I'm Finally here!!
What a journey it has been. Last Tuesday we woke up at three so we could finish getting everything together and be ready to leave the travel office at 4 in the morning. As we drove away from the MTC I felt that I was going to miss the place that had been my home for only 20 days. I'd learnt so much there! The Drive to the airport seemed to last forever. I did get a chance to make a few quick phone calls home though! Talked to Steven And Mis Padres. But I had to board so I didn't get a chance to call the sisters before we left. We had a layover in Detroit for a while, where I nearly got left behind. For some reason they never gave me a boarding pass to get on. And several of the other Elders only had Seats requested. After talking to the lady at the desk she was able to ask the captain and he said that we could allow 36 instead of 35 on the plane. I was that lucky number 36!
After a short flight we were getting ready to land in Charleston. As we descended below the clouds a land of endless hills, Tress and valleys was laid before us. Small roads going between the hills that led to small houses and yards. Landing was a little frightening as there doesn't appear to be any flat space in any direction. This is pretty much the case with the whole state apparently. The Airport sits upon a hill that has been leveled off just long enough for a short airstrip. It was raining pretty hard when we stepped off. Ever since Detroit I'd felt the Humidity. As I took breaths of air I could feel the weight of it in my lungs. Super cool. The Rain however was warm and inviting.
We quickly ran into the terminal where we were greeted by our President Thornock and his wife. I really like him and am anxious to serve under him in this Mission. We went to the mission office that night for a short orientation, then to the mission home where we would sleep. There were 13 of us from the MTC. 2 sisters, and 11 Elders. 5 bunk beds. Again I was the odd man out. As I was getting ready to sleep on the Floor Sister Thornock told me I could sleep in the room where they housed the General Authorities and other visitors when they stayed in the mission. I thought it was pretty cool seeing as Elder Christianson of the seventy had stayed there just the other week. Then someone reminded me that His Wife had also slept in one of the two beds, which was a little weird. But they were probably the most comfortable beds there!
In the Morning we were given our assignments. President Thornock informed me that I would be Going to the Cave Springs Area, which is in Roanoke Virginia, and serving with Elder Pendleton. I was a little sad to be leaving the state of West Virginia so soon but still excited to see what this land has in store. The Landscape didn't change much. More hills, Trees and narrow winding roads. But the Area is super nice! Along the way we dropped off Elders serving in other areas such as Virginia Tech! I saw the stadium where the mountaineers play.
When we got to the Roanoke Stake Centre I finally got to meet my companion. Elder Pendleton is 6'7, Loves sports and has been showing me the ropes of how to be a missionary. Its been pretty sweet so far! Our apartment is in the basement of a less actives home and is relatively nice. We have our own washer and dryer, pool table and air hockey, but I haven't found much time to use the latter two yet. And Mother will be pleased to know that I have been cleaning the kitchen ever since I got there. In fact I'm planning on buying some more cleaning supplies later today to help the cause. I should have taken a before and after picture. Maybe next area lol.
The area that we cover is one of the nicer ones in the mission. Many of the people in the ward are very well off and live in nice houses in the hills. I guess everyone lives in the hills here, but these houses are particularly nice. At the moment We only have 1 investigator. Just prior to my arrival they baptised 3 people so now we have to go back to finding. Which means I've already been doing some tracting!! Sometimes its kinda scary. Some are very kind and politely turn us away and wish us well. Others are very abrupt and won't bother even saying hi. One man even answered the door with a gun in a chest holster and after we had introduced our selves he said something to the effect of "Get lost". We decided this was wise council. But It hasn't gotten me down yet.
I'm excited when people stop and talk with us for even a short while. We have a message that can help change there lives for good and bring happiness. However many of the people here are already in a church and have been warned against us. They don't call this area the Bible Belt for nothing! There are churches everywhere. And some of them are huge!! If you stood on a large hill you could easily count a dozen without having to turn your head. Most of the people here are Baptist, though we've also met Methodists, Lutherans and many other Protestant faiths. And being that it is a nice area it is hard to get people to listen as they feel they have all they need. But I Know there are people out there waiting. We will find them.
The Ward Members are wonderful. In this area we cover the Cave Spring Ward, as well as the Back Creek Ward. We get fed nearly every night and the people love the missionaries. I've met with a few of them who have young families and little children who remind me of the Grandkids. I miss Our kids so much. Those of you back home better be giving them extra hugs and kisses for me.
Check this out. So Saturday it started snowing a bit. Probably 3 inches in all, but most of it melting before it could build up. We get to church at 8:45 as church is supposed to start at 9, but there are only 4 cars in the lot. Apparently due to the snow it was to dangerous to get to church that morning so they had combined the two ward meetings and planned to meet at 1130. I thought that was pretty ridiculous. In all my years back home I can't remember a time when church has ever been cancelled due to weather. But to be fair the roads here are very sketch. There is no shoulder at all and they wind all over the place. Some of the driveways we walk up to houses are so steep that if they got more than a few inches of snow I'm sure they'ed never be able to drive even a 4x4 up them. So apparently this much snow is a big deal haha.
Anyways, I'm running out of time. I can't wait to hear from you back home! I've even got time now to write letters! But I need people to send me something first so I can have addresses!
The address that I'll have for the next few weeks is:
3216 Lawndale Road
Hope all is well back home. Keep me posted on whats going on!