Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 17, 2015 - Woodstock, New Brunswick

Dear Family,
On a sunny Monday morning I write my final letter to you as the only Elder O'Brien in the family. I was excited to find out that Chris has his visa and that his mission won't be delayed. After Wednesday, there will only be 3 family members at home. It is a new chapter in our family's life. Both sons have grown up and gone on missions. It will be an emotional day on Wednesday and it will be hard to let go but the experiences Chris will have and the blessings you'll receive will make it worth having us both gone. When you drop off Chris at the MTC I won't be there, but when you pick up Chris from the Airport I will be with you with you waiting for him in the terminal with my arms wrapped around you bracing ourselves for an emotional reunion and we will be together as a family. Remember that on Wednesday. 

It has been a long week. A week of labour and emotional times. 
So on Saturday the entire district painted a lady's house. She has special needs and she's not able to paint the house herself. She told a member of the church she wanted someone she could trust and Sister P told her she knows exactly who she can trust. So she got us, the Houlton Sisters, the Caribou Elders, and the Presque Isle Sisters to come and help paint her house (The lady we helped). She lives in Madawasqua, Maine. It was two and a half hours away and we had to get permission from President Pratt to go. It is right on the border to Quebec. I'm not kidding; Quebec was only 16 kilometers from where we were on Saturday. It was on the very tip of our mission boundaries. So Sister P told us that it would last for 3 to 4 hours. But it ended up taking 7 hours to paint the whole house. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day and I was sore yesterday. I had never done a district service project before that. It was a good time. We all had fun and we got to bond as a district. I was on the ground painting most of the time. While other members of the district were 20 feet in the air on the ladder, I stayed put on the ground. On the way there the GPS took us from Maine to Canada and back to Maine. Apparently it was faster so we did and the border was very hard on us. So on the way back, we just went from Madawasqua to Caribou and then back to Woodstock. We went through Edmunston, New Brunswick on the way there. When we got to Edmunston, it felt like we were in Quebec because everything was in French. We could tell that Quebec wasn't too far away. So that was the labour side of the week.
So there's this couple in the branch named J and L. They are a younger couple. The wife is very active but J is not. J had a rough upbringing as a child. They are polar opposites of each other. L is very clean and active in the gospel while J isn't active and isn't very committed. The other week on the phone J lied to her about where he was. L caught him on that and was upset with her thinking, "If he's lying to me about this what else is he lying to me about?" So now they are separated and L wants to get a divorce. She is tired of living with him and having to deal with his issues. Last Monday night, J asked us to give him a blessing to help him get through this. So we did and it was a really powerful blessing. After it was done, we were all crying. So on the weekend J wanted to meet with us and he told us his life story and everything that happened with him and his wife. J is similar to Elder Evans' brother and he feels very close to J because he reminds him so much of his brother. This hits home to me for me too. L reminds me so much of Julie and J is similar to her ex-husband. But J is a lot more humble about the situation and he acknowledges his weaknesses and the issues that he has. We are J's only sources of support right now and he is attached to us and we are attached to him. It is hard for me to be around L because I flashback to Julie when she was going through a divorce. I feel drawn to talk to L and use my experience with Julie going through a divorce to help her. I feel like they're the reason I'm in this area right now. So that has been the emotional side of the week.
After lunch on Friday we street contacted in Houlton and the first two people we talked to we picked up as potential investigators. It was a surprise to me and Elder Evans. That rarely happens. 
Had a good week! Good luck Chris! Have a fun trip!

Elder O'Brien

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