Monday, December 29, 2014

Email Update: 12/29/2014

Dear Urvurone,
First, thank everyone so much for all of the letters, greetings, packages, and other awesomeness for Christmas!! Seriously, I wasn't expecting much of anything, and it was a fantastic surprise to be proved wrong. 
As for the stories, last Monday was quite interesting. We finished off with regular P-Day stuff, we went over to help Doug and Mickey Sweat move some furniture from their house to a friend of theirs in Ontario, Oregon. When we got there, all three of the household were standing around their car, with depressed looks on their face. When we got out to see what the problem was, they had been trying to start the thing for around an hour, and it would turn over and start for a little bit, then sputter and die. We spent the rest of the day trying to get it working, first replacing the fuel pump, and with no change there, we spent another half hour trying to find the problem. By the end of it, I learned several new things. Most important thing I learned? The sound that a car makes when it starts after around 3 hours or so of work, is a beautiful noise.
The week before was a lot of blur, with the biggest part of it (that I can remember) being Zone Conference for Christmas. It was a really good one. There wasn't a lot of talking in it, which was unusual, but there was a lot of musical numbers that were fantastic, things like Silent night, We Three Kings, and a really great number by Sister Lyman in Latin. Sadly, I can't remember the name of that song, but she was singing opera to an audience that should have appreciated it more---and they would have given a standing ovation if it was allowed. There was also a couple of great movies that they showed us, "the Last Leaf," and, "Mr. Krugar's Christmas" (that one was a repeat from last year). The other crazy part of that meeting was the White Elephant Gift exchange. I'll admit, I was kind of sad; one of the Elders had brought a typewriter for their gift, and I really wanted it, but he was at a different table. What I got instead (thank you for being in an all Sisters district) was a bottle of lotion, hair spray, and a pink shower cap. At least the hairspray has been useful... I am glad that I got something, and that we had a lot of fun. (p.s. everyone at the table said that my gift was the best. I brought a t shirt with a picture of Bruce Lee, that said "Fear is for Others." =P)
Christmas Eve was really fun as well. We got to go and help at the Whither's Dairy, where they have a Christmas Eve tradition to give all of the animals new straw to sleep on. I decided that, while it wasn't the worst job I could think of, I will not be going into it as a profession. We did have some amazing food there as well, including, but not limited to, NussEcken, Lindor Truffles, Pie, turkey, cucumber salad, Pretzel "salad," and deviled eggs. Later in the evening, a very skinny Santa came to visit all of the kids, and then we went over to his house, where the Farmers had a full Christmas Program for the evening.
Now for the last few days. There were not a lot of people home for the holidays, but we were able to catch several of the people that we had been trying to for a while. One family, the Rice's, actually had a daughter come home from her mission for the holidays, because of a recovery that she needed to make. Her dad is not a member, so, that must have been really cool for him especially, along with everyone else. We had a really good lesson on the Atonement with them, and recommitted him to read some of the chapters of Alma that we had left before. We also were able to catch the Fudder family, for a kind of painful reason. Brother Fudder had been riding their new four wheeler, and hit a huge bump in the ground. His handle bars swung around and clocked him in his gut, breaking off the throttle trigger in the process. He's doing alright, but wasn't able to make it to church this week because of it.
That is about all of the cool stories for now. Thank you all again for everything that you do!
Love, Elder Stuver

Monday, December 22, 2014

Email Update: 12/22/2014

Dear Everyone,

Thank you for everything you all have sent! Yes, I did get the package, and Elder Riley made sure that i didn't see anything in there when he separated the wrapped from the unwrapped; he insists that i don't see anything until Christmas. I guess i can understand that, but i still want to know what was unwrapped in the box that he needed to hide from me...

Anyways, this week has been hectic, but at the same time really slow. We had a bunch of meetings, including Zone Conference, a lunch with President Cannon, Stake Missionary Correlation, and of course all of the early morning Sunday meetings. Zone Conference was on Wednesday, and went from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. It was long. It was really good even so, but long meetings are always harder. I do have to brag just a little though; this was one of the few Zone Conferences that i DIDN'T fall asleep in the last section (though it was a close call)! I still am having trouble with that, even a year and a half into the mission, and it's really bugging me. Oh well, we all have our struggles.

I'm still not sure when we will be skyping, but i'll try for around 12:00 to 1:00, when ever that works best for the family that we are going to do it at. As for us, i don't think that we will be sleeping in very much this year. Sometimes i wish, but for some reason it never happens. I wonder why that is...

I think that i'll leave it at that for now (though i apologize to the other people who may read these things), so that i have something to talk about Thursday.

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Email Update: 12/15/2014

Dear Everyone,

To answer Jeff's question, as far as i know, i'm still going to be a mortician. At least, that's what i keep telling everyone---and getting funny reactions every time that i do. It just may take me a bit longer to head up, because i'm going to need to make some money to pay for collage, a truck, and an RV trailer to live in. However, i don't think that i'm going to be compressing anyone into diamonds any time soon.

As for the fire, it was intentionally set. The firefighters had to go in multiple times, and they estimate that a few thousand gallons of water went into just trying to save the tree next to the house. They did everything, tearing off pieces of the roof, spraying from all sides, and they even had all three of the fire trucks in the Fruitland Fire Department there to help. In the end, the fire burned the house to the foundations, and was still smoldering three days later.

I guess it was a good thing that it was a training exercise, planned a few months in advance.

We had been told about the fire two weeks before, by one of the Elders' Quorum presidents that we work with, who is a volunteer firefighter. Apparently, a lady owned three houses side by side, and she donated that one to the department for training. They spent the whole first day setting the fires, and having the fighters go in and just practice zig-zagging across the flames as they ran up the walls and ceilings, then letting another group in to do the same things. They put that fire out at around 10:30 that morning, and then came back the next day and set the whole place ablaze. The coolest part for me, was that another one of the firefighters is an investigator of ours, that we had been trying to get a hold of for a long time, and since all of the fighters needed to be there for the training, it was a great time to catch him on the last day, when everyone was just watching it burn. we had a goo talk with him, and the family (the Copelands) ended up coming to both of the Ward Christmas parties that we covered. 

The cool thing for this week was Sunday morning. We have been working with Doug and Mickey's friend, Rose, for as long as i have been here, and she has been slowly warming up to the both of us. She is Methodist, and has had some struggles in the past that have given her pretty severe anxiety, so she does not like big crowds. Saturday, Elder Riley asked the Sweats if Rose was coming to church, and they said that they weren't sure---then yelled, "Hey Rose! You comin ta church!?"

She said that she had already been to a Mormon church, and Elder Riley asked if she would be willing to come to ours. She thought for a moment, and then nodded. That night, when we were saying our prayers, I asked that she would want to come the next morning. Sure enough, 5 minutes after Sacrament started, they all walk in, along with another non-member friend of theirs named Donny. It goes to show, that as long as you do your part, and ask in faith, you'll get an answer.

I'm not sure when i'll be calling home, we still need to set up a time with a family in order to find out. I'll let you know as soon as possible.

I think that is about it for this week. Thanks for always giving me something to read; it makes me feel good! ;)

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, December 8, 2014

Email Update: 12/8/2014

Dear Everyone,

I hope people start feeling better; it's especially annoying when you are expecting a less active family to come to church, and they can't because they are so sick, they slept right through their alarm. They made it this week, though, which was really cool. Doug and Mickey (the less-active family said above) had us over to help set up Christmas decorations on Friday, and Elder Riley ended up getting them a blow-up Santa Yoda, with his light saber drawn. We then went over to Doug's and drank Sparkling Red Grape juice as an early Merry Christmas, just in case either of us got transferred, which neither one of us did. That was probably the most fun for this week, even though we did do quite a lot of work. It was great to talk about Christmas traditions, why we celebrate Christmas, and how they all were doing with working to change.

On a more painful note, Elder Riley and i have been going to a chiropractor for the past little while, because Elder Riley managed to bulge two discs a while back, and finally decided to do something about his lower back pain. Brother Lindsey does our adjustment for free, which is awesome for my back, which has previously decided that it prefers the vertebrae in the very middle of my back to poke out an extra inch. However, according to Brother Lindsey, we are both doing better. As a side story to that, Brother Lindsey uses muscle testing for a lot of his diagnostics, and it was really funny to watch Elder Riley the first time that he did it to him. When his arm went down even though he was pushing as hard as he could (and Elder Riley is not a small guy), his eyes widened, and he looked at me with a startled grin. I had to laugh at him a bit.

Something that has been really cool, is that i have had the chance to interview 3 different 9-11 year-olds for baptism in the past two weeks. Even though the first one was really nerve wracking before it got started, they all turned out really great, and i've always liked seeing younger kids make the choice to be baptized, knowing what it involves, of their own volition. It really shows that this gospel isn't one that is just for adults, nor is it one that can only be understood by adults. In the interviews that i have bee a part of, i have heard some pretty awesome answers to some of the questions, that i really never expected to hear. Above all, it was a great reminder that anyone can feel the Holy Ghost, and use the Atonement of Christ to learn and to grow, and to change for the better. 

As for the "He is the Gift" initiative, it's been really cool so far. This week, we were able to talk to a lady that was crocheting a rug, and i talked about how Mom and Grandma taught me how to do a basic chain, and tried to teach me how to do more, but i never really got it down. Then we talked about different Christmas traditions, including some of the gifts that had been crocheted. That led well into talking about He is the Gift, and offering her a pass-along card. She didn't accept it, but it was really cool none the less. We also had a chance yesterday to teach the combined Young Women's class in 4th ward, on the value of He is the Gift, and how we can use it to full advantage. We had one young woman come up to us and ask for our number, so that she could get the address for one of her friends, and send us over to teach. So far, that is all of the real success that we have had, but everyone is getting excited about it, so things should be picking up really quickly.

Well, that's the major news for this week. Thank you for all that you do, and for all of the prayers that you say.

Love, Elder Stuver

Christmas tree for early Christmas celebration 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Email Update: 12/1/2014--Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Everyone,

We had an interesting Thanksgiving this year. We ate at our Ward Mission Leader's house, which was awesome. The strange part was that they had invited another family of 5 or 6 to join us, and everyone had been planning on them being there, including (supposedly) the family itself. However, it stuck to the cliche that a plan will last until the first move is made. Our WML cooked up two whole turkeys (one smoked and one deep fried), along with double batches of everything else, including stuffing, jello salad, rolls, pie, and the like. Long story short, Elder Riley ended up with a whole ton of leftovers.

The other cool thing that happened this week has to do with the He Is The Gift initiative. We have been able to hand out a lot of the pass-along cards that go with it, and watch the video with several of the members who had us over for dinner. Every time i watch the video, i am surprised at how powerful such a short video can be. It really doesn't speak a lot, but it says a ton. One of the chances we had to hand out a card was in a very unexpected situation. We were driving back to our house after church yesterday, and Elder Riley says, out of the blue, "What the heck!?"

I look out the window, and driving the other way is a green sedan---with its hood flipped all the way against the windshield. We turned around, and went to go see how bad it was. After they had pulled over and the hood had fallen back down, hundreds of cracks and hairline fractures could be found all over the windshield, and the hood was completely concave, to match the shape of the windshield. We pulled over, and Elder Riley went to check and see just how bad it was for the engine itself. According to the two young women in the car, their dad had just changed all of the fluids in the car that morning, so Elder Riley thinks that he may have left the hood unlatched after the dad finished. We got to talk to them for just a little bit, and we left the card with our number on it, with a request to call us if they ever needed anything. We also told them about the video and the He is the Gift website, and they said that they would look it up when they could. Nothing miracle-ish, but cool none the less.

That mostly sums up this week, thank you so much for everything that you do.

Love, Elder Stuver