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Monday, November 03, 2008

How was my Halloween? -- Nov 3, 2008

Dear Family,

How was Halloween, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Out of all the missionaries in the whole San Jose mission, we were probably the only 2 that actually got to stay out until about 10 pm. We were helping with the town Halloween Block Party.

The party was on 3rd Street, so basically right outside our cottage. We made friends with all the people at the local bakery, which is nice because it gives us an excuse to go there and smell the goodness of a small town bakery. The manager's name is Susanna, an enthusiastic business woman who is from Brazil. Everyone in town knows her and she has warmed up to us. She was setting up the whole block party, so she let us help out with it. This help was sorely needed.

We would have our own booth, so we needed to come up with games or something for kids to play. After much pondering, I suggested the balloon stomping game where you get a bunch of kids, tie a balloon to one of each kid's ankles, then have them all start trying to stomp out everyone else's balloons, or what I like to call "Begin the Chaos!"

It was so much fun. Little kids are hilarious! There are the ones who won't stop asking you the same question over and over again ("Can I do it? Can I do it? Can I do it?") while I can't respond because I'm about to pass out from blowing up so many balloons. Then there are the quiet ones that don't know what's going on, but their parents kind of nudge them around everywhere. One little girl about 4 years old was like this. Blank face. Totally oblivious, with a balloon tied to her ankle. We yelled "GO!" and immediately some snot-nosed boy stomped out her balloon. So sad, yet so funny. My cheeks were aching from laughing so much. There were also several kids that started crying when their balloon got popped, so I quickly brought them another one, which seemed to remedy the problem.

So we did this for about 2 1/2 hours (7-9:30pm) until we decided to have a go at it ourselves in an adult round. Looking back, it may not have been the most missionary-smart thing to do, but it sure was fun! We had Susanna record this round on Elder Jackson's camera, and as we watched it later, we freeze-framed it in a couple places where we were both in somewhat compromising positions with girls who were in on that round. Let's just keep that our little secret.

I can't remember if I told you all about my trainer. His name is Joshua Jackson, from Mapleton, Utah. He was AP when President Jackson and Sister Jackson came in, so they trust him, which is good. He goes home after this transfer (a couple days before Thanksgiving) so I'll get a new companion in San Juan then. I told him to stop by the house when he gets back.

Today we had some delicious hush-puppies and fried catfish at a former-investigator's (no longer being taught) house in Hollister with the six missionaries who live in Hollister. Total Larry the Cable Guy! He told us in detail how to catch catfish ("So ya shove yer arm under this rotted tree stump in the watah, feel around for somethin' slimy, then stick yer hand in its mouth...") and lots of other good information. He was a nice guy, and the food was SO good.

San Juan is so small that we mostly walk. But our area includes several neighborhoods in the outskirts and in the hills, so we drive as well. I got a bike free from a missionary that broke his wrist mountain-biking, but unfortunately we don't do much biking. Biking in a white shirt and tie is my favorite. Thanks for those things that go on the ankles to keep my pants clean while biking, by the way. They've been great.

I got the tape you sent. It was really fun listening to it. I'm trying to fill up the other side with some good stuff.

Things are pretty crazy here with Proposition 8 and all. As missionaries, we have to stay neutral with everything political, but the members are great on following the prophet's counsel for California members and supporting it.

As always, thanks so much for the letters and the emails. They always brighten the day.

Until next week!


-Elder Karlsven

P.S. The scripture for my plaque should be Ether 12:27. Thanks, Mom!

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