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Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello everyone!


So in my mind, it is the end of an era. 
After what seems like a century, I am getting transferred. Ode to central. I have loved my 4 months here so much. With all the people I have served with and all the so many people I have met. It doesn't even seem real.  But it is and I am very excited. I will be serving with Elder Talmage and Elder Crespo. Elder Crespo is Elder Bennett's old companion. So all of my companions have served with Elder Bennett and that will continue. Weird. Oh yeah, I'll be in the Los Feliz ward.
And Elder Bennett and I are getting DT'ed out (double transferred) and I will be getting double transferred in. So we will be starting from the ground up. It will be cool to see how everything goes down. I'm excited to meet a ward full of new wonderful people. And I'll be right close to the temple which is cool as well. And I'll be in a car. And I'll have 2 wards. And one of them will be English. So times are about to change pretty darn fast. And I'M PUMPED!
It will be sad to leave Elder Bennett, and the District and the ward and all but ... 1NE3:7! IR'E y HAR'E!

Cool, so this week has felt like a lifetime.
It begins a long time ago. On a beautiful day called Monday.
Monday was pday so we did all that stuff. Packing and emailing and writing letters, and cleaning and other things that make the time just disappear. That night before pday ended we got together as a district to take pictures and have a party. I drank wayyyyy to much cherry juice. We went around toasting random things and each other and the ward members and our investigators for a long time. It made me never ever want to leave. Weird, huh? And then after that we went to go see that De La Cruz family for Christmas Eve dinner. They told a bunch of stories from them growing up and how they met and their favorite Christmas'. That pretty much all that happened. It was a good night. 

Tuesday was a good day. Oh yeah, because it was CHRISTMAS! I hope all of your Christmases were wonderful! Full of food and music and laughter and family and friends and everything else that is good in this world. In the morning we studied and then Elder Bennett got to call his family and it totes distracted me because all I could think about was talking to mine! But my turn came. It was so wonderful :). Although it made me uber trunky. Then Elder Bennett and I opened presents together and I got soooo much fun stuff. And sooo much chocolate from all you people who love me but want me to be fat. Then we went to go visit the other missionaries in our district to see how they were and how their Christmas went and all that stuff. It was fun to share a little bit of such a special day with all of them. Then the dinners began. We only had 3. But they were all tamales. So many tamales (seemed like) 400 tamales. Some people don’t like them, but I do. I've been blessed with the ability to like almost everything I eat -except tomatoes. But I'm trying. Man, real food is so much better than MTC food. I used to hate eating back then ... what a whiner I was. We spent the night stopping in on members and reading with them the Christmas story in Luke and eating their tamales hahaha. At the end of Christmas we got our whole district to meet at Antonia's house and we sang carols to her because she was sick and he kids we out with their aunt. She cried and cried and cried. It made me so happy to see her so happy. I didn't cry, but I almost did.

Wednesday was pretty slow. But still a great day! We had dinner with the Kelly family and in order to eat that night we had to sing, so I had to sing Christmas carols on the Karaoke machine. That was weird. It reminded me of home and karaoke underwear hahaa. After dinner we had a white elephant and I got a fireman's hat. It's too small for my head so after doing a quick photo-shoot I gave it to a little kid. Then we were super far out of our area so we biked super-fast to a lesson 6 miles away and they cancelled when we got there. What a work out ;)! We stopped by Carlos's house to see if he was in and it was weird because he was actually on the phone with the Bishop when we got there asking if he could give him a blessing, "Coincidence? I think not!"

Thursday. It was (I didn’t know it at the time) my final district meeting here. Twas a good one. Elder Bennett trained us about our goals and our desires. As he explained to us, missionaries often think about their future wives, and by often I personally think it's all the time. It’s kind of annoying, but anyway. He said that he had heard phrases throughout his whole mission like 'hot wife points' and 'every time you drop you scriptures you wife gains 10 pounds' and 'every hour you spend tracting in the rain is an hour your wife spends in the gym." But then he said none of that is true, what is true is this: 'If you want a pretty wife, date pretty women.' On the mission the phrase doesn’t quite relate because (hopefully) no one is dating and shouldn't be (but sadly is) thinking about it. But it does relate. As Elder Packer says, 'you get what you go for.' And that is true. I believe it. It is a little food for thought for all of you going into this New Year. If you want it, go and get it. Do what needs to be done and understand that you are the shaper of your own destiny. Our outcomes and growth is not something that is passive or others have power over. It is up to us. Attitude and hard work are the key. K,, I  don’t think I explained that well but I don’t have time to check. We were supposed to have exchanges on Thursday with Elders Sherwood and Campbell but they kept pushing the exchange time back and back and finally we had to just cancel because it wasn’t worth it. After dinner and stuff we had a lesson with Salvador and it was super dope. I don’t have time to explain all the things that happened but it was powerful and he is going to be baptized on the 2nd of February. So I hope I can come back for that :). 

Friday was weekly planning. But before it we went to lunch with the AP's and the Zone leaders and Elder Hardy who is leaving! I remember 4 months ago he wasn’t thinking about going home and when we saw him on Friday he was just coming back from the temple and he is soooo ready to go home. After dinner with the Bishop went to see Juana and we read the Book of Mormon with her and some Ezra Jack Keats in Spanish with her kids. OH sick! SO after Juana's we were biking along a pretty ghetto part of town next to the prison and a big guy steps out of his truck and says, “Hey get in the truck.” And I was like what???? (in my head) and he after we looked at him weird he said, “I work for the police, hop in.” I felt like it wasn't a big deal because he was clearly a cop so we tossed our bikes in the bed and hopped in. He was a member in the west mission and a police dispatcher.  He was super cool. Don’t tell anyone but he let us listen to some of the training segments for the calls he gets. Some weird, weird people call 911 and some weird, weird things get reported. Like super calm people admitting to murder, tons of suicides :(. and weird things with animals... He was a super funny guy and took us to Sonic on the way home to buy us ice cream, in the middle of December,,,, only in the desert. It was cool to hear all of his crazy and scary and funny stories. Some are just pure evil and make me sad. 

Ahhh
Saturday.... we tried to visit people but no one was home or available or only single women were home and we can’t visit them. We had all our appointments flake as well which was sad. But no biggy, people have lives I just wish they were happier. This is a pretty sad city. That night as we were biking some random man stopped us and told us to love our families. He told us to call our moms and tell them we love them because we won’t have them for forever. Then he told us the stories of his family and his divorces. Twice in one night we heard from different people that we should marry someone who makes us happy, because if we aren’t happy there is no point. I kept nudging Elder Bennett the whole time because that'll be him this time next year. He's pretty trunky.  Saturday we got the DT call. Sadness.  But happiness too. New chances to grow!

Sunday was church and it was pretty normal. For dessert one of the priests in the ward made us sandwiches of Oreos, Reese’s peanut butter, Nutella, and M&Ms. ‘Twas a feast. 
Ahhh! I wish I had more time to profess my love for this area and this district and everything. I have loved it here so, so much. I can see from the time I came to now how much I have grown. I hope to continue the trend! It's weird to say that. But I can just tell and feel it. 
I've gotta email president now
I love you all so much.
Sam

Thanks for all the letters! 

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