So I checked my visa status. Hasn't changed. I think I'm just gonna chill in Florida for a while. Whatevs.
So I think one of the most interesting parts of my week this week was going on trade offs up to Bainbridge, Georgia with good old Elder Kapp and Elder Lovell, which was definitely an experience. It was definitely a day to remember. Elder Kapp is somewhat of a larger kid who (not to sound rude) is kind of a mama's boy. I think the highlight of the entire exchange was when he looked at me right before we started companionship study and said, "Ugh, I've been throwing up in my mouth ever since we started personal study." I was grateful that he kept me informed. I'll include a picture of him for you, and you can judge for yourself.
Elder Lovell is super legit, I really like him. He is partially blind; I think his condition is equivalent to tunnel vision, but he is really an awesome missionary. I look up to him a lot because he is really excited to be serving and is especially grateful to be doing so because he was not sure if he ever would be able to. He's a boss and I really admire him.
We found out about transfers today, and I will be moving to Tallahassee again. This time it will be English-speaking, with Elder Buchanan and Elder Jolly. We'll see how that goes down.
So, there are definitely some characters here in Marianna, and I think one of my favorites was Lorenzo Johnson. So you'd think that in a church ward in the South that there would be more black people. Not really. Lorenzo Johnson is the only black member, at least that I know of. He was baptized about 25 years ago and attends sacrament every so often. Basically, he is like James Earl Jones talking about the Bible; he has to be inspired by the Spirit of God, because he will randomly call us up when the three of us happen to feel down about the work, and then just show up at our house and blow our minds with the scriptures. We count it as a less-active lesson, but we pretty much just sit there and let him inject gospel knowledge into our brains.
Miss June Laramore is another one of my favorites. I don't remember if I told you about her, but she was a lady that we knocked on her door two times and kept telling us to come back, and we would, never knowing her name. We were about to give up on her, but then she finally let us in and we found out that she was related to almost half the ward. So we've been visiting with her a little bit here and there, even though we haven't been able to teach her yet. The last time we went over, one of her sisters, Jane, was visiting, and they are crazy together. I'm convinced that this is how Addie and Ellie are going to be when they are older: loving each other, but giving each other the hardest time. Addie will be Jane, a little bit more on the eccentric side, and Ellie will be June, who takes the teasing defensively but loves it. It was a fun time. June showed us her night stick that she carries around when she goes walking and told us a lot about her family.
We had a super awesome experience the other day. We were out tracting on Saturday, trying to invite someone to teach so that we could avoid the rain before it hit. We were "tracting by the Spirit", meaning that we were knocking on doors that didn't look like they were running a narcotics market in the backyard. We knocked on this white, cinder block house with a blue roof, not thinking anything of it, and Reverend James Turner answers the door. We talked to him for a bit, and he was really friendly, but was on the verge of banishing us back to our stroll around the block when God decided to make a move. When it rains in Florida, it is like God emptying his tub water, it rains so much. Reverend Turner had us come squeeze under the porch at first, trying to keep us out of the rain while at the same time avoiding letting us in, but eventually he invited us into his home. We sat down at his table and from there forward had a stellar discussion with him. He told us not to be discouraged because we were planting seeds and that in the long run people would be greatly affected by what we had to offer. I don't know if it will end up going anywhere, but we were able to dispel some anti-Mormon myths. Before we left, we all held hands and said a prayer, and Reverend Turner made a special petition to the Lord that I would have success in Brazil. Super fun.
I leave Marianna on Wednesday, but I'm gonna have some great memories. Stuff like eating green chicken calzones with Mr. Mike the bomb defuser and his toothless sister Dee and Elder Bochenek telling us scary stories before we go to bed so that I'm freaking out when it's time to sleep. Oh, and I can't forget Cat-Piss Mark and Ringworm Belinda. I think that the people that I will miss most of all will be my two companions, who have just been awesome. Elder Taylor and I are going to live it up when I get back to school in California. I don't know if I'll ever see Elder Bochenek ever again; maybe if the stars align just right, but he is one of my favorite human beings ever. I have learned a ton from the two of them, probably more so than any of my other companions. They helped me to not be a square.
I hope my letter made you chuckle,
Elder Jon Hendrik Vawdrey