Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Week Celebrations!

At the Christmas Conference and next to the two AP's
On a secret beach

Nice sunset while driving on the secret beach
So this week, the biggest thing was the Christmas Conference on Tuesday night.  Well on Monday we got to stay with the Morton's again. It’s classic how every time we go to Sugarland, myself and another Elder make sure we have somewhere to stay.  And Elder Steed was there too because he got really sick, so I got to spend the whole night with him.  Then the next day we went to the conference with the whole mission.  There were a few talks from missionaries, a few studies by the Ashtons, a movie, a talent show, a dinner, and I think that was about it.  We watched Ephraim's Rescue again, sickest movie ever!  Now I just say the word stodgy all the time, because the British kid said, "who wants a pair of stodgy old boats?" It is a great addition to my vocabulary.  I included a picture of the Christmas conference.  Next to me are the two AP’s.  A wise man once said, “surround yourself with the people you want to become”, so that’s what I did... 

Then on Christmas Eve we went around and gave out all of our secret Santa gifts.  It was super fun and really humbling to see families that have nothing receive Christmas gifts they never planned on.  We both enjoyed it a lot!  We then went and had tamales with a part-member family. They were so good and I ate like 6 of them!  I think I’m fat, but the scale seems to disagree so I don’t know what is going on.  I think my fat is just stored on the cloud, so I can always access it, but I never have to carry it around! 

On Christmas day, we opened up all of our gifts and then went and had lunch with Brother Jordan.  His wife just got out of the hospital that day and needed to just sleep all day, so he really enjoyed some company.  We all helped make just some simple meat and potatoes and then just got to sit and talk with him.  Then when we were about to leave, he gave us some thick socks for the cold front that came in this week.  Boy did it get cold! Down to 36 while we were out teaching!  And it rained a lot so now a big bayou surrounds our apartment.  I really hope it doesn’t get hot too soon, because if it does, the whole city will have way too much standing water and we’ll all die from mosquitoes.

Some other stuff that happened:  We found a secret beach that we could drive on.  That is one of my pictures.  And the sunset was super cool on Christmas night, I have a picture of that too. Took it while driving. #lookmomnohands #yolo #whocaresifwediewearemissionaries.  Actually scratch that last one!  Also, an investigator gave us some wild hog sausage that he made from a hog he had just killed.  So we mixed it with huevos and hot sauce and it was pretty good.  And finally, we talked with a man on the street for about an hour about the new dreamtech gaming system. It is a project he is working on in Houston where one puts on a full helmet to game. When it is on, it makes you fall asleep and then you "wake up" in the game.  It is a first person and it is almost as if you can control your own dreams.  Sick!  And he told us a bunch of other "top secret" stuff, and how he has played it a million times and it is all legit.  It is supposed to come out in late 2015.  Pretty much, all of America will be sucked in to this and ruin their lives! Unless, the only games to play were James Bond for 20 minutes, or just drive cars really fast! The way he described it, it is kind of like the blue avatars in that you go to sleep in the real world and wake up in a fake world.

Happy New Year!
Elder Lund

P.S. I am getting transferred and leaving Port on Wednesday. It will be a sad day that I never thought would come.

(On being rejected and hearing that others have been homesick)  I think its fun to talk with people and if they don’t want it, then it’s their fault. I am responsible for teaching the doctrines of the kingdom, not as much as forcing people to accept it.  I have never really felt homesick yet. Like sometimes I will think "Oh man, I wish I could go crawling (jeeping)” or "I want to go to Washington DC again" but it lasts for like 2 seconds and that’s it.  Pretty much I will be going home eventually, so what does thinking about it do for me?  That’s my thought process.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Volunteering and Subbing for Joseph at the Branch Party

My Victoria District.  I love them!
Cooking chicken, potatoes, and green beens in my apron from Grandma Lund
The sub for Santa... We haven’t delivered anything yet, but we did buy gifts for about 4 families.  I have no idea how much I spent.  We also got some basic frames and are going to give each family a picture of Jesus Christ. I can tell you more next week.  I like your thoughts on Christmas.  Anyways, it is so much easier to spend time serving someone than to spend the same amount of time trying to pick out a gift that they will like.  And about serving, this week I was thinking about my future job and what I like and what my Patriarchal Blessing says, and I think it would be cool to start something humanitarian but I will have to write you a letter about it sometime, because I have no idea what that even means, haha.

So we started off the week by volunteering at the local Methodist church in their soup line.  It was super cool!  We got to pour all the drinks at first, and then I got to serve the people sandwiches and talk to them.  Finally we got to go in the back with some of the youth there and do dishes.  And at the end of it all, we went and ate soup with the late comers, and found out that we knew half of them so we all got to talk and fellowship together.

Then the next morning, Hailey called us around 7am.  She was freaking out because her dogs had followed her to school and she had to go in to take her midterms.  So we flew over there and found her dogs walking around the school.  Well we got a lot of crazy looks because we just parked the car on the side, picked up the dogs and put them in the car, and then took off again.  Talk about back alley dog abduction.  

Oh hey! This week we also did start teaching her mom Kristen again!  It has been so long!  She was always super busy and then one day she called us and invited us over for dinner.  And she came to the Christmas party and saw there are other families with crazy kids so she can’t use that as an excuse to not come to church now.  Now we just have to help her get up because she says 10 is too early... some people.  Actually, I would have probably said that before my mission. 

But the Christmas party was super fun!  Kinda weird though.  Maybe it was just because of the nativity.  Joseph didn’t show so I then became the Joseph. The weird part was Mary was a 10 year old girl and all the members kept making fun of me for it, haha.  But it was sweet, I just got to make up all my own lines and I got to dress up in robes.  And to the party we had a lot of less-actives come and the Mang family came so it was pretty successful.  Branch parties are always fun just because they are a lot less put together than ward parties and something always goes wrong. Classic.

Final story: A man named Michael Easter called us this week.  Super random.  He found our number at the church, called us, and asked if we could help him because he hadn’t eaten in 2 days.  So the best thing I could come up with.... go pick him up and take him to Whataburger (a famous fast food place in Texas).  So that is exactly what we did, went and found him, got him a burger and fries, and just sat and asked him about his story.  Turns out he is an ex Army Ranger who served in Bosnia, and just got messed up in the noggin.  And by that he has just seen and done things he can never forgive himself for, and he told us of a few mild ones... But he came to Port to fix some legal papers and doesn’t have money to go back to North Carolina, plus he kinda wants to stay here.  So now he is putting his Ranger skills to work and living in a tent in the brush behind one of the motels.  Now he is trying to get a job here and settle down for a few months.  He told us that he can just never stay anywhere for long.  The longest he stayed anywhere was in Tennessee.  But there he lived for 9 months in the wilderness by himself.  He was crazy, but so sick!  Anyways, he just needed some food for the time, so we just left him with a book of mormon and our phone number. I don’t even know if we will ever see him again... maybe he was one of the 3 Nephites?!  Maybe not...

Merry Christmas!!

Elder Lund

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Yoakum Branch & Catholic Parade

The Christmas Tree at the end of the pier in Port Lavaca

The Yoakum branch meets in this little office building 

Gas prices here in Port Lavaca

About school, I am having a stupor of thought on all of it, so I just don’t even try and decide anymore.  Thanks for the $300!  We went and spent like $50 of it today on part of the gifts.  I am starting to think that we have more money than people that need it!  We will use what we feel comfortable with, and then save the rest for little random things I can do for investigators. (i.e. I bought a water filtered pitcher for an investigator who hated drinking from the tap).

This week we made some danko Fajitas. We bought some random piece of beef and then added bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, and avocado.  It was so delicious!  But it was too much money and not very filling. 

Then on Tuesday we had district meeting in Yoakum!  Man, that is the Shire!  It is so out in the country it would make a good location for the Walking Dead! But out there, the branch has only 20 people and they meet in a rented office space.  I will attach a photo. 

And then we went to a little Mexican cafe across the street and I had sopapillas!  But they weren’t at all like the New Mexican ones. These were just fried corn tortillas, coated in cinnamon sugar, and topped with chocolate syrup and cool whip.  Pretty much they were mini Mexican toaster strudels.

Also this week, I figured out that driving the car means bad luck. There were a couple instances where we needed to use it, and then we would just use it for the rest of the night.  Well when we did that, no one would ever be home and we would run out of things to do really fast.  Or maybe it is just the fact that we got everywhere too fast and we don’t have enough places to go.  Anyways, I like my bike better. And it gives me nice legs.

When we were biking in Palacios, we met a 92-year-old lady raking her leaves so we stopped to help and boy did she have a healthy collection of leaves in her yard.  She had like 80 pecan trees and in an hour we filled 3 big bags and all we did was about 9 square feet.  Let’s just say she also has a very big yard!  But in the process we got to talk to her, Mrs Porter, a lot and figured out that she worked at ACE hardware her whole life.  At age 90 she retired because of her husband’s poor health and she got bored of working there after 70 years... I think I would die if I did the same thing every day for 70 years.  And who in the works until they are 90?!  Crazy Texans!  It is one of the reasons why I have just decided that I am going to check out at age 45.  Life just goes downhill after that anyways.

Anyways, while in Palacios, we saw a bunch of people in the street, so we scurried up there on our bikes and realized it was a parade.  Well, on closer inspection, it was a Catholic parade for the Virgin Mary.  At the front was the priest and his helpers, then there were 4 guys carrying a throne on their shoulders, and in the throne was a life-size Virgin Mary statue. Then behind them was a mariachi band and about 100 Catholics.  It was pretty sweet.  Well we realized they were dangerously close and we could not get around them so we turned on the first street.  And then we got to talking to some man and before we knew it the parade was right behind us!  Well, we had a line of slow cars in front of us and the parade behind us and we couldn’t go anywhere!  So for a block or so, the Mormon bikers led the Catholic parade!  Haha!  I wish I took a selfie, but I think that would have been disrespectful.

Elder Lund

Monday, December 8, 2014

Zone Conference & Christmas Lights

We will have a lot of fun playing Santa this year!  And yes, we have to work a lot on our teaching pool.  But we have some good ideas to do.

This week was a lot different than normal.  We tried really hard to teach and find new investigators and work towards seeing immediate progress towards baptism.  Well the Lord had a completely different plan for us.  We taught very few investigators and didn’t get to talk to many new people.  But we did visit a lot of less actives as well as active members.  So pretty much I am just going to go quickly through the main things we did in the order that it happened.

First off, the first part of the week was super cold!  Like mid to high 30's. Then, by the end of the week, mid 70's. Well the warm weather brought back the mosquitoes... Not very fun, haha.

Also I was able to go on exchange to Victoria and serve in Christ's Kitchen. It was so fun and rewarding!  I love being able to go and all I can do is serve and smile and invite.  Just like Holland's talk "Are We Not All Beggars."  Super cool.

Also that day we gave some marriage counseling to an RM.  Man, he had a lot going on!  And I have never been married and have never thought about it so I don’t know why I would be the one to give advice about it!  I find myself doing that a lot because I pretty much have never experienced the things that people in SouthTexas have!  Even though I haven’t done or thought or heard of these things, we are called upon to give out counsel. It’s pretty fun, haha but a lot of the time a little stressful.

Then we went to Zone Conference.  Well, since we are 2:30 hours away and it starts at 7am always, we try to find somewhere to stay every time. Well, this time we got the opportunity to stay with the Morton's. We had about 10 of us from our zone there. When we got there, she gave us a bunch of ice cream and fruit and then I noticed she had a lot of piles of Christmas decorations.  Well, with some careful manipulating, I talked her into letting me help her set up a little.  It ended up that all of us set up her little trees around the house.  It was so fun!  

And then in Zone Conference, my favorite part was from Sister Ashton. She talked about choice, chosing to believe and to have faith, choosing to accept challenges, choosing to be happy and obedient, choosing to be content.  It was really neat and I learned a lot about how I can choose to be exactly what I want to be.

Then in the rest of the week, we went to a member’s and helped them to hang their Christmas lights.  I got to crawl around on their roof the whole time, so that was sweet.  Then he took us to the back and we picked fresh kale and gave it to our investigators, especially the ones who are health enthusiasts.  We also helped a less active chop down a tree with a machete.  I just went all Rambo on it!  And then when I didn’t have the machete, I would just jump and hang on to a branch and when it was bent, he would just slice through it, so rad!

And then yesterday, an investigator, Carlos, asked us to help him take out his water heater.  Well, I forgot that it was the Sabbath... Anyways, I just went beast mode on it and threw it out, but in the process, I sliced three of my fingers and my thumb.  I think its because I worked on the Sabbath. And it’s ok because my pinky was untouched!  And we taped it up with her corsage tape so that I could bike home. It didn’t start dripping till I got on our street: tender mercies!  And then Elder Roskelley, in an unprecedented surgery not known to mankind, poured about half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on it, covered it in gauze, and then masking taped it all. It was amazing, haha

Well... I love you guys! Sorry no pics this week.

Elder Lund

Monday, December 1, 2014

More Thanksgiving & The Jehovah's Witness Church

Around town in Port Lavaca

Around town in Port Lavaca

Cool peacock at a member's house

I don’t need anything for Christmas, I have it all!  Just put any money in my account and I can use it for someone here, or just save it till after my mission.

The best part about this week, we went to a Jehovah’s Witness church!  It’s been my dream my whole mission to go to one.  But let me tell ya, they are way nicer than Mormons, especially the ones here.  (The branch here offended our only two investigators that we brought to Thanksgiving dinner...)  But everyone was super nice and all welcomed us to sit with them and they showed us how the program worked and everything.  But pretty much, their church is very much like ours: No one gets paid, the members give the talks and lessons, same standards mostly, same ideas....  Except they are just a little off in some ways and those ways make a huge difference, haha.  But I did get a free Bible!  It’s super different, maybe because they have changed the whole thing to the point that it can’t be called a bible anymore. 

Oh my, I am so fat. The day before Thanksgiving, me and another Elder were on exchanges that day and we ate 3 whole pies... A small pumpkin pie for breakfast, (but with a tangerine so it cancels it all out), then after lunch we ate an apple pie by ourselves, and finally after we got home, we punished a Costco size pumpkin pie and an entire bottle of whipped cream!  I don’t know where it all went because I still haven’t gained any weight on my mission. It’s probably a tapeworm or something. 

And then on Thanksgiving, we first went and helped serve community lunches and then ate at the big Catholic Church here.  The food was super good too.  But it was so fun to serve lunch to all the people who can’t afford to have thanksgiving dinner.

Then later that night we had a big dinner with the Escobedo family.  There were a lot of people there!  But it was super fun and they had everyone from grandpas and grandmas down to little kids running all over.  And then we tried to visit people and we kept getting shut down for interrupting family time.  I guess they don’t understand that we want to teach them when they are all together... whatever.

And we met a new couple named Jose and Ashley!  Super cool!  He works on a tug boat and has a lot of cool stories, plus he is a chef and made us some super good burgers.  She works at Wal-Mart so we have a new friend there.  And then they have two little boys as well.  And while we were there, he taught me how to play the Cajon(?)  It is one of those box instruments you sit on and then it has a base drum and a snare inside it.  I don’t know if you remember Katherine McPhee on American Idol singing Black Horse in the Cherry Tree?  Well that is the only time I have seen people play it, but I definitely will get one some day!  Sorry for the absurd reference, haha.

Elder lund