Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Arlington National Cemetary, DC Traffic, Departing Dinner With President & Sister Cooke, Final Interview With President Cooke, Elder Brimhall Heads Home, & Meeting the New Ward - 06/27/2016

Sorry for the late email. We have been away from WiFi all day...

Hello Everyone! 

I hope you all are having a wonderful day and I hope its week as been great. As for me it has been very crazy.

On Monday we had our Arlington trip with President and Sister Cooke. It was a pretty amazing experience. I have been to Arlington before, but it was pretty cool being able to go with a bunch of fellow missionaries. We also were able to do a couple of things that we would usual not have been able to do, without President Cooke. One of those things was being able to into a chapel they have and sing our mission song. This chapel is off limits to the public for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is that the actual chapel is located inside the compound where all the military personnel live. During our visit were also able to go to the tomb of the unknown soldier. We watched the changing of the guard which is always great. Another awesome thing that we were able to watch was a reef laying ceremony. President and Sister Cooke had bought one and they were able to lay it on to the tomb. It was chilling experience. Unfortunately as of right now I do not have the video of that, but I will be getting hopefully sometime this week. After Arlington I stayed on an exchange with some other missionaries for the rest of the day.

On Tuesday I met my companions, Elder Schank, and Brimhall at the new missionary training meeting. This meeting was an all day thing. It started at 9 and we didn't get out till 4. And unfortunately the drive back into our area is a long trip so it took up almost all of our day. On our way we got stuck in the nasty DC traffic and on top of that we got caught in a massive rain and lightning storm which caused even more delays. We had to move our dinner back an hour just so we could have some time with them...

Wednesday was a pretty interesting day. We got to go into Virginia for an appointment. We showed up a little early so we decided to take a nice drive through DC. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a nice drive through DC and I was also the one driving. What we thought was going to be just a nice smooth drive turned into me aging 5 years. Once it was time to head to our appointment we maid our way back over to the Virginia side of Potomac. After the appointment had finished we headed out and traffic was already starting to get bad. We had a pretty hard time trying to get back home. The traffic plus the Virginia road system makes it for a long day. We did finally make it home. Wednesday we spent a total of 5 hours in the car.

Thursday is our meeting day. We had our district meeting which went really well and for after distinct meeting the senior couple who is serving where I am took me up to the Kentland's chapel for our departing dinner with President and Sister Cooke. It was a really fun night with lots of great missionaries who I have been able to share a lot of time with. During this dinner each missionary (about 30) took 60 seconds to share a story from there mission. I shared the story about Igor. Towards the end of the dinner President Cooke presented us with our coins. It was an awesome night.

Friday we had our final interview with President Cooke. It was a pretty surreal experience. It brought back some memories of when I first met him. After interviews we worked on scrapbook pages for the Cooke's. Friday was also the day that Elder Brimhall headed home. He had been dealing with anxiety for the past few years and it had gotten really bad on the mission and so he decide to get it taken care of at home. It was really sad to see him go, but I know that he will get some much needed help. After interviews, we headed to lunch/dinner with this single lady. She took us out to Texas Road House and it was awesome! After we had finished with that we were able to meet with one of our investigators! Yay!  His name is Steve Berry. He is an awesome guy who is very interested in the gospel. When we first showed up he pulled up this Word document that looked like research paper he had been working on for months. It was all his notes and questions that he had been taking down since he had been meeting with missionaries. He had a bunch of random questions about the Book of Mormon that he asked us. After he had discussed that we told him to do his studying from the Preach My Gospel manual and to study the 5 lessons that are found inside. It was awesome! He pulled up Preach My Gospel on lds.org and started reading through the first lesson. One of the first things it has in that lesson is a list of baptismal requirements and he had a little self evaluation moment and we now know what we need to focus with him on. He then told us that he will read through the lesson and come up with some question that he has about it for the next time we meet. I have not taught anyone this way before and I don't necessarily recommend it, but it seems like it is going to work for Steve.
Saturday was one of our very first days that we have been able to spend the entire day in our area. We spent some time checking on referrals. We also had a bible study with three people which was awesome! When we showed up, we found out that we were kinda in charge of leading this class. So Elder Schank and I taught a 45 min class and it actually went really well. We then spent some more time trying to get a hold of people to set up appointments for the rest of the week.

Sunday we had our church service and it was the first time we were introduced to the ward. So far everyone that we have met has been awesome. They are very excited to have Elders back in the ward. The members have been loading us up with names of people to check on, so that should keep us busy for good while. After church we had dinner and then we once again set out trying to contact our referrals.

Love you all have a great week!

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