Monday, September 30, 2013

Subject lines are the worst....I don't know what to put...

How are ya'll doing at the start of another week?  Does time go really fast back in real life too?  Cause it sure does here!  Thank you so much California and Eagle Mountain Porters for your letters!  That picture Mia drew was priceless.  Each letter and picture is hanging up on my wall, so thank you so so much!  And thank you Mom and Dad for the articles on the stars, the CANDY and for the tie!!  I have been craving some chocolate so that hit the spot real well, and that tie is SO cool.  So thank you all:)  Oh and guess of the Less-Active families in the branch had us over for dinner and they gave us MALTA!!!  I was so pumped.  Thanks for getting me used to that stuff Kendell, you're a life savor. 
Winston just went into the MTC on Wednesday, that means the very last of us is out!  It is so cool to think that all my good pals are doing the same stuff as me!  I have been so blessed to have such amazing family and friends to keep me in order.  We (the guys and I) started emailing pictures of stuff to each other.  Mine always are of a desert scene or a sun set...Jake's are of amazing castles and crap.  Boooo!  Deserts for LIFE!
There isn't a ton to do around here, there is only one "fun" thing to do and its closed most of the time.  So for a fun time the people down here drink beer. Lots and lots of beer.  I love talking to drunk people too, it is so funny.  There are a few positives about all the beer, one of them is that its funny, but an even better one is the bottle caps.  I started collecting beer bottle caps 2 weeks ago.  By last week I had 50 different kinds.  Now I just pick up 5 or so from every house we go to.  I'm gonna make a giant Texas flag out of them.  A real work of art:)
Mom, this paragraph is mostly for you.  I cook my own thing every night.  I haven't had Ramen even once!!!  I'm all about the noodle combos.  I have yet to be disapointed.  We can only eat at members house's 3 times a week, but it usually ends up being 1.  I don't care though cause I enjoy cooking!  (WEIRD)  Also, I do the dishes.  Hand wash, every meal.  Not just mine but my companions too.  I don't understand why dish washers were even invented.  It is so much faster to hand wash!!  Sorry if you disagree all the moms who read this.  :)
One of the things I have learned while being here is that the Lord always has a back up, but its actually his first choice...if that even makes sense.  Every night we plan for the next day and we come up with 2 or 3 back ups for each appointment.  A lot of times we can get in to one of those, but sometimes nothing works.  But we always ALWAYS find someone outside one of the houses, and they are always at least a little interested.  One example of this is a man named Adam.  We had just tried our 3rd back up, no one was home, but as we walked back to our car we saw a neighbor taking out the trash.  We started to talk to him, his name is Adam and he had already talked to missionaries a little bit in the past.  He was extremely negative about our views.  I don't know how it happened (actually I do, the Spirit) but we ended up talking him for about an hour.  We had found him on day 2 of his quest to quit being a Pot Head.  He was struggling.  We told him that the next day we had a Addiction Recovery Program at our church...he went!  Afterwards, we dropped by his house and he was talking about how that couldn't be a couincidenc (I have no idea how to spell that and this comp wont correct me!!).  Then he was expressing some doubts about our modern day prophit and wanted to hear him..."Well actually, next Saturday you can.."  Mind blown.  Needless to say he is pumped about the way God is trying to help his life.  I hope all works out!!
Well, I end every letter like this but...I LOVE IT.  Every second is so amazing.  So yeah...I still love it!:)
I love and miss you all so much!  Be safe and I'll talk to you next week!
~Elder Porter~
P.S.  Mom, for my birthday I don't want anything special.  BUT could you do me this one favor?  Get a CD and put Clair De Lune on it 10 times haha.  For real.  You can get the song off my iTunes or download it for free from the internet.  I have been craving that song so much!  Anyway, I love you:) 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Texas 09/23/13

Well Hello!
I'm glad you got my letters and email!  From now on you should hear from me on Mondays, as long as nothing random happens.
CONGRATS ABBY AND KAM!!!   I was so pumped earlier this afternoon when I got your letter.  I cant wait to see a a little red-head running around in a couple years, then Kam wont feel so left out with his red beard.
Jesse...your arm really did look disgusting.  Like on Harry Potter when they accidently take the bone out of his arm haha good stuff.  I hope you are healing well, but dont forget about how gross that arm looked!  I'd keep a picture with me all the time. 
Joe.  I hear there is some pretty sweet new advances with the iPhone.  5s and 5c right?  That blows my mind, so I hope to hear more about it soon. 
I still love it here in Texas!  Everyday it gets more and more ugly, but I also begin to notice more and more amazing things about it!  There are a billion cats and dogs everywhere you go.  They just follow us as we walk down the street.  Most of the dogs are chihuahuas too, unfortunate.  It rained on Thursday and it was a much different expereince than I have ever had in Utah, that is for sure!  It didn't stop all day.  It just rained and raid and since there isn't grass anywhere everything was SO muddy.  I'll tell you more about that later in this letter though.  The sunset and sunrise is pretty much the highlight of my day.  It is out of this world.  There aren't mountains, and that sucks, but those sunsets make it ok.  The stars, oh my gosh. Life changing.  I have never been able to see both Orion and Casiopea in the same sky on the same night!  Who knew the mountains and all those city lights covered up so much.  I am so interested in the stars and in space in general, I'm excited to learn more about that in school when I get home.  But for now will you send me a couple articles or some info or something about a few star type things?  Arcturus and Pleiades pleace :).
So every Thursday we have "bike day".  We usually drive, since our area is so huge, but every Thursday we bike.  So yes, I was able to put my bike together Dad, I actually really enjoyed playin with it.  Last Thrusday was the day it was POURING all day, so I was so pumped.  We head out and are just getting drenched from the first minute.  Elder Greenman and I were trying to do some sweet skiding mid-puddle, it was so so so much fun!  We had a teaching appointment with some Mexican family we had met on Wednesday at the Library (where we email).  They just so happen to live the farthest away from our appartment as possible.  I didn't mind though cause it was a dream.  We get there after like 30 min of biking, soaking wet and muddy.  We see them in the back so we go to talk to them.  The lady was like "no, we cant today, come back tomorrow", and nothing we could say made her realize what we just went through to get there.  It was pretty frustrating.  Then Elder Greenman just gives this power house testimony about how the Gospel blesses families and how we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't know it was true (this is all in Spanish, wahoo).  They decided to let us teach.  We gave a pretty solid Restoration lesson and the spirit was pretty strong, needless to say we have a return appointment.  But this is the best part...THE LADY OWNS A TACO TRUCK!  We are now loyal customers every Monday morning at 5;20 AM (today was the first).  I love it.
We teach this lady named Sandy and her family.  They met her the day before I got here, but I have been here for all the lessons.  She's a dream.  She ask so many questions and just wants to learn so it is really easy to teach her!  She commited to Baptism last week and things have been going great.  She thinks the Word of Wisdom is the best thing ever and loves the Law of Chastity.  Except she is living with her boyfriend.  She has been doing everything she can to get him to agree to marrage but so far nothing has worked out.  She has so much faith though, so I know she'll find a way to get things done, no matter how long it takes. She lives in these appartments that are full of insane Mixican people.  We teach like 5 people around there so everyone knows us and they all talk to us!  Most people here are so friendly, its the best!
Missionary work is a dream.  I'm so happy to be here.  I work really really hard everyday, but it has already started to pay off.  Things are going great with me:) 
I love you all so much and miss you like CRAZY!  But all ya'll will be way better in 2 years ;) 
Love you!!

~Elder PoRtEr

Here are some cats and some STARS!  You can't see them very well, but I was pumped my little camera could get some in there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So Sorry

Elder Caleb Porter
1600 North Sunset Ave #3
Fort Stockton, TX 79735

I'm so sorry I couldn't email you before!! We didn't have any time
when I got out here and one of my companions was throwing up all day
on p-day (Monday), so we didn't get out of the apartment.  I wrote you
a letter, but I'm sure this will still get to you first.  I love all
of you, don't worry.

SO.  I got out to Lubbock last Monday, we had 1.5 days of meetings
about learning how to be a missionary for real.  It was pretty
intimidating and way way WAY boring haha.  On Tuesday morning we got
our assignments.  I am in a little baby town called Fort Stockton!
Population just under 8000. My address is 1600 N. Sunset Avenue #3
Fort Stockton, TX 79735. So now you can all write me;)  I have two
trainers, Elder Greenman and Elder Moyer.  I get along really well
with them both, so I lucked out.  We are the only 3 missionaries
around here.  Our area is huge, but its just a ton of small cities, so
we stay in Ft Stockton for most of it.  We all three are Spanish
speaking missionaries, but since we are the only ones around we just
teach everyone.  Right now most of the lessons are in English and most
of the street contacts are in Spanish.  It's gonna take me longer to
learn Spanish all the way, but its whatever.

I freaking love it.  Remember how ugly all those pictures of Lubbock I
looked up were?  Well its worse.  Haha it's exactly what I pictured it
would be.  Half the people we talk to don't have teeth, they are all
religious (Bible belt, duh), and all drunk.  I've been collecting
different beer bottle caps so, I'm pretty excited about that.

We serve in a branch, there is no ward.  Both English and Spanish go
to it and the Branch President and his wife are missionaries from
Saint George.  There are about 15 active members.  It blows my mind.
There were 15 teachers in my teachers quorum at home...its a BIG
difference!  I'm the ward pianist...I hope that gives you an idea
about how things are! Haha, but for real, I love it.

We are super busy every day, lots of teaching appointments, so that's
really good.  We spend a lot of time working with less active members,
doing whatever we can to get them to come back out.

Whenever we contact people we go HARD!  We pretty much invite every
person we see to be baptized.  It never works because they always have
already been baptized and refuse to accept the whole "authority"
issue.  All day, non stop, we are testifying of Joseph Smith.  You
know, I've always known that he restored Christ's true church, but I
don't think I actually realized like how big of a deal that is!  We
talk a lot with the JWs.  They just yell at us and stuff, its a dream.

I can't help but smile.  All day long.  It blows my mind that I have a
message that can will change peoples lives.  I get pumped about it.  I
wave at every body I see, I have always done that, to an extent, but
out here people wave back!! EVERY TIME!  I really love how kind the
people are.

Anyway, I don't have a lot of time, since we're just squeezing this in
on a random day.  But I love you so much.  I miss you all every single
day.  I love it here.  I love being a missionary.  Church is true.  Be
baptized.  Write me.  And...LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2 fortnights

So, after two very long fortnights in the MTC...I'm finally leaving!  We got travel plans on Friday night.  We had a big ol' fiesta in our room.  Thanks to Mom, I was able to supply everyone with food.  As it gets closer and closer to being time to leave I'm beginning to feel a little bit nervous, as you can expect.  But don't even fret.  I'm MUCH more excited than nervous.  Things will turn out fine no matter what, so why not just be pumped about everything? Haha.  The group heading to Lubbock has 24 missionaries, including Tom and Stu.  We meet together at 2:30 am here on the main campus, then head up to Salt Lake.  Our flight leaves there at 6:25and arrives in Dallas at 10:05 (I assume that is Texas time?).  I will probably have time and permission to call home during the layover here!  So Mom, be by your phone between like 9:30 and 11:30 on Monday morning.  I definitely don't know anyone else's numbers so, just get over it and ask Mom how I am.  We leave Dallas at 12:55 and arrive in Lubbock at 2:00.  I cant wait to find out what its like to be a real life missionary.  And I cant wait to find out how much Spanish I really know.  Oh baby, exciting times!!!
I had a pretty funny experience with the Pride Cycle this week:  
So when I get to the MTC everything is hard and I hurt and stuff, naturally a humbling experience.  I worked really really hard and prayed a whole bunch and I start to progress faster and faster, getting more confident, loving life.  Now here is the funny part.  I decide to break a record here at the MTC...Most Bowls of Cereal Eaten in One Day.  Previous record? 18.  So I began the day with a plan, 7 bowls a meal.  After breakfast I'm feeling pretty good about myself, feeling unstoppable.  Lunch? No problem.  Then I get to Dinner, this is getting hard.  Put I pushed through it!! Record broken, new record 21 bowls in one day.  Now, just imagine the kind of pride I'm feeling.  Definitely serious orgullo.  Thank heavens I wasn't destroyed via war against the Lamenites, but I was destroyed... Just picture Elder Porter, walking up to the lady in the book store and putting a little box face down.  The lady looks at it and begins to laugh a little bit.  As she scans it in she says "is this laxative all you need?".  Ouch.  For real though, I was so pumped about the record, I still am, but the whole next day was a rough one for me.  Point of the story?  BE HUMBLE!  :)
All of our usual teachers just started real school at BYU, so they all had to quit.  So right now we're just cycling through subs.  We had this one guy named Hermano Rios.  He was the best teacher I have ever been under the direction of, without question.  When we taught him he told us to teach him (as in don't pretend he's an investigator).  It was an unreal lesson.  The spirit was so strong and Elder Lammi and I were so pumped.  We started to ask him questions about his current relationship con Dios.  He paused for like 3 minutes and began to cry.  I was pretty weirded out.  I started to like sniff the air to see if Elder Lammi ripped a smelly one or something.  Then he finally started talking.  He spit out Spanish a billion words a minute about how since his mission, even though he has been trying to stay so close, he feels like he could do much much better.  I felt prompted to challenge him to do everything he can to invite others to Christ, just like on his mission.  It was so crazy because it was like a real thing!  We were really teaching, really inviting, really following the Spirit, really speaking Spanish!  I can not wait to have that be my life for the next little while.
I don't think there is much else to say about this last week....Thanks so much for the Disney songs, Abby and Val, and for the food, Mom.  I love you all so much!  
I'll talk to you on Monday (some of you hehe), and my next email will be from TEXAS! YESSS. 
Elder Porter

I draw quilts.  For real.  I just sketch them down haha, it is  pretty funny.  Thank you so much for all the packages.  I don't think I need anything specific.  Maybe a bar of soap, and toothpaste.  I guess I could think of things.  I love you, Mom! Miss you a ton.

Here is the picture of my district!  Elder Lammi is the guy pointing to Idaho, Elder Collins is the black one, and I'm pointing at Elder Roberts.  This was on my first day back.  Enjoy!!
Love youuu.

AH!! I forgot the most important thing in the real letter!! I TRACED OUR FAMILY TREE BACK TO ADAM AND EVE THREE DIFFERENT WAYS!!  WE'RE FAMOUS!!  Also to Priam and Paris and Hector (from the Iliad).  Pretty dang cool, I guess!  Haha, include that and the pictures in the blog?  Love ya!

About Me

Elder Caleb Porter is currently serving in the Texas, Lubbock Mission. Read his letters and see his pictures here!