Sunday, May 19, 2013

5th Week Out in Pittsfield MA!

**A little bit of background information you probably need to know before you read this weeks letter was that Austin's grandpa who he  was very close to had passed away.  His Grandpa had been suffering from Alzheimer's for quite a few years. Austin had the opportunity to say goodbye to his grandpa before he left for his mission knowing that he probably wouldn't have the opportunity to see his grandpa again in this life. As you can imagine loosing a loved one can be painful and difficult even with the wonderful knowledge of knowing that families are sealed together forever.  Austin's parents were able to call Austin and tell him the news.  We are so proud of how Austin handled the loss of his Grandpa.  We know his grandpa is also extremely proud of him.  Although Austin was not able to be at his grandpa's funeral, he was made an honorary pallbearer and we felt Austin's spirit very strongly.  As if this wasn't enough of a trial, the bombings at The Boston Marathon were also this week.  All the missionaries serving in Massachusetts had a missionary trip to the Boston Temple that same morning.  We had heard from Austin's mission president that all the missionaries were safe and accounted for, but that some of the missionaries had gone to celebrate at the marathon after the temple and were very shaken by what they saw.  We are extremely blessed that Austin had left to go home before the bombings had happened .  We pray for all the missionaries and all those families who were involved in the attack.**

It has been such an interesting past week.  Not too much had happened last monday and tuesday.  Just usual stuff.  On wednesday I went on exchanges with one of my ZL's.  I went with Elder Stradley to Ludlow (His area) and Elder Langford stayed with Elder Bartlett in Pittsfield.  I learned a lot of things from Elder Sradley and had a lot of fun.  I helped some people out in his area that him and Elder Langford hadn't been able to do before and he was very grateful for that.    :)  

On Thursday we came back to Pittsfield and were having our district meeting with the Greenfield elders.  Since we had just been on exchanges with the ZL's, they were there too.  5 mins before the meeting ended our phone went off.  I ignored it, but saw it was Sis. Packard and knew immediately it was a good phone call.  The meeting ended and I called Sis. Packard back.  She told me there had been a tragedy, that I had permission to call home, and that she was sorry.  I told the group (who was walking to our cars to head to lunch) that there was a problem and that I needed to call home.  They left me alone and I went into a classroom and called you guys.  I heard the news and as you remember I started crying, but it wasn't really tears of sadness (though there was some) it was more tears of happiness because grandpa was finally at peace.  It was great to hear your guys voices and I'll be honest, I didn't have a time limit on the phone with you guys or anything.  I could have talked longer, but I honestly couldn't.  Hearing that news and hearing your guys voices just made me miss home too much and I couldn't do that to myself.  So I forced myself to end the call earlier than planned because I couldn't do that to myself.  I'm sorry for that, but you have to understand, being a missionary away from home is tough work.  It can drain ya.  I loved talking to you guys, and I can't wait until mother's day!  Anywho, so I hung up from you guys, wiped the tears from my face and left the classroom.  Down the hall was Elder Bartlett, waiting for me.  I walked up to him and he just hugged me.  I forced myself not to cry, because I didn't want to cry anymore.  After like 5 mins, he finally pulled away and he had tears running down his face for me.  We walked out to the foyer of the church and the Greenfield elders and the ZL's were waiting there.  Trying to make it not so depressing, I said, "Well I'm hungry, lets go eat."  As happy as I could make it sound.  Then Elder Boren came and gave me a hug, and soon after everyone had come into this group hug for me.  None of them asked what had happened or anything, they only said that they loved me.  Little to say, I started to cry again because I knew I was surrounded by people who loved me, just like my family back home.  It was truly a blessing to me.  We went to lunch and the rest of the day I was a little sad for Grandpa and that I couldn't be there to comfort you guys either, but I had this renewed strength (undoubtedly from Grandpa).  We had to give a blessing to a man in our ward that night and he asked me to do it for him.  I was kinda shocked because as the new guy, most the people we have given blessings to have asked Elder Bartlett to say it because they know him better.  But I gave it to him, and felt like there were extra hands on my back, telling me what to say.  It was a truly amazing experience.  I know that Grandpa is happy now and is now actively attending to all of us.

Friday was a pretty average day again.  Not to much, just appointments as usual.  On Saturday we went up to the Greenhalgh's (pronounced Green ouch).  Ian who is 15 wanted us to come up and do studies with him on saturday mornings to help him in his preparing for a mission.  He is a great guy and we actually ended up going on splits with him and his dad.  Elder Bartlett and Bro. Greenhalgh went together up to North Adams and I went with Ian in Williamstown which is only 5 mins away.  It was a great experience to go out with Ian.  He had a lot of good questions he wanted to ask me and he was exactly like me growing up so it was great to get to know him better.  We beat Elder Bartlett back to their house where we were having lunch.  I was starting to talk to Sis. Greenhalgh and I told her about her timing with sending the picture to you guys of me and Elder Bartlett.  She said though before I even told her what had happened that as soon as she typed in your email address she had this feeling come over her that who ever was on the receiving end needed to hear and see what she was going to send.  She didn't know why, but she felt that.  Crazy right?  She had this feeling, sends the email, and you got it at just the right time.  The Lord works in mysterious ways that are unbelievable!  Such a blessing for sure.

Sunday was a little bad.  I woke up and just felt really sick.  My head hurt and my stomach as well.  So we went to sacrament and we ended up having to just go back to our apartment  after that because I just didn't feel good.  So I slept most the day and Elder Bartlett fixed some of the drawers in our kitchen that were broken.  

On Monday we had to wake up at 3 am to get ready and leave for the temple.  I never realized how blessed we are back home to be 5 mins away from a temple, let alone 30 mins to get to the draper temple and probably around an hour in EITHER direction to go to either the Salt Lake or Mt. Timpanogos temples.  But we left at 4 and drove for 2 and half hours to get to the Boston Temple.  Such a beautiful temple for sure.  The Celestrial room was GORGEOUS!  I still think the our temple was prettier, but this was just huge and spacious.  They didn't have this big chandeleir in the center, but they had this wall basically of these beautiful windows and were simply stunning.  It was also really cool because I got to do a Korean name for Elder Bartlett's family!  (The family member I had hasn't gotten his Inititories done yet).  But his mom sent two names and he asked if I could do one of them.  It was a really neat experience.

After the temple we went to the get some lunch with our zone.  We went to Harvard Square and went to this little mexican restaurant place.  It was a lot of fun, especially since we were hearing all these cheers from the Boston marathon and it was really cool to be down there and be a part of it all.  We then went a little out of the town and went to this park and played some soccer and ultimate frisbee.  Playing soccer again was so much fun!  Though I hurt myself and can barely walk today.  I barely get into my car with our crying out in pain.  I've been rubbing deep blue on it though and last night had the heating pad on it.  So it's a tad better today, but I now have a limp.  But we had been playing from about 1-3.  At 3 were taking this big zone picture and after wards we heard all these sirens going off and we wondered what was going on, but to be honest, hearing sirens isn't that uncommon so we didn't think much of it.  Me and Elder Bartlett had started our way home when we get a text from Sis. Packard asking for our parent's emails so she could email them that we were safe.  We didn't understand what was going on.  A little while later we got another general text from Sis. Packard saying that all boston and cambridge missionaries were to go back to their apartment and stayed there the rest of the day.  We knew then that something had happened.  So we called our ZL's and they told us about the bombs in Boston.  They gave us permission to listen to the news feed on the radio and basically listened all the way home.  It is so sad to hear about.  Even crazier was that we were only a couple blocks away eating lunch about 2 and a half hours before they went off.  It is a sad event, but as you can see, i'm alive and safe.  But pray for the families who were involved in the accident.  It truly is a sad thing to happen on such a happy day for the marathon.

Well that's kinda been my past week.  I'm doing good and staying happy!  

Loves,  Elder Austin Kimbell   

Elder Kimbell and Elder Bartlett in front of The Boston Temple the morning of The Boston Marathon bombings.

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