Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ticket to Ride

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated November 21, 2007.

Dear Family,

This past week has been super awesome, amazing, and great. For some reason it always surprises me what a big difference small changes can make. Granted, coming to this area is a pretty big change. We cover two Samoan Wards that include all of S--- County and even into R---. Yesterday we were teaching three kids and set a date for their baptism. When the lesson was over we went out to the car and ran into two other missionaries from the R--- CA Mission.

Last night we had dinner with a family who lives out in C---. I hate to say it but I'm starting to drive like a Californian. We've got a pretty sweet ride though. It's an 07 Mazda 3 and my companion from New Zealand doesn't have a US license yet so I do all the driving. When I first started driving it was too fast, but after spending at little as an hour a day on the freeways here I don't know what I'd do without it. I've still got 12 months left and if I'm lucky enough, President Sanchez will let me stay here for the rest of it.

The most exciting part of this area is the awesome members. They do some of the best missionary work, and it's not really because they put forth a whole lot more effort into finding and teaching and stuff like that. As a minority they have more sincerity for their brothers and sisters. They always follow up with us about people we are teaching. Every time we talk to the members they ask about the people we are teaching, especially if they were the ones we got the referral from. Both ward mission leaders are fully dedicated and magnify their callings, and investigators come to church. There are so many strong candidates for baptism and we've got 3 with a baptismal date so far. Last week, the number of investigators who came to church was higher than all our other numbers we reported, even the number of lessons we taught.

Sometimes, it doesn't even feel like work. Every other week the wards play volleyball and basketball and get investigators to come. Last week we were even invited to a wedding. There were like a million cakes there and they were given them out to all the top dogs of the family and church, like the bishops and high counselors. They gave one to us too before cutting up the rest and serving it. So, now we have a cake for Elder C---'s birthday that's coming up.

So, everything is going great and nothing could be better. And, you're right mom about not sending me a bunch of stuff for Christmas. I've got more than I need. If you really want to send me a memory card it has to be a Sony Memory Stick Duo for a Sony Cybershot DSC-W55. [National Retailer] sent me an email saying they'll send me another card, so that's all fixed up.

I hope everything is going well at home. Thank you for all your letters and prayers and everything. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Elder Freeman

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Transfer Day

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated November 14, 2007.

Dear Family,

Saturday night we got the transfer call. The mission has issued cell phones and disconnect all apartment phones. My companion, our district leader, was the one to get the call. All I heard was him repeat the names of those being transfered. I had the fealing day prior that I would be leaving. Maybe certain circumstances had warn my patience and made being in that area not quite desirable. Perhaps it was pure intuition, coupled with the grindings of the rumor mill. Whatever it was I was anticipating a move, even after only nine weeks in the same area. And, from what I understand about how the work goes in the states, there weren't very many excuses for moving me so soon from such a prosperous area.

So, we had the transfer meeting yesterday and I found out, after earnestly praying in my heart to not hear my name amongst those banished to places like B----- and V-----, that I would be returning to serve in the two Samoan wards of the mission. The short lived relief was promptly followed by a humbling sense of responsibilty. Not only is this the most coveted area of the mission, on acount of the unlimited miles for the car as the area covers all of S---- County and more, but my companion had to be released as zone leader in order for me to come in. Not to mention the heaviness of the expectation and anticipation of members and others who are very much aware of my history. It has been several weeks since I've carried on a conversation in their native language, and I'm kinda freaked out that I won't be able to deliver what they expect. But, at the same time, I know that if I can learn it once, then I can learn it again.

We just moved in to a new apartment in C-----. My companion was released as Zone Leader and two Spanish Elders were called to fill the positions for the R----- Zone. I'm probably most excited about not having to be on bike anymore. It also justifies my spending all that money on the camera.
Sort of.

[a national retailer] messed up the order and they blame [a national shipping service]. I got an email saying that [NSS] will want to look at the box, but my roomates already used it and threw it away. I got the camera, but ordered a memory card to go with it. When I opened the box only the camera was in it. I figured they shipped the card seprate so I was going to wait for it and send an email to [NR] just in case. The card wasn't a big deal, but it's still money. I can understand if they can't do anything about it without the box, so I may end up just returning the camera and getting another one from somewhere else. But, then again they might screw up my return.
Moral of the Story: Don't buy from [NR] Online.

Thanks for all your prayers, love, and support. I will do everything I can to fulfill my duty and make a difference.

Hoping for a More Light-Hearted Letter Soon,
Elder Freeman with lots of love