Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bon Bini Na Curacao

February 23, 2010

Hello to All,

Thank you so much for your love and support and all of your prayers. This week has been a different week for me and your prayers were definitely felt. It was nice to feel that love even though I have been out of your lives for quite some time now.

Don't worry, my week wasn't terrible. I hope that I didn't worry anyone with that opening sentence. All I meant was that this week has not been paradise and I wanted to thank you for all that you guys do for me. You have no idea how much you mean to me.

Curacao rocks! It is a lot bigger than Aruba and the people are very very very different (than the people in Aruba). I like it though. Aruba is definitely a paradise. The focus in Aruba is on tourism. Tourism is the entire economy in Aruba. That fact is reflected in absolutely everything in Aruba. The people, the cleanliness, the roads, the cars, everything. Curacao, although it's very close to Aruba, is very different, but I love it! I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be and I know that there are people here who need this message that we bring and I am so excited to get to work.

The only reason that I say this week has been rough is because change is always difficult for me. And then on top of that I've been battling a pretty bad cold. But it's OK. I was able to receive a priesthood blessing this week from my companions and I am feeling much better now. Don't worry mom and dad, I am just doing fine and the Lord is taking care of me! You guys have nothing to worry about.

As for my area, Curacao is changing a lot right now missionary wise. They are slowly taking all of the missionaries from the Puerto Rico mission out of Curacao while they prepare for the big switch this summer. So this past transfer cycle they took 4 missionaries off of the island meaning that the missionary areas on the island are changing a lot. But as far as I know I think that the area that we have been working in this week is going to be my area.

We live in a house and it absolutely rocks! This week we had two other missionaries living with us but they ended up moving out of our house today so now it's just Elder Jacobson and I all alone in a big house. It is perhaps the nicest missionary apartment in the mission. I'm excited about that part for sure (haha)! The crazy thing about Curacao right now though is that it feels like fall. I don't know what it is. Whether it is the way the sun shines or the way that all the trees are dead or in the process of dying and there are leaves everywhere, it just feels like fall. That's something I would have never expected to see but alas here it is. With living in a house it feels a lot more like home and I don't like that very much (haha), but it's just another thing that I will have to get used too.

As for the actual missionary work things are going great. I came in and on our first night we went and visited an absolutely choice family. They are just awesome! Their names are Maedeline and Clifton. They both really want to follow the Savior and they both really want to baptized. The struggle that they are having is that they need to get married first. In order to get married they have to get some paperwork done before they can do so. Maedeline has to wait on the lawyers from Venezuela and she said that it could take up to four months. When I came into the area Elder Jacobson was pretty discouraged by this four-month wait thing but we decided together that we would teach a lesson on faith and miracles. We read them 1 Nephi 3:7 and asked them if they thought God wanted them to be baptized. We asked if they thought it was a commandment. Then we asked if they thought God would provide the way to do so. They both said yes and we set a baptismal date on March 27th! It was a great night and a great feeling. That is going to be a huge miracle when it happens and I am really excited to be a part of it. It's going to require just as much faith on our part as on theirs but, as far as I am concerned, I know that if they do all that they can the Lord is going to bless us with His will. And if His will is a miracle, I will be excited to be a part of it.

I love you guys so much and I hope that you can feel that love. Thanks for all you do and for the great examples that you are to me!

I hope that you all have a great week and I hope that you know that you are in my prayers!

Have a fun week! Enjoy the Olympics for me!


A Change in the Mission

February 16, 2010

Dear family and friends,

It was good to hear from you all this week! Thank you all for writing and for being so loving and kind and interested in my life, even though I am so far away. It really means a lot to me so thank you!

I hope that everyone had a good Valentines Day. To be honest absolutely nobody celebrates it down here. The husbands and wives exchanged gifts but from what I saw it's nowhere near as a big as it is back in the states! I hope you all had fun.

OK . . . so two pieces of news. First transfers haven't happened yet. I am still in Aruba for one last preparation day. But tomorrow I will be flying out to Curacao to start working on that island! I am really excited! I have heard that is a lot like Aruba but that there is a lot more of a European influence over there then there is here. There is a lot of an American influence here in Aruba and over there there are a lot more Dutch people! So I'm excited to get to work! My new companion is going to be Elder Jacobsen. He is a cool guy. He was in our district last transfer and he trained one of the elders in my group when I cam out so I'm sure that I will be able to learn a lot! I'm excited to get to work with him.

The other big piece of news is one that I wasn't sure when I could share so I was going to wait to share it. But it sounds like it's in the news so I can share it now. They are combining the two missions in Puerto Rico when President Martineau and the other mission president get released this June. The islands that I am now living on are going to be absorbed into one of the missions in the Dominican Republic. When we heard about that change we were all shocked. I am excited though. It's going to be fun to participate in this big change. Last night we found out who our new mission president will be. I am really excited. He is one of the most amazing men that I have ever met. His name is Elder Alvarado. He is currently serving as an Area Seventy in Puerto Rico. He is a native Puerto Rican and he is just awesome. It is going to be really cool to serve with him. It was a really cool experience to just realize how truly inspired everything in this work is. The Lord truly knows exactly what and who would be best for this work, and it's just awesome.

The work for my final week in this awesome area went really good. President Martineau gave us the challenge to talk to 200 people in a day. We decided to do it on Saturday and it was a blast. We went to a local grocery store and asked if we could help people load up their groceries in their car. It was a lot of work but so much fun. It was cool to talk to all those people. We got a lot of good excuses and some funny ones too, but it was still a really cool experience to have such a high goal and to go for it! I loved it. I got pretty fried but it was totally worth it!

I gave a talk in church this week and that was good. It was funny I was giving the talk in Papiamento and then I read a part of a talk in Spanish. After I read the part in the talk I just kept speaking Spanish. Even though everyone in the ward knows Spanish and most of them speak it as their native language (a majority of the members are Latins) I got some funny looks in the congregation. It was funny. I said sorry for switching and went back to Spanish. It was a fun talk to give. I got to talk about missionary work which is a topic that any missionary would love to talk about.

The baptismal dates that we have in our area are doing well. Renalt wasn't able to come to church and we were a little disappointed. He had to work a 16-hour day on Sunday so he wasn't going to be able to come in the morning or in the night. We are really excited for him because he is so golden. He has started taking the Book of Mormon to work so he can read it during his breaks. It's amazing to see the love that he has found for the book. I love being able to see the change in these people's lives when they start to receive the light of the gospel.

On the other hand our other investigators with baptismal dates aren't really progressing. I'm kind of bugged about it and I'm tired and so I am not in a mood to talk about it, so sorry.

Anyways, it was a good week this past week! I am absolutely loving it down here! Don't worry about what I just said, I just don't want to talk about investigators who aren't progressing. Neither you nor I want to hear about that so yeah.

Anyways, thanks to all of you again for your love and support! I can't wait to hear from you guys again. I love you all and I am grateful for your love and support.

Tonight I go to bed in Aruba, tomorrow I go to bed in Curacao! Should be a fun day tomorrow! Pray for me!

Our new friend Renald! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!

February 8, 2010

Hey family and friends,

First off, a huge and heart felt apology to Dad. I'm really sorry that I didn't wish you a happy birthday last week. I totally didn't realize that the 6th was before I would email again. Don't worry, I will now start to write these things down a week before so I don't make that mistake again. But I just wanted you to know that I love you so much and that I hope you had the most amazing birthday ever! Happy Birthday Dad! You're still a young crazy guy in my book, no matter how old you get.

Well this week was just an awesome week full of miracles. The best part of this week
was that we found and set a baptismal date with our new friend Renald. We met Renald
on Thursday and had the baptismal date set with him on Friday. For the missionaries like Mckay in places where you baptize a ton of people that may be normal. But for me that was something that I have never seen in my life in the mission. It was so cool. But even cooler was the way that it happened. On Thursday we taught him a first lesson we found him when we were knocking on doors. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and he absolutely loved it. We committed him to read it and set the next appointment for a few days later.

On Friday we had planned to work with the ward mission leader to try and pump a little life into our investigators. We wanted to help them to see that no, Mormons aren't just teenage boys wearing white shirts and ties, but we are in fact normal people. Hahah!

Anyways, we had 3 appointments set up for Friday night all in a row. When we called the investigators in the afternoon to confirm the appointments, they all dropped. Every single one of them dropped. I was so discouraged. We had already changed the day on the ward mission leader and he said that Friday was the only other day that he could do it this week. Our focus this week was to work with the members and so we were both a little worried that the plan we had planned for all week had just fallen apart. We said a prayer and immediately we both thought of Renald.

We ran back to our apartment to meet up with the mission leader. We didn't have time
to set up an appointment with Renald but on the way over I was praying my heart out
that we would be able to work with the ward mission leader in the way that God wanted
us to. We pulled up to Renald's house and he came out and invited us right in. He was
really excited to see the members. We read 3 Nephi chapter 11 with him because he told us how much he loved and was interested in the Book of Mormon. We read the chapter and we really focused on baptism. The members were explaining things so well and the spirit was just so amazing.

We talked about baptism and how we need to be baptized with the true authority of Jesus Christ. He told us that he had already been baptized, but that he knew what we were telling him was true. He told us he didn't care how many times he has to get baptized, he'll do it again and again until he's baptized in the right way. This man is absolutely golden and we are just pumped.

We set the baptismal date for the 27th and he along with the members and us were just
amazing. I was so thankful that the Lord led us to Renald and that the members were
able to have such an amazing missionary experience. The coolest part of that experience perhaps was that one of the members with us had just come to Renald's house a few weeks earlier to fix his TV. Right away there was a trust and a connection which is crucial for any investigator. I know that all of our hard work and all of our prayers this transfer paid off this week when we received this ultimate blessing from the Lord. We met him Thursday and set the baptismal date on Friday. He had some car troubles and wasn't able to come to church on Sunday but I know he is golden and that he wants to be a member of the true Church of Christ! It's lessons like that keep you coming back for more and I love it.

We also had a cool experience right after that. We went to see Vivian Angela and she
had been having car troubles all day. It just so happened that she needed a new
connecting tube in her car and the ward mission leader had the exact tube she needed.
It was way cool because we both felt that we needed to go check up on Vivian and it
ended up saving her about 100 bucks. The lord knows and loves His children. There is
no doubt about that in my mind at all.

Our other investigators are doing well. Junice kind of blew us off this week so we are going to have to go back tomorrow and check out what happened with that. But Andres is doing good. He is progressing, slowly but surely, he is progressing. I know that he will get baptized. It's not going to be easy but I know that is what God wants. And there is always a way! ALWAYS! :)

Some of you asked about my extension, that was a cool experience. We went last week
to the immigration office and it turns out that we were supposed to get there like 3 hours before to get a number in the line. Turns out that there was a lady there who took us in even though we did it wrong and helped us process our paper work. That was a real blessing because my companion was about to be illegal . . . he was going to get deported!!!! But because she let us in he was able to get the extension he needed. We don't know how long we can stay, we find out this week, and by then we could of had transfers. Next week I am not sure where I will be, or when I will email, but don't worry! Whatever happens the Lord's hand is in it.

I hope that you all had an amazing week. We had a week full of miracles here in working with the members. I want you all to know that I have had a tough few weeks with not seeing very much progress. Your letters and your love and support got me through that little rough patch that I was having. You will never know how much you all mean to me!

Thank you for all you do! I will be forever grateful for you guys!

I had a dream that Austin Collie was the super bowl MVP. I guess that was a dream and
not a vision. Hahah, oh well.

Today might be my last p-day in Aruba (I honestly have no idea what will happen). So
we gotta go so I can get some last minute remembrances!

I love you all so much! Happy Birthday again dad! I can't wait until I can hear from you next week!

Oh yeah and a happy Valentine's day to all!

Go Cougars!

2 more baptismal dates! Pure Blessings!

February 1, 2010

Family and Friends, Good Morning to you all!

Thank you all for your emails and your love and support this week. It was so great to hear from all of you and to hear that things are still going well! You really have no idea how much all of your love and support means to me. I will forever be grateful for the blessings that your are in my life.

Before I get started with my email I just wanted to say happy birthday to Jenny! Don't worry, I didn't forget. I just didn't realize that it was on Saturday. I thought for sure I had another email before the 30th, man how time flies! Hope you had a great birthday in London though.

Trent, I hope that you are doing OK! It sounds like your shoulder is really starting to progress. Don't ever be discouraged! You rock kid and you are going to be amazing when you get back to full strength! Thanks again to all of you for your emails and
stuff. I hope you have an amazing week.

So this past week was awesome for us. Like I said in the subject line, we set two new
baptismal dates with investigators this week and both were way cool experiences. We set the first one a few hours after we finished our emails last week. haha! His name is Andres. He is a friend of a few of the members in the branch and we have been trying to get hold of him forever. We finally started teaching him the other week and on Tuesday this past week we felt that we needed to invite him to be baptized. We felt prompted to bring along a member who used to be a sacerdote in the catholic church, and he has an amazing conversion story. (I have no idea what a sacerdote is in English . . . sorry never studied the Catholic Church in English, just Spanish :) hahah!)

Andres is a pretty timid guy and he has read a lot of anti-Mormon literature. But the thing is that he was still humble and willing to listen to our message. We talked about baptism, Christ's baptism, and how we need to follow Christ exactly. We then asked if he remembered his baptism. We talked about covenants and how when we are children we can't understand what we are doing. It was a great lesson. When we invited him to be baptized on the 27th he was a little timid, but that's when the member help came in. Miguel did a great job and totally helped Andres to get over his fear and to accept the invitation to be baptized. It was amazing to see how crucial it was to have a member there. Not just any member and I know that the Miguel was the angel that God needed to be there to help Andres accept his baptismal date.

The other baptismal date that we set was kind of a surprise to us. Her name is Junice. We taught her a first lesson the other week and we passed by again to see if she had read the Book of Mormon. She had not so we read the chapter with her. When we got to the part about baptism (3 Nephi 11) we started discussing baptism and how we need to be baptized in the same manner and with the same authority that Jesus taught to the people in this chapter. She then asked us when she could get baptized. We were both absolutely blown away that she would asked that! We were shocked but absolutely pumped. We made sure that she was really serious. She was so we set a date for her to be baptized on the same day as Andres! It looks like February 27th is going to be an awesome day!

Other then that we still had a good week. We have been working a lot with less active
members this week and I actually have a really cool experience for you guys. There is a family in our area who stopped coming to church like 20 years ago because they got offended. The mom used to always cook for the missionaries and they were just way
strong members. Anyways, they have been really negative toward the church for a long
time. Last week they were with a friend who had been in a car accident. Two missionaries walked by the accident and seeing a need, ran and bought some water bottles for the families so they wouldn't die while they were waiting for the police to come. The next day this lady called us and asked if we would invite the other missionaries to come to lunch on Saturday.

I was completely baffled but so amazed at what a cool effect that small act of service had on that family. The cool thing about the story and the lesson that I learned was that these two missionaries didn't do "missionary" things. What they did is something that any member could do. It's amazing to see what an effect you have on people when you truly are Christ-like. It reminded me of the talk that President Monson gave in the last conference! I know that we and others are blessed when we serve our friends, neighbors, and fellowmen!

OK, now I have a funny but cool story about Aruba. Aruba is home to really nasty
centipedes. These centipedes are really poisonous, like awfully bad. You can die within an hour! Anyways . . . we are always really careful about centipedes. They don't come into your house but when you are doing service you have to be way careful. We were helping our landlord clean up this week and we lifted up the board and these two huge orange centipedes came crawling out it was so crazy! They are like roaches too . . . they don't die! It was a crazy reminder to me that really, yes Dorothy you aren't in Kansas anymore. It was cool.

We had a Priesthood activity this week and they watched the Wilford Woodruff movie about the building of the Salt Lake Temple. It was way cool. It truly is amazing the faith and the service that those early saints gave just to have a temple. They did all of that just to have a temple to worship in. It is truly something amazing. I'm thankful for them and for the selfless faith they had to do what they did. Without them we wouldn't be here. They truly were amazing people.

Sorry that was kind of weird. hahah! But it's true!

Anyways, I have to get going. We are going to the Immigration Office today to try and
receive permission to stay more days on Aruba!

February 3rd marks one year since I got my mission call . . . since this journey began.

Thank you to all of you for all of the support that you have given to me. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you guys!

I love you all so much! Have a great week and know that I am praying for you!

Go Cougars! #10 I heard!!! Woo Hoo! Now, is Austin Collie going to be Super bowl MVP? I think so! Too worldly, silly me.

Love you guys!!!

The Week of Sun

January 26, 2010

Bon Tarde Amigonan i mi Famia!

Con Ta Bai ku Boso? Ta Bon?

Hey guys! It's been a little while since I have gotten to email you and today I am very thankful that I am able to be here emailing you! I know that it is a day late but I have a good excuse. Yesterday was like Aruba's 4th of July. They celebrated their independence from the Netherlands. As missionaries we work on holidays because that is the best time to find people at home. It was good though. I am just sorry that I didn't tell you last week that I would be emailing a day late. That's OK though I know that you don't care. hahah! Sorry.

Anyways, for those of you who are wondering, they don't do fireworks and stuff here for that holiday. I know that they go crazy with their flags though. Last night Elder Roggeman and I accidentally tracted in the neighborhood where they were doing the 5k, it was funny. The runners were all a little jealous of our bikes, but it was still good.

This past week was really good for Elder Roggeman and I. I hope that it was the same
for all of you. It sounds like there is still a lot of snow back there and that it is still cold.

Here it feels like summer still and actually this week the heat worked against us. Last pday our bikes basically fell apart. It took them 3 days to fix them and so for the first few work days of our week we had no bikes. We had to walk everywhere. Walking is not bad. I actually like it best. The only problem was that we ended up getting really dehydrated and really weak.

We accomplished the numbers and goals that we wanted to this week and so it was totally worth it. But when Wednesday night rolled around neither Elder Roggeman nor I
were in a condition where we could keep pushing ourselves to the limit. Luckily we had planned to go to the ward activity with a member and his friend. While at the activity one of the ward members asked if we wanted a priesthood blessing. I was so thankful.

It hadn't really passed my mind to ask the brethren for a blessing but it was the exact thing that I needed. When they laid their hands upon my head I could just feel a calming peaceful feeling come over me. I knew that I would be healed and that this sickness that I had would go away. We woke up the next morning and I felt as good as new. There is no doubt in my mind that I ended up being saved from a huge sinus infection and cold because of a priesthood blessing. How grateful I am that our Heavenly Father has given us His power to use to bless the lives of one another. This experience this week has helped me to realize that this truly is the only true and living church of God on the Earth today.

Not only did I get to be on the receiving end of priesthood blessings this week but Elder Roggeman and I also had the really cool opportunity to have a night full of blessings. On Saturday our recent convert Aileen passed by and informed us that her sister was in the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital it turned out that she was in a lot worse condition then we had expected. She had been moved to the ICU and had just undergone emergency surgery. We went into the ICU to give her the blessing. At first the mom didn't want us too. We had the old branch president there with us and he was able to help be the words and influence to soften her heart. And next it was time to convince the nurses. Luckily the Lord softened the hearts of the nurses and we were able to lay our hands upon her head in this little ICU room. I had the opportunity to give the blessing and I will never forget the experience that I had and the feelings that were felt.

I still don't know what the outcome of her situation will be but there is one thing that I know for sure . . . the Lord truly loves and knows each one of His children perfectly! It was so amazing.

This past week has been a little discouraging for me. I have been here in Aruba for
almost 10 weeks now and we really haven't seen our area grow to be where we want it to be. I don't know if I told you this but Elder Bednar visited Puerto Rico Saturday. We weren't able to attend the meeting that he had with the missionaries. He told a story about when he went to give a guy a blessing in the hospital. This newly married and recently returned missionary had been diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer and was dying. Elder Bednar went into the hospital room and asked him before the blessing if he had the "faith not to be healed." He meant that if Elder Bednar sent him onto the next life, did the young man have the faith that it was the thing the Lord wanted for him.

We don't know the end of the story because Elder Bednar didn't tell us the result. But the principle still applies. I have especially felt that this week. The Lord loves us and we are His children. Among the things that I have felt and learned this week is that He loves us. He wants to help us and bless us. He won't always give us what we want. But he will always give us what we need.
I love you guys so much and I hope that all is going well back home! You are all in my prayers. I hope you know how much you all mean to me!

It's good to hear that the BYU basketball team is doing so well. I hope they keep on
rolling on! That would be sweet if they have a dream season! Go Colts too. I hope
Austin Collie continues to do great. It seems to be that he is "livin right" on and off the field ;) hahahahah! (Don't hate me Utah fans).

Love you guys! Have a fantastic week! Say "hi" to the snow for me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Safe from the Earthquake

January 18, 2010

Bon Dia Fami Y Amigonan,

I hope that you are all having a terrific day. Thanks for all of your emails and your love and support it was so great to hear from you all. I hope you know that you all keep me going and your words and your love mean so much to me.

Thanks for all the updates on Haiti. We don't get a ton of information out here but I have heard bits and pieces. It sounds like things are really bad over there and it sounds like they need our prayers more than ever.

But one thing cool that I have seen is that it seems that the world has united together to help those sons and daughters of God who need our help. It's really sad about what happened but it's cool to see how the world has come together to help. As for Aruba, no worries all is fine. We actually did have an aftershock at about four in the morning the day after the earthquake. It was in the 4's I've heard 4.0 to 4.7 so I am not really sure. But the best part of the story is that me and my companion slept right through it. Hahah! We were dead tired and we have a bunk bed and so we feel little earthquakes every night when I move around. :)

So I'm sure when the room started shaking we just thought it was something normal. The other Elders called us and said that they woke up. One of the zone leaders said that he was going crazy, haha! So yeah . . . just a little one, but nothing to worry about! Thanks for all being concerned though.

Elder Roggerman and I are still doing really well. We had a goal to hit 30 lessons this week and just as He did last week, God blessed us with things to work out just perfectly to reach our goal. Our baptismal date, who is the daughter of Vivian, is not going to be baptized this Saturday. Vivian told us last Monday that she wants to
wait to have her daughter baptized and we were pretty sad about that. But it's just a part of life in the mission. As we know we really need to get her daughter baptized and so we are going to have a solid lesson with her this week to get her to pray about her baptismal date. I should have a great story for you guys next week so stay tuned.

On Friday we had a cool experience. This really isn't a spiritual "wowzer" experience but it was still a cool missionary blessing. I was riding my bike up the mountain that we always have to ride up and my tire started to wobble back and forth really bad. hahah! We continued to work and it just got worse and worse. The night
came and luckily we just had enough time to run to the bike shop. When we got there the guy was shocked at the state of my tire. I guess most of the bearings had fallen out of the axle. In lay man's terms, something extremely dangerous was going on. It was cool because he just took the tire and fixed it for free! We were both shocked because as cool as Aruba is, they like to charge the tourists a lot. It was just a really cool missionary blessing to have my life be spared but to see the way that the Lord changed that man's heart so that he would help us was even better! We are truly in the Lord's service and He is truly watching over us! It's so awesome!

Another cool experience happened this week. We were knocking doors after it had just rained and we were going to our next appointments. All of the appointments fell. We had four set up at the same time and it just happened that all four of the cidas fell. Something, that well for Aruba, is pretty uncommon. We weren't really sure what to do and all of the sudden we had the impression that we needed to visit this sister in our ward who lived close by. We went by and she was there with a bunch of friends. She invited us in to teach a lesson which was really out of the ordinary. So we sat down and we started to teach. We were both on fire and we taught a lesson like we never really have before, it was really cool.

One of her friends had a lot of questions for us and actually tried to fight with us a little bit. But we were able to answer all of her questions and bear the witness that we needed to bear. We left there knowing that we had been sent to that house to teach that lady. It was cool to be helped with the scriptures needed and the Spanish needed, it was just really cool :) hahah! Sorry I'm a goof I know.

Other then that it was a great week! We started a new program at the church last night. Because of the status of a lot of the employment in Aruba -- that is that employment is basically all in tourism -- a lot of members have work on Sunday. They just can't avoid it. It is the same thing with a lot of the investigators. So we started night church last night and it was an absolute hit. All of our investigators loved it and they will be back next week! I am sure that I will have more to say about it next week so stay tuned!

Thank you all for your love and prayers! You are so awesome and I am so blessed to have you guys in my life!

Keep going strong! I hope you all have an amazing week!

I love you guys! You're in my prayers!

PS Go cougars!

Still in the Same Area, We Did IT!

January 11, 2010

Hello family and friends,

I hope that you all had an amazing week this past week and that the new year is treating you all well. I hope that you are all finding 2010 as enjoyable, or more enjoyable, then 2009. If not don't worry, the year is only a month old!

ANYWAYS, it's good to hear that everyone is doing great and that you are all loving life back in Utah. It's still hard for me to think that it's snowing back there and that everone is freezing. Here it's still summer! I think we are going out to play football on the beach this afternoon. Are any of jealous? If so don't worry. It'll be warm in what, 4 or 5 months?

Sorry. I hope that didn't make you guys sad.

Anywho . . . the work here is going great and I will update you on what has happened in my life this past week.

We were on edge all week because it was still up in the air whether we would be
transferred to a new area or stay in the area where Elder Bailey and I had been working all last transfer. It really depended upon whether the senior missionaries were assigned to leave the island. If they did we were going to go live and work in their area. As far as I know, they are not going to be leaving. So for now, I am just island training -- not island training and white washing (or working in a new area). But believe me, your prayers were felt this week. The biggest challenge this week: the language! haha!

When Elder Bailey was here I wasn't able to pick up Papiamento as well as I should have. I'm not really sure why, it just didn't come to me. They sent me a new Elder to
the islands, Elder Roggeman, and he knows absolutely no Papiamento. In the mission
when they send you a new Elder who has never been to island we call it island training.

So right now I am an island trainer. This week has been incredibly hard and I have had to rely on the Lord so much to help me with the language. But one thing that is good about the language barrier is that it forces you to talk. That was sure a blessing from the Lord because right now I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the language. The thing is that it has nothing to do with me. It's all been the Lord and His blessings. It's been such a miracle to be able to communicate with these people this week even though I really don't know their language that well.

The thing with not knowing a language that well and struggling to talk to people every single day, it forces you to grow a love for them. If you don't love them you honestly aren't going to make the effort to look like a fool and talk to them. One of the things that I have really noticed this week is the way that my love for these people has grown.

It really is incredible to look back on the start of the week and notice the change in the desire that I have to talk to them. At first I was scared out of my mind but through the struggles that I have had this week I feel so terrible when I pass someone that we don't talk to. All of these people are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and they need this message so much. I am just so thankful that I have this opportunity to be here and be able to focus on them all day every day.
Other then that our week went amazing. We have a goal for numbers each week in our
mission that we call the foundation. It has to deal with talking to people and teaching lessons. It's something that President Martineau promised us from the very first day that would help us have more success. Elder Bailey and I wanted to get it so bad when we were here and for one reason or another we were just never able to do it. But this week,with the blessings of the Lord, we were able to accomplish the foundation and get the numbers that we needed to. I don't know what it is but something about me and Elder Roggeman just clicked and we have been able to do a lot of great work.

Elder Roggeman is a great missionary. He is nothing close to a buck dog and all he
wants is the best for our area. I can tell that we are going to do a lot of good work in our area. I can't wait to see how far we can go! I'm thankful that the Lord didn't send me a crappy missionary to island train. Haha! It's made the experience a little bit easier.

This weekend we had zone conference. It was way good. We discussed a talk by Elder
Bednar called "Learning by faith." It's really good and I would challenge you all to read it. Anyways it's just always a really cool experience to be able to get together with all the missionaries and the mission president down here on the islands. I love it when they come! It feels like a little bit of home. I'm not sure if that's because of how cool they are or just because of the fact that I get all of those letters! But I love it!

Our baptismal date is doing well. It's the daughter of Vivian and we haven't been able to start teaching her yet. I don't know what it is but almost all of my baptisms have been little kids. I guess when you do what the Lord asks you to do He will just bless you with blessings in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Anyways, I was glad to hear the BYU basketball is doing so well. Maybe the BYU football team didn't have a dream season but it sounds like the basketball team might!

Thanks for all that you guys do! I love you so much! Keep in touch. I will talk to you all soon!

Keep the prayers coming! They help so much!

Christmas in Aruba - pictures

This is why I am here! What a blessing.

This is me by the sea! Beautiful!!!

This is me in my apartment with my Christmas PJs

Happy New Year

January 4, 2010

This is the second email. Jonny took his companion to the airport and was allowed another email when he returned. This email gives more information about the possible move to a new area. We will find out more next week.

OK Dad, so we are back hahah! It was kind of cool to be able to talk to you like this! I love it! But anyways, so you probably have a lot of questions about my area.

To be honest I actually have no idea what is going on. This is what I know at this point . . . Last night the zone leaders called me and told me that I would be leaving my area. I was really sad. But what ended up happening is that we were going to move into the senior couple's apartment in San Nicholas, but the couple ended up staying. I know for sure that my new companion is going to be Elder Rogeman. As of right now we don't really know where we are going to be serving.

I would love to stay in my old area. When I found out about the change that would be coming I was a little ticked off. We had just been working for six weeks to build up this area, and now the rug was being pulled out from under me. All of those people I have come to love I would never get to see again. I was sad. But then I became mad at myself. This is the thing that the Lord needs to happen. To be honest I still don't know what's going to happen. But this experience has taught me one thing --
you do what the Lord wants you to do. I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't react that way at first.

But then again, that's why we have these experiences . . . right? hahah

Anyways, it sounds like BYU is doing great! I have to remind you real quick! You have to record the TCU vs. BSU game for me tonight (if they haven't already played). I heard it was tonight so if it is record it for me if you will! :) If not, I understand but that's OK.

Your Son Forever,
Elder Oviatt

ps - OH! If you ever get a chance to come down to Aruba for new years do so! It is soooooo incredible!

Until next week,
Elder Oviatt

Happy New Year!!!! 2010!!!1 I can't Believe it,

January 4, 2010

Bon Dia! Con bai?

Hey Family and friends! First off I want to wish you a big old Happy New Years! All the way from Aruba!

Congratulations! We all made it to 2010! I really can't believe that it is already 2010, that is so incredible! It seems like just yesterday I was in the MTC and even my six month mark seemed so far away then, but now the time has come and gone in a flash and it's so crazy!

I have to apologize for not having more work to report in my my email this week but I have a funny story that is a good excuse for the lack of work to report. Elder Bailey scraped up his leg playing football on Christmas night. All weekend he had been complaining about how much it was hurting him. We were a little surprised about how much it was hurting but we thought nothing of it and continued to work. On
Wednesday we went to teach a member in our ward who just happens to be a nurse. She asked if she could see Elder Bailey's leg. When she looked she said "ahhh no no no no, that's really infected." It turns out Elder Bailey had an extremely bad and infected wound on his leg and the recommendation was to let it heal . . . Stay inside. Haha! So this week, from Wednesday afternoon until this morning, we stayed in
our apartment. Needless to say our Area Book was VERY organized and I think our apartment is the cleanest it has ever been. Not to mention that I read every single Liahona or Ensign magazine that we have in the house. It was good too. I definitely hated not being able to work. It was actually like torture for me. But Elder Bailey not having to get his leg cut off was pretty important.

Anyways, it sounds like you all had a great new years. I have to admit that the party that they had on the island is something that I have absolutely never seen before in my life. We woke up at 11:55 because we had heard that the New Year celebration was something special and I couldn't believe it. When we awoke every house on the block was already doing fireworks . . . and they were the legit kind too. The kind they do at the Stadium of Fire. When 12 o' clock rolled around everyone lit off fire works and firecrackers at the same time. It was incredible! It was like the island was on fire. it was absolutely a once in a lifetime thing to see. It was so incredible and loud. I could barely hear myself think it was so

I do have one cool story to mention. On Tuesday we went and visited a man we had met last week. We had knocked on his door and while we were tracting. When we knocked on the door, I just started talking about the Book of Mormon. It was weird because I usually never talk about the Book of Mormon during a first contact but the words just started coming so I let them go. We came back this week and he told us, "you know what guys, I have talked to so many of you before and I always just tell them I am Christian and then they leave. You are the first missionaries to say anything about this Book of Mormon and it really got me interested, I wanted to learn more. Do you think that you can tell me more about it!" I couldn't help but think back to that first contact and realize how the Lord had worked through my words to touch this man's heart. I did absolutely nothing. The Lord did absolutely everything. It was amazing to see that the Holy Ghost truly does work through the missionaries. I was just glad to have someone to teach. But I think our Heavenly Father is glad that one of his children let go of his pride and decided to listen to our message.
Like I said, that was about the only cool experience we had this week. The rest of the week we were inside.

And now the big news . . . I thought you would all want to hear about transfers. My new companion is going to be Elder Rogerman. I have yet to meet him. I will meet him tomorrow. But the big news is that I am also being transferred me on the islands which is completely unheard of. They transferred me to an area called San Nicholas. It's on the other side of the island way far away. So yes, I will be island training and whitewashing a new area. Should be a fun couple of weeks.

I was a little sad to have to be leaving all of these people that I have met. But again the only thing I could think of was the hymn I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord. It will be interesting. And it's still not for sure, but we will have more information for you next week! Pray for me! I am going to need all the help I can get.

I love you all so much and I look forward to hearing from you soon with your letters that you hopefully have all been sending :) hahah.

I love you so much! Have an amazing Happy New year! Good luck with
the new school year too!

Love ya forever,
Your Amigo Fiel,
Elder Oviatt