Hello to all my family, friends, and coaches at home, college and serving the Lord around the world! I hope and pray this email finds you well and enjoying life. Transfers were this week and it was so hard to leave Apple Valley. I will dearly miss the people there and Elder S. He was such a fun companion. Such a bittersweet week for me, but I've settled in quickly to Sauk Rapids and I'm excited to be here.
Last Monday I think I mentioned this already, but we went to Valley Fair in Shakopee with the Gs and Lake Marion Elders. It was a party. We went on a bunch of roller coasters and stuff and then at around this huge storm hit and they closed the park. It was a bummer but it was still super fun and we had a blast. There wasn't a cloud in the sky when the day started, and then as it went along, this giant storm from down south came up right over that area. Oh well, it happens! After that we went to Culver's for lunch and then went to the Gs house and played Snorta, which is this super funny game where you have to make animal sounds and then guess each other's animals and stuff. It was fun! Monday night we basically just went around and said bye to everyone and then got packed up.
we finished packing and then D took us to chick-fil-a for lunch! That was so sad. We all just talked about what we had learned from each other, and D was bawling because we were leaving. It was a sad lunch. I'm going to miss him so much. There aren't a lot of people I've met on my mission that have the faith and open mind and heart that D has. He was a diamond in the rough we found in Apple Valley.After that we went and saw SP and BH at the old folks home. I will seriously miss them so much. I love visiting the elderly folks. They just have such a good spirit about them and they've lived good lives and have such great advice! The Bs weren't home and unfortunately we weren't able to connect with them before we had to leave. I was super sad about that. After that we finished packing and cleaning up the apartment a little bit. Then we went to the Gs to hang out a little bit before we went to say bye to others in the ward. We visited Bishop C's family and the L family as well. I will miss both of them a lot. Bishop's family is awesome and I will miss them. The Ls were so fun! I loved having dinner with them and hanging out with all their kids haha. After that we went to the Gs for dinner and our last bonfire. That was so bittersweet. I love the Gs a ton! I seriously can't wait to hang out with them after the mission. They did some killer chicken and salad and fresh fruit for dinner and it was super good. Sister G kept playing all these sad songs while we had the fire haha. When the time came to head home, they gave us some gifts (s'more stuff and candy and thank you cards) and we said our goodbyes. That was tough. Everyone was a little teary eyed and we didn't wanna leave. There were a lot of emotions as we drove away.
morning we loaded up the car and headed up to Bloomington for transfers. As we were driving up, Elder S played "Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved To Do" by Nashville Tribute Band and I was just kinda lost it. Up to that point I had kept my emotions at bay but the tears just came out at that point. It just felt like I was leaving home and family all over again and it was tough. The drive up was hard for sure. When we got there I got to see all my buddies from around the mission and that was great. It's crazy how many missionaries that were my ZLs and served around me are now home or going home this transfer. I'm gonna be one of the old guys in about 2 months. Kinda crazy. I got all my stuff into the new car and said goodbye to Elder S. I'm really gonna miss him. He was definitely one of my favorite companions I've had so far. I was riding up to Sauk Rapids with Elder H, who I know from around the mission. It was fun to talk to him as we drove up! We didn't get on the road till like cuz we had to wait for a Tiwi in the new car and then get a new bike rack and it took forever. Then we had some Panda for lunch and started up. It's about an hour and half to where we live in the area, but we live like right in the middle of the area. We met Elder H's comp and my comp at our dinner and moved my luggage into the car and then had dinner with the Ps. They're super cool. They live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm so they have a sweet property. After that we drove up to Little Falls with Brother C to visit Z and RD. They are a less active father and son. Z is the son and he is progressing super well! They're really cool and we had a lesson about the plan of salvation with them. They are having us over for dinner and making a Thanksgiving feast for us! Little Falls is about 45 minutes north of where we live and that's driving 55mph on the highway the whole time. So our area is quite a bit larger than Apple Valley haha. It's also about that long to the south part of our area too! Anyway, after that we just headed home because it was like and got my stuff unpacked and all settled in. Our apartment is pretty nice, and we have a weight machine in the apartment. We live like 10 seconds from church, so we go there every morning to run and stuff so it's been good! I'm still at 194 lbs, so doing good with weight haha.
was insane. We worked on the transfer calendar and the zone focus for like 5 hours. I wanted to run through a wall. I'm not a logistics/paperwork guy and so that was not my favorite. Elder Meyer became a Zone Leader here like a week before me, so neither of us know how to Zone Lead or like anything about the area. So we've been treading water the last few days with all the ZL responsibilities and figuring out people we are teaching and stuff. They had a ton of new investigators and people they were teaching when I got here, and since I got here like every single one has dropped us and doesn't want to get taught anymore. Sounds like Apple Valley... So we are starting from basically ground zero and all that. There is a ton of less actives in the ward, so I'm guessing a decent chunk of our work will be with them. I love working with less actives though, and so far in my mission I've had most success with less actives rather than investigators, so that's good for here haha. afternoon after we got all the ZL stuff done we went to the Hs to give Sister H a blessing. She is less active and her husband is active. They live in a trailer park in Sartell which is just north of Sauk Rapids. They were super nice and gave us a huge jar of strawberry and rhubarb jam. So tasty! I seriously love giving Priesthood blessings. I have such a strong testimony of them since I came out. God truly knows what we need and what we need to hear. I also know that through the Priesthood authority we can be comforted and healed. I gave the blessing and I don't remember much of what I said, but I remember saying something in it that was super random (at least I thought it was haha). But it ended up being something she needed to hear! So cool! I love it! Brother H asked if we could help him out unloading his shed and redoing the floor in it . So we agreed to that and headed out. We drove out to Foley to visit the Cs who are an older less active couple that want to get sealed in the temple! We knocked on the door and no one answered. Then this truck pulled in and the dude never got out, so we called Brother C's phone and no one answered. Then this teenage girl comes and lets us in and we have no clue what's going on. Then the dude in the truck gets out and tells us to go away and that the Cs aren't interested in what we are sharing. We were a little confused, but then we finally got in and Brother C was like stoked to see us, so that cleared up all the confusion haha. The dude who told us to go away was was actually a really cool guy. The girl was Brother C's granddaughter visiting from Texas. Brother C is starting a gun business right now and drives a truck for a living. He drives to so he can't ever make it to church. That's why he is trying to get their gun business up and going so he can just do that full time. Anyway, we taught a restoration lesson and T and the granddaughter sat in on it and participated. It was really good! Brother R, the Elder's Quorum President, came with us too, and they really hit it off so that was solid! We left T a Book of Mormon to read and he said he'd check it out. Hopefully that goes somewhere. Anyway, the Cs are awesome, and they invited us for dinner every and to do a lesson after dinner too. Super fun!
we finished making the zone focus and transfer calendar and all that and then started weekly planning. That took us to like so we did some stop bys kind of south of Sauk Rapids. We met some super cool people as we were walking around. We met this Asian guy at this apartment and we are going to stop by him this upcoming week. We also met a less active lady in our ward named Sister B and we are having a lesson with her ! In this area for stop bys we park the car and then walk around to stop by people and talk to like everyone out on the streets and do a little tracting. It's pretty fun!🏽I've enjoyed it so far. Anyway, we just got to talk to a lot of cool people. We had dinner dropped off to us, so we ate at our place and then had a lesson with a guy named M who is a less active YSA member from Iowa. Our ward is a YSA magnet ward as well so we do some YSA work here, too. Anyway, he is going to St. Cloud State for an internship and decided he wanted to start coming to church again so we've been teaching him and he came to church too! He's a quiet guy but really nice and sincere and has super good questions, too.After that we did some more stop bys and ended up having a super cool conversation with another guy named M who is the dad of a potential investigator. He said he used to have some neighbors who were Mormons and he absolutely loved them so he just complimented us on the good people we were. He wasn't interested much in talking religion, but we just had a really cool chat with him so that was good. After that we saw these two ladies working on a car in the parking lot of the apartment building we were at so we went over to help them. They were replacing a headlight and the front part of the car was rusted on and we couldn't get the bolts out to fix it. So we did what we could but didn't do much. It did give us a chance to talk about what we do as missionaries and give the one lady a Book of Mormon. She said we could give her a call and stop by this week to share some more! Haha. We then went to stop by this guy named J who is a potential that Elders M and N found like a week ago. He works at an "adult store" (think Doctor Johns in Logan) so I figured he would be an interesting guy to say the least. Anyway, he wasn't home but we found this guy named J who was crazy and had kicked Elders M and N out of the apartment the last time. Anyway, he started talking to us and we ended up teaching him the restoration lesson. He told us he used to be a tool and did drugs and stuff and he's still a little crazy from all that haha. But anyway, we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he'd read it. He also said he was coming to church but cancelled last minute.
was a little more normal of a day. We went and helped Brother H with his shed, and he had a ton of stuff in there haha. We unloaded the whole thing and stuff was everywhere. Then we hauled in a bunch of crushed up concrete and dirt and leveled it all out on the bottom so the bottom was even and level. It took like 2 hours. Pretty fun stuff! Then we were supposed to have a lesson with N and S, who are some new investigators, but they fell through so we did some stop bys up in Sartell and didn't really find anyone. Haha we stopped by this less active that we knew nothing about and this old lady answered the door and we were like, "Hey, does so and so live here?" And she just goes off and tells us she's gonna call the cops if we ever come back and just ripped us a new one. I literally almost busted out laughing and was just like, "You have a nice day ma'am!" She didn't like that much hahah. We also had a lesson with TB, who is a less active dude in our ward. He is really funny and loves anime movies and stuff like that. He hasn't been to church for like a month or so, but he came which was really sweet! Haha we basically talked about movies the whole time and I was able to introduce him to "Angels in the Endzone". He said he was going to illegally pirate it and watch it that night. He's a hoot! After dinner we tracted this nicer neighborhood and didn't really find anyone. Everyone was really nice but not interested. Then we went onto the next street and found like 3 people in 5 houses. It's crazy how it works like that sometimes. After that we did some more stop bys and called it a night!
we did a bunch of stop bys in the morning and did some tracting before church. We have church, so that's kinda nice I guess. M, who is a YSA investigator, came to church and so did M, the less active guy from Iowa, and so did T! It was pretty cool! The ward is super small here. Like we don't even fill 3/4 of the chapel, so yeah. It's not very big! Church was good, we talked to like everyone to get to know people and set up a few lessons for this week! After church we drove up to the way north part of Sartell for dinner with the Bs. They are super cool and really nice. We fasted and I pigged out at dinner. They made grilled chicken and rolls and fresh fruit and I ate a ton haha. It was super good! After that we visited Brother G. He was out playing his guitar on his porch and played a song or two for us. We shared a quick lesson about fasting and he said he is reading a Book of Mormon and marking it up to give to someone as part of the stake challenge in January. So that was fun! Then we had coordination meeting with Brother C, who is the ward mission leader. He is really cool and I got the "new missionary" treatment from his kids when I got there haha. They put you in this big recliner and throw a blanket on you and give you a foot massage. It was super nice! Then we did coordination meeting and headed home to do numbers for the zone. That's something we do each night. We get all the date set info and key indicator numbers from the zone and send it to the APs.
This week has been tough emotionally, but fun! I feel like I've adjusted quickly to being in a new area. I'm excited to serve in Sauk Rapids and to help the ward grow and improve. I was so sad to leave the Apple Valley Ward, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be at this time. I'm not sure why yet, but by the time I leave I'm sure I'll know! Thanks for all the prayers and support! I love you all and have a great week.