Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In the "hood" and loving it

Not too long ago, actually about six weeks or so, Brendan made the big move across three provinces and two countries from International Falls Minnesota to Kindersley Saskatchewan.  Now just six weeks later, Brendan is on the move again and this time it's not just from one town to another.  He emailed us a couple of weeks ago and told us that he was being transferred from Kindersley to Regina.  Not only that, he was also being made a new Zone Leader in that area.  That is a big responsibility for a missionary who has barely been out six months.  But before I get into more about his new area and new calling, there is a matter of just how he spent his first birthday on his mission.

So this is a great story and fortunately there is some great video to go along with it.  Brendan and his companion were invited to dinner by a Filipino family who are members of the Ward in Kindersley.  Brendan said that the Filipinos make the best food.  So for the most part, his birthday dinner was wonderful.  But there was the matter of the initiation into Filipino culture that Brendan had to go through.  If you have never heard of balut, it is actually a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and then eaten in the shell.  This was Brendan's special birthday surprise.  Rather than trying to describe the experience, you can see it first hand in this video.

That wasn't the only interesting thing that happened to Brendan around his birthday time.  He also shared with us another story about how the "church" is trying to kill him.  In this case he isn't talking about the members of the church or the doctrine, but instead he is talking about the church building itself.  This is the point where I will let Brendan tell the story:

"The first thing that made this week interesting was the fact that the church is trying to kill me. I don't mean the body of the church or the leaders. I mean the physical tangible phase 2 church building of Kindersley, SK. I was doing some family history work on the computer when I realized that it was time to go. So I stood up promptly from my hardly cushioned typical church chair. And BAM. Imagines of all the wooden corners that have given me pain and stitches through out my life rushed into my head. From the downstairs TV cabinet thing that lacerated my inner ear at a tender age to me tripping and hitting the window seal so gracefully in the upstairs studio. But WHAM none the less, I rammed my head into yet another wooden corner. The bane of my existence struck again. I immediately made a loud grunting noise which wasn't a cuss word. So I'm making good progress. haha. I felt my head and I was gushing blood. So I ran to the bathroom and some how kept my white shirt untouched of red stuff. Quite impressive. But now I have had a week long headache and an indent in my scalp. But hey, hospitals are for wussy's. And I'm not a Canadian citizen so it would have cost an arm and a leg. But all is well that ends well. (seriously there was a lot of blood)."

We didn't get a family letter from Brendan for a couple of weeks after he was transferred to Regina.  But when we did, the subject line read "Ganglords got cha back mmmmhhh".  Apparently,  Brendan is now serving in the inner city area of Regina.  Needless to say, it is the rougher part of down.  Here is another story that Brendan shared with us about his new area:

"We spend quite a lot of time in an area of town called North Central. It is the hood. I love saying that. "Hood" Something I never got to say much in the 801. "hood" But crazy things have happened this week that I really don't feel comfortable telling you guys about. Just know that the hood is a scary place and that really bad things happen to some people that we teach and it really is hard to deal with sometimes. But we were walking down the street the other day and this guy called us over. Medium build covered in tatts. A couple teardrop tatts (mom translation: that means he has killed people) and we talk to him for a while and apparently he is a ganglord here in North Central. He tells us that he has our back and that we don't ever need to be scared in the hood. We have protection. If anything goes down, call him. Its great. I love it!"
That is just the kinds of story that every missionary parent just loves to hear about (re-read that last sentence with a sarcastic tone).  Anyway, we are just grateful that Brendan is being watched over by our Heavenly Father as well.  With that kind of assurance, everything should be great.

Brendan is loving his new area and his new companion.  He said that his companion is one of the hardest working missionaries in the mission.  From the time that Brendan arrived in Regina, it has been non-stop missionary work.  In fact, last week we didn't get an email from him until about 8:30 at night because he and his companion had a full day of service to attend to.  Along with that, Brendan said that they have met a lot of people while out tracting and many of them have been very receptive to the gospel message that the missionaries have to share.  Brendan has told us over and over again just how much he is loving his new area.  They are teaching several new investigators and are hoping to challenge a few for baptism soon.

So here is another great story that Brendan told us about.  While Brendan and his companion were out tracting, they came across a very unique house.  They stopped and knocked on the door and the owner of the house came out to talk with them.  As happens quite often, after talking for a few minutes the owner asked if they could come back some other time.  About that time Brendan smelled something incredible coming from inside the house, so he asked what it was.  The home owner said that he was making soup and asked if they would like some.  You know missionaries, when it comes to food, you don't have to ask them twice.  So they went in, sat down and the home owner gave them each a bowl of soup.  Brendan said that it tasted a little spicy and was really good, so he asked what kind of soup it was.  About that time the man took the lid off of the soup pot and showed them what was cooking inside.  There it was, authentic sheep's head soup made with a full sheep's head boiling in broth and spices inside the pot.  He said that it was kind of creepy but since the soup was so good, he actually wanted some more.

So here is one last story that is soooo Brendan.  He sent us an email with the subject line that said, "Sometimes you cut your own hair. Sometimes you end up with bald spots":

"I did indeed give my self a haircut for the second time since I have been out. The last time I did a really good job. This time it started out well, but... I had finished up and taken a shower to rid my self of sick hair. Then I noticed some hairs in my ridiculous cowlick were a little too long. So I pulled out the clippers and took off the guard cause I was just going to clip the tops off. But as you know, looking in a mirror everything is opposite. Sometimes you forget this when you cut your own hair. This was one of those times. And long story buzzed short (hah hah) I now have a glorious bald spot on the side of my head that is the size of a fifty cent piece. But it is a great lesson in humility and forgetting about what people think. So honestly, in a strange way you can check that one off as a blessing!"

Balut before peeling the shell off

There's a tasty morsel right there.