We got permission to do emails at a member's house so we're hanging out next door at our branch pres's house. Yukon the dog just BARKED really loudly, once, at nothing, and scared me.
Daddy that is so cool that you had a baptism, Mommy talked about a baptism a bit, the same one I'm guessing?
And Mommy, you do not have to send me another package, I am very grateful for all that you do, love you lots. I miss you all in a quiet, peaceful way, but truly I don't want to come home and hate thinking that I only have about six months left.
Hey so yes, we will be staying in this apartment indefinitely; we love it here. Every dessert we get we stop at the door to the main house and give it to the branch president. One time we had a pan with leftover brownies smothered in cookie dough that had been in our fridge for two days and we kept forgetting to give it to him. Knock knock. "Do you want these?" He took them happily. We asked him if he needed help eating them, cuz there was a whole side of the pan with brownies still, we could take a couple off his hands. "No, that's okay," he said, and shut the door.
We had a lesson with El Colombiano; we'd recently gotten permission for the Spanish elders in Juneau to mail us some Gospel Principles books in Spanish and El Colombiano had brought his that we'd given him, so instead of going over El Plan de Salvacion we jokingly asked him if he was gonna teach us. He flipped to chapter one and started. We got all excitedly settled and listened as he taught us who our Heavenly Father is. He asked us, "Como llevar (llegar? i can't remember) conocer a Dios?" How can we come to know God? He said, "La pregunta es simple. El respuesto es.." Big pause. "Profunda." Um, sorry if that's bad spanish, I wasn't called on a Spanish speaking mission. Hahhaa. ANYWAY he said, The question is simple, the answer is profound. He's so funny. He wanted a piece of paper, i gave him a sticky note, he drew this little globe with lines coming off of it, um apparently that was Sister H's head, and he wrote HER answer. Underneath it he drew a FROWNY face with big poofy hair, that was me; he wrote MY answer. For him, he drew a man in a tux. We asked him if he was gonna draw his glasses on the man. He said, "NO! No glasses." His drawing of himself did not NEED glasses. At one point he sat down on the bench next to us and his coat got caught on the cover of the gospel principles book. I fixed it. His reaction was delayed---he looked down after a couple of seconds and said, "NO TOUCH. It's MINE." He fixed it just so and then went on with his lesson. He cracks us up.
We went n visited one of our old lady friends at the Manor the other day, she's "The Answer Is" Lady. We found out she has Alzheimer's and Sis H says that makes sense; her grandfather who has Alzheimer's reuses the same phrase over and over cuz that's all he can remember. Well, The Answer Is Lady ALWAYS says, "The answer is..." or, "In other words..." My first meeting with her, back when Sister Pete was here, I asked her if she had any family in Petersburg. She got real close to me and said, "The answer is....not a soul." I asked her if she'd ever been married. "The answer is, no."
So, we went and visited her and said we could come in and we sat down and she sat on the "davenport" (she always calls it that, I don't know what the difference between a davenport and a couch is, but I wanna learn) next to me and through the course of our visit she sunk lower and lower and gradually slid sideways till she was leaning against my arm. A couple of times she even laid her head on my shoulder. As she's leisurely pointing her foot out, the leg that's crossed over the other, and slowly rolling her ankle back and forth, la di da di da style. I kept lookin over at Sister H and giggling. We love her. She just has this quirky personality. She says a lot, "When you get up into your 70's or 90's--" (she's 96, herself) "--you find that you just don't care about social things."
I asked her if she believed in God and brought up religious stuff and within three minutes she'd stood up and was thanking us for our visit, hahahaaah, and out the door we were. Well, we'll keep visiting her.
We helped the Woman Who Lives Out the Road (she's less active) with her deer again. We dropped by and she was outside in the rain on the way to her shop (shed thing).
"Hey, guys, I'm skinning my deer right now."
Oh my heck Sister H never jumped outta the car so fast. We went and watched her skin her deer, we took pictures on HER camera and she hasn't emailed them to us yet but soon I will email them to all of you and you can see. She'd cut the heads off the deer---she had two, one that had been hanging for a week already and one that she'd just caught the day before, hung up from their back legs, the rope going between their fibia and tibula or whatever it's called and then tied around the rafter thingies. So she'd cut the heads off cuz she said it's easier to pull the hide off that way, even if it gets a few more hairs everywhere. We watched her skin the second one, she had a tiny knife, I think it's called a parring knife, she laughs and said some people tease her for her tiny knife but she says it works great. So she pulls the hide down and then slices up where the hide and the fat/membrane/meat stuff is and slices and then she can yank the hide down a lil more.
Oh my heck. And then she broke their forelegs. We were like OH MY GOSH with hands over our mouths and she laughed and said that's the sound our own bones would make.
We went back the next day and helped her cut up her meat, AKA, separate the fat the from the meat, and the meat from the bone. Deer meat is nasty, she said, it makes the meat taste real gamey. I used a filet knife mostly and cut up backstrap and stuff. Yeah. I know what I'm talking about.
We've loved getting to know her, she is not familiar with the church at all, wanted to know what patriarchal blessings and investigators are. She's pretty much like a nonmember. And she's awesome. We wanna write a song called the Alaskan Woman.
We went back a few days later and helped her grind up meat and cut some more and I made sausage (I added spices and stuff according to a recipe she got from someone and ground bacon and the venison together; the bacon is like the fat, but it's actually nummy-tasting fat).
So, we did a lot of service this week. We also helped out with Petersburg Indian Association non-smoking coalition free t-shirt giveaway thingy at the community center. We also helped old people play bingo. We also helped out at a Turkey Time Race that a member of our branch, who works for Petersburg Parks and Rec, organized. We also...hmm what did we do. Oh my heck, we also helped out at this primary activity; a woman donated a whole bunch of STUFF from her HOUSE and the primary kids, one from each family at a time, walked around the tables full of all this STUFF and "shopped" for their family and we WRAPPED all these gifts and we're storing all these gifts at the church, they'll be taken back out at our Christmas dinner and given to the appropriate family members. It was chaotic and crazy, you'd be wrapping present after present for ONE kid cuz of course their father needed a KABOODLE (um it's a "fishing box") that was blue and glittery AND he needed a picture frame and two candles and a light bulb in the shape of a dolphin....and then ANOTHER kid would come to you with two grocery bags full of MORE things to be wrapped and let me just tell you, my wrapping skills got very special.
So, we suffered on lessons this week. We got a few less than we should have. We have to try and find balance. We do a lot more service out in the bush than in more populated places but we STILL gotta try and find a balance. So, we had a lesson set up with Sweet 15 and her fam, and it was dinner, with a short lesson after of course. We like having members of the branch at every lesson. So, we were freakin out, how are we gonna get a member to come to this lesson? We can't invite an extra person to someone else's dinner. And since Puerto Rican Momma asked recently NOT to have members at her lessons, and since Miss Walkin Into Town tends to forget about lessons and La Mujer de Calisco hasn't been home lately, and how the Spunky Woman who's 72 and doesn't wanna change cancelled her lesson, and since our newest investigator moved to Dutch Harbor, and since Miss I Needa Change My Life got a new phone number apparently and we've been texting and texting but it was to her old number, since all these people would NOT have lessons with us OR have members at these lessons, we REALLY REALLY wanted THIS lesson with Sweet 15 to actually have a member but it wasn't a simple thing to invite someone else along. So I prayed specifically that they would think to invite someone---Sweet 15's mom is friends with a sister in the branch cuz they both work at the hospital so I prayed for Sweet 15's mom to invite her. This woman is actually the woman Sister Pete and I lived with for two weeks back in August or something. Her name is Sister Hertless.
When we drove up for the lesson that night, Sister Hertless's car was sitting in the driveway.
There were a lotta screams in our car and lots of high fiving and then we got out completely dignified and walked up the steps to knock on the door.
Well, I woke up Sunday morning and looked outside and everything was covered in snow. "WE'VE BEEN DUMPED ON!" I cried to Sister H.
"No we haven't," she chuckled. "Wait, are you lying? You're lying."
"I'm not lying. Come see!!"
The snow is beautiful, and I love Petersburg.
We're going to Juneau the first week in December for zone conference and then after that we're flying to Wrangell instead of back to Petersburg, the work is slow there and the missionaries are getting taken out and put elsewhere, but Pres Beesley wants us to teach a few lessons there and throw a musical Christmas fireside, hahaha, for the branch there, and then we'll ferry back on Tuesday, to Petersburg.
Oh my heck, our December is gonna be crazy busy full of music and singing.
LOVE YOU ALL
Sister Ashbrook and the frozen pot holes