I'm sure you all have heard of the "FrankenStorm" that is going to be hitting New York later today/tomorrow, right? That should be very interesting. People in Owego are kinda skittish because of the "Flood of 2011" that nearly wiped the town out last year, so most of the stores are cleared out (everyone bought everything) and the gas stations have had a pretty constant flow of customers for the past 3 days. We went and got a bunch of water, bread, and peanut butter last week, so we'll make it through the storm. It may cause me to no longer love peanut butter sandwiches, which would be a bummer, but it'll all work out.
I used to think that the 30 minute drive to Vernal was SOOO long. But I'm getting a lot more used to being on the road pretty often. Here in our area we travel about 1,200 miles a month. That's a lot for a missionary. My companion does not drive, so I am already the lead driver! It's been kinda nice though, because I was afraid I'd forget how to drive if I went too long without getting to drive anywhere. However, the mission has said that the first day that we get snow here in New York, no missionaries can drive anywhere. Apparently the 1st day of snow is normally has a pretty high crash percentage rate? That is something we'll be sure to do in order to stay safe.
It seems like almost all of the people who will actually talk to us throw in an "oh, by the way, I'm voting for Mitt Romney" at the end of our conversations.. Haha! In Delhi (my companion's first area) everybody thought that the missionaries were actually just campaign workers for Mitt Romney. Pretty funny! It will be really interesting to see what happens here in the next month. Should be exciting!
Let me tell you all a little bit more about my companion! He is from American Samoa, and has been a convert to the church since 2008. He didn't like Mormons very much when he was growing up, but his dad started meeting with the missionaries. After overhearing a lot of what they were talking about and noticing the change happening to his dad, he decided to start listening as well. One thing leads to another, and he ended up getting baptized about 7 months later! It's funny... The MTC made it seem like everyone would be ready to get baptized within 6 weeks of teaching them.. But it often takes quite a bit longer than that. We all just need to have some patience! He is super fun to be a companion with. He didn't speak much English before his mission, but it's getting pretty good now. However, there have been a few lessons that we've left and his response has been- "Holy Moly.. I didn't understand anything that they were saying in there!" He LOVES rice and chicken.. He eats that once or twice a day. And he snores like a freight train! But luckily, I have earplugs. Haha! He's a good teacher and is doing a great job. He's been out on his mission for about 10 months now. His first area was downtown Albany.. He got there on December 21st and was FREEZING! (He's already getting super cold) His second area was Delhi (something like that) and he served there until about a month ago, when he went to Elmira for a week, then the beautiful Owego! We're getting along really well and having some good times serving together.
The missionary work is going good here! We had a very busy week and were running all over the place trying to see everyone that we haven't been able to for the last month or so.. Elder Gasetoto still hasn't met about half of our investigators. Depending on the storm this week, we could have another crazy busy week!
One thing that I have really come to appreciate already is having members go out and work with the missionaries. We have a lot of investigators who are women, and we can't go in their house without another male! Plus, it's sometimes just really nice to have a 3rd person to help with teaching. We went teaching with a ward member yesterday and he was able to add some very good insights and help us with a few of our investigators. Missionaries really appreciate help teaching, eating dinner with families, and rides to appointments. Just something to keep in mind. ;)
If you were wondering about the picture of me on a slide in someone's apartment, that is a slide that is in our Landlord's apartment that used to go from an upper loft to his bed, but then when he moved his bed is still just sitting there, and it's kinda a mission legend. The last day Elder Baird and I were here, Elder Baird really wanted to get a picture on it.. So we ran into one of our Landlord's friends, asked him about it, and he took us up and let us get a picture. It was super funny!
Missionary life is great! I love the feeling of the Spirit that is always present in missionary work and am having a great time serving the Lord. I'm very excited for my friends who are in the MTC or will be soon. The mission is sweet! My advice? Work hard, pray always, and keep a good journal. :)
Love you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Mitch Hussey