Hola Familia y Amigos,
I just heard the roar of a cruise ship outside and I am sitting in an email cafe in the middle of a bunch of high class tourist shops, that's right I'm in ARUBA!
The zone leaders called me on Saturday morning and they said, "Elder Oviatt, start packing you are headed to the islands." I was really shocked but it was a really neat experience. Even though I had no idea what to think, the song "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" just kept running through my head so yeah, my transfer was a blast, . And I'm sure you are all dying to hear so I'll let you know a little more about it.
For those of you who don't know there are 3 more islands (besides Puerto Rico) in my mission. They are Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. What is way cool about these islands is that they speak a language here that they don't speak a lot anywhere else in the world. It's called Popiamento. It's a lot like Spanish but it's also very different. They also speak another language down here, you might have heard of it, it's DUTCH. The cool thing with the Dutch is that it's a lot like German. The whole time I was in Puerto Rico I was trying to think back on my time in German class and I couldn't think of a single word. I landed in Aruba last night and it all came back to me. It's a really cool experience to feel the influence of the spirit helping you with the gift of tongues. Which is such a blessing considering that I will be trying to teach in 4 languages :) How Cool is that?!?!?!!
I don't have a lot of information to give you on Aruba because I just landed here last night. But from what I can tell I am going to absolutely love my time here. It's a lot different then Puerto Rico. It's a ton drier and a lot hotter. Puerto Rico is a tropical rain forest and Aruba is like Utah by the ocean. There is a group of cactus outside my apartment. It's pretty cool! I feel right at home! hahah
Anyways my new companion is Elder Bailey. He is from Riverton, Utah. He's way cool and I know that we are going to have a great time together. He already helped me a ton this morning with me Papiamento so I can't wait to see where this transfer goes.
So yeah, that's the big news from this transfer cycle. I'm sure a lot of you are shocked (like me) but that's just what's so cool about this experience. There is nothing like the mission, nothing in the world. And I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be here!
My last week in San Sebastian was awesome too. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for the package. I was able to eat all of the candy before and I brought the pajamas down to wear on Christmas Eve! Woohoo! And thanks for all of the rest of you who wrote letters and stuff. I left yesterday early early in the morning but don't worry, if you sent me a letter, I will eventually get it.
The biggest event that we had last week was that we had a Ward service project up at the home of Wilton and Myra. We helped them paint and clean up the yard. It felt a lot like an Extreme Home Makeover and it was so cool to see the way that the members have welcomed this family into the ward. I know that the Lord has also blessed them tremendously for the decision that they made to be baptized and to come into the church. For my last weekend in San Sebastian, I couldn't have wished for a better ending.
So yeah, it's crazy to be on a different island, and even farther away from you guys, but I feel such a feeling of comfort here. I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be and I am so excited to get out and get to work! I hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving this week. They don't celebrate it down here but the landlord of our apartment does, and he invited us over for Thanksgiving Dinner, so yeah . . . that will be fun! And I can't believe that we are so close to Christmas. I can't wait to hear you guys!!!! But that's still a long ways away. There's a lot of work to be done still.
Before I leave I want to leave you with a really cool experience that I had this past week. We are reading the Book of Mormon as the mission and we are going to finish before the end of the year. I was reading the other day in first Nephi chapter 17 verse 3 and when I read it I thought it was a really cool scripture, but then I really didn't think anymore than that. Two days later we had a trade off and I was in the other area of Las Marias. We went to a family that had been really struggling in the church. Elder Schaeffer and I went to their home without a real lesson plan. We were just going to talk to them and to see how we could help. As I sat down, I couldn't get this scripture out of my mind. When I started to talk I shared the scripture and it set the tone for a lesson that was just awesome. I did nothing in that lesson. The spirit did it all. That scripture was what the family needed to hear and I know that the Lord worked through His missionaries to share the message that He wanted that family to hear. I love this work and I am so thankful for our Heavenly Father and His love for us. We are His children and He does want the best for us. I know that to be true. This is His Church on the earth today, without a doubt in my mind.
I love you all. I hope that you have an amazing week of thankfulness. I am so thankful for all of you and for all that you have done for me in my life. I will forever be grateful for the family and friends that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with! I love you guys!
Write soon . . . I'm not sure what our address is but the fastest way for me to get your letters will be if you send them to the mission office in Puerto Rico. They come down every few weeks for meetings and when they come down they bring all of those letters. So yeah, don't be shy about writing a letter! I love hearing from you guys!
Thanks again for all you do! I cant wait to hear from you!