Here in Houlton they have a thing called "Midnight Madness," where there are hundreds of booths are set up for food, concerts, games, etc. It's the works! Everyone in Houlton and surrounding areas was there. So Elder Edmond and I walked around and talked to a lot of people. It was boiling hot and everyone was sweatin' up a storm!! There was one booth with music stuff, so I looked at a violin, and the lady running the booth let me set up the bridge and everything on it, and then let me play it for the night. So, most of the night I stood on the street at the town square in downtown Houlton, and played the violin. I had a few really large groups at certain points, and a lot of people listened to me play. It was a cool opportunity. I got lots of compliments and had many people take pictures of me. AND the bugs were out in full force, too! I counted a grand total of 60 bites all over me in ONE NIGHT!
Oh I forgot to mention, we did a couple of hours of HARD labor service for a member earlier today, and forgot to put on sunscreen...we got fried!
Thursday was the 4th of July. We watched the big Houlton parade in the morning and then went to a large get together at the Carters. A lot of people were there and we played volleyball and softball. I actually ended up winning the softball game with a walk-off home run! I forgot to put sunscreen on all afternoon though. Then I really started to look like a deep-fried tomato. Later we went to the Peters' and Storm'e was visiting for the weekend. She had bought me a tie for my birthday! That evening Elder Edmond and I parked out in the potato fields to watch the fireworks. All in all, it was a great day, but I paid a hefty price that night...burning all over because of the sunburn AND itching all over because of the bug bites! NOT a good combo!! However, I still felt extremely grateful for our freedom in this country, and for all of those who have paid that price, to make it this way.
On Friday Elder Edmond's and my sunburns were SO bad that we weren't able to accomplish much. AND we still don't have AC in our apartment, so it's like a sauna in there. Even at 9:30 p.m. we drip sweat with three fans blowing on us!! It has been a long, hot week! I think so many things combined, along with the holiday, really hit me hard and I had my own personal mini-meltdown...missing home, my family, loved ones, etc. Being on a mission and trying to be a good missionary is the hardest thing I've ever done! But I'm also thankful for the experience and all of the things it's teaching me. And I feel to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help so many people.
Saturday was another rough day...we worked at Lucky's hose doing service for nearly 2 hours. We DID wear sunscreen, AND I wore a hat, but my already sunburned skin just got worse! My forehead turned into full-on blisters, which were rather painful and gross. I got a huge cluster of canker sores below my lip from the sun...plus the biggest canker sore I've ever had inside my lip...it's huge and it hurts!! Plus a bunch of NEW bug bites, too!! I felt one bite the top of my ear, which took a little chunk out, and it just dripped with blood from that one bite! So, things have been rather "challenging," but I also know it could be much worse!
Sunday was a big blessing even though I woke up to my face peeling off and people joking about my "leprosy" at church!! I LOVE going to church every single week because of the spiritual strength it gives me. I'm able to be clean from my mistakes, and feel the spirit so strong. Today was a good, emotional fast and testimony meeting, and I really needed to hear some of the things that were said. Sister Hann shared 1 Peter 1:7 which talks about how the trial of our faith precedes the blessings...and how the trials we face are more precious than gold. I would not have thought that true many months ago, but now I understand it and it's true. Without our trials, we would be lost in ignorance and have no chance for salvation. So, I'm grateful for my trials (sunburns and subsequent 'leprosy' look, bug bites, bad knee, heat wave, cold sores, canker sores, no AC, just to name a few!), because I know I'm learning from them, and I will be a better person because of that learning and growth. I'm loving it!! And I'm also confident that next week will be a lot better!!
|(Elder Hunt is very "a-pealing!!" AKA "Leprosy Man!" This too shall pass, Elder Hunt!!)|