Monday, May 30, 2016

"Everyone I know who drank water is dead"

Hola y'all!

I don't have much to say this week but I'll say what I can.

First up: we got a new car! Ayyyyy

But, it's not new. We went from a 2013 Ford Fusion to a 2013 Jetta. That's right, we're driving a chick car now. Even the door handles are smaller, they're made for girls. My hands fit perfectly but that is not the point. We changed the keyring to pink cord so we could go full hot girl and idk maybe some dudes will pull up and whistle at us and we'll give them a pass along card or something. But we lost our old car because it had a ton of miles on it (for a mission car). But the flipping Jetta only has 3000 miles less! Meaning in 2 or so months we're going to have to get a new car again! But whatever. Also it has no USB so we can't listen to music because we gave all our CDs away or maybe they're lost idk

Otherwise this week has been awesome. I'm trying to take the lead way more often which isn't always good because I rock at Bible bashing. That's not a good trait but hey at least the Baptist people I meet understand that John Smith didn't write the Book of Maroney, it's the word of God. Or at least I hope they understood that.

We've got this guy we just met named George and he is from Mexico. He's lived here for 9 months and speaks ok English. He doesn't have a car and bikes like 20 miles a day. I tried teaching the Restoration to him but I guess the English he's picked up so far is more landscaping-related since that's his job. I guess they don't talk about Joseph Smith or how the gospel can bless families while they trim hedges. I don't know what else there is to talk about but hey

The subject of this email is my favorite thing someone has ever said to me on my mission, it was said by Brother Wakefield, who is this member who is like 65 but he's really healthy. He's also like the coolest dude in the world. Like I want to be friends with him and hang out. He's cooler than most people on earth so that's awesome. But he never drinks water. He drinks like a ton of Pepsi which is his one flaw and we asked why he didn't drink water and that quote was his reply.

Yesterday I saw a guy pouring a beer can into his gas tank, and I said a prayer that it would work. There's a missionary fable in this mission that apparently two sisters ran out of gas and they were stuck in the middle of nowhere so they put water in the gas tank and said a prayer that they would be able to get home. Obviously it didn't work, faith doesn't work that well when you're disobedient and you don't fill up with gas when you're supposed to. I guess the car was ruined. I don't think it's true though, I think it's just a myth told by elders who are in bike areas and blame sisters for taking their car? Idk

I bought a couple ties at Goodwill today, and I counted and I have a total of 45! And I've probably  spent $20 on all of them, most were free or gifts. I will keep collecting until I have a prime selection of 32 that I can cycle through and they're all high quality ties.

Well the spiritual thought this week is talk to someone you don't want to and say something to them that you're afraid to say. I bet you 10 South Carolina dollars (same as US dollars) that it will actually be something they need to hear. Look at that, you'll be a savior for them! 🙆🏻

Alright yall peace and remember to look both ways when you watch a tennis match (haha someone said that to me a couple days ago hahahaha)


Monday, May 23, 2016

"Follow the Savior? Why couldn't it be follow the butterflies?" -Elder Weasley

Hola y'all!

An update on my quest to gain weight just in case someone hasn't lost interest: I was doing really good, I was eating double the amount of food my companion was on any given day. I got back to my regular weight from before I was sick. And then one day I had a little less calories. Like an average regular person amount of calories. And then the next morning I swear I lost like 6 pounds no kidding. It's like I'm shrinking all the time and all I can do to fight it is eating more meals than a Hobbit. It's so tiring. And I don't think it's possible to lose that much weight in 24 hours???????? I guess it was mostly water weight 🌊🌊

Sometimes the young women in the ward will give us treats or food they made. I don't know if they made food and they're just giving some, or if they're making it for us. We're not starving, but I don't know if they know that. Yesterday after sacrament they came up to us and gave us chocolate pretzels which was cool I guess but uhhhhhh sorry ladies my heart belongs to the Lord!😉😎

P-days here in Simpsonville are boring. There is nothing to do. Greenville is like 10 minutes away but what is there to do in Greenville? Nothing. They have a suspension bridge but if you've seen one bridge you've seen them all. I get emails from missionaries in other missions and they're doing all this cool stuff! The coolest thing you can do here is accidentally pull up to train tracks right when a train comes and just sit and wait and watch the 10 minute graffiti art exhibit. Supposedly South Carolina is loaded with history and fun facts about the Civil War. The only fun fact I can think of is if you climbed on top of any Bojangles in South Carolina, you would be able to see at least 5 more Bojangles in any direction. Guaranteed

But this week was great! We got a lot of bible referrals which is exciting because we can actually deliver them now. If yall don't know, the church is actually running out of bibles. We tried to order 6 bibles like 3 months ago (because we had that many referrals) and we didn't get them until last Friday. But bible referrals are awesome because you can knock on someone's door and say "Hi, we're missionaries and we saw that you ordered a copy of greatest selling book of all time" (the bible) "would you like to read the sequel?" (the book of mormon). Ok we haven't actually done that yet but I'm so sick of the way we usually contact referrals that I'm dying to change it up. Hopefully I will have tried that by next week.

But spiritually speaking I think the biggest thing I learned about is the different ways you can pray. In the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet we have, one of the things it tells you to do to deal with stress is think "All I need to do right now is _____" and just focus on one thing at a time so you don't get overwhelmed. It's a great and fine suggestion, but this week I decided to apply it to prayer. I used to measure my "successful" prayers based on how long they were and how many different things I talked about. But this week I shortened my prayers a ton. I decided that every time I pray I need to have a purpose or focus, and that's what the prayer should be about. "All I need to pray about right now is ______" It's been really interesting to see the difference. I actually pray about something I want to know or need to do, sometimes my prayers are just to express gratitude after miracle happens. we're instructed to always keep a prayer in our heart so it makes sense to me not to just be repeating the same things all the time. I don't know if this is absolute truth about prayer but I'll loosen my tie and take off my nametag and say this is the gospel according to Brother Berry. I've made each of my prayers on different topics, essentially whatever is on my mind at the time. If you have to think of something to pray, then maybe you shouldn't be praying in that moment, or maybe you shouldn't be praying about that specific thing because you don't really mean it. If you did, it would have been what's right on your mind right then. But please don't just believe that this is true. It is making a difference for me but maybe for each of you, communication with your Father in Heaven is different.

Sometimes it's hard to maintain a desire to share the gospel with others. Especially when everyone around you is a stubborn baptist who has everything figured it out and the moment you mention Jesus they go off and preach at you literally until you tell them you have to go. But it's ok, I'm learning how to get along with them.

That's all for now! This week's challenge is pay for someone else's food at a restaurant! I really wish someone would do that for me, but this ain't no Utah mission 😉

Oh and hey shout out to my siblings Allie and Jared! Enjoi your birthdays 🎂🎂🎂


Monday, May 16, 2016

Vomit-free since '16

Hola y'all!

This week has gone by pretty fast. I started measuring time in terms of calories instead of hours or days. When I got sick a while back, I lost my appetite for a couple days and by the time I wasn't sick anymore, I had lost a few pounds. Which I can't really afford to do. So I've been pushing the calories hard, a couple days ago I actually broke 4000 calories. Everything was going peachy, I was approaching my weight from before I was sick (which is still lower than I'd like) and then last night for some reason I felt nauseous and threw up. It came out of nowhere at like 9:30 last night, and within a few minutes I was hurling yellow-orange stomach acid into the toilet. There wasn't even any food in there, so it wasn't like my body threw up because I was overeating. But really I'm just upset that my streak has been broken. I haven't thrown up in probably almost 10 years and now the counter has reset. It makes me think of Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother. He was "Vomit-free since '93" and then he threw up in one episode and then he was "Vomit-free since '06" or something less catchy like that. This morning I weighed less than I have in the last couple days, so I guess it's back to square uno 🙀😿😾

Here's an update that's even more sad: our golden investigator, Al, who had that crazy story about wanting to kill himself and then a member of our ward just stopped by and pretty much saved his life. Well, he's struggled with alcoholism his whole life, and even though he's come to church the last couple weeks, his life hasn't gotten easier. Maybe even harder. God never really takes our trials away, we just get different, tougher ones because we've become stronger. But it's hard to tell someone that when they're going through such a hard time. So through a series of events that I won't really go into specifics on out of respect and privacy to him, he decided to stop pursuing everything right now. He texted us and pretty much dropped us which was a complete shock to us. We talked to him on the phone and he told us how hard things were right now, and how he felt he was a burden to everyone. We tried to show him otherwise, but he seems to have made up his mind for now. He said he still likes us and appreciates all we've helped him with, but he basically wants some space right now. We said that was fine and that we would call him in a few weeks to check up on him. He said that would be fine so I guess we'll see where that goes. Keep him in your prayers!

Sorry this email wasn't very uplifting, I want to think of a good story. Hmm. Well we helped these members in our ward, the Wakefields, who are the coolest people in the world. They're in their 60s but they're cooler than most "hip" kids today. They're building a house inside of this barn of sorts which is the coolest thing ever, it sounds weird but it is so cool inside. I want to take some pictures when it's done. But anyway we just went there and helped put some insulation in. That was pretty fun. It's not as exciting as I thought it was going to be back when I started typing about it. Oh well I had a really good time and I'm excited to keep helping them 👍🤘👌

It's heating up here in SC but the Lord loves us so he's given a bit of a cool spell these last couple days and in the next few days to come. Low 70s until the end of the week. Then we're on our way to 90s 100s, and 80-90% humidity. Hooray for being in a car area, and let's hope I don't get transferred until at least August, the upstate is the best place in the summer.

ok yall stay fresh and tell someone you love them this week (even if you don't. because you should. you should love everyone ❤💜💙) Don't drink and drive!



Monday, May 9, 2016

Licensed to Ill

Hola y'all!

Sorry for no weekly email last week, I was sick! I mean siiiiiiick. I got a sinus infection like in my ear or something and the drainage gave me a sore throat/awful chest-squeezing cough. Then for some reason I got a fever last Saturday and it lasted until this past Wednesday (high of 103.6! 🙆). I was a big boy and went to the urgent care all by myself (with my companion) and filled out paperwork and insurance information by myself (with my companion's help) and I picked up prescriptions at  Walgreens all by myself (my companion had to show me where the pharmacy was). I'm always so excited to show how independent I am when I write home. Anyway I'm pretty much back to 100% now, I just have to keep pill popping all of these drugs til my ear stops leaking.

So we were stuck inside for I think 5 days. From Saturday (4/30) to Thursday (5/5) we didn't go out because I was barely alive. At the times when I was a little more coherent, we would play games like Rummikub or Mormon-opoly. At the times when I wasn't, I was sleeping and my companion was banging his head against his desk.

I can't remember if I ever told this story, but here in SC we have this narsty store called Deal Mart that sells expired food for really cheap. My companion loves it because caramel popcorn from Christmas time 2014 is his favorite snack. I don't love it. BUT we were in there a little while ago and there was a whole wall of Girl Scout Cookies!! Cases and cases! In each case there is 12 packs, and each pack usually sells for $4 each. So each case is worth about $50. Well since it was Deal Mart, they were selling the cases for only FIVE DOLLARS. So you're saving like $45. $5 for 12 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies heck yeah. And they were flying off the shelves. I guess someone had mentioned it on Facebook and it turned into Black Friday. We couldn't find the Samoas and we were sad but a manager took us into the back and showed they had like 10 boxes left. Miracles. He told us they had already sold like 600 boxes and they had only been open for 3 hours. They probably sold thousands by the end of the day. I guess some ministry had a bunch left over and just donated them to Deal Mart???? I don't know who would do that but I do know that I have enough samoas and Tagalongs at my apartment that they can last my entire mission.

Here's a fun thing: our apartment complex is infested with geese. I fed some of them girl scout cookies, which was cool at first. But then they started choking a lil so we high tailed it out of there (that's South Carolina speak for we ran away). Geese are crazy. They hiss at you if you get too close. I swear they're just snakes wearing chicken costumes. So usually living with the geese is awful, we have to check our shoes for poop every morning and night. But it's been worthwhile the last couple weeks because they had babies! These little fluffly yellow babies are just being shepherded all over the complex by their mom and dad. I tried to pet one but the parents both went into hiss mode and tried to take me down. I don't even care, their babies have gotten bigger now and they actually look like geese so they're ugly. It was fun while it lasted.

Speaking of snakes: the worst prank ever. So the Simpsonville 1st ward elders (we're the 2nd ward elders) are in the other zone but they live real near by and they decided to play this prank on us. I guess they hit a snake with their car and I guess it was black and like 5 feet long and I guess they took it and decided to hide it in our bathroom. They were hanging out at our apartment really late at night and we were like hey go home. One of the elders went and used the bathroom (with his backpack on) and then they left. Well I guess they left their surprise guest coiled up on the ground next to the toilet.
Luckily my companion went in there first. He just stood there and stared for a second. He was like "what is this" and I was like "what" and he was like "they put a fake snake in here" and I was like "noooo" and he was like "actually it's real" and I was like "noooooooo" and I high tailed it out of there (SC talk again). I hid on my bed and my companion picked it up by the tail and put it in a grocery bag and we went and threw it in the dumpster. We went back and disinfected the area. But that is like not cool at all. I love pranks but why would you try and initiate a prank war with literally the grossest possible thing ever?????? Anyway the other 2nd ward elders were in on it (they gave the 1st ward elders the key in our apartment) and they asked if we found our special guest. Well we hate them now because why would you let them do that. So we are just pretending we don't know what they're talking about. Elder Creamer spent like 20 minutes going through our apartment. "I know there's a dead snake in here somewhere. Maybe they're double pranking you and they came back in and took it out because there was a dead snake in your bathroom." haha serves them right. I really love lying and this was such a good opportunity to flex my lying muscle (missionaries are supposed to be honest. But missionaries also aren't supposed to put dead snakes in other missionaries' bathrooms so I through my usual conduct out the door). Haha when they "revealed" the prank to us I said "why would you let them do that?" so I could make them feel awful without giving them the satisfaction of knowing we found it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA the serpent didn't beguile us today! 🐍🐍👊

But yeah we're going to be taking our key back from them because I don't know what I would have done if I was the one that found it. I probably would have gone into shock for real.

Well that's all I have to talk about this week, I was so happy to Skype with my family on Sunday and I was so sad to not be able to talk to them for more than 3 minutes at a time. Oh well, there's always Christmas. You hear that family? You have 7 months to get a real man's internet connection, I'm sick of coming from a dial-up family 😁😉

To finish off I will send the only picture I took in the last two weeks: in case you're still not convinced how ghetto/white trash our area is, I took a picture of a bag of Arby's STAPLED to the roof of a less active's porch. Round here we call it a Palmetto Birdfeeder. Or I do at least.

Stay fresh folks and stand up for what you believe in (unless you believe in only sitting down) 🖖🖖🖖