Well, one week in Washington is done. It was probably the slowest week of my life. So my companion is Elder Silver and he is from Sandy and he went to Hillcrest. He's a nice kid, but sometimes I'm not quite sure if he likes me. He seems kind of uninterested when I talk or ask questions, but it's getting better. I think he's just getting used to me as his companion. We're starting to talk more and he seems a little bit more interested, so that's good.
So my area. I'm in the Beacon Hill Ward and we are living in what I've been told is the poorest neighborhood in Washington. The neighborhood/town thing is called Hillyard and it's strange. It's so different. And all the people are so different. It's not like Utah. At all. There are old, worn down houses and it's just dirty everywhere. Our area is a bike and walk and bus area. I've only used my bike once (pictures of it next week) and we've walked a ton and we bought bus passes the other day. It's strange to ride the bus because I've never done it before. I live in a small apartment, but it's not as bad as it could be. We didn't have a shower for the first few days because the ceiling was moldy because the shower above us was leaking, but that got fixed and we have a shower now. Before we got it we had to use a shower at the manager's (of the apartments) office.
We got a phone on Friday. Apparently this area hasn't had a phone for 3 1/2 weeks, so it was nice to finally get one so we can call people. It's nice because we don't have to ask random people to use their phone.
My first investigator that I met is Ashley. She's like 26 and she's a single mom with one two-year-old, Preston. She lives in probably the worst possible environment. They're some apartments on Euclid (one of the main streets) and they're terrible. They're just dirty and gross and it's hard to feel the Spirit there. She lives with another young couple who don't really help her. She's on date for September 13, but she's struggling with smoking. Her roommates smoke and drink and just aren't helpful with her goal of baptism. However, MJ, the guy roommate, is slowly listening more and more to what we're saying. He's becoming more interested, so it's my goal to get him baptized or at least start lessons with him. It's going to be a process though. I totally forgot marijuana is legal here, so that's another huge struggle for people. So we're working on them. We taught Ashley a lesson at a member's house the other night and it was so much better. We just need to get her out of her apartment.
So we've only had one dinner at a member's house so far, the Watsons. They are very nice and they're the family that let Ashley come over for the lesson. But there was a ward BBQ on Friday that we got to go to. The people in the ward are all nice, different, but nice. The bishop, Bishop Borders, is awesome. He's such a great guy and he's so supportive of us. Brother Leppert is the ward mission leader and he's great too. He lets us go over to his house on Sundays so we can do our laundry and he feeds us while we're there. He's also taking us to Dairy Queen sometime this week.
On Friday I got to go on splits with a missionary from the Marshallese branch. His name is Elder Meacham (meek-um) and he's the coolest guy. He's from Pleasant Grove and he loves basketball and he's just awesome. We (he taught and I listened) taught three lessons in Marshallese. That language is insane. He would look and me and then I'd teach something in English and then he'd go back to Marshallese. One time he wrote something down and looked at me and said "Teach this." and I was like "I don't read Marshallese." and he laughed and was like "Oh yeah! Teach repentance." It was a good experience, but I'm happy I didn't have to learn Marshallese.
While we were at Brother Leppert's last night President Mullen called and told me about Jayboy. It's bittersweet. It's sad because he actually passed away, but good because he was ready and he's in a much better place. It sounds really selfish, but it's kind of exactly what I needed. I've been struggling, a lot, but when I heard that I remembered what Jayboy told me that night I was set apart. He's with me now. He's the one helping me get through the days. He said he would be with me every step of the way and I know he's now starting this journey of my mission with me. Last night I was laying in bed and I couldn't stop crying, but then I felt like someone's arms just wrapped around me and gave me a hug. I know it was Jayboy. I know it with all my heart. I love him so much and I'm going to miss him, but I know I'll get to see him again. Read the talk "Doors of Death" by Russell M. Nelson, it was a huge comfort to me. As well as Mosiah 16:8-9. Awesome verses.
Well, this whole mission just feels like a dream. It truly doesn't feel real at all. It's a two year long dream that will end when I get back home. Nothing feels real. When I write letters or get to email it's like I'm kind of waking up, but not all the way. When I'm writing and emailing I'm in between sleeping and being awake. I just keep thinking I'll wake up in two years.
I hope I'm not missing anything. If I remember something I'll write it down and send it next week. I love all of you and I love hearing from you!