Monday, June 28, 2010

Bienvenidos a la Mission Puerto Rico, San Juan, Happy 4th of July!

Buenos Dias todos,

Hello everyone! I Hope that you all had a great week. Family, Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for your letters and your emails. It was so great to hear from you! I love you guys so much and I am thankful for all that you do for me! You guys are incredible!

It sounds like everyone had a good week so I am glad. Before I get started, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy 4th of July! I'm not really sure how they celebrate it here because I was in the Domincan Republic last year. Last year all we did was sing all the patriotic songs that we could find in the 2 or 3 English hymn books that were at the CCM. Which of course made all of the Dominicans mad. But hey, it was our day! We needed to celebrate it somehow. I'm sure there will be some kind of party or free day here, but well see. I know that its on a Sunday this year but I'm assuming that just means y'all celebrate it on Saturday! I hope you all have fun together! Go America!!!

Anyways, my family asked all about the last transfer meeting and President Martineau leaving and about my new companion. Things were awesome. It was a really neat meeting and I think grandma and grandpa hit the nail on the head, it definitely was very bitter sweet. All of the elders who came in with me are just solid missionaries and we really grew to love and respect President Martineau. We all looked like a bunch of babies with all of our red puffy eyes but it was worth it. President Martineau and Sister Martineau are incredible people and it was a blessing to be able to serve with them in this mission. President gave the leaving talk that he usually gives to all the missionaries who are leaving the mission. The talk was about the things that they need to keep doing as the return to the real world in order to keep the change of heart that occurred in the mission. It was great advice and its a blessing to be able to try and develop these habits now so the adjustment wont be as hard in the future!

Anywho, our new mission president. President Alvarado, touches ground tonight at about 7 o'clock. When that happens the missions will be officially combined and we will be the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission (lose the West) with President Alvarado as our mission president! We are all really excited to work with him as well. He is such a great man and he is going to work wonders here.

Anyways, that's the report on the big change. As for transfers, I think someone thinks my Spanish is really bad because I got another Latino companion. But I am pumped to get working with him. His name is Elder De Leon and guess what . . . he's from Guatemala just like Elder Moran, hahah. It has been a fun first few days. I can't believe how different he and Elder Moran are. He is a bit taller than Elder Moran and weighs about 200 pounds. He's had two transfers in the mission and so he is still pretty green. But he likes teaching and talking to people, which makes me happy! I still have a lot of patience and humility to learn and I think that having a fairly new companion is going to help a lot. Anyways, keep me in your prayers. Change is always a little difficult for me.

As for the area, things are going well. We had a tragedy in our ward this week and so the work with the members has kind of slowed down a bit as we have all realized how fragile life can be. About 70 percent of our area is within the mountains in the central part of the island. So there are a lot of families that live up there. On Friday night, a family and the grandson of another member family were involved in a terrible accident. They got hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light. The grandson of the other family died on impact and the rest of the family is an in the hospital with their two youngest children in and out of surgery and in critical condition. They are all in our prayers right now and there was a very solemn mood in church yesterday. It continues today as the funeral is tonight.

Yesterday we went and visited the grandpa of the boy who died. He is such a good and faithful man. He has his own health problems and was just released from being in the hospital for a week. We went over yesterday to talk to him a bit and I couldn't hold up. There was a big picture of his two grandchildren on the wall and we asked which one was the little boy who passed away. He pointed to a little boy in a suit and said that's him, the future missionary. I couldn't help but think of the talk and the story that President Monson shared in this last conference and I don't know why, but the thought of those on the other side who are working along side us, perhaps even harder than we are for the same work, just broke me down. It was a really neat experience to be able to share with him thoughts about the atonement and the resurrection and the plan of salvation. It was a really neat experience and a huge testimony builder. I know that there have been some tragedies back home as well, and its just such a blessing and miracle that we have the knowledge that we do of God's plan for His children. A plan that allows for all of us to return and live with Him again. And not just alone but we can go and live as families. I am so grateful for that plan. I have been forever, but now more than ever.

Our investigators are doing well. Angel Pabon told us this week that he would like to choose his own day for baptism. His wife keeps saying that things are moving too fast and that she doesn't like it. But this week she sat down to listen to our message. It was the first time that she has done that in about a dozen visits that we have had with her husband. So the baptism is on delay for now. We invited Angel to pray to know which day he should get baptized and he said he would do it. While it was a little discouraging, I was really happy. The baptism is going to mean more if he communicates with God about the day upon which he should be baptized. Its his baptism anyways! And who knows, maybe its because instead of one baptism we are supposed to have two . . . him and his wife!!!! So we are still really excited. This week he is going to tell us the day and then things are going to keep moving forward. He came to church yesterday and once again he loved it. He continues to work on his coffee addiction. Things are all going well! So there is no need to worry about anything.

We had another visit with our friend Rafeal this week. Rafael is the guy that we found last week who we had met at the gas station a few weeks ago and then we knocked on his door in the rain. We went to his house for the appointment that we had scheduled and his brother came out to talk to us. His brother started ranting and raving about the Bible and how churches (one in specific) should be using the King James version of the Bible. He wasn't talking about us by the way. Anyways, we stood there for about 15 minutes just listening to him and we were trying to find a way to politely excuse ourselves so we could leave. This is very hard to do when someone is speaking to you in Spanish. There aren't a lot of breaks like there are in English. People can talk for a long time and you wont find a pause to interrupt. Anyways after about 20 minutes I was ready to just walk away, because we had other things to do. It just seemed as though Rafeal wasn't there. But just as I was about to leave, Rafeal came out and invited us in.

We sat down and got to have a great discussion with him about the original church of Christ and the real power and authority of the priesthood. He loved every part of it. He told us that he had been praying to God to help him find the truth. He said that when he talked to us in the gas station he thought nothing of it, but when he saw us on his door step, he thought "someone is trying to tell me something." He said that a couple of years ago he asked for the chance to read the Book of Mormon again. Even though he had assisted our church 20 or 30 years ago, his fire and desire to learn more about the gospel have never been hotter. He is reading in the Book of Mormon and he says that he thinks that he has found what he has been looking for.

He told his brother that he wanted him to take the Book of Mormon that we had offered him. He said that if he didn't take it, he was rejecting an answer that God was sending him. I was shocked by what Rafael said but it showed that he really has respect for the Book of Mormon and it made us both really excited! I was glad that we were patient enough to listen to his brother or else we may have left without ever having that opportunity to teach him.

Anyways, things here are going great! Thanks for all of your love and support. I don't think you know how much a letter to a missionary means . . . especially one who has been out for a little while. Your love and support mean the world to me and I am so thankful for all that you do.

This week is going to be a long week. It sounds like we are going to be changing the day that we have for preparation day. They said that our new day is going to be Wednesday. So if you don't hear from me next Monday or Tuesday that will be the reason.

Hope you all have a great Fourth of July and that the fireworks and barbeques are all fun! Don't party too hard!

Love you all so much.

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