Transfer week, This will be the last day I'll be in Richlands, VA. After serving here for almost 7 months, It will be very difficult to leave. :( I must say I've enjoyed every minute of it. Tomorrow I'll taking a trip from Richlands to Fairmont, WV. I'll be travelling from the very south of the mission to the very north (almost). I'm guessing it'll be anywhere from a 6 to 9 hour trip. Depending on the stops we make and how many vehicle transfers will be necessary. Can't say I'm looking forward to the trip, but I'm sure it'll all be worth it when I get there. I don't like goodbyes, but sometimes change is for the best I guess.
Here's the last week.
We started something kind of cool this past pday. Normally we mail in letters to Pres. Pitt every week via post office however, this past week we were able to submit letters online. We used the church missionary website, and I must say that it was infinitely more convenient than the previous snail-mail way. Technology is great.
Speaking of Technology, the church has just produced new mormon.org pass-along cards. They are using technology as well, and have started putting QR codes on the backs of the cards. So now, when we give a card to someone, they can simply scan it with their smart phone and go straight to the mormon.org website. Genius! I can't wait until those become readily available for missionary use.
We taught some investigators later that evening. One of them started reading the Book of Mormon. I love those little miracles.
We went to the food pantry for the last time.(for me at least) I've really enjoyed serving there as well. I have definitely noticed that as you serve others, your worries and troubles seem to melt away.
Later in the day, we taught a couple investigators, the dad (in his 80's) and the son (in his 60's) are very different in their mannerisms about their beliefs. The son is a self proclaimed "realist" and the dad has incredible faith. When we taught, the son would spout off a long monologue about his views of scriptures, Deity, revelation, etc., while the dad would calmly sit back in his ancient rocking chair while wearing his "Jesus is my Boss" ball cap. While the lesson overall didn't go quite the way we wished, I was impressed by the father's deep love for his savior, and I loved it when he bore his testimony of Jesus Christ and his love for him.
When we finished with the lesson, they wanted to show my some old family heirlooms, and you know what they brought out? A banjo! I love the south :)
For the first time (probably ever) we were able to deliver all of the bishop storehouse food without any mess ups on any order. It probably had a lot to do with the relief society getting involved and organizing everything.
We went up to Grundy afterwards to see some less active members and some potentials. We don't get up there too much anymore since it's about 45min to 1 hour away almost to the Kentucky-Virginia border. Grundy is literally carved straight out of a mountain. I've never really seen anything quite like it. I don't know how long it has taken to carve and scrape the rocks away, but it must have taken years. They literally destroyed a small mountain to put Walmart in.
A lot of things fell through, a couple of service activities were cancelled, and a few teaching appointments also fell through. I feel like I say that really often, but it's very true. Such is the life of a missionary, our plans seem to always be in flux.
We ended up moving a couch from a less active member's house to an investigator's house. The couch was not overly large, but trying to fit it through the relatively small trailer door was quite the experience. At first the couch adamantly refused to cooperate, but like good missionaries we coaxed and pleaded, pushed and shoved, practiced in our companion study, got advice from our zone leaders, came at it from from different angles, taught the discussions to it, brought in member to fellowship, tried new tactics, and finally just muscled it through for the remaining distance.
Had a district meeting on finding. I thought it turned out really well. We did a fun role play as part of it. The situation in the role play was talking to someone you walk by. The fun part though was that those who were portraying the non-member were given unique quirks or qualities by the other missionaries. It reminded me somewhat of an improv-type game, except geared toward improving missionary skills. E. Guthrie and I had to talk to a peg legged police officer, and the other set of elders had to talk to a woman in the park with multicolored hair and screaming children. It was a lot of fun.
We met with a couple of investigators later that evening, and had dinner with some members.
We stopped by a member's home, while there we found ourselves being chased by a flock of her grandchildren. They stole our name tags and pass-along cards right out of our pockets, at which point the roles reversed and we chased them. When we finally got our things back, we found ourselves panting and out of breath locked in the safety of our little Malibu. Soon enough the kids caught up, and plastered their grubby fingers and noses against the windows of the car. In an effort to scare the children away from the vehicle, E. Guthrie put it in reverse, and backed up a few inches. See that it only served to fan the flames, we put the car back in park. Well, what we didn't realize then, but found out quickly was that whenever you put the car in park, the doors all unlock.
You can imagine the influx of children that came storming into our car. I jumped into the back seat and tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to barricade the door with my body. Finally, seeing our distress, one of the kid's dad's rallied the kids together and told them, in essence, to stop picking on the poor elders. It was quite the experience.
We found out that an investigator who had moved out of the area just moved back into the area! Yay, she has a lot of potential.
Fast and Testimony meeting, surprisingly for the size of the branch, we do a really good job at keeping the long awkward pauses to a minimum. Of course we hear from the same members all the time, and visitors are always encouraged to join, but it works out pretty well.
We taught an investigator, had dinner with our branch president, and found a couple of new investigators from a member referral. Always a joy.
Said a lot of goodbyes, a lot of different members wanted to feed us since they were pretty sure I was leaving (we don't find out details till Monday night) E. Guthrie and I were more than willing to take both lunch and dinner from different members. We certainly appreciate them. Other than that, the day was pretty hectic. Investigators wanting to say goodbye, other appointments falling through, trying to get the car remote fixed, etc.
Random note: E. Guthrie and I wore sweaters today