Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still cold in Canada!

Hey guys!

    So I've got some bad news. I'd wait until the end, but I'd hate
to ruin an otherwise good email with bad news at the end! May as well
set the mood right from the beginning. I got a speeding ticket on
Yesterday. And by that I mean I heard about it on Monday. The ticket's
actually from the 16th. Elder Eklund, the senior missionary from the
office in charge of vehicles called and told me he had a picture of
the back of our car. So I asked him what that meant haha I had no
clue. They have this thing called Photo Radar up here.....it sucks!
They're these inconspicuous looking cars that they park by the side of
the road and a guy in there takes pictures of speeding cars! So I got
my picture taken.....and it's $175. Sorry about that. To be honest I
don't speed much, but out on the range roads it's hard not to go a
little fast! The place where I got it was on a range road coming back
into town. The speed changes from 70 to 50 km/hr and I usually just
coast into the change, but they got me for doing 75 in a 50. To tell
you the truth I was warned a lot by other missionaries about the Photo
Radar in Spruce Grove and I didn't listen! So I apologize haha
hopefully this is the only one! We haven't driven much in the past
week and a half though so we should be good. Anyways, the church will
cover it and then I have to pay them back at the office. They take
cash though, and my VISA doesn't work at ATM's (or at all for that
matter), so I think I'll have to pay for it with my allotment next
month, and then use my Mastercard for allotment. Is that cool? Let me
know. I'll be checking my email this week again to make sure. On the
bright side, you just wrote to me about that tax return I'm getting
right? Now there's no question on how to spend it! :) Maybe it's too
soon for jokes. So that's my bad news. Sorry I know that's probably
not the best news, I'll slow down haha.
     This week was another slow one. Haha We went
to a walk in clinic on Tuesday night after President told us to go,
and sat for 2 hours twiddling our thumbs. There was some old sitcom on
across the room, but I couldn't hear any of it. So I got pretty good
at reading lips. So after an eternity of waiting, we finally got in,
they checked Elder Fifita's breathing, looked at his throat and
declared him to have a cold! I'm so glad we spent 2 hours waiting for
them to tell us that he has a virus and give us some Advil. So that
was that! They did tell us to take a break and wait it out, so we did!
We spent pretty much all of our time together indoors. But it wasn't
all bad. We went on exchanges with Barrhead (area to the north) and I
stayed in Spruce so Elder Pineault and I went around and worked it was
fun. He's brand new out of the MTC, and he's from Quebec and doesn't
speak very good english. So there was a lot of talking from Elder Read
and a lot of smiling from Elder Pineault :) Finally on Saturday Elder
Fifita's cold went away, and he's pretty well at 100%! It only took 3
weeks! :) So this week will be good for sure. Elder Fifita wasted no
time in scheduling a ton of lessons this week so we should be busy!
     It snowed this week! Either Thursday or Friday night (all of the
days are mashed into one in my memory), it snowed all night long, and
then snowed all day the next day. There's about 2 feet of snow right
now, and while it was awesome at first, I'm done with it. I like
Oregon, where it snows, you enjoy it for a day or two, and then it
melts. Not here! On Sunday we stopped at a member's house and I got us
stuck. I HATE getting stuck, and everybody and their dog has to come
out of their houses and push us out. So I sat in the driver's seat and
everyone else pushed us out. I felt pretty dumb haha. Can't wait for
Summer! It's nice having all-wheel drive though, I'd have gotten stuck
a lot more than that without it.
    Hey mom I got the package! Thanks for taking care of that. And
thanks for the candy and peanut brittle! I love that stuff. Plus the
Sudoku book is sweet! I was actually thinking the other day how cool
it would be to have one of the those, and there it was!
    Hahaha you took the cat to the vet....I remember when we would
take the grey cat to the vet, and she would get so mad. I'm sad I
missed it!
    We actually didn't celebrate Family Day. It was a full
proselyting day, and it was Pday, so we didn't have to do much anyway.
Yeah that was the day of the fast it was well planned!
    So the pig roast......I may or may not have participated in the
killing of the pig. The white handbook doesn't say anything about it,
and my companion's Tongan, so I felt justified :) Yeah it was pretty
gross to watch it die and watch Elder Fifita gut it our and clean it,
but it was so worth it. It was weird to eat something that I'd been
watching walk around a few hours earlier. You'd be surprised how many
pig roasts Fifita's done. Once they find out he's Tongan they always
ask :)
    I'm so jealous Geoff and Nicole are going to Cancun! I want to go
to Cancun. Hey you guys aren't allowed to go on any cool vacations
while I'm here. I know we went on a cruise when Calista was gone, but
I know we all felt TERRIBLE and wouldn't want to inflict the same pain
on me.
    So that's all I have for this week! Tomorrow is zone conference
and we're combined with another zone so it'll be cool to see a lot of
people I haven't seen in awhile. Elder Atwood will be there I'm
excited to see him again! Anyways I'm glad to hear everything's going
well. Thanks for all you guys do, sorry again for the ticket. Enjoy
your week!

Love you guys,

Elder Read

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Loooong week

Hey everyone!

    So this week........was. Haha it was pretty slow to be honest. Elder Fifita is still sick with a bad cough and cold, so we spent most of the daytime proselyting hours indoors, and really only left to go
to appointments so we could share it with the members! Haha I'm surprised they didn't kick us out of their houses. But anyways he's still sick, and so after we're doing emailing here we're going to a
walk-in clinic. Elder Fifita refused to go to the doctor, and so one of the members jokingly (or so we thought) called President Campbell and told him to tell Elder Fifita to go haha. So today after the
temple he came up and did just that! The members have given us so much medicine though it's ridiculous. It's nice that they care I guess!

    Speaking of the temple, we got to go earlier today it was sweet! They switched Pday to today and so we went with most of the other missionaries at 8 this morning. Only the city missionaries and the
ones serving relatively close can go, so we were lucky! I loved it, I miss the temple like you wouldn't believe! I can't wait to come home and be able to go more regularly.

    So yesterday, some members in our ward had a pig roast! Like a straight-out-of-Tonga pig roast! I guess they did one a couple weeks ago, and so one of the members has a pit already dug out in his
backyard, and so we roasted a pig in it. One of the many benefits of having a Tongan companion. So we went yesterday with some people to a Hutterite Colony about 30km down the road, picked up a 75 pound pig, and brought to a members house. Long story short, we killed it, gutted it, prepared the fire, put the pig in, buried it, and then waited for 2 hours. It was sweet! I think I like the stuff the Mcdougals made more, but we didn't have banana leaves. Only Montreal Steak Seasoning :) When I get home in a million years I'll show you guys the picturesand video of the pig! Pretty cool.

   Yeah there's a huge youth in this ward! There are a lot of older couples, young couples, and families with kids, it's pretty balanced. It's a huge ward though, something I'm definitely not used to haha.
Speaking of church, I got to speak on Sunday! To be honest I love speaking in church. I love getting up there and listening to the sound of my voice! But I hate preparing the talk! It's true you learn quite
a bit when you study the topic, but it takes me sooo much time it's ridiculous. I got to speak on Fasting and Missionary work in honor of the fast today. It went well I hope. I didn't collapse or anything and
nobody stood up in open rebellion during or afterwards so it must have been okay!

     You bet I've learned to drive in the snow! Actually it's been pretty dry until today. It snowed while we were in the temple, but other than that it's been above freezing most of the week it's been
nice. We're allotted 2500 km a month, which is pretty impossible to reach. On a busy day we drive 60-70 km so we probably will never reach the limit.

    Still no northern lights :( not since that time in October anyway. I'm hoping for some next winter when it's colder. I hear theylike the cold :)

    They actually do have Baskin Robbins here! But not any in Spruce Grove that I've seen. I saw a couple in Edmonton though. They actually get quite a bit of business in the Winter it's surprising. I guess
most people figure they're going to be cold regardless of what they eat :)

    Alright I'm out of things to talk about.....we didn't teach any investigators this week so I have no one to talk about, but next week should be good! I'm glad to hear life's going well back in P-Town. I
miss the rain :)

Thanks for sending the package mom! Hopefully it'll be here soon I'm running low on supplies, but it should be good. And tell Grandma Read and Grandma and Grandpa Hyde thanks for the package and the letters!

Love you guys!

Elder Read

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spruce Grove (not Spruce Goose) and Happy Valentines Day!

Hey family!

This week has been sweet! I love Spruce Grove! I keep wanting to call
it Spruce Goose though haha.....Oregon humor. Hey emailing will now be
on Tuesdays because the library is closed on Monday here. Lame. So
I've been running around a lot this week, and since I have a whole 2
hours to email now, I'll tell you all about it in detail :)

So Monday was pretty normal. Elder Wood and I had a lot of lessons
scheduled, so we didn't have time to visit very many members.  Which
meant Tuesday was the craziest day of my life! We were literally
running from house to house saying goodbyes, going to previously
scheduled appointments, packing, etc. Haha and we still didn't get to
everyone! We didn't get in until around 9:45 that night it was crazy!
I have so much stuff, I feel like a girl sometimes! I downsized a lot
of stuff though, so next transfer should be better.

    Wednesday was pretty surreal haha. Not only was it my Birthday,
but It was like leaving home again it was weird. I honestly didn't
think much about my birthday to tell you the truth. If it wasn't
transfer day, I don't think it would have been any different than any
other day haha. I actually forgot about it until I was sitting in the
apartment with Elder Fifita unpacking my things and I found the
package you sent me mom. Thanks for that by the way! Elder Wood and I
made the cookies and they were delicious. Elder Fifita and I still
need to make the cake. And I love Life cereal you're the best! We
filled all of the balloons with water and stuck them outside
overnight, then threw them at the trees in our courtyard it was sweet.
So yeah it was a good day!

    Anyways, transfer meeting was good though. I got to see a lot of
the people I came out with which was sweet! I miss those guys (and
sisters). So then Elder Fifita and I drove home. He doesn't have his
license anymore for whatever reason, and so I get to drive everywhere!
I am literally in Heaven. We have a beautiful little Subaru Impreza
and she's all I could have asked for. After a walking area though, I
would have taken a little barbie car, no joke. So this was a sweet
deal for me! I was honestly worried I wouldn't know how to drive
anymore haha it had been so long. But it went well :) So now we drive
everywhere it's sweet! Spruce Grove is one of the bigger areas, and
some of our members and investigators live out in the BOONIES. Like,
driving on a dirt road for a half hour type of boonies.
    It's an awesome area though. The ward is huge. We fill the chapel
and most of the overflow. Last sunday we opened the curtain to the
gym, but only because some dude was giving his farewell talk. The ward
is awesome though. They're super missionary-minded, and they love us!
We have an awesome bishop (who is also a body builder) and he does the
most missionary work out of everyone! When the bishop starts it, the
ward follows, let me tell you.

    So we've been busy this week! But anyways, Spruce has a LOT of
old people haha. They all retire on to a huge plot of land and sit out
the rest of their days. And they love having us over! We visited two
old couples this week that aren't members, they're catholic actually,
and they just visit with us, and they always feed us it's beautiful!
Plus they love to talk about God haha. Last night we went over to an
older couple named Alfred and Nancy (old people names), and played a
little game golf (card game) and they fed us muffins and orange juice!
PLUS at church the other day, this older couple brings the
missionaries goodie bags every week! We have snack time during
Sacrament Meeting :) We got a little bag of gum, candy, hot chocolate
packets, and other little stuff. It's sweet! Elder Fifita was telling
me that one week they brought the Elders a straight up Subway sandwich
and insisted they eat it right then and there! I can only hope it
happens again. I starve during church. Honestly I could stay in this
area my whole mission. Old people feed us muffins, other old people
bring us food at church like we're in Primary again, we teach lessons,
the ward does their missionary work, and I have a car. Woo!

    So Elder Fifita....he's the man. Like I said last week, he's a
big guy. He's only 6 feet tall but he's thick haha. Yessir Dad he
played for the Tongan National Rugby team, and he was actually offered
a 1.5 million dollar contract with England, but he turned it down to
serve a mission! Pretty cool eh? He's a spiritual giant (no pun
intended), and he works hard I love him.

    Haha so my past two companions, when they saw my pump they asked
a ton of questions and we spent a long time talking about diabetes. It
surprises me how little people know about it. But then again I knew
NOTHING until last year haha. Anyways, I though Elder Wood and Merrell
were bad, but Elder Fifita has beat them by a longshot. He has sooo
many questions about diabetes haha it's hilarious. His english is
pretty good, but still a little limited, so it takes me awhile to tell
him all of the confusing things. So the members here, like I said, are
a little older than most, and so they've really been harping on me for
talking so fast! I get scolded almost every day for it haha. "Stop
talking so fast our old ears can only pick up so much." I love it. By
the way, I've been told 3 times so far since I've been here that I
have an accent....? I never heard that in Edmonton, but now that I'm
out here it's different. They tell me that most of the American
missionaries have it too, but that mine is especially prominent. Cool
eh? I'm a true American.

    So setting aside the materialistic blessings of this area, it's
actually an awesome area for missionary work. Like I said the ward is
enthusiastic about missionary work, and we have quite a few
investigators here. I haven't met many of them though, but hopefully I
will this week. Elder Fifita has had a bad cold all week so we haven't
done much during the day. But this week we have a lot of proselyting
planned it'll be fun. We're planning on working with a lot of
part-member families this month and trying to get the unbaptized
members baptized. It'll be fun I'm excited. The mission-wide fast is
on February 20th at 6pm until February 21st at 6pm. It's basically a
province-wide fast, because our mission covers the entire province
besides Calgary and south of that. So all 6 stakes in our mission are
participating. I'm actually really excited because our temple day is
that Tuesday afternoon, so we get to fast and then go to the temple
during it. It'll be great.

    Bryant's phone went belly up? Like my old one? That sucks! Hahaha
mom. You tell me every week that you have something to tell me but
that you keep forgetting it. The suspense is killing me! How was your
guy's Valentines day? I miss those sugar cookies! If you happen to
send me some, I wouldn't turn them down :) Alright I'm going to end
this novel now. Sorry for it's lack of organization I'm not very good
at that and I'm very good at rambling! Haha. There was a lot to say
this week though, so next week should be a little easier on the eyes.
Hey I appreciate everything you all do for me. I love being out here,
and knowing I have support back home makes it a lot easier. The church
is true!

Love you guys!

Elder Read

Monday, February 6, 2012


So I jinxed it. I said I wouldn't get transferred but we definitely got a call from good ol' President Campbell this morning! It was a late call too, we thought we were safe! But you're never safe in the world of a missionary. So I'm being transferred for my birthday! On Wednesday I head out to Spruce Grove! Which is basically like a suburb of Edmonton. Think of the difference (and the distance too, actually) between Portland and Beaverton. I'm actually really excited for a number of reasons. Elder Wood was trained there, and so he's told me all of the cool things about it. I'll miss that guy. We were hoping for another transfer together, but oh well! My new companion is Elder Fufita (Fuh-Feet-Uh), and he's from Tonga! He is also the former captain of the Tongan National Rugby Team. He's a very large missionary. I'm a little intimidated to tell you the truth haha he might eat me. But he's a super cool guy it'll be awesome. I've been hoping to get out of the city soon, and so this will be a cool change. Plus we have a car! Which isn't surprising considering every other area in the mission besides ours pretty much have cars. So that'll be cool. Other than that I don't know much about it, but I'm excited for Wednesday! You're right! Wednesday is my birthday! I wish I could say that I'm super excited for all of the festivities and everything haha.....but honestly missionary birthdays are pretty low-key. Plus Wednesday will be hectic enough! But that's okay we got donairs on Thursday after District Meeting because we had a feeling it might be my last week. So now the next two days are going to be full of packing and saying goodbyes. Honestly I wish we had a moving service. I hate packing! I liked when Elder Merrell had to pack and I got to sit around and putt in the living room. Speaking of which, I now hold the record in our district for most putts out of 10. But anyways, life is good here. It was a pretty average week. We went on more exchanges, and it stayed pretty warm. The groundhog saw his shadow! This is turning out to be a sweet winter. Only one more to go! Elder Wood and I went running this morning actually in -13 weather. It was surprisingly nice actually. We had planned on doing it every morning this transfer but plans have changed now! Haha. So thy read a letter in church yesterday about how on February 20th we're having an Alberta fast! The whole province (minus Calgary, nobody up here likes them anyway haha) is fasting for 24 hours for missionary work! It's gonna be awesome. It starts at 6pm on Monday and ends at 6pm on Tuesday. We're pretty excited. Also at church yesterday, we got to participate in a baby blessing of a less active girl that we visit pretty often. She's Chilean, which means there were a million people at church today, and we pretty much had the entire extended family up on the stand for the blessing. I've never been so cramped in my life trying to reach a hand in there hahaha it was hialrious. But super cool! Hey Mom I called for supplies the other day, and they said they'd bill me....? I dunno, I'm assuming you'll get a bill :) You're the best! Hey can I have a picture of the Portland Temple? Random I know, but I miss that place! Temple day is in two weeks, and they're switching pday to Tuesday so we can go. It'll be so cool. I miss the temple a lot. I can't wait to go regularly again! So other than that I have nothing else.....I got a letter from Gramma Read last week. She should get a letter from me in about a week. I'm so jealous Geoff, Nicole and Bryant ran that 5k! I wish I could have been there. Hey mom the Debit Card is still pretty lame :( it doesn't work at very many places. So I've been using the Mastercard. So yeah! That's life. It's going good here. I'm excited to go to Spruce Grove, and I'm glad to hear everything's going well there! Do work family! And anyone else who reads this!
 I love you guys!
Elder Read
PS - I love letters. Don't hesitate to send away!