Monday, July 25, 2016

Week 79

 This was a cool week. So I went on a few exchanges, the first one was with one of our zone leaders. His name is Elder Stone, he is super cool and actually taller than I am, which is kind of weird for down here. He's like 6'5 I think. It was pretty fun, I expected it to be like okay, I'm you're leader and I'm going to teach you what you're doing wrong and what to change and stuff, but nope. We just hung out and had a regular day of work. It was fun though, he's a great missionary. We had a lesson in spanish, we met a new guy who is now our investigator, his name is Jose. He's from Mexico, which is pretty exciting up here in the North, I love teaching in spanish, it's not like easier or anything, but more satisfying? The spirit is the same but I just feel cool or something idk. I realized how much I've been lacking on my spanish study. There is a spanish study program that the mission does and there are three parts to it, and I haven't focused very much on it during my mission. So I'm trying to repent for that and work harder on completing it. Hopefully it will improve my grammar. Grammar is the hardest part of any language I'd say. I don't even know how English grammar haha.
      Then I went on a second exchange! Two in one week! But both of them were in my area so it's not that much different. I went on the second exchange with Elder Horne, one of my sheepies. He's a sweet little guy, from a small town in New Hampshire. Pretty cool, he's like your neighbor. He's super different haha, he likes to clean, currently patches the walls in his apartment, likes to listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir, sings hymns at random times of the day and is overall very happy and bubbly. But if he feels the spirit or gets upset he is very quick to tears. It's interesting. So that was a fun exchange. I was expecting all these things I'd heard about him to make the exchange be really hard for me, because I'm prideful like that and still quick to judge. I learned a lot on the exchange from him, it was actually really nice. He does those things because he loves to have the spirit, he taught me lots about having a good attitude. It turned out to be lots of fun and we had more in common than I'd thought. What a nice opportunity to get corrected by the spirit for thinking poorly about someone.
     I learned how to play cricket! There are lots of people in Kingsville from India because of the University here. Honestly, there are so many. Right now I'm in the campus library and everyone around me except for like 4 people are from India, and one of them is Elder Stewart. They're super nice, they all speak english, although with their accent sometimes I can't understand them. And they're super polite, they call me sir and are pretty willing to talk to us and answer all of my dumb and sometimes probably racist questions. So next to our apartment we have a tennis court and they like to play cricket there so you dont have to chase the ball, they just hit it low so it doesnt go out. And we went and played with them. It was pretty fun. I got to pitch, we played with this almost like a tennis ball kinda deal, but a little heavier. And so I thought I'd show em the fire and throw it really hard. And I was striking them out and they were all laughing and stuff and so I was all thinking I was doing good. Until finally someone asked me to not throw it so hard because the area we were in was too small for that kind of pitching. They said they throw it lightly and try to strike them out by putting spin on the ball, since you have to bounce the ball on the ground and then they hit it. I was again, humbled and felt really dumb. But it was fun and they all invited us back, stupid white kid. 
     Yesterday was pioneer day, don't know if you guys knew that. I didn't know that was really a thing, apparently like only Utah and California and Missouri celebrate it or soemthing. Church was pretty interesting, we were asked to do sharing time in primary, which of course we didn't prepare at all. It was on temples so we just talked about how cool it is with lots of enthusiasm and the kids paid attention. Then the next hour, the teaches came and found us again and asked, did they ask you to do the older kids sharing time too? We said, "Uhhh.. no" and then we found out that we were supposed to do both. So we went back in and talked about the temple with the older primary kids. It was pretty fun. We read some of the promise in D&C 109 and got them all pumped about being "surrounded by the glory of God" and "armed with power". It was really fun. Also crazy how deep the doctrine is in primary, all the kids knew what the ordinances were that are done in the temple, they knew what a covenant was and everything. I was blown away. 
      We had a family of investigators show up to church this Sunday. We met them on Saturday, they ranted to us about basically their whole lives and then after they were about done telling us their life story they asked us, well aren't you gonna preach to me or something? We just laughed and said we prefer not to preach, but to have discussions and help people improve their relationshilp with God, and he asked if we ahd a church and we said yes, wrote it down for him and he gave us his word he'd be there. I had high hopes, but at the same time I doubted he'd show up with his family. I've heard that a million times, I'll be there, you have my word. But then before church started, they all showed up, dressed nice and big smiles on their faces. I was excited and nervous, because I didn't know the topic of the talks. Then it was announced that it was pioneer day, i was crushed, I thought, well.. they're doomed, they wont understand anything and will think we're crazy. The first speaker was a youth, so she talked about the dates and read off her paper and sat down, the second a sister so she talked about her family and her geneology, and the last her husband. He noticed we were siting by a family he hadn't seen and our faces in our hands and being a returned missionary I guess saw what was going on. So he taught about the start of the church, leading up to the pioneers and related their sacrifices to us in our lives, and it was really great. And it made the other two talks make sense to someone who'd never heard about the church before. After sacrament meeting they had to go but were all smiling and the dad told us, you might just see us here next week, I really liked it. And shook our hands. I didn't know what to say. I feel bad doubting that they'd feel the Spirit in the Lord's house.
       Sorry there are no pictures, I left my backpack with all my stuff in Alice the beginning of the week, so I have been biking around with nothing and borrowing my companions scriptures and stuff, it feels wrong without a backpack. 
   Thanks for all your support mom, to me, and nathan and dad and scott and everyone, you're awesome. Have a great week! I love you!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 78

  Hey! So this week has been really great! Elder Puga was transferred, and my new companion is Elder Stewart. I'm not sure if I wrote about him earlier, but we served together in Weslaco, we lived in the same apartment and served in the same branch. He's awesome! He's on his 6th transfer now, and I'm on my 13th!!! 13/16... That's scary. We get along really well and he's even an inch taller than me, so we are two tall white skinny kids.. It's pretty fun. It's nice because now we don't have to go through the first awkward week or so of getting comfortable around each other. 
   Elder Messinger, the elder in my district who has stayed for 6 months, is staying again! Haha super funny! But we have an elder in the mission that is on his 7th transfer in the same area. And the area is very small in the middle of nowhere, so Messinger isn't that upset. 7 transfers.. that's almost half of his whole mission! Anyways, Elder Messinger has a new companion. So Elder Messinger is tall, good looking, really athletic, sociable and has a hard time being 100% missionary mode, like most of us. And his new companion is Elder Horne, about 5'5', glasses, emotional, loves working really hard. And another cool thing, he LOVES cleanliness. He was excited to find out that we don't have huge activities here on P-days so now he can spend about 6 hours cleaning their apartment. Haha so there is lots of learning to do on both sides.
   This week has been really great, although I miss Elder Puga and the funny stuff he used to do, I love elder Stewart too. The other day we had a funny experience. We went to visit a less active, and she came out and met with us for about 5 mins and so we walked out of her gated yard and this little old guy smoking a cigarette waved us into his house. So we went in and his father in law walked in. An even older, smaller hispanic man with "hearing problems" he got mad at his son in law for letting us in because he is strictly catholic. I don't know if he thought we couldn't speak spanish because he kept asking the other guy why he let us in in  spanish. So that was interesting.. he just turned on the tv and paid us no mind. So we talked with the other guy that let us in, it didn't really go very far but we invited him to church and gave him the address and our number. Then we walked around and talked to another less active in the area and contacted some referrals. Then we walked back by that house and the really old dude that didn't like us was trying to park his car. He was just trying to parallel park by the curb, and his vision wasn't too good so he would pull forward a few feet, then back up a few feet, and continued to do that for about 7mins. Literally 7 mins, we waited and watched the whole time. It was so funny, there would be long pauses inbetween so we thought he'd just parked but then his reverse lights would come on and we'd be like "aww so close!". He finally gave up, turned off the car, went inside, then came back out and did it again for another 5 mins, but actually parked it this time. It was pretty strange.
    We had a cool lesson. We taught a recent investigator we found named David. He's from a neighboring town and actually is moving back in a few days. But we went over to teach his brother and his family, David was staying with them for a few weeks. The first contact we had with him we handed him a restoration pamphlet and then some weird pastor dude came out of his house and starting talking to everyone, just trying to distract them from our message I guess. It was really weird. Then he went around to all the neighbors and talked with them, just incase we had "corrupted" them I guess. But David didn't pay any attention to him, he read the whole pamphlet while the other dude was talking. And after the pastor left he told us he wants to learn more about this Joseph Smith guy and if we really do have 12 apostles he would like to know who they are too. So we looked at eachother and nodded our heads like, "Yeah we can do that!" We talked about joseph smith and a little about the BOM. Then we went over yesterday and taught him about the BOM and about how Christ came to the Americas. He found that hard to believe and said he thought that history doesnt really match up with that. It was pretty interesting, I had never really talked with anyone about it, so I explained the little that I know about the historical evidence supporting that claim. He also thought the BOM was redundant and pointless and so we read with him a few verses from 2 Nephi 29. He kind of shut up and said yeah okay that makes sense, and we talked about how you cannot understand the mysteries of God through logic, only through the spirit. Which is something I recently learned from Elder Bruce R McConkie, I have some of his talks. He agreed a lot with it and we invited him to pray and search the scriptures for his answers instead of just drawing conclusions. The spirit was really strong, and we gave him his own copy of the BOM and left. We might not see him again because he is going back to Corpus Christi and then moving up towards Houston. But we told him missionaries would help him move and he said that'd be cool. I feel pretty good about the seed we planted. I feel that sometime in the future he will be prompted to read the BOM and when he does will be baptized. Lots of times we teach lessons like these and I have this similar feeling, although it's not as great as teaching the lessons and seeing them progress, I still feel like that experience will be one they can draw back on, and it's cool. 
    Also there are cotton fields next to a church in our zone, super weird.

         Thanks for writing me, glad to hear that you guys are all doing well,  I love you! Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 77

      Hey! Man, Hashi's sounds like a bunch of fun! Haha what a great opportunity to learn to have a good attitude even though you feel terrible. It's a good thing women are tougher than men, imagine how much we would complain if it was more prominent for us. 
     Glad to hear the family is getting together often, that's a nice change now that you're closer. I hope Nate's birthday is awesome!
    This week was a pretty normal week. We have started to work with more families, which is really exciting. We have about five families that we're working with. Each of them have a doubt about church. Which is the most frustrating doubt to have, everything else will pretty much work itself out if they go to church. Probably my favorite investigator (can we have favorites?) well at least the one that I personally get along with the best, just feels like he cannot see himself and his family going to church. It's just something that they don't do. And he thinks about stuff too much. He thinks, basically about the natural man, and thinks that the thought of going to church is just something to make us feel better, and so he thinks that somehow, by going to church, he's like giving in or something. I don't know, I didn't really understand it either. 
   So there is an elder in my district who has been here for 4 transfers, 6 months. and he really doesn't like his area. And tomorrow is transfers. Last night our Zone leaders sent out a voicemail with everyone that is leaving, he is not leaving. He is going to stay another 6 weeks! He is really upset about it and thinks that the zone leaders are just trying to play a trick on him. But I'm not really sure, we're having an activity today with the whole zone, so I'm sure we'll talk about it. But if it is true and he is staying. This could be a hard transfer. Also Elder Puga is leaving and I am staying. This missionary and I will be the only two elders in the zone that aren't leaving. Should be interesting. I'm just not sure what to do to help him. Because he already knows, or at least has heard about how having a good attitude is a choice. He just decides to have a bad attitude. It's the worst. I've never had a hard time in my mission with having a bad attitude so I don't exactly know how to relate to it. I can only relate to it with back home when we were told we were going to move to Nebraska, I thought it was the worst thing ever. And it at times was hard to have a good attitude about it. But I just found other things to make me happy and I was for the most part. This might take lots of prayer to know how to help out this Elder. But that's okay, it'll be a learning experience for all of us.
     We did some service the other day for a widow in our ward. She was in the hospital for about 3 weeks, and while she was there her power was turned off. So he refrigerator was pretty live with maggots. It was awesome. (sarcasm) So I got to see what a relief society president gets to deal with, cleaning out that refrigerator. So my comp and I we mowed the lawn and trimmed the trees and she wiped out the fridge with bleach and stuff and sprayed it out with the hose. We held the trash bags open while she threw stuff into them, it smelled soooo bad. I found a chef's knife in the back yard, that's what I used to trim the trees while Puga was mowing the lawn. It brought me back to my childhood, swinging sticks at trees and stuff. I knew that was good for something. I had some crazy big spikes stuck in the bottom of my shoes afterwards! Then on Saturday we took some mattresses and an old chair and stuff to the landfill, which also smelled really bad.Elder Puga was standing next to this bush and he almost walked into this spider!
           I love you! have a great week! 

Week 76

     My 4th was pretty good. We didn't really do anything exciting. It was p-day and we couldnt email so we got together with a few companionships in the zone and played basketball for a few hours and then went and got shakes at Whataburger. Then we hung out in their appt and drove home. Since it was 4th of July, we had to be in our appt by 6pm, which is always fun. We probably should have cleaned because we are going to have apartment checks on Thursday, but we just kind of laid around. It only happens like 3 times a year so we figured we'd take it easy. It was pretty uneventful but it was a good day. 
    This week has been pretty good. We got to meet our new mission president and his family! We had interviews on Friday. It was quite surprising really, to see how they were. He is definitely called of God and we will be fine. He talked a lot about how he knows who he is and that God called him and he has the authority to receive revelation for us. He said in our interviews we would say the first prayer and after the prayer, he would know everything about us, our weaknesses, fears, strengths, sins, potential, everything. And he did. My interview went really well, I said the prayer and afterwards I could just tell he knew a lot about me. In lots of interviews he prophesied future callings, quoted patriarchal blessings and called us all to repentance. It was awesome, there were lots of missionaries that came out of their interviews crying. I wish I was one of them, but I'm lame and have no feelings. His family is really cool, his kids can all speak english, not perfectly but almost. His wife is really sweet and gave us a training on the accent of spanish words and syllables, it was really cool, I forgot that words did that. During her training, her youngest son, Santiago, was in need of attention and so was doing little kid things. The meeting was in the sacrament room of a chapel and he would run all around the pulpit and the chairs up there, he climbed all over things, played with the microphone, which was on for some reason, and pulled out some tissues and stuck them over the microphone. His mother, the whole time was very patient and mostly just ignored him. It was pretty strange. We all were pretty surprised that a mission president's son would do that, I guess we expected a super family. But also nice to know that nobody has complete control of their kids. 
     Fortunato Peralta was confirmed on Sunday, and it was really awesome, I could tell the ward was really happy that the person that got baptized the previous week showed up the week after haha. Then we went to his class, the have a gospel doctrine class in spanish, with about 2 other people in it, and the other two were gone this week, so it was him, the teacher and us. The one who teaches the class is also the translator. It was pretty eye opening for us missionaries. Seeing that the translator barely speaks any spanish. Most of the class he just spoke in english and we translated it to bro Peralta. No wonder he always falls asleep in Sacrament meeting haha. The other spanish couple mentioned he wasn't the best but we didn't think it was that bad. At least he's always there, doing his best.
     How are you doing? Dad mentioned that your health has been all crazy lately.  Mom!? Why do I hear more about you from Dad? Haha let me know how you're doing! I will pray for your health, I hope that you guys can find a diet that isn't too crazy or boring that works for you. 
      Hope you and Dad continue to improve and are happy. I love you guys a ton! have a great week!

Look at this creepy house we found!

Week 75

Hey Mom! This week was really good, like always. This was a week full of miracles.
    First off, I thought it would be funny to show you some of the decor that people have on their front porches. Lots have a "this is a catholic home" and there is to be no soliciting or propaganda. A few times when we knock the door the person will ask, "Didn't you read the sign?" And I look at it and I'm like, "OH WOW! So you believe in Jesus Christ too! That's awesome! Have you seen that bless your life a lot?" And they will go off on some crazy miracle about how they almost died 100 times, but "gracias a Dios" they didnt. Gracias a Dios means thanks to God. It's a super common saying here, also, si Dios quiere, and primeramente Dios. Which mean If God wants and God first. Basically whenever we ask someone if they'll come to church or read something they'll just say si Dios quiere. It drives me nuts because it basically means no, like they never do. But I just act like they actually will and get all excited when they say that.
   Another cool thing that happened this week is there was an investigator, his name is Fortunato Peralta, he's 79 and only speaks spanish. Where I am in the mission right now there aren't very many people that speak spanish. So it's kinda cool. So he lives really far away, and we thought he lived in another area, so those elders were kind of trying to teach him, but it's really out of the way for both of us, like a 40 minute drive. So we actually found out the boarders of our wards and turned out, he's in our area. And he had gone to church 3 times before, had some doubts about the BOM and Joseph Smith. So Saturday, we decided we needed to go out there because he wasn't answering his phone or anything, huge gamble with our miles in the car. So we drove out there, only directions we had were, down that road, left at the gas station and its a blue house on the left. So we turned at the only gas station in this.. town? And there was a blue house right there, so we knocked it, turned out not to be him. So we kept driving, knocked another few blue houses, nothing. So we kept driving, then the other elders told us that it was in the 9500's and we were in like 5500 or something. Also, they couldn't describe the house anymore than that, blue. So we drove another probably 10-15miles to get to those numbered houses, and we found it!!! We knocked on the door with the old and very loud spanish music playing and he was just sitting in a chair doing nothing. We talked to him for a little, got to know him, then talked about baptism. He was pretty reluctant at first but we shared about 10 scriptures with him about not procrastinating, how Alma baptized by the authority and we discussed authority, and we told him this was the only way to live with his deceased wife again. He finally agreed and we offered to come pick him up before church. He said he'd drive. He has no license and is 79 and can barely see. So we figured it out that we'd go get him the next day, shook his hand and left.
   Sunday morning came and we got a member, our Ward Mission Leader, to drive us out to his house, we got there and he didn't answer the door. So we let ourselves in, he's just an old guy right? And we ran around his little house yelling for him, knocked on a door which seemed to be the bedroom, and a young woman asked, about 25yrs old. She hid herself behind the door because she wasn't decent. Supeerrrr awkward. We apologized and asked where he was, she said that he left about 20mins prior to go to some church in Kingsville, (our church is in Kingsville). So we rolled our eyes and drove back to Kingsville. Texted the bishop and he was already there, and had been about 30mins early. We ran it just as it started and sat with him, with the biggest smiles on our faces. He had a change of clothes in a trash bag next to him and everything. We had our zone leaders come down from a neighboring town to interview him, the LAST hour of church. He passed! I don't know how, but he passed haha, I've never talked with him before Saturday so I had no idea if he'd drank alcohol or tea or coffee or done anything else. He actually has a strong testimony of not doing anything bad, not from us, but from time and experience and the Bible. We got some members to come who could speak spanish, and he was baptized after church. I was privileged to be the one to help him be baptized. It was an awesome experience. Probably one of the more rushed baptisms, but also one of the most satisfying. 
      What a crazy week! That's probably the most exciting of it all, hope that is interesting. I love you a ton, thanks for writing me and keeping me updated on everything. I love you and hope that your health continues to improve!

Week 74

   This was a pretty good week.  I got the package you sent me, I love the new camera, it's awesome. It's actually helped a lot in the work, I don't know why I didnt before but I took a picture of our member board with all the less actives and actives. And in every area there seems to be a large number of less actives that nobody ever visits so we don't know if those people live there anymore. So if we go by someone and they aren't there, I can look at the picture I took of the board and see who is close, it's really nice. The other day we visited one of those houses and found a less active family, with a few members that haven't been baptized. We asked when the last time the missionaries stopped by was, she said about 3 years! Wow! Our last weekly planning we re-wrote the area member boards so it was more organized and I guess it worked. It took forever and was super boring but I am already feeling good about it. My companion (Elder Puga) taught me a spanish song and I only know a few lines but it's super funny and mexican sounding so I sing it all the time. And at the door of that less active (I was in a weird mood) I asked her if she recognized the song, and sang part of it. And she said yes and actually told us that her dad had worked with lots of popular mexican artists. Elder Puga was more impressed than I was, because I had no idea who they were but it was cool and helped us build a little relationship with her. 
    So in Latino Culture when someone gets married, their kids take the father and mother's last name. So Elder Puga Gomez, his father's name was Puga and his mother's, Gomez. I think they do this because ALL of their names are the SAME. But who knows.. So he goes by Elder Puga, Gomez is just there to distinguish him from other's with his last name. That's also why Elder Rosero isn't known by Elder Olvera, because Olvera is his mother's last name. There are lots of very popular names in Latino culture. Lopez, Rodriguez, Dominguez, Ramirez, Ramos, Gonzalez. And lots of first names, Juan, Jose, Carlos, Pedro, Mateo, Maria, Mario. Lots of names from the Bible because most are Catholic or have Catholic background. Pretty interesting. But yeah, I don't know if that really made sense, but yeah haha. 
    Yesterday we met a family, active, who are in an interesting situation. The wife has been a member for about 20 years and has been active the whole time. He has been actively attending the church since about 2004, but has never been baptized. He claims that he has never received a spiritual confirmation from God that this is the one and only true church. He has doubts of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but has witnessed and believes in the Priesthood. Pretty cool huh? He said until he receives an answer, he will not be baptized. He then continued that if he does not get that confirmation and baptized in this life, his wife will just do the temple work for him and it will be okay.

 Heresy four: There are those who believe that the doctrine of salvation for the dead offers men a second chance for salvation.
I knew a man, now deceased, not a member of the Church, who was a degenerate old reprobate who found pleasure, as he supposed, in living after the manner of the world. A cigarette dangled from his lips, alcohol stenched his breath, and profane and bawdy stories defiled his lips. His moral status left much to be desired.
His wife was a member of the Church, as faithful as she could be under the circumstances. One day she said to him, “You know the Church is true; why won’t you be baptized?” He replied, “Of course I know the Church is true, but I have no intention of changing my habits in order to join it. I prefer to live the way I do. But that doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I know that as soon as I die, you will have someone go to the temple and do the work for me and everything will come out all right in the end anyway.”
He died and she had the work done in the temple. We do not sit in judgment and deny vicarious ordinances to people. But what will it profit him?
There is no such thing as a second chance to gain salvation. This life is the time and the day of our probation. After this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. Salvation for the dead is for those whose first chance to gain salvation is in the spirit world.
There is no other promise of salvation than the one recited in that revelation. Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.
I thought the words of Elder Bruce R McConkie were quite fitting. I wasn't  bold enough to say it right to him, also I hadn't looked it up so it seemed that I lacked the evidence of this claim but now I feel it important to inform him of the danger he is in. It is interesting the people out there that are so close but so lost. I knew also some widows that were not sealed in the temple, who regularly read deep doctrine books and said they will just be given a husband in the next life because it didn't come to them in this life. It's sad that we let our own mind justify our idleness and we allow ourselves to stand by while we lose time to work towards our potential. I think about my own life and things that I have struggled with for quite some time, and realize that I could have easily overcome habits or weaknesses and be better for it now. I've recently put lots of thought into the common quote from our Savior, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" And it's true, we have to take action in this life to achieve our desires.
       Haha huge tangent. But yeah, this week was really good. The other night we had a meal appt cancel on us so we hadn't eaten all day so we got home and I asked one of our members to buy us pizza and they did! It was the best night ever, and they didn't go cheap, they bought us 3 Domino's pizzas and had them delivered. It was so great.
      Also the other day, we were finding some members, and we saw this kid walk down the street with his dogs and he was't wearing a shirt and I just kind of rolled my eyes and knocked the door. And after we talked with the person we drove down the road and saw the kid run up the side of the school and do a backflip off of it. It was so cool! So we went and talked with him and he has been teaching himself flips and stuff, and he showed us some of his flips, and he turned out to be really awesome.
        But yeah that's about it for this week, thanks for writing me, I hope you have a great week! Love you!​

Week 73

    This week has been pretty great! Tons of stuff is always going on. We had a zone conference this week and it may be the last time I see President Maluenda as a missionary :(. It was a great conference, we learned a lot about making goals and plans, which he talks about a lot but I think I actually understood it this time. He is really big on having goals, which all of us have "goals" right? But what a goal really is is a measurable action that shows progression toward your vision. So say like, I wanted to be buff, I would set a goal of gaining 20lbs in 6 months, and my vision being, being buff. And he had us really think about the goals we've set, like really set and prayed about and everything. And I thought, "wow! I dont really have many goals!" He said that everyone in the world has desires or dreams, and the difference is when we put those desires and dreams into action, otherwise we are just wasting time that could've gone to obtaining those goals. Then when we have goals, we make specific plans on how to achieve those goals, ei workout plans and meals. Pretty awesome! And helps me to organize my priorities too. So for the beginning of my personal studies I work on refining my goals and plans, and I know that it will be awesome! Thomas S Monson said, "Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."
      President Maluenda also gave us some cool tips for life, shared his experience of how he found Sis Maluenda, which is so funny! Second date, he talked about marriage and asked her if he could read her patriarchal blessing! And she said yes! Crazy right? He told her that he was the man in her blessing and she had been planning on serving a mission, and he told her that if she served, he wouldn't wait for her, but that later in life they'd serve together. And she stayed and they got married! And he was dating 3 girls at the time, with one of them he went to the temple weekly! Haha don't worry I won't do anything like that but it's just so Maluenda to do that. He told us what we should do when seeking a profession, which was awesome. I just learned so much! 
      Being a District Leader is great, I love that about the Lord, he never keeps you where you are comfortable, because there, you can't learn anything! This week was cool because I was able to give some correction to some sheep and I could really see a change in them, and I hope that they have more success and happiness because of it. Also, it teaches you time management, we've been having to run little errands or surprise trips 1hr away, we get kind of crammed for time. So we teach short lessons, we have to say, "Ok we have to leave in like 20mins so we're going to share something with you guys really quick" And it gets right down to business and everyone is way more focused. 
      Saturday was my 20th, which is crazy! Because before the mission and just at the beginning, I thought, I'll be 20 when I go home, so Saturday was a scary day for me. I totally forgot it was my birthday until a few Elders that i was in the MTC with called me and sang me happy birthday. Nothing really crazy happened that day, but it was a good day.
     Yesterday we were biking down the road and there were some really young kids playing in their front yard. And they started waving at us at were super happy and so we stopped to say whats up and they were so funny. There was the oldest, 8 and his 6yr old sister and then a 4 yr old boy. Just all alone, in the front yard. And I asked if their parents were home, thinking, these kids would be awesome in primary. And the little 4 yr old asked, where's your mom? And I told him, "At home" and he picked a flower and gave it to me and said, "this is for your mom". It was so cute, haha and I figured I can't really give it to you so I took a picture of it.
       Thanks for keeping me updated, I love you and hope you have a great week!
PS- Rob got his mission call to Ecuador?! That's so awesome!!!!! Is there any way you could get his email for me?! Hahahaha that's so funny! Elder Rosero is from Ecuador, he's gonna go teach a bunch of Roseros.

Week 72

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, I got a lot from different people, some I've never met before, how nice! This week was cool, it is definitely different as a DL, actually having to run the meeting instead of just sit there in it. Also strange having sheep to watch over. Especially if they're struggling a little bit. Some of the elders in my district's plans fell through the other night, so they just went home and chilled an hour early, great huh? So we had a chat about that and what's going on and I think it'll be better now. 
     It has been raining all this week! Almost every day at like 2:30 it starts raining super hard and floods some of the roads. Not like the first day here, but still. The other day it caught us riding our bikes, biking in the rain is really fun, but then your shoes get wet and take forever to dry off, and I dont want to leave them outside cause somebody will take them. So I hung them up over a vent in our apartment, prolly gonna smell really awesome in there. 
      My new companion is Elder Puga Gomez, he is from Baja California, Mexico. He moved to Utah when he was 15 so his english is really good, still has an accent and makes little mistakes that I laugh at though. He's really awesome, super pumped for missionary work. He's on his 8th transfer, so I don't have to baby him or teach him how to do basic stuff, which is nice. We try to speak mostly spanish when not in lessons but I'm not very good with focusing on it haha. 
      Our ward here is super great! We have like 5 or 6 young families with small children, and most of them served missions! Lots of white people here from upstate. Not that I'm saying that Spanish wards/branches aren't as strong.. they just... tend not to be. So this ward has lots of missionary potential! BUT... they haven't harnessed it at all! They have a goal as a ward to have 12 converts a year. Which is honestly pretty low, I think it would be pretty easy to double that, especially because the missionaries here are so geared towards it. We are going around and getting the visions of the auxiliary leaders and seeing how we can bless their quorums/group things. It is really awesome, when I work with members like this I feel like I'm actually helping them to grow and strengthen the ward. I hope that we can have lots of members willing to help us and work with us. 
      I can't believe elder Rosero and Lindsay are gone! It's pretty sad, I'll miss his accent and his baptismal focus. They were both such good missionaries and I know they'll do super great now that they're out too. 
     Thanks for emailing me! I love you guys so much! OH and if you are gonna send anything just send it to the mission home and I'll get it in like a month lol. Love you!