"Just the one photo this week but it's me being super thankful for the birthday letters that are already coming in :)"
Hello and happy Monday friends and family, it is I, your friendly New England Missionary, coming at you with a probably relatively boring email for the week. We had a pretty solid week considering we survived. We have had to stop seeing a lot of the people we had been seeing as investigators so we spent a lot of time finding. But it has paid off, looking at the week with a handful of teaching appointments and Wednesday having two meal appointments (I solicit meal appointments for my birthday, what can I say?). But this upcoming week you should be getting a more exciting (not "hit by a truck" exciting) although apparently that happened six months ago, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!) or "fish heads and water problems" or "food poisoning and Elder Rasband exciting" BUT STILL EXCITING) email with today being Zone P-Day at the Portland Headlight (heads up, that's a lighthouse) and Zone Conference on Friday! Oh yeah, and Wednesday Birthday shenanigans. So get pumped for an exciting upcoming week! For now, accept my meager mediocre weekly email!
Well Monday was still Memorial Day but Sister Richie and I laid pretty low, not venturing out too much to save our energy for this week's P-Day. But Tuesday was pretty fun. We went to Heart of Biddeford and as always had no idea what to expect to do for service. We showed up and they asked if we wanted to water the flowers in downtown Biddeford and I thought that sounded pretty easy to do. The catch: The city of Biddeford has this big pump thing that you pull in a big metal wagon to water their flowerbeds along downtown Biddeford. So it turned out to be a lot bigger task as we (mainly Sister Ritchie) pulled this wagon and jet pumped water at the newly planted flowers. They'll survive.... And Sister Ritchie will survive too because as she was pulling the cart and it ran into her ankle and I mean seriously ran in. Like a couple of gashes and bleeding ran in. She is the toughest thing though and we went on watering flowers. Afterwards we of course cleaned and bandaged her up, but you finish your service strong! Tuesday we also stopped by a pretty solid referral from the Portland Elders. We had tried calling but couldn't catch her so we went to her home, walked up their stairs (more hopped in Sister Ritchie's case) and she opens it, says "I'd like to see you again, when are you free? And do you want an ice cream sandwich?" Uhm, YES! So we set up a time to see her this week and got an ice cream sandwich. Thanks Portland Elders.
Wednesday was start of my eleventh month wearing the black name tag which is still really hard to come to terms with. An Elder in my district, Elder Urry, brought it up in district meeting and it just felt weird to think we were almost a year in. In my case I'm more than halfway done. Double digit months in the field used to feel like an eternity away and now I'm thinking, "Man, this is too fast!" But enough of my mini-existential crisis, I'm bound to have another one this upcoming Wednesday when I'm two decades old. Thursday we had another fun day of finding, catching some people, and doing service at a local church's food pantry. The coolest thing about serving at that church is where we serve there's a big mural of a beautiful building which Sister Ritchie found out is the Hawaiian temple. Apparently the artist visited there and felt the spirit so strong he/she had to paint it. So here we are serving food to people in front of the temple. Awesome! Friday was weekly planning day and more finding. We invited a lot of people to learn, including members, particularly so Sister Ritchie could practice teaching and people have been receptive which has been nice.
Saturday we explored a lot outside of Biddeford. Well, we actually started our day in Biddeford and stopped by a family we occasionally see and they lost their dog in the course of the graduation party they were having for their daughter. So we helped them look for a bit. Why am I always chasing dogs? Later we did service organizing at another church's food pantry and answering questions there which is always nice. We stopped by a sick sister in the ward and same a hymn to cheer up her spirits which she really appreciated. And we finally made the journey to a gem in our area, Kennebunkport! Why is Kennebunkport cool besides having a long and difficult name? Kennebunkport is where the Bush's (like, THE Presidential Bush's) have a summer home/property/camp and the Saco ward normally gets a couple of families that stay for the summer BECAUSE their dads are secret service men for the Bush's. So we went down there to find some people but didn't spend a lot of time. I mostly am excited to have Kennebunkport because it's like Wolfeborro and the Romney's/Marriott's except not really.
Sunday was your typical, dark and misty Sunday with a wonderful sacrament meeting and visits to the assisted living home WITH NO SPOILERS! For dinner a member couple was so generous to throw me a Pre-Birthday with stir fry chicken AND/OR SHRIMP and brownies with candles (not twenty candles but that's ok). I felt so blessed and so happy to be here in Saco. I've actually been going through a lot spiritually and emotionally in my time serving here and every night as I've said my prayers I've had the precious experience of feeling, actually feeling, my Heavenly Father's love and pride for me, especially as I've felt less than adequate at serving Him. I know He loves me and He hasn't left me to do this (the mission, life, anything) alone. I know He loves you. And if you ask Him and open your eyes, He will show you. May we all have a blessed and fun week!