Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone back home! We're all a day late on our emails here because all of the libraries were closed yesterday haha. Man Christmas was great though, it was awesome getting to skype with my family yesterday. The connection was great for the most part, skype is such an awesome thing haha. Thank you to everyone that sent me packages or letters this past week though. I will be able to write everyone back soon to thank you all a little more personally but thank you guys all so much for that! This week has been kinda tough to set up much appointments with people though, like everybody has been out of town so we went and knocked on a lot of doors haha. Not a ton of luck there but we did have a really cool experience. We were driving through a neighborhood and I could have sworn that I knew where I was going but sure enough I made a couple of turns and got pretty dang lost back in the roads haha and so I just turned to Elder Hanson and was like "Uh so I have no idea where we're at right now, thought we were heading the right way but I guess not" and so he responded "Well one thing I've learned on my mission so far is that if you get lost, more often than not you're wherever you ended up lost at for a reason, so let's get out and knock some doors" and sure enough we stopped the car and started knocking on some peoples doors and the third one we knocked on was a Filipino family that used to take the missionary lessons back in the Philippines and they were super excited to see us and want us to come back after the holidays! So we'll be heading over to their house tomorrow night haha. I'll definitely always remember that when I'm lost that means that there's probably someone nearby who needs to talk to us haha. Christmas Eve was nice, we spent it at the Bishops house in our ward and they got us some sweet presents that included beanies from Rockefeller new york, where the big tree's at; some peanut brittle, and a box of those chocolate hazelnut ball things that have the gold foil on the outside, I'm not a big fan of them, haha but Elder Hanson likes them and it was still nice of them, to get them for us haha. Our Christmas dinner was The Receptions in our ward from the Philippines and man they cooked some really good roast beef and some pretty good quail eggs that I was a little nervous to try haha but they ended up not being too bad. We had planned on going to DC yesterday for P-Day but that kinda fell through so no luck there, but maybe next week haha. Well I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! It was awesome to hear from you guys!

Letter from December 19th

Man It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas already! Time is starting to go by pretty quick out here haha. This past week was pretty rough as far as meeting with people goes. It seemed like everybody was dodging us for the most part. But three members of the Campbell family who we started teaching came to church with us so that was sweet! Crazy that they've had the missionaries coming over to their house since 2005 and they hadn't been to church once haha but now they have! We are going to head over to their house this week to see what they thought of it but while they were there they seemed to really enjoy it. The dad, Ron, said he wants us to come over either tonight or tomorrow night so he can talk to us about it so that's a good sign for sure haha. Man thanks to everyone for the Christmas packages and letters so far though! I've been waiting to open them until Christmas haha I'm really excited for that. My watch broke this week though! I'm not sure what happened to it. I went to bed one night and then I woke up the next morning and the seconds hand just freezes randomly now so by the end of the day its like 3 hours behind haha. But we found a family in our ward who is going to let us use their home to skype call on Christmas! They didn't tell us what time to come over but I imagine it'll be sometime after our church ends on Sunday which will be about 12 our time. We got invited to some other members house for Christmas dinner too so that should be alot of fun. They are a Filipino family so of course they are always very generous to us haha I think that's just a natural Filipino thing haha. Christmas eve we are going to the bishops house for dinner too so that should be alot of fun. Our ward has really started to give us alot more support lately so that's good haha. We have had people signed up for dinner most nights now haha. We had a White elephant gift exchange with our zone today though, that was quite a bit of fun haha. I found a sweet porcelain statue of a cat at goodwill for like 4 bucks that made a sweet gift haha. One of the sister missionaries in our zone ended up getting it haha. I got a bit bucket of pretzel sticks for my gift haha it should last me quite awhile. Elder Hanson has been down with the flu quite a bit this week so we've been giving him some extra time to rest in the mornings and I read a really sweet book I found in our apartment by Henry Eyring. It's called reflections of a scientist (I guess he was a very well known lds scientist, he's President Eyring's grandpa) and it talks alot about how he believes that science and the Gospel actually compliment each other and build faith rather than clash with one another. He had alot of good points about the creation and prophets and things. It was a great book haha. I've also been learning how to sew a bit because the seams underneath my pockets have been starting to tear and Elder Hansons last companion was like an expert on sewing so he's been teaching me how to do it haha. The lessons we were able to get in with our investigators this week though have gone really well. Our area is really progressing great, it's just hard to schedule times to meet with people during this time of the year. So we've been knocking alot of doors and man the odds are really against us there haha they say 1 in every 1000 doors you knock on will let you in and 1 out of every 100 people that let you in will ask you to come back again haha. So basically we have like a 1 in 10,000 chance of finding someone to teach by knocking on their door haha but that doest stop us one bit haha. Well that about wraps it up for the week. I hope everybody has a merry Christmas and I'll talk to you all next Monday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

McLean VA

Shellie's present for Elder Gronning

Merry Christmas to Elder Gronning from Shellie. She made the bow in her Fashion class at school. So cute!  Going out in the mail today in our 3rd box of Christmas goodies to Cody.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Transfer Week

Man it's been a crazy day here in McLean! I almost didn't get to email because our office was having some internet issues and it took the local library a bit to get me a library card so I could log in here so I don't have very much time this week unfortunately. But things have really picked up here as far as missionary work goes. I stayed here in McLean 2nd Ward but I got a new companion and he's really cool. His name is Elder Hanson and hes from West Jordan, so that's pretty cool haha. We get along really well, it seems like we have pretty similar personalities from what I can tell so far haha. So it should be a pretty sweet transfer. We've gotten some great work done already though. We just started teaching a lady in the ward's 19 year old daughter and she has accepted the invite to be baptised on January 21st so that's awesome. They are a really cool family. They are from Chile and used to live with and work for a super rich lady in our ward but she recently died of a heart attack (she was pretty old, like 90's) so they just moved into an apartment in the ward and we've been helping them move all their stuff over. We also have started teaching a guy named Calvin who used to be a local chef and loves to make us awesome food haha. We also found a guy named Keagan who lives in a huge mansion with his girlfriend. He's like 26 but he's super loaded somehow haha. He was telling us how much of a deal his house was because it only cost him $1 million dollars... The houses around it are all 17-20 million dollar homes. These people have so much money!!! I'll have to take a picture in front of some of the houses here so you guys can see how crazy rich these people are haha. We got to go watch a soccer game this past Saturday too so that was pretty cool haha. We met this family with the last name Campbell and they've been having the missionaries come over since 2005 and they really haven't been taught anything so far according to what they said and what the records the elders before us kept said. But they invited us out to their 13 year old sons soccer game and said they'd come to church with us if we went haha (we would have loved to have gone either way) and man those kids are crazy at soccer. There is a lot of foreign families who live in the area so most of the kids seemed like they must have been raised on soccer because man their footwork was insane haha. We got some great grocery shopping done today though, we had a lady in our ward give us a $100 gift card to Giant, which is the main grocery store chain here, so we got a ton of food. We should be set for the transfer haha. Man I'm already out of time though!!! I only had like 10 minutes tonight so I was typing pretty frantically haha so try to ignore any typos that might have gotten mixed in haha. Hopefully I'll have more time to write back next week so I can respond to some other emails too haha.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pictures from my first area- McLean VA

Elder Gronning(wearing my new Trump tie I bought on Monday with some money I saved from being smart & cheap with my food purchases) and Elder Campbell

My side of the room

My desk

Kitchen and laundry room. That is a washer hooked to the sink.

Living Room

Missionary Food-my section on the pantry

Monday, December 5, 2011

Man What A Week!

Man it's been a crazy week for us here. We have everything but success it seems like haha. Ulises' dad had to sign for him to get baptised and he doesn't live with his dad or really talk to him much. So we went over to ask him to sign it and he said it would be totally fine but he would have to talk to Ulises about it first to make sure it was something he really wanted to do and he said he would go talk to him later that night... Well he did that 3 days in a row so finally Ulises just went over there to ask his dad about it and his dad completely flipped. He told Ulises that we're not allowed to meet with him anymore, he can't come with us to church anymore, and he said that Ulises will become a Catholic instead because that's what his family has always been (non-practicing Catholics though, they haven't been to church in years...). So that was kind of a bummer, and we had two other investigators drop us this week as well. It's just been a rough week for investigators I guess. But the work moves on haha. We will find more people to share the Gospel with. We ran into a couple people that want us to come by sometime this upcoming week though so hopefully we can find some people to teach that way haha. It hasn't been too bad weather-wise this week though, so that's a plus. I'm really not minding winter so far haha. This upcoming week is transfers already! I'm thinking I'll probably stay in this area but my trainer says that both people he's trained before me have either gotten transferred or he has gotten transferred after the first transfer of their training haha, so who knows. But just in case I'd send any mail or packages this upcoming week to the mission home address so that it doesn't get stuck here at this apartment, because the people who will be staying here if I get transferred will have no idea where to send the stuff to to get it back to me. Thanks to everyone for the emails this past week though. It was great to hear that Clay and Gracie did so awesome at their races this past week. That was really cool to see them in the newspaper haha. Oh man another plus side to this past week was we had a Cafe Rio open up in our area and we went there for lunch after our Tuesday district meetings and man it was awesome! I had never been there before but man it was dang good haha. And it was taco Tuesday so it was super cheap haha. I'm doing really good at this whole budgeting thing so far haha. I eat pretty cheap stuff for the most part. Ramen, peanut butter toast, and personal pizzas haha, my three usual foods haha. I've actually put on a little bit of weight according to the scale in our apartment though, I already don't fit into my brown pin stripe suit pants anymore haha. But I don't really look or feel bigger so I'm not really sure whats up haha. We did get permission to listen to a Christmas Radio station now though haha, It's so nice getting a brake from just listening to hymns and general conference talks in the car haha. But the Christmas station has a total of like 15 songs they play and most of them aren't even traditional Christmas songs haha, just Christian rock group/boy band things that aren't very good haha. Well hopefully I'll have some good new people we are teaching to tell you guys about next week haha.