[S4E4] Thanksgiving!!

10: Thanksgiving was fun! Had enough food, but not enough to feel bad about eating We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Coleman family, and their cousins and such. It was plenty of fun, and there were plenty of people, and more importantly, plenty of food. I would just like to say, that Stuffing is the best thanksgiving food there is. Can’t change my mind.

9: We got a Christmas Tree!! Jim (a less active that we’ve been working with twice a week)went out to go cut down some Christmas tree, and brought us a little one! It’s small and great, we just need to get some more decorations, like a star for the top.

8: Jim & Darla came to church! So the Jim mentioned above, and his wife came to church! They loved it. I don’t know why they won’t come otherwise. They were so happy, even though they were only there for the first hour. Nobody ever regrets coming to church.

7: Peter (Emily’s son) got a part in the primary program! It’s great to see how quickly the ward has involved the whole family.

6: We won cleanest apartment, and are going to Yogurt hut later today! So out of the whole zone, we have the cleanest apartment! So our reward is that we get to go to yogurt hut for FREE!

5: We chopped wood for the Beck’s! Another less-active family who we visit pretty frequently needed some wood chopped, and so we came over and chopped a cord of wood. (Which is a lot) It would have taken much longer if we were using just a regular axe, but we were using a maul, which is heavier. It makes you feel so powerful! THE WOOD JUST SPLITS BENEATH THE POWER OF YOUR SWING!! HAHAHAHHA!!!

4: Our ward mission leader finally came back! It’s hard to explain the difference that a ward mission leader makes, but pretty much, now we have a solid person who we can depend upon to give us info about members we can visit at night. If that didn’t make any sense, that means we are on the same page.

3: Packages and Pokemon Cards! So my loving mother sent me a thanksgiving(?) package! It included things such as: My Pokemon cards, some protein bars, and to counter out those healthy protein bars, some candy, some leaves and rocks (?) a fantastic meal plan that I’ll put into practice January (Because the month of December lends itself to all sorts of unhealthy foods, and I have another reason to do new years resolutions!) and finally, a cute little lego minecraft cow.

2: Settlers week Because our zone is totally obsessed with Settlers, the zone leaders have decided to make missionary work a game! (I really don’t like this facet of missionary culture, but that’s beside the point.) However the game that the Zone leaders came up with puts the outlying areas, such as Merlin, and Cave Junction at a huge disadvantage. That’s okay, as long as everyone else is having fun, that’s what matters.

1: Giving talks is fun! We got to give talks in sacrament meeting! I gave a talk on thankfulness, using Dan 6:9-10, and a talk that (Then Elder) President Nelson gave; ‘Thanks be to God.’ It went over really well, and I’d show my notes, but I left them at the apartment.

Overall, this week went by really well, and I am getting excited for the holidays! People should be more willing to listen to a message of Jesus Christ, and hopefully not shoot us. (Is a big possibility in some places of Merlin.)

Merry Christmas! Elder Berky

[S4E4] Anyone can cook!

So, after our first week of no member dinners, I have decided that the statement from Ratatouille is true! Anyone can cook, you just need the ingredients, and the recipes!

10: I greatly underestimated the size of our only mixing bowl. So I wanted to make crepes, partially because I love crepes, and partially because we had a ton of milk. However, our mixing bowl is not very big, and the recipe called for a ton milk and eggs. So I made a bit of a mess. But the Crepes were good, and I’ve been re-heating them for breakfast all week. 

9: We helped rake this ladies’ yard, and saw a small miracle! We spent a couple hours raking this older lady’s yard. She was very appreciative, and things went very smoothly. We could tell she was very lonely because she was talking the whole time. As we were finishing up, she was getting worried about where she would put the bags of leaves (there were plenty) when all of a sudden, her neighbor pulled up and asked what we were going to do with those bags. Turns out that he wanted some for his compost pile! Tender mercy!

8: Scone conference! We were late for Zone conference, because Elders Sant, Haws, Ethington (We were carpooling) and I totally forgot what time it was at. So we showed up about 30 minutes late. But I did get plenty of great notes, and we made it in time for a lecture/talk on budgeting. 

7: Budgeting is fun! So, taking the things that we learned at zone conference, we put together a budget, and I have to say, Budgeting is actually rather fun! It also feels really good, knowing that I know where my money is going, and that I can track it. So I got to follow a budget at the store today, only $24. As I was picking up food, I was punching the prices into my phone, and when I came up with $23.94 I was done! Felt very good, and I didn’t have to worry about overspending!

6: I don’t know how to spell Recipes, but I sure do have some of them now! After visiting a member’s home, and letting them know that we don’t really have any recipes, they gave us a couple cook books to copy down, so we took advantage of that. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be consulting those, planning out dinners, and buying the correct ingredients! 

5: Moving a waterbed! (Yeah, those still exist!) So while we were out shopping, we got a call from some members, who needed help moving a waterbed. After asking them what year they were living in we headed over. MAN, WATERBEDS ARE HEAVY!! We got it out of the house on a heavy-duty dolly, rolled it onto his deck, then the member got his tractor, picked up the dolly and all, to move it. We could hear the tractor straining under the weight of this deflated waterbed. 

4: Emily is going to be baptized! After meeting with her for only the second time, we extended an invitation to be baptized and Emily said yes! She’s going to be baptized on the 5th of January, and hopefully her 2 kids too! She already knows plenty of people in the ward, and has really connected with a couple! 

3: I can sew my pants back together! So just by natural wear and tear, a pair of my pants tore down the side, just under the pocket. So I stole Elder Sant’s sewing kit (I need to buy one, but forgot to) and repaired my pants. They don’t look as good as new, but that’s okay, the stitch looks really tight, and no one looks right above my pocket anyways.

2: A less active was going to come to church but didn’t 🙁 We have been working with this fantastic older couple, Jim and Darla, who don’t come to church for various reasons. We made a whole plan and everything for them to come, but only Jim came! Darla was sick, so she couldn’t come. So sad.

1: We got a griddle! After cooking on a stupid little hot plate, with a crappy tiny, aluminum frying pan. So now we are cooking on a glorious, giant griddle! HAHAHAHA! We might not have an oven, or any shelving, but we have got a griddle. I’m happy with what I’ve been given.Speaking of which, that is the spiritual thought I want to end with. I know, it’s kind of cliché because it’s thanksgiving week, but I want to share a scripture to go along with the feeling of thanks. 

1 Nephi 2:6-7 After Journeying for 3 days, on foot, the equivalent distance of Saint George to Provo, what is the first thing that Lehi does? Builds an altar of stones, then gives thanks to God for saving him from destruction. Be like Lehi, find time to be grateful, show your appreciation to God.

Love you all, Elder Berky

Didn’t do their research

Ads that appeared on Dave’s phone. Clearly they didn’t do any research on the “Mormon” church, either what our churches look like or what our clergy are called:

Phone ad with a “Mormon priest” – not quite
Beautiful church, just not a typical “Mormon” church

[S4E3] Dinner is dead!

I’m going to try a new system of writing weeklies, which is to do a 1 sentence summary of the number, then go into further detail. Starting off the bat is…

#10: No more member dinners! So, the area authority came and met with all the mission presidents in the west coast, and talked about how he made a change that drastically increased the rate of baptisms. That change being No More Member dinners. The reasoning behind that is; the times that we usually are eating dinner, 5-7 is also the time that everyone else is home, eating dinner as well. So instead of chilling with members, talking about their dogs or whatever, we will be finding people while they are home. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, but I’m trust the Lord and his servants.

#9: Going to be making our own dinners now! So our new dinner plans are to start at 4-5, and after that go out and start finding! We are going to need some recipes, I think they are going to get traded around the mission like Pokemon cards. This’ll be good, I can learn how to cook a little better, and find out what I like, what is easy to make, and most importantly, what produces the least dishes!! My only concern with cooking however, is that we have no oven, or counter-space, or real shelving, or cabinets. I can show you our entire kitchen situation in 2 pictures (see below) It’ll be a hard adjustment, but a good one, if anything it’ll be a good learning experience for being in a crappy apartment for college, or something else like that that will surely come along in life.

#8: We met a lady in the Fred Meyer parking lot who needed a prayer, that was really cool We were walking back to the car after buying our food, and this lady pulled up in her mini-van, and asked us if we were missionaries. We said yes, and asked what we could do for her. Her family was going through plenty of hard times, and she really needed a prayer. So we prayed with her, while she was still sitting in her car, and we were holding bags of groceries. I hope she’s doing well.

#7: Interviews! (I could be training!) During interviews, President Orton implied that I could be training sometime soon. I really hope I do get to train, but I really can’t do it in Merlin. This place is just waaay to hard to train somebody in. It’s hard just getting up in the morning, knowing that we can’t just go out and randomly tract a street. This area needs a little bit more planning, and planning we have done. Elder Sant and I created a system of rating streets based off how long they are, how many gated driveways it has, how many houses are on it, etc. So we are going to be spending some time each day just going around, and rating the streets, because information begats Revelation. (We are writing all this info down in a binder for the next elders to benefit from)

#6: Zone Conference is this week Zone conference is this week, (right before Thanksgiving!) and I hope that we are going to find out more information about the whole dinner change.

#5: Exchanges with Cave Junction We had exchanges with Cave Junction, which was fun, I got to hang out with Elder Haws, and he got a break from his companion, who is always going 100% Elder Haws and I talked a lot about music, Dungeons & Dragons, and video games while we were driving in between contacts.

#4: Winter is here, and it hates us So, winter has come, and we can tell. Because our apartment is really a retro-fitted garage, we have no real form of central heating, or any heating at all, besides a space heater that we didn’t realize we had until last night. What doesn’t help is that our water heater doesn’t heat up the water fast enough for us to take hot showers, so we have no real relief besides pajama pants, and sweatshirts. BRRRRR

#3: Everyone is playing Settlers of Catan For some reason, that is the game that the whole Grants Pass zone just adores! I can understand, it’s a fun game, and I am going to be playing in a minute as soon as I’m finished with my emails! (Development cards are the best)

#2: Emily is a chosen one! Emily is a mother of 4 who had met with missionaries in the past, but was pressured out of it by her mother who wished that she would stay Catholic. (Even though Emily’s mom isn’t religious at all!) We met with her in a younger families home, while their kids played. We taught her the restoration, and she really liked it! It all made sense to her, and answered her question of “Where are all the prophets that were in the Old Testament? Why would God take them away?” So that was awesome!! She came to church and even though we were talking about some weird things in Gospel Principals (How we can become like our Heavenly Father, this is a Missionaries NIGHTMARE! Everyone takes this the wrong way, and thinks we’re nuts) Emily loved coming to church, and so did her kids! We have another lesson with her on Tuesday, and we can’t wait!

#1: We Painted a member’s house for service, and there was no accidents! Clothes are clean! That’s the reason that I sent this email so late, we were painting a member’s home Opal Silk. However, nobody really got any paint on their clothes, and it came out really well, even though we had to bail a little early to go shopping and do emails and stuff.

I’d like to do a really in-depth scripture/spiritual thought, but I really want to play Settlers, so I.O.U; one in-depth scripture though, instead, how about this? Ponder Daniel 3, and how it can play a role in your week until I can give a better scripture thought.I love you all! The work is hard, and changing, but this life was never meant to be easy, it was meant to be hard. From hard things we grow the most.

-Elder Berky

p.s. I just heard about Stan Lee. RIP, the world just lost a fantastic man, and a brilliant, creative mind. Excelsior!

[S4E2] Welcome to the Lord’s flock

So on Saturday, the Hall family was baptized into Christ’s restored church. That was the biggest thing that I could ever write. That night, in my journal (yes, I am keeping a journal Mom) I wrote that If they were the only baptisms I had on my mission, I’d be okay with that. But by saying that, I feel like I have much more to do. So there are no brakes on the mission train!!! Choo CHoo!!

8: Halloween was pretty fun, but we couldn’t go out and trick-or-treat. (Which sucked cause we had the most perfect costumes!!) But there was a ward party that we could go to, and a chili cook-off. I got to be a judge of the cook-off! Which went really well, the other judge and I couldn’t figure out who won, until we had a sister come in with her pot of chili asking if she was too late. She wasn’t, and she won. It was incredible chili, and that was a really easy decision. And it solved our tie problem!

7: Also on Halloween, we found this GIANT spider in our room, and so we trapped it in an empty jar, and then I guess it suffocated. It’s dead as dirt now.

6: We helped the Gills rake their yard, and that took several hours, the whole time sis Gill was hyping up this Spicy Italian sandwich from a local place, and she was constantly asking how okay we were with spicy-ness. So I was expecting this sandwich to be like death on a bun, but it was about as spicy as carrot. I was sorely disappointed.

5: We had to wash the car today, which is usually fun, but it was cloudy as an English Gothic novel, so that took all the fun out of it. 

4: WE were heading to dinner, and for some reason, I got the wrong address. So we pulled up to this random dude’s house. And I thought that it was dinner, keep that in mind. So this younger dude comes out, and I was thinking that he might be dinner’s son or something, he was super friendly, but as we got to talking I started realizing that THIS ISN’T DINNER and so about 20 minutes later, we told him that we had to go, and told dinner why we were late, and they thought it was really cool.

3: Another dinner story, we went to a sushi conveyor place! And yes Dad, I did ask how pricing worked. (It was a buffet, so we had no pricing) But unfortunately the sushi wasn’t that good. 

2: A member that we were having dinner with decided to show us their archery range, even though we were on a time crunch. It was pretty cool, but the bow that I was handed had a 60-lbs draw, which was very hard to draw. But I did it, and was fairly accurate. But we were still almost late for the baptism.

1: First off, we had to get a ride bc the baptism was all the way in Central Point (about 40 minutes away) so that was fun figuring that out the night before. (Thank you the Colemans) We showed up just in time, and I had to get changed really fast. I had to use the white pants that were there, because I forgot to bring my ones from home (oops) so I was holding them up slightly the whole night. But other than that, the baptism went very smoothly. The spirit there was so strong, everyone was feeling it so strongly. I legit couldn’t stop smiling, everything was so great. But I did break my shoelace while changing back into my regular clothes. Ooops, guess I’ll have to buy a new one at Wal-mart or something.

I love you all, and want you to know that Christ wants to be a part of your personal lives, all you got to do is let him in. 

Elder Berky

P.S. I drew this picture during weekly planning. I hate weekly planning so much. I get legit delirious.