Monday, December 29, 2014
Actually I'm not doing good...I'm doing fantastic!
Yeah I'm kind of freaking out because I'm almost done with my dead year. That's when you go from Jan 1 to Jan 1 without seeing your family. Weird.....
I definitely know what you mean about too much junk food. I'm ready to get switched over to a bike area just to burn it all off. I love our jeep Bianca but sometimes you've just got to make sacrifices.
Here it's been raining a lot and it's been weird. I'd much rather have snow than rain.
I loved Skyping you guys on Christmas too! It was really great and I can't believe at how much everyone has changed. It's crazy. I really am around a lot of really great people. I've been really blessed on my mission.
I would love to go back to Broadway and there is a good chance of that happening. I will miss the people here in Cleveland though. The members are really nice and I would miss them a ton. I love being around the Hispanic people. I love to let them know that the people in the Book of Mormon are their ancestors. It's been fantastic and I really do love all of them.
Love you so much and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Monday, December 22, 2014
I do play the piano sometimes, but not so much. I'm a little out of practice but I would really like to start up again. I can play a couple hymns but will try and learn a few more.
I've come to understand a lot more about the importance of the temple here and honestly I can't wait to go back! (even though I just went). Also I don't know if you have seen the "He is the Gift" video that the church put out but it was super good. I really enjoyed it (especially the Spanish version). It really made me think.
I'm super excited to talk to you guys on Thursday. Man, I feel like I just called you for Mother's Day. You know another crazy thing? In the mission there is something called a dead year which is when you go a full year without seeing your family. I'm only about a week away from finishing mine.
I think that I will call you sometime from 10-12 but just watch out for me. We'll be with some other elders and we'll let them go first. I'm super excited. It's crazy how fast it came. It makes me a little trunky just thinking about talking with y'all but that's just part of life. We have a couple places to go on Christmas but if it all falls through we'll probably just figure something out. What the mission wants us to do is spend as much time with members as we can.
Monday, December 15, 2014
I wonder what people think when two big guys knock on their door. It's pretty funny though because people think Elder Mamea is black or Hispanic. Then they look at me and are like, "Why is this white guy speaking Spanish?" It's pretty funny. Yeah, I can tell you that the Hispanic culture hasn't changed since your mission. They love to feed us all of the time. Honestly we were having dinner last night and I realized how much I love the culture.
This week we are going to have a ward party and we'll be having pisole and tamales. It's gonna be sweet.
This week was great! Our investigators are doing really well and we are teaching a teenage girl and her family who are pretty interested in our message, so that's good!
Yeah I'm really excited to Skype y’all too! It's going to be different because I've only called home before.
This week was pretty good. It was honestly a pretty normal week. We went to a Christmas Mission Conference on Thursday and it was really weird. I felt super old in the mission especially now that I've almost hit my 18 month mark. Things are going by way too fast and it is kind of freaking me out. Honestly it hit me yesterday how little time I have left. I am going to be so sad to leave my mission. It has been some of the greatest times of my life.
Monday, December 8, 2014
This week we had a really cool experience with one of our investigators. When we started the lesson we could tell that she was having a bad day but when we asked her about it she said that she was all right. Then we started talking about the lesson and when we finished you could tell that she felt a lot better. It's something small but it was really neat.
It's getting a little colder but honestly we still haven't pulled out the jackets. Right now it is perfect weather. It's always really hard as a missionary because you want to thank everyone in person but you can't.
As far as something new...Everything is pretty much the same. Elder Mamea is a great guy. He's got a really crazy personality and he and I hit it off right away. He played Linebacker in High School and then went on to play for the University of Hawaii for two years. After that he decided to go and play for US Rugby and he did that until he decided to go on a mission. Right now he's 21 which is a little different having someone quite a bit older than me but it's cool because he gives me a lot of advice on stuff. My favorite thing about him is that he is super real and just wants to help.
That's great that you are going to have the missionaries over! Just so you know a missionary can never express how grateful we are for what members do for us.
Cleveland is a great place to be. We had a really cool activity with the stake in which a bunch of people brought their nativity sets and put them on display. It was a lot of fun.
Love you so much and Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 1, 2014
So this week was a really good week!. I'm doing really well but have been really tired lately. I'll probably try and take a nap today during p-day.
I feel that a lot more people will be receptive to the gospel this season but we'll see. We've been having a lot of help lately and I've noticed a change in everyone. Right now we are teaching a really great guy that has been participating in our English class for a while. He showed up to a baptism a couple of weeks ago and right now is doing really well.
For Thanksgiving we ate with la familia Vega who are super cool. We had barbacoa which is the pig cheek and a soup called consume that was really good. We also had this habanera salsa that was super good! Probably the best I've had. It was really good. It's pretty strange being away from your family during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not like you get homesick but it feels way different. Doesn't feel like a holiday. Spending time as a family really is important. A lot of people out here have dysfunctional families because they don't spend time with each other.
I was able to talk to Elder Ek before he left and I just let him know how grateful I was that he was my trainer and that I would miss him. He's a super great guy and this mission feels way different. I guess that it means that I'm getting old.
I'm really happy that I got my Duty to God and Eagle. It's made a huge difference in my life. I'm always going to be grateful for the things that I learned.
You are totally right about how there are no coincidences. I've definitely seen that a lot on my mission. We don't really understand the effects that we have on the lives of those around us. I've probably told you guys before but one of my favorite quotes is "I am a part of all I meet, and they a part of me". I've found that true. Every person that we meet we have an effect on and they have an effect on us. I've really loved to see how that is. I know that miracles really do happen. I've seen a lot on my mission.
Love ya and have a great week!
Monday, November 24, 2014
We'll find out who my new companion is tomorrow. I don't really like this because there is a lot of suspense. I'm excited to see what will happen though!
Grant (friend from home) is related to some people in my ward. They are a super nice family and they feed us at least once a week. They're super great. It was a pretty shocking experience but it was great to hear how Grant was doing. I was happy that they sent that picture to him. Kind of a cool way to let you guys know I'm doing all right. Thanks for saying I look pretty good. I haven't gained too much weight but I definitely have had my fair share or food. Hopefully I'll be able to be on a bike a little more this next transfer but we'll see.
Yeah I am super excited for thanksgiving! It is one of my favorite holidays ever. I'm not too worried about this year. I did it last year and we'll probably end up only eating at one place anyways. I cannot believe that Elder Ek is going home. It's really scary because now I've only got a little more than half a year left. I remember this time last year and it's strange to think that all that was a year ago. It's all nuts.
I'm grateful that I was born to a goodly family. I know a lot of people who have some tough family situation. I also have been thinking a lot on gratitude. I think that whenever we are ungrateful we are actually being selfish. When we focus on others that is when we start to see the hand of God in our lives.
Make sure to have everyone eat a lot for me! Have a great Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I'm going to have to make sure that we Skype on Christmas. Last year it was just crazy. I'm super excited for it!
There is a pretty good chance that either me or Elder Gamez will get transferred next week and I think it might be me. I really want to stay but the way things are lining up who knows. We do it differently from other missions. We get flush calls on Friday which is when both missionaries are leaving. Saturday is when we get a call from the DL to see who is leaving. Sunday is when we get Leadership calls. We all meet up in Kingwood on Tuesday and there President tells us who our companions/areas are. It's pretty cool but it creates a lot of gossip/speculation.
Yeah I can tell you too that by reading and praying fervently every day I can feel a significant difference in my life. It makes me want to continue after my mission. I haven't been perfect on my mission but I know that the times when I have felt the closest to my Savior is when I am really looking for his guidance. It's been a huge testimony to me that through the small things we do we receive a lot of the blessings. In a Hank Smith talk he said that when we do what is right we think that we are going to live this perfect life without any problems but that's not true. We still have problems but we are able to deal with them more prepared.
I have grown to really appreciate Mom out here on my mission. It's a bit different cooking for yourself and cleaning. As far as members feeding us...we have many members sincerely worry that we are not getting fed every day. They also get offended if we don't eat enough. It's pretty crazy. They are all just way too nice. I like it a lot because then you get to know a lot of the members and get to build relationships. As far as my weight I've gained a little weight but I'm sure I've grown taller a lot too.
Yeah I am not complaining when I say this but I drive ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I'm starting to enjoy it especially because I'm cruising around in a 2014 Jeep Compass named Bianca. It's pretty tough being in a car area because you have to know the streets if you want to go anywhere. My area covers all the way from New Caney to past Livingston so I just have to know my way around. At first it was a little stressful but now I'm getting the hang of it.
This week was great and I feel like each day I'm getting closer and closer to the Savior. I've been praying a lot asking for the spirit and I feel it in my life. I pray every day that I will do what Heavenly Father wants me to.
Just keep praying for us!
Monday, November 10, 2014
Yeah it's SO crazy Elder Ek is going home! He will be my first companion to go home. Then right after him Elder Long will be going home too. It's so crazy. Time is going by way too fast.
I've had a lot of really neat times to think about the savior. I was listening to a talk and the guy shared a scripture in which Nephi prayed to be afraid of sin and then he explained how he thought that Nephi did it so that the Savior would have to suffer less. I'm trying have Jesus Christ in my head as much as I can. It's helping me to have the spirit with me and to be focused on missionary work.
I've been getting super ready for Christmas. There really is some crazy feeling in the air...even if there isn't any snow... It's nice because pretty soon I can listen to Christmas music.
I listened to a great talk that Elder Gamez had by Joseph B. Wirthlin. It helps once I make a earnest effort to pray. I've started to pray a lot more too because I feel really good when I do. I could just be sitting there thinking and I'm like man I really want to pray right now. It's kind of weird but it's been helping me a lot too because I've been a little worn out lately. I really love the story on Enos and how he really wanted to receive an answer. It's a huge example to me of earnest prayer.
Monday, November 3, 2014
The mission definitely isn't easy. It takes a while to get used to it and a lot of people struggle for the first bit. A lot of times it isn't what you expect. I've had a really good mission and made a lot of really good friends out here. Honestly it might be hard to leave but I've still got a while.
Wow that's crazy how cold it is getting in Utah. In Cleveland it hasn't changed a whole lot. Everyone is complaining how cold it is but they are still walking around in shorts and a t shirt. It is getting a little colder though. It got down to about 50 degrees one night and when we go out walking in the mornings it is a little colder than usual. I do miss the snow but I guess I'm happy I don't have to drive in it. I don't think that it will snow this year and if it does it probably won't stick. I remember it got really cold last year though and you feel it more just because of how humid it gets. I think that I'll be ready for it this year just because now I know what to expect.
During Halloween we had to be inside at 7pm. A senior couple invited us over and we ate hamburgers. Man it was good. I haven't had a home cooked hamburger in a long time. I have hamburgers just fast food ones and that is pretty rare. Then we came back and were just chilling in the apartment. Then we got a call from some other missionaries I know one of them being my old companion Elder Long. He's doing really well. He's just a little shocked that he only has two months left.
Yeah I'm excited for Thanksgiving too. Last year we got invited to two thanksgiving dinners and I think that was the most food I'd eaten in a long time. It's sad but I can't eat as much anymore. It all started when I got to Cleveland.
Right now we are focusing a lot on finding new people..The branch is doing really well. They are all really close. We've become close to a couple of families. A couple of them are the Vega Family, La Familia Torres, La Familia Avellaneda, La Familia Medrano, and La Familia Resendez. It's really funny because the Resendez family is this really big family in the mission and there has been at least one Resendez in all of my wards. Here it's the older brother but my first Obispo was a Resendez and the lady who sent you the picture is their sister and also in the picture is their mom.
Nothing really does matter except what Christ did. I really like a talk that someone gave about grace and how we are changed by it. A lot of times we get distracted by all of the things around us that don't matter. It's all about the new styles or money or how many friends you have. In the end all of that fades away and you are left with yourself and how close you were with your Savior.
Monday, October 27, 2014
I'm doing great! It's been a bit of an interesting week. I've been a little bit stressed out but I think that's part of life right? This week was a little crazy but it was really good. We had exchanges with the ZLs and interviews with President Drake. He's a super great guy and I really liked getting to know him a little better. You can tell that he really cares about you and I know that he was called to be here. Right now we don't have anyone close. We are having a hard time finding people because a lot of them end up dropping off the edge of the map. We are still working with a really great lady, but she is working so much right now it's ridiculous. I know that she will get baptized we just don't know when.
You know as a missionary the biggest struggle is to keep the spirit with you. If you have that you can be lead and have real success. When God calls us he gives us the power to do the things that are asked of us. When we rely on him.
I definitely agree with you about the Book of Mormon. It is an amazing tool for us. It's proof that God still loves us and speaks to us.
Yeah I remember when he gave that talk. It is a super good one and it really helps me to focus on the things that I do have instead of the things that I don't have.
We don't meet with the ward mission leader so often because he works a ton. In the past we wouldn't see him except for during correlation meeting. Usually we just talk about the work in the ward and the people that we are working with right now. Member missionary work is the most important thing in missionary work. If you want to teach someone who will most likely get baptized then it will come through a member. The more members are involved in the lives of the investigators the more committed they become. Kind of interesting but members make all of the difference.
Yeah I'm not too sure what Dia de los Muertos is either. From what I understand it's like Memorial Day, but different. Here what happens is we go in early just so nothing crazy happens. That will be cool to just chill at the house. I remember Trick or Treating was fun as a kid but after a while it was more fun just to be with the family.
I haven't really taken any pictures in Cleveland but I better. Next week I will be sure to send you guys some. I find that I never really take pictures if I don't have my camera in my pocket/backpack.
I forgot to mention but I found Tasty cakes at Walmart! I was super happy!
Love you so much and thanks for praying for us,
Monday, October 13, 2014
As far as what's new I am staying in Cleveland. I feel like my Spanish is really picking up. Oh yeah! We were tracting on Friday and we knocked onto this less active member's house and her fiance let us hold his baby squirrel and he sang for us and played the guitar. He was actually really good.
I really love teaching less actives out here because most of them have had a testimony before they have just been distracted. It is so great to see them come back and start participating in church again.
I've really found that it if I don't study Spanish or try and speak it I then head into a lesson and it is hard to get my Spanish going. Almost like I have to do my warm ups before I go. It's a little tougher out in the states because it's easy to not learn the language if you don't work at it. I think I want to continue speaking Spanish for the rest of my life if I can. Just don't judge when I use words like lunche y trocka. It's hard to keep my Spanish and Spanglish separate!
There aren't a whole lot of things to do here in Cleveland. It's just us, the English missionaries, and the senior couple. There is a set of sisters out in Livingston but everything is so far away and we don't have very many miles. Every once in a while we go to Kingwood where the rest of the zone is. We'll play some basketball or volleyball over there. Before when we didn't go to Kingwood we wouldn't be able to do anything but I just bought a basketball (and flash drive to help with the pictures) and now we play a little bit.
This week was good. We were able to teach a lot of new people and one of the was a family of four. They are super awesome. Just keep praying that we will be able to help these people become converted!
As far as missionary experiences go, Cleveland has always been a tough area as far as Spanish missionaries go just because there are a lot less Hispanics. I've seen a lot of miracles though with finding those pockets where groups of Hispanics are and we have met a lot of really great people. I have a feeling that we are going to find a lot of prepared people and I know that I've seen the hand of the Lord here a lot. The first couple of weeks was hard because I was taken out of Broadway where most of the people I knew from the mission were and where a good portion of the people are Hispanic and put into a really wooded and mostly white area with a lot of people I didn't know. I've really been able to have a better relationship with my Heavenly Father here and I feel like I've grown a lot.
I know a lot of missionaries who have had converts choose not to come very much more. It's always for different reasons but we have to focus on those who do stay strong and we have to realize that they have been given a chance and they have to decide for themselves now.
The branch here is great. We really want to help it grow. There are a lot of really nice people here and they love the missionaries. I really get taken care of really well out here :)
I actually already saw Meet the Mormons :) The Kingwood zone and Summerwood zone both got together and president let us watch it on Thursday. It was really good. They had a lot of clips from other movies like South park and Fletch. I really liked the football coach one.
Monday, October 6, 2014
My favorite talk was Elder Bednar's talk. A lot of the things that he said were really profound. He talked a lot about why we do missionary work.
Hey I just ate squirrel a couple of days ago and I'm sure I'm going to have a lot other stuff like that too. Still waiting on possum... Haha
Things are really good here. I really like the country but I almost feel like the city is my home. I was there for a really long time and it was a little tough to leave but I really like it here a lot too.
Our investigators are doing really well. We are working on finding a lot of people though and we've had a lot of success.
Yeah it has gone by super fast for us too. Transfers just seem to roll into the next one and pretty soon Elder Ek is going to be home. It's pretty crazy to think about. I feel like a lot of the older missionaries are going home right now and now I am one of the oldest.
When I get home I want to do a lot of family history work and go to the temple a lot too. Sometimes we have to take a step back and think about the way that our lives are going.
Just so you know I am having the time of my life out here. There are tough times but those are just to help me to figure something out. I am super excited to talk to y'all on Christmas. it is coming up faster than I realize. It's a little weird because then I will be able to see my whole family together which hasn't happened in quite a while.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Things here have been going pretty smoothly. Cleveland is a really huge change of pace. In the city everything was fast and close together. Here it is spread apart and not a whole lot goes on. It is a little safer here though. It's a really nice pleasant town. We had to take a trip up to Beamont for a doctor's appointment with Elder Gamez too and I was so tired of driving by the end. I'm starting to get used to it though and I feel like I am becoming a much better driver though I am a lot more careful now. I drive on the freeway all of the time and I'm really getting used to finding my way around the area.
I really can't believe that it's conference again! I am so excited! For missionaries it is a huge thing just because it's something a little different and I feel like I pay attention a lot more. Not to make me sound trunky or anything but only 1 more after this. Crazy huh? I really want to learn how to make pie when I get back. I am starting to cook some things a lot more. I'm no pro but I've learned some things from members and past companions (and of course Mom).
Elder Gamez eats really healthy and he's inspiring me to eat better. I'm trying to cook more and I think it's helping a lot. Most of what I make include peppers but I think it counts right? Also I'm eating more frozen vegetables.
The thing I like best about people who work with the youth is how much of an influence they can have on the youth. I remember a lot of the scout leaders I had were great examples and I know that I'm a better person because I went to Mutual.
Here in Cleveland we have a good amount of support from members. They are really excited to help but there aren't very many of them. I really like it here in Cleveland and I think that I am adjusted. I'm getting along great with the people here and I know we are going to have a lot of success.
The words that we speak really do have a big effect on others. A lot of the time we don't realize it but the things we say really stick with people. We just have to decide what kind of attitude we want to have.
Monday, September 22, 2014
This week was really good. We were able to find a lot of people to teach. No he's not really in any pain because of cerebral palsy he just can't use his left arm and leg very well so he walks with a limp. We go a lot slower but it is to be expected. It's been a little stressful because it is hard for Elder Gamez to know where he is in an area (because he is in the passenger seat all the time) so I had to get to know the area really fast. Everything is starting to calm down now though. I have to admit I miss the bike a lot. I had a super huge blessing with that by the way. I took my bike in because the wheel was wobbling again which is a sign of a broken axel. I picked it up about 2 weeks ago at the shop where we originally bought it which offers deals for missionaries. Even with it though I was expecting all of the repairs to be around a hundred dollars because my bike needed a lot done. When I picked it up it looked like a brand new bike and they only charged me 21 dollars.
Yeah the weather has cooled down a ton for Houston! It is super nice right now and has been raining a little bit.
So this week I had a super spiritual experience. We listened to a talk about praying by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin and he talked a lot about putting more meaning in our prayers. Out here we pray so much that it's easy to be robotic about it. I tried to be more meaningful and not only ask for things but really listen too.
Monday, September 15, 2014
That's really interesting about the Hispanics in Utah and missionary work. I remember being back home and not really knowing anyone Hispanics and mostly it was because they didn't know English. I really like being out here and being able to get to know people who don't even speak English. I had a funny experience the other day as a member was talking to me on the phone and he kept on switching back between English and Spanish. In my last area they didn't usually do things like that but here mostly everyone speaks both languages.
That's super neat that the stake has had three baptisms this year! That's awesome! I remember that it had been a while since we'd had any. It really just comes down to being friendly and asking if they have interest.
We are really close to English Elders who live in the apartment complex next to ours. There is also a senior missionary couple who lives over there. Then there are the sister missionaries in a nearby city and everyone else is pretty far away. It's different especially having a different look. Spanish missionaries are like they're own little click in my old area and it's a lot different seeing how English missionaries work.
Our ward is actually a Spanish branch. It used to be combined with the English ward but then they made their own separate branch. There aren't a ton of members but the people here are really strong. Right now we are working with building up our relationship with the ward because the missionary that just left had been there for a long time and the ward misses them a lot especially because Elder Gamez is really new. I know how it is though because I've been in both my areas a long time and I got really close to the people there.
Thanks for your thoughts on your personal study. It really is true what you said. I had a really interesting experience yesterday. We've been feeling a little overwhelmed with finding new investigators and teaching more people. Right before we left I opened up my scriptures to that part in Helaman I think where God says to Nephi that he will give him the sealing keys and power to move mountains. It said in there that he gave him power over this people and I thought it was really cool to think that God has really chosen us to be in this area. I really know that I'm here for a purpose.
Yeah it was actually really cool (almost cold in the mornings) these last couple of days which was super weird. I liked it though but we'll see if it keeps up. Yeah the apartment is really nice and there are a ton of trees. I really am out in the sticks now. It's a bit of a change. The biggest difference between this area and my others is how few Hispanics there are but we do our best. My companion has been out on his mission for 16 months.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Yeah it's really cool being with Elder Gamez. He does speak fluent English but I get to listen to how he would word everything. The Cleveland area has been around for a little more than a year so it is still pretty new. It's really hard finding our way around and we have to stress a lot about saving miles. The guy who was here before me was Elder Thomas who just went to Orange as an English ZL. I knew him when he was in Broadway.
Yeah it is a pretty neat town. I miss my old area a lot but at least there are more Hispanics than I thought there would be. I wouldn't say that people are friendlier here. It's about the same. Hispanics are super giving people.
Right now we are teaching this lady named Andrea who is super cool. She lives in a really humble home out in the middle of the sticks. I think she will progress super well. There is also this really cool guy named Michael who is cool.
I really like learning about family history. It's always cool to be contacting someone and they say that they know about our church through family history. It hasn't happened too often but it's happened.
Cleveland is SO different from Broadway. I have to admit it has been a little rough adjusting and I could really use some prayers. I think that I am going to like this place a lot though. It will just take some getting used to. It's a complete change of setting and I'm away from a lot of the friends that I have made. I'll make a lot of new friends though so we'll be okay. The weather is a little cooler but you can feel the humidity a lot more because there are more trees.
It's so true about the rock and the church. We don't realize how a lot of things are while living in Utah. Here it is super different. Houston is one of the biggest places for things like porn and things like that. It's been crazy to see how much of an effect it really does have on someone's life. What we do really does matter and we may not realize it until it is too late.
I haven't had to play the piano in a sacrament meeting but I have during a baptismal service and District Meeting. My area is full of a lot of Caucasian people which is something different from what I'm used to. Before it was super common to walk into Wal-Mart or something like that and hear Spanish. Yeah before I was serving in wards but now I'm in a branch. That's a bit of a change for me too. There are a lot of really good people here though and I already think they're great.
Yeah we still go to the temple every couple of months. I really look forward to going. I can't wait to go with you guys to the temple. I want to go a lot.
Love you so much!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I am with Elder Gamez and we are getting along really well. He was raised in the US in Washington, DC; I think, but his family is from Guatemala. I'm excited that I get someone who speaks Spanish fluently. He's a great guy and Elder Ek was companions with him for a while before he trained me. It's going to be a fun transfer. We are in a car the whole time because Elder Gamez has cerebral palsy and can't get around too well.
We had a lot of fun in Denver Harbor and I was sad that it had to come to an end but it is all for the best. Right now Elder Woodruff is in Baytown.
For us usually we go up to people and start talking about them. We ask them what they like to do and if they have a family. Then we could ask them if they are going to church and what are their views on religion. Then we tell them why we are there and invite them. That's really what it all comes down to is just inviting others to act.
I ate a HUGE potato stuffed with a lot of meat and barbecue sauce. Cool, huh?
Here are some pictures from my last ward. The first one is of us and a family who are super cool and then the second one is us and a Hermano who is a returned missionary and is pretty much our bro.
Monday, August 18, 2014
That's really neat about receiving revelation. I've found that it is hard to listen to the spirit if you haven't been doing it all ready. A lot of things in this world distract us and unless we are always trying to pay attention then it's really hard to hear it. It's also really neat how we are always in a calling for some reason. As missionaries we are always in an area for some reason.
I'm 99.99% sure that I am going to be released on August 4th. What will happen is that I'll go to Transfer meeting on Tuesday and then spend the day in the mission home and sleep in the AP's apartment. Then I'll wake up, go to the temple, and fly home on Wednesday. I'll be flying home with a bunch of people I know so that will be cool. If Harrison wants to wait that's fine! I'd love to see him before he goes. It's his decision definitely.
Yeah August is going to be the hottest month. It says 90s but because of the humidity it's like 100. Texas is FLAT. There are absolutely no hills or anything. The most that we have is a tiny hill in our area. It's cool though because you have a great view of downtown, amazing sunsets, and it's not too hard biking.
I had a lot of really cool moments. A lot of it was just looking back and seeing how far that I've come and looking to the future and seeing how much further I have to go. Hey that reminds me... I'm hitting my year mark this week! Man that is so crazy. A year ago I was with y'all getting ready to leave to Mexico City and now I'm here in Houston Texas serving as a missionary. I feel like I knew nothing back then and now I have had my eyes opened in a way.
Well I'm going to ask you what advice would you give me now that I've got only a year left. When I left you told me to "just have fun with it" and that was the best advice ever. Just so you know I've had a really good time and I've learned a lot. I'm becoming a better person though definitely not there yet. Lately I've been focusing a lot on living in the moment and working as hard as I can with the time that I have. I still feel pretty inexperienced I think that I'll always feel like that.
I love looking at the stars. We don't really get to see them because of all of the light pollution from the city but it's okay. Mole is the best but just so you know there is no option. You have to eat it with the tortilla! Rarely do I eat a dinner without a tortilla in hand. I think that I've eaten more meals with a tortilla than a fork.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Monday, August 4, 2014
The mission is going really well. I'm having a really good time with Elder Woodruff and I'm learning a whole lot. I can't believe how fast time has been going by. Lately everything has pretty much been the same. A couple of days ago it hit hundreds which was SOOOO HOT but we made it to Tuesday which rained all day.
Thanks so much for fasting for us this week! That's great that you guys made a family mission plan! We've been working a lot with the ward trying to help them to create their own and they finished it about a month ago. It's really important to plan what you are going to do to be a better missionary. Planning is tough sometimes but so worth it. This week I'll be looking for specific blessings that came from y'all's fast!
I've really seen a huge difference between those who magnify their callings and those who don't here. There are some people who just want to sit on the side lines and watch everyone do the work. Then there are others who are actively trying to help. I've also seen a lot of people try and blame other people for the things that happen and I've come to know that it just doesn't do any good.
That's awesome that your friend got sealed in the temple this last week! I bet that you are super happy for him. It's really tough to see marriages end but I'm so happy that he's been able to get married again! Something interesting that our stake president said is that those who end up going less active usually do not have all of the saving ordinances done. I've learned a lot about how important the temple really is.
This week we had a really neat experience. We met with President Drake on Tuesday for interviews and during that time we were able to learn a lot about attitude. The APs passed out a talk that they wanted us to read that is called "every missionary can baptize" which talks a lot about how attitude makes a difference. It said that a lot of times we as missionaries create doubts that make it impossible for us to act with faith. It used the example of walking into a home and see the husband of a family light a cigarette and then subconsciously begins to doubt that he will want to give up smoking. It's true that a lot of times things like that happen. It's our job to get rid of those doubts and one of the ways we can do that is to have visual reminders of miracles that have happened in the past. We are all going to be making a miracle board and posting it up in our room so that we all can remember the miracles that have already happened in our missions. For me I think that one of my favorite miracles is being able to baptize Cesar and then watching him baptize his dad. I also found out from Elder Ek that Cesar is starting to attend mission prep too and it makes me really happy to know that he is doing well.
I haven't gained too much weight on my mission if any but I would like to have a little bit more energy and feel healthier. In all honesty I don't think there is any specific food that you could send me. Mostly I just miss your cooking but that's okay. Here we eat a lot of meat and things that probably aren't the greatest for us. We eat tortillas at every meal which I'm fine with but it's not so healthy. I've decided on my favorite food out her by the way. My favorite food is called Mole. It's pretty much a chicken leg with this amazing chocolate sauce. It doesn't sound that great when I explain it like that but it is super good. If you ever go to a Mexican restaurant you guys should see if they have some it's awesome.
Monday, July 28, 2014
I'd like to do a better job at listening and testifying with the spirit. A lot of times we can be in a lesson and I come out wondering if they even felt the spirit. There are SO MANY other churches who go around doing the same thing that we are doing. I've seen TONS of Jehovah's witnesses and I feel like a lot of the time we are mistaken as them. The sad thing is that people see so many churches and they all think that all of them must be true. It's pretty difficult but we keep going. It really makes us appreciative of the spirit. It's really interesting how important the temple is. There is a branch here that was made into a ward because the branch presidency made a goal to focus on getting everyone to the temple.
I don't know if I'll ever get used to the humidity but I think that I'm at least adapting. This last week was really hot and we've heard that it is only going to get worse. It was a really fun week though and we spent a good part of it walking just because.
Yeah there were a lot of times this week when we walked back into our house at the end of the day just drenched in sweat. We don't feel too bad though because that's the way that everyone is. There's just a point where you don't really care anymore and as long as you don't smell too bad you'll be fine.
Right now we are teaching a couple of people but we're focusing a lot on finding right now. We've had to drop a lot of people because they weren't really progressing but that's part of life. As far as less actives go we are having a bit of success. We had this family all of the sudden stop going for a couple of weeks and then start going again so that was really good.
I really think that being grateful is super important. Sometimes we can't change our circumstances so we just have to make the best of them.
Yeah I'm super happy that I'm with Elder Woodruff again. We're having a really great time and every day is a blast. I think what is going to happen next is that I'll leave and he'll train here and there is a possibility that I will too. We'll see what happens.
Yeah I can't believe that it's already been a year. It's going by so fast and it's kind of funny that I'll be spending my year mark with Elder Woodruff. We both can't believe how fast time has gone by. Really makes me want to slow everything down a bit and focus on what matters most.
Monday, July 21, 2014
So we found out that both of us are staying together another transfer. I'm really excited about that. It's going to be a lot of fun! A couple people that I know are getting moved but Spanish missionaries pretty much always stay in the same place. The most Spanish missionaries are around Broadway in Houston. We also have a couple up in Kingwood but I would say that the next biggest place for Spanish is in Pasadena TX which is right around the corner. We do have some missionaries that cover a lot of area in the country though. We have one companionship in Cleveland and another in Beaumont who cover all of Louisiana.
I really like that section of the talk that you sent to me! I have definitely found how important it is to have a deep relationship with the savior. I have learned a lot on my mission so far. The most important thing is how important it is to come to know for yourself and to find your drive to doing things. I've heard a lot of stories of missionaries who have gone out on their missions just because their parents wanted them too. It's weird but sometimes there can be a lot of drama both with missionaries and with members of the church. Here a lot of the problems that people have come from gossip. When I left on my mission, the stake president blessed me with the gift of charity. That is something that I'm trying really hard to get and implement. It's really easy for people to judge from just what they see on the outside. What I've come to see is how special people and for only one reason. Because they are children of our Heavenly Father.
As far as who's life have I blessed I like to think that I'm blessing everyone's life. We only have a few moments sometimes to talk to people and we have to bless their lives in a very short amount of time. No matter what I do I want to help anyone and everyone. I'm also learning how to have fun with things. How to not worry about things that will take care of themselves. To be diligent. How to get along with different personalities. It's all a really great experience and even though I'm here to change the lives of others I feel like Heavenly Father is changing me. As far as stories go we had a really cool experience with service. We went to go try someone and after they told us that they couldn't talk we started walking back. Their neighbor was cutting down a huge tree and they only had about 3 people helping clear everything away. Elder Woodruff and I offered to help and we spent the last little while helping them in our white shirts and ties. It was really good Spanish practice and it's cool because I had contacted them a couple of months ago and they weren't interested. Now we're going to go over there for dinner and we're super excited to see what happens. Love, Elder Ressler
Monday, July 14, 2014
This week was really good! It was a little different because we decided to help blitz the hermanas' area in Galena Park and then we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. It was fun but just different. There is a possibility that this could be my last week with Elder Woodruff and that makes me really sad but the cool thing is that even if it is I'll still see him around. This week as far as stories go I don't have too much when we were blitzing the hermanas' area we got caught in this crazy rainstorm. It went from clear skies to pouring rain in minutes. Elder Woodruff was laughing because I kept on saying "oh this is going to pass over in like 2 minutes" then it rained for about an hour. I wasn't too surprised though because that's really how Texas is.
Weird because right now there are more hermanas than Spanish speaking Elders. We are pretty much a dying bred. I am really hoping that we can get some new Elders in here so we can have a change of people.
We usually get fed at a member's house every day so yeah we eat a lot. It's really hard to lose weight here because of all the food we eat. I really need to cut down but I feel like I'm in better shape than when I left. Usually I eat a peanut butter sandwich or two for lunch. We try a lot of different things on the mission.
It's a little bit tough sometimes to take pictures but I'm definitely getting better at it. Elder Woodruff and I have been taking a lot of pictures this transfer and it's been really cool.
I actually really like the humidity but sometimes it takes some getting used to. Over here it rains a lot. I remember the first day that I got to the mission it started to rain a lot and I was a little shocked about how much. I asked Elder Ek what we usually do when it rains and he told me that I should grab a jacket and we were going . At first I had no idea that we worked even when it pours. For the first little while I really didn't like the rain. It was hard especially in the winter but in the summer it is super nice because it helps us to cool off.
This week Elder Woodruff and I found a scripture that we liked a lot. It is D & C 25:10. It talks about laying aside the things of this world and seek for something better. A lot of the people out here are so focused on things of this world. It's hard sometimes to not do the same. We've got to learn that we are just passing through this life.
I feel as missionaries we sometimes start to slack off in our relationship with God and then we wonder why things get hard. A lot of the times it is because we are beginning to rely a lot more on ourselves than on God.
We get our packages delivered to the door and usually we are out working when they come so we just have to leave them there until we come back at night. We haven't had too much of a problem with fire ants but last package that Elder Woodruff got there were a few but we took care of it and were able to save the stuff inside. It's not too bad. The cockroaches aren't terrible. Usually we find them somewhere dead so it's pretty nice.
As missionaries you really get used to doing stuff every day. I've had to walk for a couple of weeks at a time on my mission and after a while I got used to it. I remember being way behind Elder Ek when I was being trained but then after a while I got used to riding a lot and I turned out fine.
Yeah I really can't believe how fast time has flown by either! I believe that I would have done just as well if I had gone out at 19 because here you just learn so much and it doesn't matter how old you are. Everyone here grows at their own pace. Advice for Harrison? Just be yourself. Before I left Dad told me to just go and have fun with it and that's what it is. Obviously read your scriptures and say your prayers but God calls us to places because of the person that we are and who he wants us to become. The most important thing is to just be the best you that you can be.
Monday, July 7, 2014
This fourth of July we didn't do a whole lot. We had a ward party in the morning and the entire time people were talking about the world cup. Have you guys been watching it at all? It's not so big for us Utahans but it's huge in the Latino culture. Everyone was super bummed when Mexico lost. It was really interesting. We saw a couple fireworks but it rained a little so there weren't a ton. Kind of hard to believe right? We all had to be inside at 8 anyways but before that we had some time to work. Plus everyone here is Mexican so they aren't too huge into the fourth :)
Here is an entirely different world than Utah. There are good things about it and bad things. Something that I've noticed here is how many problems people have. I feel like everyone here is going through a hard time. It's sad but we really do see how the choices we make have an effect on us.
Yeah it's my companions birthday He's not too big into celebrating a whole lot so he didn't want me to say anything but people found out anyways. It's pretty much just a regular day. I'll go and buy him something at the store probably but for the most part he wants it to be a pretty normal day. I'm kind of the same way too so it's kind of interesting. The one thing that he really wants is a nap so we are probably going to crash in the chapel during Pday.
I really can't believe how fast this year has gone. It's hard to believe. I'm trying to slow things down but it's really hard. Everything just mushes together and it's hard to really step back. We're trying hard to though and it has helped a little.
It is still pretty crazy in our house right now. We have gotten rid of most of the old stuff. Now we have bunk beds and I'm on the top bunk! It's like going back to my childhood. Besides that it looks like a regular apartment. Before it was trashed because it's been a missionary apartment for so long and the last couple of guys hadn't cleaned up very much. Now we call it "the crib". We did get another AC unit in our house (which we installed) and so it's pretty cool. It still does get really hot though. Before we'd wake up super hot but now it's super nice.
I remember you telling me about that story before. I really like that and I will make sure to remember it. I remember when I was back home one of my favorite movies was The Bucket List. At the beginning Morgan Freeman talks about how to measure a life. He then says his theory that he believes a life is measured by those he leaves behind. At the end of someone's mission most people won't remember you. So what am I going to do to be one of those people who makes an impression on someone else. I could be known as the apostate missionary, or the lazy missionary. I would rather be known as someone who listened and was kind to everyone. A missionary who has now left once told me that the mission will change you into the person you want to be. You just have to let it.
Right now in our ward we have two sets of hermanas. Hermanas Munoz and Seumanu in Galena Park. Then we have Morales and Walsh in Jacinto City. Hermana Munoz was a visa waiter who was supposed to go to a mission in Brazil but then she ended up staying here and becoming a Spanish missionary. I think she's from Nicaragua but she grew up in Houston. Hermana Seumanu is a really good friend of mine. She lived in Kerns UT but her family is from Samoa. Hermana Morales is from Peru but lived in Provo most of her life. Hermana Walsh grew up in Idaho and California. They are great hermanas! As for the ward our best friends are the Vargas family and Obispo. The son in the Vargas family is pretty much our bro. He served a mission about fifteen years ago in Las Vegas. He sort of speaks English but not to us. He REALLY likes transformers.
It's interesting to see how different people speak. People from South America have a very different accent from the Mexicanos.
President Drake is from St. George Utah. He used to be a coach for a whole bunch of different sports and then he went to be a business man. It's a different feel but it's a really good feel. I like him a ton.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Yeah it's a lot of fun being with Elder Woodruff. There is never a boring moment here. We were talking about it yesterday how usually it takes a week to two weeks to adjust to a new companion but for us it took only a day or two. It's very interesting how some people get along with others. I've gotten along really great with all of my companions and have had a great time. One of the Elders who came out with me didn't get along with his dad but now they are really good friends. Kind of funny how that works. Something that I've really tried to take to heart was what you said to me a couple times before I left, "just have fun with it". When I first came out I was a little bit too worried about things but Elder Ek was so chill and still hardworking that it rubbed off on me. It's really funny how the family line works. A lot of the qualities that the trainers have rub off on their kids. For me I have the chill posterity. Hard working but don't worry about things that are out of our control. I've noticed how much I've changed on the mission and it's really exciting. When I get home I'm going to be so different I won't know what to do with myself.
I know that it is really hard for missionaries to make the transition sometimes when they return home. It's because people get so used to standing out as a missionary that it's hard for you to change into a normal person. I think that I'll be good though but we will see how it goes.
Yeah it's pretty tough in Utah especially in American Fork. Every one is a member! A lot of the work that needs to be done is helping to strengthen those who are members. I don't know how long I'll stay in Utah after my mission. It's a great place but I've gotten used to having only a few members around me.
I really do feel super blessed. Elder Woodruff and I say it all of the time how we are super blessed to have such great families and so many opportunities. I feel Heavenly Father's presence in my life every day and I love being here! I'm still working on being guided by the Holy Ghost. Sometimes it is a little hard to trust that God will guide you. It's just a matter of giving ourselves to him.
This week was crazy! We got all new furniture in our super old house and so we took a lot of time to figure everything out. It was really crazy but now everything looks really nice. I will be meeting my new mission president on Wednesday. His name is president Drake and we are super excited! We'll see how it is because I wonder if he will change a whole lot.
Yep we are riding bikes a lot now and I'm a little bit tired from it. It's too hot for the dogs to come out and chase us most of the time but every once and a while they do.
That's great that you all are working on being member missionaries. Being a missionary really helps you to know what kind of member you want to be after the mission. Kind of funny huh?
Yeah it is really interesting how everything works with less actives. First they stop doing some things like praying or reading scriptures and then that gives Satan the opportunity to go and attack their testimonies.
Guess what?! I have pictures! Some are of the Houston Temple and others are with some other missionaries.
Monday, June 23, 2014
So the reason why this was such an incredible week was because we had the opportunity to go and visit the temple on a surprise trip. I guess that it wasn't really a surprise I just didn't realize how fast time has gone by. Anyways so we got to spend a while with the temple president and it was absolutely amazing. He explained some things to me that I had never really noticed. Something that really helped me to understand is to not view it as a history but as something that applies to me. We talked a lot about the roles that we see and how we are some of them. It was also really cool because we got to understand more about the initiatory process and the difference there is between the men's and the women's. I left feeling spiritually recharged. It was the best temple visit I've had yet.
This week was awesome! We had four investigators come to church and one less active was reactivated!
Attributes of Christ? I haven't been able to see the video yet but I will try to see it sometime. The things that it says in Preach My Gospel is awesome stuff. It makes for a really good personal study. There is an activity in there that is to define the attribute and then look for scriptures and make a plan on how to get that attribute.
It's kind of funny because being a missionary helps me to realize what kind of member that I want to be. There are those members who are just along for the ride. Then there are those who are doing everything they can to be involved. In Utah it's kind of different because we feel that everyone is a member. There are actually a good amount of people who aren't and who have maybe fallen away. I think that the best thing that we can do is to be a real friend to our neighbors and those we meet. That's real missionary work. Right now we are teaching an amazing family. We tracked into them and at first the mom said they weren't interested but then we let her know that we were new and wanted to meet our neighbors. They invited us back and now they are progressing really well. At first they seemed skeptical but then they opened up and told us that they had recently had a son pass away. They are great people and I'll let you know what happens.
It's true how God sees us differently than others do. Here in the world we are all about comparison. I think that that is one of the greatest tools that Satan uses. It's true that we don't even know the potential that each person has.
I had to speak in church about 3 weeks ago and it was really crazy. I was a little bit nervous but I was able to speak for 15 minutes or so and it went great.
I just learned how to make papooses! I'll have to practice it. There is a family here who are crazy about cooking and Hermana lets us help sometimes. I'm super excited to learn more. I've got to talk to some more people about cooking but I'll get on it.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Sounds like yall have gotten the garden going again! That's awesome! I really liked getting all of the fresh food but weeding never was my favorite chore. It taught me a lot though.
So this week I did get my new companion. And his name is............Elder Woodruff! Yep we are back together again. Kind of crazy huh? It's a lot of fun and we are getting along really well. It's a little crazy taking over the area but it's been a lot of fun. Elder Long had his appointment with the doctor and they said that he strained his ACL and bruised his knee pretty bad but he is going to be all right. He'll be staying with the ZLs as a trio then he'll probably get a new companion next transfer. We were super worried because everything was set up that he'd go home.
You guys definitely should go on bike rides! I really want to get in to biking when I get home from my mission.
I figure that the mission prepares you for the rest of your life which includes becoming a father. You learn how to teach people and it's all really interesting.
Me and my new/old companion Elder Woodruff were talking a lot about how it's cool that we're able to understand a lot of the things that people say. We can listen and most of the time it just comes. Kind of cool and it's even hard to explain. Learning a language is super interesting. The Book of Mormon really is the best tool to learn Spanish. There is a counselor in the stake presidency who actually learned Spanish just by reading it. It's really good because there are a lot of people who don't speak English here. It's kind of interesting the different kinds of Spanish too. There is a Peruvian elder here and the way he talks is a little different from the Mexicans. Mexicans are usually pretty sloppy and people from El Salvador slur everything. For the most part though it is all Spanish. It's kind of cool here because we get it all and we use words from all kinds of places. There is even one elder here who served with another missionary from Spain and so now he talks like a Spaniard/Honduran. It's pretty crazy.
The mission goes by SO FAST it's ridiculous. For example, I feel like I was just barely with Elder Woodruff and now I'm with him again! I feel brand new almost but now I'm getting close to my year mark and I've heard after that it's even faster!
That really is true that none of us are safe until we are safely dead. Kind of crazy to think about but it is true. It's interesting because here we see a lot of weird things. First they go back to some old habits and then their spirituality falls and their life goes downhill. Elder Woodruff and I had a conversation last night about how we've really seen how Satan works on everyone. I think the mission helps you realize that so you can stay strong the rest of your life.
I love you guys so much and I really love being out here. It is a lot of fun and we are having a ton of new experiences and I'm doing all right.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Experiences this week? Well it was pretty average but we had some really great times. We are teaching this new guy. He ran up to us a week ago or so saying that he wants a Bible and he needs a church. He's awesome we are just trying to get him to church because he works all of the time. As far as transfers go, I'm staying here and Elder Jensen got called as a district leader and Elder Ek a zone leader. We're just waiting to see what happens with Elder Long.
Yeah the talent show was really great! We've been having a pretty good turnout as far as church attendance goes so we're pretty happy! We've still got a lot of work to do though. I really love this area and I'm so happy that I get to be here for another transfer! Turns out that Elder Long is leaving but we're kind of freaking out a lot because the ZLs told him that he'll stay with them for a little while which is weird because everything is set up for him to leave. His doctor's appointment is on Wednesday. Could yall pray for him?
Man that's awesome that Jacob's able to find all of the people that he knows. I bet it's really cool to be with all of them after their missions. I don't know if I told you but Zac got his call. He's going to St Louis Missouri mission. I was really excited when he emailed me. This mission has been the greatest experience of my life. I really wish that everyone could have this chance to serve. I bet meeting up with everyone after they've served is going to be cool.
Oh hey I almost forgot Dad..... Happy Father's Day!!!!!! I hope you know what a difference you've made in my life. You are the best dad ever and probably my best friend too. I really hope you know how awesome you are.
I love you!
Monday, June 2, 2014
It's super hard to see a missionary get sick. Both times when Elder Long hurt himself the first thing that he told me was that he doesn't want to go home. We'll see what happens but I think that he'll be able to stay. We'll probably end up going to the doctor again this week to get an MRI and then we'll know for sure. I'll keep you posted. By the way Elder Strong officially got here on Wednesday. I haven't been able to see him or talk with him but I know he's in West Lake Houston which is about an hour or two away from me.
Padre me encanta hablando Espanol! Aqui dicen que Espanol es el idioma celestial! Estoy emocionado a placticar contigo despues mi mission. Yo puedo ver en tus correos electronicos que todavia hablas bien Espanol. Algo que me ayuda a hablar mejor es escuchando un capitulo en El Libro De Mormon en Espanol y despues leyendo lo en voz alto. Algo bien chido de aprendiendo espanol otra vez es que El Espiritu Santo va a ayudarte. El va a traer todos de estas cosas a ti otra vez.
I have a fishing analogy for missionary work if you want to hear it. "Missionary work is like fishing. When you find out that something isn't working then you try something new. If knocking doors seems repetitive, then try a different kind of bait. If the fish aren't biting in one area, then try a different part of the pond". I told that to Elder Jensen and Elder Long and they both thought it was ridiculous but it is so true! :)
Wow that's awesome that Harry is at Timberline! He's going to have so much fun. I really loved doing Timberline and I know he will have a great year. What's really cool is that the things they talk about really do work. We use a lot of it in the mission and it really helps us to deal with people.
I really do know that this church is true. It just makes sense. Serving out here has been one of the best experiences of my life. It hasn't all been fun and games but I'm learning to have fun even when times get rough. During the party on Saturday we were really worried that not a whole lot of people would show up. It was already time to start and we had about two tables with people on it. My companion and I were really worried and then I felt the Holy Ghost tell me, "don't look at the tables that are empty look at the ones that are full". Then right after I changed my attitude and right before we were about to start we had tons of people show up. It was a really cool lesson for me to learn to be more optimistic about situations that may look bleak.
What tradition do I miss the most? I think just playing games with everyone on Sunday. Either that or my afternoon naps :)
How has geneology been going lately. We've been being pushed by President Crawford to use geneology more on our finding and he wants us all to have our pedigree charts with us.
As promised here are some pictures! I was able to take a lot because the missionaries got put in charge of a ward party and we did a culture night/talent show. I did the haka by myself in front of tons of people.
It's kind of cool how God guides us in life through the spirit. He's able to help us to know what to do when we don't have a clue what's going on. Out here on the mission, you really learn to be guided to know where to go and what to say. One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Nephi 4:6. Elder Ek would always say that we were going 1 Nephi 4:6 when we weren't sure what was going to happen. Sometimes we just do our best and leave the rest to him.
Love you so much!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I hope that I can stay here for at least 2 transfers more. There are a lot of great people here and a lot of work that needs to be done. We're a little worried about the ward situation. I feel a little selfish for wanting to stay in an area so bad but this area is awesome. Hey by the way, Elder Strong should be coming back tomorrow so we'll see what happens there.
It is getting a lot hotter! Not humid yet but it's coming. It's been raining for the last little while and after that it will probably get really humid. I'm not too worried though. I'm sure that I'll get used to it. This week we'll make sure to drink a lot of water though it's a little different because we are in a car still.
This week was pretty crazy. Turns out me and Elder Long are heading over to Beaumont right after this to get his knee checked out. Yesterday he was playing basketball and he twisted wrong and we think he hyper extended it. I think that he'll be fine though. Another crazy thing is that I learned the haka! There is a culture night coming up for our ward and we're doing a talent show thing. We have an hermana in our district who's family is from Samoa and she had the idea that Elder Long and I (now just me) should do the haka. We had her and a couple other Polynesian missionaries teach me and it should turn out good.
I was talking to a relative of Sister Crawford a couple of days ago and he told me that when he was on his mission a general authority promised him that if he would say morning and evening prayers in German every day after his mission he would keep his language. He said it works.
I like Utah cold weather and Texas hot (so far). Texas in the winter was really cold though it didn't seem like it and there was no snow. I'm excited to see what the summer will be like here!
Sorry I don't have a whole lot of time but I hope you know that I love you!
Monday, May 12, 2014
I feel more confident in my Spanish and I can usually say what I need to say. Some days are better than others though. It's cool though because people ask you where you learned Spanish and you just tell them that we learn by talking to people on the street. They get really impressed. Of course we study it too but a lot is just practice.
Thank you so much for praying for my investigators and for the ward. I know that it really makes a difference. The people here are great but they struggle sometimes.
We went on exchanges with one of the APs and he really taught us to help people see the benefit for them. Asking them what they really want in life. Then helping them see how the gospel can help them get it. Pretty cool.
Yeah chile really is great! And what's really funny is that members keep on giving us different kinds of chile all of the time. Last week I think that we got three different kinds and they were all great!
I really love this one scripture in D&C 6. I think that it is somewhere in the thirties. It says, "Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not". I'm really trying to apply it to my life.
Don't forget to hoe to the end of the row! (Advice to his siblings on finishing up the school year)
I love you guys so much. I'm learning so much here on my mission. I really do learn something new every day.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Here it has been super hot too! I love it though. Right now it is perfect temperature. It will probably get really hot really soon though. I'll let you know.
There is a saying here that if you eat more chilies then you can speak Spanish better. I'm going to try and eat all that I can :)
Elder Long is doing fine. He got his cast off this week and now he just has to use a boot. We'll be stuck in the car for a little while longer but that'll be all right. We're still able to do missionary work but it's not as fun. Being on a bike you are always moving and you can just stop and talk to people off the street. I like biking a lot more because in the car you feel really lazy. You do get to places faster though.
Yep today is el Cinco de Mayo! I know that this is kind of hard to believe but not a whole lot of people are celebrating it really. It's funny because the majority of the people here are Hispanic but most of them don't see it as a big deal. I'll let you know if anything crazy happens.
Wow I can't believe that Jacob is home. And he's probably taller than me too. Wow that is going to be crazy. That's cool that he was able to take some time and just talk about his mission. Really it is impossible to fully explain everything. It really is just something that you have to live.
The work is going great in our area. The ward... is struggling. It is a big ward but many people have been offended or just plain decide not to come. On average only about 60 people come out of 348. A week ago we had ward conference and the Stake President told us that if we don't start trying to get everyone back to church the ward is not going to survive. We are trying to do our best to get people coming but there is so much that needs to happen. The Bishop here sure is the man for the job though. He's organizing everything so that the members visit all of the less actives. My companion and I are trying to help as best we can. As missionary work goes though we are doing great. It's really true there are tons of people just waiting for us. The ward helps us by just coming out with us and giving us referrals. That is really what needs to be done. Just helping out by being an example and befriending nonmembers.
I've been great! It's awesome because I feel awesome all of the time. It gets hard sometimes because of the choices some people make but you feel really satisfied on a mission.
I love you!
Monday, April 28, 2014
We had something interesting happen yesterday. We weren't able to set up an appointment for President Crawford and we had a no show for church. We went over to their house that night to see what was up. We asked them if anything was up and they told us that they were just busy. The mom seemed a little bit on edge though and we began to walk out after talking with them and she stopped us asking if we could say a prayer. Elder Long commented to me that a lot of people really feel the spirit when we are in there with them and that they miss it when we leave.
We didn't have any investigators come to church this week but we did have a less active member who was sick from cancer come. We also were asked to sing in the choir this week so that was a little bit scary. It was all right though we made it.
Yeah I have definitely found that we go through trials when spiritual experiences are about to occur or have just happened. President Crawford always tells us to ask the question, "Okay Heavenly Father what do want me to learn? What are you trying to tell me?" I've found that it helps a lot.
Yeah are you ready for Jacob to come home? I remember when he left. At first it feels like it was just yesterday but then I think about all of the things that I've done in between that time and I realize it really has been two years. It's weird because time goes by really fast here. There is a saying that a day feels like a week and a week feels like a day. It's really like that. Looking back I feel like I've been on my mission for about 5 or 6 months. I've actually been out for about 9. Kind of weird.
I just realized that today is the last time that I will email Starszy Ressler! Crazy to think that his mission is just about over. I know over here at the end of our mission we stay overnight at the mission home, have a testimony meeting with president and listen to a song called homeward bound. Then we go to the temple and then off to the airport. It's really going to be weird when it's time for me to go. Jacob must be in shock right now. You really get into a missionary mode out here and it must be pretty weird to think of what will happen. I bet you all are really excited! I'm excited for him. It's one great phase of his life ending and another one beginning. You get to love so many people out here on your mission. There are a lot of families that are great friends to me. It's sad just to leave an area let alone a mission.
We actually just had ward conference over here and it was fantastic! Our ward has really been struggling and we've been trying to get everything going. It's just because a lot of people get offended. That's interesting to hear that some members of the church are wanting the brethren to get with the times. I think that is pretty stupid. The last days are coming and they want to be with the world?
I feel like you get to a point that you don't get nervous doing something. For me it's lessons. Missionary work just comes naturally once you reach a certain point. It's kind of cool.
Yeah it's really hot today but lately it hasn't been too bad. I've heard from a lot of people how hot it gets and I'm really excited. It's going to be nuts though because our house doesn't have AC. It has really old coolers but that's it. I'll probably be here for a good part of the summer too. I bet I'm going to lose a lot of weight just from sweating it all out.
Thanks I love that star wars shirt. I've gotten a lot of compliments from it. That salsa was so hot! It really wrecked me yesterday when we had some leftovers. What kind of food are we eating? Been eating a lot of tamales, beans, rice, chicken, and tortillas. At home I've eaten a lot of spam and I've been getting into pineapple a lot. I know it's kind of weird but when I was with Elder Ek he got a fresh pineapple because it was so cheap and I tried a little and loved it. Now I get it every so often.
Answers to questions asked by his sister:
1. We NEVER get to sleep in. I really want to sometimes that is when I just need to get up and start thinking about other things. You do get to take naps during lunch time though. Usually for about 20 minutes to a half an hour. It keeps you going.
2. Some missionaries have to give tons of talks on a mission. So far I haven't. Elder Ek my trainer just barely gave his first talk and he's been out for almost 18 months. I have had to teach primary and gospel principles a couple of times though. Primary was tough because I had to explain it to little kids. They were really good for me though.
3. Wow that is really hard to choose a favorite dish. I really like papooses but I also love something called chile rellenos. They are usually bell peppers stuffed with meat or cheese. They are really hard to make and SUPER good. I like everything I eat though. Even menudo isn't too bad. It's pretty much soup with a lot of fat in it. The texture is really tough to get down and if you eat too much it is really hard to swallow the last bit.
Love you so much!
Monday, April 21, 2014
This Easter we did a mission fast and then after church and the baptism we went to the Obispo's house and ate some really good food. The day before we had a ward party in the park and they had a salsa competition. The Obispo said he was going to make salsa especially hot for the missionaries. He put in 2 tomatoes, 8 habaneras, and 8 jalapenos! It was super hot and we got a jar of it for home.
Me and a couple other missionaries decided to eat two spoonfuls plain and my mouth was on fire! I made fun of my companion a little because he was sweating from it hard core and one of the sisters shed a tear from it. It was really spicy but I took it pretty well.
Yeah we pretty much have to stay in the car for a while. Elder Long tore all of the tendons on the side of his foot and so he has a cast and a boot. It's been a little rough because I pretty much have to do everything but it's okay. My guess is that I'll stay here and he'll leave at transfers. Good thing too because I really miss the bike. Yeah you really just get used to riding a bike all day. After a while it's not that big of a deal. We drive a Toyota corolla just so you know.
Right now we are still teaching a family and they are doing well but we had to move their date back. I'm also kind of nervous because President texted us and said that he wanted to come with us to a lesson with them. He does it a lot but I've never had it happen yet. Wish me luck!
I did get to baptize someone this week though. It wasn't our baptism it was a little girl that the sister missionaries were teaching. It was really cool and I was grateful for the opportunity.
That's great that you guys are keeping up with the tradition and still doing Easter baskets. I always loved doing that. Thank you so much for the package that you guys sent me! I loved getting it. It made me super happy :)
Yeah it's kind of crazy to think that I've been out for so long. It's crazy to think too that Jacob will be coming home in a week or so. I'm excited to be able to talk to yall and him over the phone on Mother's Day. It's been really neat emailing him about mission stories and things that are going on. Yeah I think that you are always tired on a mission. I think that only when you go home are you really rested. A lot of the time I fall asleep and then it feels like seconds later I hear the alarm go off.
I always say that the most important person to make laugh is yourself. Especially when times get a little tough you just have to learn to laugh.
6:30 wake up and start exercising (pushups and stuff)
7:00 get showered and eat breakfast
8:00 study by myself for investigators
9:00 study with companion
10:00 language study
11:00 eat lunch
12:00 start seeing people
around 6 we have dinner with a member
9:00 we come back and plan for next day
10:30 we go to bed
Yeah next week is transfers and here is my prediction... Elder Long goes ZL (which means straight car area) and I stay here and take over the area. We are all pretty sure that that will happen. Good thing too because there is a lot of work that I want to do here. The ward struggles and I really want to reactivate some youth while I am here.
I went on exchanges twice last week with an Elder who goes home the same time that Jacob does. He said that it is really hard to stay focused.
God really does take care of us if we trust in him. When we try and do it our own way we fail but when we follow Christ we are going to be okay. There is a really good mormon.org video about a drummer from neon trees. She says that before she had the impression that God wanted life to be hard and that's why she chose not to follow him at first. I think a lot of people think of it like that.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Wow I forgot that yesterday was Palm Sunday! I'm going to try and start studying that too now. It's kind of different with my studies because President Crawford started something new called investigator study which takes the place of personal study. Instead of doing a mission reading in that time we focus 100 percent of our time on our investigators. It's kind of hard because I love deep doctrine and am a little selfish with my studies but I just got to let that go. It ain't about me you know?
I love Hispanics so much and now that I actually understand what they are saying it makes me really want to get to know them. Dad you got to freshen up on your Spanish because you and I are going to be talking a lot! :)
That's awesome that Grandma and Grandpa Ressler are getting that close to their 50th anniversary! I really miss them and I loved spending that time with them. I hope that we can go there sometime after we are all back from our missions.
So on a little update, my companion hurt his ankle this week playing soccer with some investigators that we were trying to befriend. He's doing all right but we're driving around a lot (yeah it's just me behind the wheel, scary I know) but we're going to the doctor tomorrow and we'll see what's up. I think it's just dislocated.
We don't know how much good we do. We really make an impact on the people that we meet and we probably don't even realize it. We just need to make sure that the impact we make is for the better.
Thank you so much for all of your love and support for me. I love you all so much.