Wednesday, September 25, 2013

 I thought this was pretty sweet!

This sweet, awesome picture is on our branch mission leader's wall, it's massive -   like 4 feet tall, and depicts the first Mexican people ever.

Hola Madre:

So I was really glad I got to communicate with y'all today a little bit, it was really good getting emails from the whole family and getting to hear about Padre's Guadalajara trip too (Scott had a business trip to Mexico). After we left emailing we went to Temple Square. We toured the Beehive and Lion Houses (church history sites) and then went to the top floor of the Church Administration Building (Headquarters) to that outdoor portion where you could see the whole valley. That was pretty cool, and then we headed back to Magna. We rode over to Hermana Lopez's house and we didn't know why but she told us to just come over for food. And then it hit us. Today was Mexican Independence Day, September 16th! So we definitely kind of just ate food and watched the branch members dance and we sang a little karaoke with them haha, and then Hermano Lopez was doing el grito (the yell) of Mexican independence and it was just too funny; I couldn't stop laughing haha! We had a great time and then Hermano Carrasco took us back to our apartments. I'm really glad that I didn't get transferred out today!


Arial view of Temple Square

Salt Lake City Temple

Church Administration Building

Today was a good and busy day. We did exchanges today, so we met with the zone leaders (Elders Terry and Moore) first thing in the morning and Elder Tad Terry (from Texas, really, really cool guy) came with me into my area. We spent the morning studying and doing online (contacts), and then a part of the afternoon working on his bike that was busted (to no avail haha, still busted...probably cause he got hit by that car a few weeks ago). We made some afternoon visits afterwards. And then we ate dinner at this random Chinese place called the Da Ming express off of Magna was pretty sketchy, probably not the best call. Brother Carrasco picked us up and we had 3 really solid lessons with Nelsi, Ruth Palacios, and Judith and her husband Javier. It was really good to be able to meet with them, and Elder Terry has been out for a while and is a really powerful missionary. He showed me how I can improve myself and really just bear my testimony to help people come closer unto the Gospel themselves. I met back up with Elder Burgin, (his companion), and then we went back to the apartments. I'm exhausted now though, time for sleep!

Today was a really solid day! I got up and got some good exercise in.  I think the change in weather (a little cooler outside) is starting to get to us because I started feeling a little sore in the throat later. Elder Hill had to come over and hang out at our place for a little while because his companion was meeting with the (Mission) President (going to the temple because he goes home next week!) and so Elders Hill, Burgin, Coffey, Van Horn and I all went to El Habenero again for lunch hahaha. Elder Hill had never been and that just wouldn't do. The funny thing is as we went to leave we had our meal paid for! Someone, we never found out who, just paid for all of us. That was really nice of them! We went to the computers and Elder Burgin worked on some exchange reports and then we met up with Hermano Carrasco. He took us over to Rancho where we bought dinner (chilaquiles again! so good) with the money someone from the branch gave us for dinner tonight, and then we headed over to the church building to help him set up for the branch Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening). We learned about the Book of Mormon and its importance in our lives and then afterwards the whole branch started playing volleyball! They had some really good players and since we had some non-members there we stayed and played for a was really, really fun and enjoyable. Afterwards Hermano Carrasco dropped us off at our apartments and I'm gonna try and drink a lot of water and go to sleep, my throat is a wee bit sore and I'm hoping some good rest will help out!

Today was a good day, but all of us are feeling a bit under the weather.  The temperature is changing a lot and I think it's just destroying our sinuses haha. It was actually pretty brisk outside today! We had a good lesson before lunch. Then we went over to weekly planning and then had dinner with the Paredes family: his wife is not Hispanic so we had lasagna and garlic bread haha. We then went out and made visits with Hermano Paredes (our Elders Quorum Pres.) and got to visit with Ruth Palacios and the Sandoval family, then we had a correlation meeting with Bro Pilcher. We went back to the apartment and now I'm working on cleaning/journal writing/preparing a salsa for a chicken + quinoa + salsa dish I plan on making soon. I'm really making an effort to eat healthy when I can haha, and get plenty of exercise :) I also heard about the awful floods in México this last week. I was pretty bummed to hear how bad it's been, and extremely grateful that Padre got out of Guadalajara when he did because now it's completely flooded! One of the coolest members of our branch, Hermano Lopez (the one that hooks us up with protein) learned yesterday that his brother was carried away and killed by the floods :( My thoughts and prayers are definitely going out to his family right now, please keep them in yours! He went down to look for him and be with family, so sad. Please keep Cuetemohc Lopez and his family in your prayers..  I know our Heavenly Father has a plan for everything, and death is never the end, but it still stings here on Earth. That's for sure. Thank The Lord for the knowledge that we will get to see our close friends and family that we've lost again.

Today was pretty awesome! We had a great District Meeting about how we can let the Holy Ghost help us in our lives and what it does for us. As our constant companion, it can comfort us in times of need, prompt us to do what is right, and help us achieve a greater understanding of the Gospel. It's pretty powerful. For lunch I made a chicken breast with the George Foreman grill elder Richardson (his former companion) gave me haha, and I combined it with some quinoa I cooked and this salsa I made (I tried to remember that salsa we made that one time, I basically just combined tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onion, lime, and a wee bit of salt in a blender). So the chicken-quinoa-salsa turned out super well! I really like it, I'll definitely be making that again for lunches. I'm pretty sure it's healthy too. We then made some visits, ate dinner with the Lizarraga family (fish and beans, pretty good haha) and then we visited with the Sandoval family and the Salinas family. Everything is going really well though!

Busy day today! We got up and headed over towards Sister Zapeda's first thing to help her with some service. We were taking her old gutters down and putting new ones up, again another situation when serving in a branch with essentially a professional construction crew is super helpful. The guys in the ward taught me how to screw the gutters in and add the corner pieces and use the silicon, it was really cool and useful. I went on exchanges with Coffey and Van Horn while Burgin went to choir practice. When he got back we went and did some paperwork stuff and then went to dinner at one of my favorite houses: The Letona's and Zaldañas. The older Zaldaña's are the Spanish patriarch and his family, the younger Zaldaña's are Johnny and his wife Mai, and then the Letona's are Gildardo and his wife Patricia. Johnny and G and his wife are all pretty young, Johnny and G are returned missionaries and they're all so funny! We had delicious El Salvadorian food and then we just talked and joked around for a while. Then Hermano Ortiz picked us up and we visited with the Sandoval family and Jason and Angelica. Now I'm tired, and I'm about to hit the bed.

Today was an awesome day! I got up and made myself some oatmeal, went to the correlation meetings, and then headed to church. We were learning about the Plan of Salvation today, we had some pretty good talks! Right after church we were about to leave and Gildardo Letona ran up to me (secretary from the branch) and was like "Elder, I need a big favor from you!" I was like yeah sure G, what's up? And he said a few members of the branch will be going to the temple for the first time this weekend, they need interviews with Pres. Kessler (stake President, doesn't speak any Spanish). I got to sit in and translate the interview and temple explanation for 4 different people. It was a powerfully spiritual experience, and I feel like I was able to really get a lot closer to those members. I'm really thankful the Spirit is helping me speak and understand Spanish so well! I love it! We had a crazy dinner with this Puerto Rican family, their kids were wild haha! And very loud, Madre, you would not have liked it. We went to a fireside (an inspirational meeting held on a gospel topic, not a regularly scheduled meeting) at our church building about education and a lot of people from the branch and area were there to learn about that. I picked up the pozole recipe from Hermana. Lopez and I'm gonna try and get that to you mañana :)
(I asked him to get me one of his favorite recipes for an activity we are having next month for Relief Society – our women’s organization).

I think I'm staying here for the next 6 weeks, our Mission President has been known to make Tuesday morning last minute changes though! (This is Transfer week in his mission, they get new Missionaries and move them around on transfer day).

So later today I'm doing something Padre might enjoy: we talked to some contacts and got a VIP tour of the airport here in Salt Lake! We had to get security clearance but they trust missionaries so we're going later, I'll have to update you on how that goes next week. Please tell everyone I love them. I'm trying to follow all the rules and all that good stuff! I love you though, and I'm working hard and can't believe I already hit my 3 month mark! Time is flying and we're getting lots of experience and learning so much. I put gutters up on a house this last week, fun fact that was pretty awesome! I love you all! So very much. 

 I hope y'all know that even as I'm getting immersed in the work and working hard it doesn't mean I'll ever stop missing y'all, just working hard so that time goes by a little more quickly haha. 

I heard a really cool quote that you can throw on the blog:

Don't count the days, make the days count. 

It was a workout quote, but it's perfect for the mission. It's what I'm trying to do, and I love you all, and can't wait till next P-Day!

(Advise for his sister, Savannah):  Here's a quote that I love about reaching our goals in life:
 I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done.
That was kind of my motto in life, and I don't think I really regret it. 

(From his email to his Aunt Tammy)
I've been staying super busy lately! We've met a few new people and we've spent a lot of time visiting with some people, teaching lots of lessons, and doing tons of service. My favorite thing about this last week was translating though. Not only did I get to translate in church, I got to translate for 4 of our members as they did their temple recommend interview with the Stake President (who only speaks English). It was a powerfully spiritual experience and I feel so much closer to the members of the branch out here this week!

Word of the week: escudo. It means shield. The Gospel, Jesus Christ, and living the Gospel can be a shield for us in these crazy days. The scriptures often represent the temptations and trials of the world as fiery darts, but the gospel can be a shield to keep us protected and safe, as well as our families.

Love Always,


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What happens when it rains in the desert! 


Today was a really chill P-Day (preparation day).  Thanks for sending the pictures and keeping me updated, I really appreciate that! We went out to eat at Zupas Cafe with Hermanno Carrasco and he brought his 3 year old nieto (grandson) Danny, who is hilarious! I was laughing so much, the kid never gets tired of talking! We went to the outdoor basketball court at our complex and shot some free throws. I shot for like an hour and a half, it was really nice to just play some basketball and relax that way. I really do miss playing basketball. We then went and visited with the Sandoval family for a little while and then we were riding down the street and spotted a guy up on his roof cutting down some tall trees. We offered to help him move the branches and he thought we were kidding cause we were in our dress clothes but we were like "no we're so serious!" We ended up helping him for about half an hour and then his wife came out and we talked to their family for a while, they've only lived here in Magna for like 2 weeks. Then they invited us in for dinner, and we were both starving so we gladly accepted. Apparently Nikolas and Virginia love to cook and are quite good at it, and we had this awesome chicken with beans and pico de gallo and tortillas and then for dessert these pastries with rice pudding (it basically tasted like hot orchate: milk, sugar, and cinnamon). 

So today was a pretty good day. We did exchanges 
(where they make visitis with different companions)  for the day, but it was just with the other elders we live with so I didn't have to go anywhere else overnight or anything. I was with Elder Coffey (from New Zealand) and we stayed in our Spanish area. The day started off a little funny when someone knocked on our door at 7:15 am  and we were all like what?! Turns out, it was (Elder) Van Horn's friend Andrew just stopping by to drop a package off for Van Horn, but he brought all 4 of us breakfast from McDonald's  which was really nice of him. We did the normal morning studies and all that good stuff, tried to contact some referrals in the afternoon, and then ate dinner with this really eccentric guy from an English (English speaking) ward. We then got to have really good lessons with Jesus, Javier Sandoval (Judith's Husband), and Dixon Bautista and his dad. We set goals to have Jesus read the Book of Mormon before January, he's excited! Then Javier met with us, he seems like a really good guy and we're going to start teaching them as a family. Dixon was excited to see us again, and his dad, Eliud, was there too. I learned they're from Honduras and they said this past Sunday they took a trip down to temple square just to hang out as a family, they said it's just really peaceful. The Spirit is so strong on Temple grounds that it's amazing, I'm glad they could feel that and recognize that as a family. It was a good day!

Today was a pretty solid day! We woke up and I did some studying and then lunch and then cleaning. We're all trying to do a good job of keeping the apartment really clean so it doesn't look like we live in a sty haha. We ate lunch and made some more cookies (this was more of a cookie bar thing) and then did some online proselyting and then we made our way over to dinner. It was this super hilarious old guy named Bro. Simpson and he was super late making dinner but he told some hilarious stories! Then we met up with
 (Elders) Coffey and Vanhorn and Terry and Moore (our Zone Leaders) and we did a power hour for the rest of the night. We each did splits and got paired up with a member (from their local congregation) and then we went out and just visited a ton of people (we were in an English (speaking) area, so we were basically just being helpers for the other elders). It was a cool experience, I got to set up later teaching appointments for a lot of the members, and then we got to give a blessing to a baby who had pneumonia at the end of the night. That was a powerful experience and the baby was crying the whole time and as soon as we said amen the baby stopped and just fell asleep, it was pretty awesome. Now I'm just ready to get in bed and get some sleep. Oh, I almost forgot, I got your postcards today! (We sent him postcards from our weekend trip to Amelia Island, we try to send one from any place we visit) Those are awesome, thanks so much! Y'all are the best, I definitely want to go back there with y'all!

Today was a busy day! I really got geared back up for working out with a good workout this morning, and we had good studies. Around lunch time we went and taught Anna Gomez for the first time, it was a good lesson and we taught her about how the Book of Mormon just supports the Bible, not contradicts it. We ate lunch (I made oatmeal from raw oats and protein powder haha) and then we had weekly planning. After dinner we went out with Hermano Paredes and visited Ernesto y Melissa. They're about to move out of our area and I'm bummed that we can't visit with them anymore, but they're an amazing family and I've really seen the message of the Gospel bring some powerful changes in their lives.  We also had another visit with Dixon and we talked about how the Savior loves us and wants us to be happy, even after we've made mistakes. I'm about to do a nightly workout and then it's time for bed!

Weird weather day today. The morning started off dry, we did workouts and study and all that good stuff, and then we left the apartment at 10:25 to walk over to the chapel and have district meeting. Still dry, not really cloudy. We leave district meeting at noon and it is POURING! Like, torrential downpour outside, we were lucky to get a ride with the senior couple in our district, but it was bad! Our apartment parking lot had standing water, and when we rounded the corner to go to our unit there was a standing water puddle about ankle deep leading to our place. We're up on the 3rd floor, which is good, because the ground floor unit got flooded! And then we go up, do some lunch/cleaning and then I look out the window at 4:30 and it's sunny and almost dry outside. So weird!!!! But then we got to go to a quinceanera 
(15th birthday celebration in Latin American cultures) for someone in Elder Burgin's last area, free Mexican food!!!! I love it :) We then met up with Bro. Gerardo Lizarrage and visited with Judith Sandoval and Javier Peña (her husband) and answered a lot of their questions about baptism and the Restoration of the church and all that good stuff. Javier had a lot of questions but the way he was asking them was not in an antagonistic way, and it seemed like he had a true desire to learn. And Judith, who we had taught before, even stepped in and answered some questions for him and it was awesome to see that Judith has a testimony of the veracity of the Gospel. It was really cool :) Now I'm ready to hit the hay, it's been a long day haha.

Photo from Scottie's balcony after the rain!

Long and tiring day today! We woke up, worked out, played soccer with some beasts, and then went and helped Ernesto and Melissa move and then paint their new house. They bought us chilequiles (fried eggs over tortilla chips, salsa verde, lechuga, sour cream, and queso) from Rancho Market and then this fruit from a road-side vendor. The fruit was fresh-cut and covered in lemon juice and chile powder. Ernesto told us it might give us E. coli, but it would be delicious! I thought he was kidding, but he seemed mildly serious haha. It was good though! Then we came back and showered and changed and went to the baptism for a girl in Burgin's old area. We sang I Am A Child of God and When I am Baptized (songs from our church's children's hymn book) (in Spanish of course) as a little missionary quartet, it was really cool and powerfully spiritual. Then we went to the post-baptism party and ate really good pasole, and then Bro. Ortiz picked us up and took us to this restaurant called El Habeñero. I had my first tex-mex since I've gotten here, had a chimichanga but it was actually pretty authentic Mexican. We also ordered and talked to all of the staff in Spanish the whole time which was pretty cool! They seemed nicer to us because we spoke Spanish haha, I can't wait to come back and speak Spanish to all the people at Monterrey's! After we were more full than I care to explain, we made a few visits, including a good visit with Jason y Angelica about what charity means and how we can apply it to our lives. I'm tired now. Oh fun fact, a lot of the members here were talking about the big "pelea" (fight) tonight. Apparently Mayweather and Canelo are boxing, and it's a big deal because Canelo is like the up and coming star from Mexico so all the Mexicans out here are rooting for him haha. I'd like to know how that fight turns out. Oh and I got your package today, thanks so much for the extra pillow! It definitely will make for more comfortable sleep. And I polished my shoes tonight with that stuff we got from the store at the mall, it really helped and they look much better than they did . Love you all! Goodnight.

Scottie and his happy chimichanga smile!

Hola hola! So today was interesting. We went to correlation meetings and then church, I translated (the high council and stake people were speaking in English so I translated from English --> Spanish which was fun) and then we came back after church, we were eating lunch and we get an ominous text from Pres. Swain 
(their mission president) that said "Please call me as soon as you can." That's never a good sign haha, and we were like oh gosh, have we done anything that we could get in trouble for?!? We couldn't  think of anything, and then (Elder) Burgin calls him back and he says that there's an Elder coming in from Peru who needs to come in now, and not wait for transfers next week. So basically this was like an emergency transfer, and he told me I was getting sent out to Granger Stake (another area in their mission) tomorrow (Monday) first thing, to start packing all my stuff. I was bummed because I love this area and the people here and I didn't want to leave, but I started preparing myself and all that stuff and then an hour later Pres. Swain calls back and explains that the new Elder is going to the MTC (Missionary Training Center)  first, so don't worry about it haha.  So that was a whirlwind of an evening, but all is well. Eventually I'll have to leave, (his current area) but I'd love another transfer or so to finish up a few things we've been working on!  We had dinner and then went out and made some good visits with Bro. Carrasco, including a really good lesson about faith in Jesus Christ with Danny Guerrero, he was really participating and it was a strong, spiritual lesson. Elder Coffey and I are about to make cookies and then I'm going to bed, I'm tired!

I love you! Tell everyone I say hi and send my love :)


PS:  So I stood on a scale for the first time in months in a member's bathroom this last week haha (gotta do what you gotta do) and I haven't really gained weight.  In a full suit I was only like 4 pounds up from pre-mission, but I still am trying to get a lot more fit. Bro. Lopez hooked me up with more protein and I found a bunch of healthy recipes that I'm gonna try: lots of oatmeal, protein shakes, fruit shakes, chicken, and I'm picking up some quinoa today. I know that's healthy :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scottie and his fellow missionaries on their Labor Day hike!

Scottie in his Ga Tech Gear

Monday: (9/2/13) 
It was so nice I got to email with you today. Happy Labor Day, I'm glad y'all got to spend it with the family, it was awesome seeing the pictures of everyone! We actually had a really good P-Day because we went on this awesome hike in Wasatch Forest (I think that's what it's called) to a place called Donut Falls, there was a circular hole in the rock with a little waterfall running through it. I got a bunch of cool pictures I'll try and send so you all can see what it was like. It was the greenest and most humid part of Utah I've been to yet, so it kind of reminded me of home back in Georgia haha. I definitely miss the south. We got to visit with our recent converts too, the Salinas family, and they gave us a whole watermelon! That was pretty exciting since it's my favorite fruit, they're really nice people. It's been a tiring day though, and tomorrow we have Zone Conference (where all the missionaries in that area get together with their leaders for instruction), so I'm going to go get ready for that. Love you all!

Donut Falls!

Nice View!

Today was a super busy day, we had our Magna Zone Conference
 that happens 4 times a year and it went from 10 am to 4 pm. I gave a talk about the Savior and his Atonement and I wanted to share a few of the quotes I found and presented in my talk:

“Christ is the light to humanity. In that light man sees his way clearly. When it is rejected, the soul of man stumbles in darkness. No person, no group, no nation can achieve true success without following Him who said:

“‘I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)” (David O. McKay in CR, Apr. 1940, p. 115.)

We learned a lot about how to also stay focused on our missions and always work hard and not "become weary." It was a really good training and I'm glad we were there, it didn't even seem like it lasted 6 hours.


Today was a pretty crazy day. Normal workout and study and all that, we had lunch and then I ran by the post office to drop Sophia's package off, the guy told me it should be there by Friday so I hope it makes it in time! Happy Birthday Sophia, I hope you have a great day! :)

We had an interesting dinner and then we made some good visits. In our last visit/lesson with a guy named William, it got rough. A 20 year old named Danny was there and his uncle Mathan was there and then someone, I don't even remember how, Danny started talking about how happiness is psychological and he couldn't be happy because of some things that happened to him, Mathan started arguing with him and then he told us about some really rough stuff that happened to him. So I just tried to end it with a spiritual thought and my testimony that the Gospel and Savior can help us through anything, it was wild though.

Today was a pretty good day. I did some studying this morning (used the institute manual to better understand that olive tree allegory in Jacob 5, in Spanish, so that took some concentration haha) and then for lunch I went back to my Southern roots: scrambled eggs, grits, and toast. The only thing I was missing was bacon or sausage, but I didn't have any. Then we did weekly planning, 3 hours in all its glory. We also had an amazing dinner of pasole with Hermana Esquivel. We spent a bit of the night helping our Branch Mission Leader (who is no good at technology but just the nicest guy in the world) create an account and then we had correlation. It was a pretty solid day.

Today was a good day. We got up and I had a good workout and personal study. We did companionship study and then somehow we got on the topic of food and Elder Coffey just randomly pulled out this recipe for Cowboy Cookies (chocolate chip and oat cookies). They looked amazing and we almost had everything to make them, so during lunch we had a member run us to Smith's (grocery store) and we got some more flour and sugar. We spent a bit of time making them. Our official reason was to take them to a few church leadership and member families....we also just wanted cookies! Each batch makes 4 dozen cookies....we made 3 batches. It was deliciously fun haha. 

Cookie baking adventure!

 They had to borrow the mixer!

 We got to eat dinner with the Mejia family and they're always really funny, so that was enjoyable. We were having a really good lesson with Judith Sandoval and her kids....and then my nose just went into waterfall mode with blood. Completely random, and it wouldn't stop for a while! I had to post up in their bathroom for like 15 minutes, and they have the cutest little 3 year old daughter named Kiara who kept trying to help me by handing me paper towels and asking if I was okay in Spanish over and over. It finally stopped, we finished the lesson, and then I started my newest goal: I spent 30 minutes at night running around our apartment complex. I feel great now and definitely want to do that to keep up some sort of good physical shape so I don't lose all my athletic ability! It was a good day.

Today was such a busy and tiring day, but it was awesome! We started the day off with Soccer Saturdays at 7:30. We played for like 2 hours and had several investigators and less active members there, including Juan Mercado (19) and his dad who are both AMAZING at soccer. It was so fun to play with them, they were like pros. We ran back and showered and then ran back to the church building to help Hermana Liliana Mejia with the Primary (
the children’s’ program in each ward/congregation) presentation activity (One Sunday each year the children present a themed program in our sacrament meeting). She was assigning all the parts for the upcoming activity and we got to help a few kids understand what it means to pray or bear your testimony, and the best thing is that Judith Sandoval was there with all 5 of her kids and they all got parts and plan on coming to church now! That was really exciting.

 We ran back to the apartment, changed, and then ran back out to help our ward mission leader Tomas Carrasco with some chores he had, mainly  cutting his grass and the lawns of some of his children that live in the area. But before we started he was like oh wait, let's eat some food I made for you first. It was some tortillas and a spicy guacamole and cilantro and onion mixture and then two different types of what looked like Carne Asada, he told us that one was seasoned differently but I didn't care. I ate both and then he gave us a strawberry and spinach shake, super delicious. Then like 30 minutes later Hermano Carrasco was like "did you like the taco meat?" And I was like "yeah it was delicious!" And then he just had this huge smile on his face and was like "that was lengua y cachete". It wasn't steak, it was cow tongue and cow cheek!!!! I ate like 4 tacos of it! It was actually really good it just had a softer texture, and because I didn't know what I was eating it was fine! Such a fun experience. And then we went and helped Hermano Espinoza change the water pump on his big suburban, Padre would have loved to help out with that one. We ate dinner with the Patriarch and his Family (they're from El Salvador) and then we had some good lessons and I came back and ran again and showered and I'm ready for bed. So tired.

Today was a pretty normal day. Church was good and we learned all about how the Gospel and Jesus Christ are the greatest "fuentes de paz" (sources of peace) in our lives. We went back to the apartment, ate lunch, and then did some afternoon visits. We ate dinner with Hermana Leticia Gomez and had salad, pasta soup, pork carnitas with arroz y frijoles
(rice and beans) and orchata (rice milk with cinnamon and spices) to drink and then peaches with whipped cream for dessert. It was delicious.

 One of the young men from the branch came out on visits with us tonight, and we met this new kid named Dixon. He's in 11th grade (so about 16 or 17 I guess?) and he seemed really excited to see us. He's talked to elders before but it's been a while, he said he wanted to come to church with us. He told us he just recently got in trouble and is in some after school programs because of it for the next 30 days but hopefully we can help him through that and get some things figured out with him. I'm excited! Hermano Lopez gave us a whole bunch of protein powder before we went in for the night (his son was the one who went out with us so that was convenient) and then to celebrate P-Day eve we baked some more cookies haha. I'm pretty sure we've baked over 200 this week, we gave most of them away though so we wouldn't be tempted to just sit here and eat them. The dough was great though! You know me, can't help myself around some cookie dough/brownie batter! Can't wait to read your email tomorrow!

My studies are going really well. I'm studying in the Spanish scriptures only, I started the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I've been reading through. I just finished Jacob, I used the institute manual from the Gospel Library app to help me understand the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi and Jacob 5 (the olive tree allegory). It was amazing to see how much more I understood that way, good for y'all for keeping up your reading!

From his email to his Aunt Tammy:
 Spanish word of the week: "cachete" it means cheek, because I ate cow cheek this last week haha. It was kind of weird but not bad at all! Another word is "sempiterno" which means everlasting. The Savior has everlasting love for each and every one of us and that is a huge blessing!

Madre, I love you so much. Thanks for keeping me updated on the family and life and all that, I really appreciate it! I'm already looking forward to emailing with you next week, I miss you a lot but I want you to know you and the family are always in my prayers and heart. Thanks for the beach messages, those were awesome! (while spending the weekend at the beach we wrote him messages in the sand!) Keep up the good work with eating healthy, I'm working on it too! Thank you for being the best Madre I could have ever asked for, and please know that I think about y'all every day. I love you and I'll email you next week!

One from "The Gang"

One form Sophia



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Double Rainbow he ran across this week!

 So we got the iPads this last Tuesday, I'm not gonna lie, they're pretty cool. I think I'm pretty fortunate to be in the mission that gets to test them out and see the good they can do for advancing missionary work. We use them as our planners and area books and they have the Gospel Library app so pretty much any manual, scripture, or picture I have, in English and Spanish, which is super useful and makes our lessons much more interesting. We can also show a lot of the videos of and the “I'm a Mormon” videos (found on which make our lessons a bit more interesting sometimes.

We got the iPads on Tuesday and spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday learning how to use them and updating all the information and "provisioning" them. 
We have been staying crazy busy and finding some new people to teach, including the Sandoval family. The mom is from Chihuahua, Mexico and she has 5 children. They are 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12 years old and they're all like super smart and intelligent. And they say the funniest things, they keep asking me if I have a house and telling me that in 10 years I'll be a "viejito" (little old man)!

I wanted to share a scripture I found. In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says "Trust in The Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." This last week there's been some times where we had to trust in The Lord,  not knowing the outcome, but things always turn out right when we trust in The Lord. One time I just had this feeling that we should go visit a guy that lived in an apartment complex (I think it was Thursday). We hadn't had much luck that night finding people to teach, but I had a good feeling about this one. We knocked on his door.... and he wasn't home. I was kind of bummed, thinking we'd wasted our time. But as we turned around to leave a U-Haul truck was pulling into the complex. Another family was moving out and we just offered to help them out. We ended up spending the next 2 hours moving boxes and furniture and tables and bikes and all sorts of their stuff, in full pros clothes (shirt, tie, dress pants), and it was such a fun experience. The family was pretty funny and we just had a really good feeling that let us know the reason we were there at that very moment was to help out a family we'd never met before. It was pretty cool.

I miss you all a whole bunch, a lot of the families here are planning things for Labor Day and I just wish I could be with y'all at Grandma and Papa's house for some delicious pork shoulder and ribs and playing in the pool. I hope y'all still get to go enjoy that and I just wanted to say I'm thankful for all the time I got to spend with you all as a family when I was growing up, that meant a lot to me. And Madre, don't worry, before you know it it'll be the summer of 2015 and I'll be outside, annoying you with that dribbling sound of the basketball every day! (I sent him a card telling him how I heard a neighbor outside playing basketball and I immediately thought of him, I never thought I would miss the sound of him bouncing the basketball over and over!)

On Sunday we got to eat with a family from Elder Burgin's (Scottie’s companion) old area. We had been fasting all day so when we showed up and the guy had prepared this amazing carne was pretty heavenly. We feasted on sooo much delicious food, including some cactus that was prepared in a pretty delicious way. But then the other elders (Coffey and Van Horn) called us and said we needed to eat with them so that they could eat with someone whose husband wasn't going to be there. We literally biked (stuffed beyond capacity) to another dinner. I was praying that it would be a light meal....alas, it was not. It was literally super heavy: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and then these giant hand-made cinnamon rolls. I tried to muster through as much as I could, but afterwards I literally felt like I was going to explode. The curse of the Utah missionary. The food was good though :)
Elder Burgin has been out for 7 1/2 months now, he's from Knoxville, TN, and I met a elder from Virginia and we've hung out with him a few times, he's super Southern! I like him, it feels like I'm more at home.  And I miss southern accents so badly!

It's funny, several people have told me I don't seem like I've only been out 2 months (I try to be mature and not act like a greeny) (greeny = a missionary that has just recently begun his mission) but then I think about how much time is left and I'm like....yup, still a greeny haha!

So last night we went to visit the Sandoval family (investigators). The 7 year old boy, Anjuar, was feeling really sick. Like, he was just clutching his stomach and crying and lying on the couch, and his mom said he'd been like that all day. I told his mom that as missionaries, representatives of the Lord, we could offer him a blessing if he wanted. He was scared because he didn't know what it was but we just told him that it would be a prayer to ask Heavenly Father for help, and because we were his helpers, we could do that. He agreed and we asked him if he thought it would help (faith), and he said he did. Elder Burgin did the anointing and I did the sealing and blessing and literally before I'd even finished my prayer he had stopped crying and then we said Amen and he sat there for like 10 seconds and then just ran outside saying he was going to go find his friends, and that he felt so much better. That was a pretty powerful experience for me, and I can testify that the priesthood (The priesthood is the authority to act in God's name)  is restored here in the Latter days so that we can serve those around us. We learn a lot about faith and it just makes me realize that we do a lot of things in this earth on faith, but when you see miracles like that, it helps my faith to grow immensely.

My Spanish has also improved so much, I'll try and include a note to send Aurora (his favorite server at his favorite Mexican restaurant)  with my letter to Savannah or Sophia, I do miss Monterrey's (favorite Mexican restaurant).

(Notes from email he sent his Aunt Tammy):

Yeah when you're a missionary in Utah everyone wants to feed you and give you food all the time, it would be super easy to gain 50 lbs.! 

Workouts are good, I'm trying to stay on track so I don’t come back from my mission and just stink at all the sports I love so much haha. We only get a little time in the mornings, but I try and make the most of it. 

Spanish word of the week: Evangelio. That's the Spanish word for Gospel, and something I learned was that Gospel comes from the Hebrew word for "good news." That's funny, because it truly is good news and it can bring great blessings into our lives. It's pretty special. 

I have to go now, I think we are going to join some other Elders and go for a hike today.