Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Keizer, Oregon

December 27, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

It was good talking to the family on Christmas day! It's hard to believe but I still didn't get to tell you everything I wanted to! Anyway, so much has happened in just these last two days, I’ll let you know what I’m talking about. First I am sending you some more pictures home in a package; I’ll send you some other cool stuff in there as well. Also I’ll send you some more ties you can rock, as I have too many now, and I will send you the ones that are my nicest, Chyeah! Plus I’m almost through with writing in my first journal so I’ll send that home soon so you can have the whole missionary experience that I have been having instead of just a weekly thing.

I told you about my boy Charlie Reiser, he got baptized Christmas morning and it truly was a white Christmas...ha-ha! Well he was confirmed a member of the church yesterday and he received the Holy Ghost. It was an awesome experience being able to help Charlie out in his life as he has gone down a hard path to get here! Well after Charlie’s baptism, we went to spend our Christmas day with the Deloya's. They are sweet and I had a great time over there! They hooked us up with these sweet stockings full of stuff we could use like soap, tooth paste, floss, a tooth brush...etc. I think they were trying to say something ha-ha Chyeah! Naw, they weren’t, but it was a sweet present and the stocking is really cool! We played some awesome games in Spanish and what not and it was a great way to spend some of Christmas day away from the family! After that we stopped by our investigators places and invited them to church! We stopped by to see Amancio, and you know him, he is a fregin G! Anyway then on Sunday, we picked up Amancio and another investigator named Miguel. These guys are in there 70's and I’m pretty sure they are some of the oldest guys in Keiser! Ha-ha Anyway they both rock and wanted to come to church! Right when we knocked on Amancio's door, he swung it open and greeted us with a '' QUE PASA ELDERS" which translates to WHAT’s HAPPENING ELDERS or WHATS HAPPENIN G's! Anyway going to church with these guys was awesome as they had a lot to say in there wisdom. Miguel made sure to participate in the classes by sharing experiences from his life and his children along the years. During Sacrament meeting Amancio tried to talk to me in what he thought was a whisper but it was actually kind of a shout...ha-ha! Then when they passed the sacrament and Amancio saw a young kid taking it asked me in a loud voice. ES VINO!!!!!!!????? He thought that the little kid was drinking wine ha-ha but I explained to him that we used water. Anyway it was a great time at church and it was good to have those guys attend with us! After church we went to go eat at my boy Javier Ramirez's house, the family that we spent Christmas Eve with. Well I think I told you about Javier's daughter that just moved here from Mexico, well she has decided that she wants to be taught about the church and that is so exciting. We are going to teach her today and I think it will go well as she is very interested!

I'll tell you an awesome experience of how the Lord answered my prayers. I was praying about Javier's daughter, Tiffany, and how we should go about teaching her. I wanted to know what date the Lord thought would be good for us to set as here baptismal date. So I was praying on my knees and asking God what he thought would be best and my mind was blank. I kept trying to think hard and all of a sudden, the date the 16th of Enero popped into my head. I wasn't even thinking about any dates, my mind was like blank, and then it popped into my head! It was like WOW, that’s crazy. Anyway I checked what date that was and it was perfect, it gave us enough time to teach her and get her ready for baptism on a Sunday. It really strengthened my testimony further to see that Heavenly father loves each and every one of his children! And not to mention that he trusts me enough to give me an answer when I ask for it! It is amazing to know and say that I know that God lives and so does his son Jesus Christ. Not only that but that they both want the best for us, and they want us to follow them, each and every one of us! Chyeah!

Anyway, I played basketball this morning with some of the old guys in our Rama and it was really fun. I played with Jesus Deloya, Juan Carlos Deloya, and Lester Mcbride. It was fun because they were just some guys that I knew from church, but playing ball with them helped me to bond with them while shooting the J shot. I hope that doesn’t sound lame, I’m just trying to say that these guys are tight and its fun playing basketball with old men!

Well today’s p-day and I went to the thrift store and bought this sweet alpaca jacket with matching hat and gloves. It was an impulse buy but I saw it from the window when we were driving buy the thrift store and I had to buy it. Chyeah!

Well I love you guys,

Peace out!

Elder Dolor

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great News from Keizer, Oregon

December 20, 2010

Dear family and friends,

Last week was amazing as I was able to see the Lords hand in my life even more. I told you about my new Companion Elder White, well we are getting along great. My Spanish is coming along really well as I'm having to take charge and get a lot of things set up. The baptism for Godofredo was awesome and everything came together perfectly. He was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ yesterday by his friend Mario Papa and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is the man and I’m so glad that he has decided to make this decision to follow Christ further more. He showed up to church yesterday in a Jean jacket, jean pantsuit, it was tight! Anyway, it has been really good getting to know Godofredo and his family and I will be sure to send you some pictures soon! I told you about Charlie, an investigator that has been listening to the missionaries for 2 years; well he is getting baptized this Saturday on Christmas day! Chyeah! He has been through a long journey to get to this point, he had to quit smoking, get married, and other things but he is finally ready to enter into the covenant of baptism.

A pretty cool miracle happened this week. We decided to go see this former investigator named Amancio but I didn't know where he lived. All I knew is that he lived next to Don Pedro’s Mexican restaurant. So we are driving down the road looking for Amancio's home and my companion pulls over into a random neighborhood and is like, “We should find out where we are going instead of driving around and wasting miles." And then I was like naw it’s all good, drive down this road and take a left. I had no idea where we were going but I just thought it was a good idea. So we finally got to the exit of the neighborhood, guess where we where? Right next to Don Pedro’s!!!!!!!!! I was like dang man, that's crazy!!!! I knew it wasn't luck because that just doesn't happen. Anyway, we then went to go talk to him and he told us that he wants to be baptized. We set a date for the 28th of January for him to be baptized and it was an awesome lesson. He is like a 68 year old guy, and he always wears shades even if it’s dark outside. We have been stopping by daily to teach him and I will let you know how things go with that. But isn't that like a miracle, that doesn't just happen G.

The Christmas party was awesome last Friday! It wasn’t like any Christmas party I’ve ever been to before, there was a piñata and music and dancing and what not. Not only that but the Play went awesome. Everyone said their lines and it came together really well. Not to mention everyone in the Branch that participated in the play had like the best costumes. My costume consisted of a blanket I found in our apartment, and I cut a hole in the middle so I could stick my head through. I then put on that llama scarf I got and rapped a tie around my head. My costume looked pretty good and I got some sweet pictures with the people in the Branch that I will have to send to you! When the Piñata came down everyone was going nuts, especially the kids. They would all go and run for the candy even if someone was still swinging the stick at it ha-ha. Anyway the party was tight and we had quite a few investigators show up! One of the members filmed the whole play so I will try to get a copy and send it home!

We had the opportunity to go to the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra in Vancouver on Saturday! It was really awesome and they are truly amazing. The music was great and I also got to talk to my BOY Elder Hardy! He wasn’t at the Choir thing, but one of the Elders I met at the MTC knew Hardy and I called him from that guy’s cell. I got to talk to my Boy Hardy for a little bit and I told him I loved him. He told me that he has been having a lot of success in Vancouver from being obedient and doing the Lords will. It was good to hear my fellow brother and I told him to go and do the Lords work. It’s weird to think that I won’t be able to see him for a long time but we are both engaged in the same work! All I know is its funny to think that me and Hardy back in the day in primary were two little crazy kids with ADHD and no one would have thought that we would be serving a mission for the Lord right now ha-ha. But we are and we are doing our best!

Last night we ate with my boy Hermano Ramirez and his family. He is the man and I always love eating at his house with his family. We are also going over there for New Years Eve. Anyway Javier Ramirez's daughter just flew here last week from Mexico to stay with them. She isn't a member and I think she is interested in learning more about the Church. Anyway I have a good feeling about it so I’ll let you know how that goes!

I’m glad to hear that the families doing well! It’s weird being away from the family for this Christmas but I’m sure I will be treated well. I met Sister Robinson’s sister and she is the best. I also met the Goesch family and they are tight. They are the family of Alan Goesch, a friend of Nathan Hardy and mine that we met a BYU. They have invited us to have New Years Eve with them and I know that will be tight!

Anyway, I’ll write back later because I’ve got to go to a missionary Christmas party, peace out!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pictures From Keizer!

Elder Payne and Elder Hansen

Christmas is right around the corner!

Car and Bike Area

Service Project

Homemade Cookies for the members of the Rama

Portland Oregon Temple

Keizer District Temple Visit
Burritos with Elder Hernandez

P-Day Bowling

Ties, Ties and more Ties

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Companion!

December 15, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

DANG JENA! That’s all I have to say about this week because so much has happened and it has blown my mind! It’s all good though because I’m not stressing, I’m just trying to take it all in, and let me explain to you what I’m talking about! I’ll start out by saying why my mind is blown and I have to man up and work harder than I ever have before. In Spanish they call manning up, Ponte trucha, which I think is slang for It’s time to wake up! But when someone isn't manning up out here and doing what they are supposed to do we tell them to Ponte Trucha.

Well anyway, let me begin. Last Monday was transfers and I got a brand new companion named Elder White that just came from the English speaking side of the mission! He is from a tiny town called Elsinore, Utah. He is a thug; he is about 6'3 and has the deepest voice you've ever heard! All in all, he is the man. Well I have been out here for about 6 weeks now and I have been pretty much letting my companion Elder Hansen figure everything out, and he would also teach a lot of the lessons since I’m not fluent in Spanish yet( I’m almost there). Anyway, Elder White has been out for 9 months and most of the time he has been English speaking so he doesn’t speak as much Spanish as I do. He is also new to the area so I have to call the shots for now. So no longer can I let my companion take control, I have to, especially in the lessons with investigators. It has been tough though, I’m not playing.

Elder Hansen transferred Monday and left me to figure out everything for myself not to mention there is this whole language difference. These last two days have been really hard because my boy named Godofredo, he is about 70, is getting baptized tonight! Elder Hansen left me with all the planning to do for Godofredo's baptism so I had to get everything set up for it. I had to get the program ready for one of the members to make, verify who was giving the talks at the baptism, and call the guy who is filling up the font. Well you get the point. It has been tough because I’m calling the shots and I’m pretty new at this. But I haven’t said why me? Why in my 6th week in the mission field do I have a companion that isn’t fluent, or why couldn’t I get one that is fluent that can help me more with the language. All I know is that I was put with Elder White so I could man up, stop sitting back and letting other people do the planning, and PONTE TRUCHA. Chyeah! Anyway, I know the Lord has done this so I can grow and progress faster. It is hard, but I need to do my thing and work harder!

Anyway, like I said, my boy Godofredo is getting baptized tonight and we are all extremely happy. One of the members of the Branch named Mario (Papa) Andrade is baptizing him since they are good friends. Mario Papa is the man, he is about 70 also, and he has the deepest voice that you have ever heard and he is like a big bear. He is the older brother of the President of the Rama (Branch), Presidente Andrade. Anyway I hope everything goes according to plan tonight since it is the first baptism I’ve been a part of so far!

I like that Mom is getting the girls nativity sets for Christmas, that’s pretty tight. I know when I have a wife one day, we will need a pretty nice nativity set too so don’t forget us. But I have to tell you something G, there are some pretty good looking girls out here, but every time I see one, in my mind I think, Dang Son work harder and Ponte Trucha and my wife is going to be sweeter than all these girls! Chyeah!

Did you get my Christmas cards? If you did, can you send them to people that you think would like them, I gave you a list but do your thing. Give one to my boy Brother Sowards, I love that guy!

Don’t worry about the MTC pictures that got lost in the mail; I’ll get those from my MTC buddies after their missions. They are pretty busy I’m sure and don’t have time to worry about sending pictures just like me. One P-day is definitely not enough time to get everything done but I’m trying. All the pictures of the MTC were of just a bunch of dudes. After my mission I can try to reconnect with my friends and get those pictures back but for now I’m going to send you a disc that has all my pictures I have taken from the mission on it!

Well our area is doing really awesome! We have been inviting everyone we teach to be baptized and setting dates for them so they have a goal to strive for. We now have 5 people with baptismal dates and I’m really excited about that. Charlie has a baptismal date for the 25th on Christmas. He is an awesome guy that has had a rough life. He has been listening to the missionaries for 2 years now but he finally feels ready to enter into the waters of baptism. We are so excited for him and so is his wife Miriam who was baptized about 5 months ago. She is so excited she bought me and Elder Hansen ties ha-ha! Another investigator that we have that has a baptismal date is Enrique. He is the man and I have been teaching him since I got here in November. He believes the Church is true but the only thing that is stopping him from progressing is he works Sundays and can’t get them off. We have been fasting and praying for him and I hope he will be able to have Sundays free. We set the baptismal date so he could have a goal to shoot for. We have another investigator named Pedro Rendon. He is really tight and has accepted everything we have taught him with an open heart. He also works on Sundays and this is a problem so we are continuing to pray for this and he is as well. Our last investigator is Anna Cisneros and she accepted a baptismal date for the 18th of January. We have only taught her twice so we will have to see how things go. She has the desire to come closer unto Christ and this is the way how, through faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end. We have a couple other investigators as well like my Boy Elvis and his wife Crystal. Elvis always invites us over to talk with him. I have good feelings about him but we will have to see what happens. He is a really nice guy who always offers us food when we come over. He also accepted baptism when he finds out for himself that what we are teaching is true.

Now I will explain to you why I think the Lord has confidence in me. The last two days have been really hard cause I haven’t had my trainer Elder Hansen to do all the work that I didn’t know how to do yet, not to mention he would help me out with the language since he is fluent. Now my new companion is Elder White. He is the man and we are getting along really well. The only problem is I’m not fluent in the language yet and neither is he. I know a little more Spanish than he does and it’s pretty tough because now I have to lead in teaching most of the lessons. Plus I had to plan for a baptism for tonight. I don’t want it to sound like I’m whining because I’m not. It has just made me think that, the Lord has to have confidence in me to put me with someone that doesn’t speak the language that well. I really wanted a fluent Spanish speaking companion like Elder Rivera or Rangel so I could take my time and practice my Spanish with them but I didn’t get one. But after I got Elder White as my companion I realized, I don’t need to have faith in myself and the fact that I could learn the language myself by practicing with a native speaking Elder, I need to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that He will further bless me with this language if I am obedient and do the best I can. Things are going really great here and I’m loving it, like I said, it has been pretty tough these last couple of days, but I know the Lord wouldn't give me this responsibility if he didn't think I could do it. But I can, and I will, because I’m not a scrub, Chyeah! That is what I have received from this new transfer and I will do my part to improve the language and my ability to lead and I have the faith that the Lord will help me.

Well, let me think if anything funny happened this week. My new companion has one of the deepest voices I’ve ever heard and yesterday we met with one of the members named Mario Papa Andrade (he is an old guy from Mexico that is like a big bear). He also has one of the deepest voices you have ever heard. So when Mario Papa started talking to my companion he noticed that he had a deep voice too. So then we had to see who had a deeper voice and Mario won ha-ha, he said that he had a deeper voice because he had GRIPA (I think that means a cold). So it was funny to see them go back and forth talking, trying to see who had a deeper voice. Choir practice was pretty funny too since it consists of like 9 members of the Branch. Everyone tries hard but there are only a few that really know how to sing. So during choir practice after Church, it is pretty funny hearing everyone try to hit their notes and sing their parts! We are just making a joyful noise really.

Well I have lots of work to do so I will let you go. The gospel is true!

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m embracing the Christmas Spirit! My companion and I have been jamming out to Christmas music ever since thanksgiving and it really makes you feel good. I never really noticed how cool Andrea Bocelli was until my companion bought his Christmas CD. We have been listening to it every day and I can’t believe how awesome he sings. He sings in 3 different languages and you’ve got to give him props. Well I can say I have followed in Andréa Bocelli’s footsteps as I sang in the Branch choir last Sunday that consisted of like 7 people (the four elders and a couple of sisters ha-ha). We definitely made Andrea proud as we sang Venid Adoremos! I’m not saying that we sounded good but we definitely tried! Chyeah!

Anyway, this Christmas season on my mission has further helped me to realize what the real reason of the season is! I told you about my Boy George right! He is 13 and he is a thug (true hero under God), I passed the sacrament with him last Sunday and he had my back when I didn’t know where to go. He is a recent convert and it was his first time passing the sacrament two Sundays ago. Remember how I told you that the bikes that the mission office gave us were the worst, well when one broke down he let us borrow his bike to ride around on. Not only that, we went to go eat at his house for dinner a couple nights ago and we asked him if he was excited for Christmas! When we asked him what he wanted for Christmas he told us nothing because he wasn’t going to get anything for Christmas, just his little brother. I told the other elders, Hernandez and Rangel about this and we all thought it would be a good idea to get him something real nice for Christmas since he so generously let us borrow his bike to do missionary work! So we all put our money together to get my boy George a brand new Red Wii player. I think it’s a new one that just came out and its pretty sweet G! We’re talking this bad boy has a controller and two games and everything. George will be the only kid on his street with a new Red Wii and that’s what I’m talking about. We all split the money paying $50 each since it was 200 bucks. Anyway, you don’t have to worry about getting me anything for Christmas cause I’ve got all I need. It’s all about George getting hooked up with a new WII. I kinda want to give it to him now but I guess we will have to wait till Christmas. We are gonna secret Santa it and secretly put it in his house without him knowing or give it to his mom or something! Chyeah!

I figured out why missionaries are so happy and why missionaries say it’s the best 2 years of their lives. It’s because we are constantly SERVING!!! When you serve people you feel good, so a missionary feels good all the time. Really everything you do on your mission is service because you’re not doing it for yourself. It is true, when you are in the service of others you are truly in the service of God. You are basically giving up 2 years of your life to serve others, making it a pretty enjoyable experience. You think not having TV or a cell phone or your family nearby would not be that fun, but you are busy 24/7 trying to serve people. We just helped out this member in our Branch with their yard and it was really fun. We had to cut and trim these huge bushes with these little scissors for a couple hours and it was tight. It felt good to see the final result and see how happy the family was when they saw that we did a good job and not a half hearted one.

I’m writing my boy Hardy and he told me that he might get switched to Spanish so that would be tight! We have transfers next week so I don’t know if my companion Elder Hanson is going to leave. He has been in this area for almost 6 months so he might. My companion and I are getting along really well. I know transfers are coming up next week and I hope he doesn't go. I think we just need one more transfer together here in order to really make some differences in people’s lives! I might get switched out too so you never know! Well, whatever happens I’m ready for it!

The President of the Rama is a tight guy, his name is President Andrade and he is from Michoacán Mexico. He has the deepest voice and he reminds me of a BEAR. Anyway, we ate at his house last Sunday and it was tight. He makes fun of me because I look like I should speak Spanish fluently but I don’t. So he is constantly helping me improve. He told me that if I eat hot things, I will be able to speak faster and more fluently. So whenever we go to eat over there he tells me to eat Chili’s on my food, so I do! I don’t really like hot food, but if it will help me learn Spanish quicker, I’m willing to try! Chyeah!

For the last couple days, Tuesday through Thursday, my companion Elder Hansen and Elder Rangel ( elders who have been out for a long time and who are trainers) had to go to a trainers meeting, so me and Elder Hernandez who have been out in the field for 5 weeks teamed up to be the ultimate greenie companionship. It was awesome though because even though we are new we still know what we are supposed to do. Our bikes broke down again so we were on foot for those 3 days covering our huge area (the other elders had to take the car to the meetings) we ran into some really tight people those days and it was fun. We taught this guy named Octavio. His wife just died and when he let us in he was really down. Elder Hernandez and I had the opportunity to teach him the Plan of Salvation and explained to him that he would be able to see his wife again. His face turned from sorrow to hope. We are going to teach him again and I’ll let you know how that goes!

I met Sister Robison’s sister and she is super nice. She offered to make us food whenever we don’t have any, Chyeah!

We went to a middle school to go talk to some adult Hispanics that are trying to learn English as a second language and it was pretty fun. We were able to get a couple phone numbers and we are going to invite them to the play that we will be in this Friday at the church. The play is about the birth of Jesus and what happened in the Americas with Samuel the Lamanite!

Our investigators are doing really well! I have found it easier as my mission has progressed to discern who is interested in hearing the message we share and who is just trying to be nice. Our investigators Enrique and Alma Mendez and progressing really well. We taught them twice this week and they have been reading! They still haven't prayed yet to receive their answer that the book of Mormon is true. When I asked them what they would need to do when they receive their answer, they said change our lives and be baptized. With all of our investigators and potentials, we always let them know why we are there and what we expect of them and it makes it a lot easier both ways.

It kinda stinks because one investigator, Enrique works on Sundays and the only thing keeping us from setting a baptismal date is the fact that he can’t come to church. He did say he is looking for a new job or a solution so I will continue to pray for him! Our Investigator Godofredo had a baptismal date set for the 11th this month but in his baptismal interview, the District Leaders decided he should wait until he has a stronger testimony. I know he knows that the church is true, but I think what drives him to be baptized is the fact that his wife and daughter are members and he wants to be one too.

We have another investigator named Charlie who has a baptismal date for the 25th. He has been listening to the missionaries for over a year but he finally feels ready to be baptized. He is a great guy and it will be awesome to see him get baptized! We also have been teaching this girl we found named Julie. She is awesome and believes that the church is true, but is leaving on vacation for Mexico in a week so we will just have to teach her when she gets back in a month. We also have been teaching this awesome guy and his wife named Elvis and Crystal. Elvis reminds me of my friends back home and he is pretty funny. While we teach him he is always asking us questions like, you guys want popcorn or some soda. We were watching the movie about the Restoration and he would pause it every time he had a question. Then when we explain things to his wife, he just repeats what we say after we say it to her to make it seem like she’s the only one that doesn’t know ha-ha. I don’t know, I thought it was kind of funny. Anyway we talked to them about baptism and they said they would be willing to if they receive their answer.

Some funny things that happened this week... hmmmm. Well, while I was riding my bike a bird flew over me and pooped on my leg! I guess it’s not that funny but what are the chances! Also, watching the movies with Elvis our investigator is pretty funny! He said he is more of a visual learner so we try to watch movies with him and then teach him after the movie. It is pretty funny though because he is always on the move and making comments on the movies. He is 23 and I think we will try to find a member to bring next time so they can get to know each other and then he can have a friend. We also ate at a member of the Branch’s house the other night and he is from Peru and he is so animated when he talks. He speaks so fast and sometimes I can’t understand him, but the fact that he gets up from the dinner table and acts out what he is saying is pretty funny. I love all the members here and I love serving the Lord in Keizer!

Well, I’m glad to be serving the lord and I’ll talk to you next week!



Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

I have got a lot to say this week and I hope I can say it all if you know what I mean! Anyway, first things first! I cut the comb over! I know it’s sad to say, because it was looking pretty sweet, but that just ain’t me, so I cut my hair really short again and that’s what I like. On Monday for our Zone activity we went bowling, and that was fun for about 10 minutes. I’m just not a fan of bowling; it’s probably because I’m the worst at it. But it’s all good, I’m just glad that my life and my future doesn’t depend on if I’m good at bowling or not!

I bought the Lord of the Rings soundtrack from the third movie since it is approved in our mission. It’s pretty sweet but I still want to get the 1st and 2nd soundtracks from the Lord of the Rings for Christmas. I tried finding them here on P-day but they don’t sell them, I think I might ask Heather for them for Christmas but if you guys want to get them for me that would be tight too. They are the sound tracks for the movies the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers. Other than that I have everything I want or need. Heather sent me a package the other day that had the coolest stuff ever in it. It had this thing called a squirmel and it looks like a real animal but it’s not. I showed the little kids in the Rama the Squirmel and they love it! We named him Chico.

So I was on an exchange with my boy Elder Rangel from the other area the other day and I learned so much! I learned when you’re teaching people you have to put the ball in their court. As missionaries we are like guides, but it is up to the investigator to do the work to find out if our message is true. We give them the things they need to find out if it’s true, they just need to act! He also told me that we are looking for the elect. We can try to talk people into listening to our message, but unless they want to hear it and find out for themselves, there’s not much we can do. It’s like looking for a blue ball in a pit of red balls. Sure you can get a red ball and paint it blue, but it’s not the same and it will take longer and two years when you think about it really isn't that long.

O yeah, while I was on the exchange with Elder Rangel, he almost got hit by a car while riding bikes and it was crazy. It was an old lady driving and she didn’t see him. But she pressed on the brakes like 4 seconds before taking him out and was about 1 inch away from nailing him. I think that was a miracle for the old ladies reaction time because we all know that an old lady like that doesn’t have that fastest of reflexes! So that was a pretty sweet miracle I saw! I know that God does have Angels watching out for his servants.  I learned a lot from the exchange with Elder Rangel and ever since my companion and I have been putting the ball in everyone’s court.

It snowed here a couple days ago and it was so cold. We aren’t permitted to ride bikes or drive the car when it snows so we had to walk.  We walked forever that day but it was pretty fun because you can contact pretty much anyone you see. While we were walking on the street we met this guy from the Marshall Islands and shared the gospel message with him. He showed us where he was living and he was living with about 10 others from the Islands all in different apartments. We gave them to the English missionaries because they don’t speak Spanish. Well apparently some of them were Mormons that hadn’t found the church and where it was located because they just recently moved here. Well now they have found it and now some of their family members are getting baptized! Chyeah!

It’s pretty sweet to say but I can tell you that I feel I have been guided by the spirit so much this week.  It’s not like a voice telling me to do something, it’s just like a thought that pops into my head and then I act upon it. I’ll give you these two examples and hopefully you can understand them!  One day my companion and I were going to see some investigators Guadalupe and Laureano. Well they weren’t home and then we were like alright what’s plan B? Then I remembered a husband and wife named Orasto y Blanca that we met out on the streets near some apartments a couple weeks ago.  I thought it would be a good idea to go visit them but we didn’t know exactly where they lived. I was like let’s just go knocking over there, and when we did Blanca answered the Door like 5 seconds later. In my head, I was like o snap! Anyway we taught them according to what we felt they needed to hear and Guadalupe said the closing prayer to the lesson. The spirit was really powerful so we extended un compromiso bautismal suave (a smooth baptismal challenge). I will let you know what happens with them later but I thought it was pretty sweet that just an idea in my head could turn into that. Since I don’t believe in coincidence anymore I’m pretty sure it happened for a reason.

Another sweet experience happened the other day as well with thoughts and promptings from the Spirit. Elder Hansen and I were driving along going to see an investigator, then I thought, yo man, let’s go see Julie (an investigator we have). He was like alright, since he’s always down to do something we feel prompted to do. Anyway, we knocked on her door and asked her how she was doing and everything. She told us that her sister was coming down from Washington to see her later that day and that she just joined the church a year ago. I was like that’s tight, can we stop buy later today and teach you a lesson with your sister here. She said that would be cool and we came back later to teach her. We brought Mario with us (our ward mission leader who went to high school with her back in the day). Anyway, the lesson went really well and she came to church yesterday with her sister. She said she really liked it and we have an appointment with her Tuesday so I’ll let you know how that goes. I just think that’s awesome how when you are trying to live your life in accordance with how the Lord wants you He blesses you with the promptings of the Holy Ghost! Chyeah!

It’s funny to think about it like this G, because you usually think that the really quiet, calm, never laughing missionaries that only think about the scriptures 24/7 would  receive promptings because that’s what people think about when they think about the A grade missionaries. But I haven’t really changed who I am and I feel like I am being blessed every day too.  I never lose sight of what my purpose is here and what I need to do, but I am having a great time while doing it. You always hear about those missionaries who can’t have fun because they feel like they can’t say what’s on their minds or be themselves.  I am so grateful that I can be myself and that Heavenly Father still loves me enough to guide me with the Spirit.

THANKSGIVING WAS SO TIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know where to begin with Thanksgiving man except to say that it was awesome. We were treated like rock stars by the members in the Rama. But let me explain to you why. So we decided to make cookies for the members in the Branch that have helped us so much in our missionary efforts. So we have about 90 members in the Rama so we had to make a sufficient amount for all of them. So we made about 260 cookies for the members in the Rama and plastic wrapped them and left them little notes with the cookies. Then we went and had thanksgiving dinner with the Rivera's and it was so good. Then we went back to our place to get the cookies and then drove around to the member’s houses to give them out to them. Anyway, we would always just go to give them the cookies and try to leave because we had so many to deliver but the families would always invite us in and it felt like they were chanting for us as we entered into their homes ha-ha. It was pretty sweet because it was a feeling I haven’t experienced here yet. Each house that we entered we were greeted by high fives and handshakes and given food ha-ha. One house we entered was fairly small but packed with about 30 family members that were so nice. Anyway, Thanksgiving was tight and it was a good experience I will always remember.

That’s pretty much this week, it was a great week and I’m ready for the next one.

Peace out G

Monday, November 22, 2010

Keizer Oregon Week Three

November 22, 2010

Dear Familia,

I don’t even know where to start because you already know I have too much to say and just an hour isn't enough time to write about all the awesome experiences I’ve been having in the mission field. But I’m going to tell you as much as I can and just keep on going from there.

First of all, thank you for that awesome package you sent me! The mangos, beef jerky and everything in there were awesome! I like those handkerchiefs you sent me as well. I have never really been a handkerchief kind of guy, but I guess I can start rockin them, especially when it’s real cold outside and I’ve got a runny nose! Those loafer slippers you got me are sick. I want to wear them with my suit but it wouldn’t be that professional! Please thank the members of the Ward who wrote me as their letters were awesome too; it’s good to know that people enjoy the experiences I’m having on my mission! Mom, thanks for sending me those letters in Spanish! I can understand every word in your letters now and reading Spanish isn't difficult anymore because if you don’t know some words, you can usually get the gist of it from the rest of the sentence!

I told you how we have had to do a car share now. We have the car for two days and then the bikes for 2 days! It’s not too bad and the companionship that we are doing the car share with, Elder Rangel y Hernandez are tight. We have been able to become better friends because we get to see each other every day. We eat dinner every night at the homes of different members of the branch. It’s always my companion and me and the other Elders because our two companionships cover the entire Keizer Branch. I’ve got to go into more depth about our bike situation because it seems like we aren’t having the best of luck with bikes! The Mission home let us borrow some of the bikes that Elders that are going home just leave behind. So basically we got 2 of the crappiest bikes ever to ride around on. Hah-hah. The brakes don’t work on mine and I have to use my feet to stop like Fred Flintstone and the other bikes handle bars fell off while my companion was riding it. Then during the week, one of the tires blew, and my bike's chain broke so we had to borrow bikes from some kids in the branch. I have this sweet BMX bike which is really tiny that I’m riding around that I got from this 13 year old named Jorge. We have just been having a lot of problems with the bikes but then yesterday during our PEC meeting with the Branch President a lot of people in the Branch found out about our struggles and have offered to let us use their nice bikes! Chyeah!

Something kind of cool that happened the other day is we had to ride our bikes in the rain for 3 hours. We got merked by the rain and everything we were wearing got drenched! But it was cool because I realized while I was riding in the cold rain, who cares, it’s just rain! CHYEAH! It wasn’t too bad because I just sang songs while I rode my bike. Also, when people see you and you wave to them, they think, how can this kid be having a good time, he is soaking wet. Then I think to myself, it’s not that bad, at least I’m not walking.

Do you remember what I told you about the Americans that were really interested? Well we stopped by their house and were ready to share the message we prepared! Well the mom said she was really sick and asked us to come back tomorrow and we said that was cool. As we were walking to the door, the Dad, who we had never met before walked into the room. As I was saying see you all tomorrow and about to introduce myself to him he said, " You don’t have to worry about coming back tomorrow, we aren’t interested!” It kind of stunk because he kind of spoke for everyone in the house even though they wanted to find out more. Well, we are going to go back and try to talk to him. I’ll let you know how that goes too!

DOG, but don’t even play, you might think I’m sounding like a Debbie Downer with all these problems but I’m not. I love every minute of my mission. I haven’t ever had more fun than I am having right now! I actually welcome these problems we have been having just because they spice things up and make you grateful for when things are going smooth! CHYEAH!

We just had our first apartment clean check and we got a Gold star because it was really clean! Chyeah!

Something that is kind of funny is every dream I have at night, I’m a missionary now. Like no matter what the circumstance, I am always in a white shirt and a tie. So when I am having a crazy dream and do something bad, illegal or something, I feel really bad, until I wake up and realize with relief that it was all just a dream!

Well, last P-day we all went to the Goodwill where you can buy things by the pound! It was pretty cool and we were in search of some ties for cheap but we didn’t find any. Even better, we did find a guy named Amansio that previously had a baptismal date set but then moved. He’s just moved back in the area so we are starting to teach him again and prepare him for baptism. I’ll let you know how that goes in the future!

The temple in Portland is just amazing. We got to go there last Thursday and it was so sweet. As I was in the temple the spirit was so strong! As I was walking around, I was thinking about how awesome it would be to get married in the Portland Oregon temple. I want to if it’s cool with my future wife. Anyway, the temple here is just amazingly beautiful!

I had my first companion exchange and it was tight. I learned a lot of things from Elder Montigue! I learned that you have to ask inspired questions when you go and teach people, you just don’t go and teach a lesson. After all, you are teaching people and not just lessons. I also learned that if people aren’t interested, don’t fret, just keep on looking, because there are people out there that are ready to hear the message of the restored gospel. I also ate pork and beans on top of pasta at Montigue’s apartment and it was pretty good. It was all they had; it reminded me of my Tuna and Chile recipe over noodles at BYUI. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

O man, this is where the biggest thing I learned this week comes into play! I was asked to share my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday and I was really nervous because my Spanish isn’t fluent yet. But I realized that I don’t need to worry about it and put my faith in the Lord and he will help me out. I mean I have been studying Spanish every day and speaking it as much as possible, so I have done my part. So I put it into the Lords hands and went up in front of the Rama and words just came out. Everyone said I spoke really good I just need to work on my accent because I still sound like a gringo! Chyeah. Anyway Spanish is coming along really well, I can understand everything that people say and can say what I want to say. I can see the Lords hand immensely just because my Spanish has progressed so much just in this short amount of time and I am so grateful!

I shared a message at dinner last night with the Ramirez family. They are so awesome and Javier, the 1st counselor in the Rama, reminds me exactly of Mom’s nephew Mauricio! Anyway, I shared a message about how in 1st Nephi chapter 15 how all Nephi’s brothers are murmuring because they didn’t understand the dream and things their father had said. Then when Nephi asks them, have you asked God yourself, they said no because he would not make these things known unto them. Then Nephi’s like come on guys, are you serious. I don’t know, that’s how I interpret it, it’s when we don’t understand something or wonder why something is, all we have to do is pray and ask God. It’s that simple. It might not always be the answer we are expecting but just don’t sit around and murmur or wonder why, get up and do something about it, like ask God.

By the way, my shirts that I have are holding up well and I have everything I need. I think I am going to buy the Dark Knight and the Lord of the Rings soundtracks because we are allowed to listen to them on our mission! If you can will you tell Heath Haws, Brandon Goldenshoe, Chris Woodhouse, Zack Nelson, and Will Pascet I would like to hear from them as I want to see how my boys from BYUI are holding up.

But for real, I love you guys and the mission is truly awesome! I’m sorry to say but I’m not home sick one bit and I won’t be coming home anytime soon. I am not counting down the days until I get back home and I’m here to serve and am going to serve with all that I can serve with until it’s time to go.

Peace out!


Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Hey Mom and Dad,

Did you get my pictures?

By the way, I don’t know if I told you this but I found a plastic bag in our apartment that contained what I have been dreaming about my whole mission. In the plastic grocery bag was about 20 of the ugliest ties you have ever seen!!!!  I WAS SO EXCITED!  I asked Elder Hansen if they were his and they weren’t so they are all mine. I now have like 35 ties and most of them are from like the 80s, so it’s tight.

I really don't know where to begin.  The mission has been so awesome even though I've only been out for 2 weeks. You know one thing that kind of stinks is when you have an appointment with an investigator or potential investigator and they are not there.  I have been told that this can happen a lot so there is no need to worry about it. As long as I’m out there doing my best to spread the word of God, I’m doing my part, Chyeah!

Anyway, I'm going to try and tell you everything that happened this week, the good and the bad. Our investigators Filomeno and Ema have been throwing us curve balls. When we have the opportunity to teach them, I feel like they sincerely want to change and be baptized. But then when we have an appointment the next day they aren't there and they usually don't call us to let us now.  It seems the only time we are able to teach them is when we catch them when they are at home. It seems that Ema is more prepared to be baptized than Filomeno but I’m just not sure. We had a baptismal date set for Ema this Friday but she didn't go to church this Sunday and missed her baptismal interview. It kind of stinks because she is so close but then she goes and does something like this. When she shares her testimony with us, it is so strong, but I think there might be something else going on here. We have been teaching a couple of other investigators as well. We challenge them to read the Book of Mormon but when we come back for the next appointment, most of them haven’t read anything. To me it seems that most of them believe it could be true, but don’t want to change their lives because they are already comfortable. It’s kind of hard to share your testimony and feel the spirit so strong in a room, then the next time you see them, to see that they haven't made much of a change. Anyway, the people we have been teaching are really awesome, I just want them all to know that this message isn't just so they can have some more knowledge or think it’s cool. I want them to know that if they know this message is true, and the Book of Mormon is true, then the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth, there is a Prophet on the earth today, and that some changes are necessary in order to follow Christ’s example.

My companion is the man! Elder Hansen and I are working our best to meet all the needs of our investigators. We haven't had any problems or fights, and our goals are in unison. We just want to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone that is willing to hear it. It has been really hard to get from place to place now though because we are in a car share. So instead of being able to make it to everyone we want to see during the day, we only get to see a few.

My Mission President wanted me to tell him in my weekly letter if anything funny has happened to me during the past week.   Well, I kind of forgot how loud sacrament meetings can be.  Compared to the MTC, the sacrament meeting last Sunday was like a Rock Concert. There were kids going nuts everywhere and I could barely hear anything, the same with Stake Conference too. But I guess that is how it goes when you have a lot of little kids in the Branch. Something else funny that happened was a guy thought we were gang members at his door and was about to take us out. He was like who are you guys and what do you want, I said, we are sharing a message about God, do you have two minutes for us to ask you some questions? He started laughing and I thought he was about to start hating on us for being missionaries. He then said," Oh, you guys are wearing ties!" And I was like yup. Then he said, “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry, I thought you guys were gang members but then I saw that you have ties on, I was about to take you guys out. Then I said, well it is a good thing you didn’t, then I asked him if we could share our message and he said no. Well I guess that was pretty funny but other than that nothing much else happened.  I guess all in all it was a pretty exciting week!!!!!!!!

I have to go but I will tell you a sweet story that happened the other day! We were knocking doors and we stumbled upon this white house. A girl answered the door and we asked her if she had two minutes for a quick message. After we shared the message with her in the doorway  we asked her if she was interested in hearing more and she said yeah and let us in. In the house were a couple of college aged people, one guy with tattoos all over and there was a baby in a cradle. By their outward appearance it seemed like these people could care less about our message but there is no need to judge. After we started sharing the message, people from all over the house started to come in to the living room to listen to our message about the restoration. They were all so excited to here our message and everyone was participating. When we offered to end with a prayer, they all gathered in the living room and folded their arms. One guy that was there started calling more people in to listen to the prayer. About 6 people were in the room and they were all waiting to listen to the prayer. It was cool just because at first look, it seemed like they didn’t want to listen, but by the end they were all listening. They are English speaking so we have to give them to the English speaking Elders as a referral but it was good teaching them. I will see the other Elders tonight and pass them off so they can follow up in the future. 

Love you guys,

Peace out!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week One Review

November 8, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Mom and Dad, that’s so tight that you guys have been married for 29 years. I can’t wait to be married one day and have someone to hang out with that is always cool and chill. They say the harder you work on your mission the hotter your wife will be! Well I hope that's true because I tried to work my butt off this week and it payed off! CHYEAH! All thanks to the Lords help of course!!!!!!

When I first got here they told me they are trying something new out in the field! In the MTC you had a set schedule where you had to wake up at 6:30am and that was the time. But here in my mission they say that “He who is compelled in all things in a slothful servant”. So we have been waking up at 6:15am, exercising, eating breakfast and getting ready by 7:15. Then we have an extra 45 minutes to study on top of the time we already have to study. The week before I got here, Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy promised our mission that if they keep this early schedule routine, it will show the Lord that we are fully committed to His work. Then in return, the Lord will bless us with more baptisms and success. Well, I decided to take Elder Kikuchi up on his promise and followed the morning schedule exactly getting up at 6:15am every day and doing my best to get ready before 7:15am instead of 8am which is in the white handbook. Guess what? It all paid off as my first week here we were able to teach 18 lessons which is a lot here in Oregon. My companion, Elder Hanson said “that’s double his highest lessons taught in one week”. We have challenged many people to be baptized and now have 3 people with a baptismal date set for the 19th and the 21st of November. I really hope they go through with the lessons and don’t bail out as I’ve heard a lot of people do.

Two of the people we are teaching are named Filomeno y Ema who are getting baptized the 19th are great people. Filomeno is a great big Mexican guy with a booming deep voice and Ema is a tiny little women. They are so awesome and have told us about a lot of trials they are having in their lives. They don’t have that much money, but have fed us what they have when we come over which is awesome because they are so humble. The other guy with a baptismal date is Jose Arias. He is awesome and came with us to church last Sunday. The first lesson we had with him we challenged him to be baptized and he accepted immediately. He expressed to us that he wants to make a change in his life and this is the way to do it. We have many investigators that we have found; some seem so ready to listen to the words of the restored gospel.

One guy and his wife that we visited last night are the best. His name is Enrique and his wife is named Alma. Enrique is so tight and he is rocking a gangster Ponytail. He told us that he used to roll with a rough crowd and did some bad things. Now he wants to change because he knows that isn’t the way to go and he has 3 little daughters. The spirit is so strong at his place when we go and teach him because I know he wants to come closer to Christ. I testified to him that this is the change that he needs to make and that through baptism, all will be made clean. So many of our investigators are true G's.

Maria Ceja is an awesome lady who lives in a trailer park. She really dislikes her neighbor’s pets because she says they treat them like real people. So we will be teaching Maria out on her porch, and I will be in the middle of sharing my testimony or a thought and then a neighbor will walk by walking the dog. I will be right in the middle of my testimony and she will interrupt me and point out the dog and the neighbor. Then she will go on a rant about the pets for a couple of minutes, and I will listen because it’s pretty funny. I can’t understand what she is saying the whole time, so when she stops to take a breath I will say a poco? (Really), or en serio? (Seriously), so she thinks I know what she’s talking about. Then she will go on, but she is awesome and I love to talk to her and teach her the lessons.

I bought an SD card and I’m sending the other one home in the mail!! It has 443 pictures so save them all!

I think there are two Spanish Branches here in the Keizer Stake. Yup, Spanish Elders get a chance to be District and Zone leaders too! The mission has split up the Spanish and English Elders so we are completely separate. At our District meetings, it is only Spanish Elders. We have a lot of Spanish members in our Branch, about 80. It is so amazing because we get fed every night by the Branch members, they are the best. The food they make is so awesome too!!! We don’t really interact with the people from the English wards. I did find out that as a part of the mission I am in, that all Spanish speaking Elders get to serve 6 months speaking English because there are so many Spanish Elders. It’s all good though, so it doesn’t matter. I just hope I can retain my Spanish?

Keep me updated on the Pope wrestling! How are the Jazz doing? Is the Miami Heat dominating the NBA?

The pillow you sent me rocks, thanks so much!!!

I made it a personal goal to talk to everyone I see because if the Lord puts someone in my path He wants me to teach, then I need to go up and talk to them! Do you know what kind of stinks though? When you have an appointment and you go and they are not there. I have learned something through this experience though. As long as you are doing your best, not sitting around wasting time, but continually trying to find people to teach, the Lord will know you’re doing the best you can. Also if people don’t accept your message, there is nothing that you can do about it, all you can do is share the gospel and let the Spirit work on them. If they still say no even though they feel something, you did what you could. I experienced that the other day as I was teaching this family that let us in after knocking on their door. The spirit was so strong, but then when we asked them to read what we had for them they said no, we left sad but I then realized, we did what we could, it’s up to them to accept it or not.

I have so much more that I would like to say but all the Elders are balling in the Gym and I want to play basketball too. I’m writing this email on a computer at the church! We have a pull up bar at our apartment and I'm knocking out like 30 in a row. I’m getting a little thick but not fat! I weigh 165 now but I think its solid muscle............... CHYEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve gotta roll!

Peace out!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1st Letter From Oregon!

November 2, 2010

Dear Mom, Dad and Friends,

The Mission Field is bumpin Amazing!!!!

I have loved every minute of the past 2 day’s haha. Well I have so much to say and I can probably say it now because we have more than 30 minutes to email unlike at the MTC. So I will start out with what happened my final week of the MTC and what I did.

Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke at a devotional and it blew my mind! It was so great listening to an apostle of the Lord and feeling of the Spirit that he brought to the room. It was amazing as he shared spiritual experiences he has had throughout his life with us. Everyone received a paper that he was giving out that had about 30 different quotes or advice on how to live your life and stuff, it was great! He extended many blessings to us that I know will bless me while I'm out in the field. He ended his talk and said, “I know Jesus Christ’s lives and then after a pause he said “I Know Jesus Christ." Then he walked away from the pulpit after he said those things. That was so amazing to hear, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ lives and I am reminded of it every day I am out here. Richard G. Scott is a G!

After that talk my District and I had a long district meeting about how awesome it was. Anyway, the MTC was a good time and around Saturday I started to pack up. I had my last day of Gym time were I balled on the Courts. My Spanish has improved so much and I know the only reason it has is because I have received so much help from my Heavenly Father. I taught my class a lesson about humility and it went really well. I said goodbye to all my teachers and got pictures with them. I’m going to miss them a lot since they taught me so much during these 9 weeks.

Sunday was my last day at the MTC and it was amazing. My district sang Placentero Nos Trabajar in Sacrament meeting and it sounded really good. After Sacrament meeting I got a bunch of pictures with my friends that I am going to miss that are going to different missions. It was kind of sad but a good thing at the same time as we know we are all moving on to bigger and better things than the MTC. That night I sang with my district for a final time and said goodbye to the Hermanas and it was sad. I’m going to miss them. Then some of my boys came to my class and took pictures with me and it was good to feel loved. Then I went to the room were my friend Elder Boyack opened up his bottle of Sparkling Cider and we toasted to the Good times in the MTC. Then all my friends came and said goodbye to me and I got a video of them. My camera is so full of pictures and videos; I think I already have over 500 pictures! Anyway ill send the card home soon since I just bought another memory card!

I mentioned on our phone call Monday that I didn’t have enough room in my bags for all of my stuff, so I had to ask Elder Sainsbury and Elder Olsen, “The Scroungers”, and they lived up to their name by giving me a nice carry on suit case to pack the rest of my things. Anyway, my companions in the MTC were so great! Elder Riches and Elder Larson really helped me to learn and grow. Elder Riches is so awesome, check out what he did for me. While all my friends were coming up and saying goodbye to me, Elder Riches packed the rest of my stuff into my luggage and weighed it for me! When I was done getting pictures and saying goodbye to everyone I came back to find that all of my stuff was packed and ready to go! Elder Riches really had my back and I’m going to miss that G! After all that, Elder Smith, Sainsbury, Boyack and Olsen all gave me ties! They were all sweet ties and I’m wearing one right now from Elder Boyack.

I woke up in the morning and got ready for the flight to Portland. On the flight I was sitting next to another missionary that was trying to talk to this girl from Portland. This girl was totally just arguing and you could tell that she didn’t want to listen. Well the other missionary just kept talking and it was pretty lame. When I run into anyone that just wants to argue I will try to remember this situation and just share my testimony and leave.

The Field is truly white and already to harvest! After I met my new companion and trainer, Elder Hansen, who is a true G, we went to go eat at a local member’s house. We are serving in Keizer, Oregon and it is amazing. It’s really crazy because this place is basically just like Mexico. Everyone around here is Hispanic and I won’t have any trouble speaking Spanish all the time! My companions Spanish is amazing and he is helping me to improve tons. After dinner, we went and taught Filomeno y Ema and the lesson was so powerful! I bore my testimony and shared some messages with them. We challenged Ema to be baptized and she accepted! We are having the baptism in 2 weeks. Filomeno has a problem with the word of wisdom and smoking but we will help him with it so he can be baptized too. I have been so humbled since I have gotten here. After that we went and taught a guy named Enrique, the lesson went really well and we will return and see him again this week. It’s only been a day but it has been amazing! I can’t wait to see how the next two years turns out!

Well, I have to go to a dinner appointment but I’ll talk to you next week!

I love you and keep it real!



Sunday, October 31, 2010

More from the MTC!

October 27, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hey, I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say in my last email letter, as usual, so I am going to tell you everything else I need to say in a real letter. I saw the movie you were telling me about that used to be at the Joseph Smith Memorial building called the Testaments. It’s kind of corny but at the same time awesome! When Jesus heals the blind man at the end you can’t help but feel the Savior’s love.

Good luck with your visits to the home teaching families in the Ward. I hope you are successful in finding and helping bring people back to the Church. One thing we members forget sometimes is that we can really help the missionaries find people to teach. Ever since I’ve been here in the MTC, they have always said to encourage the members to find contacts. We need to work harder to help the Elders find people to teach. It is sad to say but door knocking and tracting isn’t the most effective way to bring the gospel into people’s lives.

Something cool happened the other day and you can put this in the blog if you want. We were playing Jeopardy in our class the other day to practice our missionary skills. It was like missionary Jeopardy. Anyway, everyone was getting really into it except me. I wasn’t really feeling it for some reason. It came down to each team having a tie with each other so our teacher was like Elder Payne, you have the last question and if you get it right your team will win. If you get it wrong, the other team wins. So the other team started chanting my name and saying, “Get it wrong so we can win, you like us more”. I love everyone in my district so I knew it would be hard to choose since I didn’t care who won the game anyway. Each team was begging me to help them win and I was just chillin. When the teacher asked the question, it was to see if I had planted two or more Spanish goals for today on my agenda. As the class stayed still, I slowly opened up my planner and I read two Spanish goals I had set the night before in planning meeting. The class went wild as they both thought it was good that I got it right and nobody was mad. Everyone was glad that I got the question right and it was pretty funny.

I have learned another thing while I have been here at the MTC. Keeping the Mission rules are easy. They are pretty simple and straightforward. You are promised too many blessings for keeping them, so why not? It is easier to keep them than to try to get around them. Our teacher also told us this sad story of how he was treated badly at the beginning of his mission by a missionary that didn’t want to work hard. I hope when I get into the mission field in a few days, I get a really hard working companion. I promise if I see any missionary being treated badly, I will go out of my way to help him out.

I loved the pictures of the baby pigs and the mother Tiger. Pork chops! It was hilarious. I guess everybody just needs someone to love them!

I love you guys!

Peace out!

Elder Dolor

P.S. Tell Brother Yates I said thanks for the letter and I really am thankful for having his example in my life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last Letter from the MTC!

October 26, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad!

This is my last letter from the MTC as I got my travel plans this week and I’m flying out to Portland Oregon next Monday, November 1st! I can’t believe I’ve been here for 9 weeks as it feels like I just got here. Anyway, so much has happened this week I have to tell you about!

First of all, at our last Devotional Russell M. Nelson came to Speak to us! It was absolutely amazing as I felt the Spirit so strong. Just knowing that one of the Lord’s chosen Apostles was addressing me and all the missionaries was great! He gave us a virtual handshake as he wasn’t able to give ever missionary a handshake personally. His talk was awesome and he said that we are safer on our missions than we would be at home. He extended a special blessing of health and safety to each of us as we go out on this journey for the next 2 years!

My companionship is going really well and we are all getting along. It is really amazing to see the difference in your companions after you do a little act of service for them. Like making their beds or ironing their shirts. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is one of the ways you can show them you love them!

I was able to be a host last week and it was a great experience. I had to stand out in front of the MTC on the curb and wait for the new missionaries to arrive, and then show them around the place. It was weird to think that I was just in their position a short time ago, but now I am about to leave. One Elder I hosted was named Elder Ricks and he was from Rexburg Idaho. He was a potato farmer and was a really cool guy. I wonder if the former Ricks College, now BYUI used to be named after one of his relatives. I showed him the ropes and told him valuable information like what not to eat in the cafeteria!!!!!

I learned an important lesson this week which I probably already knew; it was just further fortified in my head. When you have a problem with someone or want to talk to them about something, do it in private because when you do, their whole demeanor changes from being defensive, to being understanding. If you call someone out in front of a group of people, they are obviously not going to listen, but if you take them aside, they will see that you truly care. This is something I learned this week and will strive to do so I can express how I feel without the other person feeling like they are being attacked.

I traded and got 3 new ties this week and they are sweet. You kind of have to think like a businessman when you’re trading ties. You might trade for a tie that you’re not so fond of, but you know someone will want to trade you a really nice tie for it in the long run. So I have traded for some ties that I don’t like very much, but in the end have come out on top as I have received exactly the ties I’ve wanted in trade. I still have 2 ugly ties I want to get rid of before I leave, but I have a feeling that I will be able to trade them for some good stuff.

My teachers have been teaching us some powerful lessons where the Spirit is so strong. Hermano Garcia taught a lesson about Elijah in First Kings about a woman and her son that had nothing to eat. Elijah asked her to bring him something to eat and she did, exercising her faith. He then blessed her and she was able to have food for the rest of her life. Anyway, Elder Garcia related that as missionaries we have the power to do the same thing, as we can promise people blessings and tell them everything will be alright as they exercise their faith in Jesus Christ. It truly is a blessing to be on a mission and see that Heavenly Father loves each and every single person.

I also learned another valuable lesson this week. Even though you may be right, it is still a good idea to apologize if feelings have been hurt. It only makes things better and easier. You never know what can hurt a person’s feelings and all you have to do is humble yourself and say sorry. It’s not too hard!

Another miracle has happened! Mom, remember the letters that you and Abuelita wrote me that were all in Spanish? I picked them up the other day and was able to understand both letters perfectly. It was like reading then in English. Spanish is coming along really well and I understand what I read now.

Pull-ups are going good; I’m almost to my goal of 35 in a row now and hope to win the tie contest.

I learned that another one of my weaknesses is that I find it hard taking criticism from people who have authority over me and think they have the right to tell me what to do. I have a problem when people tell me to stop doing something that I already know in my head, I shouldn’t be doing. I think it has to do with pride and I need to work on that.

RC went good this week again. RC is where you call people on the phone about the Church! I talked to this lady on the phone for a while and shared my testimony about Jesus Christ! I also sent her the video “Finding Faith in Christ” and I will be calling her next week to check up on her. She sounded like she was ready to have the missionaries drop by and talk to her.

I have really long hair now on the top of my head, so I can comb it over or pull it straight back. I’m getting it cut today so I don’t look like a Squeege when I meet my Mission President next week. I did a crazy part for my last day with my hair long on top. It was funny, it’s when you part you hair straight down the middle and you look a bit goofy.

Peace out!