c I came home December 15,2010 //

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.