I am currently in La Follette, Tennessee with Elder Bacon...The weather here has been kinda crazy. Our flight to Tennessee from Atlanta almost got cancelled because of weather but we were able to fly out. The weather in Tennesee was decent the first night but the second night when we got to our area it snowed about 6 inches. It was crazy everything was shut down the next day. We didn't have a lot to do that day because we were snowed in so we scraped snow off of cars and then made a snowman. I will send a picture. So, Elder Bacon is my companion, he is a pretty cool guy I guess...Our apartment is just a normal apartment. Nothing special. Just enough to survive. Most of the people here are pretty nice. It isn't uncommon around here to talk about God and religion in just a random conversation in Walmart so that is definately a little different. I constantly smell like cigarette smoke because most of the peole we teach are smokers. Everyone smells like smoke. It will take some getting used to. also another thing I was surprised about was the amount of illiteracy here. most people we visit have a hard time reading anything let alone the scriptures and it's hard to understand something they can't read. But I guess if they try their best the spirit will make up the rest. I wish more members would feed us. Sometimes we just don't eat because we don't have time to. But if a member would feed us that could solve the problem. I'm still getting used to waking up ateveryday. I don't think I will ever get used to it. We are constantly doing stuff and I am always exhausted. But at least we have a car so we don't have to bike everywhere...There are a lot of Less-active members in our area. half of our lessons are taught to them. most of them are either struggling keeping some commandment or the other and just don't want to change so we are trying to change that. I still dont know the investigators very well even though we've met a couple times. One guy has a baptismal date and a few others are pretty close. hopefully they can see how this can change their life.
Love you, Elder Dallen Stark
This week has gone by pretty fast. At least compared to other weeks. I'm feeling more comfortable with everything even though I am still missing everything back home. I here that after your first few months everything else turns into a blur. I wonder if that is true. Elder Bacon is doing his best to help me become a missionary even though I don't think any missionary ever truly knows what they are doing until they leave. All we can do is our best...I feel like I am losing weight. we have a scale and I hover between 150 and 155. We haven't had many meal appointments though. So maybe once those start coming I will gain a little. But maybe not.
...The weather out here has been good the past few days but it is supposed to get bad again soon. We got a tornado season e-mail warning us about tornado season. I want to see a tornado really bad but not bad enough that I will be stupid about it.
Well, things are pretty good here. I still feel tired all the time and sometimes have trouble sleeping. But I am adjusting to the lifestyle the best I can. Everyone in the branch is just so nice. We go on teamups with quite a few members. The brance mission leader is President Muggridge, he used to be the Branch President. He is a really good guy and just really powerful. also he feeds us everytime we go out so that is another good thing. Our Branch President is President Trey Smith. He is as good as they come. He tells it how it is and has offended some people because of that but it is all out of love. He just wants what is best for everyone. We also go out with Brother Bob Bilyeu. He is an old man whose wife died a few years ago. When she was sick he did everything for her and loved every minute of it. He is just the best guy ever. He is crazy good at bowling, he bowls like a 270 at age 80 something and is apparently the second ranked horseshoe tosser in Tennessee. He is a fireball. Pretty much everyone in the branch is amazing.
We have a few progressing investigators. I'll talk about one now. His name is Peter. He is Puerto Rican and just on the ball with everything. He comes to church, he reads scriptures, he even watches the mormon videos on the website. He could be baptized. But, his wife says that she'll divorce him if he gets baptized. So we are just working with him and praying and hoping that his wife will soften her heart. Right now that is all we can do for him. God works in mysterious ways sometimes.
I've learned that perspective is one of the most important things out here. If you focus on the good it will be good, but if you focus on the bad you'll feel terrible. That is what I need to work on the most is just being positive.