Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 60: In which I lose Elder West, people use our boxes, and we are given a pie,

Week # Something-or-Other
Written 17 Jul 2017

Dear everyone,

This has been a great week! However, I'm super sad: Elder West is leaving. :-( He's going to be a Zone Leader up in Ephrata, WA. Oh, well. As I said before: sometimes, good things must pass away so that even better things can come along. For sure, I made a great friend here in The Dalles. I'm still stickin' around, and I'm going to be senior companion! That means I'm going to be driving again! Yay! I'm going to be receiving a new companion, Elder Jensen. I'm super excited for the adventures we'll make together.

This last week was awesome. Monday, we saw Noe and Maria again! They're doing okay, especially considering their crazy hours. Man, the harvest season is rough! However, we found some amazing new investigators up in Goldendale. Their names are Ofelia and Juan Carlos. They are pretty much the nicest people. They used to live in The Dalles, and when they did, they took the free English Classes offered by the Church. They also studied with the missionaries. They are already friends with some of the members down here, thanks to that. Ofelia has had a lot of contact with the Church in the past, and pretty much already believes the Restoration. Juan Carlos is working on leaving behind his old life, which was really troubled. He's trying to find out if he really needs God in his life, but is very sincere and open to learn about God.

We've put about four boxes around town so that if people have questions about God, they can write down their name, number, and/or address and we'll contact them to help answer their questions. Already, several people have put their info in our little "Referral Boxes"! We have 2 people who we think are really interested, and we're working on contacting them.

I know the Restored Gospel is true, and I am so very glad for the opportunity I have to share it with others here in The Dalles. I know that, if followed, the Gospel will immeasurably bless our lives and the lives of those we love. I know for a fact that is true of my family.

Love you all, and I wish you the best!

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

How are you? How are you feeling about the upcoming transfers? (I'm sure you'll tell us what's up, eh?) - Well, you already know what's happening. I'm really, really, sad to be losing Elder West. I kind of knew it would happen, though. I'm excited to receive Elder Jensen, though! I've heard he's a really fantastic person to be around. I will admit, I was rather surprised to be staying in The Dalles while Elder West leaves. It was a bit unexpected and a little out of left field. I was at first super surprised and didn't know what to make of it, but I'm getting excited for the adventures I'll have with my new companion.

We saw pictures of you in front of a ward party ad for a luau. Did you go? Did any investigators go? How was it? - Yeah, we went! We got a pie out of it! Unfortunately, none of our investigators went, but it was a cool luau activity. It was a scout camp fundraiser, so there was a dessert auction afterwards. Someone ended up buying us a pie.

Um. This is your mum speaking. I hope you thanked whoever bought you the pie!
Of course!

How was your interview with President Lewis? (Sister Lewis sent us pictures of you with three of your compatriots. Her label on the picture was, "I love these elders!") Tell us about what you talked about with both of them, please. :-) - We talked about a lot of things. I'll try to remember, but I think I talked to President Lewis about how I'm trying to stay positive (I mentioned my recent strategy for staying positive that I shared with you). With Sister Lewis, we talked about much the same. As I recall, I had had a harder week than usual at staying positive leading up to interviews, but had begun to snap out of it thanks to my strategy of saying nice things. I'm telling you, it works!

It looks like you could use some new brown shoes. Do you know what kind/size they are? - My brown shoes are actually doing okay, I just need to reinforce them a bit with shoe goo. They are Nunn Bush, and I think they're 13's, but don't quote me on that. Also, I have shined them recently, so they probably look a lot better than when you last saw them.

Any cello news? - Not really, nope.

Were there any excerpts from your letters in the last mission newsletter? - No.

How are your investigators? - They're doing okay. We found a couple of new ones, though, and they're awesome!

What have you been doing for service? - We've got a great gig helping people through the food bank. They really need Spanish-speakers, so it's perfect!
Dad and I are super proud of you. President Lewis told us you will be staying in The Dalles and that you will be the senior companion - It's comforting to know that he trusts me like that. I'm really excited to be able to work with Elder Jensen! I'm sure I'll learn a lot from him.
Are you excited to be the senior companion? - I suppose so, yes, but I'm honestly not entirely sure what that means, except that I'll be driving. Maybe I'll start having senior (companion) moments? Who can tell? 

It means you are responsible for doing all you can to make sure you are staying busy and focused, that if there is a question about what needs to be done, you own it. It's having an attitude of "the buck stops here. I am a problem-solver and will do what I need to do to get the job done." It means continuing to do the good work you've already been doing and trying to inspire your companion to do his best, without being pushy or obnoxious. Aaaand it means you get to drive. 🙂
Be careful! - Well, yes, but it's a strange thing when you're also trying to work in unity, together. You're looked to, and the buck stops there (possibly because the buck was shot?), but shouldn't you be doing all of that anyway, even when you are a junior companion? I don't know. I think I understand, I was just trying to do all of that anyway ;-) (besides actually having any responsibility).
You probably already know this, but one of the most helpful things I have learned about inspiring people is to treat them like the person they should and can be. Try to see them through God's eyes. Try to see their potential, and treat them like they are already there. Make sense? - Of course! It's one of my philosophies, taken straight from "The Art of Possibility". I call it "Giving an A". It's an important leadership and teaching principle.
I'm impressed. I didn't know you actually ever read that book! - Well, I don't remember if I read all of it, but I read some decent chunks. 

Love you!

Elder Adams

Stuff for your Eyes

Elder Poloncic, whom I ambushed while he was updating the Area Book to take this picture:
Sweet Sticky Rice With Mangoes!
Elder Hanson, with whom I was on exchanges:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 59: In which I ponder the end of Camelot, we meet cool new people, and I am grateful for fruit.

George I, Fransisco II, Ofelia III

Written 10 July 2016

Hellooooo, everyone! Welcome to the 58th installment of... Elder Adams' weekly emails! I'm pretty sure that number is somewhere in the right ballpark. Those of you who like mindless accounting, feel free to tell me if I'm wrong. (note from Editor Dad: Not bad, it's only 1 week off.)  Elder West and I are still livin' it up here in The Dalles, OR! I'm not sure how much longer this can last, though. It's kind of like Camelot. Great things have to end so other great things can start. If I do end up leaving, I will be a very sad missionary indeed. I'll be excited for the future, but we all sometimes mourn for the good that is left behind.

This last week was a good week. We found 3 amazing new people: George, Fransisco, and Ofelia! That's to explain the title. George is great. His mom's name is Yanet, and she's been going through a hard time. When we found Yanet, she was crying while sitting outside. As we talked, she told us that she had been studying with "los Testigos" (Testigos de Jehova, Witnesses, Jehovah's Witnesses, or "J-Dubs" for short). She had had some family troubles recently, and was really touched by the little we shared about the Plan of Salvation. She took a  copy of the Book of Mormon, and said she would read it.

We then went by a little later, and a young man opened the door. His name was George. When we asked about Yanet, he told us that she (his mom) had been unable to sleep for 5 days, and so his dad had just barely taken her to the hospital before we showed up. We shared about how the Gospel, which is restored, blesses families, and gave him his own Book of Mormon. He was really attentive, and even though he was shy and didn't want to, said an amazing prayer at the end!

Later, out of the blue, we decided to randomly call some people who had studied with missionaries in the past, but got too busy. Their names are Ofelia and Juan Carlos. When we called, Ofelia answered the phone! She was super excited that we had contacted her, but was very sad to tell us she had moved. Darn! Well, when we asked her where, she told us she had moved all the way to... Goldendale. Pshht. That's a non-issue if ever I saw one. Anyway, we set up an appointment tomorrow, and we're going to Goldendale! Separately, the sisters up in Goldendale got a message from one of our members, telling them about a good friend who had moved to Goldendale, but had just excitedly told the member that somebody from the church contacted her. The member, Sister Mullins, was really excited! She told the sisters that her friend didn't speak the best English, but that she had to be contacted by missionaries as soon as possible. The sister missionaries then excitedly called us, letting us know that an amazing Spanish speaker had been found in Goldendale! We started getting amazed that so many Spanish-speaking people in Goldendale were suddenly asking for missionaries, and with a little further probing, we discovered that it was... yep, you guessed it: Ofelia. So she's really excited!

Finally, there's Fransisco. He's nice. A member from our ward asked us to talk to him, because they've worked together for years. We taught him and now he's investigating the Gospel.

That's pretty much it. Not too much else is going on. Noe and Maria are still busy, and so is Rosalva. Actually, funny thing: Even though we were teaching them completely separately, Rosalva and Maria are best friends. They carpool together to work, and Maria invites Rosalva to read the Book of Mormon and come to church all the time. It's a pretty amazing thing! If only the cherry harvest didn't suck, vampirically, the life out of people. Ah, well. At least it doesn't last all year.

That's all for now! Love you! Bye!

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom:

Wie gehts?Fantastisch, danke!  (This is German: "How are you?"  "Fantastic, thanks!")

Anything fun planned for today?Not really, no. I honestly have no idea what the plans are today. We were going to learn how to whittle cool things, but that got postponed. I guess we'll find out!

Did you know there is a Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale that might be interesting to visit?Yes, I actually do know about that! It's not actually in Goldendale, but about halfway between Goldendale and The Dalles. Perhaps we'll go, if we can find the time.

Any news on Jamie or your other investigators?Well, not really. There's not any news on the people you know about. We've got some cool new potentials and investigators, though! I'll update you in my main letter.

What do you do to lift yourself up when you feel sad or disappointed?If I ever catch myself thinking something negative, I have a rule that I have to actually say something positive, preferably about that thing.

How long does Elder Wood have left in his mission?Elder West has about 5 months left.

I don't want you to spend a lot of time thinking about this, but just a check-up, because I will have to start helping you deal with it soon enough: Are you still inclined to go back to BU when you get home, or are you considering other options? - I still plan on returning to BU. Great music program, great singles ward, really great teachers. (I won't even mention the food options.)

Also, are you still inclined to want to live in a dorm at BU? - Hmm, I hadn't thought about that one much. I had sort of assumed so, but it was a tad cramped.

Anything in particular you wish you could talk to us about or share with us? I don't think there's anything at the moment, other than standard (or, as you would say, "mundane") things. :-D I do love you a ton, though!

Con cariño,
[With love]

Élder Adams

Pictures of messing around with a flashlight and long-exposure camera shots

Need I say more?

Other Pictures

The following are from the Mission President's visit to The Dalles on Saturday, July 8 for missionary interviews.
Elder Adams and Elder West welcomed us!
 Elder West and Elder Adams, serving in The Dalles Spanish areas
(The missionaries were apparently all asked what they loved about their assigned area.)

Elder West:  I love the free fruit (cherries and nectarines are my favorites).  I love crashing Mexican parties.  I love the general feeling of small town agricultural culture here, and the felling up north of adventure and “untamed wilds.”

Elder Adams:  I love how friendly and sincere the people here are.  I love the delicious fruit.  I love the Columbia River, giving life and beauty to this place.

 Fellow Servants.

 The following are from the Mission President's visit on Sundaty, July 9 to visit church in The Dalles.

Church meetings were great!  Afterwards these Elders were in the Family History Library (where they email on Mondays).  They were preparing reports.

 Wait one minute, Sis Lewis!