It’s time once again for an update on Zach and we actually have some interesting things to share.
First, he is still in Salem just south of Portland but Elder Jarvis from Arizona got moved to Grants Pass just south of Zach’s last area of Winston. That’s that important for you to know so keep that in mind as we go along. His current companion is Elder Carlson from Colorado. Zach says, “He's allergic to the sun. That presents its challenges for sure... But we're working through that as well as we can. We're not exactly cut out of the same cloth but we're gonna do well together.”
Here are some of his recent emails with some interesting events:
Oh... and I put myself in urgent care on Friday... ugh. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that. I was being rather imprudent in my use of a knife. Elder Webster, our new district leader, said "That’s a cool knife, ever cut yourself with it?" I said "No, but I just sharpened it on Sunday. So its pretty sharp, check it out." On the third demonstration... the hardest and fastest swing of the knife... I missed. And hit my finger and thumb. I knew I had just done something incredibly STUPID so I had to take it like a man. Cuz if you cut yourself doing something stupid and you cry and carry on then you just look even dumber. So I was like "Well... I just hit my finger" and the district didn't believe me cuz I was so calm, then they saw the fillet hanging off of my finger. (no joke, it was bad) Then it started bleeding so fast that it was almost a steady stream. But I lost enough blood that I was woozy, all nauseated and pale, and getting cold sweats. Everything is okay now, but my blood puddle is still in the parking lot. How did I make it all through boy scouts and never get a knife wound... I taught at a scout camp and never had to fix up a knife wound. Here I am 20 years old.... dang near cut my finger off... Good grief!
OH GOSH! So yesterday we get a phone call from some guy, he left a message saying "Is this the missionaries? I think I really want to talk to you guys." So Elder Carlson called him back and the guy asked for me and wouldn’t tell Carlson who he was. I was like "Oh man, this never turns out good." I pick up the phone and the guy is like "I just moved to Oregon and I wanted to talk to some missionaries." I was like "Right on. Where did you just move to?" and he said "Grants Pass". I was about to put him in touch with the missionaries down there, so I started to get his information for a referral. I asked for his name and he said "My name is Val Steiner." I was like "NO WAY!!!" Man it was crazy. Elder Jarvis just transferred into HIS ward down in Grants Pass. What are the odds of that? (Val was the Scoutmaster in our Minnesota Branch and then a counselor in the Branch Presidency. They just moved to Oregon the end of August and have been looking for the opportunity to surprise Zach)
Thank goodness for the conference report. I can totally hear [Elder Holland's] voice when I read his talks so it'll be just as well. Elder Holland is like our modern Paul I think, except he was never a persecutor, but still the same brand of wow. I LOVED his talk "None Were With Him" It was SO MOVING. And then the conference before that, Ministry Angels-- I'm still sharing that in dinner messages. It goes well with my conversion story. Cuz Alma's angel descended from heaven and spoke with a voice that shook the earth... my angel was just a 14 year old girl in pioneer clothing. So I add my testimony to his, that angels are among us, both the heavenly kind and the mortal kind.
Somebody asked me yesterday "How many general conferences do you have left on your mission?" I said "I'll still be here for April conference next year, but I'll probably sit in my suitcase to watch it." Can you believe how fast my mission has gone??? Good-ness!
The work is starting to pick up here. Its nice, although very strange in some senses. There is one example that I will not share with you yet, but at a more appropriate time I will. But suffice to say that your prayers and mine are being heard and answered. And once again, the Lord has sent me down a road so narrow and strange that only my feet seem to fit. (This is an interesting way of putting things but it is so true for Zach.)
We think he will have one more transfer before the end of his mission and hopefully another chance to train again. We appreciate so much everyone’s love and support for Zach. He has greatly appreciated the care packages and has promised to send out some thank you cards. It is still amazing to me that we can’t remember a single week that has been a struggle for Zach or that he hasn’t been completely happy in what he is doing. It is also amazing to me that he loves and gets along so well with every companion he has. It is much to Zach’s credit.