***********WARNING*********** tHIS lETTER hAS nOT bEEN pROOFREAd *********END WARNING********* January 11, 1999 Hi there! How are you doing? I just thought that it was time for a letter that told a little about what is going on in my little missionary life. Some of this you may already know but some of it may be new, so don’t get frustrated, pay attention, and here we go! But first, I just wanted to ask you if you had heard the newest “deep” statement... A duck without wings can only swim, yet a duck with only one foot can only swim in circles. I am living in Falfurrias, in case you have not yet heard. Falfurrias is a VERY small town in the middle of the mission. Thus there is not very many people here. The town is strategically located on the main highway used by all of the Winter Texans as they travel down to the valley, and I think that is what sustains the place, along with all of the hunters that come down and buy permits from the ranchers to hunt on there unused land. Which happens to be a very big business. There are some very large hunting ranches in this area of Texas. If you care to take out a map, my area of missionary work includes the towns of Encino, Falfurrias, Premont, Hebronville, and everything in between. In fact there is even a town on the county line called Uncertain with a population of 3 if you read the sign going east and 6 if you read the sign going west. Thus, not only is the population uncertain, but due to the county line situation, both counties claim the town as theirs, and no one really knows a thing about it. Thus the name Uncertain. There is a Wal Mart in Falfurrias that is the size of 2 or 3 classrooms in a public school, and within that space is a McDonald’s. The whole thing is called Wal-Mart Express and that it is. you can browse the whole store twice in about five minutes. But, there is a Wal Mart. The branch that I am in right now has an average weekly attendance of 34 (which includes the members that attend the “satellite sacrament service” in Hebronville. What we do on Sundays is the following: First, we head off to an early morning meeting that begins at eight in the morning. Then we prepare the chapel for the service. After the services are over, we pack up the Branch President’s car with everything that we will need in Hebronville, and then we head out to the Branch President’s home for a twenty minute lunch. After lunch we begin our 1 1/2 hour journey to Hebronville, and upon arriving, set for the services there. After that we journey back to Falfurrias and hold another sacrament service there that begins at 5:30 p.m. After the services we go back to Premont (another 30 minute drive) and visit with the members in the area that were not able to make it to church. And finally, we pick up our car at the chapel where we left it and head home, ready to plan for the upcoming week and go to bed. There is a lot of traveling on Sunday, but I really enjoy being able to go out and visit with the members of the branch and help them come to know the Savior better. We are currently working with a young woman named Tomassa, who is gaining a testimony of the gospel. She has come to church and she really contributed to the services, the only problem is that she is so sick. She has a terminal illness and some days she can come to church and others she can not. She is truly a wonderful person and is trying to follow the lord. There are also two boys from part-member families that we are working with that both have baptismal dates coming up soon. And along with that, there is also a man who has come back to church after years of being less active and is bringing his entire family into the church. His two sons in particular truly enjoy the primary and all of their new friends that they have made at church. It is funny, but up here in the north, we have sacrament meeting in English and the rest of the classes in Spanish. You see the English members all deal with the youth and the Spanish members go to the classes... and yes, I am the permanent Priesthood class teacher... there is only one other Melchezidek (SP? I can spell it in Spanish) priesthood holder in the branch besides the missionaries. That is Brother Wilkinsen, and his family is huge, I would say that they are half of the branch members in attendance on Sunday. They are a very spiritual family and the whole town respects and loves them. Brother Wilkinsen is one of the big ranchers in the town and he also is the only veterinarian within 100 miles of here. In fact, now that we are on the subject of the vet in the branch, we go to a meeting with Brother Wilkinsen weekly and discuss the missionary work with him... but this week when we went he was very busy, so instead of meeting him at his home, we met him at his clinic and discussed the work we are doing down here with him as he fixed a dog. Yuck, I could never be a vet. I don’t think I could stomach it! Well, I suppose that is it. If you have any questions, I would LOVE to hear from you and maybe even respond to your letters... I have nothing else to do here in this little town and our Preparation Day can get pretty boring sometimes. You can write me at the address on the envelope, but just in case you have misplaced the envelope here is the address, 813 1/2 E. Bowie Falfurrias, TX 78355. Hey, KEEP IN TOUCH! Thanks, Jake, The Emperor of Everything (As if you didn’t already know!) J