Monday, February 28, 2011

Atlanta Temple Open House!

Hi Everyone,  I am so excited that the Atlanta Temple is about to re-open after being closed for remodeling for the past year and a half.  I wish I could be there to personally go to the open house with all of you, but I am pretty tied up in Oregon for another 18 months.  If you have ever wondered what the inside of an LDS temple looks like, now is your chance as the temple will only be open to the public for a few weeks before it will dedicated again to the Lord.  The temple is the House of the Lord and I hope you take this opportunity to visit.

Miss you all!

Elder Payne
February 28, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Que Paso? Dang, this week has flown by with my boy Elder White. It is so crazy that this transfer is almost over. Next Monday is transfers and I don’t know if I’m heading out or staying here. I've heard talk that I might be going English speaking because every Spanish Elder has to serve at least 6 months in English so we will see what happens. To be honest, whatever happens or wherever I’m sent I’m cool with because I’m ready to work wherever the Lord wants me to be. I’ll let you know what happened this week and what I’ve learned.

We have our Zone activity happening today and that will be pretty sweet. It is really cool out here because all the missionaries are like family, its sick. I’ll get a call at night after getting back home from my boys in other areas just calling to see what’s up and see how the works going. We really have each other’s backs out here and its pretty legit.

I got to give a spiritual thought at District meeting last Tuesday and that went pretty well. It was about how you can have joy on your mission. The spirit was there as I shared with all the missionaries, it’s not how many baptisms you get or lessons you teach, but how boldly you are willing to share the gospel. Many missionaries only look for the visual fruits of their labors and don't notice all the things that happen that they can't see. It was pretty sweet and I think I helped some missionaries in our district realize that it's not all about what you can see from hard work, but that the fact you’re giving it your all and truly converted! I can truly say as I have taken this perspective on my mission I have been so happy, as every day I talk to anyone I see and share my testimony when I feel prompted. Chyeah!

Elder White and I rearranged the apartment and it’s looking pretty legit. Ill finish this up later, I have got to go to the zone activity now!

We just got back from the Zone activity and it was sick! We went to this place in Tigard where it’s just a huge warehouse with trampolines everywhere! Everyone was going crazy doing gainers and back flips everywhere. There was a sweet foam pit that people were just diving into ha-ha. We then got a huge game of dodge ball going and it was crazy. I got rocked in the face but the balls weren't that hard so it was all good! It was pretty good to get the whole Spanish Zone out and the English Zone out as well.

Well, I’ve told you a lot about Antonio and how he's the man. Well, one day last week we decided to stop by and see how he was doing. When we stopped by he told us that he wants to be baptized, but he’s still not sure if the church is true. We set a baptismal date for him that he can work towards and it’s the 26th of March. He accepted and it was pretty sweet. Well we stopped by last night and talked to him and found out a doubt that he has. His doubt is that we claim that we are the only ones with the authority of God to baptize and confirm the gift of the Holy Ghost. He thinks that other churches have authority and if you live your life just keeping the commandments it doesn't matter. He has this doubt because many of his family are members of so many different faiths and he doesn't want to believe that they don't have the authority in these other churches too. But we talked to him and explained the great apostasy really well. He still couldn’t understand or maybe didn't want to understand. Well we told him that we would bring him to Mario Papa's house this Tuesday and explain it to him really well. So I hope that the spirit can touch his heart tomorrow as we try to share the most important message that we can with him. Rosa, a lady that just moved here from West Salem, is really awesome. I feel really sad because she is living in a really hard situation. She is a single mother with 5 children living in a tiny little apartment. So we have been trying to help her strengthen her relationship with God and haven't really talked too much about baptism as she really needs help. We talked to the President of the Branch and we are going to go over there soon and give them some help. She is really awesome and she wants to follow the Savior, she just is going through some really hard times. Maria Ceja is holding up really well, we taught her about authority and Joseph Smith and she accepted the message of the restoration! She still has a baptismal date on the 12th and we will talk to her more this week about it. We have been teaching this family and I think that the son is the most interested, his name is Juan. We met them knocking and he is pretty sweet. We taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we need to do to return to Heavenly Father after this life. We have a ton of investigators to be honest, we just need to cut down and find out who is really willing to keep their commitments. We have also been focusing on having more member present lessons to create a relationship between the investigators and the members. The members are behind us and it’s pretty sweet. The Lord has been blessing us with people to teach, we just need to find a way that we can get them to come to church.

My companionship is going really good. Elder White has grown like 100% from the first time I met him. He isn't as shy and now he is willing to talk to anyone. I guess it’s true if you care about someone, then they will trust you and then your friendship or relationship will grow. It’s been a really good learning experience and Elder White has truly helped me to grow!

Let me think if anything funny happened this week! We went to go teach Antonio and he lives with two roommates named Jose and Matt. Matt is like a huge 6'3 Mexican guy with a mustache and Jose is a little guy who usually likes to argue. So while we were teaching Antonio, Matt comes up and is like, “I don’t believe in your Book of Mormon." He basically just told us things that he heard from his Catholic Priest but after I shared my testimony about how I knew it was true the room got kind of quiet. He was like, are you going to cry? And I was like," Naw man, I haven’t cried since like 3rd grade." And then he said to me," It’s alright to cry man, I cry sometimes!" It got quiet again and I asked," Really?" He then told me," I don’t cry because I’m a girl, but sometimes you got to cry!" After talking for a little bit more I got up and gave everyone in the room a hug. I knew that even though Matt and Jose didn't agree, we were still buds and we could end the lesson with a nice big hug. HA-HA

Well I pretty much told you everything that has been going on this week. I have been trying to find out the range between being bold and not being overbearing! As I follow the spirit I hope what I say will be exactly what is needed. Also, my Spanish is coming along really well and I’m fluent right now, I just need to work on expanding my vocabulary and using new words every day. The Lord has really helped me with the language as I have come unto him for help.


Elder Payne

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Having Fun Down in Keizer

February 22, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Yo, what’s going on? This week has been pretty crazy and full of some sweet experiences. I’ll try to fill you in on all that has happened and how things are going down here in Keizer Oregon.

I have to tell you something guys, you know how I told you that I have been struggling with pride out here and people telling me what to do and what to work on? Well the Lord has helped me improve on this problem as I have come unto him in pray. Like it says in Ether 12:27, if you come to the Lord with your weaknesses, he will make them strengths. Well I have seen the Lord make this a strength for me as I had an experience this week. At District meeting, one of the Elders in our district called me aside and told me something I need to work on. Before my mission, I would have told him, “Hey buddy, how bout you back up and mind your own business...” But as he told me what I needed to work on, I heard him out and tried to understand where he was coming from. I didn’t get angry or think in my head," Does this guy think he is better than me?" I just stood there and listened and accepted what he said. It is truly a 180 degree turn around I have seen so far as I didn’t even want to talk about him behind his back afterward ha-ha. The Lord has truly helped me make this weakness a strength as this is something I have been struggling with since the beginning of my mission, taking criticism and people telling me what I need to do.

This week we had the opportunity to go to the Portland Temple and it was so awesome. I love the house of the Lord and that temple is absolutely beautiful. A cool experience happened with the temple and me asking the Lord for help again in my prayers. The day before we were supposed to go to the temple I was really sick. I felt pretty bad and I didn’t want to go to the temple feeling bad because it would be hard to concentrate and focus on the spirit. So, that night I prayed and asked Heavenly Father if I could just be healthy for the short time I would be at the temple. The morning of the temple I woke up completely fine and didn’t feel sick at all. After an amazing experience at the temple, on the drive home I started feeling pretty bad again ha-ha. I’m still recovering from being sick now ha-ha but it is really cool that He answered my prayer as it is something that helped me to get closer to the Lord.

We have also been trying to build trust with the people that live in this area and that is exactly what I want. I want people to know that I love them and they can call me for whatever they need. It has been a pretty good experience getting to know people and show them that we really do care. I’ll give you some examples of what I mean. My main man Mario Papa was really sick this past week. My companion Elder White and I were eating dinner with the Goesch family and then I got a call from Mario papa. He asked us to come over so I told him we would be right on our way. As soon as we got there we saw Presidente Andrade (His Brother ) and then Mario lying sick in bed. He asked us if we could give him a blessing and we were glad to do so. I was grateful that Mario would call me when he needed help. Another experience that happened is when one of our investigators needed us ha-ha. After waking up at 6:30am, I got a call from our investigator named Jose. He was like, “Guys, I really need your help, I left for work like an hour ago and I forgot that I left the stove on! My Senora is in the house sleeping and I’m afraid the house is going to burn down. She doesn't have a phone and I need you guys to go over there and tell her to turn it off." So at like 6:40 in the morning we drove over there and informed his Senora that the stove was on. She turned it off and our work was done. It was pretty cool, because after we teach anyone, we give them our number and tell them to call us if they need anything, so I guess he remembered what we said. I just think it’s cool people give us a call when they need something, you feel me?

Last week I told you about Amancio and how we might have to drop him because he’s pretty old and he forgets most of what we tell him. Well, one day we stopped by this week and he told us that he has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon and believes it’s true. He believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet as well. I wish I had a tape recorder with me so I could play back what he said when he forgets ha-ha. Well, he is going to get an operation on his eyes tomorrow so we will pass by again and see how he is holding up.

Remember how I told you that my boy David was getting baptized! Well, since the Elders in the other area in Keizer and we are so close I have been able to get to know David pretty well. He was baptized last Friday and he asked me to give a talk at his baptism. I gave a talk about baptism and the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. It was a pretty cool experience and David is the man. He is 20 and he wants to serve a mission as soon as possible. Anyway, David reminds me of my friends from back home and that's why he and I have become pretty good friends.

We do have funny things happen out here all the time and recording them helps me remember that the Lord must have a sense of humor too. Well, we went to go see an investigator this week at like one in the afternoon. When we knocked, this drunken guy answered the door and we asked him if Luis and Lorena were there. He said," I’m going to get them back for what they did to me, just you watch!" Elder White and I just stood there as we watched this guy go from apartment to apartment banging on peoples walls. Lorena came to the door and I asked her what he was doing. She told me that he always does this. Anyways, while we were talking to Lorena, the guy came over and was like," Hey, I’m going with them to church on Sunday." We went back later that week to check on him and he still really did want to go to church. It’s true that you can’t judge anyone and people do want to change.

I’ll tell you something kind of funny. One night we didn’t have a dinner appointment and all I had at the apartment was a can of Bushes baked beans. I ate the whole can by myself G, 6 servings of beans. To be honest, I never want to have another can of those Beans again, but it was a learning experience.

Give my love to everyone,


Elder Payne

Monday, February 14, 2011

Keepin on in Keizer

February 14, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

What’s Poppin? Things have been flying by pretty fast and I've already been out for 1/4 of mission and it’s crazy! It feels like I just left the MTC and met my trainer but that's not the case. Things are going great out here as usual and I’m not wasting a minute. We had a sweet Zone Fireside where the Stake President and his counselor Brother Cowan, Sister Cowan’s husband, talked to us. The Zone fireside was sweet and Brother Cowan said something that really caught my attention while talking to us. He said that not a day has gone by in his life that he hasn't remembered his mission so he told us to, “Take your mission by the throat and strangle it!" I felt what he was saying and that he was just saying not to waste a minute. Really, I only have two years out here and that's two years to murk!

I’ve been listening to the 179th General Conference talks in Spanish like every day in the car and in the apartment. It's so awesome because it helps you learn Spanish and feel the spirit at the same time. Anyway, I have been listening to Elder Henry B. Eyring's talk about how you have got to help out your fellow brother. It is the talk when he says “Man Down”. Jesus teaches that we are our brother’s keepers and we need to help each other in time of need. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ!

District meeting was sick and we are buckling down here in the mission! We are trying to show the Lord we are truly converted and not just out here to do our time. President Dyches has come out with what he calls the OPM culture. It’s how we are supposed to roll and live our lives out here. So we basically went over that and the Zone leaders all promised us some sweet blessings if we fast every Sunday this month! I have a really strong testimony of fasting and the fact that it is a little sacrifice but the blessings we can receive will always be greater than the sacrifice. That's one thing that I have learned out here on my mission. The Lord asks us to do things that seem like sacrifices at times but he always promises more blessings that we can receive if we just do what He asks. Like the Word of Wisdom for example, some people see that as a sacrifice, giving up coffee or cigarettes. But the way I see it, the blessings we can receive from just doing what God says far exceed the temporal benefit or satisfaction of any substance.
We had a pretty cool experience last week. We were knocking doors and we ran into a preacher. I asked him if he would be interested in hearing a message about Jesus Christ and he straight up told us he was a preacher. Then I was like," Hermano, it’s all good, this message is for everyone!" Usually out here, missionaries don't like talking to preachers because all they want to do is argue and Bible bash. Well he let us in and right when we walked into his house he was like, let me go grab my bible. Then I was like," Naw it’s all good, we actually have to go to another appointment, but we would like to pray with you!" He was like alright. Well I asked him how he prayed in his church and he told me that they all held hands. I was cool with that so we all just held hands and he prayed for us. It was pretty sweet because in the beginning he just wanted to argue but during his prayed he just asked Heavenly Father to help us spread the word of God. What I learned from that is that it is good to avoid contention and meet on the common ground that God is our Heavenly Father when people don't agree or aren't willing to listen.
Prayer. Wow I don't even know where to begin with pray other than the fact that it is one of the greatest gifts we are given in my opinion. I was listening to a talk by the Prophet and he said something I really liked. He said that prayer is the Portal to Peace. That is so true and I have had many experiences that have helped me to have peace through prayer. I am also trying to get better at recognizing my answers to my prayers as many scriptures say that God will answer your prayers. Ask and you shall receive. Even the scripture that Joseph Smith read when searching for the truth in James 1:5. Well I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers so I am further trying to listen and feel for the answer through my thoughts and impressions. It explains really well in Brother Bott’s book Preparation Precedes Power how you can receive your answer. Through your heart and mind, not just one of them but both. My goal is to understand the Lord and his promptings that he can give us. The Lord wants to bless us, we just need to have the faith to ask Him and the patience to listen for the answer.

I have included a picture of one of our investigators named Maria and she is the best! She is always reading the Book of Mormon when we come over and she even sings to us. She is really spiritual and writes letters to Heavenly father. It is pretty awesome and she let me have one of her letters to God. We have been teaching her and have invited her to be baptized and she has accepted. She is so cool and I just love listening to her talk! She even came to the Valentine Day Church dance and she had a good time.

My good friend Amancio is a great guy and it’s really hard to teach him because he always forgets what we teach him. It is always a good experience to teach him because he accepts what we teach, but he is just so old and doesn't really have any support from his family he is living with. We have been teaching this family that we met named Saul and Maribel and they are pretty nice people. We taught them about the restoration and they really were able to understand how the restoration was necessary because of the Apostasy. The problem that we always reach with many people that we meet is that they love to listen to the word of God, but when it comes down to them having to make a commitment, they aren't as willing to do so. So what we are trying to do is find the people that are ready for the gospel and in the mean time teaching as many people as possible.

We continue to have activities and the Branch members are being supportive as they attend the activities we have been organizing! We just had movie night and my boy Antonio came out to watch the movie The Testament with us. I told you how we have two companionship's that cover this one Branch, well the Elders in Salem, Elder Wienert and Elder Rangel are baptizing this awesome guy named David this week. He is the man and he is 20 years old. He wants to serve a mission like us and we have been helping him to be prepared by bringing him with us a lot of places to do service and stuff. I have taught David many times as we have had many exchanges and I have had the opportunity to know him pretty well. He is a G and he has asked me to give a talk at his baptism this Friday, it’s gonna be pretty legit and I’ll let you know how it goes! Something funny that happened this week was that we went to the Valentines Dance. At the dance, David, was standing in the corner. I went up to him and asked him why he wasn't dancing and he told me that he gave up dancing. He told me that he used to dance a lot but he gave up his passion for dancing a long time ago. Everyone kept coming up to him asking him to come and dance but he kept on saying no. So after being asked to dance so many times, David just couldn't take it anymore and just snapped. He ran onto the dance floor and started dancing his heart out. Two years of being bottled up and not dancing was all unleashed on the dance floor as David showed everyone his moves. It was pretty funny to see him retake his passion for dancing at the Valentines dance.

That’s about it for this week. I love it out here and am learning so much about myself and how much our Father in Heaven loves each of us. Be good and pray for my investigators OK?



Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Everyday is something new out here in Oregon, the only problem is that it’s hard for me to write an intro for every letter so I’m just going to start out with what’s been going on and what I've learned. I’ve learned a lot too as I have felt the spirit, and when you feel the spirit, you can't deny it.

My companion Elder White and I are rocking out and getting along really well right now. It’s like what you said in your letter Dad; you have got to find that common ground. I kind of relate it to being bilingual, but to everyone’s different personalities. Like for instance, if I’m bilingual in more than one language like Russian, Spanish, English, and French, I can communicate with more people. But if you’re bilingual in the aspect that you can relate to peoples different personalities, you’re going to be able to communicate with more people as well. Like for Elder White, he’s just a quiet guy, but you’ve got to break down that wall G, then you can rock out on that common ground. It’s taken sometime but the walls are broken and now things are going better than if I didn't try to communicate at all and was content with not talking that much. I’ve learned in relating to others that you just have to break down some walls in order to communicate better. I have learned that anyone that you’re with on your mission is fine, as long as you’re both willing to work hard together.

Something we’ve been trying to do is show the investigators we have that we care about them and not just show up to their house and teach them, but find out what they’re about and what they like to do. So in that sense we’ve been doing a lot of cool stuff with our investigators and getting to know them. For instance, Amancio, the 70 year old G, loves to go on morning walks. So one day I thought it would be cool to walk with him. So during our morning walk, we walked to the local Goodwill and my boy Amancio bought a stapler ha-ha. I also got like 20 new ties for like $1.59 because it is a Goodwill store where you buy things by the pound, Chyeah! We then went and taught Amancio about the Book of Mormon. Also you know my main man Antonio, he likes going to the Pulga (Flea Market) on Saturdays and Sundays so we walked with him there. It was cool and we contacted some people there. We even got to help draw a mural on one of the walls of the flea market. I’ll send you some pictures of what I’m talking about. Showing our investigators that we care is what it’s all about. Antonio called me Sunday morning because he wanted to go to church but he didn't have a ride. We couldn't find him a ride so we just went to his house and walked with him to Church.

Things have been going pretty good here in Keizer and I’m going to let you in on what’s been going down over here. I’ll start with my main man Antonio. Antonio has been to church 4 times so far and he says he really likes it. He has had a tough life and is going through some problems now. We have explained to him many times that with the gospel of Jesus Christ he can change and be the man he wants to be. He shows desires to change as he calls us to go to church and likes going to all the Church activities. He has a problem with the word of wisdom but is trying. In my opinion I don’t feel like Antonio is ready right now to be baptized, but I do have a strong feeling that in the future, he will be ready and willing to come unto the Lord. We will continue to work with him as he likes coming to church and spending time with the members. Amancio is another awesome guy we are teaching, he has had like 3 baptismal dates so far but he keeps on forgetting because he pretty old. One day we stopped by and he asked us why there were so many different religions. We have explained it to him a couple times already but this time we told him to pray about it. So in the lesson he prayed about it and told us he felt good about Joseph Smith and the Church, we will continue to help Amancio feel the spirit and get ready for baptism. Lorena, a less active member we found knocking has shown desires to come back to church. She has 4 kids and we are going to start teaching them the lessons. We are teaching her that this gospel will bring peace back into her life and help her kids grow up in the right path. We have been working a lot with the members and the work is paying off as we are receiving referrals. The Branch members know that we are here to work and not play around. We have found a lot of new people to teach and as always we are trying to help them feel the spirit and act on their feelings. This work isn't easy, but it’s worth it, I know the Lord will bless me as I continue to try and do his will.

Last Fast Sunday was so awesome as the Spirit was so strong in the Rama. Tiffani got up and shared her testimony and so did I. Antonio told me that he felt something in Sacrament meeting and I explained to him that it was the Holy Ghost. I hope that this prompting from the Spirit can give him the drive and the push he needs to completely change. You know what’s pretty tight, when you fast with a purpose, you aren't even that hungry. I have a strong testimony of fasting and that the Lord truly will help us if we are faithful. I look forward to Fast Sundays now and the Spirit is so strong during testimony meeting. You are like more receptive to the spirit when you are fasting, it’s pretty legit.

We ate with Sister Robison’s sister, Sister Cowan and it was so good!!! Hey Mom thanks for writing me the letters in Spanish, I’ll write you back in Spanish soon, it really helps me with my Spanish too and I can understand everything in your letters. I’ve also been writing Valeria in Maipu, Chile in Spanish every Monday and she sent me a scarf, gloves, and a hat in the mail. Thanks so much for the package too!! I have been rocking out to the LDS Children’s Hymns in Spanish and it has been legit! It’s all about rolling around town with the windows rolled down, jamming to Primary songs in Spanish! It’s helped me out a lot and I’ve memorized a lot of songs like Popcorn Popping and If you had a birthday!

A lot of funny things happened this weekend. We did some service this week and we showed up in our church clothes because we didn’t have time to change. Well Polo gave us these sweet jumpsuits to wear over our suits and we looked like we were prison inmates doing community service. Something else funny that happened is that we were playing basketball with Juan Carlos Deloya (member) and he went to drive into the basket for a strong layup. Well I was playing some tough D so he wasn't able to drive in, so he had to do a fade away jump shot. As he jumped to fade away, he elbowed Elder Rangel right in the eye and Elder Rangel got the fattest black eye. It was pretty funny because now Elder Rangel is walking around with a black eye, looking like he got punched by someone for preaching the gospel. Anyway, everyday something happens and it’s pretty good!

By the way, my Spanish is getting a lot better thanks to the Lord.


Elder Payne

Friday, February 4, 2011

Service in Keizer

January 31, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

I found out some pretty sweet stuff this week about serving others and how you have to approach service and what not to do! It hit me one day while we were on splits with the English Elders knocking complexes. I was with my boy Elder Jackson and we did not have to much luck as everyone we ran into was a Jehovah Witness but one door we knocked was this great big guy. He was like what do you guys want, and I said," We are sharing a message sir!" He looked at us with a mean look on his face, but all of a sudden he smiled and was like, dang it, I can’t pull it off, come on inside. When we got inside, his whole family was together chillen and I was like what’s going on. He then said he was Mormon and was trying to mess with us. Anyway, after talking with him for a while he told us that he served a mission in South Africa. I asked him what he wishes he could do if he could go back and he told me that he would have liked to be a little more like Ammon and do some more service for the community. Just like Ammon served the Lamanites and had to chop off a few arms. Anyway, it got me thinking, I need to do some more service, and look for it. I need to serve the community, anyone that I see that needs help, I'm going to step up and help them. So anyway, his mission was probably a little different than mine so service opportunities are a little harder to find than probably in Africa. Anyway I started to look for service but I didn’t know where to go. I went to the Chamber of Commerce, Library, police station, city capitol, other Church's, and asked how I can help the community. But everywhere I went you had to fill out like a bunch of forms and all I’m trying to do is help clean someone’s yard of lift something, not fill out forms and do taxes. Anyway I have been asking the Lord for service opportunities so I can be like Ammon! So after the day I met that guy that reminded me to be like Ammon, we were driving down the road and I saw an Asian guy trimming some bushes in his yard. We waved to him and he waved backed. Then I was then like, " Elder White, let’s go help that guy out in his yard." So we pulled to a stop and got out of the car!" As we walked up to the man he had fear in his eyes. He said," Go away you guys, YOU scare me!" Then I said," Sir, we just want to help you, can we trim these bushes!" He was like I don't speak English, go away!" I guess he didn’t understand us and just thought we were two guys getting out of our car after he waved to us. He was really scared and I felt bad that we had scared him. So we have had to take another approach into service when we see someone that needs help, we can’t just pull over after people see us drive by and get out with our big black jackets and leather gloves cause people will think we are the Mafia or something. So what we do now is just roll down the window and ask people if they need help, it works a lot better. The other day I had to climb a roof to get a 50 cent ball off the roof for some neighborhood children. It was pretty tight as they cheered me on, as I stood on my companions shoulders and shimmied up the roof. Service is so much fun and that’s what we are trying to do all day every day, in any form possible. I know good will come from it as we forget ourselves and further look for ways to help others.

I had a companion exchange with my Boy Elder Rangel and we tore it up. Elder Rangel and I just click and so does our teaching together. We taught a few lessons on that companion exchange and it was pretty powerful as the Lord really does put the words in your mouth when you need them! During the exchange we went to Presidente Andrade’s house and did some service chopping some wood.

I gave a talk yesterday about the second articulo de fe and it went really well. My Spanish is getting really good as I have put my faith in the Lord and not in myself. I don’t know if I told you this logic or my way of thinking of why I just don’t wake up in the morning fluent. If I was to wake up fluent tomorrow or became fluent at the MTC, what would I have learned? But I have experienced through trial and error and learned from my mistakes. I relate it to this life. You can say, why is this life so hard, why can’t I just wake up tomorrow perfect and be exalted. The reason is because you would have learned nothing. That's why we are here on this earth, to learn and progress and follow Jesus Christ. If we didn’t have to learn or experience from trial and error, there really would be no reason for this life on earth. So when I think, why I am not completely fluent yet, it’s because I have to learn and grow and exercise my faith. So really I think the gift of tongues for missionaries is just giving missionaries the gift to learn the language incredibly fast, something you couldn't do without the Lords help.

I told you how my girl Maria Ceja is the best and she just got back from Mexico. She is about 80 years old and while she is talking, she will all of a sudden start whispering like she has got a secret to tell. So when she starts whispering, I just sit on the edge of my seat and lean in to hear what she’s got to say ha-ha. Well she just continues to surprise me and some awesome things have happened with my girl. We were teaching her in a lesson last week and as we were talking about the 12 apostles she just busted out singing a song about Pedro (Peter). At first I didn't know what was going on but then I just decided to go with it and I started to clap my hands and hum along with her beautiful voice. She told us she loves to sing and I told her that we sing at church. She was so excited when I told her that and she wanted to go. Well the day before Sunday, we called her to see if she could make it to church but she didn't answer. So Sunday we were sitting in class and all of a sudden I got a call from this random number. When I answered, it was my girl Maria Ceja telling me that she was ready to go to church. So we called Mario Hijo and went to go pick her up. She loved church; especially the singing and she told me she really felt good. On the ride home she couldn't stop singing so we started to make requests. She truly is a good singer and she sang us some songs about Boots, Obama, and the Weather.

Well family, this week was good and I love it out here.


Elder Dolor