This week went pretty well. Things have finally gotten to a point where we are busy most of the time. It took a lot of work to get it there. We have at least 20 people to teach and life is great. Because of the success, I'm being transferred. They are moving me to the Hermosa Vista and Hillcrest wards in the Hermosa Vista stake. Every time things get good, you leave. Such is life. I will definitely miss this area. I have had so many people that have made me a part of their family and I can't begin to express my gratitude for it.
I have learned for myself that I hate drugs. I have seen so many lives destroyed here from the use of them. We taught a man yesterday that wanted money from the church to feed his drug addiction. The only reason he wanted to talk to us was so that we could pay for his medical marijuana. This same man was found dead a month before from a meth and cocaine overdose. He claimed it was dehydration. We left and two hours later I still felt like I was suffering from secondhand smoke.
A family we have family home evening with every week about breaks my heart every time we talk. An eight year old should not know at that age what a DUI is. She especially shouldn't have learned because her mother got one. This family has six kids, all being raised by the father. They joined the church three years ago and were going strong until the mother fell back into her drug habits. A divorce soon followed as well as a restraining order against the mother. I remember sitting in the living room talking to them about how the having a loving Father in Heaven while the girls cracked jokes and the mother showed up. The father had been instructed by a judge to buy her a car. She threw a fit about how she didn't want the car he had bought and how she wanted to see her kids. The kids then ran, cried, and hid from the monster their mother had turned into. No body, especially kids, should have to be put through that. Don't do drugs.
I look at the father of the family however. He is a trooper. He gets his kids to church on time every Sunday without fail. He does his girls hair and gets them all dressed and ready. He goes to work all day every other day to pay for their needs and on top of that takes care to rid himself of his previous alcohol addiction. He's a great father.
Speaking of fathers I want to take a minute to praise my own. Everyday I gain a new appreciation for my father. My dad was born in 1970. He grew up in Las Vegas. From the amount of jobs that my dad has told me he has done I find it hard to believe that he hasn't been working every summer since he was ten. My dad was a runner. An incredible runner. He worked extremely hard to run for Bonanza High School and was a state competitor every year. He won't tell you this but he could make his way one time around the track in a 400m dash in 47 seconds. My dad was such a good runner that after he graduated, BYU gave him the choice of going on scholarship for either track and field or cross country. He chose cross country. My dad was so good that he already had the hookups to make a profession out of it in the European circuit. A profession that he would have taken had he not busted knee shortly into college.
Luckily, my dad was a hard worker. My dad was an incredibly good student as well. Even though his dreams of becoming an all star runner were crushed, my dad chose another dream and pursued it. My dad chose to be a doctor.
As he pursued that dream, his mother started bugging him about a girl. A girl named Beth Reynolds from Hermiston Oregon. My dad caved and took her on a date. He never dated another girl again. They were married August 13th 1993 in the Portland Oregon LDS temple.
They started their married life in Provo Utah where my dad continued to pursue his degree in medicine at BYU. Two years later, I was born. He also won't tell you this but secretly I'm the favorite child. Not Hannah. Shortly after I was born, my dad led our small family to Kansas City Missouri for medical school. We literally lived off pancakes. All day every day. Hayden was then born in the Independence Missouri hospital. I really don't know much more about our time in KCMo other then we lived in a terrible part of town and life kind of sucked.
To further my dads pursuit of medicine we then moved to Mesa AZ. Weird right? We lived in some sketchy apartments on Brown and Horne that I've been what some might call lucky enough to go back and visit during my time here. I'm pretty sure last week they found a dead girl in one of the dumpsters of that complex.
After our time in Arizona we were led by my father to Spokane Washington so that he could do his residency at Sacred Heart hospital. He excelled so well there that a year or two into it my dad was offered a job in a tiny town called Goldendale Washington. If you ask my dad about it he will call it GoldenHell. If you are from Goldendale and are reading this, I apologize. You either love the place or you hate the place. There's no middle ground. Hannah had already been born in Good Shepard hospital but while in Goldendale Collin made his way into the world and was born in the Dalles. My dad continued to excel to point where he was offered a job back to the home of my mom, Hermiston Oregon.
My dad bought a house on 12th street in the neighborhood right next to sandstone middle school. While living there, my mother became pregnant again. Sadly, the baby didn't make it. Because of this my mother was convinced that our family was not complete. In 2006 three more children entered my dad's family. Peter, Andrew, and Martha. I've already talked about them in previous letters to I won't spend too much time now. They are from Africa. They came with a note from their biological father asking my father to take care of them. A responsibility that not one other human on earth could fulfill.
Later on, my dad built a house in hat rock, just outside of Hermiston and right on the river. A home to our family and hopefully all others who enter. My dad then became president of Family Health Associates as well as co-owner of the company. He has served on the hospital board for some time now, routinely running all over the country for meetings to support this position. My dad continues to be my coach and my mentor as well as my siblings and many others who have found themselves lucky enough to be placed in his path.
My dad serves. I don't have enough fingers to count how many times our kitchen table has been used as an operation table to stitch up cuts or take care of other injuries. I even remember him stitching up my little brother in the back of a gap outlet. Don't worry, my dad is also an Eagle Scout and can handle that sort of thing.
My dad knows God. My dad served a mission in Brazil, just like I'm doing right now in Arizona. My dad served so selflessly that he became a leader in the mission. Even to the point where his stewardship was second only to the mission president.
My dad since then has served time and time again in church callings. He has served everywhere from nursery, to a member of the bishopric, to where he serves now as young men's president. He is such an example to me of faith and love for The Lord.
My dad is my teacher, my example, and my friend. I could share many more things about my father that add to the hero that he is. Now, I know that I'm not the only one that loves his man. I also know that my mom will post this on Facebook. I want to ask my dad to post it for me because I know he would be too humble to post this for himself. But I want to ask all who read this to please comment a memory or something about by dad below the Facebook post. For Father's Day please let Derek Earl know how much he is loved.
I love you dad.
Elder Ashton Earl