So, we are kind of dead right now, so i was able t get permission to send you all a more reasonable letter. We weren't able to email for very long yesterday, becuase the computers were getting updated, and it didn't get done until right before i sent the last letter off. It's good though; these computers were really slow before the guy came. Sounds like people had been downloading videos for family history from a site that had all of those adware things attached to each of the files. Now that that is all taken care of, things actually go the way they are supposed to.
John Day, as you seem to already know, IS in the middle of nowhere, but it DOES have a lot of really cool views and forests. Still not the oaks, maples, or the like, but really pretty none the less. As for the job that Aunt Terierose was talking about, I'd be a little relieved; there is absolutely nothing in the way of shopping, and what little there is is super expencive, maybe 3 to 4 times how much it would even be in a town like Fruitland or New Plymouth, or Vernal. What it does have up here is a lot of really down to Earth people, that care about each other, and use a good bit of common sense. Which puts me in the minority. Common sense isn't typically my forte. It's a good thing a lot of the people like guns and knives, or i wouldn't have anything to talk aabout. That, and the fact that i'm planning on being a mortician. People always have a similar reaction when they hear that---they all make the same "thinking" face, corners of the mouth turned down, and looking at the ceiling. Then, they either make a comment about how buisness will never die, or tell a story about someone that they know who was, is, or was going to be a mortician. One of the best times was last night, when we ate with a part member family named the Martins. Sister Martin had that exact face on, then told about a brother of hers that was going to be a mortician, but instead became a grave digger (apparently there is more money in that in the UK). THEN Brian, her husband, told me about what his family does, something that i'd not heard of, but i knind of agree with.
Brian told me that his family took care of all of the funeral and burial needs of anyone in the family themselves. The next of kin, of the same gender or spouse, would dress the person, laying him or her on a bed in a small cabin. This cabin is located on a family owned cemetary, and the whole family comes to the funeral. No "outsiders" are invited to either the viewing or to the graveside service (though the reception for the community does have other guests), and everyone takes part in the gravedigging and the burial. This all has to take place within 36 hours of the person's death, because they do not embalm.
The reason that I like this idea so much, is because of how tight knit the family is during the hard time they're all going through. It lends a lot to closure, and to knowing that everyone cared enough about each other, and about the person, to do all of this work. It also takes a lot of the stress, financial and planning, that can come with death and burial. Most of all, in my opinion, with it just being the family, you all understand how people are doing, so you never hear that dreaded question, "Are you OK?" I really like that there are still people that have this close family mentality, especially when it comes to something as hard as death.
My only problem with it is that, if everyone did it, I would be out of a job.
Anyways, that was something that really stood out to me. Something else from that dinner was a comment that jumped at me for a spiritual reason, but not until this afternoon, and the converstation hadn't even been anything remotely spiritual. Brian and I were talking knives and guns. I told him about wanting to learn to make showknives, which ones I had already collected, and the list of guns that i wanted to have at some point. He told me about having a bunch of knives, one that he had actually set aside 200 euro for when he was living in Germany to buy. He also told me about some of his favorite guns, and made some suggestions as to improvements to my list (he looked at me sternly when i said i wanted a 45 Glock, and said, "You're just not aiming that high, are you." When i gave a sheepish nod, he said, "Buy a Colt or a Kimberly. They will last a lot longer, and i can hit a man-sized sillouette from 100 yards with my Colt 45 1911 Frame."). That's about when he said something really profound, probably without realizing it. He said, "There are some things in life that you just need to spend as much as you possibly can for. Knives are one of them."
While I totally agree with him on the knife part of the comment, it was the first part that stood out to me. This afternoon, I was reading The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, and there was a phrase in it that said that, "the rewards are well worth the costs." I started thinking about the story from last night, and the parable that the Savior told about the Pearl of Great Price. Christ told of a rich merchant that, when he found a pearl of great price, that he went and sold all he had, and bought it. There are some things that are worth any price paid. There are some things that you should spend as much as you can on. We are never supposed to give a half effort in living the gospel. We are never supposed to, for example, pay half of our tithing. We are supposed to give all of the service that we possibly can. We are supposed to spend as much of the time we are given, on praying, and on studying the scriptures. It was just really cool that a random conversation about sharp pointies, could lead to that kind of thought process and revelation. I think that that lesson to me, through a nonmember, meant more to me then a lot of more flashy thigs that i've had in my life.
As for how the rest of the week went, we spent pretty much the whole time trying to contact old investigators and less actives from past missionaries. We actually did really well, if i may be so bold. We were able to meet all but three of the people we wanted to, and have two doorstep lessons while tracting. That part is really cool for me, because I. Hate. Tracting. I've never liked it. I've always been horrible at it. I keep thinking how i would feel if someone came to my door when it's already dark out, trying to tell me that what i believe is wrong, and that i can only go to heaven if i listen to what these two random kids, in suits that barely fit them, tell me to do. Because of this, i say things in a very abrupt, and sometimes impatient, manner. It usually results in my hidden desire; a quick "No thanks," and the door closing. On the other hand, as Elder Reischman has been taking over a little (lot a) bit, we have been having much longer conversations. The two that we were able to teach started with him doing what i should be doing; asking about the person. Offering to help around the house or yard. Actually trying. Luckily, i did catch on, and was a bit bolder, asking if i could share one of my favorite scriptures (Luke 22:41-44). The two time where that happened, we had really good discussions, and were invited back to one of them. (Not really interested right now, but we can try and change that). In other words, I've been slacking, and having the wrong attitude, and i need to fix it.
Well, i think that that fills my promise of a huge letter. Sorry again for such a short one yesterday, and i'll work to not let it happen again. Thanky you all for everything you do, and for all of your prayers.
Love, Elder Stuver