Friday, December 25, 2015

Week 48

Hey Mom!
  Yesterday we had the childrens program in our little branch. A stake president councilor, President Salmon came and brought his children so there would be more than 5 kids. And one of our investigators had a kid in it too. But the program was all in English and he only speaks Spanish. His name is Orlando and he is the cutest little 4 year old. Not sure why but whenever we get him to pray he will only whisper it. So he went up first to say his part, "Dios es el Padre de mi Espiritu." God is the father of my spirit. And he whispered it into the mic, we could barely hear it. I laughed super hard. Then during the songs when all the kids were singing he was so lost, my companion and I were dying it was so cute. They did like hand signals and everything and he didn't know what was going on and then they handed out bells, and he was just swinging them around. Then afterwards Pres Salmon asked everyone whose child Orlando was and then Alberto, his dad, raised his hand. And he told him he is doing a good job and we need more children like Orlando, and we all need to be more like him, obedient and humble. 
     Then after church, Orlando's parents, Alberto and Anahi were baptized! Elder Juarez baptized Alberto and I baptized Anahi, it was super great, almost the whole branch stayed after to support them. It was a super great day. Pres. Rhoades is planning on getting Alberto the Aaronic priesthood pretty soon and maybe Anahi will get a calling in the primary to help out our primary president. They should do really well here.
     In the past there has been a huge problem here with all the young women falling in love with the missionaries and lots and lots of gossip and hatred in the branch. And Pres Salmon took us aside and told us that there is a different feeling in the church now, and that we are doing a good job. That was super nice to hear.
     Thanks for the support, I hope all is well in Maine! Welcome home :) I love you, talk to you on Friday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 47

  Hey mom! 

  You guys are gone! Super weird, I just thought about it and I am going to die! The coldest it has been is like 60's and I've worn a sweater and the biking gloves you got me. I never thought those would come in handy.. a mother always knows :). But yeah and then I'll come home in the middle of the winter to Maine. That'll be interesting. I hope you guys have a good time in Bangor, it seems like a tiny town and it'll be really similar to North Platte. I told the missionaries here and they say that I'm moving from one state with nobody in it to another state with nobody in it. If you're not from California or Utah, people think that there is nothing there.
      Our investigators are doing pretty well. We should have a baptism next week, well two baptisms. A little family will be joining the Rio Branch :). Their names are Alberto y Anahi and they have a little boy named Orlando who is 4. He is super cute, but its hard for me to understand his spanish haha. He still loves me though cause I play with him. They're super great. They quit smoking super easily, we taught them the lesson and they said ok, and then just quit, and they haven't smoked since. We thought that they were maybe lying and so we read a few scriptures and then asked them if they were lying and they said no. And I felt good about their answer so I'm very impressed. Our other investigators are progressing as well, a few speed bumps like always, one has to get married and another feels like he hasn't really received an answer yet, but nothing a good talk with the future spouse and reading the BOM cant fix :).
     I'm super pumped to talk with you guys on Skype too! Maybe this time we'll actually have something to talk about, last time I feel like I had just saw you guys at the airport and nothing was new. I'll keep you guys in my prayers,  I hope the house sells and you guys can find a new nice new house. Thanks for emailing me! I love you!

PS: So I went on an exchange the other day and we decided to go visit the border. So we went on the lookout spot. And we saw some people running across the boarder. Then a boarder patrol car was right around the corner so we told them to leave. I feel like we saved lives. Don't worry I got pictures :)

Week 46

Hey Dad and Mom! 

   Elder Juarez says "Le quiero mucho, espero que todo esta bien con su familia. Y gracias por tenerme en sus oraciones." I don't know what it means either. Haha just kidding. I'll leave you to translate that, you're welcome. 
       This week was pretty good, the branch continues to be small, just to prove it, I received a calling on Sunday. I am now the assistant secretary. Which is kind of weird, I feel like a branch missing so many crucial callings would give me a different calling but it'll be great training !
        The last week was super funny though, well at least for me, not for Elder Juarez. On P-day he twisted his ankle really bad and it swelled up pretty well and then he popped 2 tires and broke both of his pedals in half. So he had to buy a ton of stuff to fix it. Not good.
         I hope to get a haircut today, my hair is getting kind of long, on the top if I pull it down it goes past my eyes, but it doesn't look bad or anything so it's ok. I saw Nathan's mustache and hair, looks super good haha. 
         Lately I have been studying the talk, "The Blueprint" by Tad R Callister. It is really awesome, its about an hour long and 13 pages, but he talks about the primitive church of Jesus Christ and compares it with the church now and how that voids every other church. Which is cool from the view of a missionary in a mostly Catholic environment. But then again I doubt that half of the Catholics here practice their religion. It's more of a hereditary thing down here. Which is how I fear it is in some parts with the LDS church also. Which helps me to realize and plan on teaching my future family so that they can really be converted to the gospel instead of just inheriting it. 
         I'm excited to talk to you guys in a little while, hope everything goes well with the move! Don't throw your back out :P Love you!
PS: this is an alligator gar. They are these huge fish that are in the rivers down here. They get like 15ft long and look at the head, super scary. But people aren't afraid of them, I dont know why.. Apparently they taste good.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 45

Hey Mom!
   The house looks great! Yay you proved me wrong, I said I would come home and you guys still wouldn't have had fixed it haha. Well I don't know, maybe you just did it because you are moving... Haha, I hope you're doing alright, I know moving can be stressfull and I know how you get. You love to be stressed over things :). Just remember that in the long run, little things like tile don't really matter. 
   I love being a missionary, lots of missionaries get stressed about the progression of their investigators, but what am I going to do about that? I teach to the best of my ability, and the Lord does the rest. I feel pretty confident trusting in him. We have a decent teaching pool right now, we have 12 investigators that we are working with, and 8 of them have baptismal dates that we are working towards. There are a few families that I really love and we are teaching lots of potential priesthood holders. The thing is, and especially down here, I'm not sure if it's the culture or what, but men are really hard. Women are easy, they can feel the spirit and recognize God's hand a lot easier than men. A lot of the men here are unmotivated, they work in the oilfields or whatever and they come home and drink beer and relax. But it's really exciting when we get some that actually want more, I can see the potential that they have. 
   My companion and I work really well together, he can speak freely in Spanish and I can speak freely in English, so if there is something that one of us is struggling to explain, the other can jump in and help. It's really nice. The people here love us also because he is a latino and they feel comfortable and I am tall, white and have blue eyes. Elder Juarez is super cool too, he has the like, deep romantic Spanish and it sounds super cool. He is funny and he can freestyle rap really well in Spanish and it's pretty cool. We've been going around to some of our members and telling them to throw out their catholic decorations. Lots still have like crosses and virgin Mary's and stuff on their walls. They take it pretty well surprisingly.
     Working in Rio Grande is super fun, even though the building is small and smelly. Last P-day we went to the Rio and I threw a few rocks from the U.S. into Mexico. It was pretty cool. Elder Juarez took a spill on the wet rock and half-way fell in the water. Is that illegal? Haha it was funny. 
          Thanks so much for emailing me! I'll keep the move and dad and everyone in my prayers!  Love you! Have a great week! 

Rio Grande River
Elder Juarez 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 44

Hi Mom, 
      Wow! I didn't realize how soon you guys were moving! That's crazy! Pretty exciting! I'll keep you guys in my prayers. And yeah, don't get stressed, there's literally nothing you can do to help it at night haha might as well just sleep. 
      The mission is going really great, Elder Juarez is a super good missionary. When there is a greenie in the companionship we have to do another hour of studies, called "12 week" which is a program for missionaries, for the first 3 months of the mission. It's to practice, like roleplays and know why we do some of the things like we do. And everyday when we do that, whatever we learn, I can see him apply it. It's super cool, he's really good with people. Which is nice because he's good with people and he speaks Spanish, so I talk a lot with the people that speak English and he does when they speak Spanish. 
    We have a pretty good teaching pool now, a few people that should be baptized in December, one person has to get married and that can sometimes take a while. But it's really cool, last night we talk a family that we've been meeting with for a while and last night we had the mom pray and she cried, and the spirit was really strong. It was a great experience, I love times like that. Not that I love it when people cry, I like it when the spirit is really strong and the people can recognize it.
    I don't know if my Spanish is getting better or I just notice my mistakes more. Every time I say anything in Spanish I have to check with Juarez, to see if it's right, even if it's super simple.
    I'm excited for Thanksgiving, we already have 3 meal appointments, and the last appointment said that if we don't eat a lot she'll be offended. So that's great. I've kind of learned to eat a lot of food, but it's pretty hard. It's better than not eating though. We definitely have at least 1 meal appointment every day.  
    Christmas should be cool, I can Skype you guys again! That's pretty exciting. Also I thought of a few different things for Christmas, if you want :P There is a really small set of scriptures, like the mini quad but they're all separate. Having that is super good for proselyting because it's a lot lighter. 
            Keep me updated on how the move goes! Love you!
Rio Grande Elders and friends <3

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 43

    Hi Mom!
   What's up!! The new library here has Mac computers and it's super weird, I forgot how nice it is. Anyways, yeah there was a baptism here yesterday, she is pretty cool. The branch here in Rio Grande is pretty small.  There is definitely a lot of strengthening to do here. The people here have great desires, they just have to start taking action. Which is great, my companion and I have made a lot of plans to help them do just that!
   I love working hard, it helps me be more consecrated and focused on the work. It can get really frustrating yeah, when people are lazy or they're not home when they say they'll be. But that's not in my control, I just want to help strengthen this branch. The church has big plans for the Valley. They have land in Edinburg for a temple, we just need a stake in Laredo. And here in Rio we have land for a new chapel, but we need more sacrament meeting attendance and priesthood. Yesterday in church there were 3 men besides the President of the Branch and the missionaries in Priesthood. 
   That's exciting that everything is changing back home for you guys too! I used to be kind of scared of change to be honest, and I guess I still am. But I appreciate it more, it forces us to grow and adapt to a new environment.
     The Branch President is Elder Rhoades! Steve's Dad!!! He's super cool and his mom is super sweet, they make me food sometimes <3. Yesterday he punked me super hard. He asked my comp and I to come talk to him in the other room, so we followed him and he said, "Well I talked with President Maluenda about you two, and I got special permission for both of you. You can both have dates." And in my mind I was like, "What the... What?! I don't want to go on dates, that'd be super awkward. I'm a missionary! I can't do that, it's super against the rules. Who would I date?" And then he said, "So here you go" and held up a tin with plastic wrap over it... his wife made us muffins with dates in them. He got me.
    Also yesterday my companion and I spoke in sacrament meeting.. In spanish. It was pretty easy, everyone said they loved my talk? Both of us jacked the branch super hard but they took it really well. They cook really well , not super healthy but.. probably why this is like the diabetes capital of the nation haha. The flour tortillas. Basically my companion and I are going to go and be bold with all the members, tell them (with love) they aren't reaching their potential and what they need to do to reach it and what they are missing out on. I'm really excited to see some changes around here. Hopefully I'm one of the missionaries that can at least help start a change.
    Hope you guys are doing well! I'll keep Grampa in my prayers. Hope you like your new job and you get some more free time. I'm doing better on my morning workouts so, do the same :) I'm sick of all these little hispanic ladies calling me flacito (skinny),lol. Have a great week! I love you!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 42

   Hi Mom!

      Yeah I have a new companion and a new area! We are white washing! It's when the two elder that were here both leave and we come in brand new and we don't know anybody haha. It's super fun, so far we've just been going by and meeting members. It's super hard and I feel a little unproductive because our key indicator numbers are pretty low but.. that'll change once we know and start using the members. I'm in Rio Grande, its a small town and there's a little branch here. Apparently in the past a lot of Elders have just baptized young girls that had crushes on them so we have lots of less actives. It's a little annoying but it's what we have. Super... but that doesn't damage my animo to be here! We'll do our best, and I'm excited.
      My companion is super cool! Really, he is a brand new missionary, my son in the mission! At transfers they call out who the trainers are and we walk up to the front and then they say who our sons are and then we run up and hug eachother and then go sit down. And sometimes they pick eachother up or whatever. Haha and so my son gets called and I go hug him and then I grabbed his head and kissed him on the forehead. It was super funny and President just laughed and shook his finger at me haha. Gotta make a good first impression? 
     My comp's name is Elder Juarez De Leon. And yes, he is a native! He is from Guatemala City, Guatemala. He has perfect Spanish. He moved to live with him mom in Utah for about a year so he speaks English pretty well. He is like a super good latin dancer, he won competitions in Utah. So he pulls the ladies too. Haha 
     My Spanish will get a lot better this transfer, because he is fluent and also our area is in Spanish! yay so I finally get to speak it often. Except for.... I lost my voice about 2 days ago and its still slowly coming back. It's super annoying and I hate it but.. not much I can do haha so I'm just trying to do what I can. So yeah, that's why my voice seemed lower, because if I talked any higher, I wouldn't make any noise.
      Thank you so much for emailing me! Have a great week! I love you!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Week 41

Hi Mom!
  Wow tons of stuff is happening! Scott driving a forklift? Haha that's pretty cool, I wonder how he'll like it. That's super funny and almost like hicklike, but the Maine version. Sorry to hear that you guys are feeling a little bit under the weather! That's no fun.
    Yesterday we had a baptism! Bobby was baptized! He was going to be baptized last week but his wife wasn't able to make it down from Houston in time so we pushed it to this week. It was really awesome and a huge spiritual experience for us all. He and his wife were both in tears, their daughter didn't know any different but I mean she's 18 months old so its whatever. He is super cool, we have a great relationship. His goal is to be sealed in the temple in a year and I know he will be, it's awesome. Hopefully I can go with them, I'll still be in the mission and normally our president lets us go if one of our converts gets sealed, but we'll have a new mission president. So we'll see what happens. He has invited to go hunting with him when I finish the mission though, so I'll for sure have to figure out how to do that. This weekend he was out hunting and him and his buddies got 5 wild pigs, and we're eating with them tonight, so I'll let you know if its better than Hibiscus.
   I got a call the other day, from the Assistant to the President. And I had to be at a meeting the next day at the mission office. I'm going to be a trainer! I'll get a brand new missionary, hopefully, and get to "show him the ropes". There is a chance I could finish train someone, because you get trained for 2 transfers so I could be someone's step-papi. But I want my own son so I hope that doesn't happen. It's pretty exciting and I'm kind of nervous. My example and the way I teach him to be a missionary will affect the rest of his mission and ultimately his life. So no pressure. But I'm not really too worried, I just want to help him to enjoy himself here.
   The only sad part is that we will probably have to disband the homies.. Elder Canfield and I will finally be split up, we'll still see eachother around though, we're in the same mission. Hopefully I don't get sent to a 2 man apartment, I've only ever been in 4 mans and I hear that 2 mans are super boring. Probably more obedient, but more boring. 
   Thanks so much for writing me! I hope you get better! I love you!

Week 40

     Hi Mom!
      I was kind of hoping that we'd get some crazy storm and more stuff would happen. But there was just a lot of flooding. I thought it was going to be crazy! Our zone leaders called us and told us that it was the worst storm/hurricane recorded in the history of the western hemisphere. But all we got from Mexico was heavy rain. Which is good I guess, nobody got hurt here and we can still work. We went and had an interview for one of our investigators then came home for a few hours waiting for the storm and then left around 5. 
     Bobby, our current investigator has been progressing a lot and passed his baptismal interview on Friday and was supposed to be baptized yesterday, but this is never an easy process. His wife is a less active  member. They have been married for 2 years and have a 20 month old daughter. They are super cool, Bobby is the coolest investigator I have had. His goal was to get baptized this Sunday so that he could take his wife to the temple in a year and get sealed for her birthday. But she had a business conference in Houston and because of flooding couldn't get home in time. So we'll just do it next week. Which kind of stinks because they will have to wait like  2 weeks more to go to the temple but I'm sure it's not a big deal. 
      I can't help but feel like it's my fault for not having more success. Even though I'm still junior companion I feel like I should be doing more, teaching more people. I fear that I have become "area dead", when you stay in one place for a long time and get bored and complacent. Which is an easy thing to fix, I just have to visit new people and just make myself more fired up.
     I hope you do well in the art competition! That's super cool! I wasn't expecting you to get very far. Haha just teasing, looove you... You'll have to make sure that the new house has a good studio room. Or the new mansion since your artwork will sell for millions! Wooo! Haha
     Thanks for keeping me updated! Congratulations on your artwork, have a great week! Love you!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 39

Hey mom!
   This week has been pretty good. We have a really awesome investigator that we're really excited about. His name is Bobby and his wife is a less active and they have a 2 year old daughter. He is super cool and we have a really great relationship. He invited us to go hunting with him like the first 10 minutes that we met him haha. He wants to take us out this Friday to try some traditional valley food. Apparently something pretty popular is hot cheetos with cheese, and yes it is exactly that, they have a little bag of hot cheetos and they put some cheese in it. They all say it's super good. Idk, people have weird taste, I guess. But yeah, and he wants to be baptized early, on the 25th, because his wife's birthday is on the 26th. She isn't super interested in coming back to church though, and that's kind of a bummer, but I know it will change with time. When she sees changes in her husband and feels the Spirit in her home again. 
   It has been kind of interesting to watch my companion realize more and more how close he is to the end of his mission. He is done on Nov 4. Today we bought his cowboy boots. Normally in this mission, people buy boots, I'm not really sure, I'll never wear them. 
   I don't really know what to write about anymore, there hasn't been like anything crazy or anything that I have to tell you... If you have any questions I guess ask, but yeah that's all I've got this week. 
       Thanks for writing me! Have a great week! I love you!

Week 38

  This week was really great, despite Grammie's passing. When I got the call on Friday that she had passed on the day prior I shed tears in memory of her but then I went right out to work and was fine. I will miss her a lot but I have a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation and know that she will be fine. I pray that she accepts the restored gospel when it is presented to her. I only worry for Grampa, who I'm sure is not taking it very well. I will continue to keep him in my prayers as always and emailing him.

   Is Dad ok? I know that he too knows that Grammie will be fine but I know he must miss her dearly. I hope he can talk to Grampa about it and help him feel better too.
   We had a cool experience this week. Elder Johnson and I were biking down the street, going to contact a few less actives in the area, when a guy driving a little blue car slowed down next to us and asked me if we could talk to him really fast. So we went to the nearest parking lot and stopped. He got out of the car and introduced himself. He continued to tell us that we were a sign from God. He said that he wanted to make some changes in his life because at the moment he was not where he wants to be and now is the time. He had apparently done something to hurt the relationship between himself and his wife, who is a less active member. And wants to be baptized by the end of this month right around her birthday. He is super cool! We went to his house the other day and taught him the Restoration and his wife was there for part of it. We get along really well and his wife is super nice and they have a super cute little 18 month old daughter. They came to church yesterday for sacrament but then left because he promised someone he'd go hunting with them. We'll talk about that later though haha. I have lots of faith that he will improve.
    We're talking with a lot more people now and staying busy. A busy missionary is a happy missionary. 
  Thanks for keeping me updated, I love you so much! Have a great week!

Week 37

Wow! So much stuff is happening, for sure if you havent already, watch this conference. They all talk about fervent and sincere prayer. I have honestly been slacking a little bit with my prayers recently and I know that the spirit was telling me to fix that. Not that I wasn't saying them or anything, but I wasn't really listening to the Spirit and setting that time apart for a conversation with my Heavenly Father. I've really noticed a difference when I pray with all my heart and forget about time and everything. I feel the spirit noticeably more. They also talked a ton about repentance in Conference, I really liked how they talked about asking God what more we need to repent of. I hadn't really honestly done that before and as I was praying last night I asked and wow, there is so much I need to change haha. 
    Today is already a good day, we went tie digging and we got so many nice ties! Which is good because I'm trying to get a lot of nice ones so I can send you guys a Christmas gift or something. Idk what I should get you though. I have a ton of time to think about it though. That means I've almost been out a year!! I'm almost half way! Where does time go? Today when we went digging for ties I did all the talking. Elder Canfield said it's because my spanish is the best. I do feel a lot more confident in my spanish, and I dont feel like my study habits have improved. I need to work harder on that for sure.
   Everything in the mission is going super great though, thanks so much for keeping me updated. I know that things are super hard, but with the Gospel, any news that I hear makes me happy. Like great gramma, now she has the opportunity to hear the Gospel again, maybe she'll accept. And whatever trial of money or people or whatever, I ask God what I am to learn of it. The mission really has changed my whole perspective on life. I love it!
   So strange that this happened. Just yesterday I was talking with one of our less active members. She has a mother who has Alzheimer's, and she cannot come to church each week because she has to take care of her. She doesn't trust any care taker because they are in it for the money and her mom could get a rash. I shared that I have a relative with Alzheimer's and I remember visiting her with my mom and she didn't remember who she was and how devastating that is. I always think that the mentally sick are very close with God, he wouldn't just leave his children in that situation, scrambled and confused and alone.
   There was a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and he talked of the power of mothers. How the love that mothers have for their children is as close to God's love for us as we can obtain as mortals. I think it is so amazing, and it kinda stinks because I will never be able to love my kids as much as my wife, haha just kidding. But I just want to again thank you for being such a great mother to me and Scott and Nathan. It is so Christlike, no matter what we do, you love us just the same. And the endless pain and suffering that you put yourself through for our benefit, I cannot repay the Savior for what he did, nor can I repay you, but I hope to do my best to make you proud so that it is all worth it. Keep staying strong, I love you and miss you!

Week 36

Hey mom!
  Yeah Elder Johnson and I stayed for another transfer together. I'll kill him. No really though, that's what they call it when you are the last companion of their mission, I'm "killing" him. Don't worry we get along great :). He knows literally everything, did I tell you that? It's super funny.
   Elder Canfield and I are staying together!!! At the end of this transfer we will have been together for 6 months! In the mission we called that getting "married" because, we could legally go get common law married. But don't worry that will never happen haha.  I think the friends that I've made in the mission are some of the closest I've ever had. 
    Today being P-day we went to go digging to go find some ties. It's Elder Fielding's first time going tie digging! Memories were definitely made. We bought this bail.. bale? idk.. A bunch of ties for like $25 between the 4 of us, and guess how many ties there are! 200lbs!!! It was super heavy and it will take forever to sort through, but that's pretty exciting huh? It's a mission thing I guess, no sane person in the real world would buy that many ties.  
    It's super weird that I'm going to be in Mission for 6 months, that's a 1/4 of my whole mission! It's super cool though, I'm not even mad. I know everyone in the ward super well and everyone really likes me so I go to church and just say hi to everybody haha. Our ward here has 3 missionaries going out in like a month! It's crazy, its probably cause they've had great missionaries here lately... *cough* nahhh just kidding haha. 
     But that's about everything, thanks for keeping me updated, I'll keep you all in my prayers as always! Love you! Have a great week!    

Week 35

Mama! Esta semana fue muy bien. La obra misional siempre es un placer. Aunque esta semana no fue llena de emocion, siempre estoy feliz, gracias a Dios.
    People always say that, "Gracias a Dios". I'll knock on their door and ask them how they are doing and they're like I'm doing good, thanks to God.  They all say that they are catholic but haven't gone to church in 15 years and yet still think they know lots about doctrine. I just want to ask them, imagine you took a high level math class 10 years ago and never used it until today, do you think you would still remember all the formulas and everything? Probably not. But... you have to be nice. I guess working at Cabela's kind of helped me develop that silly happiness with people, no matter if they are upset or bored, I'm always super happy sounding. I never really thought of that before now... huh..
    People here are almost always super nice though, it's great. Even if they aren't interested or anything they're like, "Hey if you guys are ever in the area and need something to eat or drink, let me know and I'll hook you up." It's super cool. 
   Yes transfers are tomorrow, I'm not sure if I'm leaving or not. But Elder Canfield is training! It's only his fourth transfer and he's training! He's going to be AP one day. That means he'll leave though, and we wont be common lawed.. sad day. I hope if I do leave, I go somewhere spanish speaking finally and in a car. Even though it will start to be a little cooler now that it's Oct. Quien sabe..
   We had stake conference yesterday and Saturday. It was really cool, we talked about multi-generational families. And how there is a cycle of how they work.       1. Baptism and Confirmation 2. Temple Endowment 3. Temple marriage 4. Have children. And they talked about how about almost all of the cycles are broken between steps 1 & 2 due to weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home. Which made me think of how hard of a life my children will have with all the crazy things in the world, gay marriage, drugs, standards being changed, etc.. And how I will be a good enough parent to teach them how to avoid things of the world. It's going to be super hard, but then again that is what I guess my mission is supposed to prepare me for. The second counselor had four missionaries do a little role play in front of everybody and two were mom and dad and the other two were kids. And they were having scripture study and of course the kids couldn't sit still and all that crazy stuff. The missionary acting as the dad was super bad, he might have just been scrambled because he was in front of everyone but it was really funny. Because every time he would do something wrong, the second counselor would correct him. Lots of things to think about. But I really shouldn't because its not important right now. 
    But whatever happens I'll be fine with it. Oh and sorry to hear about Gwyn, that's super sad. 
     I'll let you guys know what happens! Have a great week, Love you!

Week 34

Hey mom!
 Yeah I got the info from the last letter, I am fine with all the changes and everything, I hopefully will be heading off to college soon after I get home anyways so it won't be a deal breaker for me. You guys seems super excited to go back home to Maine though, that's awesome! Dad told me he has been counseled by Uncle Pat to maybe have his own business, he might as well right? He's already putting in all the necessary hours.
   The other day we had an exchange, I worked in our area with a different elder from our zone. His name is Elder Packer, I've actually done an exchange with him before, which was cool to have another chance. However I did most of the talking this time, I don't know if he just didn't want to because it's my area or I just didn't notice how quiet he was last time because I was a greeny. But we had a lot of fun. We talked to these two people from Monte Rey, Mexico who were visiting for a little while for a birthday party. They were super cool and they added us on facebook, and we took pictures with us.
        We're for some reason struggling to find new investigators as a district this last couple weeks, everybody is in school or has a job or something. Lots of times we have appointments with members after 6 until we go to bed and then the hours before that people aren't really home so it's hard to find them. But I know that there are people that the Lord is preparing, I just have to be more obedient and persistent to find them. I've been reading that book, "the infinite atonement" a little more lately. I'm almost done with it. It's super cool, today I read a part that talks about exaltation, it talks about the potential we all have to become like God, which yeah we all know as members of the church. And it had a part about how much humans change in their lifetime, thinking of a baby and how it turns into a michael angelo or a napoleon, into a great being that changes history in a matter of like 20-30 years. And then thinking of what we could accomplish in eternity! Then as missionaries sometimes we'll just sit and talk about doctrine. Exaltation is like the only option! If we dont reach exaltation, we become really powerful angels that serve other gods forever. That'd be cool to be in the celestial kingdom and all but dang! Missed it by that much! So that is really humbling and motivating for me.
   I've studied a lot about inadequacy lately because we have an investigator who feels inadequate and I found a ton of scriptures about it and it really helped me learn a ton too! Honestly one of my favorite times of the day is now the mornings when I can study for investigators.
    I'm doing pretty well except my bank card isn't working. I've used it a ton lately though so I'm not sure if that's the reason. I put like $40 worth of things on my mission card that should have gone on my personal one and so I was just going to buy groceries with my home one for a few weeks but today it didnt work so idk what happened. I just bought like compression shorts and razors and some cologne. But yeah i'm not sure if Walmart was just being weird or what.. But that's all
     Pretty much if I need anything and I can buy it I probably will, I'll just use my home card. Is that ok with you guys? Cause that's what I've been doing... let me know otherwise haha. But yeah everything is going really well and stuff.
  Thank you for writing me! I love you!

Week 33

Hey mom! This week has been pretty good. We were told by the AP's that we needed to move our beds from the front room into the bedroom where they belong. Which we told them wasn't possible because the room is too small. But they just told us, "Make things happen :)" To which I almost responded, "It'll happen when I get transferred :)" But I decided not to be apostate and rude. I am changing! Wow! Haha just kidding. So we spent about an hour or so turning our beds into bunkbeds and putting them in that tiny room, and moving our study desk into the front room. Which means we had to unbolt all the boards where we have our investigators and member's info on and move them from room to room also. It was quite the pain in the neck and now if I stick my foot off the edge of the bed it'll get clipped by the ceiling fan. But that's okay, I don't move in my sleep anyway.
   Then we are just biking around trying to find more people to teach. We find plenty of people but they end up being too lazy to change or they feel like it's not important enough. We talked to a few guys the other night and they asked us a bunch of questions and they said they liked us and everything we said made sense but they were oilfield workers and leave for 2 weeks at a time at least. But on the plus side, the people here are really nice and they usually have a pretty good background of religion. We are teaching a single mother and her two little boys and they have come to church and really liked it. We have another older guy and his brother we are teaching and then we are kind of teaching this guy and his step son but they dont really want to quit smoking weed so we'll see how that goes.
   We had a conference with our zone yesterday and President and his wife gave us a bunch of counsel. I guess a lot of the people in the mission are having a hard time finding new people because we discussed it quite a bit. Basically if you want to find new people you will. It really isn't hard, but in the long run a lot of them just lose interest. Which isn't their fault, it's mine. So I'm just learning how to keep them involved and excited about the Gospel. But its going pretty well.
   Nothing really huge happened this last week, Elder Canfield rolled his ankle the other day playing basketball and his ankle is huge and purple now. He can barely put any weight on it, but he's a missionary, you can't just take a sick day. It's not too bad though he's in a car area, he just has to walk into people's houses and back. If Canfield and I stay together for one more transfer we get "common-lawed" which would be sweet.
    Thanks for keeping me updated, have a great week! Love you!

Week 32

    Hey mom! This week has been pretty good. Yesterday we had some really awesome baptisms. There were 3 in our ward, a man, an older lady and another man who is in a wheelchair. The guy in a wheelchair got a really high fever or something when he was about 10 and it caused a ton of other problems and caused him to almost completely lose control of his body. We communicate with him through his eyes. He blinks once for no and looks up for yes. He can smile and laugh and he can move one of his arms enough that he can type on his Ipad. His name is Alan, and he is so cool. He is super funny, and has a great sense of humor and I love him. I wasn't his missionary but I was lucky enough to be one of the people helping in the font. We had 4 people in the font to help lower him into the water. He coughed a ton after he was dunked, because he can't really close his mouth, but he was expecting it. The spirit was so strong and I could see the happiness in his eyes after we lifted him out of the water.
     The older lady is a really close friend of the recent convert we just baptized a little while ago, Jerry and Juanita & Miguel. Her name is also Juanita, kind of confusing. And apparently she has a sense of humor too, she is about 5'0 or so , and when they asked her who she wanted to baptize her, she said me. So, I got to baptize her. It was my first time saying it in Spanish! I had a helper though so I wasn't really worried. 
     I hope you guys have fun on your trip, I wish I could go with you!  Tell Grammie I say hi and that I'm praying for her, Grampa too! Stay safe! Love you!

Week 31

    Yeah this week wasn't really that crazy. There was 3 day training for all of our leaders and so Elder Johnson went to meetings for about 8 hours every day so we only got to work in our area for like 3 hours a day. It was hard to get much done. But I had fun, I was in a trio with the other Elders in my apartment. A spanish area! It was really fun, I like spanish lessons because I only say what is really important. I almost like double check with the spirit haha. I really like spanish but I dont feel like I've been improving for a little while. It's because everyone in our apartment is really close so we just kinda hang out and talk when we should be studying... Repent haha

   Jerry was confirmed yesterday and given the Holy Ghost. He cried, it was kinda shocking to see him cry. He's like a big dude, 6'2" and like 250 and a mechanic from Arkansas so he's all southern. And he walked behind the place where they prepare the sacrament and hid for a few minutes while the meeting went on. It was pretty cool.

   Being a missionary on Sundays is super hard. Not only do you have to worry about your investigators coming to church, but you have to worry about the lessons and talks at church. When people go off about something stupid or wrong or whatever I have to fix it! Yesterday we had someone in church for her first time. She wants to change and we told her she'd feel the spirit and like church and everything and she came. Hadn't even taught her the Restoration yet and the Gospel Principles class was about the Millennium. Which was ok, the book keeps it pretty basic and easy. But the members went into super deep doctrine and I was getting pretty ticked. We have a few people who have been members for like 30 years and they still go to that class. After that class she walked out pretty fast, got her kids out of their classes and went straight out the door, and didnt say anything to me. I was super worried. But we visited her afterwards and she said it was just longer that she thought. Then we taught her the Restoration and BOM and I think everything is fine now. . 
    Not super exciting this week but it was great. 
          Have a great week Mom, Love you! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 30

Hey Mom!
   This week has been pretty good. Yes, I have a new companion, but I'm in the same place. My new companion is Elder Johnson. This is his 15/16 transfer and his first as a district leader. This is my 3rd transfer as a district leader's companion. He's pretty cool, he knows literally everything, it's crazy. I'll ask him super random questions like, "how much does an elephant weigh?" and he's like, "African or Indian? He's great. Also another Elder that I lived with when I was in Alice was transferred to our apartment. So I have some pretty good friends in my apartment.
   Our investigator Jerry was baptized yesterday. He was super happy and it was great to see him finally able to join his family. Next week he'll be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Their family has been doing super good. And in a year they can go and get sealed and I can go with them! That would be so cool to go through the temple with them. Also his dad past away a few months ago and he's already learned about baptisms for the dead, I hope he'll go and do that ordinance as well.
   So on Monday's we go tie digging. I think I told you about it. We go to a "bodega" like a big warehouse and dig through old used ties to try to find nice ones that are cheap. And today we decided to go to Burlington because sometimes they'll have ties on clearance for like 3 dollars that are usually like $80-$90. There is a brand called "Ted Baker" that everyone in this mission loves because they are super pretty. And we found two that were sister ties. They have the same pattern but different colors. And they were so pretty, but they were $25 and we almost bought them. But we decided not to. It seems really dumb but ties are a big deal on the mission haha. 
    These next few days Elder Johnson has three day training. He goes to a bunch of meetings all day for three days and learns how to be a leader. And so I will be working with a different elder for a few days.
    Aside from it being super hot this last week that's about it. 
             Thanks for keeping me updated! Have a great week! Love you

  (Sorry so blurry!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week 29

   This week was another great week. Our investigator who quit smoking is still doing great. He is so excited to be baptized, it is so funny. Everytime we bring it up he's like, "I'm gettin' wet!". He says it all the time and I always laugh super hard. He's pretty southern and he has a bunch of funny sayings that kill me. Really a testimony builder when you see someone like him change this much. I'm super happy to have been a part of it. 
    We had a service project at an old woman's house who is actually our new investigator. She has about an acre or so and her grass was overgrown a ton! We were picking up trash in her back yard and as I walked I could hear stuff crunching under my feet, so I pulled back a layer of dead grass and there was like an old suitcase, some wood pallets and a bunch of other stuff. We found so much trash in her back yard. I think we found like 8 pallets, 6 tires, a tricycle, some old metal buckets, and a bunch of other weird stuff. We found like this huge counter thing. Like a bar service counter. Super heavy and we pushed it out of her little patio deal and we tore it apart, it was fun. It took like 3 hours and we almost finished but we're coming back next Saturday to finish. It was pretty fun, but really hot too. 
    I've been reading that book "The Infinite Atonement" a little bit every night. It's super cool. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it because I only get like 30mins/day to read it. And I'm not a super reader like you, I'll get there one day. I've been learning a lot about the Atonement, mainly how much harder it was that I can even fathom. It talks about how he suffered for not only our world but all the other billions of worlds he has created. Blows my mind the love that he had for us. It gives me great comfort in knowing that anybody that I meet, no matter what they are going through, can be helped by Christ. I knew that before, but I don't know, having a deeper understanding of a principle strengthens my testimony of it.
    Transfers are tomorrow, and we wont know until late tonight if I need to pack or not. But no matter what happens, I know I'll love it. 
   Hope you continue to have fun at work, it wouldn't be fun if they didn't keep you on your toes would it?
         Love you! Have a great week!

Week 28

    I told Elder Lindsay that you said hi and he blew a kiss back. 
    I'll pray for you guys, lots of decisions to make. Isn't that so fun? Having so much stuff to consider and think about all the time? Haha its like being the junior companion. My senior comp has to make all the tough decisions. One day that'll be me, but I'm pretty convinced I'll be junior comp my whole mission. Haha just kidding I dont even think that happens. 
    This week was pretty cool. I kicked my first dog! This boxer ran up to me on my bike and tried to bite me and I kicked him in the face super hard. It was exhilarating? Boom, I remembered a decent English word. I figured out that the mission just makes you dumb. Like, never have I been so wise, yet so dumb. I dont remember like math or english or anything like that but I can feel the spirit and know a lot more doctrine. It's a weird swap.
    Also this week we confirmed Miguel and Juanita, the two that were baptized last week. Their dad is starting to quit smoking, yesterday was his first day out of 2 weeks where he cant smoke cigarettes. He is struggling a ton but we are buying him Big Red gum and we fasted and other stuff, he's doing really well! Tonight we are going over to a member's house who had to quit smoking too. I have high hopes. I told the dad, Jerry about Nathan and how he quit. He's a great example, super proud of him. 
    Not a crazy week, really flew by. This is the last week of this transfer. I'm already going to be my fifth transfer! That's 5/16. Yikes!
       Thank you for keeping me updated on everything. I love you so much, have a great week mom!
Also these are pictures of my future house.

Its a house here in southern texas. Pretty cool, heres my comp standing next to the door.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 28

Hey mom!
        This week has been really crazy! Remember that guy that was talking about racist stuff? Yeah well this week his son expressed that he wants to get baptized. And he has already been at church for about a month or so. And so we started teaching him and he is super smart. He's 15 and goes to a small private school and is very skeptical. So we taught him all the lessons in 2 days and he wasn't really sure about Joseph Smith being a prophet, but we told him to pray about it. Then my comp and I prayed and fasted and he was baptized yesterday. AND! His mom doesn't speak any English, but she understands it. She said she wanted to be baptized too, because she didn't want to make him do it alone. She quit drinking coffee and was interviewed, she was there for all the lessons and she was baptized yesterday as well! It was a crazy few days! And the dad has to quit smoking, but he has super great desires! Today we got a call from him and somebody sent his daughter an offensive text and he called us and asked what the church's standards were for this type of thing. I was super shocked, he has changed a ton in only like 4 days. The church is true.

     One of our sisters got hit by a car. She is totally fine, she was biking down the road and this lady was turning and didn't see her and gave her a little tap. She has like a bruise on her elbow from falling off the bike. Her front tire is a little bent and everyone in our zone was worried. We gave her a blessing and she's doing great now. 
    Having sisters in our district is super different. We give soo many blessings. Not that I'm complaining, its super cool, the flow of revelation is great. Also, there are little things we do as we hit different marks in our missions. At six months, you burn a tie, at one year, you burn a shirt, at 1 1/2, or your "sister mark" you burn pants, and then after 2 years you burn your suit. Don't worry, nobody actually burns a suit, that's crazy. But we had a few people in our apartment hit those marks so we burned things out infront of our apartments. Which normally would be weird but we're in Mexico so it's pretty normal. I burned a tie, another elder burned a shirt and another some pants. Super cool.

     Last night we went to eat at a member's house, and they live like 1 mile from the border.  And we (the missionaries) were sitting in the room with all the younger people and we hear a bunch of Spanish coming from the kitchen, and this family speaks English. So we walk out there and there's this little Mexican guy eating food and talking in Spanish. (the family had invited over another family to visit with us and they speak Spanish). And this guy was wearing all black and was covered in mud and had like brush all over him and his hair was all messed up. Superrrr funny. I almost started laughing when I saw him I was so surprised. They gave him food and let him use a phone so he could call his aunt and come pick him up. He said he took a 18 hour bus ride to get to the border and then ran across and now he is going to stay with family. 
      Really interesting week haha. Thank you so much for the books! I got them today! Love you! have a great week!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 27

     Hey mom and Dad! Thanks for sending out those books, I'm super excited. Wow.. who would have thought I'd ever be excited about reading? Huh... That's great that the ward is growing! Be sure to friendship the new converts, they'll fall away if they don't have friends. But people there are pretty good at friendshipping. 
 Thanks for keeping me updated! Always good to know what to pray for for you guys. I will especially pray for Grammie and Grampa, it seems like things are getting harder and harder. I will keep you in my prayers also, I know this isn't easy for you either. 
    This week started to get a little hotter, and apparently will only get worse. Yay! And yes our apartment does have A/C. Good thing I didn't actually go to Mexico, they don't have A/C usually. There are so many props to being in the U.S. I didn't even realize it before the mission. 
     What kind of crazy food diets does mom have you doing now? Now she isn't eating gluten, lactose, red meats, sugar, trans fat.. Haha just kidding I don't think its that much.. or is it? Haha, good job doing it with her. Honestly the mission teaches you so much about relationships and stuff. Being with a companion, and our mission president talks about it all the time. I always notice little things that you guys do that he talks about now. I never really realized it before, but good job :). Everybody down here has divorced parents and almost every missionary too. I never realized how blessed I am to have strong, loving parents. Thank you for being a good example for me. 
  Btw, You can just use my room as an art studio, its just wasted space if you don't do something with it for a year and a half. So weird, already been 6 months. 
    Yeah, it's super hot here, this week it's supposed to be over like 105. I'm super excited. Biking in heat is the best.. Haha the only thing that's really hard about it is that my contacts dry out really quickly but these contacts are also 3 months old so... I could probably change them. I like shaking peoples hands when they open their door and seeing how long it takes them to wipe the sweat off from their hand... That sounds super weird and gross... but might as well make a game out of it right? Jk.!
    We talked to this super interesting, very southern man the other day. He didn't let us talk very much because he had quite a bit of things to tell us. Like how we should be able to have a Confederate Flag, and how it's not fair they can't have their flag but there is a black history month. It kind of caught me off guard a little bit and then I was really mind blown when he started talking about how there is a definite difference between a black man and a "n word". He had an interesting view on the world. He believed that Christ was the Son of God because of A.D. and B.C. If Jesus wasn't the son of God than why would he be a mark in history? I haven't heard that one before.
     It's really great, I've learned a lot already and its only my first 6 months, everyone says the longer you're a missionary, the more you learn. Hopefully I learn how to make the changes I need to make. Its hard for me to do that, I can realize what I need to change, but actually changing my personality, or thought process or anything, is super hard for me.  
   It was a good week though, thanks for all the support. I love you, have a great week!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 26

  Hey Mom! This week was a great week, not a ton happened really, just another week in the mission. Elder Lindsay and I continue to get along really well. He's from Wyoming but he seems like he's from Utah, the words he says and stuff. All of the missionaries here say the same words like: dope, sick, tight, freak, frick, chill.. stuff like that, super white and its funny. Only thing is sometimes I catch myself saying some of them sometimes and I wanna hit myself. I haven't stooped to saying "warsh" yet though, so that's good.
  I love the mission, honestly, and no offense, but I haven't been homesick once. I love the mission, I can feel the spirit everyday and I know I'm doing what's best for my future, I get to help people get back to God and make huge changes, and pretty much I just hang out with my friends all day doing it. What more could a person want? I mean yeah it's super depressing when you have to drop an investigator or someone doesn't show up to church, but that stuff is just going to happen. That sounds super prideful and I don't mean to come off like that, but, I love the mission.
  We had interviews this week! That was exciting. We went to our church this time, we didn't have to travel. We had some trainings by our leaders and they helped us to realize the things we need to improve and/or focus on. Sis Maluenda (President's wife) checked our area books and planners to see if we have been using them well. We are good at using our Daily Planners, but we never use the area book, and Sis Maluenda is super nice, but I'm more afraid of her than her husband. So she just told us to start using it more, because hardly anyone keeps it updated. 
  There was a really cool training, it was going to be my companion, but he asked one of the sisters in our district to give one. She had worked at this place for 2 years that studied body language, and gave us a training on what it means when people look different directions when you ask a question. Super interesting. I want to take a class in body language in college for sure. But also every time I talk to her I feel like she can read my mind.
  We have found that a bunch of our younger members don't do a ton during the summer and so they will hopefully be coming out with us more. That way we wont have to bike quite as much. 
  Not too much other than that though, was a good week. Hope you get the A/C fixed and good luck with your artwork, sounds exciting!

Comps Mugging for the Camera
Elder Lindsay found a sign with his Mom's name :)