c I came home December 15,2010 //

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Airport pictures 1

Just coming out of security.


Mom gets the first hug.


Then Dad gets a hug.


Followed by my sister Christi


And then Grandma Donna.

Airport pictures 2

Grandpa Milt gets a hug


Niece Grace has grown since I left.


Christi and Westin.


My family.


The whole crowd that welcomed me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not much to say... (12/07/2010)

I don't have much to say. Edgar and Lilian got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. I had the privilege to baptize Lilian while Elder Tom baptized Edgar. It was a very beautiful service. They then were confirmed at church on Sunday. They both seem really content and happy. We now, are teaching Lillian’s sister, Karen, who came to church on Sunday. She is really cool. She has a couple of kids and husband but I guess she and the husband are having a lot of problems. We are trying to help her out. She really wants to get baptized but she is scared. We are trying to get her baptized on the 14th (that just happens to be the day before I go home). We will see though.

We are also working with 2 boys named Christian and Xavian, they are cool kids. Their mother has been inactive for a number of years. She is trying to make her way back at the moment. They too will hopefully be baptized on the 14th. We will see though.

Things are still happening here.....even without a car. Life is good though. I can't complain.

Thank you for all you do.

I love you all

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Well Hello! (11/30/2010)

Things are cold here in Pasco. It has continued to snow and has only been above 32° a couple of times. It mainly has hovered in the high teens with a wind, which makes it cold. It really isn't that bad except the fact that someone slid on the ice and rear-ended us so we are without a car for a little bit and we have to walk everywhere. There have been times where there will be a gust of wind and I just have to stop and close my eyes and hope it stops. It is soooo cold. But, I would not change it for the world. The Lord has extremely blessed us. He is aware of us and at times, I feel like we were supposed to loose our car so we could go out and walk and talk to people. By the way, no one was hurt in the accident.

Things are going well here in Pasco. Edgar and Lilian were able to purchase their wedding license yesterday and are all set to get married on Thursday, then baptized on Saturday. They are an awesome family. They want Lillian’s sister, Edgar’s sister-in-law to be baptized as well. We have an appointment to meet them on Wednesday. It should be good. They are a really good family.

Thanksgiving was fun. We had a couple of dinners, one day we ate tamales, which is what the Hispanics usually eat for their special meals, and then we had the usual turkey and mashed potatoes. It was really good and a fun Thanksgiving. I have, though, never been so cold on Thanksgiving before. (It has been cold if you haven’t noticed!)

Francisco and Maribel are members that live here in Pasco. Maribel is Joel’s twin sister. They have also helped us with Erika and Edgar and Lilian. Well they are going to get sealed in the temple on the 11th of December and they asked me if I would be a witness. I was honored but I didn't really think President Greer would let me go. Well I called him up this morning and he said I could go. I am really excited. I have never been to a live sealing before. And it may be one of the few times I get to witness a sealing where a child is sealed as well.

Anyways. I better get going. Thank you for all you do.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It is COLD!! (11/23/2010)

It has progressively gotten colder this week. It has been kind of fun to walk around in the cold weather surprisingly. I have definitely put my big heavy jacket to good use this week. And it seems as though I will be needing it for a while. It snowed last night and it is supposed to snow again soon. The forecast for the low on Wednesday morning is -1° F not C. I couldn't believe it. That is just down right chilly. It has been kind of fun though.


Well we have some very exciting news. Edgar and Lilian are going to get baptized on the 4th of December. They came to church again yesterday and stayed for the whole three hours. Which is awesome. They have always wanted to but with their son Justin being autistic they were always worried. He did pretty well for about one and a half meetings and then his dad had to take him outside. The other day we went over there and Lilian asked if the church married people and we said yes and we found out that they are not married and they said they want to get married and what not. So we told them to get their license and everything and the branch president will marry them. They got excited and said they would. We then asked them after they got married if they would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and before we could finish, he said, "Yeah, I mean no body has told me this is true, like God didn't come down and tell me but I just know that it is. I just have this feeling that it is the right thing to do". It was awesome. He said well for me at least I don't know about Lilian. And she said Yeah I want to do it too. It was awesome.

So we are working on getting them married for this week so they can be baptized on the 4th of December. It should be awesome. Last night we went over the second lesson which is the plan of salvation. The Plan of Salvation is absolutely beautiful and when understood is amazing. But at times, can be very hard to understand. So we were going through the second lesson and Edgar just kept saying it makes sense. It makes sense that we lived with God before this life. It makes sense that we don't remember it because then there would be no test in this life. It makes sense we want to return with God and live with him. It was amazing. She is just happy and giddy all the time. She understands a lot as well, but more importantly she knows this will bless her family. She told us that they have gone through a lot of missionaries but they haven't felt anything until now. They always liked them coming over, they just didn't feel it. We told her that God has timing for everything and this just must have been their time. I also told her that ever since I have met them, when I knew they had an autistic son, I was very interested. To me, it is a very interesting disability. Plus, Alex has it and I just knew a little bit about it. Not a lot but I understand it. So Sometimes, God just puts us in places that will benefit everyone involved.

Well that’s about it. We have been doing a lot of tracting of late trying to find new people to teach. Please remember Edgar and Lilian in your prayers. Keep doing what your doing because your doing really swell. I love you all, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From the windy city (11/16/2010)

It has been very windy here in Pasco the past couple of days. I mean extremely windy. This morning, driving to the library, there were a few signs and trees that had fallen down yesterday. It was pretty exciting.

So we actually had an extra baptism that we weren't expecting this week. Gerardo decided to get baptized on Sunday rather than wait for next Saturday. So he was baptized on Saturday and he will be confirmed next Sunday. He really is a good guy. He understands a lot and has really opened up lately. He has gone through a lot of trials in his life that have been difficult but he has really changed. He will be confirmed on Sunday and will probably receive the priesthood on the same day.

The baptism of Karen and Daniela went really well. I got the privilege of baptizing Karen and Elder Tom baptized Daniela. It was really neat. There weren’t very many people there but it was still very spiritual. Then on Sunday Elder Tom and I switched. I confirmed Daniel and Elder Tom confirmed Karen. They are doing really well

Erika's baptism went awesome as well. I was also privileged to baptize Erika. It was really cool. Once she walked out of the font, she just stopped and started crying. It was really neat. She was confirmed by a member in the branch at her baptism because she had to work on Sunday. Well then she showed up to work on Sunday. They gave her the day off because it wasn't very busy and they knew that she wanted to go to church so she was very happy. She is really progressing well and has been reading and praying every day which is awesome.

Edgar and Lillian came to church again on Sunday. They are doing awesome. We are working with them still. Lilian wants to get baptized but Edgar wants to know 100% so he is really searching. We will be patient with him. There is no need to rush. But they are still doing really well.

Anyway, that’s about all I have. Thanks again for everything.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(11/09/2010)

So Karen and Daniela are getting baptized tomorrow. (Karen is Edubijes I suppose that Edubijes is just a nickname....don't ask me). Then Erika is going to get baptized on Saturday. It should be awesome.

We also have a new family that is starting to progress. Their name is Edgar and Lilian. They have two kids, Justin (8) and Ashley (5). Justin is severely autistic. They are an awesome family. They have been taught off and on for about a year and half now. They are a family that seems that they would always let the Elders in and always wanted to be taught, but, at the same time, had never been to church and never really wanted to act. Well they came to church on Sunday. They said that one of their biggest fears has always been their son. He isn't very good at sitting still. Well on Sunday, it was testimony meeting as you know and so sacrament meeting ran for about an hour and a half and he stayed still the whole time. They just kept saying how surprised they were. They said it just seemed like something was holding him back. We then talked about baptism. They said if they found out these things were true then they would get baptized. They said they are going to earnestly pray tonight to find out if these things are true. They are a great family.

Gerardo is doing really well. Gerardo is a really really quiet guy and he is really starting to open up. He stayed for all three hours this week. He is making a lot of friends and you can just tell that he is changing. He is a great guy and is set for baptism on the 19th.

I don't know if you remember Carolina or not but she is back on date. She is on date for December 4th. She is a cool girl. I can tell the adversary really doesn't want her to get baptized (just like he didn't want any of us to get baptized) because it seems like every Sunday there is something new. Like this week her daughter was sick. It is frustrating but it is so comforting to know that the adversary will NEVER win.

Well the leaves are really starting to change here. It is really pretty but it sure makes for a big miss, but they are fun to walk on. I am really excited for these baptisms to come up this week. They should be awesome and a really spiritual experience. Erika is a really cool girl. She fasted on Sunday, which is amazing. She also said she wants to go to General Conference in April so she can see a living prophet. She is cool. I ask that you keep her in your prayers this week that she will be able to find a new job. She just started working at Taco Bell but they won’t give her Sundays off, she can come to church but she has to work the rest of the day. So she is looking for a new job.

I love you all. I appreciate you. God loves you more importantly. Imagine if everyone truly understood how much God loved them.

Have a great week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Qustionaire (11/08/2010)

We recently sent Matthew a questionnaire (in bold). His responses are italicized.
1. What do people do for work in Pasco? They work in the fields
2. Is it a very big city? The population is about 55,000
3. Is there anything like a college there? Yes, there is a community college called Columbia Basin Community College
4. Is there an airport there? Yes, Tri-cities airport
5. Do the Spanish speaking people seem to live in a certain area or are they all over the city? They are concentrated in one area but they live all over.
6. Are there areas that the signs are in Spanish and every one seems to be speaking Spanish? Yes, the downtown area is pure Spanish
7. What is the weather like? Cold in the mornings and goes up to the high 50s during the day.
8. How many members are in the ward? There are about 160 active members. I don’t know how many there are in total.
9. Is the ward totally Spanish? Yes
10. What is the family like that you are living with? He is the Branch president. They met on their missions in Guatemala. They have three kids, one married and one on a mission.
11. Do they have children at home? One boy
12. What do they do for work? He is a chemical engineer and she is a teacher.
13. Have they been members for very long? Yes, she is the daughter of the the family I lived with in Connell.
14. What are your living conditions like? Separate area of the house, different level, things like that. We live in the basement. We have our own room and bathroom. We go upstairs for the kitchen.
15. Are high school or college sports big in Pasco? High school sports are pretty big.
16. Which area of your mission has been your favorite so far? Why? Probably Yakima because I was there the longest and so I got to know the people the best there.
17. Do the members feed you every night and what kind of food?
Yes, usually they ask and I say tacos. But, if not, we get pazole (soup/stew), mole (sauce), caldo (soup), you know the usual.

I suppose the greatest thing I have learned on my mission is my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know he lives. I know he loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it is the most correct book out there. That is what I have learned.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hey (11/2/2010)

Hey everyone. Things are going well here in Pasco. We are working hard and we are being blessed in many ways.

Joel is still doing well. He received the priesthood on Sunday and was just elated. He has been trying to share the gospel with others and get their addresses so we can go over. He is really a great guy and is going to make a great member.

Edubijes and Daniella are still doing well. Their baptism has been pushed back once again due to work. They are going to get baptized on the 10th which is next Wednesday. They still want to get baptized it is just that their mother has to work at that time.

Erika is doing awesome! She is on date for baptism for the 13th and she is really excited. The date may be changed because the father of her children is coming back sometime at the end of the month from Mexico and she wants him to be there to see it. She is still REALLY excited to get baptized and she is soaking up everything we are teaching her. In this branch they have “Noches de Hogar”, or family home evenings just about every day, actually, Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday to be exact. It is more like a Family Home Week but that is beside the point. Erica has been going to all of them and is really making a lot of friends with members of the branch. She is awesome. She will get baptized, we just don't know exactly when, but very soon.

Joel's Mom's name is Consuelo. She is an awesome lady. She really doesn't understand anything; she just wants to get baptized. We don't know when it will happen because Joel's dad is being a little stubborn. But it will be soon.

Gerardo is also on date. He too has been going to the Family Home Weeks. He also came to church for the first time on Sunday. He is awesome. He is on date for the 20th. The only struggle with him is that he works a lot so it is hard to meet with him but work should be slowing down here soon.

That's about all I have. Things are going really well. The weather is cooling off, Thanksgiving is on the horizon. I am grateful for a family that is supporting me on this mission. Many people thank me for the sacrifice but, it is you guys with the greater sacrifice. I get to be out here sharing the gospel. You just have to be home and think about what is going on here. Anyways thanks again.

I love you all. God Bless

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pictures (October 2010)

Joel and his sister, Maribel


Joel and Elder Bair


From left: Elder Tom, Maribel, Mirabel's husband, Joel, Elder Bair


Baptism! (10/26/2010)

The Baptism on Saturday for Joel was a success. Actually more then a success. Not only did he get baptized, but, there were 18 investigators there. They weren't all our investigators of course but spread out through the three companionships. It was a really good service as well. The talks were good and stayed on topic, which is not always the case.

Edubijes and Daniella came to the baptism. They also came to church the next day. Their baptism got moved to the 6th. They just had too much going on this weekend. They are ready and really want to get baptized.

There was a girl that came to the baptism named Erica. She is awesome. She came up to me after and asked what time do your church services start? So I told her and then she said who can I talk to to learn more about your church? I probably got a huge smile on my face as I said “ME!” So she came to church the next day and then we set up an appointment for Monday. She is a single mom. She has a 2 year old and a child this is a month old. The dad just left and went to Mexico and she is going through a lot. She is currently living with five older guys that all rent out this little apartment but she is going to move in with a member, the one that took her to the baptism. We are helping her move tonight. She has gone to quite a few churches but she just hasn't felt right. She really opened up to us yesterday which means she is really looking for something. She doesn't feel that God loves her. We talked about that and she began to realize how much he did. How he had blessed her with two absolutely beautiful children. She is really looking for something and I pray that we are able to find out what it is a give it to her.

Diego and Alyda are doing all right. We went by a couple times. They have a desire. They did read a little bit so that is good, although they didn't come to church like they promised.

One more thing about Joel. Sunday he and his brother-in-law worked with us from 4:30 to 9. It was awesome. We got into one door and you could tell that Joel was a little shell shocked. Then we tried probably 5-7 other doors with no luck. So we knock on this one door and they didn't answer. So we go downstairs and are walking to the car and Joel says to me "we need to say a prayer so God will let us get into these peoples’ homes". My jaw about dropped. So we get in the car and Francisco, the brother-in-law offers the prayers. No sooner than we say amen, they open the door and Joel sees in and yells up "were coming!" So we run up there and have an awesome lesson. Joel bore his testimony of the changing power of the gospel. It was awesome. He is such a good guy. He said he is going to ask all of his co-workers and his friends for their address so we can go visit them.

Grandma-Thanks for the package I got it last night. I really appreciate it

Did the Ward Young women get my letter I sent to them? I sent it to Sister Brown. I was just wondering.

Anyway I better get going. I love you all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Success! (10/19/2010)

Elder Tom and I have been blessed with a lot of success right now. It is certainly nothing Elder Tom or I are doing but that the Lord has been preparing people in this part of his vineyard and we have just been blessed with being able to be here right now.

Here is a run down of who we are teaching....

Joel - He is going to get baptized this Saturday. He is awesome. He has such a desire to change and do what is right. We taught him about fasting last week and then he fasted on Sunday. I don't think I have ever met anyone that has fasted before their baptism. He has been so fun and rewarding to teach. Hopefully, since he is only 22, we can get him to go on a mission.

Edubijes and Daniella are doing really well. They are understanding what we are teaching them and they have a desire to get baptized. They are cool girls. We went by the other day and talked to them about the Word of Wisdom. They understood it and it was pretty fun to teach.

Carolina - Carolina is an 18-year-old girl that has 2 kids. The oldest being 2. She just separated from her husband because he was beating her and her 2 kids. She just wants to change her life. That's what she keeps saying. She is a cool girl. She is scheduled for baptism in November.

Diego and Alyda - They just moved here from the great city of Phoenix because of the Arizona immigration law. They are a cool family. They have 3 kids and one on the way. They are looking for a church. She has talked with missionaries before. They have a lot of questions. I mean A LOT of questions. We taught them the first lesson last night and committed them to be baptized and they said if the were 100% sure that they would. And that they would start praying tonight if they should. It was awesome.

Gerardo - He is a friend of a member. We went by and read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him to get him to start reading it. It went really well. He wants to have peace in his life like his friend (the member) does.

Angelica - She is a friend of the same member (she is a great member missionary). Her husband got deported and they don't know when he will be back. She has 3 kids and is raising them alone. She also is looking for peace and comfort. We talked to her about reading the Book of Mormon and looking for that peace.

So there are a couple of more but those are the main people we are teaching. I am having a lot of fun. Elder Tom is really progressing. His Spanish has probably doubled.

Well I better get going. I love you all and keep doing what you are doing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pasco, WA (10/12/2010)

Hello from Tri-cities, Washington. I am in the heart of the mission now. I am serving in Pasco, in the Pasco 5th Branch which is the biggest branch in the mission. There are about 200 people who attend in non-fruit picking season, and it has three sets of missionaries covering and it is keeping us busy.

My new companion is Elder Tom. He is from Marysville, California. His heritage is Native American, Navajo to be more specific and so that throws the Hispanics here for a spin. His Spanish is really good for just coming out to the field. He has progressed a lot in the week that he has been here and I am sure it is due to 1) hearing real people speak it fast, and 2) Not being so nervous and just talking. He is a good Elder and ready to work hard.

The work here is great. We have three baptisms coming up. One is a brother of a member. His name is Joel. He is awesome. He has had some struggles in his life with addictions and other related things but he is so willing and ready to change. Both times we have gone over there he has asked to say the closing prayer and both times he has asked for forgiveness. We challenged him to do it on his own too. Then the next time we asked him how it went and he just got this big smile on his face and just said great. He is awesome. He is scheduled for the 23rd.

The other two are young girls, Edubijes and Daniela. They are daughters of a Recent Convert. They are cool girls. They have been going to primary so they know the answers. They are going to be baptized on the 31st of October

The Pasco stake is awesome. They have set a goal to have 110 baptisms but the end of the year. Well as of right now they have had 68. We had a meeting last Thursday with the stake presidency and all of the ward mission leaders to get things going. We are going to work as hard as we can as a stake to get the 42 baptisms that we need. It should be a lot of fun a really rewarding.

Things are going great. Thank you all for all you do. Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Well (10/05/2010)

Well, as I said two weeks ago, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I know that I was sent to Milton-Freewater for a reason and I have found those reasons

First reason is how important members are in the conversion of Our Heavenly Father’s Children. The ward was very good at missionary work. They may not get the baptisms that some wards get but, we did have a baptism on Sunday and it didn't even feel like one because we really didn't do much. They took care of all of the details and planning. It was quite nice.

Sometimes I feel, as the missionary, that I am supposed to do all of the planning and get everything set up. I feel that these ward members are too busy to do anything and since this is my job I can just get it set up. But that's not the case. We need the help of the members.

Another thing I learned is the Lord listens to everyone’s prayers. He understands what you are going through. He realizes your pains and your joys. I felt as though Elder Holland stood up and talked to me as he gave his talk to open General Conference. Speaking of Conference I thought it was amazing. I got the chills as the MTC choir sang "Hark all ye Nations". We always sang that in the MTC and I thought they did an excellent job. Also, who knew that they had glasses of water underneath the pulpit? I wonder if they have several or if they all have to drink out of the same glass?

Anyways, I don't know where I am off to but I do know I am getting a companion that is flying in today from the MTC. I am excited and humbled. Everything will be great.

Well I would like to thank everyone for your prayers. I thank Chad for his letters. Keep up the good work. I know the Lord is watching over us. I testify that we do not walk alone. Never.

I love you all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well (08/21/2010)

Sometimes in life the Lord tries us. He doesn't do it to punish us, he doesn't do it because he is mad at us. He does it because he knows it will make us tougher. I have been transferred this week over to Milton Freewater, Oregon. I really am not excited about it. It is going to be tough. It is an English ward which I have nothing against English people it's just that I was called to teach Spanish people. We do Spanish work, we just don’t attend a Spanish branch. We also don't have a car and I don't have a bike so I don’t know what I am going to do there. This is something that is going to be really hard. I was unable to say good-bye to anybody over in Vancouver because I had to go right then. It is one of the hardest things I have done thus far in my mission/life. I know the Lord has a plan for me. I know he loves me and I know I will have a purpose in Milton Freewater, I just need to find it.

I did receive word that Ingrid is on date for baptism the 9th of October so that is really exciting. She is an awesome lady and will do great things in the church. I will really miss her. That’s about all I have to report on from Vancouver. Like I said, it was a sudden change, but I suppose the only constant in life is change.

I love you all. I know that the Lord loves us as well. Have a great week. I will check in next week from Oregon I suppose.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hey Hey Hey (09/14/2010)

Well things are going well here. The weather is once again cloudy on p-day but sunny the rest of the week.

We had a good Sunday and a good week. We had four people come to church, Ingrid, Domingo, Jorge and Jorge’s brother-in-law Mario

Ingrid was doing really well on Sunday. She came to church and we had to teach the lesson in gospel principles and so I had her be my scribe, since we all know how my handwriting is like. To quote dad, it is atrocious. Well anyway, everything was fine until Monday about lunch time. I got a call from Sonia that Gino had left Saturday night and was supposed to be back on Sunday but as of Monday at about 1 was still not back and that Ingrid had left to go look for an apartment. I don't know what had happened after that but Ingrid and Sonia and Ingrid’s two daughters are planning on moving out. I don't know how they are going to do it because Ingrid works for Gino so I don't know how they will have financial help. But we will see. I hate to see a family separate but then again Ingrid is very smart and is very in tune with the spirit for not being a member so I trust her judgment.

Well I better get going we ran out of time since we went to the temple today. Everyone else is doing well. I love you all and have a great day. Remember the Lord’s love for you all.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

(09/07/2010)

Elder Randell, me, and Elder Hortin

It is another rainy day in Vancouver. Last night when the sun went down there wasn't a cloud in sight. We wake up this morning and everything is wet and it’s raining. From what I hear, the rainy season is now upon us. I don't know if that means it’s not going to stop until March, but, it has been sunny for the majority of the week with it being breezy and highs in the low 70's to high 60's, I am loving the rainy season. We will see if it gets even more obnoxious later on.

The work here is going really well. Ingrid talked with Gino this last week about church and getting baptized and he said that it is fine. In fact he said if this is something you are really interested in then I want to start going to church with you and see what this is all about. So things are changing. She could get baptized tomorrow, but we just want to teach him as well. We will see how he progresses. To have him even say it is okay is amazing and then for him to say he wants to start attending church is just out of this world. He is a great guy; he just is used to being in control.

Domingo is doing really well as well. He came to church again on Sunday and we stopped by yesterday and he said that he and his wife are planning on attending from now on. He is starting to really change and people in the branch can see it. They say he just has a glow about him now that he didn't used to have. He is an awesome guy that really understands a lot, there is just something that he doesn't understand and we just don't know what it is.

Eddy and Blanca are doing well. They didn't come to church on Sunday but I didn't hear why. They have been reading a little bit which is good. They have a strong desire to change but I think since church starts at 2 on Sunday and they have never been accustom to going to church, it is probably pretty hard to start going.

Jorge and Claudia are doing well. They have been reading a little bit and I can tell that they are happier. As far as I know, he doesn't have a job yet but I can tell that they are happier. They didn't come to church which has been a struggle since we started teaching them, to get them to go consistently. But they are still an awesome family.

Scott- Logan looks just like you as a baby, well from the pictures of him and the pictures of you since I have obviously never seen either of you as a baby in person

Stacy- Does Grace have bars on her bunk bed, or is she going to fall off at night. Is she still collecting ear bugs?

Lady- That is awesome that you are going to give that pamphlet to your friend. Remember to tell the missionaries if you do give it to her. Which one are you going to give her?

Well that's about all I have. Have a great week everyone

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I think I am in Chile (08/31/2010)

Things are going well here in Vancouver. Sorry for not getting a letter off last week. I didn't have much written down and I couldn't think of what else to say and then I forgot to send what I had written down. Vancouver is doing well. It has been relatively cool lately. This morning it is in the low 60's overcast and misty. I don't know how it does it, but you know how people have misters in Arizona around their patio, well that's the same type of thing but its rain here, it's weird.

Sunday was a good day. We had three investigators at church, two of which were there for the whole three hours.

Domingo was the first. He is a great guy in a tough situation. He is married to a member but she is not very active. They have a son that is in Juvie right now, Mingo. But there is a twist, when this son was an infant, he was handed to them with a note that said you are now the legal parents, while they were at a carnival. Well obviously that is not a legal way of adopting. Well everything has been fine for the 14 years this kid has been alive, as fine as things can be. Well now that he is in juvie, for some reason, their other daughter is mad at them, so she called the court and told them the story and so now, they are thinking the court is not going to give them Mingo back. It is a sad situation. Domingo has been to church twice now and you can tell that his spirits are getting higher. So that is the story of Domingo. Add that to the list of things I didn't know I would do as a missionary, an adoption counselor.

Next up is Jorge. Jorge is married to Claudia and they have four kids. They also have no money. The other day we went by their apartment and Jorge was digging through the dumpster for cans to take them to Portland for the “cans for cash” thing. So we aren’t really sure what his true motives are but that is beside the point. Anyway, he came to church and now has come four times. Yesterday we went by and for the first time in probably two months, caught him and his wife at home. We talked to them about "seek ye first the kingdom of God then seek ye for riches". We promised them that if they read five minutes a day together that they will find work. So we will see what happens.

Well as you can see by the title, I have met a lot of Chileans. There are currently two families from Chile in the branch. Well another family came for the first time on Sunday and they are going to start coming. We met them yesterday and they are from Santiago and are a great family. The last investigator that came to church was Ingrid. Ingrid is the daughter of a lady that got baptized last October-ish. She is a great lady that would be baptized by now, but her husband won’t let her. She’s not even allowed to go to church. Well little by little, Gino (her husband) is changing. He came to a branch camp-out that they had and stayed the night which is amazing. So she really wants to get baptized. We don't know if Gino is going to allow that quite yet but we will see. We have made it this far so we will find out what happens this week. I would absolutely love to teach a Chilean.

Well that's about it. I hope you have a good week. Sounds like the weather is doing better down there. I hope so. Keep up the good work

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big things are happening (08/18/2010)

BIG things are happening here in Vancouver. First, I will start with the biggest and probably the most exciting. Last week we started teaching this family named Eddy and Blanca. They are an awesome couple. It is just the two of them but they want to have kids soon. Anyway, they have been taught off and on for about a year when some English Elders tracted into them the other day and they passed them onto us. Well we started teaching them and quickly committed them to baptism. The date we set was for the 24th of August; because that's when Elder Arnold will be going home and since his family will be picking him up, his whole family will be there. We don't really have many obstacles to get them accomplished; we just have to get them married which they are willing to do. They should be buying their wedding license today so we should get them married probably the day of their baptism or maybe the night before. It should be quite the affair. We are working and praying really hard that it all works out. We are really excited for them. They are a great couple.

Yesterday we had Zone Conference with Elder Ringwood of the 70. It was a great conference and I learned a lot. He talked about how to show true sacrifice. It was really good and he was a good speaker. He was funny and shared a lot of good stories.

Other things are going well here. I feel liked a lot happened but I can't remember it all. Probably because it was an extended a week. But I am enjoying Vancouver. It is probably not as good Yakima but it still a good area. That is too bad that that elder in your ward has only had 3 people to teach in 8 months. I sure have been blessed in that aspect. Sounds like it has been hot there in Arizona. It has been pretty warm up here. Some households are sweltering without AC and the humidity. We had Zone conference yesterday and they had Mexican food and it was kind of like an enchilada casserole which seemed hard to make but I thought that nachos would be good and easy, just some chips with some ground beef and all of the toppings. That would be something easy to do.

I got a call from President Greer last Wednesday and he said "Elder Bair, we are looking into the future here about you going home and from what other Elders have said I think we are going to send you all home the 15th of December, will that be okay with you, and I said that will be fine". So, I guess that is my release date. At first I had a hard time with it, but after thinking about it a lot, I felt that it will be okay. This will give me a chance to be with just you for a few days before everyone else gets out of school and work and what not.

Well I gotta run

Have a great week

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another week down (08/10/2010)

Well how was San Diego? Sounds like you had a lot of fun with all of the shenanigans there. It sounds like there was quite the crowd of people if it got up to 32 without me and Scott there. I did get all of your post cards and that's too bad that it was cold. It was cold up here all week as well. The lows have been in the low 50's. It is actually nice to me.

Things are going well here. We actually have two people committed to baptism. We don't really have a date set because they haven't been to church and they aren't married. But here is the story. Eddy and Blanca are their names. They were taught about a year ago by some other missionaries and came to church and really enjoyed it but for whatever reason stopped taking the lessons. Well some English elders were tracting and ran into them and they let them in. So then they passed them onto us and we have started teaching them. Well we asked them about baptism and they want to get baptized but they aren't married. So we talked about marriage last night and they have a lot of interest in doing so. Eddy also called Blanca earlier that morning and said if we are going to get closer to God, then I can't drink anymore so he told her to pour all of his beer down the drain which she did. We hadn't even taught him the Word of Wisdom yet so that was awesome.

Things were going well. The training in Tri-cities was for different people and Elder Arnold went and another Elder that was training went and so I was put with another Elder that is brand new to the mission for the week. So I trained for the week I guess, although, I didn't do much since he isn't a Spanish speaking missionary.

Arnold is getting set to go home here in a couple of weeks so I will be getting a new companion so that is coming on the horizon.

Wells that's about all I have. Sounds like everything is going well there in Arizona. Try and keep cool. We have Zone Conference with Elder Ringwood next week so I will be emailing on Wednesday next week so I will talk to you then. Have a great week.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A lot of walking (08/02/2010)

Well we only get 1,400 miles a month on our car, and at the end of last Tuesday we had used 1,340....so we did a lot of walking and riding the bus. There are a lot of interesting people on the bus....very interesting people. But it was good. We weren't able to teach as many lessons but we were able to talk to some different people and get out and enjoy the sunshine. It has been nice and cool which has made it very nice.

I don't have much to write about. We talked to Emidio (we thought it was Emilio but it is actually Emidio, who would of thought?) about baptism and he seemed interested. We had him read 2 Nephi 31 and pray about it and he did and said he felt good. But he said he wanted us to come over and explain it to him. We haven’t been able to do that and he didn't go to church, but at least he is thinking about baptism.

We had 2 people come to church. Jorge came again, even though we have tried to stop by to talk to him but we were unsuccessful all week. A man named Juan came with friend. He seemed very interested and he was even taking notes during the classes. We have never met him but we have an appointment set up so we will see how that goes.

Other than that things are going well. Tell everyone hello for me in San Diego.

When you have FHE will you read with the group 2 Nephi 33:10 and talk about how this book testifies of Christ. Then read Alma 7:11-13 and show that it really does. That Christ was truly bruised for our iniquities. Just a thought. If you use it, let me know how it went

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pictures (July 2010)

Celebrating Independence Day with Elder Arnold,
the sister missionaires and the Reschke Family

Doing what missionaries do best.


More of the same.


Trying to make a reed vibrate.

Another week down (07/27/2010)

Well another week is in the books. They seem to go faster and fast each week.

Things are going well here in Vancouver. We are still working with a lot of people, but we just can't get them to come to church. It is really frustrating but I guess that's life for ya.

We are still working with Domingo. He is doing really well and he wants to get baptized. There is just something holding him up that we aren't too sure about. We think it is self worth because his wife is always saying "If you would have just joined earlier maybe our kids would still be active" and all this stuff so we just think he thinks that he has no place here in life. But he is a really good guy who really knows his stuff. He has read a lot of books about Joseph Smith. Now we just need to get him to read the Book of Mormon.

Deborah is doing well. We are working with her Husband Arturo. We told him the other day, “look Arturo, we are not here to baptize you, we just want to teach you about Christ and show you what your wife believes in.” The spirit was there and we know he felt it but he is just so stubborn that who knows if he will act on it. He is really a nice guy, but for one reason or another, doesn't want his wife going to church or doing anything like that.

Friday we had interviews with President Greer. He is an awesome guy. We talked about a lot of things and he helped me a lot. I asked him about which College to go to, ASU or BYU-I and he said it’s really a toss up. Either one will work, you just have to be patient with the answer. We talked about when I will be coming home and he pretty much put it up to me. So my tentative release date is December 22nd. That is not for sure. It will be in about 6 weeks or so but that is the tentative date. We talked about a lot of other things. I really enjoyed our interview. At the end he prayed and said thank you for letting us be in the great weather since in Arizona it is 117°. I though it was pretty funny. But he is a good guy.

Other than that, things are going well. How have all of the Birthday celebrations been going? Mom, from your letters it seems that you have been really busy lately. I was wondering if you guys wanted to tour the mission. It doesn't matter to me but there have been a few that have done it lately so I was just wondering.

Well that's about it for this week. Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A very busy week (07/20/2010)

We had a very busy week between teaching people and doing service.

For the service part, we mowed lawns, pulled weeds, and gave some gravel a face lift by sifting out all of the dirt. It was all fun and it kept us on our toes.

The weather has been nice here. It has been cool the whole week. Every morning we wake up to cloud coverage that I call a marine layer because that's what my dad always called it when we were in San Diego and it usually "burns off" at about 1 or so. I don't know why I call it that but I do. It keeps things cool at night and makes it so it doesn't warm up so much during the day.

Most of the people we are teaching are doing well. The only person to come to church this week was Jorge as in Jorge and Claudia. We had actually dropped them for a couple of weeks a couple of weeks ago to see if it would get them serious. Then he came to an employment thing at the church and the branch employment specialist invited him to come to church and he did. So that was nice.

The Arroyos are doing really well. We had an appointment with them yesterday and brother Arroyo was saying. One day I will get baptized I don't know when but one day. I guess about six months ago he wanted nothing to do with the church but then his son was put into juvie and we think it has humbled him. He is a real nice guy. Now we just have to get his wife to stop telling him that the reason why their kids are so bad is because he never gets baptized (let’s just forget the fact that she hasn't been to church in years)

Well I wrote down what I wanted to talk about this week in my planner, but then I forgot it. But I wanted to write down the things that I didn't realize I would do when I got on my mission.

1. A marriage counselor
2. A family counselor
3. An employment specialist
4. A financial Planner
5. Addiction recovery expert
6. A lock smith
7. Give instruction on the function of the church.
8. Speak in church more times a month than high counselors
9. Be called on to play the piano at any second, even sometimes after the song has started.
10. Learn more about myself than I every have.

That is my list. Those are all things that aren't found in Preach My Gospel, the white handbook, or your call letter.

Well that’s about all I have for this week. Have a great week

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The tale of a mixed-up week (07/13/2010)

Well this week was topsy-turvy. It had its high-lights and its low-lights. It had its hot days, and its cool days. It was a very up and down week.

First Wednesday-Friday

Well even though I said in my last e-mail that it has been very cool and pleasant ever since I got here, it got hot, in a hurry. Wednesday and Thursday were both in the high 90's while Friday cooled off to about 92 or so. It was hot. I guess when it is hot, people don't like to hear the gospel. Wednesday we did not get into one house and Thursday we only got into one. It was hard. It was frustrating, but I just kept thinking that we are so blessed to be able to get in with a few people each day that a couple of days not getting in will just make us realize how blessed we are.

So nothing really happened those days until Friday night rolled around. It was 8:45 and we were thinking of what to do for the last 15 minutes of the day and Elder Arnold said we can go try Emilio, he is a guy Elder Arnold taught when he was here before and we can get in and see if we can teach him again. So we go by and he lets us in. We talked to him a little about 1 Nephi 8 and Lehi's dream. We then invited him to soccer the next day which he said he wanted to go to and to church on Sunday which he also agreed to going to. So Saturday morning rolls around and we swing by his apartment so he could follow us to the park where they were playing soccer. We all play soccer with the Priesthood and everything went great. Emilio made friends and everything. It was awesome. So then the next day before church we call him to see if he is coming he said yeah he was getting dressed right then to go. So he shows up at 1:50. He stays for all of church and we even got his son, Emilio Junior to go to nursery. It was awesome and he said he enjoyed church.

We also started teaching this family Edith and Marco. They are a cool family with 2 kids and Edith is pregnant and was due the 9th but still hasn't had the baby. Well, Sunday we were seeing if someone could watch the kids while she has having the baby and maybe take them some meals. Sister Resheke volunteered and so we went by Sunday night so they could meet each other. They hit it off really well and she is going to watch the kids during all of the doctor visits and while she is in the hospital.

Then yesterday we had a really good day. We taught 5 lessons and found 2 new investigators. I don't have time to go into all of the lessons except one. Just know they were all great. One of those was Deborah and her daughter Alejandra. They were taught about 9 months but Deborah’s husband Arturo is a staunch Catholic and so that is tough. Anyway we start teaching them and Deborah stops us and says do you have the power to heal. And we explain priesthood blessings then she asked if she could have one. So we did. Well Elder Arnold anointed and I gave the blessing. Well I bless her that she would be healed. So anyway after the blessing we asked her how she felt. She said she felt something go from her feet and leave her head. Then she just started crying. She said she had been diagnosed with a life threatening disease and was so depressed that she grabbed a bottle of pills on Friday and was going to kill herself. She didn't though (obviously). Well she never told us what her disease was but whatever it was, she is cured. It was amazing. An awesome story for an awesome day.
That is the story of our week. It was amazing to watch the Lord work with us. Have a great week

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The weather is perfect (07/06/2010)

I just wanted you all to know that the weather is perfect here. It has been in the low seventies with a slight breeze and mostly sunny. My Arizona instincts keep telling me that it is just going to get hot, but the later it gets, and the more I talk to people, I don't think it will, at least for not very long.

This week was somewhat of an uneventful week with a couple of stories.

We ended up doing a lot of service this week. We helped take down a vine that had overtaken a fence. We helped with our new member’s yard, the Nihipalis, they are from Hawaii. We also helped out over at the Boyles (where we used to live).

Friday we met the Greers. They seem very nice and excited to be mission presidents (well as excited as you can be!). It was nice to be able to talk to them about Arizona. It seems as though life will continue as normal with a few changes coming from the brethren.

We had an uneventful 4th of July. We weren't allowed to touch fireworks nor watch them. Although that was somewhat hard since everyone and their brother were launching them off. All fireworks are legal 2 days before and on the 4th of July here so it sounded like a war zone. It was ridiculous. Especially since it starts getting dark at about 10, right before we are crawling into bed. But it was okay. They had a lot of fireworks for sale that's for sure. Every street corner was selling them.

Last night we had quite the night. We went out with a member of the Branch Presidency, Hermano Garcia, a great guy from El Salvador. He is really nice and always smiling. Well anyway, we pile into his little Honda and start our journey for the night. Well we are telling him were to go and what not and we get to a stop light and tell him to turn left. The light turns green and we realize that he is turning left, but right into on coming traffic. He didn't realize that there was a median, or he just didn't feel a need to use it. So we are heading to on coming traffic with a few cars coming our way, a car going our direction on the right side of the road honking at us. Hermano Garcias' eyes get as big as cantaloupes and he started to slow down. I told him to just keep going because the median ended about 100 feet down the road. We get over and get own our way. Once we were all relieved and knew we were all okay, we started busting out laughing. Then Hermano Garcia says that was okay. It was so funny. He is a great guy and he made it a fun night.

Well that was the week in review. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Mom did you send a letter this week?

Stacy did you delete your blog?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pictures 1 (June 2010)

Elder Arnold and me in front of the Portland Oregon Temple



Our District at the Portland Temple. Elders Bartar, Hobbs, Arnold, your truly, Sisters Pleshek and Kendell.

No caption required.


Elder Arnold, a goat, me, Hermana Kendell.


Baxter and I

Pictures 2 (June 2010)

Vancouver West zone picture with President and Sister Greer.


Vancouver zone when President Belnap went home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So long President Belnap (06/29/2010)

Well as of Monday, June 28th at 1 o'clock. We officially got a new mission president. President Leonard Dare Greer from Gilbert, Arizona. The original report from some Elders that met him yesterday is that he laughs a lot and is always smiling. That is different from President Belnap who was serious for the majority of the time.

This week was a crazy week. We did our normal thing most of the week but then Friday and Saturday we went to a dance festival. The Dance Festival 2010 was the youth conference this year. What it was, was seven stakes got together and put on a show of different dances. There were nearly 2,500 youth involved and they just did dances. The theme was a Firm Foundation and so they had different dances that would show how they would keep a firm foundation in Christ. About five percent of the youth that participated were either non-members or less-actives. They put on three shows for anyone that wanted to attend.

The reason we were there is because, first, all of the non-members that were there and second, we were part of the show. At the end, all of the youth sang a How Firm a Foundation. When the second verse started, we all marched out holding white flags. It was really neat and fun. In between all of the practicing and the meals and what not, we went and talked with the youth which was also really fun. For part of their youth conference, on Saturday morning they had a little fireside-type thing where President Belnap, Sister Cook (the first counselor in the General Young Women's Presidency) and a Seventy came and spoke. Well, to open that up, they had a little presentation were they did a skit on the 2,000 stripling warriors. Then they said today we have our own warriors and we marched out singing Called to Serve then when we got there, we recited "The Standard of Truth". It was really neat. So we had a good week. Also, before the shows started, we were the ushers and we just welcomed people and told them where to go. So it was a different but very fun and rewarding weekend.

Things are going well here. Other than the fact we had to move out of the Boyle's. Our investigators are doing well on the reading front but they aren't coming to church. Which is frustrating but we are working with them on that. The weather has been in the high 70's and sunny all week long while cooling off to the low 50's at night. Just about perfect. I have found out that no one has AC here so that could be good and bad. Either it was going to be sweltering in homes, or it won’t get hot enough to need any AC. I am hoping for the latter.

It sounds like everyone is on vacation there or will be soon. Stacy is on a cruise, Scott is on a cruise/Hawaii, you guys are going to Christi's and Christi lives a vacation. Are you still planning on doing a trip when I get home? If so, when would it be, right when I get home or in the summer.

So I am pretty sure I want to do accounting. Brother Boyle is an accountant for Pacific Power and it sounds fun to me. I also am pretty sure I want to go to EA but if I can’t, then MCC would be fun as well. So if you could look to see if there are any classes I can take at EA, plus I would like to live in an apartment not the dorms, and any jobs that might be available. So, I don't know when all of that needs to start but that's what I want to do when I get home. If it changes, it changes but that is the original plan.

Well that’s about all I have. I hope you have a great week. Remember we are always examples.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another day on the mission (06/22/2010)

Well this morning we went to the temple which was very nice. Then we got a chance to go to a u-pick, and we picked five pounds of fresh juicy strawberries. It was pretty fun and they are really good.

Things are going well here. Ofelia is really progressing. She has been reading the things that we left her. We met her roommate, Anna. She is also doing really well. They didn't come to church because they had plans of buying a new car for Ofelia but they should be there next week. We had a really good lesson on the Book of Mormon so that was real good.

Andres and Isabel are doing well. We are still waiting for their divorce papers to come in. They should be here soon. They are really progressing and starting to see the importance of reading the Book of Mormon every day.

Dora is also doing well. We were able to meet with her yesterday after not seeing her for a while. She has a real desire to change. You can really tell that she wants to do the right thing. She just doesn't really know where to go. She has also had a really hard life. Her husband has left her and she has two kids that she is trying to raise. So I think she is really searching.

Jorge and Claudia are doing well. They still haven't been to church but I just don't think they see the importance of it. I don't know how we are going to change that.

We were able to go to the temple today. The Portland Temple is really pretty. They have a greenhouse type thing in the middle where you can take pictures since it rains so much you can't do it outside. It was a pretty temple though. We also drove by the Rose Garden where the Trailblazers play. That was cool, for me at least.

The weather is looking nicer. The clouds are gone away today and it is sunny and in the high 70's. It is real nice.

Vancouver has a lot of nationalities. We have a few Russians, along with many Chileans, Guatemalans, and Peruvians and of course Mexicans. It is real fun to see all of the different races. Elder Arnold told me that I have started to pick up a little Chilean accent. I don't hear it but I told him that's just what I was taught from my dad. It is fun to hear the different ways of saying things in the different countries.

Well I don't have much time today that's why this letter is short. The Boyles are doing well. We worked on the yard again on Saturday. That was fun. Mom, Sister Boyle wants you to join missionarymoms.com. It is an e-mail site for missionary moms. She said she can update you on me. She is in the northwest division I guess. I don't know what to do but she said she is there.

Tengan un buen dia

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It is still....wet (06/15/2010)

It is still raining. We a got a break Saturday to Monday but last night and into this morning it has started raining. It is nice though. It keeps everything green and cleans the air. It really doesn't make it too cold so that is nice as well.

Well this week has been a good week. We found a lot of people and to cap it off, Andres and Isabel and their family came to church. It was really good to see them there. They really enjoyed it as well.

Thursday we decided to go and walk to save some miles. (Hey it stopped raining) Well things were going well. It was kind of sprinkling almost like a misting. We were walking and talking to people. Well it just started to pour cats and dogs. We both had umbrellas but it was bouncing off the concrete and hitting us. Then this homeless man came up and started walking with us. His name was Woody. Well Woody was using a cardboard box as an umbrella. We had to go somewhere so we said our good-byes. Then we decided to give one of our umbrellas to Woody. He was very appreciative and it was okay because it had gone back to just sprinkling. Well we got out of our appointment and started walking back to the car and it just pouring, again. This time we had no umbrellas. We got a second shower that day. We were both just soaked. It was fun though. So we get in our car and we are able to teach three lessons, right in a row in the same apartment complex. Then we got four text messages with referrals from the MTC. It was awesome. We were truly blessed for walking in the rain....with Woody.

One of those text messages was for a lady name Ofelia. This is a cool story. On Saturday I went on exchanges with an English Elder named Elder Barter. Well we are both new to the area and really didn't know how to get anywhere. So we were trying to find Ofelia. She lived on the other side of the city from where we were. I was trying to find it but I just couldn't. I thought, I will call Elder Arnold but then my pride got in the way and I thought, no I can do it. Well after trying and trying and having no success, I thought again, just call Elder Arnold, it will be worth it. So I called him and he was able to help me get to her apartment. So we knock on her door and tell her who we are and she said, are you with the other guys that had come over (English elders) and We said yes so she quickly let us in. So we sit down and I ask her, “how did you get to know the other guys.” She said that one day she was sitting outside thinking about her life and thinking about all of the stupid things that she has done. She started to pray and ask God for forgiveness and asked him to send someone that could help her. Well up rolled two Mormon missionaries on bikes. She said that she wants to get closer to God to have more peace and happiness in her life but she doesn't know what to do. She also said she wants her family to be more united (her brother and sisters and her parents). I promised her that this is what she was looking for. She just had this look in her eye like she knew this was it too. We finished the first lesson and she said she would call us once she found out her work schedule for this next week. Well last night she called and we are going back tonight. She said she loved our message and can't wait to hear more and that her roommate wants to hear more too. It is awesome.

A little bit about the church in Vancouver. My new companion is Elder Arnold. He is from Provo and will be going home in August. So, for the moment, I am a junior companion again. Here is his blog elderbenjaminarnold.blogspot.com. He even talks about me in it. We, along with a pair of sister missionaries attend the Spanish branch here in Vancouver. We get about 80 out for the meetings. There are also about 40 English companionships in the area too. So about 40% of our mission's missionaries are in the Vancouver area.

Well that’s about it for this week. Things are going really well here. We are truly being blessed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Well hello from the very wet Vancouver, WA. It has rained every day I have been here. The sun has come out for small amounts but has quickly gone away. It is very beautiful though. There are trees everywhere. There is also a lot of moss. There is moss in the gutters on the sidewalks, on trees, on houses. Everywhere that it hasn't been cleaned off yet. We have been spraying down the driveway of the members we live with (the Boyles, awesome people). You don't realize there is so much on there until you wash it off. We have to use a pressure washer because there is so much moss.

Vancouver is a good place. Elder Arnold and I are really working hard and trying to be exactly obedient. I knew Elder Arnold in Pasco so the transition has been seamless. He is a really good Elder and we are getting a lot of work done. Here is a rundown of the investigators, starting with ones fromYakima.

Jorge- He is on date for the 20th of June. I am very excited about that. He is a unique story. A humble story. But the moral of the story is, he is getting baptized in a couple of weeks.

La Familia - Andres, Isabel, Brenda, and Adresito. Those are the names of this family. They want to be baptized but they are not married. Isabel is waiting for her divorce papers from Mexico. They are a great family. They really have an intention to learn and are very knowledgeable already. I am excited to teach them and get them on their way.

Ernesto-Elder Arnold and I found Ernesto on Thursday. We were out tracting and we walked into him. We talked to him for about 15 minutes and the spirit was really there but he said he is moving to Mexico and won’t have time so there is no point in us coming over. We tried to get him to commit but he wouldn't, so we left. The next night we were thinking of something to do when we both decided we needed to go see Ernesto again. We knocked on his door and he gave us the usual, I am leaving, I don't have time, I am tired. Well we told him it will be for 10 to 15 minutes and he let us in. We had a very powerful lesson. We found out his concerns and the things we desire in life and showed him how the gospel can help. He was like, so are you guys going to come back or do I have to go to you? It was so cool.

That's about that. We live with really great members like I said. They have a modest but beautiful home and yard. Elder Arnold and I take care of it. It is so fun. They have a really cool dog named Baxter, he is the one in the picture, and he got caught in one of the blankets on my bed. He loves to lie in my bed while we are studying if Sister Boyle is not there.

There are a bucket load of Chileans here in the branch. It reminds me of Gilbert. There is a one member named Brother Ramirez who is actually from Mexico but he looks just like, I mean a spitting image of Choche. It is eerie. The branch is very nice and very welcoming.

Well I uploaded a few pictures on Picasa. I hope you enjoy. I live right off of the I-5 so Lady I am just a stone’s throw away from you. Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Farewell Yakima (06/01/2010)

Well Saturday morning I was told I am leaving Yakima and I am heading to Vancouver, WA (not Vancouver, Canada). I am really excited to see Vancouver. Everyone tells me that I will love the branch, the area, that everything is so green and pretty and I will love it. Like I said, I am really excited to go but I just wish I didn't have to leave Yakima. I have loved Yakima. We are teaching unbelievable people and I have seen some remarkable things.

Sunday night I had the distinct opportunity to baptize Leo. That was the first person that I have actually baptized and it was an awesome experience. He is going to make a great member. We went by yesterday and they were just both so happy and Cindy was saying we are going to the temple in one year and how great life is and how everything is so great right now. They are going to do great. I just feel so honored and privileged to teach and witness the change of both Leo and Cindy. The baptism was great. The spirit was really there and we were able to get both Heraldo and Tomas there.

They are both doing great. Heraldo told us he has set August 30th as his cut-off date. He is going to tell us before this date whether or not he is going to be baptized. I believe he will be baptized. Everyone in the branch just loves him. He is really a great guy and will make a fantastic member.

Tomas is also doing well. He was supposed to be baptized on the 6th but that will probably be moved back. He is doing great; he came to both church and the baptism so that was good.

Jorge and Fransisca are both doing great. It was hard to say good-bye to them. They both just bawled their little eyes out when I told them. They are both just great humble people and they are also two people that I strongly believe will be baptized.

Yakima is blessed. The Branch is awesome. I loved my time here. But as George Costanza says, I am going out on top.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

(05/25/2010)

Well hello everyone. Things here in Yakima are going great. This also might be a normal size e-mail because I remembered to write things down again.

Saturday we painted a house which was part of Mormons Helping Hands and Habitat For Humanity. It was an older lady's home and it was a lot of fun. I thought the most fun part was to watch and listen to the youth. As we were finishing up they just kept saying how good they felt and how they felt accomplished and just felt good. I don't think they realized that they felt good for helping someone, not because they felt accomplished for painting a house. It was cool and fun to watch them as they painted the house.

This Sunday we had five people at church. Leo came with his wife and is doing great. He is going to have his interview tonight, and if everything goes well, he will be baptized on Sunday. It should be awesome. He is a great guy and I feel privileged to teach him. Jorge and Franisica were there again. It was really good to see them and they really seem to enjoy it. It was really funny though because one time I looked over at Fransica and she was doubled over asleep, just like Grandma Bair. So I felt right at home and didn't even think twice about her sleeping. She is an older lady so she is allowed to fall asleep.

Jorge is doing great. On Saturday we went by and we were talking to them and this guy that helps them out with their yard comes by to ask them a question and then asks if he could sit in with us and of course we said yes. So he is listening and starts saying how the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon are false. All we need is the Bible, you don't need anything else. Well before we could say anything, Jorge says, this door is open to anyone that wants to talk about God, but you will never come in here and disrespect another religion. It was awesome.

Gustavo was there as well. He is really hard to teach. He seems to enjoy it. He participates in Gospel Principles in Sunday School, but yet it doesn't seem like he is paying attention when we go by to teach him. It is weird. Tomas was there as well. He is doing great. He is going to be baptized on the 6th of June. So we had a good bunch at church which is always nice.

This past week we had a lot of people come up to us and ask for money from the church. That really puts us in a bind because, we can't do anything even though we want to help. We tell them to call the Branch president but no one ever has. So I don't feel too bad because they have to do their part.

Well that’s about it. My final thought today is there is always another day. Sometimes there are days that are just long, and hard and boring, and you just want to get it over with. But the best thing is you can wake up the next day and it’s like the day before never happened. The Lord is ready to bless us all.

Have a great week

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(05/19/2010)

Things are going really well here. Both Tomas and Leo are doing great. We had stake conference this week so it was somewhat difficult to get people to church . But conference was really good.

We moved Tomas's date back until the 6th of June because he felt like he needed more time. That is fine. He is a great guy and likes to learn so we will give it to him.

I am really am dumbfounded at what to write. Elder Urbina was sick for most of the weekend with the stomach flu and then yesterday, we had a Spanish zone conference.

I am sorry for the short letter. I hope and pray you are all doing well.

Have a great week

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

(05/11/2010)

So I am just like everyone else who wrote me. I don't really know what to say after talking to you just Sunday. I do have a few observations from Sunday though, that I will go over.

Grace is a busy-body. She is so smart and she is good at telling stories. I don't know if you know but she told me the story of Snow White while you were eating dinner.

Everyone looked really happy. It was good to see everyone so happy. Also everyone pretty much looked the same as I remember them.

Grandpa Milt looked really skinny. I had no idea he was losing weight. He seemed happy and good as well.

Well that’s about all I have. Have a great week. I will talk to you next week.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Big things are happening (05/04/2010)

Things are really REALLY going well here. We now have two people on date for baptism. This first one is Leo. We had him on date for the 16th but we pushed it back for the 30th to give us a little bit more time. We went over on Saturday and his wife, who is a less-active member, was there and was acting very strangely. She kept saying that he is not ready for baptism and he is doing it for the wrong reasons and all of these sorts of things. I said well let’s ask him and so we did and he said I like how the members of the church help one another out and she started yelling, see, he just wants money and all of this stuff and he just thinks they are going to help him financially and all of these things. But we took it along with our branch mission leader who was there that he meant that they helped with spiritual matters. Anyway after a little bit of time she finally came out and said, "I just don't want his life to be as terrible as mine because I know this church is true and I didn't follow the gospel and I am being punished for it and there is no way that I can change and I would just rather him live in ignorance that make this huge decision and not fully understand it and fall away and have a terrible life like mine. Well we promised her that we would not baptize him if we didn't think he was ready and that she needs to think if he is pulling him back or pulling him forward. And that together they can go through the repentance process. It was really good. Then we went by yesterday and it was totally different. She was helpful and teaching him. It was really good. So he will be baptized on the 30th.

The other one on date is Tomas. He will be baptized on the 23rd of May. He is doing really well. He really wants to be baptized and is still telling everyone about the church and how much it will help them. It is awesome. He really understands the bible and he is such a good learner and understands everything we tell him. '

Another kid we are working with is Gustavo. He has come to church for three weeks in a row now. It is hard to teach him because we don't know if he is really interested or he just comes because he lives with a member and they bring him. He seems interested and understands what we teach him. We need to get in and really find out what his interest is. It is hard to teach him because it is always so loud in the house he lives in. They have a couple of little kids that are always making noise, but we can figure it out.

Heraldo is really doing well also. We had lunch with him on Saturday and he asked us where we do baptisms and we told him in a font and asked if we ever do it in a river and I said yeah, but we would have to get permission. That’s where he wants to do it he said so we will see if that gets him over hump. He is really doing well. He finished the Book of Mormon as well so we will see what happens.

That’s about all I have. Although the other day we were in this lesson with the door open and we start hearing this pounding noise and I thought it was some sort of compacter packing the dirt down or something like that then we see this old Cadillac-like looking car, literally bouncing down the street with its hydraulics. It was so funny. I kid you not , the front wheels of the car were getting probably 3 or 4 feet off of the ground. It was so funny. They were just doing laps back and forth down the street.

Oh yeah the weather has been almost cold lately. Yesterday it was in the mid-50's and really windy. It was cold. I can't believe that we are in May. It just doesn't seem real to me.

Well I gotta go. Have a great week

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pictures 1 (May 2010)

Our district in Yakima April 2010:
Back row from left:Elder Urbina,Yours truly, Elder Luncefor, Elder Deloach.
Front row: Elder Becerra and Elder Lundquist.
Elder "Davey" back for a visit

I rolled my ankle playing basketball


Elder Urbina and me off to do something important.



An El Camino limo

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pictures 2 (May 2010)

Heraldo and me


Brother Webber (branch mission leader) and me

Hmo Alfaro and I


Two Arizona boys getting homesick


Elder Urbina and I doing missionary work.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pictures 3 (May 2010)

Elder Deloach and I


Manuel Pimental and I. He got baptized last September and is getting his papers ready to go on a mission.

Leo with Elder Urbina and me at Leo's baptism.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New apartment (04/27/2010)

Well we have some new things going. Some big things going on! On the 16th of May, Leo is going to be baptized. He is such a good guy. We went over last night and we went with a kid named Manual who is just such a great kid who got baptized in September, anyway. We were introducing Manual to Leo and I said Manual got baptized about 7 months ago, and Leo turned to me and said what do I have to do to get baptized. I said do you want to, and he said yes, he said I felt so much peace and calmness at church yesterday, and I want that in my life. He is having a lot of troubles at work with co-workers wanting to get him fired and what not and he is actually afraid for his life so he said he hasn't felt so much peace in his life in a long time. He is just an awesome guy, he said “the only other time I somewhat feel that way is reading the Book of Mormon or the Bible”. So he is going to get baptized on the 16th. His wife wasn't there and when she came back I told her and it was almost like she saw a ghost and I told her, probably one of the most bold times in my mission, if he is going to get baptized, you need to turn your life around, and she said okay. So its going to be exciting, I can't wait to go back and teach him.

In other news. We had to switch apartments this last week with the big change in areas so I had to do a lot of cleaning. We have to clean up the old apartment so the church can get its deposit back and I have been cleaning the new one because it is a lot smaller so I have been moving things around to try and make it more spacious, while doing that, I have been finding a lot of dust and gross things underneath furniture (even toe nails). So the vacuum has been in full force. The other day I was cleaning out the old fridge, which was pretty disgusting by the way, and I was thinking how come ours was never this way, then I always remember mom cleaning it on a regular basis and it made me really appreciate all the times mom has cleaned my house and for anyone that stays at home or works and cleans the house.

We also had 5 people at church. There is a guy named Tomas that the other elders were teaching but now we are, that is awesome. He should hopefully be put on date for baptism here soon. Anyway, he brought a friend that was telling Tomas that he feels that the devil has entered his life and Tomas said, well you need to find a greater faith in Christ, come to the Mormon church and they will help you. It was awesome, so those 2 were there. Leo and 2 people brought friends to church and we have appointments to teach them both. It was so cool.

Anyway that’s about all I have. Heraldo is still doing good and looking better.

Have a great week

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You may not believe it.... (04/20/2010)

But I am staying in my area with my companion. It is very unusual for me, but I am very excited. We have a lot of things going on, and there is a twist, we got a bigger area. Here in Yakima there has been 2 sets of Elders that have split the city in half and have worked together to cover the whole city. Well the branch president wanted single sisters because, there are a lot of single less-active women and a few investigators, and a lot of single girls that are thinking of going on missions. So he thought that would be helpful. So the other two Elders left and Elder Urbina and I are now covering all of Yakima for anybody with a male in the household and the sisters are covering anyone that is a single mom or single women in general. So I am looking forward to it. Our investigator total just about doubled. We will have a lot of work to do but it should be a lot of fun.

I finally remembered to write things down again for what I want to talk about in my e-mail. FYI, I just looked to my left and saw probably the tallest woman I have ever seen in person, she has to be at least 6'6", anyway....

Things are going better with our investigators. We met with Heraldo on Saturday and told him that he has to find out if the Book of Mormon is another scripture that he can use with the Bible. He has already said that he believes that book is inspired and written by prophets. But he still has his doubts, so we told him to ask if it was a book he could read to go along with the Bible.

We also found another man to teach named Leo Morales. Leo is married to a less-active member. He cut his finger on Friday at work on a table saw, so his in-laws had us come and give him a blessing. Leo only speaks Spanish and his in-laws only speak English so they had us do it in Spanish. Anyway, I guess his wife wants to go back to church and he is interested in getting his life back in order because he is having a lot of problems. He is a really humble guy, he has been taught before but he said it just wasn't right at that time.

In other news, Saturday we got invited over to dinner, not knowing that it ended up being a birthday party. Not just any old birthday party, but a birthday party with a clown. It was quite the dinner appointment. It was really good food though so it was worth it, I guess, and we got to see a magic show, it was exciting.

Also yesterday we got to do some service, and I have a major role. We were installing sprinklers for a family. They ended up not knowing what to do whatsoever so thankfully I that experience before my mission. It felt weird being out there doing it; I also got a nice little sun burn on my neck. It was fun though.

That’s about all I have. I realized for about four straight meals, not including breakfast, we had carne asada. That is probably my favorite Mexican food so it is fine by me. But I just thought that was interesting and that I might throw that in there.

But I gotta run. Have a great week!