Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going Back to Dixie‏

Hey Yall!

Oh my heck there's so much to say I don't even know where to begin! Well if you've been counting the weeks you may notice this is Transfer week again. Leading up to it I really felt like I wanted to stay in Parkersburg, even though I've been here now for 6 months. Starting off I didn't really think much of the city. But I think my time here has been the most instructive part of my mission so far. It was almost never easy. It seemed like challenges seemed to follow each other. I had to exercise greater faith with each experience and with that grew my testimony. I've also yet again fallen in love with the people here who've treated me as though I was their own. Leaving will not be easy.

Sunday night we received a call from President Pitt. He asked to speak to me and began to explain about the new stake in our mission. I'll briefly paraphrase his explanation. Recently the Church in the Salt Lake Valley has set up several Young Single Adult (YSA) stakes replacing what were once student wards. The boundaries of these stakes overlap those of existing stakes but only include the 18-30 year old population who are single. One of the main reasons for this is now a Stake President can focus 100% of his attention to that demographic and create programs specifically for this vital age group. Out West this has proven very successful with an average of 1000 YSA being picked up per a stake where before they had fallen by the Wayside.

BUENA VISTA VIRGINIA YSA STAKE was created on April 15, 2012, the First YSA stake outside of the Salt Lake Valley. I have been assigned to the Buena Vista Area to Cover the North end of this Stake. There will also be a set in Lynchburg, and another Set in Roanoke. My companion will be Elder Gurney!! It may have been a while since you've heard that name. He was my District leader/roommate in the MTC. We came out together!! He will be a Zone Leader. The other Zone leader will be in Roanoke. At least for now. Seeing as this is a new thing to our mission part of this will be experimenting to see exactly how the area is going to work. They're still working out details with the Stake President and President Pitt. So no one really knows much of what its going to be like in terms of work yet. Luckily its summer and school will be out, giving us time to figure things out before we are overloaded with Students. Within the area are Southern Virginia University (SVU), a Liberal arts school owned by members and 95%+ Lds population. Also Virginia Military Institute (VMI), a private officer school for the Military and one other school which I can't recall. The draw back of serving specifically YSA is that we will not get to work much with Children, youth, Young families, more experienced families and so forth. So a big change up for me.

So aside from all of that I've been working frantically to pack (almost done!) and clean the apartment for the new missionaries...Elder Penn will also be transferred out and sent to Floyd, VA. In our Place will be Sister Scannel, and a new sister missionary to the Field. So We've also been cleaning the apartment pretty well. To our Credit it was not that dirty to begin with and far better than the average Elder Apartment in my opinion. We've spent the last 2 days visiting families and saying our goodbyes. Even more to go to today. I'm glad for the sisters though, We've got a good pool built up for them to teach and I feel good leaving the area with them. I've also left probably 50+ sticky notes in the area book and around the apartment to help them get up to speed.

This transfer I will also say goodbye to some of my best friends on the mission. 18 Missionaries will be going home, including my first two companions, Elder Pendleton and Elder Conger, My dear Brother Elder Moreang who I've spent these last 6 months serving around, Elder Leah, Elder Taylor and many others. I'm glad I'll get one last chance to wish them all well as they return to the Dark and dreary world. 

Well, I'd better stop now before everyone gets tired of reading. 
Love you all. Thank you for your Prayers. Each one is felt. :)
Elder Sunada 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Short email and roadkill

Hey Everyone! 

I've been working on uploading pictures when I realized that I only have 8 mins left to write a letter! So Its going to be Short, But there are pictures!

Its been a much better week after a week of investigatorial Drought. Thank heavens! We stared teaching an 17 year old kid who never grew up with a religious background but believes there is a God. After sharing a little of the Plan of Salvation with him we invited him to pray and he gave a super sincere prayer to know the Truth! Big Win! Then, we had an appointment Cancel on us, but decided to go try a family that had a maybe a sliver of potential. Well, We didn't quite get there because a young family stopped us on their lawn on the way over. He was a self proclaimed Heathen, but with a heart of Gold. She bore a solid testimony of God and told us how she was searching for Wisdom and Guidance on how to follow in Gods path. HELLO! They also have a 3 month old girl whom they both adore. Its so exciting to have some people to teach, and not just anyone, but those who've been prepared by the Lord and are ready to listen with open hearts :)

Looks like my time is up. Love Yall!
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day in Primary

Hey Everybody!
Happy Belated Mothers day! We had a pretty interesting Mothers Day at church actually. A few weeks ago the Bishop asked the Relief Society what they wanted for Mothers Day. Flowers? No, they just die after a few weeks. Chocolate? NOO. After this he was stumped. He described their request as such:
"We want the men to take over all the callings in Third hour of Church so we can have a light lunch and talk (or have a gab fest)". And that's what we did. The men Manned the Primary and the Nursery while the Women had a break. I think they had a nice time. The Women that is. This wards Primary consists of about 51 kids. Most of them are pretty good but there are a few rowdy ones. The missionaries were divided up with other priesthood holders to help maintain order in the class, or at least keep crowd control. Thank Heavens I had a Mother who made sure I learned to play piano and I was assigned to singing time with the older kids. And aside from a few unwanted hands messing up my keyboard I did just fine. Elder Squires is now convinced however that he is not ready for kids.
Also I got to call home and talk to my family, for the last time...on the mission anyways. It was good to hear all the news first hand. Sounds like Steve's Wedding went off great! Welcome to the Family Kim! I would have talked to those bums too but it sounds like they were still honeymooning in the Caribbean. But I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to catch up in 6 months.
The work this week... Was really slow. Every appointment we had fell through. Seriously. Every. Stinking. One. We didn't get to teach a lesson to any investigators. We knocked streets for hours and no one let us it. Hopefully this is just an unlucky stint and things will pick up again this week. So not much to report there.
I think I'll have to cut this one short as it seems the rest of my Posse is ready to head out. I love y'all and Wish you the best!
Elder Sunada

Monday, May 7, 2012


So the Heat and Humidity have returned down here in West By God Virginia. And luck would have it that it was our week for the bikes as the worst of it hit. Temperatures into the 90 f (+30C) with high humidity kept us sweating standing still in the shade. I think the worst of it is just getting used to it. After a few days it starts to feel more normal, but the moment you enter into an air conditioned house the difference becomes apparent. 
I probably should have taken a few more precautions in biking around under these conditions. Elder Penn and I were out for 5 hours on bikes without getting in any doors. I started to notice he was unusually slow. When we stopped he was showing signs of heat stroke, so we went to a members to cool off in the shade and get a Popsicle. We got teach a short lesson to the Kids too, which happened to be one of the more productive happenings of our afternoon.

Though we've been putting in more hours with less success, I don't feel discouraged. I think we've been blessed pretty heavily in the Past by the Lord and now he's just letting us learn the value of hard work. We've found a few potentials to teach, Handed out a few copies of The Book of Mormon, and weeded through some of our other investigators to increase our focuses. It just feels good to be out working and doing what I can. The results will follow if we're persistent. Or the Lord will direct us in what we need to change to find the Elect.
Missionary work is always a dynamic thing. There is constantly something to improve upon, or a new idea to try. What works well in one instance might flounder in another. Though its challenging to know whats best to do in a given situation, I'm grateful that all of us, not just missionaries, have the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help us make the right choice. The condition being we must first be willing to do what it takes so that we can feel His influence in our lives. This past week I experienced how the Holy Ghost helped me navigate through a seemingly impossible situation. Though the experience is to personal to share publicly, I know that with Heavens help, we are never left alone. I love you all and pray for you always because I know my prayers are heard :)

Elder Sunada