Well it was great to hear from you again. I did get the package that you sent, very good choices. The socks and the beef jerky (can't be found here) were especially nice, I have also enjoyed making complex sentences. In answer to your question mom we always have cold showers, our house has no way of getting hot water unless we personally heat the water on a stove and dump it ourselves haha but it is all good. Sounds like you had an interesting conference this week dad. Did they alter the dna of the mouse after it was born or before? If it was after then someone could start a new form of tattoo where the genes are modified and then the person gets glowy tattoos.
Interesting things to note from this week: Zone leader council, Zone Conference, and Branch Conference.
Zone Leader Council was splendid. It was in Kingston and Elder Coleman of the 70 came. They also flew Elder Sizemore and his companion in from the Bahamas for it. So that was awesome to see him again! He had also brought with him a new rubiks cube that someone had given him that he didn't want to even try solving (Sudoku cube) so he gave it to me and I have enjoyed the challenge. Elder Coleman gave some really good instruction and overall it was a very good meeting. I am glad I got to attend.
Zone Conference was on Friday and it was also very good. The very best part was the assistants had made a video of recent convert testimonies that they showed. In the video they had interviewed Ignatius Dale. It was awesome to hear his testimony and his conversion story. I am going to try and get a copy of the video from the assistants. The instruction at Zone conference was nice. They had a power point with a bunch of graphs on it that they were explaining and showing to all of us - Elder Stevens and I made all the graphs so it was fun to see everything that I had done being put to good use. Zone Conference was good, don't really have much more to say about that.
Branch conference was yesterday. It was really good, very full. We had nearly 40 people at church! Way more than the 15 from last week. So Pres. Graff was there and he was doing some reorganization of the branch presidency. I have been assigned (as a missionary you don't get called) to serve as 2nd councilor in the Branch Presidency. That will be interesting. Between Zone leader, 2nd Councilor and regular missionary I am plenty busy. I don't know how long I will be in Santa Cruz but in the few weeks I am part of the branch presidency pres. Graff wants every member to have a calling (many currently don't), and wants all the records and files updated and current and functioning properly. Our Branch president is an excellent man but is very busy so many things like record keeping haven't been happening so well. I am excited to work with the branch even more now.
That is nice that you got a letter from Sister Cheesman! The Cheesmans are possibly the thing I miss most about the office, they had gotten to the office shortly before I did so in the 7 months I was there we had to figure out how to do everything in the office and became good friends with both of them.
We have begun to have success finding people. Yesterday night we found a lot of good potential men. I don't know if I already mentioned this, but we more or less only teach men. The branch desperately needs priesthood holders so that is what we are looking for. Unless we find families we don't really have to opportunity to teach children or women. We have met a lot of very stubborn men but we are finally seeing success. I am hopeful for this upcoming week and look forward to what will be accomplished.
We didn't have any water one day and as such it is hard to cook. I thought about it and created a decent meal. I took two slices of bread, a package of ramen, and a plate. Put the bread on the plate, and sandwiched a block of ramen with the seasoning on it between the bread. Sort of like a dry ramen sandwich. There aren't really any members in Santa Cruz that feed the missionaries so we are mostly just left to ourselves in preparing our food. Santa Cruz also only has 2 fast food places so that narrows the choices even more haha. Pres. Graff was explaining to us how to make tuna noodle casserole and so maybe I will try that.
Quick thing I just remembered about zone conference. Sister Graff wasn't feeling well so she stayed home. President Graff did her part for her. She normally goes through health issues and nutritional stuff. It was moderately amusing to have Pres. Graff doing it instead, he didn't really have instructions from his wife, it was a lot of just what came to his head - like tuna noodle casserole, or microwaved potatoes. Haha
A lot of missions have gotten their new email address/system. And finally our mission is switching! Next week I am supposed to set up my new email on the new system. Hopefully it is better. Well that is about it for that. For finding new investigators we have been attempting to think of creative ways. Aside from the standard we have considered jumping in front of cars so that while one of us is lying on the ground injured from the crash the other one is teaching the driver who has no where else to go. Another idea we have thought of would be to run taxi with our car and teach everyone that needs ride, that way they have to way to run away! It is always amusing to see the sort of excuses we get from people as to why they can't listen to us. The most common is that they just got home and so they are tired (???) pretty lame excuse. I normally attempt in such situations explaining how it was perfect timing that we showed up right as they got home.
Well I had intended on sending some pictures today - but as I am sitting here trying to do it the computer won't use USB. So that is a problem. I guess I got a broken computer, slightly unfortunate. Oh well, I will just have to attach them next week. I don't think I would ever want to be dependable upon computer labs and internet cafes for my computer usage. To many issues with everything. Time is starting to run short. Things are going well. Santa Cruz looks like it has a bright future in store for it. I look forward to next weeks emails and hope that school/work is great this week. I love you all!
Elder Kent Talbert