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Monday, November 03, 2008

Email from Elder Matt Oct 20, 2008

Family,

I've moved into my first area and it's a good one. Beautiful San Juan Bautista, a town of about 1700 people strong. Not nearly as boring as it sounds. It's full of really good restaurants (they don't allow franchises here) and an unnecessarily large number of antiques stores. Many wonder why this town is struggling economically and can't seem to realize that a town this size just cannot support 16 antiques shops.

Another interesting thing about San Juan Bautista is that it is completely overrun with chickens - roosters and hens. So many roosters. They are everywhere, and no one can do anything about it because there are a bunch of laws put in place to protect them. But I am glad, for they brighten my day, except at 5am every morning when the five roosters living in our backyard wake us up.

Oh, and did I mention our backyard? Yeah, we have one. Also, we have a small cottage-esque house we live in, right in the middle of town. Very cool. There is a little path that leads to our house which is behind an antique store and a hat store. Each morning one of us takes some time to water our rose bushes, which is part of the lease agreement on the house. Really, it is.

Elder Jackson is my trainer, and this is his last transfer before he goes home. He is a really really good missionary. Especially at tracting. Often when I start the conversation at a door, the person responds somewhat angrily with something like "Oh, no, I'm not interested. I'm Catholic." I then start to sweat a lot and look around nervously. After about a second Elder Jackson jumps in, saving me and we have a friendly conversation. We've made many friends, and it is such a small town we see them all the time.

Right now I'm in the local library, which is small, but not too bad. Hopefully, we will in the next couple weeks start reading books to preschoolers here for our service. Awesome.

There are a lot of schools that take field trips to see the Catholic Mission here. It's a cool looking building, but we haven't had a chance to go into it yet.

The last missionaries in this area I guess was a senior couple back in the 80's sometime. Other than that, there haven't been any here...until now! There are about 20 or 25 members here, but most of them are less-active. We've met with many of them and they are all friendly and welcoming. The active members though are really REALLY awesome. They are very excited about having missionaries here and have provided us with food, cleaning supplies, and dinners just about every night. So nice. Our ward mission leader and bishop are also just about the most helpful, kind, enthusiastic and excited, good people you'll ever meet.

The people here are mostly all friendly, even when we go tracting. Only a couple of times have people said bluntly or a little rudely that they are not interested and shut the door immediately. Most we are able to talk to for at least a little bit. This is a lot because of Elder Jackson's speaking abilities. I'm getting a little better, but a lot of times I talk myself into a corner and freeze up. Example:

Big Angry-Looking Guy (B.A.L.G.) answers door

Me: How are you doing?

BALG: Can I help you?

Me: Yeah, we're the Mormon missionaries and we just moved into town. I'm Elder Karlsven (shakes his hand).

BALG: Yeah, we're not interested. We're Catholic.

Me: Well, uh, um...these are some nice plants you got out here. What kind are they?

BALG: Grass.

Me: Um, yeah, that's what I thought...uh, well do you know anyone who would be interested in our message about the restoration of Jesus Christ's church?

BALG: Look, I gotta go.

Then Elder Jackson would swoop in and save the conversation. We make a good team.

So yeah, I'm doing well living with Elder Jackson in our cute little house. And the members are taking real good care of us.

You can send things to the mission office at:

California San Jose Mission
3975 McLaughlin Ave. Ste. A
San Jose, CA 95121

We have a P.O. box here, but you should send mail to the mission office and they will forward it here. Packages can be sent there, and if you send it with USPS in a flat rate box they can forward it here. Otherwise, I can get packages about once or twice a month.

Thanks for all the support and your prayers. They are needed more than ever now that it counts.

Hope you're all having fun and doing well. I'm not sure if these computers will let me load pictures, but I will try soon. I love you all!

Love,

Elder Karlsven

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