Last week Keenan sent us this photo without comment. We asked for more information
|Santa's Menacing StareThis is the view from our front door, and Santa is always reminding us to be good through his menacing stare.|
This is a very safe area, a great place to start my mission. Apparently up in Chico/Paradise area, there is a lot of Gang activity and you are restricted to working where they allow you too. But you get a lot of baptisms up there, so there is a tradeoff.
Evidently, this is one of the best places to live on earth. It kinda threw me off yesterday when the stake secretary said we have are up to 7% members in the city. It is a lot, just not compared to Utah County.
The members love us here. There are about 250 active members in the ward, and they all want to feed us. Every single night we have dinner appointments.
...I was able to bear my testimony in church yesterday, and I feel that the ward trusts me a lot more now.
Regarding his companion Elder Payne:
Elder Payne is great, although he snores a lot. Last night he talked in his sleep for the first time: "There are lots of people and Jesus. Mostly Jesus." He truly is a missionary, through and through.
Food and Bike Riding:
All the members out here are great cooks. We have been eating well, and I have gained ten pounds. Mostly in muscle it seems. My thighs are on fire all the time now. We bike an average of 15 miles everyday. Since I was reading these emails real time I asked if he was kidding about the weight gain: I did gain all that weight. I don't know where it is though. I just know it is there. Like I said, my thighs are constantly growing.
There are a lot of mosquito hawks out here, so that is just like home. The bugs here only come out after dark, and we are in an appointment or back at the apartment by then anyway.
Elder Payne took me out a couple of nights ago to one of the parks out here. The parks here are very different from the ones at home. They are basically mini jungles with walking paths.
Anyway, we went down by a creek in one of these parks. He told me to listen:
gobble gobble gobble
This is the place where all the turkeys nest at the end of the day. They are able to fly into the tops of the trees.
He showed me how to make a turkey call, and we spent ten minutes just talking to the turkeys while the sun set. Then he showed me how to make their mating call. They all went wild.
After a while, they figured out we were humans and stopped talking to us.
I got a greater appreciation of how God sees the world. Even though turkeys are these fat ugly birds, God loves them just as much as he loves me.
Not sure how to take this :)
Seeing how some people are growing up, I am immensely grateful for how you raised me. You were not the best parents in the whole world, but you are insanely better than a lot of people out here. You raised me in a home with the Spirit, and that goes a long way. It is such a strange feeling going into a home without it.
Our mailbox is about the size of a shoebox, so any packages smaller than that are okay to send to the apartment.
Thank you so much for your letters. You should write to Elder Payne, he doesn't get any mail anymore.