Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy (American) Turkey day!‏

Hey Everybody!
So I'm back in Lynchburg for Pday, meaning I'm using junky computers 
with limited time so it may be a shorter one. As aformentioned, it was
the American Thanksgiving weekend and I Got STUFFED. So much food! But
Good Food! And I think I'm going to have to go on a diet now haha.
Well maybe I'll just work better at controling my portion size, Until
Christmas that is. 
We spent Thursday partying and eating with the
Rainvillies who had a bunch of their family over. We were able to play
games (it was P-day because we sacrificed time on Monday for it) eat
more food, and just relax. But we were also able to give Bro.
Rainvilles grandaughter a blessing so we made use of it anyways!
Friday we had a district meeting in Lynchburg and were supposed to
have an appointment right afterwards, but it fell through. It actually
worked well because then we were invited to the Campbells family
gathering in Lynchburg for MORE FOOD. 
Yep, I'm going to start running
I think. And I'll have to run now because its going to clock me out in
15 secs.
ELder Sunada

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Great Trip to Charleston!‏

Again I'm a day late, I know. There is a legitimate reason however. Due to the American Thanksgiving this week out P-Day was split up for Monday Morning, And Thanksgiving Evening. Yesterday we needed to get Laundry done and I didn't get around to an email so we've made a quick trip to the Library today. Thursday We'll be enjoying a feast with the Rainville Family and I'm pretty stoked for that.

So Last week was a great one! We went up to to stay with the Bedford Elders Friday night so we could catch a ride with them to Charleston early the next morning. Its always fun to stay with other missionaries. We got up around 4:40am and stopped in Roanoke at a McD's for Breakfast where I was able to fill my Timmys mug with hot Chocolate and give out a pass along card. Great Start already! The Drive up was fairly uneventful, aside from Elder Wilder and I singing in the back seat, and we arrived in Charleston about an hour before the meeting. The WHOLE mission was there! It was Crazy! No missionary currently serving has ever had it happen in the mission so that in itself was a special event. I got to see Elders that I haven't seen since the MTC days. It was wonderful. We filled every seat in the chapel and were crammed in on the pews. I got the end seat by the aisle I knew Elder Andersen would be walking down. I thought about how cool it would be if I could shake his hand as he walked by... We studied quietly in our seats and tried to invite the spirit as we waited for him to arrive.

When he entered the room we all sood as he walked in with a warm and friendly smile. As he passed he did not shake my hand, But before even getting up to the stand it was announced that he desired to shake everyone's hand in attendance! The coolest thing is how normal and relaxed he was. He'd say a few words as you'd pass by and look at you with a beaming smile. Once the meeting was officially started he stated that he hadn't prepared any specific message for us, but that we'd be able to ask questions and the meeting would be led by the spirit. Elder Andersen was in town for the Charleston Stake Conference the following day but made a specific point to ask and see us missionaries. Also accompanying him was Elder Seldon of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 I believe. He ask if Elder Seldon would Share his conversion story and a bit of his Bio.

I can't share even a portion of the things he said, even thought I tried my best to take as many notes as I could (probably more during that time than any high school class), but I will share some of the things I feel are relevant and that stood out the most to me.

He told us to pay close attention to Pres. Pitt, and always look to his example throughout our lives. He cautioned us not to compare ourselves to others but to "compare yourself with your best self." He talked about some of the experiences with the other Apostles and Prophets. In a meeting with Pres. Monson just last week he said that it came up that he was ordained an Apostle 48 years ago, and that within a month of that occasion, Elder Andersen was ordained a Deacon at 12 years old. We all feel inadequate at times, but its important to Remember how much Christ loves us and will help us through our challenges. He went into how the Priesthood has a part in all aspects of everyone's lives. He broadened our perspective on the "Paradox of Man," in that In view of all Gods great creations we are nothing, yet we are also his Children and his most prized with the potential to become his greatest. Every Soul is of Great worth.

He encouraged us that in order to help others we must "do our best, and Keep doing it. No goodness that we do will never do anything but help. There is power in being True and Faithful. He said many more things to us that I've been pondering lately and have grown in both knowledge and spirit from. But perhaps one of the greatest things he shared with us was his Testimony of Christ, Boldy proclaiming that he was his Witness, and that He Loves each of us. The Merits of our Redeemer mean we will live again with him in Judgment and Mercy. There was no doubt in my mind that this Man was an Apostle of the Lord, who had been commissioned for the work in which he was engaged. Hearing him speak of Christ increased my testimony as well.

His Final Challenge to us was this. The question that Jesus himself posed Rhetorically to the Pharisees in Matt. 22. "What think ye of Christ?" If we truly ponder that question in our minds and hearts we will grow closer to him that brings us peace and happiness throughout the eternities. Truly it was a day to be remembered in the Mission. I hope I was able to convey at least a small part of the spirit of that meeting. I don't know the next time I'll be under the direct sound of the voice of a servant of the Lord, but I know that I'll always strive for every opportunity that presents itself to do so.

Elder Sunada

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just a little late...‏


Sorry for the days delay. Yesterday we went out on a hike in Bedford County with the Covingtons. We got to the Covingtons early for a Big Breakfast, then Elder Wilder and I climbed up the Peaks of Otter, which are some of the higher Points of Virginia. It was a fairly decent hike. I'm feeling a little bit of it today in my legs. Partly because yes, I am out of shape for climbing, BUT Also in our defense, we made it to the top in half the time it recommends (about and hour and a half). We booked it up!! And after a short break at the top we ran down in 20 mins. It was really good just to get out and spend some time in nature and to feel the mountain breeze at the top. The Covingtons had Lunch for us at the bottom and we chilled out the rest of the P-day with them. Way fun!! And They are way funny! I've been so blessed to have met such great families on the mission.

We are also getting really excited for This upcoming Saturday's conference with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles! I've included a few excerpts from My mission President's Email to the Missionaries about this special event!

Our Dear missionaries,
This is going to be an extra-ordinary week as we prepare ourselves to listen to an apostle.  Because of the growth of the church, for an apostle to visit every stake it would take about 27 years to get to them all.  So it is a rare privilege to listen to one, let alone be a missionary who has the chance to listen for two hours as he addresses just the missionaries.

“The Twelve Apostles form a quorum and are second in authority in the Church.  They have delegated to them the duty and responsibility to preach the Gospel, and to see that it is taught in all the world.  They act under the direction of the First Presidency and are called by revelation.  The Twelve are called to the office of the Traveling High Council, and are to preside over the churches of the Saints, among the Gentiles, …and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles…and to unlock the door of the Kingdom of heaven unto all nations, and to preach the Gospel to every creature.”

So hopefully that outlines a little bit for those of you who don't know much about the Church how cool its going to be to hear from an Apostle of the Lord! And the entire Mission will be there!! I'll do my best to take notes and relay what I can for you about his address next week.

This past week for us passed by like most others. I spent a few days in Lynchburg on exchanges with Elder Penn. We had a party and were able to teach a great investigator of theirs. And Elder Wilder and Elder Rish were able to get a new investigator in Gretna! So we had some good success on both ends. We've also been clocking a lot of service. Most of Saturday we helped out at a fish Fry, and we've been cutting lots of wood to help people get ready for the Winter. I'm still doubting they ever get winter here. Its been borderline hot to me these last few days. However, the Signs of fall are clearly here as all of the trees have changed Colour and most have dropped their leaves. Very Pretty indeed.

Well I hope all that is able to make up for my lateness in writing. Love you all and would love to hear from ya!
Elder Sunada

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mmm That's good stuff...‏

Hi Everybody!

This has been another good service week for us. We've been helping The Smoots chop wood several days and getting in a good work out while were at it! In Fact, We decided to spend the better part of our P-Day today helping some more. It always feels good to put on a pair of work gloves and just "Get 'er Done!" My experience of cutting down tree's at LaFarge has come in handy as well. Everytime I pick up a chainsaw I think "yeah, I could be a lumberjack." But I've also had to learn how to cope with the hardwoods out here. It takes a little more"Umphff" To get through some of them. Last week one log in particular got the better of me. It was being stubborn and I couldn't get it to crack or stick enough to drive it with the sledge hammer. I kinda got into a frenzy swinging as hard as I could at the same spot. This mini rage got the better of me and my accuracy was off. I swung a little to far ahead and the handle hit the log breaking off the wedge. I was just a little upset about the whole ordeal. But I learned that sometimes its just not worth it to get too worked up over a little stump. I felt a little better when this morning Elder Wilder did pretty much the same thing and broke his axe handle.

Last Friday night the Covingtons took us out to a real Southern Restaurant which featured good ole country style cooking. Yes, there was fried chicken, Fried Fish, Biscuits, Buttery mash Potatoes and BBQ Ribs. But There was also some other things that I'd never seen before. Try Pork feet for instance. Pretty much from the Elbow of the hog down, just boiled I think. Tasty right? Well you know I had to try some, cause I'll try just about anything once, and there might now be another time to try this so what the heck. It was very fatty. Lots of Cartilage and goupy tissue. In the Heel I did find some meat that was a little more palatable though. I tried to eat as much of the Non-Fat parts as I could. Apparently people who like it will suck everything off down to the bone. Mmm. Then Brother Covington coaxed me into trying one of his favourite dishes. Its called Souse (pronounced Sao-se) meat. Its served in little inch sized cubes and looking at it is a mixture of pink and white gelatinous mass. Wanna Guess what it is? More pork feet. Just ground up and pickled or something. This was a little more hard to get down. I had to pull a bone out, gag twice and drink a glass of water to swallow. Interesting aftertaste as well. Gotta Love that country cookin!

So I'm still learning a lot about the south. Another fun Family is the Rainville's, who are originally from the New England area. I think the Cockney accent is awesome! One of these days I'll have to make a trip back down here and swing by the North East Just to see how things are different up there.

But I think thats all thats going on this week. I'm going to plan on getting some new investigators in the upcoming weeks. I'm excited to do some more teaching and hope that we'll be blessed in our finding but We'll just have to see how things pan out. Holiday season gets people busy so I hope that by having a bunch of names to go visit at least one of them will always come through.

Love you all! Enjoy the Good Eats back home!
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Almost over the Hump‏

Hey Everyone!
Happy Belated Halloween!! Guess what, I was Dressed up as a....missionary! Thought it was pretty clever myself. I did have on a orange, grey and Black skinny tie to help better match with the season. We spent last night in Lynchburg so I'm just hoping the apartment didn't get egged. Like all missionary apartments there's a picture of Jesus on the front door, so perhaps that was enough to deter them. 
Lets see, this past week we had a branch trunk or treat/ potluck. Sadly the weather outside was cold and rainy so they just had it all inside and had the kids go around to the classrooms to collect their candy. The treats that I got in my package came in Handy! And there wasn't too many kids either so I still had plenty to snack on with the other elders. The Event was well attended though! We even had to set up extra tables in the cultural hall. A fun night and our fridge was again replenished with a weeks worth of Leftovers. No complaints though. Gretna Branch knows how to cook! I don't think we've had to buy any real food besides milk in a few weeks. 
Sunday we both were assigned to give talks in Sacrament meeting. The topic was on Scriptures so I decided to talk on how the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price all focus on Jesus Christ. It also helped that I had almost finished reading Elder Talmages "Jesus the Christ" (I finished it yesterday, started back in January!). So it went over pretty smoothly. I feel better every time I give a talk. Less scared every time. But there's still times I'm thankful that I've been given the talent of being able to think on my feet. 
Well Seeing as tomorrow is Transfers Your all eager to hear where it is that I'll be going. Its a little town about 40 Miles South of where I am now. Yes indeed, I am staying in Gretna! (I'm in Lynchburg at the moment.) To both Elder Wilder's and my's surprise and pleasure we will be sticking it through till at least December 14th. Which makes 7 and a half months in Gretna, and 13 days over a year in Virginia. Who Knows where I'll be for Christmas but at least I'll be sticking around here for American Thanksgiving! Mmmm
In other news, we found out that on the 19th of November, there's going to be a mission Conference. Yes, the WHOLE mission will be meeting together in one place. Elder Neil Anderson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostle's will be coming to visit our mission and speak to us!!! Way cool!! Super Excited!! 
Also the 10th of November is the day the tides changes for me. It will be my "Hump" day, and the days that I've been out will become greater than the days I have left. A bitter sweet thought, like many things, but I'm working on making the next year even more productive than the first! 
Well I think that's All I got for now. Love you all!
Elder Sunada
PS: For anyone who hasn't yet, you should make a profile and then let me know about it so I can share it with others! You can be a missionary too!