I hope Memorial Day is going well or went well for everyone. This is the unofficial start to summer, which I have been waiting for! Summer vacation started last Thursday here in Sanpete County. For most of the week it still felt like spring with all the rain but the weekend turned out to be pretty nice and now it is back to rain. I can already tell I'm going to miss boating this summer. If I can't wakeboard, I guess being a missionary is a good substitute... who am I kidding this is way better. :)
I went through the Manti Temple for the first time on Tuesday. All I have to say is WOW! I feel so blessed to have some of the most storied and historical Temples in my mission. The Manti Temple was dedicated in 1888! That puts the Temple at a whopping 123 years old. The opportunity we have to go to the temple as latter-day saints is such a blessing for me.
Elder Brown and I were out on the farms teaching a lot this week. The Nor Best turkey plant is out here towards Moroni so raising turkeys is big business. It was funny though because we were on a farm looking for an investigator and I felt like I was in the movie Chicken Run! haha I wonder if these thousands of turkeys know they are being raised just meat? Honestly turkeys are not the smartest animals so I doubt it but it was just funny to think of these turkeys trying to escape. The smell is so bad out here at times too. If you get a westerly wind blowing, boy does Moroni smell. The whole town ends up smelling rancid yet no one notices it! They all say they have gotten used to it and don't smell it. haha
The work has been going good out here for the most part. We had a couple rough days this past week where appointments fell through or where everyone just rejected our message. Those really are the worst days as a missionary. At least for me it is. You really find out who you are as a man though from these days. Two days this week in particular were brutal. It's those days that I turn to my Father in Heaven for strength. It's through humble prayer I know I can always receive comfort. I know He is the only one that can soften the hearts of these people and He helps us find people who are ready to receive the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I firmly believe our character is not measured by how we act when the times are good. Rather, it is how we act when the burdens of life placed upon us seem insurmountable, that we preserver and continue to look for the good in life. In the scriptures faith has always been built in times of desperation and despair not times of good and plenty.
Saturday was the Scandinavian festival/ parade here in Ephraim. I'm just going to say this was one of the best days of the mission so far. My cheeks were killing me by the end of the day because I was smiling so much. We probably talked to over 60 people (easily) and got a few good referrals. Being a missionary really is better than being a normal person. I don't see how anyone could dislike being a missionary. EVERYONE and their dog wants to talk to you and find out where you are from. I think I should have just tattooed Vancouver Washington to my forehead. Sometimes we would be tracking down Hispanics and we would get stopped by the white people who wanted to talk. haha Everywhere you turn you hear "Hey missionaries". People are way too generous in offering you money for food too. I think five different people offered us money. I kind of wish people would just offer us good referrals instead of money as a way to contribute. I would much rather have solid referrals over money any day. It was cool seeing everyone from the branch out and about. We saw President Montoya, President Barton, brother Gordillo, the Arnaldsons, the Chamberlains, and a bunch of other families. Shout out to the Chamberlains if you are reading this. :)
We were told by a few people we really should have been in the parade as missionaries! If I get the chance to be transferred back to Ephraim next summer I definitely would do it in a heartbeat! Just thinking about Saturday makes me laugh. Missionaries aren't celebrities, plus I look like a dork out here so I have a hard time understanding what the big deal is. Elder Brown and I came to the conclusion it's the name tag that says JESUCRISTO on it. :) Ohhhh maaaan. Such a good time! Elder Brown got pretty sun burned. I got a little burned on my nose and cheeks but that was about it. I have a nice collar tan line now too! It looks funny when I see myself in the mirror but what can I say.. I'MMMA MISSIONARY!
We also went on splits this week. I really like splits because I get to use my Spanish more. Normally my Spanish is so-so when I go with Elder Brown (at least that's how I feel) but when I am under the gun I do pretty alright. I think I work better under pressure and when I have to shoulder the burden. I feel the spirit help me out and even more when I'm on splits and that in it’s self is one of the greatest feelings in the world. The power of the spirit using you as an instrument is indescribable.
Well I have one more full week till transfers. Elder Brown and I are going to make this week count! It's time to give 'em Heaven. You never know when it will be your time to go. Elder Brown and I have really hit our stride. I think we could do a lot of good together one more transfer but we will see what the Lord has planned for us. Just remember sometimes God will bring us low and humble us before he will lift and exalt us. We must know pain in order to know joy. Quoting my mom: " To not believe is to not have faith in God's plan. God's plan is perfect." I love you mom. Thank you for everything. Vaya con Dios.
God is love,