Thursday, September 8, 2016

June 6, 2016 The Mission Presidents "Go-fers" and the lap of luxury - A Novel

Today I would like to begin with a little bit of housekeeping, then we'll get on to the meat and potatoes of this weeks adventures.

Here is my "vexation of the soul" for the week.  What is with everyone cutting there hair like Soka from Avatar?  It looks like every one out here decided they like the look of it or something, cause they are all doing it.

E. Dewitt was the 3rd in our trio, so now we are back to being a duo.

As for proselyting, we have done almost none this week, but I will explain why shortly!  We saw S on Wednesday, but A didn't join us.  We taught S about the Holy Ghost and personal revelation, and at the end of the lesson, she told us that she has been feeling His presence since we've been coming.  She's been happier, things are making more sense, her life is working out better, and she really feels like what we teach is true.  We were so stoked!  Once we got in the car we were hootin and hollerin and just all around excited!  But that's the last we've seen her for this week cause we've been busAY!  And, due to the events which I will shortly account for, we haven't had any contact with P and his family.

Alright!  On to my adventures!  And for those of you who don't have much time, I'm sorry.  It's gonna be a long letter this week.

P-day was just a normal P-day, till we got a call from the Assistants asking us for help closing 2 apartments out in Ekalaka and Baker Montana.  Of course, we said yes.  We shipped out that night, stayed in the Holiday Inn Express in Dickinson (not every day a missionary gets to stay there), then left after eating breakfast for good ole Montana.  That whole day was dedicated to cleaning out those apartments and driving.  It was such a long time to be in a Chevy Silverado with 5 Elders.  All in all we drove probably a grand total of 10ish hours not including stops.  While in Baker we tried to stop for lunch, and the good ole small towns of Montana strike again!  As we drove and walked the streets searching for somewhere to eat, we found that there were only bars.  Literally, only bars.  We picked the one that looked like the bar was separate from the restaurant and were disappointed to find out that they had some.... lets just say scantily clad women on the walls... so that was a no go.   Needless to say, we left Baker hungry, singing primary songs and thinking of virtuous things.  We got back to Bismarck about 8:30 Tuesday night.

Wednesday was kinda normal I guess.  We got sucked into the black hole here in town known as "the mission office."  It's impossible to leave in less then 30 minutes.  But that's okay cause we love the office couples!  But, after getting a few other things done, it was time for us to begin driving to Fargo for transfers.  3 1/2 hours later, we arrived and ate Panda Express.  On our way into the Fargo Zone Leaders apartment (where we stayed the night) someone opened up their door and asked if any of us knew how to work a wireless router.  So, we offered our assistance.  Elder Fillmore picks it up, looks at it, and says "oh, I've seen this before.  All you gotta do is give it 3 taps on the top (the he pats it 3 times)."  Then we all died laughing, and when we got composed, he said that they needed an ether net chord.  They were using a telephone line.  Then we "went in for the kill".  We taught them the gospel!  It was super cool!  They were asking questions, and seemed to enjoy the conversation.  Then it was time for us to go, but it was a cool experience.

Thursday we drove back to Bismarck, had lunch, cleaned up the mess left after transfers (it wasn't much, but still), then ran some more errands for the mission office missionaries.  That night we found out that on Saturday we were going to be driving the mission truck (once again, that wonderful car known as the "Silverado") full of furniture to the Elders new apartment in Dickinson.  Yay for more road trips.

Friday was District Meeting, we saw a couple of people, then at 8 we got a call from President Hess.  "Hey Elders!  How are you doing this fine evening!"  "Doing real good President!"  "Well I'm glad.  Well Elders, you're probably wondering why I'm calling you.  I have a huge favor to ask of you.  How would you like to take an all expenses paid trip down to Rapid City?"  "............................................................................  Well of course President!  What's the occasion?"  "Well, you see, I'm speaking at Stake conference tomorrow night, and when we arrived here, i realized I left all my clothes but the jeans and T-shirt I am currently wearing in the wash room of back home.  That's the main reason, but I thought you Elders might enjoy a trip down this way."  We were pretty speachless, but as we talked about it, we decided we were going to go.  

Now, in all honesty, that was a hard decision for me.  I hate car rides, I hate being cooped up in the cockpit of a car, and I hate having nothing to do for hours on end but stare at the empty expanse of nothingness known as "North Dakota" (see attachments below).  But, Elder Fillmore served in Rapid and really wanted to go, plus President needed his suit bag, and I knew that despite the forever long drive, it was going to be fun.  So, we went!  Now, remember this cause it plays a big role later.

In the next hour, we had completely loaded up the truck with a whole apartments worth of furniture, had our clothes packed for the next 2 days, and started our trek.  We stopped in Dickinson, unloaded the truck, and stayed the night in the Holiday Inn Express, just a few rooms from where we stayed just 3 days earlier.

Saturday was when the real fun began.  Continental breakfast and a warm shower and we were gone.  I'm sure that if I knew the song, I would have been singing "On the Road Again" by some country singer that I don't know.  We traveled the "Enchanted Highway", a road that has the worlds largest metal sculptures.  Pretty cool, but I'm still wondering what inspired them to make this stuff.

We finally made it to Rapid around noon, got presidents suit to him, then he told us that if we wanted to we could stick around, E. Fillmore could go say hi to the people he taught in the area, and Pres. would provide us with another hotel room.  We talked it over, and, once again as the rhyme goes "every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you", I didn't want to stay.  I wanted to go back and be done with road trips and get back to doing normal missionary work.  But, I knew that if I were in his shoes, I would expect to stick around and see people, so we did.  Again, remember my attitude toward the whole situation, cause it's important later on!

We went and visited some of the people on his list of "to sees", then 3 o'clock roles around and we had dinner (a dang early one) with the Hess's and a bunch of Rapid city missionaries.  While at the Stake Center I saw Bro. Tiensvold and Bro. Thompson of the Gordon Branch!  That was way nice to see them.  Yay for more surprises!  By this time, E. Fillmores list was almost empty, and all of a sudden a thought popped into my head.  I realized that Pine Ridge is only an 1 1/2 hours away, which means that Manderson (the place where Martyna and the Whitehawks live) was probably less than that, and I started to get super excited.  I asked my comp if he minded if we went down there, stayed for Stake Conference the next day and sayed hi to the rest of the people he wanted to see after church.  He agreed (thank goodness!), we asked Pres. and he sayed yes!  May I just say, that was the longest hour of my life!  I was so stoked to go visit all the great folks down that way!  

I went and visited the Whitehawk kids again.  That was fun!  Mayla has kind of chilled out which was weird.  She's still spunky, but not nearly as rambunctious as before.  Wish I could have communicated with her more, but she still doesn't know much ASL, so it was just a lot of attempting to communicate with vague gestures like before.  But it was still great!  Stopped in on Martyna and talked with her for a bit, then went and saw Tyra, Felicia, Angela and a bunch of the other kids in the neighborhood.  We played a game of basketball, got some pictures, then went to see the Whalens (the former Branch President down there).  I had so much fun seeing them all! I miss it there so much, but thank goodness I'm not hung over and trunky from seeing them all.  

Sunday morning was great too!  Got to see a bunch of missionaries I haven't seen in a while now, then while in the foyer I looked at the door and saw the Stocks walk in.  I was so confused!  But it was a blast to see them too!  It was so weird to be called Jesse again... It's been 19 months since someone has called me that minus a few occasions......  Crazy!!

Well, Stake Conference was good, we went and saw more people for my comp, then we started our forever long drive back.  Stopped in Sturgis to get some pics, and drove for 5 1/2 hours.  I am so done with cars.  I'll just ride my bike next time.  The whole way to Rapid.  All 250 miles.  

And that concludes my novel for the week. Hope you enjoyed it, cause I sure did!  Now, for the moral of the story.  Sometimes we will be asked to do things that we really don't want to but we know that we probably should do it.  So, we can either be a stinker and pout about it, or we can try to find the good in everything.  I didn't find the good till it was handed to me on a silver platter, which took about 5 hours.  Don't be like me! Just have fun and be happy no matter what!  And when a chance comes to serve someone, take it.  Serving can be as simple as driving 250 miles to bring someone their suit, or it could be as complex as being happy that your companion gets to go back to his first area to see the people he grew to love.  (like the word choice in there?)  Don't be selfish.  It's a lot more fun that way.  Trust me.  I know from personal experience.  

I love you all dearly!  

Elder Carter

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