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!