Follow by Email

Monday, November 26, 2012

crrrrrraziness

So this week, as all the others now that I write this, has been utterly indescribable. So much happened and it was all so different. I hope that I can properly give you all a fraction of what happened. Let us begin with that fabulous night called Monday. Walk with me down memory lane...

After I emailed all of you Monday, Elders Bennett, Taetakua, and I did our shopping and those things but then a little later we met up with the rest of our district to play games and sports and things for the last hour of Pday. It was really fun. I thoroughly enjoyed doing something other than work and study for a change, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as study or work, what kind of missionary do you think I am??? It was the last time that district was together because Sister Despain was leaving and we were getting Sister Fernandez.

Tuesday was a dope day of studying. It was right before transfer conferences so I studied a whole lot and then we, the 3 pack, drove down to Deseret Book before the meeting. It was cool to see all these books and movies and pictures and things a year ago I would have thought boring and now I coveted. Elder Bennett bought a sick book of Maxwell talks and he read me parts of it that day and all throughout the week. The Apostles and General Authorities and those guys are pretty darn smart. If I had money I would have bought some of the collections of talks and those things. 

Quick break for random thoughts: It is so interesting that those kind of things are interesting to me now. I still don’t like Mo-Tab and hymns very much but talks are like my favorite thing in the world, next to the standard works. I think every missionary and prospective missionary doesn’t want to change or is sure that they won’t change. And I don’t blame them because change is a scary thing. I haven’t changed too much, but there are little things that I have noticed about myself that have been changing. Maybe it is the authority of my calling that entitles me to a little more help than usual or maybe I am growing up for once or something but it’s interesting to me to think about all the little things that have been changing in me. I am positive I am still recognizable in every aspect as the same person who left 5 months ago but I like things like talks now, and I don’t complain quite as much, and I am overall more patient with people. And I've learned how to love strangers even more. Sorry if that part was boring or confusing. I'll try to explain it when I get back or something.

Aaaaaanyway. Transfers were cool and the departing testimonies were pretty good. I saw 2 missionaries go home that I had had more than just passing contact with so that was interesting to see them go back to be in the real world. I wonder how they are all doing, quite well I am sure. New to the District was Sister Fernandez. She is from Boston but her parents are from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It was funny to see all the sisters crying as they switched companions especially because Sister Despain was not super excited to get a new companion and now she and Sister Franco are super duper close.

Tuesday was mostly taken up by transfers and the logistics thereof but we had 3 pretty good lessons that night. With Juana we talked about the end of 2 Nephi and then with Salvador he preached to us about the end of the world. He is convinced that by the end of next month all the land will be sea and all the current seas will be dried up. Depressing, but possible I guess. It was hard to communicate because I haven’t been practicing and studying my apocalypse vocabulary enough. I had to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of translating for Elder Bennett. We also went to the De La Cruzes and they fed us scones. They looked a lot like Dad's but I didn’t like them nearrrrrly as much. But they were still good and warm because sometimes it feels like freaking Alaska here, but not really because that's cold. It gets down to like 50 and we freeze here! 

Oh man. Wednesday. Elder Bennett got called to speak at a funeral... It was super weird. We got a call right before leaving the apartment and the Relief Society president asked him to speak. Oo so we went and it was super sad. The family was a wreck and most of the friends were too. I don’t know if it is a normal thing to do but whoever was talking had like a host of people up there with them holding them. It made me really, really sad. Elder Bennett spoke of the hope of the resurrection and the joy that the gospel brings into our lives. He wasn’t overbearing and wasn’t long. It was just a simple but powerful message that Esther will live again. I hope at least one person was comforted by his words. The funeral went wayyyy longer than we expected and we felt it inappropriate to leave in the middle so that ate up a large portion of our night.
Another quicker side note. What is the coolest things about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope it brings to all. We will live again and our destiny is not by chance, it’s a choice. Believe it or not, it makes people happy, me happy; to have that hope that our families and the ones we love will not be separated forever. 

Thursday. Thursday was a day. Starting at morning sports I had those bags of candies you sent me mom, and I gave everyone one and told them one thing I was thankful for about them; a smile, a testimony, an example of hard work, etc. It set the day off right. It made me feel good and I hope it made other people feel good as well. Studies were enlightening and the District Meeting was instructive. But afterwards the real fun began. 1pm we ate our first dinner with the Whostheirface family. They were from South America so lunch is the big meal, and it was a big meal. It was all the normalcy of thanksgiving but everything had either rice or beans in it; the stuffing, the gravy, the potatoes, the corn, the rice. It was all pretty good. After that we went with the Zone Leaders, Elder T. and the new Elder (6'3") Shreve to a dinner at the Richardson’s. It was awesome. It was an English family so I understood it which was a huge bonus hahah but then it was a lot like a dinner at the Mayo’s; lots of people, each happy, and excited to see each other. They made the 4 of us really feel like family and it was awesome. The food was cool and we ate a lot of their family tradition type foods so that was cool too each green onion and ham sandwiches and cottage cheese-less jello (because in the words of Brother R. "that's just plain ole disgusting"). It was cool to hear them tell their stories and Elder T. and I got to talk to one of the daughters who wants to get back active in the church so she can go to the temple to see her best friend get married and then so she can get married in the temple for her missionary. That was cool. I really hope she does. When she talked about it there was a light that came into her face. The temple is a special place and it gives hope to a lot of people. My fingers are crossed for her and her missionary. Then after that we went to Bishop Austin’s house for dinner too! By this point I was really full, but who wants to be rude, especially to the bishop’s wife! She made a wonderful dinner with mashed potatoes from heaven and a delicious seafood salad and pecan pie that would have made the angels cry! After 3 dinners I felt like I was going to die. But duty called. The Schneider’s asked if we could come to their house to eat dinner. So we went knowing that it would be delicious and our tongues were not disappointed, but our bellies were. It was a four course meal that was so delicious (I don’t know if any of you remember when I talked about Peter's cooking) in the words of the Chef himself "oh Peter, you've done it again, how do you always make everything so delicious!?" I asked him the same question and he laughed and said something about being German and better than everyone else -- funny, funny man. Dinner at the Schneider’s was a regular thanksgiving selection but the appetizer was German pancakes in a beef broth with whipped cream on top then lightly sprinkled with curry. Sounds weird but it was super good. Elder Bennett couldn’t finish his so I had to help when Sister Schneider wasn’t looking. The dinner was full of good jokes and bad jokes and a couple ones that made the sisters squirm and Sister Schneider yelling some bad words in Spanish at Peter. It was a wonderful evening. They yelled at each other but you could tell they loved each other but disagreed about a few things: language use specifically. After that we were about dying. But that's when the De La Cruzes called to see if we wanted to come eat with them. No one else had showed up to their house all day so we went. And we ate. And we cried. It was delicious and like the others, mostly regular tha

Time out!!!!!
We just got the call from the AP's!!!!!! Elder Bennett and I are getting a visa waiter to train! Ahhh!!!!!!
!!!!! Sweet! :)

...thanksgiving but they fed us deviled eggs as well. Yummy!!! So that was it, you know, just normal, 5 dinners. 5 full sit down dinners. 5 dinners..... ohhhh man.

Freak I'm distracted and out of time. 

Friday I did a temple session in Spanish!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN SPANISH! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! I love Spanish sooo much. I understood all of it which was cool. I wish I could talk more about it .... ugh. Time and place right :)?
Then Friday afternoon I translated for a baptism which was dope as well. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked but it was better than nothing, right?>! After that was a church party and Hispanic ward parties are a little bit of a different type. It's kind of crazy. But it was fun to eat and see everyone but by this point I was still full from thanksgiving. 

Saturday was actually Friday.... oops. Friday we didn’t do too much. Sunday was church and was sweet.  I love church. I got a few old Ensigns which is cool too.
ahh g2g sorry byeeeee
love you all so much. 
Sam!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another day, another doll hair

There isn't too much to report this week. First thing is, as always, a thank you to everyone who has written me and sent me things. Especially you Grandma Anderson! I have a big ole stack of your letters I have to respond to! I would love to write you all letters and talk and thank you and ask to hear how you are doing, but I just do not have enough time. There isn’t enough time to do everything we need to do in the few short hours we have on p-day.

Second is that Elder Bennett and I will be staying here together again! I'm technically done training now, so he is just my senior companion. Our district is staying exactly the same except Sister Despain is leaving to Warm Springs. The Zone has lost a lot though. Elder Gunnell is leaving and Elder Mitchell is leaving and I am sure Sister Monson will be leaving too, but I don’t really talk to her that much so I don’t knowww. And Elder Nonu is leaving, and by leaving I mean he already left! He's the AP [Assistant to the Mission President] now. Oo crazy, huh? He got emergency transferred on Saturday night right after stake conference. We went out to lunch with him and Elder T' to Wing Stop and ate too much food as always haha. It has been a pleasure to get close with Elder Nonu and I am super excited for him to have the opportunity and responsibility to serve the other missionaries in Las Vegas. We have been three packing it with E'T. since then and we miss Elder Nonu. Hmmm I feel like there is more to report about all that but I don’t know what to say haha. Elder Nonu taught me a lot of good things. 

Tuesday night after I emailed you and did all my other p-day duties we had a fireside given by Elder Ellis about the importance of The Book of Mormon. It was great to listen to see the General Authorities of the Church doing the same things that we as missionaries are doing. Interesting, exciting and a little bit ... I don’t know how to describe it. I have never not known this, but that fireside reminded me in a different way that what we, as missionaries, are doing is important. People's happiness is at stake. As he talked about the teaching of the prophets and the Savior I thought about all the people I know and how the comfort and the hope The Book of Mormon has could comfort them. It got me even more excited to help those I serve and all those that I am around. Yay for making people happy! Not much could make me happier. 

(I don’t know if I said in any of my last letters, we spend a lot of time with the zone leaders) After the fireside we (us and ZLs) went out to eat at the Cafe Rio in Warm Springs and it was kind of funny because we were joined by 3 other islanders so it was the 5 polys [Polynesians] and the 2 white guys. It was funny and I learned a lot of new words. Cafe Rio reminded of being in Utah with ya’ll and how that time is coming up pretty quick! 

Wednesday through Saturday Elder Bennett and I were blessed with the opportunity to train a future missionary! He cannot go to the MTC in Provo for legal reasons, I'm sure you can guess which ones, so we got to be his MTC before he goes out to California to serve. Wednesday through Saturday we taught Future Elder A. all the things he would need to know before entering the mission field. Of course we are nothing like the Missionary Training Center but we did have a lot of time to study. From 7 - 4 every day we studied and then we would leave for the night to go proselytizing. It was a good experience and I know he enjoyed it and got to put the things he was learning right into real world practice which I hope will be a big asset for him as he further prepares to leave in the first part of December. One funny thing that happened on Wednesday is when we got a call from a sister in the stake saying that she was going to take Gustavo to buy some clothes for his mission and asked if we could meet her at Kohl’s. The situation was super complicated but in the long run we biked all the way to the edge of our zone and sent Gustavo across because we didn’t have permission from president to leave the zone. Then we had to bike to our next appointment all the way on the other side of the zone. It was a longggg bike ride and Elder A. was hurting (not me) when we had to go up the hill. I won’t share too much about Elder A. but I would like to talk a little bit about him. He has a very hands on testimony of The Book of Mormon. One morning during training, he shared with us a little of his life and conversion story. He has been a member for about 2 years and loves the B of M so much. Before he got baptized he said he was doing things he knew even then that he shouldn’t be doing, which is pretty sketch when you think about it. He said that the B of M saved his life. When he started reading and studying it, it filled the holes that he was missing and turned him from doing bad things. (He showed me some of his graffiti skills and he's got some serious talent.) Now he says that things are hard because all of his friends are in prison. He is the first in his family to serve a mission and none of his friends are members of the church and he is really struggling with that aspect but his testimony is what is forcing him to go. I write force, but I meant it in the way that he knows it is true and knows the power of the Gospel and wants to share that with everyone and cannot let an opportunity to help others pass him by. Dope if you ask me -- right thing for the right reason.

We had a lesson on Thursday with Marcos and it was so, so sad. He called us to say he wanted us to stop by and pick up The Book of Mormon because he couldn't do it anymore. My heart sank when I heard him say that. I could tell he was drunk, but through the inebriation I could tell that something was wrong. I asked what was wrong and he told us that he didn’t want us wasting our time anymore on him because he wasn't strong enough to change. I told him that wasn't going to fly with me and we would be right over, but not to pick up the LDM [Libro de Mormon]. When we got there he was even more drunk and he was even crying, I wanted to cry too. He kept telling us that he couldn’t change and he wasn’t strong enough and he didn’t want to keep lying to us and lying to God. It was such a blessing to be able to bear my testimony of the power of prayer and the atonement. Marcos may not be strong enough to end his alcoholism, but he is not alone. And he is not without help. I was able to share with him that our Savior loves him and is here to help make us stronger and to help us in the times we feel weak and that he can help us do the things that we think we cannot. By the end of the lesson he wouldn't have let go of the book even if we wanted to take it and he said such a touching prayer. We all were there on the floor of his tiny apartment as he asked for the strength to change, and to be the husband and example that he wants and that his family needs. It was so touching to see the spirit work in him and give him the hope to change.

That's really what the good news is. You can do it. You are not alone. There is a point to all of this. It is my great blessing to be able to share this hope and strength with them. I haven't been out very long but I have seen it change people in indescribable ways. (Even change a sinner like me! still sinning of course. Don’t worry, I won’t be getting translated anytime soon). I can’t remember if I've shared about Felix but I will again. Idc[I don’t care] it’s powerful. I was here to watch as he grew in his knowledge of the gospel and I can attest to the physical and emotion changes that I saw in him. As he learned and studied more he became happier and there became a glow about him that I swear you can see. Before when he would smile or talk, he seemed sad and lost, but now his face has practically changed shape and it glows and he always smiles and laughs his unique laugh. Watching him change his life around was wonderful; to hear him rag on his life, to hear him asking if he could pay more tithing touched my heart, not to mention the heart of the elders that taught him. He is such a special person. It was fun to see that unique and wonderful side of him come out. Almost like there was a dirty window in front of his 'candle.' I was able to watch as the window got sprayed and scrubbed and finally washed clean. We were all so pleased to find that it wasn’t a candle but a full fire place. That might sound suppper dumb and corny but idc. When I have more time I'll find a better way to describe all of it. Like when I'm dead or something.

Life here is really tough for a lot of people. Really tough. It makes me so sad to see people suffering. 

I had fresh oysters this week and I ate them all classy like. But they tasted like sea water. And kind of smelled like salty death and starfish. Luckily here in new, new Mexico we don’t have to eat them very often. I'll try again when I get home.

Sorry - skipping to Sunday -- I don’t have time to talk about everything. One day I'll sit in a rocking chair and read excerpts from my journal to you all sitting on the floor around me. So Sunday was stake conference and we, the zone, sang “Called to Serve” and it was so touching. Standing up in front of that big group of people smiling and singing, I saw so many people crying. It again struck me how much people love the missionaries. It might have been like half the building was in tears. I could hear the stake president behind us crying. It was quite touching. People love us for so many reasons but I think the main one is that they have either been changed by the work we do or they have seen their loved ones changed by the glorious message we bear. I have often in my few seconds of time to ponder and reflect thought about this. People all around the world are praying for us, the Primary children, the saints gathered at sacrament meeting, people in the temple, and even the prophet. (Even people who aren’t members tell us to keep up the good work in the street sometimes) because they all know that what we do really does help. Lives are changes, hearts are healed, and families are brought together. Everyone (or at least a lot of people) pray and wish us good luck because they want the world a better place. Okay that sounds corny too. It's hard to express these feelings in words without sounding silly.

Ugh! I have no time! I'll try to write about Juana's lesson real fast but words can’t describe that one either. Yesterday we had a lesson with Juana and she expressed her pain of not being able to be baptized and it was so hard to hear. She says she has been asking herself if this is really worth it. She says she knows it is, and we know she knows it is. But seeing someone so strong going through so much pain makes me sad. Sorry I don’t have time to write any more about that. Just know it was powerful, happy, spiritual, and sad too.

Hey before I forget, Elder Fischer (my old District Leader) asked me if you could send him a Nacho Las Vegas poster like the one I have. Just address it to Elder Russell Fischer and send it to the mission office. He says he will pay you back. I like E'F. He's a great guy.  

So that's all.  I love you all so much.
I hope everyone who reads this, and everyone else too, is happy, healthy and hopeful.
If not, hang tight and I'll give you a hug or something when I get back. 
Suppperrr quick. Dad, It sounded like you gave a dope lesson about reading the scriptures. I agree with what you said. One thing that I do is if I haven’t taken notes, or learned something new in more than 5 verses I stop think about what I've been reading and start reading again from the last time that I learned something or took notes. It’s time consuming but it makes the study soooo much more productive. If that doesn’t make sense, I'll try to explain another time. STUDY HARD!  Like really hard, I promise you will learn new things. "If you're not learning, you're doing it wrong"
kk love yall
<("<)  -- here is my hug!
^_^
bye
P.S. Thanks for the package I loveeeee packages. Although next time, less candy and more ... idk other stuff, like hexa-mexa-flexa-t-rexagons or dope ties

Ahh I forgot! Something I love is talks and study guide type materials. If you want to send me things those are like my favorite specifically New Testament (gospels are my favorite) and The Book of Mormon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sorry Kate! I just read your letter and promise that I didn't forget.

[P-day was Tuesday this week because Elder Ellis (of the Seventy) visited Sam's mission.]

Do you tweet links to my blog too?
She probably won’t read this but.... @GriswoldPatelcaper: @SarahBelton I'll be back soon...ish with even funnier tweets! It’s the new Gristal Ball now with more Mexican!
and Connor, if you read this, know that I am still thinking about you and will get a letter to you soon! Good luck in Montana, you'll be a stud out there, I know it!

Freaaaakkkkkk
I just read your letters and I'd like to have 20 hours to write back to all of you but I can’t. I feel so bad to everyone that has written me such great letters that I haven’t responded to. :( ugh! sorry!
I literally have like no time this week and sooo much happened. 

First things first. I have a new phrase (well I have a bunch but this is one that I will share now): 'When I grow up I want to be a Mexican!" Of course I don’t mean in the way of citizenship. I just love the Hispanic people. I don’t know if I have said that before, but I really do. It makes me so happy to be able to interact with them each day. From the little things they say, to the way they laugh and joke and greet. I am always so happy and always have a reason to smile. That is the other thing. I love serving a mission, and I love life. I (for some reason, far beyond me) have been blessed with happiness. Every day. I just am always so happy. It's like I'm on drugs or something. (ps. I stopped taking them and feel better than ever.) I don’t really know how to describe this so I'll just say it again. I love life.

Anyyyy way. So this week was a week of many crazy things. I left my planner at home because we had to bike literally 5 miles to get to these computers and there is no way I'm going back to get it. No time! Anyway(again) Monday was pday and not too much happened. We chilled a bunch with the zone leaders which was cool. I like them a lot. Good guys and we have a bunch of fun getting all our shopping and our pday things done together. But Monday we had 2 pretty good lessons, one with the Familia Roman about 1NE7 [1 Nephi chapter 7 from The Book of Mormon]. It was a pretty good lesson. The family is pretty cool, Carlos is 18 and was baptized in January but isn’t too active and his mom is interested in the church but is still holding strong to her Catholicism. She says she believes the LDM [Libro De Mormon] is true and all the things that come with that but she won’t be baptized I guess until being Catholic is wrong or something like that. It’s kind of weird but we still have good lessons with them. We had another lesson that night with a less active family and it was okay but the highlight was when one of the kids turned to me and asked "Are all the mammoths still dead?" He's 18.

Tuesday was a busy day. Elders Reynoso and Kerr (Zone leaders from the North Zone) came over to chill with us for lunch. They brought us a pizza and I made them drink some green smoothie. But we had a good time talking with them and hitting the beach volleyball around. After we finished lunch, Elder Campbell and Elder Sherwood showed up for exchanges and Elder Sherwood and I had a dopeeee day. We contacted 18 people in the street (sharing a message and leaving a commitment) and got 5 return appointments. It was action packed. One was a family that lost contact with the missionaries when they moved a couple years ago, and guess what? Now they are back in contact and they were excited! Yay! We had dinner at Juana’s. She is sooo good at making rice. I could eat her rice all day. And then she also made us tuna fish tacos which made me laugh because that's what I make for lunch sometimes hahaha. But they were good. Only problem was that she gave me 8 and I was about dying when I finished them all. I could have not finished them but, so you all know, that is pretty disrespectful if you don’t finish. Remind me when I get home to show you what people do if you don’t finish everything on your plate. Elder Sherwood and I went to visit a few families and we stopped by Antonia's house to have a short lesson with her and her housemates but when we walked in she made us eat.  Like made us two bowls and put them on the table and told us to sit down and eat before she got mad. It was so delicious (passole btw) but we were still full from dinner! Antonia is so nice. She is such a wonderful person and is always looking and asking for ways to serve others. By the time we had eaten enough for her to let us go it was 9 o’clock and we got a call that a girl was really sick so Elder Sherwood and I biked 4 miles to give her a blessing. We walked in just as the people on telemundo said that Obama had for sure won which was cool. We gave her a blessing and the parents gave us a bunch of candy hahaha (the girl came to church on Sunday and her mom talked to me for like 10 minutes thanking me. I finally had to say it wasn’t me it was Heavenly Father and run off to get to gospel principles [class]. She was nice so I felt horrible being rude, but she liked to talk a lot.) 

Wednesday we had a Zone meeting (both the districts of our zone got together to have training and discuss problems or successes and goals, etc.). We talked about investigators and stuff like that.  At Zone meeting Elder Sherwood and I ended our exchange and I immediately started one with Elder Johnson! (I loveeeee exchanges :) ) E' Johnson had like 4 lessons cancel on him so we biked all over the place and got 26 contacts! So many that we had to run home really quick because both of us ran out of cards and things to give out! My highest up to this time was 22. So that was super exciting. Elder Johnson and I were trying all day to be as excited as we could the whole time so the day went by so fast and we felt sooo good at the end of the day. (ps. if you all couldn’t tell, I’m a firm believer that being happy is easy. Nothing gets me down!)

Thursday I ended my exchange with Elder Johnson and started an exchange with Elder Nonu (zone leader)! 3 exchanges in a row is I guess unheard of and I know why. I was beat at this point, exhausted from all the biking and changes and that stuff. But! Elder Nonu had a flat so we had Elder Bennett and Taetakua to drive us to Target to find a tube for his bike. After that Elder Nonu and I biked around my area visiting people and having a few short lessons. We were talking to everyone and we met a lot of really cool people and got a bunch of referrals for the English elders. We met a guy named Daril who asked a lot of crazy deep doctrine questions like Kolob and the name of God's wife and stuff. Elder Nonu got a little impatient because I’m sure he has had to deal with that stuff a lot from people who are attacking the church, but the guy was super sincere, open, and curious so we talked to him and told him that none of those things are in the scriptures or taught by the prophet or his apostles. But we did share scriptures and other things with him which was cool. We had dinner at the chef of the Belagio's house which was sooo good. It was a roast that had been marinated he said for 3 days! It was super good but it was all so rich and delicious (and I drank 3 water bottles) then I got a really bad stomach ache and had to lie down on his floor for 5 minutes which was embarrassing but made him laugh. Then after dinner Elder Nonu's other tire got a flat and we were super far from home so we had to walk home. By the end of the night we had 37 contacts! 37 different groups of people we talked to and taught and left commitments, it was sweet. It felt so awesome to talk to so many people and hear so many stories and things. 

Friday was freezing! I don’t know exactly how cold it was but it was dang cold.  A member that we met on the street said 50 degrees and everyone asked me where my jacket was. We called someone for a lesson and they said that they'd have a lesson and then we biked up the hill to get there and she cancelled which was a bummer because it was so cold hahaa. But on the way down I talked to a group of kids and I got one of them to talk about Jesus with me while contacting a random person on the street. It’s hard to explain the whole situation but I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard after it. Some little Catholic boy talking about Jesus (and even referring to him and the Son of God) and trying to get someone on the street to visit mormon.org. He even gave them the card. Then I gave him and all his friends stickers and they were all super happy which made ME super happy. Kids love stickers. Thanks for sending me them! Then we had 2 lessons that night, one with Antonia and the other with the Familia Roman. 

Saturday was a pretty uneventful day. It was soooo cold. And we didn’t really see anyone on the street and all our visits fell through. Our ward mission leader took us to Cicis pizza for dinner which made me feel like poop. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless you only eat the mac and cheese pizza. I love mac and cheese. 
Ahhh! Never enough time sorry!

Sunday was pretty normal. Lots of meetings and church things to do ya know, the use. (you-je)

Monday was zone conference with a couple of the nearby zones when Elder Ellis of the Seventy spoke. It was a sweet day of training.  I saw Elder Yockey [from the MTC] and talked to him which was sweet! We talked a lot about him and how he's doing. I like Elder Yockey. He's the man. Monday night a woman asked me to bless her 3 year-old so I got to do that. The little girl was like bouncing around the whole time which almost made me laugh during the blessing.

Aight peeps. That's all. I'll try to write some answers to the things you sent and send them off. Sorry there is never enough itmetioewtnaobg;AOEBGapgha
:)
I love you all. I hope everything is going well.
Eat some bumpy cake ice cream for me.
movie quote here!
Love,
Sam

Monday, November 5, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE

Happy Birthday Kate! I love you and miss you. I'm sorry I haven’t written you back, this goes to everyone too. I carry your letters with me all P-day to try to write but there is never enough time! I'm so grateful for each and every one of you that support me in whatever way it is. Prayers, Post or Packages all of them help me to be the happiest and best missionary I can be. But back to Kate! I'm sorry I didn’t have a letter to you by your birthday, but I hope that it was a fun and safe day with you and your friends. Think about your next birthday! You could be in college having a birthday party with new friends in a new place, weirrrrdddd. 

I'll start by answering a few questions-- 
Elder Bennett and I speak to each other in English most of the time. Most of the people we talk to speak Spanish. Our area is surprisingly Hispanic. I couldn’t put a number to it but it's definitely a higher percentage of Spanish speakers than most people are used to. Street contacting people is usually just a guess. We see people and talk to them. It's my goal to not let a single person I see escape with anything less than a smile and a wave. So my mouth gets pretty tired and my arm too. Most people on the street are not too interested because they are on their way to or from somewhere. But sometimes you get someone who really finds something interesting in what we say. 

Funny quick story, earlier in my mission days (hahaha), I used to just say “hola” to everyone, until one day I saw black hair and said “hola” and the woman looked up and screamed, super offended, I'M FILIPINO, YOU JERK! I felt horrible and turned my bike around to go apologize. So now I say “hello” to everyone until I'm sure they are Hispanic and then I just transition into speaking Spanish. It kind of freaks some of the people out but they get over it. Not too many gringos try to speak Spanish to the Latinos around here. 

My area is super ghetto and poor and sadly most of the people we are teaching are on the bottom end of that spectrum. It's hard to find work when you do not speak the language, so many of them are out of work because they can only speak Spanish :(.

Humm Mom... your questions.
Elder Bennett gets sick a lot. For the past while it's been about one or two days every week.  When he is too sick to work, I have the wonderful blessing of studying! It's nice and sometimes hard to study from 7:30am to 4:30pm but I get a lot of study done. At this rate I will have finished the church canon 1.5 times from June 27 - Christmas. And it’s studying too. I really have taken President Hinckley's advice and been having "a love affair with the word of God." I quote them all the time and I try to be able to relate everything I say to a scripture. Not to be overbearing, just to practice knowing them even better. And it's helping. It’s hard sometimes because that is a lot of time to study but there isn’t much else I am allowed to do.

As for me and my health? I'm doing wonderful. Sometimes my stomach hurts really, really bad, but most of the time it doesn’t and it never keeps me from doing missionary work so that's all that matters. I think my new diet is what is really helpful. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to feel good. One day, I'll break it down. It’s pretty simple. 

Elder T.'s brother served in South Carolina and yes, he is from Hawaii! It's funny that you found him... the internet is so creepy. 

I didn’t get a new bike seat but I got a new screw and now my bike seat is attached to the bike. I don’t use it as much as I could because I've gotten so used to biking standing up. I have so much more power that way. ZOOM!

In our mission, I think there are 90 Spanish-speaking missionaries, but I'm not sure, and now there are going to be way more! Wahoo for 18 year olds. The world is changing. (Kate is not going to be able to date anyone her age if she goes to BYU).

I've used the pant straps and they are quite effective, thanks mom :) you're the best. It also helps that I stopped wearing hammer pants (include a pic for the 'unlearned').  Oh, and I'm on the last loop of my belt so.... if I lose any more weight I'm going to have to buy a new one. Shucks. 
Hammer pants for the 'unlearned'
So now for like the 10 minutes left! This week!
First and foremost Antonia got baptized! It was awesome!! In her pictures, she is not smiling but I promise she was happy about it. For some reason she was telling us why she won’t smile in any pictures... It's kind of like me I guess but hers is a little more superstitious and mine is a little more self-loathingish. But it was so cool! She was super ready and excited to take that step in her life. Right after she was done she told me that the next step is the temple and I just about lost it. 
Elder Bennett, Elder Bishop, Antonia, Elder Anderson
BUT! The funniest of stories. Before the service I was changing and helping the little boy in the picture to get changed and stuff when I heard someone splashing around in the font. I went and opened the door and saw Antonia dunking herself...! I asked her what she was doing and she told me that the ward mission leader had told her to go on in and to get started and she interpreted that as baptizing herself. So she did. It was so funny and she was super embarrassed (and I was a little bit too). I've never heard of an investigator baptizing themselves before but it was cool. It also meant that I didn’t have to get wet because it was already over which was nice. So I got to change out of my clothes.   Just kidding :).  But she really did baptize herself. Later the Ward mission leader said during the program that she has everything she needs except the authority, idk in Spanish it was super funny. That was definitely the highlight of the week! Don’t judge for the faces. I am smiling and looking at the camera in different ones I hope. 
Elder Marquez, Errison, Felix, Elder Chacon, Antonia, Elder Anderson
Lemme check my journal real quick. 
Oh! Brother Kelly! Brother Kelly is like my freaking hero. He's a boss. He is from Hawaii and was a paratrooper in the Vietnam War and had like a million jumps. He is married to Sister Kelly and is such a good husband and dad. I can’t really describe him too well. He has cancer right now and is suffering really bad. The doctors aren’t sure if he can make it to Christmas but he is so strong. He still is such a gentleman all the time and always treats Sister Kelly with so much respect. He still works his butt off all the time in whatever way he can and often we, and others, especially Sister Kelly have to ask him and then tell him to stop. Idk I can’t even say enough. I wanna be like him. 

Carlos is a youth in the ward who comes out with us a lot. He's a great young man and is going to do great things in Spain. I can’t remember what I wanted to tell you about him but he's boss.
KK so this week I saw that little girl Saraldi like 4 times this week and the last time she came running up to me to give me a huge hug. It made me feel so good. I just hope I don’t get damned for allowing a rule to be broken... jk I'm not worried about it. Oh! Last Monday, I found like half my grocery needs on managers special which was dopeeeee.

Tuesday I wasn’t feeling too good but we had a full day of member visits which was pretty cool. One person gave me a coconut popsicle which was pretty delicious. 

OH dang! Wednesday was insaneeeeeeee. I hope I have time to describe it all. So we aren’t allowed to work on some days because it is too dangerous for missionaries so there is always a mission party. But there at the party they just watch a movie and visit and I really didn’t want to do that so Elder Campbell and I got permission to go to a stake party! It was such an effective use of our time and I got to dress up! I went as Elder Campbell and he went as me! We had to walk though because Elder Bennett and Sherwood took the car to the mission office. It was a 3 mile walk but we contacted people on the street all the way there and as well I got like 117 people to wave and smile at me (I may or may not have counted,,, but I got 12 people to smile at me in a row which was cool). So we went to this party and it was insane. There must have been more than 200 people there and they were playing all this music that I thought I wouldn’t hear for 2 years, everything from Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show to Phantom of the Opera and everything in between. It was planned as a missionary party so us being there was super helpful. We talked to probably15 families about the church and maybe half of them had never heard of the church they just saw the party and stopped in. At the party there were 25 types of chili and 25 different types of pies (2 of each type as well!!!!) There were like ponies and stuff too (not to mention horses and a guy on fire and I think brick killed a guy with a trident). But so after the party was over Elder Campbell and I helped clean up and got a member ride home. We got back to the apartment at like 10:00 and the other Elders hadn’t come back yet and Campbell didn’t have a key so I had to pick the lock into his apartment. While we were picking the lock though, some woman came down and was talking to us and we both shared our testimonies and then she ran to her car and brought us some water bottles and fresh still warm tamales. They were sooo delicious. And then we were so tired we fell right asleep once we got inside. We weren’t planning on exchanges but neither of us wanted to wait for the other missionaries to come back from the party or whatever they were doing. 

Sorry I’ve got to skip some details. This week in a lesson with Marcos he said that he was really disappointed with the members of our church because he once went to conference with his sister and saw a bunch of people sleeping. He asked, if that was really the prophet why weren’t people paying attention to the word of God? It was a really good question that made me think a lot. Of course the answer is because we make mistakes but that doesn’t discredit the prophet, only us. But it was interesting to think about.

Ummmm oh freak! So Friday morning I wake up in the middle of the night to the phone ringing and I look at the phone and it is a number I didn’t recognize. I thought about not answering it because it was like 12:30 but I decided to do it anyway. It was a good thing I did because it was Sister de La Cruz, Austin’s mom calling. Brother de La Cruz fell out of a tree and cracked his head open. He had to get staples and everything and his brain was swelling and he messed up his shoulder and back really bad. AND all three of her kids had asthma attacks and Austin stopped breathing at school and he was like throwing up blood or something (it’s hard to remember it’s all like a nightmare still) but Brother de La Cruz falling out of the tree was like the icing on the poopycake. Oh! And she didn’t find out he was in the hospital till super late because they couldn’t afford to pay for the phone this month and she was on the bus or something and he was unconscious and couldn’t give anyone her number and information for a long time. He was in the tree because he was working, he does landscaping. It really made me think about how much people rely on us. She called us and was so scared and I felt so good to be able to comfort her and pray with her and calm her down. She was a mess when she called. 

People really love the missionaries. It’s wonderful to feel so loved from back home but here too. I guess people can really see something special about us. We were in a lesson last night with an investigator who knows The Book of Mormon is true but doesn’t want to not be Catholic anymore. (Which brings up the interesting question, is he still Catholic if he believes and knows The Book of Mormon is true?  Hmmm, fun things to mull over in your head. Of course there are tons of answers and ways to argue.  Sometimes, when Elder Bennett is sick, I argue with myself about things like this just so my brain doesn’t go to mush over these 2 years.) But, anyways he loves the missionaries. He and his wife gave us a gallon of milk and some Cheerios and we didn’t even ask! I was a little confused but they explained because of food stamps and their kids they couldn’t drink as much milk as they get each week and the Cheerios are a gift. I tried to decline but they were persistent which made me super happy. It’s funny to see how much a bunch of random 19 and 20 and soon 18 year old kids can do in the lives of others.

I am trying to type fast so someone please go back and spell check. Sorry :( I wish I had more time but you guys want better letters and I’m trying as hard as I can but we don’t have too much time. 
Thanks for the letters again. I really, really wish I had more time and was a better missionary and I would have written all of you back. 
Okay I think that's all for this week. I still have to write to President Neider. 
I love my district, but not as much as I love all of you.
I hope to hear from you all soon and I miss you guys lots.
Byeeeeeeeee
Sam
She'd eat if we were having Tonyloaf!    [:27]