First of all: Happy birthday to Mom and Rachel! I feel terribly that I didn't remember to say that last Monday but know that when the seventeenth rolled around I was thinking about you. I hope it was great. Ray, I'm sorry you got so sick. For a late birthday present I'll tell you a little about all the stray dogs that live here in Liberty. They are everywhere. Our investigator has a big dog named Pookie that has to be kept chained not because he is mean but because his favorite hobby is to sniff the front fenders of cars while they are trying to drive. As people try to drive out of the little dirt road, he dodges in front of their cars again and again--I don't know how he is still alive--causing the driver to yell, "Pookie! POOKie STOP it! POOKIE!" in a Southern Black person accent. Its really funny. So now that is one of our favorite things to yell at stray dogs we see as we walk from place to place. "Pookie! Pookie stop it!" There is also another dog that got run over a while back and so neither of his back legs work. But that doesn't stop him--he hops around on two legs, all around the neighborhood. He's pretty fast too. I'll try to take a picture of him for you.
I loved your letter Mom! No, Liberty is not the inner city. Its very country. Its just kind of a poor area. A lot of the areas we work in look like the kind of swampy foresty trailer park-y places you would expect to see in the backwoods of Louisiana or something. Of course, it basically is the backwoods of Louisiana...so yeah.
We have an awesome couple of new investigators: Tyrin and Brandon. Tyrin is the 16-year-old brother of Kalilah, our investigator who will hopefully be getting baptized in a couple of weeks. And Brandon is Tyrin's best friend. Brandon is probably about 5 feet tall and only has one arm, and is probably the sweetest and bravest kid I've ever met in my life. We had invited Tyrin over and over again to listen in on our lessons with Kalilah, but he showed absolutely NO interest. Then one night were outside talking to Kalilah (and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes) and Tyrin just randomly came out and joined us. It took us all a few minutes to realize how weird this was. And then one of us asked, in so many words, "Tyrin what on earth are you doing out here?" He said he had been playing a video game and then a "deep thought" came over him, and he paused the game and came outside. He was incredibly receptive to what we had to say and we committed him to baptism that evening. He said he has had a feeling for a while now that he needs to get baptized.
A few nights later we invited him to mutual and his friend Brandon came. At the end of mutual we took them on a little church tour and had a lesson in the chapel. I recited the first vision (Yay me! in our mission the first vision goes from verse 10 to "This is my beloved son; hear him" so its pretty long.) When we asked Brandon how he felt, he said it was a good feeling and then, in his own words, "I've never felt this way before."
A few nights ago we got them and a few other friends to come to the Ward Halloween party. They dressed as vampires--by which I mean, they wore black and red capes. It was fantastic.
Thanks so much to Brother Minor and to Vivi for your letters! And a big thanks to Sarah Jones for the Halloween package! Y'all are the best.