Saturday, February 22, 2014

His desk with scriptures, CTR ring, name tag and new family photo

2/4/14 - Tuesday:
Today was a pretty long day! We got up, exercised, it had snowed more so our running has been on hold a bit because the sidewalks are icy and super slippery. We went and read the Book of Mormon with Hermana Hernandez and then we had an awesome lunch. We have a grill on our porch that we'd never used before, so even though it was snowing we fired it up and grilled some chicken hahaha. It was way good, we then made brown rice with steamed broccoli and carrots and that was our lunch. We had a good lesson with Minnie, then we went and gave Angie a blessing because she's going to have her baby tomorrow!!! We had dinner with the Olivares family and then we had our branch missionary correlation meeting. Afterwards, we went out with Bro. Thomson. We gave a blessing to someone the sister missionaries are teaching, then we went and had an awesome lesson with some new investigators: The Tinoco family. They're from Mexico and they're really nice, so we're excited to go and work with them!

They fired up the grill!!

Lunch is served!

2/5/14 Wednesday:
Today was pretty solid. We had our meeting with our stake president, Pres. Higginson, and then we grabbed some Subway for lunch. Afterwards, I had District Leader Training with our ZL's
(Zone Leaders) and the other DL (District Leader) in the area, Elder Jung (he's a really awesome guy!). We went and ate dinner with the Galvez and Paz families, then we went and had an amazing lesson with Dallana Heredia and her mom. She now has a baptismal date and we're super excited to help her work towards that goal.

2/6/14 Thursday:
Good stuff today! We were up at 6:30, exercising, we had good studies (I finished John in the New Testament), then we had another healthy lunch (leftovers from Tuesday). I also got my package from y'all today! Thank you so much for the cards and treats, those piedras de chocolate (the almonds) were super yummy, and I've already torn through The Mix
(caramel popcorn/chex mix that I make and he loves!) haha :) Y'all are so thoughtful, thank you so much. We had weekly planning which went well, then we ate with Rocha, taught Vazquez, taught Edilberto, and then visited with Hermano Campillo for a bit. He's super funny and we're glad he's staying in the area (he was going to move, but it looks like he's staying!)

2/7/14 Friday:
Today was really good. We got up and I spent the morning preparing for district meeting, then we headed down to the chapel. I gave a training on finding and how we can help people make and keep commitments and why commitments are important. I also shared a bit from a talk Elder Holland gave in 2011 called Feed My Sheep, it's an excellent talk and I learned tons reading it. Afterwards I cooked lunch for the district: teriyaki stir fry, complete with vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, and red pepper. It turned out pretty solid, I really like cooking! Then we helped Hermano Midence set up the gym for our branch's Valentine's Day activity tonight and then we grabbed a snack at Arctic Circle. Afterwards, we headed over to the pachanga (Mexican slang for "party"). The fiesta was pretty fun and midway through we got a call from Angie. She had her baby early Thursday morning, his name is Anakin Sky Razo. He's the cutest little kid, born a little early so he's pretty small, but he's very calm and doesn't cry much at all. We gave him a blessing, he's got some jaundice-like symptoms, but he'll pull through just fine!

Angie's Baby - Anakin Sky

Elders Higgins, Balino and Hermano Montoya at the Valentines Party

2/8/14 Saturday:
Today was a tiring day. We got up and went to play basketball with the 1st and 8th wards (other congregations in his area), and it was awesome. I was on a team with the 8th ward Bishop, Bishop Tidwell, and he can play pretty well! Two of the other elders' investigators were there, Moses and Bradon, and afterwards when they taught them they put them with a baptismal date, so that's way exciting! Our branch had a little sporting activity that we went to for a bit, then we came back and showered and changed and had an awesome dinner with Bro. Thompson from 1st ward (the one who fed us for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s). He's just an awesome guy and an example of integrity and member-missionary work. We went and taught Maria Diaz, and now she has a baptismal date in early March, we're really excited for that. The Gospel will be a huge blessing for her and her family.

2/9/14 Sunday:
Pretty long day today! We got to get up and do some solid studying, then we went to church for branch counsel followed by church followed by a normal meeting. All of that went well and Maria came to Church and we were really excited for that. We had dinner with the Perez Almanza family again and it was just super weird. The food was beyond spicy, he gave us enough to feed a sumo wrestler, he kept telling these crazy stories and these radical opinions he had, and we kept trying to leave and he just wanted to talk more and more. Then he made dessert and I almost exploded I was so full, but we finally got out of there and were able to go and see Angie's baby (he got to come home today). That baby has been a huge blessing to that family already. Sometimes we go to their house and there's a lot of contention or arguing, but today there was just a really powerful spirit. It's cool to think that just a few days ago Anakin was chilling with Heavenly Father, and now he's here, about to start his life's journey. I have such a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation, it truly is Heavenly Father's plan for us to obtain happiness throughout all eternity. I love the Gospel.

Elder Higgins

2/10/14 Monday:
Hope y'all are having a great week, love and miss ya tons!! But thanks for all the support, it means a lot to me :)

Today was a super sweet P-Day...minus the concussion haha (playing basketball and getting run over by a big Samoan guy!). But it was super productive, we had great basketball, got showered up and went and had a dinner and FHE with the Gonzalez family. We watched the Finding Faith in Christ video and it was an awesome experience for that family, I think they got a lot out of it. I love that video, it's amazing to see how incredible our Savior is. I was pretty exhausted so I fell asleep promptly, and even though I didn't sleep well, it was good to get rest.

Tuesday 2/11/14:

Today was a pretty good day. We tried out a new restaurant called Chow Time for lunch, it's like a big buffet with Chinese food, American food, all kinds of stuff. It was actually way good. We had District Leader Training afterwards, visited some people, then we went and had dinner with the Martinez family. We then taught our new investigator family, The Tinoco's, and then had our branch correlation meeting (missionary correlation). Elder Balino
(Scottie’s companion) went out on splits (where the 2 companions split up and go out with other members of the congregation) with Bro. Pons and I hung around the building with Pres. Perez because I wasn't feeling too hot (lingering results of the run-in with the Samoan no doubt!). We met up afterwards, did some planning, and then I went to bed.

Wednesday 2/12/14:

Pretty solid day today. We got up, did some studies, and then went to read the Book of Mormon with Mary Hernandez. We had our stake missionary correlation meeting with Pres. Higginson, then we had a good lunch at Subway. We did some planning and contacting then went and had dinner with the Guzman family, they're really nice. We had a productive lesson with the Vazquez family then visited Edilberto and then called it a night.

Thursday 2/13/14:

We had Zone Conference today! Zone Conference is basically a big 6 hour meeting (lunch in the middle) where our entire zone gets together to get training from Pres. Swain
(his mission president) and the Assistants: Elders Russell and Mauinatu. Pres. Swain is such a good leader and speaker. He taught us about listening, teaching with the Spirit, planning, all sorts of stuff. Afterwards Pres. Swain actually gave Balino and I a ride back to our apartment, then we had dinner with the Pons family (he's our new ward mission leader, so we're way excited about that). We updated some referrals and then had an awesome lesson with the Fernandez family - a new investigating family. Their daughter is recovering from an extensive brain surgery after a priesthood blessing by Pres. Higginson - that's just a powerful testimony that the power of the priesthood is real and that God really does love His children. Then we went and met a new family that just moved into the branch: the Bedoya family. They seem really nice.

Friday 2/14/14:

Valentine's Day! Kind of a super funny day as a missionary haha. So we got up and had a really good lesson with Geovani - he loves reading the Book of Mormon and it's so cool to see him excited about reading. We had weekly planning today since Zone Conference was yesterday, and then we had our dinner down at the Hispanic Swap Meet at the bottom of our area. I had some solid enchiladas then some good churros, then we biked back home and spent the night contacting referrals. It was hard to find people since a lot of people were either out all night or were at home and already had plans with their spouses, but we worked with what we had :)

Scottie with his churro form the Hispanic Swap Meet

Bro. Thompson brought us all Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes for Valentine's Day...soooo good! maybe you've heard of them since they were on food network.

Cupcake box  from Sweet Tooth Fairy

Saturday 2/15/14:

Today was a super tiring day. We got up and biked a couple of miles over to choir practice - it's always fun to go to choir practice and it gives me a good chance to see Elders Jarvis, Rosdahl, Burgin, Chapel, and some of the other elders I hope I get to serve with/serve with again soon! We biked back, ate Subway with the ZL's, and then had a good lesson with Hermano Islas We visited with Leo and then had an awesome dinner. The Oliver family wanted to take us out to this restaurant called Dickie's BBQ Pit. It felt like home a little bit, but they certainly wouldn't let me eat just a little bit of food. I ended up eating about 10 ribs with these spicy bbq sauce, 2 bowls of mac and cheese (that's a vegetable right?), fried okra (definitely a vegetable...albeit fried haha), and then there was ice cream. It was super fun and the food and conversation were great, it just killed my stomach! We then spent the night biking all over the area to get from appointment to appointment, 2 blessings, helping someone tie a tie, inviting people to church. Wow, I think between 6:30 and 9 we biked about 20 miles, it was insane, but so worth it! I love being on the mission!
(They can be back on bikes as long as there is no ice/snow on the roads)
Thank you so much for the Valentine box you sent, that was so kind of you. And please don't worry that it got here on Saturday not Friday, it meant so much to me (his box was delayed due to the snow/ice storm we had last week). I love the family picture you sent, it's on my desk right now. And the cards were super sweet and I loved the treats too! Y'all are the best :):)

Valentine box we sent him!

Sunday 2/16/14:

Today was a good Sabbath day. We got up, studied a bunch, ate lunch, and then went to church. We heard some good talks and learned about Noah and the flood in Sunday school, then we went and had a very pleasant dinner with the Galvez and Paz families afterwards. We shot over to the chapel where the Mission President's Devotional was, practiced for choir, and then we had the devotional. President Swain bore powerful testimony of the Savior again, and the spirit was super strong, especially when we sang I Believe in Christ. Then we came back, taught Tony, and then I had to call in numbers and all that good stuff
(part of his duties as District Leader). But all in all it's been a great week, I feel tons better (after sustaining the concussion earlier in the week) and I'm ready for a new week to start. Time is definitely flying by! Time is crazy. But I’m happy and safe so no worries :) I’m going to work as hard as I can here in the mission field, but I definitely can't wait to see y'all again :)
 I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you, you're truly the best family in the entire world. And that's not just words, I mean that!

Love always,


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Elders Ghramm, Biggs and Higgins 

 (I'm not sure who is photo-bombing on the  far right)

Hola hola! It has been an awesome week!

Tuesday 1/28/14:
Transfer day! I'm staying put, but it sure was a sad morning helping Ghramm pack up. We've gotten really close over the last 3 months, he's an amazing elder with great gospel knowledge, and he's hilarious and a beast at basketball. But it's alright, because that's a brother I'll have for life right there. I'm super thankful I was able to serve around him and learn from him. Elder Duke is taking his place here, and I've heard good things about him so that's exciting. We had a really good dinner today with our Branch President and his family: enchiladas rojas with cheesecake for dessert. We had our missionary correlation meeting and went on splits tonight. I went out with Bro. Pons and we had a great lesson with Iyali (someone we met for the first time), the Heredia family, and then went to give Sis. Thurston
(sister missionary in his district) a blessing because she caught some sort of stomach bug. Lame! But the priesthood is real, and I have faith she'll feel better tomorrow. It was a busy but good day!

Wednesday 1/29/14:
Today was a good day! We got up and went running (2.5 mile loop around our area) and then we got into studies! I'm loving reading the Book of Mormon and New Testament together - they truly testify of one another and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We had a correlation meeting with our Stake President and then grabbed lunch at Subway. We set up some appointments, had dinner with the Paz family, and then learned some awesome doctrine from Bro. Paz - he knows a ton! We spent the night visiting with Edilberto, and he's cut back on drinking so much! He said praying has really helped him a lot - I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that he listens to and answers our prayers! Bro. Pons called and told me about the crazy snow/ice storm in Atlanta that was shutting y'all down! I hope everyone back home is safe and warm and not stranded on the interstates, I'll be sure to keep the Atlanta area in my prayers!

Atlanta Snow Jam 2014!

Thursday 1/30/14:
Today was great! It snowed last night and was still snowing a bit in the morning, so we didn't go running and just worked out in the apartment. We studied, grabbed some lunch, and then had weekly planning. My new district is awesome, only a couple of changes. Now it's Sisters Martinez, Despain, and Tasi (in a trio) and Sis. Thurston is training Sis. Hubbard. We finished training, ate a great dinner with the Pons family, got to teach his less active son-in-law, then we had a great night of visits with the help of Hermano Madrid. We taught the Islas family, set up a return appointment with Minnie and then a new investigator family, and it was just a good night. On the way back to the apartment we saw a ton of police cars and they were blocking the road leading into our apartments. Later on we found at that somebody got hit by a car while walking on the side of the road...kind of scary news since that's what we do all day and all night every day, but the person will make a recovery so that's good!

No Explanation needed!

Friday 1/31/14:
Another good day here in West Valley City!  We had district meeting, and I put together a training on the relationship between true conversion, the Book of Mormon, and the Holy Ghost. After we grabbed lunch at CFA as a district, it's the first time I've had that in so long!! I miss Cookie (manager at our local Chick-fil-A) and the southern hospitality though, nobody even said "My Pleasure." I love saying thank you to hear my pleasure! It was lame.   Still delicious food though. We taught Minnie, had a great dinner with the Bayona family, and then we went to Temple Square with the Heredia, Thompson, and Pons family. It was a spiritually powerful experience and it just really re-enforces my testimony of the restoration every time. I love it. I'll try and send some of the pictures we took of that trip too :)

At Temple Square

Saturday 2/1/14:
I can't believe January has already flown by! Today was such a busy day though, we loved it! We got up and went to play basketball (a few investigators were on my team, and it was awesome). We had a solid run this morning, went 6-0 in games to 11. We came back, showered, had a lesson with a guy named Jesus, then grabbed lunch with  Elders Duke and McNeil. Then came the busiest day we've had in a while: lesson with Sharon Vazquez, dinner with the Rocha family, lesson with Jhovi, lesson with Edilberto, lesson with Maria Diaz, lesson with Iyali, picked up tamales for tomorrow (see tomorrow's entry), and then got home. It was an awesome day, so busy that it flew by in the blink of an eye, and we're very excited for the progress we're seeing in our area.

Sunday 2/2/14:
Today was a great day. We got up and had a long time to study, I finished Luke in the New Testament, and then we went to church. We heard some really good testimonies in church, we got to teach the High Priest's group about missionary work, and then we had a meeting with Bro. Holden. We went over to the Perez-Almanza family's house and had this great chicken, rice, and beans dish cooked with a serrano pepper sauce - so good! Then we picked up the tamales from the apartment and headed over to the Lopez's house. On January 6th (Dia de los Reyes) we were at the Lopez's house and I ate a piece of the rosca (celebratory bread)
(Rosca de Reyes – Three Kings bread) and it had a little plastic doll in it - which meant that on February 2nd I was in charge of tamales for the second fiesta. I think the real custom is that you have to hand-make the tamales, but that takes way too long for our tight schedule so we picked some up from our tamale hook up haha :) We had tamales, atole (pink, delicious drink), and then because Bro. Lopez is from Argentina we had a traditional herbal tea called mate. It was pretty gross, but it's all about the experience right? We came back, I collected all the numbers from the district, handed them off to the zone leaders and then passed out. It's been a good week.


Mate (It even looks scary!)

Monday 2/3/14:
Today's looking to be the average P-Day. Up, laundry, shopping, email, then we're gonna play some basketball. Sis. Martinez is a really good cook and she's gonna show us how to make some Chilean empenadas, so I'm super excited for that! Hope y'all are having a great week!! Love and miss y'all tons! :)

I'm finding a lot of happiness in the Gospel and y'all as my family, and I'm just smiling and happy and so busy with the mission it's a blessing because I have no time for other distractions. But no worries! I'm good, promise. I'm happy,  I love you, I gotta run.

Love you,


(From his email to his Aunt Tammy):

Hey Tía Tammy!

This last week has been very good, we're doing well and I am very happy, although it's about to get super cold out here!

Running is good but it's so cold, just that takes getting used to for me. 

We met a new family this last week, the Gomez family, and they're super friendly and humble and want to come to church, but their jobs prevent them right now. But they're working on it since they know what a blessing church is!

Word of the week: Somos hijos de Dios. It's not one word, but it's a phrase: we are children of God. I know that's true, and because of that he loves us and wants the best for us.