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Monday, February 4, 2013

Heeeelllo yall

The 3 pictures are :
My district from last transfer, including Elder Talmage

A frozen fountain. Funny for 3 reasons. It’s the middle of the desert - hot. Middle of the desert - dry. Middle of Las Vegas - ghetto (but not this house)! 
Me in a random messed up car.
I need to take more pics. I know! But here are three random ones that might make someone smile.

Alrighty.  So of course I never have sufficient time. But I will write like the wind!
This week I studied for a little bit the ten commandments specifically no idols and the Sabbath day. Oh man. If anyone wants to read a good talk read The Sabbath day by Elder Peterson from the April 1975 general conference. Fantastic.
Last Monday was good! At the Schwenke's house we ate Puerto Rican food at Elder Crespo's request and it was so good. I have always said that Mexican food was my favorite or maybe Asian or Italian or American... well I like food, but Puerto Rican food is sooo, soo good. In case you wanted to find a recipe or something it was arroz con gandules and pasteles (Puerto Rican tamales). They are a really wonderful family. They love the missionaries so much. Brother Schwenke is out of work right now (along with what seems like the rest of this city :( ) and he is really restless. He doesn’t like to be homebound. He works in construction and he loves it. We were talking about the Atonement to overcome our challenges, doubts and weaknesses and Sister Schwenke was so touched by it she began to cry. She said that she didn’t know what she could do to help her husband but that was the message she had been waiting and needing to hear. It was so touching. Understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes everything so much ... better. It helps put everything in to perspective because I guess it is everything. But it is such a blessing to be able to share it with others and see them understand it better and use it and change and be happy, because that's what it's all about. What a blessing. It truly is glad tidings of great joy and the best part about it is it's true! If you don’t believe me I have 2 friends who live in your area who would like to talk to you about it more.

Tuesday. Today was an interesting day. We had like 3 appointments and our dinner cancel last minute so we were driving around a lot. We talked to a lot of people. It was a slow day and I feel kind of bad for not having too much to write about Tuesday. Every day on the mission is a growing experience for me. I make sure of it. I learn something new each day and do my best to apply it somehow. And not just in my personal studies either. We talk with a lot of people about their ideas and their beliefs and they cover a wide spectrum so I am exposed to lots of different ideas and thoughts. Tuesday night we went to visit Marlon, the less active member that is trying to go on a mission and we talked about the Book of Mormon and we read it with him. He wanted to start over so he could make sure he knew it all. So we read the first chapter with him and had great insights about Lehi's vision. Then we talked more about the things he would need to do to prepare to serve a mission. While we were talking about this he started telling us about his father. When Marlon was like 14 his whole family converted but his parents got divorced shortly thereafter so most of his family never got into full activity. His dad later converted to being a Jehovah's Witness. His dad comes over to his house fairly frequently and tries to convince Marlon to change, but Marlon says he doesn’t listen because it doesn’t make sense and he doesn’t feel the spirit like he does when he talks about the gospel. He says he doesn’t know it all but he knows it’s true. This guy, oh I love him. He recognizes that he doesn’t know everything and for him it’s not a point of despair, it’s a chance for him to grow! I hope the whole world would act like that, about everything.

Wednesday! We had district meeting in the morning which I always love. Missionaries are pretty cool if you ask me. We met about how to work and coordinate with the members better and we have been trying that a lot recently. If you members didn't know, you are the key to the success of the missionaries in your area, if you want good missionaries support the ones in your ward. But we discussed ways to get the members more involved and more excited about helping us. Afffffter Distirct meeting we all went out to lunch to a supppper Mexican taco place. Like no one spoke English and everything was in Spanish. So I ordered a tongue burrito. When in Mexico, right? It was actually really good. I can see why it is a delicacy down there. Next time I'm going to try brain! (I need to know my enemies [the zombies] so I need to know what makes them so ... determined). Braiiiiins.  After the meeting we visited some older investigators and a few of them actually showed some interest! A side note here. We have been working on asking everyone for referral. Not using that word of course but those who accept us and reject us we ask if they know anyone who would be interested. Almost everyone says that they don’t know anyone in the city. It's weird, I wasn’t good at knowing my neighbors but I did know a few people around where I lived..... a few. It's sad and a little indicative of how this city works. I love it, but it makes me sad that people here are so sad. The people could just be lying to me to 'protect' their friends but I like to expect the best (worst?) of everyone. That night for dinner we drank lime cucumber juice. It was a day full of very Mexican food. That night we visited the ward missionaries in our English ward. They expressed their excited-ness to do the work but that they were sad because they couldn’t see the growth in the ward. The sister has and keeps the goal of giving out 3 BoM’s a day. 3! That's more than we give out. But she shared a story of how powerful a testimony and Book of Mormon could be. She said that she wrote hers in the cover and then gave it to someone. That woman got baptized a little bit later and called her to thank her. Then a few years later she saw her son in the celestial room of the temple. They got to talking and he told her that he just got back from a mission in Chile. She asked him and he told her that he had baptized over 500 people. 500 plus that whole family! All that came from one woman who wasn’t afraid to share what she knew to be true. 

Thursday we did English class at night which is always a blast. I love being able to help people to learn this language that they actually will use every day. That they need to use! They are always so gracious as well which makes it that much more worth it. 
No time! Ugghh. I'm bad at this.

Friday we had a lesson with our new investigators and it went really well. They told us over and over again how they want to learn more. Oh man. What good news. Their whole family wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation. And I am so ready to help them learn. The only problem is they are pretty busy so we don’t get to meet with them as often as I would like. But no big. Baby steps. And home shucked corn. Then we visited a member who told us his conversion story. I don’t have time to share it all (it’s a good one) but the point is that 33 years ago he had a good impression of the missionaries and that was a big push for him getting baptized 31 years later. He had yelled and slammed the door in their face but they were still gracious and so that touched him. 

Ahhh!!! Saturday was soooo, sooo good. We did service twice! We helped a family take down a play structure and then helped a nonmember family move in. They were so thankful and they wanted to hear more of the gospel before we had even told them about it. Service opens people up. It made them so happy. They were older and struggling with a lot of big things. They were soooo happy when we helped them. I'm still smiling about it. Ugh. But then we talked about things that the man said he'd been wondering about his whole life. There’s more but no more time.

Sunday. The Superbowl had the city in a riot. I went to church 3 times which was cool. The fast paid off what seemed like instantly. It was wonderful. It was such a good week. Next week we have a few new people to teach and I am so excited.
Sorry. I'm bad at getting distracted and stuff.
I'll get better, but it’ll probably take me 2ish years.
I love you all so much
Sam

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