Life is good in Yakima! Cottonwood Canyon is very different than any other area I've served in for a few reasons. For one, There are no real neighborhoods in our area, just countryside. And secondly, there are some rich people out here. Like really rich. For example, we found a home in the middle of a square mile property with a giant fence going around the whole thing. The fence had automatic gates that opened with a password every half mile or so around the property, and the guy also has a landing strip and plane hangar. Yeah. Another house we saw had 4 big wind turbines in the back and a big solar panel set up in his backyard. But the people are great and easy to love!
Our week started off on a high note. Elder Jarvis and I had the awesome opportunity of taking President Lewis out with us on Monday night. He was with us for the last three hours of the night, and we had been preparing for a few days before hand so that we would have a few solid appointments that night. Unfortunately, pretty much everything fell through Sunday night. With Sunday being the day before Monday, we were like "oh darn." We spent the next 24 hours stressing out about who we would go see and how we were going to fill our three hours with El Presidente, but we couldn't get anything to work. When President Lewis came to pick us up on Monday night, we just pretended to know exactly what we were doing, and let me tell you, the Lord will provide! We stopped by three different people, all of whom opened there doors and met with us. We had some awesome lessons, and it was really cool seeing President Lewis in action! He also came back to our apartment that night to see how we planned for the next day. Let me tell you, it's incredible how easy it is to stay focused when the President is standing over your shoulder!
Even though President might think we are awesome, that isn't the reason he went out with us. Some Missionary Department Trainers from SLC were in our mission, and they went out with some missionaries and sent him out with us to see how missionaries plan, teach, find, etc. On Wednesday, the Department Trainers held a Mission Leadership Conference here in Yakima for all of the leadership, and it was seriously the best. The energy they had was incredibly high, and they answered so many questions that I've had about planning, teaching effectively, and fulfilling my purpose, and it was all so simple. Something that Elder Jarvis and I really took from that meaning was how to plan. I mean really plan, not just fill time. I learned that if we are ever struggling as missionaries with finding, teaching, and baptizing, there is a 95% chance that we are not planning correctly. And if we aren't planning correctly, it's because we don't have a vision for where we want to go and where we want our investigators to be. That applies to all of you back home, too. Have a plan for what you want to be, and it will be easy to stay motivated! We got some incredible advice about how to really get things going in our area and especially how to work with members in some very unique ways. I don't really feel like boring you with any more information, but I can tell I've really been changing the way I do missionary work. This transfer will be one of growth for the both of us!
I went on exchanges this week with Elder Tietjen in the Autanum Creek Ward, and we had a blast. We taught a new investigator named Rabin that is 19 years old and really wants to change his life. His life has taken several wrong turns, but when he saw the Elders walking down the street, he chased them down so that he could learn about how to change. It was amazing to see the light in his eyes as we told him that he could get back on the path, no matter how far off he's wandered. He quickly accepted a baptismal date for August 27th, and will soon be passed off to the YSA branch that we cover. This is the best part of missionary work. Being the person who can help people back on the right path. There is no greater feeling :)
Todd is coming home? I am trying so hard to keep my cool right now but I think my mind is about to explode.
Elder Jarvis and I really get a long and have the same sense of humor. He reminds me a lot of Brad, actually, just in his mannerisms and humor and such.
I love you all! Have a blessed week!