My great companion, Elder Knighton, just killed a rather large spider that surprised me as I was emailing. I am grateful for his service.
Fires are still burning here and apparently the smoke has been spread abroad. We had two days in a row where the smoke seemed to have completely left the city. I was looking forward to going out for a run on the third day, but upon waking up, I could clearly see that I could not clearly see the hills just outside of town, so that plan was foiled.
In other news....I am tired. Really really tired.
It may be because of the smoke in the air and not getting enough oxygen to my brain, but perhaps due to other viable reasons.
We had transfers this past Monday. Due to the fires (notice a theme here?) the Assistants to the President decided not to risk traveling up to Baker City and then get trapped if the freeway closed. So, we organized a ride with a gracious member of the ward who got us down to Ontario and back no problem. We had to wake up early for that.
On Wednesday, We awoke nice and early for a nice and long drive down to Caldwell for a leadership meeting where our awesome mission president, President Cannon, gave us a training that we packed up in our brains the best we could and then spent the next day preparing for a three-hour meeting on Friday morning with the entire zone of missionaries. We are in the La Grande Zone, which covers about half the area of the mission and has 22 missionaries within it. Some of them drove a few hours to get to the meeting. The John Day Elders took four hours to get there because the fires (surprised?) forced them to travel along some back country roads.
One hour into the meeting, and it was already one of the most spiritually instructive meetings I have attended on my mission. We focused on our purpose as missionaries and how coming to a greater understanding of the Atonement and the covenant of baptism will enable us to become more of the missionaries that we can and need to be for the people within the mission. This vision of the work and our calling settled into my heart more fully.
After the meeting, we prepared for a stake youth activity that many of the missionaries were organizing. The activity was titled "Youth Caribbean Getaway" and had all the youth start in a "plane" where they received instruction on the flight, had in-flight videos, snacks, and then....CRASH! Everyone died. In groups, everyone then walked throughout the church to visit rooms set up to represent the different parts of the Plan of Salvation. They started in the spirit world where they learned about how everyone's spirits continue to live after their body dies and those who have not learned about the Gospel have the opportunity there. Then they visited the telestial kingdom, which Elder Knighton and I had the privilege of overseeing. In planning for what the youth would experience in the room we had three adult youth leaders play the parts of people who were "in the telestial kingdom" One of them pretended to be a white collar crime guy who was incredibly selfish, a woman who just loves to create contention and tear families apart, and another guy who had lots of addictions and just chose to never change. Though the characters don't necessarily reflect the kinds of people who will actually go to the telestial kingdom (since only God can judge us), it helped everyone see that choosing and wanting to do good and change to become better was important. It was a super fun activity to put on and I was invited to give the closing remarks, in which I joked that I was looking forward to having all the hairs on my head back.
We got back pretty late that night and I made a huge mistake and had a half Mountain Dew-half lemonade. I didn't get that much sleep that night and E. Knighton argues that the caffeine is still driving me right now. haha!
I am very grateful for Jesus Christ, because it is through Him and only Him that we are all able to change and make it back to our Heavenly Father and live forever with our families!
I hope you each have a wonderful week!