There’s a lot of things that I am going to miss about Iowa. Not the winters. I have now realized that (my career willing) that I want to live in Southern California for the rest of my life. Tracting when its 5 F and windy is right before breaking my leg and right after pulling my own teeth on my list of “favorite things to do”.
Well, I am now serving in Grinnell, Iowa and training my new companion, Elder Garner (Kaysville, Utah). I am now 2/2 on opening new areas and 3/3 on having companions from Utah. Grinnell is a white-collar town of 9,200 and boasts 2 colleges, a hospital, a pretty sweet downtown area, a golf course, and 30 or so different churches. It’s smack-dab in the middle of Iowa and calls itself the “Jewel of the Prairie”. Our branch is located 16 miles away in Newton (where the other Elders in the Branch live). getting to and from meetings is a bit of a nightmare, but the members here are so incredibly kind and loving that it seems to always work out somehow. Elders Coy (Corona, CA…I.E. represent!) and Boyak (some small town in ID) cover Newton and the rest of that county and we cover Poweshiek County. Oh, and we have one of the nicest apartments in the mission.
There has been a lot of things going on since I got here. Some of them pretty funny too! For one, the water in our shower smells like chlorine, so I smell like I’m back in the middle of water polo season…minus the physique. Speaking of water polo, a man here told me that it wasn’t a sport because no one ever gets hurt. That gave me a good laugh.
I have to admit that at times, it has been pretty overwhelming here. Grinnell has never had missionaries before, but the Newton Elders in years past have used it as a town to tract. Apparently, 10 years ago, the Elders tracted every single door in town..and came up with nothing. So, we’re basically starting from scratch. I don’t know the town, there’s two inches of snow on the ground outside, and the laundromat is a mile away and costs $6.50 PER LOAD…in quarters. I keep looking around for someone to tell me what we’re going to do today and then I remember…my companion is brand-new, doesn’t know the area either, and is trusting me as the senior companion to know what to do.
But I am so blessed. So incredibly blessed. Blessed to have this opportunity to learn and grow, blessed to be able to serve a mission, blessed to have the best family and friends I could have ever asked for who are rooting me on…the list could go on forever. This
Thanksgiving season, let’s not forget to give thanks, no matter what our circumstances.
I believe in a righteous, loving God who puts me into situations to learn and grow. A God who loves me enough to let me get pushed to my limits AND helps me overcome said challenges. A God who loves you and me enough to allow His Only Begotten Son to be beaten, spit upon, and crucified so that we in all our imperfect madness could have a way back to Him. I believe in God. He loves me. And I love Him.
Faith and Honor,
p.s. Congratulations to my home ward in SB for having 23 investigators to church on Sunday. I hope you all know that I have been using you as a model for things to come out here and both the Ottumwa Ward and now the Newton Branch are striving to be more like you. Keep up the incredible work! What a marvelous example you are of what can happen when missionaries and members come together in a concentrated effort to serve the Lord with singleness of mind and heart.
p.p.s. Tyler Bak. Stop saying it’s cold in Taiwan. Last I checked, it hasn’t hit 60 degrees here in over a month and a half…and it’s only November.