But anyway, hello from Shallowford! My second area, and the real place where I ended up getting transferred. :) Dawsonville was the city that my companion, Elder Hoyt, ended up transferring to to serve his final 6 weeks on his mission. And they ended up closing down Social Circle for now.
I don't know if I mentioned that or not before but Social Circle was a really great experience! I will not lie and say it was always a frolic in the flowers, but man it was really crazy white washing for the first time and really for the first area of the mission. Looking back it was all worth it in the end; I made new friends, developed and strengthened my testimony in Christ, and ended up building myself as a missionary and teacher. I miss Julia, I miss Elder Hoyt and Elder Gomes and Elder Anderson. But I know that I will for sure see them again someday, and that God's plan for all of us is continuing to be fulfilled. It all is exciting! And Shallowford is the opposite end of the spectrum for this mission, because I am pretty sure I will be gaining some pounds in this ward. It is definetly interesting to start to see how diverse this GANM mission can be.
My new companion is Elder Thorne, a missionary who I say is a really funny and great guy! He is from Orem, Utah, has been serving for 21 months now, and has been in Shallowford for 5 months! Actually the day I met him was his birthday, and I didn't find out until the dinner that night when the member had a cake made just for him - aawkkwaaard!! But again he is a really good guy, and we get along well. He actually helped fix my bike, which no longer has a flat tire, and he replaced a broken piece that I didn't even know was broken. In some ways he reminds me a lot of the humble carpenter Joseph, not to sound presumptuous or sacrilegious, he just is very nice and kind to every one. It should be a good time with him this coming transfer. We have 1 really good investigator right now who we want to work with, and a whole box of LA's [Less Actives] to help as well.
The ward here is also just brilliant! The church building is a stake center, so it is a major switch from Monroe's 1-ward building, and the congregation I would say is around the same size as Morningside's back home. I actually gave the closing prayer last Sunday, so I got to see a glimpse of how many there really are.
The members here are also on top things, the WML is a stud, he looks like professor X or Mr. Clean if you were wondering, and he's always helping or got others helping the missionaries and going out on team ups. We don't ride bikes, Elder Thorne has a problem in his knees, but walking ain't bad, and I'm sure when we do exchanges I'll use my bike, but for the most part members also help us and give us rides. I've gone out with more members in the first 5 days being here than I did in the first 5 weeks in Social Circle. But I will say from looking at how things are now, there are pros and cons to every ward you go into, and that's just how life is to sum it up.
Tomorrow we have District meeting, and I'm told there are 8 of us, 4 elders and 4 sisters. The other elders companion is a guy I came out with named Elder Barnett who is hilarious! And he is training for the next 2 transfers. Also mention the Zone Leaders are part of the ward and area, which is interesting. But they too are cool guys, Elder Smith and Elder Astle.
Good luck with y'alls testing and studying, I know that knowledge is one of the only things we will take with us in this life to the next. Not fame, not riches, not “the goods”. I actually found a collection of books by Joseph Fielding Smith one day here in our apartment (which also is nice), called Questions and Answers to the Gospel According to JFS. It was a really really awesome read. I'm still adjusting to everything here though, and I've been in culture shock for the past few days - the homes here are like the homes in Draper, only bigger! And the members are loaded $$$!! But it's great!
But I guess that is the update on the Mission life right now. I call this Chapter 3 of The Thrill of Georgia, life is only beginning to continue to unfold, I think often how the story will continue to play out, how things will go for you back home, and how God works with all of his children to continue to fulfill His Purpose in bringing home all of us. ITS SO COOL. #geekin#nerdin
Have a good week! -Elder Black