise, it's honestly pretty flat, brown, and ugly.

What are you doing for exercise with your new companion? - Working out. I do some weightlifting, and other exercises I learned in Karate. On Thursdays and Saturdays, we exercise as a Zone. It's pretty great.

Have you had a district meeting yet? - No, but we will this Thursday.

What are your responsibilities as a district leader? - There are a lot. I may have to record that separately. Basically, I am there to inspire and help the other members of the District. That means preparing and leading out in District Meetings, calling and following up, reporting information, and forwarding information. Also, if people have questions (rules or other things) or if they want permission to do something as a special-case thing, I can make judgment calls on that. That's pretty much the gist of it.

Is Moses Lake a Mormon enclave? (It looks like there are quite a few wards in a pretty small area.) - To make a long story short, yes.

I love you too! Have a great beginning of the Christmas season, and don't forget to check out #LIGHTtheWORLD this year! It's a revamped version this year.


Elder Adams


A stray picture from last week's Zone conference
Ben on transfer day at the "Yakima transfer site"

Spot Ben in this video at the transfer site:

Some farewell pictures from Toppenish:

 Thanksgiving dinner with Elder Shoemaker in Moses Lake:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Week 78: In which we find Laura, teach David, and I anticipate Thanksgiving in a new area!

(written Nov 20, 2017)

I don't know what it is here, but I don't seem to have enough time ever. I'm already out of it, but I hope you can forgive me. I don't have time for a main email this week. Partially, that's because of some technical difficulties sending so many pictures. It won't happen again, sorry. My deepest apologies.

Love you all,

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

How's your week been? I can't wait to hear about some of your experiences! - It's been super fantastic! At the same time, though, I've had some profound disappointments. Well, mixed feelings, anyway. Read on!

Any plans for Thanksgiving? - Yes, but I don't know what they are. I will probably find out soon, though. Continue reading to find out why I don't know.

What, if any, changes are in the wind? I'm, of course, looking forward to hearing what is in store for you this transfer. - I'm really quite sad to report that Elder Rigby will no longer be my companion. Neither will Toppenish continue to be my area. I'm being transferred to Moses Lake 9th North. (Moses Lake 9th is the Spanish Branch). I've been assigned to be the new District Leader there. The District has 2 companionships of Elders and 1 Sister companionship. The District consists of all of the Spanish missionaries in Moses Lake. I will be companions with Elder Shoemaker. I hear he likes to eat a lot. I guess we'll get along just fine.

I will arrive on Wednesday. That means that my first full day there will be Thanksgiving. Grrr. That's super unfortunate. Oh, well, it's not the end of the world. :-) That's why I don't have any idea what the plans are, since I'll be going to Moses Lake, the good 'ole "prophet's puddle", for this year's holiday season.

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? - Finding Laura, probably. Also, David is doing really well. David is an investigator of ours who suffers from memories of his past. He served as a Marine in the Gulf War, and it really scarred him. Pretty sure he has some serious PTSD. He's married to Priscilla, a nice lady. She was feeling ill, but David came to church with two of his boys, Albert and Bubba! They did great. Laura is a new investigator who wants to be baptized, feel forgiveness, and give up drinking for good to be a better mom for her 6-year old daughter, Anayi. Laura's mom, Maria, and her brother, Alfredo, also have a lot of potential. We had a great lesson with Joshua Brownowl (AKA Marvalous) as well, and he wants to be baptized! He's doing pretty well, too, but doesn't have a very supportive family.

How about the most challenging thing that happened to you this week? - Being told I was going to be transferred. Elder Rigby is staying to train a new missionary. The only thing that took the sting out of leaving was being assigned to be District Leader. That will add some welcome extra spice to missionary life. I'm still really, really, sad to go, though. Toppenish has been one of my very favorite places to be. It's been a wild, wild, ride.

What is the name of the hymn you played at zone conference? It starts out like "Pioneer Children..." but then goes somewhere else. (I liked it, by the way, and you've gotten lots of thumbs up on Facebook from people we don't know--parents of other missionaries, I presume). - It's the BYU Vocal Point arrangement of "Savior, Redeemer". Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

What are you most thankful for in your life right now? - I'm very, very, grateful for Elder Rigby. He's been a great companion. I've seen him grow a lot, and I feel like I've grown as well in our time together. I'm also super grateful for President Lewis and the rest of the mission leadership. They're all so very supportive and helpful.

Most of all, I've learned to be grateful for Jesus Christ and what he did for us. I'm so glad that thanks to Him, our lives can be filled with light. I'm incredibly grateful that I can start fresh all the time, that tomorrow can be a new day, and that I can have a family as wonderful as all of you. I love you, and wish you the best.

Elder Adams


Sister Macintosh and I. She's from the Philippines, speaks Tagalog, and makes amazing egg rolls that remind me of Cambodian egg rolls home. We had dinner with her a few times, and the other Elders were teaching her to help remind her of what she learned when she joined the church and rekindle her testimony.

Bro. and Sis. Barney and I. They're really nice. He's a Ward Missionary here. He is a farmer, and has a little bit of a stubborn streak, but is a good man. He's stubborn enough, though, that when he fell of a ladder onto cement, he didn't want to lay down and rest, but got up and started acting normal again. It's taking him a long time to get over that, as a result. In some respects, it reminds me of when Mom, after getting knee surgery, was standing on chairs washing windows and doing all manner of things.

Bro. Compton and I. He's nice, and a member of the bishopric here. Sister Barney is in the background.

Bro. Shannon Thorp. His brother is a less-active member of the church. Their dad used to be bishop. While I was here, he moved back to Toppenish because his house burned down. He's absolutely fantastic with us in lessons. He also has an enviable beard.

Adrian Maravilla and I. He's the Elder's Quorum President of the Branch. He's a nice guy, and at college.

President Kendall! He's amazing. He's the Branch President of the 2nd Branch here in Toppenish. He's a really fun man, with a great personality. He likes to talk a lot, and our meetings often get off track a bit (i.e. a lot). He's also very accident-prone and has some back issues, so often has to miss church. Still, he tries his best

This is Hermano Maravilla and I. He's the 2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency and in charge of Sunday School. He's an amazing man, and very humble.

Los Ibarra! They're super solid members of the Branch. We are teaching their daughter, Jamie (3rd from the right) because for legal reasons she can't get baptized until she's 18, but her birthday is on December 10th! She's really excited, and has waited a long time.

Our legendary Lower Valley District. Elder Rigby and I are in front.
Back, left to right: Elder Sanchez (our District Leader), Elder Wright, Hermana Brenchley (she scares me a little), Elder Gallacher, Hermana Hernandez, Elder Alonzo (being trained by Elder Sanchez in Sunnyside).

Elder Sanchez, Elder Rigby, Me, and Elder Alonzo after exchanges Saturday morning.

Elder Rigby posing in front of one of the many murals in Toppenish, this particular one being on a church. Elder Rigby makes a good companion, doesn't he?

Joshua Brownoul showed us a really cool trick with a piece of paper that separates like so. He folded up the piece of paper, called it a "ticket to Heaven", and told a story about a good guy and a bad guy. The good guy had the ticket, and the bad guy kept asking for pieces. He would rip off a bit of the ticket each time. At the end, the bad guy ended up with all the pieces which spelled you-know-what, and the good guy ended up with the cross. It was pretty cool, and very Joshua Brownowl.
Me with a rake.


Week 77: In which we anticipate #LIGHTtheWORLD, welcome Marvalous to church, and Elder Rigby likes my puns

Another (VERY) Cool (COLD) week
(written Nov 13, 2017)

Cello solo at Zone Conference

Hello Family!

It's been a great week. We found several new people with whom we can work, and it's been great.  Here's an excerpt from my letter to Pres. Lewis: 

We found some incredible young new investigators, Dante and Yamelet. The lesson we had with them was probably the single most amazing first lesson I've ever had on my mission. That's saying a lot, too. The are now on-date for baptism, but we're quite nervous because we haven't been able to really contact them since that first lesson. Pretty much the only contact we have had from their end was to say they would have to reschedule our return appointment because he was working a lot. While a bit frustrating, we still hope we can get back in contact and figure something out. They were in tears at the end of the first lesson. They had been to a Christian church before, and felt the Spirit there. They've been looking for that feeling again ever since. When we came, the Spirit was super strong.

They're super promising, but we've got to contact them again. We haven't been able to teach Cris and Cassie this week, sadly, but we did find Germaine again! She's been really busy lately with some hard things happening in her family.

It's been good. It's been also super busy. Sorry for not leaving enough time to say a lot more.

Some thoughts:

Well, #LIGHTtheWORLD is going to be awesome again this year! Also, we're working on being even more consecrated to the Lord, and letting go of anything that might hold us back from "taking the plunge". One of the biggest take-aways, though, was that we should try even harder to get to know the Savior. President Lewis extended the challenge to us to read the Gospels of Matthew and Luke before Christmas in the effort to get to know Christ even better. By reading about what He did and taught, we can know even better who He was. Also, we should pray with greater fervency. If we want to get to know someone, we talk to them, right? Therefore, by talking with our Father in Heaven, we can get to know Him and His Son better as well. 

Marvalous came to church! Heck yeah. Our good friend (Elder Rigby says that all the time, by the way) Joshua Brownowl (known on YouTube as "Marvalous") came to church! He was bummed out he had to leave a little early and couldn't be in the choir, but wants to come back and stay for choir. He's a good guy.

Love you all!

Elder Adams

P.S. Shoutout to Sister Susie Roberts for her letter, as well as to the girls from Activity Days! I really appreciated your letters, and am glad you're thinking of us out here in Toppenish. Thanks!

Questions from Editor Mom

So, do you have plans for Thanksgiving, assuming you stay in Toppenish? - I don't honestly know. I guess that means we don't yet. We'll probably eat with 1 or more members that day. We have a ban on tracting that day, so we're just focusing on doing service, visiting choice investigators and members, and other related activities.

How's the weather been? Are you staying warm? - The weather has been nice and chilly! I love it! I'm starting to wear my winter coat every day, and I'm very, very, grateful for the boots you sent. I'm wearing them every day now.

Do you still do a lot of walking, even though you have a car? - We don't walk a ton, honestly. We have a lot of lessons, so we are usually rushing around from place to place. It depends on where the lessons are. I would say we walk an average of 1.5 hours a day.

Do you have a favorite Book of Mormon story? What is it? - I really like a lot of Book of Mormon stories. Some of them are also particularly useful to us missionaries in teaching situations. One of my favorites is when Nephi and Lehi (the brothers in the Book of Helaman) were teaching, they got put in prison. Then, the Lamanites came to put them to death, but some crazy stuff happened, and there were angels, and fire, and darkness, and confusion, and fear (on the part of the Lamanites), until finally an ex-member helped the other Lamanites out by telling them they had to turn to Christ for help. Then, angels came and ministered to them. Needless to say, they did not put Nephi or Lehi to death. On the contrary, the Lamanites became converted, were baptized, and thanks to their testimonies, nearly the entire Lamanite people ended up joining the church and GIVING UP LARGE CHUNKS OF LAND to the Nephites. What the heck?!? Why doesn't that work now? Man, I wish we were thrown in prison sometimes if it would result in that kind of conversion! Still, if we can avoid the whole prison-thing and still bring people to a knowledge of Christ, all the better.

What inspired you this week? - Something that definitely inspired me was Zone Conference. I feel even more motivated to follow the Savior's example and get to know Him better.

How is Elder Rigby surviving your puns? - 
ME: "Elder Rigby, how are you surviving my puns?"
ELDER RIGBY: "I think they're funny."

See? See? Did you hear that, Mom? He thinks they're funny.

Do you know how much I love you? :-) - Probably not, but I think I have a pretty good idea. :-)

-1  U 2,000

Elder Adams

Pictures from Zone Conference

Spot Ben: