October 12, 2020




Joe Sweeten

The One Where Everything Is Bigger In Texas

I have officially been in Texas for 5 days! And when I say that, really I mean half Texas and half Arkansas because my area is Magnolia, AK! If you've never been there,  just imagine a giant forest (who would've guessed Eastern Texas/Southern Arkansas is basically just one big forest definitely not me), plop some random houses about, throw in a rinky dink park and roadkill on every other block and bangarang: Magnolia.

Some weird things in Texas:
•Middle Schools the size of colleges
•22,000 seat High School football stadiums
•So many treeeeeeeees
•So many cowwwwwws
•All the stop lights are sideways
•More roadkill than actual road
•86,000,000,000 Trump signs
•1 Biden sign
•Apparently you're only allowed to drive a pickup or a challenger here
•Even more trees
•My internal compass is gonzo I don't know any directions or streets or cities anymore and I'm mostly just lost 24/7

My flight was pretty epic, there were 20 missionaries all flying to Dallas so we basically covered the plane (also SLC Airport is SICK). We all stayed the night with the Mission President, and the next day we got to meet our companions! I'm in a trio which I definitely wasn't expecting but it's pretty sick. My trainer is Elder Sweeten, who's been out a year and is hilarious. My other comp is Elder Mendenhall, who's been out a transfer longer than me and is a beefcake.

But then Hurricane Delta decided to be rude and not move inland yet, so we couldn't go to our area for 3 days. There were like a bajillion Elders staying in a house in Gilmer, TX and since all my stuff was buried away in my suitcases and no one else had brought spare clothes for transfers we all had to chill in the same dress clothes for 3 days. We also could do like 0 Missionary work because it wasn't our area and we still can't do a ton because of Covid so I was about ready to die of boredom and grossness and throw myself to the mosquitoes and stray cats but the hurricane finally calmed down and ohhhhmyyygoshh I've never been more happy to unpack and settle in our apartment is tiny and old and supposedly the worst one in the mission but I didn't even care it was so nice to actually have clothes and a place to sleep and a desk and stuff.

Anyways. I've visited a couple people in the area but I still don't know it too well because we were gone for so long and on Sunday the power went out so church got canceled (we had some investigators coming so that was super sad) so I'm definitely looking forward to a more busy regular week this week. It's been an adjustment for sure and saying goodbye to the fam was super sad and the hurricane evacuation made this week feel like a month but we're chillin and my companions are awesome so that made it a lot better. Also remember how last email I made jokes about the language and stuff? Yeah so I've definitely been cursed now because I cannot understand a word that is spoken by people down here.

Scripture of the Email

Mosiah 1:3
"And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God."

Okay so I read this during study this week and it is an epic scripture because like it says, without the gospel and scriptures and the knowledge we have, we would be suffering in ignorance! Note that it doesn't say we won't suffer because of the gospel, because of course everyone on earth is gonna go through hard times (see above email for an example), but because of the gospel when we do suffer we have a knowledge of God's love and his plan for us and access to ways to help mitigate the suffering (cough cough Atonement) and that's super awesome!! But it also means that people who don't know what we know are suffering in ignorance, struggling everyday without knowing why or what the purpose of being here is or how to get help and support and that's what we Magtown Missionaries are here to do which is also super awesome!!
Yikes this one was super long sorry everyone. I'm off to play some volleyball and fish so I'll see y'all next week!

-Elder Newton

1) Elder Sweeten gettin comfy in Gilmer
2) Me all excited to be in an airport
3) Me all excited to be in an airport pt 2
4) Me and my epic comps
5) We drove by a KKK fence today


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