Mom I AM getting your emails I hope you are getting mine! Did you get the one about Seminary? I'm going to attempt to answer all your questions:
1.) I am getting emails, about two a week or so.
2.) I am feeling good.
3.) I'm not homesick in a bad way, it's more like I'm thinking about my family more and appreciating them more, not missing them more.
4.) Twosome, instead of a tripanionship: I like it more because people can focus easier on listening to two people instead of three, but it's also harder because you're around only one other person for most of the day not two people to talk to the other when one is irking you haha. Life lessons being learned every day...
7.) We're always able to keep busy, even if it means tracting for a couple hours in a day.
8.) Best thing to do as member missionaries? Find the people you love most without the gospel, and set up a time to meet with the missionaries with your friends. People can give referrals to the missionaries but we've concluded that without involvement of the members who referred the referral in the first place, it's pretty much as effective as tracting another house. Setting up an activity or a dinner with the referral and the missionaries is a lot more effective because they have the comfort of their friends along the way, does that make sense? We had a great stake Priesthood meeting yesterday all about member missionary work, and it was really effective. Anyone who sincerely listens to the discussions and reads the Book of Mormon won't be offended about you inviting them to look into the gospel in the first place, because it will only make them happier. The worldwide mission broadcast that you went to right after I got set apart as a missionary is really effective too, and we're trying to get our bishop to show it to the whole ward at some point.
9.) The missionaries can really make a difference as far as how much the ward helps in missionary work. Sometimes, and I think this ward is one of those times, if you ask them and push them to help, they will! The ward has turned out to be so strong in helping us fellowship, welcome, and teach investigators. There are great people that are willing to take the time out of the week to not only give us rides and accompany us to lessons, but to do missionary work on their own and use us in their personal efforts. The job of missionaries is to assist the ward in their missionary efforts. This is something I never realized until I got on my mission. I can't wait to get involved with missionaries when I get home, too, because it really makes all the difference. Don't leave the elders and/or sisters hangin! Honestly when I was at the Red Bridge ward I don't remember seeing very many investigators at church ever, and no more than one or two at a time, and the missionaries never introduced them to me either (that sometimes is not their job I should have found them, but anyway). At my ward now the Buffalo Ward, granted there are 10 missionaries haha but their are probably 10-12 or more investigators at church every week. It's great, and we make sure to introduce them to a ton of people and make them feel welcome. I think Red Bridge Ward area may be a tough area, but it can be done!
10.) I'm ok for now on gloves and coat. It hasn't been cold enough for a coat yet, but I am guaranteed to be here another 6 weeks because president said you do stay until the end of the transfer even if the visa comes before that. Elder Allen said he has another coat also. President did however tell me that I need to get a satchel instead of a backpack. He gave me six weeks to get one. Sooooo could you maybe order me one with my checking and send it to me? I'm not picky but he said it's mandatory now:( thanks.
11.) I am ok with waiting right now. President made me think that all visa waiters are inherently dying to leave haha which I don't think is true but he puts a firm emphasis on the fact that this is your mission right now, which is true. But he's trying to get rid of a bunch of trios. It is hard to focus though when more visa waiters are coming in and I just talked to a kid going to Manaus who got here last week, who was in my building at BYU so that made me excited to go again...don't tell anyone...
12.) I DID get my DL, immunization card, debit card, etdc thank you so much! It came a while ago sorry for not mentioning it, but I appreciate you picking up for the mistakes I make! What else is new right? Hopefully a lot when I get home haha I'll work on my personal responsibility...
I think that's all the questions. Thanks for the letters Dad they're great and you should be getting one soon also. What's aunt Kitty and Uncle Richard's address? I'll shoot them a letter also. Thanks gramps and Gara for their letters too! And everyone else!
Elder Jake Hirschi