About a month ago we asked our bishop how we could help him, he responded "June 13, come help with the branding!" He has reminded us almost every time we have seen him since. Finally the date has arrived! Warnings I have got: Rocky Mountain Oysters are cooked cow balls, they don't taste like chicken. I also was warned since I was a newcomer I could expect cow balls to be thrown at me. So I can mentally and physically prepared.
How they brand at this branding: A set of ropers get the cow by the hind leg(s) and the other one the front legs or head. Then someone pulls the calf by the tail to the ground or they (what I call) body slam them to the ground and rearrange the ropes to tie both feet. Then a couple things happen simultaneously: (1) They get 2 shots (2) Antiparasitic is poured on them, which was Sister Wood's job (3) They got branded (4) The heifers, which I now know are female cows, get warbles cut on their neck and the bulls get turned into steers by pulling out the testicles.
Well, my job was the collect the "oysters" in my little Box O' Balls. Of all the things I pictured doing on my mission... I can't say this was one of them. At least I had control of the box and I knew there were no surprise attacks. One time I didn't stand up because I thought from far away it was a heifer and I hear "Sister Golding, Heads Up!" I see them flying in the air. I stand up, hold out my box, and catch them! Proud moment. At first I was somewhat squimish, but mostly it made me laugh. Of course this is the job they would give a "city slicker"! I think it was a game for them who could make me the most grossed out. They thought I'd be grossed out by the fact they fried them up and ate them. I already knew it though. Bishop takes it a step farther and takes the cake. "You can also eat em raw!" I say "yeah right! You do not do that". He reached into my box, picked one up, and slurped it in! I was in laughing shock and he was just smiling. Sister wood walks up and says "Bishop, you have a little blood on your face?". He smiles and I just say "He just ate a cow ball raw!"
All in all it was a fun day though. We got about 200 cows branded. The dust storms were crazy. I felt like I was seeing people from the ward in their natural habitat, the Wild Wild West. We were D-i-r-t-y afterwards. It was fun though. Unfortunately we had to leave before the Post Branding Dinner for an appointment so I never ate the fruits of my labors, but I did tell them if we stayed long enough I would. I'm all for saying I've done weird things. I can now add collecting cow balls at a branding to the list.
As for the rest of the week... it has been less than inspiring. It's been a long week with a lot of empty doors and streets. It's been a lot of work with very little progression. Hopefully this next week will be better. We just gotta keep working and trust that we are here for a reason.
Preach My Gospel Moment: This week I've decided to study out "Questions of the Soul" in the the Book of Mormon Chapter. One of the questions was "How can a relationship with Christ help me in my life?" It then pointed to reading Alma 36. It's the experience of Alma the younger talking to his son Helaman. It is a simple testimony of how his life had been blessed after changing his ways from complete rebellion to being converted and being a disciple of Christ. He speaks of deliverance from trials and afflictions as well as deliverance from sin. He was being racked with the torment of a damned soul (v16) until he remembered the words of his father and called upon christ.