Monday, December 26, 2016


Welp, it's been good. I had fun talking with y'all yesterday. Let's see if I can fill ya in on what else happened this  week.

On Wednesday we had a Christmas Conference with a ton of missionaries. I got to see Elder Watson and Elder Everett and Elder Clarke and Elder Andersen and Elder Blanco. Pretty much all my friends except Elder Galvin. They let us watch a new restoration movie the church made that doesn't come out until next year. It was from the perspective of Oliver Cowdrey. Kinda funny how he and David Whitmer ended up leaving the church but never denying their testimony of the Book of Mormon. We also played a giant game of jeopardy which was super fun.

I kinda had trouble explaining what I'm studying in the Book of Mormon. When you receive the Holy Ghost when you're confirmed you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost can be felt in different radiances just like how light has different brightnesses. Just because you've received the gift of the Holy Ghost doesn't mean you have it in full radiance all the time. That doesn't really happen until you're perfect. So what I'm studying and looking for is how you fully receive the Holy Ghost to be able to feel it in greater radiance more often.  Sometimes we feel the Spirit a lot in Sacrament or during prayer, but I'm wondering how you can feel that amount of spiritual light when you're out and about playing sports or driving to work or whatever. Should be fun.

Thank you again for all the Christmas presents! I loved them all of them. And tell grandma lark I laughed opening most of the ones she sent.

I think I've read that talk you sent dad. It sounded pretty familiar, I like that each of the three groups lacked either faith, hope, or charity.

Alright I love y'all here's a ton of pictures.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Howdy fam,

Yesterday was like the best day ever. Brother Cartrette confirmed the priesthood on his son Zemore and then baptized and confirmed Zianna. When I got here six months ago they were less active because the mom had to work on Sundays. Then God blessed them with a job so they could attend church and they started taking the temple prep class and everything fell in line. We were visiting them one or two times a week. They're going to the temple next month to be sealed as a family and I'm so happy!!!! Brother Cartrette suffers from severe nerve damage, so he asked me to get in the font with him because he was worried he'd fall or drop Zianna. Luckily he did just fine and remembered the prayer perfectly. I had to whisper the confirmation in his ear, but we're getting there. He's only been a member three years or so and probably has only had the Melchizedek priesthood for a year or so.

Nancy is getting baptized this Friday!!!!! She told us this week she considers herself a nonsmoker and at church yesterday she was inviting people to come. She's probably been my favorite convert to see progress through conversion. It's crazy how much she's changed lately. I'm pretty sure she suffers from depression, but lately you wouldn't even be able to tell. We were going to have Tony baptize her, he's a recent convert that got baptized in March and just got called as the second councilor in the Sunday School presidency, but it sounds like he has to work so I may end up doing it. Either way it's going to be a white Christmas.

Shirley and the Crouses came to church yesterday. That made me pretty happy. Sounds like the Crouses' grandson Dwayne, who we were teaching for a while, just got a girl pregnant. Bless his heart and Lord have mercy on that child. He's crazy and according to Brother Crouse the gal is clinically insane. There's never a dull moment in that household. Did I ever tell you about Sister Crouses' mother? She's tried to kill Brother Crouse twice and when we were filling out the baptismal record for them we asked Brother Crouse how to spell her name and he said "D-E-.....let's see, oh V-I-L." The funny part was Elder Toki wasn't paying too much attention and he wrote devil on the record. Don't worry, we scratched it out.

We also had Zone Meeting this week and it went super well. We had everyone write things they want to start doing and things they want to stop doing on each side of a paper. At the end they tore it in half and put the bad stuff in a fire. Also President came which made it even more fun!
Okay so I have a ton of pictures for this week I'll send in two emails.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Howdy y'all!

Time is going so fast. Nancy is getting baptized in two weeks!!! She gave up smoking this week and has been doing SOOOO well. I'm super happy for her. We gave her a blessing and she hasn't smoked since. That night she messaged us that her son-in-law smoked in front of her and she didn't even have any desire to smoke. Plus all the Relief Society sisters are swarming around her. There's been a few times they've gone over there without us even asking them to see her. This ward is so perfect.

Millicent is also doing pretty well! She told us she definitely wants to be a member of the church and committed to come every single week so that's looking pre' fly. Now we've got to just figure out the law of chastity details with her.

We also had MLC on Tuesday. It was a pretty good one we counseled a lot about a mission culture document we're doing. Afterwards we went out to sushi and got a $50 sushi boat. I've never had sushi before, turns out it's not too bad. I was pretty surprised when Elder Craig just grabbed a raw piece of tuna and threw it in his mouth. Elder Clarke was there, he goes home after Christmas. That's going to be super weird because that means I'll only have 7 months left when he leaves.

We also had the Ward Christmas party this week! The food was pretty good. Sadly no flaming hot chili.

I went on exchange with Elder Grieve this week too. He was serving as a zone leader and is a district leader here now. It's been really really nice having him as a district leader because all our other district leaders are super young and have only been a district leader for a transfer. We talked about different leadership styles. There's a chart that depicts what motivates you as a leader and has a color for each one. Red, Yellow, Blue, and White. Everyone has a primary and secondary. Turns out we're both Red with Blue. You'll have to look up what all that means because I can't really remember.

That's pretty much all I've got, but here's a bunch of pictures! We went disk golfing today and there's a picture of Dusty at the temple!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Wow, what an amazing week! So this week I went down to Matthews for exchanges with Elder Peterson. It was pretty great, they have a really nice weight set for working out in the morning. It was pretty fun being in Charlotte again. Transfers are in a few weeks and it's likely I'll get transferred, maybe I'll end up in Charlotte again! Charlotte is a lot better of a place for P-Days and shopping I tell ya! Don't worry, the transfer day is after Christmas. As far as the works toilet cleaner, I actually already have some. When I was in Danville I lit one off and about scared the other missionaries living there to death.  

After exchanges with Elder Peterson I went on exchanges with Elder Snyder. Funny guy. We had a good laugh talking about the good ol' days in Providence. And while I was gone Elder Hampshire and Elder Blanco set a baptismal date for Nancy! She gave up cigarettes yesterday and attended the ARP class too! I'm real excited for her and I really think she can do it this time. Please pray for her! Also Millicent came to church too!!! And we found 3 more people to teach this week! One of them is this great guy who's a child of record and wants to be baptized. His wife and kids aren't members either and it sounds like they're coming to church next week.

We've been doing a lot with the Light the World stuff. Mostly just inviting other people to join in. Our Elders Quorum President had us teach the lesson yesterday on service and talk about it. We've got Lisa, the lady at the soup kitchen, doing it too and giving out cards to all her SDA friends.

It's kinda starting to feel like Christmas here. The 70 degree weather at the lakefront today playing beach volleyball kinda didn't but, ya know... We do have a Christmas tree and it's pretty swagger. The only Christmas traditions I can really think of is the whole open one present on Christmas Eve kinda thing and then taking turns opening them all together. That's always fun as a family.  How's Vickie doing? I kinda miss that lady. Tell her I say hi! Also how the heck are the Lakeys!?! Remember that sweet walking stick he gave me? For some reason I'm super excited to use that thing when I get home. You should take a picture and send it to me!

So yeah things are pretty fantastic here! Hope the nutcracker goes well and that Jonas keeps teaching like a champ! Love ya!


Monday, November 28, 2016

I'm glad y'all had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was pretty rad. We had dinner with the Averils. Brother Averil is the High Priest group leader. They're an older couple and they had their niece and nephew-in-law come up from Charlotte. It was a pretty classic Thanksgiving meal, the only difference was they called the stuffing dressing for some reason and it had walnuts in it. Oh and they had something called cranberry relish too. It was pretty tasty.  After that we went to the church because the Sisters asked me to play the piano for their baptism and I had to practice. In the evening we went and saw the Crouses and then came home and planned for the next day. All in all it was quite enjoyable.

We found a few new investigators this week. One of them was a referral from our WML Brother Davis. His neighbor recently had heart surgery and Brother and Sister Davis went over to give him some leftovers from dinner. They got talking about church and Brother Davis asked if he'd like the missionaries to come by. We've got a return appointment with him this week and he sounds pretty interested in reading the Book of Mormon.

We also went back to the family's home from last week. They said they prayed about the Book of Mormon and God told them not to read it. They're pretty solid Southern Baptist. The Bible is all you need and what not. She told me everything we need to know about Jesus was in the Bible and I opened up John 21:25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." And she stills says all we need is the Bible. I don't understand; logically I feel it would make sense that someone would want to know more about Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, we met a former investigator this week who 100% believes in our doctrine. He's literally read everything the church has on and probably knows our handbook better than I do. He has a PHD in religion from Duke. The only reason we was never baptized was because he is a strong supporter of LGBT and participates heavily in protests, something against church policy. It's crazy. He's sooooo smart and knows the scriptures forwards and backwards. He basically said logically our doctrine is the only one that actually makes complete sense. The problem is, he's become intellectually converted and not spiritually converted. It's sad that one little thing is holding him back from all the blessings he could receive.

Also, Millicent doesn't want to live the Word of Wisdom. We should be meeting with her this week, but I'm not sure how much further she'll go. Nancy came to church! And Shirley did too!!!!!! She's finally got a new car, after being gone like a month. I was so excited to see her there!

All right time for me to go to dinner at the Rash's!!!! I love y'all so much and miss you and hope I answered all the things you wanted to know about this week! Thank you for being so supportive of me because I really do love being a missionary.

Elder Earnest

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sup squad?

It's been real good here. Being companions with Elder Hampshire is great and we're getting lots of stuff done. We were able to find 4 new investigators and teach quite a few people as well. One of the new investigators is a couple that was a Bible referral. When we knocked on their door to give them their Bible, their 25 year old autistic son answered and said "we always welcome servants of the Lord. You'll find we're a very spiritual family." Then we sat down and like the first thing they said was "we're trying to quit smoking." Pretty elect. We were able to help them move a dishwasher into their home from the truck and gained a ton of trust and then we shared the restoration. After we got done teaching about the first vision the mom of the family said " I believe it!'", it was pretty great.

Elder Hampshire and I get along really well. We're pretty unified teachers. Plus, he has his fiddle stick too so we play lacrosse every night and for workouts in the morning.

We're also talking with Nancy again. I'm hoping things in her life are set up for her to be able to live the Word of Wisdom this time around. She just needs an environment where there's no stress. It's pretty hard to give up smoking when your Muslim son-in-law and Baptist daughter don't want you to be Mormon and you have to live with them. So pray it goes better this time around!

We taught Millicent the Word of Wisdom this week. She's not having the whole coffee thing. I really want to see her get baptized, but I'm worried she just doesn't have the commitment. She committed to pray about it and if she got an answer, she'd live it. We'll see how this goes.

Well I can't wait to hear how y'all's week went! Miss ya!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sup guys.

Elder Toki goes home tomorrow. Sad day.

Crazy stuff about Trump! Honestly, I don't even understand why everyone is so mad. I mean I think it's pretty cool we don't have some politician as our president. Did he do something that makes everyone mad or what? Also I heard California is trying to leave the union? What's that all about?

This week was pretty good. I was on exchange a lot. Monday night we went finding, hard core. I was committed to find someone, and we did! We met this lady named Kara and her family. They've been looking for a new church to go to and seem pretty promising. Sadly, they didn't come to church. But pray they continue to meet with us because they're a great family!

I went to High Point part of the week and Colfax the other half. I was with Elder Snyder in Colfax. He was my first comp in Providence. That was kinda neat, we pretty much spent most of the time moving people. I'm getting pretty good at moving. Then we got roped into attending a last minute baptism that was terribly unorganized. I ended up having to play the piano for it. Never played "When I am Baptized" before, but I played it perfectly. Talk about gifts of the spirit.

Speaking of past companions, my new companion is going to be Elder Hampshire, my MTC companion. It's pretty hilarious, I've joked about being Zone Leaders with him since we came out, and now it's actually happening. It's weird having a new companion that I already know pretty well. He's the one from Bountiful that plays BYU Lacrosse. We'll get along pretty well.

But yeah this week kinda flew by. I can't believe I was with Elder Toki for 4 months! Crazy. Now I'm ready to start a new chapter in my mission. It's strange how much changes depending on your companion.

I love you all and apologize for the shortness of this letter. It was a quick week.

Monday, November 7, 2016

It's been a fun week. We had MLC on Tuesday and I got to see all my friends. Then I was on exchange with Elder  Beaulieu in Salisbury. We had a pretty great time. Found this guy who had been chatting online with online missionaries. He's really sick with some kind of intestinal failure and was going to have surgery the next day. We just happened to feel prompted to go see him the night before during planning and we showed up just in time. He and his wife let us teach them the plan of salvation and I think it struck a chord with them. They want to have the missionaries back this week after he's out of the hospital. Sadly I'm not in Salisbury, but hopefully he and his whole family get baptized!

Then we had Zone Conference in Winston. It was a combo of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Zones. President asked me to conduct the meeting, which was a really neat experience. I'm learning so much about how the church is run! I also saw Elder Watson and Elder Everett. They're companions now in Gilford and I'm so jealous of them! My two favorite missionaries are companions in downtown Greensboro with like 7 college campuses. I guess they're both going to BYU now and want me to room with them. Might be pretty fun, but they get home next November and won't start 'til winter time or so. That being said, Elder Watson and I are for sure backpacking Ireland that spring. It was pretty funny, Elder Everett was reading a scripture during President's talk and President called him Elder Earnest in front of everyone. We got that a lot when we were companions in Danville.

I also went on exchanges with Elder Blanco this week! That was super fun. He and I have pretty similar interests and tastes in literature and music so there was lots to talk about. He really likes the book 'A Thousand Years of Solitude' (I think you read that dad, right?). It's by a Columbian author and he's from Bogata so go figure. He'll be at BYU the same time I will and his only other close family that's not in South America lives in North Bend on the coast so I told him he could ride with me back to Oregon during the holidays. Hope you don't mind!

Today we went to hang out with some members in Salisbury. They have a manmade lake with a lake front and volleyball pit. It was super fun! Elder Toki goes home next week so he really likes spending time with the other missionaries. Now I'm just predicting who will come replace him. Hopefully it's not some goober....

The Crouses were confirmed yesterday! That was a great day. Millicent has been at the hospital all week with her close friend that's having heart problems so we weren't able to see her this week. Sounds like she still wants to be baptized so hopefully we'll be able to buckle down and teach her everything. We REALLY need to find some new people to teach this week. Our teaching pool is getting baptized and dropped faster than we can resupply it. Pray for us!!!!!

But that was pretty much it! Just a lot of stuff in a small about of time. I've never been so mentally tired in my life. It's so great. I'm having a blast! Sure love y'all!!!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hey y'all

It's been another packed week! The baptism last night went really well. I was a little worried about pulling Sister Crouse back out of the water; she's a pretty big lady. I managed okay though. Elder Toki baptized Brother Crouse. He broke his leg a month or two ago (and is convinced he's healed so fast because of the priesthood blessings we gave him) so his leg is pretty stiff. The first time he went down his leg popped up and the second time too. So they had him get on his knees and elder Toki dipped him face first down and back up. Since it was right after church there was a good amount of people there to welcome them to the Ward. Now Brother Crouse really wants to the priesthood. Hopefully we'll see them in the temple a year from now.

Yes, Halloween is today here as well. We're supposed to either be at appointments or at members homes or inside this evening. I think we're going to see the Crouses and then head in. For zone activity we planned a costume party. About a month ago we announced it to everyone, and then last week President (not knowing anything about our party we planned) sent out an email regarding Halloween and the things he wants us to do and not do. One of those things was not wearing costumes for Halloween. So we had to quickly replan and now we're going to play Quidditch. Not sure how that all works, but Elder Toki's played it before and he says it's pretty fun. I'll be sure to send pictures.

On Saturday our ward had our trunk or treat and chili cook off.  As usual the missionaries were the judges. I don't even like chili. Sister Berry really had to convince me to sit down and try 28 different kinds of chili. So we're going through trying the different types (white, mild, and hot) and Elder Toki tries hot #6 brought by less active Tracy Sidden. His face instantly turns red and his eyes start tearing up. He grabs his gallon jug of water (we've doing the gallon of water a day challenge) and starts chugging. The water makes it way worse. So he gets up and runs for the kitchen, opens up the cotton pickin' refrigerator and grabs the first thing he sees: a little milk carton. He shakes it up and pops it open and milk starts spraying out likes it's carbonated soda. All over the floor and and his arms. He settles that down and takes a good swig and then proceeds to run outside and spit all the milk out. He's heaved over, half throwing up because the milk was four weeks expired. Funniest thing of my life.

Exchanges got moved to this week with Elder Blanco so stay tuned. So now I've got another very busy week to look forwards too. Hopefully we'll be blessed with some new investigators, we really need some. Oh yeah, we taught Millicent the law of chastity this week! She's gay, so that was a hard one to prepare for, but we got in there and taught it clearly and she's willing to live it! She was super intrigued by the Church's stance on same sex attraction. We watched a lot of the videos from the Mormons' and gays website to get ready for it. Really interesting page, check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

Welp, pray for me, I need it! I'm scared this packed schedule is going to render me a lunatic by the end of next transfer. Peace out homies.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hey y'all!

Honestly I can't really remember much of last week. It went pre' fast. But I'll do my best to access my excess random memories.

On Tuesday I went on exchange to Kernersville with Elder Zesiger. He's been out two transfers now and is a really solid missionary. It wasn't the most eventful exchange; we pretty much just knocked doors the whole time and talked. We did have dinner with a super nice family though! It was pretty funny, as we were walking up to the house I mentioned to Elder Z "I hope they didn't make fish...I'm sorta allergic." Then we walked in the door and the first thing the guy said was "hope y'all like fish!" Luckily it wasn't salmon. He'd made fish tacos with tilapia, and they turned out pretty good.

Wednesday was nothing but meetings. First we had district meeting - we attended the High Point district's. Their district leader was just called so we came to see how he was doing and he was super solid. Right after that we got lunch and went to a meeting with Brother Dedios. He's in our ward, but serves on the high council and just got called to be the High Councilmen over missionary work. I was a little bummed because I REALLY wanted him to be called as our new WML, but I guess he needs to use his amazing missionary/ Ward council knowledge to influence the whole stake. Anyways, the meeting was all about this 'three month rolling goals and key indicator program' our mission president is having us roll out to our whole mission. I can't remember if I told y'all about it already, but basically it involves the Ward council setting monthly goals with the missionaries regarding three key indicators. In our mission right now the only 'numbers' that really matter and that we report are New Investigators, Sacrament Attendance, and Baptisms/Confirmations. The three month rolling goals has us set goals, with specific names to back the numbers, with the Ward council for the current month and the upcoming two. Honestly it's completely genius, and has sky rocketed our baptisms in Welcome ward. So far this ward has had 16 convert baptisms in 2016 with another two being baptized this week. If y'all are looking for ways to improve ward councils and increase missionary work (particularly member missionary work) in the stake you should really take a look at this thing dad. President Alexander came up with it with the help of Elders Zwick and Kepishka of the 70, but really it's nothing too different than what the handbook and Preach My Gospel says about Ward councils. It's just organized a certain way.  So anyways, we're trying to get the whole stake (zone) in on it. We've got a meeting next week with the stake president to report on how it's going. He's totally gun ho for it, we've just got to win the trust of the other WMLs and Bishops. After that huge, but very productive, meeting it was time for coordination and dinner at brother Davis's, our current WML. The Davis's have us over for dinner each week and then we have coordination. It's a pretty good deal.

But yeah it's been pretty fun being so involved in Stake leadership. I feel like I really have a good idea of how the church is run now and I've learned so much about what makes a successful Ward council lately. Our mission president is really emphasizing the importance of Ward council and supporting our Bishops. Hopefully I'll be able to soak it all in and remember all this good stuff for any callings I have later in life.

The Lexington BBQ festival and the High Point Furniture Market were this week. Lexington is the BBQ capital of the world and High Point is the furniture capital of the world. Go figure. Elder Toki and I went down to the BBQ festival Saturday evening to get some dinner. Obviously we were thinking about getting some BBQ at the BBQ festival in the BBQ capital of the world. No BBQ. Not a single BBQ stand. Nothing. There were funnel cakes and kettle corn and hot dogs, but no BBQ. I was so mad!

Millicent and the Crouses came to church yesterday! The Crouses are getting baptized this upcoming Sunday and they've ask us to baptize them. I'm hoping we can pawn it off to someone that lives in the Ward. That's always better for retention.

Welp, that's about as much as I can remember. I think I'm going on exchange with Elder Blanco this week so get ready for some deep doctrine in my next email.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Wow, long week.

So Tuesday we went to Charlotte for MLC. The meeting was about a few different things: baptism dates, a new church tour app, mission coordinations, etc. They had Cafe Rio pork for lunch so that was nice. We rode down there with the Winston and Greensboro Zone Leaders. Elder Clarke is in Greensboro so I got to talk to him for a bit. One of the Elders forgot his suit coat so we had to make a slight detour into Concord so he could borrow another Elder's jacket.

Then on Wednesday we put Millicent on baptismal date for the 12th of November. She didn't come to church yesterday, but I'm still hoping she can make her date. Brother Crouse's flu shot over reacted and he got super sick so he wasn't able to come either.

Thursday we were back up in Winston Salem for more service at the Orphanage. We mostly worked on the farm there, getting their pumpkin patch all set up. Elder Beaulieu hung out with me for a lot of it. We had Zone Meeting the next day, which requires a lot of preparation and planning beforehand. The meeting was all about finding, inviting, and baptizing. Then we made cookies at the end.

Saturday a recent convert named Colleen put on a Cottage Meeting for us. It was basically a get together for Ward council members and less actives and recent converts and investigators. She had about 25 people show up and it was a great event. Colleen is wheelchair bound, so a lot of the setting up for the meeting fell on us. She thought there were going to be around 45 people there, which was a lot to set up for.

And yesterday in Ward council our bishop informed everyone of another trial in a long list of trials one of our less active families is going through. This family moved here a few months ago and has really been put through the refiner's fire. They got super ripped off on the house they got. First there were fleas, then flooding in the basement, then mold in the air vents, then leaking in the roof, then rodents, then the heating system wasn't working and on and on. To cap it all off, he lost his job. So, yesterday in ward council we found out some kind of animal has crawled up under the house and died and the whole house smells. Apparently the builders, along with a lot of other things they did wrong, didn't properly seal up the access point to the crawl space under the home. The family thought it was one of the local starving neighborhood cats. Anyways, the crawl space is only about 14 inches tall and the man is too large to crawl back there to get the dead animal out. Long story short, I, being the only one small enough, volunteer to crawl back there and get it for him.

**WARNING: Graphic and really disgusting story to follow...**

So we showed up and he's cut the porch up a bit to make it easy to get to the crawl space. The stench is strongest in the bathroom so he's pretty sure it's in that general area. He had a big tyvec suit, and mask, and some gloves for me to use. I got all suited up and crawled back there with a flashlight. The closer I got to the bathroom the stronger the smell got; it was bad. Well, turns out there's a barrier blocking me off from that portion of the house, but there are air ducts running through the barrier that have been pretty torn up by something. There wasn't an access point to the crawl space past the barrier so the next thing we tried was going through the floor down there. The flooring wasn't completely finished and part of it was still plywood so he got his saw and cut a square out. Btw, this thing had been dead in there since Thursday and the kids had to pretty much spend the whole day outside because it was making them sick. Anyways, the plywood came up to reveal insulation, and under that was solid concrete. There isn't even a crawl space under that portion of the home. That was really disappointing. This man's wife was at her breaking point, as you can image, so we REALLY wanted to find that dead animal.

Our next guess was that it could be in the air ducts that run under that portion of the home. I couldn't fit down those, so we got my camera, selfie stick, flashlight, and duct tape and a long wooden pole to look back in there and see what we could find. That took about an hour or so to figure out. The big long pole wasn't easy to maneuver under there and the footage kept coming back bad. Finally we came to the conclusion the dead animal wasn't in there, but we felt pretty positive it had to be near the duct line because we could smell it in the air vents. So we took one last shot and cut a hole in the bathroom right along where the air vent ran. When we pulled up the plywood the stench hit us really hard so we knew we were close. Under the boards were a bunch of leaves and plastic bags and torn up insulation - it was a nest of some kind. As I pulled the nest material out and into a trash bag we discovered four or five baby possum carcasses. Nasty. The thing was the carcasses had been dead for a long time, and what we were smelling had to be fresh. So we peeked around a bit with the flashlight and figured whatever was dead, had to be close. We cut back a bit further in the ply wood, up along the shower. I was pretty scared it was going to be under the shower, that would have been really hard to get to. Elder Toki was squatting down with the flashlight and spotted something furry. I got down low to the floor and saw what was causing the stench: a big o'l dead possum. That sucker was fat and fresh and rancid. Dang Gina, I about threw up. It was too far back for me to reach, so I used a crow bar to pull it closer to the opening we'd made. Elder Toki got a five gallon bucket while I debated how to pick it up. The less active had a full on gas mask on and I had a paper mask on and Elder Toki had his suit pants on. So I just went for it and ended up pulling up a chunk of fur and possibly skin. I really didn't want to grab that thing, but I was the only one with gloves on so I ended up just wrapping my hand around the back end of it and lifting it up by what felt like a spinal chord. When I removed that thing from the concrete all hell broke loose. The scent was amplified 10 fold and maggots came crawling out everywhere. I picked up a freakin dead possum! Even with the mask I was gagging and coughing. It was a struggle to put it into the bucket without throwing up. I plopped it in the bucket and Elder Toki, who was holding the bucket and not wearing any form of mask, got a really nice whiff of it. He dropped the bucket and started coughing and gagging and his eyes got all watery. Then he ran out of the bathroom to get some air outside to breathe. He told me afterwards that as I dropped it in, it broke in half and the smell of the guts and maggots went right into his face. It sounds terrible, but all in all it was actually pretty fun. It was a huge burden lifted for the man and his family, too. So after this whole ordeal we get in our car to go home. We'd showed up sometime around 6:30 thinking it'd take less than an hour. It's 11:30. Curfew is 9:30 and lights out is 10:30. I was like, oh crap. We'd completely lost track of time. The office staff called this morning wondering why our cars tiwi was going off at 11 last night, but we explained the whole thing and our mission vehicle coordinator was like, well at least now you have a skill to pay your way through college! Yeah, no thanks....

So that was my week!

Love ya!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hey Y'all,

It's been a wonderful week! The Crouses came to church yesterday and enjoyed it! They're an older couple that haven't been to church in A LONG time. Like so long, their paper records were never transferred over to the computer and they need to get baptized again. Sister Crouse gave up coffee this week too. She gave us her coffee maker and I took it home. I was on exchanges with Elder Beaulieu so I wanted to save the coffee maker to show Elder Toki because we were pretty pumped. When I got up the next morning I found a cockroach on my desk. After a B-line sprint to the toilet paper I examined the scene. I was pretty confused because I haven't seen any roaches in this apartment. Then I realized they were all coming from the coffee maker. Dang it. So now I'm finding an occasional cockroach here and there, pretty lame. But at least she gave up coffee!

As I mentioned, I went on exchange with Elder Beaulieu. He's 4 and a half feet tall and is a really funny guy. His family goes to 'little people' conventions and he says they're crazy.

Nancy is slowly slipping off the boat. She still wants to come to church every week, but she doesn't want to live the word of wisdom. Hopefully time will work on her and she'll be baptized eventually. I found out someone I worked with in Providence for a long time got baptized this week! His name is Ryan and he was ten, mom's a member stepdad isn't. Hopefully the dad will get baptized soon!

We also have this great new investigator named Millicent here in Lexington. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and loves it! I'm really excited for her to come to church next week.

Oh I got the card you sent! I lost our mail key last week and didn't find it till this week so I'm not sure if it got there on Friday, but I really appreciated it and the card made me laugh. We enjoyed some tasty Chinese this afternoon.

Tomorrow I'm going down to Charlotte, I'll get to see Elder Galvin and Elder Blanco. Elder Blanco wants me to room with him at BYU with Elder Brown, that could be fun. Guess what I found out this week? I only have 9 months left on my mission!!!!! Isn't that crazy? I kinda stopped keeping track after I hit 6 months..

Elder Earnest

Salisbury district missionaries: