c I came home December 15,2010 //

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!! (12/29/2009)

Why hello from the frigid Northwest. We woke up yesterday morning to about an inch of snow. It was nice to see snow again. I decided that cold weather is absolutely useless without snow. So that stuck around all day and then there were another 2 or 3 inches this morning. It is very pretty and nice to have around.

Well I feel like we have finally gotten a hold of things in Yakima. The work is really progressing along. We had six investigators at church along with a couple of less-actives. I will list the names of the investigators and then give a little bio of them underneath. Rosa and two of her kids, Herrald, Celestino, and Ivan.

Rosa- Rosa has three daughters and a son. She has been taught by the missionaries for a while. Rosa is currently going through a divorce with her husband (due to some issues I won't go into) and she has a court date for the 26th. We were over there last night and we were talking about the Holy Ghost and we asked her "wouldn't you like the Holy Ghost for when you go to court" and she said yes. So we talked a little bit more and she is going to be baptized on the 17th of January. She is awesome. You can really tell that the Lord put the missionaries in her path about the same time all of this was going on.

Heraldo- Heraldo is a 27-year-old guy that is very knowledgeable about the Bible. He has attended a lot of different churches and is seeking the truth. He has a lot of doubts like why we celebrate Christmas and other Holidays. He asks a lot of questions which is always good and he also comes to church every Sunday.

Celestino- I don't know much about him. He has been taught by missionaries for over a year. He wants to get baptized but not married and is living with a lady so that is a problem.

Ivan- Ivan is the husband of a sister in the branch. He just started coming this week so we are trying to get in and teach him.

Well Mom, remember when you told me maybe I won’t have to talk so much in this branch. Well, Sunday I guess the speakers didn't show up or something so they asked the four of us elders to speak. So I guess I may be speaking a lot in this branch.

On Saturday I had a package in our mailbox from the Lundbergs. It was from Susie and she had sent me a pan of Cinnamon Rolls. It was awesome. She is so nice to send me those.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas! (12/22/2009)

So I am in Yakima now and I am really enjoying it. It was hard to leave Toppenish but it was a good change at the same time. There are a ton of Hispanics here and it is nice to be in a normal-size city again. Their branch is a good size and seems to be fully functioning. They are a lot of fun and very nice.

On Saturday they had a branch Christmas party. They had good fun, a piñata, dancing and Santa Claus....well kind of. The Branch President came up to me and said the guy that normally is Santa Claus, could no longer fit in the suit. Since he asked if I could do it, I was like why not. So I left, put on the suit and came out. It wasn't how you would normally think Santa Claus to be. They just had me come out and dance around then I sat in this chair where the kids came up and I just handed them bags with candy in it. It was super fun. I have many pictures and a video that I will be sending. At the end when they announced I was leaving...this one little girl ran up and gave me a big hug and then gave me two pieces of candy she got from the piñata.

The work here is going well. We still are trying to get a handle on things. There are a lot of investigators that are progressing but have their own set of difficulties. They do have a bunch though. Our days are packed with people to teach. It is really fun in that aspect of the work. Elder Cavaness is super fun and so are the other two that cover the branch. It is weird that I went from five units to two and a half. I am enjoying it here though.

I really don't know what else to say. We have done a bunch but it seems as though it has gone too fast. We are still pretty confused too so that may be a reason that I can't think of much to say.

I did get your package. I am excited to open it on Friday. Speaking of which, we still don't know what time we are going to call on Friday but we will be calling on Thursday to give you a time for Friday. We do have a lot of meals lined up so don't worry. We get fed here every night and if one of our dinners cancels, we can just go with the other elders so essentially we have 2 dinners lined up every night. We have had good meals so far but the funniest must have been Sunday. We just had left church because it starts at 12:30 so we just went to our dinners right after. Well we were sitting there for a few minutes when one of their daughters left. A few minutes later she comes back with 2 pizzas. So only in a Spanish branch would you be fed a pizza from the store on the Sabbath. It was pretty funny.

Well that’s about all I have. Things are going great. I will talk to you on Friday then we will have a lot more to talk about!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pictures 1 (December)

Pictures 2 (December)

Pictures 3 (December)

A few of my presents/cards I got for Christmas

A few of us on Christmas

Pictures 4 (December)

We went bowling and look who had the high score.

Look at that bowling form.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pictures 5 (December)

Making tortillas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Someone threw powdered sugar everywhere (12/15/2009)

Well last night we were at the Morales house for dinner and saying good-bye and someone walked outside for something and yelled it’s snowing! Well I jumped up and ran out there and it was true. So we came back in, finished up and walked outside and it had dusted everything. So we went to this other house for about an hour and came back out and there was a good inch on the ground. We went to another house and came out; now there were two inches on the ground....I think you can see where this is going. This morning we woke up with about four inches on the ground. It was awesome, although they weren't very good at clearing the roads. So finally there is snow and a good amount for my liking.

Well I am being transferred again. I am going to Yakima with Elder Cavaness. He was my companion when I was in Toppenish the first time. He is a really good kid that is leaving at the end of the transfer. He is in Vancouver right now so we are getting doubled into the area. Kind of a tough thing right before Christmas but it will be fun. We just cover a Spanish branch that has about 120 people attend so I am way excited. I will definitely miss Toppenish but I am excited for Yakima. I will only be 20 minutes away so it won’t be too bad at all.

The Morales family is doing great. They came to church on Sunday and then we went over there that evening to see their horses. Well, Sergio is from Monterrey and Monterrey's soccer team was in the league championship so we were able to talk to him during breaks and half-times and things like that. There was a baptism in Sunnyside that night which is the reason we went over there to get them there. Well the game ended just in time and Monterrey won, so we head down to Sunnyside to get them to the baptism. That was awesome. Monday we went over to their house and we had dinner with them. They made Tacos de asada which were really good and then everyone left except the dad left for something for a couple minutes. So we talked to him and he was really opening up to us. He said before you guys came over, we were fighting and stressed out so much that I just wanted to leave. He said that ever since you have started coming over, I have been much happier and my attitude has been much better. So that was really good to hear. I am pretty sure they will get baptized I just don't know when. They are such a good family and I will truly miss them.

Well this week was filled with a lot of saying good-byes and what-nots. We didn't get too much done. I will really miss Toppenish but I am happy with my new area and new companion. I will let you know next week how Yakima is.

Scott, even though I am not in Canada, they say this area is one of the coldest parts in the state of Washington, so maybe I am getting a little taste of what you went through on your mission.

Well I can't believe I only have a year left. The hardest part to believe is that I am half-way done. I can't believe I just have to do what I just did. That is just cuckoo talk to me. Oh well, the beat goes on right? I have definitely learned a TON and am looking forward to the rest of the lesson I will learn.

Here is a copy of the Christmas card I sent out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It is frigid (12/09/2009)

It is down right cold. I have been wanting the cold weather so there would be snow, well there is no snow but it is definitely cold. Yesterday while driving down to the tri-cities for our Christmas zone conference, the temperature on the car recorded a high of 3°F. That is FREEZING. That means it is getting in the -'s at night. Plus the wind-chill. The Yakima River is just about frozen over and that is a pretty fast moving river. But all of this without the snow. They say they are expecting 5" on Saturday though, we will see about that.

Well anyway, things are going well here. We had our Christmas Zone Conference yesterday which was really good. We started off with training by President Belnap on focusing in on our goals. Then there was a singing presentation where different people sang. Then there was a slide show of the different pictures and then lunch then we watched “Forever Strong”. It was really good and had a good message to go with it. I would suggest watching it. All-in-all it was good day.

The Morales are still doing well. Last Thursday Elder Searle and I were on exchanges and we went over to see them. They had just gotten back from the hospital because their 5 year old daughter had: the flu, a respiratory infection, an ear infection, and a urinary tract infection. Quite the long list for a little 5 year old girl to handle. Well anyway we offered to give her a blessing and they accepted. Elder Searle anointed her and I sealed the anointing. I could really feel something special from that little girl and that whole family in general. It is hard to explain but it was the same feeling that I got from the Rodriquez family when I was in Connell, who by the way are doing awesome and haven’t missed a day of church since, but it was just really awesome. They are doing great.

Speaking of Connell, I spoke with Elder Mendez at the conference yesterday and he said that the Rodriquezes are doing well, Veronica is struggling a little but he said that just started. He also said that a less active family that we worked with almost every day while I was there has been going back to church. He has stopped drinking and bore his testimony on Sunday. That was really good to hear.

So on Sunday Maria, the lady that got baptized while I was gone, got called to be the teacher in the relief society. That is awesome. It is so good that she accepted that calling. The other day we went to her house and she was reading the Book of Mormon while listening to talks on the internet. That is a devoted and converted lady. She bears her testimony every month about how she didn't realize how lost she was and how much she knows the church is true. It is like President Benson said, we need Book of Mormon converts and she truly is one. I believe she had read the whole Book of Mormon before she got baptized.

Scott- I saw a picture of you on your hike on Thanksgiving and noticed you were wearing my shorts. I am glad you are putting them to great use. Do you wear more of my stuff or more of your stuff?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It feels like Christmas....I think? (12/01/2009)

Well it has been pretty cold here of late. Starting Thanksgiving Day it has been really foggy and in the low 30's every other day, the other day it will be sunny in the 40's. It has been fun in a new experience kind of way but I can see where it could get old quick. We saw snow flakes last night but it didn't stick. It was so foggy last night that as we were searching for our dinner appointment, we couldn't find it. Their house is kind of out in the middle of no where and we were on the right road but we couldn't see it because it was off-set from the road enough that it was hidden in the fog. We called twice with no answer so that was kind of interesting. That is about it for the weather report.

Well before I forget, I will be e-mailing on Wednesday next week. We have a zone Conference on Tuesday so p-day will be on Wednesday.

Well to answer some questions that you had Mom and Dad from your letter. There is a lady who is a member that lives in Yakima but has a beauty shop down here that doesn't get very much business in the day so she cuts our hair for free. She cuts it, shampoos it, then restyles if for you, it is quiet nice. I don't know what I will do when I can't have someone shampoo for my hair for me. I think the economy is the same here as it is everywhere. Some people are out of jobs but nothing too major from what I can see. They have things that are like labor camps where a group of Mexicans will get like a six-month visa and they come and live in these somewhat of apartment-type things on the land of these farmers and they just work for them for six months. They have a place to stay and one of those big vans that they all share. It is all done through the farmer. It is kind of interesting. Then when the six months are up, they go home until the next harvest.

I found it quite funny that dad has to baby-sit Grace. I remember it must have been two years ago now that Me, Dad and Scott had to baby-sit Grace and she got into the Christmas presents under the tree and Stacy laid into us. So Dad, don't let her get into the Christmas presents.

Well Sunday I had to give another talk in the Spanish branch. This one I was told to give ten minutes before sacrament meeting. I really do enjoy giving talks now. That may change after my mission but I don't get nervous at all anymore. I spoke on the Book of Mormon.

Well probably the highlight of our week was the Morales Family. Last Wednesday we went over to their house and had dinner and afterwards we taught them the plan of salvation. We asked them how they felt and they said that they have never learned so much. The mom couldn't believe how many questions the kids asked and how in to it they were. So it was a really good lesson. Then they came to church on Sunday which is always a plus. We asked them if they just wanted to come for sacrament meeting or for all three hours. The mom said just for sacrament meeting while the kids get used to it. Well the 16-year-old daughter said why don't we just go all three hours. Well they only ended up coming for sacrament meeting but it was still really good. Well that night we went over and talked about some different things and committed them to be baptized on the 26th of December and they said yes. So far, it is just the 16-year-old daughter and the mom, the 13-year-old son wasn't there but we will commit him probably tomorrow. So that was pretty awesome I would say.

Well that is about all I have to report on. It sounds like you guys had a good Thanksgiving. Have a great week. Be safe shopping for Christmas there are a bunch of crazies out there.