Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm learning sign language!

Hey, yo!

Happy P-day!


Just had to start with our Billy Mays commercial . . . I got reminded of him this week . . . Big, ripped guy.

The weather right now is very normal. The really cold nights have stopped. It’s been a comfortable temperature, without rain. When you’re walkin’ around all day, though, it does seem to be a li’l hot!

Yes, my Companion is completely deaf. He can’t hear at all. I’m learning sign language! I can spell out everything and can sign some things. Spanish and English signs are different, though, so when I get home, this probably won’t help me at all! My Companion can also read lips really, really well. He is a really, really talented kid . . . Like super duper talented. He is hard to understand when he talks, but he is a super guy. He was here for three changes before I got here, though, so, yes . . . We have investigators and what not . . .

My house is nice. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. I eat lots of bread, eggs, soup, beans and whatever else people invite me to eat! But, I’m eating really, really good . . .

Good work on ya talk, Dylan . . . I’m sure you rocked the party . . .

Okay . . . My turn . . .

How did Dylan do with basketball this week?

How much time do McKay and Tyler have on their missions now? I think it might be crazy, crazy, but does Tyler have a year already?????

Well, we had two baptisms this Saturday! Blanca, a 13-year old girl and Glenda, a 9-year old girl. Our goal is not just baptize li’l people and girls, but it worked out that way and they were prepared so it was cool. The Mission Leader did the baptism . . . I kinda just walked into those baptisms but I helped out on ‘em so I feel good ‘bout my work there . . .

This was a very, very, very fast week. Like wwaaaaaaaay too fast. We have some cool investigators, though! One is named Marvin. He is deaf and speaks through sign language, so my Companion is teachin’ him a bunch! We also have two investigators in Llano Largo, which is about thirty minutes by bus from our hours and is out of our Zone, but President gave us permission to go teach them because they are deaf as well! So my Companion is teaching them! Pretty cool, huh?

It’s cool . . . When we’re singing hymns, I have to point to the words and my Companion just sings his own tune. It’s way off, but he gets the words for the most part! In prayers, he puts his arm around my neck so that he can feel the vibrations and knows when to say “amen” because he can feel the vibrations stop . . . Cool, huh?

This week’s District Meeting was really, really good actually! I tried to prepare for it for the three days before we had it so I could be receiving revelation throughout those days and it really helped. I had prepared really, really well, but even when I taught, more revelations came that really, really helped me! My District is five North Americans and my Companion. We had the District meeting so that he can understand if he reads the lips. I felt like it was really, really good, though! And, don’t worry, Dad . . . This week we had the best DATS and the most baptisms, so I’m leadin’ by example! I gotta have the best DATS every week or I can’t say anything to my District to get better!

Remember that guy that spoke in our Stake . . . He was a hitman before or something? He killed people, right? So, killing isn’t an unforgivable sin . . . ?

Where is Nelson Reeves playing?

I got to do Divisions twice this week. I had to leave my area both times. On Thursday, after District meeting, I went to the area of the Zone leaders with Elder Winn and his Companion went to my area with my Companion. We did Divisions so that the Zone Leader could do the two baptismal interviews in my Area. I really learned a lot from Elder Winn, though. Stuff that I needed to learn really, really bad as far as the books go and stuff. Then, on Friday, I got to go on Divisions again with Elder Mays. He is a new missionary . . . Of course, from Utah. He was a really good guy, though. Elder Maake, a big Tongan from Alaska went to my area so that I could give my first baptismal interview to one of their investigators in that Area. She passed so it was all good and easy. Then, on Saturday, she was also baptized! So, my District has had three baptisms already! Holler! Making me look good! LOL!

This morning, I called Leila (one of the baptisms from Atlantida) and they passed around the phone to everyone in the family and it’s a really big fam. When everyone loves you like that and you can tell that you have changed their lives, it makes ya feel real good. Makes it all worth it, really . . . Even the family members that we didn’t baptize are goin’ to be in sometime soon, so it’s all happiness.

Well, those are my updates for now! I sure love you all! A billions!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Area! New Companion! New District Leader!

Heyyyyy yo!

Wow! It has been an awesome and crazy week! And, don’t worry . . . I’m safe and sound. I haven’t felt any of the earthquakes that have been going on.

Thank you for all the stories! I’m glad to hear that you like talkin’ about me . . . LOL . . . And, Dylan, I’m sorry you aren’t playin’ much. I know how it is. Ask me how it was at SJCC . . . LOL . . . Stick with it, though ! Practice hard! Get better . . . If not for your team, do it for yourself!

Well, I gotta start my stories . . .

First, Happy Birthday to Grandma (a couple days ago)! How old are you? That is not a rhetorical question . . .

Second, don’t drink expired milk. The container said it expired on the 15th. I tried to drink it on the 15th and I drank a lot . . . LOL . . . I got a li’l sick that morning. So, obey the expiration dates on milk . . .

Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for having Jacob write me! I miss that kid so much! I was so happy to hear from him. It had been over seven months!

How is Robert Gaines? Can you get info on him for me or get him to write to me, too?

This Saturday . . . Whooo hooo! Big day it was! It’s a long story and I’m going to tell it all! LOL! Leila and Marcos were baptized at 10am by my Companion and then Vilma was baptized by me at Noon. But, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. My Companion and Vilma were mad at each other all week and Vilma almost didn’t get baptized at all! They weren’t all baptized at once because Leile and her li’l brother don’t get along with Vilma. Well, anyway, the baptisms of Leila and Marcos were easy and on time and everything. But Vilma’s was soooo hard. She told me the day before her baptism that if she didn’t get baptized on Saturday, she didn’t wanna see us ever again. She told us this after she passed her Baptismal interview . . . Well, she told me . . . My Companion wouldn’t talk to her!

So, after the two Baptisms at 10am, I went to get Vilma to bring her to the Ward building to be baptized like she wanted by she wasn’t there! I was sooooooooooooooooooooooo, sooo, sooo sad. You can’t even imagine how sad I was. I have worked with her for almost twenty weeks! I wanted her to be baptized SO bad and when I thought it wasn’t going to happen, I was super sad. She was soo, soo prepared. So, I went back to the Ward building and was sitting out front with my head down all sad, thinkin’ that maybe all my prayers hadn’t been enough. (Seeing as I could hardly sleep the night before because I was worried about the decision she was going to make and I was praying the whole night . . . If not on my knees, in my heart . . . Really, though!) Well, lo and behold! She came to the Ward building by herself! I had the biggest smile from ear to ear . . . I’m nearly 100 percent positive about that . . . No, I am 100 percent positive! I took her in the building and my Companion still wouldn’t talk to her, so I climbed on him a li’l again and they talked it out and didn’t have any more problems. Then we baptized her! Even though the baptism started late, it doesn’t matter! It was by faaaaaaaaar the most rewarding baptism that I have had. Then, on Sunday, even though Leila and Marcos were a li’l late, they were all confirmed! Very, very awesome weekend!

We have one other baptismal date for February 13th here in Atlantida, too! Holler! Wehad four baptisms in just sixteen days this month! We were in second place for the whole mission! The first place had five, but that was for the whole change! Elder Flores and I won the month (16 days)! Whoop whoop! Well, my Companion and I and the Lord, of course . . . Very special stuff, though. Last year in the Ward of Atlantida, they had only eight baptisms! I had three of them! Now, this year, Atlantida already has four! Very, very nice!

My Companion and I worked really well together and I know that the companionship was put together by revelation. Leila and that whole family loved how direct and everything he was, but Vilma didn’t. Vilma didn’t like it at all. She liked how I talked to her, though, and for that reason, we had all those baptisms! Different missionaries being able to touch specific people in specific ways that no one else can. I had to explain that to Elder Flores, though, because he was mad that Vilma didn’t like the way he talked to her . . .

Well, Mom . . . You were correct! Today was change day! I didn’t have an interview or anything so I was expecting to maybe just go up to Senior Companion, but nothing more than that. Well, today I had a huuuuuuge surprise when they called my name as District Leader! I was so shocked that I didn’t stand up for what felt like a really, really long time. If someone is gonna be District Leader or Zone Leader or Assistant or gonna train a new, they ALWAYS (well, I guess almost always) have interviews. I thought maybe President had lost a li’l trust in me when my District did some really dumb stuff that I had no part in. But, I guess he didn’t lose any trust in me to call me as a DL without an interview. Cool, huh?

Really cool part number two . . . My Companion that was named . . . He is . . . You won’t believe me (and I get the chills sayin’ it) . . . He is deaf! Yes! He cannot hear! Crazy, right????????? His name is Elder Barrientos and he is from here in Guatemala. You wanna know the craziest part, though? This last change (with Elder Flores), I talked to my Zone Leader. I told him that I would really like to be companions with Elder Barrientos because he has had a lot of idiot companions that won’t be patient with him. I asked my Zone leader if I should tell the President in my interview that I would like to try it ‘cause I can be patient. When, I told my ZL, though, he kinda laughed at me and told me not to say anything to President ‘cause it would be way harder than what I imagined. He told me that President does the changes by revelation. I agreed with him in that point, so I didn’t tell President anything and just kinda let the idea go. Well, NO ONE told President that I wanted to be Elder Barrientos’ companion. I even talked with President after the Change Conference to ask him if someone had tipped him off. Of course he told me not at all! And look who was still called to be my companion! Really, really, cool stuff. And such a testimony builder for me and all the other heard my story from the ZL! Surely President receives revelation for us. I know it . . .

Well, I’m outta here . . . I hope you can tell how excited I am! I love you all sooooo much! Thanks for all the love and support. Oh, and my area name is Ermita . . . Love you all!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"I'm a Disciple of Christ and I tell the truth!"

LOL . . . Howdy Cowboy! That’s a good reminder from home right there! LOL . . .

I’m glad you like all the videos and pictures. I take them all and record and all just for you guys! So, you better love it! LOL . . . Yes, mother, we did make that tool to pick the tangerines! To answer your question, I don’t wear my glasses much ‘cause I don’t like sweatin’ on my nose and I don’t wear my contact much ‘cause it’s so dirty here. I just put my glasses on when we get into the house or I can’t read . . . LOL . . . You know!

That girl, Aaliyah, is getting’ sooo big and smart already! If it’s crazy for you, you already know it’s crazier for me . . . hahaha! But it’s all good I guess! Talkin’ to her on Christmas helped me so much with missin’ her too much . . . I dunno know why. I still miss her like crazy but not to where I wanna cry all the time for her now. It’s a good thing!

It’s good to hear that Gilroy is playing so well! That’s awesome! Alisal and Salinas are supposed to be two of the best teams in the league, aren’t they? How’s Dylan playin? Is he playin? He better be!

Okay . . . My turn!

Bullet points . . . Yes, Tom . . . Bullet points . . .

Last Monday, we had a Zone Activity playin’ dodge ball. And, yes, of course I was the best again. I don’t wanna brag, but I’m a disciple of Christ and I tell the truth! I was puttin’ everything into every throw! Pshhhhh! I blew out my arm for like three or four days . . . LOL . . . I was really, really sore all over!

I started shavin’ without my electric shaver this week. I start using shaving cream and all. I really like regular razors a lot, lot more. They don’t give me razor burn and I can shave much faster. The first time I shaved that way, though, I cut myself open pretty bad on the back of both sides of my jaw . . . LOL . . . I blame it on the horrible razor I used, though. With the ones that you have sent to me and with me, I don’t think I’ll have that problem again! I already shaved two times since that disaster without a problem . . . Thank you very much . . .

Oh, thank you Ward! For all of the letters that you guys sent in my Christmas package! They were awesome! I can’t begin to write to everyone who wrote to me, but thank you sooo, sooo much! Good to hear that the Ward is doin’ great!

Is my picture by the Guatemala Temple up on my plaque? It better be!

Has anyone had any luck reaching Jacob?

Oh, there is a member here that only works on cars . . . Yes . . . It’s his job . . . LOL . . . But he has an old-school BMW with a huge, beautiful airplane motor. I told him that I want it after my Mission and he said he will sell it to me. The engine here is like $1200 but he says I would pay nearly $500 in the States. I guess in the States, cars are cheaper, but to buy all the parts is way cheaper here. So, I was discussing it with him. He can send it home to me for about $500 by boat. I think that’s what I wanna do . . . Whatcha think? I know I gotta wait a while, but just keep the idea in the back of your head, please . . . LOL . . .

This week, I had lesson with an active person. He is Patriarch! It’s so weird ‘cause once you have that calling, you have it forever. But tell me, Dad, what happens at this point with him? He is soooo smart, though, so he feels like he has learned too much and now he feels like he has learned that these things can’t be true. Well, he’s wrong . . . LOL . . . All the books he reads were written but the Book of Mormon was written for revelation, so he loses! I was a li’l nervous to bear my testimony because he is such a smart and all that kind of guy, but I did! It was pretty awesome!

Well, that’s ‘bout all I got for ya right now! I love you guys sooo, sooo much! Hit me up with a DearElder! Love you all TOO much!

"The Lord blesses those that make sacrifices for Him"

Hey, pops!

Thanks for the e-mail you recently sent me!

I’m not too worried about where I’m gonna serve, even though it’d be cool to go to Peten or Coban, because I know it’s all about the President’s revelation.

Anyway, though . . . I’m gonna try to answer your questions! I’m doin’ great ! I feel like I’m really growin’. I’m not just a youngin’ anymore! I know what I’m doin’ so I’m able to be a better leader. It’s your fault that I love leading . . . haha . . . You made me do it!

I was a li’l sick this week and we didn’t work on Wednesday after the District Meeting ‘cause I was hurtin’ so bad. It was a huuuuuuuuge headache and throat hurtin’ and nose runnin’ and body dwellin’ . . . LOL . . . All that fun stuff! But, the next I was waaaaaay better and we went out to work like normal. My Companion is doin’ pretty well as well. He has also been sick . . . Besides that, we are getting along better and better and I can really see improvements in him since the time we started together. So, I’m leavin’ people better than I found ‘em, I think! He reads his scriptures a lot more and the work we are doing is great!

We had one baptism this Saturday and next Saturday (the 16th), we have three more baptisms! So we are feelin’ good right now! It’s been a while working with some of them. The Ward is getting’ better and better. We had one member return from his Mission about a month ago and he’s really working hard to try to fix things. He’s doin’ a great job helpin’ us out. Other than him, the member support is aaight . . . They support us but they don’t help us, ya know? It’s all good, I guess, but we really could use some more help.

Our Mission Leader hasn’t done anything since he was called about a month ago. We went to visit him a few days ago and he was drunk . . . yea, it was a new situation. He called me a gringo . . . Then he called me a clown . . . And then he called my Companion a clown and we left . . . LOL . . . It had to be a first! Then, on Sunday, he was in the Church acting normal and sayin’ he wants to help . . . So, we’ll see if he comes through this week!

Right now, we are teaching about 25 lessons a week. We have taught as few as 22 and as many as 32ish in one week. We have the most or next to the most lessons in our Zone each week, so we are doin’ the thang! Right now, we have three baptismal dates set and then we have a lot, a lot of other investigators. We probably have 2 to 5 real possibilities for baptism in the near future. In Church yesterday, we had six investigators and one was a first-timer!

In Church, our baptism was confirmed and that was the most important! To be honest, I have not set another date for the “50 Investigator Challenge”. I will be doin’ it again in my next change, though! I really do believe I can do it! I, only I, can help myself with my unbelief . . .

The Priesthood power is probably the biggest part of my testimony. I really do know the things that you’re sayin’. I’ve seen so many miracles through my fingers. It’s really soo, soo cool!

I am so sorry, though, again, that you were so sick! It really has just been passed around so much! Not only in California, but here a bunch, too! Almost everyone has had it!

I really am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy that you guys are being blessed! I, too, know that part of the blessings you receive are because of my service. I know that the Lord blesses those that make sacrifices for Him.

How did your Oakwood team do? And how is SJCC doin’ now? Is Spencer playin’ well? And how about Fox?

Thanks for everything, Dad! You know how much you mean to me. Well, I hope you know . . . I love you sooooo much, Dad. Thank you for all of your help in every aspect of my life. Love you!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We had eleven lessons on New Year's Day!


Thank you for all of those updates, mother! I loved ‘em! Good to hear that everyone is doin’ well (besides bein’ sick)! I’m hopin’ Dylan gets to kiss a li’l on his triple date, LOL . . . Just kidding, just kidding. Did he yell, “That’s for my brother!” on his first rebound vs. Santa Clara? I sure hope so! It would make me feel good inside . . .

Congrats to you and Dad! 30 years! That’s amazing! Sorry I’m not home to celebrate. We three could have done something really special together . . . LOL . . . But you two just go on and celebrate without me. Celebrate big, though, you two!

Well, let’s see if I can hit you guys up with some updates .. .

Question first . . . Is my picture that’s on my plaque in the Ward Building my picture in front of the Quatemala or Provo Temple? It better be in front of the Guatemala or I’ll be real mad, yo . . .

What were the best 2009 moments? For sports or for whatever? Maybe you guys have a li’l article on that . . .

There are two chapines (Guatemalans) in the Minor Leagues right now. Looks like they might come up this season, but Dallas will have to do research on them for me. Manuel Hernandez plays for Baltimore and Marlon Claveria plays for San Diego.

Well, we had three people who passed their Baptism Interviews this past Tuesday! We put all three of them down to be baptized on January 9th, but only one is going to be baptized that day and the other two are going to be baptized on January 16th because they have only come to Church twice and they didn’t attend yesterday. Bummer, but it’s all good! All three will be baptized and that’s the important thing!

We had our interview with the President this past Wednesday. He didn’t really talk with me much again, but he told me that the group that entered this Mission with me are the best group he has ever seen. Kinda cool, huh? I don’t know if that means much for me individually, but it’s still cool! Who knows what will happen this next change. I talked to my Zone Leader, Elder Castro, today. He makes it sound like I won’t open an Area and probably won’t train, but maybe I’ll be a Senior Companion! So, who knows!?!? I’m all good with whatever happens though, yo.

In our interviews we had to memorize a scripture like we always do. This time, we were supposed to memorize a scripture about the Birth of Christ. So, I gave mine . . . Mosiah 3:9. Then, my Companion gave a Christmas Hymn . . . hahahahahahaha . . . We had to recite them to Hermana Torres and she was a li’l mad and very shocked . . . LOL . . . because my Companion had almost a year and they always ask for a scripture. Who knows what thoughts he was havin’ to choose to memorize and sing a hymn . . . LOL . . . Pretty funny. I joined him, though, and hummed the bass part so that he wasn’t alone . . . LOL. It was a nice li’l duet, though . . . Not gonna lie!

Thank you, Sister Dickson and Bishop Dickson and the Boomgaardens for your letters! I love hearin’ now everythin’ is goin’! So, thank you! And, thanks, Grandma! I did get the pictures you sent me and all that. I love hearin’ from you, Grandma, and with the pictures you sent me, I put some in the photo album . . . LOL . . . I had to take out one or two of Stacie’s modeling pictures . . . LOL . . . Sorry, sis! The other Elders would have talked too much ‘bout those pictures anyway, LOL. It’s better this way, hun . . .

Oh, yea . . . Happy New Year! LOL . . . We had eleven lessons that day! So that was good! Then, for the New Year’s celebration . . . Drum roll, please . . . I went to bed at 11pm! LOL and got up at 6:30am! I didn’t celebrate at all, but it was a great New Year! LOL!

How is Jacob? You guys gotta get in touch with him somehow for me! And how are Jav and Q and Chris and BC? I’m interested to know how they are doin’ and where they are. How are Q’s stats? And how are Jacob’s baseball stats?

Oh, I’m not sure when I’ll see ruins. It all depends on if or when I get sent out of the Capital . . .

Yes . . . Happy Seven Months to me!

My Spanish is really comin’ along though . . . I just wanna thank everyone for their prayers. You all know that I was very worried ‘bout that before my Mission, but it’s really comin’ along, so thank you!

Well, I’m out! Thanks for everything, everyone! Write me a DearElder when y’all got time! Love you billoons! Hee hee!