Monday, June 30, 2014

Twenty (Fourteen?)

I didn't want to just talk about my birthday, but that's where all my pictures and fun stories come from; so, sorry. 

The 28th of June was a perrty exciting day. I'll run/walk/write you through it. 

First: I made some bomb s'more cupcakes. They were so good! I wasn't sure how they would turn out, mostly because I never bake, but also because I am horrible at making cookies. However, it seems my cupcake creating skills are a bit more exceptional. Have a look for yourself:

I thought there would be more filling...

 There it is!

Second: there was a baptism! One of the kids in the ward was getting baptized (with a huge cast on her leg, yikes!), so we were able to go to that during the afternoon. That was a really special birthday present and tender mercy from The Lord. 

However, at every baptism there are always awkward moments. So, this time, the family had asked us to fill the font, and so while we were waiting for it to fill, that's when I made the cupcakes. I wasn't fast enough though, and the family came early to make sure everything was ready to go, as I was still finishing the frosting and topping. They all kept coming over and were complimenting how good they smelt and looked, and I was just standing there thinking, "uh, I hope you know these aren't for you..." which they must have realized once I hid them in the library. Oops. 

Third: the lighting of the candles! We were planning on doing this at the church once I had finished, but once the family showed up we just thought it would be weird. 

I ended up throwing this cupcake away, because the fire was messing with my camera, so we had to keep lighting and blowing out the candles until I could get a relatively decent picture (on Elder Murphy's camera, eventually). Which resulted in the cupcake itself being covered in wax from the candles being lit for so long. It was worth the sacrifice, I think. 

Fourth: fun things happened while we were out visiting people in the evening. The first was this Spanish family throwing a birthday party for someone other than myself. However, I thought I would at least get a picture with their Happy Birthday sign. What was already weird became unbearably funny as we realized that their window was open and that they were all staring at me. To make matters worse, as we were about to drive away, I didn't change gears all the way and the car was in neutral. We were parked on a hill. So, they also got to see us accidentally roll down the hill and onto the sidewalk, loudly revving our engine the whole time. (No individuals or vehicles were harmed in this event, although Elder Murphy was a bit startled). 

(sorry this picture quality isn't very good, my camera was still weird after the candles)

Then we were stopping by another person, and their cat was just sitting outside on their railing, so I was obviously petting it. When I stopped, in order to get my attention this cat rolled over. Poor thing must have forgotten it was on the hand rail. Well, it certainly caught my attention as it fell off. She didn't come back for me to pet her after that.

Lastly: the bubbles. The blue, glow in the dark bubbles. My first thought was, "ok, these could be pretty cool." Little did I know, they would be awesome! Before we realized it, it was past our bed time, the bathroom sink was eerily glowing like the Penseive, and our floors and walls looked like the Milky Way. I checked to make sure that there would be no lasting damage, don't worry. 
There you have it, out goes 19, in comes 20. 

Elder Horne
PS we were walking up to this gate, and seeing the signs I started barking to see if a huge dog would come up to attack us. Nothing happened, so we started shaking the gate to see if there were any dogs outside. Out comes this little guy; the cutest, nicest puppy ever! He didn't even bark!

Monday, June 23, 2014

So many chickens...

Hello hello hello,

So, this is weird. I am starting the last week of my life as a teenager! I feel so grown up and big (not really). Now I'll be a 20 year old missionary! Shucks, it was fun being an 18 year old missionary while it lasted. Being 19 seemed normal, but being 20... I'm no longer one of the young missionaries in the mission. Hopefully we'll find something exciting to do to celebrate, I'll think of something. 

I wonder if people will think I am 15, rather than 14 now...

Now, I have to share this before I am out my teenage years. Here are all the Pokemon that I caught, before they ran out!! Left to right: Pikachu, Blastoise, Charizard, Venusaur, and Xerneas. 


I'd be lying if I said we didn't have a ton of fun playing with these. We'd also bring them to members homes with little kids so they could play with them. It's been a grand ole time. 

Ok, next. These pictures are starting to build up, and I'm becoming way too obsessed with picking up people's chickens. Actually, all pets are in danger of being chased after in my attempts to hold them... I love pets and plants way too much. 

I wasn't actually crushing this chicken... I just didn't want it to get away...
Anyway. Missionary work is the best. Like, you may think I'm exaggerating, or that I'm just kidding, but seriously. For reals. It's the most rewarding thing. It can be potentially terrifying, exhilarating, hilarious, miserable, and a wee bit trying. Yet it's all worth it! It's incredible to see God working in the details of you life, and to feel His Spirit guide and direct you. Although missions entail a roller-coaster of physical, emotional, and spiritual stress; the Lord qualifies who He calls. He's promised angels to bear us up, and He never breaks his promises. So, for anyone out there, thinking about a mission, having any doubts or concerns or questions; I want you to know that they are the best. The best two years.

And yes, there is more too it than holding chickens.

Elder Horne

Monday, June 16, 2014

Splits and Spares

We went bowling!

And we were so bad! I guess that's what happens when you haven't bowled in ages. I've never been an extraordinarily good bowler, unless it's been on the Wii, but we were just doing awful. That's what made it fun though! At least we were all roughly at the same skill level. We determined (I determined) a scoring scale which would result in us all winning. Since Elder Murphy won the first game, and Elder Leavitt won the second game, and I had the highest average. Everybody wins at
Palace Bowling!

I also have to confess how lazy I am; something most of you should know by now. So, daily exercise at 6:30 in the morning is like, the worst idea ever. However, I've been determined to do it, just because President keeps telling me to. In my attempts to motivate myself in the morning to exercise, I compiled this little collage of pictures from the Ensign (during exercise time...). It is now posted right above our treadmill. We seriously have a treadmill in our apartment, and I have been too lazy to even just walk on that. I just sit there and look at it until it's time to get ready.

#fatpersonprobs (I'm eating a bag of M&Ms while I type this...)

Anyway, here's to hoping that this collage will help!

Now to get to the most important day of the week: Father's Day! Hurray for Father's Day! Hurray for Fathers! Yesterday (Father's Day) while I was sitting in church, I was filled with gratitude for my earthly father, as well as my Heavenly Father. Reflecting on how incredibly, almost unrealistically, blessed I am. Everything that I have, that I am capable of, that I am; how so much of it comes from my papa bear, and how it all comes from my Heavenly Father. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). We have been given so much, from our heavenly and earthly fathers, that one day out of the year isn't nearly enough time to celebrate them. We are eternally indebted, and should be eternally grateful.

Always #RememberDad

Elder Horne

PS that's a lot of sugar...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blackbirds not singin'

This week, a sad thing happened. 

My first road kill. We were driving along a windy back road, when suddenly out of the bushes flys a blackbird. No big deal, happens all the time. So this bird starts flying the same direction we were driving, just not nearly as fast. He has a head start of a couple yards, but that didn't last him for very long. Right before impact I am expecting this bird to move. I am counting on it. "I've never hit a bird," I thought. Well, I'm not sure what was going through this birds head; maybe he thought he would try to race Sabrina, maybe he was showing off for some lady bird. I can promise you this though, after slamming into our windshield and tumbling across the car and into the street, there wasn't anything going through that little birds head. 

And thus went the blackbird. 

Then, almost immediately after that, we arrived at our destination! A farm in the middle of nowhere. The only company around was a large herd of cows. Until we pulled up to park, and realized with some shock, that not only were there cars where there is usually just pavement, there were nice cars! 

There were like three times this many

We still aren't sure as to why there was an abnormally large amount of Porsches parked in front of this usually vacant farm out in the boonies, and we may just never know. We've heard rumors of an Amish mafia, but I would have been expecting luxury buggies over luxury vehicles. 

Also, this week we decided to take a trip to the first Dairy Queen! Or so we thought. The other elders in our district kept telling us that they had the first Dairy Queen in their area, so on the way back from zone training we decided to stop in. Now, there are no signs, no advertisements, no flashing lights telling us this is the first Dairy Queen. Elder Karren was just positive that it was. With more than a little doubt and skepticism, I asked one of the employees if this indeed was the first Dairy Queen. Lo and behold, the first Dairy Queen is actually located in Illinois. Whoda thunk. So our whole adventure out to see the first Dairy Queen ended up with me just getting a milkshake, and squished sprinkles all over the seat of my pants. 

Lastly, we stumbled across a ghost town, in the middle of town. Our appointment had fallen through, and so we decided to go tracting down one of the streets in inner Coatesville. Whilst walking down it, we realized that every single home on the block was abandoned. Every single one. Usually there's a handful on each street, but it didn't take long before we realized that nobody lived on this street. Eerie, but pretty fun at the same time. Oh the things you'll find in Coatesville.

Here is a cool (with the potential to be really cool) story from this week. We were visiting a recently reactivated member, and were talking to him about missionary work. He has a lot of friends and family who aren't members and we were trying to help him with sharing the gospel. Long story short, the main people he has been wanting to share the gospel with live in Kenya (there are a lot of Africans out here, usually they are Liberian though) and they are far from the church and missionaries. However, they have a laptop, which means they aren't too far from us! So, hopefully this next week we are going to start teaching people in Kenya via Facebook and Skype. Pretty much the coolest thing ever, in my opinion. 

"Behold, I [the Lord] will hasten my work in its time." D&C 88:73

Elder Horne

Monday, June 2, 2014

Party with the Gringotts Goblin

I wasn't nearly as good at taking pictures this week; picture time is now going to be story time. 

First though, I did take one picture! We were at someone's apartment, and they were looking for something and found this mask. While they kept searching I decided to put the mask on to see if I could scare them when they came back. However, my glasses became an obstacle, and in order for me to see I had to put them on the outside of the mask. I immediately became less scary, and they just thought I looked like a Gringott's goblin, rather than some Halloween terror. Life of a four-eyes, I guess...

On a related scary note, we went hunting this week! So, Elder Murphy and I were planning for the week at the chapel, just after having lunch, and while we were sitting there in the primary room, happily (and sleepily) planning away, we heard it. Scuttles and scratches of some unknown rodent, prowling around the ceiling tiles. I naturally assumed he had come for me. Thus, the hunt began. Immediately there were tables out, cameras drawn, and a foam sword at the ready. We began searching the ceiling tiles, which was a nightmare. I was never quite sure whether it was watching me, or preparing to pounce; the unknown is a scary place. We couldn't find a flashlight, so we decided to try taking pictures up above the ceiling tiles. Potentially the worst idea ever. We started snapping photos with the flash, and I was just waiting to take a picture, having the little rascal be like an inch from my hand or something, or just light it up right in front of me. Or to discover that it was something terrifying, like a possum or a werewolf, rather than a squirrel or mouse. 

The search continued, we never found it. We could hear it kind of move away, and imagine that it's still out there, somewhere, lurking in the upper chambers of the chapel, waiting for our return. 

Anyway, back to happy thoughts and happy places!

So, exciting news from the PPM: we are getting Spanish sister missionaries!! Soon, we will have Hermanas. For reals. We learned that from a new sister, who came out this past week, who is from Guatemala. This past transfer the sister missionaries that arrived were all English assigned missionaries, as usual, but were native Spanish speakers. So, we are going to have some native Spanish speaking sisters come in, and then they will train the new Spanish assigned missionaries (native speaking or gringo), and we'll have official Spanish sisters! 

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day, that was filled with fun and games, and lots of good food. Hopefully there was an absence of poison ivy resulting in nasty blisters and rashes. Because I can personally tell you, that's not fun. Despite all that however, I hope you were able to take some time to remember those who have fought for our country, and for the freedoms and the privileges that we now enjoy, and that we now have the responsibility to fight for as well. We may not be on the battlefield or in the line of fire, but we can be at the ballots and we can defend our beliefs. 

Now, I'll stop talking before I get into anything political, because that's not what missionaries do. Besides, I already had an engaging discussion this week about foreign law, the pros and cons of the adversarial versus inquisitorial systems, and the different approaches countries take to be just in their judiciary. Basically just doing U3 and Mama Wulf proud.  

In priest quorum this week (yes, we sometimes go to priest quorum, and it's the best) we were talking about different crossroads we reach in life, and the different choices that are competing for our attention. For the priests those are largely missionary service, and education. However, daily we meet our own crossroads. Every decision we make leads us in a certain direction and down a certain path. Which makes it vitally important that we have a direction. If not, we may just find ourselves like Alice, asking the Cheshire Cat which way to go, only to realize that if we don't have anywhere we want to be then it doesn't really matter where we go. 

Yet we don't always need to see the path ahead in order to keep moving forward. We aren't given a road map that displays all of our future decisions, or an answer key that tells us what all the correct choices will be. Having some sort of goal in mind helps us know which path to take when we do hit the crossroads, because we all will hit the crossroads. 

So if you aren't sure where you're going, make sure there is somewhere, something, someone you want to be. 

Elder Horne