c I came home December 15,2010 //

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Well ... (06/30/2009)

Well, it has happened again. I am being transferred. I am going to Connell, Washington. It is about 45 minutes north of Pasco and it is a very small area. It is even smaller than Toppenish from what I hear. We cover 5 units - three English wards and two Spanish Branches. We cover Connell and another little town called Basin City and then another little town called Mesa. (Maybe it is Mesa, Arizona?!?!?!) I wouldn't say I am excited but after being transferred twice and having four companions in four transfers, I realize that every area is good and every one is nice. You just have to make it the way you want it. I am not excited about the small area but we are in the Pasco Zone and District so we get to go there every Monday for district meeting and every Tuesday for P-day. My new companion will be Elder Mendez. He is a native Spanish speaker but I don't know where he was born. The only thing I have heard about him is he is really quiet and has been out about nine months. This will be a change from my first three companions who were quiet talkative. Another thing about the area is since it is so big we get 1,800 car-miles a month. That may be the most of any area outside of the zone leaders. Also the car that they drive there is a Mazda 3!!

It is going to be tough to lose Elder Cavaness though. It seemed like we just got along from the start. He loves sports almost as much as I do.

Dad, Scott, Chad, Alicia, and Matt, how many areas did all of you guys serve in? I think I may be well on my way to beating you, although, there are only eight other areas I can serve in and two areas combine to cover one branch and two others combine to cover another branch so that puts it to about six other branches I can serve in.

Well not much has happened around here lately. I gave my talk in the Spanish branch on Sunday. I am assuming it went well. It is hard to fill about 20 minutes of time. We only had 19 people there, 12 of which were actually Hispanics, the rest were white people helping out.

The English ward also had me come up and bare my testimony. I don't know why they do that to me; they know I am going to cry.

We got an e-mail from the AP's saying that on the 4th of July we are to get ourselves more acquainted with the members. In other words don’t go around town talking with drunken people.

I won’t be e-mailing next Tuesday because that’s when our zone conference is down in the tri-cities so I will probably e-mail on Wednesday.

Just a few random items: At times I remember I still have 18 months to go but then I am like I have already downed a 4th, I can do what I just did three more times. We have zone conference every transfer. Every companionship in the mission has a cell phone. Every Spanish area has a car and most English areas do too but not all of them. The cars are normally either Corollas or Malibus.

Well another week down in the mission. It is going pretty fast. Mom, remember the Friday night before I left I was telling you I was going to be weird when I got home? I realized I will probably be a little weird but I am still the same old Matthew just living in small towns in Washington rather than the big city of Phoenix.

Well I better run.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pictures (June 2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ser Preparado (6/23/2009)

I entitled my e-mail this week because I am actually prepared this week. I wrote down things that I wanted to tell you in my planner so I can actually tell you and not remember 20 minutes after I leave.

Well this week went well. It was definitely cooler. Friday was cloudy pretty much all day. Then it did an Arizona rain where it poured for about 20 minutes and then stopped. I felt like I was at home. We woke up on Sunday, which happens to be the first day of summer, freezing. It was really cold in the apartment; in fact, according to my alarm clock it was about 55°. It was really windy all day Sunday which made for a somewhat of a nippy day. It says on the blog that it is 57° right now but I don't know if that is accurate. I think it’s about in the mid-60's.

To accompany all of this crazy weather, when the sun is out, so are the mosquitoes. I am covered in mosquito bites. I have about 30 or so. Elder Cavaness has about 60 or so. It is crazy. I have never been around so many mosquitoes.

Right now, everyone is talking about the cherries. There are cherries everywhere. I have never seen so many cherries. Everyone is offering us some. They are pretty tart so you can only have so many. Plus I hear they are a natural laxative. I wouldn't really know but that’s what they tell me.

Last week we did a lot of service. I told you about bucking the 4.5 tons of hay on Monday. Thursday we trimmed some hedges for a lady and then helped a family that is moving out move some things out into their family room so they could put it outside the next day for a yard sale. Friday we put those things outside for the yard sale. Saturday, we went to go help those people move but for other reasons they were unable to get a truck so we helped them trim some shrubs and what not. Then yesterday, that family finally got the truck so we helped them load the truck so they could move to Utah today.

Since Elder Cavaness is the district leader he has to go on exchanges with the other six elders in the district. This means I get to go on exchanges with all of the six elders in the district. It’s not that bad. I don't like staying the night somewhere else, it’s just a pain, but I do like when I get to get out and speak Spanish. I realize that when I have to understand what they are saying because I am the only one that speaks Spanish, I can really do it. I can really communicate with them. I wouldn't say I am fluent because I have a lot of improvement to work on but I am fluent in the sense that I can communicate with whomever over whatever. Also, the English elder and I went to this dinner with this lady from Mexico. She gave us this basic dish with beans and a chicken leg and you just take the tortillas and pick the meat off the chicken and put it with some beans in a tortilla and eat it. I didn't think it was very spicy but the elder I was with was crying he thought it was so hot. Evidently I have grown immune to the spice. She later told me that she had used Serrano peppers.

Well, a little update on the work. Nick received the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday. It was really nice. He is just ready for anything we throw at him. He hasn't questioned anything and is excited about everything. It is amazing. We tracted into this older lady last week. When I say older, I mean older. She later mentioned to us that she is 97 but she can still dress herself and I said well we don't need to get into details but that’s awesome. I taught her the first lesson and it went really well. She can't drive so she is always there for our next appointment. We thought things were going really well but once we started asking her to do things like read The Book of Mormon and go to church, we realized that she doesn’t really gather everything up to well. It would be cool to say I baptized a 97 year old lady though.

There is a girl in the Spanish branch that got her call to the Mesa Arizona Visitor Center Mission. She is way excited and leaves July 29th. On Sunday in the English ward, the branch president of the Spanish branch got up in priesthood and asked if there was anyone in the ward that would like to help pay for her because her mom and dad just work in the fields and can't pay too much and she works but doesn’t have enough. I don't know how much of the money they will get because not too many people in the English ward have a lot of money to spare either. I know she will go but I couldn't imagine being in the situation. It is also weird to think that I will be home before her.....sucker.

On Friday, the Spanish branch had a Father’s Day party. They had food and then we watched a movie called Forever Strong. It is really good and I highly recommend it to anyone. I don't know who made it but there are no cuss words and it is very clean, obviously since we watched it but, it’s about the rugby team in a high school in Utah. It is a true story. It talks about a kid that gets caught drunk driving in Flagstaff, AZ and has to go to a rehab place in Utah. He is really good at rugby so he goes to play for this team in Utah and the coach teaches him things about life and he turns his life around. I can't serve it justice; you just need to watch it.

I have to speak in the Spanish branch this week. They didn't give me a topic though. The transfer calls will be this Saturday. I don't think either of us will go. Elder Cavaness just got here the transfer before I did. But, we will see.

Talk to you all later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First of Hopefully many (06/16/2009)

Well, the baptism for Nick went through. We showed up about two hours early to fill the font. It takes about an hour and a half and in the mean time we were making copies of the program and setting everything up. We got the font to the 4th step, so the water was pretty high, and shut it off. The family of the girl Nick is dating showed up to the baptism about 20 minutes late so that held us up quiet a bit. We took pictures and then got the program started. It was very nice. Nick had seven non-member family members there so that was good. We go to do the baptism and we open up the curtains and the water had dropped to about two feet high. It was ridiculous. So the first time he was baptized, his arm came up out of the water. So we did it again. This time the kid that baptized him kind of pushed Nick down so he would be fully submerged so he was but came up coughing because I don’t think he was ready to be pushed down. But anyway, it all worked out. He was baptized on Saturday, confirmed Sunday, had his interview to receive the priesthood on Sunday and will be ordained next Sunday.

Last night we went to the Clements for dinner and then we burned one of my ties because my six month mark is officially tomorrow. So that was fun.

Also yesterday, a family who has four horses had grown their own oats, cut it down and it was all dried and ready to go. They had a guy bale it and put it in a pile, but, the pile had tipped over. So they called to see if we could come help put it back up. So we bucked about 90 bails of hay. I was pretty itchy at the end but it was fun. I slept pretty well last night that’s for sure.

I hope the cruise went well. I got all of the pictures and it seemed like you enjoyed yourself. I thought the animal with the life jacket and dad’s hat looked a lot like dad.
(Note from the editor: Do you really think this looks like dad?)

Well school is out here in Toppenish today so maybe there will be a little bit more action going on for the next couple of months. The fields are still killing us though. The adults are gone from sun up to sun down so they are never home so we can teach them.

On Sunday night we were out tracting and we were doing really well. We went to this house that was the second to last one we were going to knock and this lady comes out and is just like no. I am Catholic, have a nice day, so we started walking away and she says you know you guys should stop being so judgmental. She said that all Mormons are judgmental because we won’t let blacks get to the highest glory in heaven. She kept going on and on about us being judgmental. Then we were saying good-bye again and she said that one little advice, if you want people to listen to you then you should have Mexican people come around. And we were like we know Spanish and she said it doesn't matter. We will listen to Mexican people before white people. Whatever, I just feel bad for her. She is losing her chances to come into the gospel.

Well I better get running. Have a great week. Happy Birthday Lady and Stacy and Happy Fathers Day Milt, Dad, Scott, Chad and Matt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another week (06/09/2009)

It seems like I am always right here writing you guys. It’s amazing how the time flies.

Well, we had a good week this week. Nick had his baptismal interview and he passed so he is good to go on Saturday at 11:00 am. He is really excited and you can tell he really loves the gospel. Nick knows Spanish but he is being baptized into the English ward. He is 27 years old.

So after telling you how warm it was last week. It has been fairly cool this week. It rained on Thursday night and there was a huge thunder storm that accompanied it. I thought it wasn't anything too special. It wasn't a Monsoon or anything, but I guess they don't really have thunderstorms here. All of the members were way impressed and so were some of the missionaries that had been out a while.

We had somewhat of a crazy weekend. We were on exchanges where this English Elder and I were in Wapato. These three Mexican guys stopped us and asked us if we knew where any houses to rent were. They said they were members of the church and had just moved here for work. I had no idea about any rentals so they thanked us and we went on our way. Then on Saturday we got a call from our branch president saying that they had called him and were staying in a motel and he wanted us to go visit them. So we go over there and there are like six adults and three kids staying in this little room. They don't have a cell phone and the phone in the room doesn't work for some reason. We just chatted with them for a little bit and then gave them directions to the church. So Sunday rolls around and they come to church. Not all nine. Just a Man and his Wife and their two kids were members. So I had to go translate for the lady to help get her records here. Through this she was telling me that they were no longer in the Motel because they had no more money. So we were trying to get a hold of the transient bishop to help get them some financial aid. At the end, the Branch President and one of his counselors were trying to get them a place to stay at a Motel. A poor situation. They came to Toppenish because someone had told them that there was work here picking cherries. So they are here for about two months to pick cherries and then they are headed back to Idaho. They have only been members of the church for a year.

I can’t think of much else to say. We had 36 to attend church on Sunday. There has been more and more each Sunday I have been here so that is good.

The members feed us a number of different things. I think they try to prepare their best meal so it is usually pretty good. The weirdest thing I have eaten is probably a soup with cactus. It was actually pretty good. One of the members here keeps telling us she is going to make us tacos de lengua. Which is tongue tacos. We will see about that. We eat at a member house every night. We do the English ward Sunday-Wednesday except Tuesday when we have no dinner because of P-day and then the Spanish from Thursday to Saturday. In walla Walla, we ate at a non-members house every other Friday for sure and then other ones through out the week. Mexicans love to feed you.

Well my word of wisdom to close is about dads. It kinda fits since Dads day is in a couple of weeks. Its amazing to see in the Spanish Branch especially how the member that have an active priesthood holder in the home, are so much more active and spiritual then those that don't. I am extremely grateful for Dad who didn't really have the church all that much growing up but took mom and us to church every week. And Scott, Chad, and Matt you guys are doing the same for Alicia, Stacy, and Christi. That is awesome.

Well that’s all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It is getting, well warm (06/03/2009)

I had this whole e-mail written and then I went to write a second e-mail and evidently you can't write 2 e-mails at the same time so the first one was deleted.

I would say it is getting hot here but I know that all of you in Arizona would have a cow since it is only in the high 90's. But it is warm to me. It’s not the walking around with all of these clothes on that gets to me. It’s the fact that no one has air conditioners here. If they do, it's just the ones in the window. It doesn't get the apartment very cool. I want the AC to start to fall out the window so I can run after it and yell “THE AIR CONDITIONER” and grab it by the electrical cord and try and pull it back in. That’s the weather report.

The reason why I didn't e-mail yesterday was because we went to the 10:45 session at the temple and so we didn't get back until about 4:30 when the library (where we get on the internet) was closed.

The baptism for Nick Leyva is still June 13th. He is doing really well. We are teaching a lady named Maria Ojeda. She is doing really well. We told her she needed to go to church on Sunday and she said she would but she needed a ride. So we find her a ride and everything was great. This all goes down on Saturday so it is pretty sure fire that she will be there. So Sunday morning rolls around and we call her with no answer. Then the ride calls her and no answer and she wasn't home.

Yesterday we locked our keys in the apartment and so we had to take out the AC and had one of the English elders go through the window to let us in.

I noticed that a significant amount of e-mails today referred to me being out 6 months. Now my official 6-month day isn't until the 17th which happens to be lady’s birthday. I don’t want to take anything away from her special day so let’s not get carried away. At times I think it is going too fast and then I realize that I have 18 months left so that thought escapes my mind. It is going really fast though. I can't believe I am 1/4 of the way done.

We cover for the English wards, Toppenish and Wapato. For the Spanish, we cover those wards along with Zilla, White Swan, Harrah and Mount Adams. We had 32 to church on Sunday with a couple of regulars that weren't there so that was pretty good.

How is Logan doing? I had a dream that he was playing basketball and was really good when I got home.

Well I hope and pray all is well. I will talk to you next week.