Man, this week was literally probably the most insane week of the mission! Haha it was crazy! So much happened it's going to be tough to tell it all! Well, first of all we finished out Zone Conference which went well, our training got progressively better and were able to get a good feel for the mission. The mission seems to be doing well, though there are always those groups that are struggling; however, it was still a good experience and especially good to see that some of the missionaries we were worried about were actually doing alright. Then Friday evening there was the storm. Man, it was crazy! We were talking to all the Zone Leaders, receiving their reports, when all of a sudden we looked outside and the wind was picking up like crazy, then the lighting started coming and then the rain. In about 15 minutes it went from a calm evening to a raging storm! For over an hour the sky was consistently lit up with lighting strikes, and the rain just poured down! It was insane, haha and if you read in 3 Nephi when it describes the storms, it's a pretty good description of what just happened in Maryland.
Last year we had the hurricane, but it was honestly a 10th of what this storm was, it was crazy! The next morning we woke up to no power, about a third of the missionaries had lost power, and it started a stream of calls that didn't end for the whole day. We were coordinating stuff with President and all the missionaries and Zone Leaders to make sure that everyone was safe and accounted for and had power. The next day was the same with making sure everyone had places to stay so they didn't die from the heat, and making sure they had food since most had nothing to cook with and the fridges had gone out and the food was going bad. It was crazy, and as Dad said, it was kind of epic! Haha at times we felt like battle generals organizing task forces and whatnot, and honestly some areas literally looked like a battle area. There were trees down everywhere and we were driving around them trying to get to some member's homes, haha it was quite the experience. We did have the opportunity to serve some random people as well. There were some ELders in Kensington that helped a family who had had a tree fall on their house.... We also moved a lot of stuff out of the road. Haha we had a Good Samaritan story as well. We're in a really rich area and no one was moving things off the road that could definitely be moved, so Elder Pierucci and I decided to help out and move some stuff. Tons of rich white people passed us by just looking at us struggling with these branches, and then a random black guy, dreads down his whole back pulled over and helped us out, and then so did a hispanic. Not being racist or anything, but it was just an interesting story. So that was the first incredible event of the week. Second incredible event of the week was Phil's baptism. So we weren't sure that he was going to be baptized because his lifelong friend that was going to baptize him had a wife that was overdue with her first child... Yeah, so the baby was going to come anytime. Haha so he calls us that morning and says "guys, it happened, the baby's coming! But don't worry, I brought my baptismal clothes with me, so if it comes by like 1 o'clock I'll just jet over there and baptize Phil" Haha yeah, the guy is crazy, but he's legit. Anyways, to make a long story short, she didn't end up actually going into labor, and Phil was baptized! It was an awesome experience to see him be baptized by his best friend, they're literally like brothers, and Phil has been welcomed quickly into the ward! He's going to be an incredibly strong member! Third crazy thing that happened. President gave us a full day P-Day for the 4th of July and gave everyone permission to stay out until 10:30 so they could see the fireworks on the mall! Crazy right! Yeah, it was honestly the most insane 4th of July I've ever had! We were on the National Mall almost the whole day, seeing all these folk performances, checking out a bunch of booths, and then watching the fireworks as well. We were sitting between the white house and the Washington Monument with the fireworks right in front of us literally just filling the entire night sky with a bunch of other missionaries. It was a pretty surreal experience... Just to think that we were all missionaries sitting on the national mall on our Nation's birthday, it was incredible! There really is no better mission in the whole world (sorry Jessica) . We've also been able to go on several exchanges which has been informative and enjoyable. It's good to be able to associate with the missionaries and see how we can help them better. The stress is also piling on because soon Elder Pierucci will be going home, and it'll be up to me to take on the role of Assistant in a lot greater role... It honestly scares me to death.... I just pray that everything will work out and I won't mess up the mission too badly.