Friday, July 24, 2015

7/2 - 7/8

07/02/2015 Thur

We stopped by Lona's today after exchanged back. She has been having a lot of health concerns come up lately. She had to go get her eyes double dilated to get her eyes tested for her new trifocals and afterwards she had to drive home about 20 miles. She said she could barely see the break lights of the cars in front of her. She had actually called us to come park her car in her garage because she was afraid she would knock the side mirrors off. She has a lot of other health problems that compound the pain that she feels.

We went to the Troyer's house for dinner and they had specially made some apple dumplings for us. They were whole golden delicious apples which were peeled, cored, covered in dough, then cooked in a syrup they made. They were really good, but really filling. Normally they only make them in September through October, once the apples are in season.

In the evening we were finally able to get a hold of Chris so we could teach another lesson. He has been really hard to get a hold of lately since he has been driving some Amish around so they can get some work done. The lesson went really well, he was really open with everything we said and he wanted a triple combination so he could read in Doctrine and Covenants about what we discussed. He is on date for being baptized August 8th but I do not know how solid that is since it has been difficult to schedule lessons with him. We will just keep trying and I know the Lord will help work our the rest.

07/03/2015 Friday

Today was the new missionary follow up training. WE met over in the institute building at OSU campus (the same building we came to on our firs day in Ohio). This time we were given pamphlets on the restoration to hand out instead of Book of Mormons. I feel like the Book of Mormons were easier to hand out because I have a greater testimony of it and of the words contained in its pages. I was with Elder Liu, who is probably the person in my departing district that I know the least. We ended up finding an an athiest who was willing to talk, but didn't really want to pursue learning more. Elder Liu bore a really powerful testimony of the gospel and his conversion story. Sadly, this person just shrugged it off and it didn't seem to change his mind about anything. Even if that man didn't appreciate Elder Liu's testimony, I am really grateful that he shared it.

When we got back to the institute building we were able to go to the temple. This is the first time President and Sister Daines are doing a temple trip along with the new missionary follow up training. I am excited that we are able to go to the temple as often as we have been. In the future, we are probably only going to get to go every 6 months.

The temple was a great experience and I am amazed at the power of entering the temple with questions prepared beforehand. The film played in the temple was the same as the last time, but I felt like I got something completely different out of it.

I really enjoyed the training. We got to see all of the elders and sisters that we were with in the MTC and I feel like I learned a lot about how to improve as a missionary. I think my favorite thing I learned is when your are wearing the Lord's name tag, you are never inadequate. I also liked a quote from President Daines which says "Don't cut the baby in half, but it is okay to cut the bread in half". The quote means don't compromise your principles, but work with your companion to compromise on opinions/personality differences.

Later in the day we were teaching an investigator named Dan. The lesson was not very effective and we were getting frustrated. He gave us back his Book of Mormon because he "will be drawn back to it if it is true". The logic he was using didn't make any sense, but it is his choice. After we left the lesson, we got a text from the zone leaders saying that President Packer passed away. We just immediately knew so well how dwelling on that lesson and being angry about it wasn't worth it. Losing two apostles so close together is devastating. I can only imagine how the first presidency and quorum of the twelve would be feeling right now. President Packer has always been one of my favorite apostles. He spoke so boldly and always bore a wonderful witness of the Savior. I am also shocked at the timing of his death so soon after the legislation of gay marriages. For the past few conferences he has spoken out about the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, so that is too bad he won't be able to give a talk regarding that change.

We dropped by the post office to see if Elder Hill's package he is expecting has arrived. Elder Tate recently went home and said he sent a package on Monday that should arrive soon. We checked our P.O. box for a packing slip and there wasn't anything there. Elder Hill was getting a bit frustrated that his package hadn't come yet. As we were leaving, the post office worker stopped us as we were leaving and let us know a package showed up and he hadn't had the time to put the slip in our box. Elder Hill got really excited and then we found out the package was for me. Needless to say, Elder Hill was quite upset now. The package was from Austin. He ordered a big box of Pringles on Thursday that showed up after one day. ( I am about a week behind on journals and just realized I wrote about the wrong package. The pringles actually arrived 07/10/15. The next paragraph is the package that actually arrived on 07/03/15.

I got a package today from home. There were doubles of a lot of things so I could share with my companion, but he is going home so he didn't want much of it. We ended up lighting the sparklers and shooting them out of PVC pipes with a blow dart. These were the only fireworks we were able to do for the 4th of July.

When we were at new missionary training, President Daines had short interviews  with the new missionaries and he suggested that I stop taking over all of the responsibilities of managing the Ipads.  I was a little worried  about confronting Elder Hill; I don't like creating conflict. During daily planning Elder Hill was a little reluctant to do planning on the Ipad, but he was willing to do it. We are switching off daily so that we both share the responsibility.

07/04/2015  Saturday

Today is the Fourth of July and we wanted to go to Brother and Sister Yates' property in Lowdersville since they were having a party for the whole Danville group, but President Daines said that we couldn't go. Lowdersville is just a few miles outside of our mission so he said we would have to stay in Danville and do other proselyting activities. We had a few investigators that were planning on going, so it is too bad that we could not go.

I the evening, we ended up helping the M..., an Amish family, bale some hay. We got to help them for about 4 hours until the sun went down. They invited us to stay for dinner, and we really wanted to stay, but it was 9 pm and we had to go back to the residence. We plan on helping them again at 3 pm on Monday. Since we plan on starting earlier, they think we will probably be able to join them for dinner next time.

Before we went to bed, we lit the sparklers and shot them out of the PVC pipes. We do not have to be careful about starting wild fires over here in Ohio since everything is so green and wet.

07/05/2015 Sunday

Today is the first fast and testimony meeting that I got to go to since I was sick last month. Some returned missionaries showed up at the group in a white limo. It looked a little out of place next to the Amish wood shop we meet at.  The returned missionaries work for a member selling pest control. One of the elders, Elder Pike, was one of Elder Hill's zone leaders a few months back.

I felt I really needed to bear my testimony. The first Sunday I was here (05/31/15) Brother Hansen, the group leader, had sent a note to me through one of the primary kids during sacrament. The note was him asking me if I would bear my testimony. I replied I would, but I didn't get a chance to bear it. When it was Brother Hansen's turn to speak he had said there wasn't enough time, but that he mainly asked just to see if I was willing. Since then I wanted to bear testimony of my knowledge of being called of God to serve in Danville. When I got up to bear my testimony, I ended up feeling strongly prompted to share something else. With Elder Packer passing away a few days ago, I had been thinking about the words of our modern day prophets and how much I have taken them for granted. Those are servants called of God to receive revelation for the entirety of the church. "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (D & C1:38). By not diligently studying and heeding their words, I am showing God that I do not value his word. I think this is the first time bearing my testimony that I have truly testified from the heart and through the power of the Holy Ghost.

After church Elder Hill and I had group coordination with Brother Weaver. After we were done meeting, Brother Weaver offered to take us on a buggy ride. Elder Hill hadn't been on a buggy ride before either, so we were both excited to go. Judy is the name of the horse that was leading the buggy. Brother Weaver had just shooed Judy earlier in the week because the kids wanted to take the buggy to church on Sundays. When he was shooing Judy, she wasn't behaving so Brother Weaver smacked her on the rear with his mallet (he assured us it wasn't with enough force to hurt her). Well, Judy was surprised enough that she started kicking and broke a smoke detector. These aren't just normal smoke detectors though, when these ones break they still signal to the fire department to respond. This happened when I was on exchanges, but Elder Hill heard the fire truck go by with its sirens on.

The buggy ride was really nice. I can't say that I prefer it to a car, but it was a fun experience. We followed the Mohican Valley Trail which passes through the Bridge of Dreams. On the trail we saw an Amish buggy that was  going a bit slower than we were. Brother Weaver pointed out to us that it was a "party buggy". Apparently sometimes the Amish youth sneak out when they should be working and drink in their buggies while they listen to music. In this case, they were listening to trashy music like Kesha. It was definitely interesting. We tried passing them, but they wouldn't pull over a few feet so we could get by them. Finally, Brother Weaver whistled LOUDLY, really loud. None of us were expecting that and it startled us, and Judy. I didn't know it was humanly possible to whistle that loud. The party buggy wasn't phased, but we eventually reached a point that was wide enough to pass them. The buggy ride ended up being about 45 minutes, it was a greatSunday afternoon activity.

07/06/2015 Monday

We had a district meeting this morning and the assistants to the president were present. Elder Hill was quite nervous to have them at the meeting. He felt we were going to be corrected on everything. I liked the meeting, I feel like the assistants were not overly bearing or judgemental. Sometimes it feels like Elder Hill just worries for no reason.
Lona sent us a wave of texts informing us that was dropping us again. This is the third or fourth time this has happened since she started investigating the church. We tried to calm her fears about the church, but I guess she just felt like we were pressuring her into baptism. The most important thing we can do now is still be a friend. to her. Brother Weaver has been a good fellow shipper throughout the time we have taught Lona and he told her that even if she doesn't join the church, he still wants to be a friend to her. 

In the evening we got another chance to help the Millers with hay.  This time we were able to help for 5 1/2 hours. There weren't as many people helping this time, but that was okay because the baler wasn't working fully.  It kept breaking down and was finally put out of commission when it hit a gopher hole.

We did finish in time to eat dinner with them. The younger Rodriguez siblings were helping to mix up some homemade ice cream as we finished up the last load of hay. The dinner was really good. We had pizza that had pork hot dogs sliced on it for the meat. It didn't taste like normal store bought hot dogs; they were better.

07/07/15  Tuesday

In the afternoon, we stopped by Myron Horner, a less active in the group. He is in a part of our area that we usually don't go to because of how far away it is from our residence. His trailer is about a quarter mile up a steep path through some trees. Today is a hot and quite humid day, so we were both sweating like crazy once we got to the top. It is almost like we were breaking the rule of not being allowed to swim; I hope to never have to sweat like that again on my mission. Myron is an older gentleman who doesn't have a vehicle and recently had leg surgery. While he may be classified as a less active, he would be at church if he could be.

Most of our day after that was crummy. No one was home that we tried to visit and it seemed like plan after plan was falling apart. It was a bit discouraging, but I like this happen.

The first Tuesday of every month is a geneology class over at the Troyer's house. We have been working with John and CeCe to fill a four generation pedigree chart in preparation for gathering names that they can take into the temple with them. Sadly, John and CeCe cancelled on us so we didn't get to go to the class. I was really looking forward to learning more about family history work, but I guess what I want isn't really as important as doing the Lord's work since I am on his errand.

07/08/15  Wednesday

Today is preparation day since it is transfer week.  We actually finished everything we needed to do early so we just relaxed in the residence for a couple of hours. Elder Hill crocheted a tie with the yarn I used to tie the Jolly Ranchers around his bed. The tie isn't appropriate for a missionary to wear, but it is a fun neon rainbow tie. I was working on memorizing a few algorithms for solving a Rubiks cube blindfolded. I enjoyed the time to relax for a bit. It was much needed for both of us.

We went over to talk to Henry Hochstetler. He has been working on some wooden name tags and a wooden samurai sword for some elders in the mission. The sword looks really cool, it has a cardinal carved  burned into one side of the hilt and a dragon on the other side.Henry is getting better with his dremel and carving skills.

For dinner, we ate over at Elder and Sister Price's house. The Hochstetler family joined us because the Prices are going home July 26th and they want to eat with all of the Amish families they got to know so well. Paul Hochstetler told some incredibly funny stories from his childhood about the kind of mischief him and his brothers got into. Most of the stories involved hooking up their spare motor to all kinds of things like wagons, buggies, and anything with wheels. The other stories he told were about the horses he had that he liked to run off so he would hitch something up to their harness and then spook them. One time he just tied a makeshift sled to the horse's tail. He sounds like he was a handful when he was a kid.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

06/29/15 Mon

We had another visit with Lona today. She had us throw away two bottles of wine from her fridge. One of the bottles is from her late husband on their wedding day over 20 years ago. The other bottle I think she received as a housewarming gift from her daughter. Lona doesn't really drink, but she wanted to give them up without us prompting her. It was really hard for her to give them up though, she was crying as we threw them away. I can tell she is getting a lot closer to being ready for baptism. She is following the commandments with exactness because she is feeling prompted to change through the spirit. 

Lona asked us to take a pile of checkbooks and burn them since she doesn't have a shredder. We don't have a fire pit, so we had to use a dirty pot we found under the sink.  We probably looked like a couple of hobos as we sat around a burning pot outside our garage. We didn't have a lighter fluid so we used engine oil; Hopefully the fumes didn't harm us. We had to burn the checks 2-3 at a time, so we didn't get done until around 11 pm. Now we have a pot full of ashes that we don't know how we are going to dispose of it.

06/30/15 Tues

We got to do family history again today. It is becoming my favorite part of the week. I was running out of work to do when Elder Hill showed me that you can set someone else's tree as the focal point and you can start to work backwards to their children. After about 5 minutes I already found a few places where there holes in the tree where some cousins are missing. I can really see potential with this feature and I think I will probably find some names that need to be taken to the temple. I don't know if I will be able to do their work since we wouldn't have time for baptisms, initiatory, and endowment when we go to the temple. At least their work will be able to be done for them.

After family history, we went over to see Ross. The lesson went a bit rough at first, but we were able to teach him about the word of wisdom. He has been smoking and has cut down from what he used to since switching to rolling his own cigarettes. He is willing to have us text him daily to help him quit. This is some good progress towards his baptismal date of August 1st.

For dinner we went over to Elder and Sister Price's house. They are the senior missionaries that teach a lot of the Amish kids in Danville. Sister Price made empanadas because she wanted to try making something we enjoyed back at home.  They turned out really good, the filling was spot on. The crust could have used a bit more water, but I hadn't included that part in the recipe. I am really grateful for effort Sister Price put into help us feel more at home. She also made applesauce cookies because that us something Elder Hill's Mom would make all the time. She asked if there were any other  recipes we really liked and I told her about the chicken bacon pesto pizza, so maybe I will be eating that next week.

07/01/15 Wed

To start off the day, we drove over to Howard to do exchanges with the Mount Vernon 2 Elders again. This time Elder Hendrickson came to Danville with me and Elder Hill went to Mount Vernon with Elder Anderson. This is the last exchange before the end of the transfer, then we get to start all over.

We drove down to our zone training together with the other elders. We had to drive down to Newark. We are supposed to be conserving miles but there are a lot of far away meetings that we have to go to each month. I really enjoyed the meeting though. We talked about "Divine Discontent", it is like the good version of guilt. It is the motivating factor to continually be improving. Essentially we should be happy with what we accomplish, but never satisfied with the status quo.

After the training, all of the elders in our district went out to eat at Wendy's. When we helped the Shores move about 3 weeks ago they gave all of us a $10 gift card. We just wanted to help, so it was really nice for the Shores to do that.

After getting back to Danville with Elder Hendrickson we stopped by the Hochstetler's wood shop to drop off some sacrament cups. We had also brought some coke and mentos with us since they had never seen it react before now. We used mentos gum because I couldn't find my regular ones. The drink fizzed up a lot, but it wasn't nearly as explosive as it usually is.

Brother Weaver called us while we were at the Hochstetler's and needed our help moving some furniture into his store. Sean Smith was there helping and there was a lot of furniture to unload. Moving heavy stuff has been hard for me. I tire really easy and I want to keep helping, but my body just can't keep up. There are times where I fee like I am not pulling my weight in service and I feel really bad about it. Then all I can do is keep praying to Heavenly Father for the strength to carry on helping. I hope we have more opportunities for service that use some talents that I am able to be of some help. I have already helped fix a couple of internet connections, maybe I will get more of those chances in the future.

After moving furniture, the Weaver's invited us and Sean to stay for dinner until softball started. Softball was really fun to watch this week. One team got ahead by seven points in a row in one inning. Then the other team got six points in a row in one inning. It was a close game.

Back at the residence, Elder Hedrickson and I prepared a surprise for Elder Hill. Elder Hill has been feeling down because he goes home in just under two months. I decided I wanted to get him a bunch of Jolly Ranchers because he always likes taking candy from Lona's candy dish when we visit her. Of course I can't just leave a bag of candy on his bed; I have to do something fun with it. So Elder Hendrickson and I tied the Jolly Ranchers together with some brightly colored yarn. We stayed up until almost midnight listening to veggie tales music and tying Jolly Ranchers together. In the morning, we took the giant chain and started wrapping it around his bed. This took more effort than expected. All of the left over Jolly Ranchers we put it in his drawers and clothing pockets. There were a lot of left over candies because I had bought a 4 lb. bag. I wasn't sure how many it was going to take so I just got the larger bag.

Since Elder Hill was feeling a little stressed, I decided to do something fun for him. When we were on exchanges, Elder Hendrickson helped me use yarn to tie up his bed with Jolly Ranchers.

 A limo of returned missionaries showed up at the woodshop for church this week.
We went for a buggy ride with Brother Weaver and his kids. The horse's name is Judy.