So Merced is awesome! I'm lovin' it here. Elder Bone is great. I left on Wednesday to come up here. Jonathan gave me a ride. I was really sad to say goodbye to everybody in Fresno but Merced is great too! Elder Bone is from the same town in Utah as Elder Burton (Kaysville, UT). On 4th July we went and gave service to a brother in another ward up here in Merced. We poured cement into these tubes in the ground to create solid bases for a fence to be installed. It was intense. Elder Bone is like the greatest "handyman" on the planet. He's done a ton of service! He's poured patios, redone roofs, fixes yards, fixes cars etc. So we also did a ton of laser leveling to prep the ground and make sure all the concrete bases would be level. Therefore, when I get home, I will definitely be ready to do all the big fixes around the house. Haha. We had a great lunch at Pheej's house (Pang). She's a super awesome Green Hmong lady from the branch. By the way, green Hmong is another dialect of Hmong! There is a lot of myths of how it came about, but nothing super solid about how it came forward. Anyways, we had to be in by 6pm on 4th of July. We had to have a ride in a members car if we wanted to be out longer. But by the time it got dark outside, we only had about an hour before we'd have to be back at our apartment so we just stayed in and got things organized.
The next day, we had a baptismal interview with the sisters about an hour away. He was a young kid. He was really funny though. Apparently he had recently egged somebody's house and so he wanted to get his "sins" washed away. Gotta love it.
The following day, we went and did more service for another member in another ward. We cleaned out his storage unit. Tons of cool junk in there. Then we went and did more service for a non-member ; a Japanese lady that lives way far away. We did some yard work and Elder Bone did some crazy work on her sprinkler system. We cut pvc pipe and moved one of the sprinklers closer to some dying trees. SO MUCH FUN. Like I said, I can do a lot of yard work now.
Yesterday, I met the branch. They're great. We have about 60 people that attend regularly. Lots of non-Asian people are pulled in to help support the unit. Everyone's way nice and love to help the missionaries. Also, the branch isn't exclusively Hmong. Its actually a southeast Asian branch. So we have Mein, Hmong, Cambodian, and some other people I think I forgot. I love the branch already.
Also, our area covers a lot of area, but not a whole lot of people. We cover primarily Atwater and Merced (you can probably Google map it). Its been in the 100s all week. Its not too bad because we're in a car most of the time, so no biggie. The heat is not like VA. Its not very humid here, just straight heat.
Never alone. Jeffrey R. Holland said, "Shouted from the Summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone, even though we may sometimes feel we are." Because of Jesus Christ, we can be comforted in our trials. We will never have to face them alone. We will always have someone there lifting us and encouraging us. I know that our Heavenly Father is always close to us! He will always be there for you.
I love you all very much! Keep the questions coming! xoxox
Love,Elder Tseem Fwv Leem Xai Yob Vaj