Yeah, I’m here! Ottumwa, IA. Lots of humble, kind-hearted people here. Ottumwa is a river town and is called “Bridge City” because of how many bridges it has. Apparently, it used to be a boomtown of 50,000, about 20 some odd years ago, but businesses left and… Well, you know the story. So, now it’s a town of 25,000 and our ward (the Ottumwa Ward) averages 80 to sacrament meeting. The ward boundaries are in the shape of an L but kind of like ““|. (Sorry, I don’t have a symbol for that, but it’s like an “l” that faces like that.) The ward is about 50 miles wide and about 40 miles tall.
My companion is Elder Graham from Springville, UT. He’s been out 14 months and is a brand new DL and new to this area like me. In fact, we are the first Elders here in over 2 years, and all of the ward members are excited to see us here.
We have two sets of Hermanas in our district that handle most of the Spanish-speaking investigators. There are a lot of Hispanics in the area compared to the rest of Iowa. Still not that many though. There’s one set of Hermanas in our town, one in Washington, IA, a senior couple in Washington, and 2 elders (our zone leaders) in Fairfield, IA. We are currently in a truck-share with the sisters in our town and switch off using bikes. Very hilly town and VERY humid. I’m sweatin’ like a stuck pig.
Everyone has a religion here. Churches on every block. Kind of like Provo, except now they’re Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, “Undenominational Christian”…etc. Been doing quite a bit of tracting while we set up our teaching pool and find more investigators.
Working hard here in Radar’s hometown. Love that! It is PRETTY. I am in love with the rolling green hills and the cornfields. Now if that darn humidity could just clear up a little bit…
OH! Dad! So do you know a John Wardenburg? Coached alongside Mike Hall at BYU? Yeah, he’s my first counselor. And look up Indian Hills Community College. Apparently they are one of the top ranked jc’s in basketball, and the head coach, Barret Peery coached at the U, and Bro. Wardenburg is one of his assistants. Our bishop is Ruston Ford, and he is a professor there at the college.
Anyways, loving life here. It’s tough work, and I collapse onto my bed each night, but I feel like we are going to do well here. Apparently, when the church was dedicated, it was said in the prayer that this place would become a stake of its own. Sounds like I have a bit of work to do.
Mom, I don’t think that I will be needing the shorts or the shoes. We just had our first rainstorm, but I was fine! Thunderstorms out here ROCK! Literally! The sky’s like it’s getting torn apart. Umm, any cold weather gear/anything else I asked for earlier would be awesome. I love and miss you all! I hope everything is going well back in San B. Good to hear that Gma and Gpa made it back safely!!! hahaha… 911 from the plane?!
I’ll try to send another email with pics.
Anyways, stay safe, stay strong, stay true.
The Church is true, the Book is blue! (I totally coined that phrase at the MTC, just sayin’.)