Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Conference Weekend!

It was great to hear from all of you this past week and I am so thankful that Trent was able to have a successful surgery. It was sad to hear that he fell on the repaired shoulder just hours after the surgery, but I am sure that he will be fine. I am praying for you!

Mom and dad, thank you so much for your letters and your emails. You are both so loving and it is an absolute blessing to have you two as my parents. Jenny thanks for the letter! You are so sweet and the pictures rock! I hope that all is going well with school and work! Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for your letter. I got it today and I didn't have time to read the story but I can't wait to read it, they are always great and I love them so much.

Thanks to all of the rest of who I know are always praying for me. Again, hopefully someday I will be able to write you a quick email or letter but for now, know that I love you and I am praying for you and I wish you the best.

Well this week was a great week. We had our interviews with the president this week, something that happens every transfer cycle. When I talked to him about the investigators in our area he gave me some great news! He said that Carmen's kids, Wilton and Myra, are great blessing to the branch here and that the Lord wants those kids to be baptized. Usually, if people don't come to church three times we can't baptize them. In their situation, they live 40 minutes from church and have no car. But they have some of the strongest desires to be baptized that I have ever seen. So we got permission to baptize them when they are ready!

Something that is a huge blessing in our lives and the lives of the people here in San Sebastian! I am so pumped! It's so amazing to be a part of this work and to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I know that those children were led to us because our Heavenly Father wants them to have the saving ordinance of baptism performed. He wants all of his children to return to live with Him in the Celestial Kingdom and at some point in all of our lives, He gives us the the opportunity to decide, yes or no. It's cool to be the instrument in His hands that gets to ask the question and act on the response.

So yeah, if you can't tell I'm pretty excited to be having a baptism this transfer :)

Oh and secondly :)

Our other investigator is progressing also. Maria told us that she loves the Book of Mormon and that she knows it's true. We just found out last night that she has an issue that we need to work on but it's amazing. Before my mission I thought of missionary work as teaching lessons to regular people. But I never really thought about all of the different circumstances that these people will be living with. It's amazing to realize that we really are teaching His children, but all of us are different in every single way. And yet, He has a plan and vision for each of us and He knows each of us perfectly. I am so blessed to be a part of this work and to have the opportunity to see that vision and to feel that love for the people that we work with. If any of you are thinking about a mission or not . . . it's a no-brainer. Get out here and serve the Lord! Where do you think he wants you?!

We did have the chance to have some really cool stuff happen to us this week. It's always and adventure trying to meet our goals. We set goals at the start of each week and plan how to accomplish them. By the end of the week, if we accomplished them, it's always seems to be in a totally different way then we planned, and it's because the Lord led us every step of the way.

It was Friday night and we were working hard contacting. While we were knocking on doors I was going over the numbers in my head and I realized that one of goals, lessons with members, was going to be really hard to accomplish by Sunday. We prayed that morning and asked Heavenly Father to help us. We prayed "we don't know how we are going to accomplish our goals but we know with your help we can." Well, when we got done contacting, we went to an appointment with an investigator that we have had for a while -- Lillian Lebron. Lillian knows a lot of the members in the branch but none of them could come with us on this night. We went to her house and knocked on her door and guess who answered. Her son who is a member. Talk about a blessing and a miracle from the Lord. That lesson started an awesome weekend of blessings and small miracles and only through the hand of the Lord and His love for His children were we able to accomplish our goals this week.

We also had a cool experience yesterday when we were contacting. In San Sebastian there are two types of neighborhoods: neighborhoods in the city where all of the houses are really close and it can take you 2 hours to contact a street because there are so many houses; or the mountain neighborhoods where the houses are so spread out that it can take you two minutes to contact an entire street. Last night we were contacting in the mountains. We got done with one street and started walking back. I noticed a house in the distance that we had not noticed earlier.

I looked for a trail and sure enough we had walked right past the trail. We went and knocked on the door and there was nothing. Then again and nothing. We started to leave and Elder Blandon said he just felt someone say "go knock, go knock" so we turned around and knocked on the door. When we did this last time, a great young lady came out and in the humid Puerto Rico evening we taught her the first lesson about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she loved it. She took the Book of Mormon with enthusiasm and promised us that she would read it and pray about it. It's amazing to think that if we didn't follow the promptings of the spirit we wouldn't have been able to find this young woman that the Lord had prepared to hear His gospel. What a blessing it is to be an instrument in His hands!

Well this weekend is general conference. One of my two favorite weekends of the year. It is going to be interesting to watch it here in another country two hours ahead, but I can't wait! I will probably miss you all a little more this week because of conference and the sights I will get to see, and the memories that I will remember. But I want you to know that I love you all and as much as I miss you, there is no other place that I would rather be then here in beautiful Puerto Rico serving the Lord. I hope it goes well! I love you all.

OK, one last story and then I have to get going. This weekend on Saturday we were going to teach Maria and we were going to teach about the spirit and promptings of the spirit. But when we were trying to make the lesson plan we kept hitting blocks in our planning. It was getting really frustrating and finally I just told Elder Blandon that we couldn't do it alone. We needed the Lord's help. So we dropped to our knees and within 15 minutes we had a lesson plan that we felt great about. We gave the lesson and during the lesson there was no doubt in my mind that we had been inspired with the things that we were teaching. We really are God's children and when we ask Him to help us He will be there to help us. I know it's true because I go through stories like that every day. Never be afraid to get on your knees and plead for help. Just as your earthly father would help you, your Heavenly Father will help you too!

I love you so much and I can't wait to hear from you all again. It was great to hear that Trent is doing OK, that grandma and grandpa sold their house, and that BYU won! Woohoo!

Thanks for all that you do for me. I love you all and I am praying for you all constantly.

With all of my love that I can give,

Your son, Friend and Missionary,

Elder Oviatt

PS Go cougars!

Monday, September 21, 2009

We just won't talk about that one :( haha - September 21, 2009

Hola Familia and Amigos

It was so great to hear from you this week. Thank you for all of your love and support and your letters and your emails. You have no idea how much it means to me and how much it helps.

Well I got the news about the BYU game . . . and well Go Cougars! They'll win next week. It's too bad about the perfect season being gone and all that nonsense but it's OK, the BCS is done in a few years anyways.

So Mom and Dad thank you for the package. It was so great to get it! Thank you so much for your love and support. Did you get the memory card that I sent this week?!?! I sure hope so, it has all of my pictures on it.

Trent, man, surgery :( That's rough. I am so sorry. I know that you are going to make it through and I want you to know that you will be in my prayers for a long time. Don't ever be afraid to ask your earthly father for a blessing. And never, ever, ever, ever, be afraid to drop down on your knees and ask your Heavenly Father for a little extra help. I know every thing happens for a reason bud. There is a divine plan and vision for each one of us. Yours happens to have shoulder surgery in it, lucky you :) I love you man and I am praying for you. Let me know how it goes. And enjoy the love and support but not the pain :S Love you bro!

So this week was a good solid week of work. I felt really good about what we did this week but the thing is that we just did a lot of working and teaching and there weren't really any crazy stories that happened to us. So I am sorry if this email is kind of boring. But hey, you get to hear about beautiful Puerto Rico so I hope you enjoy.

Today I am in Aguadilla. I just got my Puerto Rican Driver's License so it's official estoy boriqua! (I am Puerto Rican). It was hard to give up my Utah license and take the new one. It felt like I was giving away part of my old life. But it was still cool to know that I am officially here for two years!

Anywho, yeah . . . so I am writing you this email and I can look out the window and see the beautiful west coast of Puerto Rico. You guys are way out there. I just waved to you so hopefully when you get this you'll wave back! I love you.

OK, so this week we had one investigator in church. Maria, who we have been teaching for a long time, came with her cousin this week and it's a good thing we came. Saturday afternoon we biked an hour to her cousin's house to teach her and in the middle of the lesson, a lightning storm developed. The lightning struck the street in front of the house! It was crazy! We totally moved and my vision went all blurry for a few seconds of the loud thunder. Anywho, Sunday she came to church and got to participate in Sacrament Meeting with us. That was awesome. I think she really enjoyed it and she is really starting to get a stronger testimony of the gospel. Hopefully the Lord will bless us with a baptism in the next few weeks.

Our other two awesome investigators, Milton and Myra (12 and 11 years old) didn't come to church yesterday. These are the kids of Hermana Carmen who lives about 45 minutes away by car. The edge of our area haha. Anywho, they don't have a car and so they have to rely on their dad for a ride to church. Apparently he couldn't give them a ride yesterday. Anywho they are great and they are going to get baptized they just need to come!

This family is so sweet they don't have that much. In fact, they barely have anything but they know so much about the gospel and they have such a desire to get baptized. Every time we teach them the spirit floods the room and we have an awesome conversation. The Lord knows these kids and knows what's best for them. I have no doubt in my mind that is the reason why we were led to them. Anywho this Saturday they had written our names on the wall along with the member who always comes with us and also their own names. It was so cute and so special. I will take a picture of it and sent it to you. It's cool because they feel a special joy when we come over and it's not because of us, it's because we bring the message of the God. The love and joy that they feel when we come over is the love and joy that we can all feel with the message of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

This week was a pretty hard week for me. For some reason I was really thinking about home and for some reason my Spanish was just down. I was so down this week that I started to look for all of the bad in every day. Satan was working me so hard I couldn't believe it! Saturday was awful. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Nearing the end of the day all of our goals were basically gone and we needed a miracle in our last two hours of contacting to reach our goals for the day. I was so angry and negative. But luckily, the Lord helped to change my heart.

We had a miracle and we got to teach 3 first lessons in 2 hours, which absolutely never happens. Usually it's 0. And as we started to walk to a less active member's house to visit her, we were talking about how we needed to get a lesson with a member to reach our goal. The lesson needed to include a non-member with a member present. We arrived at this sister's house and there was a non-member friend visiting her. Many of you might say that it was luck/ No it wasn't. I know for a fact that it was the hand of the Lord helping His son and His missionary who desperately needed a lift. I had a change of heart that night and I realized that often in life, we do the things that the Lord wants us to be doing. Often in life, we have goals that He wants us to work towards. And often in life, we have a picture in our mind of how God will work for us to help us get there.

This is so wrong and it's been a problem that I have had for a long time. God is there and He loves us. We are His children and He wants the best for us. When we do what He wants, He will bless us. And when we work towards the goals that He wants us to accomplish, He will bless us with the ability to reach those goals. But what is cool is that most of the time it will be in a totally different way or manner then we think because we are on His timetable, and He knows what is best for us. We will usually always accomplish our goals of what we know He wants. But He builds us and shapes us into even better people, and helps us reach even better goals, by taking us on His path, on His plan, which can be a totally different path and plan then we usually expect.

I know that sometimes life just seems like it's crap. You're down in the dumps and there is nowhere to go. But these are the best times to look at all Heavenly Father has blessed you with and all you have been given. You have the opportunity to learn and grow from this crappy experience and grow closer to your Father who loves you with a perfect love.

I hope that whenever you guys have a hard time this week that you will get down on your knees and ask for help. I promise that your Heavenly Father is there for you and He loves you and will answer your prayers.

I read a scripture this week that I love, Ether 12:27. If men will humble themselves before me I will make weak things become strong. God is everything and when we humble ourselves and look for His hand in our lives, it's amazing to see how much strength He has given us.

Well that was cool. I wasn't really planning to write all of that but it's amazing how the spirit works so yeah!

Well that's about it for this week. I want you all to know that I love you so much and I pray for all of you every single night.

I miss you like a freaking pain, but there is nowhere else in the world that I should be right now.

Thanks for all of your love and support and all that you all do for me. I know that you will be blessed.

Until next time, your son, brother, friend and missionary

Elder Oviatt

P.S. Good luck with the move grandma and grandpa! Thanks for all the letters and love

Oh and

P.P.S. GO COUGARS!!!!!! 11-1 :)

2 More Baptismal Dates!!!! 54-3?!?!?!?!?!?!?! -- September 14. 2009

Hola Familia y Amigos

It was great to hear from you all this past week! Thank you so much for your love and support and your letters and your emails. The shoulder thing with Trent sounds so weird. I'm glad that he is still able to hit the ball but that's so crazy that you are able to do that with a torn ligament in your shoulder. It's a cool blessing too. I'm glad that this week the news was no surgery, hopefully it will be the same next week.

And holy cow 54-3! And I am hearing that BYU is ranked #7? Wow! What a season to be on a mission. No, I'm just kidding. I am glad that they are doing so well. In all honesty, I would much rather be here in Puerto Rico on Saturdays serving the Lord, then being in Orem sitting on the couch watching football. This is where the Lord wants me to be and there is no other place I would rather be. But thanks for the updates and I hope they do well! Go Cougars!

Anywho, this week was absolutely awesome! I will start off with the best news! We have two more baptismal dates with the kids of Carmen, or Carmen's kids is how you say it in English (I think). Anyways, we were so pumped when we committed them to baptism. These kids are really shy but they absolutely love the Book of Mormon and they love learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel. When we asked Carmen if it would be OK to baptize her kids she said "of course." And then we asked if the kids wanted to be baptized and they said "of course" also! We were so excited but there was still more that had to be done this week.

In order to be baptized as a convert you have to go to church 3 times. So if we wanted to baptize those kids this transfer they needed to come to church this week. The problem is that they live so far away (about 30-45 minutes) from church and they have no car to get there. Luckily Carmen asked her dad if he could drive them down for church. He said he could but because the mom is in a coma, he would not be able to pick them up. Carmen demonstrated her faith in the Lord and she came to church without knowing if we would be able to find a ride back or not. We have great members in the branch of San Sebastian and they were more then willing to take her back home. The kids absolutely loved church, even though they are so shy. They loved the feelings that they felt there and they loved the opportunity to take the sacrament and think about Christ. They also loved making more friends. Carmen said that she loved it so much and that she will definitely be back.

I am so thankful for this awesome family and what is even more amazing is that the Lord basically gave us this family to teach. We didn't contact them or anything. They called us. But it's just another story to add to the principle that if you have faith and work hard and know that things are in the Lord's hands, He will bless you with more then you can imagine. I get to see that every single day and I know it to be true.

So if you are struggling right now in your life, get out and do something that the Lord wants you to do. Go to church. Read your scriptures. Say your prayers. Serve your fellow men. Work to become the best example of Christ that you can be. That's why we are here and I know that if you will demonstrate your faith and sacrifice your comfort by doing something that your Father in Heaven wants you to do, you will be blessed with more then you can imagine.

This week was also way cool because I got to go on a trade off with one of the Zone Leaders in Cabo Rojo. Cabo Rojo is actually right on the ocean and so I got to serve on eday in a city that's by the ocean. It was terrific! We had a baptismal interview with a guy who is a fisherman and believe it or not his house is literally on the docks. During the baptismal interview we were sitting on the docks looking out to the ocean talking about scriptures and our investigators. If I am making you jealous then good! Know that I love you and that you should come visit Puerto Rico when I am done :)

The gospel is so simple it is absolutely amazing. I love it. We had a lesson this week with a guy named Luis and Luis had thousands of questions. That was actually the lesson. He just asked us question after question after question. There isn't an answer to every question, but the simple truths of the gospel can answer many. It's amazing how simple and yet perfect the gospel is. It's definitely a testimony that this church and this gospel were organized and created by a Being who is not of this world. A Being with a perfect knowledge. I love it so much and I am so thankful that I have to opportunity to testify of these truths every single day.

But of course it's not the missionaries that do the convincing of man. It is the Spirit of the Lord. Yesterday me and Elder Blandon were contacting and we ran into this young man our age. I wish I could remember his name, but it's OK. Anywho he pulled up in his truck with his muddy dirt bike in the back and we started talking to him. It turns out that he actually races bikes for a living and he was out practicing for a tournament next week. Anyways, we started to talk to him about the gospel and when I started to talk my mind went absolutely blank and I couldn't think of anything to say! I couldn't speak Spanish anymore and I didn't know why! I didn't know what was going on. Luckily, the scripture in D&C popped into my head. It is the scripture which says open your mouth and it will be given unto you.

I opened my mouth and all of the sudden I started talking about the plan of salvation and the three questions that the plan answers: Where did we come from? Why are we here? And where are we going after this life? After I got done I was amazed at how clearly the Spirit was able to work through me and how clear my Spanish was. The guy was really interested and he began to ask about those questions. Elder Blandon and I were able to give great answers explaining the first two, but before answering the third question, we said that we would need more time to explain it. So we asked if we could come back during the week and he said he would love to have us back!

That was such an amazing experience to have and what is even better is I did absolutely nothing. The spirit of God is real and His job is to help testify of the truth and convince men that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I usually almost never talk about the plan of salvation when I contact because we are usually talking about the restoration. But for this person, it worked. And it worked for this person because God knew exactly what His son needed. This guy needed to know that God is there, He loves him, and he wants the best for him. I was so thankful that I could have the experience to be the instrument in the hands of the Lord at that particular time! What a great experience. But the best part is that you don't have to be a missionary to have these experiences. You can do the same thing at home and I know that you will be able to have the exact same experiences.

I know that this Church is the Church that Jesus Christ has established in our days. He was at the head of the Church when it was restored almost 200 years ago, and He continues to be the Head of the Church today. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to serve Him and as much as I love you all, and miss you all, there is no better place for me to be right now.

I hope that you all have a good week this week. Thank you for all of your love and support. If you ever feel like it you can write me and say hi :) I'll try and say hi back :) Your letters and emails keep me going everyday so thank you so much.

I love you all. Remember to read and pray everyday and know that I am praying for you too!

Good luck!

With all the love in my heart, your son, brother, friend and missionary,

Elder Oviatt

Missionary Blessings-- BYU WON!!!!!!! September 8, 2009 (posted 9/21/2009)

Hola family and friends

Holy crap! That is so freaking awesome that BYU won. I read that and I yelled and all of the other elders shushed me because we are in an internet cafe so yeah. SO THEY WON!>!>!>! AHHHHHH yes . . . Go Cougars! I can't tell you how awesome that is. Will someone please tell me about it hahahaha. Mom was the one that told me the most so thanks mom. How did we win?!?! UGH hahah. I want to see the next game but it's OK, I'm here where I am supposed to be. There is no better work then this work. I know this is where the Lord wants me.

Trent, that's really hard to hear about your shoulder man. Hang in there. I know that everything in our life happens for a reason. Your Heavenly Father loves you and He wants the best for you. Don't be afraid to ask for His help and His strength during this next few weeks. I'll be praying for you man, good luck! I hope all goes well!

OK well, I think that is everything. Oh grandma and grandpa, I got your letter today. Thank you for the letter. I have been getting the big letters and I love them so much, thank you! I hope that all is going well with your house and whatnot! Keep me updated!

Well now I will tell you about my week. First off this week went by slow!!! But we had some great experiences and even better, we have our first baptismal date!!!!! Woohoo! I was so excited. So I will tell you about that now OK?

Our first baptismal date is for Maria. We taught her Wednesday night with three members. The members did absolutely awesome. I love teaching with members. The spirit was so strong. It felt like there was a fire in the room. I loved it! Me and Elder Blandon were actually not planning to commit Maria to baptism this week but the spirit was so strong. We looked at each other and we both knew that now was as good a time as ever would come so we asked her if she would prepare to be baptized on Sept. 27th. At first she was really timid and actually seemed like she was going to say no. But we told her that this is a goal for her to work towards and to try and demonstrate her faith in the Lord so that she can receive a witness. By the end of the lesson she said that she would commit and work towards baptism on the 27th. I can't tell you what an awesome feeling that was. We have been working with her forever and I know that the gospel has already started to change her life. Just the fact that she is willing to work towards baptism shows that she knows it too! I will keep you updated. These next few weeks should be fun-filled and stressful, but it'll be worth it. I will keep you updated with her.

I think the message of this week comes from the scripture in Ether 12:6 about how we won't receive a witness until after the trial of our faith. I have a great story about that, along with the maria story. Maria showed that she is willing to demonstrate her faith and I know that the Lord will bless her with a testimony. But as missionaries we have to live by the same principles too. And this Sunday me and Elder Blandon had such an experience.

Me and Elder Blandon have been frustrated these past few weeks because we have all of these great investigators but none of them ever come to church. We tried to commit Maria to come to church on Saturday but she has a problem. Her boyfriend visits Sunday mornings and so she usually can't come. We told her how important church was and how much she needed to go. She said "alright, if it rains tomorrow I will come to church, if not I will visit my boyfriend." I have to tell you that I have never prayed so hard for rain in my life hahaha.

Anywho, me and Elder Blandon were thinking of ways that we could get more people to chruch and he came up with the great idea of leaving for church two hours early on Sunday and going and contacting all of our investigators and the people who told us they would come to church. We left our house at 7:00 on Sunday morning and walked around for 2 hours trying to get people to come with us. Every person that we had invited previously wouldn't open their door to us. So we walked all around the city and had nothing to show for it. We were both a little down but not too bad. Anywho, at 8:30, after knocking the last house and starting to go back to the church, it started to sprinkle. And right then we got a call from a certain Maria on the telephone. We were both pumped. The Lord blessed us with rain on a cloudy Sunday morning, but more importantly, The Lord put a desire into the heart of one of our investigators to go to church. She called and said that she wanted to come but she needed a ride. Luckily Hermano Abraham was available and he took us up to Lechusa to pick her up.

She had a great experience at church and I think that we aren't going to have a problem with her having to decide between her boyfriend and church anymore. But what is cool about this experience is there is not a doubt in my mind that if we had not gone out 2 hours early, if we had done what we do every week and stay at home and eat and study and read letters, we would not have had maria at church with us that day. I know for a fact that we when demonstrate our faith in the Lord, He will bless us. He will bless us with those things that we need to be blessed with, or those things we have asked to be blessed with. Whether it be controlling the natural forces of the earth or changing the heart of an investigator, the Lord is real, His power is real, and He will help His children when they need it - and when they show that they really truly believe

Another experience I had was on Thursday during the middle of the day. We have a goal as a mission to teach a certain number of lessons every week. But our lessons were down this week because we had transfer meeting and because we have a lot of investigators who live about an hour away from town. Anywho, the point is, we needed lessons. And this day we weren't teaching any. We were contacting and trying to teach people, and it was going nowhere. After about an hour I started praying, pleading that Heavenly Father would bless us to be able to find a person to teach. And I kid you not, the very next house at which we knocked we were invited in for a lesson. Again, I know the Lord is there. He is our Father in Heaven and he loves us. When we do what He has asked us to do and when we live our lives the way that we should, He will send us blessings when we need them. I know this is true because I get to experience it every second of every day.

I want you to know that the mission isn't all roses and berries, there are a lot of frustrations and disappointments that come along with it too. Your letters and your packages and your love and support help me too look forward to the good times. And your support adds fuel to a fire that desperately needs help. Thank you for all that you have done for me. I know that the Lord will bless you!

I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you. I hope that school and work are going well for everyone. I thought a lot about home this week which is hard but that's OK. I know that you are living your lives the way the Lord wants you to live them and I am living mine the way the Lord wants me to live mine. Because of this I know that you are in His hands and that I have nothing to worry about.

My scripture reference this week is 3 Nephi 27 . . .an absolutely amazing scripture!

Have a great week and work hard. Know that I love you and I am praying for you everyday! Have a great week! Oh, and PS . . . GO COUGARS!!!!!!!!

Tulane this week right?

BYU 21 Tulane 17

With all the love in the world, your friend forever

Elder Oviatt

The Bamboo 9-1-2009 (Received 9/1/2009)

Hola Family and friends,

I want to apologize for writing you a day late this week, but I have a good reason. Our pday was on Tuesday this week instead of Monday -- so that’s why. Just so you know for in the future, every transfer our p-day will be moved back a day. I am not sure why that is but that’s just the way that is, so yeah. Anywho, that is the reason why our pday this week was on Tuesday. We have transfers tomorrow. Me and Elder Blandon are both staying in San Sebastian for another transfer and I am pumped. I am excited because I will get to keep working with these awesome people and I will get to keep working with Elder Blandon. He is teaching me so much more about the gospel and Spanish. So staying should be great. I’m also really glad because the ward here in San Sebastian is just awesome! They love the work so much and they are willing to help us with whatever . . . so I am really excited to work with them for another 6 weeks.

This week was a good solid week with a lot of travel. Thank you for your letters mom and dad, it was great to hear from you. I’m glad that all is going wel. Good luck with your test dad, you are going to do great.

Anywho I don’t have a lot of time to write again so this letter might be a bit shorter then the others. Like I said, this week was full of travel. We had a basketball tournament with the youth on Saturday in Cabo Rojo which was fun. Holy cow! The people in Puerto Rico sure love their basketball. It was kind of intense and I feel bad because we played with the San Sebastian team and I didn't play very well. But that’s OK, I am not here to play basketball. We also went to do interviews with the president yesterday and that is where the name for this week's email comes from.

On the way back to San Sebastian yesterday we were driving through the mountains. A tropical storm rolled through. It was kind of crazy. The wind was blowing so hard and it was raining so hard that we could barely see where we were driving. Luckily I wasn’t driving because I think I would’ve been a little too freaked out to drive but it was still a little scary. Anywho the mountain road we were driving on has bamboo all along the roads and bamboo isn’t the strongest wood, so a lot of it falls during these storms. We got to a point where we were in the middle of the storm and also in the middle of the bamboo forest. It was near the end of the forest and bamboo started falling on the road. Luckily we were able to drive right through and luckily no bamboo trees hit our car. It really was a miracle and you have no idea how protected we were. I know that the Lord loves His missionaries and that He wants us to be safe. We were totally protected yesterday. It was awesome.

Anywho, because we did so much traveling this week I don’t have very many awesome spiritual stories. But I am still a missionary which means that I have a few :) yay! The first one is about our new friend Carmen. She is a lady who called Salt Lake because her brother got a pass along card. Carmen was baptized a few years ago in a town close to ours and moved away and forgot about the church. She has now returned. But what was so cool is that she lives about 2 hours away from us and she is totally wanting to get back into the church and the gospel, and it’s all for her kids. This lady is so amazing, We visited her the first day and her house is basically one room with 2 bunkbeds for her 3 kids, a fridge, an oven, and big bed for her. The floor is cement with cracks in it the couches are old and worn and totally broken. The bathroom has no door and it opens up to the other room (I know because I just couldn’t hold it our first visit ;) Anywho, this lady is so into the gospel. We gave her a Book of Mormon to start reading again and she read the first chapter and marked and annotated almost every single verse.

We came back for another visit and her kids were there. She told us that she wants her kids to start learning about God and Jesus and that they need to be baptized into His true church. We gave them both their own Book of Mormon and their eyes got huge. The 14 year-old boy said he loves wrestling and he showed us his Nacho Libre masks. When we gave him this Book of Mormon his eyes lit up and he just sat and stared at it. It was Christmas for these kids and it was so neat to see that they cared about this book. They knew it was special even though they didn’t really know what it was. I am so pumped to get back out there and teach them again. I can’t wait until I have more awesome stories to tell you about them.

My next story comes from contacting. I love contacting! It’s so fun. It’s a time that I get to use and practice my Spanish and practice talking with the people here. But it is also a time that I can use to find the people that the Lord has prepared for us. We often do find those special people, but we also find those who hate the church and won't listen to the truth. We went down the street contacting one day and we came upon a house with a lady sitting on her porch hugging her Bible. She invited us in with a smirk on her face thinking she was about to prove the Mormon Church, God’s Church, to be false. Me and Elder Blandon both prayed for help to know what to say to this lady. We sang a hymn to invite the spirit and prayed and began to teach. We taught the first lesson and we got to the main scripture, Ephesians 2:20, which says that the church that Christ established was built upon apostles and prophets and Himself, Jesus Christ. We asked her to read the scripture in her Bible and when she read it, she slammed the Bible closed and, with a deer in the headlights look, said “faith is all you need.” Elder Blandon and I stopped the lesson right there and told her that we would pass by another day.

This is one of the biggest problems that I see. People don’t want to change. This lady knew that there was more. But she didn’t want to be wrong. It’s hard to see this. Our message is a message of joy and hope, of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People have a chance to know the truth through the spirit but a lot of people just deny the promptings and witness. It’s hard to see but it’s nice to have other experiences like Carmen to keep us going. Also it is awesome to get letters and know that there are angels thinking and praying for me every day. Thank you for your prayers and your support. You have no idea how much it means to me.

My scripture this week comes from 1 Nephi chapter 16 verse 28. This is when Nephi breaks his bow and the Lord tells them to look at the Liahona. They are shocked when they find that it works according to their diligence and faithfulness in heeding the words of the Liahona. It is the same with the spirit in our lives. If we don’t give diligence and faithfulness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the spirit won’t continue to give us those promptings. We are here to serve one another and to help each other grow. Everyone is a child of God and everyone needs help. If you are prompted to help someone, say Hi, share the gospel message, or even just smile . . . do it! It’s the spirit prompting you and the more you follow the spirit the more you will feel His loving influence in your life.

I love you all and I miss you more then you can know. This week was especially hard because of yesterday. I realized that school started for BYU yesterday and it made me sad to think that I wouldn’t be there to support my friends and my family. I hope all is going well with school and I want you to know that my prayers and my thoughts are with you all. Good luck and work hard!

Thanks for all you do and for all of your love and support. You have no idea what kind of a effect a 1-page letter can have. They seriously mean the world to me so thank you. I love you all and I pray for you every night and morning! I hope that all is going well. Let me know if you have any questions or if you need anything and I will try and help the best that I can OK?

I love you all! Stay strong!

I hope we get this week's email - August 23 2009‏ (Recieved 8/24/2009)

Ok wow! I just spent an hour writing you my email for this week and it shut down when I sent it. I am sorry that this email is going to be so short but now I have like no time to write. I will try and remember everything that I wrote but if it seems rushed or horrible please forgive me and know that I love you all.

I apologize for the email mess last week. I have no idea what happened. But it sounds like dad got the emails when I forwarded them today which is awesome. Thank you all for your love and support. I want you to know that I love you so much and I am praying for you.

I hope that school is going well for Mom and Trent and Jenny and Dad and Mckay. Good luck with school this upcoming week. It's hard to think of all the fun I had last year during my first year at BYU and to think that I won't be there for two more fall semesters. But that's OK. In all honesty, I know for a fact that this is where the Lord wants me to be and there is nowhere else that I would rather be then where the Lord wants me to be.

Grandma and Grandpa, that is so exciting about your house! I can't wait to hear all about it. Send me pictures! Thank you for saying that you are trusting in the Lord in the process of selling your old home. You are such a great example to me and I want you to know how thankful I am for your strength in the gospel.

I want to talk about the spirit today. I don't have a lot of time and I can't go into much detail about my experiences but I want you to know that the spirit is real. I feel it every day and I have the absolute privilege to partake in the process of a miracle of the spirit, the gift of tongues. My Spanish has improved greatly and it's only because of the spirit that I have been able to speak with my companion at all. It's been a challenge but it has also been such a great blessing.

I had a really neat experience this week with the influence of the spirit during my studies. I was studying the bible and the thought came into my head to study faith. As a missionary you learn that those thoughts are not your own and that you should usually do what they tells you to do, so I did. I studied faith and I found a great scripture in Ether 12:12-15. Immediately the scripture Moroni 10:7 popped into my head. I know both were prompted by the spirit and what I learned was also prompted by the spirit. I won't tell you what I learned because I want you to learn from the spirit too! But I will tell you the cool experience that I had with it.

We went to teach a recent convert later that day and we decided, or felt prompted, to teach about faith. I shared what I had learned earlier that morning and I applied it to our lives. My Spanish was awesome and I know it was because it was the spirit teaching -- not me. I know because I was using phrases and words that I hardly know let alone use. At the end of the lesson she started to cry and said how she had prayed to God that morning with a question about faith that she was asking. She said that we answered her question exactly and how thankful she was that the Lord answered her question so quickly!

What a great blessing it is to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. Every step of that experience was guided by the spirit and in the end I got to see why. The Lord works in mysterious ways but the fact is that he works! And He uses those that are faithful and prepared to do His work for him. I hope in your own lives you look for those experiences of how the Lord is working through you currently. You are all amazing and strong and I know that the Lord is blessing others through you! I hope you look for those experiences and write them down!

The last thing I want to share has been a bit of frustration to me in my first transfer here in Puerto Rico. The message we share is true! There is no doubt in my mind that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He is at the head. But when we try and talk to people about it, a lot of people just aren't interested. We taught a man the first lesson yesterday and the spirit was so strong. We shared great scriptures and the lesson made perfect sense to him. I knew that he knew the message and church was true, but when we asked him to read the Book of Mormon, he said no. We went to a recent convert's house after the lesson and she shared the story of the painting of Christ at the door. The painting depicts Christ knocking, but the door has no doorknob. You have to let Christ into your life. You have to open your heart to the spirit and to His message. This man was not open to the message so the Lord couldn't enter his life. It's often discouraging to experience . . . but then you have experiences like Nico.

Nico was a gruff looking guy who had a lot of issues in his life. We contacted him one night when he was partying with his friends. He invited us in and our message touched him. He took the Book of Mormon and promised to read it. Nico was ready for the Lord and for His Church and because he opened his heart, the spirit was able to testify to him that this is the Church of Christ.

I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to labor here in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and to look for the people who have openend their hearts to our message. I am learning so much and I am so thankful for your love and support. Thank you for being great examples to me and thank you for your love. It takes a lot of effort to get up in the morning and get ready to go work your butt off everyday but your love and support makes it possible. You are my angels and I know the Lord will bless you for helping and supporting His missionary.

The scriptures I referenced earlier are my message for you today. I hope that you will study them with an open heart and mind. I love you so much and I'm sorry again for another mixup with the email that caused this email to be shorter than it was the first time. I will try and write as many of you as I can today. Pdays are crazy so if you don't get a letter I am sorry

This is the Lord's work and He is at the head. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and it is only through Him that we have the opportunity to live with God again. This is His Church restored in our days. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God with His authority .

I am so thankful to be here! I miss you all like crazy but I am thankful for the chance to learn and to grow!

Have a great week! I'm praying for you.

My first Hurricane - August 17, 2009‏ (received 8/24/2009)

Hola Familia y Amigos!

How's it going? I hope all is going well in the beautiful USA I want you to know that all is going well down here on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I hope that the title to the email didn't scare anyone. Hurricane Bill is supposed to come to Puerto Rico on Thursday. Don't worry, we basically live in a bunker. It's a huge cement apartment building, and we have tons of food, so we are going to be just fine. It's crazy to think that last year at this time, the only concern I had about hurricanes was how they would be affecting the BYU football schedule. Now I get to live in a place where almost every hurricane will have some effect on us. I'm excited though, the danger is great, but heck, I'm a servant of the Lord! Nothing is going to happen to us and all will be well.

I'm looking forward to the great opportunities that we will have to serve these next few days while people are preparing for the worst . . . and after the storm with be the clean up. I don't think that it is that big of a storm because the people aren't really that worried about it. So you shouldn't be either! Dón't worry about me. We are going to be safe and sound and the Lord is on our side protecting us!

Thanks to all of you who sent loving emails or letters this week. I got letters from a bunch of friends and from grandma and grandpa and of course my loving family. I am so thankful for all of your love and support. I am sorry that I won't be able to write most of you today, but I will work as hard as I can to write you soon. The reason that I don't have much time is that we are once again away from San Sebastian at a zone activity. I'm sorry if you've sent me a letter and I haven't responded or if you just sent one and you don't get one this upcoming week. Know that I love you and I am so thankful for your love and support and that I will write you soon!

Mom and Dad thank you for the package! I got it! Believe it or not along with the letter that you wrote mom. It was actually a great blessing to receive that package this week because guess what! We didn't get to go shopping this past week because of the meeting in Ponce! We had enough food to barely last us this week but your package helped me to have something to snack on during the day when we were working so thank you so much! It was such a blessing and I know you were inspired! I love you.

This week was a great week full of hard work for the Lord. I had my first real experience of tracting in the rain this past week. I think it was Tuesday we went to start tracting and as soon as we started the rain started to pour and pour and pour and it rained for 2 hours straight. It was way fun to tract in the rain because everyone was home. Again a lot of the people didn't want to talk to us but it was still funny to see their faces. What are these darn kids doing in the rain. It was fun to have to help of a few little Puerto Rican boys who were playing in the rain. They would run up to the houses and get their friends or the parents of their friends and get them to come out and listen to us. I thought it was way cool how much they wanted to help us even though they had no idea what we were doing.

That was a great day because we came home soaking wet and when I took off my shoes it made a suction sound, it was funny. Then I took off my sock and noticed that my foot was covered in blood. Crazy eh? It's all good. Don't worry some pretty cool pictures huh. I'm not really sure what happened all of the sudden my foot was bleeding but don't worry i'm doing fine and it doesn't hurt at all. That day was good because I came home, took a shower in our water that was the same temp as the rain, snuggled up in my new BYU hoodie and opened up my package! :) Thanks again!

Anywho wow that was a weird story how about a better one.

Thursday morning we wook up and ride our bicycles up the mountain to help our good friend Victorio on his farm. Victorio is a great guy, he has a lot of doubts but is so open to our message. He drove a bus in New Jersey for like 40 years and retired and moved back to Puerto Rico. A lot of people do that here. Work in the U.S. and move back after a while. Anywho, he has this huge farm behind all of the houses and he wanted us to clear a hill of the vine and weeds that had overtaken his orange trees. We started at the bottom of the hill and with our MACHETES started hacking away. It was so fun and it is an experience that I will never forget. I wish i would've taken pictures, but alas I didn't. Hopefully I get to do it again. I was trying to think of a good gospel principle to apply to this experience and the only thing I could come up with was the atonement. The orange trees produce awesome fruit just like we do. When we do good works and work hard, we ourselves can produce awesome fruit. But sometimes the vines of the world or the temptations of satan start to creep in and even take over the tree and start to make it so the tree cannot grow fruit. When this occurs we can use the Atonement of Christ to help cut away the vines that we have entagled oursleves in and become clean of those things that can harm us from producing good fruit. Yeah, cheesy but kind of cool. Hopefully you liked it. If you have a better idea let me know.

Anywho, another cool experience I had this week was that I had a dream one night about what I should say during contacting. I had a dream that I should ask people 2 things: first why they thought we were here (the missionaries), and second what happened to the Church that Christ established. The first one was great and it actually works pretty well, but I had a great experience with the second one. We were teaching these people and I had a prompting to ask them which church was the Church that Christ established. The wife said none and the man said all. I opened my mouth and words just started to flow it was pretty cool. I'm pretty sure that I said something about this confusion and about how Christ restored His Church again because of this confusion but i'm not sure. All I know is that the spirit was telling me what to do every step of the way and that the spirit is the thing that got those people to soften their hearts and listen to our message. They both took a Book of Mormon and invited us back next week. I'll keep you updated.

Other then that my week was full of a lot of lessons and a lot of contacts. I love this work and I'm getting more and more used to it every single day.

Thanks again for all of your love and support,

Mckay Congrats on the Job offer and way to accept it. That's going to be awesome! Send me a picture of your new car that you buy to celebrate and write me a letter, I want to hear all about it! Trent I'm glad that you had fun at EFY! Write me and tell me what you felt.

I hope Trent's eagle project went well, that's sad about the rain but hey, life is like that, sometimes we just got to get off the horse get back on and work through it. I know you'll get it done.

Thanks to all of you for all of your love and support, I'm sorry that I didn't share a message about the scriptures with you but I hope my story helped.

I love you all and I hope that you know that I pray for you all every night.

This is the work of the Lord. This is His Church and He is at the head of this work. There is no doubt in my mind that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and the way we know that is the Book of Mormon.

I love you all! Keep writing and keep praying! Stay Strong!