Monday, December 28, 2009

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2010 Baby!!!!

December 28, 2009

Good morning family and friends!

I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and I wish you all one of the best new years that you could have! It was great to be able to talk to my family this past week on the phone. What an amazing opportunity that was to be able to be able to talk with them and share experiences with one another! Family, I love you so much! Thank you to all of you for all that you do for me! I hope that your Christmases were all amazing! Good luck with the new year!

So I don't have a lot of time to write this big email and I know I am not supposed to apologize, but if this email isn't very big it's because I have 10 minutes to write 3 more emails. But I hope that I can share with you a few of the great experiences that I had this week.

The highlight of the week was Christmas! We had a big party with all of the missionaries and we went and played football. One lady asked if we were a football team and we said "no . . . we are a different kind of team. A better team!" hahah

Other then that we sure had an amazing week. We found a great new investigator named Winston. We found him on Christmas Eve and we taught him the first lesson. While we were teaching him I had the opportunity to tell him the Joseph Smith story. It was so amazing! I had words and phrases coming out of my mouth that I have never even thought of using before. I told that story dang good and I know it was because I wasn't the one telling it! It was the spirit! I know that this guy needed to hear the message loud and clear. We have a return cida with him this Friday and things should go well.

My other cool experience came from church yesterday. I had the opportunity to translate for sacrament meeting. Like I have told you before there are all sorts of people in the church down here in Aruba. The church meetings are in Spanish because most of the members speak Spanish. But there still are members who don't know Spanish so the missionaries translate for them. No one wanted to do it yesterday and I thought I needed to just get up the guts to do it. So I walked up to the front (praying harder then I have ever prayed in my life) and put on the headset to translate into the microphone. I just kept praying and praying and praying and I knew that the Lord would help me. And wouldn't you know it, He did! My translating was not perfect by any means but it was a lot better then I expected it to be. Especially with the Papiamento. A member of the bishopric gave a talk in Papiamento, and I was scared out of my mind. But again, with a sweet prayer, I was able to feel the Lord helping me out and I was able to translate the message for the members who needed it.

It was such an amazing experience. I want you to know that I know God knows us. It seems like I say that every week but it is so true. He is our Father in Heaven and He loves us. All He wants is the best for us and that's why He sent His Son to the earth to suffer for our sins. That is why He has given us this great gospel to help us learn and grow and become more like Him and that is exactly why families can be together forever.

I really have to go now but I want you all to know that I love you so much! And that I wish you the best new year! Good luck and stay safe! Next week I will have more time to write! Sorry!

I love you all, Happy New Years!

ps - next week is transfers so I may not email on Monday. Sadly, Elder Bailey will be leaving :( I'm sad but it sounds like I am going to be island training so keep me in your prayers! haha

Love you guys! Happy New years!

Bon Pasco! !Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!!!!!! I love you guys!!!!!!

December 21, 2009

To the best Family and Friends that a missionary could ever ask for!


I hope that you all have had a great start to the Christmas week. And I hope that you have an even better week and a very happy and merry Christmas! Thanks to all of you for all that you have done in your love and support! I hope that you enjoy the snow and the lights and the fun that comes with Christmas! But more importantly I hope that you enjoy the spirit that comes with this awesome day! How blessed we all are to have a savior in Jesus Christ. And how blessed we are to have a loving Heavenly Father who would send his son to die for us! I love you guys and I hope that you have a merry Christmas!

Thank you dad and mom and grandma and grandpa for the Christmas present! I just opened it right here in the email cafe and it made me feel so warm and happy. Thank you for your love and all that you have done for me. I love you guys so much and I hope that Christmas is awesome!

Anyways, this week was a great week and the best news from this week is that we had a baptism! It was so amazing! It was a little different from the last baptism that I had in the mission but it was still amazing to see Vivian enter the waters of baptism and commit and covenant to become a new person in Christ. On Saturday we had a lot of preparation for the baptism but all went well. We went in the morning to fill the font and get everything else ready and then we came back at 6:00 for the baptismal service which began at 7:00. It was such a neat ceremony. The missionaries from our ward (there are 8 of us here believe it or not) sang a song for the two investigators getting baptized and it brought a really neat spirit into the room.

When Vivian walked into the font she looked at the water and said "Wow! There's a lot of water there" to my companion Elder Bailey. Then she said "I am going to get wet! My whole body is going to get wet isn't it!" I smiled when she said that. But the most amazing feeling in the world is the feeling that comes after the ordinance is performed. Every time you hear that little splash of water the spirit just floods into the room and tears always well up in my eyes! I am so blessed to be in the service of the Lord and to be able to see people make this change in their lives. I will never forget the light that Vivian had in her eyes at the end of the night, and the light that was still in her eyes during the next day.

On Sunday we were to have her confirmation and it was really neat! She came a little late and Elder Bailey and I were really worried. Usually you don't like to baptize people and then wait a week for the confirmation and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. She showed up during the sacrament portion of the meeting. Up until that point we were just praying over and over that she would show up. Sure enough, she did and she was able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Her blessing was incredible. One thing that I want to share with you that I thought was really cool is that she has had a lot of troubles with her kids. But in the blessing the bishopric member told her that the Lord knows and loves her and that the blessings of the gospel need to be provided to her kids and that she should help them to follow her example. When I heard that I just about fainted. Haha. She has a daughter that is 9 and can get baptized, but she has been really reluctant to have us teach her. I think that this blessing is going to help! We should be having another baptism in 2 weeks and I am just pumped.

I am almost positive that I told you guys about the new family that we found last week, the Wauban family. They are doing great. We taught them the Word of Wisdom this week and the mom was a little reluctant to stop some of her habits. Of the 5 things that the Word of Wisdom tells us to avoid, they participate in 4. So it is going to be a huge commitment for them. What was really cool was to see their son and the love in his eyes when he begged his dad and his mom to commit to this so that they would stop smoking and drinking. They eventually said that they would do it and at the end the boy asked whoever was praying to bless his mom and dad with strength to stop smoking. It was a really neat moment, and it was really cool to see how truly inspired the Word of Wisdom is.

I hope that this email doesn't seem overly serious or overly flooded with spiritual experiences. I know that Christmas is this week so again I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! And before I go I'll share one more experience from this week.

This week we had a lot of cool experiences with prayer and receiving answers to our prayers. We had a baptismal interview on Friday for Vivian and we needed to get a hold of her so that she could get interviewed and be baptized! All day on Friday our phone was not working. The service wasn't working and at the end of the day our phone died. And then the charger broke! It was incredible to see all of the opposition that was trying to get in the way. Needless to say, we prayed really hard on Thursday that we would be able to set up the interview with Vivian on Friday. Friday morning the phone was still dead. We prayed again and wouldn't you know it the phone turned on for 1 minute and we were able to grab the numbers that we needed so we could get in touch with Vivian. Needless to say all worked out well! Behold the power of prayer! I loved it!

Another cool experience we had was when we were tracting. We had had absolutely zero success and we had barely talked to anyone. Anyways we said a prayer and as we started tracting I looked up into the heavens and I said please just one lesson. Wouldn't you know it, the very next house we knocked on we met Rodney -- an awesome new investigator. Elder Bailey and I just turned to each other and laughed at how awesome it was that the Lord answered our prayers so quickly.

Over and over things happened like that this week and it was totally awesome! I know that the God loves us and that He really does hear our prayers. When we ask with a sincere heart He WILL hear us and He WILL bless us!

Sometimes I worry that it feels like I am being way to serious and I hope that is not the case. I am just too excited to be able to talk to my family this week! I want you all to know how much I love and how much I hope that you have one of the best Christmases ever. Christmas just isn't the same down here. It's 90 degrees and the Christmas lights just don't look good on a desert backdrop. Believe it or not it's really hard to feel the Christmas spirit in the middle of the desert. But it is still the best time of the year and I hope that you are all loving it up back home!

We are going to have a lot of dinners and stuff with the members and other missionaries this week so things shouldn't be too bad. Friday we have a big party with all of the missionaries on the island at the senior missionaries' house so that will be fun. It still won't be the same as waking up on Christmas morning with my family, but I'll get to talk to you guys so I'm still pumped!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas again. I really feel like this email is a little dull for a Christmas email but what the heck we had a baptism this week and that was so awesome!

May your days be merry and bright and all your Christmases be.... crap! I forgot it! hahah! I hope that you all have a great Christmas week and that the spirit of Christmas is strong and alive in your hearts. Merry Christmas! Ya'll don't party too hard!

Merry Christmas!

PS I heard BYU plays Oregon State tomorrow! Go Cougars! They are going to make up for the debacle they had last year! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Gooooooo Cougars!!!!!

On the 2nd day of christmas my true love gave to me....Paradise :)

December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope that you are all just doing absolutely amazing and I hope that this week goes well for all of you! Good luck with finals (those who have to take finals) and I hope that all goes well!

Grandma, I feel terrible that I did not wish you a happy birthday last week so . . . Happy Birthday! I hope that you had an incredible birthday!

A lot of you have asked about Christmas and how it will be down here. To be honest, I actually have no idea what it is going to be like. But when the mission president was down here we were able to celebrate Christmas with him and his wife and all of the elders on the island and that was awesome. We had zone conference on Tuesday morning and after the conference was over we all hopped into taxis and they drove us to a huge hotel resort on the coast. We hopped out and went downstairs and there in the hotel was an awesome tepanyaki type restaurant! It was so fun.

It was funny to see all of the missionaries packed into the restaurant but it was a really great experience and one that I will never forget. It was so nice for the President and his wife to do that for us!

Anyways, thanks to all of you who sent letters to the mission office before they came down. They came down with letters for every elder. But I had the blessing and the privilege to receive upwards of 30+ letters so to all of you who wrote me a letter thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed Paris Caitlyn welcome back to Utah, I'm sure you are loving it hahahahah! Anyways thank you so much for your love and support. I have been able to stretch out the letters until Christmas and I counted and today I found that I have just enough to count down one per day until Christmas! You are all such a blessing to me. Thank you for all that you do!

This week was so awesome! The biggest news this week is that we found a great new family that is just so awesome and so prepared. We found them on Wednesday night when we were tracting and they invited us right in and sat us down outside under their great big palm tree, which happened to be decked out with Christmas lights. It was something I never thought I would see or experience in my life, but it was incredible.

I was amazed at how much the Lord had prepared the dad and this family to hear the message. The dad told us that all week he had been watching the Jesus week specials that the history channel was doing and he had a ton of questions for us. Besides that the 13 year-old kid said that he is sick of not going to church. He begs his mom every week but they just don't go. She said it's because she doesn't feel that the church they attend is right and so why waste your time. We taught them the first part of the first lesson and the dad absolutely loved it. We went back the next night to finish the lesson and he told us that he explained the apostasy to his pastor friends the way that we had explained it to him and he said that they all said that it was true and they had never heard of a better way to explain. Oh how I love glass tables. Anyways, the lesson the next night was just incredible.

The thing that I love about this family is that they are already inviting people to come and hear our message. Anyways, on this night they invited their sister who lived across the street. We told about the restoration of the gospel and they absolutely loved it. We introduced the Book of Mormon and they all had wide eyes and open mouths. They couldn't believe what we were telling them and the excitement that they had was just incredible.

The dad ran inside and grabbed a Book of Mormon that the mission president in the 70s had given out as a gift, but the rest of the family wanted their own too so we gave each of them their own and they were ridiculously excited. We told the teenager about the stripling warriors and the other cool stories that the Book of Mormon contains and he couldn't wait to read it. He told us that he can't wait until he can be a missionary.

As you can imagine we were on cloud 99 for the rest of the week and it was just an incredible lesson. On Tuesday we have a return appointment with them and I am not sure that I have ever been so excited for a lesson in my mission. This family is so prepared and I hope that God will bless us with the opportunity to lead them to the waters of baptism.

Our baptismal date, Vivian, is doing just great. This week we were able to visit her 4 or 5 times with members and that was just incredible. She has not touched coffee since we committed her to living the word of wisdom last week and last night we made baptismal plans for this Saturday. I haven't been able to be a part of a baptism since Wilton and Myra so I am absolutely pumped for this opportunity that we have to see Vivian enter the gate to the rest of her life in Christ on Saturday.

On Saturday we had a funny day. The mission is sure a roller coaster. As you can imagine this week was just a great week with zone conference and with finding this new family and with Vivian progressing and everything. But as most of you know in the mission when you are up high you know that sooner or later you are going to be brought down. On Saturday we had a day packed full of lessons. We had a great first lesson in the morning and we had just stopped tracting and called to confirm our next appointment.

All of the sudden my bike tire went flat so we walked to the bike store to try and buy a cheap tube that could get us through the day. It was a blessing that we got there just before they closed. I bought the new tube and went outside to put it on, by this time the store was closed and when I unrolled the tube we noticed that it would never fit my bike! They sold me a little kids tube! Hahah! It was so crazy.

Me and Elder Bailey talked about how weird that day was. We ended up taking the rest of the afternoon trying to get our bikes back home because we were quite a ways from the house. Elder Bailey and I love to work and needless to say that day was a hard day for us.

It was cool to see the complete 180 that the lord blessed us with the next day on Sunday. The day before everything had gone wrong but yesterday everything went right! I know that story may not mean a lot to you guys but it was just cool to experience that low but have the Lord bring us out of that horrible day and bless us with a day that went perfectly! He loves us and knows us perfectly, I have no doubt about that in my mind.

I hope that all is going well for ya'll back home! I do miss the snow but it honestly doesn't even feel like Christmas so there really isn't a problem with homesickness or anything. I miss you all sometimes and wish I could be there freezing my butt off with you sometimes but then again, I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be. There is nowhere else that I would want to be right now other then here.

Thanks again for all you that you do! The letters were absolutely awesome! I hope that you all have an amazing and great week and good luck with finals those of you who have to endure through that! I'll be praying for you! hahah!

I love you guys so much. We are going to build sand castles on the beach today which should be fun, Don't worry, we aren't going to go swimming! They don't send buck dogs to the islands. I love you guys! Have an absolutely amazing week! Merry Christmas again!

Say hi to the snow for me! I"ll say hi to the beach :)

December 7, 2009

Bon Dia! Mi Famia y Mi Amigonan

I hope that all is "hopi bon" with you all back in home. Make sure that you take your coat outside so that you all don't get sick from the freezing cold! hahah! I hope that you are all enjoying the snow though. You should enjoy! IT really isn't Christmas without snow. I'm just sorry that the snow has to last for another 3 months!

Speaking of Christmas, the Christmas devotional was absolutely amazing! I know that last year they broadcast it on KBYU and BYU-TV as well as playing it in all the churches. I hope that you were all able to see it! It started at 9 o' clock here, which was a little weird, but it was so awesome. It was great to hear the voice of the prophet of God along with two other apostles and prophets of the Lord. I loved the messages they shared about focusing more on the Savior for Christmas instead of all of the physical things. The program was amazing and as we left the church I was expecting to feel the chilly December air and the sound of snow crunching under my feet. It was a little weird to walk outside and feel the 85 degree nighttime air with a nice ocean breeze. Sorry but as much as you say you hate the snow, Christmas just isn't Christmas without being bundled up and freezing your butt off so enjoy it! haha!

Thank you to all of you for your emails and I am so excited to get your letters tomorrow at the zone conference. Anyways here in Aruba things are going great and to answer all of your questions . . . Yes I am still loving it! I love it here! It's so awesome! It was a little difficult to adjust to riding our bikes all over the island, but now it's great. I love it.

It's such a joy to be able to be working here in the service of the Lord. And it sounds like some of you have more questions so I will try and clear up a few of those.

First off . . . dad asked how long the missionaries stay down here. I will probably be down here on the islands for 6 months, but really it's up to the Lord so there's no set time. But the deal is with our passports we can stay on Aruba for 90 days and Curacao or Bonaire for 90 days, so all in all that's a total of 6 months. So yeah, I will probably be down here until my year mark in the mission which is in May! I can't believe that it's that close, haha!

2nd . . . Jenny asked how many elders are on the island. I didn't know this but she said that the island is like 6 miles by 13 miles, and so yeah, the island isn't very big. But on this beautiful island there are 10 elders and 2 sister missionaries along with a senior missionary couple. So yeah, even though the island isn't very big, the word is being proclaimed loud and clear. Even though none of us can speak Papiamento very well. (haha) But that's OK. It's not your language that converts people it's the spirit of the Lord.

So yeah, those were some of the questions that I got this week. If you have any more just send them along and I would love to answer them!

This week went absolutely amazing! We are working really hard to find some great people who need the gospel in their lives. And the work continues to progress. The biggest news from this week is that our investigator with a baptismal date, named Vivian, is progressing great. She has such a strong desire to change her life and become a disciple of Christ. It's so awesome to teach her. We taught her on Saturday night. We had passed by basically every day that week to try and teach her and every time she had an emergency and had to go or something like that. It was Saturday night and we went to visit her. She wasn't there again. We were so discouraged it was pretty bad.

We decided to visit her neighbor who is a member and teach him a quick lesson. As we were living his house I told him we were sorry that we hadn't been able to teach Vivian with him this week (we had taken him to every dropped appointment that we had). I told him that my goal this next week would be to teach her with him.

We began to ride off and me and Elder Bailey stopped by her house one last time to see if she was there . . . and she was! I know that it doesn't sound like a big deal but to us that meant the whole world. All of those silent prayers that we had been saying that she would be there were finally answered and we had an absolutely amazing lesson with her member friend by our side. Elder Bailey did a great job of teaching her about following the prophet. We committed her to following the prophet and then we moved into teaching the Word of Wisdom. As I began to teach the Word of Wisdom the member was so excited that he jumped in and started talking about coffee!

We were both shocked because usually we talk about coffee last because it's the one that people have the most problems with and we knew that Vivian had troubles with coffee. But he jumped right in and started to teach about coffee! We were a little worried but it turned out perfectly. Vivian told us that she has had an addiction to coffee for years and that she has been trying to quit but she just couldn't do it. She told us that this commandment from a prophet of God was a blessing from God. She said that it gave her the desire and the will that she needed to take that step and cut coffee out of her life. It was so awesome to see how choice she really is and what a desire she has to change her life and follow God.

She says that she doesn't have faith but she is one of the people that I have talked to in my mission that has the most faith. Faith is having works along with your beliefs and she is one of the first people that I have met that is honestly willing to change her life and make the changes that the Lord asks her to make. It's so amazing to see how truly prepared she was to receive her message and I know without a doubt that she will be ready to enter the waters of baptism on the 19th.

I have one more story for you and then I have to get going so we can do everything that we need to get done. This week we were teaching Aileen, a recent convert from San Marteen. She speaks English so it's really different to teach her, and it's actually really hard. But we went over on this day to ask her if she had anyone that needed the gospel. We read her the scripture in Matthew that says those who lose their life for the gospel will find it, and she said that's so true! She said if I don't share this gift that God has given me then I really don't deserve it!

I learned such a great lesson from Aileen (like i always do from investigators and new converts). We truly are blessed to have this amazing gospel. I did a horrible job of sharing the gospel before my mission. But really we are given an incredible gift by the Lord to have His message. I thought that was an awesome insight by a lady who has her head screwed on right.

I hope all of you are doing great and that all is going well. I got to eat fish eyes this week and they were pretty good. It was like sucking salty bloody slime off of a small pebble, but it really isn't as bad as you would think it is :) hahah!

I love you all and I hope that everything is going well back in Utah. Here in Aruba the work continues to progress and we are finding and talking to everyone we can so that this message can cover the earth. Thank you for all of your love and your prayers. I really do feel your support, even if you don't think I do. I do! I promise. Have a good week, good luck! Be safe, be healthy, and a big good luck wish to all of you who have finals this week! Make sure to get lots of sleep!

Good luck . . . just one more week to go and you'll be done!