Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014

Dear Family: 

This last week has been one of my favorite weeks of my entire mission. It was full of craziness, but just had the perfect ending. We are continuing to see growth and member involvement in this area. Miracles are happening too. A less active member called us on Monday and asked us to come over on Tuesday, and when we did, she presented us to her 20 year old son who just came from interested investigator, just like that. 

Throughout the week, nothing too crazy happened. We continued to work hard to help the families we're working with. We're seeing huge progress with los Santana (the Santana Family) and Allie. It's a huge blessing to be in an area with so much member support. 

They made hot wings!

This week, we also had a crazy amount of weird foods haha. Wednesday night, we had a dish with a family we're teaching: caldo de patas de pollo y pescuezo. It was soup made with chicken feet and chicken neck. Except, they ate the chicken feet, and expected us to do the same. Chicken feet....not my favorite. There's no meat!!! It's just straight bones, nerves, and skin. That was kind of gross. And boiled neck...enough said. Then, yesterday, at church, our branch clerk gave us what he called "Aztec food" - chapulines. It was pan fried grasshoppers cooked with lime juice. Needless to say, pretty interesting haha. 

"Aztec food" - pan fried grasshoppers!

Saturday we had our baptism, for the Santana couple. It was stressful at first. Our ward mission leader told us he would go and fill up the font, just like he did for our last baptism...but when we got there 45 minutes prior to the baptism, there was no water in the font. We turned the lever to start filling the font...and no water came out. None at all. Several people came to try to help us figure it out, but nothing was happening. At 3pm (the time of the baptism), there was still no water...but after a prayer and some other people looking at things, the water finally started flowing and we had a beautiful baptism, they had nonmember family members there too and it was amazing. It was certainly stressful at first, but it turned out really well. I'll send pictures!

The Santana Family w/ Pres. Atwater

The Santanas, Pres. Atwater and Elders Jarvis and Higgins

Then, Saturday night, we had a truly powerful lesson with the Pacheco family. They haven't been to church in about 7 months, just moved here. We went over at 8pm to teach them, and we had a lesson where there whole family (7 people) participated and they were crying and saying how much they wanted to come to church and overcome their problems. The kicker: they texted us earlier in the day to tell us not to come over because they'd had a fight, but we just got a bunch of "no content" messages to our phone. First time I've ever been thankful our phone is kind of junky, blessings! They were all at church today :)

Sunday was an amazing day at church too! We had 134 people there today, when I first got into this area, 110 was a good average (for their Spanish-speaking branch/congregation). We had a recent convert blessing the sacrament, another one passing (the sacrament), the whole Pacheco family was there, Alberto, Maira, and Esteban all got was just wonderful. It's so cool to see how much the Lord is blessing us in this area. 

We're excited for the upcoming week, with General Conference! What is General Conference?

The only scary part is that next Tuesday (Oct. 7th) is transfers (transfers are help every six weeks and missionaries could move to another area within the mission). I'm hoping and praying I don't leave this area, I love the people here with all my heart, I do not want to leave!

Ayari - the daughter of one of the families that he is close to!

I just want to share a quick testimony of our Savior. I know that He lives and is at the head of this church. He and The Father love us so much that they provided a plan for us to return to live with them in eternal happiness one day: the plan of salvation. Through the gospel, we can learn about this plan and how we can apply it to our lives. Also, I've gained a strong testimony of the atonement of Christ and what he did for us, so that we can return and be happy with him one day.

I also love the last verse of the song "Abide with Me": "Abide With Me""Abide With Me"

3. I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour.

What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?

Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!
Abide with Me!

I love y'all so much! I can't believe we're already to October. Before you know it, it'll be Christmas! (the next opportunity we get to talk to him by phone/skype)  This is crazy :) I hope everyone back home is doing well. Thanks for all your love and support! And no worries, I'm healthy and happy and smiling and just all around thankful for all the blessings in my life. 

Love always, 


P.S. We met Allie and Nathalie at Kneaders on Saturday morning so we could teach Allie and get delicious French toast (Kneaders is kind of like an Atlanta bread company, but with a heavier emphasis on breakfast). While we were there, the conversation came up of whether or not they'd want their parents to come with them to breakfast. Jarvy (Elder Jarvis, his companion) and I just looked at each other and we were both, at the same time, like "man, what I wouldn't' give to go to breakfast with my parents."  (I'd love to have breakfast with my boy!!) I love and miss y'all and Savannah and Sophia so much. I'm so thankful to be able to have y'all as my eternal family :)

(From his email to his Aunt Tammy)

Hey Aunt Tammy!!
I'm glad you're back in the south though Aunt Tammy, now I just gotta get back so I can go and visit :)

This week has been crazy! We did have some more baptisms, and I sent some more photos my mom's way, so she should be getting those up on the blog. Total, I've probably gotten to participate in close to 20 baptisms, which is pretty spectacular to see all those people participate in an ordinance that will allow them to work towards an eternal family. 

I'm looking forward to hearing the prophets speak (at General Conference) and answer my questions. I've got a few about what I should do post-mission, and I bet they'll help give me some guidance. We're gonna try and go downtown for one of the sessions (General Conference in held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City), so I'll try and take some pictures :)

New word of the week: vislumbrar - to glimpse or make out in the distance. sometimes, it requires faith to move forward, because we can only vislumbrar the future or what will happen, but our Heavenly Father knows and loves us and wants the best for us :)

I love you so much Aunt Tammy, can't explain how excited I am to see you soon! The time is quickly approaching :)

Love always, 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scottie with a prior companion, Elder Chavez!

Hey Family!

Sorry I haven't emailed an update in a while...we've been crazy busy, and then I got super bad  food poisoning last week, but I'm feeling so much better now. So here's some of the highlights of the last few weeks:

So over the course of the last 3 weeks, the work here has just exploded. The Lord is truly blessing us in our efforts to invite others to come unto Him.

It all started on September 2nd when we had our Mission Leadership Council (for all Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the Salt Lake City West Mission - Scottie is a Zone Leader). The meeting started at 6:50 AM, but we're used to getting up early so it was no biggie. The first hour of the meeting was led by Elder Arnold of the Quorum of the 70, and that was intense. He's got a very strong, type A personality. He kind of tore into us about making sure we were doing everything possible to be the examples to the mission, since we were the zone leaders and sister training leaders. He explained that our divine motivation for everything should be helping our brothers and sisters return to their Heavenly Father. Just the way he explained everything got us all fired up. We also talked about goals for the mission. Later in the meeting, Pres. Swain said that too many people in the mission weren't hitting the standards of excellence, so he lowered them and we all made a plan to get every companionship hitting them, then we'd move them back up. He changed the standard from 15 lessons with a member present to 10. Jarvis and I were already hitting the 15 mark, so we made goals to keep that going higher as well as get more baptisms in our area.

At the Mission Leadership Council

Throughout that week, we really applied everything we learned and were really bold with baptismal invitations. We invited 5 people to be baptized, and they all said yes! It was so exciting and just a testimony to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel, I love it.

Fun note, on Thursday, 9/4/14, we went down to Temple Square, and I saw Ayala Noguiera (the girl with orange hair that's dancing in that picture of me that's on the site haha): Scottie and Ayala on church website (Ayala is from our area, they attended youth activities together before their missions), she serves as a Temple Square Sister (missionary) right now. 

Elder Jarvis, Levi, Pepe and Scottie at Temple Square

On Friday, 9/5/14, I started feeling sick with a cold/flu-like symptoms. That was no fun, and it had me exhausted haha. Life is good though! Our zone training went well and hopefully I'll get better soon!

Happy Birthday Sophia (Scottie’s youngest sister)!!!!!! 9/6/14. I can't believe she's already 14, how fast is time flying?!?!

9/7/14: Today, Jarvis and I spoke in stake conference
(a meeting for all congregations in the stake/area where he is serving), and I think that went well. Then we had our first meeting with Alberto. He's the brother of a recent convert in our branch, and he's been to church twice, but he just moved in with them for the foreseeable future, so we met with him tonight. He shared his strong desire to be baptized, and we felt impressed to invite him to be baptized in two weeks (since he'd already been to church a few times), and he said yes! We're way excited for that. Then, we did a fast today so that Allie (investigator) would be able to get permission from her parents to get baptized. She said that she talked to her parents again, and they didn't say yes, but they opened up and were okay with her going to church and stuff! The power of fasting is real!

9/11/14: I can't believe it's been 13 years since the attack on the twin towers. All I can say is I'm proud to be an American and live in a country that gives me so many freedoms. I'm thankful to all those who have sacrificed so that I can have these freedoms, and I'll always keep them in my prayers.

9/13/14: The cold I've been having hit its peak today. In the morning, Elisa called us and asked if we could help them pull things out at their house for a yard sale, so we got to help with that, and then she gave us some medicine. It made us super sleepy, so as soon as 9pm hit, we were home, planning, and asleep haha.

9/14/14: Today was an awesome Sunday...until 10:40pm. It was a truly good day at church and everything, all went really well and we had a few good lessons after church. Our dinner was dropped off to us, pupusas de chicharron. Jarvis wasn't hungry so he didn't eat, but I
did. After FHE
(Family Home Evening) with the Balderas family, we got our numbers report ready, called it into the assistants....and that's when my stomach started doing backflips. Around 10:40 I threw up for the first time....and then did it every half hour until 10 AM the next day. I didn´t get any sleep, and it was rough.

Some of the "numbers" the Zone Leaders have to report

9/15/14: Monday. It was a recovery day for me. I tried to sleep, didn't eat anything all day, tried to get some liquids in me, but I threw those up for a while haha. When Jarvy (Elder Jarvis, his companion) went to play ball (It was p-day/preparation day), he dropped me off at the Balderas’ house so Pepe could be my companion for the afternoon, but I was just trying to get some sleep in. They're such an awesome family, they truly treat me like family and look out for me. I got home around 6:30, fell asleep at 7, and that's all I remember until 8am on Tuesday.

9/16/14: Tuesday. Today was much better! I still can't eat much, but I wasn't throwing up as often, only a few times all day. We did our District Leader Training meeting today, had an awesome lesson with the Santana family (getting baptized on the 27th of this month), and then

9/17/14: Wednesday. We spent all afternoon biking copies of the Book of Mormon all over the zone to get them to missionaries. The shipment we ordered got delayed, so they finally got here and people needed them really bad haha. We dropped off about 100 of them on bike, which was fun. We had some good lessons today. I'm still not hungry, and I feel a little weak, but I'm getting there!

9/19/14: Friday. Man, I finally got to feeling mostly better. First day since Sunday I haven't thrown up haha, so I'm a happy camper. Today was chill, just some solid lessons and getting Alberto ready for his baptism tomorrow.

Scottie with his Zone - The Granger B Zone!

9/20/14: Today was an amazing day. We spent all morning participating in the stake community fair, we set up a missionary table there! It was cool. Then, we went home and discovered a small problem. Some onions in a cabinet we don't use too much had rotted, and when we opened the cabinet for the first time in a while, there were bugs and this disgusting black juice everywhere. Let's just say I was thoroughly grossed out. But we manned up and spent about 2 hours deep cleaning our kitchen, which is super clean now! We had dinner with Pres. Atwater, then the baptism of Alberto. Even though he showed up half an hour late haha, it was one of my favorite baptisms of my mission. His sister gave the talk on baptism, his brother-in-law, Emmanuel, baptized him, and his 2 little nephews gave the prayers. It was beautiful. I'll send pictures!

Elder Higgins, Emanuel, Alberto and Elder Jarvis (and one of the Sanhchez children)

Alberto and his sister's family

9/21/14: Sunday. Today was an interesting day for us. The Ogden Temple got rededicated today, so all normal church services were cancelled. Kind of weird to tell our investigators not to come to church one Sunday haha. We went to the first of 3 dedication ceremonies, and it was beautiful. Elder Bednar and Pres. Monson spoke, it was really cool to see. We had all afternoon open to visit with people, so we enjoyed that opportunity with 4 lessons. Then, we had pozole (one of his favorite Mexican dishes now!) with Hermano de Alba, taught Braka, and then had family home evening with los Balderas. It was a wonderful day, and numbers were really good this week! We had 24 lessons this week, and the other 13 companionships in the zone added on another 87 lessons, so our zone total was the highest it's ever been: 111 (with members present). Then, we had 18 new investigators and 13 new returning members. Things are looking good for the Granger B zone! Life is good, I'm feeling healthier, and looking forward to another week :)

Love always,


(From his emails to his Aunt Tammy):

Hey Tía Tammy!! (Sept 8th)

My last week was super, sounds like yours was too! 

I am so glad that I stayed here, this area is amazing (He did not get transferred to a new area). Things are going so well. We added two new families this last week, the Santana family and the Barragan family. 

My biggest mental challenge has been just learning self-control in timing. It's all up to us to make sure we're working hard all the time, nobody is on us about it all the time. But to have success in missionary work, you have to be diligent all the time, so you have to dominate self-mastery. My mission has truly taught me how to love people and understand people from different walks of life. I've truly connected with Hispanic culture as well, and I love it. It's cool seeing the world through the eyes of a different people, you learn so much. 

New word this week: inolvidable - unforgettable. Every week, I have experiences that are unforgettable. 

I'm doing so well. I love and miss you like crazy though. I've met people in this area that will be lifelong friends though, so hopefully you'll get to meet them one day. They said they're going to come visit Georgia when I'm home, so we'll see :) 

I love you!


Hey Aunt Tammy! (Sept. 22)

Yeah, being sick was no fun, but I'm much better now :) 

I'm glad you had a great trip to GA (she currently lives in Iowa but was visiting), I miss it so much. The picture you sent of the beach (Tybee Island) was gorgeous, looked like it was a professional shot. I can't wait to go to the beach.  

Tyler (Tammy’s son, Scottie’s oldest cousin, he is currently living in Savannah) looked really good too, glad you got to see him. 

I'm doing well now, no worries! :) 

Word of the week: recuperar - it means to get better or recuperate haha, thought it was fitting for this week. 

I love you Aunt Tammy, can't believe it's almost October, just closer and closer to seeing you! 

Hope you have a week that's as awesome as you are. 

Love always, 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

(August 25th): This last week has been pretty awesome! Here's some of the highlights:

(8/18) - We started the week off with a sweet trip to Kneaders for all you can eat French Toast on Monday - so good!! We spent Monday afternoon at the Walker's home for their missionary barbecue, but I couldn't enjoy
it as much as I would have hoped, still getting over whatever stomach bug I had. But it's all good! We went out at night, helped Hermano de Alba (elders quorum president) with some things, taught Hermana Rodriguez, and that was that!

(8/19) - I hit 14 months on Tuesday (14 months out on his mission!), that's pretty crazy! We spent part of the morning trying to get Jarvy's (Elder Jarvis) bike fixed, it's in pretty janky shape right now (someone fell on it and taco-ed the back tire). Then, we had a mission-wide meeting for all Spanish missionaries about a new Spanish Initiative program the church is going to pilot here in the valley, we're excited about that. If you want to see it, go to (it's all in Spanish...but maybe Savannah could help y'all read it). We ate dinner with de Alba, taught Braka, and then had a great lesson with Allie. She's progressing so well and we're just super excited for her.

(8/20) - Wednesday was a pretty normal day, nothing too exciting to report. It was good though :)

(8/21) - On Thursday, we started off on exchanges (where they pair up with another set of missionaries and switch companions). I was with Elder Dunford in our area for the morning (he's from the Coal Mountain ward of our
stake (our stake here in Georgia) and went to GA Tech with me), and that was awesome. We were going to do exchanges all day, then Jarvy remembered that someone in his last area was going to the temple so he got picked up for that, and I spent the night with Levi and Pepe (members of his local branch/congregation) as my companions. We had dinner with Barboza, taught a few lessons, and then switched back up with
Jarvis. Busy day, but good day :)

(8/22) - Friday was good! Elder Chavez gave a really good district meeting, and then we did some weekly planning. We helped Nefi do his ice bucket challenge too, it was pretty funny. Dinner was awesome though! Elisa
Balderas made homemade chicken and waffles. We also joke that it's my favorite food since I'm from the south, and she actually made it! It was so good, I was impressed. Then, we taught a few lessons, met a new family to teach (sweet!), and then headed home.

Elisa making Chicken and Waffles!

Yum, yum!!

(8/23) - Saturday was awesome. We spent the majority of the morning down at Temple Square with Allie, Nathalie, and Levi. We did a bit of a tour, then watched the longer version of the restoration movie. Allie is really gaining a testimony, it's so cool to see! We came home, then had this incredible dinner with the Nava family. They're way chill and from this rancho in Guerrero, Mexico. The meat (I didn't know what it was) was super good, and I ate like 5 tacos and a ton of this broth stuff. I asked what the meat was afterwards (I couldn't ask during because there was some mystery parts that weren't meat, and I didn't want to ruin the experience haha). Turns out, it was chivo (sheep). The mystery parts: stomach. They killed the chivo after they bought it from a farmer the day before, cut up all the meat, then put it in the stomach with garlic and cilantro and other stuff. Then, they cook it in the oven, then when it's done, they chop it all up together. So it was one of the more awesome meals of my mission. I loved it.

Afterwards, we went to Gerardo's farewell (a kid from the branch). He leaves on his mission in 2 weeks for Mendoza, Argentina, so that's awesome! We ended the night with the Rodriguez family, they said they'll be at church tomorrow so we're excited for that.

(8/24) - Awesome Sunday today. We had branch council in the morning, then regular church (except we ended up teaching the gospel principles class and the elders/high priests, even though we weren't told that until about 5 minutes before each class haha - life of a missionary). The classes went well though, we talked about tithing in one and the keys and authority of the priesthood in the other. It's such a blessing to have the restored gospel and priesthood here on earth to help us draw closer to our Heavenly Father. After church, we had a stake correlation meeting, then we went with the Balderas family over to Nava's to eat more chivo - I really liked it haha, and the company is awesome. Then we met and taught the Santana family for the first time, then we went over to the Balderas family's for family night. We started off doing the ALS ice bucket challenge (Jarvy and I got nominated haha), I'll try to send the video (he did try to send it, but we never got it!). Then, we dried off, had a lesson, then finished up the FHE (Family Home Evening) with a fun activity/game. Then we came home, did numbers, and another week is in the books!

This upcoming week is transfers. Almost every companionship in our zone is getting changed in some way, but Jarvy
(Elder Jarvis, his companion) and I are staying put, so I'm way excited! We'll be in this area through October Conference at least!! (transfers take place every 6 weeks) Life is good :)

I just want to share my quick testimony that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church restored in these latter days. I know, without a doubt in my heart, that the priesthood
has been restored, and that through that priesthood we can participate in the ordinances that will allow us to return to our eternal families one day. I have seen my faith and testimony grow so much, and I'm thankful for the blessing of my mission. Christ lives, and as our Savior and Redeemer, he is always there for us to help us return to our Heavenly Father. Through His grace and atonement, we have the opportunity to get better each day. True and complete happiness can be found in the Gospel. I've seen it, I've watched it change people's lives (including mine), and I love being part of it. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. :)

I love you Madre, I hope you know that. I always will.Life is good though :) I'm feeling much better, and I just can't seem to stop smiling lately. Life is really good.

Sept. 1st/Labor Day: 
How are you! Mama, I'm so sorry you fell!! (I took a bad fall down a set of concrete stairs leaving church!) For real, that looks so painful. I wish I could just take all the injuries on myself, I hope you're okay!

Me, in the hospital after my fall!

My finger, before they cut my ring off!

I'm doing well this week, healthy and such. How are you feeling? I love you so much!

As a zone leader, we stay so busy and have to run around so much that our cooking is highly limited. But I'm okay, healthy and whatnot, no worries.

I'll try and send the long update later, I'll send a picture of the baptism we had this week.

Scottie with President Atwater, Kimmy, Jessica, their mom and Elder Jarvis

The Rodriquez girls get baptized!! 

Hey, we gotta go get ready for tonight. I hope you know how much I love y'all and how much I miss y'all. Just a heads up, it's looking more and more like May 5 will be the release date for me, so I'll let you know when it's official, but that's probably gonna be it. 

This upcoming week we'll have mission leadership council (tomorrow actually) and Elder Arnold from the Quorum of the 70 (General Church Leadership) is gonna be there, that's another kinda cool perk of being a zone leader. 

I love y'all so much. I love this work. I love this area. I've met people in this area that I'll be friends with forever. And the Balderas family is my family away from home, just know I'm being taken care of out here. 

I can't wait to email  you next week! I'll have more prepared and try to take more pictures haha. Love everyone, be safe, and enjoy the week!


(From his email to his Aunt Tammy): 
 (8/25) - 

Hey Tía Tammy :)

This last week has been awesome, life is just really good and face-paced out here
It'll be so cool to have you back in GA with us Aunt Tammy :) (She is planning on moving back to Georgia) I'm excited!

This week, I've continued to learn the importance of the Gospel. It amazes me how much it can help and change people's lives and outlooks on life. We have transfers this week, but Jarvis and I are staying put, so I'm excited about that. Jarvis is the man, love this guy. And I love this area, I don't ever want to leave haha. 

New words: chikiwiti - it's the name of the container that people put tortilllas in (a slang term used in the state of Guerrero, Mexico). It's pronounced: cheek-ee-whit-ee. That's fun :) And we ate sheep cooked in its own stomach this last that's pretty fun and interesting haha :)

We're seeing great progress in the area. The Rodriguez kids are planning on getting baptized on Friday, so we're excited about that!

The thunderstorms have been kind of cool...they're less cool when we have to be outside biking around in them though, but that's life! And life is good, no complaints here :) 

I love and miss you tons too Aunt Tammy.

I can't wait to see you soon!