Things just keep getting crazier and to be honest this week probably takes the cake. So Tuesday we had a little meeting about the JustServe program (this isn't the crazy part) which was pretty cool. I have explained it before but just in passing it is a program designed to get members and missionaries more involved in the community for a myriad of reasons. If you want to know more check out the website justserve.org. Just do it. It’s pretty cool.
So the real craziness that was going on this week. Let’s start Wednesday morning. Wednesday was transfer day which in and of itself was all sorts of craziness, but thankfully we stayed out of most of it since neither of us got transferred until we got a call from some missionaries that was actually our ZLs calling from Moses Lake (about half an hour up the freeway) saying they forgot their phone down in Othello and needed us to go pick it up so we did and by the time we got around to giving it back that afternoon things in our day had gotten pushed back and we were running way behind schedule and running from appointment to appointment. So dinner time comes around and we are just finished with a lesson and start heading towards dinner when we check the phone and see we have 3 voicemails (it’s about 5:15 at this point - dinner was at 5:30) with a text from the ZLs to call them. So we just assume the voicemails were something they can explain to us super quick and call them to find out what’s up. With an unexpected urgency in their voice they tell us to listen to the voicemails, which surprised us so we did. Now before I explain the voicemails, let me explain to you what was supposed to go down Thursday.
Elder [Mervyn B.] Arnold of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to tour the mission this week and our zone conference was scheduled for Thursday morning. We were supposed to start at 7:30 AM with a leadership meeting followed by the rest of the meetings down in Pasco (about an hour away) so we were going to get up at O-dark-thirty to head down with the other Elders in our area that morning, attend the conference, and then be on our way back to Othello around 3. Well ladies and gentlemen that is NOT what happened. Now back to the voicemails.
The mission office had received word that there was going to be a huge storm of freezing rain coming in Wednesday night which would freeze over the 40 miles of freeway we needed to drive to make it down to Pasco for the conference. Since that obviously is not good they decided to send all of us down to Pasco that night (Wednesday night) so we didn't have to drive so far in the ice. They said be at the church at 7 PM so we can caravan down which gave us literally 15 minutes between dinner and when we needed to be at the church gassed up and ready to go, in the which we had to pack everything - blankets included - to spend the night down in Pasco. So we head home after dinner (which thankfully was nearby) and pack our stuff super quick to meet everyone at the set time. Everything ran relatively smoothly despite the unexpected craziness that was occurring and we all made it down to Pasco safely around 9 Wednesday night. But wait, there’s more.
Since there were only two beds in the apartment we stayed at (we stayed with some other missionaries that were down in Pasco) 4 of us spent the night on the floor/couches/whatever we could find. All six of us needed to be at the church for the conference by 7:30 so we started the process of showering and getting ready at 5 since the apartment was not built to handle that many people getting ready all at once. Imagine our surprise when at 6:30 just as we are about to head out we get another voicemail from the assistants saying that everything was frozen over so we needed to stay in our apartments until further notice. We kind of just throw our hands in the air not terribly surprised by any of this and just lay back down and start waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Around 8 we get another voicemail saying that everything was still semi frozen over but super dangerous regardless since the residential district where the church is located hadn't been salted so they gave us two chapters to read in preparation for the meeting, 3 Nephi 11 from the Book of Mormon where it talks about Christ's visit to the Americas and then Numbers 11 which starts off thusly:
“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”
We were a little scared but kept reading and realized that the leaders weren't actually scaring us into repentance and discovered it was talking about councils later on in the chapter. But anyways we read the chapters and begin discussing it amongst ourselves and then at long last around 9 we get another voicemail saying that the roads had defrosted enough to drive safely on BUT they wanted drivers who were "more accustomed to driving in the ice and snow" and continued on to say "so for example if you are from California or Arizona please let someone from Idaho or Utah drive." I felt a little rebuffed seeing as I did just fine last year in the snow of Chelan but interestingly enough since our car was the one we drove down no one else felt like driving so I managed to get us to the church safely. 3 hours later the conference starts and we all were able to enjoy the conference and feast on the words of Elder Arnold. After the conference ended we all got in our cars and made it back safely to our respective areas around 6:30. 24 hours later our ice adventure to Pasco finally came to an end.
The rest of the week went rather normal with the exception of Friday night where Elder Arnold came and had a conference here in Othello for all the Spanish speaking members in the north half of the mission. We expected our stake center to be jam packed with people but when we show up we see the chapel just barely being filled (don't get me wrong; it was still an awesome sight to see just not what we were expecting). We ask our zone leaders why there weren't more people and apparently half the stakes involved with the conference had received super intense snow storm that day, and road conditions were horrible. I know at least in terms of missionaries, while we were supposed to be seeing upwards of 50 missionaries show up, there were 10 of us. Either way though, the conference was amazing. It was nice to see such a group come together and have a General Authority come from Salt Lake and talk to a group that unfortunately doesn't get the attention they deserve. The conference brought a ton of miracles we had been desperately praying for and will be remembered for many years to come.
So in closing I pull the quote from something Elder Arnold told us at least 10 times Thursday during the missionary conference. He was talking about goal setting and said:
"Try your best, and then sleep well."
Sometimes in life, our best can only get us so far. But if we are honestly giving forth our best effort we can rest easy knowing we did everything in our power, and rely on Jesus Christ for the rest.
So, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and warm weather back down in Sunny SoCal. Until next week.