We survived the garlic festival. It was everything they told us it would be and more. I think I ate two heads of garlic in the one day we were there. Everything is bathed in garlic. All of it is very good and Paula Dean approved (two sticks of butter in every bite). Elder Smoot and I were blessed to cashier instead of run food entrees. I covered the shrimp scampi, while Elder Smoot took charge of the calamari. The lines were massive. It reminded me of the Puyallup Fair, but without the catchy theme song. After our six hour shift we were given a free meal ticket and left to check out the festival. We used the next hour as our lunch and watched the cooking demonstrations. We ran into many church members and students from BYU. Garlic sausage, scampi, bread, stir fry, mushrooms, and the new shrimp beef garlic wrap left us smelling like we had overdosed on some garlic pills. I wish I had the recipes for all of the food they cooked there. If I did, our apartment would smell like garlic until the second coming. It was the highest attendance the festival has seen since its inception.
This last week has been a little tough. Our work was cut in half with the arrival of the sisters. We are working on building our finding sources here in Gilroy. We are also showing our faith to find by talking to everyone we meet. I realize how many people I have let pass me by. It’s an eye opening experience. I have a lot of improving to do. We are getting a lot better at tying any conversation into a gospel discussion. We are also teaching the members how to do the same so that they can meet their family missionary goals. We all need to improve.
Thanks for the package. I especially appreciated the razor blades. They tend to be the most expensive things we buy when we do our shopping. The cookies were delicious. I have yet to make cookies on my mission and greatly appreciate receiving them in packages. Although, we aren’t baking cookies; we have been cooking quite a big lately. Word has gotten around to members that we like to cook. We are often invited to share this skill on P-day. It has been a great way to follow the counsel Elder Ballard gave us in May by “moving into the unit.” We have made breakfast biscuits, crepes, banana crème pudding, and even chili. All of these things aren’t typical fare in Latino culture so we like the opportunity to share a little bit of our culture as well. The most successful of these dishes has been crepes. I think it has to do with the fact that they are similar to a burrito when they are done. Our favorite crepe is the chocolate orange crepe (crepe filled with Nutella and sprinkled with sugar that has been flavored with orange zest). These taste similar to the chocolate oranges that are sold around Christmas time.
The focus for the next two months in the mission has been centered on finding. Since Elder Ballard’s visit we have been required to be a little more creative on how we find. Some missionaries are still struggling to adjust. As we make these adjustments we will begin to see more success. Something that we have realized is that the Spirit works through creativity. As we seek to do things differently, we allow the Spirit to work through us. We learn as we seek to be better. Not every attempt is effective, but we learn from our mistakes and move on. This is what the Plan of Salvation teaches us. We are to progress. We are to improve. If we stop improving, we stop learning. “How long can rolling water remain impure?” This process refines us into what God wants us to be.