Sparknotes - Life is great! I love you guys. The end.
Thank you all so much for the love and support this week and last week on my birthday. I felt extra loved now that I'm not a grumpy teen anymore. I don’t even like birthdays but this one was a good one, so thank you.
So as you all heard last week, my new companion is Elder Guzman from Monterrey, Mexico! He's an awesome Elder who has spent his whole mission in the south side of town, the Henderson part. So he has had the pleasure of coming up here where things are a little different. Instead of trees we have cactus and instead of Bentleys we have horses and instead of people giving money we have homeless people asking us for money. It's quite the change. And a different language as well. But he's awesome. He used to be into extreme sports like cliff diving and rafting and that stuff before he gave that all up to serve the King of Kings. He comes from a family of 4 and since he started they have moved to Newport Beach. He has had a lot of success down south and is coming with a lot of fire for the work and I'm excited to grow closer and work hard this transfer. This is his first time serving in a Spanish area and President told him he will be here until June. Transfer prediction: Elder Guzman will train here next transfer, then go back to English (as everyone says around here - take that to the cannery). But we'll see. All I know is that these next 5 weeks are gonna be awesome (I say 5 because we've already done 1 week. Transfers are back to 6 weeks.)
Gratz to Elder Mayo on training in the big city! Elder Greenie is lucky to have him.
This has been a great week. Crazy and full.
Monday! It was my birthday! I totally forgot until Elder Slik and Alvarez gave me pop tarts before 'morning sports.' But it didn't really hit me until like that night when I lied down and realized that I wasn't a teenager anymore. Weird. Mom and Dad, y'all are olddddddddd. But it was a good day. The zone made me a cake which was pretty funny. It was a tombstone like cake with a doll head at the top. But the head was shaved and the eyes were poked out and they drew bloody tears down the cheeks. Super creepy, but it made me feel good that they felt comfortable enough to do that for me. I loved it. Then they squished a pie on my face and one on my head. I loved it? It was a good day. Then I opened a bunch of letters and presents and stuff that you all sent. <3. At the Schwenke's Monday night they cried talking about how much we feel like family. Man am I going to miss going there. They are such good people. I want to be as loving as they are one day. They're like another family that I don't deserve.
Tuesday! It was a crazy day. I helped EC pack and get ready to leave and then we were off to the mission office to drop him off and pick up EG. I got to see a bunch of Elders and Sisters which made me happy (Elders Johnson and Campbell and Bishop and Ruiz (Cuevas) and Sisters Franco and Fernandez). They're all doing well which makes me happy. Elder Bishop is gonna train and so I'm super excited for him and Elder Johnson and Elder Campbell are gonna be companions! Weird. But then EG and I came home and started the transfer off 3 packing with EA b/c ES needed to go to a district leader meeting. We visited a bunch of members which I always love doing.
Wednesday! You know that song about pioneer children? We walked and walked and walked and walked anddddd walked. 8 miles. It's not thatttt much but in our suits it felt like crossing the plains. We talked and got to know each other and tried to find anyone to talk to. I won’t give up! That took the majority of the day. Then we visited a few members of the ward before going to English class. I say this every week, but I love English class. It's fun to help people and be able to watch them improve. It's kind of like missionary work. I get to help people, have fun doing it and see the blessings as they learn and strive to do better. Except for some reason its way easier to get people to come to English class... Right before English class we got to see a pack meeting for Morning Sun that was taking place at the adjacent park. It was nice to see some of the ward members and to see all those little boys dressed up. I don’t mean to sound like a grandpa or anything but I may or may not have pictures of them in white shirts and ties.
Thursday! We had district meeting and Sister Despain came to the district. She's fun and still sassy like she used to be. It’s cool to serve around missionaries again to be able to reminisce a little on the old ward and the old district and stuff. We went to do service but the people flaked which was kinda funny. We taught a lesson to Aliaha (the 9 year old I talked about last week) she's gonna get baptized this Saturday, hoping all goes well. She knows sooo much. I have a little time so I'll talk about the M. family a little bit. Aliaha is 9 years old but she acts like she's 13. She and her two younger sisters all act way older than they are. They grew up with their mom who was a drug addict and they watched her do all these terrible things. The mom was in and out of jail and they only got to stay with their dad when mom was in jail (which actually ended up to be a lot) but the whole situation was just crazy. Ahhh. There is so much to talk about. But these three little girls grew up way faster than they needed too. They are scared from watching their mom do drugs and things like that. We were reading a scripture with them and it said the word wine and the littlest girl said something like my mommy is always drunk too! Then the other little sister started crying and it was just a mess. It's sad how many lives I've seen ruined by drugs, immorality, and alcohol in just these few months here. It’s horrible. But because of their sickeningly hard upbringing they know a ridiculous amount about the gospel. So it’s cool to be able to teach this family and help them, Aliaha first because she's old enough, apply the healing powers of the Atonement. It's real. Ask me more in 2 years, sorry. I can’t explain it all now. Basically - we are teaching a nine year old - she has been messed up by living with her druggie mom - she's grown up way fast - she understands a lot about the gospel.
Friday! We did our weekly planning and then went to a surprise birthday party for one of the recent converts in the ward. It was fun to be a part of the ward and celebrate a little. It was also cool to see a few of the friend groups in the ward. Then we visited more members. Our Elders Quorum president talked to us about Home Teaching. HT and VT [Visiting Teaching] is never something I fully understood until I came into the mission. It's so important, for the visitors, and the visited. It’s a priesthood responsibility and a responsibility we have as disciples of Jesus Christ. It's part of ministering. It's essential. I always went with Dad but in college I think I missed a month and I thought it was no big deal. I don't mean to sound zealous, but it is a big deal. I feel dumb that I am learning so many lessons here and not long beforehand. I'm learning how to not be selfish anymore, a selfish shellfish. Idk. I can’t rant about this enough either and I can’t properly express my thoughts here. But if you're reading this and aren’t doing your home teaching ... get on it.
Saturday! Crazy busy. We had breakfast in the morning with our Stake President. It was good. He talked to us after about love, the love that he can feel from us and for us. It was inspiring. He didn't talk about this but it is always humbling to me to think about the prophet and the brethren praying for us missionaries every Thursday. I think about them and I think about the Primary kids and everyone in between. I learn a little better each day, this is not about me. But after bfast we went to do our ward missionary car wash activity. We did a free car wash and while washing the people took a tour of the church building and ate fresh baked bread. It was amazing to see the hand of the Lord in the lives of some of these people. Many had LDS friends but didn’t know much about the church. Some were looking for a church and had never even seen the building. One woman was crying because our church was exactly what she was looking for. It was so cool to see. The people that came were prepared. It was also fun to be with the ward and make signs and give tours and wash cars and have a good time. Then after that we had our district lunch with Hno Velasco which is always a fun time of laughing and a break from the stress of the world for an hour. Then we taught another lesson to Aliaha and her dad told us stories about their upbringing and the things they've gone through. We had dinner with a kinda recently returned missionary from Mexico and we talked about the work there and the work here. It was cool.
Sunday! It was a great day but kinda messed up. EG and I were super sick. I think we ate something bad. We had PEC and then church but then we had to come home and rest b/c we were so beat. It's hard to explain. It might have been the food, idk. I had a fever of 101.8 but I had the other elders help give me a blessing and it went down super fast. I feel way better now but just sad that we lost a whole night. Church was bomb but that was most of the day.
So that's pretty much the week! It's been a great one. I wish I could better explain all that happens but .... I can't.
To those of you who are waiting for letters in return.... they'll get done... soon.
I love you all so much.
I love you all so much.