Original article posted by Greg:

Sorry, I just listened to a tape that had Blaine talking on it and it made me think of a certain phrase that used to come up occasionally. About the ladies. And a boat.

Move calls come on Friday night, so it may be that the next time I write I will be in another area. But most likely I’ll stay here. It’s pretty rare to move after just one move-call.

Banqiao treats me well. The mad heat, on the other hand, does not.

The Jin family got baptized last week. It was only an hour after the scheduled time, due to family disputes and whatnot, but they made it and they’re feeling great about life now. Sister Jin came up from the water giggling like a little girl. Pretty funny from a 65 year old. They are looking forward to their trip to America soon, and are hoping that “Hello.” and “How are you.” will see them through the trip.

Got a call from the mission office the other day. They said there’s a good chance that somebody we baptized recently was baptized back in the 70s. Maybe he just didn’t remember? In any case, there are few missionaries who can say they gave somebody a second baptism.

We recieved the forms to request absentee ballots for the elections. Some people are saying it’s too late to request the ballots. I don’t know about that.

It seems every year I manage to say something about voting. Usually this is inspired by the campus elections at my university. This time it’s inspired by a blind boy who plays the accordian.

Seriously.

We met a family with a 15 year old blind boy who plays the accordian really well. He played Hungarian Rhapsody for us. It was awesome. And not a little like something out of a Tim Burton movie. He asked us if we had voted yet. We’re not supposed to discuss politics because it’s such a hot topic, so we just mumbled and looked around the room like we had forgotten how to speak Chinese.

He proceeded to say things like “Don’t vote for Bush! He’s a monster! He’s killing people! He’s awful! Don’t vote for him. When your turn comes to vote, vote against him.”

He made me feel so bad for him that I admit I’m thinking of voting communist and green party just to please the little fella.

Although, somehow I doubt that would make him happy.

But the point as always, my friend, is that I want to vote – is that I choose to vote. I can’t remember the plethora of reasons I’ve given in the past for why a person should exercise his or her right to vote, and growing up in a firmly Republican state makes it seem pointless at times. But I think of those times when one or two votes has made a difference. And I think of all the people who sit back in their chairs and say “Yeah, if everybody in the world would _________ everything would be okay.”

And I think that if I’ve ever said anything like that, and then not lived up to the ideal myself, I ought to be kicked firmly in the intersection. Right outside.

What good is it to say “I’m a part of the greatest country in the world” and then not live up to your ‘part?’ For that matter, what good is it to say “My country is the most despicable in the world” and then not do something to change it. If all you do is say the country needs fixing and never leave your comfort for a moment then you are what is wrong with the country.

So we vote.

And yes, it isn’t much.

And no, sometimes our individual vote will not make a difference. But if every person assumes that there’s no need to be vocal, all it takes is one evil person who’s willing to do the work to ruin the lives of millions.

I’m not done yet. And I won’t be till my head falls off.

But enough spouting. I look forward, as always, to seeing any replies to this entry and others. Please feel free to write. Please feel free to mail. Please feel free to grasp wads of American cash, place into a bag, and mail bag to Elder Hamblin, who is poor.

My time is nearly up and I can’t think of much else to write about. Time for notes.

Kaye: probably no letter this week, sorry.
Blaine: Any news yet? If not fine. please send mail. If so, fine. Please send mail.
Rodney: Please print of favorite recent writings and have delivered to this location. Also a personalized message would be cool too.
Zoe: Thanks for the notes, sorry I haven’t replied.
Jared: How is little happy sherlock? Please send pictures.
Jodie: Last letter insufficient. Send photos and dirt… I mean, info.. info.. yes… Also, how is my old computer? Family in general: You guys rock. yeah.
Stephanie: Lah lah lah lah lah lalalala!
All others: Deh deh deh de de deh deh deh DAAAHH!!

It’s 3 A.M. I must be lonely,
-Elder Hamblin

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