First off, thank you so much for all the care packages and mail! They really brighten my day and help me get through the rough times. It's amazing how much an email or letter from one of you can make me feel so uplifted.
Things in Virginia are pretty chill right now. The Confederate flag is a pretty big deal right now. Apparently Danville was the last Confederate capital before they lost the war, so there are a lot of people really passionate about the flag here. On the other hand, there are also a lot of people that don't like the flag at all so people are taking down Confederate flags in Danville and then other people are putting them back up. I heard that there's this really rich guy going around renting out little 5x5 plots of people's land just so he can put a flag pole up with the Confederate flag. It's pretty nuts.
They took our car away last week so we're now in a car share with the sister missionaries, which means we've been biking a ton. It took me until this week to realize how big and hilly Danville is. Not a huge fan of the bikes, but it has brought some interesting experiences.
The other day we were meeting with a less active woman on her porch, and some guy pulled up and asked if we were having a Bible study. I said we were and he asked if he could join and I said of course! Then the dude came over and before he even sat down he was trying to explain that our church wasn't true because our Elder's aren't married. He was using a scripture that I looked at later and saw it was giving the requirements for a Bishop so I'm not really sure what that was about. All he really wanted to do was argue with us, and then he basically told the lady we were talking with that her mom was going to hell because she wasn't baptized. You could tell the guy was just trained to take down Mormons, but really didn't know a thing about our church. He kept saying false things about the church and then we say "we actually don't believe in that" and then he'd say "yes, you do" and I was just thinking to myself, "thank you sir for telling me what I do and don't believe in." I could have sat there and Bible bashed with him, but I could tell no matter what I said he was too caught up in hatred to listen and understand so I just sat there and took it and then told him we loved him and pretty much left. All you can really do in that situation is just show them love.
I've spoken to a ridiculous amount of people here that have suffered from domestic violence. I have heard far too many stories of people's boyfriends getting drunk and beating them. I won't go into detail, but I've heard more detailed stories than I can bare. Alcohol and substance abuse seem to be the worst thing anyone could do to themselves. The sad part is, the people getting abused don't know how to deal with it so they turn to alcohol and smoking and drugs. There's so much filth here, and I can't think of any other way to describe it.
On a brighter note, Orson Scott Card is in my stake!!!! I'll be looking for him at Stake conference.
I really miss ya'll, but your letters and emails and packages really uplift me. Hope ya'll have a fantastic week!