Elder Fisher #85, 3/23/14:
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God?...Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
- Alma 5:14
I looked out the window, and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on ornamental pear trees!
Spring has brought me such a nice surprise:
Popcorn popping right before my eyes!
Yes indeed, it's that time of year when all the trees go crazy in North Carolina and sprout popcorn. It's beautiful. Right now it's the white popcorn, and in a few weeks we'll get the pink popcorn. After that is will be time for the airborne waves of yellow pollen that cover everything and make poor Elder Fisher have allergies. But this time I will be prepared for them.
E. Mickelson had to go to transfers early because he was going to be a trainer. As I sat down at the little luncheon they'd set up for trainers and their companions, I sat next to one E. Dedrick. His companion was going to be a trainer.
"Oh, so are you staying or are you going?" I asked.
"Oh, well in that case, we might just end up being companions!" I said.
About thirty minutes later in the transfer meeting, President Craven announced over the pulpit, "And Elder Fisher will be serving in the Newton-Conover ward with Elder Dedrick -- he's now served in every zone in the mission."
I got a good laugh out of that. I have now indeed served in every stake in the mission. One of the many blessings of serving in so many places is that I've been able to see how nine different bishops approach missionary work. There's been a wide variety in how they involve themselves in it.
As for E. Dedrick, he is from Anaheim, California, has been out 10 months, and is serving as our district leader. He is always smiling and one of the most amazingly diligent missionaries I've ever met. An investigator family of his got baptized just this Sunday -- pictures attached.
We share the Newton-Conover ward with the sister-training leaders. This is a new leadership position developed because of the increase in number of sister missionaries mainly due to the age change. They are kind of like zone leaders in that there's one companionship of them in every stake and that they go on exchanges with other sisters missionaries. However, unlike district or zone leaders, missionaries do not report to them each week on how their efforts. It's a useful position because the sister-training-leaders are able to talk to sisters about female things, which no district or zone leader, however mature, is able to do.
Now, some mission info:
-Our mission is roughly shaped like the corner-stone of an arch, the top of the stone being the Virginia border and the bottom being the border with South Carolina.
-There are 7 stakes in our mission: Charlotte Central, which is where the mission office is located; Charlotte South, extending about a 40-minute drive south of Charlotte; Gastonia, which is up to 40-minutes west of Charlotte; High Point, which is about 45 minutes northeast of Charlotte; Greensboro, an hour and a half northeast; Winston-Salem, an hour and a half north; and Hickory, an hour and a half northwest.
Some Newton-Conover info:
-The Newton-Conover ward building is the stake center of the Hickory stake and is right across the street from a Protestant church. The chapel in our building is quite unusual -- it slopes downward so the people in the front are lower than the people in the back.
-This is the first area I've ever been in where I've been able to see mountains. The Appalachians are just to the west of us.
-This area has a lot of Mong people. They're from Laos, I believe, and most of them say their religious background is "shaman." We keep Mong Book of Mormon copies and Mong pamphlets with us when we go out looking for people to teach.
-There's also Catawba Indians here. One of their old chieftains from years ago, Chief Blue (spelling?) is a bit of a legend because he joined the Church, along with much of his tribe.
Some North Carolina info:
-As missionaries -- to use North Carolina speak -- sometimes we ax people on the skreet questions about faif while we's conversatin' with them. Or we ax them how they eat their Ree-see's cups. (But only if they live in the Apple-aah-chin mountains.)
-It was once suggested that missionaries get little mopeds to ride around instead of bikes. A member told us that that would not be a good idea. In North Carolina, if you get too many DUI's you get your driver's license taken away, but you don't need one to drive a moped. Thus, mopeds are often referred to as "liquorcycles." Were missionaries to ride mopeds people would assume we were all drunkards.
-Every time it rains here, a bright red-orange clay comes out of the ground. If it gets in your clothes it becomes indestructible.
-There is a fast-food restaurant here in North Carolina called Cook Out. It is THE BEST fast-food I've ever had. For $4.40 you get an enormous and delicious main dish (like a big fat double burger) and your choice of two sides, like a bacon wrap, chicken wrap, hush puppies, and so forth. The first time I ever got a "Cook Out Tray" back in 2012, I got completely filled up. For just a dollar more you can get a shake that's bigger than a DQ Blizzard and tastes better. I will greatly miss Cook Out when I go home.
I would include a funny story from this last week but I'll save it for next Monday.
Not surprisingly, the Church is still true. Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!