Last week I flew into Richmond Virginia where we were met by the Mission President and AP's. The President, President Perry and his wife are some of the kindest most caring people I know. Although, we are Visa Waiters and not called to this mission they accepted us like their own children. They fed us, brought us in, and made sure we were doing all right. After that my new companions picked me up, Elder McLellan and Elder Thueson. They are both from Idaho and both way cool. Elder Thueson was in my hall at the MTC... what seemed like a year ago. Anyway, driving home that night we were stopped at a red light and an SUV flipped right in front of us in a giant wreck. It was pretty crazy, if our light had been green a smaller car would have nailed us in the side.
Tuesday we did a lot of service and raked leaves for a member who was going in for back surgery and was hurting pretty bad. We also raked leaves for a couple a few missionaries met at a CVS. Their faith in Christ and devotion to follow him are awe inspiring. They tried to pay us for working for them but I told them that as long as we represent Christ we know he wouldn't take that money so we wont either. They promised to read the Book of Mormon and I know that promise was made because they saw our devotion to Christ and respected us enough to read more on him. On Tuesdays we teach Tea, a 14 year old girl who's hunger for the truth reminds me of Joseph Smith, her mother is very supportive of her listening to missionaries and she seems very intelligent.
Wednesday we taught a few investigators like a 21 year old girl who takes the lessons alone and the rest of her family just pretend like we aren't there. I went tracting for the first time and got two doors slammed in my face in a row. I did however get a potential investigator by talking to a man on his doorstep.
There's a man named Brother Bailey that we helped on Thursday and he's a woodworker that makes amazing things in his shed, he's been working with wood all his life and can make almost anything. He even made Cradles for most of his kids. We visited with a family who are honestly so inspiring and ready for the gospel its amazing. They see the good in it and have had the missionaries over many times. I feel like there will be bumps along the way for them and there will be trials but they are good people and believe in Christ and because of their friends and what they have seen LDS people do they are interested.
Friday was a Zone meeting and we received training from our Zone Leaders, Elder Seigmiller and Elder Swanson. They were very good and I feel like I learned a lot. We had our Ward Christmas party that night and it was Luau Hawaiian themed Christmas party. Some of our investigators were there and that was the best feeling in the world is seeing our investigators go to that. It was a lot of fun and there were quite a few Samoan and Tongan performers who used to work at the BYU Hawaii Polynesian Cultural Center so they even did a fire dance towards the end.
Saturday I went Caroling for my first time. Every single person home would listen to us then allow us to invite them to our Christmas musical devotional where most of these people would never have allowed us to speak with them. It's cool thinking how music can reach some in ways words never can. I love the ward here, on Sunday I felt so accepted and loved just being a missionary. The people around here may not want to listen to us but even the non-members respect us for representing Christ. A lot of people in Downtown Richmond call us they Jesus Boys. Apparently, gangs aren't allowed to touch missionaries out of fear from other gangs and God. There's a story around the mission about this elder that got his bike stolen and later that day a few gang members asked him why they weren't on bikes and he told them his got stolen. Two days later his bike was back in front of their door sitting on its stand. The people here are almost all believers in Christ and can hold some sort of respect for what we are doing and how we have given up our time.
This morning we played a game called Oompa Loompa. You play it in a gym with the hoops down with a football. After you catch the football you cant move more then three steps and you try to make passes down to score the football in the basket. It plays alot like rugby in the middle with short fast passes but then like basketball near the hoops where you can use your three steps to lay up and even dunk. A lot of the time it gets frantic in the middle so shooting is the best option but a football is not reliable when working with the backboard because of its odd shape. There is a turnover whenever the ball drops so its like playing Ultimate Frisbee with three steps after stopping in a basketball court with a football. It was actually alot of fun and we would play seven on seven. There were a lot of fake lay ups then passes to people near the hoop who were open and could put it away. Its non contact but you can try to hit the ball out of peoples hands while they're throwing or running. It was an odd game but actually alot of fun, I actually really want to play it again. It felt really good to get out and exercise. P-days are good to mentally recharge, do laundry and touch base with loved ones. Thanks for the letters and please keep writing. The letters are great!!!