(OPENING DISCLAIMER: If you’d like to read why I’m out here, here’s a talk I gave before I left: https://webloomsage.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/my-farewell-talk/ If at any point you’d like to stop receiving these lil’ e-mails or if you know someone who isn’t on the list and wants to be, I will add & take away as requested. :  ) I know that not everyone here is religious, & I’ll do all I can to put disclaimers for anything like that. Trying my best here!)

Elder Forsythisms update: He does not say “Poor favor,” anymore. He says, “Poor fo’ favor.” He also now says, “Ollo” instead of “Hola”. He is also an expert at sincerely switching common sayings. He reminds me fondly of a character named Edric from a book called Once upon a Marigold. Examples: “Toodles to them” instead of “Kudos to them”, “The Calvary is coming” instead of “The cavalry is coming”, “conjugate” instead of “congregate”, “Cashmere cat” instead of “Cheshire cat”. That is all.
With that, be prepared for a serious service smorgasbord.
We’ve lifted gazebos & pulled down unsightly trees with the assistance of ropes & trucks at the Tayon’s house– which was a huge blessing, because it allowed us to spend some quality time with Brother Tayon’s grandson, Isaac, who lives in one half of the house. (He’s a dedicated worker, but it takes him a while to get revved up. He spent a good hour eating an apple before coming out to help.) Isaac has had a lot of good friends in the church, but he has a little social ineptitude that keeps him from feeling comfortable around people at first. He hasn’t come out to church in years, so we talked with him about the awesome activities & awesome things he could be doing. He’d already spent a couple days alongside us hauling wooden planks & miscellaneous scraps into a bin big enough to be someone’s house… This made it so the things we said were things he could tell were sincere & from the heart.
When we asked him if he’d like us to stop by & just review things with him, he was actually visibly excited, & agreed. Even his cousin, who’s never been particularly “into” the things us missionaries talk about, was at least intrigued enough to ask questions about why in the world we’d choose to do all of this stuff for free, 24/7… & what it is that makes us “so different”. I’m going to take that in a good way. I was in a lesson this week with a kid named McKenna who had never even heard the word “God”. I could visibly see the instant her brain burst. I asked her, “Are you okay?” She just nodded slowly, with her mouth slightly agape. I gave her a little concerned sideways smile & said, “We’re kind of weird, but we’re also nice.”
We’ve spent a few days now weeding, cardboarding, & mulching for a widow named Sister Holm. She served one of the very first Spanish missions, & had such a strong testimony & spirit about her that she changed the heart of her mission president, who had a bit of a vendetta against sister missionaries. He later told Sister Holm that the moment he saw her, he knew that sisters were supposed to serve. & she has quite the perseverant serving spirit. Even as we have tried to serve her, she keeps spending so much time serving us!…
… food!
Apparently, for a while, she worked for catering, & it shows. Her food is full of love, most of all. :  ) & y’know I’ve gotta document all that love-food. It’s attached below, as an eMeal! (That’s what my daddio calls sharing virtual food.) Also, yesterday was one of those unfortunate stomach-splosion days, & Sister Holm immediately threw a rather comprehensive questionnaire my way about my eating habits back home. When I mentioned my mOm’s fruit-veggie smoothies, Sister Holm drove straight to the store & back before I had any clue what was happening, & blended up papaya & mango & other such tropical standbys & virtually dumped it straight down my throat. In addition, she bought me medicine to try, & suggested a local doctor & offered to pay for the visit herself, if he didn’t do it for free.
… yeah, & all I’m doing is yard work. … I hardly consider this equal compensation.
One of the first families we visited with immediately fell off the radar, right after the first lesson. No amount of re-scheduling ever worked. But once we pulled out our Ace of Gardening Spades & our… er… Hearts?… (Ew. Immodest. Keep that in your ribcage, Elder.) … we were back in business. Absolutely everything was dead in the yard, & no one wanted to help out or get started, but then we bounded up & got into it. & things started happening, & not just in the garden! We were working outside, but we were getting INside.
We re-adjusted blisteringly hot roofing & threw an old attenna off the roof for a man named Brother Lot. & I do mean blisteringly hot in a physical sense. Poor Elder Forsyth slid & braced himself with his hands. One was bigger than the other for the whole day. Brother Lot also wanted Elder Forsyth to hit a live hornet’s nest off the drain pipe. We both declined this task, to Brother Lot’s disappointment. We think he might’ve actually been trying to beat us up a little, hahaha. But as I got up to disconnect the antenna, I prayed the entire time for safety. So everything was fine. Brother Lot looked us both up & down grumpily & muttered, “… Guess you’re all right, huh?” Yes. Yes, we are. So… Take that!
We carried, cleaned, & replaced the filtration system for Brother Lake’s pond (HAHAHAH)… everything had the smell & consistency of if I were back in Hawai’i… knee-deep in a kalo lo’i. (Ask for an explanation at your own peril.) We ended up providing Brother Lake with an unplanned service when we caught a whole mess (what’s the proper collective noun?) of bullfrogs for someone’s pond only to find out they were unneeded. We called up Brother Lake, & we could hear his voice get higher & higher as we described our find. He was very pleased. We tried our best to put the frogs in the pond, but… … the frogs put themselves in, in a record-breaking 2.1 seconds. Big Steve (another missionary named each of them) was the first to bust loose from the slammer/cooler.
There was a triathlon (running, biking, swimming, in that order) that requested our help in keeping time. In a completely unexpected turn of events, the man who came in first place hailed from Elder Forsyth’s church back home in the oft’ forgot blip-on-the-radar that is College Station, Texas. (It’s probably much bigger than Hawai’i… weird how that works.) I was especially intrigued by the family that came to support each other. This one boy named Ben ran alongside me, as I tried to catch a glimpse of the swimmer’s number, Sharpied onto their right shoulder. (There were a couple close calls with relaying the number. I swear, with arms flailing like that, & the water rippling like Godzilla’s near, there’s no way to tells the difference between a 3 & an 8.) Ben told me her mom’s number, who was fast approaching the finish line. Ben told me he came from Hawai’i, but had never been back since he was a baby. He said he didn’t know his birth mom, but his REAL mom was currently about to finish her race– more than 10 minutes faster than last year, too. Go, Ben’s mom, & go, Ben! The people to come in dead-last, by a long-shot, were two parents who were helping their son who may or may not have actually known how to swim. I saw him sort of swim a few times, but he spent at least half the time hopping weakly like a queasy astronaut. His father would drift beside him & usher him softly back on track. The son got about halfway through the pool & quit, but as he stepped out, his mother gave him a big grin & said, “I’m so proud of you.” They should win 1st in the Bestest Parents division, & that kid definitely got an important award from his parents, too.
Right afterwards, our planned service had cancelled, so we double-teamed with another set of missionaries in Tooele. They just happened to be doing service for a family I’d shared dinner with, the Higleys. From their silence as I waved my arms in the air, I could tell they did not recognize me. I said, “You made us roast!” They looked at the ground & said, “Haha… that’s what we tend to do every time…” After we’d finished moving rocks that were in the backyard to the front yard, & then moved the rocks that were in the front yard to the backyard (?!?), we had to split, so I said, “Bye! Thanks for driving us to church when it was snowing, that was very kind of you.” They just kind of looked around silently. … They were like that then, too. I think they might be a little pre-occupied. Just a little.
THEN the brand-new sister missionaries invited us out to their free car-wash/bike-wash. They’d apparently posted an estimated 300 fliers around town, which I heartily commend. The turn-out was impressive– almost no down-time for 3 straight hours! The level of filth on these cars was also equally impressive! (It almost seemed to me as if they’d gone the extra mile to get their money’s worth. … … which was zero dollars.) A whole bunch of little kids/smol chitlins (an Elder Wilcox coined that term) were eager to help, & all fought over who should hop up & clean the roof of the biggest truck. I tended to be the last man at every car, as they were turning the ignition, trying to get at the last fly in the grill. My thoroughness knows no bounds, & it is hereditary.
In passing, we’d seen a flyer for a Senior Center lunch. (We were givin’ talks & singin’ at the senior center’s church group!) It looked promising, & decided we’d stop in & ask if we could assist at a later time. About a week later, I was on Splits with an Elder Kent (yeah, he has a Superman insignia belt) & as we were driving around, I saw the Senior Center & the flyer flashed through my mind. I asked Elder Kent if we could stop in a moment, & as we parked, it was rather clear that the lunch was TODAY. The entire police squadron was there, along with the mayor of Grantsville. As we tried to find someone to talk to about a future opportunity to help out, a policeman tried to serve us food. We declined, which probably was the wrong thing to do. (Never refuse food from a cop. – Elder Sonomura, 2017) They eventually stopped being faux-upset, & one of the policemen pointed at my ‘ukulele & said, “I thought you were here to entertain us!” We were about to walk out to our next appointment, but… that got me thinking.
I asked if that was a legitimate request, & everyone actually seemed game on me crashing this lunch for a moment’s time. The co-ordinator asked me, “What’re you thinking about playing?” I said, “I was thinking I Feel My Savior’s Love?” He smiled nervously, & said, “Do you happen to have anything a little less religious? There’s all kinds out here, so we’re kind of legally obligated…” I laughed, thought, thought a little harder, made a face, thought my last thought, & said, “Uh, I don’t think that I actually know how to play any non-religious songs, off-hand.” Besides my rather esoteric original songs & arrangements, hymns are literally/lyrically all I know. But, in the end, I had a rather sneaky idea. I said, “Okay, what about I sing Aloha ‘Oe?” The co-ordinator snapped his fingers & declared, “Perfect.”
It WAS perfect. … In that it’s a hymn that we sing every time someone leaves a church ward. But it’s in Hawaiian. So no one knew what I was singing about. Yes. Perfect. *shows clear signs of that mad, rascally, maniacal laugh that Nova does when he’s playing a game*
Yesterday marked the start of the Aaronic Priesthood (also known as “Young Men’s”) Camp in Grantsville. The special guest of the night was to be our Mission President. (He loves Grantsville– he says if he were a missionary, he’d want to be here.) We drove out earlier in the day, & the way there was not particularly well-marked. A lot of trial-&-error was experienced along this long & lonesome road. </Jack Black> This, however, made us perfect guides for our President later that night. It felt rather strange & wonderful, knowing that President & Sister Palmer were, for once, depending on us not to lead them astray.
We ended the night with a camp sing-along (me accompanying) of Nephi’s Courage & Called to Serve. A lot of going, a lot of doing, a lot of serving… a lot of singing, & a lot of thing-ing!
Among the attachments are me doing archery (One of the kids we teach, Taylor, is staring at me in said picture! I carried his bike for him later on when he ran out of steam.)– I actually hit all 5 targets in a row (doing my archery whiz mOm proud), a beautiful drawing by a girl named Grace & my feeble attempt to recreate said drawing, & three photos of me hangin’ out with my twin. Her name is Emily, & she was born in Utah on November 11th, 2016. Which is JUST about when I was born into Utah. (For all I know, that could’ve been the very DAY. I arrived at the MTC on November the 16th, if memory served.) So… we are basically the same age. In related (literally, related to her) news, Her two older brothers, Axel & Carter, were recently asked by a relative what they would be, if they could be anything. They said they wanted to be missionaries. Carter said he wanted to be Elder Forsyth, & Axel said he wanted to be me.
:  )
… But I’m PRETTY sure, considering those time-tables, Emily is me.
& I am Emily.
Goo goo.
Ga ga.
You are great, you are awesome,
sKye (eLder sOnomura)

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