Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Austin Kenosha, April 4th 2011

Dear Family,
I hope the families doing well. I've thought about you all a whole lot this week with Mom and Dad being in the middle east, Alden getting closer to leaving and teaching this Chinese exchange student here in Kenosha. It was pretty weird, this one family in the branch here invited us to come to a Family Home Evening with them. The two daughters (15 and 16 years old) invited a friend from school. Turns out she is a foreign exchange student from China. We had a nice lesson prepared but just before it came to our turn to teach I thought of the situation and realized how close it the experiences of my family. I talked to her, Ivy, (I told her that I spoke Chinese in Chinese because I remembered the phrase from when Sebrina taught us) She was so excited but then she soon found out I didn't really know Chinese when she asked me, in Chinese, how I learned it and I didn't know how to respond so I just proceeded to count from 1 to 10 in Chinese from what I remember Sebrina teaching us. But anyways, she was such a good listener in the lesson sticking in there and asking questions to clarify things, it reminded me a lot of Sebrina. I promised her that she could find out that God really does exist and that she would be happier in her life from that knowledge. The daughters told us later that at school the next day they were talking to her and she asked them why they had never told her before that they had their own church they went to haha. I was way impressed by those girls though, their whole family is so cool. They just joined the church three years ago and were sealed last year and they have no fear to share the gospel. It's nuts. I'm excited to see where this goes and I definitely feel a greater purpose for being here in Kenosha at this time.
Oh my gosh, this week we had cleaning checks for our apartment. I've only been here for 2 weeks and, as I have said before, this apartment has had a bad reputation for the last year. There have been pretty disobedient missionaries that have just trashed the apartment over time from not taking care of it. It has been a process trying to clean it but we're going it done slowly. I especially thought it was frustrating because I had just left Milwaukee and over my time there I had used a significant amount of my food money to buy cleaning supplies. Elder Partis (my boy) and I absolutely remade that place, cleaning every corner and even buying a way nice shower curtain. I felt like Christopher Lowell. The problem is that missionaries always have the thought, "Oh, I'm not going to be in this area for very long." So they just endure it without cleaning and figure someone else will do it. And then a missionary like me comes around where I know I'll be in an area for many months at a time. I'm not looking forward to putting down a lot more money to clean the place but I think we'll have to after our crazy cleaning check. Our mission got a new senior couple a few weeks ago. President told them to start doing cleaning checks, which have never been done before since I've arrived to the mission. The couple didn't know the history of the apartment and, I guess, didn't understand that half of us had only been there for a couple weeks. They absolutely laid in to us, well the sister did at least. She thrashed us for one thing after another, telling us that we needed to have more pride in our living space. It felt terrible, I felt like I was back at home with my Mom scolding me for not doing the dishes or something. It went on for 40 minutes, it was absolutely miserable. Then we got a call two hours later with her apologizing and saying that she was probably too hard on us (we presume that she turned the report in to the President in that time and he explained to them the situation and so she felt bad for not believing us.) And to top it off, they said the brought cookies to give us if our apartment was clean. That night I was at another missionaries apartment that was checked the day before and they had some left over cookies and they were delicious! :(((((
So that was interesting.
Also, Elder Kelly and I had to drive up to Milwaukee two times this week to get the bumper fixed from when a former missionary crashed it, which is a 40 minute drive each way. So we wasted lots of time doing that. But it was nice to visit some of the old members in Milwaukee and for Elder Kelly it will be the last time he sees them.
Conference was sooo tight. All of my wildest dreams came true. I officially request the conference on DVD in Spanish and English when it comes out. I absolutely loved Elder Bednar on receiving light and Elder Robbins' talk on the contrast of 'be' and 'do' -- absolutely marvelous. Elder Robbins visited our mission and he is an incredible speaker. We'll all betting on him being the next apostle around here.
I love you all. I've been sick with the cold for 12 days now. I don't know what's happening to my immune system, I even started doing Zicam the second I realized I was going to get sick. It hasn't been that severe (probably because of the Zicam) but it sure is taking a long time to get over. Can't wait to see pictures of the Middle East. I should send home my ipod and just have you upload them all on there so I can look at them on my own leisure. With Elder Kelly going home soon it makes me look forward to the day I'll get to see you all again. As he says all the time, "It's WEIRD!" haha
Much Love,
Elder Papritz

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