Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transfers Transfers Transfers

So today the library finally opened! We came yesterday fully expecting to email but it was still closed :( But that's okay. Transfers were today. Elder Merrell went zone leader and my new companion is Elder Wood, he's from Idaho. But I don't remember where. I'll let you know when I find out. He seems like a cool guy. I don't really know haha transfer meeting was literally 2 hours ago and we've been with other missionaries the whole time so I haven't talked to him much. We'll see! Our whole zone got jumbled big time. Almost all of the areas got switched so all of my friends are gone which sucks but the new guys will be good I'm sure. They had 10 new missionaries come out this transfer so a lot of people are training. It's gonna be good! Man this weather is so crazy. Normally there's 3 feet of snow on the ground and it's sitting at like -4 F. But it's been about 30 F all winter so far. Canadians are throwing a fit about how amazing it is, and other missionaries are telling me how lucky I am that it's so warm. Haha. January will be the real test! I wish I had a car though, walking is starting to get old...oh well hopefully only 6 more weeks! Hey it was great to talk with you guys on Sunday, I miss you all like crazy! Tell everyone and their mom to write me letters, I love those things! :) Christmas was good. After I called you guys we went to dinner at a member's house, then came home and relaxed it was sweet. Yesterday Elder Merrell and I celebrated our companionship by cooking a turkey! Some members in another ward gave their missionaries two turkeys, so they gave us one haha. We cooked it and we have sooooo much turkey it's unbelievable. We overcooked it a little bit so it's a little dry but still good. Anyways life's good. Hope things are going well back home.
Love you guys,
Elder Read

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 6!

It's officially the last week of the transfer! I don't know where the past 6 weeks have gone. It's crazy! Before I forget, they called this morning to let me know the package got here today. They want me to come in personally to open it and look for signs of freezing....? I don't really know what "signs" of freezing looks like, but I guess we'll find out when I go to use it and it doesn't work! Haha it'll probably be fine. So we're going to go into the office with blindfolds (I kid, but they probably won't let us stay very long, missionaries aren't allowed in the office during week 6. Heaven forbid we see who's getting transferred!). So we're going after emails. Thanks for coordinating the package and everything Mom, they called me on Thursday to update me. I'm sure it'll be easier after this time haha. They shouldn't ask for my passport and visa after the first time, so we should be fine. Well this week was pretty crazy! Actually if not for exchanges, it probably would have been pretty boring haha. We went on two exhchanges because Elder Merrell didn't want to do them during week 6 before Christmas. So I got to run Southwood this week! It went well, but we have no one to teach haha, so we tracted, and tracted, and tracted. Tracting is like exercise. It takes a miracle to get out there and start, but once you start, it's so worth it. Every time I tract I always come away feeling good and with some sweet stories. So it was good! We tracted a lot this week but it wasn't too bad. We didn't find anyone either haha, but it's not about the numbers dang it! Other than that nothing too exciting happened. The weather is shocking the Canadians. By this time it's usually -20 C on average, but we haven't gone below -5 all week. It's been sweet! No complaints so far. We might have a positive Christmas! Haha I wish I had some sweet stories to tell you.....but I don't. Hey Skype on Sunday! So we are literally free from 9:30 your time after chruch until about 1pm your time (Elder Merrell's gonna call then) and then at about 2pm your time I'll be free again, so whenever you wanna do it! Send me a quick email before tomorrow afternoon letting me know and we'll schedule it with the Depeiza's. You bet your sweet buns I wanna talk to Geoff and Nicole! So make sure they're there :) That's pretty much all I have. Tell Grandma Read I love her and thanks for the package! I haven't opened it, in case she asks. I love Christmas! It's a whole new experience when you take the secular aspect out of it and focus on what really matters. It's awesome. Well I can't think of anything else....Enjoy your week! Tell Chris and Dad happy early birthday! When I get home dad will almost be 60! :)
Love and miss you guys,
Elder Read

Monday, December 12, 2011

......I can't think of anything clever to write in the subject.

Hey Mom and family,
This week was sweet! I'll start from the beginning. Monday was normal, we emailed, shopped, then went to the church to play games and stuff. I bought these chicken breasts, brown rice, and sweet chilli sauce, and I mix it all together and have chicken and rice! So good. Do they have sweet chilli sauce back in the states? Anyways so Tuesday was normal, then Wednesday was Christmas Conference! It was sweet. They gave a training about safe driving in the snow, show examples of what happens when you don't drive safely, and then President got up and gave a training on Teaching by the Spirit. It was super good. Then Sister Campbell shared her favorite Christmas story and showed a video of the Motab singing in a Christmas Devotional it was good. Then some other people got up and spoke on Christmasy stuff, and then we had lunch! They fed us turkey and all that good stuff, and I got to see Elder Atwood! Man I missed him. Plus he's getting trained by Josh Balaeza's brother in law so I got to see him too! He goes home on Thursday though so I told him to tell Josh hello! I have no idea if I spelled his name right by the way. Anyway after lunch they had a talent show hahaha there were some cool things. One guy played the recorder with someone playing the piano haha it was hilarious. Then Santa came and gave everyone gifts from their ward! My package had a lot of random stuff, but most importantly they gave us yo-yo's! Let me tell you, I love that thing! I'm getting good too. It came with a trick book too! The littlest things will entertain you when you don't have anything better to do haha. We also have a putter and a golf ball so I've been practicing for when I get home! So that was Wednesday. Thursday we had dinner at one of the member's houses, and then we were scheduled to go over to another member's place to share a message with them. So after dinner we walked over there, and their whole extended family was there for Christmas Dinner! They forgot to tell us they were having they invited us in! We had so much food that night. Other than that it was a pretty normal week! The weather's been slowly getting colder, but everyone keeps talking about how mild it is so far haha. I want a car! Saturday and Sunday night we went to the Messiah production that the stake puts on every year. It was really good actually I was impressed. It made me miss singing! We went to both because we had investigators at both of them, so I'm pretty sick of it haha. But it was still good the second time. Life's good though! Elder Merrell's convinced he's leaving this transfer so he's been telling everyone that he's leaving haha. I can't wait until he has to eat his words when we don't get a call on Monday after Christmas! He's been here 6 months though and has been a DL the whole time so it's very possible. Dad, tell Jeremy that everyone talks about Grand Prairie haha! Elder Merrell served there before this area actually, and he prays every day that he'll go back! It's the coveted zone :) Okay so for calling on Christmas, we need to iron out the details with the Depeizas this week, so I'll let you know next week. As far as I know it'll be video. We only have one hour of church, but we don't have to call immediately afterwards. What time works best for you guys? I'll work around your guy's schedule since we literally have no plans set in stone yet. I think it would be easier if I just called you yeah? IF need be I'll just call you on the phone beforehand to figure out the username and everything, because I have no idea what it is haha. I honestly have no idea haha....which is probably bad but I'll figure it out this week! Hey mom thanks a lot for ordering the debit card, sending off the package and everything else you do! You're the best. And tell Bryant not to stress, I failed too and look at me now :) I'm practically a professional. Okay that's pretty much all I have this week! I miss you guys, enjoy your week with everyone! Make sure none of the official Christmas traditions are left out! If I come home and we're slacking......
Love you guys!
Elder Read
PS is Oreo still living? And how's the truck doing?

Monday, December 5, 2011

December is here!

 (Editor's note: I searched-and-replaced all the "<" characters with "d", for easier reading.)

Time seriously flies. I can't believe it's almost been 3 months. That's 1/8 of my mission done! Crazy. Thanks for the update on the insulin and stuff. Man I hope it doesn't freeze! Haha that would be bad. But I'm sure it'll be fine. Hey speaking of the Mastercard, I think I told you that my debit card doesn't work here. I've been rejected every time I've used it so far. So I'll just stick to the Mastercard. Just so you know, I'm buying boots and stuff today, but it shouldn't be too bad. Okay the "d" key on this keyboard sticks so bad so I'm not typing anymore d's haha I'll be here all day if i do. So I'll use <'s instead. This week was super good. We had the First Presidency Christmas devotional last night, it was great. President Monson's talk was awesome. I wish I would have gone to those things more often! The ward Christmas Party was Friday night, and it was way good. It was The Polar Express theme, and it was really well done. Canadians know how to celebrate! There were a ton of less-active members there and we had a couple of investigators so it was definitely a success. Wednesday night they had a mutual activity where they basically played fugitive. Normally we wouldn't be allowed to gto to something like that, but our investigator volunteered and asked us to go with him. So we did :) It was really fun. It was in a park a lot like Rosa Park, except about 4 times as big, and it's a ravine. So the youth had to get from one end to the other without getting caught, and the leaders and us had to catch them. It was a sweet. I forgot gloves though so my hands died haha. Funny story! Actually not so funny, but you'll probably laugh. So we went on exchanges from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon. I was in another area, and wednesday morning was district meeting. Now usually, we're all 10 minutes early for the meeting. No one has ever been late before. But of course, we're running a little late that morning, and guess who was there when we walked in 10 minutes late? President Campbel himself! Haha it was terrible. He gently urged us to be on time haha. What're the chances! Other than that this week went pretty well. The weather has been great the past two weeks. The snow all melted and it was super nice! It's supposed to become winter weather this week though, so we're not excited. It snowed a ton two nights ago, and it probably won't melt. So it begins! Today is Pday feast again! Elder Guerin is going home in a couple of weeks so he's making spaghetti and all that good stuff for the zone at the church. President will actually be there too! I'll try to be on time haha. Hey I heard the NBA lockout ended! Nooooo. I was honestly hoping it would last all year, so I only would miss one season......oh well! But yeah that's my week! Not much else happened besides the usual. For Christmas, we have church at 9 (8 your time), and then we're going over to a member's house for breakfast, and then we can skype from there! Does that work? I'm not sure what time will work for me, I'll let you know when I find out. Hahahaha hey tell Sister Little she's the best and thanks for all she does! Yeah I'll probably email Doctor Olinghouse my info. I'm hoping to go to the doctor this month, so I'll let her know how it goes. Tell her thanks! Alright that's all I have for today. I miss you guys! Enjoy the holiday season it's the bomb!
Love you guys,
Elder Read
PS I have some pictures from the Christmas Party! The black guy is our Elder's Quorum President. He's a jamaican guy he's hilarious. And he's a SUPER conservative guy so his outfit is awesome. The other picture is me with Brother Burgess(on the left) he's in the bishopric, Brother Bowden our ward mission leader, and then Brother Depeiza again. They're awesome. Our ward is awesome! Note my long hair, that mop is getting cut today fasho. And then me in the Polar Express!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

    You're the best! Thanks a ton for taking care of all of that for me. Sister Campbell called me last night to tell me you were working it all out and she wanted to know the specific brands of all of the stuff that I need, which I'm assuming she passed along to you. So that was good to hear, because I'm runnin' low on the insulin! But I'll probably be good until Christmas. Thanks again though, I'm glad I don't have to worry about that. I owe you one....eventually :) Yeah Elder Crocco told me the same thing! He said he got a letter telling him that he wouldn't be able to leave the country on his mission because of Diabetes, but here we both are! Pretty cool, pretty cool.
    This week was pretty lame hahaha. It was fun, but we didn't get very much done. First off, our investigator didn't get permission from her parents. It's a super long story, but that's for another day. We haven't heard from her in a week so that sucks, but what're you gonna do? Haha. Elder Merrell was sick, so we sat inside for Monday, and most of Tuesday. Then Wednesday was DLC, so Elder Merrell went to meetings and I went with another Elder from the YSA ward in our stake to Waffle Wednesday at the Institute! It was sweet I hope and pray that some day I get to serve in a YSA ward. I love waffles. And they're free! Thursday and Friday he was still sick, and then Friday was Weekly Planning so we were inside most of the day for that! Haha then yesterday was good, but we did a lot of scripture reading this week! It was good though, we got to decorate our apartment Christmas style! It looks awesome, we hung lights everywhere, around our desk, along the walls, etc. Then we set up our little fake tree! I think you know how I feel about fake trees, but in the absence of the real variety I'll take what I can get. We even have ornaments! It almost feels like Christmas :)
    Thanksgiving was pretty good. We ate at two places, and ate a lot. We went over to a single sister's place for dinner with her and her kids, and then went to dessert at another family's place. They made pumpkin cobbler it was the bomb! I love Thanksgiving.
    I also got my pants unhemmed! They've always been a little short, and it kind of bothered me when I got them, but it's been driving me up the wall lately! So I had the Relief Society in our ward unhem them all! She's a hilarious lady. So now my pants fit! It's a beautiful feeling.
    The weather went backwards this week too! It was a weird week haha. Last week it was sitting at a nice -20 C, and now it's just about freezing all of the time. As weird as it sounds, it's so warm! I honestly could have walked around without a jacket. They were right when they said you get climatized! It's awesome haha. It's supposed to be about 7 C all week so that'll be sweet! The warm days are numbered so you have to take advantage of them while you can!
    This week should be good. We have the Nativity thing going on downtown, which is like the one they do in Vancouver back home...? I think it's in Vancouver. The one I sang at. So that'll be fun. Then we have the Ward Christmas Party, and then the Christmas Devotional on Sunday! Super stoked, it'll be a good week fasho!
    That's pretty much all I'ev got for this week. I don't care what you send for Christmas, I'll take anything! The speaker and the CD player along with whatever music you're feeling! Surprise me haha. I feel like I need something, but I can't remember what it I'll email you this week if I think of anything. 
    You guys are the best! Thanks for all of the support, I hear about Elders that come out without their family's support and it makes me grateful I have people back home like you guys! I love and miss you guys, do work!
Elder Read 
Ps - We live in 2 man apartments. They got rid of the 4 mans because nothing gets done with that much testosterone in one home. Hahaha

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mother Read!
One of the missionaries in the area north of us went home last transfer, and left a brand new scale! So we decided to weigh ourselves! Bad idea. Who would have known I've gained 10 pounds since I entered the MTC? Members here feed us soooo much though I wish I could say I'm surprised. My goal is to lose it by New Years! This week the snow officially fell. And fell, and fell, and fell. Welcome to the Great White North! It snowed from Monday until Wenesday night, and then the temeperature plumetted and it's been -20 C for the last week or so. I've never felt cold like this! I'll probably die. We made a district rule that if anyone slipped on the ice and ended up on their back, they had to buy district donuts. I was so excited! An then I fell the first day. So donuts next Thursday! Haha other than that it's been a good week. Hey! We were at our Ward Mission Leader's house and they were asking what I was asking my parents for for Christmas, and so I told them I didn't really know, but that I needed my pea coat. So the son goes into his room an comes out with a pea coat that he said is too small for him, was 20 bucks, and he didn't want! It's sweet! So now you don't have to cram mine into a box :) I was pretty excited. Other than that, I have no idea what I want for Christmas haha. My CD player, the speaker, and whatever else you want to send! I'll let you know if I think of anything else. Okay so I attached some of the pictures from the soap incident! Haha they're pretty hilarious. There's also a picture of the Balut! Tell Bishop Keldson R-rated material is all you'll find in these emails. Just kidding. But seriously, it was delicious. In the picture with Elder Merrell, his beard looks way better. The hat I was wearing popped all of my bubbles :( There's a picture of the disaster in the kitchen haha, and a classic Steven picture, of course. So yeah it's been a good week! We're hopefully having a baptism this Saturday. We've been teaching this girl for the past couple of weeks, actually since I got here. Anyways she's GOLDEN in all aspects of the word. She keeps committments, her best friends are in our ward, we're teaching her at a member' house, she goes to seminary, church, firesides, the whole deal. But her parents won't give permission! There's always a catch. So we've waited a while, we all fasted (incluing her), and we gave the parent consent form to her last night, so we'll find out soon! She's a great person I hope she can be baptized. Other than that it's been pretty slow because of the weather. Haha no one wants to talk to us, and I can't blame them. I wouldn't talk to us either in this weather. The only reason people go outside is to shovel the sidewalk. But that's okay, winter will be sweet. Thanksgiving is Thursday! We're eating at a member's house, and then going to another member's for dessert! Remember that 10 pounds? Yeah, this is why. Bryant's birthday was Wednesday. I remembered right after I wrote him on Monday hahaha I felt bad. So we came back Tuesday and I sent him another email really quick. That's sweet though! Being 16 was the best. But yeah that's about all I got this week! I'll let you know if I think of anything I need for Christmas. Have a good week and a good Thanksgiving! I miss the jello!
Love you guys!

Elder Read

Monday, November 14, 2011


Today is officially the end of the transfer! It's hard to believe it's already been 6 weeks since I came out. Let alone another 3 weeks before that. Time is flying. Well I'm here another transfer with Elder Merrell! Which means we'll be here trough Christmas until the 28th. We pretty much already knew that though. The church recently started a 12 week training program for missionaries and so (most of the time) they keep us with trainers for the whole time. Elder Merrell will have been here 6 months at the end of the transfer though, so he'll most likely leave then. I could be here forever! Or until my birthday at least. Crazy. Walking around is fun and all, but it's starting to get cold haha....the other day it was -12 and the wind was blowing and I honestly was dying haha. I can't wait until -30 on a regular basis in January and February! It snowed this week! We woke up to a winter wonderland of 3cm of snow on Saturday! It's pretty much all melted though, so that was fun I guess. It was an exciting week though! Like I said last week we had two exchanges this week, and they went pretty well. They were the two coldest days though, so it was tough to stay motivated to stay outside. The coat I have is really good though. I actually had to wear a scarf! Which up until this week was TOTALLY a feminine thing to do. But I've completely changed my view on them. It's feminine not wear them. They saved me haha. Elder Merrell is a true Canadian though! He's still using his light jacket, which is crazy. So here he is walking down the street in shorts and flip flops and I'm next to him completely decked out in full eskimo gear. It's ridiculous! So one Monday when I was on exchanges one of the Elders I was with decided to be nice and load the dishwasher. We never use the dishwasher at the apartment because washing by hand is a million times faster. So I decided to accept his kind offering and run the dishwasher. So I took the dishsoap and poured it into the dispepenser haha.....I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't think it would be that bad! Wrong. About 5 minutes in I went in to the kitchen and saw the winter wonderland starting to come out of the dishwasher! So I turned it off, called Elder Merrell, and he and Elder Albright came over with a mop and bucket! It was hilarious. We cleaned up the floor, but there was still soap and everything in the dishwasher, so Elder Merrell and I decided we'd take care of it the next day. So we spent companion study on Wednesday letting the dishwasher run it's course, and we cleaned up all of the soap as it came out. There was so much! Who knew that MAYBE 4 tablespoons of dishsoap could cause that much bubbles! We were waking it out in buckets and dumping it in the tub hahaha it was one of the funniest times so far. Then afterwards I went in and made a beard! So Elder Merrell and I made beards together. Then I found a toque (canadian hat) and we took pictures with those too! It was mighty hilarious. So now I know! Also this week, we were eating a phillipino (filipino?) member's house and we got to eat Balut! (buh-loot). It looks like a chicken egg, but instead it's a partially developed duck egg! They hard boil it though. So you crack open the top, pour some salt in, drink the juices inside, and then peel away the rest of the shell, and eat the duck! I ate 2, but the first one I peeled apart the yoke and everything and found the duck inside! So I took a picture :) It was actually pretty good. It tasted like a salted boiled egg. But man was it worth it! This week was a super fun week. I'm excited to be here another transfer. This area is awesome and our ward is the best! Sorry to hear about the stove :( but at least it still works! Thanksgiving here isn't celebrated, but we've had two members call us so far and say they want to celebrate it and so we're having 2 dinners that night! I'm gonna be huge haha. I hope everyone's doing well! I miss you guys! Send me things :) Alright my camera is dead apparently so I'll send some pictures next week!

I love you guys!
Elder Read

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First off, I forgot to tell you how cool your joke was that you sent last week! It made me laugh. This week was pretty good! This transfer is coming to a close, and I can't believe how fast it went. This has easily been the fastest 6 weeks of my life. But that's a good thing I guess! We had a mission wide leadership training this week, so Elder Merrell got to go to 2 days of straight up meetings haha. We had the Wainwright elders stay with us for that, so Elder Crockett (one of my MTC companions) was my companion for 2 days. He's a crazy guy haha I missed him. But we were in Southwood so I was in charge I guess! I never realized just how much I follow Elder Merrell around haha it took awhile for me to figure things out but after that we did pretty well. We did a lot of tracting Wednesday and Thursday, but that's defnitely a good thing because the more I talk to people the easier it gets. You definitely meet some interesting people though! There are a lot of East Indian people here, like I mentioned before, and they're all really nice and love to talk until you mention that you're a missionary haha. Then they "no speak english" and close the door. Funny how that works! It's funny though I kind of enjoy tracting. For now :) We have 2 exchanges this week, and for both of them I'll be with new missionaries hahaha it'll be interesting. Meadows. the area north of us just got a "mini missionary" this week. They're missionaries from around the area that are waiting on visa's, and so they send them a few miles from home and have them serve here until they can go to the MTC. This one's from Spruce Grove, which is just outside the city, and he's going to California. ANYWAYS I guess you didn't need to know that, but my point is, I'll be with him and Elder Cone for one of the exchanges so i'll be 3 greenies running around Southwood! It's gonna be sweet haha. Halloween was sweet! Our dinner appointment gave us a ton of candy before we left, and so we sat, ate candy, and watched The Testaments. It was sweet! This week at a dinner appointment we had peroggies....? I'm not sure how they're spelled, but man they're good! They're like dumplings filled with mashed potatoes, topped with cheese and bacon! I ate a lot. The weather here is still holding up surprisingly. The coldest so far is -15 Celsius, which was pretty cold, not gonna lie. But still no snow! Everywhere around Edmonton has it except for us. BC, Grand Prairie, Saskatchewan, and Red Deer all have snow, but we're still dry. I'm definitely not complaining though, and neither is anyone living here haha. Dad, we can listen to anything that invites the Spirit, so yeah if you'd like to send stuff that would be sweet! Momma, I only want the peacoat for times when I'm not gonna be outdoors for a long period of time, which happens a lot, like walking to church and stuff. I bought a big coat this week, it's sweet and it's warm, but the peacoat would be sweet if you wouldn't mind sending it. I also still need to buy boots. I won't be devastated if you can't send it though, let me know. That's awesome that you guys got to go to Auburn. I miss that place! It's always cold though, so I'm not surprised. Nicole's job sounds sweet too! That's great that she got it. How's the rest of the family doing? What're Chris and Geoff's emails? And Nicole's? I'll write them first :) Yep Day Light Savings time was Sunday morning, and it was sweet! We were both up and awake by 5:30 though haha but we were well rested it was awesome. We cut our own hair a little while ago, it's sooo much cheaper than going somewhere for it. Everything is SO expensive is Canada! It's ridiculous. One of the Elders in our district is from Quebec, and he went to culinary school before he came out, and on the last Pday of every transfer he makes a feast at the church! Everyone pays 5 dollars and it's an all you can eat. I'm so excited. Anyways that's all I got this week. Send that speaker, Cd player and coat whenever you can. No rush at all. But hey I miss all of you guys! I wish I could be there for the holidays but I know I'm supposed to be here. I'm loving it so far! The ward here is seriously awesome. There are a LOT of Hydes from down south that visit our ward a lot. They're all from Medicine Hat and that area though. I keep telling myself to go ask if we're related but I always forget. What're some names I could use to see if we're related? That would be sweet. Anyways we're gonna head to the church pretty soon. I love you guys, and to all of those who don't have the luxury of sending me emails, feel free to send me letters :)
Love, Elder Read

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Man Holiday Pdays are the best! They don't want us out proselyting after 6 tonight, and that's when Pday ends, so it's an all day event! We're planning on watching the Testaments, I'm in Heaven.
So this week was a good week! We've really been pushing to get 20 lessons a week, and Presidents been coming down on everyone to get them. So we really worked hard this week and got 19....haha it was brutal but at the same time that's still really good for us. We're only teaching 2 investigators right now so we had a lot of member lessons haha. But they count dang it! Haha so funny story. Last week at church this guy from Palestine showed up to the ward after us. They could barely understand him, but they found out he lives in our area so they passed him over to us. So we went over to his house on Wednesday and tried to talk to him. I say try because he was seriously impossible to understand. he could understand us well enough but we understood about 20% of what he said, and even then it was just the subject of what he was talking about. I'm very immature, and almost laughed, a lot. But I didn't :) Anyway so we realized there was no way we could teach him so we invited him to church this sunday and figured if he understood us then we'd teach him then. So yesterday after Sacrament meeting we go out and there he is! But he's holding a big folder of papers and stuff. So we start talking to him, or trying at least, and he starts pulling out passports, visas, and other travel documents hahaha. He thinks we're from the government so spent the entire second hour showing us his passports and giving his life story and how he's living here legally. Hahahaha man it was one of the funniest experiences of my mission so far. He's a great guy, and I THINK we might have convinced him we were missionaries, and that we didn't care whether he was legal or not haha. So we invited him back to the church on Tuesday and we'll try and teach him there. We're going to get a whiteboard to draw some pictures. Haha so that was a funny experience.
Other than that it was a pretty normal week. It was the first week since I got here that we didn't have any exchanges, so that was nice. Mom I got the package finally! Thanks a bunch I was starting to get low on supplies. Hey so I have a I want my peacoat hahaha. I know I know I should have taken it....but I think I want to send this CTR coat home because it's seriously huge, and then replace it with my peacoat. Also, I bought a nice winter jacket last week, but my VISA doesn't work anywhere I used my mastercard. Oh well! So yeah if you wanna send my Peacoat that would be wonderful :) you're the best! 
Hey by the way, if you were planning on sending me anything for Christmas, then I would send me the Hallowed Journey! Haha it's a dramatized Book of Mormon recording! Seriously it's the best. The Spanish elders have it in their car and they listen to it everywhere. It's the best. Look it up :) also, I need a CD player and my white speaker. None of these things are urgent, since Elder Merrell has a CD player and we don't have a car. But whenever you're feeling particularly loving, you can send those. If you want :)
So yeah let me know if we can do that jacket swap. This jacket I brought is good, but big. Give it to Bryant :) So yeah, that's all I need. I think I'm gonna send home some lancets with the jacket. I have WAY too many and they take up a lot of room.
Hey random but I just remembered I saw the Northern lights! They were super bright but I couldn't get a picture, it was too dark :( but seriously it was the coolest thing I've ever seen. They were just green, but still awesome. This is super early in the year to see them too so we got lucky! One of the many benefits of a walking area :)
But yeah it's been a great week! I've felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have in my entire life here. I've never read so many scriptures or prayed more in my life either, but it's great. I love it out here and I'm doing really well.
Hey also random but I just thought of this too, have you ever eaten rice crackers??? They are the best. Elder Merrell got hooked on them and passed it on to me. They're super cheap too! Man they're good. Hey how's oreo??? I miss that little guy. He'll probably be gone when I get back so take a picture of him and send it to me! Not the cat though, she'll live forever. It's still not snowing yet, which is weird for this area, but I'm not complaining! It's getting cold, but nothing too bad. I bought some light gloves and the jacket I bought is a good one so I'm doing good. But yeah that's about all I got! Have a good week! I attached some pictures. I haven't taken pictures here yet, my camera's been dead and I keep forgetting to charge it. So I'll send some more from the MTC! :) I have a lot of those haha. Sorry if there's repeats, I don't remember which I sent last week haha.
I love you guys!
Elder Read
PS funny story about all of those dryer sheets. So I bought a box in the MTC, and we were doing laundry the last day, and I kept that box at the bottom of my laundry basket. So we went in to do launndry and I just dumped all of my clothes out into the dryer, and I didn't notice the box go in I opened it up and they were everywhere! 75 sheets went in with the load hahaha. All of my clothes had this nasty waxy feel to them forever! They're good now. What's worse is that they were whites, which is 90% of what I wear. Haha it was awesome.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hey mom and family!
This week was pretty good. We had a lot of appointments fall through, which sucked. But that's nothing new haha. People are more than happy to schedule appointments if it means getting you off of their doorstep, and then they're conveniently not home when we come back! It's the best. One of the guys we came back to was upstairs when we rang the doorbell. He got up, peeked his head barely above the window to see who it was, and then then slowly crept back down hahaha it was hilarious. He was so sneaky we didn't even notice! We never do. But things are still going really well! I enjoy being with Elder Merrell. I've gone on a lot of exchanges this week because he's the District Leader, and every time I come back I'm so much more grateful for him hahaha there are some interesting people out there. We're teaching an East Indian family and they've been taught for a year now. They don't really understand the whole Priesthood authority part of baptism so it's a struggle to try and help them grasp the concept. We had a member come with us though and the lesson went really well. We invited them to be baptized, again, and they said it's something they think is important and that they're pray about it. Which doesn't sound like much but it's better than the answers they've given in the past. They're super cool though. All of the East Indians around here are really nice. And they're a million of them haha. So this week my diet was pretty terrible hahaha. Monday was Pday and we shopped at Costco so we ate there for lunch, then Tuesday was exchanges with the zone leaders so Elder Frazier and I went to Costco and had Poutine (Poo-teen) which sounds gross but it's actually delicious! They serve it everywhere here. All of the fast food places have it. It's french fries with gravy and cheese curds haha it's awesome! Anyways so that was about as unhealthy as it gets, then wednesday was district meeting so we went out for district lunch at A&W, then thursday our dinner appointment cancelled on us so they brought by pizza and cheesecake! Man I was in heaven! Then Friday we had more pizza and cheesecake, and then saturday was exchanges with the Spanish Elders and all of our appointments cancelled on us so we had a comfort blizzard from Dairy queen! It was much needed. Haha exhchanges with spanish was crazy. We went to a lot of member's houses and they just spoke spanish so I did a lot of smiling, nodding, and spacing out. But yeah Dad my ward's great! They're small but mighty. We're fed every night. If we don't have a dinner appointment we go over to the Ward Mission Leader's house. I never realized how important those guys are! And Garth Martinson is seriously the perfect guy for it haha. They save us. Sundays are super good. We wake up, go to 9am church, talk afterwards until 1pm, and then go home and study until 4 because we're usually studying from 8am-11am. So we study, then usually go to dinner, then visit less actives or potential investigators. Usually pretty low key I love it! Tell Nicole congratulations on the job that's great! That's a sweet schedule too. I wish I could've worked 9-5 M-F. That's my dream haha. No mom no package yet, but I'm alright so far. As long as it comes this week. Mail in Canada is seriously sooo slow it's crazy! So that's pretty much it for now! We've got to go get a coat and some boots. The weather sits just above freezing every day but the sun's still out. They're predicting snow some time next week. So I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Hey I need email addresses! So will you send me all of the family's? Including grandma read's. Okay we're leaving now.
Hey I found out how to send pictures! They're all from the mtc though. In the picture where we're all in street clothes my companions were Elder Atwood, who's in the green, and Elder Crockett who's to my left in the light blue with the glasses. But other than that I don't remember which ones I attached so if you have any questions about them then ask! I don't very many pictures from this area yet. Except the view from our apartment! Super cool. Plus the huge pig! That was dinner at a member's house. So good. Anyways that's all I have for now! Have a good week I love you guys!
Elder Read


Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey mom! This week was a pretty crazy week. Thanks for sending the
package, I haven't gotten it yet but I'm glad it's coming, I'll need
it soon. Life here is good! We've been busy, but that makes time go by
faster. We haven't taught many investigators yet, but that'll change
pretty soon. We'll be blessed for our efforts for sure! We went
tracting last Wednesday and it was actually a lot of fun. We met this
big black guy that opened the door with a pink Playstation controller
in his hand, and when I started talking he turned around and started
playing video games again hahaha my companion and I lost it it was
hilarious. He just turned around, smiled and said no thanks. I love
the people you meet. Then we bible bashed for a little bit with a
black minister. It's so pointless to bible bash haha nobody wins! We
gave up and told him to pray about it. I'm sure he will :) We had
donairs this week! I think they pronounce and spell it different in
Germany, but that's the Canadian way. They were mighty delicious. I
love them! But they were so bad for me. It was awesome :) I haven't
gained any weight yet! That's why it's nice to be in a walking area
for Christmas, because people literally dump food on us all of the
time! They feed us really well here. My ward's great. Honestly I can't
think of anything to tell you guys about....canadian candy is the
best! I've eaten so many Wunderbars lately it's awesome haha. I love
them! We're going shopping at Costco today and I'm determined not to
buy any in bulk......pray for me hahaha. Anyways I love it here! It's
still no too cold, but they're predicting the longest and coldest
winter on record this year, so we're going to buy a coat and all that
good stuff today. The wind is crazy here though. That's the one part I
hate, but it's all good walking is good for me! I can't think of
anything I need from home.....if you ever get a chance I could use my
white speaker, but that can be whenever you get a chance. Not crucial
at all. Anyways glad to hear everyone's doing well! I love you guys! I
wrote a ton of letters today so I think I'm all caught up! Haha. Okay
it's sacred basketball time, I'll talk to you next week!
Elder Read

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hey Mom and family!

Sorry I didn't email yesterday, it was Canadian Thanksgiving so the library was closed. But here I am now! Haha so my mission president sent a letter? Which picture was it? In the airport? Man it's been a
crazy week! I'll start from the beginning, because that's where most stories start.

So we reported to the travel office at 4am, rode a bus to Salt Lake City Airport, and then sat through security forever. Then we came to the gate and I called you guys. After we got off the phone we all
boarded our flight on a little airplane with only two rows of seats! Maybe that's not small but I'm used to the big planes! Anyways we flew for about an hour and a half or so to Denver, which is a cool place.
We flew over all of these crazy looking mountains, and then the mountains literally just ended and it was plains as far as you could see, and there was Denver! So we ran from our gate to catch our
flight, which had finished boarding by the time we got there and they were calling our names. Then we sat through the 3 hour flight to Edmonton. I slept for most of it haha so it wasn't bad for me! After
we got there we sat through customs and immigration forEVER! Man we were there for seriously like 2 hours. Then we finally got out of there and we went out and President Campbell, Sister Campbell, and the
assistants met us. We took pictures for some reason in the middle of the airport (everyone looked at us funny haha) and then we piled all of our stuff into the trailer and rode in the mission MAV to the
mission office. We were finally fed after almost 24 hours of no food. I almost died. They copied all of our documents and President interviewed us to make sure we could safely drive vehicles. Thank goodness none of my accidents are on the record :) haha anyways then we drove over to President's house, hung around, got a little orientation, and then ate dinner and hung out with the assistants.

They're cool people. In fact one of them, Elder Knight, is Josh Balaeza's (sp?) brother in law! Haha crazy right? He asked if I knew them and I said they were in my ward! His sister is Sister Balaeza.
Small world huh? He's actually training Elder Atwood now in Lloydminster. So after dinner we wrote letters home, and then went down stairs for a devotional. It was sweet. Then the Elders went over
to the assistant's place to spend the night and the Sisters stayed at President's place. There were 10 of us in that apartment haha it was crazy.

So the next morning we went to Transfer meeting and met our trainers. Elder Merrell is a cool guy. He's from Springville Utah and he's been out a little over a year. He's pretty patient with me which is nice because I don't know anything haha. I'm learning fast though.

So after that meeting we left for our apartment. We organized a little bit, and then went shopping with the other people in our district. There's 6 of us and they're all training haha so I'm with people from
my district in the MTC it's nice. So after we shopped Elder Merrell and I came back home and I got the low down on everyone in the area. Oh by the way I'm in South East Edmonton in an area called Southwood.
But we like to call it Sikhwood hahaha. There are SOOO many Sikhs everywhere! But the nice thing about East Indians is that they all like to talk about God and they're really nice. They're just really
non-committal. But whatever!

Our ward is cool. It's a little smaller than ours, but everyone's really nice. Our bishopric reminds me of the one at home. Two older guys and one young guy haha. We've eaten dinner
at a few member's houses but not a lot. Elder Merrell's last companion was sick for all of last transfer, and actually just went home, so they've been sitting around for while so this area is ripe for the
taking! So the members don't really know us yet. We've got a lot of dinners lined up this week so that should help. We also don't have many people to teach either, since no teaching was done last transfer.
So we're basically white washing this area. It's good though. Like I said it's a walking area, and I'll probably be here until at least December 28th, so I'll get to walk through a lot of winter! YES! It'll
be good though haha apparently you gain the most weight during Christmas so I'll be able to walk it off :)

We ate Thanksgiving dinner yesterday at the Mcritchie's house and they, like everyone else so
far, fed us Thanksgiving dinner! I'm seriously gonna be sick of turkey and mashed potatoes pretty soon. But so far I'm not complaining :) I haven't had to tract yet, and Elder Merrell does all of the street
contacting for now, but it'll be my turn soon! That's honestly my biggest, and really my only fear. But I'll get used to it! Yesterday for Pday we went shopping at the only store that was open yesterday,
and then went and played basketball at the church! I was in heaven! I miss playing at the church more than you could imagine. It was really fun, we played with the zone for about 3 hours then we had to leave
early for our dinner appointment.

The work's been slow so far, but hopefully it'll pick up pretty soon. It's not cold yet. It's usually about 50 degrees outside, but give it a month and it'll be a solid 5 degrees outside! The metric system is so weird. So I refuse to use it!

Dad those pictures were sweet I miss all of your faces! But this computer won't let me send pictures through my camera. So I'll have to print them out and send them. Gah. But anyways I'm not dead! So don't worry about me. Only send mail to the mission office, they don't want us to get mail at our apartments for some reason. And for those of you who have written me letters but haven't gotten a reply, it's coming I promise, and if you have received a reply, I expect one back dang it! But yeah we're going to go eat lunch, have a good week!

Send mail to me!

8925 51st Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T6E5J3

Love you guys,
Elder Read

Monday, October 3, 2011


Hey Mom! And everyone else :)
     So today is the last day in the MTC, so they give us time (a lot of time, actually) to write home! Cool eh? I've been spending the past week with Elder Atwood trying to perfect my Canadian, he is a very good teacher. I refuse to say rolls now. They're called "buns". And the bathroom is now the "washroom". "Been" is now pronounced "bean", and "sorry" is now "soary". Yes sir they're gonna be asking which province I'm from in no time! 
     Today we had both class sessions pretty early on, and we just barely finished our last one, so I'm done! Now we spend the rest of the day packing and studying. I have so much to squeeze into those suit cases, but with the Lords help, I'll fit everything. Haha so today I got to give a baptismal interview to one of our "investigators", and the rest of the district watched from the other room. They have observation rooms with a one-way window, so they could see and hear us but we couldn't see. It went really well.
     General Conference was sweet! Dad I listened to that talk and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I was called to my mission for a reason, I'm excited to get out there. You get so much more out of meetings when you take notes! Seriously it's sweet. I really enjoyed both Sunday sessions. Sister Dalton's talk was really good too. If you haven't heard it, do it! Last night after Conference we went to the Departure Devotional, and they basically just told us to make a good impression for our Mission Prez and don't be stupid! I can handle that. Then we had the Sunday Evening fireside and Chad Lewis and his wife spoke. He played for BYU and then played 9 years for the Philadelphia Eagles. I bet he's rich. And I am jealous. But it was a really good talk, he spoke about losing ourselves in the work and letting our light shine. He had some really cool stories too. 
     Tell me about life at home! Bryant better be emailing me pretty quick here, and so should Geoff and Nicole! And Chris, I refuse to reply to a letter that talked about nothing other than the fact that you were writing me a was a good letter though don't get me wrong! 
     So Friday we had In-Field orientation. Which is basically Sit-on-your-butt-and-listen-to-them-talk-about-the-mission-field orientation. It was soooo fun! Haha longest day of my life. 
     Don't worry I've been taking pictures like you wouldn't believe! I can't believe you would doubt me :) I just can't send them home unless I print them out. The USB connector won't work on these computers, so I'll send some home on my next Pday. 
     The other day I was eating raviolli with a spoon (don't ask me why) and it got caught on my plate and flipped raviolli and the sauce all over my Donald Trump tie that Geoff and Nicole gave me! I was so mad! So now I have to wait until I'm in the field to dry clean it because they were closed for conference. Ridiculous. Everyone is jealous of my brown shoes. I knew these babies would come in handy :) I'm wearing them as I speak! 
     So tomorrow I leave at 4 in the morning, which means I wake up at like 3. Then we leave at 7, get into Denver at 8:30, then leave for Edmonton at 9:00, and fly in at around noon. So hopefully sometime in between those times I'll have time to call home. I'll do it somehow! But be ready for a possible phone call any from around 4 in the morning on :) I will not hold back just because you're asleep! So think of things you want to say and write them down so that in your tired state we can still have a civilized conversation. Transfers aren't until Wednesday, so we'll probably stay at the mission home overnight. I'm hoping I have a good first companion. Okay my time is up, so I will hopefully talk to you tomorrow!
Love you guys!
Elder Read
P.S. does this baby make it onto a blog!? I'm famous :) Tell all your friends about it so they can hear about my adventures in the land of the Canadians!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alright this place is starting to feel like a prison! I don't even know how the foreign missionaries handle it haha. I'm enjoying being here and learning but when I go to the temple and look down over the valley it makes me feel so claustrophobic! But only one more week :) We got our travel plans the other day, and I leave on Tuesday at 4am for the airport, then our flight leaves at 7 for Denver, and we have a half hour layover before we leave for Edmonton. We'll get there about noon. I honestly feel like I've only been here a week, time flies by so fast on the mission. The best part is that we only have one class today because of Pday, then tomorrow is a normal day with two classes (we have to teachers and they switch off teaching morning and afternoons), then friday is In-Field Orientation so no class, then Saturday is General Conference! So I like to tell myself I'm basically done :) Yeah dad we stay here for General Conference, and we just watch it in the Lorenzo Snow building where they do all of the devotionals. While the Elders watch priesthood, the sisters watch the Relief Society broadcast that they taped for them. Speaking of devotionals, Elder Dan R. Clarke of the Seventy came and spoke last night about obedience. It was a really good devotional, and what made it even cooler is that he's the guy I quoted a million times in my farewell talk! Haha so it was cool to see him in person. He didn't quote me though :( I'm glad to hear Grandma Read is doing well, I don't have her address or email address so I can't send her anything, so either tell her to send me something or send it to me in a letter, not an email. I can only check this on Wednesdays for now. I'm not sure when my Pday will be in the field. Mom that $2.50 was for the food at the temple. We skip breakfast for the temple so we eat as a zone in there every week. It's the mana of the gods in there! I love temple food. And it's so cheap! Haha that's cool that everyone got a new phone! As long as my number is there waiting for me when I get back :) Mom THANK YOU for the package! I love getting mail, if you didn't already know :) Seriously. But yeah the camelback will be nice because I want it for hot summer days (which believe it or not actually exist in Edmonton according to Elder Atwood). Yeah dad we I have branch council every morning at 7:45 and then leadership training from 8:15 until 9:00. Then I'm free! So not too bad, and my companions just study outside while we all meet. We've been teaching a TON lately. We've gotten a lot better at teaching as a trio, but at first it was hard so have so many ideas bouncing around. The Spirit's great though we rely on it like you wouldn't believe! Hey random thought! So Sister Sellers (Jessica) is in here with me and I seriously see her like 3 times a day. It's cool because we worked at Target together so it's a little piece of home! She leaves for Riverside California next week I think so that'll be cool. Okay I don't have much else to say. I'm alive! Love you guys, Steven P.S. yeah mom my blood sugars are doing fine, and I have all of the things I need in case of emergencies. My companions are sooo excited to stab me if I pass out :) And tell Grandma I'm doing great and that she shouldn't worry!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hey momma! And everyone else :) So we SCORED and had to wait the longest possible amount of time for P day......It's been a long week! But I'll start from the beginning. At least I'll try. Soooo the first day we got here and I got all my nametags, went to my room and dropped off my luggage, and then went to my classroom to meet my district and companions. My district is pretty cool actually I'm lucky! There's three elder companionships and two sister companionships. All of us are going to the same mission except for one sister is going to the St. George Visitor's center and two of the Elders are going to Oakland, California. I'm actually in a trio, not a companionship. My companions are Elder Crockett and Elder Atwood. Elder Crockett's from Mountain Home, Idaho, and he's a pretty cool guy. He's always in a good mood but some times he has a hard time focusing haha but I love him he's great! Elder Atwood's actually a Canadian! He's from Jaffrey, British Columbia and he's a really cool guy I like him a lot. He says "aboot" and "eh" haha it's awesome I have a tally in my notebook of all the times he's said them :) So yeah we're a good companionship and we all get along really well! Anyways after I met them we went to lunch, dinner, etc, and then had class. I honestly couldn't tell you all that's happened the past few days, they're all blended into one.....Oh yeah I got called as the District Leader. Which basically means I conduct all the classes/meetings, pick up the mail, go to a bunch of meetings on Sunday....which are as fun as they sound! Haha no I enjoy doing it and I'm happy to serve the district. Ummmm last night we had a devotional and Elder Nelson came and talked! It was sweet I was like 50 yards away from him. He's seriously one of the funniest guys. I love seeing the Apostles out of character! They're so easy going. He and his wife talked about the Book of Mormon. They passed out the Ensign last week and said get aquainted with it. Now we know why! What else.....Teaching the Gospel is hard work! Honestly the first couple days were the WORST! I had no idea how to teach and I felt like I couldn't interpret the Spirit at all. But they always say make it to Sunday and I did and it honestly was night and day for me. I'm loving it here now and I really enjoy it. I love my district and companions. We all get along super well and that makes this a million times easier. The food is pretty good! It varies every day but it's always delicious! Sunday was really good. Except they found out I played the I played during Priesthood! Who would have thought.... We get to go to the Temple every P day at the 7:20 session so it's early! But I loved it as usual. We go to the gym about 4-5 times a week and I usually play basketball or volleyball. It's really fun it takes the stress out of my day. Haha they had this big meeting on stress management two days ago and it was sweet! We all felt so good afterward hahaha. Umm that's about it! I'll answer all of the questions I got! Seriously getting mail is better than Christmas. And that's no exaggeration. I LOVE getting letters. Yeah Dad Dearelder's get here the same day you write them so that's the easiest way to get to me. I check the mail after lunch and after dinner. I love getting them! So feel free to write :) Mom go ahead and send those lancets and stuff to the mission home in like a week. That would be great. And thanks for sending all of that stuff! :) I forgot a lot so I need you to send me some things if that's okay :) I'll write them in a little bit. Tell the rest of the family and EVERYBODY to write me! Letters or dearelders work it doesn't matter to me. I just love hearing from the outside world! Haha going to the temple was nice today because it was the first time I got off of this campus in a week! The rest of the district went on a temple walk on sunday but I had Branch Council :( Hey I sent the forms to you today so they should be there sometime this week. I kept forgetting to send them haha are you surprised? :) It's weird to me that Calista is like two minutes's so quiet here we never here car horns, trains, anything. It's like we're in the middle of nowhere haha. BY the way everyone is very impressed with my tie collection :) all 27 of them made a difference :) haha. My Branch Presidency is awesome. President Anderson is a very lovable man and he always hugs us! And Brother Baird and Brother Hill are really cool too. I love meeting with them. Okay before I forget, Mom, I need my black vans, my lucky brand jeans (the lighter color out of the two pair that I have), my camel pack, annnndd whatever else you want to send me :) Well I can't think of anything else.....Know that I'm alive, doing really well and loving it so far! Two years is a long time but I'm excited to be here doing the Lord's work! I'll be sending letters to everyone that sent them to me so don't think I forgot about any of you! I seriously love letters and hearing from you so feel free to do so! I love you all enjoy life! Elder Read