Sorry I didn't get to email last week. I left the MTC last Tuesday and our P-days were on Wednesday, so I didn't get a chance to get online before I left. And then P-days are on Tuesday here, so yeah, it's cool.
So I left the MTC last Tuesday morning, and got to Oklahoma City early that afternoon. President Taylor and his wife and the Assistants to the President met us there. We went to Pres. Taylors house and had interviews and some training from the Assistants. Then we had dinner (Yum! I don't remember what it was, but it was good!) and went tracting a little bit. The first time tracting, I felt like I was back in Chattanooga, TN selling pest control. Thankfully, I have a little bit more passion for the gospel then bug killing :P So that was fun and dandy and then we went back to the mission home and talked about our experiences and had a little testimony meeting.
One of the Elders that came with me is Elder Anjain. He's from the Marshall Islands and his first experience in America was going to the MTC. There's a community of Marshallese (?) people in northern Oklahoma (Enid, OK), so I think that's one reason he was sent here. Anyway, he speaks English as a second language and isn't very comfortable and fluent with conversations yet (at least not with people he doesn't know). When we were sharing our experiences about tracting, he let out his frustrations and said something to the effects of, "In the Book of Mormon, it says..." I can't remember what he said after that, but it was a very powerful testimony by itself. "In the Book of Mormon, it says (blank), and so that's how it is." He's one of my heroes. He taught me that, when looking at life and the gospel, it's actually very simple and laid out right in front of us. "The Book of Mormon says it, so that's how it is." He's a really good guy and I hope we keep in contact after the mission even if we never serve as companions.
The next day (last Wednesday) we went to the local chapel where all of the missionaries who are getting transfered meet up. I'm in the Lawton zone, so we're the southwest region of the mission. It includes Wichita Falls, TX and all that down there and then Lawton and a good distance around it in all directions. We got to Lawton and I met my companion/trainer, Elder Jackson. He's from Manti, UT and he's been out just over a year. He's a hard worker, so we get along well :)
So my first area is in Lawton, Oklahoma! It's the home of Fort Sill! Ft Sill is where a lot/most (if not all) of the artillery schools and training go on for all of the branches of service. We can hear the artillery shooting off in the distance. The first time I heard it I was in our apartment. I was walking and then stopped and turned to the direction the sound came from. Haha Elder Jackson was like, "Oh yeah, they shoot artillery everyday." It was just suprising to hear that sound again. Hahaha :P
We're assigned to the Lawton 2nd Ward, Lawton Stake. Our area has needed some work though, so we've been tracting a lot. We're finding people and teaching them right on their doorstep and setting up appointments, so it's working! Maybe not the most effective finding technique, but tracting is actually pretty fun. Teaching people half of a lesson (or a whole one!) in 5 minutes on their door step is exciting! Haha, yeah, this stuff is cool :)
I'm the only military person in the mission right now (as far as missionaries go). Whenever I meet a missionary, they're like, "You're the Marine, right?" and then they follow-up with a bunch of random questions that span from the general "what's Afghanistan like?" to "so are you like the Marines in Halo?" Yeah, it's... spiffy. But it's helped as we're out tracting or just talking with members. We got an appointment with one guy because I told him I'm a Marine and I asked him about what he does in the Army and we just talked a while. So that's that.
It's been hot and humid, so that's dandy. It's been around 95-ish? I think it MIGHT have been over 100 for part of the other day. I dunno, it's hot and humid and I'm sweaty the whole time, so it's all good :) Living in Tennessee before this has helped. And it's not as bad as stagnant 110 degrees in Afghanistan, so I'm up and kicking and trying to be as effective as possible as quickly as possible (even while stumbling over some words sometimes :P.
The apartment is actually a 4 man apartment, but there's only us two in there, so it's one of the bigger ones in the mission, I'm told. It was... less than clean when I got there, but we bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and now they know what a "field day" is like (for those of you who don't know, a field day in the Marine Corps basically consists of ripping your entire living quarters out and cleaning every little nook and cranny as clean as it can get). So maybe it wasn't a true field day, but it's definitely a lot cleaner now!
OH! Did I tell you I get to bike?!?! The car in our area was in an accident last transfer, so it's out for the count for a while. Anyway, I love my bike :) I had to fine tune it a little when I first got it set up from the Assistants (luckily, they know how to put bikes together). So we bike everywhere we go and it makes us hot and sweaty and it's SO FUN! We're going to go to the local bike shop today to get some stuff. Elder Jackson's left crank arm (the thing the pedal attaches to) broke off again (for the third time), so we're gonna get that fixed because really, our bikes are VERY important to everything we do out here. So yeah, I'll probably pick up a tool here and there and have a nice collection when I get home :)
OK, this is a long email.
We've been teaching a guy a lot lately. His name is Josh. He was in the Marines (he's only in his mid-20s) so we can talk our lingo and know what's going on and we can relate to each other well (he was deployed three times). Anyway, he's a less-active member who is trying to get his life in order so we've been teaching him. I told him that the Book of Mormon is the most important book on the earth right now and by praying and reading it, he can find every answer to every question he has about his life in it. So he started reading. And we started praising God more! He's a really good guy who's been through A LOT, so it's good to see he's making the effort to change.
Yeah, this email is a long one, eh?
Thanks for all of your prayers and love and support!!! I love all of you!!!! Write to me and I promise I'll write back! Ok, have a good day. BYE!
Elder Woolley :)