Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Yuma, Arizona

January 04, 2016 

My kitchen before I cleaned it.  They had 7 Elders living in the house before I got there, and they didn't clean anything before they left.  The dishes must have been sitting in there for a week, since I had to wait until P-day to clean. The smell was bad. Wish I had an after picture since it smells and looks a lot better.  The dishes still smell slightly like mold, any suggestions to get rid of that?  I was thinking of soaking them in bleach, and just cleaning the ones I'm gonna use.

Elder Collingridge's Mission to Clean Dishes
January 11, 2016

Mom & Dad,

Thank you for thinking about me. All I can say is God did not send me
here to enjoy myself...Not only is the work tedious but it is just
kind of terrible a lot of the time.

I am trying to eat healthy but the store we shop at is Walmart and
their food selection is definitely frustrating. I usually eat PB&J's,
Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, Horizon organic milk, the protein
stuff you sent with me which is a life savor, ramen noodles, or
Aidell's sausages which is the kind we eat at home, I was pleasantly
surprised Walmart had them.

Please send healthy snacks if you can. Thanks for trying to find a
farmer, I'll look into it, but honestly the only time I can use to
shop is on Mondays and we share a car with another companionship, so
we usually only do things the 4 of us agree on, and they don't want to
waste it going there when they can just shop at Walmart.

I wish we could go during the week, but we devote our whole days to
proselytize and teaching people...The only problem is it doesn't feel
like we use every hour of our day.

Apparently some new training took place, and they don't want Elders
tracting anymore, ever. They want us focusing on trying to get member
referrals, and planning lessons. Which would work if we could pack our
whole days with lessons. The problem is you need a lot of committed
investigators to do that. We have a lot of investigators, we have 5
people on date to be baptized, which is supposedly a lot, but we only
meet once a week max, which if you add up the time total we meet with
them every week, it's probably not more than 5 hours.

The rest of our investigators not on date are really flaky, or we
don't meet every week. Anyways it feels like we waste at least a
couple hours total at the church each day just waiting for our next
lesson. And since we can't use this time for personal business we just
wait...It's really boring, and I would use this time to plan for
lessons but planning time is already factored into our schedule, not
to mention the better you get at teaching the less time you need to

Boredom is getting to me...we have only biked once, even though we
share a car. For some reason my companion thinks a 20min bike ride to
an appointment is way too far away...I dunno maybe he doesn't like
biking. Don't get me wrong though, he's a great missionary, and is
trying his best to teach me and I'm trying my hardest to learn and get
along. But I would rather bike to an appointment than wait at the
church for 30 minutes for the other Elders to give us a ride. He also
isn't a morning person and won't go running with me, and usually
sleeps for his exercise time or talks to the other elders. Other than
that he is a cool guy and we get along well enough and teach good
together. I haven't had a companion I have really clicked with yet.

I found a pull up bar here and use that. I also do sits ups and push
ups and am trying to stay in shape. It's difficult though because the
members expect you to eat so much.

It's kind of depressing what some of these people eat for dinner. We
live right next to fresh fields of lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, and
dates...But when we arrive for meals we see people opening cans of
some vegetable substance and sticking it in the microwave right before
we eat. I usually try to eat slow, so they don't invite me to go for

It is a really cultured place though, there are lots of Native
American tribes like the Cocopah and Navajo influence in the area.
Plus the Hispanic influence. The best meals we have had have been with
Hispanic families, and I have no problem stuffing myself full! Thank
goodness for them!

Fun fact, Cocopah believe in 3 different tiers of heaven after we
die...They just call it different names from what we do.

I met a lot of missionaries going to foreign places at the MTC, like
Pacific Islands, Europe, Africa and Asia.  I emailed Arthur in
Paraguay. Foreign missionaries don't get the luxuries that we have on 

their mission like iPads, phones, meals at members houses, cars, nice housing... 
If it was God's will though I would honestly switch places. The things we
have are convenient and cool I guess, but I don't need them to do the
work, and I kind of wish I had the challenge to cope in life without
these things. I try not to be jealous and focus though.

I pray to God everyday that I'm grateful he is letting me serve, and I
try to make the most of it. Maybe a foreign mission would have been too
fun and too easy for me? Maybe that's why he sent me here, to prepare
me for real life...

We went to the Sand dunes today, they were about a half an hour out of
Yuma in California. They shot Star Wars somewhere out there. They are
big dunes - a lot bigger than Lake Michigan dunes.

I have been missing Michigan a lot since I got here, I checked your
weather the other day and saw it felt like 3 degrees out with the
wind, pretty cold. It's been warm here but a bit rainy.

How is everything else going at home? Hope school and work is going
good for you Mom and Dad. Mom, I wish I was there to help give you a blessing
with Dad. I was able to give another man a blessing last week. I
felt good giving him the blessing, but he is still in a lot of pain. I
blessed him that the doctors would be able to find a way to subdue his
pain from his back, and that as he grew closer to God through prayer
and keeping commandments that that would help as well.

I feel for the people in Yuma though. It seems like most of our
investigators, and a lot of people we meet are disabled in some way,
addicted to something, or just aren't motivated to work or improve
their well being. Sometimes I wonder if they know life can be a lot
better, but I guess that is my job to show them that through the
Gospel of Jesus Christ they can be a lot happier.

I got my pants ok thank you they fit fine!

I love you all and pray you're safe. Let me know if you need anything!

January 11, 2016 

Crockpot and blender wouldn't help that much - Thanks for thinking of me though. Please do not send me any food that needs to be refrigerated. Our fridge is disgusting and there is no room to store food. I can barely fit my Milk and Jam in there.

The Elders who were transferred from this area left all their food behind, and no one thought to throw it out so it's rotting in there. It's also really disgusting and needs to be bleached and wipe out.
I recommended to the other Elders we clean it out, but they don't mind how it is...On top of that we barely have time to do it on PDay, and our kitchen countertops are gross again and our sink is filled with dishes again. 

These guys don't clean up after themselves. It seems like whenever I try to use a kitchen pan I am cleaning out someone's crusty eggs from the day before.  On top of that our room needs to be vacuumed and it's probably been several weeks since it's been done, IF it's been done...Our floors need to be properly swept and mopped, Elder Wessmen did it last week but he didn't do it right because I could feel dirt still sticking to my feet as I walked around. 

Guess you didn't have to wait for me to have kids before I knew what it felt like to have people not listen to you about living in a clean area. But to be honest, this isn't even comparable to the messes I made at home.

I am exponentially more grateful for how you raised us Mom. I don't know how they live like this, especially when it's in our power to have a clean living area.

Love you, pray for me I don't go cray.

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