Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not too long ago, we were just chattin' it up!

Hey, family!

Welp . . . Not too long ago, we were just chattin’ it up! Good to hear from you all once again, though! Good to know you’ve all been okay for the past 36 hours! I’m serious, by the way . . .

Anyway, yea . . . What a very Merry Christmas! It was great not to have to rush and just let the conversations flow . . . Grrrrrrreat! It was so great to hear everyone’s voice again and to know that the next time we talk I will only lack a month . . . oooooooo . . . Baggy . . . LOL . . .

As for us here in Peten, I am also very excited to see all the ruins up here. Today, we were gonna go see some but President and Hermana Torres are up here in Peten and we couldn’t be far away in case they needed something from us. So, we just went and ate cookies and played Phase 10 and shot some hoops out at the Church of Santa Elena. Elder Toolson is my best buddy from the Zone for sure. He is like 6’3” and has a full ride waiting on him at UVU. We had some shooting contests and he beat me twice and I beat him twice. LOL . . . I think I got lucky, huh? Anyway, his brother was and is a great player, I guess. He is supposedly playing in France now and he was the 9th leading scorer in D1 in his Senior year at UVU like three years ago or something. He dropped 62 against Chicago State in a double overtime game. Needless to say, I really wanna play this Elder Toolson kid . . . LOL . . .

Oh . . . Question . . . What order do the books in the Old Testament and New Testament actually go in? As far as when they were written? Dad . . . Could you lemme know about that one? Please . . . I know ya got my back . . .

Well . . . I don’t think I ever told you . . . When I left Sion, I left seven fechas . . . One was Cristina and the Xol family. Looks like they’re all gonna be baptized on the original date we set which is the 22nd of January. Pretty dog on cool. I’m sure hoping I can see Cristina’s baptism in some way. It’d be maybe my most special baptism.

We got a quadruple double my last week in Sion, too . . . LOL . . . That’s finishing strong . . .

Anyway . . . Holler at me! I don’t have much to say . . . LOL . . . Love you all sooooo, sooooo much!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Zone Leader in the Peten Zone!

Hello, family!

Sorry for writing a day late yet again! But yesterday was Change Conference . . . aaaaannnnnddddd . . . the oldest pure Cap missionary (Elder Jensen) has left the Capital!!!!!!!! Finally . . . LOL . . . All my waiting and patience paid off. I’m now Zone Leader over the biggest zone in the mission! The Peten Zone!!!!!! Whoop whoop! I just got the chills sayin’ it again. LOL! I have Tikal and El Mirador and all that in my Zone.

I arrived in Peten last night at like 12pm on the bus. The bus ride was 8-1/2 hours long . . . LOL . . . It stunk, but I was happy to arrive safely. No one knows what’s gonna happen on a long Guat trip like that . . . LOL . . . So, my area is San Benito but I’m the Zone Leader so I’ll get to know all the cool places . . . Haha . . . My Companion is Elder Alonso from Nicaragua and we are actually in the same group, so we both go home in six months.

I was really sad to leave Sion because I was there for six months and I really, really did love the people there (well, I love the people there) and I really loved my companion. I couldn’t have had a better companion than Elder Peterson, but I guess it was too good to last for longer than six weeks. The Bishop announced that I was leaving in Sacrament Meeting and everyone made the “awwwwww” sound. LOL. It was pretty funny actually. It was really cool, though, to know how much the people loved me (even as much as I loved them). Bishop gave me time after he heard all the “awwwwwing” to pass in front and share my testimony. It was a really cool experience, but a sad one as well. I left seven fechas in Sion, so I hope Peterson and Williams will be able to come through on ‘em! I really think five of them are for sure baptisms if the Elders keep workin’ hard. It’s cool that Elder Williams took my place there ‘cause I was with him for his first day in the mission field!

Anyway, I’m excited but scared a li’l and all that. LOL. Peten is really warm. It’s only 10am and it’s hot. LOL. Nothing like the Capital where it’s pretty chilly. This will for sure be my hottest Christmas ever. Even hotter than our Christmas in Hawaii.

Well, I’m sorry that I didn’t bring my agenda with all my notes, but I guess I’ll just have to write a super long e-mail next week with double stories.

Oh, and I’m gonna call you guys sometime today to talk to you about how we’re gonna do the phone call. I should be calling within three or four hours.

Sooooo . . . How are you all? Tell me what you guys are doin’ for Christmas! Who is gonna be in the house???? Lemme know real quick. I still have a li’l over 20 minutes.

I love you all sooooo, sooooo much! Take care!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mauricio entered the baptismal waters!

Heyyyyyyy, yo!!!!!!

Well . . . I’m all good from a tough last week . . . LOL! No! I’m just playin’! I really think it was good for me not to receive e-mails for one week. I think it better helped me understand how Elders feel when they don’t ever receive e-mails. I think it was good for me ‘cause I have to know how to relate to my missionaries as a leader. Anyway, though . . . Thank you for all of your updates yet again!

Let’s see here . . . I can’t really give you Christmas calling information just yet ‘cause Chagnes come before Christmas and I don’t know what phone I will be using if I have a change. I’m sooooo excited to be able to talk to you all, though! And, wow! I’m sooooooo excited about Zo maybe going to Gav! That would be waaaaaay, wayyyy, wayyyyy too cool if I could play with him again! Do you think you would have his e-mail by chance? Or could you find a way for me to get in touch with him?

I’m very thankful for Sister Smith’s Mom who got the gifts to you all! I sure hope you like ‘em! Also, I just sent a li’l envelope with a tie for Dad, some pictures and a recording of me talking . . . LOL . . . I hope you get that soon!

And I’m very happy to know that things are going better for Dylan in ball! Keep it up, big guy! Stay strong! If you remember anything I told you on your bed the night before I left on the mission, apply it! I love you, bro!!!!
As for some of my updates now . . .

Well, Mauricio successfully entered the baptismal waters on Saturday and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday! He didn’t lack the second part this time! Man . . . He is a special kid. Just a perfect example of how missionaries only have to be obedient and the Lord will guide people to us and put us in their paths. We really didn’t have to do much with him. He already knew everything . . . All we had to do was invite him again to keep the Word of Wisdom and he did it easily! Yes . . . It was easy! He would never have been baptized if we hadn’t been there helping him. The Lord did all the work He could in spirit and we just had to come in body to get it done. It was pretty cool . . .

As for Karina, we are gonna go talk to her mom a li’l more today. We shall see what she says . . . We just keep prayin’ for her . . .

Oh! Sorry I’m writing on Tuesday, by the way . . . We have P-Day today ‘cause we went to the Temple this morning. I was very, very tired . . . LOL . . . But, like always, the peace of the Temple is untouchable. Good, good morning . . .

Oh, this week, I think it was Saturday, actually . . . I finished the Book of Mormon again. It was my seventh time in life already . . . LOL! Weird, huh? And the fifth time in the mission! Then I was like . . . Dang! I’ve read it seven times! I dunno how much I can still learn from reading it an eighth time! LOL! Well, God made me repent of that thought as I started the Book of Mormon again and learned something cool and new in just the first chapter! LOL!

Ummmm . . . What else from this week? Day of the Devil was this week . . . LOL . . . Only in Guatemala would the devil have his own day. Anyway, they burned a bunch of li’l devil piñatas in the streets. It is supposed to represent the victory of Mary over the devil when she gave birth to Jesus. Who really knows, though . . . Besides the person who invented the day . . . Oh, Guats and their unique traditions . . .

Oh! Guess what?!?! We had a quadruple double this week! LOL! Holler! Ten with a member, ten others, thirteen news, and fifteen less active or recent convert! Ballin’! LOL!

Aaaaaand . . . This week, we had a Christmas Conference with all the missionaries in the Capital (like 115 missionaries) and President and Hermana Torres. The Assistants gave talks as well as President and his wife. Of course, they were all very powerful and inspired. It was held in our Stake Center so I had the keys to everything and knew how to work all the equipment, soooo . . . I was running around the whole conference . . . Backstage, I guess you could say . . . LOL . . . That sounds cool. Oh! And President called me up in one part (and I was the only one that was called up during the whole Conference . . . Pretty cool!) and gave me like ten minutes to talk about the success I’ve had in baptizing and how I’ve done it. It was pretty cool of him and it felt good to know that he trust me ‘cause that means the Lord probably does, too!

Well . . . I don’t have much more to say! Hopefully I’m still here in Sion with Elder Peterson next time I write you! I love you all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"The power of prayer will pay off"

Hey! LOL! I’m here!

Aaaaaand . . . Welp . . . I completed eighteen months! LOL! Sorry I got on here a li’l early today. And, nope, I didn’t do anything to celebrate my 18-monther. I’m just not big on those celebrations, but I do recognize that I’m getting’ there!
Anyway . . . I’ll hit cha with some updates hoping that I still hear back from ya . . .

Oh! Thank you for the package! I got it and I’ve eaten almost all of the chocolate! LOL! I’m tryin’ to be patient in opening all the gifts, but I’ve opened two of them. I real all the letters! It was so fun to hear from so many people again! I was floating on a cloud for a li’l. LOL . . . Then I went out to work and realized that I was still in Guatemala . . . LOL . . . But I had a huge smile on my face that I couldn’t seem to wipe off. Even my companion made a comment about how happy I was. LOL . . . Not just ‘cause of how I was acting, just ‘cause he could see it through my eyes and smile. It made me very, very happy, though. So thank you sooo, sooo much. I also opened the Hershey kisses ‘cause the wrapping had broken a li’l, so there was no surprise on what it was. I’ve shared all my gifts with my companion ‘cause I’m a good sharer. Oh, and I already ate one bag of the muddy buddies . . . LOL . . . Good thing we were fasting or I think all the chocolate would be gone by now!

Oh . . . Questions, though . . . Any ideas as to what order I should open the rest of the gifts? Did you hear from Sister Smith yet about receiving the package she took for us in Guatemala? Lemme know . . .

This week was a li’l crazy . . . My companion and I lost like two days of work. We lost one day because we were supposed to help the APs. They called and told us to come in the office because we were gonna have to do divisions with some missionaries that weren’t being obedient and were gonna need emergency changes. Anyway, we went all the way out to Zone 14 and waited there for three hours while President was interviewing those rebellious missionaries. Then, after three hours, the APs told us that we could go . . . LOL . . . That we weren’t gonna have to do the divions any more ‘cause President had just decided to do the changes right away instead. Soooo . . . My companion and I lost lots of time goin’ t and from Europlaza. But, it’s all good. A donde me manada ire senor . . . Turns out that President made thirty-three changes! That’s like more changes than we have in a normal Change Conference every six weeks! LOL! Yea . . . We have a lot of disobedient people in this mission. It’s actually pretty sad, though.

Then, two days later, my companion and I had to go back to Europlaza to go to Zone Leader Council. Anyway . . . The Council was good like always. But, wow, it was weird to see that I’m getting’ old in the mission! LOL! Not many Zone Leaders have more time being Zone Leader than I do at this point . . . LOL . . . What happened to me being new?

As far as the work goes . . . It goes good . . . LOL . . . Mauricio will be gettin’ baptized for sure this next week. He has been a really special investigator and a huge example that God works miracles in the hearts of all men when they open their hearts and try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

As for Karina, she still has her baptismal date set for December 18th, but it’s lookin’ pretty dog on tough with how closed her mom is. We continue workin’ with her, though, and hope to be able to talk to her more straight forward this week.
As far as Cristina, she is doing very well. She told us that she knows the Church is true! But says she still has doubts on the Book of Mormon . . . LOL . . . She can’t seem to connect the fact that if the Church is true, then the Book of Mormon has to be true, too! LOL . . . She’ll get it in no time. I think a big thing for her is jumpin’ that hurdle of fear and pride . . . Ya know? She’ll get there soon, though. The power of prayer will pay off.

Oh . . . And I loved the letter from Allie about how she wants to enter the Temple. I was thinkin’ over how cool it’ll be to be able to enter the Temple with everyone after the mission, I dunno what could give me more joy than seein’ everyone in all white. We gotta make sure we make our once or twice a month visits to the Temple as a family.

Well . . . That’s ‘bout all I got! I love you all soo, soo much! Hit me up!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quadruple Double . . . Almost . . .

Hey! Yo, family!

Good to hear from you yet again. Boy . . . You were right! This week absolutely flew by! I know this change with Elder Peterson is gonna go by soooo, soooo fast! It’s a sad thing, but it’s a very good thing ‘cause six months and your boy is in the Suburban on his way to Gilroy, California! Sounds like you all had a blast this week! When does Stacie head back out to Utah! How is she? And Tom and Ash? How are they? What are they up to? And Dylan . . . How’s he doin’ with basketball? Is he starting and playing a lot and playing well? I need those updates, yo! And James and Randy? LOL . . . Still haven’t heard from ‘em . . . And how about Jamie? How’s he? And what’s he up to? Maybe you could try again to get those three guys to write to me . . . Thanks!

Well . . . To answer the question that Dad gave me . . . Our Zone is doing okay . . . We struggled this month, though . . . Really, really bad . . . It was a tough month for me to see the Zone suffer, but we are getting’ there. In the past few weeks, we have been getting’ better . . . L’il by l’il . . . I figure the best I can do is lead by example. We should have baptisms comin’ up soon, so hopefully that will excite our Zone again. This week, we did a fast as a Zone and I did see some fruits from it. Some areas put more baptismal dates and now it’s lookin’ like a lot of dates should be put this week, too. Soooo . . . We will get there! I think we all just need to grow more in our faith. It gets me all stressed out, but it’s all good! I was called to this position, so I’m doin’ my best . . . I really am. I’ve really been able to realize some of the great talents that God has given me while I’ve been serving. I’m a smart kid . . . Too bad I chose not to use the brain all the time before the mission . . . LOL . . . But, really, God is blessing me daily and I know He will continue to do so. Not just for me, but for the whole Zone if we are faithful.

Boy, that fast that I mentioned was a tough one, too . . . LOL . . . We started Wednesday after lunch. During those 24 hours, we did service twice . . . LOL . . . One was at like 4pm in the afternoon on Wednesday waaaaaaaaaaay down the mountain . . . And the other one was on Thursday morning at 5am! LOL . . . At the same place waaaaay down the mountain. By the time I finished the three hour long service, I was shaking . . . LOL . . . For lack of raiment (Oooooo . . . You like that big word!). And even though the family that we helped offered water and a snack, I told ‘em I was good. I hiked back up the hill, showered, and finished my fast just a li’l short of 24 hours. I felt really bad, but I really couldn’t go on anymore. LOL . . . I couldn’t focus when I was trying to study or anything. But I know Heavenly Father wasn’t mad at me for ending early. He is all understanding and I know He has blessed and will continue blessing my area and Zone because of that sacrifice. During that fast, I was on divisions with Elder Kjar, too. He’s a good kid from Idaho and has like five months in the mission. We did have a great division, though. We found a lot of new investigators and taught a lot of lessons. I know he was lovin’ it, too, ‘cause he hadn’t been having so much success in his area. I feel like he was able to learn a lot in the lessons we had and I was also learned a lot from him. Working with him reminded me to be simple and direct in my testimony. That’s something that the new missionaries are always good at. That good old ¨yo se que” line . . . LOL . . . But solid division . . .

And, this week, my companion and I tried sooo, sooo hard to pull off a quadruple double . . . LOL . . . Ten lessons with a member; Ten other lessons; Ten less active or recent convert lessons; and Ten new investigators. Well, we got sooo close . . . Ahhhh . . . It was sad. We got Ten with a member; Ten less active or recent convert; Twelve news; and, ahhhhhh . . . NINE others! We tried soooo hard . . . LOL . . . But Satan got the better. I’ve never had such a bad Sunday as yesterday . . . LOL . . . Not that it was super bad, just that all of the appointments kept falling and that never really happens on Sundays. And, we contacted a lot and no one let us in which is also weird for Sundays. I know Heavenly Father wanted us to complete that quadruple double, too. My companion and I prayed for the help, but we failed in something . . . LOL . . . ‘Cause we came up just short. It was tough when 9:15pm came around last night and we realized that we weren’t gonna be able to complete our goal . . . But . . . It’s all good! It was still a very good week for us.

Well . . . That’s ‘bout all I got for now! Ayyyyeeeeeee! I complete 75% of the mission on Friday! Weird, huh? I’ll say it again . . . I still feel kinda new . . . LOL . . . I love you all soooooo, soooooo much! Thanks for everything! Write me! And Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sooooo thankful for every single one of you! Be safe, smart and happy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Every day is a party for us"

Hey, family!

Thanks for all the updates as always! I dunno what I’d do if all of a sudden I didn’t receive a loving e-mail from you all. Well . . . At least I know I wouldn’t throw a fit anymore like I did that one time Dallas didn’t write me! LOL! Sounds like most of the excitement is soon to come, though, in this next week! Keep me posted!

As for me . . . I’ll hit y’all with the questions first . . .

How is Erik Rush doin’ so far this year? Still at Montana State? And Orlando? What are his stats like? And Lorenzo? What’s he doin’ for school?

LOL . . . My companion is from St. George soooooo . . . he says I should look at going to Dixie State. LOL . . . He says it’s easy to play there at least. LOL . . . What are they like? Could I study Physical Therapy there? Maybe a year or two at Gavilan and then get a scholarship to that li’l Division 2? Who knows? Oh! And you never told me why you were thinkin’ that maybe I shouldn’t red shirt . . . Hit me up!

Well . . . As for my companion and me, all is goin’ very, very well. Every day is a party for us and this is change is going to fly by just waaaaaaay too fast . . . We are working double areas right now because they took the sister missionaries out of our zone. It sounds like they took them out for protection reasons . . . The APs just called us and told us that we had to help the sisters move out of their home before 4pm on the same day and we said okay! LOL . . . So now we are teaching their investigators and trying to help ‘em keep progressing. We don’t go into that area much ‘cause we don’t really know it very well but we try to go there a couple times in the week at least. Another fun challenge . . .

Last week I forgot to tell you the names of all the missionaries in our Zone. . . So, here we go! Elder Jensen (17 months) and Elder Peterson (13 months) in Sion; Elder Hale (12 months) and Elder Chavarria (4 months) in Molino; It was Hermana Varela (15 months) and Hermana Indicott (8 months) in Cipresales; Elder Vindel (13 months) and Elder Kjar (5 months) in Durazno; Elder Carlsen (12 months) and Elder Vargas (20 months) in Jocotales; Elder Williams (17 months) and Elder Spilker (3 months) in Santa Luisa; Elder Morrow (10 months) and Elder Winkle (10 months) in Molino; and Elder Gallo (10 months) and Elder Hale (8 months) also in Molino. It’s weird ‘cause I’m always one of the oldest now . . . LOL . . . Our zone is doing alright . . . We just aren’t working as effectively as we could . . . We will find a way to get better!

My companion and I have two cool stories of investigators this week . . .

Karina is a 16-year old who has just “wowed” me. She has gone to church seven straight times!!!! Pilas! LOL . . . Anyway . . . She wants to be baptized but her mom really isn’t down with it so we are still just tryin’ . . . During our last appointment, she started crying when we were having her tell us what was going through her mind and what plans she wants to make. She just is sad ‘cause she can’t make the decision that she knows is right because she is younger than 18 and has to have her mom’s signature on her baptismal form. She has such a strong testimony of this gospel, though. It’s really cool. We set a baptismal date with her for the 18th of December. She obviously wants to complete it, but the goal is really that she can have her mom’s permission by that day. So, we will see how it goes! She’ll just need lots of prayers!

Mauricio is a 21-year old kid. He was an investigator here over eight months ago. He was baptized but never confirmed . . . LOL . . . So just imagine the kind of problems that were swirling around him. He was offended by the missionary after his baptism and then wouldn’t get confirmed. Sad. But, anyway . . . We found him this week and talked with him for a while. It was sooooo cool ‘cause as we were talking, he told us to hang on a second and went into his room to bring out his backpack. In his backpack, he had his Book of Mormon and a guide book for Seminary study. He said he had been wanting to return those items to the church for a long time but just didn’t have the support to do it. But he also said he had been studying alone all along while he hadn’t been going to church. That also “wowed” me. LOL . . . Anyways, he came to church this past Sunday and should be baptized again very soon! We shall see, though! Soooo cool getting to be an instrument in God’s hands, though. Gotta love it!

Anyway . . . This keyboard stinks. I’m doin’ sufferin’ so much with it. Lemme know if y’all need somethin’ from me! I love you all soooooooo much! Thanks for everything! Be safe and smart!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My new Companion is Elder Peterson!

Hello, family!

Here I am . . . Peek-a-boo!

Ahhhh . . . Peek-a-boo!

Ahhhh . . . Peek-a-boo!

Okay . . . That was enough weirdness. Let’s just get on to the good stuff, huh? I will let cha know when I get the Christmas package! Thank you soooo much for this, Mom and everyone! Oh! And, did Sister Smith’s Mom get my package for you guys? Oh! And speaking of the fact that you and Dylan went to the Church Book Store, I thought of some gifts that you can get me for my birthday. You can just have them at home for me when I get home. I really, really want the book, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I would also really like Doctrines of Salvation (all of them). Just an early birthday idea . . . That’s all . . .

Hey, Dad . . . One question . . . Does Satan have some type of Priesthood? Yes . . . I know what the definition of Priesthood is, but he had authority in heaven when he presented his plan. It says in the back of the scriptures that he was an angel of authority before he fell. Was that the Priesthood? And does he still have it?

Oh! And I continue readin’ my scriptures. I’m just about ready to finish Alma again and I’m in Isaiah now. Gotta get it done!

Thank you for the e-mail as always! I will make sure I answer all these li’l questions . . . Well, actually . . . I just realized that you only asked one question really . . . LOL . . . About my change.

Welllllll . . . I have great news! My new companion is Elder Peterson! I had heard rumors about who the three new Zone Leaders were going to be . . . Three of them were gonna be gringos and two were gonna be latinos. Seeing as I almost always have latinos as my companions, I thought I was for sure gonna get Elder Meza or Elder Barrios. And the three gringos that were going to Zone Leader were three of my best friends in the mission (namely Elders Peterson and Davis) . . . And, you know, you just never expect to get the change that you were hoping for but, aye, I did! Elder Peterson was with Elder Barrientos in my District for my last change in Ermita and my last change as District Leader. We became good pals there, though . . .And now it’s even more fun! We were both Barrientos’ companion, so we both know sign language and when we don’t want people to know what we are talkin’ ‘bout, we just say it in signs! LOL! It’s kinda cool . . . It’s really cool that I got with Peterson, though, ‘cause there are only a few missionaries in the mission that have been trusted to be with Elder Barrientos and we were two of them! Soooo . . . We are hoping to have an amazing, at least, six weeks! I know that this change will probably be the quickest of my mission, though . . .Which is great, but sad at the same time.

Anyway, yes . . . I am still Zone Leader. I have almost six months in the assignment now. Weird, huh? And this is Elder Peterson’s first change as Zone Leader, soooo . . . It will be good! Elder Peterson is actually from St. George just like Elder Chesley! They actually met each other before the mission, which is kinda funny! Peterson loves basketball, though, so you know we are gettin’ along great! He has a great love for the game . . . And that’s what counts! We were actually showin’ off our post moves to each other in the street while working. It was a battle . . . Then those post moves led to a crazy idea . . . How ‘bout basketball for exercise in the mornings??? Well . . . We don’t have a ball and we can’t play basketball in this mission (mission rule), sooooo . . . We went crazy! LOL! We decided that we would play one-on-one without a ball at the park near our house . . . LOL . . . So, I strapped up my Nikes and threw on my Charles Barkley and he threw on his Reeboks and his Jordan jersey. Needless to say, people were lookin’ at us real funny and some li’l kids even came closer to try to see the ball that didn’t exist . . . LOL . . . FYI, I took three charges and won 11-9. Defense is the name of the game, my friends . . . Soooo . . . Yes . . . I’m lookin’ forward to this change. Plus we put a fecha this week! Holler!

And, we have such a cool investigator. Cristina is the mom of a return missionary. Cristina never wanted anything, anything, anything to do with the Church until her daughter got home from her mission. Then her daughter was able to convince Cristina to listen to us (the missionaries). Well, we have taught her once a week for almost four months and she is progressing li’l by li’l. She finally came to church for the first time this last week in Stake Conference and she loved it! She wants to be part of the church. She can’t be baptized yet because of her work schedule, but she will get to that vital point of baptism soon. I know it. She just shows people, though, that if you open your heart and listen to what we have to say and teach as missionaries and keep the commitments that we leave (namely to read and pray), that it’s impossible for God NOT to touch your heart and tell you that these things are true. Soooo . . . It’s pretty exciting! We are gonna try to put that fecha with her on Wednesday! Soooooo very exciting and cool!

That’s all I got, though! Lemme know if I can do something for y’all! Love you kazillions!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My last day with beloved Elder Chesley

Sooooo . . . I’m sorry! Yesterday was very crazy! I’ll explain it all . . . LOL . . .

Comments first . . . Could you guys let me know which shoes of mine you are thinkin’ ‘bout selling? I just wanna make sure you sell all the ones I don’t want and none of the ones I do want!

Tell Dylaln to write to me about his Patriarchial Blessing (a few of his thoughts on it and all) and also about Senior Dinner/Dance and basketball and all that . . . Thanks!

Anyway, yes . . . Change week . . . Today is my last day with beloved Elder Chesley. I’ve been with him for over four months! I’ve never been with a companion that long and I kinda doubt I’ll ever be with a companion for that long ever again. I’m proud of us because we are soooo different and we didn’t really “click” at first, but we for sure figured it out. Good, good guy. So, tonight is his last night in the house. I’ll get my new companion tomorrow around 9:15ish and then I will bring him back here to my area. LOL . . . I’ve still never left the Capital. LOL . . . I’m still the oldest missionary in the Mission not to have left the Capital. LOL . . . Everyone tells me to tell President that I wanna leave, but I just refuse, knowing that he knows where I need to be and when I need to be there. The mission isn’t my time to have fun. I just gotta work and do what the Lord wants me to do. Soooo . . . I’ll be hittin’ six months in this area by the end of this next change that starts tomorrow, just like I did in my last area. Good stuff . . .

Let’s see here . . . Well . . . Stake Conference went very, very well. Of course it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, buuuuuutt . . . It was good. I go soooo mad on Sunday morning because we were supposed to go out on divisions with two members in the Ward to go get investigators at 7:30am. Well, one of them didn’t show up soooooo . . . What we had planned for getting investigators (over an hour) turned into just fifteen minutes! Ahhhhh!!!!!!! I was soooooo mad! I’ve never been that mad while I’ve been on my mission. It’s ‘cause we spent four weeks preparing for this and then to have someone let you down on something sooooo important . . . Ahhhh! It killed me inside! Anyway, we had two li’l busses prepared to take investigators to the Stake Center so they wouldn’t have to figure out rides, but not many could come . . . It was a bummer. We had planned for thirty and we only had eight!!!!!!!!!!!! The good and bad thing is that we had many more investigators than any other area. The cool thing is that one of those eight people is the mom of a return missionary. The mom never wanted anything to do with the Church but her daughter, the return missionary, helped get us in. We have taught this lady for two months and she has progressed slowly, but she sure has progressed! She came to the church for the first time ever and loved it! Future member!

Elder Falabella gave a great, great talk on not talking bad about others. I loved it, loved it. Soooo . . . The Stake Conference wasn’t all we had hoped for (as we had over forty-five people invited and at least twenty something confirmed to come), but we gotta take the positives out of it. It was a very positive Conference and a great place to start building.

Oooooh! Really cool thing, too . . . One of our converts, Audiel, is suuuuuch a good guy. He leaves and does divisions with us and gives us references and all that. Anyway, Elder Falabella saw him and just kept doing “double takes” and lookin’ at him. Then, Saturday after Conference, Elder Falabella talked to him and told him he had huge potential and told him how valiant he is for getting baptized without his family. Then Elder Falabella told Audiel that he was going to get to share his testimony in Stake Conference!!!!!!!!!! LOL! He did a great job sharing his testimony on Sunday. It was really, really cool to think that a General Authority would think so highly of one of our converts. Pretty special . . .

Sooooo . . . Yesterday was a fun day . . . LOL . . . We got up early and got over to Euro Plaza for Elder Chesley’s last interview at 8:30am. We were there until around 2pm or something crazy. Anyway, then we got to go to Central Market, soooo . . . We were there forever because it’s always off limits, but President gave special permission for us to go because my companion is going home. Soooo . . . I bought a lot of stuff! LOL . . . Mostly for all of you! I feel good, though, ‘cause it was cheap! LOL! The only bad thing is that I can’t send Dad’s gift home because it’s too big. I took a picture of it, though. I’m holding it on my lap. It’s the last picture on the 2mb memory card, soooo . . . Don’t trip, Dad! You have a present, just not for Christmas! LOL . . .
Anyway, by the time we got back to our area, we needed to get to work, soooo it left no internet time. Then, we would have written earlier, buuuuut we got to go to the Temple! LOL! Also because my companion is going home. LOL . . . President Torres really likes Elder Chesley so he is giving us many privileges . . . LOL . . . Elder Martino (Second Counselor in the Area Presidency) was in our session. I got to talk to him for a li’l while we were waiting to go in which was neato. So, we just got back into our area and here we are!

Well . . . I don’t have my agenda, so I dunno if I’m forgettin’ any stories, but it seems like I’ve just about covered it all! I love you all sooo, sooo much! Take it easy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Baptisms . . . NOT!

Hey, family!

Sorry I’m a day late! Yesterday we had to get to work early, so we had to hold off writing until today. But . . . Here I am! Sorry for the delay, though!

Geez, Louise! I can’t believe Jeff is already finishing his Mission! When he gets home, have him hit me up with an e-mail! I would like to hear how his Mission went . . . I’m already hitting seventeen months tomorrow! LOL . . . Why am I like an old missionary? I’m so new!

I will get my package to Euro Plaza then, my friend. Thank you again, Smith family!

Okay . . . Now for me . . . Well, I’ll start with the bad news first . . . The Moreno family didn’t get baptized . . .


LOL . . . They were all baptized! All four of them! Herlinda, the 35-year old Mom; Yuri, the 13-year old daughter; Juan, the 10-year old son; and Laybi, the 8-year old daughter! It was an amazing week and a week of many answered prayers. Let me tell you . . . It was not an easy week. We were stressin’ out big time ‘cause it looked like all four of the baptismal dates were gonna fall since the Mom wasn’t sure if she wanted to be baptized. Soooo . . . We sent members there on Monday and Tuesday to go visit and support her. Well, she wasn’t convinced in those first few days of the week. On Wednesday, though, we took the Second Counselor in the Bishopric and the Secretary to her home . . . Oooooo . . And we had suuuuuccchhhhh a powerful lesson! Herlinda was crying and then laughing and then crying and laughing again. The Spirit was super strong and she was focused in like she had never been in a lesson. Of course, at the end she said that she decided she was gonna go through with the baptismal day aaaannnddd . . . Well . . . She did! Saturday at 2pm, she and her three children were all baptized! Elias, the Second Counselor, baptized Herlinda. I baptized Yuri and my Companion baptized the li’l two. It was a very special day but the baptisms weren’t complete . . . Until Sunday! We went and picked up the Moreno family with the First Counselor in his taxi and we brought them to Church! They were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ and received the Holy Ghost. It was a very special day and I had the feeling in my heart throughout the week that there was a power of prayer that were receiving from my home in California. I really could feel it . . . I swear . . . I knew you were pryaing big time for them. Thank you sooo, sooo much, Mom, and everyone else that was joining in prayer for them. All of your prayers, along with the millions of mine, were answered. Surely God answers prayers of the righteous. It is a huge, huge blessing in our lives. I’ve realized that the Lord is the one that brings people to humility and baptism. I can’t do anything by myself. He does it all. And, if we rely on Him with all the faith that we have, He will, without a doubt, do the work.

Random notes . . . The picture of you guys at Disney on Ice is kida funny. I had never seen a picture of Kim with her braces before . . . LOL! What a cutie! She looks sooooo young! Lookin’ good though, don’t trip, home girl! And Dallas looks super skinny! Has he lost a lot of weight? Aaliyah . . . Cute as always. And, Mom . . . You’re just beautiful as always. Age can’t get to you, can it?
Oh, hey! I got the envelope you sent! Annnnnnd . . . I loved it, of course! LOL!

Thank you so much for everything! I loved every single part of it! Did you guys ever get the letters I sent home?

Well . . . I really don’t have much to say. Everything we did this week was focused on the Moreno family . . . LOL . . . It was a great week because of it, though! I sure love you all! Hit me up! Miss you millions!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We built our character!

Hey, family!

Well, I dunno why, but today was another one of those great “reading all the e-mails” day! It just feels good! I just started to think . . . It’s amazing that I have written to you all so many times and I can only type with two fingers . . . LOL . . . That’s talent!

Anyhow, thanks for answering my questions once again and for giving me all those updates on your lives!

How cool about Elder Smith’s Mom’s Mom! That’ll be sooooo nice for us! Tell her thank you a million times for me! Well, I guess I’ll just tell her thanks ‘cause she reads my e-mails, right? Well, thank you sooo, sooo much, Smith Family! The cool thing is that I almost have all the gifts ready! I just gotta get you something big and nice, Mom! Of course, you’re the most important! Question, though . . . Does she want the package in the Mission Home? She’s gonna eat with President or something? Or does she actually want it in the Mission Office in Euro Plaza? Another question . . . Does anyone wear or use the gifts I sent last year? Hopefully I can do better this time. As for me, I really don’t need anything, Mom. I really don’t . . . Maybe just hold onto the money and help me buy a laptop when I get home. The gifts I enjoyed most from last year were for sure the letters from everyone and the muddy buddies, of course! I’d be sooooooo, soooooo happy if my package only consisted of those two things! And maybe some of the good Old Spice deodorant, the blue gel type, that I always use. That’s really all I can think of though! Thank you!

We are getting there on our Stake Conference . . . Just one by one . . . We are a li’l stressed out right now, though, trying to do everything we can to get the Moreno family baptized. We fasted on Friday and Saturday and, of course, as an answer to our prayers, they came to Church! Now we have to do everything we can to get ‘em baptized this weekend! It’s lookin’ tough, but I know with faith and hard works, we can get it done! Boy . . . Last night I almost couldn’t sleep because this is sooooo heavy on my mind! We will get it! We will! I know it! If I know anything, it’s that God answers prayers (the oooooonnnnlllyyy thing I learned from the Book of Psalms, by the way . . . LOL) . . . It’ll happen . . .

I will be waiting on the drawing from Aaliyah with sooo much enthusiasm! Also, I have not received your envelope yet, but I’m hoping to receive it on Wednesday or Thursday.

I talked to a missionary in my Zone a li’l this week . . . His name is Elder Hale. He went to Arizona State before the mission. Know who he says he met three years ago? A tall, skinny, black guy from California that played on the ASU basketball team. He said his last name was . . . What? Hill?? Hahahaha . . . He met Jamal! Is that not suppppperrrrr weird? LOL! He helped him in a study group . . . LOL . . . Dallas or Dad . . . Have you guys talked to Jamal or heard anything about him in a while? LOL . . . Just a funny, random story . . .

Oh . . . Quick favor . . . There is a member here that wants sunflower seeds (David’s) and beef jerky (seeing as they don’t sell those items “good” here). So, in the Christmas package, could you include some of those items for him? He says he will buy my KFC (oh yea . . . Dad knows what I’m talkin’ about . . . LOL) if you do! LOL . . . Thanks!

This week I got to go on divisions with Elder Morrow, an 8-month elder from many states . . . LOL . . . But he lived in California, in Manteca, for three years before going to BYU and serving his mission. He was a very cool guy and made me some delicious food for lunch and dinner! Ooooo! I got big time spoiled! So, yea . . . Good, good buy and very good elder! He teaches well and speaks very good Spanish, especially for being so new! He is one of the District Leaders in the Zone. Anyway . . . He is also an Office Elder, so he lives with two other Office Elders and with the Assistants. It’s a huuuuugggggge house by the way . . . .LOL . . . And they live in what seems like an American colony. LOL . . . It’s weird there. Anyway, on divisions, we walked around aaaaalllloootttt ‘cause the Office Elders never get to work in their area because they’re so busy in the Office! I got very tired as did Elder Morrow, but I couldn’t show it because I’m his leader and a missionary that is in the field every day! Sooo . . . When he was like “There’s nothing left to do or go visit”, I was like . . . “Where else can we go??” C’mon! Give me another name! LOL . . . So he kept giving names and we kept knocking doors and, well, no one let us in! LOL . . . But it built our character! And it was a great day! The only time of the whole day that we entered a house was to do a baptismal interview for 35-year old Mario at 2pm. From 3pm to 9pm, we were walking around in the street . . . LOL . . .

The interview with Mario was interesting . . . LOL . . . He has been an investigator for over eight years!!!!! When I asked him what changed that made him want to be baptized, he changed the subject. He started to tell me that he had been observing me . . . Weird . . . I had barely spoken to him at all and he started to tell me what kind of person I am. He said, “I would imagine that you like to play and joke around a lot” (which is weird because everyone that I meet here says I’m waaaay too serious and uptight). “I would also imagine that, in your home, you are the one to mess around with everyone and that you love hugging on your Mom and Dad.” Then he said that I had a special something about me, like a good feeling and that I am going to bring lots of people to the Church throughout my life, if it be my desire. Then he said that I will become a big Church Leader . . . LOL . . . And he said I have a type of experience that not many missionaries have. He said I know when to be quiet, when to joke, when to lift my head and when to drop it, when to look people in the eyes and when not to. He said it means I am from somewhere that not many other missionaries are from . . . It was very interesting . . . I didn’t know him at all and he was able to hit things right on the dot. Sure, some things were just apostate revelations . . . LOL . . . But he really hit some things on the head. Some things that others have never been able to do with me. After telling me all that, he said that he just observes people a lot and that, for that reason, eh wanted to be baptized. He had thought it out well and knew it was something he needed to do. It was really cool. Of course, he passed the interview and was baptized. Pretty cool experience.

So, that division was on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, later on Thursday, I went on divisions with my boy, Elder Williams. I loooove that kid! He’s one of my favorite missionaries and one that I will still be friends with after the mission. Anyway, I did a baptismal interview there in his area, too. It was with a 70-year old lady and she was also baptized this weekend. With Elder Williams, we just mesh . . . Our teaching together is fire . . . LOL . . . Just like me teaching with Maradiaga. We had a great day, though, and it was great for him ‘cause it got him all animated again. He was “disanimated” a li’l ‘cause of some things going on in his life right now . . . So, it was cool to work with my boy and to be able to “reanimate” him and do an interview at the same time. Great three days of divisions! I slept bad in other beds, though . . . So getting back to my own bed was money in the bank, homie!

Well, I think that’s all I have to say for now! I sure love you all soooo, soooo much! Lemme know if I can do anything! Oh . . . And, Stacie . . . Thanks for your li’l letter! I appreciated it! I love you all soooo, soooo much!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Generations are changed by faithful followers of Christ

Hello, family!

Thanks for all the great info once again! You never let me down!

Thanks for sending the Clippers scores! Looks like we have been bums lately . . . LOL . . . But I’m sure we aren’t playing Davis, Gordon or Kaman much right now. Well, we shall see when I get those game recaps from you. Thank you!

Sorry . . . I forgot that I only told Dallas the idea of selling lots of my shoes. I asked him to send me a DearElder with a list of all my shoes. But I don’t think he’s going to do that on his own, so could you help him? Send me the name of the shoes and a li’l description of them in case I dno’t remember which ones they are. I told Dallas that I want to sell them so I have money for a laptop when I get home. I would also like to be able to buy more things from Guatemala. If Dallas hasn’t told you this “shoes” idea, I imagine that he hasn’t told you guys that I’m probably going to go to Gavilan and live at home . . . LOL . . . Did he tell you? So, that’s where Dylan has to go with me.

Sounds like you guys had a pretty exciting week, huh? I’m glad . . . We had a pretty good one here, I’d say! So, I’ll share some of it with y’all!

To begin . . . Last week, I said happy birthday to Randy and James, but not Megan! Sorry! LOL! Happy Birthday to Megan! And Randy . . . Happy Birthday again for this week! Also, of course, Happy Birthday to my baby Aaliyah! Her birthday this year was not neeeeaaaaarly as terrible as last year . . . Sure, I thought about her all day again yesterday, but it was happy, not sad like last year. I can’t believe it’s been a year since that day, though . . . I remember it perfectly . . .

Hey . . . Question . . . What do you think would be the cheapest way to send a package home to you guys for Christmas? Do you have any ideas? Is there anyone comin’ out to Guatemala who could bring a package home to you? Or should I just start doin’ my research? Let me know ‘cause Christmas is gettin’ close!

Well, this week we had Zone Conference. I didn’t have to do anything this time which was nice and, of course, a lot less stressful! My Companion gave a very good talk . . . His message was about teaching investigators and not lessons. It was great. Elders Castro and White also gave talks that day and they did very well as well. President and Hermana Torres also gave some great talks and we got to do some good practicing. It was the best Zone Conference I’ve been to, for sure! I think it’s just a li’l more special now ‘cause they only happen once every two changes and not every change. I quite enjoyed it . . . Oh! And, at the end of the Conference, Elders Chesley and Solano gave their last testimonies. Ooooo . . . They go home soooo soon! Just a li’l more than three weeks left! Weird!

After Zone Conference, President let me go visit some of my converts (seeing as Conference was in the Ermita building where I served for six months). My companion and I visited Luis, Paola and Cindy who were inactive when I left Ermita. They had bad grades and their mom wouldn’t let them go to church, so I wasn’t quite sure if I was gonna lose them to inactivity forever. Buuuuut . . . When I got to their house and started talkin’ to ‘em about it, they said that they have been goin’ to Church every Sunday for the past three months! They now have church books, hymn books, more scriptures . . . They have really progressed! Ahhhh! It was such a cool feeling to know that my converts are doing soooo well! I start to think about all the generations that will be changed for three faithful people being baptized . . . It was a very cool visit . . . I couldn’t have been much happier . . . Unless all of you had been with me! LOL . . .

That same day, after Zone Conference and the visits to my friends in Ermita and some visits in my real assigned area, my companion and I had a meeting with President Torres and President Mendez (the Stake President) to get some plans prepared for Stake Conference. It will be held on November 6 and 7. I think I already told you that Elder Falabella will be here, so we are very excited and nervous! LOL! President Torres gave us a goal to have thirty investigators from each area at Stake Conference that Sunday. Ooooo . . . That’s a lot! But I’m workin’ on my faith to be able to do it! So, we are getting started early to get ‘em invited! I really know we can do it . . . We just gotta work on it every day! President Mendez said something later in the week that I really like . . . I said that miracles are brought to pass by everyone. He said that they are brought to pass one by one. It’s so true! Sooo simple but true. All we have to do is invite everyone, one by one, and pass their house one by one to remind them and help them get there! We can SO do it!

Well . . . That’s all I’ve really got for now! I sure love you all and appreciate all of your support! Take care and I look forward to hearin’ from ya soon! Lemme know if you’ve got questions or anything!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"By humbling myself, I've learned a lot"

Hey, yo!

How are you all doin? As you know, I’m so thankful for the letter that I received from you yet gain. You know I love all the comments and updates!

Ummmm . . . I’m glad you guys found the pictures from Elder Jack Winn’s mom! I saw him at the Temple and it made me super happy. I thought he had already left Guatemala and that I wasn’t gonna see him for almost a year. But I saw him! LOL . . . And I met his parents. They were very nice people and his mom told me that you guys are friends! LOL . . . Gotta love Mission Mom things. Don’t be sad about the pictures, though! I’ll be home so soon . . . There’s no time to be sad! What is weird to me is that those pumpkin patch pictures you sent me for Christmas last year are already a year old! Weird, huh? Sounds like you guys are gonna have a ball this time of year! I’m excited because everything that is happening right now is the last time that I will ever miss them with my family. And that li’l Dylan makes me so proud. I can’t believe that he’s already getting ready for college . . . LOL . . . ACT and SAT tests stink though. He should just go to Gav with me . . . C’moooooonnnnnnnnnn . . .

Well, I do have a few updates that I would like to hit ch’all up with today!

First to answer your question . . . Today for P-day, we had interviews as a Zone with President Torres. They started at 10am and ended around 3pm. LOL . . . Yea . . . It was a long time of waiting. Especially since I am Junior Companion Zone Leader . . . LOL . . . Which makes me the last interview of the whole Zone! LOL . . . It was a great interview, though. The first time that it has actually been a real conversation in an interview after fourteen months of interviews with him. We talked about the challenges in our Zone . . . We talked about the progression of all the missionaries in our Zone . . . We talked about what I can do to help . . . We talked about Elder Chesley and what I’ve learned from him . . . And he told me we gotta baptize again before Elder Chesley goes home. He said he knows we will and pointed out that I’ve baptized a lot in all of my areas and that we will be able to do that here, too. Kinda cool . . . Talked about what we can do to prepare for our big Stake Conference that is coming up at the beginning of November. Elder Falabella will be here . . . He is a member of the First Quorum of the 70 . . . Soooo . . . It’s a big deal! LOL! It’s a lot of pressure, but it will all be good! We just gotta get down to it! It was just a very good interview all in all. After the interview, we played some ping-pong and then ordered pizza to the Church with six other missionaries who hadn’t left the building. Usually, on Mondays, we do all our shopping but this Monday (today),we won’t have time so we are gonna do that tomorrow morning.

Did you guys send me the list of all my shoes yet? The Clippers schedule? I got Dylan’s DearElder, but I think I will have to write him back next week because I don’t have time today! Sorry! Oh! And how is NBA pre-season goin’ for the Warriors, Clippers and Lakers?

How much time does Jeff Rose have in the mission now? He’s gotta almost be home by now if he isn’t already . . . And how ‘bout Brad? What mission is he in exactly?

Guess what?????? I think I get home just the day before Dylan’s graduation! Cool, huh?!?!

Happy Birthday to Megan, Randy and James! Two of the people I want to hear from the most! Randy and James! I sure hope you had and have great birthdays! Be safe and smart! I hope to hear from you soon!

This week I went on divisions with Elder Vindel. It was fun to be back with him because he was in my District for three months when I had been on my mission between four and seven months. At that time, his best friend from home was the District Leader (Elder Martinez, my second trainer, or Mom). Elder Vindel has grown so much in the past few months and is such a different missionary. He is animated to work, he is so good to everyone and we had some great spiritual lessons together. He’s really doing a great job. I’m loving doing these divisions because I’m learning so much even though I’ve been called to be their leader. Elder Vindel is a good friend and we can share missionary stories and what not. Good, good guy. My companion went with Elder Kjar and they put three baptismal dates in Durazno! So, they did great too! We will see if we have time to do divisions again this week.

Really cool . . . This last week, my companion and I got to fast for our Area and Zone to see what we could do to improve it. Well, when I was in the Temple in the Celestial Room, all I could think of was just to work even harder and to be humbler (if that’s not a real word, you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout) . . . I was thinkin’ at the time, “Man, that’s a lame answer to my prayers ! I already know that!” But, it wasn’t lame . . . LOL . . . By humbling myself, I’ve learned a lot. Being humble was really weighing on my mind because I was talking to a return missionary and talking about baptisms . . . Anyway, he started telling me when he did and didn’t have baptisms and why. Then I told him how up and down my times of baptizing have been. He said it was ‘cause I was prideful about it. I had never really thought about that ‘cause I don’t brag. But I thought maybe I carry it around too much in my heart like I’m pilas (cool) or something. But I realized that I have to recognize the hand of the Lord in all things. It’s funny how I had heard the phrase since Primary, along with all the other famous phrases, we have to learn the reality of them by ourselves. Since that fast, though, I have felt a major shift in the Zone and I know that the Lord has answered my prayers and has blessed me for fasting. I was talking to Elder Williams ‘bout it today (He’s a District Leader in my Zone . . . And a really good friend of mine because he entered with me and we can talk about just about anything together) and he said that since Tuesday he has also felt a huge shift in the success in the work in his Area. He didn’t even know that we had fasted at that time. LOL . . . We laughed because the Church is sooooo true . . . We just have to do our part to be worthy and willing to receive the blessings that God has prepared for us . . .

One of the huge blessings that we (my companion and I) received from this fast was this . . . We had baptismal dates with a family (Family Moreno) over a month about buuuuut they ran into some problems . . . They got kicked out of their tortilla shop for listening to us and goin’ to Church with us . . . Then, in the new tortilla shop where they moved, the owner didn’t let them listen to us either. So, we thought we had lost ‘em. Plus, they always had to work on Sundays. Theeeeeeen on Tuesday, we found out that a member opened up her own tortilla shop! Aaaaaand she invited Sister Moreno to come work and live with her!!!!! So now, the Moreno family came to Church already again this Sunday! We’ve taught them again and they have accepted baptismal dates again! Ahhhh! I know for a fact that Heavenly Father answers our prayers. Honestly . . . I know it. I think that’s why when I’m obedient, he can’t deny the blessings that come along with prayer and fasting. It was such a cool experience! If you guys aren’t fasting and praying and putting everything in the hands of God (during prayer, when you’re not praying, you gotta work everything out like it all depends on you), well, you should do it!

Well . . . I think that’s ‘bout all I got for you! Hit me up! I love you all soo, soo much and I really appreciate all of your support! Be safe, smart and loving! Take care!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Angels for Guatemala

Okie dokie! How are you all????

I dunno why but today was just kind of an emotional day reading your letter. It almost got me in tears when you said that Dylan’s graduation was moved back a week!!!!! Ahhhh . . . I wanna be home sooooo bad for that! I should be able to for sure, I’m thinking . . . I gotta be honest with you guys. I’ve been thinking a lot ‘bout extending my mission, but now that extending my mission means I would miss the graduation, hahahaha, no way I’m extending! LOL! Great news!

Thank you for being so kind as to send me those Clippers things. I, to, am so excited for this year ! With Griffin, Aminu, Bledsoe and Foye al coming in, I’m thinking we could make a play-off run this year, buuuuut . . . We shall have to wait and see! LOL!

I loved your Aaliyah and Zander stories. Those babies are sooo, sooo special. I was thinking a lot this week about when Aaliyah was born. (I guess probably because her birthday is just around the corner.) I was remembering how much I anticipated her being born . . . Staying up all night, going back to the house and then driving back up to San Jose just a couple hours later. And then, when I held her for the first time wearing my black beanie, my A’s jacket and sweats . . . And just starting to cry because of how happy I was. Ahhhhh . . . She is so special to me. I remember last year Aaliyah’s birthday was the worst day of the year ‘cause I couldn’t get her outta my head. I sure miss her. And I sure hope I’m stronger mentally this year than last so that my day isn’t so crappy on her birthday! LOL! We shall see soon, though!

As for General Conference, of course I watched in English! I would never watch it in Spanish ever again! Listening to the real voices is sooooo special and having to listen to the talks through a translator just one time makes you realize how really blessed we are to speak the language of the restoration and the language of the true church on earth. As for me, I enjoyed many talks as well. I really loved the talks by President Eyring (he, of course, being my favorite of everyone) and President Monson. My boy, Elder Costa, also spoke which was really cool. I really liked President Uchtdorf’s talk on patience. Elder Christofferson and Elder Anderson also gave great talks this Conference. I thought Elder Scott’s talk was just full of great one liners. He gave an amazing talk. I also really, really loved President Packer’s (my second favorite) talk and Elder Ballard’s, too. In the Priesthood session, I looooooved the talks by Elder Uceda and Elder Kearon. I think those two might have been the best . . . Well, two of the best . . . LOL . . . I can’t say which was the best. Soooo . . . Yea . . . Those were my General Conference thoughts. I watched it at the Stake Center in a li’l room with just missionaries and a couple random members who speak English. I learned soooo much, though, and took some great notes. I can’t wait for the Liahona to come out so I can read the talks again ‘cause I can learn a lot by reading through and marking them.

As for changes, I did not have one. I am staying with Elder Chesley to kill him. I am really excited ‘cause I feel like Elder Chesley and I are really getting things down together. We are soooo, soooo different, but we have learned a lot from each other and I know that I have a lot more to learn from him in these last six weeks. I’m very excited to kill my third Companion. As for my Zone, Elders Davis, Ixcoy, Garcia (finished his mission), Housley, Godfrey and Mays all had changes. In place of them, Elders Vindel (we were in the same Zone almost eight months ago) Calero, Gallo, Hale and Winkle all came in. It’s still a very fun Zone, just very, very different of course. As for other notable changes, Elder Legua went back to Polochic and I was and am not too thrilled ‘bout that ‘cause I probably won’t see him for a while again now. Elder Larsen went up to Zone Leader! So, I’ll be able to see him for the first time in over a year ‘cause he’s been up on Polochic as well. Ummmm . . . That’s most of the notables . . .

Yesterday, my Companion and I received a great comment from a long time investigator from a different Ward. We always do service for her. She told us that we are angels for Guatemala because no matter where you go, you will always find two guardian angels watching over that area. She told us how thankful she is for all the service we do, for all the love we show and for all the selflessness. She said she feels like we are the ones who hold up the Church. They were just really, really nice compliments that made me feel good. I hope it makes you proud, Mom (smiley face).

I was able to go on divisions with Elder Lainez from Honduras this week. He has two months in the mission. He’s a super smart kid. He’s read the Bible thirteen times and has explained some great stuff to me. Buuuuut . . . He has a lot to learn. LOL . . . He’s doing what my favorite companion, Elder Maradiaga, always did. That is, he tries to prove things with the Bible. It makes people progress because of the knowledge they gain but, in the end, they won’t be baptized because they haven’t been taught with the Spirit and haven’t been truly converted. I was able to teach him some good stuff, though, about missionary work. It was a very fun day.

Well . . . I think that’s ‘bout all I’ve got right now! I sure miss you all, but I sure appreciate all the good news and all the joy you bring me! I can’t wait ‘til next week! Love you all soooo, soooo much. More than you know! Be safe and smart!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

32 Bug Bites.....So Fun

Hey, hey, hey!

Thank you sooooo much for your e-mail! It was very refreshing today! Especially because we are having some drama in our Zone today . . . You know, the Monday writing just keeps my legs movin’ every week. And, yea, we find out tonight if we have changes or not.

Thank you for sending the money. I took it out last week and then realized it wasn’t all the money so I was a lllliiiillll worried but thank you! I bought the shoes already! They sure aren’t all broken in like my other ones that I wore every day for nine months . . . LOL . . . But I’m sure hoping that I can pull out nine more months on these Guatemalan shoes! We can hope and pray!

Very exciting about Tom and Ash and their new home! I’m sure they’re so, so happy. I can’t wait to go visit ‘em, especially ‘cause that’s where Elder Ireland is, too, so I can visit him after the mission!

Ohhhh, yes . . . I also am very, very excited for General Conference. You’ll have to let me know whatcha thought next time you write. And thank you so much for your kind words and the Aaliyah story. I love you sooo much, Mom!

Well . . . I don’t think I have a whole bunch to say . . . But I’ll try to share some stuff. It might be a taaaaad bit short, though. Sooo, we shall see . . .

Oh, first . . . Dad . . . What do you think about the Quran? Is there any way that it could be inspired and real scripture? I would like it if you could hit me up with some details on that please! Thank you!

Could you send me a Clippers schedule? Like the ones that we always kept on the refrigerator? Like the month-by-month calendars? Maybe you could send that as a real letter, though, not as a DearElder so that it comes out nice and pretty . . . Pllllleeeease! Thank you! And thanks for sending me the DearElder info . . . I look forward to receiving those.

Welllll . . . We gave service on Tuesday . . . LOL . . . It stunk . . . We went way down the side of a hill to go help a family clean up the land that was destroyed during the hurricane. We used machetes to clear the path to the house. We also shoveled all of the fallen dirt. Well, I got a couple new blisters aaaannnnddddd 32 bug bites . . . All below my waistline! Oooo . . . Soo fun! LOL . . . I figured out why I got all the bug bites, though . . . I broke open an ant home-farm-hill! Maaaaan . . . It was nooooott fun! I couldn’t sleep at all that night because of how bad it itched. I only slept for maybe three hours . . . LOL . . . It was terrible! I got it much more under control now, though. Thanks to the help of sleeping pills, anti-itch cream that my Companion let me use, and a couple extra showers here and there, I was able to get them much more under control. Sure . . . they still itch, but I can sleep just fine now. I slept like an angel last night for the first time in a long time. Berry nice, berry nice.

There is a member in our Ward who is a really, really good guy. I love him to death. He was a Counselor in the Stake Presidency. He’s a bigger guy, very smart and just holds himself really well. He’s just a great example and it seems like he’s a guy that would have a great job . . . Like he’d have everything amazingly under control with his family. And . . . It’s not like that for him. The guy has a horrible job, lives in one tiny li’l room with his wife, doesn’t have a good family life . . . The result is that in Church he has seemed very down. You can see it in his posture that things just aren’t well at home. Soooo . . . We went and visited him. He lives with all of his family but none of them get along with him ‘cause of his beliefs, so now he wants to leave the house. I dunno know why I really shared this story. I think it just kinda taught me, though, not to judge. But it’s not to judge in a different way . . . Not in a thinkin’ bad about someone way . . . Just actually judging someone thinking that they have everything under control. Everyone has some type of problem in some way or another and we have to be there to help. I dunno . . . I just thought it was a very interesting lesson that I learned.

Well . . . I’m gonna get outta here! I need to write to Tommy plus Trent wrote to me today! So . . . I’m gonna go read and write back! Thanks for everything, family! I love you all sooo, sooo much! Take care!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Rodas Family was sealed this week!

Heyyyyyy, fam!

I’m glad you guys liked my e-mail last week . . . LOL . . . It took forever! I ssssstink at typing! Sorry ‘bout being wrong on your age, Mom! You hit the fifty mark, though! Congrats! Don’t worry . . . You aren’t old . . .

I can’t wait to hear Dylan play the piano and guitar and sing . . . That kid is such a stud . . . Has he written me? If he hasn’t, yell at him and tell him to do so (along with James and Randy). And he’s a pilas leader already. That kid is waaaaaay better than I ever was. I sure miss that kid.

Sounds like you had a great time with Elder Golden, too! Don’t you just love listening to Church leaders? And Dad will be one of ‘em soon! I was thinking that you and Dad need to make lots of money so that Dad can be a Mission President! You guys would be a great Missionary President and wife!

Oh! And thank you soo, soo much for the money for the clothing items I need. Now the hard part is finding my size in everything. I’ll be able to for sure, though. Just gotta be supa diligent. Thank you much! The money is part of my Christmas present . . . Called it!

Soooo . . . I’ll hit cha with my questions first . . .

Thank you, Dad, for the DearElders and for explaining and answering my questions. Do you type all of those things? Or do you take them off a website? They’re really good. Thank you!

Oh! Think you could send me Pre-Season NBA rankings and all that good stuff soon? NBA starts in almost a month, so a bunch of articles must be comin’ out soon . . . No? Also, how ‘bout Carmello? Still any chance of him goin’ to the Clippers? Any news there? Also, could you send me DearElders on the Raider game recaps, too? Thank you!

Okay . . . Now my li’l stories . . .

We were able to put another baptismal date this week with a reference and then she came to Church! Holler!

These changes coming up in just ten days will be very sad because soooo many of my good friends are going home. Elders Barrientos, Empey, Petersen, Winn, Dunkley, Pierce and Karr (and Ireland was part of this group). It’s the first group that I know well and I’m so sad to see them go home . . .

My favorite members in this Ward were sealed this week! The Rodas family! I just love the Dad in that family! Soooo . . . That was very exciting!

Sooo . . . I gotta go in just a minute and I gotta write to Dallas! I love you all, though! Thanks for everything!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I love having the Spirit work through me . . .

First of all . . . Happy Birthday, Mom! How lucky that I get to write to you on your birthday!!! Heavenly Father musta planned it before the foundation of this earth! How old are you now, though? Or, I guess, better question . . . How young are you now? 51? I really hope I didn’t guess too high . . . I always kill my chances with the ladies when I do that . . . (By the way, I was 50, not 51, yesterday!) Anyway . . . What are you doin’ for your birthday? Some clam chowder at the wharf? Romantic dinner with big daddy? Whatcha got planned? I miss you so, so, so much, Mom. And I really appreciate all you do for me and all that you’ve done for me. I know it’s not Mother’s Day, it’s just your birthday, buuuuut I can still try to tell you how much I love and miss you, right? There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you, Mom. Or a day that goes by that I don’t stare at you and think about you in family pictures that I have. You’re soooo amazing and I love you so, so much. I hope today is the day of your dreams. (If your dreams have anything to do with romantic things with dad, though . . . Don’t tell me what’s in your dreams!) Happy Birthday!

Well now . . . Now that that’s off my chest . . . Thank you for the updates! And for the picture of Dylan’s parking space . . . It’s berry pretty! Does Dylan actually play the piano good now? And the guitar? Or was he fronting on his parking space? LOL . . .That kid is talented. I’m sure he’s good at both of ‘em now.

As for James’ DearElders, I haven’t got any . . . I’ll receive ‘em again on Thursday . . . Hopefully I get ‘em or he isn’t doin’ ‘em right . . . Can you help him maybe? And please keep bugging Randy for me, too!

Yea . . . Sounds like Durant has been an absolute stud, huh? And good to hear that you, Dad and Dallas all complimented my boy, Gordon. Good to know he’s looking good! Oh, and Dad, thanks for answering all my questions on everyone.

Well . . . Here come my questions and stories now . . . Well, I already asked some questions, but I have more!

Questions first of course . . .

Just outta curiosity . . . It’s random, LOL . . . Did Gilroy ever get an Olive Garden or mall? I just remember the rumors of that from before I came on the mission . . . LOL . . . Raaaaaandom . . . Sorry!

Well, kinda story thangs now . . .

This week we had a li’l problem . . . A new missionary in our Zone was not doin’ so well. He just wasn’t happy for a few reasons and he was wanting to go home. The main problems are that his family doesn’t write to him very often, he can’t read or write, he doesn’t understand English, etc. So, he called the assistants on Monday night to tell them that he wanted an interview with President. Soooo . . . The assistants called us and told us to get it figured out. So, that Tuesday morning, we went and talked to him and set some goals with him and his companion. Can you believe that the next day, he and his companion were completely fine? LOL . . . The Elder called us an d said sorry for the problems and that he was all good and ready to keep working. I explained to him that the real problem is that all new missionaries are prideful. All new missionaries think that they know how to do it all . . . They think that everything is a competition . . . They wanna be individuals like before the mission . . . And I understand ‘cause I was new, too. But he accepted it and it’s all good now! I understand that sometimes I talk too much, but I do recognize that it is also maybe one of my biggest talents or blessings that I have the ability to communicate well. That’s kinda a lot thanks to Dad for helping me to learn to be a leader. I thought he was just teaching me for sports, but, nooooo . . . It helps for everrrrrrything.

This week, I gave a blessing to a very sick old man. He was so sick that he hadn’t slept for three straight days. When I put my hands on his head, though, and gave him a blessing, I told him he would sleep well that night and recover a lot. Know what happened to him? He slept very well that night and recovered a lot! LOL . . . I love having the Spirit work through me. Sooo, sooo cool.

There is a kid in our area whose name is Erwin. He is a really good seventeen year old in the Church. He has left with the missionaries to go work since forever. But, he has never gotten along with his sister which is really sad. And, as many missionaries as have worked with him, no one ever stopped to realize that he really need help. He doesn’t have a dad so no one to really sit him down and teach him how to do some things, ya know? Anyway, I sat him down a couple days ago and told him how to sit down with his sister, what to say, what to ask, all the good stuff. And I told him if he would do it lovingly (which is soooo, soooo key), everything would be fixed. Know what happened with him? He sat his sister down and talked to her and for the first time in their fifteen years together, he told her he loved her! Thanks to Dad I was able to explain to Erwin how to fix this problem as well. I will always remember Dad yelling at kids on the court and then talking directly and loving ‘em after the games. It works. LOL . . . It really, really works.

Well . . . We gave a nice loooooong service this week. LOL . . . Saturday, we worked from 6am to 12:30pm. We had to move huge cement tubes and fill ‘em with dirt and trees. LOL . . . It was tough. I got a li’l cut up and got some blisters and got a nice sunburn on my neck, but it was worth it! Get in some good ol’ service. Set the example of the Mormon Church for everyone around here. Ya know?

I’m in the book of Jacob right now in my Bible study . . . Wow . . . What a man, huh? Oh! And the book of Esther isi really, really good, too. I soooo badly wanna finish the Bible before the end of my mission. Great, great book . . . Usually . . .

Oh! I had a dream last night! I got home and saw Aaliyah, Dallas and Kim . . . I was in Church when I was seeing them for the first time. Aaliyah ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and while I was crying ‘cause I was sooooooo happy, I asked Dallas if it was just a dream or if it was real (‘cause it seemed sooooo way too real). Dallas told me it was just a dream, though, and that I still had some time left to serve. The dream was all in Spanish . . . LOL . . . But it just seemed waaaaaaay too real. Great dream, though. I didn’t wake up sad. I woke up sooo, sooo happy to have been hugging my Aaliyah. I love her sooo, sooo much if you guys didn’t know . . .

Well, I gotta run, but I love you all soo, soo much! Be safe and smart! I look forward to hearing from you all! Love you! And Happy Birthday again, Mom!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Lord comes through on His promises!

Oh, my gosh!

Sooooo good to hear from you guys again! This week flew by and there’s no better way tos tart a new week than by hearing from all of you!

First of all . . . I’m very, very sorry that I haven’t put more detail in my weekly e-mails. Thank you for reminding me to do so. I really will try to get better. I just get so caught up in missionary work all week and I let it get outta my mind for an hour when I talk to you so thath I feel back at home . . . Ya know? But I will be better . . . I promise.

I knew exactly what you would say ‘bout my schooling idea. LOL . . . Whatever I wanna do. Knew you’d say it. But what do you think, Mom? Also, Elder Legua wants to know what the cost would be so that he can try to plan it with his family. Could you try to get that number? At least an approximate number? Thank you, Mom!

And . . . I did get the DearElders . . . LOL . . . And they were maaaaannnnyyyyy . . . I loved ‘em of course, though! Thank you for always taking the time to send me those things. Sounds like my boy, Eric Gordon, is really playin’ well! Nice!

Yea . . . With all the rain, mud, mountains, bad construction and all in Guatemala, there have been lots and lots of mud slides. Many people have been killed. It is because people are so poor here that they live on mountainsides in li’l scrap metal houses that have no foundation. Then, when the weather gets bad and the time comes for them to move out, many are too stubborn to go. We helped some members move outtta their house like two weeks ago and two days after they moved, their house fell away! They probably would have died. Or at least they would have lost everything if we hadn’t helped ‘em move. Don’t worry ‘bout me and all missionaries, though. We live in very safe areas and safe houses. We don’t find any of that danger . . .

How did the USA Team do against Angola? Did my boy, Gordon, do anything this morning?

Happy Birthday, Stacie! LOL . . . Our family is getting old . . .

Oh! One of my best friends in the mission, Elder Davis, is from Heber City and he said his girlfriend lives in Midway. LOL . . . I don’t remember her name, but I bet Ash and Tom know her family! They are members of the church as well . . .

And . . . Whhaaaaaat? Courtney got married, too????? LOL . . . That’s crazy! Tell her cognrats for me! Man . . . Weird . . .

Soooo . . . Tuesday was Zone Leader Council again . . . It was held in the Mission office and we went over some things on how to have more baptismal dates in every area, how to teach more lessons, find more new people to teach, and have more progressing investigators. It’s really cool getting all these good missionaries together ‘cause I feel like I got it all down but, man . . . Some Elders make great, great suggestions and what not and I realize I still have a lot to learn! But I’m gonna get there!

Then, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we went to the Three Day Training in the Mission Home (which is just right down the street from the Mission Office). We went over everything that we had gone over the first in the Four Day Training which was held three weeks ago, but this time it wasn’t just the Zone Leaders in the Capital that attended . . . It was also with all the District Leaders and Trainers in the Capital annnnnd all of their Companions, so it was paaaaacked! There we about 50 missionaries there! It was cool because I got to go over some things and remember them and put them into better practice. It was also cool ‘cause I was with my boys Empey, Legua and Davis the whole time, too! Oh, and I saw my boy, Barrientos, which is always fun! Anyway, with all that training, it made for a very fast week but a very tiring week with all the bus trips and what not. We only got like two hours of work in every day in those four das which kinda hurt us, but it’s all good! We also had Elder Davis with us in our area for three days ‘cause his area is so far away that he couldn’t get to the office in time and then get back to his area to work in the night, so he just stayed with us ‘cause we have a cot! His companion stayed with another companionship ‘cause they had an extra bed, too. It was just a very interesting week with only one full day of work.

Oh . . . Dream! I was in a drug store, right? Like a 7/11 . . . Anyway . . . Randy was in there and he was in his white shirt and tie . . . With a plaque on! He had his hair cut and all . . . He was quite a handsome young man! Wow! I asked him why he hadn’t told me that he was a missionary and asked him how long he had been out in the field. He told me he had been out for five months! It was a great dream! I woke up sooo, sooo happy! I really, really care for him and James so much! Please make ‘em write me! I really want them to be missionaries!

This week was kinda cool because we thought that we had lost some investigators. They had been persecuted for the cause of listening and going to church with us. Anyway, we couldn’t find ‘em for a couple weeks, but we just kept praying and praying for ‘em. Finally, on Sunday, they showed up to a house that we were visiting! And when I talked to them (Moreno family), we told them sorry and everything and asked them if they would still like us to teach ‘em or no. Well . . . They said yes! It was a great answer to our prayers! It’s soooo, soooo cool how prayers pay off. So many people have been in my prayers . . . And my prayers are being answered. The Lord comes through on His promises! It’s soooo, soooo cool!

Well . . . Nothing much happened this week ‘cause were gone so much, but the week flew by! And, like you said, I have very mixed feelings on that, butu I’m doin’ good! I sure love you all and appreciate you soo, soo much! Lemme know how everything is goin’ with you guys and the sports world! Hee, hee! Tell Aaliyah I love her! Love you all!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tiene mis respectos

Hello, fam!

Soooo good to hear from you again! It is always a much anticipated time for me, too!

In response to what you told me and what Dad told me . . . How cool that the Clippers could end up with Carmello! It would kill me big time to lose Griffin or Gordon, though . . . Any of the other players, I’m okay with losing. Let Clippers management know my feelings . . . LOL . . Thanks!

The article Dad sent me was too sad . . . The one about the Bishop being shot. Signs of the times? Sad . . .

Thanks for getting’ the picture to Bishop so long ago . . . You’re the woman!

I think I might know what I wanna do after the Mission, so I dunno if we have to apply to all colleges (smiley face). I’ll let you know where in just a sec . . . Oooooo . . . Is the suspense killin’ ya? Huh? Is it? Is it? Huh?

Oh! And that’s very cool that Dylan got that calling (Co-chairperson of the Stake Youth Committee) . . . He’s such a good kid. Such a great example . . . Honestly . . . Good, good kid. Tiene mis respectos.

I didn’t know the US was playing sooo, sooo well. That’s cool! I only saw a li’l article once in a newspaper and it said Gordon (my boy) has been really, really good. That’s amazing!

As for DearElders, I haven’t gotten any in a while because of changes in Office Elders, but I should get all of it tomorrow . . . So, thank you!

Okay . . . I’ll give my updates . . . LOL . . .

To answer Dad’s question from last week . . . Don’t worry . . . I still read the Book of Mormon every day. I’m currently in Mosiah. By the way, I read Chapter 5 of Jacob really slowly and, ummm, I think that’s probably the best chapter in the entire Book of Mormon. Honestly . . . It’s amazing . . . I also am in the book of Ezra right now in the Old Testament. I’ve already read the New Testament but I still have a ways to go this time. I think I’ve only read about 65% of the bible as of now. I’m gonna finish it all before the end of the mission, though! I gots to do it, my dawgs!

Two Bible questions now, though, Dad . . . Was the Levitical Priesthood changed to the Aaronic in these verses? 1 Chronicles 23:24-28? Or when and how was the name changed? Also, why does it talk about two half tribes of Menasseh and not a whole tribe? I think that one jumped my head . . . Thanks!

Questions . . . Maybe Dad or someone can answer them . . . Where are Spencer, Baker, Neal, Tyree, etc . . . All my friends . . . Where are they now? Are they still playin’ ball?

Happy Birthday in this past week, Tom!

Do you think there is any way you could send me my mission calling video? You know, when I got home from practice and opened my call? Maybe you could send it by e-mail? I dunno . . . Let me know . . .

Well . . . This past Wednesday, my trainer, Elder Ireland, left me and went home. It was actually really, really sad. I really love that kid. He and Elder Legua are two good, good buddies. It’s weird having P-Day without him. And not just being able to talk with him by phone or anything. He was a good, good guy. I’ll see him after the mission when I visit Tom and Ash, though, ‘cause he is from Denver.

This week, we were contacting . . . As we were finishing contacting, we contacted an inactive lady and she started telling us her long reason why she hasn’t come to Church in so long . . . At the end, though, she said that we were a huge answer to her prayers from the night before and she said it was really nice to know that God still hasn’t forgotten about her! She then said she would be in church someday soon. It’s really cool how we are guided from door to door. And we don’t normally go contacting too many doors in her area . . . It was really, really cool.

Well . . . That’s ‘bout all I got for now! I sure love you all and look forward to hearing from you! Love you soooo, soooo much! Be safe and smart . . . All of you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zone Trip to the Temple!

Hi, Family!

Well . . . From last week first then . . .

First . . . Thanks for the package! The chocolate was ooooohhhhh so amazing! And all the letters, too! That was cool of that guy to bring a package! I was able to make kids happy by giving away the toys. I made people happy by giving away some kisses and I made myself happy with the muddy buddies, of course! Thank you soooo, soooo much!

Oh . . . Question . . . Is my picture on the plaque at home in the Ward building my Guatemala Temple picture or the Provo Temple picture? I’m hoping it’s the Guatemala one . . . It’s my new favorite . . . LOL . . .

Last week, my companion lost our house keys . . . LOL . . . So we couldn’t get into our house the whole night. LOL . . . We had to go to the next area over and we spent the night at Elder Ireland’s house. It was fun, though, ‘cause Ireland goes home tomorrow, so I got to share more time with him. I’m gonna miss that guy. He’s one of my best friends and I know I’ll hang out with him after my mission. Anyway . . . My companion lost the privilege of carrying the keys . . . LOL . . . Even though that night was very stressful, we laughed it off. LOL . . . Not cool, though. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Oh! Changes! We didn’t have any . . . I’m still with Elder Chesley. Our Zone didn’t really change very much. Elder Dixon was transferred . . . Hermana Ayala went home . . . Elder Monzon was transferred . . . We now have Hermana Indicot (from San Diego) in place of Hermana Ayala . . . Elder Hale (from Las Vegas) and Elder Lainez (a new missionary from Honduras) in place of Elder Dixon . . . Elder Kjar (from Idaho) in place of Elder Monzon. And, now, Elder Ireland leaves tomorrow. Sad stuff . . . My dad and mom are both dead after tomorrow . . . LOL . . .

Ohhhh! Happy Birthday, Aunt Skye! I hope it was amazing! I hope you’re doing sooo, sooo well! I love you!

Sad story . . . Hermana Dieguez’s dad just passed away two days ago. So, yesterday, the lady they live with called and told us and asked us to come over to give a blessing and eat lunch. The girl really plays it off well, but I know she was and is dying inside. I guess her dad has had terminal cancel for a while, though, so they were kind of expecting him to pass away. Still . . . Sooo, sooo sad. Anyway . . . She asked me to give the blessing and I was nervoussssssssssss. Sure . . . I give blessings to the sick all the time, but to someone whose dad just died the day before? Well . . . That was my first time. My heart was beating sooooo fast when she asked me to give the blessing, but I did it and it was a really cool experience. She started bawling after the blessing and my companion said it was an amazing blessing which made me feel good. LOL . . . He made the prediction that I’ll be a Patriarch. LOL . . . We’ll see, huh?

Today, we got to go to the Temple as a Zone and I brought my Patriarchial Blessing into the temple and read it in the Celestial Room. It was amazing as always.

Well . . . That’s really all I’ve got for today! I hope all is well at home . . . Thanks for all of the help and encouragement. I love you all sooo, sooo much!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Picture Day! It's like Christmas!

Hey, family!

Don’t cry, Mom! (I told Derek I was crying because he sent me such beautiful pictures) That is my new suit in the one picture! Like it?

Another is of me with my “pops”, Elder Island. I’m in my “corte” and he’s in a red tie and we both have straight faces . . .

Another pictures is of me in Duranzo lookin’ out over everything . . .With my sombrero . . .

Ummmm . . . The other is of my boy, Elder Empey, right after Zone Leader Council.

Oh! And that’s the Carranza family! When we come back to Guatemala, we will visit them! They are an amazing family from my last area. The kids are soooooo, soooooo loving and fun, but sooo reverent when they need to be. They are really amazing!

Well . . . Sending the pictures gave me noooo time to write, but that’s okay ‘cause I forgot my notes anyway! I’ll make next week’s e-mail terrific!

I dunno if I have a change or not yet. They will call and tell us tonight!

Ummmm . . . I’m really sad about Dylan’s graduation moving up a week for school . . . But that’s okay . . . I’m a man . . . I’ll live ;-)

Ohhh! And . . .I got the package! I’ll talk specifically ‘bout it next week!

Thanks for all the updates! I’m sorry I don’t have any time to write! But I hope the pictures were worth it! I sure love, love, love and miss you all! Be safe and smart! Loooooove you all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"I really am a convert"

Hey, Dad!

Thanks for writing to me! Good to hear that everything went so well at Young Women Camp! You are such a great example. Something that always makes me laugh is that the Stake Presidencies here (and Bishops) are sooo, sooo young . . . LOL . . . You just blow them all out of the water! The Church in the States and here are ultimately the same, but it’s sooo, sooo different in so many ways.

As for me, I gave my talk of probably fifteen minutes on Conversion. I felt like it was a really, really good talk. I can send it to you guys next in my e-mail if you like. I gave my talk in front of about fifty missionaries and President Torres and his wife. It went smoothly, though. I really feel like I have become a true convert, though, Dad. Well, I don’t feel like . . . I know that I have become a true convert. I see why serving a Mission is so important. It’s not to baptize others . . . Sure, that’s important, too . . . But the Church needs us young men to become true converts to be future leaders and I really am a convert. I know it because I have been obedient (not perfect, but I try . . . I really do) and I try to improve everything. And it’s all thanks to you, Mom and the rest of the family. I love you all sooo much and look up to you all so much!

Thank you for everything, Dad! Keep me posted on how you’re doing! Love you more than you know and miss you that much, too . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010

Elder Jensen is willin' to die for a good burger!

Thank you for all of your great updates! It sounds like it was a pretty fun week! It makes me happy to know that you guys are happy! It really, really does . . .

Well, I really hopt that Dallas is doing well with his bum . . . Is it bruised worse than when I bruised my bum out on the lake with Stacie and Dylan? That was a huuuuuuge bruise! It seemed like every time I went up to practice with SJCC, I fell on it, too! Oooo . . . Not fun! Get better soon, bra!

I really enjoyed the Aaliyah stories, too. Oh, and it makes me feel good that she still sleeps in a Pull-Up ‘cause that means she isn’t waaaaay too big yet even though she looks like she’s all grown up and is old enough to be wearing Stacie’s thongs or something. Well . . . Not that grown up . . . LOL . . . But she looks grown up!

So . . .

Do you think I could get into BYU or UVU right after my Mission? Also, does Gav or MPC have a soccer team? My boy, Elder Legua, and I just know that we gotta be livin’ together after the mission so we are tryin’ to figure out what our options will be. Obviously, he’s a soccer player . . .

Well, let’s see hurrrr . . . This week, we had the famous and talked up Zone Leader Council! It was held on Wednesday and I got to go for the first time! It was cool . . . We got to learn a lot from President which was very cool again. Then we just went over all the Zone stats and dats. Our Zone was leading in some things and the best part is that we have been leading in Baptisms this change! The best part ‘bout the Zone Leader Council, though, was the lunch for sure. We ate hamburgers and you know that good ol’ Elder Jensen is always willin’ to die for a good burger!

Then, on Friday, we had Zone Conference. We had the opportunity to hear more from President and his wife. We also heard good talks from Elder Wixom and Elder Petersen. Then, I got to give my talk to end the Conference. Ooooo . . . Talk about nervous! I got up and didn’t know how to start ‘cause I was all nervous! But, then I started talking and it all came pretty easy. Luckily, I had prepared well and had been praying all week to be able to give a good talk. Plus, I received all of your prayers and that helped a lot, too! My talk was a li’l long, but I got lots and lots of nice comments afterward from missionaries and also from Hermana Torres. LOL . . . She told me I should use that talk again when I am an Apostle ‘cause that’s how good it was . . . LOL . . . I don’t believe that, good Hermana . . . Slow down . . . LOL . . . But I do feel confident that I gave a good talk which is all I prayed for.

Crazy that this is Week 6 of this change already! This change has flown bye! All of a sudden, I’m gonna be finishing my mission and I’ll be home with all of you again! I sure miss you all and I love you all soo, soo much! Kim . . . You’re in my prayers! I promise! Everyone be safe and good! Take care! Thanks for all the love! Oh, and Mom . . . Keep the good Clipper updates comin’ on DearElder if ya can! Ya know I love ‘em! LOL . . . Love you!