Monday, December 16, 2013

The snow is finally there!!

The "Lighthouse" Building where his congregation meets


Can you say "Snow Angel"?

 (Scottie was not able to send a detailed update last week so this picks up with Friday of that previous week)

Friday, Dec. 6th:
Today was an awesome day. David A. Bednar, from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, came to speak to us. It was such an incredibly powerful experience and we all learned more than I can even include. He spoke to us for about 3 hours and just talked and let us ask questions and he answered with apostolic authority and it was incredible. Hearing him talk in person, there was no doubt that he was an Apostle of The Lord, called of God, and that the testimony that he bore was true. It was an amazing experience.

Saturday Dec. 7th:
Today, Lilia got baptized! We've been working with her ever since I got here and apparently it's been a lot longer than that, but it was such a beautiful ceremony and incredible to be a part of it. She was just beaming when she was in the water. Her son, Christian (who was baptized about a year ago) got to baptize her, and that just made it so much more special for Lilia. It was great!

At Lilia's Baptism!

Also, on the way home, us and Elders Moleli and Ghramm and the Davalos family all had the biggest snow fight/war/party haha. It was awesome and we got some good pictures I'll try and send your way!

Ready for a snow fight!

Sunday Dec. 8th:
Happy Birthday Savannah! (Savannah turned 16 on Dec. 8th!) Today we went over to the hospital because Angie (the one who was baptized my first week here) was admitted around 3 this morning. She had some problem with the liver, they think, but she's also 7 months pregnant so that was kind of a scare. We went to the hospital and gave her a blessing and just talked and caught up with the whole family to see what we could do to help, we couldn't really do too much but we talked and tried to make them laugh and we were really glad that we were able to be there.

Wednesday Dec. 11th:
Today, I went on exchanges with Elder Moleli (from the other companionship in his apartment) into his area (English area). We went and did some visits, ate dinner with the Rasmussen family, then we got to do something really cool: we took one of his investigators down to Temple Square  to see the Christmas lights. Wow, it's hard to use words to describe how amazing Temple Square looks at night with all the Christmas lights and the Salt Lake Temple in the background all lit up and just shining bright. The spirit felt there is so powerful, and it's undeniable that that place is a place of refuge from a world that is sometimes crazy. We're going to have to take a family trip out to Temple Square in the winter one year, it's very beautiful.

Scottie and Elder Moleli

Thursday Dec. 13th:
Today was a pretty solid and just busy day, but we did get to do something at the end of the night that was pretty special. We went to visit the Jardón family and we got to give their daughter a priesthood blessing. She is 11, and she'd been feeling really bad lately. Her throat started hurting and then her back started hurting and she couldn't sleep well and she started to get depressed because she'd been sick so long. Her name is Ixlandi Naneli, which is a Mayan name and it's really cool. We (Elder Biggs, her father, and I) gave her the blessing and it was incredible. Almost immediately after the blessing, she started talking to us and smiling and laughing and then when we saw her on Saturday she was all smiles and feeling like 100% better. I have a strong testimony that the priesthood power is real and that, through the Lord's help and our faith, miracles have not ceased on this earth.

Friday Dec. 14th:
Today, the funniest thing was that Elders Ghramm, Moleli, Jung, Hearn, Biggs, and I, along with Sis. Vang and Sis. Martinez (sister missionaries in the same district as Scottie), all went to the 8th ward Christmas party and we sang the First Noel. I don't think I ever would have gotten up and sang in front of a big crowd like that before the mission, but with that group of people, it was just a lot of fun and I think we did decent, Elder Hearn (a great singer) definitely carried us haha. But it was a ton of fun, and when I got home I got your packages! The 12 days of Christmas idea is the sweetest thing ever, like, seriously, I can't tell you how much it means to me and how lucky I am to have a family that cares so much about me. The tree is awesome and I'll send you a picture of it decorated and with the lights, and I'm just extremely grateful for you all. I can't wait to get to Skype y'all on Christmas! (Christmas Day will be the first time we will get to speak to Scottie since June, he can call on Christmas day and Mother’s Day

Christmas decorations from home

Saturday Dec. 15th:
Super busy and mission-changing day today. We got up, I was on exchanges with Elder Ghramm and we played some morning basketball with the 1st Ward and some investigators, so that's a great way to start the day for me. Then we went and helped set up about 5000 candles for a candlelight vigil at the Memorial Cemetery that's next to Winder Farms. I'm not sure what it's for, maybe just to celebrate loved ones at the time of Christmas. Then, we came back and made sure our apartment was clean for inspections, and then Biggs and I spent all afternoon inviting people to our branch Christmas party. We went to the party and it was a huge success, delicious food and lots of people (including some non-members and less-active people, so we mingled with everyone!). Then, at 6:15, we got the call from Pres. Swain. Transfers! So Elder Biggs is leaving this area to go be a zone leader in the Granger North stake with Elder Campos (we kinda guessed he was leaving, he's been in this area for 9 months and president almost never leaves people for longer than that). I will be staying in the area and I've been called as a District Leader and a Trainer (district leader means he will be in charge of the missionaries in his district and Trainer means that he will now be training a new missionary just out of the Missionary Training Center). Wow, so my mission is about to be a lot different than it has been so far haha (he has currently been serving 6 months). I'm pretty nervous but I'm also really excited to see who my new companion will be and who will be in the district (Sis. Vang and Sis. Martinez are also training, so we'll have 3 new missionaries in our area!). Lots of exciting changes coming up!
Monday, Dec. 16th:
I'm learning so much out here.  I really have felt my testimony grow out here. I'm 8 pages away from finishing the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the first time (feel good about that!), and I'm just learning so much. I've met incredible people, things are great. Just don't worry about me, I'm happy and get to train (a new missionary) which means I get a good lunch for free tomorrow (score!) haha, I'm just doing really well :):)
I really appreciate all your love and support, I'm super excited to Skype next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I gotta go pretty soon, but I love you all so much and I can't wait to Skype next week, stay warm and be safe in Chi-town! (His sister, Sophia, and I are going to Chicago where her Honors Orchestra will perform)


elder Higgins :))

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scottie and his fellow Elders at Thanksgiving dinner

Thursday - Thanksgiving!! 

The missionaries with the Thompson Family

Today was an awesome Thanksgiving. We all (all four missionaries in his apartment) got up and went over to play sports with the Volta Ward (Samoan ward in the area). We played basketball from 7:30am to 11:30, which was awesome. We went back to the apartment and showered and changed and got presentable. We then had an awesome Thanksgiving meal with the Thompson family, the wml (Ward Mission Leader) for Ghramm and Moleli (Elders Ghramm and Moleli serve in an English speaking congregation as opposed to a Spanish congregation like Scottie)  and they made amazing food: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, sweet potato casserole, green beans, stuffing, and more.  We were joined by his whole family (including a 101 year old grandma) and after we ate we just posted up in the living room and let our food settle while his daughter played some songs on the guitar. They're a really nice family; it made it easier being away from home. We had another dinner at 5:00 with the Reyes family, and they were super nice as well. Then, we ran back over to the Volta building and played basketball and volleyball for another few hours, and it was a pretty solid day. No worries about us not having enough food, Elder Moleli's family came over and dropped off TONS of food: chicken, turkey, potatoes, ramen, the works. I have a lot to be thankful for, I definitely missed everyone back home and I hope y'all had an amazing day!

The Samoan Ward at play

I am so thankful for you and the family, way more than I can express in words. 


We had a pretty good day today, up and working and studying and then at 9:00 we taught Juana. We had district meeting and the assistants joined us, so that was a surprise! Sis. Vang and Sis. Martinez made us some awesome Oreo truffles, I ate a bunch, and then we went and grabbed lunch. We taught Geovani, and then we went to finish weekly planning. We finally got to update the iPads to iOS7 so that was kinda cool (his mission is one of the test areas for new technology) then we had a delicious dinner of steak and potatoes and pecan pie with the Christensen family. We had a wonderful visit with all 5 of the Espinoza’s and now we're in the apartment. Elder Mau (AP) (assistant to the mission president) is staying with us tonight, so that'll be fun!


Today was an interesting day! We got up, did some workouts (all 5 of us, lots of fun), and then we did some studying. We had choir practice and I got to see Elder Burgin (his former companion) again, so good to hang out with him. After practice we got to go eat lunch with Burgin and his new companion, Elder Quiles, and then we had some afternoon visits and such. Our dinner was hilarious because we showed up, she'd forgotten, she brought her less active son out so we ended up just teaching him and then leaving and heading to the apartment to grab a quick bite to eat, but then Hermano Thompson from our branch called us over and just randomly fed us....divine intervention right there haha. We left and had a great lesson with the Rocha family. We were all sharing scriptures we liked and I had a prompting to share

3 Nephi 15:9 -

  • Behold, I am the law , and the light . Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. 
 When I did she broke down crying saying she'd heard that exact scripture in a dream but she never knew where to find it. She said she wanted to start coming to church again so her family could feel those blessings, it was super powerful! We're really hoping to see her tomorrow!


Today was great! The Rocha's came to church, which was great! We had a powerful fast and testimony
meeting (monthly meeting where congregation members fast and have the opportunity to stand and bare their testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Gospel), and we really felt the Spirit strongly. Today was a mission wide fast for the hastening of the work, thousands of people participated! Want to hear a riddle I heard today? "The rich need it, the poor have it, if you eat it you will die." Answer? "Nothing." We had some afternoon visits, and then went on splits for the night so that Biggs (Scottie’s companion) could stay and teach and I could go to the Spanish Devotional. Sabath went with me. The songs and testimonies were really good, and Elder Arnold and his wife (from the Quorums of the Seventies) (Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church) came and gave testimonies too, in Spanish! It was powerful, and I'm really thankful I was there!

 Want to hear something cool? I think David A. Bednar (a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is coming to speak to us on Friday, it’s a special mission meeting, we'll find out more later on this week!

Thank you so much for that box, that was amazingly sweet and the treats were delicious and I shared with all the elders and they wanted me to send my thanks! (I sent a “Thanksgiving” box of treats to share with his fellow missionaries)  

Box of Thanksgiving treats from home

(His response to my asking him if he had any new/interesting dishes for Thanksgiving): No ma'am, but there was jello....I've had more jello since I got out here than I ever have in my entire life haha, that's for sure. The turkey was very good though, very tender, apparently Bro. Thompson is like the master chef of his family. They didn't have mac and cheese though!

P.S. The picture of you and daddy together almost put me in tears. (I sent lots of photos from our Thanksgiving gathering) I'm so thankful to have parents who love each other so much and who are such good examples to me. I want that one day, I want to get married in the temple and I want to have a family that's active in the church. I've met way too many people out here that have become less active and their lives have fallen apart. I'm really growing in my testimony, thank you for helping me get to this point. 

Scottie's parents on Thanksgiving Day!

Love always,


(From his email to his Aunt Tammy):

Hey Tía Tammy!!!!

It's so good to hear from you! I didn't get to get on (the computer) on Thanksgiving, but your note made me smile!

I bet the food was amazing! We ate until we were stuffed....and then ate again haha, it was delicious but not quite southern Thanksgiving ;)

I love you so much, thanks for everything you do! I'm so thankful to have you as an Aunt!

Word of the week: tormenta - storm. Sometimes, life comes at us like a storm, but if we keep our faith and keep pushing forward, we'll make it through!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The first snow of the year in his area!

(This week’s update actually includes email from Scottie for the last 2 weeks. We both had a lot going on and we were waiting to get his new address because he was transferred to a new area, he moved a whole 6.8 miles!)

Monday: (Oct. 28th)
So today was a pretty solid P-Day
(preparation day).  It was so good to communicate with everyone back home, always brightens my week :) We needed to grab some lunch and as we were walking towards Subway Bro. Ortiz picked us up and bought us lunch, he's such a cool guy. For dinner I tried the instructions I've been gathering for a few weeks and made the orange-colored Mexican rice, just like they do at Monterrey's! This isn't my first attempt, I've tried a few different ways, but I finally figured it out and it was so good! I'm excited haha, improving my culinary skills. I also got a box from Grandma! I'll have to send her a thank-you note asap! I'm super grateful for all the support I have from home, it's amazingly helpful and keeps me pushing on strong :) Love you all!

So today was a crazy weird day. Burgin was still sick. Then, in the middle of morning study, I get a call from the ZL's
(zone leaders). They said I should bring Burgin to stay at their place with Elder Hill, also sick, and I'd go out with them. We visited some families in their area, then had dinner with a family from our area: the Juarez family. Bro. Juarez is from Venezuela, but Sis. Juarez is from Italy and cooked amazing spaghetti and chicken. Super authentic and delicious. Then we visited more families in the ZL's area, and finished the night up with a lesson with the Sandoval family in our area. Then we re-swapped companions and came back home. It was a whirlwind day with lots of swapping and meeting new people for me, but it was good. Time for sleep!

Hno. Carlos Ortiz and Scottie,his first real friend in the area

Awesome start to the day! The whole district (minus Burgin who is still sick) combined on a service project where we were cutting logs and splitting wood for a few hours. Then I was with the ZL's as we showered, changed, dropped by Mickey D's for a quick lunch cause they had to take Elder Hill to the hospital to get checked out. I met back up with Burgin and we let him rest for the afternoon. Sis. Paredes dropped off an awesome dinner of enchiladas and rice and beans. Elder Burgin started to feel a little better so we went out and taught the Sandovals and then William with the help of Hermano Ortiz (see photo above). Now, I'm super sore from chopping wood and pretty tired, so I'm about to hit the bed. Tomorrow we'll have another weird schedule because it's Halloween, so we'll see what happens :)

Happy Halloween! We had a pretty cool day today. So I got up and worked out and did a bunch of personal study, Burgin is still recovering from the plague (just kidding) so he slept in a bit. Once he was up we grabbed lunch, and then went to a senior couple's house to pick up some costumes for our missionary party tonight. We came back to the apartment and I got your awesome Halloween box! Thank you so much, and all the other elders send their thanks as well, you definitely made our day. Super cool of you! So then we went to weekly planning and then dinner with the Lopez family, and headed back to the stake center where we had our zone Halloween party. We're not allowed to go out during Halloween because some people in Utah like to dress like missionaries and do bad things and pranks and that way Pres. Swain
(his mission president) can say he knows it wasn't us, so we all had a costume party. Elder Burgin and I went as M&M's (pictures will be sent) and there were some other funny ones: pirate, a Superman, Harry Potter, a really good robot haha. We did a little "costume show" and then watched the movie Ephraim's Rescue (about the Martin handcart company and the guy who came and performed miracles to save them). It was a super powerful movie, and if y'all ever get the chance to watch it, I'd highly recommend it. Then we came home, nightly planning, and now I'm about to get some sleep! Thanks again for the package, that was really cool of y'all :) Love ya! 

Halloween Costumes!

District Costume Show

So today I started off with a 3.5 mile run, which was pretty great and had me feeling all good in the morning. We had personal study, comp study
(companion study), and then went to district meeting. We then spent the afternoon (about 4 straight hours) walking the streets and visiting referrals, talking to people we saw, visiting Bro. Carrasco, walking over to visit Ernesto Carrasco and Melissa in their new house, and then ending up at the Barboza family over in the Magna Hills branch (Burgin's old area) for Elder Edward's birthday/going home party. He's going home on Tuesday so it was cool to see him one more time. And Hermano Barboza cooked awesome carne asada and it was delicious. Hermano Lizarraga picked us up and we went to teach William about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose here on life, so that was a really good lesson (Bro. Ortiz was there too and he always has super helpful commentary). Now we're back in the apartment and I'm super tired, definitely ready for bed. But tomorrow should be a good day, so we're looking forward to that.

Today was a day full of service. Burgin and I got up and ran to the cemetery hill, watched the sunrise, and then we ran down to the restaurant called Sea Bears. It's owned by a really nice couple who are members, and they always help us out with food, so we went to do some service for them. We started off using their industrial sized sink to clean dishes. Then we helped them paint the restaurant, then mop and clean and reorganize their kitchen. They gave us some lunch (super cool of them), and then Elder Burgin and I ran back to our apartments (tons of running and service). Then we were supposed to have a finding activity with Van Horn and Jacques, but that never happened, so we taught Jason and Angelica and then returned to the apartments. Now, it's time to sleep. Hasta luego! P.S. thank you so much for the Halloween treats: the cookies and chocolate covered Oreos were beyond delicious.

Snow on the mountains

So today was a wild day! Woke up and looked at the window to a surprise. Yesterday: in the 50s, fine weather. This morning: snow all over the place. I'll send pictures, Magna is a lot prettier when it's covered in snow haha. We'll see if I'm ready for the real snow in a few weeks. Then, on the way to church we received a phone call from Pres. Swain. I'm getting transferred! I'll be heading to the Jordan North Stake on Tuesday morning and I'll be serving with Elder Biggs, I've heard good things so we'll see how that goes! I'm kind of bummed to be leaving this area because over the last 5 months I've made some really close friends, but así es la vida
(that’s life!). It'll be good to see more parts of the mission. We went to church, came back, and then spent the afternoon visiting a few people from the branch, including the Salinas family. They're really special to me and I'm gonna miss them tons, but I'll be back to see them one day soon! They gave me this awesome scarf too, so sweet of them! Then we had dinner with the Letona/Zaldaña clan. They made incredible carne asada y arroz y horchata y ice-cream cake (the cake was from Baskin Robbins). Their families have been like family to me since I've been here, so it was a real pleasure to get to spend a bit more time with them. Then, we went to the Ramiro-Gomez family's house and they made us hot-chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. Needless to say, I'm super full, but I'm going to try and get some packing done tonight and then head to bed. Lots of food = super sleepy. Can't wait to email tomorrow!

Monday: (Nov. 4th)
Everything will be fine here, no worries. To put your mind at ease, nobody knows what they're doing more than Pres. Swain. That man is beyond a spiritual giant, and I just get this feeling he'll be a general authority one day. There's nobody you would rather have in charge of me out here. 

I'll probably have to go soon, so thanks so much for emailing and keeping me updated. I'll get you my new address asap.

Until next week, love you!


Oh yeah, I will still be in a Spanish branch, that's good for sure. I'm not too bummed, I bore my testimony yesterday (at church) and cried and told them all I felt like I was leaving family, but it's the way of mission life.

(From his email to his Aunt Tammy last week):
I sent my mom a bunch of pictures, we got snow this last week! That was pretty crazy! It was light, but i know more will be coming soon! 

Two words of the week! 
1) Sabiduría - wisdom. When we learn things, we are much more capable of helping ourselves and using that knowledge to prepare ourselves for the trials of our lives. 
2) Amparar - to protect. The Lord will always protect us when we act with faith and if we need it, we can ask through prayer and he will grant it to us. That's something that's been a huge blessing on my mission, and I'm thankful for the help and protection I've received from divine powers above. 

I love you so much Tía Tammy, and I'm doing really well! I'm getting transferred for the first time tomorrow, so that'll be a totally new experience but I'm looking forward to it! I hope you have an amazing week and stay warm! (My sister lives in Iowa so she is familiar with snow and cold weather!)

Monday (Nov. 11th) (He didn’t have the opportunity to type a long email detailing his daily activity so this week he was mostly responding to questions I sent him about his transfer)
So I'll try and answer as many questions as I can:

So my companion, Elder Biggs, it the coolest guy in the world. Hands down. Our apartment is not as nice as the last one I was in. I was spoiled. We live there with our new zone leaders, Elders Moleli (from SoCal but his family is from Samoa) and Elder Ghramm (from Anchorage, Alaska, and super funny!). We were scarce on food when I first arrived but now we've got it well equipped, no dishwasher though, but that's alright. The shower does have a showerhead...but it's lower than my mouth haha (he told me of a missionary apartment that he had visited earlier that had no shower head – just a stream of water coming from the wall!) That's kind of interesting. And the apartment gets cold...the other night the temperature INSIDE of our apartment was 45, I slept in sweatpants, a hoodie, and with 5 blankets so it was legit! No worries though :) I'm happy and healthy and loving life! it's been better the last couple of nights, since it's warmer outside. We’ll turn the heater on when the snow comes back.

My companion is a champion, no worries about us getting along! I've met lots of people, we're eating just as good if not better than in my last area (not good for my health and weight probably!). 

Packing was lame. I had spread out more than I thought over the last 5 months and I definitely couldn't fit everything in just my 2 suitcases, but a few extra boxes and it was all good :) Members with trucks helped us move :)

(I asked him if he knew what he would be doing for Thanksgiving) The branch is having a dinner/talent night, so probably that! The week of Thanksgiving we get a 2 hour p-day on Monday (regularly scheduled preparation day) and then all day p-day on Thanksgiving. 

At Angela's baptism with Elder Biggs

So this last week we taught 26 lessons, baptized someone, added 5 investigators with a baptismal date, and found 3 new investigators. Not to brag because it's all the Lord's work and because of him, but we definitely worked hard! Elder Biggs is awesome. Super busy week, but loving it!

Brother Wagner from the MTC (missionary Training Center) came to "shadow" Elder Biggs and I one day this past week. 

Elder Biggs, Brother Wagner (from the MTC) and Scottie

Church was great yesterday, they have a translator so I was off the hook for that. Elder Biggs has amazing Spanish language skills so it great that we can both communicate with our investigators.

I'm loving life right now.  My new area is great, we live in a hilarious and fun apartment but everyone is still obedient and working hard, and I got a haircut. And we're about to go play basketball!

P.S. I didn't have time to type up a long update this last week, I'll have one this next week though! Sorry!

I love you so much, I love our whole family tons!!!!! I'll keep things going and try and keep better records this next week :)  Have a great week, you're always in my prayers.


(From his email to his Aunt Tammy this week):
My new area is awesome! My companion, Elder Biggs, is from Virginia and he's just a really nice, hard-working guy. Total stud at missionary work, and we get along so well! 

I love you Aunt Tammy! It's a blessing to be out here serving, even though it's hard sometimes. I know the Gospel is true and I've seen it change the lives of people out here. Living the Gospel can bring us more blessings than we can count, and it's a powerful defense in a turmoil-filled world!

Until next week, love always,