It's finally p-day, and I already feel like I have a lot to tell you guys, so I'll just start off with some of the obvious and unnecessary... Like first of all I DID make it to Wisconsin safely, and I'm just starting to get adjusted to REAL missionary work... My companion is elder Vang (hmong native, his real name is Shadow Vaj) and he and I are doing really awesome things together. We were both new to this appleton area, we call it being white washed or shotgunned because neither of us is at all familiar with the city. Our first day a member fed us (fettuccine!) and he offered to update his old GPS and give it to us. How nice is that?! His name is Brother Mortenson and he said that he used to be the ward mission leader in his old ward back in Idaho, so he loves to take care of missionaries. Other than that we've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for the past few days! We got to our apartment (video upcoming) and we found out that we barely had enough food to get us through to this pday... We basically survived this week off of eggs (which we get fresh each Sunday from a member) and a cheap cheap CHEAP knockoff brand of ramen noodles. Needless to say, my mouth is already watering thinking about all the groceries that I'm going to buy at walmart today. We've been trying to contact some of the recent converts, less actives, and our investigators for the past week, but we've only actually been inside 3 houses: 1 member, 1 recent convert, and 1 family we just met tracting who had no interest in our church... It's been hard being so new, but with the help of our Bishop, Bishop Allen, the ward missionary leader, Brother Seethong (see tong) Yang, and a lot of digging through the area book on our part, we think that this next week should be more productive. Appleton is exactly where I said that I wanted to go when everyone asked me which area I wanted to go to first, so I am loving it here!! Even though its as humid as the bathroom after one of my showers, it sometimes smells like wet diapers for no reason, and I'm almost exactly 1200 miles from home, I actually feel myself loving it already! As Elder Vang and I were out tracting the other day, we got a call from a name we didn't recognize, Brother Clifford. I guess he was just put into the bishopric, and you know what that means... Yeah, I get to speak next Sunday!! I was pretty surprised that he asked me, but even more surprised when he asked me if I would try to do the majority of it in Hmong! I'm trying my best to prepare for it, and my topic, "How seminary has prepared you for a mission" is a pretty easy one to speak about. I met some of the Hmong congregation this past Sunday, and they really are a sweet group of people. They asked me to introduce myself in front of the Hmong only Sunday school group, and I did. Afterward they asked me how long I had been a missionary. When I told them that that was my fourth day in the field they were pretty shocked!! So I guess my Hmong is progressing pretty nicely. Anyway, after church ended, somebody asked me "Koj puas muaj Hmong lub npe?" Do you have a hmong name? I told him that I had one given to me in the MTC, but I didn't recieve one from a real Hmong person yet. He then wrote down on a piece of paper my NEW hmong name........ Meej Mom Yaj!! Pronounced Mang Mah Yah!! We looked it up, and to the best of our knowlege it means respected or honored. That pretty much describes me to a "T" right??... The biggest thing that has surprised me about my mission is the fact that up until 1:00 pm, you are in the house studying, exercising, eating etc... We only have really about 1-8 to go and contact people because that's when we come back to eat and to plan. I guess it makes sense that everything would take that long, I just thought that it would be a lot more teaching and tracting. I'm so sorry that I've been all over the place in this letter, I just keep thinking of things to say! But I'll leave off this week by saying how much I love everyone! Your support has really been one of the things that has kept me excited and enthusiastic for this mission! I love you all, and here is my new address...
319 E. Harris Street apt #6Appleton Wisconsin
Elder Yeej Mom