Monday, January 30, 2012

Canada, eh?

Hey Mother and family!
So before I forget, I got Grandma Read's letter last week and sent her a letter a couple of days ago. This week was fast! We had two exchanges and those always make it seem like time flies. I left for the first exchange and went with Elder Albright in Meadows. He's been in the area as long as I've been in mine and they're just north of us so I see him a lot. We had a party! Not literally, but it was a lot of fun. Our dinner appointment that night took us out to Montana's which is a barbecue restaurant. They got us all-you-can-eat ribs it was delicious. Plus eating out as a missionary is always good. So then we went on exchanges with the zone leaders on Friday and I stayed in our area. It was pretty cool. They're way better missionaries than I am so I learned a lot.
    Elder Wood and I are completely out of money this month hahaha and cards don't replenish until Wednesday. So we're gonna live off of oatmeal and rice this week! We're pretty excited. Elder Wood sleep walks all the time it's awesome. I always wake up and he'll be roaming the apartment. Then he'll suddenly stop at some odd place (like staring at a wall), stay there for a little while, then walk around some more. He wakes up all the time with his head at the other end of the bed. It's so cool. When we were on exchanges, he was with the new missionary from Meadows, and he woke up in the middle of the night and Elder Wood was pointing and screaming at "someone" at the door to "GET OUT!!!" haha too bad I missed it. I'm keeping my camera by my bed from now on.
    So we're teaching this guy named Jason for the past 4 months. We started teaching him when I got here. He isn't a member and he and his LA wife were coming to church together earlier last year, but then I guess they both dropped off the radar until early October when he started coming alone. We found out that his wife left him and she's apparently living in Oklahoma now. So he comes alone because he said he always felt that coming to our church was the right thing to do. He's awesome. He comes to church every week on his own, participates in the lessons, he's incredibly smart (he's an analytical chemist for a pharmaceutical company developing a cure for hepatitis), and he loves meeting with us. Unfortunately he's pretty skeptical and he naturally looks for proof in the things that we teach him. But he recognizes that skepticism inside of him and he's working hard on developing faith. He loves the church though, and he requested that he be more included. So they just gave him a calling last week as a Scout Leader assigned to the 14-year-olds. It'll be a great experience for him. We've taught him all of the lessons, and he prays, reads the Book of Mormon, comes to church, etc. He's doing all of the right things but he doesn't want to be baptized until he knows for a surety that it's right for him. He's a great guy though and we really enjoy teaching him. He has amazing comprehension and retention and I hope I get to see him baptized.
    We're teaching another guy named Alex Mcleod, who came to the gym on Pday while we were playing basketball, and asked for a JST Bible. He's very religious and is really interested in what we believe. We've met with him a couple of times, but we always end up going off on tangents because he has some super deep-doctrine question haha. It's a struggle to stay on track but he's been reading the Book of Mormon so we're hoping he keeps going! He hasn't come to church yet though, which is super important. So that's our next goal. Other than that we aren't really teaching anyone else but we tract A LOT and we spend most of our day finding people. Hopefully we'll find some more!
    So this week was pretty good. This coming week is the last of the transfer, and I have this bad feeling I'm getting the boot. Yeah mom they live trainees with their trainers for a minimum 12 weeks now. I finished that last transfer though with Elder Merrell. I hope I get to stay here. I really enjoy the area and the ward, but I'll go wherever the Lord wants me! We'll find out next week. The weather this week has been pretty good. It sits at around -5 all the time which sounds colder than it is. No complaints!
    Anyways that's all I've got this week. I'm glad to hear you're all doing well! I miss you guys, and I'm glad to hear Geoff's birthday went well, and that the Ducks won! Keep me updated on the happenings back home!
Love you guys!
Elder Read
PS - My back's good now! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hey fam

Hey Mom!
How are you guys! Man this week flew by, I can't believe it. And now it's week 5 of the transfer! I probably ramble and repeat things so bad in my emails haha so I'll apologize in advance. But it's crazy to me how fast time flies. This week was pretty good I suppose. We stayed inside most of Tuesday and Wednesday because it was below -40 C all day. We went out for a total of about 3 hours each day, but sat for the rest of it. So I learned to play guitar! :) one of the members here lent (lended?) me her guitar until I get transferred! Haha so I grabbed the "Mormon Guitar Songbook" that I found laying in our apartment and started learning chords. I can play a rousing rendition of "In The Leafy Treetops" and a very butchered version of "Do What Is Right". I love it! Haha but I found out the other day we're only allowed to play on Pday's :( so I'll have to play a bunch today! Hey I got your package! I'll send the stuff back to you today. I haven't used the card yet but I'll let you know if it works. Thanks for the Christmas letter! Elder Wood and I laughed for a long time when I read it. Dad you're a pretty funny guy. So Saturday I threw out my back! Haha I feel like I shouldn't be saying that for another 30 years, but I did! It sucked. Remember when I hurt it at Sky High a year ago? Well it basically went into remission since then, and only hurt a little when I would bend a certain way. But we were lifting a stove into this guy's truck and it didn't hurt at first, but as soon as we got it in there and I started to walk away my back exploded with pain! It was crazy. It's pretty much better now but I was walking like a penguin for the rest of the day. It hurts when I wake up but it stretches itself out. It'll probably be find, it gets better every day. I probably made that sound a lot worse than it was though, I'm fine haha. I'll be playing basketball today :) Hey random question: what're the chances of me getting a little "line of authority" card? A lot of missionaries have them and it's sweet! Is that a possibility? That would be awesome. I honestly have no idea what I want for my birthday.....nothing really haha. Just surprise me I guess! Something American though, I miss the good ol' states. Hey speaking of states, how'd the Ducks do in the Rose Bowl? I've had a million people talk about how they went.....but no one told me how they did! Hahaha I love hearing about Oreo. He's a dope! Hey I would love to get Kyle's emails! Bryant got a ticket! Haha nice! I can't believe how much it rains in Oregon compared to everywehere else. I miss the rain to be honest with you. Everything is so green in Oregon. Well other than that I don't really have much more. The weather's warming up again :) it was about -5 C yesterday and I kid you not it felt like 10 at least. We were walking without coats for most of the day. It's so cool how acclimatised (is that even a word?) you get. I love it! I love Canada! I hope everything is going well back home! Keep me updated on life :) Hey and tell Geoff happy early birthday!
Love you guys,
Elder Read
PS I want peanut brittle for my birthday :) I just thought of that and it sounded good.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

You heard right! Saturday was indeed my 4th birthday. It was without a doubt the fastest 4 months of my life. I can't believe I've been on my mission that long. But more importantly, I can't believe it's been more than 120 days since I sat in the driver seat of a car! I've probably forgotten how to drive. Just kidding, but really, I wish I could drive. So this week was good! The weather held out all of this week until yesterday, but I'll talk about that later. We still don't have very many people to teach haha. We had a lot of sweet potential people to try this week and they either weren't home or we received the classic "I'll call you" haha. So things are still slow but that's okay that's how winter is apparently. Today I went to the doctor's office finally haha. I've been meaning to go for awhile but I've been putting it off. There's a member in the area that sees all of the missionaries in our mission, and so it was a pretty quick visit. They didn't really do much besides talk to me and give me an order for a blood-draw. The lab was across town so we had to drive over there and then found out that it was an hour wait without an appointment. So we scheduled it for next week. Anyways, it'll be nice because she wrote a standing order which means I can just go straight to the lab every 3 months to get the test done, so it should be pretty easy from here on out. Today we also did laundry and we're basically doing laundry for free until the new card gets here. I called and they said that they sent the new one out, but to keep using the old one until then. So I'm not complaining :) The weather is terrible right now haha. It was something like 8 C on Friday, pretty mild again on Saturday, then yesterday it plummeted to -20 C. Right not it's sitting at about -30 C without wind chill. Tomorrow 's supposed to be even colder! The rule is that at -35 we can't be out for more than an hour and at -40 we can only travel by car to appointments. Tomorrow is supposed to be about -40 with wind chill so we might be inside for some of it ha. I'm afraid this whole mild winter "la nina" thing might be over....But oh well! Hey just FYI, I lost my gloves on the other side of the city on Saturday while doing I have to buy new ones.....I know I know. I lose everything haha. Hanzel and Grettel right? :) Sorry this is a super short email.....I don't have much else to write about  haha boring week! I love and miss you guys and I'm glad to hear you're doing well!
Love you guys,
Elder Read

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wash day and other P-day speedbumps

Hey parents!
It's been a crazy Pday so far haha so that's why I'm writing a little later than usual. So our laundry card broke in half a little while ago, but we could still use it. For whatever reason I decided to call in and get a new one last week, and they told me it should be here before today. But it wasn't. They told me not to use my current card anymore, and that I was to send it back to them when the new card arrived. So basically we can't do laundry with our money until next week. So we called the Meadows Ward Elders who live about a mile down the road, and they came and we were just going to do laundry with them at our place and then have personal studies with them too. So to start off we threw all of our laundry into the washers, put in detergent before starting the washers (bad idea) and then inserted the card to start them. But they wouldn't start and kept coming up with "Error 4", which apparently means that the card can't be used in these washers because their card isn't programmed to our address. Awesome! So we had to take the detergent-soaked laundry out and then put it back into our laundry bags, and then go to Meadow's apartment. Haha but they only have 2 washers, and we needed 3. So we had to wait for 2 loads of laundry to be done, and we started extra late because Elder Wood and I had to get ready before we went to Meadow's place. So finally the laundry's done, the card should be here next week, and everything should be good next week! I hope haha that was a headache. But it's all good we had a lot of fun this morning. There's a reason they don't do 4-man apartments haha nothing gets done! Good thing it's Pday! So anyways that was my morning. This week, though, went really well. We still tract a lot because we don't have many solid investigators to teach, but we FINALLY had success this week with a lot of potential investigators we've been trying to see for a month. For whatever reason we found all but one of them home this week and we were able to schedule appointments for this week, so it should be a good one! We definitely needed that this week though, we've been trying super hard to see as many people as we can, and finding no one at home was starting to get old haha. But the Lord won't bless us without trying us first, so we were really grateful for this week. I know I probably sound like a broken record by now, but man this weather is crazy! It's not even freezing outside right now. Hey Dad what's La Nina? Everyone here keeps mentioning it and I have no idea what they're talking about haha. But yeah it's incredible! I love it! It can stay this way forever. We'll be halfway through the coldest month of the year at the end of this week, so I've been really lucky. I haven't worn my super thick thermals for a month, just my little thin ones. The only down side to all of this, is that when it gets warm, the snow and ice melt, then it gets cold again, and it makes super slick ice haha. Out of the 6 Elders in our district, 3 of us owe donuts for District Meeting this week haha it's so slippery! It's fun being in a walking area when it's icy and you're actually paying attention, because sliding around is fun, but I let my guard down a lot. Thank goodness I have a backpack on or I'd be in a so much pain haha. But yeah this week was a lot of fun, we saw a lot of good things happen. Hey really quick! Whenever you can, I'm honestly in no rush, but I'd like my slacks I left at home..... I know I know! I should have brought them. But yeah.....I don't really need them until April anyways but if you could send them before conference that would be awesome. Just the black ones that you bought for me mom last year with the blue fabric on the inside, and then the grey ones that I bought. Muchas Gracias! Hey also, I'd like copies of my Encore CD's too if you could send those whenever. You're the best! I'm serious about the guitar thing, I'm gonna learn! One of the members in our ward goes to a lot of pawn shops and she said she'd find me a cheapo guitar to practice on I'm so excited it! Yep Dad nights are pretty slow. We'er in by 9 and plan until 9:30, write in our journals for maybe 10-15 minutes, and then it's up to us. I read the BoM or something a lot of times, but some nights it's so dead. Plus during lunch there's a lot of sitting around and I take a lot of naps, but I wanna start taking less of those, they make me super tired during the day which makes the day less effective. So yeah! A lot of missionaries pick up musical instruments haha it's surprising! Which reminds me Bryant got called as the Priesthood Pianist that's what's up! That calling was the best thing that ever happened to me piano-wise. I learned so many hymns from practicing for it. He'll do great. The Lord qualifies those he calls I promise. Alright we're gonna go shop then go to the church to run around! Thanks for all you guys do I appreciate it more than you know.
Love you guys,
Elder Read

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It is officially 2012! Sorry we couldn't email yesterday because the library was closed.....? We still aren't sure why haha. So Sunday started my golden (or black) year depending on who you talk to haha. It's gonna be sweet! This week has been pretty crazy. Like I said last week my new companion is Elder Wood. We get along well and he's a hard worker which is all I could ask. It's weird being the one who knows where everything is and who to visit though, because I definitely don't know where everything is or who to visit haha. I'm getting used to it though and things are going well. It's weird switching companions! I'm so used to Elder Merrell haha and so it's weird having someone else living with me. Elder Wood sleep talks! He woke me up one night yelling gibberish! It scared the crap out of me haha. I've heard stories from other missionaries that he sleep walks too :) I'm excited! He's a great guy though I really like him. He's from Idaho Falls, Idaho and he's been out a year tomorrow actually, so he knows what he's doing. Church is now at 1pm, which is terrible for a number of reasons. First and foremost being that we have to work in the mornings on Sunday, which is pretty ineffective. When I was with Elder Merrell we had 2 hour comp studies because I was new, and so we didn't leave the apartment until noon after lunch. Now we study until 10am and then work until lunch, but no one's awake until noon around here! It's ridiculous. But we do what we gotta do. The one advantage to 1pm church is that it's a million times easier trying to get investigators to church because most people are awake by then. We still only have one investigator, who we're extremely grateful for, but we need more! We have done so much tracting in the past 2 weeks it's amazing to look at the tracting map we have on our wall. I think we honestly might have this area tracted out in the next two transfers haha. I like tracting though because I always come away with sweet stories and you meet interesting people. Plus it's good practice. So no complaints. The weather has been amazing. Canadians everywhere are in a frenzy because we actually had a positive Christmas! And today it's above freezing! January's are apparently around -20 C, so the fact that we've only had that temperature once a month ago is amazing. But I'm perfectly with it. As long as I'm walking all of the snow could melt and I would be completely unopposed. Which brings me to the other shocker! There's almost no snow on the ground. But, like I said before, as long as I'm walking it can stay that way. Hey Mom! Thanks for the package it was awesome. Those socks are perfect and I really needed them actually. I've been meaning to go buy wool socks but now I don't have to which is fine by me! That blanket is sweet too haha. I never knew how much I wanted an electric blanket until I got one! It's awesome. So thanks for sending all of that stuff it was great. So going back to the weather, I haven't seen the sun in like 2 weeks. It comes about halfway (if that) up and then goes down by 3:30, and it's dark by about 4:30. But I never see the sun! It's so flat here and I'm surrounded by houses so I miss it! Like I said before though they have us all on Vitamin D so we don't die. Speaking of dying, there is a CRAZY 24-hour flu going around here. It's incredible how much it's spread. On Christmas Eve, we were at an older couple's house and they had all of their family over. One of their granddaughters got sick with the flu and was sick the whole time. Then the mom got sick, the son soon followed, and then the next day at church none of the family was there and there were about 15 people in that house that night. THEN, Elder Merrell got sick on Monday, THEN one of the YSA sisters threw up at a member's house on Wednesday hahaha. THEN two Elders in our district got sick on the same day. Haha we were in District Meeting and Elder Phillips got up to say the prayer. We heard "Father in Heaven......" and then we all looked up and he was running out of the room haha it's crazy! THEN one of the families in our ward didn't come to church because they had it. THEN our dinner appointment last night cancelled on us because they all had it. It's only a matter of time until we're all infected! I've never seen something spread like this it's actually kind of fun haha. OH! AND one of our appointments cancelled on us yesterday. Haha it's weird! New Year's was pretty boring hahaha. We had dinner with a member and then we had to be in our apartment by 6. So I sat and wrote a few letters and then went to bed at 8pm haha. We got like 10 hours of sleep it was beautiful. But yeah, that's pretty much all that's happened around here. It's been interesting, but a lot of fun too. We have some sweet Elders in our district and we've been having a lot of fun. We went over to the Meadows Elder's apartment last night and ate dinner with them, and we're probably going to lunch today! Missions are the best. You feel the spirit stronger than any other time of your life, you get to see people change, and most of all you get to party with other missionaries! Haha just kidding, but seriously it's a lot of fun. I've seen myself change as well and it's amazing to see. I've strengthened my testimony so much and it grows every day. It's awesome. Hey I'm gonna learn guitar on my mission! One of the members is going to find me a cheap guitar and I'm gonna learn chords dang it! One sweet thing about a mission is that you have a lot of down time at night, and you can only write in your journal for so long. So I've learned how to juggle and play with a yo-yo haha. Guitar's next! But anyways I'm doing well and I'm having a lot of fun. I'm glad to hear everything's going well back home and that you guys had a good Christmas! Mom I miss going to the temple with you every week! That was awesome. We get to go quarterly (if that) and I miss it! Anyways, that's all I've got, I love you guys have a good week!
Elder Read