Monday, April 14, 2014

This week I ate blood pudding and pig brains.

I was blessed this week to be able to celebrate Lydia's baptism with one of our own--Simone Quartier*. It was an incredible experience, particularly as we worked really hard this week to make sure she was ready for Saturday.

After her baptismal interview (which she passed), there were a few things Elder Widdup asked us to go over with her before her baptism, which had been concerns of ours while we'd been teaching her. So two days before her baptism, we taught her a lesson and it was incredibly intense. Before the lesson, Sister Olson and I really had to accept the fact that we might have to push the baptism back and not have her get baptized on Saturday, which was difficult to accept. But we were willing. In the lesson, there was one point where are hearts broke as Simone started crying and said she wanted to be baptized but didn't feel ready. But the amazing member we took with us started testifying and the Spirit was strong. Then I said, "Simone, the ward needs you and wants you to be baptized. We want you to be baptized more than anything. You want to be baptized. But what all of us think doesn't matter one bit. All that matters is if Heavenly Father wants you to be baptized on Saturday. Do you think He wants you to wait?" There was a pause, then I asked, "Do you think He wants you to be baptized on Saturday?" She immediately said, "Yes," with no doubts and no hesitation. And so we moved forward, totally confident in Heavenly Father's will and pushing aside our own feelings. And what a blessing it was to see her make her first promise with her Heavenly Father. Phil Donaldson*, the elders' investigator, was baptized in the same service. Both of them bore their testimonies after their baptisms and I think if it was possible, I would've been glowing. They were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday and received the Holy Ghost. What a humbling experience.

Sometimes I just make up my title because I can't think of anything interesting that happened throughout the week (AKA "Today I rode a camel," etc.). But this time I'm dead serious. This week I ate blood pudding and pig brains at a dinner appointment. The pig brains... it's actually called "head cheese" but it's just that. Let me explain how these are made.

Blood pudding. After the pig is killed, you slice it open and hang it from the ceiling to drain the blood into a bucket. When it's done draining, you season the blood. You then take the lining of the intestines out of the pig and clean them out so it's just the lining and nothing else. You then put the seasoned blood into the intestine lining and let it coagulate. Then you cut up the intestine (kind of looks like a thick sausage) into slices, fry it in butter, and eat it. Some people don't like the texture of the intestine, so they take it off and just eat the blood.

Head cheese. This is made of everything inside the skull of the pig. So it's mostly brain, but there's some meat in it. First you get it all out and you cook it. And after something fatty is cooked (like a ham), you have the gel-like leftovers around the edge, right? So you mix it all together and it's kind of like this jelly meat pie. Then you take a cheese cloth and press it so all the excess juice comes out. What you have left is a block of head cheese that you can spread on sandwiches or put in salads or just eat plain. You chill it in the fridge and it's meant to be served cold.
They actually didn't taste bad. I had the head cheese first and it wasn't bad at all, but guys, there was a HUGE GROSS FACTOR. It took a really long time to actually get it in my mouth. Then I had the blood pudding.... And if you know me at all, you'll know that I have a really hard time with blood. Blood, needles, hearts.... Anything that has to do with blood. So that was hard. I cut the pudding up into quarters and ate the first one, which I just ate as fast as I could so I could get it over with. Then the second quarter, I slowed down so I could actually focus on the taste and texture. It was good. Then the third one, I was eating it slowly again when my brain suddenly started yelling "YOU'RE EATING COAGULATED ANIMAL BLOOD" and I gagged it all up and couldn't finish. C'est la vie.
And we tasted blood in the back of our throats for the rest of the night, which was really gross.
I've been serving here in Moncton: Round 2 for 6 weeks now and am about to start transfer 2 here! So it's time to see what la vie is like here in Moncton. The quotes I chose from these people basically describe them in a nutshell.

Meet the Companionship
After Sister Olson got a new, bright pink camera--
Sister Olson: "What should I name my camera?"
Me: "Umm.... 'PINKY!' Heh heh heh."
Sister Olson: .......

While driving through an intersection, there were 4 churches on each corner--
Me: "Hey Sister Olson! Do you know why this street is called CHURCH Street? Heh heh heh."
Sister Olson: .......

After companionship inventory on Friday [where you talk about your strengths and weaknesses and talk out all the issues you have with your comp... basically a DTR haha]--You know that companionship inventory was a success when...
One of us (hopelessly): "I'm never getting married."

Meet the District
Elder Erickson. Dieppe, French-speaking. Out 10 months. From UT.
Commentating a game of Jenga at Ward Games Night--
Elder Erickson: "Well Bob, this is it. If she can pull this move off, she'll be coming to the 2015 Jenga World Championships in Shang Hi."

Elder Widdup. District Leader. Dieppe, French-speaking. Out 14 months. From AB.
We were sitting in the chapel at General Conference. I had a bag of a bunch of different kinds of chocolate (Lewis family tradition). He asked for it so he could take some. He went through my bag and was looking at each individual bag of chocolate to choose some until he finally pulled out my baggie with a half-eaten PB&J sandwich--
Me (dying laughing): "You're choosing that of everything in there?!"
Elder Widdup: "Well.... sorry..." (puts the sandwich back)
Me: "Umm, no, I mean, if you really want it, you can have it..."
Elder Widdup (giving me the bag back, embarrassed): "No, it's okay..."
Me: "........Wait, are you being serious?"
Elder Widdup (awkwardly looking at me): "Sorry, you can have the sandwich..."
Then we sat there weirdly uncomfortable because turns out he was serious and it was awkward for some reason.

Elder Sloan. Moncton, ex-zone leader. Out 23 months. From AB.
We were playing volleyball at Ward Games Night. Which turned into Elder Sloan jumping like a weirdo trying to play ward Foosball. Just take a moment and imagine that.

Elder Wolsey. Moncton, ex-zone leader. Served with him in Fredericton. Out 23 months. From AB.
I was out for a minute during Ward Games Night eating chocolate because my stomach felt gross digesting the blood and brains and I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth.
Elder Wolsey: "So I have a gift for you since I threw that snowball at your eye... And that basketball.... And my head....... Sorry."

Meet the Investigators
Simone Quartier*. 20s, French-speaking. Baptized 4/12/2014.
After her baptism, while eating--
Ward Mission Leader: "Did anyone lose a phone?"
Simone (gasp): "Is it purple?!"
Ward Mission Leader: "No, it's black."
Simone (gasp): "Purple and black?!"

Amanda Peabody*, 20s, Dieppe. To be baptized 4/17/2014.
On the phone, following up with her on some commitments--
Us: "So did you get the chance to watch that movie we left you?"
Amanda: "Yeah and I cried like a freaking weirdo."

Christina Black*, 21, French-speaking. To be baptized 5/24/2014. Found and taught yesterday.
In the lesson, after teaching about the restoration of Christ's gospel--
Us: "So what do you think of all of this?"
Christina: "I know your church is true."

Elise Short*, 50s, French-speaking. Used to be Catholic. One of the most Christ-like people I've ever met.
After asking her to pray in a lesson for the first time--
Elise: "Okay, I will."
[bow our heads]
Elise: "But.... the thing is, I don't say memorized prayers anymore, I pray from my heart."
Us: "That's okay Denise, that's the correct way to pray."
Elise: "And I don't pray to Jesus anymore, I pray to God now."
Us: "That's perfect. That's how we should pray."
Elise: "Also I pray in French."
Us: "Perfect. We speak French!"
Elise (in the middle of the prayer): "... et je te remercie de mes deux anges...."

Things in Moncton right now are the best. Being a missionary is the best. It was a humbling week and I'm grateful I've been learning how little I have to do with the work. I'm learning to just not get in the way of Heavenly Father working through me, and because I'm getting better at it, I'm happier. I'm learning to serve others and not myself. I'm not perfect, but I'm getting better. I love the overwhelming bursting feeling that comes from knowing you're doing exactly what Heavenly Father wants you to do.


Sister Lewis

La Belle Soeur Olson (on the first springtimey day we've had yet!)

Saying goodbye to Sister Broadhead  :(  Went home on Friday.

head cheese

Trying to psych myself out and just eat it already

The intestines on the side


Sister Lewis, Sister Olson, Simone Quartier, Elder Sloan (baptized Simone), Phil Donaldson, Elder Widdup (baptized Phil),  Elder Wolsey

Cute little Richard (2)--one of Amanda's sons.


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