|Welcome to the Bible Belt!|
While y'all are baking in the dry Utah heat, It's summertime here in Eastern Kentucky as well. You can tell by the frizziness of my hair and how I have a faint feeling like I might be underwater every time I walk out the door. But I love it :) There's nowhere else in the world
I would rather be. I wished so dang hard for an area just like this to spend my summer, and here I am! Not only in the perfect area, but with the best companion I could ask for!
This week, we were running low on miles . . . so we walked. A ton. It made me realize what a spoiled missionary I am having not only a car, but a TRUCK! It was also REALLY rainy this week . . . we still walked. By the end of Tuesday we were jumping in puddles because our shoes were already soaked through anyway. We also made up a real fun game to keep us entertained while we walk. It's called "Name that Roadkill!" You have to guess what kind of animal is dead on the road, and if you get it wrong . . . you have to eat it. #WelcomeToTheWVCM
Since we've had to walk, we've done A TON of tracting this week. Two years ago I would have never guessed that I would be walking the streets of Pikeville, Kentucky and knocking on peoples’ doors telling them about the gospel, and the real weird part about it is . . . I
actually think it's pretty fun. But anyway, with all the tracting, we've found some pretty cool people! I know I shouldn't play favorites, but I do have a favorite person we met this week. His name is W------. He came out of his door to talk to us even before we knocked. We introduced the Book of Mormon to him and he was instantly captivated. We gave him a quick little restoration lesson and invited him to church and what not and invited him to read the Book of Mormon. His reply caught me off guard. He said, "Well, I don't read, but I have a buddy who will read it with me." The same feelings that hit me when I met the man at the food drive flooded back to me. As if I didn't already love W------- enough from his sweetness and gratitude, (he wouldn't stop thanking us for the Book of Mormon we gave him; I've never had anyone be that grateful) my love for the man deepened exponentially. I guess it just comes from the stories that people told me back home, people who had served in the WVCM, about having the chance to read the Book of Mormon with people who couldn't do it themselves, and from the stories of Sister Hunt from Ashland, telling about the man who taught her to truly love as she taught him and read to him the Book of Mormon. There's something about these humble Kentucky people that just.... they just get to me. Something about their soul, and my soul, something is the same, or maybe we just knew each other. I don't know exactly what it is, but I DO know that I'm supposed to be here with them, and that not only was I sent here for them, but they were sent here for me.
This week we also had a really great Zone Meeting in Paintsville, Kentucky. Our Zone Leaders, Elder Skidmore, from Idaho, and Elder Bowvie, from Kaysville, did a great job with that.
Saturday we finally got to see the W-------s family! It feels like a week without church or something when we don't get to see them for a week! The great news about that visit, is that J----- is now on date to be baptized on July 12th!!!! There's still an obstacle to overcome, but the ball is really rolling now! It's so exciting to see things falling into place! It just felt so good to see them this week. Their house feels in some ways like T---- and S----'s did in Lexington. You can't help but build family around you out here. People have such an incredible capacity to love. I've felt it so intensely on my mission. People are so good at loving, and we all have such an internal desire to love and be loved, and form those family bonds, whether blood
related or not.
The last cool thing that I wanted to mention, was the chance we had to go to M-------- S-----'s graduation. M------- was baptized in October last year, when I first got to the mission. We take her out to lessons with us a lot and she is such a light. I'm not sure I've talked much about her, but she's kind of a huge part of our lives here in Pikeville. She invited us to her graduation on Sunday, and we were able to go and support her. It was weird to sit in that graduation. I had weird flashbacks of my own graduation and it was so interesting to be in a graduation where I was on the other side of the stage. It kind of made me realize how old I am, and how far I've come. Elder Prince and Elder Quick also came to support her, and it was funny to stand next to Elder Prince, from Cardston, Canada, and realize that he doesn't know the Pledge of Allegiance, and have him be all confused when they play the pomp and circumstance song when the graduates walk in.
It's been a great week, and I'm in such a great place. I love and miss you all to pieces.
|Hiking in Paintsville with Elders Banta and Olson|