So really I'm not all that sure what I can mention and what I can't. I don't want to give redundant info, but after a very nice chat over Skype with Le Family I'm not sure what I talked about already, and what I haven't. So, sorry if there's any repetition.
Let's start with a conversation with D***. Honestly that sounds a lot more dramatic that it really was; her name is D***. Anywho, I first ran into her back when I was still working with Elder Clason. We saw her walking down the side of the road at a fairly brisk pace and decided to talk with her. We drove past her and began walking back toward her so we could 'coincidentally' run past her and talk with her. We do that a lot as a missionary, or at least in Cabot. Or maybe just with comps. like Elder Clason. I dunno.
Bringing it all back we had a pretty good conversation with her and prayer. During this time we found out that she was almost 18, homeless, and had walked about 20 miles in 3 hours on the off-chance that her cousin may have a place for her to stay for the night. She had been bumped from one foster home to the next with a few brief stints in Juvie and was working on emancipation because she didn't want to go back. After trying and failing to get a return appointment ("That's right, no home right now. Well, this just got awkward.") we gave her our number and asked her to call if she ever needed anything.
We knew what trailer park her cousin lived in and the description of the outside of it, so we knew that we could find the place if she happened to stay there for any great length of time. We went back to the car and parked it in a discrete location where we could see the entrance of the park. This way we would be able to stay if she wasn't staying with her cousin. If she was staying with him then we would go back to see her. If not, then we would see her leave and... well, we would make it up as we went along.
After about 5 minutes of prayer and discussion on the best course of action we saw her leave the trailer park, obviously not staying with her cousin for the night. By the time we decided to talk with her again and see what we could do to help she had walked out of sight. We searched for her again, but without success. Eventually we stopped at a fast-food place so Elder Clason could use their bathroom. This time worked out really well for us though, because low and behold, there on the curb sat D***.
After reasuring her that we weren't stalking her we jumped back in the car and drove to a nearby house where a member was working on it. We had been there previously and knew he was there and hopefully had a spare water bottle for her. He did, and eagerly gave it to us to pass on to the thirsty girl. We drove back to the restaurant and gave it to her. She downed it in about three seconds flat and said that was the first drink she had all day. (Score 1 for team missionary). She told us that she was waiting for her grandmother to come and get her, provided that she had enough gas to get out to us. The grandmother, she said, lived out in a town called Butlerville, but is so small in population that it doesn't even show up on a GPS, and is about 20-30 minute drive away. We made a promise that we would do what we could to help her get a ride if her aged parental unit failed to show up.
We then went into the restaurant so that my companion could finally relieve himself. This completed, we began calling everyone we could think of to see who could get a poor girl a ride back home. While we were doing this the grandmother showed up and they drove away before we could do anything but wave. We were very disappointed. A blind search of some of Butlerville's roads didn't yield any results either. We were pretty sure that this was the last time that we would be able to see Destiny.
Jump forward until about a week ago. We had been blitzing the area with the Zone Leaders (blitzing means that missionaries from another area leave their area to go help out a neighboring area) and I was with Elder Soelsberg. After running into a few people we could share our message with we started to head back to the apartment complex to leave for a meeting, and who should we see walking on the road but D***. She had moved in with a few friends (one of them is a literal gypsy. Too cool!) less than a 5 minute walk away from our apartment room.
My new comp is Elder Matangi, and he is from Logan, Utah. His parents are native-born Tongans. He hasn't started a major yet, but he is very talented in most sports. We have hit it off pretty well, and although we didn't get much done this past week because of transfers and getting sick we fully anticipate to rock this area!
I think that's everything for now.
Elder Jayden Barker
Pic #1 - us in a convertible shortly after talking with our families. Elder Matangi
Pic #2 - last pic taken with Elder Clason. Of course he closed his eyes, that punk. =D