[So, I am here in Yakima. It's incredible! I am very happy, because Yakima is pretty! The fruit is delicious, and the members of the ward (congregation) here are fantastic.]
Allow me to elaborate a bit. As you are all painfully aware, I am terrible at taking frequent pictures. This week was crazy enough as well that I don't have anything to show you all. However, I shall endeavor to do the best I can with my descriptions. You're probably wondering where exactly I was assigned. Well, heh heh heh. Patience is a virtue, after all. I'll tell you, don't worry. All in good time, all in good time.
Okay, where to start. I ran into my parents at the airport; it was pretty crazy! Crazy awesome, of course, but it was actually a total coincidence. As it turns out, they had a flight home from a family reunion near where I was training at exactly the same time on exactly the same day that I was leaving. They scheduled their flight long before any of us knew my own flight plans, but here's the crazy bit: we were actually on the very same flight to Seattle! They ended up treating our whole flight group heading to Yakima to a very nice lunch in the Seattle airport before we parted ways and I headed off to Yakima with my compatriots.
So, fast forward a bit through the plane ride (which was pretty standard, generally; I talked to a couple of people near me). I am now in Yakima. Woohoo! I got to meet President and Sister Lewis; they are totally awesome people. I had a short interview with the Mission President where we got to know each other a little bit, and I filled out some forms. Pretty fun. Afterwards, though, I had an experience I am not likely to forget for a little while. That would be - you guessed it - dinner.
It was heavenly. Not only is Sister Lewis an excellent cook, but she had a lot of help from the fruit here. The fruit here is divine. It's not apple season quite yet, unfortunately, but the Ranier and Bing cherries are to die for. They're right in season, too. Those are probably the best cherries I have ever had. Peaches are just as awesome; totally fresh and juicy, and they're not even quite in season yet. I had some of the best watermelon I have ever laid my teeth into, and the apricots are truly incredible. I don't know if I've ever really HAD an apricot before after eating that. We also had hamburgers with angel food cake for dessert. All with fruit, of course. The mouth-watering intensity of the fruit was definitely a highlight. I think I'm going to like it here.
Are you all hungry yet? Yes? Good. My goal is to make you all want to start drooling on your keyboards, because I nearly am even while thinking about it. After the sumptuous dinner, we had a little bit of training followed by a brief devotional. We then retired to our beds, which for us Elders was a little collection of mattresses on the floor. It didn't matter at all; they were very comfortable.
The next morning we all got up a little late (President Lewis told us to, since he didn't want us getting sick; we'll get to that later) to another awesome breakfast with homemade syrup and - that's right - more fruit. After breakfast, we went downstairs for a little more training, including a little safety video about driving. They even showed us a picture of some Elders in this mission who had crashed into a cherry tree and totaled the car. Ouch. More on that later.
After the training video, we went upstairs to find out where we were going. President Lewis opened up the map with all the assignments on it and told us to find ourselves. He had made the assignments the night before. So, are you ready to know where I'm going? Yeah you are! I'm in the Mission Ridge Spanish ward in the Wenatchee stake. Boom! I bet you didn't expect me to stick it in the middle of a paragraph! That'll teach you to try to skip to the best parts! My companion, Elder Wunderlich (pronounced wonder-litch by everyone, including him) is the District Leader, and we're staying in the same apartment as the Zone Leaders for Wenatchee, who are in our district. Their names are Elder Brassanini and Elder Call.
Oh, remember the picture of the Elders who totaled a car with a tree? That's Elder Brassanini. He can't drive any more, don't worry.
So, I got here, did a little work the first and second days, and had a great time. Then, the second night here in Wenatchee, I woke up twice at about because I got - yep, you're way ahead of me - sick. Pretty darn sick, actually. My dwindling lingering cough turned into a veritable death-banshee-wail, and my nose was totally full. I felt pretty awful too; I think, based on an event on the first day, that I may have eaten too many cherries. My companion said I was sick enough that we had to stay in a bit. That, I tell you, was the worst! All we both wanted to do was go out and talk to people! I tried to go out the second day ( ), but I got really tired really fast. I actually hurled a bit. So, guess what? We went back to the apartment. Being sick is awful.
Yesterday I think I scared off everyone in the ward with my scraping death-cough. I ended up calling the mission nurse because my cough sounded so bad (and had been around for more than 2 days), and I totally expected her to tell me to call a mortician. As it turns out, I was a bit disappointed when she told me to do exactly what I was already doing and hang on. I wanted it to be something a bit more harrowing, right? Oh, well, I suppose I can live with my mediocrity at being sick.
Thankfully, I'm feeling a bit better today, and I now have got you all caught up. I don't have much time as I've rambled on a bunch, but I'll give you a few quick notes more. We ran into a girl in high school named Natalie while walking down the street; we told her a bit about our message, handed her a card, and asked if we could drop by later. She said yes. When we did drop by for a doorstep lesson, we handed her a pamphlet about the Restoration. She looked at it a bit, and saw a small picture of the Book of Mormon on the back. She then asked us if we had one of those books. My companion and I were a bit stunned, as that's a tad unusual. When we didn't answer super promptly (because our mouths were hanging wide enough for a train to pass through), she told us we should definitely carry at least one around with us. At that, we both answered that we did have one with us, and we gave one to her. She was surprised that she got to keep it. So, she's hopefully going to read a bit in that as well. We then said a prayer and left. There are other people, too, but I'm out of time now.
Oh, before I go, one quick story: As we were leaving our lesson with Natalie, we saw like 5-6 police cars pull up right near us, including the sheriff and a K-9 unit. Yep. And that's not all. We saw one of the policemen come out of the car carrying a fully-automatic machine gun and another come out with one of those door-rammers. I think it's called a key. As we left, one of the policemen gestured towards the back of a car, looked at us, and told us to leave relatively quickly. So we did. Turns out, there were about 3 policemen, guns drawn, taking cover behind the car. I think they were doing a drug bust on a neighboring house. It was certainly not Natalie's house, so nothing to fear there. I also am totally fine, so tell Mom to stop worrying. It was a cool story, that's all. I didn't hear a single shot when we were going down the street. Then again, the policemen did have silencers...
I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Well, they did, but my companion and I are totally fine. Nothing to worry about. I'm getting better from being sick, I saw a pretty interesting situation, and I avoided getting in the middle of it. We're all good here!
Well, time for me to go. I love you all. Have a great week; I know I will.
[Editor's Note: Even though Ben didn't send photos, his "mission mom". Sister Lewis, (the wife of the mission president) has shared many photographs of the new missionaries arriving in the mission. She publishes those on her blog here, and we have copied some of them featuring Ben below.]