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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 25: 4/3/2017 For Realz...Real Mailer. For Real

Ok... allow me to formally apologize just as I formerly apologized
formally except this time I'm really going to follow through and
actually write a good mailer. Probably.

So... where to begin... when I got called to Ferron... have I told
that story already? So Ferron is a tiny little town, hardly anyone
back in Provo even knew that it existed, much less where it was. But, a
month or so before transfers, I was looking at all the areas in the
Price Zone (where Moab is) and trying to figure out which one was
closest to Moab. I would love to serve directly in Moab, but
unfortunately, most of the year it's a strictly Bilingual Area. In the
summer, it is normally split into an English and a Spanish so I could
have a chance then... or if I got put in a Zebra companionship or
something (where one companion speaks one language and the other
speaks the other) which has happened in Moab and other places before.
Anyway, the odds are pretty slim of me serving there, so I was looking
through the Price Zone at the current Elder Areas to see which was
closest to Moab, cuz I figured then I could at least go on Pdays
without having to get special permission from President Hodgman every
time and cross the whole mission to get there. That closest area
turned out to be the Ferron area where Elders A. Baker and Nakatsu
were serving. I decided then that I wanted to serve there at some
point. I even saved the town on my weather app. Fast forward one month
later (ish). I'm literally in Moab on transfer Monday, we hook up to
wifi for a minute and we see the transfer list... I'm getting
transferred. A few hours later, we get the van list, my new companion
is Elder Baker. There are two in the mission right now, Elder A Baker
and Elder B Baker. But, the transfer doctrine didn't say which. I also
hadn't made the connection at this point... Ferron had Elder A Baker
serving there when I was looking a month ago. We spent the rest of the
day in Moab, then returned home and gave President a call. That was
the other thing while we were in Moab we received a voicemail from
President telling us to call him back for transfer calls. Dun dun dun

Basically the way transfer Monday works, the night before, President,
and sometimes the APs, make some calls to different Elders and Sisters
releasing and/or calling them to new positions. So for instance if
you're being called as a new Zone Leader or District Leader, you might
get a call Sunday night. Same if you're being released. Depending on
how soon they get it all done though, they may carry over into
transfer Monday. Then Monday morning, normally right as Pday begins,
the Assistants send out an email that has a list of who will be
leaving their areas in each Zone. Then later, anywhere from minutes
to hours, to the next day, they send out the Van List. That is
different for each Zone and shows the Elders and Sisters that are
leaving the Zone, when and where they need to meet, which Transfer Van
they need to be on, and who their new companion will be. So until the
Van List comes out you don't really know anything other than you're
getting transferred, and even after it does, you're not totally sure
because it doesn't say your new area, just your new companion. Anyway,
in the Price Zone, last transfer there were only two districts, the
Price District and the Castle Dale District, district are almost
always named after their District Leader area, so for instance when
Elder Connelly was called as a District Leader in Provo West, it
changed from the Parkway District to the Provo West district. Alright
anyway... Castle Dale is kind of the bigger town right next to a
Ferron, but it's farther from Moab so I didn't really care.

Ok so we called President back and first we talked for a while about
Elder Skaggs new companion... he thought he was training... in reality
he was getting a new companion who has been visa waiting in the
Phillipines... for 9 months. So he's actually been on his mission
longer than either of us. Which scared the poop out of him. So he
asked President if he at least spoke English... President paused and,
a little uncertainly said, "Well he is an English Speaking
Missionary..." great. Anyway so then they get to me... this is when I
really find out I'm serving in a Ferron and I'm super stoked, cuz I
actually know where and what it is cuz I decided I wanted to go there
a month ago. But then I find out... it's the District Leader area, and
even though my future companion has been out longer than me... I'm the
district Leader. In spite of the fact that it's the Castle Dale
District... apparently Ferron has ALWAYS been the DL area. Surprise.
Then I looked up actually how far it is to Moab from there... still
like 2 hours... side note, we're going to Moab this Monday with the
Elders from Castle Dale. In our brand new Malibu :D anywho, that was
when I looked up the population... and realized just how tiny a town I
was going to. I was so stoked! And now I'm here and it's awesome

Goodness gracious.... that was like a month ago. I'm honestly not sure
what happened to all that time in between. Oh what else to say... this
is a little awkward... cuz I'm basically a month behind... except for
the few random things that I already said. I don't even remember which
things I already talked about and which are new... oh well, hear goes.

Alright so if we rewind all the way to when I first entered the
area... after the transfers and everything, we had a good two hour
drive or so to get to know the members of my district. 4 of the 6 of
us were in the car, Obviously I know myself, then my companion Elder
Baker who was driving, and the Castle Dale Elders, Elder Barnes and
Elder Hagen. We also have a set of sisters, Bowen and Perez, who serve
in Huntington on the North side of the district. Elder Barnes is a fun
loving Ginger from wherever everyone else is from, basically if he
knows where you're from he'll pretend to be from there when you're not
paying attention. He really is a ton of fun and a good missionary.
He's actually from Idaho and Missouri, depending on the day. His
companion Elder Hagen is from Virginia and is much more quiet, but
he's a devoted reader and writer and actually knows what the Wheel of
Time is which overcomes any faults he might have. He hasn't finished
them... he was only about halfway through when he left, but still. He
knows. Then there's Elder Baker, my new companion. He's freakishly
tall, although not as freakishly tall as Casey, but close. So really
it's not too different. He's from Montana and adores basketball.
Fortunately, he's very humble and always helping me remember to be
which helps a lot.

So we got back that first day of the transfer and I got to meet
S for the first time, she is probably the sassiest person I've
ever taught thus far in my mission. She's the one who got baptized a
few weeks ago. She had taken the lessons before but sometimes when
missionaries are out here... they don't behave well let's say. So
yeah. But she and her little sister were able to get baptized in the
end and they're doing great. She's a fun loving little girl, 12 now,
who is quite the character. We've been able to help reactivate the
family as well, I believe I talked about that little miracle last
week. We also hope to start teaching their dad now that he's had a
chance to see the difference in them.

From then on it's basically been the adventuring of learning a new
area and doing the best we can with it. I had to give my first
District Training Meeting (DTM) the next day and I felt like it went pretty
well. It was a little awkward since I didn't attend Zone Training
Meeting (ZTM) the week before because I was at my cousins sealing
in the Provo City Center Temple... And on
top of it, I was literally the only new member of the district, so
everyone else had all attended the same one. But anyway, it went well
and was definitely a learning experience for me. Later that night we
visited the new Bishop of the Blue Hills Ward. Bishop Tate Weber. He
invited us to come do some service the next day on his ranch. Let the
learning begin.

We brought the Castle Dale Elders with us and we went with Bishop Tate to fix
and reorganize some sprinkler wheel lines that had gotten busted in the
major wind storm about a week before the transfer ended. Then I really
started learning. We headed to the corral and he taught us to rope for
the first time. It started as service, he wanted us to rope a few
calves that still needed to be roped. I don't remember if I sent the
video or not... but I roped one and Elder Barnes roped the other. But
then Bishop Tate said he needed to go do something really quick, so we should
just keep roping. Then right as he leaves... we caught our first cow.
And it went crazy and we had no idea how to get the rope off.
Thankfully, he came back eventually and showed us how to 'bulldog' it.
That was my first experience steer wrestling. He left again and we
caught a few more and I threw them. Unfortunately we don't have
footage of any of that because Elder Bakers iPad was out of storage.
But it was quite the adventure. That's when I got stomped as well. I
was fighting one cow, and we ended up at the edge of the corral, he
got away from me and I was trapped between the fence and a water
trough. So he went right over the top and stomped right on my back. I
had some pretty good bruises for a while. I was incredibly sore in
Saturday, and Sunday was worse. But then Monday I was feeling great
just in time to do it all again ;P

What a great way to start off a transfer in a new area. It was
awesome. Saturday the ZLs (zone leaders) had asked me to perform for a youth fireside
on Sunday so we needed to practice and figure out what the heck we
were gonna do. After that I got my first trip to Emery, got to meet
some people and see what it was like. Fun stuff. Sunday I attended a
couple wards, and met some other investigators, then after church we
had to get ready and packed, because the fireside was up in Price
and the Zone Leaders asked us to stay at their house instead of
getting home late. The musical number actually went far better than I
expected it to... we actually had a couple requests for repeat
performances at other fireside and stuff. Spent the night with the
Zone Leaders, got tazed. Disappointed them when I didn't react.

And Pday #1 we bought groceries and what not... went bowling with a
lot of the Zone. That was ok... turns out there's a free bowling alley
in Roosevelt which was Elder Bakers last area... so he's now basically
a pro bowler. Headed home to Ferron and fought some more cows. Again
no videos, mostly because those ones just weren't worth it.

I mentioned that Elder Barnes is a ginger right? So the sisters called
us Monday morning and requested that we move District Training Meeting
to Friday because that was St. Patrick's Day. So we got a bunch of
leprechaun stuff for Elder Barnes. So we also spent some time tracking
down the stuff we needed. Oh I also forgot, we were discussing the
Temple month, since it was this month, and we realized that the Manti
Temple is much closer. And that's actually our temple district, but
because it's out of the mission we're supposed to go all the way up to
Payson. But I've never really been scared to ask for things... so I
asked President if we could go to Manti instead on a Thursday because
that's when someone we know in a Ferron works in the live Endowment.
So District Training Meeting had to get moved anyway... it worked out
beautifully. We also got to dig a giant hole for a trampoline to go in the
ground that was cool.

Just a few days later, it was time for S’s Baptismal interview.
We had taught her the last lesson she needed, and we went to the
church, we also had a new fellowshipper with us for the first time.
Unfortunately he decided to bring up some deep doctrine that really
bothered S.... we almost didn't have a Baptismal interview.
Luckily she went and talked to her mom and got calmed down, then we
were able to explain what he had really meant and she was ready just
in time. Afterwards we took kind of a blast to the past. We knew of
some nonmembers who run (almost a) museum, a big exhibit of antiques and
things they've collected. So we contacted them by asking to see the
stuff. He has an entire antique soda bar in his back room, along with
a couple of jukeboxes, old fashioned barbershop equipment, chairs, etc.
just about everything g you can imagine. He showed us all of it and
explained all of it. Wow. Then we went outside, he has an entire old-timey
gas station complete with pumps, station, old cars, telephone
box, and inside the service station is another whole exhibit with even
more stuff. Wow. So we set up another time to see him and talk about
the Gospel.

Then of course the next day was temple day. I got permission to drive,
so we took the scenic route through the mountains, it was beautiful.
At the time we had a Nissan Rogue which handled that mountain road
admirably. I think some of the other Elders were pretty nervous about
my driving... but I haven't had that much fun driving in a long time,
totally worth it. So we drove out there, then we were able to do some
initiatories, then head into the chapel for the live Endowment and see
Brother Bennett in it. It was really pretty incredible. Live session
completely changes the way you see some of the things that happen
Then of course it was Friday, St. Patrick's day, and our
preparations came through. We decked Elder Barnes out in full
leprechaun attire... I think he finally forgave us a few days ago. But
once again, totally worth it. Plus we got food too. We spent most of
that DTM preparing for Zone Conference the next week, my district was
chosen to perform a musical number. We chose to do If You Could Hie To
Kolob, so I had to find an arrangement. Haha it was pretty sketchy but
it was a fun experience.

Finally we made it to Saturday.... baptism day!!! S was ready
and so was D, her little 8 year old sister. It was that night
that we got that txt from her mom that I talked about last week. It's
one of those moments when you realize just how much the Lord works
through you. It's a pretty incredible realization. That night we
headed out to Emery again to see if we couldn't find anyone, and we
did! We met Bob, an introverted older gentleman who lives by himself.
He seemed ok with us coming by, and we've now started him on the path
to baptism although, for him it will likely but a rather long one.
He'll get there one day, with me or someone else, I don’t know, but it
will happen.

Sunday was pretty normal, we had the confirmation of S
and D. Elder Baker confirmed S and D asked me to
confirm her. The ward was truly awesome and incredibly welcoming, it
was awesome to see. That night we went out hardcore finding. I think
we managed to get 2 or 3 new investigators that night. That's pretty
crazy for this area. Since then we've had maybe 3 total. Yeah. Next
week should be super good though, we should get a bunch. That's what
we're hoping and praying for anyway.

Now this is Pday #2. This is the real wrestling day. We went in the
morning with our whole district including the sisters, and decided to
go all out. We had talked to Sister Weber, she and her sons got the
corral all set up with some of our favorite cows (although not El
Diablo which made me really sad) so this is where all those videos
came from. Basically with the exception of the two throws Elder Barnes
did, every time someone roped a cow, I threw it. And ya know that
white and black one that goes crazy? Yeah first one we roped... we
call her Cookies and Cream. She destroyed me pretty hard although I
finally threw her and got it done. But while I didn't notice when it
happened, apparently she got me good in the calves. After we had roped
a bunch and fought them... we went to go eat and take a break... I
realized my legs really hurt, and I start limping. When we came back,
there were more to wrestle, so I dealt with it but it wasn't too bad
yet. After that we headed to Price and by the end of the day, my left
calf was purple all over and I was limping pretty good. But once
again, like everything else, totally worth it. I actually haven't
totally recovered for that. Really if my legs don't finish healing in
the next few days I'll probably talk to Nurse Trapnell about it but
I'm like 97% sure it's fine. But anyway.

Tuesday Zone Conference, we had to drive all the way to Payson to meet
with the Utah Lake Zone as well. We had to leave before 6:30... ugh.
But we made it in one piece, and we knew we were getting a new car so
we were pretty excited. But still. So early. And then right after we
got there... Elder Strong got run over by Elder Días. Crushed between
two trucks while he was backing them up. Yeah... rough start. It
screwed up his knee pretty bad, he was lucky though, if the trucks had
been about a degree over... he probably wouldn't have legs anymore...
and would probably never have kids. But he's fine now. And Elder Dias
still has driving privileges somehow... not sure how that happened...
but that's not really my problem. Conference was good, my district
performed and it was fairly decent. We got to see the new Easter
video. It's public now, so everyone should go watch it. It's similar
in some ways to the Christmas Video. It's awesome.

Then President Interviews were the next day, which meant another DTM,
plus Sister Hodgman was sitting in on it. Haha what an adventure. But
that was super good too. And I love getting interviewed by President.
It's the best. So no complaints. Except we keep losing days to these
long meetings far away which is frustrating. But whatevs. They're over
now. We got to keep teaching a young girl named K who is super
cool, we just watched Conference with her too. And her mom seems to be
longing to come back to church, hopefully we can start teaching her
husband as well. That's always the trick though, how do you teach a
whole family... especially when he works in Wyoming all week and only
comes home every other weekend. I don't really know what we're gonna
do with them.

The next day was straight service all day... sorta. We started by
spending all morning helping an older lady take care of her lawn.
Mostly raking to start, but it's gonna be an ongoing project for a
while yet. Then we went down to Emery with the other Elders truck to
pick up an organ a member down there gave me. We got it all situated
in our living room and then I had to take it apart to fix it, had to
replace a few fuses so I checked what I needed and added it to the
list to pick up. We got the parts I needed while we were in Castle
dale the next day. Then we learned to weld after that and helped
S, K’s grandfather, weld together some panels. Then we got a
call from Bishop Weber saying to come to his corral in service clothes
cuz he had a treat for us. So we did... and there he was, roped a cow,
knocked it over, pulled out a knife and there were the family's jewels.
Which he then handed to me. Haha we took them up to the house, tossed
‘em in a frying pan and ate them. Delicious. We headed back to Scotts
only to discover they were finished... but the gentleman we were
working alongside offered to have dinner at his house, we gladly
accepted and realized he was also a less active member we had been
asked to visit. It was truly the Lord’s timing, what a wonderful
opportunity. Even before we realized that... we shared a message about
church attendance. Way to go Spirit.

We also have been teaching J, I don't think I've mentioned him much
but I'm super excited for him. He's a super cool 9 year old who's way
shy, but his parents are really working to get active and he should be
baptized in a couple weeks if all goes well. We've been teaching him a
while and he just makes me happy. Their family is awesome, and they
fed us a couple days ago so that was even better!

That Sunday we had another fireside to perform at... only it turned
out to be a YSA institute fireside... awkwardest performance of my
life. And I've performed an awful lot of times... I really really hope
none of those kids remember me. Plus they're an incredibly awkward YSA
to begin with... *Shudder* traumatized

I straight up don't even remember what the heck we did last Pday... #3
I mean. Jk. The other Elders reminded me. We went out to Joes Resevoir
in the mountains near Castle Dale. It was cool and we skipped lots of
rocks... only it was snowing and we weren't really ready for that ;P
haha we still spent probably an hour up there, throwing things,
watching the snow and the beauty all around us, looking at cool stuff
we found. All the things. After that it was pretty boring... just went
to Price and chilled at a church building. I did bring my frisbee
though... and I practiced making baskets from one side of the
basketball court into the hoop on the other end. Haha i only made it
like 4 times. But still. I also tried Little Caesars new smokehouse
pizza... definitely recommend. Super good.

We went back and worked on that lady’s yard more... another full
morning. And there's STILL more to do. I didn't know there could
possibly be so much. There were four of us working both times, and it
feels like we've just barely started. Oh I totally forgot, we got
another new bishop in our Stake and he's a great missionary go getter
just like Bishop Weber. It's good stuff. We got to go to Emery again,
had a lesson with B, and then met the Su family. The ward
mission Leader down there said that they were a slow progressing
family, but if previous Elders hadn't been super pushy, they probably
would've been baptized already. That's always sad
to hear, but we're gonna do our best for them. We have a lesson
tomorrow and we're also gonna start working on some Projects with them
as well. I really look forward to talking with her more, Brother
Dalton says she probably knows more about God and the scriptures and
the Gospel than we do, so I'm really looking forward to seeing just
how she's doing.

Then my first Exchange with the ZLs. It was pretty nice cuz we
requested to end our exchange early so we could still have some
lessons back in our area, so it wasn't actually a full day. But we
went up, and as we began, Elder Redmond asked what I wanted to learn
from this exchange. Normally the Lord has prepared something for me to
learn and I know what it is I'm looking for, but this time, I just
didn't know. I told him that, and a few minutes later we receive a
call and find out that they're being kicked out of their apartment and
need to find a new house. So that's what I got to learn on
Exchanges... how to house hunt. It was exciting. The only lesson we
taught that day was to an 8 year old who's parents were getting active
but who already knew everything. His grandparents used to be the area’s
senior couple. And apparently there was also a mountain lion somewhere
or other. It was a good day. Lunch at a freebie in Wellington called
the cowboy kitchen, they provided the largest stack of curly fries I
think I've ever seen. It was crazy. I couldn't believe it when I saw
it. Luckily when we got back to Ferron, our lesson with J and his
family was just fantastic. It really feels good to be there for people
and to help them make good decisions.

Thursday was another crazy day. DTM of course, that's almost starting
to become normal... weird. But then we had to go to the post office
and get that resolved... so apparently our mail had been going to our
Stake president, then sent to our high counselor over missionary work,
then given to us once a week. If they remembered. So we've been
working for like a week to get it all figured out, so now we do, but
that was a process in and of itself. After dinner we had to change
fast, run to Emery to do some service with the YM, then run back for a
second dinner with J and his family, then a lesson... which turned
into watching Scott Sterling and Do You Want To Be a Millionaire
YouTube... yeah, not the most obedient thing I've ever done. I don't
feel to guilty about the fellowship we built though... I think that's
just an excuse but it was a good experience regardless..

More post office stuff... We got it figured out finally. Shiny new keys finally. Saw
K and her mom at the Post Office actually, and we had been
planning to come see them anyway so we chatted for a while and headed
to their house when we were done, we also set up to watch conference
with them. Our Mission President(or rather, the APs) announced that in
order for General Conference to count for sacrament attendance, the investigator
either needs to watch with the missionaries or with some
fellowshippers. So we were trying frantically to set up appointments
to watch it with everyone. So we played with K and her sister for
a while and got it all set up and were planning to watch it with her
and her dad.

Saturday.... we ran around all day trying to watch conference... and
everything fell through. We were in Emery, that's when our car got hit
and we had to fill out an incident report as well. I'm running out of
time so I won't go into a ton of details, but basically it was
frustrating. It was also the first time I conducted an exchange which
was an adventure. Then Sunday we watched the morning session with Bishop
Weber and then with K in the afternoon, then the evening we
planned to basically have a make up session.... and that got all
screwed up too. But somehow with all that this next week was set up
just perfectly to work out perfectly. I just hope that I can fulfill
everything that the Lord needs me to do without failing Him

Anyway today we went and saw the Rochester Panel. Ancient Indian
Petraglyphs. That was cool. Then we actually headed out to Goblin
Valley again with the district and went and had some adventures. I also
managed to see one of my WMLs wives from Provo. And one of our
bishops. And bought a Captain America shield nerf gun. Ok pictures
will have to wait for next week but there ya go. Full mailer. For like
a month. My thumbs are tired. Toodles

Love you all,
Elder DeFord

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