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,


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