Monday, October 20, 2014

Oct. 20, 2014 New area, Huntersville, NC

A little more about Concord...yeah, Elder Z was a great example to me. He showed me how to serve, how to contact (which I'm still working on, but more about that later), how to work with the ward, and how to be exactly obedient. Elder B also taught me lots, especially about love and enduring trials. They were some pretty fine chaps :)

So for transferring our bikes, what ended up happening was Sister H from Concord drove the Sisters and she has a bike rack, so she picked up my bike from the W's the night before. Then the day of transfers we took the wheels off of Elder B's bike and it was able to fit in the trunk of her minivan along with our suitcases. The W's also wrote Elder B and I goodbye cards and they were way nice! Concord was a good ward with great families.

So yes, my new area is Huntersville and I am with Elder S who lives in Layton Utah!!! So that was super funny and is probably the top question we get after where I'm from: "did you know each other before coming out?!" The answer is no, and we don't even have any mutual friends, but we did play against each other's soccer teams when I was with Coach Cloward :) He goes home after this transfer (5 weeks from now!) and I will likely be taking over the area so I'm trying to learn it quick!

Also in the area is Elder L (who was Elder Z's companion for 2 transfers up in Boone), and Elder K from Kannapolis!!! Haha it was pretty funny, because we used to be in the same district but different areas, now we're in different districts but the same area!

Our district includes the Mooresville Elders and Sisters (one of the Mooresville sisters came in this transfer and is getting trained), while Elder K's (who's their district leader) includes the Lake Norman Elders and Sisters. The lake Norman Elders include Elder G, who came out with me and was in my MTC district :) We do live together though and that is fun :)

This ward is fantastic! We have met lots of the members and they are all super nice!!! Elder S says it's very similar to a Utah ward as the members are young families with kids and moved here from out west. Our ward mission leader is Brother K and he is so funny! He reminds me of Andrea ;)  He gives all the missionaries nick names. Elder K's is "Elder K-nibb" (pronounces the K). Elder L's is Prince Williams. Elder S's is Elder Simon (like the lion kings Simon and Pumba). Mine is Mini-muff because he said I look like I'm 10, but I'm a stud muffin :) 

So as far as Huntersville itself, it's been a very hard week! Huntersville is the smallest (or close to the smallest) area in the mission, and it's also quite well to do. Also, Huntersville has been very slow recently and the teaching pool is very small.

Elder S is great and because he has one transfer left, we resolved to do like another companionship did, where the Senior companion taught the other companion all about the area and then "handed off the reins" to the younger. So we're going to try that out. 

All of this means I'm going to have to really start getting comfortable being uncomfortable. I'm going to take the lead in contacting, planning, goal setting, and pretty much everything else. We also want to work on obedience because there were some times this last week where we could have done better and been more purpose driven. I've been feeling pretty down because of that. I really have room to improve. Like Elder Klebingat said in conference "Selective obedience brings selective blessings." This experience has taught me the power of prayer and forgiveness though and I think it will help me throughout the rest of my mission, starting today. I talked with the Zone leaders yesterday on the phone and they encouraged me to work through these trials and to work to get Huntersville back on its feet. So it's rough, but like the scriptures and the prophets promise, "We fear no man, for God is with us."

I'm so sorry to hear about Dad! Food poisoning sounds rough! Speaking of food poisoning, I have a great story! Last night us 4 elders visited a super nice couple from Napoli who love the church and the missionaries. Elder K and I hadn't met them yet so we visited. One of the things we did there was eat what's called a "black egg." It's a delicacy in their culture! The pictures tell it best:

(There was a short video that shows the actually eating of the delicacy but no one wants to watch it, 
believe me.     -Zac's mom)
Thanks so much for all your support! Life is good here in North Carolina, and it should be getting much better with faith and work ;) Love you lots!

Elder Zac Branch :)

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