Monday, July 30, 2012

Lost in a Strange Land

Hey fam and everyone else!

So it's been a crazy week, and I'm waiting for things to slow down, but they aren't haha. I never realized how much I was used to the happenings in Spruce Grove, because I honestly feel like I just left home and started my mission again! Change is bittersweet for sure. But anyways, things are going really well!

Red Deer is a beautiful town! Of all the places I've been so far, Red Deer is the most like Oregon. It's SUPER green I love it! It's quite big though, easily bigger than Beaverton. I'm in the southwestern corner of the city, and it's not too big of an area, actually it's quite small. But not small enough that we don't get a car :) I've given up on driving for now haha. I'm much happier sitting in the passenger seat not worrying about the speed that I'm not aware of haha and constantly being on the lookout for photo radar trucks. I'm scarred for life. So today I was supposed to drive (normally we switch off weekly) but I decided I'd rather not so Elder Cone will drive this week :) We'll see how long he likes driving 24/7!

The ward is sweet I love it. It's about the size of our ward back home, and it reminds me of Southwood a lot. They asked me to come up and introduce myself/bear my testimony. Nothing I don't do every day anyway so it wasn't quite a Baptism by Fire :)

Elder Cone is pretty good so far. Like I said I was in the MTC with him so I know him pretty well. Which is probably a good thing! He's not very familiar with the area though haha so it's been a gong show but I love it! We're having fun. I wish I could tell you all about the work we're doing haha but honestly I don't know the names of any of the people we're working with nor have I met them hahaha did I mention I love getting transferred? :) Give me another week. I'm trying to push myself to learn the area and the names of the members quick because we won't get anything done until then!

It really is it's own mission here haha we have our group of 8 missionaries here in town and other than that I don't see or hear from anyone! No complaints though I'm just glad to be with other missionaries. So normally we ride bikes around our area to save on clicks, but our WML took back his back this week for vacation so we're either legging it or driving. But there's a sweet park with a bunch of fields across from our apartment so I run there every morning while Elder Cone does his own thing.

This old lady does our laundry for us haha it's so sweet! We just take it over on Friday and pick it up on Saturday. She makes us shampoo our collars beforehand though and we HAVE to give her 7 shirts every week. No less or else she buys us more. I know because she bought me 2 already hahaha.

Hey Mother Read I got the package just in time! Like it didn't come on Monday so I was freakin out a little bit because mail takes forever to come down here. But lo and behold there it was on Wednesday for transfer meeting! Our prayers were answered!

That's sweet the Trek's this week! You'll all love it that was one of my best memories in Young Men's. But I was with Kyle the whole time so that could be why :) Yeah Dad there was crazy rainfall here a couple of weeks ago, so there was some flooding. When we did the service we wore our service clothes, no way am I ripping up wet carpet in a suit :)

Welll other than that I'm doing really well, just trying to get into the swing of things. Hope your week goes well!

Love you guys,

Elder Read

Sunday, July 29, 2012


This week was probably the most eventful of my mission thus far! Let's
start with the Sukhus! They are baptized and confirmed members of the
church :) The baptism went really well and there was a huge turnout
from the ward. I can't tell you how much it means not only to the
Sukhus but also to us as missionaries to see the ward support them
like they have. It's so sweet! I attached a picture of Elder Nabrotzky
and I with them at the baptism. On Sunday they got up and bore their
testimonies in Gospel Essentials. It was a cool experience. They're
definitely converted. Your guys' prayers are much appreciated and I'm
sure they helped!

So on Friday leadership calls went out and I got called as District
Leader. Elder Kember's the DL here and he's training which means he
won't get transferred, so I've pretty much known since Friday that I'm
outtie. It was actually pretty nice because I got to start early on
packing and saying goodbyes, so I'm pretty well done :) I can relax!
Yesterday morning President called and told me I'm going to Red Deer!
I had a feeling that would happen haha don't ask me why. So I'll be in
the Red Deer 1st ward with Elder Cone, a guy I came out with. He was
also in my first district in Southwood, so I know him pretty well.
He's a good missionary and works hard so that's good. We'll see how it
goes! I know a lot of the people down there too so it'll be fun! I
didn't really care where I went as long as I was around other
missionaries, because being alone is as fun as it sounds! Haha so
it'll be fun. Red Deer and Grand Prairie are pretty much their own
missions because you don't hear from anything in the city very often
and you only see the people in your zone. I'm actually way excited I
have a sweet district and we meet every week again! Hallelujah. I'll
miss Elder Nabrotzky though, I've become quite attached to him
regardless of our different personalities. It's almost like watching
your son leave for college, not that I know what that feels like haha.
He'll have a good mission though I'm excited for him!

Speaking of, Elder Merrell, my trainer, goes home on Thursday! It'll
be weird not having him around. He'll probably be married in 3 months
to tell you the truth haha. He left me a bunch of stuff, including his
Magic Bullet, which is nice :)

So this week was sooo much service for members whose basements
flooded. We spent hours at various member's houses helping them rip up
carpet and underlay, vacuum up water, de-junk old soaking boxes, and
we even helped one of the members remodel their basement haha. Busy
week! I love service though, it's a good feeling and a nice change
from the ordinary.

Haha yeah Dad I don't know if I'll get my license banned, but I don't
think I will because the cars aren't registered to me. Plus Canada has
no record that I'm driving! Only the church does. Plus since there's
technically two of us in the car and they have no record of who was
driving at the time of the ticket. I've just been shafted every time
because I'm the only one that can drive haha so it's no secret who was
speeding. Which is also why I always pay the whole thing, because I'm
not going to make someone else pay for a ticket they didn't get. Soooo
yeah. We'll see what happens. Hey I'm not exed though, they decided to
continue to let me drive!

Utah sounds like it was a party! Seven Peaks is my favorite place on
this green earth. At least it was when I was 7 hahaha. I'll go back
when I get home and try it out again, see how it compares. I'm glad
you guys enjoyed your stay!

Isaac's leaving! Tell him I love him and that he'll do great. I'll
talk to him when Canada's mailing system delivers mail to Guatemala in
6 months! Hahaha.

Alright well that's all I have for you in this week's edition. We're
going over to the Sukhu's for lunch and so I can get pictures with
them. We're also driving into Edmonton to pick some things up from
various other missionaries. Barrhead is also driving down to get mail
and say goodbye. Busy day! I'll miss Spruce Grove a lot this is such a
sweet area. Hopefully I'll serve around here again!

Love you guys,

Elder Read

PS I have also included a picture of me on my noble steed! And also of
a buffalo we saw on the way to Barrhead the other day. Cool eh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Traffic laws are SO tiresome

Hello my friends,

This week was super good! And then bad in some other ways.....Let's
start with the bad news first, shall we?

So today we were just starting companionship study, when I got a call
from Elder Eklund, the vehicle coordinator. He told me that I have
another ticket for $ you're probably thinking that it's
ridiculous that I have another ticket, considering this is the third
one on my mission, but might I point out that I didn't have any back
home! Let me try and rationalize my mistake haha and give you my
reasoning. So in this particular instance, I was driving on a road not
much different than 185th ave back home. It's almost all commercial
with parts of residential. So the speed limit is 45 mph on that road
if I remember correctly. At least I think it was. Km/hr has me so
messed up haha. Anyways, so might I be so bold as to say that I
regularly did about 50 mph on that road? 5 mph over the speed limit is
not a big deal, right? Anyways, so for this ticket I was driving and
was doing 78 in a 60 km/hr zone. BUT it's only because I
sub-consciously want to do 50 mph on that style of road, which is
right around the speed I was doing when I got the ticket. So parents,
siblings, members of the jury, I think it is safe to say that I had no
desire to speed, but I only did it because that's what I was used to
back home, and these silly Canadians have weird speed limits. 60 km/hr
is 37 mph.....that's so slow I feel like I'm doing 25! But obviously I
need to watch the speedometer. BUT that may not even be an issue
because this is ticket number 3 and the rumor around the mission is
that you get exed (banned) from driving at 3. But it's not confirmed.
So I'm just waiting on that phone call from President. It would be
unfortunate though because Nabrotzky can't drive, which would mean one
of us gets transferred. Oh well! Anyways, I'm sorry I got the ticket,
I know it's not the best news to get haha. So I'll pay it off and
scrimp and save for the next little while.

Anyways, now that that's off my chest, we can begin! This week was
really good actually. We had a lot of good visits and some good
progress in the area!

La familia de Sukhu is doing super super well. Danielle lost her
Grandma last week, and so it's been a rough couple days for them. I
made them pumpkin cookies (the only other recipe I have ha) and we
stopped by and talked about the Plan of Salvation. She said it helps a
lot knowing for a surety that she'll see her again. Their baptismal
interview was on Friday and they all made it through! They were
extremely nervous going in, but I think they realized there was no
death penalty if they failed haha. So their baptism is set for this
Saturday at 2pm. We've been keeping daily contact, usually just
stopping by at the end of the day and watching a mormon message or
something. They're awesome! Keep them in your prayers. The week before
and after the baptism is always the hectic one. Also, Erika,
Danielle's mom, (the one you talked to, mom), was supposed to fly up
for their baptism. The ward surprised her with a plane ticket a few
weeks ago. But after Erika's mom died they decided to use the ticket
to go to the funeral in Pennsylvania instead. Which is totally
understandable. So no seeing Erika :( Oh well they only live in
Northern California I'll visit them some day.

Haha one of the members in the ward offered Elder Nabrotzky speech
lessons. He has a very prominent lisp and she was a speech therapy
teacher back in the day, so she offered when we were over there last
week. She taught Fifita for a little bit too and he improved a lot, so
it'll be good for Jablonski to get them. We went over on Saturday and
we're going over today after emails too. She's served a million
missions with her husband and it's always nice to go over there and
get missionary advice :)

We're hoping for a new investigator this week! One of the members in
our ward just married a guy named Dan. We ate dinner with him once a
few months ago when they were dating, and he called himself a "wannabe
mormon." Well "wannabe" no more my friend! We're going over on Sunday
to teach him the first lesson. He comes to church every week and takes
notes, and he even took notes during my lesson in Gospel Essentials on
Sunday! I was quite honored :) So yeah we're excited for that!

We've had sooo much rain in the past week. We went from heat stroke to
drowning! It rained non stop all Saturday and Sunday, and all of the
major highways around here were flooding it's crazy. The dry ponds
were all full to the brim and a lot of people had flooding in their
basements. Mostly just the older homes that don't have sump pumps. I
realized why we don't have basements in Oregon! We'd all die.

On Sunday after Sunday School, Brother Flexhaug, the Elders Quorum
President approached us and asked us if we could go and help one of
the members whose basement had flooded. So we drove home and changed,
then went over to the Gander's house and and found them ripping up the
carpet and underlay. We spent a couple of hours doing that and
scraping the glue off from the underlay. They decided to just let the
carpet dry then put it back down with no underlay, in case it happens
again. There were 5 other families whose basements flooded, but they
all had hometeachers that went over. So that was an adventure!

Today we did it all again, and went to the Hamiltons and helped them
clear out their basement and get rid of junk so that it could all dry.
They've lived in the house for 40 years and you can definitely tell
haha they've accumulated a lot of junk. So we helped them all morning
and we're going back tomorrow too. Service is nice though it's a
welcome change from the ordinary.

Transfers are this week and I'm curious to see what happens! I've been
here since February, so I wouldn't be surprised if I left. We'll see
though! I wouldn't mind stay in Spruce another one.

So anyway, that's my week. I'm glad the reunion was a success and that
Jim's doing okay, that looked like a nasty injury! You guys are the

Love you guys,

Elder Read

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm sooooo hot :)

What up what up!

Let me explain my subject by saying that I am dying. It's been in the
30's ALL WEEK! But it's been dry heat for most of it - not that bad.
But the past couple of days it's been super humid for some reason. So
we're walking sweat towels it's pretty nasty. Yesterday it peaked at
36 degrees (97ish for the Americans in the audience). It was so bad!
But to tell you the truth I still sleep really well every night,
because at the Read household, for those of you who don't know, we
chose not to purchase air-conditioning! So sleeping in the heat is no
problem for me :) I guess what I'm trying to say here is that it's
okay that we never had AC at home..... Haha but Elder Jablonski hates
it. He assures me he's used to the humid heat, but he looks like a
zombie all day because he doesn't sleep much at night and because I
really don't think he handles heat very well haha. But he still has
his normal "Go getter" attitude which is much appreciated.

Hey today I'm wearing the slacks from home! I can actually fit into
them again it's beautiful. They're still a little tight but it's
better than a couple of months ago! :) Elder Nabrotzky and I went to
the church yesterday morning for exercise and played basketball it was
sweet. We'll probably switch between that and running in the mornings.

Yeah I made cinnamon ROLLS! Haha I've had so many people call them
cinnamon buns this week it's driving me crazy. I cringe every time I
hear it. Weekly Planning became a little baking party haha. Nabrotkzy
would read me the different parts from PMG and I baked! They turned
out really well actually. Mom I used the actual cinnamon roll recipe
that you gave me and just halved. I had no idea what "3 packages of
yeast" meant haha so we grabbed 3 big boxes of it......luckily we ran
into a member and I asked her about it. She showed us the small little
"packages" :) We almost had enough to make enough for the year! We
took them to the Sukhu's and some other members in the ward they loved
them. It made me realize how much I enjoy baking. I missed it!

By the way Mom.....I've come to understand the importance of keeping a
clean home on my mission. I hate living in clutter and uncleanliness
haha. We deep cleaned yesterday and it felt SO good! I've had too many
companions that have no idea how to clean and it drives me nuts! So
thank you for making us clean and teaching us the value of it. It's a
value I never thought I'd enjoy :)

We took our car in last week and it was worse than I thought haha. The
two back tires were almost completely bald, I don't know why I never
noticed it. The front rim was bent, and the tire had a bulge in it.
Plus the alignment was all messed up, so we left it there overnight
and walked! She's fixed now though and it's like driving a new car
haha it feels so different I love it.

The Sukhu's are doing awesome. We met with them on Saturday and Sunday
and we brought members to both lessons. Saturday we finished the
lessons with the 10 commandments, and they accepted them no problem.
They didn't really have any issues with any of them to begin with.
Sunday was a review day where we went over all the lessons we had
taught, and made sure they understood it all. We also went over the
baptismal interview questions, and they had no problems! The actual
interview is on Friday. They spent last week weaning themselves off of
tea and coffee and they're good to go! They were done by Friday, which
is good because Saturday is when they had to start in order to be
baptized on the 21st. Dad we set it so far away because we can usually
only meet once a week with them and we had to teach them all of the
lessons. Plus we weren't sure what things they'd have to give up. So
yeah they're solid! They're way excited to be baptized, and they love
the church. They have a lot of friends there and they feel super
welcome there. They met with Brother Wright, our WML, and went over
the program for the baptism. They asked me to baptize the three of
them which is pretty humbling. They're gonna be great members of the
church, I'll miss them a lot once I leave.

Haha so Nabrotzky's fender bender a few weeks ago? He found out
yesterday he's most likely done driving on his mission. He was
actually pretty down about it because he only drove by himself for a
month before the mission (hence the accident haha) and he wanted more
experience before he went back home. The church is pretty strict when
it comes to driving. If you get into a preventable accident you're
pretty much automatically done. So that means I'm still
driving....I've been driving forever I forgot what it feels like to be
sitting in the passenger seat haha. I went from no driving to always
driving! Where's the happy medium?

Other than that there isn't much to report. We have a busy day today.
We're exchanging with the Zone Leaders and I'm going into the city. I
haven't stayed in my area for who knows how long! They want to see how
Nabrotzky does when he's in charge. I think he'll do fine though he's
got it down. Leaving the area is like a mini vacation though so no big

You guys are the best! Thanks for all you do and have yourselves a good week!

Love you guys,

Elder Read

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

O Canada!

Heyy family!

This week flew! It's crazy how the days seem to drag on but the weeks
fly by. We had a pretty normal week for once! It was actually a really
weird feeling haha. We had no meetings, no random reasons to drive to
Edmonton, etc. It was sweet!

Okay before I forget, last night it rained like CRAZY! Like you walk
out for 10 seconds and you're drenched! So of course I changed into
short and a t-shirt and ran around! I loved it :) It was like a little
slice of Oregon :) There were some sweet thunder storms too with a
bunch of lightning. I love crazy weather!

Canada Day was pretty low-key. We went to church, and then came home
and napped until dinner. Since it was Sunday we weren't allowed to do
much. Half of our ward is out of town too so we couldn't find any
place to go before dinner. Oh well. After dinner was fun though we
stopped by some members houses and then watched the fireworks on top
of our car in our parking lot at 11pm. We figured we weren't going to
sleep anyways so we may as well enjoy being awake!

Hahaha Dad I laughed so hard at your stories. See it runs in the
family! I'm not as weird as I seem :) Actually I guess I am, I was
just born into the right family :) For the record, the person next
door is a young guy in his 30's I'd guess. So it really is a miracle
he didn't hear me!

Yeah I heard about Skylar's encounter! What a crazy experience! It
makes me glad I'm in the quiet little family-oriented Spruce Grove :)
Glad to hear he's okay though.

Mom it sounds like your birthday was awesome! I celebrated with Elder
Nabrotzky missionary style. We stayed up until 10:31 and everything!
Hey if you would be so kind as to email me that recipe, I would
greatly appreciate it. I have to make them before Saturday's lesson
haha :)

So we met with the Sukhu family on Saturday and it went perfect! Your
guys' prayers are much appreciated! We taught the Word of Wisdom,
which is probably one of the hardest things for people to keep, and
then we also taught the Law of Chastity. They didn't have any problems
with the Law of Chastity, but when we taught the Word of Wisdom they
were really surprised to hear we didn't drink coffee or tea! Haha but
as we talked about it, Danielle said "You know, we've been blessed too
many times by God not to accept His will. If this is what he wants us
to do, then we'll do it." So they committed to give it up! It was an
awesome experience. The bishop came with us, and he's a convert
himself, so it was good to hear his testimony of how it was hard for
him as well, but that it was worth it. However we also met with them
last night, and our member backed out at the last minute, so we went
in solo. Members help so much in lessons, there's such a difference.
Anyways so we taught tithing, and it went alright. They accepted it,
but they definitely weren't very enthusiastic about it. We're meeting
again on Saturday to finish off the lessons, so hopefully that goes
well too! They're doing awesome though and they're still excited about
the 21st! Hopefully the date sticks, because I could be transferred on
the 25th. Whatever happens happens!

Our car is falling apart haha there always seems to be something wrong
with it! This week it's the front headlight and the brakes. So we're
taking it in once again tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes I wish I was in
a walking area. Haha I'll never be satisfied!

Other than that not much else happened. We tracted a lot this week
which was nice actually. I always hate getting started, but once I'm a
few doors in it's not bad. Elder Nabrotzky LOVES it though haha. The
first thing he asks when we plan every night is "Soooo when should we
tract tomorrow?" Haha he's a good missionary with a lot of faith,
he'll have a lot of success on his mission. Sometimes I feel like I'm
the one being trained :)

Glad to hear you guys had a good week! Keep up the good work my friends!

Elder Steven