So it has been 8 days since I have emailed, and an insane amount of stuff has happened since then, if I had the time I could go on for hours on each day but I do have a time limit, but hopefully I will be able to tell you most of it.
I will start off with 8 days ago and that was a Wednesday it was the day for Elder Hackett to go to the Temple, and the original plan was for me to go down with them and go to a session with the Medford zone (they just happened to be going on the same day as the departing but earlier in the day.) but Elder Hackett and I earlier in the week set a appointment tracting for that Wednesday. It was a really hard decision to make to not go to the temple. It has been a year since I have gone and I wanted to go so bad. But when thinking about it I decided that my mission was not about me, I came out here to sacrifice, so I took a local Elder who was in a Tri-companionship and we worked the whole day in our area. The day was incredible, we visited a former investigator first thing, and she was not there so we knocked on her neighbors door and a lady named Christina answered she was very open and we were able to teach her and set a return appointment for the next Saturday.
We then visited a part member family we have been trying to get back in contact with and they were home and we had a great talk and set an appointment for tomorrow. After lunch and before our appointment we had scheduled some tracting in, we went to the street where we picked and started knocking. Things did not feel quite right and after a couple doors we decided to start walking a little ways and try somewhere else.
We ended up taking a few turns and knocking a few houses on a street that had a lot of old people and did not seem like the most likely place to find someone interested, but we did notice some toys in the driveway of a certain house so we knew it was a family so we knocked the door. A lady named Lindsey answered and she had 2 little girls there, she was very nice but mentioned how she has a church she goes to and her daughters even go to school there. We then told her that we were sharing something that had grown our faith in Christ and that we knew it could do the same for her, if she would just try it out. We were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and give her a copy, we left her with the same chapter we left the other lady the week before (Alma 56.) It’s about the stripling warriors and their mothers, I told her it was a place in the BOM that reminded me of my mother. She loved the verses we read with her and she was very open to reading it. We are very excited to work with her more. After that we had to run to our other lesson with Tonya (the main reason I stayed) we went there and she was not there. It was kinda disappointing but there was not regret of the decision to stay because of the miracles we had. It made me really glad we had worked hard that day and been sensitive to the spirit, because it would have been very disappointing if I would have stayed down just to be unproductive and then for the lesson to fall threw. The Lord always has his hands in things, I have no doubt I needed to be Eugene working in my area that day.
Thursday was a lot of working on transfers. We went to the mission home at 7 am left at 4 pm, it was pretty intense and it was incredible to see the inspiration that President had. At the start of the day we felt like we were farther from final than ever, not much seemed right, but by the end of the day almost all of it seemed perfect. That night we had a dinner with a member family and we also had a part member family (Wyatt's) that we were teaching there and after dinner we taught them the restoration, I will talk more about the Wyatt's in my next email.
On Friday we went to district meeting for the Eugene Zone. Elder Jorgensen is one of the Zone Leaders over the Eugene zone so it was really great to be with him, he is doing awesome. After Elder Hackett and I worked on some stuff at the office and then went to the mission home and President showed us the few changes he made. At this time he had everything figured out, except for who his next assistant was going to be, he had two Elders he kept changing back and forth and he wanted to leave the decision for Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning we we went to the mission home at 8 am to start making the transfer calls with President. When we got there he had one of the Elders in the spot as my next companion and he expressed that, that was who he decided to be the next AP, but he wanted to call the 35 missionaries who were being called as trainers first. So we went through and called all the trainers with him. Once we called all the trainers he stepped out and said one last private prayer, when he came back in the said "lets call Elder McKenzie" who was the other one he had been considering for the next assistant but not the one on the board. So Elder McKenzie is my new companion. And those of you with good memories will remember I had an Australian trainer who came out 2 transfers before me named Elder McKenzie. And crazy enough its the same Elder. Elder McKenzie and I are back together! I never would have thought that would happen. It has been so great to be back with Elder McKenzie, he is such an amazing missionary. He did such an amazing job training me, and we had so much success together. It is so exiting to be back together!
So to continue for the rest of Saturday Elder Hackett and I finished up transfer calls and then locked ourselves in President office in the mission office (which also has a transfer board.) Before the day was over we needed to figure out each missionary was to get to their new area, and how all the trainers will get to Eugene, and how they will get back to their areas the next day. It was crazy, There were so many variables but finally at 10:15pm we figured it all out and we went back and crashed.
Sunday We had at 5 am so we could make a few calls and meet with our ward mission leader before ward council. It was a pretty normal Sunday until about 7pm. As part of the plans we made for transfers, we planned on Elder McKenzie and I driving one of the transfer vans (12 passenger) and a trailer down to Grants Pass (2 hrs south) so we could start at the bottom and work the our way up.
On Monday we started driving at 6:15am on Monday we would drive to one of the 6 transfer spots (spots designated for missionaries from 1 or more zones to go to with all their stuff if they are getting transferred.) Elder McKenzie had never driven a van let alone a trailer so I drove the whole day. We drove down to Medford to Eugene stopping at the 2 transfer spots on the way there. Then we switched vans and went back south in a different Van and trailer, the trailer was a UHAL rental and about 1 hr out of Eugene one the tires blew out while I was driving. We pulled to the side of the road, and called UHAL, it took them 1 ½ hrs to get a repair man there, but it was all good. We had a ton of fun just chillin on the side of the freeway, there was a mission car following us and I gave them $20 bucks that a member had given us for dinner that night to go to a gas station and buy a bunch of Peachie O's and other candy. It was a really great opportunity to get to know the 9 Elders on the van better. And then the repair man came and we were back on the road.
We ended up getting to our apartment at 10 pm so it ended up being a total of about 16 hours of us either driving or loading and unloading, or sitting on the side of the freeway. It was crazy day, and the crazies thing about it is I was not ever tiered during it all, even though I had not been getting time to sleep for the past few days ( I will get back to that later.)
On Tuesday we took the departing missionaries (including Elder Hackett) to the airport, it was kinda weird I had never been anyone’s last companion before. After that Elder McKenzie and I started to franticly prepare for the next day and half (training the trainers, and new missionary training/all the new missionaries and trainers getting back to their areas.) then at 4 we went to the mission home with the 35 trainers to do trainer training with President, it was another one of the those meetings where we and President had not had a lot of time to prepare, so we had to be ready at anytime to teach.
The training went good not great, some more preparation would have gone a long way, but in the end it fulfilled its purpose. That night we had 13 Elders stay at our apartment because we had so many trainers and not a lot of places to put them. In preparation we had 4 bunk beds put into our apartment by the office Elders.
Wednesday morning we went with all the trainers and President and ran at some paths around the football stadium (a OEM tradition)... fast forward to noon with us, and President and Sister Young at the airport. It was so cool to have 35 missionary there, we packed the little Eugene airport. We took them back to a stake center with all the trainers. Usually we do it at the mission home but it simple is not big enough for such a big group. How the first day goes is we all eat lunch then President starts interviewing them and picking who their companions are going to be. While President does that the assistant’s always train the new missionaries. Elder Hackett and I did this last transfer and it went really well, but we felt like it needed to change. It had always been treated like a district meeting, the AP's teach something pretty basic and then do role plays, but we noticed most missionaries don’t pick up on any of that because they are so overwhelmed.
Because of that we decided to focus on helping them feel a strong conviction that this is where they are suppose to be, helping them understand the culture of our mission and getting them to decide then that they would do whatever it takes to be a great missionary, we made a power point and I will email that in PDF format so you can see it. We also had all the trainers bear their testimonies, the night before we told them they would and asked them to focus on what they could say that could help a new missionary. The trainers testimonies where incredible, they all were under 1 minute and very powerful.
President was done picking the trainers at about 6:30 and he came into the chapel he announced them one by one. It was a really cool experience to be able to teach all these new missionaries and trainers side by side with my trainer. We were able to talk about our companionship and use examples from it. After everything was announced we got everyone to get their stuff put it in a trailer and get in one of three vans or their own car. It was madness!
Elder Hackett and I figured the whole thing out and printed out the plans, I had everyone asking me what van because they forgot, where there new phone was, how do they get their new apartment. The whole thing was absolute craziness, but incredible it all worked out pretty smooth and there is no doubt in my mind that it was because we had the Lords assistance and we were doing his work. Had we been planned a huge business thing or anything else it would have failed miserably but from many miracles, everything worked out great.
Once everyone was in the van Elder McKenzie and I took one of the vans and drove back to Medford stopping at each transfer spot we got to Medford at 11 pm, and stayed the night with missionaries there. I am out of time so I will talk about today in next weeks email.
But I would like to end by baring my testimony on how the Lord qualifies us for whatever he asks us to do, he has for me, and he even has qualified me physically. I have driven about 20 hours in the past days, and have not had much time to sleep during the past few nights. Naturally I am a long sleeper, and no matter how much I sleep I dose off all the time, but for the past 4 days I have not been tired, and never while I was driving did I feel like there was a small chance I would fall asleep. On my own physically there is no way I could have gotten through this, but the Lord called me to do this, so he qualified me for.
There is no doubt in my mind that not only in the past 4 days but also the past 5 weeks and in that case the past 18 months I have been physically qualified by the Lord to do his work. I feel I have also been qualified in other ways also. There are a lot of things that could go wrong that the Assistants are in charge or and with Elder Hackett gone I now need to teach Elder McKenzie how to do these things. So many of these things are beyond me, but they work out. As I have given everything I have and relied on the Lord threw it all he was strengthened me and helped me. I love you, I know God is real, that Jesus Christ was truly his Son, and that this is His church, restored to earth for us, I know that threw the restored gospel we can fully apply the Atonement to our lives, on my mission I have learned how to more fully do that. I love you all goodbye