Unfortunately a lot of our teaching appointments fell through this week, or didn't get set. Some people don't like to nail down a time, whether that's because they can't or just don't want to depends a lot on your attitude. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. We did get to meet with Eddy though, just once. We mostly were just getting to know him better but we gave him a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet to follow up on next time, and we're going to see him tomorrow. He still seems pretty excited about it, and he is staying put for a while now that he's back on his feet.
Another lesson we got to teach was to a 15 year old girl who got baptized about a year ago. She was having a lot of questions about the Plan of Salvation, so we just went through it step by step fairly in depth and it helped a lot. It was a really good time for it because she'll be going back to school soon and she gets asked a lot of questions. Luckily she is bold enough to answer and just tell it like it is. Elder Camper let me teach a bit more in that lesson, in other ones it sometimes seems like he teaches the whole thing, but we've also been practicing teaching more in our companion study so we're building trust on that front.
Another big thing that happened this week was that I did my first exchange, and because of circumstances, I took over Prado View with Elder Barton for the day. It gave me a much better appreciation for what Elder Camper does. Even from the start when we were planning, I was having a hard time figuring out names and times and things like that, and even worse was that a lot of the people we had wanted to visit weren't home or anything, so I had to try to think of places we could go and things we could do to be productive. Luckily Elder Barton has a really good attitude and was very helpful, and he didn't mind just doing some walking and talking when we ran out of things to do. The bad thing about doing splits with a Spanish Elder, is that they take all the people. I think that day about 2/3 of the people we talked to on the street he said "Hi" to them in Spanish, so I couldn't say much. They're the kind of people who would normally talk to us in English and then we'd pass them over to the Spanish Elders if they were interested. So having a Spanish Elder there eliminated our place as the middle man. Exchanges are definitely a great experience though, you get to learn new things and perspectives from them, as well as just do different activities. And it wasn't even that inconvenient because they live with us, so exchanging back and forth wasn't a hassle. We have exchanges with the zone leaders this week, so hopefully our plans are a little more solid this Friday and I'll be a bit more prepared, I'm pretty sure Elder Camper said I'll be in charge of Prado View again.
The other exciting thing about this week was that today was CrossFit. Thenorthwest half of the mission went to the mission office where President Mullen led us all in a warm-up and workout. Apparently all of this started because someone told the previous Mission President something about old people not being able to be active or something, so he set out to prove them wrong. President Mullen did cut some corners on the laps around the gym and his squats and jumps weren't very deep, but he still kept up and kept a good pace going. It was kind of fun to have 90 Elders and Sisters running around the gym at the mission office and doing burpees and squats together. Afterward we just played games for a while, though Elder Camper was feeling a little under the weather so we left around 11. We do CrossFit every other transfer. Next transfer is a temple transfer and we have interviews with the Mission President as well.
So today is the beginning of the last week of the transfer, this Saturday we'll get calls about transfers and leadership, though our zone should be pretty quiet. Of our 9 companionships, 5 of them started training this transfer, and as such we probably won't be doing much moving around. It will still be interesting and fun to hear about it though and get a couple new faces for zone activity next Monday.
Most missionaries typically serve in an area for about 3-5 transfers if they are responsible is what I'm starting to see. You go there and are new for one transfer, then you take it over and get a new companion for 1 or 2, and then you get another companion to transfer it to when you leave. If you're not senior companion or leadership material yet, you are probably there a little bit shorter, like 1 or 2 transfers. I think Elder Camper has served in 5 or 6 areas and he'll probably finish his mission here, so that's an average of about 5 months, or 3 transfers. Elder Higashi on the other hand will have been in Corona for 7 1/2 months when he's done training, so he might stay or leave for his last transfer. Nine months is a long time in one area.
The members feed us a variety of things. The first night here we had hot dogs and mac n cheese. The next night we had Hawaiian haystacks. It is true that we get a lot of lasagna or pasta dishes, but not so much that I get sick of them. I really like Italian though, and there is enough variety in sides and things that it doesn't really matter. I have had brussel sprouts twice since I've been here and they aren't anywhere near as bad as you said they were. They tasted just fine. Also, the other day we went to the high school because a Samoan member was feeding the football team and their families after a scrimmage so that was really good. Spit-roasted chicken as well as ribs, watermelon juice, banana leaves, it was all super good. That's about the most exotic thing I've eaten, except that we've gone out for sushi a couple of times. A few other interesting dishes we've had are Tater Tot casserole and pizza soup, both of which were good, maybe it's something you can try for fun sometime.
I did receive the package you sent, and this week was a big week for mail in general. I got it on Wednesday, which is also the day I got the package from the Perkes family. Both packages arrived safely and were very much appreciated. I kept the surprise item for myself because apparently tie trading is a pretty cutthroat business around here, and with all the ties that have sentimental value, I need to have a stock of ties to trade in case the opportunity arises. Also new ties are cool. I had sort of gotten into a rut, wearing certain ties with the same pants all the time and such. Besides the 2 packages, I also received 4 letters on Friday from various friends, family, and ward members, so that made me feel loved. It's taken me 3 or 4 days to respond to all of them.
See you soon,
"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work." -Gordon B. Hinckley