Sunday, July 13, 2014

96th Epistle from Elder Kaleb Erickson serving in Patchogue, New York

World Cup Disappointments    written July 7, 2014

This was my last week with Elder Mendez. We got word that he's going to be transferred tomorrow. I'll be staying here for my last six weeks. The first four of those weeks, I'll be in a trio with the other missionary here, Elder Van Mondfrans. He goes home after four weeks, then it will be me and the third missionary for the last two weeks. It should be an adventure. I'm sad to see Elder Mendez go. We've had a lot of good times together. He's helped me out and taught me a lot over the last four and a half months. But I guess he's needed somewhere else now. Both of the sister missionaries here are staying as well. 

Elder Kaleb Erickson and Elder Mendez in Patchogue, NY
So now, it will be the trio and the two sister missionaries. That's our whole district. Kind of weird. One of the sister missionaries, Sister Keele, has been here with me since I got to Patchogue. She and I were both sent to Patchogue at the same time, but she was just starting and I was coming up on 18 months. After this transfer, she'll be the missionary that I've served with the longest, for nine months straight. Crazy.

This was a heartbreaking week for the World Cup. Every team I rooted for lost this week. It was horrible. Worst of all was the US vs Belgium game. We had dinner at Burger King that day so that we could catch the end of the game. It was so close. I thought we had it for sure. We had to teach English classes right after that. I was wearing my American flag tie to represent my country. The lesson for the day was talking about your feelings, so it was perfect to talk about my devastation. We all laughed together and I made everybody say in English that Belgium was a terrible country. They all thought that was hilarious. It was a fun class.

On Wednesday we scored the best lunch ever with a member in the branch. We ate with the Cortez family and she decided that since it was really hot outside, we should eat cold cut sandwiches. I thought it was a great plan. She had all the fixings. Delicious bread, ham, roast beef, turkey, four kinds of cheese, lettuce, bell peppers, it was incredible. I had three of them. I was in heaven. Later that day, we went over to visit our friends Nancy and Agustin. They were both happy to visit with us for a bit. We taught them about keeping the Sabbath day holy and they said that they were willing to come to church in two weeks. So that was pretty exciting. Then they ordered pizza for us for dinner. That was great too. You can't be mad at free pizza.

Our fourth of July was a pretty fun event too. We didn't have much going on in the afternoon. We had correlation with the branch mission leader and he decided to make us hotdogs to celebrate. Then we headed over to visit the Cortez family again and they had a big party going on. They made a bunch of food; rice, veggies, hotdogs, steak, tortillas, guacamole, pies, it was all incredible. We pigged out, then watched as all the kids lit off little fireworks. There was a lot going on. It was a huge family event, so there were a lot of people there. We just watched and ate and chatted with people, it was nice. It was a good fourth of July.

Saturday was fun because we had a bunch of service to do again. We helped a woman in the English ward with a move. She needed help packing a bunch of stuff into a storage box. It was an intense game of Tetris, but we made it all happen. Then we went over to visit a sweet Argentinian woman who comes to live in Patchogue every summer. She is an older lady and can't do too much work, so we raked all the leaves in her yard for her. She made us chicken and rice to repay us. It was very kind of her. We worked there for about three hours, it was a solid event. The rest of the night we were supposed to go to a firework show with Julio, but he ended up not going, so we went to visit him and his son at his house. Julio is our branch mission leader, by the way. He's a really cool guy.

Sunday involved Mendez going around to visit with people one last time. It's always sad to say goodbye. Even though I'm still staying, it's sad to see people sad that Mendez is leaving. They're going to miss him here. We had a baptism for an 8 year old girl in the branch yesterday too. It was a nice event. Sister Keele and I put together a special song for her, I played and she sang Where Love Is. It turned out really nice. It's nice when baptisms go smoothly.

So the new adventure will begin tomorrow. It is going to be a big change. Three is a lot of people. It should be good though. I'll keep you posted.

Love,  Elder Erickson

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