Family and loved ones,
This last week was one of my favorite weeks of the mission. Let me explain why;
We had our Zone Interviews. That's when President Balledos comes down and interviews all the missionaries and checks apartments, ect. So our zone met at the stake center where we did a series of workshops while president interviewed all the missionaries. The workshops were awesome and the Spirit was strong. President interviewed me last once everyone else left. Elder Y and I had to stay last to lock up the church and clean up. So I go in one of the classrooms with my mission president. Even though I love President Balledos I still sometimes get a little nervous when I'm around him. I don't know why. Anyway, so I sat down and President Balledos and he expressed his love and gratitude for me. That I never turned down any assignment he has given me and that I was always ready to serve and not afraid to have fun. Probably the nicest things someone has ever said to me because I really have tried to work hard and do my very best. Then he said," So you want to open Mountain Provence?" Stop there and let me explain some background. Mountain Provence is a area in our mission that NO missionaries have EVER been, let alone American missionaries. It gets its name because it's high in the mountains and the people aren't that civilized yet. They speak their own dialect and in some area's its really dangerous, especially for foreigners. So, of course when I heard about this place I wanted to go there. To be one of the first LDS missionaries in a area, deep in the mountains, this is a chance of a lifetime! I was made for this. Just the name "Mountain Provence" sounds cool. So back to the interview, President Balledos read in my weekly emails that I wanted to open Mountain Provence, whenever president received the revelation to open it. So when president brought it up I started to laugh because I honestly didn't think president was going to open it for a while. But then he said, "Elder Strader I have full confidence in you. And maybe if the time comes, I will inquire of the Lord." That was good enough for me. Still not sure if that means I'm opening Mountain Provence but I'll be patient.
I love you all! I love being a missionary. I know that families can be together forever. I know that Jesus Christ lives and He is my Savior. He's always been there for me and because of His eternal Sacrifice I have a chance to live with Him again. Keep those prayers coming and I'll be home before you know it!
Your Valiant Missionary,