Wednesday, March 28, 2012

General Conference!

Oh my gosh. I kid you not, I just deleted the email again. This
MyLDSMail thing is garbage!

Anyways, fortunately I was only about 3 paragraphs in. I'll restart.

Hey there family and everybody else!

This week is General Conference! It's like the Super Bowl for
missionaries, I'm so excited! General Conference also means Suits come
off! I've been waiting for this day since I arrived in Canada. I've
never really enjoyed a suit very much and I've been waiting for 6
months to take it off :) So I'm pretty stoked. I figured maybe I'd get
used to it, but I really don't like it haha. I only have to wear it
for 6 more months of my mission after this week though :) Crazy!

It snowed again this week......lame. I'm pretty ready for spring. It's
been warming up slowly though, and the snow is almost melted again.
Hopefully we're done this year, but probably not. It's been an
incredibly warm winter though. I still hear "If you were here last
winter, you'd know how lucky you are this year" almost daily. Truth be
told, I'm really glad I wasn't here last year haha thank you diabetes!

It blows my mind how much Canadians follow the happenings in the
States. Everyone watches March Madness and all of the other sports,
EVERYONE asks me about Mitt Romney and if I think he'll make it, and
then go off on a 30-minute politics conversation, and everyone remarks
at how little Americans know about Canada. Haha. I grew up not knowing
a thing about Canada, and they all grow up learning about the States
in school. It's pretty interesting. I wish I'd learned more.

So I think I told you they found out I play piano last week in
Priesthood? So I got asked to play again this week. I think it's going
to become consistent haha but I don't mind it keeps me up to date.
Having a keyboard in the apartment has been awesome. I love playing
the piano. I can honestly say I don't regret taking lessons, and you
have that in writing :)

Woooooo my sister's famous! :)  I think of that Rhode Island girl in
Miss Congeniality,

    "What is your idea of a perfect date?"
    "Hmm that's a tough one. I would have to say April 25th. Because
it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket."

Hahahaha knock em dead Calista! :) Pioneer-style beauty pageants! Woo!

Yeah Mom if you'd send all those things that would be much
appreciated. I can fit it all in my suitcases, but even then it
doesn't matter. I don't have to worry about stuffing things in
suitcases for another 18 months :) I have plenty of time to down size!

Sister Peart.....the name doesn't ring any bells, what does she look
like? I don't remember any Portland bound missionaries around our
classroom, but I might be wrong. Ask her where her classroom was.

Bryant's the man! I didn't bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting
until my mission haha good for him! We're only supposed to get up if
there's a gap between testimonies (which is pretty much inevitable
every week haha).

The work here is......slow haha but it's picking up! Ever since the
Mission-wide fast, we've noticed a lot of missionary activity in the
ward. They're all enthusiastic about it, so we've been trying to get
around to everyone and to encourage them in their efforts. My
predicition is that by summer things will be booming. Tracting around
here is pretty ineffective too. Most of the people that live in the
city of Spruce Grove are older people set in their ways, but we do it
anyway! We're bound to find someone.

Anyways, life's good! I'm excited for Summer and warmth. I forgot what
it feels like to be comfortable outside. I miss you all and hope
everything's going well back in the motherland!

Love you guys,

Elder Steven

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Transfers come and go

Hey family,

So I just wrote this email.......and then deleted it by accident. I
don't know why it didn't save in drafts, but it didn't. So I'll do my
best to type what I had in the short amount of time I have left! Haha.

Transfers were this week, we expected a lot to change but nothing did!
Which is fine by me. Transfers are a headache, and the less I have to
deal with the better! Elder Fifita's been District Leader for 9
months, and will be at 10.5 at the end of this transfer. That's a
really long time haha so he was hoping he'd drop this transfer, but he
stayed. This transfer will be a huge one though. There are a ton of
people moving around, which is weird because there's no new
missionaries coming out this transfer.

Haha today we were coming home from service at the Salvation Army
Thrift Store, and we saw this exercise bike on the side of the road
with a "free" sign on it. So we stopped, threw it in the back, and
drove it home. It's now sitting in the only open space available, the
kitchen :) So forget going to the gym, now all I have to do is wake
up, walk into the kitchen, and I'm set! We were pretty excited about
it haha.

Hey so we have a sent the wrong slacks :( These ones
are HUGE hahaha. The ones I want are black, and are the ones you
bought me last year, they have blue fabric on the inside of the waist,
that's the only way I tell them apart from the others. I also would
enjoy the gray slacks I bought last year. Slack season is in two
weeks, so it would be nice to have them :) Also, if you wouldn't mind
sending my dark blue Zoo York jacket that I got from a Staci a million
years ago, and also the black and white striped jacket I left home. I
know I know.....I should have brought them with me, but I didn't think
I'd need them! My need is dire.

Not much else happened this week. We went on exchanges with Barrhead,
and I finally got to leave the area! Leaving the area is like going on
vacation haha. You don't have to worry about teaching, planning,  etc.
All you do is follow the other person around, bear occasional
testimony, and eat all of the food in their apartment. It was

Alright I'm out of time....I think I covered everything I had
originally.....if not I'll include it next week. I miss you guys! Hope
all is going well back in the good state of Oregon.

Love you all,

Elder Read

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to yours truly!

That's right! Tomorrow I hit 6 whole months! Man I'm a quarter of
the way done! I know it might sound ridiculous haha. But when I think
back to the MTC, I could describe a lot of those days in detail! Maybe
not, because let's face it, the MTC is the same day after day It was a
blur. But anyways, time's flying!
    Yesterday was awesome! Pdays are bliss, let me tell you about
them. We do our laundry at a member's house, they feed us breakfast,
we do our morning studies on comfortable couches, and it's free! Then
we shop for groceries, come home, eat lunch, we clean (kinda haha),
and then the Stony Plain elders come over or we go over there, we hang
out with them for a little while, and then we drive into Edmonton
together and play basketball or whatever they chose that week. Then we
drive home, shower, and go to dinner! Like I said, simply bliss.
Yesterday was sweet too because I got a BOATLOAD of mail! :) I love
mail! Keep it coming!
     Anywho, this week was pretty solid. Elder Fifita's been feeling
better so we've been waking up at 6am to work out in the gym down the
hall. It felt good to run on the tready, I miss running like you
wouldn't believe! So yeah it felt really good to run every
morning......and then the room next to the gym complained because they
were trying to sleep at 6:30 in the morning! Who does that! I was so
mad! So now I run like Lance Armstrong on the exercise bike that looks
and feels like it was made in the '80s. But that's life I guess! I
can't wait to run every day when I come home, that was the life, I
highly recommend it.
    Funny story! So the day before I left my last area, one of the
members told me to go and visit his daughters that lived in Spruce
Grove. They aren't active, and he didn't want them to know that I was
sent there, so he said to do a tracting approach and see if I could
get in. So 2 weeks ago, Elder Pinehault and I (we were on exchanges),
went and knocked one of the doors, and sure enough, she answered the
door, I did the tracting approach, and she let us in it was sweet. She
told us she was a member, and then she found out I had just come from
Southwood and so she found out I knew her dad. It was sweet, we set up
a time to come back and it was a good visit. THEN we had exchanges
with the zone leaders this week, and so Elder Graul and I were out
visiting members, and one of our appointments fell through, so I
figured it'd be a good idea to go and track down the other daughter
that we hadn't met yet. So I told him what her dad told us to do, and
he said "Nothin' like a little guile eh?" So we laughed and then we
went over. I knocked, a guy answered the door, I did the tracting
approach, he cut me off and told us he was a member and invited us in.
Sounds golden right? Wrong. You'll never guess who was over for dinner
that night! Not only was the sister that we had just talked to last
week over, but the parents I knew from Southwood were sitting at the
dinner table too! Hahahahahaha awkward! The dad looked like he had
seen a ghost when he saw us but didn't say anything, and the mom said,
"Hey Elder Read, long time no see!" Wrong thing to say haha. The
daughters both looked at us like we were crazy, and the parents just
talked to me like nothing was we went along with it, talked
with them for awhile, and then left. The parents said they talked
about it though and everything's good, and we're still going over to
both of their houses to meet with them. It was a funny story though.
They always seem to happen on exchanges too.
    So that was pretty much the highlight of my week. Not much else
happened. We met with two families this week, and in one, the husband
reminds me of Geoff in every way possible, and in the other family,
the wife reminds me of Nicole! It's crazy how you see people you know
in others.
    Spring has sprung (thanks mom). It's been a balmy average of 8
degrees outside this week! It sounds cold, and probably is cold, but
we've been cooking! We took off our coats, took off the thermals, and
tracted a lot. Lately my view of tracting has been slowly going
downhill, but it's amazing when it's warm! I loved it! I missed the
warm sun more than I missed home. It even got up to 12 degrees! Haha I
reread this paragraph and I sound ridiculous, but it's true! You get
so acclimatized it's unbelievable. So yeah, it's warm. And dry! My
hands are dying! I woke up the other day and my finger was bleeding
because it's so dry. I bought lotion though, so no worries.
    Hey random request, can I have a picture of the Portland temple?
Prefferably one with lots of trees? I want to put it on my desk :) I
miss it!
    Another random request - I need the names of all my relatives
living in southern Alberta, I always tell people I have family down
there, and they say they know a ton of Hydes and then start listing
off all of these people I had no idea existed! So I want to know who
they are so I don't look like an idiot haha.
    Alright, that's all I've got for this week. Thanks for letting me
know about the tax refund, I'm rich! Just kidding, I'll save it in
case more tickets come up :) I appreciate you guys and all you do! I
miss you guys like you wouldn't believe!

Love you homies,

Elder Read

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ode to Oreo

Hey Mother and family!

    Oreo died!? Poor guy :( I loved that dog! That's too bad that he
went out that way, but I agree that putting him down was the best
option. He was an old man and it was his time to go. I'll miss him
though, he was the best! I still laugh about the time I walked into
the dining room and found him halfway down the heat vent trying to
crawl his way out hahaha. Senior moment for sure. Anyways he was a
good dog, pretty stupid, but that's why we love him! Haha I'll miss
him a lot.

    Okay, so this week was sweet, and crazy, for a number of reasons.
So far so good on the speeding tickets! I was a little worried there
might be more, but no calls so far! (Knock on wood). I paid it
yesterday, so we're good to go! We slid into a snow bank yesterday
pulling into the church, but it just popped something off of the
bumper, and it clicked back into place haha still good!

    Zone Conference was sweet. There were some really good trainings
given by President, the assistants, and the zone leaders. We played
Mission Jeopardy, and lunch was awesome. They made Cafe Rio (sp?) and
it was delicious! After the conference, however, was pretty crazy. So
the Barrhead elders were staying with us most of this week, and since
we're in our area, Elder Fifita and I split off with them so that they
aren't wandering around our area wondering where to go. So after
conference Elder Pinehault and I drove back to Spruce and Elder Fifita
and Miller stayed for a leadership training. After the training, they
drove the Elders serving downtown home, and then went into the
apartment to grab something they'd left there awhile back. So some
other missionaries showed up and they all ended up wrestling around,
and one of them jumped onto Elder Fifita's back and tried to wrap his
legs around him. Elder Fifita turned around, and the other elder
slipped off his back and hit his head on the corner of the desk. When
he took his hand off of his head, blood starting gushing everywhere,
and when the got it under control they realized he had split his head
open. So they laid him down, and he seemed okay, so they figured
they'd drive him to the ER. But then he got up, walked into the other
room, and lost consciousness and started having a seizure. The two
tongans in the room (pretty big guys) and another elder couldn't hold
him down, so Elder Fifita gave him a blessing and the seizures
stopped. So then they called 911, but while they were waiting he
stopped breathing, so they had to give him CPR. The paramedics arrived
pretty soon after that and revived him, and then took him to the
hospital. He got a pretty bad concussion, and his memory's erased back
5 months. So he doesn't remember anything between that time. He
recognized President and Sister Campbell because he saw their picture
in his call packet over 5 months ago. His left side was also paralyzed
for a couple of days. So he stayed in the hospital for a few days, and
then he was released on Saturday. They're keeping him on his mission
because medical care is better here than in Mongolia where he's from,
but he's basically starting over. I heard he's slowly starting to
regain some memories, but who knows if it'll ever fully come back. I
saw him yesterday though and he looked good, just confused. So yeah,
pretty crazy! Elder Fifita's felt terrible though, and he blames
himself for it, but I think after he saw the guy yesterday, he feels
better. So it's been a stressful week for him. We had interviews on
Thursday with President and so that helped him a lot.

    So other than that all that, it was a good week for sure. We were
able to meet with quite a few members this week, and we met with one
of our investigators on Saturday. His name's Blake, and he's actually
baptized, but not confirmed haha. I guess he was baptized when he was
young, but his family never came to church the next day, or at all
after that. So now he's married to a member, and so we teach him every
Saturday. He doesn't really have a huge desire to be baptized yet, but
we were able to give his sick son a blessing while we were there this
week, and I think it made a difference for him.

    We met with some other investigators, Dave and Carla. They're
living common law, just waiting to get divorced from their previous
spouses, but they both know it's true and consider themselves members.
Their divorces end in May, so once those are finalized and they're
married, they'll for sure be baptized. Carla's pregnant and lives
alone, so that's why Dave says he lives with her. They're awesome
people though, I hope I'm here to see them baptized.

    Hey random question! Where is Forks, Oregon. I can't tell you how
many times I've been asked that when I say I'm from Oregon hahahaha.
Twilight comes up almost every time! I always say I've never heard of
Forks, and they look at me like I just lied about living in Oregon. Is
it even in Oregon?

    This week we drove up to Barrhead, which is about an hour north,
to pick up Elder Fifita's camera that he left there on exchanges. It's
sweet, missionaries here have "line maps", which are basically just
maps and we color in the roads that we've traveled on. Missionaries
always try and serve in outlying areas so they can get "sweet lines".
Anyways, we got some sweet lines going up to Barrhead, and then took a
different way back and got another line! A lot of people get in
trouble for taking outrageous routes back to their areas after
transfers so they can get new lines, but the route we took home was
pretty much the same distance so no harm done :)

    Speaking of driving, yesterday we had to drive to the mission
office to pay off my ticket, and on our way to the North End of
Edmonton for basketball, we got completely lost haha. We ended up
downtown, crossing the North Saskatchewan River about 3 times, and
then finally giving up and going west until we found the highway we
usually take haha. It was an adventure! I don't know downtown at all,
and Fifita never had drive when we served down there was so we were

    The weather is still the same. It's been snowing like you
wouldn't believe for the past couple of weeks, and it's everywhere.
I'm sick of it haha I'm ready for Summer! Hopefully some day it'll
warm up. I pray for it every day!

    Hey we're having a General Authority visit our mission in May!
Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita of the Seventy is coming to tour some of the
Canadian missions. I'm super excited, he's the one that spoke last
general conference about missionaries. It'll be sweet!

    Hey another random thought, I want to go and see the Hill Cumorah
Pageant and all the church history stuff! Some members were telling us
about it this week and it sounds sweet! Tell me that wouldn't be cool!

    Alright the end of the email rambling is over, I'm officially out
of things to talk about haha. You guys are awesome! I miss you all!


Elder Read