I'm serving in California. Right? Just checking. Last Tuesday Elder Dea and I went to help one of our members move "some bamboo." We both had no idea what that meant, but we changed in to service clothes and headed off to help. We ended up loading the biggest load of wood I have ever seen into the back of this truck, and it was bamboo! We had a bunch of fun and laughed the whole time just saying how crazy the whole experience was. It is super foggy in the mornings now and actually super cold. It feels way good, but Elder Dea hates the cold. Elder Dea knows how much I love talking to random people, so he told me about a referral we received on an exchange, so I called her up. Remember that all I knew was the woman's name okay? I called and all I here is "I'm not going to wait all day, do you want yo ten dolla or what?" No "hello," no "this is ____." She just kept going off about how I needed to go get my "ten dolla." Finally I told her "Ma'am, I would love ten dollars, but I am a missionary." There was silence for at least 10 solid seconds. She apologized a bunch, and said she needed a few days before we came over. I love this area so much. Our members are some of the best people in the entire world. We're working right now on finding new investigators, and one of the biggest themes we've been studying in the mission is that we all have a unique background. At church we heard, "God didn't send us here to blend in" (I think it is a Lindsay Sterling quote). But it is so true! We are here to make a difference! Let's make it. I love ya. I got the call on Saturday to serve as a trainer here in Oakdale. Elder Dea is one of my absolute favorite missionaries. He makes this work so much fun. He loves his mission and as a result everyone loves him. He is going to be so so missed here in Oakdale, but the Lord knows what He is doing. This is His work, and it can only be done His way. We love our family out here. Oakdale is amazing!
Elder Jaron Hoani King: Elder Dea and I had a lot of fun Saturday night singing in our ward talent show. Elder Dea wanted to sing the song Testify ("Kiss the Girl" from the Little Mermaid, but missionary style) so we got up there and sang. Our ward is so wonderful. There were a bunch of non-members who came out, and the W. even got their friend to come sing! He is as cowboy as it gets so all I could think about was dad as he was singing about chaps, boots, and hats. Friday we went up to Sonora for an interview and we were again stunned by how beautiful it all is. Brett was interviewed, and baptized yesterday. 1st ward also had three baptisms Saturday night, and all three of them are doing so wonderful! A family we are working with super close is Jackie and Jared. They live out in the sticks, but want to move in to town soon. Their little girl M. is 1 so she is obviously super cute. Jared was raised in the church, and Jackie took some lessons before they moved off to Illinois. Luckily, they're back and we are going out to see them tonight. It gets dark now at about 5.30 so the night time can get really interesting out in the country. Elder Dea REALLY doesn't like dark, so we had some fun last night when we got out of the car in the middle of nowhere (Elder Dea kept saying "I swear this is in a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre). There was a locked gate so we didn't do much more than just yell a couple times and hope someone heard. There was a horse behind us, and it made us jump about 40 feet in the air. My companion and I will be playing some sports today with the youth, then the primary kids because they are all out school. Love ya! Have a great veteran's day!
Elder Jaron Hoani King:It has been so weird because it is actually getting super cold! Okay, it's not that cold because it's only in the 50s, but it is cold when you get so used to biking around in triple digits. Oakdale got a bunch of rain this last weekend and it was so much fun! We spent Halloween with the Black family and we played Would You Rather? Everyone in Oakdale has been going crazy with the Giants winning the series, but I hear it really was a fun series and especially a great game 7. Elder Dea and I got used to running when it was dark outside, so now it is weird because we run and we can actually see people. Church was amazing, as always, and it was all about covenants. Sister Baxter made a really cool comment in gospel principles about how this is a church of doing. Our Church isn't one you just sit down and listen to someone, but it is active. That is (I'm sure) a huge reason we always invite people to do things. They need us to invite them to be active in their faith. We didn't have anyone at church, so we will make the rounds today inviting them back. Our new investigating family is amazing! The Salario's were a new move in who Elder Moss and I contacted on our last exchange. We went straight back to Preach My Gospel and asked a former investigator who they knew who was recently moved in. Come to find out, the Salario family knows a bunch of members, and we started teaching yesterday with our Bishop's son. We love it here, and the font room is all dried up! Our recent convert, who lives in the Sacramento mission, needs the new member lessons, so we called the elders up there, and they are going to go visit her. It means a lot to see that we really do belong to One Church. His Church. Jesus Christ established His Kingdom in 1830 with 6 official members. Joseph Smith is a prophet. Thomas S. Monson leads and guides this Church just as Moses and Abraham led and guided Christ's saints in times before. This work can't do anything but make you smile. We're going to go play jenga with a member before we're back to the proselyting schedule, but please let me know how I can help you. I love ya!