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!