I'm sorry I haven't been doing the best at keeping in touch with you all, but I've got some time now finally to sit down and write something up for ya. These past 5 months I've been out in the mission field I've grown SO much. There is no greater thing I could be doing with my life. I've been fortunate enough to build many strong relationships with people out here and watch them completely change their lives around through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It definitely has been a challenge being out here. I don't get to see family or friends from back home. I don't get to watch my T.V. I'm putting my life on hold for these two years. But I'm serving people. In doing that I'm serving God as well. It may or may not be hard to understand, but this is shaping me into a better man, who is better equipped to be a father in the future. And just be a more responsible adult in general. We have what is called Transfers, and that just means every 6 weeks we have the potential to be moved to a different area, get a new companion, or just stay where you are with the same companion. A companion is basically my teaching partner. We are together 24/7 we literally can't leave sight and sound of each other, cept for things like going to the bathroom, and if we get special permission we go on 'exchanges' where we have a different companion for a day or so. Exchanges are usually with missionaries who are leaders in the mission and they help us grow and become better missionaries. Stepping out of my comfort zones out here has really forced me to grow and I'm loving it! I am making friends out here whom I will be friends with FOREVER. I'm a missionary from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When you see two guys in white shirts and ties and name tags on. That's me. I'm doing what they're doing. It's not easy, boy let me tell you haha. if you see them walking around or they come a knockin' on your door, let them in and hear what they have to say. The message we have to share is so precious. It has brought exceeding joy in my life and I am only just starting to understand just a little bit of what our Heavenly Father has in store for all of us. If you don't want to listen at least let them in and give them a drink of water or chat with 'em for a little bit. Crystals wedding is next month isn't it?!?! That's CRAZY. I wish I could be there. I miss you all and our silly family games. As much as I may have drudged playing some cards at times, they are precious memories that I will cherish forever. I wish the best for all of you and I want to hear how things are going for you! Please forward this on to all of our family on your side mom. Like ALLLLLL of them. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
P.S. The members of the Church here take pretty good care of us haha. That food was all free, some of it was homegrown corn, pork, goat's milk, bread, farm fresh eggs, etc. etc.
(2nd email to larger group)
Hi Family and Friends,
This week has been slow yet we have accomplished so much! Poor Elder Downey hasn't been feelin' super hot so we weren't able to go out and do much proselyting. We have been making a lot of progress with members in the wards we cover though! They have had some serious issues with missionaries in the past and they're starting to gain a lot of trust with us. They see that we are here to work hard and so that's pumping them up. plus Elder Downey is just the most fun, animated person in the world. He's been really good for this area. He and I are thinking in this upcoming transfer that I will more than likely stay here and he'll be transferred out. But, that's not for a few more weeks so it doesn't quite matter just yet. I really want to train a new missionary though, we'll see what happens.
There's just no experience like the missionary experience. The people that we meet, the things that we see (and maybe wish we hadn't), the miracles we witness. It's just awesome. I'm having so much fun leaving every comfort zone I've ever had and growing as a person. I don't think I've ever laughed this much in my entire life. Elder Downey and I fortunately have fairly similar personalities so that just makes everything so much easier.
We had three investigators at church yesterday that we have been trying to get there for TWO months. So that was a huge feat! They were all saying 'Yeah, I'll see you guys next week' to random people at Church and they could TOTALLY feel the Spirit there. They all 3 want to get baptized, but one of them is on probation till sometime in November or December so that makes that hard. I may not be here for that :( We have an investigator that is moving and he's is utterly in love with us. okay not that bad, but for someone who was a gangbanger. He's got a serious connection with us. But like I said he is moving out of our area, and he like realllllly wants us to keep teaching him. We think we might be able to work that out, but it'll be interesting to see what happens. He has had a really rough past, and has been working HARD to change his life around. He's been reading out of the Book of Mormon quite regularly and he's about halfway through now. I love people so much though. I've yet to meet a single person whom is a bad person. I've met people who have murdered and few other bad things, yet they still are good people, whom have just made bad mistakes. They are all children of God, and he loves them no matter what. I've been trying to follow Christ's example and exercise patience and humility with those whom might seem 'odd' or 'not right in the head' or just plain people whom I don't necessarily agree with everything they do. The work is hard, but the field is white all ready to harvest. I don't know what the lord has in store for us this upcoming week, but I'm happy to be an instrument in his hands.
Here are some random pictures of boredom. I know.. They're lame.