Dear family and everyone else,
Gosh I have much to say this week. So many things have happened all at once. First thing, Elder Shepherd is from North Carolina, he is 6 feet 4 inches, was a high school swimmer-- interestingly enough. He also worked at a scout camp, and was the manager in 4 different area's including store supplies, communications, medical, and life guard duty. He is super on the ball on things. He used to have blue eyes, but they have faded into a grayish color. He is super obsessed with Captain America, Nerf guns, and Magic. There are a few magic people in this mission. It can be addicting. I just won't go there. I'm not interested in those kind of card games. Just Uno I think. He also has 3 kinds of Monopoly games, and a travel size of Settler's of Catan; however, he said that there are a few missing pieces. Oh well. We will figure it out someday when we have more time in the next few preparation day's. He told me of a really funny but scary story of some kids lighting a fire cracker into the outhouse, which hadn't been cleaned out for 20 years. It was full of explosive methane gas and leveled the entire area in a mushroom cloud. Nobody was hurt, but he capture 2 boys that he knew did it and brought them to custody until their parents arrived and surveyed the situation. Their parents had to pay for damages of course. He already had so much stuff on his plate. He was payed really well too. He will be well off when he gets back home.
The first thing that we did when I got to the area was service at the 2nd harvest food bank. We have been sorting through oranges, and peeling off the top layers of cabbage to send out. That was pretty fun. We then got a less active with his black truck to help move our furniture into the new apartment. The ward mission leader also helped us move the small stuff like the proselyting material over as well. We got the most major parts done. The next day or so we gutted out that 20 year old apartment that has housed missionaries by sweeping the floors, mopping them, and deep cleaned the bathroom and counters. A lot of work went into cleaning, and we are almost done. We need to next haul out old furniture that was placed in the back to the dump, and take whatever is left there. I barely escaped living in a run down, filthy place that would have just driven me insane trying to clean. Missionaries can be so nasty over a 20 year period. I'm glad President Palmer took a look last transfer and closed it down. I can count myself spoiled. Now we live in our area--just to the south part instead of being centralized, but out of the area barely.
On Saturday, Elder Shepherd was really sick with a fever of 102, so we got permission to stay at home for him to rest and take some dayquil and other medicine. While he rested, I cleaned all the pots, pans, tableware, dried, put away, and organized the entire kitchen area. I then organized the trash and the boxes from the new supplies of furniture, and lamps. I also cleaned my bike chain again, along with the gears. Lastly, I hung up the pictures that we had, and dusted off the new shelves in the living room that we received. I felt very accomplished that day.
Yesterday, we had 2 investigators come to church. One was Juan. He has received that special feeling to know that our church is true because we live what we are taught instead of brushing off religion or checking it at the door, like what sister Bonnie L. Oscarson has stated. Don't check it out at the door! Live your religion. He will be baptized soon for sure. We just need to meet up with him sometime. He's been busy but wants to learn the truth. Another is Maria Johnson. Catholic, open to learn from us, dating a Mormon, in her 70's, and has pretty much gone through all the missionary discussions real quick in like a week. We went through all the commandments in one night too. I haven't done that in a long time. We are also working with a lady named Marsha Baker. She has smoked for many years. She wants to quit but gets so mad and anxious because of her husband. She wants to serve or get out of the house. She just can't go far in walking or stand for too long, so she may be a struggle. We will try doing the stop smoking program with her. I found it again. This time, I'm going to make copies for me to personally have one day.
One other thing, my last dinner before I left Lodi was with the young Parker family. They are really fun. I have supplied many pictures this week--the Parker's, and the new missionary apartment. Manteca has so many prepared people. The ward here is also huge. The Elders quorum is also huge. It was a big change for me going from a small ward in Lodi to a large, and on fire with the gospel Manteca North-land ward. I have felt the feeling that I needed to be here for 3 weeks, and I am finally here. I will try my best to find my purpose as to why I have been called here. This stake is going to be the next to split. There will be the Manteca Stake, and then the new Tracy Stake next year or 2. Sincerely,
Elder White and Elder Shepherd in old apartment