This week has been really great, with a couple unusual twists and turns! On Monday we had a couple hours to email, wash our clothes, and go shopping. It was not actually our P-Day because of Christmas. Unfortunately on Monday we needed to wash ALL of our clothes because of the bed bugs, so not a lot was accomplished. In the evening, however, we were able to attend our new member’s choir concert at Christ Our Light Catholic Church in Zimmerman. It was fun to get together with her family, and to see her performing a couple fun Christmas songs.
On Tuesday we had a bunch of accountability calls to make, and then the bed bug exterminator came over to our apartment. They tore apart our bedroom and sprayed our mattresses, then they sprayed our furniture and our carpet. They found quite a few bugs on our mattresses, and even found some of my companion’s blood on his mattress. Nasty! We then purchased special bed bug mattress covers to seal any additional bugs in to kill them out. Apparently bed bugs can go 18 months without eating, so it is a fun process. They are going to do 2 additional treatments 2 weeks apart. Hopefully the problem has been resolved!
On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we had District Meeting. For District Meeting we had a gift exchange, so that was super fun :) I had a couple people in our District give 5 a minute training on goal setting, planning, and execution. We talked about Nephi and how he was a goal setter and a go-getter. It worked out really nicely. Lets be real, it is a miracle in and of itself that District Meeting even happened with all of our bed bug craziness! We spent Christmas Eve with a family in the ward. They had family over for dinner, and we played a few games and opened a few presents. The mom works with glass, and so she made us both a glass sun catcher. They have cute little penguins sitting on an ice cube at the bottom. Kind of fun!
On Thursday, Christmas, we spent the day with another family in the ward. We opened presents with them in the morning, then went over to the other their relatives later in the day for Christmas dinner and a gift exchange. It was super fun :) On Christmas we also got to Skype home, which is always eventful! It is weird to see that people are growing and going on with their lives while I am here on my mission. I don't know why I thought life back home would pause, but it certainly isn't. Craziness! In the evening we visited with the family who is getting baptized tomorrow. We tried on jump suits, answered some last minute questions, and practiced the baptismal ordinance. They certainly had a crazy week!
On Friday, Boxing Day, we were scrambling in the morning to get everything ready for the wedding. The ward really came together and tried to get everything to turn out. With the ward helping, however, you run into a couple awkward situations. A member made all of the flower arrangements, and some of them were just plain ugly. The bouquet in particular. So a member sent us to Walmart to buy a bouquet in the wedding isle, and my project was to combine both bouquets and try to make something that looked good. It took a couple tries, but at last it all worked out! The whole day was awesome really :) A few extended family members were really late, so the day was pushed back a little, but at least everything happened! Their wedding was awesome! Definitely the highlight of the day. I love weddings :) After the wedding they had their wedding reception. The maid-of-honor (their daughter) gave a really touching speech during the reception. She talked about her Mom first and how they are best friends, and how she has been amazed at all the things she has overcome in her life. Then she talked about her step-dad, and what an amazing Dad he has been to her. None of the wife’s children are his, yet he has taken them all in as his own. She talked about how he has been more of a father to her than her real Dad. Then she made everyone cry. She talked about how she has always been looking for someone like him in her life. She talked about all the times that they had Daddy Daughter Dances and Daddy Daughter Dates in school, and she would always just have to stay home. She talked about what an amazing father he has been to them already, and that she was proud to call him Dad. It was a super cool moment! Then they took a bunch of wedding pictures, which turned out really nicely. SO MANY PICTURES! When I get married, if I get married that is, I will definitely be taking pictures on a different day than my actual wedding. Of course you have to take pictures on your wedding, but I am sure I can arrange for some of it to be done in advance. Plus, when you are getting married, you are the boss. It can totally happen! Then came their baptism. We all changed into our jumpsuits and white clothes, and everything worked out really nicely. There were too many people to fit in the Relief Society room, so the baptism was moved to the Chapel. There was an awesome turn out! I had the amazing privilege to baptize two of the daughters. It was a really cool experience! I feel like they have become part of my family. It's weird, but I like it. I love that family SO much! To finish off the evening, we had a lesson with our part-member family on obedience and scripture study. It went pretty well. We watched a few Mormon Messages, and had a really great discussion. It was an exhausting, but definitely a very rewarding day!
On Saturday we did some Weekly Planning in the morning, and then went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with a recent-convert on the Plan of Salvation. We watched a Mormon Message with her on the Plan of Salvation that puts it into the perspective of a 3 Act Play. It was super good! In the evening we went over to the some investigator’s, but they were sick so we set up another appointment. Afterwards we went over and visited with a part member family. A few weeks ago, her son took off though and has been living with some of his friends. We actually saw him at Walmart this week, but didn't realize that he still had not gone home. I don't know why you would take off during the holidays, but hopefully he will come back soon. We talked with them a little bit about Prophets and the Book of Mormon. It was all started by a discussion they were having on how crazy things are going in the world right now. It was a pretty good day :)
On Sunday we had our new member family Confirmation in Church. Last minute they asked me to confirm one of the sons. He’s is my buddy, so I totally agreed! It was super cool to see a family coming together in making and keeping covenants. They are amazing! After Church we went and visited with an investigator. We shared a message with him from the Ensign called "Fill The World With God's Love." Super good message. He talked with us about some family drama, and then he talked to us about how much he appreciates us coming over. He told us that he has no one to talk to. No one ever comes over to see him. His family has been falling apart since his parents died. For a while he didn't even talk to anyone! He is doing a lot better now though, and it is hard to even get a word in. Funny how that works! He is super good man though, I am grateful for the opportunity that we have had to meet with him. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with the new member family on obedience and scripture study. They were pretty exhausted with all the weeks events, but it worked out nicely. They are going to accomplish some really cool things in the future, I know it!
Today is not actually our P-Day either. Our P-Day will be on New Year's Day. Kind of fun how it all works out :) I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! Thank you all for your love and support. Talk to you soon!
Elder Kyle William Andrews