Thanks for the great email! I'm glad everybody is doing well. Except for the Browns, of course. I was tracting on Monday night and the first door I knocked on were these die-hard Brown/ Indians/Cavaliers fans that moved here from Cleveland a few years ago. And they weren't interested in talking! They saw the name tags and got pretty uncomfortable. I did all I could to leave a good impression, though.
It sounds like the basketball season is going well so far. Hopefully that keeps up. From Jaxon's letter to Austin: I'm glad basketball is going well. That's awesome that you are getting some playing time too. Just know your role and do your best to fulfill it. If your role is to score 20 points a game, then do it. If your role is to be enthusiastic on the bench and help the starters, then do the very best you can. When people try to fulfill other roles, everything gets out of whack. You know what to do to help the team, so do it.
Hunting ducks on the river is always nice, especially when Roger comes along. I hope that he is doing okay.
I have some housekeeping stuff first. First, the time spent in the MTC is going form two weeks to three weeks starting in March. That means that my release date went from July 5th to July 12th. I know that someone somewhere was talking about a family reunion sometime around that time, so that is something to consider. Hopefully it doesn't mess anything up. Next I was walking in an apartment complex parking lot and I saw a blue Ford f-150 with 1T license plates in visitor's parking. I knocked on every single door in that building trying to find who it was, but I had no luck. So if you know anyone driving that pick up, I may have seen it in Vancouver. :-)
I forgot to mention that Elder Brown (from Ririe) is in the Oakhurst Ward in the Vancouver stake and that is the ward that Bishop Treasure was the bishop over when her was here. I talked to a lady (I think her name was Sister Adams) that said that Bishop Treasure was a huge factor in getting her husband baptized. So there are quite a few members out here that know the Treasures.
I have some transfer news! I am going back to being a zone leader. We have four zone leaders going home on Tuesday so President Taylor wanted to put Elder Jewkes and me back instead of calling four new ones. So the mission no longer has traveling assistants. My new companion is Elder Stevens from Fillmore, Utah. He has been out about the same amount of time that I have. What's cool is he is a Spanish missionary. This will be Elder Stevens' first transfer as a zone leader. I am so excited to be with him. We already have a pretty good relationship, because he was my district leader for a while. He is such a good missionary and I am excited to be with him. He is the only missionary that I have met that loves baseball as much as I do. He is super sporty so that will be fun. The fun part is we are going out to the coast! We will be serving in the Astoria ward in the Rainier Stake. Neither of us have served out there also we have some adjusting to do. I am super excited to head out there. It is the furthest you can get from the mission so it is pretty isolated. Most of the wards are boonies,but the Astoria ward has mostly city. It will just be Elder Stevens and I living in an apartment. A Spanish set also just got moved out there to start a group that will hopefully turn into a branch soon so that is another reason why Elder Stevens is out there with me. It will be interesting to be out there during the winter. A lot of people just have summer homes there. The weather will also be pretty nasty. I can't wait to head out there. I will leave on Wednesday.
Tomorrow is going to be a tough day for me. Three of my companions will go home along with some other missionaries that I was close to. Elder Livingston, Elder Aguirre, and Elder Martin have finished their missions. I also loved with Elder Brasher this last transfer. They all had a pretty big impact on me and I will miss them. Hopefully I can stay in contact with them.
So we were in Longview again on Saturday and in the evening, we went tot he Festival of Nativities. The Longview stake hosts it and combines with many other churches in the area to put it on. It was amazing. There were literally thousands of nativity sets in the cultural hall. THOUSANDS!!! There were also musical groups playing Christmas music in the chapel. The spirit was so strong as I saw the different variety of the nativities. I'm so thankful for the knowledge I have of the birth of our Savior. It must have been such a joyous time for that little group hat was with the Savior on his first night. They knew the destiny of that little baby. I am thankful for this time of year and the special Christmas spirit that is all around us. I hope we all remember a little more the Savior's birth, life and Atonement. I know I will. I love you all and I hope everybody has a great week!