Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bears! The number one threat to America destroyed!!!

This has been a rather eye opening experience for me being up here. The north country of the mission a striking contrast from my beloved valley but I do like it. We have a large area for just us. We cover 6 wards. We cover most of Snowflake and part of Taylor(which is basically Snowflake though they'll never admit it). It's so much different up here and I'm sorry but I should be struck down for this awful sentence. Bad grammar on my part, and I thought I learned something in high school. Guess not. Oh well all the things I learned in college are basically gone which is making me consider whether not to take some classes again.

Well being up here has changed somethings. I now have a hatred for the cold. It disgusts me. But I like the area this place is so small. We do a lot of service up here. Some examples. I have split wood a ton since coming up here. People need stuff to make a fire. I now know the difference between a maul, an axe, and a wedge. I used a grinder(an intimidating saw looking thing) to tear up some poles. And I got to paint a room(wasn't very good at that one).

Some things that happen up here to note. We play basketball every morning. And I'm really bad. I can't make a close range shot to save my life. Plus our zone leader is like the manliest man ever and can step on you like you're nothing making him quite intimidating in basketball. On Saturday we had missionary movie night. That was cool we show a movie at the theater next to the main street chapel once a month. A really awesome oppurtunity to teach people. Around here people think I'm the rich preppy missionary. I've been told my hair is too perfect and my clothes are too nice. I don't know where anyone is getting that stuff. My hair looks nice because I got an awesome haircut for free. It's not that great in fact my hair is like straw and uncontrollable. And reason 2 in my defense is I only have one pair of tube socks that I wear everywhere and they're like brown now and I'm too cheap to by other pairs because I know that I have pairs at home(and I've lost 3 since I've been out).

The potential here is great and we(as a mission) just have to set 9 more baptisms dates before the end of the year to hit 1200. This mission has never had over 1000. I think thats cool. And I think our companionship alone can contribute 5. It's gonna be sick!!! As for the title of the email its a cool story. We were going to an appointment and we got a call from one of our ward mission leaders wondering where we were. We told him and it turned out he had something to show us from hunting. He pulled up to us and we assumed it was the bobcat he was trying to get. We looked in the bed of the truck and saw this huge brown thing. Our jaws dropped. He had shot one of the biggest brown bears around right between the eyes. It's neck was 20 inches around! Just to let Stephen Colbert know the number one threat to America is being fought by Snowflake, Arizona. That's all I've got Laterz.

Love, Elder K-Wood



























Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The bitter cold‏

I spent my summer in the valley. The most populated place in Arizona. For a good portion of it I was on a bike. It averaged between 115 to 120 degrees everyday for about 3 and half months and stayed around 100 for just under 6. And just when it began to cool down bam. I get sent to the cold. For real? It was 20 DEGREES last night at 7... Man. Jeez. Bleh.

Oh well I'll talk more about that later. I'll talk about last week a bit more. It was a weird feeling all week. I had heard that I could be gone but I wasn'y 100% sure. I really enjoyed that area and had gotten close to several people. And I felt that if I did leave the area that I left in a better condition than when I found it. But that doesn't mean I wanted to leave. Most of the week was spent getting ready for Sister Valenti's baptism.

Now that was an awesome experience. Meeting with her has been one of the highlights of my mission thus far. She is one of the funniest and nicest people you'll ever meet. And she loves to talk and I love to talk so we get along great. We had our last lesson on Tuesday night and Wednesday night she had her baptismal interview. After she had left our district leader said she had a stronger testimony and appreciation of the gospel than most members do. I believe thats true too. She's really awesome.

SO we got everything ready for Saturday. I was going to be the one baptizing and Elder Edmonds would confirm her on Sunday. The service was probably an average size attendance wise but the spirit so storng. We got to the point where it was time. She was nervous so I promised her everything would be alright and said a quick prayer together. We walked to the font and were on both sides before they opened the doors. She looked over and said she was really nervous. I smiled and said I was too but for a different reason. The water was a little lower than I had hoped and she was going to have to go really low to get all the way under. It didn't work the first time but the 2nd time it was all good.

Maybe 5 minutes after the baptism someone asked me if I knew whether or not I was leaving. I told them I wasn't sure but then Elder Edmonds got a call from Elder Bickmore he said I might be going to Snowflake. To be honest I wish I had found out after the baptism because that kind of changed the mood of everything which I didn't particulary enjoy.

Sunday was a day full of farewells and it was long and emotional. We started at 6:30 and ended at 5 in the afternoon. I got to say a few words in each ward which was nice and I appreciate the Bishops for allowing me the oppurtunity to do that. In our middle ward I got emotional. My two baptisms were in that ward and I had worked closely with that ward and was sad to see it come to an end. I braced myself and broke down as I spoke but I held myself together long enough to say what I needed to.

Monday was just a day of goodbyes. I said goodbye to several people we met with for a long time. We had Papa Kelseys for a lunch which actually made me sick for the rest of the day so we went over to Bishop Roberts I couldn't eat any dinner because something was happening in my stomach. It was unfortunate because the food rocked Bishop made ribs, and potatoes, and sweet carrots. They even had cake and ice cream but I was so out of it but they gave me some medicine and I felt better the rest of the night.

We went to Dairy Queen for the last time as a district and then I finished packing everything up. I had a lot of stuff. I don't remember coming with that much stuff leaving Scottsdale in July. I said my farewells to the several missionaries at the mission office. Unfortunately the Zone Leaders forgot me so I had to squeeze in with the Taylor Elders. It was the longest drive ever... Like 3 hours. I am now in the nether regions of the mission where I will be quickly forgotten by everyone.

Last night we had another baptism I just kind of walked into that one bahahaha. My companions are Elder Moa and Elder Hadley. Elder Moa is tongan but from Oakland I believe and Elder Hadley is from Portland. Its weird that we're in a trio but there is a reason I guess. Well this email has been long enough. But I just want to note there are no stores in Snowflake none!!! Not even Walmart. We have to shop at Bashas and everything is so overpriced. It makes me want to jump into pile snow and then get tossed into a bonfire. Ugh. Laterz

Love, Elder K-Wood

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Elder Bickmore meets the Bickmores‏

So I've had a different week. The only two differences was a special exchange with Elder Bickmore and a member of the Quorum of the Seventy(Elder Evans) came down for Stake COnference. Making for one only 3 hours of church this week instead of the regular 10 and two an awesome and memorable experience I will not soon forget.

Well shall we move forward? Last week went well. We are now staying consistently above 10 lessons a week which has not happen since spring of last year. We now have 3 dates for baptism. One this weekend and two on the 28th. We have truly been working hard. I was asked Sunday night what I believed was making our area improve. We didn't talk to as many people last week and I knew the obvious answer was people talked to. I ponder the question, and said people talked to. I then told our district leader though we are not seeing any success from it(everyone our investigators except for one has been from referrals) I told him I believe the Lord is blessing us because we are willing to do it. Yesterday because I felt bad I almost talked to as many people as we talked to all of last week. Missionary work is so flippin' weird I don't get it just happens for some reason.

We set another baptism date with a 10 year old who goes to church and not a lot of people knew he was never baptized. He's cool and knows quite a bit already. The other one for the 28th is inching along. The one for this weekend is moving fast. All she needs is her last lesson and an interview tomorrow and she will be set to go! Its been tough the past week or two for her but she possesses some of the greatest faith I have ever seen. I'm excited for Saturday.

The member of the seventy(just as Christ called them in the New Testament) came this weekend. He gave some of the most spiritual experiences. And to our suprise for the Saturday night session our mission president was there. Elder Evans began to give him counsel during his talk. He said that we can chase after people and be over bearing because its weird. He also said enough of this random reading for investigator hoopla. He said start at the beginning and the way he explained it was incredible. He said everything you need is right here. He said verse 4 of the first chapter of the book is the first time the Savior is mentioned then he said can you make it to verse 4. HE then kept picking apart the first part of the book and would ask that is on page 4 can you make it to page 4? It was one of the most incredible explanations I had ever heard. Elder Bickmore asked President Bassett after "should we do that President?" President Bassett with his famous smile said "Well what do you think Elder?" I take that as a yes and believe things will now change in this mission because of it.

Title of my email is mainly with my dealings yesterday. For those of you who are not familiar with Elder Bickmore he has been one of my best pals on my mission. We came out together in April. We were both sent to the same district in North Phoenix. I saw him a lot there. We got transfer news in July he got his early and informed us he was going to AJ I was sad about that. To my suprise when transfer news came again I was being transfered to AJ too once again in the same district. So besides my companions I have not seen any other Elder as much as Elder Bickmore.

Now back to the story. The Bickmores established the Bickmores in the 1800's thus meaning Elder Bickmore had never met another Bickmore he was not directly related to. Until I came into the picture! I found a family named the Bickmores in one of the wards I cover. We set up a special exchange for Elder Bickmore to have dinner with the Bickmores. We determined that they were related through Great Grandparents(Believing that their Great Grandpas were brothers). We're still waiting for the genealogy to come in.

Well I've had a good week. Transfer news on Saturday night and Transfers on Tuesday. We'll see if I'll get the AJ stake for Christmas. Peace out.

Love, Elder K-Wood







video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CATS!‏

THUNDERCATS HOOOOO!!! Does anyone remember that well they should because it was awesome from time to time. It's me. Elder Caywood. Writing in the first person. Hopefully not the 3rd because I think thats prideful and quite frankly a little weird. I have to say I have been having a great time let me explain why.

This week has beem great. We had two Halloween parties and combined this week I have eaten 9 bowls of Chili and 8 hot dogs. WHy yes I'm disgusted with myself too but yet I'm sitting at a comfortable 205 and my pants still fit so I'm good. I told you buying clothes a little too bug wasn't crazy mom! I just can't get too much heavier. Everyone of my companions has had at least 30 lbs on me which is crazy. That makes me feel kind of better. Halloween was uneventful as you could imagine not a lot of people were too thrilled to see us but we pressed on.

We got our investigator with a baptism date to come to church for the Oasis Verde ward. Its exciting when people come(especially since when people don't come it just makes the 8am to 5pm every Sunday just that much longer ugh). That was exciting and she loved it. I see her and mom getting along great she is amazing! She's being baptized on the 14th. Its going to be tight.

I have a little spiel(Spelling?) to make. Cats are quickly becoming my enemy. Since the death of Kitty Scghee last December(Bless her little cat soul) I have been away from cat dander for the first time in about 10 years give or take. I have discovered on my mission that I'm really really really allergic to them. I hate teaching people with cats. My eyes swell up and turn red and I can't breathe for like 2 hours or more. Its dumb. Gosh. Its frustrating!

Now for some good news. We had interviews yesterday. President Bassett and I had a quick talk. He was concerned about my health and wanted to do the best I could to take care of everything. I'm going to the doctor today I hope my condition does not worsen. We have a member who has been dealing with it too and thinks that they may put me on an IV for a little bit like what she's doing. We'll see today. Anyways President Bassett congratulated me on turning the area around and was very proud of what Elder Edmonds and I had done. Thats the first time since North Phoenix he has complimented me like that.

I'm still in shock that the Idaho Vandals are 7-2. Is that really possible? I was talking to Elder Davenport who goes to BYUI too. We know each other distantly in there. He comes home 4 and a half months before I do. We're talking about doing ridiculous music numbers up at college. Except for he's actually talented. We played volleyball today and I did really well. I had an insane block it was cool.

Well I'm off Peace out.

Love, Elder K-Wood