Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ducks for a Buck

     The end of April the missionaries were asked to help at a fundraiser here in Fremont called "Ducks for a Buck".  The Kiwanis club sponsors it and donates the proceeds to several different non-profit organizations in the city.  They have food and booths at Central Park.  They also have a fun activity where people can "purchase" little rubber duckies with numbers on the bottom for a chance to win prizes.  In the morning, the missionaries tied rubber pool noodles together to use as a corral for the ducks.  In the afternoon, the corral was pushed out into Lake Elizabeth and a dump truck backed up to the dock to dump about 6000 duckies into the lake.  As soon as the truck backed out, a fire truck backed in and a fireman used his fire hose to squirt the ducks out into the water.  At the lakeside portion of the noodles was a little tunnel just big enough for a duck to fit through.  The fireman squirted until about 10 of the ducks made it through the tunnel.  First prize was $2000!  If you're really lucky (and no one  has been in 23 years), your duck has a preselected random number and is the first to go through.  That prize is a new car!!  It was so fun to watch and except for about 100 duckies escaping, it was well organized.
     Elder McDonald and I were asked to man a booth about Family History.  Sadly, more people were interested in the Republic Services (garbage removal services) than about their families but we did here some incredible stories about secret families, long lost relatives, etc.  One of the organizers of the fundraiser came to the booth before we began and told us his son would be there and he'd have him come to our booth to visit.  His son Nathan is severely handicapped with what I believe is cerebral palsy, is in a motorized wheel chair and has a caregiver 24 hours a day.  He can operate his chair, computer and phone with one finger but needs help eating.  He has a wonderful sense of humor and has been studying to become a minister in a fellowship here in Fremont because he loves the Lord and feels he has a calling to help other people.
   Nathan did come to our booth and visited with me and the sisters.  We told him about Family History and he told us some fun stories about his family.  His father is from Syria and his mother is Brazilian.  We talked about the church a little and I was inspired to give him a Book of Mormon.  His caregiver took it and I truly thought she would just throw it away.  He stayed at our booth for a while until his dad wanted him to go visit some others.  I sent Elder McDonald to get some information from him thinking we could at least visit or send him an email telling him how much we enjoyed meeting him.  Sadly, all we got was an email, and one we couldn't read well so Nathan just became a sweet memory to us.
  For the month of May, the mission has set a goal of one baptism per companionship before the end of the month.  It has been a little discouraging because it's harder to find people that will actually follow through with their commitments than you think.  Well, to make a long story a little shorter, we received a text from the Mission Peak Elders saying they had a baptismal commitment.  A few days later, we received another text saying they were passing off this commitment to the sisters because this investigator actually lives in our Central Park Ward.  Guess who it is!!  It's Nathan!  He has set a date for May 27th and is so excited.  He attended Institute with us last night and had a great time.  We played Mormon Family Feud and my favorite answer of the night was to the question; "Name a Book of Mormon Hero".  It really touched my heart when Nathan answered, "Joseph Smith".  It is a true principle that we should never judge if anyone will be interested and if there is a even a little interest, to follow up.  You never know what miracle may be waiting and everyone should be given the opportunity.
    I know I have not been very good at posting on the blog.  For the most part, we do a lot of studying, service, cooking (for the Elders, Sisters, and Institute) and attending meetings.  We also do a lot of visiting less actives, homebound sisters (who really love us!) and worrying about our dear Young Single Adults.  We're getting ready to teach a Missionary Preparation Class starting on the 21st so we, along with our young adults preparing for a mission can learn how to be awesome missionaries.
   We're not always sure what effect we are having here but the blessings to us are more than we could ask for.  It gave us great joy to be able to attend the temple with one of our YSA as he took out his endowments in anticipation of serving in the Alpine German mission.  We've had the blessing to get to know a sweet sister missionary from Italy sent here for 3 months from the Temple Square mission. We were able to FaceTime with dear Emilie from France as she opened her mission call to the new Paris Temple Square mission.  I think we'll be taking a European vacation not long after our return!!  We have a lot of fun as we get to meet and love each Young Single Adult who attends institute and even those we just continue to invite because we know how much Heavenly Father loves them.  Each week we have a different group because schools start and end, they get married, they move out of the area, they get new jobs, etc.  We truly love each one of them.
     Saturday, we're going up to San Francisco for a tour of the Church Historical Sites.  One of the senior couples here knows a guide so we're excited for that.  We don't have a lot of interaction with the other missionaries short of FHE once a month because we're so far away from any of the others.
     Anyway, thanks for reading my epistle.  Thanks for being our dear friends and family.  We think of you all and love you so much.  Congratulations to our two college graduates, D. J. and Emily.  We're so proud of you!

Lots of love,

Elder and Sister McDonald
 With the elders between Saturday Conference meetings
 Elder Terana vs. Elder McDonald at ping pong.
 Dumpin' the duckies!

 Fireman with fire hose!!
Zone after service project.  Love these guys!