Hahaha I'm in Oregon. I haven't even been here for a week yet and it feels like it's been forever. In a good way.
My companion's name is Elder Palmer, he's a little shorter than me, he's from Arizona but he loves the cold and the rain, and he's addicted to Dr. Pepper. The fact that he's training after only three months (his first companion was his trainer, his second companion is me, his trainee) testifies of his awesomeness, not mine.
Yes that is definitely my apartment, it's probably the nicest in the whole mission. We live above the garage of a very nice member family, the Moons, and they still have that kid and that dog. I've still only briefly met them though. We've got two bathrooms, each with a shower--but only one working toilet--a bedroom, an office/study room, a nice big kitchen/living room area with a comfy sofa and workout equipment. It wasn't very clean when I got there though and the kitchen is (still) full of disgusting ancient food but it's finally p-day so we can buy new food and garbage bags to throw away the old food!!! Yay!!! Oh and our apartment is decorated with some famous church art because the artist lives in our ward but I can't write full names (last name Rane)! I really want to meet him....... Our ward mission leader is a really cool guy who makes art from natural artifacts like exotic beetles and shells and butterflies. It's super cool and he's really well off.
Hey Luke let you read the letter I sent him right? I'll write letters specifically to him but they're for everyone. Luke I will answer your snail-mail today. If I have time. :D
But anyways, President Young was awesome, everything's awesome, and green. My first day, right after arriving at our apartment, we left our apartment with the Ward Mission Leader to go teach an investigator. Her name's Karin and she's lady in her 70's who was bombed out of Germany as a child. I haven't been able to piece her story together very well yet because she left Germany as a child, but has worked in the fashion industry in Hollywood and Germany, and she's lived in Oregon for about four years. Her daughter was married to a Mormon man in the temple but she died very young. Karin has an amazing sense of humor. She generally answers the door with a scowl, tells us she's not interested, please go away, then almost slams the door in our faces before pulling it open and laughingly inviting us in. When I met with her for the first time she hadn't yet been to church. Apparently every week she's been coming up with some excuse, not feeling well or whatever, so this visit Elder Palmer just planned on convincing her to come to church but somehow we wound up teaching the Word of Wisdom. It was amazing. Karin practically already lives the gospel, but she drinks very watered down wine at parties, and weak coffee some mornings. My skills learned at the MTC were put to use as I was able to join in the teaching. She committed to living the Word of Wisdom and coming to church. Haha I told her that it was my first time in that ward too, and that she should come so that I would know somebody. We met with Karin on Saturday to remind her about church, then called her at 11:00 (church is at 12:30) to remind her again, and on Sunday she came. It was one of the best experiences ever. Karin payed close attention to the speakers all three hours, and she was swarmed the whole time by just about the nicest people on the planet who all wanted to meet her and be her friend. She told us how grateful she was for us and that she wasn't sure she would come that morning because she didn't know anyone, but she was so glad she came.
Our ward is super cool. I've already mentioned a few people, but the Bishop is awesome, the ward mission people are awesome, everyone's awesome. On a side note though, the people in Oregon have THE WEIRDEST names. Lots of them sound like they're just made up words, case in point, the Gyebi-Quarcoo's (try pronouncing that!). Which leads me to another of the ward's coolest. The Gyebi-Quarcoo's are an afro-carribean-british family, need I say more? They're super outgoing and love to have a good time. We have FHE with them tonight, I can't wait. :[ ]But anyways, the whole ward is great.
Tracting isn't as scary as I thought it would be, but it's something that my companion and I need to work on more. So many people just answer the door and say, you know, I'm already Christian, then they close it. No one has been outrightly rude yet, but I think there's a lot of negative feeling towards the church here. Some streets are worse than others. Some people are just really, really, really, weird. However among the Oregon coldness, there's always someone who's friendly, who will talk to us, who will take a Book of Mormon and promise to read it. Overall I love being a missionary. I love you all and pray for you!
To Mom: The basement sounds awesome, send a picture! Wait... yeah the zone leaders approve. If there's anyone in the ward or stake who's connected to me somehow, you can send my e-mails to them. Is there any way you could find how to also send them to Sariah Harris? Half of my relations seem to be missing from that list too, but I'll leave that up to your judgement. For Christmas send me whatever your dear self wants to send and I will be overjoyed. I haven't felt a strong need for another raincoat yet, my pea coat is warm. But next week we won't have the car anymore so I may be wanting one then.... But I think it would be easier for everyone involved if I just buy it here. I love you and everyone else too!
Share the Book of Mormon with everyone you meet! The missionaries in your wards need your help! Uncle Sam wants you!