Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Dead Cat's Pajamas

Hey Guys, 

Finna jump into this email. 

I had the opportunity to go on a split with my zone leader, Elder Neuerberg, in his area. The zone leader’s area just so happens to be West Point. As in THE West Point Military Academy. It was a really cool experience to be able to go on post as a missionary. Missionaries aren't allowed to proselyte on campus so it is hard for them to find work. They can't even wear their name tags on post unless they are at a members house or attending church. We had the opportunity to go eat dinner at the house of a member in their branch who currently serves as a Sergeant. It was mostly dark when we were driving around so it was hard to see stuff but it was cool to see the buildings, the history, and the football stadium (even if their team is terrible). It was a great split, a unique opportunity. Now I can say that I shared The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ at West Point Military Academy. 
West Point Military Academy
Wanna know the best part about doing service as a missionary? You get to wear normal people clothes. We have been doing soooo much raking here for service. We rake for somebody different almost every single day. My arms are dead as I'm typing this. We have raked about as many leaves as there are Rocky Movies.

One of my favorite families in this area, the Lennons, had us come over to their house and help them out with some stuff. One of the things we did was shuck walnuts. You heard that right, we shucked a walnut. Who does that??? At least in Highland, Utah nobody does. It was the cats pajamas tho. They come in a tough outer skin, like an avocado. We had to slice em open and get them walnuts out. It was kinda therapeutic. Shucking walnuts is definitely my favorite chore now. Mom: anytime you need some walnuts to be shucked, I am your man!
Working hard shucking walnuts
One day this last week, early in the morning after we had just woken up, Elder Judd and I got a phone call. It was a woman that the sisters work with. Turns out her precious cat had died earlier in the night. She was obviously pretty shaken from this event. She was calling because she wanted us to come and bury her dead cat in her backyard. We agreed not because burying dead animals is our favorite activity, but because that's probably what Christ would do. 

When we got to the house, she had fled. But her husband was there. The cat was laying in the front room stiff as a board in a cardboard box. Upon the wife's request we clipped five whiskers off the cats face so she could save them for remembrance. (A custom that she does with all of the cats she has had that have perished.) Then we proceeded to put the stiff cat in a pillow case and take it out to the backyard where we started to dig a hole. They are a pet loving family and have had many animals over the years. The problem with keeping things in your house that live is that they eventually stop kickin' and they die on you. That is the case with this family. They had a cemetery for all the animals that they have owned that have come and gone.

 Elder Judd and I dug a hole right next to their last cat that died. When we dug the whole approximately three feet deep (so the birds wouldn't get to it) the husband picked up the dead cat and walked over to the opening of the grave. He said a prayer over the cat then asked us if we could say some things. Elder Judd and I looked at each other. We had no clue what to do, for this was a unique opportunity that had been presented. Neither one of us had had a cat funeral before but apparently this is how they go. So, I said a prayer over the cat and the family to be comforted in this harsh time for them. We then covered the cat up and placed rocks over the grave to mark the spot. It was a good experience. It was definitely the best cat burial I've ever been apart of, hands down, no questions asked, nothing even compares.
This cat needed 10 lives. #RIP
Lately I have been gaining a testimony of how God prepares us for things. On Monday during district meeting the training was on receiving revelation through prayer. The whole week before I had been studying in preparation. Later Monday night when I was on the split at West Point with Elder Neuerberg, we taught their investigator and she was having problems with building her testimony. Every need she had related back to the training earlier that day that Elder Neuerberg attended as well. We were able to teach her the same exact thing we discussed earlier that morning. On my mission, I have been finding that stuff like that happens pretty frequently. God works in mysterious ways and prepares you for things in the future. Not that I like trials and adversity, but I've been learning that they teach me the things that help me to handle experiences that come in the future that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to handle had I not learned earlier. Everything happens for a reason! God has something in store for you.

Smell Ya later!

Elder Tyler Johanson

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