2008 ('09) Emails from Paul

(2007 Emails)

These are in order of the most recent first.  

If you want an email when I update this webpage please email me at:  janet@gerla.us



7 Jan 2009

Yeah, that is pretty crazy. Tell the Stake President that coming home was just a joke, I'm actually a Canadian citizen now. Oh Canadia, my home and native land...
Oh and the library computer kicked me off so I'm only on for the next 12 minutes on the express computer so if you have any last words, SAY AWAY! And I probably won't be able to e-mail next Wednesday because Elder Santoro and I are going to be roaming the city all day. We might pop into a library to say hello or stop by somebody's house who has a computer but we shall see.
Alrighty, I'm out of time. It's curtains for me folks!

-Elder Gerla
1 Jan 2009
Oh dear. I will have need to think about that plan. Sounds interesting. Just a couple questions: when would we leave, return, take off, land, how many layovers would there be, what type of plane would we be flying on, how many years of schooling would be pilot have, what is his/her GPA, blood type, etc? Does Becky need the company? I'm prepared to sell the stocks but I'm not sure if the board of directors would approve of a change of leadership.

Anyways, I'm pretty sick right now. I had a cold on Sunday so I slept most of that day, and then I felt even worse on Monday so I went to the Adam's house all day and slept on their couch while Elder Funes went with Elder Rawson (from the Portugese work, a threesome). And then I was better on Tuesday and Wednesday and then I started feeling sick again on Thursday and this morning I barely woke up and couldn't come to the temple because I am coughing my guts out and they made me go to the clinic and the doctor poked me and prodded me and told me I was fine--no bronchitis or pneumonia, anyways--and my teeth were in good condition(?) and she didn't want to
prescribe any antibiotics because it was not a bacterial infection. I was afraid I would have to pretend to take my pills and just pocket them. Thank goodness not. Anyways, that's that! I got to wear mask in the waiting room though and feel like a plague victim. That was cool.
Oh gee, thanks for giving me NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION! I am too tired right now to make an executive decision. It's not that I don't want to go. I'm just wishy-washy.
Yeah I think I didn't mention I'm at the Adam's house again and my companion is at the temple and I slept all morning so I need to stay up for a little while. Then I will go back to bed. And they are force-feeding me loads of vitamin C so don't worry. I think I've had about a gazillion MGs so far.
Yeah it did. I think it's just that I have not been able to sleep well for the past month. That would probably not help very much, eh? Something about my bed, or the apartment, or something.

-Elder Gerla 
26 Dec 2008
Hey evelybody!

I don't have vely much to wlite! I just tarked to you rast nighT! That lhymed!

-Elder Gella
17 Dec 2008
Hey everybody!

Sorry I have not written sooner, I have been very busy multitasking responding to the e-mails I just got and I STILL haven't been able to write to Elder Fawson. He's engaged I hear, but I want to know for sure. This library definitely does not allow enough time! Anyways, we have another baptism this Sunday, a lady named Enyo. She's very nice, half Ghanan (Ghanian? Whatever.) and half Torontonian. Very prepared, she's had no real concerns and the only reson she wasn't baptized this last week was because we didn't have enough time to teach her everything. So hopefully all will go well this Sunday. Elder Funes is doing the baptizing and I'll be doing
the confirmation. 

It snowed a ton last night and now we have a lot of snow everywhere. That is good. I like the snow. Anyways, the Adams (the senior couple here) have a webcam and have offered it for the use of the missionaries in calling home and that was approved by President Eyre. So if you want to I can do a webcam call for a couple minutes near the end of the night, probably around 8:30 so 7:30 your time. It would be over MSN, their MSN name is
dorineanddave@msn.com I believe. I will get the rest of the information for you and have them call you I guess. Maybe you wouldn't even want to bother, eh? Maybe I don't even have to call. Pssshshhh. I mean, it's like, not even three weeks left then.

Well, I am alive and cold and I need to go now because the stupid library has run me right out of time.

-Elder Gerla
10 Dec 2008
Oh yeah, I saw Elder Layton (Jed, now) the other day at the Christmas devotional. He's back up to visit. I got a picture with him and Lou Gen and Mae Fluer. He doesn't look much like a missionary anymore. I told him he looked like a pile, but that that was meant as a compliment.

I also am pretty sure I did not mention that we had a baptism this last Sunday--Celina--she's a Korean ESL student living with one of the families here in the ward. It all went very well except for the fact that we forgot to start filling the font until three hours before it was time for the baptism and had to rush rush rush with buckets and hoses coming from the kitchen and janitor's closet. We got it filled and warm enough in time enough to have the baptism. So all ended well.
-Elder Gerla
3 Dec 2008
So yeah, I don't have very much news to tell. I am now back in Ossington, back in my old apartment, with Elder Funez from Vancouver, BC. He seems like a pretty cool guy. He is very young, he came out with Elder Robertson so this is only transfer #2 for him. Poor guy, getting me as his follow-up trainer.
They are a lot faster, I cannot believe you have another DOG now though. How is my little dumb baby adjusting? Poor little teeny tiny kitty cat.
It was very suprising. I didn't really think I would leave, and I REALLY didn't think I would go back to Ossington. I didn't believe Elder Nelson when he called and told me that was where I was going. I did get the box, just yesterday, right in the nick of time. So now I'm back at the address at the 33 Earnscliffe basement.
Uhhhhh... I've taken a few but I left my little picture USB thingy at the apartment. It has been a busy morning! I really haven't taken too many... I do carry my camera in my pocket all the time though, maybe I'll get a few here in the city, we shall see.
The Filipinos do, we should be pretty well covered. Those Filipinos! It's going to be interesting telling everyone I'm back, and that I had last been here two years ago... :-P
It's Lou Gen, Mayfleur, Nita and Corazon mostly here that feed us, I guess they load us up every Sunday. It is a pretty good ward missionary-wise, they've had some good baptisms lately as I understand. And we have some Korean girl set for baptism this Sunday! 
That big fat fatty. I had a dream about those cats a few weeks ago. I dreamt that he had run away and I was asking about him. And then I dreamed that I went home and I found Stinkweed on top of Mary's bed and she remembered me and she was biting me. It was a pretty strange dream!
Do we have chickens now? I am a little behind on the farm status. That is crazy if we do. Does fatty ever go outside?
Oh man, in other news, I ripped my jeans that I like the best. We were playing hockey in the gym and I threw my stick at the ball but I missed it so I just jumped on top of it and tore a hole in the knee of my pants, and skinned my knees and my feet are still not the same color they used to be before that sunburn. I am in bad shape dudes.
Uh oh, I am running out of time again, nine minutes left. And we need to go grocery shopping anyways I guess. I have had nothing to eat so far today except for a cinnamon roll about an hour agon. I am a little bit hungry.
Oh dear. It will be exciting I am sure. Well, my companion is now done e-mailing, so I will probably roll on outta here. Tell my little siblings that they are pretty pathetic at e-mailing.

-Elder Gerla

26 Nov 2008
About putting together my bed, you can probably put it in de basement or wherever, maybe I'll move into Becky's room when she leaves. I don't know how much I'll be around anyways. We'll see. Actually, I'll just sleep on the floor.

Yeah, you don't look at the countdown but I go to the blog every week to catch up on what's going on. Thanks a lot, dude. >:-(

Oooh, what a sweet little kitty cat. I hope you know that I show the pictures of her more often than I show the pictures of all of you. And I tell everybody about how my cat will be sooooo excited to see me. She will probably eat the birds.

If you have a goat when I get back I will not be happy. There is one family here that is very much into "health" "food" and stuff like that. They actually own a "health food" store. They fed us pretty good chicken and mashed potatoes but they always give us goat milk ice cream after wards. That stuff is so disgusting it's hard to describe. At first it tastes like real ice cream but the aftertaste is not like ice or cream. More like... goat pen smell taste. Not good, very bad.

We've been getting fed pretty well this last week though, thank goodness. And we're getting fed well this week. We have an American Thanksgiving appointment, which is good. Half the people up here in Canadia celebrate both Thanksgivings, it's pretty funny. I almost just wrote we--but I mean those--Canadians sure are thankful people.

Anyways, I am running out of things to write again. I bought a lot of good groceries today because it's the end of the month and I've got a lot of surplus cash. I even got BROWN eggs and none of them were cracked and the carton was not stained! I am pretty excited.

-Elder Gerla
19 Nov 2008
Hey folks,

I don't really know what to write. Everything is about the same here still. Just tracting along. We've been finding lots of people who say that they are interested but just don't show up for our return appointment. I am runned out of things to write about. Our hike last week went okay. We found a huge dead fish and Elder Stanfill and I tried to pull it up out of the water but it was so heavy and it stank so badly that we had to throw our sticks in the water and run for our lives. It was a terrible smell. I smelled it (and perhaps like it) for the rest of the day.  We are almost all booked up for Christmas already, we have three invitations over. Hopefully there'll be enough time to call home. Anyways,
if not, that's okay, it's not like it's even a month left after that. I'll probably just call and say "Hi, talk to you in a few, bye!" Yeah, probably that is what I will do.

Well I get worried because they are just too excited. They are getting their houses ready, they are always talking about how their son is coming home soon. Always counting down the days. Geez louise! It's no big deal! They're probably going to leave again soon anyways! (This is Paul's advice to me about NOT getting so excited about having him come home! I told him "Have I *ever* been like "all those other moms?"")

Anyways, that's pretty much all I've got for today. I am not very interesting. Oh dear.

-Elder Gerla
5 Nov 2008
Yo yo yo hey what's up folks,

That's interesting to hear that Obama is the new president. Hopefully he will do a good job, I guess we shall see. We've had somewhat of an an exciting week. Halloween was pretty quiet, we brought one of the young men to our apartment to play board games because we weren't allowed out.
Sunday morning Elder Robertson and I were in church, waiting for the Pickering Elders to show up, as they were running rather late. They finally showed up, but not in their own car, one of the members had given them a lift because someone came the night before (around 4:00) and smashed in half the windows. I guess one of the neighbours heard the commotion and called the cops and they came and filed a report but didn't knock on the door or anything so when Elder Hales called it in that morning they already had it filed.  So the next day Elder Castillo (the Car Czar) drove up with Elder Barnes (the Car Czar in training) and gave them the assistant's old '08 Malibu to use for the week. The one with the blinker that goes *tick* *tickticktick* *tick* *tickticktick.* It's the weirdest thing ever, but it is a very sweet
car. Anyways, there was a steel pipe on the scene of the crime so we took that into the station but they didn't seem to care a whole lot. Insurance covers it I guess. It'll be $3600 to repair it all and they should get the old car back in a week or so. We guess it was for sure targeted because there were a million other cars around and their car was right by the security light on the garage door and was about as far from the street as you could get. Crazy stuff.

The weather here is super nice. I guess the whole week is supposed to be pretty good. We've had a few cold days but nothing too bad I guess. A few flurries but nothing that sticks. I have a cold and I haven't slept too well in the past few days so I'm super tired. We had Zone Conference yesterday, it was pretty good--what I can remember of it, anyways.  I'm off to upload some pictures now.

-Elder Gerla
29 Oct 2008
Hey folks and dudes,

Okay, sweet, that's good. I only drove for the first couple days and then Elder Robertson was ready to. It was mostly just the first day driving on the 401 from Toronto to Ajax that I needed to, as it's pretty confusing driving around the city at first. It will be very nice to have my license though, I prefer to drive.
Elder Robertson is doing very well, luckily President Eyre must be a least a little bit inspired because he's really solid and doesn't need much guidance. Most missionaries think it's pretty funny when they hear I'm training though. And back to being District Leader. :-( It's good that Elder Zweig is the ZL here now, he wasn't surprised when they told me to come up with bad situations that we can turn to our benefit and one of the ones I came up with is that if there's a huge dinosaur blocking the road and eating people we can rope it down and train it and then ride it around town to save Ks. I just like to make sure we've got all of our bases
covered. You never know what might happen! Anyways, we have pretty much the coolest district in town. I don't know why anybody would not want to be in
my district. At night sometimes I even give them spiritual thoughts from the Qu'ran.

Yeah, I thought that envelope was pretty funny. It was the only one I knew who it was from and it was empty. The postcard from Climax is good too, I tell everybody that that's the whole town and then I point out John Vraa (How the heck do you spell that?) and tell people about him. Anyways, did I say that I wasted everybody on the letter game? They were pretty ticked. I was losing up until the last week and a half and then I got like 17 letters in three days.

We have an investigator! We found him tracting Monday night, he's from Romania and is 17 years old. He invited us in and we taught a first lesson and committed him for baptism on the 16th of November. He said he wasn't sure but that he'd try. Now we just have to get him to church.

I just thought of another funny story. So this Filipina lady just moved into the ward a couple weeks ago and signed us up on the dinner calender, she took us out to Pizza Pizza and told us "Don't be late!!" So we got there 15 minutes early, at 4:15, and looked around to see if she was there yet. I did see a Filipina sitting in the corner but figured it must not be her because she hadn't recognized us, and it's pretty hard not to notice two guys in suits walking into a Pizza Pizza. So we sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 4:35 I decided I'd better give her a call and see if she was running late or something. So I called her, and the
lady in the corner's cellphone went off at the exact same time. So I jumped up and ran over and said "Are you Toni?!" and she said "No, who's Toni?" and I said "Well, you must have her phone." And then she admitted that she actually was Toni and that she was just messing with us and wanted to find out how long we would wait. Filipinos are crazy. But at least we got pizza, eh?

-Elder Gerla
22 Oct 2008
Hey what's up yo.

He is from Farmington, Utah. I'm still not sure who's bright idea it was to make me train. They don't really know what they've gotten poor Elder Robertson into. It's even worse because Elder Stanfill came here from Scarborough, so now he's in Pickering with Elder Hales, and they're both rather familiar with my...ummm...antics...Anyways, my district meeting this morning was pretty interesting. Elder Robertson looked pretty lost but that's okay. We didn't get to go on our nature hike because we ran out of time. So that was a shame, next week though. It's so weird being an old missionary now. I keep running into weird situations like realizing that Elder Wylie is an old missionary now, he's been out over 15 months, and I was his follow-up trainer! I think I'm the oldest missionary in the zone now.
We had an exciting morning on Wednesday, Elder Pierce and I were supposed to get up at 5:30 so we'd have enough time to pack up and get to Oshawa at 7:00, but my alarm didn't go off so we both woke up at 6:30 and had to run like crazy. We got to Oshawa on time but then we realized that we only had an hour to get to Don Mills and the elder who was supposed to be going with me had been red-dotted because he got into an accident. So neither of us could drive. We were only a half-hour late though, so it was okay. Trainer's meetings are pretty boring anyways.

If you can get that stuff into the DMV ASAP it would very good. That's all I'm going to say about that right now.
It was snowing like crazy here the other day. It didn't stick at all but my prediction was that it would snow on November 16th. Only a month or so off...
Those missionaries do sound weird, but I'm not really one to talk, I've done some pretty strange things during dinner appointments.

I got a ton of letters in the last few days and I won the letter game by a good margin. The district was pretty disgusted. Tell everyone thanks for making me Winner! I will try to write back to most of the people who wrote me but it's pretty hard to use that time to write anyone when I could be napping.

Well, I don't have too much else to report. I'm very sleepy. I was having a lot of trouble paying attention in District Leader's training this morning. I kept having to ask what we were talking about because I would forget a couple sentences in.

-Elder Gerla
15 Oct 2008
Here we go. We had the "Turkey Bowl" on (Canadian) Thanksgiving (Monday) and played football with the old guys against the young guys. We got totally stomped because they had 12 guys and we had 6 young men and 6 primary kids. It was pretty brutal. The same day Elder Pierce and I got up and ran 4 Ks and then helped the Burnetts stack a big pile of wood and then right after football we went and played volleyball for two hours. We are very very sore. Thanksgiving went well though. Saturday we got three dinner appointments by accident. First we were helping the Merinos stain their deck, and they fed us these huge pizza pocket things, and a huge plate of rice and meat and I had to beg to be able to take some home with us. Then we went to the Macnamera's place for an early Thanksgiving dinner, then we went to the Kendrick's house for ribs. I was judicial in my helpings and strategic in my food choices but poor Elder Pierce got destroyed. It's a hard life.

I uploaded some pictures I took when we were helping some lady paint her house. I'm not sure if I've written about that or not. Anyways, we're helping some lady paint her house. Actually we're just doing it all.

I just got an offer from one of the guys I was working for to work some more once I get back! That is exciting. How's Grandpa doing? I think if I can I will go visit them once I get back. Maybe later on in the summer.

We almost got in trouble today at the library! We always get the temporary computer passes and use them and then use our card so we get an hour and a half instead of just an hour, and the lady finally asked "Don't you guys have cards?" and we had to pretend like we haven't been able to get any because we are in and out of areas so much blah blah blah. It's dumb because they have TONS of computers that are not used at all and they still kick you off after one hour and that's it for the day. The Ajax library I guess is much better.

-Elder Gerla
8 October 2008
Yeah this stupid dumb library won't let me go to the webmail in Bluehost so I have to use this stupid mail2web.com thing that is probably slow as a snail on a salt lick. So that's probably the problem. 

My address here is:

21 Hiley Ave. Ajax ON L1S 6H3

If you mail a letter to there that would be good because I need some form of proof that I live there so that I can get onto the computers in the Ajax library because they are not Nazis like the computers in the Pickering library. And I would finally get a point in the letter game. I am the losingest in the whole district. I have gotten no mail at all this whole
transfer! Woah. Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'll go eat some WORMS. And if everybody decided to write me just a small letter or even send a postcard maybe I could win the letter game. It would be a close one though.

Anyways, I took a lot of pictures to send to you BUT the stupid I forgot the USB thingy I need to upload them. So I'll take more this week too and forget it again.

Yesterday our district helped a lady (Well, that's not true, we did it by ourselves) paint some of the outside of her house. It was interesting. We found a lot of spiders and had spider fights. The big one won but then he got stabbed with a knife and made a big mess. It was a shame so we made a chalk line around him and had an investigation. I found out that Elder Pierce and Elder Zweig were guilty, but then they beat me up and I decided that it was better to just bury the evidence and pretend that nothing had
happened. So then we climbed a tree. And the house. And we need to go back and finish painting...

This morning we went to seminary and played the scripture mastery game. It was pretty fun. Those seminary kids are pretty fast though because they have little fingers. And I can't ever find James. It's after Hebrews. But Hebrews is sometimes hard to find too. Paul probably should have written less epistles and let the other guys get a chance to write more.

Hey conference was pretty good, eh? I liked it anyways. I liked Elder Holland's talk. And Elder Wirthlin's talk. And President Monson's talk. And that one other guy's talk. I didn't even fall asleep at all! I had skittles though so that helps.

-Elder Gerla
1 Oct 2008
To Whomevers It May Concern,

Things are going well here. It is getting pretty fally. All the leaves are going red and yellow and not so much green anymore. Is Pippin excited for beet season? The food at the Relief Society broadcast here was just baked potatoes and soup and it wasn't even all that good I guess. 

Oh dear, not another parakeet to kill off... How does Stinkweed like it? I seem to remember she would get rather friendly with the last one.

Tell David he doesn't need to read the stupid book to learn how to drive. Pshhh...

Uhhh, yeah, the check is very outdated, they probably would not accept it anymore becuase they are bums. But I'm getting my vision exam today at 4:30 ($50!!) Holy corona! I need to do my dry-cleaning too. It's going to be an expensive day. I am glad that we get fed like crazy here. I've probably put on a lot of pounds already but we have no scales. Fat fat fat.

I got the box, the food was good to get though as occasionally the members don't feed us and we need to rely on our food storage.

Yes conference is very exciting. I am excited. I think that probably they will tell us that we better have our food storage all ready because it's too late now so sorry!

You should have chicken vs. rabbit fights. That would be way cool. I bet the chickens would peck the rabbits ears and the rabbits would kick the chickens all over the place. There is a rabbit at one of the member's houses. It's name is Princess, we are pretty good friends but it always runs away when I go to pick it up and talk to it in my Stinkweed voice. Actually, she's a pretty dumb rabbit. I don't like her very much.

Well, not much exciting going on on the missionary front. We have been tracting a lot but haven't really found anyone lately. Ajax is a good place though, it's all new developments and stuff. Lots of people and lots of families. Lots of big houses. I met a snail yesterday and his name was Helaman. He was pretty big for a snail, and he was going tracting with us. But then I said that I would put him on the next house of someone who was rude to us because he got slime all over my hand and this lady was rude to
us and I accidentally dropped him on her porch! Oops! :-O So then I got a very little snail and I forget his name is was like Moriancum or something. I forget what happened to him. I think  he fell off of my hand and landed in the bushes.

And also we let Coriantumr go because his cage was starting to stink like mold and our apartment stinks like mold enough as it is so we let him out the window. He still likes us though because he built a new huge web like an inch from the glass.

Anyways, that's all I got for right now. Toodles!

-Elder Gerla
24 Sept 2008
It seems like a pretty nice library. The connection is fast here.

Anyways! Not too much to report. This week has been pretty typical. Last Thursday we were playing floor hockey with the ward and Elder Pierce had an anaphylacic allergic reaction or something like that and his face started to swell up and he was afraid that his throat was going to swell up and he wouldn't be able to breath so he got his epi-pen out and a bottle of something that he was supposed to drink but then he didn't know if it was expired or not so we called Sister Eyre and she got in touch with his mom
and his mom said that it was expired but it would probably still be safe to use but by then the swelling had started to go down and then we just went to the Ulloa's house and gave him a blessing and he was fine after that and we went to bed. That was one long sentence! That was probably the most exciting thing that happened this last week.

Our pet spider Coriantumr is doing very well, thus far he has eaten three bees that we caught for him. He also built a very good web last night, finally. We caught another spider of his same species and named him Ether and put him in there with him. We couldn't name him Shiz because Elder Pierce already had a snail named Shiz that died. Ether just sits in the corner and watches Coriantumr.


Elder Paul


17 September 2008
Things are good. Elder Pierce is good. He is a big sports fan. He is from Vernal Utah. He has been out 4.5 months. My address is...uhhh...I'm not actually sure. 26 or 24 Hailey Street, Ajax, ON or something like that. I still need to go get that vision exam... We will do it today. We had a flat tire yesterday. The car said to check the tire pressure so we decided to check the tire pressure and it turned out that there was a nail in one of the tires so the pressure was a little bit low. So we went and filled it up and went to Canadian Tire and they fixed it for us for $28.24. That was fun!

We don't have a whole lot of investigators right now so we are tracting quite a bit. The members here are very nice. We get fed so much it's a blessing to not have a meal appointment because then we get a chance to sleep. Seriously, we get fed a lot. It's nuts. We've been doing a lot of service too, I've learned to drywall, do spackling, paint, build a deck, lay flagstones, and who knows what else, I forget. But anyways it's been fun.

Our apartment isn't too bad, we live in a basement of some random people's house. It's pretty warm and humid down there. We caught a huge spider and named him Coriantumr and we're keeping him in a mason jar. We're looking for a bigger place to keep him because he is so big and he filled the jar with webs and it's too dangerous to drop bugs in with the lid off because he could escape so easily. We'll find something good I'm sure, we're going to the dollar store after this to look.

Our district is tiny here, it's just Elder Zwieg, Elder Hales, Elder Pierce and me. Elder Zwieg is the district leader so I got out of it! Yay! I was happy to find that out.

-Elder Gerla
10 September 2008
Hey folks, I'm now in Ajax with Elder Andrew Pierce. Something seems to be wrong with Bluehost so I can't get in and check any of my mail. This does not please me. Ajax is almost just the next area over past Scarborough so I haven't moved far. I do have a car now though! I'm filling out my license renewal form finally. I'm going to go fight with the library and try to get into my stupid mailbox.

Okay, got my mail working. The kitchen does look really good. I think I will not recognize our house when I get home. Holy corona. It's looking like it's likely that I'll die here in Ajax. (That's what they call it when a missionary goes home....) I've heard a lot of good stuff about it, I guess the members feed us alllll the time. 
3 September 2008
What's up?

I am in a LOT of pain right now. Go look at the pictures I've uploaded and see if you can figure out why. My shoe is not on my foot right now.

Anyways, in other news, Bill decided to offer to take us to the Canadian National Exhibition Airshow! That was on Labour Day, so I did a little bit of rule-wrangling and got us permission to take part of our p-day and go! The weather was absolutely fantastic for an airshow. It wasn't all that impressive though, those Canadians just have a bunch of old planes. They only had one F-16! Psshhhhh. They did have a squadron of Harvards though, that was cool, they looked exactly like the one I painted for Grandpa. He would've liked that. I didn't get any pictures of any of the planes though, I need to see if I can snag some of the ones that Elder Stanfill took.
I don't have too much to report. Not too much has happened lately. I'm pretty much positive I'm getting transferred this transfer. I would be shocked if I was not.

Theo is doing well but he still has a long way to go to being baptized.
I took off my shoes at the beach and I noticed how white my feet were and I though, oh boy, I should put some sunscreen on those! But then I thought, naw, I won't be out too long. And then I got home and tried to take my socks off and screamed like a little girl. It hurts it hurts it hurts, I'm going to get foot skin cancer.
This next Wednesday. Not yet. Yeah. Probably not. Yes. Not really.

Hey, I gotta roll! We're outta time!

-Elder Gerla
28 August 2008
ARG! I just wrote a long letter and the stupid computer deleted it. Anyway, weíre late getting back from the temple, which is why I didnít e-mail earlier or yesterday. Iím rewriting it in Word.

Our address is 126 Bellamy Road North, thatís all I have, no postal code or nothing. Itís at Bellamy and Eglinton.
My dumb baby is the bestest.

Speaking of crazy, last Monday Elder Brown was on a travel here with me and we went to teach that investigator I wrote a bit about last week?Theo, well, it was quite the lesson. Germaine, one of the youth in the ward, gave us a ride over there, and as soon as we had all stepped out of the car, this guy runs up out of the house, sits down in a lawn chair in front of the car and starts having a very loud conversation in jibberish with it (the car), hand motions and everything, and he kept it up for a good 15 minutes while we were inside teaching. Then some white girl came running downstairs and grabbed the phone off the desk and was yelling something like ďIT HURTS SO BAD! I NEED A DOCTOR! IíM IN SO MUCH PAIN!Ē and then she hung up the phone and ran off. Then this other guy was just sitting across the room from us and he was making all these weird hand motions whenever Elder Brown looked at him. And Theo was talking about how he met some kid who was actually Christ, and he offended him (the
kid[Christ?]) because he didnít give him this one Muslim handshake that means whoever you give the handshake to is supposed to follow you(?). Anyways, all in all it was a pretty confusing lesson. Germaine somehow managed to keep a straight face, but I guess maybe that was because he grew up here.

In other news, Bob T is doing well. He lost his glasses and was pretty upset about that because I guess theyíre about $400 and Ontario Disability only pays for glasses every three years or something and this year is only the first year. But we told him to pray and go look for them and then we had to leave. A few days later when we got back he was in a much better mood, he had prayed and gone off looking for them, following a ďhunchĒ and he went across town to some clinic and looked under a carpet in this one room and what do you know, they were there. So heís pretty happy, and he recognized that that was an answer to his prayers. His biggest concern right now is coming to church, heís not really big on crowds, I guess.

I got a new rear wheel for my bike, it works really nicely. We were down in hippie town and we saw a sign for a bike shop and followed the sign down an alley, into a little door, down some steps, and into another little door, and there was this Asian guy working on some beat up old piece of junk and they had bits and pieces of bike all over the place. It was exactly what I was looking for so I got my new back wheel and some new sprockets and put it all together and itís all good now. The Antelope should hold together for a bit longer.

Anyways, I gotta run!
-Elder Gerla
20 August 2008
Hey folks why doesn't anybody love me except for Mary and Ben? Anyways, not too much to report this week. We've got a couple new investigators, Theo is an interesting fellow, he's from St. Vincent, which is close to Jamaica, he's a very tall, very soft-spoken guy. We set a baptismal date with him for the 14th of September, he needs to stop smoking first but he says he only smokes a couple cigarettes a day, so how hard can it be? He lives in a crazy house though, it's a big big old house with ten rooms, and each room is rented out to a different person. So it's pretty much madness all the time. Most of the people that live there are a little bit loopy too. One of the big pushes in the mission right now is to get teaching investigators in the member's homes, which is something we'd really like to do with him.
We're going down to Hippie Town today, it's actually called Kensington market but everybody says it's where all the hippies always are. The plan is to buy disguises so we can go forth and cause trouble without being IDed as missionaries!

Man, I really seriously don't have too much to write. My bike is still trying to fall apart on me. I think the axle inside the rear hub is actually cracked in half and it wasn't meant to be in two pieces, even though I figured out how to make it work in two pieces. I'm a little nervious now and we're going to look for some spare bike bits today downtown. On the plus side I can do a complete hub overhaul in just a few minutes now. I've gotten a lot of practice. I just need to learn how to do
spokes now. And I could use a big socket wrench set, but those are very much not cheap at all.
The weather here's been absolutely beautiful lately. Just fantastical. Oh yeah oh yeah.
Hmm, I hear the night-life downtown here is pretty good. But we've never had a chance to visit any of the cluuuuuuubs yet--don't worry that's not one of the stories I don't want to tell. I just looked like a raccoon because I was tired. I'm still tired. But I was more tired then because I didn't sleep very well and I had big bags under my eyes and the sisters said I looked like a zombie. ZOOOMMBIE! ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE! ROAWRA!

-Elder Gerla
6 August 2008
 Okayden. Well, last p-day we went on a super-awesome hike. It lasted from 2:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 at night because we got pretty lost. And only one of us was wise enough to bring any water so we ran out pretty fast and were parched for quite some time. Then we walked along a road for what seemed like ages until we got to the "Whittamore's Farm" and they had drinks and food! That was around 6:00. But then we realized that we were practically in Markham and needed to walk 5 more Ks to get to the nearest TTC route. So we walked for about three more hours until we got to Markham road and then we took a bus south back to the apartment. That was along Steeles, and for some reason not a single car pulled over and asked us if we were okay, even though it was out in the middle of nowhere with no sidewalks or anything and miles away from anything. Canadians aren't the most outgoing folks I guess. It was fun though! I sent you a Yahoo! map with sort of the route we took. At least the point A and point B of it.

Then we had a fun day on Saturday, we had a big missionary fiesta. It went over really well. President Eyre came and spoke on finding joy in life. I really like him. He's a good president. We had a pinata too, and we forgot to get a blindfold so everybody just used my tie! Then one of the sister's investigator families decided to be baptized because they "felt like they were looking in at all the fun through a window and they wanted to be on the inside" so I guess it was a successful party.

Then just last Sunday Andrew got up and bore his testimony and it was really good. He talked about how after his wife had died he had a lot of trouble, and he was on really powerful medication to keep himself going and one Sunday morning he prayed and asked for help and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" popped into his head, so he went to his computer and searched for it, and found the nearest chapel and showed up. Then it was a week or so later that we figured out that he wasn't a member.
And by then he had been able to get off the medication.

That's about all I've got for right now.

-Elder Gerla

30 July 2008
Well, I'm not being transferred, and neither is my companion. The reason I don't have any pictures of him is because I had set my camera's picture
quality on extra-fine and so the images are all too big to upload. I have been taking some new ones not on extra-fine though so I have more to upload
now. The Hermanas are being transferred though, Hermana Grey is going home, and Hermana Morley is being sent to Black Creek. They are bringing in two
Spanish elders to replace them. That's going to be strange because suddenly I will be an ordinary district leader instead of the Relief Society President.

Yesterday we did more service for Friends of the Rouge Watershed, this time we were weeding dog strangling vine or whatever it's called and these big
old grape vines. I had a lot of fun climbing around in the trees cutting the grape vines down. I wanted to swing down like Tarzan on some of them
but I'm sure as soon as I did that it would've broken. So I didn't.

Just the other day we had gone all the way up past Finch (a 45-60 minute bike ride) to contact some referrals. The first two weren't home and as we
were heading to the next one I started to hear some strange rumbling sounds. We looked to the north and there was a large black cloud moving
rather quickly towards us. My companion said "It looks like it's about to rain." I said "I'm sure it will not rain." Then it started raining. We took
cover under a little belt of trees for a few minutes, but then it started raining harder and harder so we decided to just give it up and get soaked.
So we stuck all of our damagable stuff into plastic bags inside of our backpacks and biked off into oblivion. It was a very exciting ride home.
The lighting was right over our heads, there were a few times I was sure we were going to die. All these car alarms were going off, and there were
sirens everywhere, and we were going as fast as we could and I couldn't see anything because of all the rain everywhere. Then it started to hail and
that hurt. It only lasted for about 15-20 minutes though, and then it just rained after that so it wasn't so bad. We looked pretty beaten down by the
end though. Whenever we stopped at a traffic light I would dump the water out of my shoes. It actually shrank the leather a little bit and now they
fit better, so that's good. But anyways, after all that was over and we were pretty much home, my bike started resisting a lot when I tried to
pedal. I wasn't quite sure what was going on so I shifted down and we rode the last block home really slowly. I took a look at the whole thingy and
finally figured out that the rear hub had started to come undone. Like the little cup that the bearings are held in by was slipping off, and the
threaded bolt that holds the whole thing together wasn't really holding it together anymore. So I took it all apart and got out my bike fixing book
and tinkered with it for a few hours and called Bill for advice. He told me to just give it up and he'd bring by a new back wheel as soon as he could,
it wasn't work the effort to fix the hub. But I didn't want to have to wait a few days so I kept working on it and got it running fairly smoothly and
it's been fine since Saturday, so hopefully it'll last 'till Bill brings the new wheel.

I'm off to upload a few new pictures now.

-Elder Gerla
23 July 2008                

The weather here's been fine. A bit rainy lately and pretty humid but not all that hot. I can't believe

July is over already. I just uploaded a big pile of pictures.

Just the other day some lady flagged us down on our bikes and wanted to know if we could help her. I

guess she had just gotten in from Bengal and only spoke Urdu. She was looking for house number 22,

where a friend lived, but didn't know what the name of the street was. This information was only

gotten through her five or six year old daughter who could translate a bit. She tried calling her husband

in Iran on our cellphone but it didn't work, which is probably just as well. President Eyre might've been

a bit curious about that bill. But we asked the nearest house if they knew anyone who spoke Urdu and

luckily it was a nice Indian family and they didn't speak it but they had some friends who did so we left

her in their care and I hope that she somehow found the house eventually.

That's the most exciting story I have for this week. I didn't get spat on at all. The museum was fun.

We went for dinner afterwards at some Chinese place and tried to get Elder Stanfill to eat some of the

pork and shrimp rolls that almost made Elder Ottoson lose his lunch but he refused to even

touch them. I only ate one. They are pretty bad. But he ate a lot of the fried octopus tentacles,

so that was good. Mmmmmm...

Oh yeah, we had our skills and interviews a few days ago. President Eyre and his wife are both very nice, 
they're a lot more relaxed than the Callisters were. His tie was loosened and the top button of his shirt 
wasn't buttoned before one of the zone conferences started! That's very much not something President 
Callister would've done.
-Elder Gerla 
16 July 2008
Okay this is going to have to be a bit quick because we're heading to the Royal Ontario Museum (The Lee-Chen crystal opened back up since I as there last year, so it has a DINOSAUR exhibit now!) in a few hours and we've got lots of stuff still to do. But anyways, I have some good stories this week!

First there are the paranoid security guards at the Danforth buildings, (a complex of three big apartment buildings) they caught up to us the other day and started to warn us against knocking on doors--"There are people here who'll stab you for your shoes!" and how in danger we were right at that second, and how they had been told by "the locals" that as soon as they were gone we'd be dead, and they asked us if we'd ever come back if we got stabbed there, and I said "Well, I don't know, I guess I probably wouldn't" and they said "Well, just skip that step and never come back." But I've seen the guards maybe once or twice before and we've been going there the whole time I've been here, and missionaries have been going to those buildings for at LEAST the past few years. They also don't give the Hermanas any sort of warning when they see them, so we decided that they just don't like us. And from what I've seen, the locals like us. It's one of the friendliest to missionaries area I've been in. So we just watch out for the guards and avoid them.

Then here's another one, Elder Stanfill and I were teaching this guy, Bob, he's our best investigator right now, he has a baptismal date set for  the 27th of August and he wrote "Be baptized - 10:00AM" on his calendar. He's a good guy but he's had a rough life. He smokes like a chimney so we're working on that right now. But anyways, he's got this cranky old cat named Toby. Toby has not been fixed, so he sprays. Toby was quite fond of Elder Stanfill's backpack and decided to mark it as his own. Elder Stanfill threw his backpack away after we got out of the apartment. Cat-spray is not nice-smelling stuff.
Then just yesterday I got spat on! This sounds like it would be an unpleasant experience and I guess it was, but I'm more happy than sad because I can now say that I was taunted and spat upon on the streets on Toronto. I guess it was just some random jerk, I was just stepping off the bus and had to squeeze past him to get out the door, and I always say "sorry" (in a Canadian accent) when I have to push past people and he was no exception, but then I was stepping off and I heard a *PATOOIE!* and I felt something wet hit my ear and the side of my face and it didn't even register that the guy spat on me until the bus was already gone. So that was probably just as well. It was pretty gross though, we went home and I scrubbed the side of my face pretty good.

Tell my dumb baby she is a very good dumb baby and that I even still remember who she is.

Tell my little sister (the bigger one) to watch the heck out and make sure she knows how to use that mace I sent her.
Tell my littest sister that she's a bum for not e-mailing me.

Tell my little brother I'm angry at him for not telling me they've announced Diablo III.

-Elder Gerla
9 July 2008
He's doing good, we're getting along fine, I have a picture of him now, I will try to upload it. Shyrill's doing well also, Rose is... interesting,
as always. President Eyre is as well. He showed us pictures of him bungee-jumping in Zimbabwe for Zone Conference. Then he told some story
from his mission and he's like "...so this greenie--Is that still used? Do people still say greenie?" and the APs are up on the stand behind him
shaking their heads and whispering "no no no!" because supposedly greenie is a slang word that we are to avoid. But he kept on saying it anyway. I like President Eyre. Sister Eyre is 6'2" she said "I'm sure you're all wondering but are too polite to ask." She is not short. President Eyre's gotta be 6'4" or so. He's not short either.

We've been finding a lot of interesting new investigators lately. There's this one Indian guy, Lorensz, who's a huge fan of Elvis, he has Elvis stuff
ALL over his house. When we came the first time to teach him he showed us a video of an Elvis impersonator who he hired for his sister's birthday party. He sings Elvis songs as well, which sound pretty funny with an Indian accent.

It's hot here today. Very very humid too, we've been getting a whole lot of rain--WOAH! How the heck did you get my baby to pose so nicely for the picture of everyone in the truck? That looks entirely impossible, is she photoshopped in?! What a dumb baby!

Did Mary seriously turn 11??

-Elder Gerla
2 July 2008
I don't have too much to write this week, it hasn't been too exciting. The weather's been really nice.  We've got a couple interesting investigators at this point.  One's named Rob, he's an interesting fellow. He's about 45 and lives by himself in some a pretty ghetto building complex and survives on welfare. He says he wants to quit smoking so we've been trying to help him do that and also teaching him the lessons as we go. It's difficult to get him to pay attention though, the day before yesterday we were teaching him and he was waiting for something called "dial-a-bottle" where they deliver beer right to your door. So he was watching the TV with the security camera tuned in to see when the guy got there and wasn't really paying attention to what we were saying. We were reading 3rd Nephi 11 to him and talking about it as we went. We were talking about authority and I asked him if the ice cream man pulled him over and tried to give him a ticket if he would pay it. Of course he said no. So I asked him if a police officer pulled him over and gave him a ticket if he would pay it. He said no. I asked why not, he answered "Because I was going too slow." Then later I asked him if Jesus didn't mean to shrink down and turn into a baby when he said "Become as a little child," what was it that he really meant? He noticed that I had asked him a question and turned to pay attention. I repeated myself "When
Jesus says 'Become as a little child' what does he mean by that?" He looked confused for a second and asked "Did he really mean to shrink down and turn into a little baby?"
I'm at the library at my penny-pinching companion's request so I don't have very much time at all, I hate libraries. Trying to think of what else I
should write about. Can't come up with anything. I may write a little bit more later, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to. Riding on a bicycle is not allowed for sisters in this mission. But we got our new president. President Eyre. He is extremely tall, as is his wife. I'll need to get a picture with them at some point. He seems like a very nice guy but I've been spreading rumors around the mission that when I met him he was asking about our tracting hours and that he yelled at me for not having parted hair.
Anyways, I gotta boogie.

 -Elder Gerla
25 June 2008
Hmm. Not a whole lot of exciting things to write today. We're teaching this new guy named Rob. He's very interesting. He sits on his chair during the lessons and wiggles his feet the whole time. He's trying to quit smoking. The zone is going to go to Centre Island today, but Elder Stanfill and I decided to skip out because we're too cool for school and we have more important things to do than go hang out with a bunch of loser missionaries. Andrew is still doing well. Did I say that Elder Stanfill is from a place called Temecula, California? There has to be some other interesting things to say, but I can't think of them. Oh here's one! We went to the Stake Priesthood meeting on Sunday! That doesn't seem to amazing, but the funny thing was that there wasn't a single other missionary there. We brought a couple recent converts, and that's usually what it takes to be allowed to go to extra meetings like that, but now I wonder if we were invited to that one or something. I'm not about to ask though. You know, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but if you don't have to ask for forgiveness either that's even better. O:-)

President Callister only has like, five days left! I wonder if he's getting trunky...

And I saw a cockroach in our apartment the other day! Eeew! It was half again longer than my thumbnail or so. Not as big as the one I have a
picture of, but still pretty big. So we're cleaning very thoroughly today.

-Elder Gerla
18 June 2008
Things are going well. Elder Ottoson got transferred way out to Napanee to be with Elder Santoro. That was a bit of a surprise. I'm with Elder
Stanfill now, he came from the MTC the same time Elder Ottoson did. He seems pretty cool so far.

There was another baptism at the church on Sunday, Elder Ottoson got to do it this time. It was Luis, a kid from Peru that one of the members of the ward gave a ride to a few months ago and got his contact info and sent the missionaries to go get him. We went and taught him once and then brought him to one of President Callister's firesides and then he met the Hermanas and they found out that he speaks Spanish and took him from us. They kept teaching him and dropped him once because he wasn't progressing but then he called them a couple days later and asked them to keep coming over and teaching him and he agreed to be baptized that Sunday. 

Andrew got confirmed as well, that was good. He's still really solid, we need to teach him all the new member lessons now though. And baptize his mom.
Holy mowley. That's pretty warm. It's been almost cold here, and oh so rainy. It's nuts, it's been raining like every single day.
I just remembered one other thing. One of the sister companionships got an extra sister! Oh noez! Now I have to deal with SEVEN sisters! Oh boy oh boy. Sister Scott promised me that she would try to be more like an elder and less like a sister. I told her that that might not be so good for companionship unity.

Anyways, I gotta run soon, but I uploaded a couple of new pictures.

-Elder Gerla
12 June 2008
Oh noez! I only have like a couple seconds I'll e-mail tomorrow for realz. It's been a crazy day and tomorrow will be crazy too. Uploaded some
pictures for you though.
Yeah, we ended up in a zoo! It was the last week of the transfer and I predict that it's a 90% chance that either Ottoson or I will get
transferred so we finally went. It was a pretty cool zoo but it's huge and it was a LOT of walking (6 hours and we managed to see about 75%). There were some pretty cool animals. I managed to get some pretty good pictures, I really like the one with the green snake.

The baptism went very well. I was really nervious, people kept getting annoyed by the sound of the font filling and turning the water off so I had to keep running over there and turning it back on, so by the time it was time for the baptism I really doubted that there was enough water in the font. But it turned out that there was enough, and I said the prayer right and got him all the way under on the first try. Everything else went smoothly as well, the talks and musical numbers and whatnot. His mom really liked church too, and she said she would try to come more often--whenever she can get out of her own Lutheran church. Now we just need to worry about the confirmation.

I'm trying to think of what other exciting things have happened lately. Not too much, the weather was really really really hot a few days ago, but it's perfect right now for biking all over the place. 


Elder Gerla

4 June 2008
Anyways, Andrew is still intent on being baptized this Sunday. We've got over pretty much everything, he's got his speakers picked out. He wants me to do the baptizing despite my best efforts to get him to ask a member to.

We taught a lady just yesterday who used to be Hindu and she wants to convert to Christianity but has been praying for an answer as to whether or not she should for the past four years and hasn't gotten one. We talked a lot about the spirit and what it feels like and that sort of stuff. She has been going to a Pentecostal church and I think she's just confused about what exactly the spirit is as she was asking about speaking in tougues and why you roll around on the floor. We were pretty bold with her and committed her to be baptized on the 22nd, she's not so sure but is going to try. It was rather different because we had to teach her in a McDonalds, I guess she didn't want to meet at her house because of her sister and mother who are both Hindu still. I was using the straw wrappers as an object lesson to teach the apostasy, so that was interesting.

Just the other day we went to drop by Alex, one of our investigators, and we had been seeing a lot of well-dressed people wandering around the building with suitcases (that means Jehovah's Witnesses) and when we stepped into his hallway to knock on his door there were two of them RIGHT THERE, talking to him! I heard "Monday at 1:30 then?" and we did a quick U-turn and went down the stairs on the other side to avoid any awkward situations.

Let's see, in other news, a guy came up to us the other day and said "Oh you guys, you're just the people I need to see!" I was instantly
suspicious and asked him why that was. He whipped this huge wad of bills out of his pocket and explained that he needed to donate $200 to charity before tomorrow morning when he had to appear in court for drug charges. I guess if he donated the $200 to charity they'd drop the charges or something, but we had to explain to him that we couldn't really accept any money, and even if we could we wouldn't be able to give him a receipt that they would accept in court. Then he wanted us to just pocket $50 each and write a receipt that said he had donated $200. I said that we were really really sorry we couldn't help him out but we had to go to an appointment. Luckily he was cool okay with it and ran off, I guess looking for somewhere else to donate his money.

We had another service project this Monday, we got to mulch some 5000 trees with 25 or so other missionaries. That was fun but I'm still a bit
sore and Ottoson is still pretty burnt (and sore). Mulch is not light, especially when you have to haul two big buckets of it a few hundred meters a few hundred times. We weren't going to be able to make it there because we didn't have a ride and then the senior couple who was organizing it called me (because I had done the missionary side of the organizing with the last smaller project) with some question, and I
mentioned that we weren't going to be able to go and they offered to drive down and pick us up. So they came and got us and drove us there and back. yay!
Elder Gerla
28 May 2008
The keyboard on this computer is just awful, it randomly ignores some keypresses. I need to write about our new investigator, Andrew Jaikaran. He's a small guy from Guyana (most Guyanese people are small), who started coming to church about five weeks ago, we didn't even know he was an investigator because he would dress up really nicely and come just for sacrament meeting. He thought that that was it. One of the members tipped us off that he wasn't a member and he kept showing up and we were on him like flies on a garbage heap. So we set an appointment the following Wednesday (just last week) and taught him about the Plan of Salvation and comitted him for baptism on the 8th. He accepted and is getting very close now. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, True to the Faith, and Our Search for Happiness. His wife was hit by a car while crossing the street just this January so he's looking for answers.

Yeah, we've been having to feed ourselves. We've been getting more food from members of other wards than this one. It's a good thing I've got my "connections" or we'd starve to death. I don't think Scarborough really loves us. Except for the Brooks family, they feed us about once a month.


Elder Gerla

21 May 2008
Okay so yesterday we had a big service project that still is going to go on tomorrow. It involved planting "seeds and nuts" and "tree  maintenance" on an old landfill, which was interesting. I'm a bit sunburned because it was cloudy out and I didn't think I would get burned and I don't think I have any sunblock ANWAYS. They only wanted four missionaries at a time so the sisters and Ottoson and I went yesterday and today the sisters and the Spanish sisters are going, and tomorrow it's us and the Spanish sisters. They were angry at me for making them work on a p-day and not having to work myself but I am the almighty District Leader so I told them I didn't care, and to take their p-day whenever the heck they wanted to. It was also amusing trying to explain all our rules--"Sorry Colin, we have a car, but we can't give anyone a ride in it. Not even the other missionaries." (because it was just the two elders and two sisters) And now today all four missionaries are going to show up in one car and he's going to be confused again.

And also last Saturday the Spanish sisters found us a contact...A homeless guy named John! So we biked down to the Scotiabank where he was chillaxing and brought him a spare white shirt so that he could come to church the next day. We talked to him for about an hour and he explained how the government (and the public, depending on his mood) was after him and how he had a pacemaker secretly put into him when he was three. I told that that's impossible because a pacemaker has to be replaced every 5-10 years or so because the battery will run down, especially if it was put in him 40 years ago when technology wasn't as good as it is now, but of course he didn't believe me. When we were through with him I basically told the Hermanas he was nothing but a paranoid delusional alcoholic and wasn't really worth our time (which sounds rather heartless but really I have no patience for paranoid delusional alcoholics anymore) but they said that I should give him a chance anyway, so I said we'd see if he'd show up at church. He did, which suprised me, but it turned out he wasn't really interested so much in church as he was in what we could do to help him out. So I talked to him outside for about an hour and forty-five minutes during Sunday School and Priesthood trying to convince him to go to a shelter and take a shower and get cleaned up. The Salvation Army is out to get him as well. So finally I gave up and he said he wanted to talk to the Hermanas again, so I grabbed one of the youth and the ward mission leader and the Hermanas and we all went out to talk to him. Hermana Gray somehow convinced him to go to the shelter and the WML gave him $20 and two  bus tickets to get there. We told him we'd show up at the shelter the next day at 2:00 to teach him the first lesson and gave him our phone number. I was still heartily against the whole thing but the Hermanas wanted us to go try anyway. So the next day around 1:00 John-Paul (he introduced himself as Paul at one point and then he looked confused and said it was John-Paul) called us and I interrogated him and he hadn't gone to the shelter and I thought he sounded a little drunk. So I called the Hermanas and asked them if he had called them and I guess he had called dozens of times and left a bunch of messages and threatened suicide and asked Hermana Gray to be his "partner" because he didn't want to get married again. I told the Hermanas that they need to be more hard-hearted when it comes to people on the street and they said that I was right. I am always right. From what I've seen, people who live out on the streets do so at their own volition and that there's pretty much nothing we can do to help them.

Anyways, I gotta go write my letter to President Callister nows, I'll be back in a bit.

 -Elder Gerla
14 May 2008
I don't really uhh, have any other pictures yet. We're panicking at the moment because President Callister is traveling us tomorrow night! Oh
noez! We gotta come up with something good for him to do with us.
I totally cannot think of anything at all to write. I am terrible. We did just talk on Sunday. So really can you blame me?


Elder Gerla

7 May 2008
Good idea. I still need to find a place to get my vision checked too. (To get his license renewed - he's not driving now because his license expired but I don't think he minds!) What a pain, eh? How long do I have anyway? Another road test would be way fun!
Oh yeah! That puppet cat! She was singing some terrible cat-song the other day until I hit her across the room. Right now she's sitting on my shelf next to Charles the moose.

Maybe I mixed them too long, it was pretty smooth. I had to do it with a fork. And we've got no measuring cups, I'll get some today. They tasted
fine I suppose but they were just not at all cup-cakey looking. Somebody told me that cake mixes are too heavy to make good cupcakes, but I had always thought it was pretty much the same thing.

Octupus cupcakes. That's brilliant!
No pictures today I am afraid. I am a lazy bum so I did not take any. It's too hard.

It is the same weird old ward as before. On Monday we had this appointment that I had just written in my planner as Thana with a phone number next to it, I had no idea how she had been found or how we had the number or anything. So I called Sunday night to confirm we had an appointment then and she said yes. So we show up Monday evening at 6:30, just after finishing dinner, and knock on the door. She immediately opens the door and invites us in to sit down. We were a little startled because investigators don't usually do that. Then we started chatting and trying to figure out who she was. It turned out that she was a member and that it was a dinner appointment! Oh noez! I had just eaten a big dinner AND I had been a little sick the night before from something I ate (no idea what!) AND she had loaded the plates up hugely full with rice and chicken, so I picked at it a little and when she asked why I wasn't eating much I said because I was still a bit sick from yesterday and could I please take it home and have it for lunch the next day? So that all ended up okay. But yeah, always write down what kind of appointment it is...

I talked to Elder Kinghorn the other day and apparently Campbellford is on fire right now! They've got five baptismal dates set right now, and the ward's attendance has jumped from 15 to 27 or so!
Elder Gerla
30 April 2008
Of course I ate the octopus! What are you, crazy?! That would be a terrible waste to just throw them away. The tentacles were the best part,
the little heads had some crunchy bits in them that weren't so good. But yeah, the tentacles were really good. I couldn't quite finish all of them
though. Elder Ottoson didn't help eat any of it, he hid in the other room with the door shut and an aerosol air-freshener. You could say he's not a
big fan of seafood. I've got an entire Tilapia in the freezer right now, and I'm trying to find a recipe that explains how to cook it with its head
still on.

The other day we saw a guy in a wheelchair with a dog chained to the bottom of the seat. It was confusing for a few minutes until I noticed
that whenever the dog put its head underneath the chair the man let go of the wheels but it kept going. So it was a wheelchair dog!

That's one nice thing about the city, we never need to worry about ticks, but lately we've been seeing a problem that I think is even worse.
BEDBUGS! The other day we went to see a guy in a rather...economically-minded apartment building, and Elder Ottoson went to sit down next to him to explain something from the Book of Mormon and he said "Oh, you don't want to sit there, I've got bedbugs!" And sure enough, I started to watch very very carefully and there were little bugs crawling all over his bed. I got the creepy-crawlies HARDCORE and when we got home I stripped down and inspected all of my clothes for anything even vaugely alive. Then just the other day we had to help a member move all her junk from her (single) room (in a shared apartment) into the middle of the room so that the fumigator could come through and do his insectisidal business.

We've been searching for a chain breaking tool and failing. We wasted an hour today trying to get to a non-existant bike shop. I'm just going to
order the stupid thing online from a Toronto-based shop and have it shipped here. Arg, what a pain! We got a bike working though, I popped
the new rear wheel off Ottoson's old bike and put it on the new one and it's workable now, though not very well. The Zone Leaders are traveling us tomorrow too, so Elder Jones is going to be the lucky sucker on a crippled bike!

 -Elder Gerla
23 April 2008
We had a fun time today exploring downtown, we went to see the Eaton Centre and then walked down the Queen's Quay (the harbourfront), then we ate at a place called Spring Roll and Elder Ottoson tried to eat this rolled thing made with tiger shrimp and pork and gagged and almost couldn't get it down. Apparently he doesn't take well to seafood, it was pretty funny though, I almost choked from laughing. I ate a few of them (they were pretty weird) and had this weird shrimp and mushroom soup and a pile of General Tao's Chicken. My legs are worn out, we wandered around for about five hours straight. The weather here had been pretty good lately, but it poured like crazy for about 15 minutes around 2:00pm. I've got a few pictures I'll see if I can upload next week, I don't have time right now.

On Monday Elder Ottoson's bike exploded, the hub was slipping off of the axle on the rear wheel and all the bearing started spilling out. It was
definitely a write-off. So Tuesday we walked my bike up to the Cedarbrae Mall and went to the Zellars there and bought him a new bike, then we had to walk that bike to a nearby gas station to fill up the tires because they were flat as could be. It's a pretty good bike though. We always beat the buses. I need to get a haircut, I was going to today but we still need to do laundry. Ugh, we'll have to do it in the morning before study time. At least we got our grocery shopping done and I got a new belt--the one I've got is falling apart.

Saturday, or maybe Friday, I'm not really sure, was a Karaoke night for Scarborough Ward. It was a pretty lame one because only about 20-30 people came, but I sang Eye of the Tiger and Penny Lane. That was definitely interesting.
There was a big party Saturday night too, in the bottom of our apartment. The music was blasting so loud it was shaking the whole building. There were a bunch of people out on their patios drinking beer, and some guy was playing the guitar and singing. It was crazy, and when we woke up in the morning the music was still going. Good grief!

Well, that's probably all for today. I don't have a lot of time because we're running short on time all up ons.

  -Elder Gerla
16 April 2008
Ya, there are 8 zones. We just had Zone Conference on Monday. It was really good. I cooked my octopus today, I will upload the pictures of it
being cooked soon. (Nevermind, I forgot my USB thinger! :'( ) It was pretty good!

Not too many stories this week. We have some good new investigators. One, Alex, we tracted into just a few days ago, he's a really good guy,  he used to be a boxer and is from St. Vincent. I guess he's ordered videos from the church before and really liked them. So we taught a first  lesson and watched the Restoration video with him. He said he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it to church last Sunday. (Which usually means it's not going to happen) But he managed to make it anyway! He's really excited about coming to sunday school again this Sunday as well.

Then we have Jean-Baptiste, he's from Haiti and doesn't speak too much English. Elder Ottoson took some French in school so he knows enough to communicate a bit. He's all hung up on baptisms for the dead though. We're working on that.

Then just yesterday there was a lady who called me in the evening and said that she had just met a couple elders on the street and wanted our number because she had been investigating back in Trenton (she had just moved from there) and lost contact with the missionaries when she moved. She was really excited to come back to church and to have us over and said that the rest of the family would be as well. So that was unexpected, but nice.  We've got an appointment to see them Saturday night. Then a media referral we got for a Book of Mormon turned out to be an inactive member who was baptized in '93, when he was 11, and had gone inactive about a year later. He wants help to stop smoking and he wants to start coming back to church. So we're going to take him to Douglas Callister's fireside tomorrow evening and see if we can scare the smoking out of him.
Not yet (he hasn't fixed his bike brakes) ... The only bike place I know is rather far away. I need to get there somehow, we might have to mooch a ride off a member. For now I just did some McGuyver style repairs and it works well enough right now, but I don't know how long it's going to last. The weather is perfect for biking right now, it's not too hot and not too cold.
That's okay, I probably won't be able to get on until way late (next Wednesday) because we're going DOWNTOWN. EVERTHING'S SOMETHING SOMETHING  DOWWWWNNNTOWN! Still haven't figured out what we're going to do, but it'll probably involve the Eaton Center somehow. Okay, I gotta boogie on out now!

-Elder Gerla
9 April 2008
I only had one new picture this week, but it's a whopper, just remember I can't use photoshop out here so it's 100% legit.

I'm trying to think of some interesting stories from this last week.

I had a good birthday, anyways. I still haven't gotten my birthday box though.

It's been pretty rainy lately, which isn't fun when you want to ride your bike. I still need to get my brakes fixed. The rear brakes only work because I ripped the brake pad halfway off and now it sits a little crooked and brakes pretty well. I need to go to the bike man and get replacements today though. I need to get a U-lock too, instead of the cable lock I've got. They say that people come with cable cutters and just *snip!* the bikes away.

The new area is pretty good. Our apartment is a bit of a dive. The senior sisters came and did an apartment inspection for us and Sister Kelley pulled me aside and said (and I quote exactly) "Honestly Elder, you did the best you could, but you have a really crappy apartment..."

The paint is peeling off the bathtub, and I didn't even know that bathtubs were painted...

There's this little restaurant nearby called CJ's Grill. It's run by this Korean family and for some reason the lady there loves the missionaries. We got lunch there today. She always throws in a couple candy bars or whatever for free. The other day there was table of Korean people eating there and one of them was showing another one of them a copy of the Book of Mormon in Korean!

Elder Ottoson is an interesting fellow, I need to get some pictures of him I guess. I need to leave for a bit but I'll be back later to e-mail President and a few other people.

-Elder Gerla
2 April 2008
That sounds like fun. This weeks been rather, chill. Elder Ottoson and I have been passing a nasty cold or something back and forth and I'm just starting to recover. I finally slept okay last night, but I had to take a bunch of nighttime tylenol. :-P

I don't know our new address yet but you can just send stuff to the office, we're close enough that people are there pretty much every week so we get our mail regularly. I haven't gotten the easter package or the birthday package yet. I did get the shirts and the garments, unfortunately I guess shirt makers aren't exactly uniform in their shirt making and the shirts are a bit too big. I can send them back I think and get a refund. I'll pack them up and see how much it is for shipping.

The other day we met a very interesting character named Ambrose, he lives in an apartment with his 80-something year old mother. Sort of. He actually has a tent outside on the patio (about 7 floors us) that he says has been through ten refittings. It's pretty intense, he's got a computer in there and a heater and it's got insulation and a frame and a light and he wired his internet access in through a hole in the tent and closed it all up with caulk. He's in all sorts of pyramid scheme and is trying to get rich. I couldn't think of a diplomatic way of telling him he's going to go broke fast.

A lot of the people in Scarborough ward actually remembered me, which was a little suprising, seeing as I was there for only five weeks. We're teaching mostly Haitians right now, so there are only a few members to take to the appointments because the investigators all pretty much only speak Creole and need a translator.

Bill Garett from Don Mills drove my bike over from the storage room in the office for me, but Elder Schindler must've been a maniac biker because the rear brakes are worn down to the metal. I'll need to pick up a new set today and put them on. That bike book you sent me had been very useful. I forgot my 16' adjustable wrench in the Campbellford car though, so that made me very sad. It's been incredibly useful. I would advise all new missionaries to bring a huge toolbox with them.

The joke is now that I'm the Relief Society President. Sister are good, but you have to treat them very differently from elders. It takes a great deal of finesse and diplomacy. If you make one sister mad, you make them all mad. You can't yell at them like you can elders and have them do anything, they pretty much just do it all on their own anyway though, so that's easy.
I'm going to see if I can upload some pictures now.

-Elder Gerla
26 March 2008
I'm back. Back in the city. I'm being tranferred back to Scarborough, I'm already back at the stake center in Don Mills. I'll be with a young missionary, Elder Ottoson, he's been out three months. We'll be on the other side of Scarborough, the one I always said I was glad I wasn't on because it was the rough side. Still district leader but this time my district is three sister companionships. One Spanish, one English, and one senior sister couple. The joke is now that I'm the Relief Society President. Sister are good, but you have to treat them very differently from elders. It takes a great deal of finesse and diplomacy. If you make one sister mad, you make them
all mad. You can't yell at them like you can elders and have them do anything, they pretty much just do it all on their own anyway though, so that's easy.
It's going to be interesting for sure, back on buses and bikes. I'll need to get my Antelope out of the basement of the stake center here. I have a lot of pictures but I can't send them now because the office computers are beasts when it comes to that. I'll send them next week.

They should be able to mission mail the package (that I sent to the wrong address - not anticipating that he would be transferred so soon!) , I'll just keep calling and hassling Elder Kinghorn until he remembers to bring it to Zone Conference. I was really surprised that they sent me back to Scarborough, it was pretty much the last place I was expecting. I actually wasn't expecting to go anywhere at all. It's almost like I never left though, I was so used to the country I thought it would be weird to come back to the city but it seems like home.
Well, I've probably gotta boogie on out. I need to find my new companion, my luggage, and my ride to Scarborough. I'll write more next week. I say that a lot and then I don't write more. I'll at least probably upload some more pictures next week.

-Elder Gerla
19 March 2008
I'm working on it, I'm working on it. (This in response to my "where are you?? Have any storeis or pictures this week!?! We didnt' hear from Paul till really late in the day! That's unusual.)

To explain a little, we're at the Harrison's right now, and they have a computer, and their computer needed to be fixed, and we hadn't gotten the chance to E-mail yet because we had been shopping in Belleville. So I just thought I would kill two stones with one bird. I'm trying to upload some pictures now.

Oh man it's getting really late really fast but I'll tell you about our crazy Monday anyways. We lost our cell-phone, got a speeding ticket (Kinghorn, not me!), left the lights on on the car and ran the battery down and had to get a jump start (from the member at whose house we lost the cell-phone, he just happened to have a pair of jumper cables in the back of his car when he came to give us the phone), and I locked us out of our apartment so we had to hail the neighbor and ask her to let us in! It was an interesting day!

 -Elder Gerla

12 March 2008
I actually have a whole pile of pictures to send. I'll send them next week though and I'll write a couple stories that we've gotten into. I haven't really used the voice recorder yet except for recording Elder Hansen and Santoro fighting. I need to use it more. I'll see if I can do that. I don't want too much for my birthday. Maybe candy. Or save it up so that I can get cool presents next April. Or if you could find any EFY CDs those would be good but I don't know where one would find them.

I think I better get going. I need to get ready to do district meeting tomorrow, the Zone Leaders are travelling us so I need to actually be prepared. Oh boy.

-Elder Gerla


5 March 2008
A couple stories, I'm currently typing on a laptop so it's going to take a little bit longer because of the funny keyboard. The library here is Brighton is always packed to the gills with old people so we're at the Pilon's house mooching off their internet. They're the best.

Well, it was a dark and stormy night, the snow was coming down really thick and the roads were getting a bit bad, but we had one more visit left to do that night, a less-active guy who hadn't been contacted by the missionaries for quite a while. I'll call him "Ned Clinton." We got some directions from Bro. Boyd and were searching all over in this little subdivision called Willow Point, which is super-creepy because it's not very well taken care of and the snow is so deep and the roads so narrow it was almost like driving through little corridors and there are no lights except for a few on in a couple houses. We couldn't find the house that Bro. Boyd had directed  us to so we decided to try knocking on some doors and asking if anyone knew him. The first door we knocked on gave us some confusing directions but the second one knew both his parent's house and his house and explained how to get to them. Well, we finally got there and it was just this little cabin and all the windows were boarded over with plastic and it looked like it hadn't been  lived in for ages. But we knocked on the door anyways and it opened! Ned wasn't at all what I was  expecting, was a short, portly guy with shoulder-length grey hair. He looked like he was straight from a Harry Potter movie, especially in his tiny, dark little cabin. But he's actually a really nice guy, we sat and chatted for probably two hours about all sorts of stuff. Apparently he's had a drinking problem for quite some time and wants help getting over it. So we set up our usual thing, told him we want to see him for a few minutes every day to keep him going in the right direction. He was cool with that so we got to see him the next morning for a little while, but we couldn't see him the day after because it was Sunday and we were in Campbellford.
Monday though we were back and had scheduled an appointment to see him in the afternoon, so we went on down to Willow Point again. He wasn't home though, so we went to his parent's house to see if he was there. We knocked on the outer door and got no answer, so we checked the door to see if it was just to an enclosed patio or whatever, and it was so we stepped in and got hit by this NASTY rotting smell, there was garbage and rotting fruit all over the place and flies all over. We're missionaries though, so we just pretended everything was fine and went all the way in and knocked on the inner door. It popped open and Madam Mim poked her head out. Ned's mom is 89 years old, has no teeth and a lot of hair. She didn't know what was going on but she invited us in and said she would have to ask her
husband if Ned was around. The floor looked carpeted but it was just a thick layer of cat and dog fur. There were flies all over inside also, this fat little blind white dog that walked like an alligator and barked like a bullfrog, and a couple devil cats that had this really wacky expression on their faces. Elder Kinghorn said he thought that they were probably missionaries that had been there before. Mr. Clinton said that Ned was with a friend in Trenton and that we could call her to get him,
but he didn't know the phone number so he went and got a phone book and dictated the number to Mrs. Clinton a few times but she couldn't get it right and after about five tries Elder Kinghorn just said that he would use our cell phone to call him, which worked. So now that we had what we wanted we were ready to run for it. She offered us coffee a couple times and asked about five times whether or not we had gotten in touch with Ned. But we finally got out and got away really fast and decided that we are never going to go back to that house, the only possible exception being a travel with the Zone Leaders.
I forget what the other story is but it'll come back to me, I'll go e-mail my other people first.
Hey man I uploaded some new pictures. I haven't captioned them yet. I'll have to do that next week because we gotta boogie.

-Elder Gerla
27 February 2008
It hasn't been bad here at all weather-wise, it's been pretty warm lately, hovering around 0 or so, which is 32 there! Ho ho ho!
Oh man oh man. Yous guys are going to kill me. I don't really have any of either! (Stories or pictures.) We're kind of all moved into the new apartment, it's a bit bare because all the furniture we've got is two mattresses and a couple cushy chairs we stole from the church. It's like living in a barn or something! The Pilons have a bunch of stuff that they're going to get for us though, so we'll be in good shape soon. I need to take some pictures in the meantime though. It's a good apartment except the water heater is a bit touchy, so when someone turns on the water in the kitchen while you're taking a shower you get a nice cold surprise.
Hey I did get a package from the young men and young women. I thought when I saw all the names that it was from the primary but then something on it read young men and young women and I realized that everybody on it must be in mutual by now. By the way, it's weird here, they don't call it mutual, they call it APYW, and I was very confused for a while as to what exactly APYW was. But then I figured out that it stands for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women.

Oh, here's some kind of story. Up in Campbellford the Holt's son Elijah just got back from Peru. The Holts have all sorts of connections in Campbellford so instead of the usual 15 people at church we had 86! Holy moly! It was pretty crazy. The Zone Leaders were very proud of us for getting so many non-members at church. I told them that I'm "just that good."
Okay, I gotta roll now! Oh man oh man. I will try to remember to take some pictures today and send them next week.

-Elder Gerla
20 February 2008

It's been cold here but not nearly that cold. I wonder what the missionaries do there on days like that. Elder Kinghorn served in Siberia for 16 months before he got meningitis and had to go home for 14 before he came back out here. He's very used to working with small branches as a lot of the work in Russia was starting new areas, so he's very excited to start working with the people in Campbellford. Elder Kinghorn is one of those huge Idaho boys. We get along really well, which is probably not so good, especially for poor Elder Smith.

We found a really cool new investigator in Brighton named Sarah T, I might've mentioned her last week but a lot has happened since then, we've taught her the first lesson and she feels like she's in a similar situation as Joseph Smith was in. She knows one of the member families nearby (the Boyds) pretty well, apparently they go back a long time. She works with "developmentally disabled" kids so she's very busy most of the time and can only usually meet in the late evenings, but all is going well there.

We haven't had much word from Anne lately, she asked for a Book of Mormon in large print because she can't really read the one she has, so we ordered one last night, but we're still trying to get in touch with her again.

The other day we made a special trip up to Campbellford to help a former investigator move some logs from her backyard to her back porch so that she could get them into the wood stove. Unfortunately they had all been stacked right underneath the eves so they were all frozen together with layers and layers of ice. Elder Kinghorn broke a shovel and I broke a hatchet trying to chip it off so that we could move the logs. After we finished with that we got to go to Campbellford's Valentine's day dinner (it was the 18th, they had postponed it until the debut of "Family Day" in Ontario. EVERYTHING was shut down all day)

Last Saturday we were helping a certain sister in the branch move to a new apartment because she's afraid that her neighbors are spying on her. It was just Elder Kinghorn, Elder Smith, Logan, and me moving everything in the apartment. Her mother and a couple older guys were there too but we did pretty much all of the heavy stuff. We're worried that she may have some problems with prescription drugs but have no idea how to go about addressing something like that. Word of Wisdom problems are so hard to deal with sometimes. There are a few people we know who are still smoking, also, and we're trying to figure out what to do about it.

Did I mention that we finally got the keys to the new apartment in Brighton? It was quite an ordeal but we've got it all signed and registered and whatever so now it's ours! We can't move in yet though because of Elder Davidson being sick and being a threesome. We thought about just ditching Elder Smith and moving anyway but he said that that would probably not be very nice so we changed our minds. The first time we were going to get the key was during weekly planning on Friday morning, the super called us and said that she'd meet us there at 9:00 and do the final inspection and hand the key over. Well, we got stuck behind a snowplow and didn't get there until 9:15 and she was nowhere to be found. So I used my brain and cell-phone in combination and called her up and asked her where she was.  Apparently her tire had blown and then one of the nuts on the spare had broken so she had to call CAA. So she said she'd call once it was all over and we went back
to Trenton to finish planning. Two hours later she called again and said she'd could meet us in 15 minutes, so we booked it back up to Brighton and did the inspection and got the key!

Also, the other night we got ride checked by the O.P.P.! That was exciting, we were just driving along minding our own business and three cop cars and five cops are all chilling on the side of the road and they flag us down and one of the officers asks me if I've been drinking (Nope), if we had any alcohol in the car (No), and when the last time I had had an alcoholic drink was (...Never?). Then they let us go. I guess it wasn't that exciting.

This letter better make you happy. I scoured my journal this morning to make sure I didn't miss anything interesting.

 -Elder Gerla

13 February 2008
Oh ya oh ya oh ya oh ya. His name is Elder Kinghorn, he's been in Russia for the past like 16 months and has been here for I think 1.5 or so. (I knew it was transfer day and that Paul would be getting a new compainion so I asked about him.)

I was just about to. (He was just about to cry and whine because no one had emailed him yet, but I beat him to it!) Ya mon, ya mon. We are eating all of the food. I am on early because Santoro was changed to a Spanish missionary and sent down to Ossington to be a Zone Leader, so he's gotta leave in about 45 minutes. We got on early so that he could e-mail because his day will probably be shot after traveling and moving in.

He's being replaced by an Elder Davidson, who is President Callister's nephew! Elder Davidson is sick right now though so he can't come up here yet, so it'll be Elder Smith and Elder Kinghorn and Elder Gerla for a week or so. President said to go on lots of splits with the members so we can get lots of work done so we'll probably be going off with Logan a lot.

We're ALMOST there (to their new apartment in Brighton) now, they mailed the check to the property management people and when they get the check we get the keys.

This morning I almost fell over. (I asked about his feet!)  They don't really hurt often but they are still numb on my big toes, and sometimes if I step wrong in bare feet it kills. (I told him to keep taking Vitamin B for nerve repair!)
later in the day ----

I'm on now. Elder Kinghorn is here, he's huge. He's from Idaho. He got sick and had to go home for a while before he came back out here.
> So ... do you have a long email with stories for me today ??


If I had some pictures to upload I would have some good stories. I need to take some pictures of the Deans. They're a crazy crazy member family up here. Just stepping into their house is like going into a war zone, it's five brothers and one little sister and two massive Bullmastiffs and two cats and everyone is always wrestling each other and pulling knives and things. They "said goodbye" to Elder Hansen a couple days ago and he came back to the apartment (I was with Santoro) at 10:30 at night with his pocket ripped off, his hair all messed up and his tie completely mangled. They said hello when he first came by blindfolding him and putting him on the floor and pouring water down his pants. They really liked Elder Hansen.

I'm trying to think of some crazy tracting stories but I haven't come up with much yet. Even the crazy people don't really want to talk when it's this cold. We were having district lunch the other day at Wendy's and some random old guy came up and asked what church we were from and started talk for about 10 minutes about some friend of his who's a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church and how he was talking to his friend's girlfriend and she was a skitzo and flipped and yelled at him and then the next day was very nice and something about someone's mother-in-law who had something bad happen to her and of course that just goes to show that God punishes the wicked. We really had no idea what was going on so we just clenched our teeth so as to not laugh and smiled and nodded. It was
very confusing.

Hey you got a new TV, right? That reminds me of our senior couple in Campbellford. They went down to Toronto for the day to drop off a check somewhere, and when they came back later that day (we were up in C-Ford) they said they had something for us to carry up to their apartment. It was a huge widescreen plasma TV. Elder H went into Sears and there was one on sale so he deicded to just get it. So we had to bring it upstairs to their apartment, move the old TV out (a big huge old heavy one) and set up the new TV up. (Which was nuts, it took like two hours "searching for channels" when we first plugged it all in.) They're that same couple who went on a cruise for the first two weeks of their "mission." They're hilarious though. I need to get some pictures of them and their apartment.

Oh hey yeah I got like three letters today too, I still need to read them. (Then I asked about more because he hadn't had any letters for weeks!) Well, I got three on the 7th as well, so that's six in the past two weeks.

And tell my little sister (the big little one) that she's a pile because she hardly ever writes me.

Hmm. I forget. Did I mention that they made me District Leader now that Santoro's gone? That means I have to take all the numbers fron the sisters and the elders here and report them to the Zone Leaders and get yelled because they aren't good enough.

And also, now that we have a threesome where there were four, we have two cars and two cell-phones between the three of us. We still need to figure out how to get our second car out of the Wal-Mart parking lot (where we traded everything over) without leaving one of us alone in one car. We'll probably have to go grab Logan and go on splits for a little while.

So wait you have a blog?

Well, I think we gotta get rolling. We still need to do our grocery shopping. The transfer van was way late because the 401 was closed from Coburn to Trenton because of some big accident. I'll try to write even more next week, but I think I gave you like 3 paragraphs or so, that should be good enough, eh?

 -Elder Gerla
6 February 2008
No man, no man. Ya man, I suppose I should try to get it sometime. I keep forgetting. It's colder there than it is here. We got a pretty big snowstorm last night. Not as big as the one before that though.

Ya mon. It was really nice yesterday. It's a bit chillier now. I'm trying to think of things to write and not coming up with much. There was this cat that was just sitting on our car one day after we finished tracted. That was kind of weird. Elder Hansen only has one week left today. He's almost deadzo. I've been in Canada now for more than a year, oh man crazy.

Ya mon, they are all relatively young. Uchtdorf is only 67! They are all pretty big too. President Hinckley and Faust were not very big. We have a scary first presidency now.

Ya mon, he's old. Ya mon. Ya mon. No mon, we are working on it though, the guy at the property management place said that they would set up a tour of it on Friday. She is doing good, last we heard she had read some of the Book of Mormon but we haven't been able to set up a return appointment yet.

Yeah, it was very good. We missed most of the first hour but we got to see the documentary about President Hinckley's life. That was really good. Eyring is the little one but he's still pretty tall. I wonder who the new apostle will be.

Oh yeah, how's that Romney dude doing, anyways? And how is Hillary doing? Is she beating out Obama?

Nope nope nope. No stories. Next week if we don't have anything exciting happen maybe I will dig through my journal and find some funny old ones that I've forgotten to tell. All I have address-wise is 8 Creswell, Trenton, Ontario, I'm not sure about the zip. I haven't gotten any letters at all for like 2 months. Not sure why not.

Oh ya oh ya oh ya oh ya. Well, I gotta roll now. They will show up tomorrow at Skills and Interviews I am sure. I will write more next week I promise!

 -Elder Gerla
30 January 2008
You have to be kidding me. I just wrote a huge long story about how Sister Evenson lost her rings and we had to shovel snow into pots and melt it in the kitchen to find them! And it worked! Oh man. I am angry. I must have somehow accidentally hit the button that closes the tab.Anyways, we're finally having some success  finding people to teach. We taught a good 1st to a older lady named Anne last week. That was the first real sit-down lesson I've had since, like 3 months ago. So I was probably a little too fired up. She said that she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is scripture but said she didn't know why that was so important and I think my responce might've been a little bit more straight up than I usually would. That was probably good though. We're going to go back in a couple days and see what she's read so far.

It's blizzarding like crazy out here today.
(I asked Paul what the story about the rings was and got an abbreviated version.)
Well, Elder Santoro wanted to make the Sisters think that we had driven off and locked all their stuff in their car. Elder Hansen grabbed Sister Evenson's rings (she had taken them off because we were playing Egyptian Ratscrew) but dropped them somewhere or something and he had absolutely no recollection where or what he had done with them. So we searched all over for about a half an hour and had no luck at all. Just when she had given up and was about to leave she spotted the CTR ring in the snow and grabbed it. The other ring was a diamond one that she had gotten from her grandparents when she turned 16 so it was a little bit more valuable. :-O
So we decided that Elder Hansen must've dropped it at the same time and shoveled about a two meter radius of snow into the buckets and melted it all and found it after about 5 or 6 loads of snow!

Oh ya oh ya oh ya. We actually get along very well with the Sisters, usually. I kicked a soccerball into Sister Laris's face last week and gave her a fat lip, and the week before that Elder Santoro tripped her and she fell flat on the gym floor. Then they gave us a whole bunch of food that their members had given them.

Oh boy oh boy, I should probably get going soon.

 -Elder Gerla
23 January 2008
I'm trying to write a longer e-mail but the connection here is being sketchy so I lost a little bit. There's not a whole lot to write about, we're still trying to get our apartment in Brighton, I was down with a bad cold yesterday and slept allllll day long. I still feel pretty messed up. My eye has been twitching all morning.

Last Zone Conference I didn't get any mail at all! Just one President's letter. President heard me say "Oh man, I didn't get anything at all!" and he patted me on the back and said "I love you, for what it's worth." I told him I might recover given enough time.

I am almost definitely staying here when Elder Hansen goes, unless they decide to whitewash or shut down the area. I updated some of the  pictures and stuff, but I wasn't able to upload anything new, gotta run soon.
Oh boy.

 -Elder Gerla
16 January 2008
That sounds lovely. It's not too cold here right now, but they say it's going to start snowing and raining throughout the week. Oh boy. We met a guy from the  Community of Christ (That's the rLDS church) last night while we were tracting. We have no idea what to say to him. "We're sharing a message about the Book of Mormon." "I have one, I've read it many times" "--about a modern prophet--" "I know..." "--God's plan for us?" "Mmhmm." Well, it didn't go exactly like that but that was what was going through my mind. I wanted to say, "Well, our church is buying yours out!" but I didn't.

Then there was another guy we knocked on his door and his baby started screaming and his dog started running around and the phone rang and he finally got to the door with the phone to his ear and told us to come back another time as he was a little bit busy at the moment. I think he was serious.

Other than those two interesting ones not too much has happened. We just put in the application to get our apartment in Brighton. Hopefully we get accepted, that apartment is sweet. They say that they haven't gotten many applications lately and that there are three apartments that are vacant, so we should have a good chance.

I just got a CD full of Elder Santoro's pictures so I should have some interesting ones. I'll start uploading now.

 -Elder Gerla
9 January 2008
Ya mon. Not really. It's pretty much the same except with more tired. Holy moly malola. I've been remembering things to tell you about this week by writing them in my planner so I actually have some stuff to write. First things are about my companion. I haven't written much about him for some reason. Well, to start I'm sure you've seen some of the pictures we've got of him. He has three different meals that he eats: Macaroni and cheese with tuna, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese with tuna and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is literally it. In the two months I've been with him that's all I've seen him eat forlunch or dinner in the apartment. Sometimes he switches it up a bit and puts ketchup on the mac'n'cheese though.

Also you probably saw the picture of him strangling Elder Santoro, they have some...differences that they are trying to work through. Lately it's been ending with Santoro "escorting" Hansen out into the hallway of the apartment building at knifepoint. I'll need to get some pictures of that too.

Another funny story is from when Elder Hansen and Santoro went up to Campbellford for the weekend. They went up in non-pros so that they could move the rest of the junk out of the C-ford apartment and shut it down and give the key to the super. Elder Hansen forgot his pros pants...So he had to borrow a pair of pants and a few safety pins from President Harrison! It looked rather amusing. I have a picture of that somewhere too. Possibly just on the phone. I'll check.

Elder Guymon went home last week (That's my fourth former companion to go home so far...Fawson, Hunter, Ballard and Guymon) and now we've got our new victim, Elder Smith. He's from Idaho and is not very tall and was homeschooled. I'll get him in a picture sooner or later.

Did you read the article by Elder Callister in the latest Ensign? It's pretty intense. That guy is pretty intense. I'm afraid that he might be the replacement for President Callister this summer. Either that or they'll send in Elder Holland. Oh man.

We got another funny story yesterday while we were tracting. It was a pretty quiet little crescent and not too many people were home. We had just knocked a door on one side of the street and no one had answered so we turned around to go to the next house and I heard a door slam at the next house. So we walked up to it and there was a scribbled note taped to the door that said "NO SOLICITING PLEASE." Now, we usually ignore the plaques like that because people never remember that they have them up, but I assumed that he had put that up just for us, so we only left a pass-along card. I would've thought it would be easier to just say no tous than to go and get paper and a pen and tape and write out a note and go outside and tape it to the door. People are weird.

Then there's K and D, two former investigators that the Trenton Elders had who were dropped because their house was raided by the cops when the missionaries were teaching them. (Long story but it ended up okay--for the missionaries, not for D...) Anyways, they just recently caught Elder Santoro on the street and asked them to come teach them again. So that was going along like normal, and then K came to church on Sunday! But she brought a big thermos of coffee, needed a smoke break after sunday school, and was having some trouble staying awake because she said that she hasn't slept in three days. So that plus thesinging in the halls and throwing snowballs at nothing and wrestling with stuff in her purse made Elder Santoro tell her that she needs to go home and get some rest. She said that she was fine and could stay the whole three hours but he overrode that and told her she'd really better go get some sleep. That's the first time I've ever heard of a missionary telling someone to leave church early.

We're still trying to find some good investigators, we had a cool family that we were trying to start teaching but they just dropped us a couple of days ago. There are some part member families around here that we're trying to teach as well, they all have interesting difficulties. Brother P has been going to church faithfully for the past 35 years but still can't see why he needs to be baptized... Jean is the girlfriend of one of the youth here and has been coming to churchfor a couple years, but her parents won't let her be baptized or meet with the missionaries.

We went to dinner at the A's house the other night, Jack A is a very interesting fellow. He's from the Philippines originally, but grew up in Texas. I don't even know how to describe him properly. Intense is an adjective that comes to mind. And also crazy. Perhaps a little bit apostate.

I think we saw a ghost a few nights ago driving home from Brighton. It was really weird, we were just driving along, and a car had just passed so I didn't have my brights on. I waited a couple seconds and flipped them on and on the side of the road (in the middle of nowhere!) there was this guy with one leg standing there leaning on his crutches, just staring at us! I would've stopped and offered him a ride or something but we were going too fast and I was too startled.

We're still trying to get our own apartment in Brighton. There's one that looks pretty good but apparently the super there is giving Elder Clymore in the office a lot of trouble. We're going to try to get in touch with the owner of the building tomorrow.

Go to YouTube and search for "Stroke heroes act fast" and listen to the song. A member foolishly showed it to us once and Logan and I always sing it now and drive everybody totally crazy. It's a very useful song though. I think I'm pretty much out of things to say. I did get the voice recorder and all that. It's very nice, I've already recorded Elder Santoro threatening to dip Kooky (Elder Hansen's mad cow) into a bucket of bleach if Elder Hansen didn't give him back his phone and camera.

  -Elder Gerla

2 January 2008
(Paul's response to what happened to his nose..)  Uhhh... Well, it had to do with a chin-up bar... It kind of fell off the doorframe onto my nose, you can't see it in thatpicture but my nose and mouth started bleeding, you can kind of see some blood that dripped from my teeth to my lower lip too. It hurt pretty bad but I held together and picked the phone back up (which I had dropped) and finished the conversation! That's why I'm talking on the phone in thepicture, not because I was calling 911.  Oh hey yeah and you can't really see it in the picture but a nice chunk of skin got scraped off and I had a nice looking cut there the next morning. And my teeth hurt for a few days. It's still a little sore to the touch.
Oh man, my bad, I just lost the letter I was writing, it wasn't too long though, I'll re-write it. For Christmas day we all called home of course. I did get to call Andy but it was in the evening. I didn't get to call Tim because my phone card ran out. We went to the Deans for dinner, that's always an adventure. I'll need to get some pictures of them all. Christmas Eve we went to the Yarrantons and the Marazzos in the evening and had two dinners. Ogh.

My shoulders are sore from shoveling snow onto (and later off of) the sister missionary's car yesterday. We had three meal appointments yesterday, (which is a good thing because we have nothing to eat at the apartment except piles of Christmas candy) one with the Deans in the morning, District Lunch with the Belville sisters in the afternoon and dinner with the Yarrantons that night. It snowed like crazy all day and driving was pretty nasty because all the snowplows were on vacation. We survived though. It's freezing cold today. I'm glad it's P-day and we can stay inside.

We're still trying to get an apartment in Brighton, right now we're waiting for the office to fill out the application and fax it back so we can put it in the box. Elder  Guymon goes home on Friday so he went down to Toronto today. We got someone named Elder Smith from Weston, he's at the apartment right now with Santoro so we'll meet him in like 10 minutes.

Our New Years party was a bit of a bust, we had to be in at 8:00, so we just sat around the clock and went "Yay, it's 2008!" at midnight. But Nita called from  Ossington and I got to talk to her and Lou Gen and Mae Fleur, so that was fun.

Not too much else exciting going on. There are a lot of part-member families here for us to work with so we're busy trying to get to know everybody. This is one of those places where everybody is related to everybody so it gets very confusing sometimes.

I hear tell that I have a package waiting at the apartment (Santoro just called...) so I think we shall be on our way out.


 -Elder Gerla


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