Garden of the Gods in Illinois
First off, I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. Ours was a little hectic but a little chill at the same time. A lot of big changes happened this week so I guess we should start off with Monday then.
Monday, Elder Stange and I went off to Garden of the Gods (Attempt #2), and this time we actually made it. Garden of the Gods is essentially a unique series of rock formations that was created millions of years ago apparently due to water.
Garden of the Gods
You are permitted (at your own risk) to climb the cliffs and to walk out on the rocks. Most of the amazing pictures I was able to take came from rather risky climbing but totally worth it in the end.
It was a blast. Afterwards we went over to Elder Stange's recent convert family and had dinner with them to say goodbye as well as for them to give me a delicious post-birthday cake.
Tuesday we owe a lot of what we were able to do, to the Branch Mission Leader's wife. She was able to drive us down to Franklin, TN where transfers were being held. We didn't have too much time to stay, but we were able to see a few missionaries give their final parting advice before they would go home the next day.
Elder Daniel Perry's parting advice.
Among the missionaries who went home were some of my friends from my first district, Elder Perry and Sister Ellis (the last two remaining from the first district), also Sister Johnson went home (from my second district) as well as Elder Ackroyd, the missionary I replaced in Smith Springs.
It was also there where I picked up my new companion, Elder Steed. He's from Ogden, Utah and has been out for 19 months or so. I was grateful for another more seasoned missionary. He's really hilarious and yes, he's a ginger.
Welcome, Elder Steed!
We had to leave transfers early and I was only able to quickly scan the mail pile so I probably missed a lot of stuff that I will be getting soon for my birthday. The drive back seemed to take forever, but we at least had some fun stories. We were able to make it back to Harrisburg by the evening and got to see a couple of people.
Wednesday we went down to Paducah for district meeting. The district has changed dramatically. There are no longer Foxcroft sisters, but Foxcroft elders. Only three missionaries including myself stayed the same. The new district leader is Elder Spiker who is a pretty cool dude for sure. After that we went to Metropolis, so Elder Steed could see the giant Superman. We were able to contact a referral from an investigator which was great.
Old train in Paducah,KY.
Not much else happened that day. Same thing happened on Thursday when we struck out with multiple people--even shut ins. It was very depressing for sure. But we had a fun meeting in the evening with our branch mission leader.
The Brookport Bridge. It is terrifyingly unsafe. The grates are large enough to fit a soda can through.
Friday we spent most of the day helping the Waters move to a new house kind of near Equality, IL. It was fun getting to hang out with their family. We tried to fix the wifi at the church building which has been down for the past two months or so which is frustrating. Not being able to fix it, we decided to figure out other locations to skype home on Sunday.
Saturday was much better. Literally everyone we tried to see on Thursday we were able to see on Saturday. It was awesome getting to see so many people and have great lessons all around. One of the cooler things was we got to talk to one of our less active members who is suffering from several health issues. Apparently her maid/caretaker is relatively interested in the gospel which is good to hear.
Sunday was interesting. I taught gospel principles on scriptures which was a lot of fun. And then we were able to set up a lot of appointments for the upcoming week. In the middle of the day we were able to Skype our parents at the branch mission leader's home which was fun. I was happy to talk to as many as I could, including Bro and Sis Price, my grandpa—who is 92 years old, and of course parents.
Today it has been pouring down rain, so Elder Steed and I will be looking for stuff to do around here. We will be looking forward to this week since we have a fun trip to Hopkinsville planned for a Zone Conference, where I have been asked by the assistants to the President to be the pianist. I wasn't too thrilled about it—it’s nerve-wracking, but it will be an interesting experience playing for at least 100 missionaries or so.
Not much else has been going on here. I am grateful again for the letters I am slowly getting from my birthday. Thank you all so much again for all that you do for us. Please pray for the work here in Eldorado.
Another beautiful view from Garden of the Gods.