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, 


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