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!

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