Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Week at the Zoo

So, this week was so much fun! I took a bunch of pictures, so let's go on a journey. 
On Monday we went and bought some Coatesville High School sweaters, which meant we had to have a photo shoot with our new clothes. 

Then, we went to eat dinner with a family, and they had just gotten a kitten that day! Her name is Loki, and she's a mischievous little one. Naturally I spent the majority of my time playing with her and taking pictures. 

The next day, we went to eat dinner, and this family had just gotten a puppy! Everyone is getting new pets it seems! And they get them all for free from the Amish. No wonder they were getting curious with my camera, they'd never seen one before! Bella is a wild little puppy. 

So, then there were these chickens. I don't remember what kind of chickens they were, but they were really fuzzy! As far as I can remember, I haven't really held a chicken before, so I wasn't sure how to pick it up, and decided to pick it up from the bottom. Not the best idea I have had. They were flapping their wings everywhere! It was madness. I figured it out though, don't worry. 

Last, but certainly not least animal, the guinea pig! This girl is a hot mess. She was running all over the place, making all sorts of guinea pig noises. It was fun though! She was better than the canaries that wouldn't stop flying around our heads. Those things were crazy!

We were also able to go on a little hike this week, it was a ton of fun, if only like a mile or two. This lake was made several years ago, there is a house at the bottom of it, and you can go to the road that lead down to it, right up to the water. Cool thing to scuba dive to I would think!

Ok, so this experiment will mostly just apply to those who have already received their patriarchal blessing, but for those who haven't this works just as well for the scriptures. 

This week in district meeting, we were talking about ways to study more effectively, and how we can gain a deeper understanding of the things that we are studying. The sisters had recently been to a fireside where the stake patriarch spoke, and he had given them some advice in studying their blessings. The patriarch recommended that we read through our blessings and find words that stick out to us, and then study them in depth. I decided to try this, and was planning on going one sentence at a time, but after 30 minutes I hadn't made it past the first word. I hadn't realized that there is so much more that I can learn! The patriarch suggested using dictionaries to study the definitions of the word, as well as synonyms. He suggested using the topical guide, and bible dictionary to find the word used in scripture. As I started doing this, it was just like a waterfall of new insights and understanding cascaded down on me. I still haven't moved on past the first word I chose! 

So, I would also recommend doing this; for those who have patriarchal blessings use those, for those who don't use a favorite scripture! Just to try it pick one word, and then dive as deep into that word as you can! It will be an incredible learning experience, trust me.

Elder Horne

PS Pokemon is back at McDonalds. Gotta catch 'em all.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Peter Rabbit, or Bugs Bunny?

Most random experience ever. So, we were doing service for this one family (we did a lot of service this week, stay tuned) like we do every week before we teach a lesson and eat dinner, and everything was going pretty smooth. We were raking up some leaves and tossing them over their fence into the woods, no big deal. I picked up a pile of leaves in preparation to toss it, and the pile starts emitting these high pitched squeaks! I freaked out, fearing the worst: rats, mice, dragons, etc. when these little brown balls start darting everywhere. We had stumbled upon a little family of baby bunnies! Instantly my fear turned into adoration as I saw these tiny little guys, clearly petrified (which was understandable because I had just picked up their home), and scattered across the yard.

So then I went and got my camera.

We ended up just letting them figure things out, because we couldn't keep them or anything, so we are hoping they did alright.

Now, the rest of the service we did wasn't nearly as exciting or adorable, but we still had fun. We were cutting down this tree that was growing into a members house, but they lived in a somewhat densely populated area, and their tree was right next to the sidewalk, which had cars parked alongside it. There were also wires running through the tree which didn't make things easier. So, this one required some delicate dismantling. I, being the smaller and more agile one in the companionship, ended up in the tree, with a saw. Needless to say, tree pose was taken to a whole new level. It made me grateful for my little feets and balance, because trying to saw off branches while striking a peculiar warrior pose was something I felt especially designed to do.

We also likened the scriptures in real life! D&C 4:4 "for behold, the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul." While we were doing service, we found two sickles in this ladies garage! Why she had them, we have no clue. Nevertheless, my companion and I went outside to harvest an imaginary field, with these newly discovered gems. So, if you happened to see two young gentleman the other day, walking around waving sickles in the air, that was us.

Apparently Lancaster County is the Amish capital of the world. So happens, we are in the county that borders Lancaster. The other day, we visited one of the towns near the borders of the mission, and to my surprise, found all these Amish people! I felt so out of place, surrounded by horse drawn buggies, men with beards and fun hats, and kids riding around on their cool scooters. It was like I had walked in to a scene from an old church history video. Except for that one Amish lady using a weed whacker, that didn't make sense to me... Oh the people you meet on your mission.

Last story. To finish off our week, we decided to have a movie night. Elder Murphy made this fantastic little set up, wherein we watched the Testaments. Glorious way to end the week.

Now, on a more spiritual note, miracle of the week! So, we have really been focused on finding new people to teach lately, and so we were driving to the place which we had previously designed to go. When we got there, we decided to drive down a certain street because it looked like it might wrap around at the end and make it a little easier for us to tract. When we reached the end of the street however, there was an adjoining street. As we were going to turn around to start back at the beginning of that neighborhood, we spied further down the road this beautiful windy road overshadowed with trees. Now, when life gives you a beautiful windy road, you take it. So we decided to leave the neighborhood we were in, and drive down this new road. We saw on the GPS a tiny side street, and decided that was the place. When we arrived at this side street it sort of just popped up out of nowhere. There were just a few houses, but we knew that we were supposed to be
there, so we said a prayer, got out of the car, and got to work. As we were walking up to this one house, a guy pulled up in his van and went inside. So, we knew he saw us and that he knew we were coming. When we knocked on the door, we met this nicest guy! He has been wanting to learn more about the church, because he's heard about it and has been considering it for a long time. He wasn't sure if we were receptive to visitors though, or where he would be able to learn more. So, we were so grateful that Heavenly Father led us to where we needed to be, just at the right time to catch him at home (he was actually working and had needed to stop back at home real fast to grab something). Miracles happen every day! We just need to learn to find them.

Elder Horne

Monday, May 12, 2014

George of the Jungle

This week was great! Using FaceTime to call home was the perfect way to end the week. What a wonderful Mother's Day it was. Crazy when they reminded me that I will only get to call home one more time! We had a lot of fun though, and it was great to see Mom on Mother's Day.

At the beginning of the week, I went out and got more plants (the twins, Luke and Leia)! By the end of my mission I think my apartment will look more like a jungle. Here are the 6 plants I have right now:




Sofia Martinez


and Leia

There they are, oldest to youngest. It is so fun having plants, it's like I have a little family out here while I'm on my mission that I can take care of and watch grow. They're the best.

We also had fun this week doing service again. We were serving lunch like we usually do on Tuesdays, and it was the most awkward thing. We never eat the food that they're serving, we always just go home and eat lunch afterward. However, the people there seemed to realize that, and they kept insisting that we eat! We just kept insisting we weren't hungry haha. Throughout my entire mission, I haven't had any problems with the food that people have given us, it's always been pretty good. I did NOT want to eat that food though. The Lord delivered us and we made it out, thank goodness. I guess we'll see what happens this week!

Zone Conference was this week, and I was able to learn a lot there.

We studied the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25, and I love the imagery of burying our talents, or using them. I think sometimes we are fooled into thinking that we need to sacrifice ourselves as we try our best to serve The Lord. Sacrifice meaning losing, giving up, and not making the most of what we have. However, we were not sent to earth to just bury the things we have been blessed with, we were sent here to use them. That's where it becomes important that we consecrate
the things that we have been given. We turn our lives to The Lord, and he magnifies us. We aren't simply turning ourselves in, throwing in the towel, we are meant to be built up! When we have a purpose, a goal, a dream, it's like sheet music; we have direction and we can use our instruments to reach their potential. Our hopes and dreams are transformed into action. However, if we are ever to play, to make music, we need to turn to the orchestrator of our lives. The Master will direct us, and we will be able to reach heights greater than we could ever dream of.

Elder Horne

McDonald's toys are still fun

Monday, May 5, 2014

Year One

AHHH! The year mark has come and gone. That is so surreal. I can't believe it has already been a year, and I can't believe I only have one year left. It's given me this sense of urgency about the work,  which has been really good.

May 1. What a day. It was purrfect. I'll run you through it.

So, we had zone training in the morning, and in order to save miles we got a ride with the West Chester elders. They live west of the Brandywine River (we actually live in the Shire, nbd) and Broomall, where we have zone training, is east of the Brandywine. Now, the day before we got SO much rain, everything was flooded. Roads everywhere were closed - some still are - and it was just a nightmare. I wish I would have taken pictures. Anyway, we ended up getting there almost an hour later than we planned. As we were trying to cross the Brandywine, 2 bridges were submerged, and one had actually been washed away. It was madness!

Zone training was really good though, Sister McNeil gave me this ginormous yellow tie to celebrate our year mark. Here is a picture that they took afterward, Valley Forge West is clearly the best dressed zone. (I spy Sister Hanson from Maple Valley!)

OK, so the rest of the post (2/3 of it) got deleted somehow when I tried to post it, but here is the extremely condensed version of what happened next:

Went on exchanges, was right next to the King of Prussia mall (big mall), tried a bunch of new foods at a Chinese buffet including calamari, Sister Arguetta who I served with in Scranton is going home at the end of this transfer (my mission friends are now leaving, it's weird), and there are a lot of great things that you can learn from studying the scriptures! 

Ya. So, next week will be better, I won't lose 2/3 of my post!

Elder Horne

Picture of Sister Arguetta and I