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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 8, 2012

Hey everyone!
First question: Why can’t we write you at your apartment address?
I don’t know really. That's just the way things work. And because if I get transferred or something like that, and we don’t want to have our addresses out there and because we don’t ever really have time to check the mail....
Are you not supposed to get/read letters, except on p-day? 
No, we can read letters and all that stuff whenever. I personally, don’t read letters until p-day though.  If I get them at another time, or if I don’t have time on the p-day I get it... I wait. I just don’t have time to read letters or for that kind of distraction. It’s hard sometimes to have letters sitting around all week but it’s what I think will help me be the best missionary possible. Most other people read them other times. I don’t. No biggy.
Or is it some security or reliability of mail issue? 
See above. Kinda of both. 

Second question: Do you have a seat for your bike? 
Yes, I have a seat. No, we didn’t get a screw. We spend like 3 hours emailing on p-days so we never have time to go get one. I'm fairly proficient now biking all the time standing up, it just is hard to keep a constant pace. I won’t be getting one this week though because we are going golfing....

Third question: Did you get the water filter bottle from Cherie? 
Yes! I did. Thank you so much Aunt Cherie! I need to write her a letter to thank her but, sorry Cherie it will be a little while.

Fourth question (request): I want to know more about your teaching situation. You said your companion had never knocked on doors before. Is this standard, because you do more street contacting stuff, or because he is timid? I would love to know how often you talk to people and in what circumstances. On the street, tracting, in members’ homes, teaching appointments, referrals?
We don't really knock doors at all in this mission. It's just not effective. Two times I've been impressed to knock doors were awesome experiences but it’s just not worth the time when we could be talking to people out in the street.
Most of the time is spent in lessons with Austin (9 year old getting baptized this Saturday - more on him later), Juana, or now Antonia & Ramiro & Joel (more on them later too.)

Fifth question: What is church like? Do you have teaching responsibilities? Have they asked you to give a talk? Have you spoken in church? Who loves you there?
Church is good, but all in Spanish. It’s good practice but it’s also easy to get lost. I luckily don’t have any teaching responsibilities; there is a gospel principles teacher so I (we) are off the hook, for now. I haven’t had to speak in church or anything like that but I do have a set of talks ready to give (in Spanish) if I ever get called on.
Who loves me at church? Shoot I don’t know. Juana? But she’s not a member. Austin? But he's not either. Brother Kelly does I think. He's a Hawaiian who doesn’t speak any Spanish but goes to our ward because his wife is from Mexico. He's boss. He was in the Air Force and can dance a mean salsa and a meaner tango. I am thinking about asking him for a few tips to practice after I get home because everybody loves a tango, I mean mango.  I'm not too loved, urgh. But I've still got time to work on that.

Conference was boss. As I've gotten older the importance of talks has largely increased so I have been looking forward to conference for a while. I actually (2 weeks ago) started 'preparing' for conference and it was incredibly effective.  Almost every talk was about something that I had recently studied and not a single scripture reference (that I can recall) was one that I hadn’t read in the last 2 weeks. So I was pumped. I watched in English.  It freaking blew my mind when they changed the missionary age. [Now young men can go on missions when they are 18 years old and young women can go when they are 19 years old – previously the ages were 19 and 21 respectively.]  I always knew it would change, but I didn’t know it would be so soon.
Conference was awesome though. I liked all the talks and I couldn’t pick a favorite yet, I'll have to read them to be able to choose. But I liked it a lot. I hope that a lot of nonmembers watched it, or will watch it. There really is something for everyone in it. 
And if you disagree... ask the missionaries!

Sixth question: Do you speak English or Spanish in your apartment with your companions? English. I am constantly trying to speak more Spanish and get them to speak more Spanish too because I (we) need a lot of practice. It’s hard because when I'm the only one speaking Spanish it gets frustrating but usually when we are out and about we are speaking Spanish which is good.

Seventh question: When are transfers?  
Tomorrow!
How often are they?  
6 weeks
I imagine that you will still be with Elder Bennett but that Elder Bishop will go elsewhere.  Is that right? 
So right. Elder Bennett is getting "promoted" to District leader and I to "district monkey" so I get to have new responsibilities and all that now, which rocks. Elder Bishop is off to the east to be with an Elder Duncan? I think that's his name. He found out today and leaves tomorrow. Crazy life ehh?

Okay. I don’t know if I've talked about Austin before. He's a nine-year-old whirling dervish and not the kind from the Middle East. He's the kind that Coach Phil Weston was talking about. He's more of a Tasmanian devil. He has a tragic story. When he was still in his mom's belly she tried to do an abortion on herself by taking a lot of heroin. It didn't work and Austin suffered immensely for it. He has many disorders but he is still a sweet little boy. His prayers are always something like this, “Please bless mommy that she can be happy and daddy that he can find work and the missionaries that they can be safe. Please bless my sisters that they can grow big and strong. And please bless everyone in the world to be happy.” Adorbs.     
He was put up for adoption right after he was born and was adopted into a family. We are teaching him which is kinda of hard because of (just to name one of his issues) his ADD. He is always bouncing off the walls trying to show us magic tricks or have me draw him a dragon or something.

Antonia & Ramiro & Joel are an interesting story. Antonia just randomly showed up at church and we set up a lesson with her that night. When we went over we had a great lesson and the spirit was so strong and she was so open. As we were leaving I met one of her roommates Ramiro and invited him to meet with us the next day. He did. And before we even asked him, he started reading the Book of Mormon. We went back and had a great lesson with both of them. Then we set up a meeting for the next day and as we left I saw another roommate Joel, I invited him to meet with us the next day and he said yes. That day we taught all three of them and Joel had started reading the Book of Mormon before we asked him to. It was cool. Ramiro says he is going to bring another friend tonight, but we'll see.
I hate the word cool. It doesn’t mean anything. So for the story above, just choose your own adjective that properly describes that story to you. I'm sure I agree.

A couple notes about my life: 
I am like the healthy master. Not really. But I have never eaten this many fruits and vegetables in my life. I kind of have to to offset the fried chicken and beans I eat every night. The green smoothies are getting more and more exciting each time. Kale is the newest power-player to come to the healthy part.
I bought a comb. A comb. That's right that thing you put in your hair. I don’t think I've ever used one before, but now I do my hair each morning. Use a comb. I don't have a part like Elder Holland (yet) but I have one. Each morning I spend like 3 or 4 minutes doing my hair. Who'd have thunk that's something I'd do. This is the kid who took his drivers license picture with bedhead. My hair is kind of crunchy because of the gel, but I look kind of sharp, if I do say so myself.  For you Spanish speakers I use 'moco de gorila' silly name, strong stuff. It's pretty cool stuff. But yeah, I have a part in my hair each day. 
Sorry everyone! That's all the time I have. Write me a handwritten letter if you want to read more. 
I love you all
Listen to some dubstep for me.
Sam.

P.S. Here are 2 jokes for Kate and maybe Jacob too, and anyone else who speaks Spanish.
que hace una pez? nada!
cuantas estrellas estan en el cielo? sin cuenta!

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