So we went on eight exchanges this week! It was great. It was pretty draining and I loved it. First I went with Elder Peterson in Vancouver. Have I ever mentioned Elder Peterson? I'm sure that I have. He is from Heyburn, Idaho. He was serving in the Sunnyside ward long ago when I was there and we have become very good friends so it was great to be with him. I also exchanged with Elder Reinwand from Rexburg. I think he is the closest one to Driggs in the mission. He has been out for six weeks so it was great to be with him. He is serving in Vancouver, too.
We had another exchange in the Alameda ward in Portland. Then we did three exchanges in Gresham over the weekend. One of those I went with Elder Child who I lived with for a few months while I was serving in Crown Point. He is a is a good friend of mine. We wrapped up the week yesterday in the Cherry Park ward. The Cherry Park ward has been by far my favorite ward that I have served in (I counted it up and I have served in 11 different wards so far). We didn't go to church there, but we picked up the elders after their church and I saw a lot of people there that I grew close to. Remember Sister Hansen? Grandpa Reiley's cousin? I saw her and a few others. the elders there are both new to the area so I got stopped by a lot of people that I knew. The best part was I was able to talk to the B's ! I haven't seen them since Kate's baptism in March. We had a great visit with them. They are still solid for the most part. Steven is the first counselor in the elder's quorum presidency and Kate is a primary teacher. Kate received her patriarchal blessing and she gave a talk in stake conference. They have just been going through a little slump with the gospel, but they are on their way out of it. Any prayers for them would be great. I will send some pictures. I loved being in the Cherry Park ward again, even if it was only for a day.
I will be exchanging with Elder Brown in a couple of weeks! I am excited to make some more connections with him! (From Marilyn... Elder Brown is from Ririe)
Did everybody hear about the announcement of the change in church policy regarding gay and lesbian couples? That was probably partly a result from a couple that the missionaries in this mission are teaching. This lesbian couple wanted to be baptized and they have several children and their concern went to President Taylor. He asked the area 70 and he asked a general authority and the next thing we know, their situation is being the main topic of discussion among the quorum of the twelve. It is pretty ironic. People are leaving the church even though this announcement doesn't affect them at all. This couple is demonstrating amazing faith. They completely understand and they still love the church. Their ward is totally rallying around them and loving them. They know the Book of Mormon is true and that doesn't change for them. One of them posted something on Facebook that President Taylor read to us. One quote that stood out to me was, "This is a heart-breaker, but this is not a faith-breaker." If they understand that a prophet of God still speaks, then I should be able to understand that too.
Thanks for the updates! We had a bunch of exchanges in Gresham on Thursday so we stayed the night with the zone leaders and one of them is totally into sports. We stayed up late talking about all the sports updates so that was so good (I'm not sure how he gets them, but whatever). The Cavs should be looking pretty good this year. Hopefully they can just hold off for one more year! The browns seem to be the same Browns. I can't even remember who their coach is. He just got put in right before I lift. People talk about college football all the time here so I stay pretty updated there.
Nice job on the bucks! I'm glad that both Austin and Carson were able to harvest big bucks! Nice job Carson on the wrestling tournament. I'm so glad Shelley got pounded. How the heck does Sugar get so lucky all the time? I sure hope Emmett pounds them this week. Do they still run that stupid sniffer offense?
I wish Tanner the best of luck! He has no idea the happiness and joy that will come from experiences that will come on a mission. He will never regret it. I am so thankful that I decided to serve a mission. It has blessed me so much. I have met some incredible people here. I have Felt Heavenly Father help me in times of trial. I know of the enabling power of the Atonement. I am so thankful for President Taylor. He has changed my life. I couldn't have asked for a better mission president for me. I have learned something from every companion I have had. Each one demonstrated a lot of patience with me as I tried to overcome my weaknesses. A mission really is the best. Today is my 16 month mark. I have completed two-thirds of my mission. As much as I want to be back in Idaho and be with my family and friends, part of me will always long to be here. This is sacred ground to me because this is where I came to know my Savior. Everybody just remember that Jesus Christ lives and everything in your lives will be okay.
Thank you for the great email. I love your support. I hope everybody has a great week.