August 16, 2011
Dear family and friends,
I’m loving life so much out here and I love the people here with all my heart. The members are the best and I’m trying to do my best to get people ready for baptism but it seems that there is always opposition. I’m not upset or sad, it’s just hard to know what else I can do sometimes to help people we find to understand the importance of the gospel. I’m on an exchange with Elder W right now and this Missionary is my long lost brother!!! I love this Elder and you will probably hear a lot more about him as my mission goes on.
I have tried to answer the questions you asked in your letter in the following paragraphs. What kind of car are you guys driving? 2009 Toyota Corolla! What cities are in your district? Astoria, Warrington, Gearhart, Cannon Beach, Rockaway, Tillamook, Seaside, Jewel, Neah-kah-nie and a ton of other cities. How many Elders are in your mission and break it down for us in English and Spanish? There are about 220 missionaries right now in the OPM and about 36 of them are Spanish speaking. Elder S is from Mexico City, was he called to serve in English or Spanish? Funny but Elder S who speaks Spanish as his first language was called to serve in English, it just so happens that he was put with me, a Spanish speaking Elder, whose first language is English. The Lord works in mysterious ways sometimes. Elder S is helping me get ready to go back to the Spanish side in a few weeks. Are there any Spanish areas on the coast or are they all English speaking? Every area on the coast is English speaking except for Tillamook and there just happens to be Spanish speaking missionaries in Nea kan ni and Seaside doing their required six months of English service. I know we are trying to get a Spanish Branch started out on the coast but the problem is it’s all tourist stuff so the Hispanics work on the weekends and can’t make it to church on Sunday. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone kept the Sabbath day holy and didn’t work?
What is the most profound thing you have learned so far on your mission? Wow, that’s a really good question; I’m going to have to ponder on that one for a while. The only thing that comes to mind right now is that I’m nothing and I’m just the Lords vessel and his tool. I didn’t come out here to gain any recognition or be remembered, it’s just my time to serve and the only thing I’m here to do is lose my will and find the Lords. So I guess that’s the most important thing I’ve learned and my number one goal. Do you set goals for baptisms each month in your mission or just lessons and placing Books of Mormon? We set goals at the beginning of each month for lessons, baptisms and anything that consists of the key indicators.
Who has been your favorite Elder and who have you learned the most about being an awesome missionary? Elder R helped shape my mission and really helped me to know what I was doing out here. My Pops or trainer, Elder H taught me how to man up and started me out right. Elder W helped me and taught me how to love. Elder G taught me how to be 100% obedient even to the little rules like having a comb over and not chewing gum. Elder A taught me how to look at life from the best perspective and not to get down on yourself for other peoples actions or use of their agency. Elder W has helped me to have someone to relate to 100 percent and talk about what we need to do to improve and kill the natural man. Elder W taught me to be a work horse and never give up. Elder J taught me to feel the spirit and be guided on what to say and ask. Elder S has taught me not to judge and to humble myself. I’ve learned so much from every Elder and it’s amazing to see how everyone has had such a huge impact in my life. Every missionary has their own style. I’ve been able to learn from each of their different personalities and take the best part. If I had to pick one missionary that has had the biggest impact on my mission so far, it would be my boy Elder R. He taught me more things than I can count but most importantly he taught me how to serve the Lord with all my heart.
What are you planning to do differently your second year than you did your first? I’m planning to set specific goals like reading the entire mission library in Spanish, do 35 pull ups in a row, I’m up to 30, and try to kill the natural man. I plan to do everything in my power and with the Lord’s help to overcome pride and anger and thoughts that are not in line with my Savior. It is my goal to completely give myself to the Lord even more. But as for specific goals to write down, I’ll get back to you on that. What do you enjoy most about being an Elder and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? Having the Spirit as my companion and the complete joy that comes from knowing that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ and there is nothing more meaningful I could be doing at this time of my life.
I hope I answered your questions but let me know if you have more next week.
I have a pretty funny story to share. We have been taking a less active member of the ward with us to a bunch of lessons. He is a great kid but he is a little different. He had cancer a couple of years ago so he’s got the mind of a 12 year old and he is about 19 now. I love this kid and he is awesome. Right now he’s got just two things on his mind. A mission and becoming an Eagle Scout. We gave him a ride home after church and while we were driving home he shouted up to us from the back seat and said, “hey guys I wrote a song about Scouts." I then said, “well lets here it”. He began to sing the song and it goes like this, “SCOUTS, it’s a beautiful thing, SCOUTS; I love it more than anything! SCOUTS!!! It’s better than you can believe, SCOUTS!!!! It was truly a classic and a good song to hear. It was a nice change from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir we have been listening to for the past week ha-ha.
Love to all,