Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Haul

I hope y'all had an awesome Christmas. I sure did! First off, missionary work.

"This past week has been pretty crazy. We prepped Ronni and Hunter for their baptismal interviews, which they both passed. It was truly awesome to have 2 baptisms on my last Sunday here. I love both of their families. One of our investigators had quite an ordeal this week. We've been teaching a man, Eric, who has been having some family problems. He stayed at home to move their possessions from their old house to their new one, and his wife and stepson took off to Georgia for Christmas to supposedly see her relatives. On Christmas Eve he got a call from a woman in Georgia whose husband was having an affair with Regina. He took it very hard. He should have known, she's cheated on him a couple of times before and she has refused to let him see her cell phone, but I still feel sorry for the poor guy. He seems to be mentally unstable, which explains some of his actions and his delusions that everything was OK. We saw him a lot over this week, we even helped him move all their stuff from the old house to the new one. He finally committed to come to church because it was my last Sunday here (for some reason he's very fond of me). We came out of PEC and he was right there in his normal street clothes. He told us he couldn't come to church because she was coming back (possibly with her new boyfriend), and it looked like he was going to get his stuff, go check into the hospital, and after that just take off and start a new life. I hope he can get the help he needs and experiences the healing power of the Atonement."

Poor guy. Like I said, he's a little unstable. But he has a good heart. I hope everything turns out OK for him and he finds the church wherever he ends up.

Getting off of that sad subject, the ward here is great!. The members of the ward love us and do so much for us. I do believe that what I will miss most about Harker's Island is not the ocean or the heritage (although those are pretty neat), but the members of the ward. We got a ton of Christmas presents from the members. I was pretty amazed. I don't ever recall buying the missionaries Christmas presents. We were definitely taken care of. I loved talking to you guys on the phone. It was definitely hard to get off on time, but it was worth it. It would have been easy to stay on for another 15 - 30 minutes. I still don't think I have an accent, ha ha. I'm not sure I would believe you if I hadn't heard all of you laugh at the same time. It was probably my best Christmas ever.

So guess what? I got to try raw oysters a couple days after I talked to y'all on the phone. They actually were pretty good, they tasted almost the same. The only difference was the texture was a little more gross. Yum.

Well, I've got a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I'm actually a little nervous to leave here, I know I'll miss the members. I'm just very glad I got to serve here. Dad, Sister N told me she's your friend on Facebook, ha ha. That's cool, she's an awesome lady and her husband (Bishop N) is the man.

I don't really know what else to say. I am looking forward to finding out what my new area is tomorrow. We have a transfer meeting in Raleigh (4 hours away, I am pretty much as out in the middle of nowhere as you can get) tomorrow at 1:30, where I will find out where I'm going. If you're lucky, you'll find out my next area before next Monday. If not, I'll tell you all about it next week. I love you all, and I'll talk to you then.

Elder Casper

Christmas oysters

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Looks like it will be a green Christmas!

Hello everybody,

Holy smokes it is officially December! Dang! Time is flying by. I can't believe that this transfer is already half over. I have been in Harker's Island for a right good while now. Everyone seems surprised that I've been here this long, but I'm not. I knew I would be here for at least 6 months. President Cotterell said he received inspiration that most missionaries will stay in their areas for 6 months or more, and not move around too much. It's definitely a good thing, it gives us a chance to learn our areas and know the members. I've definitely enjoyed my stay in Harker's Island and am looking forward to finishing at the very least the rest of this transfer strong.

Missionary work: "The work here is doing wonderful. This past week Alex was baptized. It's been great to be able to teach her. I think our visits have had a good influence on their whole family, especially her dad and her stepmom. We're going to do the best we can to help Danielle accept the restored gospel.

We are also teaching another young girl in that same family. Ronnie is Alex's first cousin, once removed. She is 12 years old, and she wants to get baptized. Her nonmember father wouldn't let her get baptized when she was 8, he told her that she needed to wait until she was 12. So now we are teaching her. She's a smart little girl, she understood the Restoration pretty well when we taught it to her.

I was disappointed that Hunter, Evan and Crystal weren't at church this week. I guess Almeta, Crystal's mom, wasn't feeling good so they ended up not making it. We will continue to help them strengthen their testimonies and make sure they can receive the blessings of the gospel into their lives.

Last of all, Tiffaney. Tiffaney is a really cool girl. She is 23 and is married to a recently activated member. I've talked about her a little before. She came up with a date to be baptized - Feb 13. We would certainly like her to be baptized sooner than that, but I'm relieved that she has a goal in mind. In any case, that day will be the latest that she will get baptized."

I also had a cool experience yesterday in Church. Susie called us up during the week and asked if we could give Mike the Aaronic Priesthood. We said yes, of course. So I performed that ordinance for the first time yesterday. Giving blessings to people is kind of nerve-wracking, but I feel blessed to be able to do it. I had the opportunity to give some blessings to some members in Havelock that I didn't know. They were actually recent converts, which I didn't know either. I gave the mom a blessing, and she was crying. I had no idea what her needs were, but the Spirit worked through me to help her. It was a cool experience.

Congratulations, Michael. You are very blessed to be able to have that experience of winning a state championship. You have seen the results of setting a worthy goal and working towards it. Now channel that same passion into things that bring more joy and are more lasting, like your family and your future service as a full-time mission. You will never regret it!

It sounds like you all are doing pretty well. Dad, I have probably gained about 20 lbs. It's stayed there for about the last 12 weeks. I'm definitely going to lose weight when I go to my next area. It really is difficult to avoid gaining weight here. The South is definitely not known for eating healthy, and this area is very Southern. We study for 2 hours every day, 1 for personal and 1 for companionship. We don't do a whole lot of tracting. We do some, but there isn't a whole lot to be done here. The weather has got fairly cold over the last couple days, in the 40s. Before that it was really warm, in the 60s.

Well, I hope you all are enjoying this Christmas season. Enjoy the snow. I would love it if we got snow, but it looks like we will probably have a green Christmas. Mom, thanks for forwarding Kyle and Andrew's letters. I love hearing about their missions and what's going on with them.

How are things going at home? How is the financial situation? Speaking of financial situation, I have been in some turmoil over the last week. Last Saturday my wallet turned up missing. It had my driver's license, my debit card, my missionary support card, my temple recommend, and a couple other things in it. I prayed and prayed, searched through some members' couches, asked the bishop if he had seen it, then finally found it this morning. It fell behind my bed. I'm really glad it has been found. How is your missionary work going?

How are the missionaries? Do they live in Connell and occasionally make it out to Basin City, or how does it work? I want you to do some sweet missionary work. Nothing would brighten my week more.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement you give me. I'm lucky to have grown up in such a good family. God is good! I love you all and look forward to hearing from you.

Elder Casper