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!



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