Florida Elder Goes to Training & Dodges a Hurricane

Another week in paradise. The major headline of this week was specialized training. One day of newbie training with a block of practice. It was very good. For practice we got to go to USF (University of Southern Florida) and talk to people with a companion that is not your own. I got paired with one of the assistants to the President who is a previous firefighter, Elder Epstein so… yeah. But it was super cool and great. It is so much easier to contact people of a similar age to you and in your native language! Also college people are so ready for the gospel. 

Also this week my companion (he is Philipino) decided to have me try some snacks and desert from his country. The desert was flan, which if you like Mexican food you have probably heard of and tried. Apparently Philipino food is similar to Hispanic food, but the snack was kind of weird. They are called prawn crackers and taste like shrimp. They were kind of good though. 

This week we also went and visited a family we’ve been trying to contact since I got here, and we actually got a hold of them. In our first real visit, they informed us that their son is going to be baptized next month. So that’s cool. 

This week I want to talk about the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the most true book currently on the earth. The process and speed at which it was translated is proof of God and the prophetic nature of Joseph Smith. Their is an excellent talk by Tad R Callister (God’s Compelling Witness) on the matter if you want to learn or recall how miraculous the existence of the book is. However, beyond that is the spiritual nature of the book. The existence, no matter how miraculous, is not enough to make anyone accept it. The words and the power they hold however can impress on anyone how real and true the gospel they contain is. No other book has made me want to put it down and exclaim the hope and possibilities it explains. It is a perfect companion to the Bible, with much clarification to the already wonderful teachings we had before its translation. I say all this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Hasta PrΓ³xima Semana

“Some pictures from the training lunch. Eight Missionaries that arrived on August 7th (Walker was one of them) met with their trainers, President and Sister Hollingsworth, and the Assistants to the President. Missionaries had training, went to USF campus and contacted students, role played church tours, and then met for testimony meeting. Pizza was enjoyed by all at the end of the day.” – Florida Tampa Mission FB

Elder Seal, Elder Knell (District Leader), Elder Kitch, Elder Oren
Front Row: Elder Kitch, Elder Oren, and Elder Goldstein (Arrived with Walker)
Back Row: Elder Fairy (Arrived with Walker) and Elder Petit (Arrived with Walker)
Front Row: Elder Anderson, Elder Bake (Zone Leader), Elder Stringham (Zone Leader in St. Petersburg, works in Clearwater, has also been an Assist. to the President), Elder Prepchuck (from Australia)
Middle Row: Elder ? peering over the shoulder, Elder ? only can see his eye
Back Row: Elder Kitch, Elder Oren, Elder Goldstein, Elder Petit

Walker and his Companion Elder Oren diving in! 

Sorry for the blurry pictures. The Mission posts them on FB, so we get what we get. LOL! I just wanted to point out what they are having for lunch. Papa John’s Pizza! This is Walker’s favorite, and he said the pineapple (also his favorite) was the BEST!! <3

While Walker has been working and training and living the best Missionary Life possible, at home, we’ve been worried. With Hurricane Dorian moving towards Florida, we’ve been on the edge of our seats to know if it is going to make landfall. Early reports showed that it would hit the center of Florida, and the entire state has been declared a state of emergency.

As you can see the entire state is predicted to be hit by Hurricane Dorian. 

Dear Families of the Florida Tampa Mission,

We have been monitoring the progress of Hurricane Dorian. All missionaries are currently safe and evacuation prep calls have gone out to all missionaries informing them to have their 72 hour kit ready, by the door, if asked to move to a safe zone.

While this communication is going out as an email, future updates will be posted on the Florida Tampa Facebook page each morning by 9:30 am EDT and each evening by 6:00 pm EDT.

If an evacuation is required, you will be notified through the Florida Tampa Facebook page that all evacuated missionaries have been physically accounted for in a safe zone.

David Hollingsworth

We were so grateful to get word from Walker’s Mission President. Getting communication helped to put some of our worries at ease. 

It quickly gained in strength and is a Category 4.

These were the updates that we received from the Mission.

As you can see, I couldn’t stay off the Internet. We’ve never experienced a hurricane here in the desert, and being so far away, I felt a little helpless. I know Tampa is typically the safer side of the state to be on when one hits, but the reports were predicting landfall in the center of the state, and that, of course, left me feeling quite unsettled for what that would mean for our Missionary.

Of course, there is always someone out there trying to make light of heavy subjects. LOL!

As the week has progressed, so has the storm’s wind and power. Today it has hit the Bahamas and is now a Category 5. The poor people there have been hit with a storm like no one has ever seen before. Currently, the loss of life is at five but expected to climb. The storm is moving so slowly. You can walk as fast as it’s traveling. Which means the rainfall is climbing to record numbers, and the winds are tearing homes and buildings apart.

The Lord has been hearing our prayers! In fact, I had two friends tell me in separate conversations that when they saw the reports showing the storm making a northeasterly turn, “God heard Vanessa’s prayers. She has mighty prayers.” And the other one said, “Vanessa’s prayers are powerful. They’ve worked. The storm is moving north!”

Of course, I was humbled and touched to think that they would think my faith and prayers could do such a thing. I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people praying for the people of Florida. When I said this they both replied with the same response, “The prayers of a Mother are powerful.” It really touched my heart. <3 Their comments reminded me of  a quote by President Boyd K. Packer – β€œThere are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.” (These Things I Know)

I’m also always very aware when some point, scripture, talk, or life lesson comes to me more than once. I call them “themes”. I know this is when Heavenly Father is really trying to teach me something. He, of course, has to repeat it because I’m not always the greatest listener. πŸ˜›

The reports are showing that Florida is mostly in the clear. Of course, they say Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so we will keep up to date with current newscasts. The eye of Hurricane Dorian, as of this morning, is reported to be 20 miles wide. It’s moving incredibly slow too. They said you can walk as fast as it’s moving at 1 mile an hour. That also makes it more difficult to predict what it’s going to do. They’ve never seen one this slow and this big. My heart is feeling lighter, and we are feeling confident Walker will be safe. He’ll most likely get a lot more rain and wind than usual, but nothing like what it could have been. 

He got his 72-hour kit packed and ready as the Mission asked all the missionaries to do just in case. If they were to evacuate, they would go to another missionary’s apartment or church building that was in a safe zone. He’s not too worried about the storm. He said it could be fun getting to hang out with other Missionaries. πŸ˜› Elder Oren said to get ready to play Signs all day. I guess that’s a game they all love to play. He tried to explain it to us but it’s too long to post. πŸ˜› They explain it here.

I asked how the weather is today? He said “it’s been pouring all day, but it’s no ‘huracΓ‘n'” (hurricane). πŸ˜› 

He did say, however, that during Hurricane Irma, this same thing happened, and it didn’t follow what the predictions were and went right through. So they aren’t completely out of danger. His Mission President has been VERY on top of this storm. He specializes in emergencies. Not necessarily weather emergencies, but that was his job in business. He’s used to preparing for all sorts of different things and all the planning. 

Since he is making sure every missionary is safe and the role he plays there, he, unfortunately, missed the Specialized Training they had. Usually, he’d be involved and speaking, but this hurricane business took him away from being able to do that. Which is totally understandable, and we are grateful for his diligence and concern for our Missionaries. 

Today is Labor Day, so Eli and Alayna got to join in on our phone call this week! They haven’t gotten to talk to their brother in several weeks. 

Alayna told him her BIG news! She made the Jr. High Volleyball team! He said, “Oh my goodness, I knew you would!! You’re the BEST! There wasn’t a doubt!” 

Eli mostly talked about work at Rubio’s. They commiserated together about all the trials and tribulations about working there. πŸ˜› LOL! Saturday night, they only had Eli and Kayla working and closing. It takes a minimum of four people to close, but there should be five people. They were so overwhelmed and spread so thin that the place was a disaster. Kayla got distracted while filling the steam table to clean, and it ended up flooding the back of the store! They spent hours trying to clean it up. Eli didn’t get home until 2am! Eli gets Walker laughing like only Eli can. These boys of mine are the best of friends. They always have been. It is one of the greatest blessings of my life to see my children genuinely love each other! 

Walker then said, “Other than Hollie being an absolute chump and nobody showing up for closing ever and Kayla flooding the place and quitting soon, how is Rubio’s? Hahahaha!!!” Walker is hilarious! 

He was talking to his companion about No Bakes. They are a favorite in our household. I make them all the time. They are dangerous because they are so quick and easy to make, and you can’t just eat one or two! Elder Oren hasn’t ever heard of them before, and Walker couldn’t believe it! He wants to make him some. I’m sending him the recipe today! πŸ™‚ 

Elder Oren also stated he wants to eat vegan this week. Walker said, “No way! That is not allowed! Being vegan is literally apostasy. It says so in the Bible.” Haha!! Elder Oren also told another missionary in the District this week that he wanted to go vegan, and the missionary said “you can’t, or I will be calling President cuz you are not allowed!” LOL! Apparently, he has it bookmarked in his scriptures and read it to us. 

1 Timothy Chapter 4 
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

So he said being vegetarian is apostasy and if you eat meat, it is doctrine that you have to pray. πŸ˜› Jared said, “But since we pretty much eat meat with every meal, we should always pray over our food!” LOL!!!

Alandra’s baptismal date is September 14th. She wants her dad, who is already a member, to baptize her. They are still working with her about her testimony of  Russell M. Nelson. Part of the issue is that Adam was the first person ever, Noah built an Arc, and Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and re-established the church, and then there is Russell M. Nelson. She asked, “What did he do? What makes him a prohpet?” Walker responded, “Well, he invented heart surgery, so that’s pretty cool!” LOL! Not exactly what she was looking for of course. πŸ˜› To help clarify things for her, they explained how lines of authority work in the Priesthood. Then they showed her the talk by him, Come Follow Me. They think it helped her to understand. They continue to send her General Conference talks and Book of Mormon chapters and invited her to watch President Nelson’s birthday celebration.

Investigators are put into categories. New, who are people you just started contacting and giving the lessons to. Church, people who are receiving the lessons and going to church. Baptismal Date, people with a baptismal date. And the last is 10 Days, people who are 10 days out from their baptismal date. Alandra is about to enter her 10 days. The reason this group is separate from baptismal date is that this is when they typically lose them. Satan works really hard to prevent them from becoming members and getting baptized. 

When Jared and I did our Temple Preparation classes when we were working to get ourselves to the temple to be sealed, they told us the same thing. Satan will do everything in his power to make sure we didn’t get ourselves there. Thankfully, we did. There were some issues that were heartbreaking, but we persevered. 

There is a family, the Arais’, that the Missionaries were able to get the son baptized, and they started to bring the whole family to church. They have begun attending the Temple Preparation classes so that they can seal their family. The mom has started having crazy medical problems. She had to get a pacemaker. She went to the hospital when her heart was only beating once every 15 seconds. It scared the whole family. Luckily, they are generally a really happy family and loving the church. After that happened Walker and Elder Oren showed them some videos about persevering to the end. He said it was super spiritual, and they all got very emotional. They said, “Yeah, we know these things are hard, but we want to keep going. We want to keep doing everything.” The Sunday after that happened, (yesterday) she got up and bore her testimony! It was incredible!  

The Pistanas is the family Walker mentioned in his email above. They are a part member family. The dad is a member, but the mom is a member of another church. He’s not sure which one. She’s Indian, so he thinks it may be a traditional Indian church. They come to the LDS church every other Sunday. Both of the parents are doctors, so they are super busy all the time. They couldn’t ever get an appointment with them, so they spoke to the Branch President who is friends with them and asked him if they were free on Saturday or Sunday. He said Sunday is probably the best time to reach them. They didn’t make an apptointment with them. They just arrived at their home that day and the family told them they have been meaning to talk to the Branch President. Their son is planning to get baptized on the 14th of October. They were surprised and so happy to hear this news! 

Now that Elder Hemming is gone, Walker and Elder Oren are very busy. They are diving into the work more seriously. They have also been trying to bike more to save miles on the car and to help them both to get more exercise. They both are trying to get healthier. This last week, Walker hadn’t been feeling very well and thought it was probably his diet. He told Elder Oren that he wanted to get more fruits and vegetables in his eating plan. Elder Oren was shocked! He said he’s never had a companion ask for fruits and veggies, but he was all on board! He is always trying to find ways to be healthier. So they went to the store today and stocked up! He said eating healthier is more expensive though. Hard to do on a Missionary budget. πŸ˜› 

Elder Oren has lost 4 sizes in his pants since he’s been out, but Elder Knell said he’s gone up two pants sizes since being out there. Walker wants to try to lose some weight and get healthier. They were talking to the Branch Clerk who they are good friends with. He’s a little younger and speaks English, so that helps. He told them on his mission he gained a bunch of weight. They had cars and had so many member dinners. Some nights he’d have three back to back dinners!! Walker has had one Mexican dinner out there, and it was a lot of food. And you can’t say no, and you have to eat all of it or they get offended. If you don’t eat all of it that means you hate it. LOL! Elder Hemming and Elder Oren were helping him eat it. It was meatballs, potatoes, rice, and had a yucca root (he really liked that). The whole meal was good, but it was a lot. They all had seconds, and Elder Hemming was going for thirds because they needed to finish it. Elder Hemming turned to Walker and said, “Hand me your plate.” In his head Walker said, “Oh no! I don’t want to!” Haha! But he handed it to him anyway to not to be rude. At the end of the meal Elder Hemming said, “Dude, you probably ate more than either of us because we just kept giving you all the food. Hahaha!!” Then when they were finished their hosts asked, “Do you guys want dessert?” They were so sick and full but couldn’t say no. Luckily, it was ice cream on a cooked tortilla and nothing too heavy because they ate that too! πŸ˜› I said it was like Mexican Thanksgiving!!! haha!
Random pic of Elder Knell at Cracker Barrel with tons of syrup the waitress kept bringing to the table. πŸ˜›
There is a part member family that they are working with. The girlfriend is a member and the boyfriend is who they are teaching. They need to get married before he can get baptized to stay in line with the Law of Chastity. Every time they go over to see them, they feel like they have to feed them. It doesn’t matter if they’ve already eaten, they feed them. πŸ˜›  It reminds me of my mom who was raised in a Hispanic home. They love to feed you!

There is a mother, Maribell, and daughter, Ilene (18 yrs old), that they have been working with. They had the contact with the daughter through the Sister Missionaries, but they found out that her mom was interested as well. They kept going to teach the daughter, but she was never there, so they were teaching the mother. The mom speaks a lot of Spanish and prefers Spanish. The daughter prefers English, so she might be going to an English Ward instead which is unfortunate for Walker and Elder Oren. They are thinking if it’s possible to get her to go with her mom, they’ll both go to the Spanish Branch. He’s just not sure how it’s going to work out. They, of course, want to teach them together, but Maribell doesn’t want the lessons in English and Ilene doesn’t want them in Spanish. They both speak both. It’s just their preference. 

The woman in their Branch that owns the Los Amigos restaurant won’t allow the Missionaries to pay for their meals there. She won’t take their money. One time Elder Oren was in her restaurant and she gave him and his companion Elder Martinez (who is a native Mexican) a torta (sandwich) with five different kinds of meat on it. He doesn’t particularly like meat all that much. He likes rice and will put a small amount of meat on it. He turned to his companion and asked, “How am I going to eat this Elder? What am I going to do?” Elder Martinez responds, “What do you mean? Just eat it!” Haha!!! Walker said, That actually sounds pretty good! They were driving around with some other Elders and they were saying, Ya that’s a REAL meal right there! This all tied back to the original topic of eating meat and being a vegan is awful. LOL! Jared reminded him that we are also told to eat meat “sparingly”. (D&C 89:12)

Elder Oren is one of the only missionaries to have a girlfriend. It’s highly discouraged to have one while you are out on your mission. So, of course, he gets teased and told that he’s going to get “Querido Juan’d” (Dear John’d). LOL! He informed Walker that if he gets Dear John’d, they wouldn’t be working for two days. He’ll need time to recover. Aww…. To make matters worse, Elder Hemming told him to not email her last week so that she’d “miss him”. This week, he got an email from her titled, “We need to talk”. He didn’t get Dear John’d. Everything was ok, but he was very worried. Here’s my advice. Never take advice from Elder Hemming! LOL!!! 

His Spanish is coming along. He’s feeling more comfortable in conversations. If he’s being spoken to he can reply and carry a good conversation. He’s trying to get more confident in speaking it in a group conversation. If people are talking back and forth, it’s hard for him to jump in, but he’s like that in English conversations too. πŸ˜›  He’s still studying hard to learn more and more. You can never learn enough.

When Walker and Elder Epstein, the Assistant to the President, were contacting at USF, they met a Colombian. He spokes some Spanish with him. He didn’t think it went very well. He didn’t feel that he understood him well. He told him he’s learning Spanish. The contact asked him if it was very hard, and Walker had a really hard time telling him how hard it was in Spanish. He said he messed up all his Spanish. LOL! He knew English too, so they were able to talk still, but it was frustrating. He wasn’t interested however. He is Catholic, his whole family is Catholic, and he doesn’t have plans to change. Walker just said, “Well most of the Spanish members have been Catholic.” πŸ™‚

Fun fact about Elder Epstein is that he is from Gilbert, Arizona! He lives super close by off of Val Vista. He couldn’t remember the cross street, but that’s probably just a few miles away! Small world! <3 He said that most of the people in that mission from Arizona are from Gilbert. I guess Florida needed to be ministered and taught by Gilbertarians! 

He LOVED going to the college campus!! Typically, the only people who only speak Spanish are old. It was refreshing for him to meet and speak with people his own age and in English. Everyone he met was SUPER receptive! It was kind of crazy. Everyone was ready! <3 They only had one bad contact when Elder Epstein came on a little strong. Walker was in his element. He was able to relate with the students over school, and that helped a lot. Elder Epstein even mentioned that that was great he could do that. They would strike up conversations about whatever, and when they’d bring up religion and ask what their relationship with religion was, almost everyone would say, “Oh actually I’ve been looking for something.” They would just tell them something like, “We have Youth Activities that have games and free food on Monday nights and Bible study on Friday nights and church services on Sunday. We’d love for you to be able to come.” A lot of people said, “Actually ya! That sound really cool!” They’d explain a little bit about the Church and different topics in the Gospel. It was pretty effective! <3 One guy they asked if he had a relationship with God? He said, “little by little. I’m getting there.” They asked him what he meant by that? He said that he’s really trying to be thankful for everything he has and working on prayer and how he’s slowly finding religion for himself. They said, “Well we have a church that can help you out with that.” He said, “Oh cool!!” I’m just blown away. You wouldn’t think college kids would be that open to it, but it sounds like these people really were searching for what’s missing in their life. It restores hope for me in our youth. 

They spoke to this one girl and gave her the Restoration Lesson. She said she grew up Christian but didn’t really go to church. Her mom was of the mind that all these churches interpret the scriptures their own way (remind you of anything?), so they can just do the same thing at home. All growing up she really wanted to go to church, but her mom didn’t let them go. She said she’d definitely like to look into the church some more. 

Elder Oren went with Elder Goldstein, and they got lost. Neither one of them knew the campus at all. They ended up finding someone and gave her the first three lessons! She was like, “So what is your church all about? What makes you guys different?” Elder Goldstein gave the Restoration Lesson to her. She said, “That’s really cool actually that makes a lot of sense, so what is your purpose here? Why do you guys believe we’re here?” And he gave her the entire Plan Of Salvation Lesson. She said, “Oh that’s actually really cool! What do I have to do to follow that?” So they gave her the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ Lesson. I mean you couldn’t have set this up more perfectly! Holy Cow! <3 They didn’t really get lost. The Lord led them right to her! She was ready!!! She was super ready! They gave her contact info to the YSA people and said, “Ya, this girl is ready to be baptized now!!!” LOL!! Jared said, “Ya don’t drop the ball!” πŸ˜› 

They gave all the contact information for everyone they met to the YSA Ward in Tampa. They will reach out with their Missionaries to follow up. 

It seems to him like everyone he connects with speaks English. They don’t speak that much Spanish. They will speak both but prefer English. They were meeting with some inactive members, and they both spoke English. They got along with them really really well. Their story is interesting. There are two of them, a brother (Ezikiah) and sister (Yvonne), and the sister has a family. She left the Church because she couldn’t be sealed to her kids without having a husband. She didn’t like that and she doesn’t want to marry again. They both were getting a lot of judgment from the Ward. He was getting tattoos and that was getting some unwelcome attention as well. They invited them to the Spanish Branch, but he doesn’t know if they will come. It is so sad that people can’t just love others. We have a big effect on those around us. In the end, this is Christ’s church, not the members’. People are imperfect.

They also have some members and people they meet with that speak Portuguese. So he’s learning that as well. It is similar to Spanish but with a French influence. If there are Portuguese people, they send the Spanish Missionaries. He’s really getting a language education out there! πŸ™‚ They met with a woman who spoke Portuguese this week, and as she spoke, he was able to understand most of what she said. I thought that was pretty amazing! They pronounce some things differently and have different spellings for some things. For example,  Muchas gracias (thank you very much) is Muito de obrigado. It depends on where they were in Brazil if the language is more or less similar. She was from Sao Paulo. Hers was very melodic and smooth and sounded more French, but they teach other people who are from Vilhena and it is harsher.

We talked about getting his music to him. We’re still trying to find out the best way to do that. He mentioned the Nashville Tribute Band, the Jesus album and in particular, the John Song is one he recommended we listen to and get for him. 

He’s loving it out there. He loves going on Exchanges. He and Elder Oren are going on Exchanges tomorrow out to Gulfport. They call it PulfGort, but he doesn’t know why. They say it has the best and worst areas of St. Petersburg. It has both the richest and poorest people. It’s by the beach, so the houses really close to the beach are really expensive but the ones that aren’t very close are really cheap.  He’s looking forward to that. It helps mix things up a bit. They tend to do the same thing day in and day out. Elder Knell has been out almost a year now. He says when he returns home, in his coming home talk, he’s going to say, “You know the movie Groundhog Day? That’s pretty much what it was like. Every day it was the same. The weather was the same. The people were the same.” LOL!

They’ve also been spending time in an area called Oldsmar which is near Palm Harbor. He said it’s funny because they are saying you went to the “hood” of Palm Harbor, but Palm Harbor is literally the richest area in their area. Everyone has giant houses, so even in the “hood”, everyone is pretty well off. πŸ˜›

His stomach has been a little upset. He gets anxious talking to people, especially trying to do it in another language, and they are so busy all the time. This experience is definitely out of his comfort zone. It’s been taking a toll on his body. We are SOOO proud of him for pushing forward and doing all he’s doing. We can’t even imagine how difficult this must be! We don’t think we could do what he’s doing! It’s incredible! He said,” Well I just figure it’s better than not doing it.” He’s so humble and willing. That’s all the Lord asks of us. He’s truly leaning into this experience and allowing the Lord to use him as he needs. His faith is so strong and is an amazing example for our whole family! We are just in awe of him.

Their first transfer is on the 16th. At that point, he’ll have been out in the field for six weeks. They don’t know if he and Elder Oren will stay together to finish Walker’s training. As far as the new apartment, they know they will be out by October even if they stay in the area.

Zebra (Different language) companionships are pretty common, especially with the Sister Missionaries. He has heard that in these companionships if they speak to Spanish speaking people the Spanish Missionary leads the discussions. So you’d assume that if they spoke to an English speaker the English speaking missionary would lead the discussion. But what happens is the English speaker becomes dependent on the Spanish speaker, and they end up doing most of the work and teaching in English as well. That’s kind of crazy. He says, If I get in a Zebra I’m going to say, “I’m going to translate so you need to participate!” πŸ˜›

He’s been getting the weekly emails from the people his MTC/CCM District. Hermana Rose has been emailing him directly, and they’ve been chatting some.

The goal for his Branch is to be a Ward by the end of the year. For that to happen, they have to have 120 people in attendance at least once and have 300 people on the records. He couldn’t remember where they are at currently.

His typical day looks like:

The wake early for personal studies. Then they get ready for the day and leave for 2-3 hours on appointments or other proselyting. Then they come back to the apartment for another 2 hours or so to have lunch, language study, companionship study, and Walker’s training. They have a lot of time to study. Then they are gone again until night unless they come by for dinner at the apartment.

For his training, it’s a lot like companionship study. Elder Oren just goes over how to teach the lessons simply and quickly. They work on different things. This week was contacting. He says practicing contacting is weird. It’s easier to do actual contacting than pretend/role play contacting since you have more to talk about with real people. But it’s also harder because you are talking to real people and you’re more nervous. πŸ˜›

They need more people to teach. They are always needing more people to teach. Especially right now When Elder Hemming was there, they didn’t really find anyone new. Referrals are definitely the most helpful. They are going to be going out and trying to knock doors in the Spanish neighborhoods more, but it’s difficult finding people who will commit.

We spoke for a very long time. He was really chatty this week which I love! It was so great hearing Walker, Eli and Alayna laugh together. Ten weeks down as of tomorrow! It’s so weird how it feels so fast and so slow at the same time. πŸ™‚

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