Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 100!

  It's cold over there... That is gonna kill me. Well it has been pretty cold over here too, not as bad, but for Texas its really cold. We got a cold front yesterday and its like 45 degrees, its crazy. It hasnt snowed here since 2004 though.
    This week went pretty well, we had something cool happen. We went over to the Mendosa's house one night to pay them a visit and they weren't home and there is nobody that lives close to them and so we decided at like 8:30 to just knock a few doors, which I don't really like doing because people get mad when you knock that late at night sometimes. Which was weird because we needed to find new people to teach and I was sitting in the car before knocking on their door and I thought, "why dont we just knock on some doors with Christmas decorations and share a Christmas message? And so we did, we picked a random apartment right across the street from ours with decorations all over it, and a super nice family from Venezuela opened the door. We asked if we could come it really quick and share a Christmas message and they said yes and let us come it, we got to know them a little and shared a few scriptures about Christ's birth and the reason we celebrate Christmas and they liked it and we invited them to church on Sunday. This was like Tuesday, then on Sunday morning we went and knocked on their door to wake em up for church to see if they'd still wanna go and their Grandma opened the door and told us they had all been out really late last night and were still asleep but that she'd tell them when they woke up. And like thirty minutes into sacrament meeting they just walked in and found a spot and waved at us. I think my mouth might have dropped open. Nobody ever tells us they probably wont come and then just show up! It was awesome. And they're super cool, I have tried a dish from Venezuela before so I talked to them about it and they love talking about their country! Even though the government is super corrupt right now, that's why they moved. And another cool thing, they all have super pretty green eyes. Down here it's kinda rare to see people that have colored eyes, especially if they're hispanic. So that was one of the little miracles that we saw this week. They're a family of five, that we've met so far. I think they'll progress really well. Our ward has gotten really good about introducing themselves to new people they dont know, so they felt very welcomed in church and everyone invited them to come to the Christmas dinner this Tuesday. I'm pretty excited about them, in fact I'm pretty sure half of what I wrote is probably hard to understand, my organizational skills are kind of terrible haha sorry.
      In my last interview President Torres told me as you finish strong in your last area, your next area will be good, so I'm trying hard to prepare this area for the next missionary that comes in.
We have our mission christmas party this Tuesday also, so it will be a full day. And in this party we do skits, one for each zone.
     I went on an exchange this week, with Elder Cazier in his area. It was crazy, stuff went down haha. So to start off the strangeness,  we went to go help a member move. And we just cleared out all this stuff from one room and she asked me to help her get something off of the shelf in the closet. So I reached up and grabbed it and I didn't know what it was at first and then I was like what in the world? It was a body cast of when she was pregnant, awkwardly detailed, and of course, it went against her bare body. So I got to hold that, and then we just went out and put it in the grass outside next to the moving truck. Please tell me you dont have one of those. 
      After that we went to their ward christmas party, and there is a family there who has twin daughters that go to college in Utah. And they are best friends with Elder Cazier's girlfriend. They were there for Christmas break. Awkward haha, they sent a snapchat of him to her. Also, of course there was a santa claus there, and he was a really great santa, except for the fact that he would pat all the kids on the butt. It wasn't that weird with the little kids, but then a few teenagers sat on his lap for a funny picture and he still did it. Also the sister missionaries sat on the arms of his chair, and they got an awkward surprise. Haha it was super funny though.
      Then we went to a wedding, I was in Elder Cazier's ward a year ago, so pretty much I knew everyone and they remembered me, it was pretty cool. And I know the guy that got married, it was crazy! And! at the wedding there were some members from Rio Grande, that moved to Utah after I served there. Apparently they have moved back and sent one of the sons on a mission in Ecuador! So I got his email address! It was the coolest thing. 
      So yeah, this week was pretty cool. Haha hope you guys are as pumped about it as I am haha. I'll talk to you guys on Sunday, the member we set it up with said 6 oclock our time, that good with you guys? That'd be 7 Oclock your time. If not... theres not much I can do about it haha. I love you! I'll talk to you soon!

Week 99

    Hey Mom! 20 Degrees? Oh man, that's gonna be a little bit different. I wonder how missionary work is over in Maine? Elliot is getting so old! Wow Nathan must be freaking out huh? 
   This week was really good. So you know that familia we've been working with? The Mendosa's? So they're awesome, sooo prepared, so we baptized them yesterday! We taught them a ton this week and they love the church. They were interviewed and then baptized! Also, the font in our chapel here for some reason is the worst ever and basically has the same spout as a sink and puts out that much water, so it takes like 3 hours to fill up. It's super annoying. Also, the water wasn't getting any warmer so we ran around during church trying to figure out how to turn on the hot water and turns out, we got new water heaters in the chapel. We no longer have the really big barrel things for water heaters, we have the new high tech little boxes that like heats it up as it flows through. So idk if they just werent working or what, but nobody in the church could figure it out so, the water was a little cold. Actually it was 65 degrees, and felt like ice when we stepped into it. At least they'll never forget their baptism right? It was pretty awesome, four of them were baptized, the other three are too young. But something that's awesome is that Marco Mendosa, the dad is going to get the Aaronic Priesthood next week after his confirmation and then he has a son who turns 8 in January and he is going to baptize him! Isn't that so great?! This family is such a miracle, they just fell right out of the sky. They came to a wedding that was at the church, a member invited them and we've been working with them since. Another cool thing is that they live in our apartment complexing, so we can go visit them all the time. And they love to feed us, so if we ever have the munchies we can go bother them! Haha I'm kidding, but I know they will be like the missionaries favorite family that get visited all the time, it's cool to think about. I'll send you some pictures, I think Melanie, the little one, is kinda hiding, she is really shy. 
     We had interviews with our mission President this week, it's my second to last interview of my mission. I'll have one like my last day as a missionary. That stinks. It was really nice though, he told me in the beginning, "Usually I ask missionaries what language they prefer, but since you speak like a Mexican, we'll do the interview in Spanish." It was kinda nice, like a little "woohoo!" moment haha. We just talked about life after the mission a little bit and how it's important to finish strong so I can start out life strong. It was a pretty short interview, I'm not sure what the last one is like. 
     So in the last transfer of your mission you do this online course called "My Plan" And it is exactly that, the plan that you make for after the mission and how you're going to keep up with studies and institute and schooling and all that jazz, and this week is on Dating and Temple Marriage. This is gonna be so fun this week, I plan out my wife, what I want her to be like, I watch awkward videos on dating and stuff, it'll be great. But yeah, it's actually kinda scary, more and more often people are like oh wow, you're going home soon. This Sunday everyone was like oh wow, are you excited to go home and spend the new year at your house? I'm not really excited to be home, and the mission be over, but I'm excited to see family and play in the snow and stuff. I can continue to do missionary stuff when I get home though, not like life just stops right?
      I hope you'll notice in these pictures that my white shirt is a slightly different color than everyone else's. Haha that'll happen after 2 years of sweat I guess.
 Thanks for keeping me updated mom, I did get the package this week, thanks so much! Also something crazy! So I started using this new shampoo like 2 months ago and it has menthol in it and it's super cool cause you know when you like chew minty gum and you breathe in and its all cold? It makes your whole head feel like that and I think it's cool. And it's the same shampoo you guys sent me!! What in the world?! We must be family or something!
      Have a great week, talk to you soon! Love you!

Week 98

   Hey mom! This week went really well, it's starting to get a little cold here. Haha a chilly 60 degrees. Ive noticed lately that I'm going to die when I get home, Im wearing a sweater today and its like 65. I hope my winter jackets arent packed away too much. 
     This week has been kind of trunky, lots of people noticing how close the end of the year is. Yesterday in church we had a bunch of people say, "So you only have 3 weeks left?". It's sad to think about. Also yesterday we had the Mendosa family come to church. It was the second time that they've come, and they're getting baptized next week. They're pretty excited about it and we're going by their house like every day this week to help them be prepared for it. Theyre a family of 7, and 5 of them are baptismal age. The parents love church, in Gospel Principles they were participating a lot and had lots of great comments. The parents are both really busy during the day, so we are meeting with them during the dad's lunch hour, he's pretty dedicated.
     The christmas devotional was pretty cool. Have you ever noticed how smacky Elder Eyring gets when he gets all emotional? Someone get that man a cup of water!
   Oh yeah! We moved apartments this week! Haha I knew something happened. So yeah, we moved about a mile south of our previous apartment. The apartment we were in was just kind of dark and our office senior couple didnt like it. Our new apartment is pretty nice, all apartments here are made really cheap, but they're nice. We didn't have hot water until today, it was like lukewarm at best and there was a light out in the kitchen, so the kitchen was dark, but we got it fixed. We live upstairs on the second floor, which just means we have to carry our bikes upstairs, but thats okay. We have cool neighbors, the apartments were just built like right right before we moved in, so everyone is new. That means that they dont hate missionaries yet. The neighbors of missionaries usually dont like them because everytime there is a new transfer there is some determined missionary that wants to baptize their neighbors, so it gets kind of annoying I guess. So we are the first group, hopefully we can make a good relationship with them.
     The move took a super long time, well like almost 2 full days of work to do it, one day to pack everything and to fix all the little holes in the walls from the little tacks of hanging stuff up, and then we moved and unpacked the next day. It was pretty boring and hard to stay focused doing the same thing all day. But yeah, here we are..
         I'm not sure if you guys even want to Skype on the 25th, it'll take away the like, oh wow, I havent seen you in a while thing. Idk what do you guys think?
                    That's about all that happened outside the norm. I'll talk to yall next week! Love you!

Week 97

   Hey Mom! This week was fun for me too! Thanksgiving went pretty well, speaking of food!  I will for sure miss food from down here though, it is the best food, just sometimes not the healthiest. But anyways, Thanksgiving was really great, we only ate four times, so that's not too bad. I still thought I was gonna die and throw up all over the place but, it was good. We were supposed to have 5 but we forgot to write one down so we didn't go and then the member asked us why we didnt come the other day, oops. They had a few other missionaries go and a ton of family so they weren't like mad at us or anything, we just missed out.  One of the people's houses that we went to made us papusas, they were pretty good, I was expecting like turkey and stuff but it was a nice little change. They're like... bread tortillas that you cut open and put cheese and stuff in.. I don't know how to explain it, it's made with like corn flour and stuff though.
       My comp got pulled over!!! Hahahhaha it was so funny! We were at the church in the parking lot, we were the only ones there, and it was like 8:30at night or so, and there was this apple we had left in the car for a few days, and it was all bruised and stuff so I took it out and threw it n stuff and Elder Hallsted, while waiting for me was driving around in circles, and he started going faster and faster until he got an aggressive driving from Tiwi and then stopped. I didn't even stop him because I already knew he was going to get caught by tiwi. I got in the car and we started to drive out, but right before he stopped a cop pulled into the parking lot. I started laughing because I already knew what was going to happen, and he drove out into the road hoping nothing would happen, and the cop just followed us and pulled him over on the side of the road, and of course turned on the 1.2 billion lights they have. I was laughing, he was breathing heavy, he didnt get a ticket but it scared him enough I'm sure he'll never do it again, repentance is real. The cop said, you were doing donuts in your own church? And "would your pastor be okay with that?" and then he made him get out of the car for added effect or something and told him, "ok just dont do it again, remember, you're wearing a uniform." Got him!
     We had a new investigator family come to church yesterday, a family of 6, 4 of them are baptismal age, their last name is Mendosa. They're super cool and have a great friend in the church, we taught them the Restoration and Book of Mormon on Saturday and they loved it and then came to church Sunday. They have a baptismal date for the 11th of December and are actually married!!!! What!?! Anyways, they're nice and they have two autistic children, one is 14 and the other is 6, so I'm not sure if they're going to want their 14 year old to get baptized or not, we're going to talk about it. The little one cries quite a bit and was uncomfortable, being his 1st time in the church, so it was hard for the parents, but they were super optimistic about it, they just said, yeah it's his first time, he'll get used to it as we come more and more. So they're pretty down. We sat in the hall with them for a little while during third hour and I saw something interesting.
     So there was another ward in Sacrament meeting and so a young man came out and sat in the lobby and was on his phone. His dad came out a few minutes later and sat next to him and got super mad at his son and I could just feel the tension between them and the dad had those crazy eyes, you know, when your dad gets super mad and is just biting his tongue and trying not to rip your head off? It made me think of how I would always get so mad and frustrated about things and both of us would just be almost out of our minds angry. And to be on the outside of that was really weird. I thought to myself, what could possibly be happening to make them both this mad? Of course it's never anything big, but it just kind of helped me to realize how unnecessary stuff like that is, and how when I feel like that, I should just take a step back and look at things, because in the end, it probably doesn't even matter.
       I am super lame and didn't take any pictures this week, sorry. But thanks for emailing me, glad your Thanksgiving went well, hope you guys stay warm, I know I will! Have a great week! Love you!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 96

    Hey Mom! My week was pretty good too, that's awesome to hear about church on Sunday, recent converts have the coolest testimonies. We have this recent convert in our ward and she is awesome, she's like 19 and is our young single adults ward representative and is super involved in missionary work and is a great missionary. She took one of our investigators to institute the other day, it's crazy, some people just hit the ground running. 

     This week was really good, It's a new transfer so we have some new elders living in our apartment, Elders Moser and Ault left, so now I live with my companion, Elder Hallsted, and the two new elders, Elder Cazier and Elder Lawrence. Which is awesome because I lived with Elder Cazier when I served in Weslaco, he's really cool and we get along really well. And he is training a new missionary, Elder Lawrence. Who is super duper cool because he is from the Ukraine! I know right?! He lived there until he was 12 then was sent to Arizona in a orphanage and got adopted, moved with his new family to Utah, and he's super cool. He speaks Ukrainian and it sounds like gibberish and he has crazy stories! It's pretty exciting.

      Elder Hallsted and I are doing well, and we'll see how long that lasts because just on the way over here I got a call from the office and I've gotten one too many speeding violations on the little tiwi machine that we have and so I can't drive anymore haha. I haven't changed. So now elder hallsted drives and it's only been like a half hour and I already hate it. He's a terrible driver. Haha I dont want to be mean but he drives like a girl, its very jerky and I feel like a driver's ed teacher. But it'll be okay, maybe I'll learn to have more patience or something. Also I'll try not to roast him too much haha. 

      Yesterday was alright, we had three investigators come to church. One we have been working with for a long time, but he needs to get divorced, and married. And his girlfriend, who is a less active member, also needs to get divorced so they can get married. Both are married in Mexico, so we'll see how that goes, their son is the one that we've been waking up for seminary in the mornings. That continued this week also, it's awesome. Then the other two people that came to church is actually a part member family, of which, the children are baptized but the parents are not. Strange huh? But now they want to get baptized, so we're going over tonight to talk to them about it. 

      I'm pretty excited for Thanksgiving, we have a few meal appointments scheduled with 4 different families. So we should be pretty full when we go home. Last year when I was in Rio Grande we had 7, so it cannot be that bad. It's pretty cool though, its like some of the only white people food that I get to eat. They eat like turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and all that good stuff.

      This college thing is kinda freaking me out, haha I try not to think about it but I just don't know how it's going to work. I have only 4 months home before I leave right? I just don't know how I'm going to be able to afford it, even if I work full-time for those 4 months, I need a car, money for living, a phone, tons of stuff, and nothing is cheap. But then again I read my patriarchal blessing yesterday and found some comfort in a few of the promises there, idk it's just scary. I thought I was going to go to the Fall semester but we'll see what happens I guess.

    The other day we were driving and we saw this sign that said, "No Dumping, $500 fine" Which, of course I didn't take it like it's supposed to be interpreted and immediately thought of a funny picture we could take, so I'll send it to you, it was well thought out. And no I didnt pull my pants down, I rolled up my pants I had on and brought another pair to lay on the ground, dont worry, no laws were broken in the making of this picture. The only consequence was some strange looks by passing cars.
      I hope you have a great week mom! Love you

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 95

  Yeah so here got really crazy with the election, well I guess not too much nobody got shot so it cant be too bad right? But yeah, with the majority of the people here being either from Mexico or their parents are from Mexico, they hate Donald Trump. Everyone always tells us how racist he is and how he is going to try to ship them all back to Mexico and some people are freaking out saying that he's already shut down all ways to get citizenship. Also they always think we're pro Trump because we're white. They kind of ask us, "Do you like Trump?" with a really angry face. We just tell them we don't know anything except what people tell us because we can't watch anything. So it's pretty easy to get out of but they're still suspicious.
     Actually quite a bit happened this week now that I think about it.  First off, the most tragic thing happened the other day, we were at the P-day activity and it was announced that we can no longer play sports in the mornings for exercise! Aparently lots of missionaries have been getting injured from playing. Last Saturday in Laredo they played soccer and a missionary, dont ask me how, broke his back! Yeahh!!! What in the world? Apparently he's doing okay now, however good you can be with a broken back. I feel bad for him but that's what happens when you're not in shape and then all the sudden you push yourself too far, more motivation to exercise regularly right? Doing pushups and stuff in our apartment feels dumb, but until something changes or we find something better to do that's how it's gonna be. Well we can play like 1 on 1 or go shoot around, but it can't get too intense I guess. But we can still play on P-days so that's good. 
     We have been working with a partmember family and one of the sons is really interested in the Gospel. We taught him what the Atonement was and why it was necessary and it was awesome, oddly enough, that isn't one of the main lessons. Parts of it area included in lessons but.. it was really cool and amazing to think that he's lived his whole life without that knowledge. Also, he hasn't been doing very well in school lately, why? Because he doesnt wake up in the morning, soooo we told him about seminary! Haha if you want a different result, you have do be willing to do something you've never done before right? So last week we've gotten up at 5 gotten dressed and gone to his house, woken him up and gone to seminary with him. He's a zombie in the mornings but it feels awesome and he really likes the class, even though he seems like he's asleep. One morning we were going to wake him up by hitting him with these lightsabers that someone left in our apartment but we went in and everything and his little niece was sleeping in his bed so we decided not to haha.
   We had 265 people in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday! Wooo! It's going up! But we also had our primary program so that could've been the reason, but still, that's progress. Not a lot of the people we're working with came so that was sad, but next week we'll get em there!
     Yeah, that's about it I guess. I'm doing really well, as far as food or snacks go... I like fruit snacks and reeses I just thought of something the other day.... ohhh!! You know those little toothbrush case thingys. The little ones that just go over the bristles of the toothbrush, mine is kinda nasty after 2 years, that'd be nice.
     Also, this is my last transfer, we got transfers yesterday and Elder hallsted and I are staying together in this area, sweeetttt!
     Good to know you're doing well. <3 love you! Have a great week!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Week 94

     This week was pretty good, we have been working with a few different families and they are all making good progress. Last week we had a family come to church that have been less active for a while and there are two new family members that have moved in that aren't members. They were going to come this week tambien but they couldnt because one of them had a boil on his hip earlier in the week. And so with the boil, he being an illegal immigrant couldnt go to the hospital because he has no insurance so it'd cost a ton, so he did a home surgery. He heated up a knife and cut the boil and tried to squeeze out the puss inside but apparently nothing came out. And now he can't really walk, or wear pants, because it's right at his waist line. Pretty crazy huh. Now he has this big ole whole in his hip, pretty nasty looking, but dont worry, he put neosporin on it. 
   Then we have been working with another famliy, the mother is a member, but was baptized when she was 8 and never went back, and she has 8 children and a boyfriend and her mom lives with her. None of them are members. Lots of the kids are little, but they're a huge family, and like many other large famliies here, go through hard stuff. So we've been working with them for a little bit, sent a few of the relief society sisters over to visit her with brownies and stuff, and they came to church on Sunday! It's super exciting! They liked it a lot, even the little kids that couldnt sit still said they liked it! Hopefully they keep coming to church so they can all get baptized as a family. The marraige might take a while because she already told us she doesnt want to get married, but with time she will.
     Antonia got baptized on Saturday! It was really great, my companion Elder Hallsted baptized her and he didnt even mess up one time! It was his first time baptizing in spanish! Yay! It was nice, then while we were waiting for everyone to change we sang songs, then when they came back the elders did a musical number and a few people took out their phones and recorded us it was really weird. Then like always there are little snackicitos like always and we had a member make a huge cake, and it was tres leches. That cake is soooo good! I love it. It's like cake, and you pour a bunch of milk on it and it is super good. You should look it up. Then yesterday in church she was confirmed and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
     It was an exciting week overall. And yeah I'm not really supposed to do anything not on an approved website , so idk how much I'll be able to do, if you could start with the application and things that'd be awesome. I'll talk to the mission president in the mean time.
     Thanks so much for looking that up for me, glad to know everyone is doing well, I love you guys! Have a great week!

 PS yeah I know my tie is crooked and nobody ever looks in the right direction.

Week 93

    Hey Mom! This week was really good! We are having lots of success with the ward and lots of participation from the members! It's really fun. Right now we are teaching some part member families who have lots of potential. There is an older woman whose son was baptized about 2 months ago and she is working to get baptized this Saturday. It was really cool the other day, we were at her house, she lives with her son, and she has a hard time grasping things. Just cause she's an old lady you know? And we showed her the Restoration video to try to help her understand it and then her son, a recent convert who usually isnt super talkative taught her the whole restoration lesson. It was really awesome!
  Then there is another  family who are all members except the one of the brothers. So we are teaching him, he works a lot so it's kind of hard to find a time that works for him, but his brothers are really missionary minded so it shouldnt be too hard to help him find some time. Then we have a less active family we have recently been working with, and 2 people have moved here from mexico, and they're really cool and came to church this Sunday and really liked it.
    We are trying to work with a few more families, we have really nice lessons and the spirit is always really strong, we set a few return appointments and one of the families went on a trip for the weekend, thus ruining their commitment to church on Sunday :/. But I guess you can't force anyone to come to church if they dont want to right?
   Then today we are going to have a little bbq with the other zone and pres Torres might show up. We see pres Torres all the time, he's there on Sundays, Wednesday meetings and everything it's pretty cool. Not that that makes him any less impressive. He gave the third hour in church the other day because it was the 5th sunday and it was awesome. Even our investigators talked to us about people they want to bring to church. I don't know what kind of cereal he eats in the morning but I want some.
   Things are going really well, my comp and I are good, and yeah. Thanks for keeping me updated, Have a happy Halloween! I love you!

Week 92

    Hey mom! My week was pretty good, elder Hallsted and I are doing pretty well. Operation prototype is going really well, his spanish continues to impress me. We are having lots of fun with the ward, we have called 6 new ward missionaries to help us and they are all super pumped. We play basketball every morning and the ward plays on Fridays and I left my ball there and so there is some member that has it and its gonna take forever to find it. But that's okay
    We found some cool guys from Honduras this week, they are super funny. Of course, they asked us all the uncomfortable questions about the law of chastity. Which used to make me really uncomfortable, but now it's happened so many times its just kinda funny. So we had a good chat with them and then they didn't come to church. But at least now they know haha.
     We went tie digging again today, I feel like my spanish improves when we go. It's super fun, I did a cannonball into dirty clothes and it was pretty weird. The lady didnt even laugh, so it just made it a little awkward. 
     But yeah not that much happened. I have to run, sorry for such a short letter! I love you, have a great week!

Week 91

     Hi Mom! This week was pretty good, We had a seventy come visit our mission! It was really great, his name is Elder Kopischke. Yeah, he's german, his wife too. He had no accent though, I was kinda sad that he didn't, I was hoping that he would be like Uchtdorf or we'd like have to try to figure out what he was saying, but he had perfect english. His wife had a little bit of an accent, but not too. much. She is the most excited person I've ever met. She was like literally bouncing when she was talking and she'd walk like Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean, with her hands all flailing around in the air, it was interesting just to watch her haha. They taught us a lot about faith and our part and God's part. It was really interesting, he is a great teacher, as he should be right? It was interesting and he didn't like teach us anything we didn't know, he just made it very clear and easy to understand, which he also talked with us about. He said that boldness isn't so much telling people they are wrong or anything, it's just being very very clear. 

     Also, there has been a change in our ward. We are now going to be 7 missionaries in our ward. Us, our zone leaders, the assistants to the President, and President Torres. I know right? Crazy! He said that we are going to change the way the missionary work is done here in Southern Texas, we are going to be the first ones to start something. We call it, "Operation Prototype" haha. It's super cool and I'm excited to be a part of it. We had a meeting with the auxilaries from the ward and Pres Torres spoke and just pumped everybody up, he's awesome. In this ward in the past there has been a little power struggle over the missionaries and the ward, but now I think everything will go pretty smoothly. Most of the leaders were very intimidated by Pres's presence. 

     We have a cool investigator, he is with a less active member. Both of them are married, to someone else, in Mexico. What a great opportunity to see miracles right? He's come to church about 5 times and his wife as well, so I guess she's technically active but.. They're really great, have lots of financial struggles but they are going to be great if they keep working. It's fun to see how many "keep it up!" lessons you can come up with. We have another investigator, the mother of a guy who just got baptized, pretty cool. She's really old, but old people need the Gospel too. 

     We get fed a lot in this area, no that doesnt mean that I'll gain weight, but I might get diabetes from all the Coke's I drink. But that's about it. Mexican people are so cool, they always ask if we've eaten yet, and if we say no, they offer to feed us, or they at least send us home with goodies. You can't underestimate the importance of goodies to a missionary, when you leave mom's house, your cupboards are no longer full of stuff you can just snack on. 
    Everytime I introduce myself people ask me how long I've been out and it's strange to say almost 22 months. They always say, "Oh ya se va" or like, oh you're gone already. It's sad haha. I think going home is every missionaries nightmare. So I try not to think about it. Apparently we can kind of start applying for colleges, so I'll let you know next week what we can do about that. 
      Thanks for writing me, hope you guys continue to do well and enjoy your rabbit food while I eat hearty mexican food. I love you!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 90

   Things are going really well. I got transferred to serve in La Homa. Which is in Mission, I have the same area I had a year ago, but I'm in spanish now. It's awesome. I already know where most things are and the streets are coming back to me pretty fast, we have a car now and everything is going great. My companion is elder Hallsted. He is in his 2nd transfer, so I'm his "step-dad". He is really cool, and surprisingly enough, his spanish is really good. Like really really good. It's crazy. I feel like my spanish in my second transfer was terrible, but he's doing really great. 
     Being here is really awesome, I already know a lot of the members and all the youth remember me cuz we used to woop em in basketball. Also, we play basketball everyday in the morning. It's awesome. We wake up around 5:20 and go play at 5;45 and it's super fun. there are some good players with us right now and our sisters come to so it is always interesting. We actually have a few sisters who are pretty good at ball. 
    In the mission there is a new thing happening I guess, when an elder or sister are in their last two transfers they move them down from leadership to train the younger missionaries. So I'm no longer a district leader. Which is sad because it was fun, but I really enjoy being a senior comp anyways. 
     Today was the first pday of the transfer. AAAANNNDDD we went tie digging!!! Wooohooo!!! We got about 30 ties handpicked and a 200lb bale. So it was pretty successful I guess. It was so fun to go again, brings back so many memories, and I still know where all the bodegas are so that's good. 
    Pretty exciting week, I'd write more but we are really low on time. I'll write more next time! I'll try to send pics too, Love you, have a great week!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 89

    Glad to hear things are good with you guys, the weather cooled down for about the last three days, it feels like a normal summer day in a different state. We walked outside and it was really nice, instead of being unbearable, that was nice. 
    This week went really well, I had an eye opening experience I guess. We met this woman and she has a little hyper four year old boy, and he just ran around all crazy the whole time we talked with her. And her fiance works in the oilfields so he is hardly ever home and was actually in Nebraska at the time! Also, she is expecting within the next few months. So we talked with her and invited her and her new family to learn more about Christ and all. And she was pretty excited and said we could come back and talk with her. She was out of town for the next few days so we went back this week and talked with her. She invited us to sit down with her and we asked her how she was and she started crying. After a few moments she told us that stuff with her fiancĂ© wasn't going to work out. Which is terrible because that leaves her alone, pregnant with a small child, no income and she'd have to move because she was living with his parents. Elder Stewart looked at each other like, "oh no! What can we possibly say to help her?" And then thinking a little more and really trying to feel for the spirit I realized, well I definitely have no idea how to talk to a crying woman. Haha it was pretty awkward for a second. But then the Spirit kind of gave us like an "oh yeah", we have the everlasting gospel. So we spoke about the Gospel and how the Lord knows our situations and gives us the strength and guides us and it was good and the spirit was strong. Since then, she has talked things out with her fiancĂ© and she said things are going to work out, and she moved to I think Louisiana or something to be with him. So it was good in the end. 
     The next day we had a scheduled meal appointment with a really great family. So we were all excited and we went to the street a little early so we could talk with some of their neighbors, and we locked our bikes up to a pole and I looked up and noticed how many birds were in this tree above us. And then we walked down the street, thinking about which door we should knock on, and then elder Stewart said, "Don't move!" and took his camera out, I thought there was some spider on me and I almost swiped at it. Then he showed me the picture and a bird pooped all over my shoulder. What a blessing rained down from the heavens huh? So we went to the members house a little early and I asked to use their bathroom so I could clean it off and they told me stories about how birds had pooped on them or their friends or whatever and I got to run around for the rest of the day with a green stain on my shoulder. Then the very next day we got a text from our zone leaders, we do like a zone chat, so if something funny happens you text the zone leaders and they send it to everyone. So we got a text that our zone leader got pooped on too, but he caught it right on his forehead. So I guess it could've been worse.
      We had apartment inspections! They come and make sure we cleaned our house well enough, that we cleaned it well enough and all. it went well and they were happy with how clean our apartment was. They said it was the cleanest they had seen it since they've been here. That was nice to hear. Only thing is that we can't ride our bikes, we don't have lights on our bikes and so we're not safe. so they told us we cant ride them till we get lights, darn haha. So even though we've had really nice weather we've been driving around everywhere. Also they were mad at us because we ripped the railing out of the wall going up the stairs. guess you can't put all of your and your companions weight on it at the same time.
      I really enjoyed conference, it really caught me off guard. I expected all these mind blowing concepts for some reason and the entire conference was very basic. Which was different than what I expected. There is a scripture in the Bible, Matthew 23:23 I think and it talks about "the weightier matters of the law". This conference reminded me of that scripture, how we went over the basics, and how we really don't need more than that. I enjoyed how some of the talks talked about the basics, sacrament, forgiveness, because I actually learned some basic things that I don't think I knew before.
        Pretty good week, and yes we have transfers tomorrow, and yes I am getting transferred. It's sad I love this area, but I'm sure my next area and district will be awesome too. Thanks for writing me! I love you, have a great week!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 88

    This week was a pretty normal week. Our investigator Roy who has been progressing really well was interviewed on Wednesday. Sadly, he did not pass. We went over the interview questions the night before and I told him he did not have to answer any of the more personal questions he didn't want to, because we had a member with us. So all the other questions went well, so it was kind of surprising. But that's okay, he just has some stuff from his past that takes a little longer to repent for, so we talked with President Torres, and he said if he continues to go to church and everything he can be baptized at the end of Oct. So we are looking at Oct 30th for his baptism. Roy is okay with it, we explained the importance of repentance and everything and he's just glad that we're still coming back. 
     Other than that he's doing really well, he's an old man so he listens to the BOM on his phone, we downloaded it for him. He came to church yesterday for the fourth time. It was a really good testimony meeting. We have a few families with lots of problems going on right now. One member is pregnant and her baby is going to have severe heart problems and need surgery after it's born in October, so we fasted for the baby and the family and another family, an older couple, the wife just got diagnosed with pretty serious cancer. So it was a very emotional Sunday, some of the family went and bore their testimonies on trusting in God. It was really powerful, almost made me shed a salty. Our Gospel Principles class's teacher is a really awesome guy, who is really passionate about the Gospel. He is gone pretty often because he's a pilot in the Navy. Anyways, he consistently goes into deep doctrine in the class. Which yeah, is interesting for all the seasoned members, but when we have an investigator who is just trying to figure out if the Book of Mormon is true, it's a little frustrating. This week's topic was about the Atonement, the single most important event in the history of the universe, and we barely talked about it. So we have an appointment with the  teacher on Thursday, and we might just read the introduction of the Gospel Principles book. It says to stay on topic, and follow the lesson, no matter how exciting or interesting other doctrines may be. Hopefully that'll help a little bit. 
      After church the ward had a little workshop on family history work. Roy came to that too,  it was nice. The wifi in the church is never good, but it was okay. He's actually pretty interested in finding out about his ancestors. 
     Elder Stewart and I have been going through the ward directory and finding less actives that we don't know. We met one, named Roy, kinda weird huh? Anyways he has his own little business, like a hobby shop and we met him. We asked him about the church and he told us it was all just a bunch of brainwashing. Schools, churches, everything, is just a bunch of brainwashing. He talked to us about how the US is trying to become a communist country, it was pretty interesting haha. 
      We had zone conference too, it was awesome! After the meeting we were talking about it as a district, and Elder Watts, a greenie, was really quiet. So we asked him what he liked and he said he barely understood anything. Haha I totally forgot how hard meeting were in Spanish in the beginning. It was really sad, so we did our best to explain everything that Pres Torres talked about. He shared a cool story with us,
    There was a man and God commanded him to wake up every morning and climb up this hill, on the top of the hill was a large boulder. He was told to go and push the boulder every day. So he did, he woke up early, pushed the rock as hard as he could and then, at the end of the day, would return to his home. Day after day he pushed the rock, until one day he got discouraged. He said, "I come here every day and push this rock, but I haven't even moved it an inch! God, why have you asked me to do something I cannot do?!" God responded, "You have not understood, I never told you to move the rock, I simply told you to push it. You may not have moved it, but look at your arms, look at your legs, they are strong."  Sometimes we feel as though we are failing in our callings because we are not having the success we expect. We need to trust in the Lord that he has a purpose for everything that happens.
      I thought it was a cool lesson. That's about it though, thanks for emailing me! I love you, have a great week! 

Week 87

  Hey Mom! This week went really well. Things actually happened this week so it was fun. I went on a two day exchange in the zone leader's area and it was super fun. They have like the worst area in the mission, not being negative or anything. They are in a tiny tiny town and they have no ward, or branch. They have a group of about 7-10 members. So work there is a little slow and apparently they talk to very few people daily. Which was fun for me, because I'm not scared to yell at people or make everyone uncomfortable, to a certain point. So we walked around and scared some people just pulling up to their house and got quite a few people that said we could come back and share something with them. It was pretty fun. It makes me realize how easy missionary work really is, when you're in an area like that you have to try really hard just to talk with people. I have a pretty good town with a ward of like 130 members, so there's no reason to struggle at all. I learned a lot there and then I came back to my area on Thursday and the elders in my district assumed we had roleplays so they drove the 30miles to Kingsville and called us. Surprise! So we did roleplays, it was pretty fun, and then we went outside and Elder Stewart noticed that a squirrel ran into this tube in the sidewalk, so we trapped it inside. Then we got a box and a broomstick and put the box on one end and poked the broomstick through the tube and trapped the squirrel in the box! It was awesome haha. Elder Watts was the brave one to stick his hands inside and grab it. So we caught a squirrel and we took pictures with it. It pooped everywhere but it was exciting. Then we went to a Mexican taqueria to celebrate. 
       The work is going well, we found a few more investigators, some of which are in a town called Falfurrias which is great because its about 45 minutes away. Its a nice little town, about 5 thousand people, and we have like 25 less active members that live there. Our investigator Roy is doing really well. He came to church this week again, despite the trial that it was to get there. Apparently he had an accident that morning, so it was really nice that he came anyways and didn't use that as an excuse. That's his third time coming to church, and he'll be baptized this next Sunday. It's super cool, he's accepted everything well and quit coffee pretty easily. He found his own substitute for it and everything. He's got some good friends in the church too, so it'll be awesome.
       On Friday night we went to this LA's house to get hair cuts. She said that she was a professional and everything and that she'd cut hair for like 30 years and won awards.. yeah.. she didn't do a good job. So the next day, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We have a pair of clippers at our apartment and I cut my own hair. It was really scary at first, but it turns out its pretty easy to do. It turned out pretty well and so I'll probably cut my own hair from now on, I cut Stewart's too. I just don't really know how to blend hair haha. But that's okay.
       I guess it's easy to write exciting things in a few words, it was a fun week though, thanks for keeping me informed on stuff doing on. Hope you have a great week! Love you!

Week 86

  Hey Mom! This week went really well, there were some funny things that happened. First off, we went to the hospital, which I've been wanting to do with Elder Stewart forever because apparently he faints when they draw blood and I wanted to witness it, he has a really caring and compassionate companion huh? Haha but we went and they drew blood but he didn't faint! I know right!? Sad day, he held it together. That's okay, this week there is a second chance, he has to go in again and get an IV put in for some scans they're going to do. I even had my camera out and recorded it, it would've been awesome.
   We knocked doors the other day and met an interesting 81 year old man who told us everything he possibly could about himself, I'm sure you remember that, working in a nursing home. That's pretty much the mission half of the time. And then told us that he used to give Spanish advise to the missionaries when they didn't know a word or something he'd tell them. So I thought I'd be nice and ask him to translate something. I asked him the difference between two words, and then he looked at me and said, "Dulce Corazon!" which translated means "Sweet heart" and said, "Oh I see, you're after women!" And proceeded to give me a good 5mins of women advise. It was great. I'm a changed man, the ladies will never know what hit em. haha just kidding, don't freak out mom. 
    I found out I still hate spiders. We knocked this door last night and I almost walked into a huge spider web with this giant spider in it. Elder Stewart and I freaked out and held each other on the porch for a few minutes before going on a hunt to find a bug to throw in the web so the spider would eat it. I tried to catch a cockroach but they're super fast and I didn't wanna have to smash it and pick it up, they're all green in the middle. 
     Our investigator Roy came to church again! It was super exciting, he also quit coffee so he can get baptized this month. He's super cool, likes to tell us stories of his life, his whole life. He really enjoyed church, in the beginning of the week we taught himthe book of Mormon and got him reading little by little and in church there was no teacher for his class, so surprise! We got to teach! That's okay though, it went pretty well, we taught about all the standard works. Which was cool for him because he was just starting to grasp the book of Mormon. but he accepted it pretty well.
    We helped an investigator move to a new house here in town, he just needed help with his fridge and washer and dryer. Which would be fine except that the decided that he needed the biggest ones possible. So it was interesting seeing that elder Stewart and I are body builders and all. He has some major doubts about the church and doesn't really feel like investigating much more. but after the move he ordered pizza and he and his dad asked us about our missions and why we were here and plans afterwards, which was good beacsue it gave us a chance to share our testimonies and the spirit was really strong and we could tell that they felt it. They basically just think that we are the best people in the world, which isn't exactly what we were going for, but if that'll get them to talk to missionaries in the future that's fine.
     It was a pretty good week, glad to know that you guys are making progress with the new house and all, hope you guys continue to enjoy Maine! Love you! have a great week!

We found these in a member's house haha  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week 85

     Hey! This was a good week too, nothing crazy but was a good week. Yeah, my knee is doing a lot better already, it's weird, it doesn't take that long to heal anymore, just a few weeks. It's almost back to normal, we played basketball yesterday and it didn't bother me too much.
     This week elder Stewart and I have realized how much we love the food here in Texas. On Monday we were biking around and passed some guys sitting down, and I felt like we should go talk to them. So being so incredibly in tune with the spirit, we biked on past them, until it nagged at me enough to go back. So we went over, and they were really nice, invited us to come and sit with them at their picnic table outside their house. They were some old dudes and one of the guy's handicapped son. We sat there and talked with them about their day, of course they had all had a long day of work and were just relaxing and drinking a few beers. And they had these hugggee lemons! Like they were the size of volleyballs. It was crazy! They gave us one but we forgot it there when we left, sad day. They were really nice and gave us bbq, that is what started this rant haha. Every bbq here in Texas is like the best thing ever. The bbq here is soo good. Everybody has their own "secret recipe". And theyre all super generous, so many times we'll just be biking by and some random guy will give us a bunch of food.
    We helped a member of ours move, the one from Brazil. But they moved like 100 ft down the road to a different apartment. So it really was nothing. And then we ate pizza with them. Apparently in Brazil on pizza they put ketchup and mayonnaise on it. We tried it, it's actually not too bad. I love going to their house, I don't know why but the fact that we can barely talk to each other is super fun. They had a friend over and we watched the restoration video with him and it went really well. 
     We helped another member move! Also, just moved back to his old house. It's way out in the middle of no where. And when we got their there was this big stuffed dog, and he is an old dude so I figured he doesn't use it. So I asked him if he wanted it, and he said no and he gave it to us. Haha we named him Beethoven. This week was Elder Horne's birthday, an elder in my district, so we baked him a cake and the dog was his birthday present. It's like bigger than he is. It was pretty cool, we did it during our zone activity yesterday and everyone thought we went out and bought it, but nah, we're just poor missionaries.
      I guess we did a lot of service this week, we helped an older couple move a safe into their house, which was really heavy but we had a dolly so it wasn't too bad. But the old couple are like the perfect couple. He's an old Texan with a big ole mustache and a great accent. And she also is a sweet old Texan lady who's super sweet. And they're super cute together, they took us to get pizza afterwards and he walked her to her door and closed the door and held her hand to the car and all this stuff, it was super cool. I love seeing old couples like that. And they have awesome stories because he was a US marshal for a long time and went through segregation and all that. 
       During a lesson with an investigator he told us that he wasn't really feeling super good about the church and all, and didn't feel like he wanted to come back. Which was sad, and we talked about it and why we do what we do as a church. And in the middle of our discussion he asked me what I wanted to do for work after the mission. And I told him that I've always wanted to go into the medical field, and he told me I should go into sales haha. Which was cool I guess, I don't think he really understood the point of us being there, we're not selling a product but.. yeah haha.
      We had a little old man come to church with us this week, we met him while knocking on doors, which is a new rule of the mission, we have to knock doors for at least an hour a day. Which is super weird for me because my whole mission I've been told it's a waste of time, but that's what our mission president told us to do so we're doing it. Anyways we helped this old guy (Roy) to trim his plants and mow the yard and all, and he came to church on Sunday, he really liked it and we're going over to talk with him today.
          Was a good week this week, hope everyone is doing well, have a great week, Love you!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 84

     Hey Mom! Glad dad's b-day went well, that sounds nice for him to finally eat sugar and stuff, but that stinks that he got sick from it! There's no going back haha. This week was really great, Tuesday morning especially, because we prepped our apartment to get new elders (cleaning) and we split our area, made their whiteboard with all the members they'd have, wrote the info about their investigators and erased our whiteboard, and then I texted some of the missionaries that went down to McAllen to transfers who are the new elders in our district? Annddd.... turns out we are not getting any new elders or anything haha... false alarm. Pretty awesome huh? Haha me and Stewart just laughed/cried because we had spent like 3 hours doing all of that for nothing and had erased our own whiteboard, which takes a ton of time to re-do. But we did it anyway and yeah, what a great learning opportunity. 
      We have a new family that is coming to our ward now, the son just moved in and reactivated his mom, they're from Brazil! Haha it's so awesome, their English is terrible! It's so fun. And they're super into doing missionary work so we're working with them quite a bit and they've already fed us twice, they're super good cooks too. They speak Portuguese to eachother and we can kind of understand what they are saying because Spanish and Portuguese are pretty similar. It's really funny, if they don't understand us in English we'll say it in Spanish and they'll understand. And there is another son who is not a member who is very spiritually lost and looking for answers, he's awesome. So we're working with him now, but he got sick this Sunday and didn't come :(. And a few days later we went and played volleyball with them, it was fun.
     We had yet another new family come to church. Well, a father and his young daughter. He's cool, has a few doubts about Joseph Smith and stuff, but that'll fix itself. The talks were really great, the Staley's actually were the speakers. But our ward is so loud, because there is like a 3-1 ratio of children to adults, and they sat in the very back and couldn't hear much. So we've made new plans that we'll always have investigators sit up front.
    The other day we were biking and I biked way ahead of Elder Stewart and I turned the corner and I guess he lost me or something because he was taking forever, so Iooped around to see if he was coming and he came around the corner super slow. And he said, "well you missed a good one" And told me about how he was looking for me and didn't see a big dip in the road infront of him and he hit it and flipped over the handlebars. Haha I felt super bad. Best part is that he did it infront of the weird 5 way intersection in our area, so there were plenty of people to witness it. He's fine, just a little scrape on his lil knee is all.
    We checked the mail for the first time since I've been here! Which was great because my home card had expired and it stunk, but you sent me one, so that's cool! And also I got a bunch of letters from the stake youth in Nebraska, which is nice, I got a few email addresses from people which is exciting. And a ton of stuff for missionaries who haven't been here in a long time, so I guess we're not the only ones who haven't checked the mail in a while.
       It was a good week over all. Thanks for writing me! I love you, have a great week!

Here's a few pics from last week when we went to the ocean.

Week 83

Hey Mom! 
     Yeah this was an interesting week for us too, it was the last week of the transfer and we were running around everywhere. We found a family the prior week and they really like us but they live 30mins away so couldn't come to church last week. Then they let us know Saturday night that they had no gas to take their car to church on Sunday morning. Of course right? So we had some fun stressing over how they were going to get to church on Sunday. Sunday morning came around, and nobody had responded. Oh also, we only have like 3 active members where they live and 2/3 of them were going to car pool to church that morning. Also, its a family of 7. And so that was a huge bummer, and then the member driving the carpool called us and told us that he'd take two cars so that they could fit the family. It was awesome, so we called our investigators to let them know and.... their phone was off! So we called the other member there that was going to be going in the car pool and asked her to run over to their house and wake them up so they'd come. And she said she'd try. We didn't really hear that much after that from them until they just showed up like 2 mins before church started! It was such a huge miracle haha. Our members are awesome. 
     The family is really nice, we think the mom has some kind of learning disability, because when we ask her a question, she kind of gives us a blank look. Also her kids don't really know what they should do in church as far as behavior so it was a little hectic. They would talk as loud as they wanted and I would try to hush them. And of course the mom did absolutely nothing. The kids kept telling me, "Hey! She's out in the hall!" and tattling on their siblings to me. I kinda just sat there and thought... wait these aren't my kids, why are they looking to me to take care of them? haha I have a new found respect for parents. And I only had to deal with it for a few hours. The family really loves us though, they call us everyday to ask us how we are and tell us random stuff that happened. It's nice, but we don't always have all the time in the world to talk to them haha.
     And then we are having transfers this Tuesday.. and Elder Stewart and I... are staying together!!! Haha it's so awesome! There are something like 30 missionaries coming into the mission, which is a lot. So they are opening old areas that have been closed down for a while, which means that my district will grow from a 4 man district with 2 companionships into an 8 man district with 4 companionships. So that'll be interesting. I'll have to be more organized at least. I'm actually excited because that means that district activities will be more fun and we'll be able to ball as a district. Speaking of which, my knee is doing a lot better, not quite better yet, still a little swelled and feels like it's bruised, but it'll be okay. I just need to focus on keeping it strong so this stops happening.
  Oh! Elder Stewart went to visit a member that lives pretty far away, and lives right next to the beach. So we paid it a visit for fun. It was pretty cool, it was just a small gulf I guess, but we knew in our minds it was the ocean so it seemed cooler than that. It didn't smell nearly as bad as the Atlantic, so that was good. We saw a bunch of fish jumping everywhere, some of em were pretty big. Then there was this like 10ft pole and I thought it would be cool to do the karate kid thing on it, so I climbed up there first, super scary. I thought I was gonna die, especially standing on one foot. Then I got Stew to climb up there, I may or may not have held his hand to make him feel more safe, and he wouldn't do the one foot thing, he said his body froze and he couldn't haha. But it was fun.
         It was a great week and I'm excited for this next transfer with Elder Stewart. I'm glad Nate's doing okay! have a great week mom! I love you!

 My computer isn't letting me sent pictures, I'll send em next week.