First of all, to answer some questions, my GPS was within 3 days of being under warranty so I was sent a new one, but I don't have it yet because it's wandering around somewhere in the mission as a lost package that I'm sure will show up sometime sooner or later. It's not the first time that happened, it's the second. I just received the book you sent me by Elder Bednar a week and a half ago, I haven't asked about being able to read it, but I'm pretty sure the answer is going to be "no," I'll find out tomorrow.
Secondly, I actually agree, I would say that the weather is worse over in California than it is here, except for the humidity, the once every couple years hurricane, the once every couple years snow, and the occasional tornadoes; none of which I have seen yet. However, when it does get cold, it's a different kind of "cold,"and it is very cold; last year there were only about 10 days worth of it though.
As far as the slacks/shoes/shirts/etc. I'm sure I'll be fine for the rest of my mission. The pants are still brand new except for a couple tears that was caused by the gears of my bike. I haven't used/opened a single new shirt I've been given from you, nor do I think I will, I even bought one for myself right before that that I don't think I'm going to use. One member did give me one shirt that I do use though. It seems that missionaries wear out their clothes fast, mine are hardly worn at all. My old suit is very sun bleached, I'm probably going to throw it away before my mission is over, so I bought another suit jacket from goodwill that is nearly the same color as one of the many pants I have and use that as a suit; I bought it for $5. I recommend that you don't send me any clothes, while other missionaries go through their clothing fast, mine don't wear that much at all. My shoes have been very good to me, they are worn in, but I'm pretty sure they will last great for the rest of my mission, they are still pretty much waterproof too, I just need to remember to polish them. If I receive anything at all, I could probably use 2 pairs of black socks, I think I have 7 pairs of black and two of brown which is plenty for the week, but I have two pairs of socks that are starting to get holes in them.
Oh, recommendation for Joshua: don't buy more than three dress pants for him, he'll probably wear his suit most of the time anyway, especially because it is a lot colder there than here, and we wear suits a lot. Also, I think that he'd like a nice bike too, it ought to last him for a lot of years if he takes care of it. The only hard part will be sending it home after his mission, some missionaries never want to ride a bike again and just pawn their bike off or donate it to the mission or give it to another missionary.
Tell Robert that he is already a missionary and will excel in the field when he's set apart as one. Monica too if she's going to choose to serve.
The area that the Orangeburg ward covers is exactly twice the size of the Salt Lake Valley. There are probably more stakes in the Salt Lake Valley than there are active members here in this area. We also cover another county that has a branch in it and we almost never go over there unless the senior missionaries in that branch find someone to teach, then they come and pick us up for that appointment because it's too far a drive for us to go with our limited miles.
I really like Orangeburg. If I was going to tour Orangeburg, this wouldn't be the place to go, because there is no documentable history that has gone on here in this area, but because I'm here for a different purpose, this is a great place to be.
The new thing the church was inspired with at www.lds.org/youth/learn (click "read" on "Teaching the gospel in the Savior's way") is almost without a doubt greatly inspired by the hand of Elder Bednar, because almost everything on that website I've read about includes some principal that he talked to us about. Once again, I didn't bring my journal, sorry for that, it just might not ever happen now... just kidding, I'll bring it next week.
I know that the church is true, and so do you from your scripture reference at the bottom of your email. (I'm going to get cocky for a moment here:) When I was reading your email, after I read the "Holy Ghost with the tongue of angels" and before I read the reference given" (2 Nephi 31-32) in your email, I was already thinking about the specific scriptures in those two chapters that expound about it.
My time is far spent, sorry I didn't say much today. I can never remember the things I want to say when I'm actually at the library.
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker