Hello! Holy bologna, that summer went fast! I hope it cools down soon. I have run into a bunch of people who were up in the Portland area and said it was getting into the 100's there too. That is unusual. This week was a tad cooler: mid to high 90's for the most part. I don't mind to much. My shirts are gradually changing colors; from white towards a rather dirty polar bear hue. Bleach is retarding the deterioration, but the inevitable will come to pass, that I am sure of. I really can't wait to get to Mongolia, where I can just cover every inch of my shirts under my suit, jacket and heavy coat!
This week Elder Lake and I had some amusing moments with people. I hope you find them as enjoyable as I did.
Driving to an appointment we passed our investigator on the road walking to the park so I called her and she said that she had just seen us. I said "Oh, was that you with the white dog?" she replied, "No, that is my black daughter". I unfortunately mistook a stuffed animal for her daughter, because it was obscuring our view of the little girl.
At a house to visit a part member family we pulled over to check the address, because the house we were currently in the driveway of was obviously deserted. An elderly woman was walking down the sidewalk and Elder Lake said "Hi!" and she glanced up, but then continued walking, head down. I asked if she was having a good day and she reacted the same to me. Elder Lake asked if there was anything we could do to help her out and she hardly even slowed down. When she was right in front of the house where we were she hollered (we were about 8-9 ft away) "THE HOUSE IS EMPTY YOU KNOW!" I said "Oh, we must have the wrong address and just smiled at her and she bustled away and Elder Lake said, "Well, you have a good day now!" I think she was hard of hearing.
It was Elder Lake's birthday on Wednesday! We made lots of balloon animals and I knew that his favorite candy is butterfingers, so I wrote notes on a dozen and hid them around our room: in his bed, in his shoes, in his pretzel bag etc. Then the members we had dinner with gave us a cake that we just finished on Sunday. I think I ate about 2/3 of it. I weigh 188lbs just for your information. There were lots and lots of other funny moments, but I can't think of too many right now.
I have been particularly impressed with a few things that I studied this week. I spend about a half an hour everyday putting people in our area into geographical sections, so that we can more efficiently plan our days and touch the lives of as many of heavenly Father's children that we are able to. I know that He loves each and every one of His children. Then the second half hour of personal study, to wake me up a little bit I read in the Book of Mormon. Now, I know that you think I am kidding, that the Book of Mormon puts people to sleep, but I am not trying to make a joke. I have decided to do as Elder Bednar counseled and take a blank, soft cover copy (I am using one I bought in the MTC) and think of a question that you want answered and read the Book of Mormon from lid to lid and you will have an understanding of the answer. I want to know basically, who the Holy Ghost is, what His mission is and how to recognize His influence. My Book of Mormon is getting really marked up and I get really involved in each verse and the way that the prophets of old have talked about the divine comforter. I have so much more to learn, and many more verses to explore, but I am more fully understanding the answer to the question that I came with.
The other big lesson I have started to learn is the value of the kingdom of heaven. I read Jesus the Christ on days when I feel really rested and awake, because I will not profess that I stay completely concious and alert during that segment of my studies. I find that when I am concentrating then I pick out a lot more, and I have this week. I started reading the last few weeks in the MTC and now I only have about 200 pages left. I have listened to parables for the last couple hundred pages and the last one that really struck me was about men giving up and forsaking everything for the kingdom of heaven. It is very difficult for a wealthy man to strip himself of his possessions and give himself completely to service of others and God. I know that it is possible however, for anything is possible with the help of God. I have seen miracles already happen when people have faith and trust and hope in God. I know that I need to more completely and with renewed zeal devote myself to this sacred labor that I have been called to perform. I know that through carrying out this work, lives are being changed. I am so grateful to be on a mission. I am even happy to be in southern California! Thank you for your support and I hope you have a great week.