I am so sorry that I did not call from the airport, but to be honest, I did not really want to cuz that would have been a little weird cuz I have only been gone about 3 weeks, and I did not have that much time to call you cuz we flew to Washington and ate lunch then went to Anchorage and we left for the airport at 4 in the morning and got there at 6. our flight left around 7:20 if I recall right so even if I would have called, I do not think anyone would have really been mentally awake but its ok cuz I will call you on Mothers Day ;).
Gosh where to start!......well my trainer is named Elder Unsworth, he is from West Valley, Utah, so music to the Gunn's ears! ;) basically, we are both the same person. We love the exact same music, literally, which made me so happy to finally relate with someone about something that is very close to me. He comes from a family of 4 brothers and 1 siser. He is the oldest and the first one to serve a mission. He was inactive growing up, but he came back to the church! He is 25 and he has been out for 20 months so I will probably kill him haha! He is awesome tho, he is patient with me and we have the same sense of humor which was also another huge relief for me. The other day he asked me "Elder, what would you do without a wonderful companion like me?" and I replied "celebrate and get another one". He is great tho, I love him and he is a great companion for me.
We arrived in Alaska around 2-3 we met President and Sister Dance. They are so awesome! President Dance, I believe, is a White with Yellow and Sister Dance is a Yellow. Both really fun and loving people. We met the AP's they were way nice and took lots of pics of us as we were getting our luggage from the airport. As we stepped outside, my long anticipation was answered, the weather. It was -15 my first day. We went to the mission home, got to know the mission President and his wife a little better and then went out with an Elder for about an hour. I went with Elder Carlson and we went tracting, in -15. I personally loved it cuz I am getting the Alaskian experience!!!! Yes, it was freezing and my face was numb after 5 minutes of walking around and my feet were hurting way bad. I asked Elder Carlson what was the coldest he has experienced. "60" he replied!!! Ya a little cold, he said that after he took off his gloves, one of his hands started bleeding!!! Yikes!!!!!!! But the weather has been a lot better now, it is staying around 20 degrees now and it is so nice, here in Alaska, that is considered nice weather. I am already getting used to it and all I need when it is around 20-25 is just my suit jacket cuz it is so warm!
In my first week, I have already experienced so much! We are currently teaching the Madina's right now. Oh quick thing, a ton of people move up to Alaska for the army, we went to 6 members homes last week for dinner and 5 of them are here for the army. I had no idea that so many people up here are in the army. Anyways, the Madina's are what we call a "golden investigator" meaning-for those who do not know-that they are the perfect/easiest family to teach. The wife is a member and the husband is not and they came up to my companion, before I came here, and asked if Juan (the dad) could be baptized. Everything we ask them to do, they do! I love this family so much! We were really nervous on sunday tho because they like to go to our ward for church, not their own, cuz they said there were too many distractions at their own ward and they could not feel the spirit. We said we would talk to President Dance, but we already knew that he was gonna say they have to go to their own ward. Well, on sunday, they came up to us and asked if we talked to the President, we told them no, but said that he was going to say to go to their own ward. They looked really upset and we were really worried!! The whole sacrament meeting, Elder Unsworth and I are praying, hoping to know what to tell them to help comfort them. After sacrament ends, they walk up to us and say, "we thought a lot about what you said and we have made a decision" oh by the way we commited Juan to be baptized and he accepted!!!! but we thought that he was going to say he did not want to be baptized anymore. "We will not fight and cause a headache for anyone, we will go to our own ward". Music to our ears! We could believe that! They are truly a wonderful family. Funny story, at the end of sacrament, I was getting my stuff together when I heard Brother Ho say "before we close, we would like to hear from our new missionary Elder Hartman, if you could just come up and bear your testimony for us". That was pretty surprising, but something I better get used to!
We went tracting the other day and that was a little upsetting because most people are not home between 10-5 cuz of work, and if they are, they are really tired cuz the sun goes down at 6 so 7 here feels like 10. A lot of people say that they already have their own religion or they just threaten to let their dogs loose on us, that one made me laugh until I realized they were serious, that was a very akward moment.
Members here loooooooooove to feed missionaries. The average weight gain for a missionary here is 40 lbs!!! I can see why tho, they feed you a ton! Every night, we have dinner with members. We had chili last night, chicken with salad and blackberry and peach pie another night. Small pieces of chicken covered in sun chips another night, which was really interesting but soooo good! Members at the church argue with each other about signing up for dinner with the missionaries, but what can I say, we are kind of a big deal ;) I love it here, this place is so beautiful in the winter and I cannot wait for Summer to come around (not Summer Gunn, as nice as that would be tho ;))
Mail takes a loooooong time to get up here, it takes 3 days to get up here and to send it. I got Terra's package, thank you so much for that! I loved how everything was green in it, got a good laugh out of that. My companion and I have a bubble war the other day, I totally owned him :) my mailing address right now is: 12350 Industry Way, Ste. 218 Anchorage, Alaska 99515
I love the letters, but it is also easier if you just e-mail me, that way I for sure get it, but send letters whenever you want cuz I love those to!!!!! :) :) oh and if anyone could get me Olex's e-mail address and let him know that I want to start e-mailing him that would be wonderful and get Broc's to if at all possible that would be greatly appreciated :)
This is where we sleep.
Well I do not think that I could make this message any longer and this is easily the longest e-mail I have ever written hahahaha but I love talking to all of you. It is weird, but the farther away I am from my totally amazing family, the closer I feel I grow to you. I really think about all of you every single day. I have seen some familys who are dysfunctional, like one that has this gothic girl who is married to another woman, but I swear is a guy cuz she has whiskers on her face, she scares me. The daughter of the family has a bad case of ADHD and is always really hyper so it is hard to teach the mom with her running around and the son who just plays video games and watching tv all day, but I can relate to that ;) hahaha. I am so grateful for all of you. Everyone of you has been a big influence in my life. You are extremely supportive and I cannot thank you all enough for that!!! Every night I go to bed I always love the thought of families being together forever. It is such a comforting thought and I love thinking about it. Say hi to all of my friends for me and give them my love. Let them all know that I miss them terribly and I think about them all the time! Olex wrote me a letter while I was in the MTC and that made me miss the big guy a ton. Thanks again for everything you have done. I will try to send another email with pictures of me and my companion so you can see some of this wonderful place! Love you all very much!
This is right after my first haircut in the MTC.