HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEESA!!!!!!!!
( ^ my sister)
Once again, please feel free to publicly humiliate the offspring of my parental units provided that this is the anniversary of their surviving another solar cycle.
So I'm pretty sure that everyone has heard about the tornado. If not, well, grab the nearest random person with a newspaper/phone from this century. We got hit by an F4 tornado just 10 miles north of Cabot where I am staying. It was pretty awesome. We were able to go up and start the clean-up process this past Tuesday and Saturday. The damage done was incredible, and I will let you kind people look up whatever pics you would like to see it for yourself.
There was a woman behind us in Walmart on Tuesday, just before we went up to go and do whatever we could to help. We had picked up some needed supplies, gloves and the like, and were standing in line to pay for our purchases. Behind us was a woman buying roughly 60 lbs of cat food and dozens of toys. After she heard that we were going up there to help with the relief effort she tried to give us everything she was purchasing to take up to Vilonia. Luckily there was a donation center nearby that we knew about, because we really didn't want to lug around cat food with us. But we were complete strangers and she wanted to give it to us. This sort of generosity happened all over the place. Kinda reminds me of a country song called "It's America" by Rodney Atkins I heard before my mission.
The destruction, the chaos, it was unprecedented. I've never seen anything like it before, and while I hope to someday see a tornado, I really hope I don't have to live through one. Manual clean-up is still ongoing. I'll leave the topic of the tornado to that.
Elder Clason has rabies.
Yeah, I thought that might get your attention. It's a good one-liner. Anyway, while we were cleaning up Vilonia we were focusing on the Wassom's home. His story is pretty cool, but I'll let you google it if you are so inclined. This family had a cat, and while we were getting rid of a bit of rubble we saw a pretty persian cat underneath it. Thinking it might have been this family's cat Elder Clason pinned it to the ground right behind its head. Usually when you pin a cat there, or any animal really, it can't do anything to you except meow loudly. This cat somehow managed to get it's paw on something to use as leverage and flipped over onto its back. It then showed him exactly how much it disliked having it's hiding place removed suddenly and then being pinned to the ground. After about 2 seconds of abuse Elder Clason decided that it just wasn't worth it to try and catch the cat.
That night his arm started to swell up and turned a lovely shade of maroon. He quickly decided that this was not a normal shade of skin color and called the mission doctor. He advised us to go to the ER immediately (this was at about 9:15pm) because of the risk for infection and rabies. We said OK and off we went. Finally at 3am we left the hospital in North Little Rock, a journey of 20 minutes, having received no vaccinations of any sort. The wound had been scrubbed with some disinfectant and the explanation that because it was a provoked attack the risk of rabies was very low. Waking up the next morning at 6:30 per usual proved impossible.
The next day we called up the doc again and told him what had happened. He became very angry and told us that they had screwed up because there was active rabies in the area and didn't think it would be a good idea to at least call the health department. He gave us the number to call and we were put in contact with yet another doctor, who just happened to have been on call the night before. She told us that unless we could ID the cat to have it tested Elder Clason would need to get the shots. He and I both knew that the chances of finding the cat again was incredibly unlikely, and even if we did find it Elder Clason would probably kill it first for mangling his arm. So back to the ER again for the same reason at basically the same time. We got back home again at 2:30am this time though, which was a bit nicer. He has to go in repeatedly this next month for follow-up shots.
The next day we had our vehicles recalled because of axle problems. This fiasco took up basically the full day, but as a definite perk we now have a rental car through Enterprise. This means we now have unlimited miles on our vehicles until we get our old ones back. Still, that was annoying.
Sometime during the craziness we met a girl about our age walking on the side of the street. We stopped and said a prayer with her and discovered that she was homeless at the time. She had walked for about 20 miles and for 3 hours from Bebe to try and stay with her cousin. We saw her again later at a nearby fast-food joint, clearly not staying with her cousin. I offered her a bottle of water and purchased her some food. We sat and chatted with her for a short while before going into the building to use the restroom and to try and find a ride for her to some relative who could take her in. While we were calling around her grandmother showed up to take this girl to her home. We had hoped to share the gospel with her, but we had very little hope to be able to do this with no address and just the general location of where the grandmother lived.
Friday we saw her again. She was no longer living with her grandmother, but was now staying with some friends in a duplex. Honestly, it was a miracle that we saw her at all again or that she moved over to Cabot. As an icing to the cake, she now resides less than a 5 minute walk away from our apartment.
Transfers are in two days, and I will be staying in Cabot. I'm a little apprehensive to be taking over the area, and still more so about my new comp. Hopefully he'll be experienced and should be able to help me out. Basically everyone else I know is going through transfers as well. It'll be quite the shuffle.
J*** is doing incredibly well. He has completely stopped smoking and is very excited for his baptism this next Saturday. He's coming to church, came with us to Vilonia to help out there, and is trying to share his newfound happiness with his otherwise unexcited family. I'm just very blessed to have been able to help him come closer to Jesus Christ.
Love you all!
Elder Jayden Barker