Wednesday, October 28, 2015

From Dallas to The Dalles, OR

Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
There is so much that has happened in the past week and a half. I am in my first area for the Washington Yakima Mission, and out of all the areas in the mission I was assigned to The Dalles, OR, How ironic? My first area isn't even in Washington. It is so beautiful here though, there is an actual fall. Leaves are changing color and the weather is beautiful and there are so many beautiful trees everywhere. It is amazing.
I had a plethora of adventures while traveling up from Mexico City. We left at 2:30 in the morning to make it to the airport and traveled all day and once we arrived in Yakima, it turned out that nobody in the mission office knew that we were coming that day. We were stranded for an hour or so at the Yakima Airport, which is the smallest airport I have ever seen. Luckily, we knew a phone number we could call and asked to borrow somebody's phone and got in contact with someone who informed President Lewis that he had 5 Elders waiting to be picked up at the Airport. Since then, we have been referred to as the Lost Tribe of Mexico.
My trainer's name is Elder Wilson. He is so awesome. He is from Huntington Beach California and he is the best trainer in the entire mission. His Mom is from Peru and his Spanish is so good. I am so glad to have him at my side, because the latinos here speak so fast and mumble a lot but he picks up all of it and is able to help me out.
I could spend this entire email describing the beauty of Yakima Washington and The Dalles, OR. There is so much good here and I love this place so much. Even more than the scenery, I love the people. The other day we met this woman named Widge, and she is one of my favorite people. She is an older woman and has 4 kids who have all left the nest and she is so eccentric and interesting. When we knocked on her door, we asked if there was any service we could provide for her. She informed us that Halloween is her favorite holiday and that she loves to decorate her yard as much as possible, and that she was just thinking that this year she wouldn't be able to decorate because she can't move all the boxes. We set up a time later in the week and went back and helped her decorate her lawn and she had the coolest stuff I have ever seen. She had a hand chair carved entirely out of wood from Thailand in her house, and so many Halloween decorations you wouldn't believe. She made us apple pie to thank us for helping her and invited us to come back any time.
Another woman that we have had the chance to serve is a lady named Reba. She lives in a retirement home and we get to visit her twice a week to listen to her tell us stories about her life so that we can write them down and make a little book for her about her life. It is so much fun, and she has some of the best stories. Some of my favorites were the stories of her Grandpa who was an explosives expert who lost his eye and had a glass eye that he would throw at her to freak her out. The story of how her husband proposed is also pretty amazing. His parents had died and he was feeling pretty depressed, so she decided to invite him to her cousin's wedding. They had been dating for a while, and she figured that a celebration of happiness would cheer him up. His response was, "I'll go to a wedding... If you're the bride!" They were married a couple months later.
The work out here is so much harder than everything back in Mexico City. However, the little victories make all the difference. There's a man named Ernesto that we are teaching and he has two little boys, Hernan and Abraham. He is such an awesome guy, and his kids are a blast. Hernan keeps all of the commitments that we leave with them, and Ernesto follows as well. Abraham is such a little ball of energy, and loves to run around all the time. Yesterday at church he just ran up to me and hugged my legs. There is no better feeling than knowing that you are making a difference in somebody's life.
I love this work so much! It is so hard, but the results make it so worth it. I have found that the key to success out here is completely devoting yourself to whatever you are doing. No holding back. All engines on. When you devote yourself entirely to a task, whatever that may be, you find yourself loving whatever it is, no matter what might be going on. I am reminded of a quote by one of my heroes, Abraham Lincoln. "Whatever you are, be a good one."
I love you all so much and I hope that you can feel my love for you all the way from out here in The Dalles!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder King
P.S. For the pictures, I attached 3 from our service we did with Widge. The first one is me with my companion, Elder Wilson (who is wearing a mask) just goofin' around while putting up decorations. The next is of my height being utilized to hang a giant spider in a tree. You can see Widge helping me out and my companion dressed as some ca$h money. I plan on getting a camera today so I should have more pictures for next week!

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