September 7, 2015

Hey everyone,

First off, I want to apologize for a misunderstanding; I have only an hour to write emails each Monday, but I can read emails all day then. I felt stressed last week thinking I had only an hour to read 12 emails and to write to you and the mission president, but we’re good now.

This week’s been rather busy and rather slow at the same time. We didn’t have much time to teach since it’s hard to be in touch with our few investigators nowadays, but we were in a bunch of meetings and service projects. This Wednesday we had a meeting called accountability, where me and Elder Hardy meet with Elder Hancock (the district leader) and report for the month of August about our area. Normally the meeting lasts about an hour, but we had to stay for three since the rest of our area is sisters and one pair of elders and one pair of sisters are not allowed to be alone with each other.

The next day was zone conference. I wish I remembered more of it; it was very spiritual. It was divided into two parts; in the first part all the missionaries from two zones (normally it’s just one) gathered and listened to President and Sister Samuelian speak. They talked about plenty of topics but mainly the family. We’re supposed to memorize “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in 40 days. Hopefully me and Elder Hardy will feel motivated enough. Then we had a very spiritual testimony meeting. Two testimonies came from Elder Hancock and Elder Evans, and this is their last zone conference for both of them.

Before zone conference there was a car inspection, and while we were eating lasagna for dinner they announced the awards for the Cleanest Car contest (aka Lightning McClean Awards). Me and Elder Hardy scored second place, and President said that every time elders win he gives them a hug. And so he did!

After dinner we had a member/missionary portion of zone conference. We expected more people, but around 100 members showed up. The focus was on member missionary work, and the members got to roleplay as missionaries and investigators just as we do. The President and his wife’s message was clear, but it’s up to the members to follow up and do missionary work themselves. Because as Elder Ballard said, “RM does not mean Retired Mormon!” I myself felt inspired to continue in missionary work when I can after my mission.

This Saturday we got to meet one of the former elders in this mission, Elder Frankenberry, at basketball this morning. We called him “a voice from the dust,” since he’s my trainer’s trainer’s trainer’s trainer’s trainer’s trainer, or in mission lingo, my great-great-great-great-grandfather. They call whoever trained someone their father, and the person who trained him grandfather, etc. I’ve traced my “lineage” like this:

Elder Young

Elder Frankenberry

Elder McLoughlin

Elder Gift (Current assistant to the president)

Elder Adams

Elder Larsen

Elder Hardy

Elder Jensen

There’s a bunch of other mission lingo as well, like when someone dies they leave the mission, when someone’s trunky they’re ready to leave and get lazy, and new missionaries like me are called greenies. I seem to catching onto everything quickly, but if there’s one thing I learned so far, it’s that missionaries are as weird as the rest of us. But I’m grateful the Lord gave me the opportunity to serve anyway. We still haven’t been successful, but I feel that will change soon.

Elder Jensen

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