Monday, December 13, 2010

Enviro log fires with their eyes all a'glow...

Dear family,

So last night we put the fireplace to good use. We were cheap and decided to buy our firewood from Grocery Outlet. We settled on the $2 option, Enviro-log. It is a 100% recycled cardboard/wax fire product good for three hours of fire. It worked. We had a nice toasty apartment. We didn't really need the heat; it's been in the fifties and sixties. None-the-less, we had fun. It was a test run for Christmas Eve.

We have been busy, busy, busy. We continue to find new investigators which is something we desperately need. We even were able to get one to church. This has been a big challenge. Everybody in this area seems to work on Sundays. Jobs are a lot harder to come by for Latinos than they were in Redwood City.

I can't believe that we are entering the last week of this transfer. Elder Russel and I were talking about it. It is amazing how fast time flies by. Before you know it I will be calling you on Christmas Day (probably sometime between 11 and 1).

Something that we find very interesting about this area is the large Christmas displays. It's as if the people here in California are trying to compensate for the lack of snow and evergreen. We had the opportunity to see deacon daves house (google it). It is massive. It reminds me of a Christmas story that Mom would read every year about a never ending competition of lights. I would hate to see the electric bill at Deacon Daves.

I am still working on Christmas Cards. It takes me a while to write each one, so I should get another batch out this Preparation day.

Dad, thanks for the card. I read it just after I threw away a pair of "holy" socks. What do you do now that you can't accuse me of stealing your socks?



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Beginning to look a lot like...

Dear Family,

What a week? I am so grateful that you read my emails and put up with them. This week has been... interesting. We have been busier than I have been since arriving in Livermore, however we still face challenges.

The main challenge this week has been transportation. My bike was stolen on Tuesday (our busiest day). We had chained both of our bikes together to a street post. We came back and found that my bike had been stolen along with the chain and the attached bike pump. It made things really hard because I have had to borrow some other Elder's bikes. The first bike a borrowed was from an Elder who is 5' 6". Let me just say, 5'6" is a huge difference from 6'. My knees were touching my chest. I then ended up borrowing another Elder's bike. It has fit me much better; however, I left church yesterday to find that I had a completely flat tire. I borrowed a pump from another elder, patched it up and went on my way. A few hours later I had another flat. To make matters worse, it was in a complete downpour (they only seem to happen on the weekends). My tire is now patched and ready for a week of good hard work. I am not quite sure what I will do about transportation. I will borrow a bike at least until transfers (December 20), then see what happens.

Despite my transportation difficulties we have been fortunate to find five new investigators, a family of six. The children range in age from three to fifteen. I would have never guessed we would have found them. The mom is the sister of a family that we began teaching a few weeks ago, but had to put on the back burner for a while. They live in a house on a street with other houses that must cost twice as much as ours. I was very surprised when we received the referral from the Zone Leaders. It will be a challenge to be able to teach to all of them, but we will do our best. I think the best thing we can do is teach to the children and really get them involved. As the parents see how it affects their family as a whole they will recognize the power of the Gospel.

It is amazing to begin teaching families. I have never done so before. I don't quite know why. The Mocho branch could use more families. Families are the most likely to stay active because they have that support structure to maintain them through the tough times. We are hoping to get the branch president involved in the lessons as their fellowshippers.

I was very glad to receive your letters this week. I finally got grandpa's letter with the Sizzler card. I don't think there is a Sizzler in Livermore, but I know for a fact that there are quite a few throughout the mission. I also enjoyed the story about the Safeway cards. You definitely would have been safe if you had sent a Safeway card (look at the back of a Safeway product and identify their headquarters and you will know why).

I have loved serving in the Christmas season thus far. We have identified our favorite Christmas cd's and listen to them constantly. "I'll be home for Christmas" is banned, but the rest are fair game. The Jon Schmidt Christmas CD is our favorite because we can listen to it during our study without getting distracted.


Elder Badger