Friday, January 24, 2014

He didn't send any photos this week so I've pulled some from earlier entries!

Scottie on his bike, before the snow and ice hit!

2014 has been an excellent year so far; we're staying way busy but that's a good thing right!? I'm loving the area I'm serving in, we're starting to get really close to the members of the Lighthouse Branch, and we're seeing some real progress with the people we're working with. Today is Sunday the 19th, so that makes 7 months in the mission field. . Wow, I can't believe how fast 7 months has flown by. Here are some of the highlights from the year so far:

1/1/14: Wednesday
The first day of the new year went really well. We started off with a service project for the Tibb's family (a family in Sis. Vang and Sis. Thurston's area) (sister missionaries in his district). We were going to clear the ice off of their driveway for them, because Bro. Tibbs has been working a ton and hasn't been able to do it and Sis. Tibbs has been too busy taking care of her kids. We started chipping away at the ice....and about 2.5 hours later we were still going haha. But we got it all off and it looked really good when we were done, definitely a lot less slippery so hopefully that'll help their family out. We got invited to go eat a New Year's lunch by one of our investigators, Norma Ovanda, and she made some of the best pazole (traditional Mexican stew) I've had on my mission. We had several solid lessons too, including a really good one with Minnie, so we'll see how she keeps progressing.

1/3/14: Friday
Today was an awesome day. We had district meeting, so I spent most of the morning preparing for that (as district leader he is in charge of preparing and presenting the training lessons). I trained on finding people and focusing on investigators' needs, and I think it went pretty well. Afterwards, we had our traditional district lunch. Sis. Martinez and Sis. Despain volunteered to make this one, and we had an orange chicken stir fry which was great. We had several good lessons and then had a pretty cool experience. The Midence family picked us up and we went down to Temple Square with Marco, a young man who is from Mexico but is living with his aunt to go to school here. He's a senior in high school, and he didn't know too much about the church, so we got to teach him about the Restoration and the importance of Jesus Christ. When we were at the big statue of Christ in the Temple Visitor's Center, it was a powerful experience. I'm very thankful for the Savior and the sacrifice that he made for us so that, even when we make mistakes, we can repent and find happiness and peace, both here on Earth and throughout the eternities. It was a powerful experience for sure.

A photo of the Statue he refers to - this is just before he entered the MTC when we visited Temple Square before his mission began

1/5/14: Sunday
First Sunday of the New Year! Our branch is stuck with the 1 o'clock church which is pretty interesting. For most people, the only benefit of 1 o'clock church is that you get to sleep in...but we still have to be awake at 6:30 so that kinda cancels that plan haha. But it was a really good day, a powerful Fast and Testimony meeting, and we had a lot of people attend Church that hadn't been there in a long time. New Year and new goals so that was good to see. After church we basically went straight to dinner after our meeting with Bro. Holden

1/6/14: Monday
Today was an example of our usual P-Day (preparation day), just so y'all know. We usually get up and exercise, and then while we're doing morning studies we run our clothes down to the apartment Laundromat to wash. Once our clothes are done, we get a ride over to Walmart, get that taken care of, then we run over to the chapel to do email. After email, we then play basketball. We've got a solid group of missionaries that come over, as well as the Assistants and some investigators and other members. It's always a great time, then we grab dinner and we're off to visit people for the rest of the night. We love it.

1/8/14: Wednesday
Today we had our new missionary/trainer follow up meeting, and Pres. Swain (his Mission President) and the Assistants (Mauinatu and Russell) said some really inspiring things. After the meeting, Elder Ghramm was firing up some lunch: we call it the Meaty Boy. We've been experimenting to try and get the best flavor combination. Today's version included chicken breast and spicy Italian sausage cooked in barbecue sauce and jalapeños and onions and then served over rice. It was quite delicious, probably not super nutritious haha. Then Elder Jung and I (district leaders) had a meeting with Elders McNeil and Ghramm (zone leaders) just to talk about what we can do to help our districts be successful. We had some awesome lessons and even met a new investigator, Wendy, so it was a really good day.

1/10/14: Friday
Today was great. We had Zone Training and it was super spiritual and super informational and we learned a ton. Afterwards, the entire zone went out to Chinese Garden to chow down on an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Then we started exchanges. I went with Elder Ghramm into his area and he's an awesome missionary so I learned a lot from him and we got to visit some of his families, people who are really making an effort to change for the better in their lives, and that was awesome.

1/11/14: Saturday
We finished up exchanges about lunchtime today and we taught a good bit of people in the afternoon. Hermano Bayona had signed up to give us dinner, and he said he'd been too busy to cook but asked if he could take us somewhere, which was totally fine with us. He took us to El Jaripeo (a little taco cart in front of Harmond's), and I had some really good tacos of chorizo and cow tongue. I'm not going to lie, if you don't think about what cow tongue is, it's really good. Hermano Bayona then said he was going through a really hard time because his son was in danger of getting deported and they needed to get affidavits in, but he spoke no English at all. So we spent pretty much the rest of the night helping him with the paperwork. I hope it helps them out a lot, he is always so willing to help us so we're glad we could help him with something.

1/12/14: Sunday
Long day at church. Meetings from 11 to 12:30, church from 1 to 4, another meeting from 4 to 5, and then another meeting from 6 to 8:30. It was definitely a lot, but it was a good day, and we got one of the best dinners I've had yet. It was called birria (another Mexican stew), and it was cooked by the Campillo family. It's hard to describe what it was, but it was delicious.

1/14/14: Tuesday
Today was one of the best P-Days in a long time. We got up and went down to the Jordan River temple around 8 o'clock. The ride there was hilarious because we rode with Elder Barfuss (senior missionary) in his 1990 little had no heat so we had to roll the windows down so the window wouldn't fog up too much. Going down the highway with the windows down and 20 degree temperatures just made it an adventure. But the temple was a super spiritual experience and we went as a district so that was awesome. We came back, took care of shopping, got a haircut (and the guy that cut my hair used a straight razor to shape up the back and he cut me pretty good, I definitely don't like straight razors haha) and then we did email and played some good basketball. I did take a pretty good shot to the face though, definitely an accident but it left me with a good bruise around the corner of my left eye, but it was so much fun so I don't really care (he does love his basketball!!). We taught Sharon Vazquez at night and it was just an awesome day.

1/15/14: Wednesday
Today was great. Every Wednesday we have a meeting with our stake president to correlate missionary work. It's always a 2 hour meeting because we have 4 companionships, and we usually only are involved for like 30 minutes each, so it's kind of boring haha. But Pres. Higginson took us all out to lunch at El Rancho Grande afterwards and that was really charitable of him, I had some awesome flautas. We had some lessons and then met back up with Pres. Higginson to give a blessing to his neighbor, a girl named Lisett, who's about 15 and is having brain surgery tomorrow. It'll be a pretty major procedure so we're hoping for the best! I'm thankful for the priesthood and the help that The Lord is always willing to give us.

1/17/14: Friday
Today was a super good day. We got up at 6:15 and got a good 2.5 mile run in. It's a little different than what I'm used to running in at home, because it was about 14 degrees and cold and dry, but we're going to start doing it more regularly just to stay in decent shape. I prepped for district meeting and I think it went well. We talked about finding again, and we also focused on teaching the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. 2 Nephi 31 is a great chapter, if y'all wanted to read that one. Sis. Martinez and Sis. Despain, who are awesome, came through on another awesome district lunch: poppyseed chicken and then for dessert Sis. Vang made her authentic French crepes (she's from Paris), so it was delicious. We had some solid lessons and did some finding since we got cancelled on a bit, and it was, all in all, a great day.

1/18/14:  Saturday
So today was a full day: basketball with less active/investigators, Meaty Boy for lunch (teriyaki style, very good), helped someone set up for a baby shower, taught some lessons, made some worthwhile visits. And then I looked at the date today. I can't believe that 7 months ago I fell asleep in a hotel and then woke up to head towards the MTC (Missionary Training Center). It doesn't feel like it's been 7 months at all, time is flying so fast. But I’m doing well and I'm loving my mission. I miss y'all back home, that's for sure, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be now. I know that the Gospel is true and it will help us draw closer to our Heavenly Father and find happiness and peace in this life. And for this, I am extremely thankful.

1/19/14: Sunday
Today was an awesome day. We had a total of 8 investigators and less active people show up to church, some for the first time, so that was great to see them making steps towards being happier. Then, we had a super good dinner with the Perez Almanza family, carne y arroz y frijoles y agua de piña. We then ran on over to our Mission President's Devotional. We got there early so that we could practice and sing with the choir. I'm not a super good singer, but I really enjoy singing in this choir because the spirit is so strong and I love the songs we sing (Because I Have Been Given Much, Dear to the Heart of the Shepard, Praise to the Man, I Believe in Christ). The devotional went super well, and it was even better because I got to sing next to Elders Burgin (former companion) and Rosdahl (two really good buddies) and then I got to see Elder Moleli too, I miss that guy like crazy. We came home and I collected the district's numbers, ate a snack, and I'm ready for bed. We plan on running again tomorrow morning and for PDay we're going to go see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in downtown, so that'll be super interesting. I love y'all and miss you tons, but thanks for all the support you show, and a special thank you for sending my basketball shoes, those are greatly appreciated haha :)

Scottie with his former companion, Elder Burgin

Love you all,

Elder Higgins

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