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Monday, April 29, 2013

LiFe Is GoOd!

Thanks for your letters this week. I'll respond to them first. 
Congrats to TU! I'm happy to hear how well you are all doing. Keep up the good work! Rucking is so important. That's where the game is won.
Jacob, keep up the good work. 
Mom, you always say such nice things about me. I hope to one day be the missionary you think that I am. Kate, don’t die on your vegan month. I'm glad I don’t sound like I'm whining. I worry because it’s easy to take things wrong through a screen. Doing your best is the only way to do anything, you just feel much better about yourself. I haven't felt embarrassed or anything like that in a long time because I know I've given it all, my all. Missionary schedule is not as hard as people make it out to be. It's actually a blessing, 3-4 hours of study and 3 hours to eat. It's not that bad. 

Two more things before I break down the week.
1st! I'm leaving Los Feliz! :( :) :/ :?! I don’t want to go but I am excited for the changes. I will be heading down south to Warm Springs (the the mission office area) to be with Elder Johnson! (the same one who I was with in Central).  I'll be the district leader as well, so another new challenge. Word on the street is it’s a giant district and the APs are in it. I hope not! I will miss being up here by the temple, and all the Spanish speaking people (there are hardly any down there. I cover 1/3 of a stake now. There I will cover 3 stakes). I love this ward and the missionaries and the leadership here so much. I've grown so much from the all the good examples who surround me. But more good examples are to come. Elder Slik is coming with me down there to be my Zone Leader! So that's pretty cool. Different district but we still get to go on exchanges and stuff. I'll be able to tell you all more next week after I get down there. 

2nd! I want to talk about a few things that I heard this week in lessons. The first was a question "He's almost here, isn't He?" We were teaching the restoration to a 19 year old (the one with the new daughter) and that's what he asked. He could feel the urgency of it all and it was interesting to me. I think we taught it right because we didn't say anything about the Second Coming (we probably should have) but he could feel it. It really took me back. Now, I'm no doomsayer, but it is the Saturday evening of times. As I told him, He's trying His shoes and putting His coat on. Another one that really hit me hard was this in response to the question, "What does it mean to you if the Book of Mormon is true?" The man thought for a moment and looked me in the eyes and said "if the Book of Mormon is true, that means that this is Christ's church and that my family can be sealed in the temple for eternity." That hit me so hard. He wants to know. He wants it to be true and he knows it is. And it’s not true because he wants it to be. It’s true because it’s the word of God and the Holy Ghost has testified to his soul that it is so. I don't know if that makes sense but it was a very powerful moment in the lesson; to feel his desire and his love for his family. The other was when someone said "After you guys invited me to read and pray, I did and I felt this feeling in my chest and I know it’s true." I almost cried bc I was so happy. BOOM! Moroni's promise is real. And this woman received an unshakable witness. Because she did, she wants to be baptized. That moment, along with the others that supported it, changed her life. All that we teach is either true or it’s not and it all rests upon whether the Book of Mormon is true. If it was made up, then our church is a fraud. (See Jeffery R. Holland - Safety for the Soul)

Let me rant for a small moment. The Book of Mormon is true. Anyone who wants to know what I mean when I write that can read it for themselves and know that it was not made up by some uneducated farm boy, but translated by the power of God to be the evidence of the restoration of the priesthood and the true and living church. I didn't really understand that before my mission. The Book of Mormon is God's tool for missionary work and we as missionaries are living witnesses spread abroad to flood the whole earth with it. If the book is what it says it is, and I say it is, and what millions of others say it is, that means that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the first after more than a 1000 years of apostasy, which means that all the blessings we claim are available to all who come to know that it is true. AHHH!!! It's true. And because it’s true I know that the church is true and that the blessing of being part of an eternal family is mine to claim. Knowing, really knowing, that this book is scripture and that Joseph Smith was a prophet is such a blessing. If you can’t say "I know" and feel the spirit testify to you - read it. Again, and again, and again, till you can.  That's it. It's true and knowing for yourself that it is by the power of the Holy Ghost is the doorway to unimaginable happiness.  Sorry for the word vomit.

This week was awesome! I learned so much. I learned so much from the scriptures, from my companion, and from everyone else! I ate great food and met some awesome people. 

Monday we ate with the Schwenke's and I read a letter that Mom sent and I almost cried! They all did too. It was so sweet Mom. Thanks, you're the best. 

Tuesday was a sick day. I was on exchanges with Elder Slik all day. I love him so much. He is such a focused and spiritual missionary that is a great example to me. He is focused on the work and focused on his purpose. He has taught me so, so much. And we have a blast together. We taught 4 lessons which was also so sick, four solid lessons with interested investigators. 1st lesson was with a man named Junior - We talked about repentance and how if the church has been restored then he can be baptized for the remission of his sins. He liked it a lot. He has done some things that he shouldn't have and wants to be forgiven and right his wrongs with God. He said if he comes to know that the church is true he will make the covenant of baptism so that he can be cleansed from his sins. It’s all so well connected, the church is true. Next lesson was with a man named Walter. It was a great lesson as well. We also talked about baptism there too. Walter is going through a lot right now but he reads the Book of Mormon to take away the stress of life. The 3rd lesson was with David we talked about the Restoration. It was a great lesson. Sorry just no time. 4th was with Braulio - he was the one who talked about a testimony of the Book ofMormon -> temple. It was a great, fun day. 

Wednesday we had a great district meeting. We also taught English class which was my last one, but I lovedddd it. I am going to miss being able to help people in that way. Sis Stephens said, getting a little emotional when she did, that while I was teaching she saw me as a university institute president giving a devotional. It made me feel so good. 

Thursday we ate bfast with the Stephens and then got our apartments checked. Then we visited a couple member families and shared with them the new ward family mission plans. They all loved it. We also talked with Aliaha's dad. He's a great guy who cares about 2 things - God and his daughters. He tries so hard to be a good father and a good son. It’s inspiring. He is in a tough situation where he can’t really help himself but he wants to. Man. There are such good people in this world and sometimes you find them in situations that don’t really do their character justice. We also saw some incredibly happy families today and as Elder Guzman and I talked about it we realized it was because they were doing their best to live the gospel and no matter what was happening (both families were going through a lottttt of crap) they were joyful and a pleasure to be around. I want to be like that. I am slowly becoming so, I can feel it. There is an inner and outward peace that comes from doing what's right and living the commandments. Dinner was the best hamburgers I've ever had. Sooo good. I shared a spiritual thought and the family all broke out into tears. The wife had had a dream the night before about that scripture and I had helped her understand it. It was crazy. Then we had a lesson with Juan Pablo. It was a good one, tough bc he needs a lot of help but good. I’ll have to talk more about it later. In 2 years. Promise.

Friday was bomb. We planned then had dinner with our new neighbors, Colby and Brandon. They are so awesome. We helped them move in the other day and now Brandon's gf calls us "my Mormons" which is an honor. We ate and laughed and shared a great time with them. We all got to be great friends really fast. They aren’t open to the gospel right now but one day they will know it’s true. Hopefully being friends with the elders next door will help them. 

Saturday so much happened. We did service for a member moving tonnnsssss of rocks. I crushed my finger pretty bad. I’m fine. Then we ate w/ Hno Velasco and got our transfer doctrine [information about their upcoming transfers]. It’s crazy. I’ll miss this district. Then there was a baptism of the sisters at the church. Then we ate dinner as a district afterwards.

Sunday was also awesome. Two talks were rebuking people for not going to the temple enough, it was pretty harsh, but deserved. Bishop said a lot of great things about me and Elder Slik which made me feel awesome. I love feeling appreciated; that all the work I’ve been doing and trying to do is noticed even if it didn’t all happen like I wanted it to. Then we visited members for the rest of the night and had a great lesson with Argelia (the Book of Mormon answer woman and the one who we taught the commandments to in Feb.). She's changed so much and it’s been awesome to help her change, see her change, and teach her why, the where, and how. 
Life is so good.

As I start being district leader, any tips and ideas and knowledge you have to share would be super appreciated. I feel honored and humbled and not worthy. But I’ll do my best and that’s all the Lord asks of me.
I love you all so much
Sam!

Monday, April 22, 2013

WAHOOOOOOOOOoooooo

Hey so first things first. I've got noooo time.
2nd, 2nd. Let the rugby guys know that playing in the mud is a strong point. We at TU [Troy United] have always prided ourselves in not being afraid to get dirty and using it as an asset when we play pretty boy teams. I'm proud of all the good they're doing and I love hearing about their successes. Stay low. Play hard. Hit harder. Ruck. And smile. And stay in a flat line on defense. I wish I could be there with you guys. Two years and I will be. 

Sorry if my last email was overbearing. It just makes me sad to see missionaries out here who want to be somewhere else or aren't emotionally prepared for serving with their whole heart, mind, and strength.

OKay! This week! A great one! AHHH!!!oglogaob Monday was awesome. We did our pday stuff. We had to run a lot of errands but, it’s okay because we were helping people. We helped our new neighbors move in. They were cool. They invited over for dinner soon. I'm pumped. At the Schwenke's this week they shared how they got to the temple and it was a powerful story. God loves us. He answers prayers. He wants to bless us. We just have to learn how to receive the blessings.

Tuesday was a good day. We biked for most of the day. It was warm, but cloudy so it was like perfect weather. We got to talk to a few people and met some prepared people who asked us questions about the marathon bombing and things. The Book of Mormon answers the questions that we all have and if it doesn't, it's the starting point. We were able to give out a few pretty good referrals. It’s hard because the Hispanics that live in our area work for most of the day so we can really only work through member referrals. 

Wednesday was district meeting. I liked it. I learned new ways to help the members do missionary work. I love the scriptures too. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! It’s great to share the things that mean everything to me with all those around us. We went to this restaurant called Aranda's (that we usually do) and the woman gave us all free drinks because we go so often. It’s darn good Mexican food. We had ward coordination that went really well. Members of the ward council were there and we were able to discuss and make assignments to help get things done. Counseling and communication are so important. Later we had a meeting with the bishop that was super good. We talked about the people we are working with and he gave us his vision. Bomb. 

Thursday. Elder Guzman was sick in the morning. We visited a few members in the afternoon. Then we went to English class, so bomb. Someone told me that the world needs more conservative professors like me. I didn't think I was conservative, but it made me feel good. 

Friday was planning. We helped the other elders with some service too. We drove Elder Burl (Gunnell) and Elder Meyers and weeded for a bit. This woman has like a zoo, peacocks and hens and chickens and ponies and donkies and dogs and lizards and a llama. We went to see Juan Pablo and had a great lesson with him. He is awesome and he has a great family. I love spending time with them. I just wish he would devote himself to changing. 

Saturday was great too! Elder Alvarez went to a baptism in Arizona so Elder Slik 3 packed with us for the day. So fun. He's awesome. I want to be more like him. I hope I get to be companions with him one day. We had a good day working in both areas. We got to talk to some very prepared people on the street and teach a few lessons to their investigators. I love teaching. I love helping to guide people to know that the church is true and to help them receive peace and happiness. 

Sunday was good. We went to a fireside. I saw lots of other missionaries. I love missionaries. Life is good. We taught a lesson about the plan of salvation to our ward mission leader that night. He's such an example to me. His daughter said something really interesting and cool. God is never mean. And it’s true, He's not. But sometimes we are mean to ourselves. If we lived how He wanted us to, we wouldn’t be sad!
kk that's it.

One of these day's I'll write you all and show you all the love you deserve. Thanks for your support. :) <3
I love you all so much!
Sam

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ugghhh. Idk. My life is gooodddd. Reall good.

Oh ho ho. What a bomb week! So many good things happened. I grew a lot, spiritually, not just waist-ically. Life is good. There was something I wanted to highlight but I don't remember what it was. This wasn't it but this is something. To all of you prospective elders (and sister missionaries too)- and this means anyone who plans on serving a mission. For example - you BH boys – Race, Andrew, Sean and anyone else who reads this; prepare now. If you're 18 it’s not too late and if you're 8 it’s not too early. I ask you to ponder why you want to serve a mission and what kind of missionary you want to be. Think about what you want to accomplish and who you want to become. Then set goals and make plans to get there. The MTC is an inspired program but it will not make up for proper personal preparation. You must prepare long before they give your name badge. It is hard work to prepare right. But so is a mission. It is supposed to take effort because you are changing your very nature, from the fallen carnal man, to the man of Christ. It will take devoted study of the scriptures (standard works and words of the latter-day prophets) and Preach My Gospel. It will take concerted effort to improve and create your relationship with your Father in Heaven. It will take all the strength and will you possess to resist temptation and quench all the fiery darts of the adversary. It will take introspection and meditation. It's not a cake walk. Young men and young women get ready. You are all like sponges. You are now saturated with many things but you've got to squeeze out the things that don’t matter and then even some of the good things that are taking the room of the better and the best things. AH!!! I can't explain this properly or get my emotions across over email. You must set your eternal goals now. Sit down in a quiet place and read the scriptures. Drink deep and savor it and plan for yourself what you want to become. Be active in your own life. Use your agency. Choose to have faith. Don't let life pass you by without making sure that you are getting everything out of it that you can. If you can't testify with the same power as President Monson or Elder Holland or Moroni or Sister Dalton, or whoever your church heroes are, get there. If you don't have a church hero, get one. I study and plead and ponder everyday to get there. I'm not perfect, or anywhere close, but please, if you want to serve a mission and the Lord (and especially if you don't) prepare yourself. Don't just read the scriptures, study and apply them. Don't just go to church, worship and grow at church. Don't just say prayers, talk to your loving Father in Heaven. Live the way that the Lord wants you to, the way he has prepared for you. It's happier. gaahahahgg;gakgahgggagfw3gw3poa. I sound dumb. I hope you get the point. All of that, I guess, lets you know that I'm learning and repenting and learning to repent and repenting to learn. I just wish someone would have grabbed me by the ears and told me I was being a turd so I could be getting better faster. Mom and Dad you did. But I didn't listen too well.

Soooo! This Monday was good! Just a regular p-day - except we didn't play sports which made me bummed. Everyone was too busy. But today we're gonna play so that's bomb. We went to the Schwenke's and had a grand ole time as always. Then we got together to practice a musical number for our Zone training meeting on Tuesday. I wish I would have stayed with music...

Tuesday was a great day too! I love training meetings. They help me so much. I learn and grow and come out of them with new ideas and a new fire to be a better missionary and disciple. This one was one of the best I've ever had and I learned a lot that I need to improve on. It’s like a staircase, as I improve I just get a better perspective about how much more I still have to do and change. But it’s awesome because it helps me to pinpoint more things that need improvement. We had an interesting dinner. It was with a recent convert and her non-member son. He was so interesting. He was friendly and funny and liked being around us a lot. As we talked with him he told us about his daughter and his life. He seemed way older than he said he was, 19, but he wasn't mature as he should have been especially with a 6 month old baby. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's true. In a lot of ways he is still a little kid (so am I) but he has one of the most sacred responsibilities on his hands, raising a child. He is a good kid but you can tell that he is in over his head. He has gone through a lot of bad things and is pushing himself out of the bad crowd and bad things he used to do to be a better father. He wants to be a good dad to his little girl but he knows that he has a long way to go. He would be able to progress a lot faster and be a better dad if he'd have just waited a little bit and if he'd have the support of the mother. It's a complicated situation, but when we shared a spiritual thought at dinner he loved it. The other Elders started teaching him and he is loving it. Life is good for those who work for it. Then that night we went to visit Marlon. We talked with him and his mother and then watched Elder Bednar's law of chastity talk.  It's bomb. Marlon loved it. 

Wednesday was awesome too. We had district council session about how we can better work with the members and the leadership. We got a lot of good ideas and we've been applying them and seeing the benefits. If you don't know the missionaries, please reach out to them and invite them into your home to help you become missionaries. Our ward coordination was pretty good today because we were super focused. We are helping the ward build up the necessary infrastructure to become a missionary machine. As President Monson says, missionary work is the lifeblood of the church. Then we did English class which was good. I love teaching. Sister Stephens asked me if I was going to be a teacher and I laughed and said I've always wanted to not be a teacher, but I think it's where I might end up. 

Thursday was a good day. EG was super sick so I had a lot of time to study. We tried to visit people but no one seemed to be home all day. We followed up with a Family Mission Plan with one of the families in the ward and it was awesome. They are already applying the things and doing missionary work and seeing the benefits already. It was cool to hear their new testimonies of the blessings of sharing the gospel. They try to do a different missionary activity each day. Then we got free ice cream from an ice cream truck driver who I had taught at English class a few weeks ago. Pretty cool! English class that night was awesome too.

Friday was planning and we helped a sister fix her garage. We had a good visit with a recent convert, Dominga. We talked about the last chapters of Mosiah and grace. Then she told us that the stake president has been mowing her lawn for the last 8 years without her asking and without pay. That's a servant of the Lord! Then we presented a mission plan to a family and they loved it. The (priest) son shared some spiritual experiences and it was awesome. 

Saturday we taught Aliaha the Ten Commandments. We walked in there and they were watching Snakes on a Plane.  We had an awesome lunch at the Velasco house. Then we had an awesome dinner and a super spiritual lesson about the restoration. Then we taught another lesson about the Book of Mormon and prophets and faith and it was 200% by the Spirit. It’s an incredible experience to discern and teach by the Spirit. 

Sunday was a good day. We were on exchanges, me and Elder Alvarez, and Elder Guzman and Elder Slik. We ate 2 dinners which was a lot, especially because we were on bikes and we biked like crazyyyy. We shared another family mission plan and that family loved it too. They wanted us to follow up and keep helping them help their friends. Then we talked with another family and tried to help a less active young woman go on a mission. She says she's going to go. It’s gonna be bomb if she goes. 

AHhhh!!!! No time sorry.
KK everyone. Thanks for the support and prayers. I can feel them and they help me to do what I do.
I love you all so much
Sam

Monday, April 8, 2013

HERRRRO!! Idk what to put as subjects. I'm not very creative

Life is so good out here in Vegas. So good for me, and so good for some, it's a hard life for others. I typed out a story about one of the investigators of the other Elders but I deleted it. The gist of it is that gambling ruins lives for so, so many. It’s a story I've heard far too many times. One or two parents are addicted to gambling and use all the money they make to gamble. Slowly, kids and food and clothing and everything else is forgotten. All sense and cents are sunk into it. It's crazy. I can't even describe it. It’s depressing and despicable. It reminds me of the scripture in which the Savior says that mothers will forget their suckling babes. And I never understood how that was possible until recently. It’s incredible the things I've seen and I haven't even seen that much. What makes me the most sad is that the children suffer. Whateve. Idk I can’t explain it very well. Basically, drugs, immorality, gambling, it messes people up and it messes their families up. It’s often so bad that people won’t let themselves change. Ugh. Sorry for the sad stuff. I'll be able to explain it better another time. FOLLOW THE PROPHET! WHEN HE SAYS JUMP, DO IT! It's to bless us. I wish I could have Elder Perry yell this to the whole world... oh wait, he did! We don’t have commandments because we are masochists. We have them because we love the Lord and want to be happy. 

OKay! So the week! Monday we went hiking again which was pretty fun! I like spending time with other missionaries. Then we ate at the Schwenke's but after we had another FHE with our whole ward. It was really cool. EG and I taught a cool lesson about Lehi’s dream of the tree of life. We connected it all to following the prophet. We had an object lesson with blindfolds and an iron rod and a group of teenagers (aptly dressed) representing the great and spacious building. A lot of people liked it and we got the point across pretty well. It's hard to explain... sorry. I'm so bad at this.

Tuesday we went to the Temple which was nice. It was very peaceful. Afterwards a member bought us giant cinnamon rolls from the cafeteria in the basement. 

Sam's Zone at the Temple
Members here are so nice. That afternoon we tried to contact a referral but it turns out she was already a member and going to the English ward. It was kinda cool actually. I thought it was going to be awkward but we sat and talked with the family and even left them a Book of Mormon in Spanish to give to one of their friends. One of the daughters had her mission call to Colorado but her boyfriend proposed so she’s not going anymore. No comment. We had our ward coordination on Tuesday instead so then right after we did that. We watched some of the District DVDs and talked about how we can improve our coordination with the ward council and the ward missionaries. It was kinda cool and connected well with conference. I am the biggest fan of evaluation, self and otherwise. I didn't used to be, that's for sure. 

Wednesday we had to get the oil changed in the car so I got to again see how the church works in the financial world. They are super on top of everything. Tithing is serious business. We walked around a lot trying to find people to talk to. It's so hot and no one’s out. Before I thought  it was because it was cold, and now that it's switched over, I guess it’s just cause ... well I don’t know. Then later we helped a member move out and down the street. It takes like 1/3 the time to unload as it does to load. After moving we talked to one guy in the street who wanted to know why his LDS daughter wouldn't talk to him. He was implying that bc she was a member she was being stubborn and not wanting to talk to him. He then proceeded to classify all members as judgmental and stubborn. We tried to explain that just because one person was like that doesn’t mean that we as a church condone or encourage it or anything like that. But he was being stubborn. It made me think of the chapter in Isaiah where it’s like 'judge between me and my vineyard.' Ahhh no time moving on. We taught English class which I love. One person always requests to have me be their 'tutor' during a one-on-one time at the end of class which makes me feel good. 

Thursday was Zone conference. Bomb. I learned a lot and as usual have a renewed fire to be even better. Sister Neider talked about the atonement and the guilt and shame that everyone carries and the beautiful message of forgiveness that we bring. Cool stuff. It was like 8 hours of training. After that we presented our ward mission plan to some members which went well. It’s really about helping them just as much as it is about helping us. But in the end it’s all about helping the Lord. It’s surprisingly hard to get people to understand that. Hopefully all of you who read this do. Do missionary work. Do it because you love the Lord. Do it because you love others. Do it because you love your family. Do it because you love the Lord. It’s a commandment and the blessings are innumerable. Ahhh! It will make you happier if you do! Then we tried to street contact, but no one was interested.

Friday! We did our weekly planning and then taught a lesson to Aliaha about the Book of Mormon. Man that family struggles. They don’t have enough money to buy new clothes when the ones they wear, wear out. And they are scarred and scared too. But we talked about the stories in the Book of Mormon and the 3 little girls love them. That night we taught a first lesson. The first one I've taught in forever. I loved it. It is such a blessing to be able to teach and testify. There is no greater feeling in the world than feeling the Spirit work through you to touch another person. It's the best. I hope all of you have had or will have that opportunity. It’s ... life changing. 

Saturday was General Conference. It was dope. After the second session we had lunch with our district and it was a fun time to talk about the talks and eat some good sandwiches. After priesthood we went to see how Marlon was doing bc he didn’t come to conference. He was too tired from work. But he showed us his new mouse. It was pretty cute, but not nearly as cute as conference. 

Sunday was GC as well. Man I love conference. Although I must admit conference bingo is not conducive to revelation. I didn’t play and I was blessed for it. Between the 2 sessions we ate waffles at an English member’s house and took that picture that you guys got.
General Conference Brunch at the Peterson's

It’s fun to be so loved. I've expressed it before but I feel like I don't deserve the love; maybe some, but not as much as we get from the members. NOT COMPLAINING THO! We had a really good visit with members which I liked a lot. We got to know them really well and laughed and had a great time. We shared a spiritual thought and then he shared one with us too. It was great. Then that night we talked to a few people but no one was too interested. 

This week was awesome. Sorry the email hasn't been.
I love you all so much!
Sam

Monday, April 1, 2013

HE LIVES ALL GLORY TO HIS NAME

Okkkkayyy!!! Hey everyone thanks! I love knowing that you all are supporting me and praying for me. I can feel it. This work isn’t possible without support.

Monday was a great day. We had a fun p-day running errands and doing all that kind of stuff. We ate a fantastic dinner at the Schwenke's. Sister made us lava-lavas. I've worn mine every day. “Pants? We don’t wear pants in this town, we just walk around in our MANLY SKIRTS”! It's nice. Dad - it reminds me of the beginning of the 4th Harry Potter. Afterwards we went to go see Marlon and we read the scriptures with him and he showed us his coin collection. He works housekeeping at a casino so he has some sick coins from all around the world.

Tuesday was a good day too! Elder Guzman was pretty sick so we spent most of the day indoors. He rested and I watched the District DVDs and studied Preach My Gospel and the scriptures.  When Elder Guzman was feeling a little better we did a service project and I caught a gecko! So that was pretty cool. Then EG was feeling sick so we had to come back. So it was a short day but it was pretty cool because we got to do a lot of good things.

Wednesday was district meeting which is always bomb. We then had to drive the Elders around all afternoon which was kinda crazy. But we got to teach a lesson to Aliaha which went well. She's so smart and has gospel knowledge well beyond her age. After that we had dinner, then we had a meeting with the Bishop about Aliaha, then we taught English class, which I love. We tried as a district to practice a musical number but then we decided that we sounded too bad... so we didn’t do it. 

Thursday Elder Guzman was sick again really bad so we spent most of the day resting. Late in the afternoon we got to go teach Aliaha and get her ready to be baptized. She needs a righteous example so bad in her life. I can see and feel that not having a stable mother is taking its toll. She doesn’t have a role model set out to look to so she has to look outside, in the media and in magazines and stuff like that and it is warping her idea of what is important and what is valuable. It was interesting. The Word of Wisdom was a struggle for her because she had decided to drink as a 9 year old girl because that's what she saw everyone else doing. It's absolutely crazy. The bad example of her mom and the lack of a mother figure now in her life is hurting her. I can’t really explain it very well. I guess I am just trying to highlight the importance of being a good example. It can make a world of difference. The influence of a righteous mother can work miracles (see Alma 56). Sorry for my senseless ranting. BUT TO ALL OF YOU THAT ARE IN A POSITION TO INFLUENCE OTHERS, MAKE SURE YOU ARE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING. Be worthy of the reverence that little children have for you. Grrrrrrrr. And don’t do drugs. We had our coordination meeting as well with Hno Villalpando. He gets it. That man knows what he is supposed to be doing and he does everything in his power to do it. It's an honor to get to work with so many wonderful saints every day. He's a good example to me. Then we ate dinner and went to English class. Afterwards EG felt sick so a member gave us jello and chicken broth and crackers. People are just too nice.

Friday was pretty cool. We had "Spanish Conference". It was basically just a zone conference but for only the Spanish missionaries. It was 8 hours and it was really good and helped direct us on how we should adapt out teaching and acting for the different culture. I got to see a lot of other missionaries which was cool, like Elder Bennett and Elder Yockey and Elder Chacon and Elder Nonu and others. I learned a lot from that day. They asked me to speak. I was pretty intimidated but I did a really good job. I was humbled and honored which is a better way to put it than intimidated. Someone said I speak like a mini-Elder Holland and that I got everyone pumped, that made me feel super good. A lot of people talked to me about the things I said which made me feel important. I don’t think I've blushed that much in a long, long time. Then after we went and brought Elder Slik to do a baptismal interview for Aliaha. In teaching the law of chastity I taught her a song – “Stop! Don’t touch me there! This is my no-no square!” Hand movements and all. She loved it and did it all the time. She was laughing for like the whole rest of the interview after she sang it to Elder Slik. After that we went to Dominga's house to read the Book of Mormon with her. She is trying so hard to learn everything and to be good. It’s a pleasure to help people who are trying to help themselves. And because of her desires she is learning a lot. Then we met with Hno Villalpando to finish up preparing for the baptism. 
Aliaha's baptism - Elder Anderson, Elder Guzman and Elder Shreve
 Saturday was sick. We had Aliaha's baptism at noon. Then we had lunch at the V's. He is such a great guy, he is going through horrible, horrible things and he copes by serving us and serving others. Kinda like the Savior. We fallen men selfishly turn inward when things get tough, but the Savior never did. He always served others no matter how hard it was, or how hurt he was. Like when Peter cuts the guys ear off? The Savior heals him. For me that is amazing. Jesus had just finished (just started) suffering for the sins, and afflictions, and the pains of all mankind. It wouldn't have been a sin if he didn't heal this dudes ear. But he wouldn't have been perfect. He helped and comforted and healed a man who was there to kill and torture him. He wasn't thinking about himself, or his pain, he was looking out for others. Selfless when he had every reason to be selfish. Disciples turn outward, others turn inward. It's hard to write about. You get the point. Hno V is a great guy, an example to the believers. Then we went on exchanges so EG and EAlvarez could go to a baptism in Henderson. Elder Slik and I walked around and talked to some cool people and then went to a baptism for that little girl whose mom we found like a month or 2 ago. Idk if y’all remember, but I sure do. Kit-kat got baptized! I felt awesome to have helped her get baptized and to have helped her mom come back to church. Seeing the change in just this short time and seeing the ward embrace them both with open arms has been wonderful. Then we biked (the other elders took the car) which was good. I love biking. Dinner was fun and afterwards we were doing service, helping this person fix her garage door and move some heavy stuff around we found some pretty funny stuff and took a few pictures. (I hate my double chin ... stupid fat hobbitses) The tie I am wearing in the baptism picture I gave it to an investigator of the zone leaders. He said he liked it and he was pretty sad so I just took it right off and gave it to him. It made me feel pretty good hahaah.
Elder Alvarez, Elder Anderson, Elder Slik, Elder Guzman
Elder Anderson and Elder Guzman
 Sunday! Sunday was Easter! EG was sick again so we couldn’t go to church or to confirm Aliaha but all went well. I studied for most of the day. It was good. I learned a lot. He was feeling a little better right before dinner so we went out and street contacted and talked to two very prepared people (who live out of our area). It was awesome to talk to him. It was a couple and the man had a bunch of questions that we were able to answer by testifying of the Restoration. Then the woman had questions that we were able to answer by teaching them the Plan of Salvation. They were loving it and wanting to know more. They asked us when we could come back (which is like the best thing a missionary can hear, other than, “when can I be baptized”). It was so sick. EG is a great guy.

That was the week! Sorry it's rushed but I don’t have too much time! 
Again and as always I love you all so much!
Love,
Sam