Monday, October 11, 2010

Austin - Madison Wisconsin - October 11, 2010

Hey Family and Fuuriends,
This week was way cool because we had Zone Conference. I got to see a lot of Elders I hadn't seen in 12 weeks (because zone conference is held every other transfer now, thus sayeth the prophet) and we got to see a glimpse of our new Assistent President. He is a cool guy and is really nice. The other AP is planning on using his last two transfers in the field so he will step down after this next transfer so we'll have yet another AP next transfer. Elder Cook and I were pretty surprised coming out of Zone Conference, we had some questions we wanted answered and we got some pretty sweet answers.
This week Elder Cook came down with somethin' nasty. He was waaay sick for like 2 days. I don't even know how he did it but he slept for 36 hours out of those 48 hours and even coming out of that he can't talk because he has been coughing so much. So....I had a lot of time by myself this week. I listened to MoTab while I cleaned the apartment. It was almost funny for Elder Cook, every time he would emerge to get a drink and go to the bathroom some other part of the apartment would be clean. And one of the times I rearranged all the furniture and tacked up a mural of church posters, it looks way sick. My Mom would be so proud, I worked for like 8 hours straight just cleaning up and stuff. I also got very precious time to write letters to people I haven't written to. It's something that has really been on my mind and then when the Prophet brought it home to me with his talk about gratitude, I knew I was being ungrateful for just taking in all this mail and not sending anything back.
So before Elder Cook got sick we got to visit this totally awesome investigator who is straight up from the slums of Mexico named Carlos. The last time we visited him we ate cow stomach which pretty much looks like fleshy honeycomb but tastes like fatty fatness, but the broth isn't too bad. And this time we walked in to their garage (which we know he is getting himself in to trouble if he's in his garage) and he had slaughtered THREE GOATS that day. He even brought out a light, because it was late, and showed us the blood stains on the walls of the garage that were still there. He then took us over to the grill, which they had all setup in the garage with a table of sodas and beers haha, he opened the grill and was pointing out the different types of meats and then he pointed at this one round, sack-like and asked, "ya know what that is?" And we were like, "What?" And he was like, "The balls." hahaha He then chopped them in half (the whole scrotum was in the grill) slapped them on a tortilla with a bit of onion and gave them to us to eat haha. Elder Cook and I definitely didn't pass up the oportunity to say we ate goat testicles. The most part of it looks and tastes like chicken but the epididymis definitely had a consistancy more like clam haha... But apparently living goats are only a hundred bucks! So I'm thinking I'm going to save up some money so that when I get to train a new missionary, I'll bring my boy in to the garage of good ol' Carlos right when he 'happens' to be slicing the throat of a goat hanging from the roof. Then I'll make him eat the balls. It will be a spectacular first day for the mission. I got it all planned out. But I'm kind of seriously, it doesn't say anything about killing goats in the white handbook, I've already looked. haha
On a more sentimental note, we got a call from a family two weeks ago, the wife is active but the husband is an old-time offended branch mission leader. We've been meeting with them to try to reactivate him, Elder Cook and his last companion successfully reactivated her despite his lack of support. But her brother had fallen off a balcon from being drunk and he needed a blessing. We went to the hospital with our branch mission leader and on the way up we were talking to him and I just told him, "You should give it because you know Spanish better." But also, he does a really good job with his calling but he can't have has a lack of a spark for church work. I was hoping to kind of excite him. But he told us, "If I was on a mission, I'd take advantage of every opportunity like this, like why not? It's not every day you get a chance like this." So we let that sit, I was still hoping he'd kind of do it but we got up to his room and we walked in and he had a neck brace on and when I tried to shake his hand he looked over at me and told me, "Im sorry...but I'm paralyzed." It kind of took me back, I didn't realize it was that bad. He had been in the hospital for a week and wasn't able to move except for a tiny bit in his left foot. We joked around with him, I told him about a paralyzed guy that spoke at my high school that learned to paint with his mouth and sold his art for lots of money. He really warmed up to us. I felt impressed to give the blessing. The spirit was very strong. Sister Barba, the reactivated member was in the room and was in tears of gratitude. It was a very special experience. We've gone back to visit him and plan on doing so every week to make sure he's getting better. He's having withdraws from not being able to drink including hallucinations but he's doing alright.
And finally, my last story for this week. We were riding on our bikes, coming home from a dinner appointment, we were 5 blocks away from home. I usually ride on the inside of the bike lane and make Elder Cook ride on the outside where the cars are parked because I'm always scared that someone is going to open a door and I'll just get rocked. haha he's very brave. But we were riding home and it was late and we've been told by our mission president to start wearing our suit coats full time and the streets were pretty busy. Well, we were coming up to an intersection and I looked over and noticed a car with it's blinker ready to make a turn, then I noticed no more cars flying by me, which meant there was a gap. The car started to inch forward and I thought, "surely it sees us." And then she gunned it right when we entered the intersection I just looked up and shook my head and thought, "I can't believe that she is really ---" BAM! The car struck my side, I tried to push my weight forward so that I wouldn't get run over. I toppled off my bike, it was all kind of a blur, but I remember landing on the concrete and a bunch of stuff fell out of my backpack because there is a hole in it. I immediately looked at my hands, thinking they were scraped up. They were fine, I gathered my stuff and started to stand up...waiting for the sharp pain coming from my legs, back, neck --something! But nothing came. I checked my suit coat elbow where I landed to see if it was scraped up. Nothing. Two people on the side walk yelled out to me, Are you all right??! I told I thought I was fine. The lady in the car, who was hispanic, yelled back at me, "You okay?" I told her I was fine, and then she drove off, no doubt scared and probably an illegal. A person in another car strolled up and told me through the window that they had her license plate but I told them I wasn't going to use it and that I was fine. I started talking to the people on the sidewalk for a bit and tried to bring in the gospel haha, I told them to stop some missionaries if they ever seen any in the future. But I was pretty frazzled after that. We rode back to the apartment and kneeled in prayer of gratitude and then went back out to work. That night I decided to call my mission president because I figured they would want to know. They were no doubt concerned but were so grateful I was okay. They didn't really know what to do. But then at Zone Conference two days later they told me I have to fill out some paper work and I still have to visit a doctor even though I feel fine. It was new to them because they are obviously new mission presidents. But it's nuts. That night I hit the sack hard, I fell asleep fast but then woke up at 11:45 and couldn't go back to sleep until 5:45, probably from all the adreneline I still had. I listened to music and wrote some letters while I waited to go back to sleep. I'm definitely a lot more skiddish on the roads, it's weird. I'm definitely a lot more careful. I'm just glad it wasn't an SUV that hit me. But I just don't understand, it's really miracle. I remember hitting the concrete and it just being Downy soft. We went back to the site and saw that I had been flung about 20 feet. Pretty miraculous. I truly appreciate the prayers. I know they help, I felt angels that day.
I'm doing great though. I definitely feel Gods love for me and for those I teach.
Much Love,
Elder Papritz
ps. Happy birthday Tom.
Family: send the stuff I desire ha

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