Well it snowed again last night, so the world is once again a winter wonderland. At least for the next day or so before it all probably melts. Welcome to Anchorage. This week was suitably crazy like the rest of them, but it was way too clogged with meetings for my liking.
Tuesday we were preparing for our missionary leadership council (MLC) training. We spent probably three hours that day working on trainings, writing, and rewriting at least three different ideas. Then the APs called us and told us that we didn't have to give a training because we were going to goto the temple instead. Elder Shurtz actually leapt for joy ND then teared up because he didn't have to give a training. He is so done being a zone leader it's hilarious.
Wednesday we went on our MLC temple trip and it was amazing. Then MLC was incredibly long and I had to fight hard to not fall asleep. It was a very powerful meeting, I just have difficulty sitting for 7 and a half hours in a row. After MLC we went to Tome Kilionas for dinner. He's a big, crazy Samoan recent convert and he's super funny. Samoans know how to feed you man. I'm still full from that meal. Then that night we went OYMing and no one was outside until it was almost time to go in, at which point we got twelve oyms. It was crazy.
Thursday and Friday we had zone meeting and exchanges. But now I'm out of time for emailing which is rough cause there were fun stories to tell. But they will wait for next week. I love you guys, have a great week. That's my plan anyways. Peace,
Love, Elder John Miller MLC-Mission Leadership Conferenc OYM-Open Your Mouth
That's Samoan for hello. I think. Anyways, this week was nuts, which at this point I think is normal. But now that I don't seem to ever have time to write my group email I will try and update you as quickly as possible.
The homeless people here are awesome. We work a lot with them and they're the coolest people I've ever met. People give us clothes and boots all the time to hand out to them, so we help the people out as much as possible. No one cares what you know until they know that you care, ya know? So we show them we care and talk with them about Jesus. They have more faith than most of the other people we meet. They have a complicated social structure too. They group in families and then the families have chiefs. It's really hard to keep track of. They talk to us about the body snatchers all the time too, which freaked me out because I thought a body snatcher was someone who kidnapped and murdered people. But it turns out there's people that pick up homeless people and take them to shelters. There's also a murderer targeting homeless people in our area, right around the times we walk around town. Good times.
Wednesday night he fire alarm in our building went off right as I laid my head down. It scared us super bad and Elder Shurtz fell off the top bunk of the bunk bed. We put some pajamas on and got out of the building in less than two minutes. Not a single other person in the building left. If it had been an actual fire, they'd be dead. But it wasn't. Us two fat guys have the best response time though.
Then Saturday night we went in to our apartment and it was locked. That's weird because we never lock our apartment. We tried our keys, our shoulders, and a foot, and nothing would open the door. So we figured it was locked from the inside. We called our president, his wife, and the APs and got no response. So we called the first councilor in the mission presidency and got permission to call the cops because we figured someone was in our apartment. After going through the ridiculously long APD phone tree, four officers showed up at our apartment. We took them up to the door and they couldn't get it open. So then we called for permission to bust down the door. Then the door mysteriously swung open. It scared us all. The cops drew their pistols and stormed the apartment. It was awesome. Turns out we just had a stuck door jam. Stories man.
Hey gang sorry this is so late. It's not going to be much tonight. We've been running around all day. So the Inlet View area covers all of downtown and midtown Anchorage which has 90% of the homeless population of the city. We do a lot of work with the homeless and poor, and it's the best. The work is great here, we have an investigator who is getting baptized in March and the ward is on top of their missionary efforts. It's an awesome place. Everyone who serves here develops some kid of disease or disorder, so I'm excited to see what I get. Sorry this email is so short, I'll do better next week. Love you guys.
So this week has been pretty awesome. The biggest news that I have is that I will yet again be moving. I'm heading back up to Anchorage, this time on the north side, to serve in the Inlet View ward. Inlet View covers downtown Anchorage and is one of the fastest moving wards in the mission. I'm super excited to serve there. This will be my fourth area, and Elder Schurtz will be my 9th companion. Exciting times.
I general, this has been a great week. It's nice when you leave on a great week. Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with Annette and we talked about about a lot of things, but at the end we invited her to be baptized on November 12th, and she accepted. Too bad I won't be here. On Thursday we met with our homie dog Robin and invited him to be baptized as well. Why is it that areas always start pumping out the work when I leave them? It's rough.
We had some other crazy experiences this week. One of the big ones is that it's snowing right now. It started up last night and it hasn't stopped much since then. I don't think it will last too long, it's supposed to warm up again later in the week, but winter is on us now. I love the winter. It's getting dark now too. I'm kind of sad that I don't get to go back to Fairbanks for the winter, but Anchorage in the winter is fun too. Lots of ice.
We were able to teach several people this week, and I got to say goodbye to a lot of people once I learned I'm leaving. I love this ward, they're such weirdos and it's the best. This is definitely one of the places I'm going to come back and visit. Also, if anyone wants a job working on a fishing boat next summer I can try and hook you up.
Next time I email you I'll be in Anchorage. Have a good week everybody!
This week has been crazy. The biggest news is that I now have a second companion and am in a trio down here in Homer. Elder Allen, the new guy, is awesome. He's been on his mission for 21 months, so he's pretty trunky. But he's a really good missionary, so that's nice.
We picked him up on Tuesday afternoon and went to a super scary lesson, that we thought was going to be a brutal Bible bash (look at that alliteration) but Elder Allen went in, totally diffused this guy, answered some questions, and we turned it from a hostile situation into a Gospel discussion where the Spirit could actually be present. It was sweet. After that we went to a less active who we told to come to church. It was a bold day and a pretty bold week. Now we have a new investigator and a returning less active. That's what's up.
Wednesday we got our investigator George to actually progress which was super cool. The power of the trio is real. Thursday we had our last trainer trainee meeting, and again PVC was completely useless. Good times at meetings with your mission president. Then we went and did a lot of wood stacking. I love splitting wood, but stacking wood is the bane of my existence. I love service though, so it was all good, I only got a little cranky.
Friday we had zone meeting and then I went with Elder McKraken on exchange in Sterling. It was one of the better exchanges I've ever had. We went to this party for a few returned missionaries as a finding activity, and we actually found people. It was super cool. A guy named Warren came up to us and asked for a Book of Mormon, and after giving it to him and explaining what it was we invited him to church, which he came to a few days later. It was awesome. Good exchange.
Saturday, after exchanging back, we did another service project and taught another lesson. Then on Sunday two investigators came to church and we helped Bruce to start progressing too. So this week was pretty dang awesome.
Transfer calls are this Friday so we will see what will be happening for the next six weeks. I'll let you know on Monday. Peace out y'all!
This week was another good and spiritually uplifting one up here in Alaska. There were no super crazy adventures thus week, but it was just a really good one. It's nice when that happens. We did get a call from President who informed us we are going to get a third missionary in our companionship. So we'll be in a trio for the rest of the transfer, which ends in two weeks. I've never been in a trio before, so it should be a lot of fun.
We taught a bunch of lessons during the week, but then on the weekend people went on vacation again and no one was home. However this weekend was general conference, which is the best as a missionary for several reasons. 1. It pretty much file the whole day so you don't have to stress about planning. 2. You wear a suit so you're considerably less likely to fall asleep. 3. The messages have so much more meaning as you try to apply them not only to yourself but to all the people you work with. 4. Listening to the Prophet and Apostles speak is lthe most inspiring thing to do because it fills you with so much hope. After conference you always feel unstoppable as a missionary. What makes me sad is that I only have one more left on my mission.
And that was pretty much the week. Not too much to report, but it was a powerful one. Life is made in moments like that. Peace out.
You know that scene in that one episode of "The Angry Beavers" where Daggett is jumping on the couch and jumps into the light on the ceiling, gets electrocuted, and then falls on the floor and says "That was nuts!"? That was pretty much my week. Sometimes I feel like my life is an episode of Angry Beavers. That's Alaska for you.
Tuesday wasn't the greatest. Nobody was home. And I mean that literally. Lots of doors, no people. Sad day.
Then Wednesday the party started. We helped Gwen (the witch lady) with some service and taught her a lesson about the importance of the Book of Mormon, which she has been reading. She is going on vacation for a little while now, so hopefully she reads it on her ferry ride to Bellingham. Then we stopped by a few more people and ended up running late to dinner, which was out all the way in Ninilchik, about 35-40 minutes away. So naturally we were speeding. While going 76 in a 55 we got flashed by a trooper as we crested a hill and got railed. He pulled us over (Elder Freestone is the designated driver) and gave us a ticket. Our ticket would have been $300, but because he was an awesome trooper he dropped it to $50. Then after dinner and a lesson with the bush people Jim and Leanna and there menagerie of goats we got pulled over again on the way home! Elder Freestone didn't see the speed limit sign and we got caught at 15 over the speed limit. He gave us the flashlight treatment and everything. He also dropped our ticket from $175 to $82, so I'm not about to complain. But I get to pay half the speeding tickets because that's how the mission rules work, but other than that it was hilarious. Elder Freestone was getting lit up. He was a cranky monster after that. He's the funniest guy in the world.
Friday the adventures continued. After a good day of working we got home and planned. Our bathroom had been seriously neglected in the cleaning process of our apartment, so I decided that I would clean the bathroom. We had some The Works which I used to clean the toilet and I got the sink with some scrubbing bubbles. Then Elder Freestone came in to help me with the shower. So I poured in a bunch of the works and started scrubbing, and to make it better he added some scrubbing bubbles and a good amount of bleach cleaner. Now, it says on the Works bottle in big letters DO NOT MIX WITH BLEACH, but we weren't in to reading things and we weren't paying attention. After about five seconds of scrubbing I noticed a horrible, noxious smell coming out of the tub so I went and turned on all the fans and opened the windows. We turned on the shower to rinse it out, but within five minutes our entire apartment was filled with chlorine gas. Turns out when you mix the Works with bleach it creates a chemical reaction that releases copious amounts of chlorine gas, which will kill you in high enough amounts, in to the air. After getting permission from our authorities we got out of the apartment and went and slept at a members house for the night. The Kirkpatricks were chill and let us crash on the couch.
Then in the morning we ate lots of French toast. French toast is the best. After we did studies at their house, Hyram, the 17 year old son, asked if he could go with us for the day. So we took him with us all day long. It was pretty awesome. We ended up having a good day with a couple appointments and then we took him tracting and taught a lesson while tracting. It was a really good testimony building experience for him and for me. It's cool to watch the Gospel change a majorly insecure and slightly depressed young man to somebody who is happy. That's the purpose of the whole thing I suppose. Hyram has been debating whether to serve a mission or not, but I think he'll go. He wants to do it, so it will be fun to see what happens.
Sunday was also really good. After an interesting testimony meeting at church we again took Hyram out teaching with us. We talked with Billy about getting a new baptismal date, but she isn't ready yet because she won't be able to make it to church enough to have a close baptismal date. Then we talked with Bruce who has started reading the Book of Mormon again and is asking lots of questions and we actually get to teach him things. He likes it a lot, he's just not a fan of religion in general because he's seen to many hypocrites in his day. He also told us that Seattle stomped San Francisco at football, which always makes it a good day. After trying a few more people I ate the best fish tacos of my life, then went and made cinnamon rolls. They were so good I ate three of them this morning for breakfast. And yet I wonder why I have trouble losing weight.
That's pretty much been the week. It was a crazy one, but every week is pretty crazy when you're teaching the Gospel. If it wasn't nuts they wouldn't call it the best two years I guess. Hope you all have a great week this week, try not to gas yourselves like we did. But it gets you a free sleepover, so it's not all bad.