Opera House

Monday, June 6, 2011

4 June 2011 email

4 June 2011
Como Estan chicos. Como fue su semana? Espanol is muy dificil para mi. Pero yo tengo fe que yo puedo hablar y entender espanol en mi mision. Lo siento por no accentos in esta parafo. No puedo type en espanol tambien.
I liked it that mom told me to memorize a testimony. I was like, “Wow; Mom thinks I am horrible at Spanish.”  Just to let you know, I can bear testimony, I can say a prayer, I can ask simple questions, I can understand about 60% of what is going on now.  I’m just not improving as much as I would like in speaking and it’s because I don't speak too much. So I will be speaking with my companion only in Spanish from now on.  And also, I need to force myself to speak in Spanish at people’s homes.  But the hardest time to speak Spanish is with investigators.  
Speaking of investigators we have 3 more new ones last week.  We have been tearing it up in the Spanish ward.  We have gotten 3 new investigators only in one week.  We had only one new investigator in 3 months previous in the Spanish ward.  So we are now on fire.  We are teaching heaps of lessons now, so now I’m stressing with lessons; before I only had to worry about spiritual thoughts but now I need to worry about lessons.  So I am studying heaps on the lessons again like I did in the MTC. It’s challenging on what to study, 3 hours seems like a lot of time but it really isn't that much. But at least I’m improving in understanding the language. I  can hear and understand better.  Especially my companion. I can understand him real well.  He speaks well but he speaks with a simple vocabulary and with a gringo accent, so I can understand him very clearly.  So that helps a lot.
Elder Gardner and I are getting along well; we are having a fun time even though we are only two of us in the big as flat.  But we have a miracle investigator though.  This 45-50 year old El Salvadorian women came to church about 4 weeks ago.  She came with some members who were her friends.  In our ward we have sacrament meeting at the end so we saw her and met here at sacrament.  We tried to set a time up but she left before it ended.  Then the next week she came to gospel principles and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave her one.  We tried setting up a time with her that week for an appointment but she was busy and said to set one up with her the next week.  So then she came to church the next week but she was ill, we gave her a blessing and then she left early so we couldn't set an appointment up for her.  Then this last Sunday she came and Elder Gardner and I taught her the restoration in a classroom in the church.  We asked about the Book of Mormon and she said she has read the Intro like 4 times and has read the Book of Mormon up to Alma 5.  We were amazed.  I have yet to have an investigator read that much of the Book of Mormon, especially in only 2 weeks; most members don't get the far in their life!  And she thought that prophets made sense and she saw how there was a falling away of the priesthood and the church and why Joseph Smith needed to be called to restore the church.  It all made sense to her and she loved it.  She is GOLDEN AS!!!  Next lesson we are going to teach her about prayer and how to come to know that it is true and probably set a baptismal date with her.  So that’s awesome.  She also knows everyone in the church which is basically perfect.  She seems solid as and ready hopefully all goes well with her.  
So we are tearing it up as we like to say it. Also my weight has maintained this week. I have gained no pounds and I think lost a few.  But it’s hard to do this.  When I was told in my last letter to maintain my weight or lose it I was shocked.  Dad told me to not worry about it and stop complaining and just gained the "lord's pounds" so I was like well dad's right I shouldn't care if I gain weight; I could just lose it after Spanish ward or when I get back home.  But then last week dad was like, HOLY CRAP, LOSE LOSE LOSE.  No jk but mom and dad threw it down that I need to lose weight so now I am conscience of it.  I am trying to eat better at home.  I'm TRYING to say no at member’s homes.  I say trying because one time I said I was done after two plates I said, "Estoy Satisfecho hermana," and the family said to me what’s wrong with me and told me to eat more.  I have never been so full in my life at that house. Apparently they made enough food for 3 missionaries because they thought we would still have 3 of us but there were only 2 so they had heaps of food.  But I realized some homes don't mind if I don't finish their food others on the other hand will take offense.  And I when I stop eating there they tell me to eat more and more.  But I will also start doing some more exercises probably start jump roping and giving that a try.  But this was the first week that I didn't gain any weight in the Spanish ward.
Hey Jon have you ever had Completos in Chile? They are pretty good. And I have never had  potatoes with the Chileans over here so I don't know why you had so many but I have not yet met a Chilean de sur parte de Chile.  I always tell members about how my sister went to Italy, my brother went to Chile, (I tell this to the Chileans a lot to make conversation), that my dad went to the Philippines.  They always ask me if Jon still knows Spanish and if he taught me a little of it and I always say he forgot his Spanish and he never taught me jack.  But Jon did do my Spanish homework onetime and I still got a B.  Must show how much he learned in Chile, lol.  I heard that Italians and Spanish can kind of understand each other, not too well, but get the jest of it.
Well we went finding for 2 hours a day for 5 days of the week, so we were obedient this week.  We had some funny things go down during tracting.  I called a guy a “ma'am”.  Elder Gardner called a women “sir”.  I said the weirdest phrase; I said, "well the worth of every soul is great, mister."  When I said mister I started laughing and just walked away.  
I like to put in sly remarks to people who aren't interested.  When I give my door approach and they say they aren't interested, I then say, "Well would you know someone nearby who would love to be with their family forever and have eternal happiness?"   They usually always say no though, but I want them to see what they are missing before they reject us.  
Also we got bashed again yesterday.  This time around I kept my cool.  I have learned every response from Baptist, and Non-Donom's that no one can out bash me.  I know bashing isn't effective at all but when they clearly won't accept the gospel and they throw down on Mormons and are rude about, it’s in my nature to throw a few stones back.  Like one time a Baptist told me all I need to do is believe in Jesus and I will be saved.  So I told him then all the Mormons in the world are saved then according to his standards.  But then he told me we weren't and that we are trying too much for our salvation.  So I just threw a few scriptures at him and told him “why would a father punish his son if he is trying to hard?” and then just left.  I stopped bashing now, but before in Freshwater and Summerhill it got to my head.  I know it’s ineffective but it gets my blood pumping at times.  But we also encountered some weird people as well.  Also last transfer we were teaching a member in Spanish and I thought we were finished with the lesson, so I came in right after Elder Gardner spoke and told him to read, pray, and go to church and said it in the name of Jesus Christ amen.  But then Alvarado and Gardner started to talk some more and they told me afterwards that the lesson got sidetrack and they were talking about a problem he had in his life.  I felt stupid.  I can just imagine what the member was thinking.  So that was funny.  But that was a while ago.
Elder Gardner is now the District leader as well so that’s cool. I also got interviews with President Simmons on the 21st.  Oh yeah, my B-day ends on the last day of next transfers.  So that can be cool.  Oh did you know that I also teach English families that are Latino descent or their parents speak Spanish?  Well I do well with those families and I have built a lot of trust and friendship with those members.  I’m having fun, it’s hard with Spanish but I’m enjoying the work and having a fun time. Well I got to go.
I love you guys and take care. Be safe and in the words of mom and dad, “Remember who you are.”
te amo
Elder Monson

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Email - 30 May 2011

May 30, 2011
Dear Family,
Que honda Cabros? What’s up? The sky?  I thought so. Well it’s transfer week and I am still in the Spanish ward. So that’s good.
My companion is Elder Gardner.  He was with me during the threesome I worked in when I was transferred to the Spanish area. He is from Murray, Utah, like Elder Stoddard (actually he knows Elder Stoddard).  Anyway, he's a good missionary; he came out the same exact time I did so we both have been out for about 7 1/2 months.  So that’s a bit weird.  He is the senior comp, we weren't told who was or wasn't but I issued him the senior title because he can speak Spanish amazingly good.  My Spanish I have now is like the Spanish he had when he started in the MTC.  So he is really good now.  Also, he has been in the area one transfer longer than me so he knows the place better.  We are doing well together.  We have the same vision for the area, and that is to BAPTIZE.  We are in a rebuilding mode but I know we can do it - even if we are gringos.
Well, I just broke commandment #6 and I killed a missionary.  Elder Alvarado is DEAD!  He is gone, flying home right now back to Arizona.  I will tell you a little bit about him. Alvarado and I got along well.  We laughed about everyday and we had a fun time but we also had some complications here and there.  I would say we had a few heated discussions maybe 4 or 5, and like 2 or 3 serious arguments. Nothing like what happened with me and Elder Stoddard which was we had one every other day. But all in all, we got along great.  He told me that he was hard on my because he wanted me to be the future of this ward and to be the best I can be. He says that I’m perfect for the ward, that I and Gardner are a good duo for the ward. That Elder Gardner has things that I don't and I have things that he doesn't.  For example, I can't speak the language and he can, but I have an outgoing, exuberant personality which he doesn't.  I am willing to put myself out there and he's not.  Elder Alvarado thought I was funny as.  But yeah, he's gone and now we took over.  Also, there isn't 2 companionships in this area anymore. Elder DeCamp is gone as well and didn't come back. I think Elder Gardner and I are going to be companions for 1-2 transfers and then we will split up and bring 2 more Elders into the ward.  I heard some native-Spanish speaking Elders are coming in so I bet we'll be with them soon.
So for transfer meetings we all meet at the "Buckland" house.  Basically, they are some meeting room right near the temple and the mission offices.  At this transfer, all of my comps were there. So I got a picture of all of them.  I got them all rounded up and I got a picture of Elders Stoddard, DeCamp, Alvarado, Miller, and Gardner.  It was cool!  I have had 5 companions already.
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you guys something last week.  So I bet President Simmons already told Dad this story but I am just going to share it anyway.  Well at Zone Conference, President Simmons told everyone a story that Elder Rakatia, an Elder that Dad is writing to, received his first e-mail from Dad and Dad put President Monson as the title and Elder Rakatia asked his companion if he received a letter from the prophet as well.  Everyone laughed and enjoyed that story.  And the other Elder that Dad is writing to, Elder Vaivela, is actually in my birth place, he is in Freshwater.  And Elder Stoddard, who is now the DL in Manly, which is right below Freshwater, told me that Dad writes some pretty cool stuff.  So there are some stories about what Dad is writing going around the mission.
Also last week, we went bowling again for Alvarado's last time with his favorite LA/RC family, and I bowled the game of my life. I bowled a 178!  I got 5 strikes, including a turkey, and like 3 spares. It was awesome - I printed it out as well. I learned how to spin the ball so I am basically a pro now! ;)
One thing that Elder Gardner and I are going to do is bring the obedience back into the Spanish ward.  Elder Gardner and I are both in agreement that we need to cleanse this place.  So we are striving to be obedient as. And bring the spirit so that we can have success.  We also are deciding not to go bowling anymore because now they have recently added music videos to the screens near the score boards.  It doesn't create the best environment.  It’s not horrible but we really want the spirit here so we can do work.  I am going to miss the bowling but we got better things to do.  We actually decided we will only go bowling if we can bring members and/or investigators and/or RCLA's with us so we can build fellowship.  Also, it would be weird to play with just the 2 of us.
I have also gained 20 pounds in this last transfer but I bet that I won't gain as much weight as I did in the last 6 weeks because we won't be eating as much at member’s home anymore.   So hopefully I don't gain another 20 pounds this next transfer.  If I gain 10-15 pounds more, I will need a new suit and some new clothes because I am almost at my MTC weight and my suit fits perfectly now.  Also, I bought a hard drive so I can store my pictures and also put songs on it. I want you guys to send me some Church songs on USB drives so I can use them in my car.  Also, if you could send me some General Conference talks in Spanish, that would be awesome. So now I can send you my memory cards and just save things on the hard drive. Plus I will mail the CD's shortly.  Well I got to go.
Elder Monson