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!