Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“I translated the whole baptismal service into sign language!"

Hey, yo!

Thank you for answering all of my questions! You guys gotta send me a picture of Dylan and his friend, Cassandra . . . LOL . . . I wanna see how they look . . . LOL . . . See if Dylan is livin’ up to the standard!

For General Conferene, we will go to the Stake Center which happens to be our building. There, all of the missionaries from the Zone (it’s a small zone with only 13 missionaries) will watch the Conference. Everyone watches Conference in the big room because it is translated into Spanish, but there four North American missionaries who get to go into another room and watch Conference live with real voices! I’m pretty pumped ‘bout that ! Especially because I was SO sick during Conference last time! This time I don’t think I’ll be throwin’ up all over the place and havin’ diarrhea and not be able to move! Man, last time was bad! General Conference got her sooooo fast this time, though!

That’s really funny that Grandma is having plastic surgery . . . LOL . . .

Anyway, here I am, yo! My updates . . .

Well . . . First, Happy Birthday to Toni! Happy Birthday to Allie! And Happy Birthday to Uncle Matt today! Weird . . . Is Toni 21? Yikes . . .

Hey, you guys still haven’t told me . . . Please tell me you watched Orlando play vs. Ohio State! How’d he do?????? I heard he was player of the game! True or no? Pleeeeeeeeease let me know!

We played wiffle ball out in the street as a Zone last week ‘cause there were no open parks. It made me feel at home with all the cars drivin’ by and us having to call out, “CAR!” . . . It was really fun, but we lost 10 to 7 . . . But, to our credit, we didn’t get our last ups ‘cause we lost the ball on a homer with one out. We coulda won . . . I think we might play again today, though . . .

Hey . . . I know what it means when it says, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”. It kinda took a while to figure out! Good luck! Go figure it out! Along with that scripture study, I finished the Book of Mormon again. It was my fifth time, yo! But I have a lot more to learn . . .

We had our every 6 weeks interview with President last week. My interview was really, really long though because President and I had a lot to talk about. He gave me lots of very nice compliments and told me that he doesn’t think anyone else in the Mission could be doing what I’m doing right now. Wow! What a cool compliment, right?????? And he also told me that he counts on me a lot and that the Lord also counts on me a lot. Pretty cool stuff, huh???? Good interview . . .

This week, I got to give Jazmin her baptismal interview in sign language! How cool, huh????? She passed as did her Mom . . . And, yesterday, they were both baptized! It was pretty dog on amazing! We left Church after Sacrament Meeting to go to Llano Largo. There, Elder Barrientos baptized Jazmin and Elder Dunkley baptized Esperanza. I translated the whole baptismal service into sign language! Wow! It was hard! When people talk fast, it is really hard but still cool that I can kind of do it. I also gave a talk in sign language and Spanish. That was nerrrrrrrve racking! I did a bad job. It’s so much easier to just talk in signs without Spanish ‘cause in Spanish you have to slow down a bunch to be able to talk at the same pace as signs. I was really, really nervous but it was still great. After the baptism, Esperanza and Jazmin were both confirmed. It was a very unique baptism. Really cool for Elder Mortensen, though, that his first baptism was a deaf person. And cool for me and Barrientos that we got to teach and baptize a deaf person, too! How cool that I got to be part of that! I’ll never forget that!

Soooo . . . Yea . . . Very good and unforgettable week! I sure love you all and I’ll be thinkin’ ‘bout you during General Conference! Not like I don’t every day, but you feel me! Love you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lord sure blesses this area!

I’m so, so sorry ‘bout last week. I just couldn’t do anything about it. It was great talkin’ on the phone to Evalin, though, and havin’ her instant message you. I felt like I was really close to you guys, too . . . LOL . . .Good and tough at the same time.

I can’t explain how pumped I was for Orlando (Derek’s good friend, Orlando Johnson, who plays basketball for UC Santa Barbara who played in the NCAA Tournament)! Please, pretty please, tell me that you guys all watched him play! Twenty points vs. Ohio State!?! How amazing! Of course, I miss March madness, but I only wanted to watch him more than anything and I couldn’t . . . Sad . . .

How cool about Men’s Chorus (Derek’s brother, Dylan, sings in a few Choirs at Gilroy High School. They just got back from a competition in San Diego where their Men’s Chorus, which consists of only 16 men’s voices, got FIRST PLACE)! I wish I were still singing . . . I miss it . . .

LOL . . . And thank you for the Aaliyah stories. I always need ‘em. I miss that girl so much! Oh, well! I’m good, though!

So . . . How’s Uncle Matt? That picture was sooooooo nasty! (Derek’s Uncle Matt had knee replacement surgery last week . . . We sent him a picture of the 40 STAPLES in his knee!) I hope he’s doin’ well! I had no idea that his knee was that bad! How are James and Randy doing? I haven’t heard from them . . . Bug ‘em for me! Oh, and try to bug Lorenzo and Jacob for me again, too . . . I need to hear from them.

Well, I ate like a king this week! Well, maybe not like a king, but pretty dog on good! I have somethin’ bad to admit, though . . . I found frosting . . . And graham crackers . . . You know what I’m talkin’ about (this was one of Derek’s FAVORITE snacks in High School!). LOL . . . Elder Mortensen and I bought two cans of frosting and those two cans were gone in like, ummmmmm, two days! LOL! I guess I ate like a king, but it wasn’t all week. Know what else we make for breakfast, though? We make breakfast muffins, English muffins, cheese, eggs and bacon! Yummy, yumm, yumm . . . We are king’s men! It’s cool, bra! Elder Barrientos eats weird things, LOL . . . Bread with ketchup and guacamole . . . Ummmm . . . Saltine crackers with ketchup . . . Rice and ketchup . . . LOL . . . Just weird stuff that I don’t want any part of! We also had pupusas this week, though! Holler!

Hey, which missionary moms do you talk to?

Well, we have really focused in on Jazmin this week and she will be getting baptized this Sunday after Church in Llano Largo! I think I will get to do her interview, too, ‘cause only Elder Barrientos and I know the sign language. Well, there are two other people in the Mission who know signs, too, but one is a sister and the other is really, really new. It’s been really cool getting’ to teach her, though. I’m really lookin’ forward to this baptism. I’m almost positive it will be a once in a lifetime type of thing. Along with Jazmin, we have nine other baptismal dates set! The Lord sure has blessed this area! I just have to work hard and people are being prepared by Him. I just go to their hours and spit a couple lines and my Companiosn bring the powerhouse Spirit and the spirit is helpin’ em progress! Pretty cool, actually . . . It makes my job easy!

Weird that this change is half over already . . . This week flew by!

I did divisions this week and I went over to Las Victorias again. I went with Elder Fast and I felt like I learned a lot from him, actually. I liked the way he taught with boldness. I think I can do that more. And, he doesn’t even know all that much Spanish, but I liked how he spoke. They are workin’ really hard to have a bigger teaching pool and things are falling into place. Like Preach My Gospel says, nothing happens in this work until you have people to teach . . .

Well, kinda sad note . . . Three weeks ago, we found a new investigator and he was really sick. He was losing his hair, coughing all nasty and had a huge tumor or something on his leg. Anyway, when we went and tried to find him again, his family member said he was in the hospital. Then, a couple days ago, they said he had passed away. It’s sad, but so great, ‘cause now he doesn’t have to live with his bodily pains. And, I know that someone is teachin’ him in heaven and he WILL accept the gospel. I put a lot of money on it! I hope I left a good enough first impression of the Church, though. He will accept the gospel . . . He was even prepared here on Earth.

Well, I think that’s about all for me right now! I sure love you guys! Keep me posted on everything! Love you all millions!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I KNOW the new Elders bring the Spirit!

Hey, yo!

Yes, yes . . . Ya boy has nine months now . . . Kinda cool, huh?

Sadly, that was a good decision by Dylan not to go to the game. Sounds like Serra was probably pretty good this year, huh? Did they have any guys go D1? Dylan is quite a talented li’l music man! Kinda cool, huh?

I am always cooking for myself . . . It’s going fine . . . I don’t eat like a king or anything, but we do good, basic cooking. This week we are goin’ for breakfast bagels so I’m pumped ‘bout that! We made bacon for the first time this week and it was tasty! We eat a lot of cereal and bread, too . . . LOL . . . Just like Junior High. Sometimes I clean my own clothes and sometimes we take them to a member and she washes them for us. So, yea . . . I’m doin’ good . . .

Well, I thought I would let you know that I’m related to Elder Mays ‘cause my Dad (Elder Ireland) is his Mom, which makes Elder Mays my sister. Kinda cool, huh? I’m his big bro! Oh, also, we went to McDonald’s this week and the girl that used to hit on Elder Mays a lot was askin’ about him. Then, when she gave Elder Drach his receipt, she put her name and number on it to pass along to Mays . . . LOL . . . it was pretty dog on funny . . . Mays was sooooo shy, too, and didn’t ever talk . . . I love it! LOL

Well, this was kind of a crazy week that didn’t involve a whole bunch of sleeping!

On Monday, I had to get up at 4:30am to go to an interview with President Torres. Then we had Change Conference.

On Tuesday, I got up at 4:00am to go pick up a one day Companion. His name was Elder Williams. President gave us one day Comps because he hadn’t had interviews with the new Elders yet, so he hadn’t received revelation on who should be with who. Elder Williams was a cool guy, though. I didn’t want him to be taken away from me, but after one amazing day with him (5 new investigators and a baptismal date!), I had to go drop him off on Wednesday at 6:00am at the CCM.

On Wednesday, after I dropped off Elder Williams at the CCM, I got to go through the Temple with all the trainers. I didn’t wanna leave the Celestial Room. I just love the peace and clearness of mind in there. It’s sooooo easy to think. After the Temple, we went to the Mission Home and had lunch with all of the new missionaries. After that lunch, we split up and had some classes with the assistants. After the classes, we all got back together and we got our “sons” given to us. The first joy of my posterity is . . . Drummmmmmmmmmm roll . . . Elder Mortensen! He is a cool guy from Idaho. He likes basketball and baseball, though, so you know he is all good with me! He says his brother was a McDonald’s All American! I guess he was a 6’5”, 3-guard . . . Then he went on a mission and decided not to play when he got home.

My first day with Elder Mortensen here was AMAZING! We set FOUR baptismal dates! I love having the new guys! They must just bring a cool spirit! Well . . . I KNOW they bring a cool spirit! It’s an amazing companionship because my two Comps just have to teach by the Spirit and then I’m just there to clear up any questions! I love it! Success! Success! LOL! When we set the four baptismal dates, it was a pretty cool lesson. We all read a chapter from the Book of Mormon together and then I had us all get down on our knees to offer one prayer out loud each to ask if the Book of Mormon is true. After we each offered our own prayer, one after the other, the Spirit was strong and they accepted baptismal dates. Cool, huh?

In my District, we have seven Elders . . . Me (9 months), Elder Barrientos (12 months), Elder Mortensen (2 months), Elder Maake (12 months), Elder Garcia (17 months), Elder Drach (11 months) and Elder Fast (2 months). Kind of a nice, spread out group! I like ‘em! Everyone had a pretty good week! I plan on doin’ divisions with Elder Drach this week. It was his 23rd birthday today, FYI!

In my Zone, we have as Zone Leaders . . . Elder Empey (17 months) and Elder Petersen (17 months). Then, in my rival District, we have Elder Fusi (11 months) as the District Leader, Elder Segura (2 months), Elder Cangalaya (11 months) and Elder M . . . Yikes . . . I don’t remember his name but he’s been out one month. We have a cool Zone, though, ‘cause Empey and Petersen are really, really cool and fun Zone leaders. Then, Fusi is a huge Tongan from Los Angeles and we have a big Tongan in my District, so this Zone has the only two Tongans in the mission! LOL! But it is a very funny Zone. A nice hard workin’ one, though . . .

So, yea . . . I hope I answered a lot of Dad’s questions, too . . . I feel like I learned a lot from our goals on February 28th, though, and trying to get people in Church. I gotta get a lot of rides and “pick-ups” situated. I had everyone invited, but I didn’t do much to get them all there. So, when I decide on our next date, I know I can get better in that way. I don’t remember exactly what the numbers were, but it was the best that Las Vicks has had in over five months. For me, it was also the best that we had in a long time in Ermita. And Maake didn’t have many “first timers”, but he still had the most that he had the whole change. I was disappointed that we didn’t reach our goal, but our area did great! It was pretty cool . . . The missionary work is great!

I sure love you guys! Thanks for everything! Quiero que sepan que estoy cmuy contento y que me gusta este gente aqui in Guate. (I am happy and I love the people of Guatemala.) El Senor me bendice porque trabajo duro. (Heavenly Father blesses me for my hard work). Yo creo jajaja. (I believe what I am teaching.) No, pero es cierto, trabajo duro con mis compas. (I am certain I will be blessed for hard work with my companions.) Este es la iglesia verdadera. Lo se! (This is the true Church! It is!) Les quiero mucho! (I want them a lot!) Escribanme! (Write to me!) Dearleder! Adios! Cuidense! (Take care of yourselves!)

Man . . . I stink at writing in Spanish . . . LOL . . . Love you all! Be good and be safe!

Monday, March 1, 2010

You know I love a challenge!

Hey, yo!

First of all, I’m sorry that I couldn’t write much last week. It wasn’t just that much didn’t happen, I just couldn’t write very much because I felt so bad and didn’t wanna be sitting down thinkin’ and typin’ . . . Yes, I am all better now, though! We didn’t work for two days ‘cause of me this past week though . . . Dumb . . .

My District did good on the goal! Although we did not complete it, everyone had their best week of the change as far as investigators at Church go! So, I was for sure happy. We will have to get better on plannin’ it out, though. I think we can do a lot better. I know we can do a lot better.

Yes . . . I got the memory card. I also finished the muddy buddies today . . . Dumb . . . That’s the second dumb thing I’ve written about! LOL!

That’s really, really cool that Gilroy won their CCS game. I’m wishin’ ‘em the best vs. Serra!

LOL . . . Thanks for the guest speaker. That’ll be a great opportunity for Ash and Tom! My . . . I must say, too, that you and Ash are great typers grammatically. Keep workin’ on the baby, Ash! LOL! But just ‘cause you wrote me an e-mail doesn’t mean you don’t have to send me a DearElder! I expect one soon, ya heard!!!!

Thanks for the Aaliyah story. I dunno why sometimes those really touch me. They sure did today, though. It makes me so happy to hear those stories. And to know that she is so random!!!! That’s just proof that she’s my li’l baby girl! I would totally say the same things ‘bout those pictures and you know it’s true! LOL!

Okay, okay, okay . . . Hold it down. My stories now . . .

Well, President continues to throw more pressure on me! Which is a good thing! This change, I will still be with Elder Barrientos in my Ermita area butttttttttt . . . Drum roll . . . I will also be training a new missionary! LOL! President told me that it will be a North American which means I’m basically gonna be training two people at the same time. So, yea, we will be in a trio! And I’ll still be District Leader. It should be a crazy change! Should be fun, though! You know I love a challenge!

Did you know that Kam Handy is in the Army in Germany!!!!!!!???????? Spencer just wrote me and told me ‘bout it! What the heck! I don’t like that at all! I’m really worried! I don’t like that! And KJ is in Afghanistan! I’m so worried! I’m sure they’ll be fine, but I don’t like that at all at all!

We had Stake Conference this week. It was amazing! Elder Martino of the Seventy and Elder Rivas of the Seventy spoke to us! President Torres also spoke at the conference. They all gave amazing talks and I felt like I learned a bunch and was, for sure, enlightened! I spoke personally to Elder Martino! He gave me advice on finding good new investigators. And, I took the advice! And, of course, it worked! The advice of those that really understand it all . . . It’s amazing . . . The words and advice of those who talk with a living Prophet . . . LOL . . . Yea . . . It works . . .

Elder Legua was transferred back into Guatemala City! He is one of the best missionaries in the mission! I’m so glad that I will get to start seeing him again! I was really hoping that he would be in my District, but just to see him today was awesome! I miss that dude!

Anyway . . . Those are my stories and questions for the week! I love and miss you all! Be safe and good! Write me a DearElder . . . I’ll be waiting! Love, love, love, love you!