Monday, December 29, 2014

Puras Krizmas

Well.  Let me start off this email with the statement:   I'm an idiot.  Hahah.  Last week I wrote a zillion emails and letters and I realized on Christmas day that I spelled "Merry Christmas" wrong in all of them!  Hahaha I wrote "Marry".  At least I think I did.  Just know that I wasn't commanding you to marry Christmas, such an act would be dumb.  I was simply wishing you a merry, or happy, time haha.

Christmas was awesome.  It was so neat to be able to Skype with y'all!  I keep saying that time flies on the mission, and that is true, but no time flies faster than that hour of Skype.  It starts and ends all in the same instant.  I love y'all a whole lot!  After the call we played a really fun game with the Stromberg family called "The King of Tokyo". It was about being a monster and trying to be the first to kill Tokyo, sorry Betsy.  It reminded me of being home with y'all and playing games.  A good way to spend Christmas day.  At night we went over to our ward mission leader's house and ate some real good Carne Asada.  There was a HUGE crowed of people there.  It felt like the entire city of El Paso was crammed into that trailer.  Needless to say it was a blast.  I love Mexican culture haha.  They do Christmas a little weird, too.  They stay up on Christmas eve and then open presents at midnight.  I guess Santa must hit all the Mexican houses first cause my gifts never came until at least 5 AM.

Elder Gillette and I bought Brother Kelly a puzzle for Christmas.  It's 2000 pieces and has 2 giant kittens on it!  He loves it.  As soon as he gets back from his trip we're gonna put it together with him.  he's in Provo, actually, so keep an eye out for him!  I love that man.  He got us a whole ton of European candy and flavored popcorn for our present, he's a good guy.

The day after Christmmas we taught a guy named Carlos.  Carlos is legit.  He's been dating a member of the church for forever and finally on Christmas he woke up and decided he was ready for baptism.  They had just arrived in Odessa the week before so they figured out our number and gave us a call!  Thiers is a weird relationship..  He's from El Salvador and speaks pretty broken English, she's from Arizona and speaks no Spanish at all, but they still love each other I guess!  We teach him in 100% Spanglish.  The best, most fluent Spanglish that has ever left my lips. It's so fun.  I imagine I'll speak something like that when I get home.  He'll be baptized on the 10th of January.  Oh yeah, and for church they are gonna go to the last 2 hours of the second ward and then the first two hours of the Spanish branch.  That way they can both be nourished by the good word!

Wulp. It's new years time!  AKA time to set some real good resolutions and goals!!  There is a neat article about goals in this months Ensign that I studied yesterday. As far as I'm concerned the key to success in life and to accomplishing goals is to have the goal be a God Centered Goal. For example: if someone had the goal of graduating college in the top of the class, that is a really good goal, that shows what they believe they can achieve, but they don't have the very best perspective yet.  Why do they want to graduate at the top of the class? So they can get a better job.  Why do they want a better job?  So they can support their family, or have a flexible schedule, or whatever it may be.  Now if the person dedicates their goal to their future family, or dedicates that extra time to helping their family and God it becomes a God Centered Goal.  When you have a GCG you are fully entitled to have God's help in achieving the goal!  Neatk.  What are y'all's resolutions?

I love y'all so so much!  Have a really good week and stay warm and safe:)

Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amorim!

First off....I SAW A HAWAII LICENCE PLATE!!!  I have now seen all 50 states here in Odessa!  haha.

This week we had a ton of progress with one of our investigators named Francisco.  He's so cool.  He came to Church again this week, the only one this time, but that's still really good. AT church he met and talked to a lot of the members and he fits in like a charm!  The members already invited him to go play soccer with them and he's just a champ.  We set a baptismal date for the 3 of January.  Pack and I started teaching him about 4 months ago, but the only thing we had taught him was the Restoration and Plan of Salvation and the rest of the visits were just reading with him. He's going to California for this week so we thought it was important to teach him the Word of Wisdom.  We went over there, with Brother  Amorim, a member with a killer testimony on the WoW, and taught a real real good lesson.  At the end we asked him if he had any trouble with any of the stuff.  He told us that he probably should be eating healthier.  So we asked him if he had problems specifically about the 5 no-nos. He told us that he quit drinking beer right when we started meeting with him 4 months ago because it felt right, he stopped drinking Coffee and tea a few months ago after we said that we didn't drink coffee, and that the only think he thinks he'd like to change is to stop drinking caffeinated soda.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?! Talk about prepared.  Gosh. Then he asked us if he could just give us his tithing...before he even talked about it...wow.  What a guy.  The church is true!  I know God prepares people to accept this message. 

On Friday (my 18 month mark) we had a branch Christmas party.  It was so so so much fun.  I love the branch so much!  The primary kids got together and acted out a nativity.  All the shepherds had marker beards and the star was just a tin-foil ball on a PVC pipe hahaha. Brother Celso FLorez, the big guy from the picture I sent home last week, dressed up like santa and came and talked to us all.  Even Santa knows Spanish.   We ate menudo, it was like m y4th or 5th time eating it and It's not even bad anymore.  I'm basically a Mexican.  I showed a lot of the members a picture of my mullet back home and they loved it.  There is a member here who has a better one than I did.  All in all it was a KILLER night.  So much fun.  

On Saturday we got to go to the Temple AGAIN for the Amorim's sealing.  Man.  It was the coolest experience ever.  Brother Amorim is my favorite person I have met out here on my mission.  He grew up less active in Brazil, then came to America, got some girl from Columbia pregnant, so he learned Spanish and married her.  They lived in Houston Texas and were dirt poor and she was really sick.  One day he drove past one of our Church Buildings and the Spirit hit him real strong and ever since that point that family has been blessed.  He got active, she got baptized, they moved to Odessa, got a real nice job, had a healthy baby boy, moved into a big house and finally this week they got sealed as a family for time and all eternity.  They know their purpose as members and help us out so much.  I love them to death and I was so happy to be there at the temple with them.   On Sunday their faces were so bright and happy.  The light of Christ illuminated them just like in 3 Nephi 19.  

Cody went and did Baptisms for the dead that day as well, so it was a success!

I'M excited to call home on Christmas!  I love y'all so so much. Be safe and happy and have a really good Christmas!

Love,
Elder CAleb 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

17 Milagros

Ok.  I'm sure there actually were 17 miracles in my week, but I cant remember them so I'm only gonna talk about 3 or so. But I still wanted to title the email 17 miracles because of the neat movie haha.  

Miracle #1:  On Saturday we were extremly blessed to have been able to go to the Lubbock Temple to watch the Florez family get sealed for time and all eternity!  I love the Florez' so much.  They are just always so happy and a huge help to the work.  They have been trying for about 3 years to get worthy and active and all the paper work done to be able to go to the temple and it finally happened!  I felt the spirit really strong and I was so overjoyed to have been part of helping them get there.  Celso Florez, the father of the house, is so humble and was so happy to finally be there.  You could just see it in their eyes how much it meant for them to be a family!  I love that that is a principle of the Gospel. Families really can be together forever.  This Saturday we get to go AGAIN to watch my favorite member family, the Amorims, get sealed! How blessed am I?!

Miracle #2:  We had 4 investigators to church yesterday!!!  That is UNREAL!!  I think it's funny to read letters from missionaries in other missions cause they always talk about being sad they only had 10 investigators at church haha. 4 is a miracle and we were pum
ped!  Tania and Nadia, the daughters of a recent convert came for the first time.  I don't t think they enjoyed it very much haha, but it's alright.  We'll make it happen next time.  AN investigator named Caridad came for the first time, she is really really weird and I don't think she enjoyed it either. It was a disaster with her cause she told us she needed to be home by 12 but I thought she said 2, that dang Cuban accent kills me!!  She was pretty stressed about getting home, so I doubt the spirit touched here very much. THe best one though was that Fanscisco came.  He's an investigator that I've been teaching for like 5 months now.  WE had a killer lesson with him on Saturdayabout how Christ can heal him and he actually showed up the next day! He fits in perfectly with the members and they even got a job for him.  How neat is that!  He loved church and is planning on coming again.  Not too long from now and we'll get him a Bap Date. 4 investigators was really overwhelming, but way nice to end on that note.  Good good way to end a transfer. 

Miracle #3:  I'M STAYING IN ODESSA ANOTHER 6 WEEKS!!!  Can you believe it?!!?!  I am so happy.  That will make 9 months.  I know God answers prayers because He is letting me stay some more.  This is gonna  be a really good Christmas for me:)  I'll be staying here with Elder Gillette still as well.  I'm hoping to keep this progression happening and getting some good stuff to come.

One sad thing though, a non-miracle I guess, is that Tom is being transferred to Lubbock. It was such a blessing to have served around him for the past 7.5 months.  I love that kid so much.  He was easily the best district leader I've had, too.  He helped me out a lot in these last 2 transfers.  They were really hard ones, but he made it alright!!  He's also inspired me to change.  His example is killer.  I cant wait to see him again, all my friends a live Alma 17:2-3 for real.  It's neat to all be out here at the same time changing and growing so much.  It's gonna be cool to see how we all are in the end.

I love y'all so much!! Have a happy and safe week:)

Love,
Elder Caleb Porter 

The Florez family

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Night Stand

Well, this week was eventful!  Just kidding, not really eventful haha, basically just the same. But I still loved it!  
Elder Gillette has been having a really difficult time adjusting to missionary life.  He's just really sad all the time, that is a brutal attitude to have!  So this week we went on another exchange with Tom and his companion.  I got to be with Elder Harris again!  I love that kid so much!  I'd say between the three 24 hour exchanges we've had and all the time's I've giving him a ride and eatin with him in the last 4.5 months that we've spent and entire transfer's worth of hours together. He is so funny.  His family just moved to Saint George from Washington so guess what....now we can actually be freinds when we get home! Yay!! He goes home 6 weeks before me and y'all can meet him real soon after that! He'll go crap in our bathroom cause he has to do that every 3 hours since his large intestine is MIA.  

ALSO I got to do ANOTHER exchange this week with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Hansen.  Now that was a good time.  I have so much respect for that guy.  He's a way better ZL than I was, haha.  I can tell that he really just has such a sincere desire to help us out.  He loves us and in exchange we love him!  I also noticed how much inspiration zls actually get. He's was a pretty good missionary before, but now he is exceptional.  I know that God is helping him out so he can fulfill his calling to the best of his abilities.  I think it was the same for me.  When I was a zl I was much more effective and powerful.  Elder Hansen and I talked a lot about the work in the Zone and things we could do to make things work out or go more smoothly.  We talked a lot about Elder Gillette and what we could do for him.  All in all is was a day full of the spirit and revelation!  We even got to set up Brother Kelly's Christmas tree and help some random guy witth christmas lights.  It was a goood time.  At 7 we were going to an appointment we had and the mainest street in the city was shut down.  We tried to drive around it, but there were cars parked EVERYWHERE blocking all the other streets.  We parked and got out and it was dead silent.  I though for sure there was some kind of Zombie apocalypse going on, it was just like on I am Legend.  Anyway,we got out and walked a little bit and found out there was a Christmas parade and the whole town shut down to watch it!  So we walked in it and gave out a few cards haha.  It was a good time.  

Oh my word, how good was the Christmas devotional last night?!  I became a little girl and wept at every story.  I just love to hear about good people being good!! I want to be a good person and help out a lot of people.  I cant believe how selfish I have been.  I want to share more of what I have with those around me.  Thank y'all for your good example of being good and sharing love!  Y'alll have made a real big impact on my life and I hope I can be a good example of good for those who around me!!  I love you so much!!
Have a good and safe day! BE HAPPY!!
Love,
Elder Caleb 

PS>  Sorry this is a little shorter! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

turkey bowl

This week was Thanksgiving, as y'all already know, and it was real REAL fun.
Our Branch President and his wife had us over for dinner, the Muniz family.  I love them both so much! President Muniz is a really busy guy.  He is a salesman/installer of some random part in the oil field, he makes real good money, but is EXTREMELY busy all the time.  I have no idea how he manages work, family, and his calling.  It was one of the only times I've had to sit down with him and chat for a while.  They had a full house!  The Pena family, another family from the branch, and a couple other families form the 1st ward came as well.  It was so much fun and noisy!  It was just like I was eating with y'all except none of you were there....so basically the only similarity was the amount of people and the noise level.  I loved it.  I was hoping we'd eat a real mexican thanksgiving dinner, but it was just normal except with salsa on top of everything.  Everyone here eats Pecan Pie....I love that stuff.  It rivals Derby Pie.  At my Thanksgivings from now on I'll just make sure they have both haha.
The best part about thanksgiving, though, was the Turkey Bowl.  Easily the Turkey Bowl is my favorite even of the entire year.  This year was the first year I've played in 2 years so it was a real great time!  Gillette really didn't want to go at all, but he was extremely nice and decided to put up with it so I could go, I was real grateful for that. WE combined the first ward and the branch so there were enough to have two games going on at a time.  The Spanish Branch had 15 non-members there...CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!  It was so successful that they decided to play football every Saturday and we're invited and allowed to go:)  YAY!  My team went undefeated just how it should be. I accidentally tackled the Stake President on the last drive to secure the win.  In all reality he just tripped and I was near him, but everyone blamed me for it so they could move up 25 yard for the penalty haha.  All in all it was a really really good time. 
We also had a Zone Training this week that was really good.  Easily the best Zone training I have been a part of. THe sister training leaders taught us about the importance and power of using the book of mormon in everything.  THey showed us a neat technique to using it during our finds.  I have since applied that teaching and have seen HUGE success.  THere really is so much power in the word of God, especially the word of God that is unique to our church haha. The Zone leaders just lead a really good discussion about a few rules and stuff.  I am a really opinionated guy, I always have been, so whenever there is a conversation like that I always fight my point of view real hard. I had a hand in changing some of the rules and stopping some potential new rules, thank heavens haha. The best part, though, is that the Spirit was there and so powerful!  Even though we were debating in a sense, the spirit still testified to our hearts what needed to happen.  I felt extremely edified.  We all received a lot of revelation for the work in our specific areas.
Yesterday we picked up a new investigator names Lin.  Lin is straight from Cuba.  Let me just tell you this right now, Cuban should be it's own language.  Thank heavens we had a native member there with us for the lesson, because I could barely understand anything she said!  I like Tex-Mex a lot better haha.  She is very humble, though, and has a lot of potential.  I am excited to keep teaching her!
I love y'all so much! Be careful in the snow!  I don't have snow yet...but I bet y'all do!  
Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

 I decorated Tom's tree for him.  I went ALL OUT.
Thanksgiving, bad picture.

Monday, November 24, 2014

share the Gift

This week was another really good week.  I have been loving life a whole lot!!
In our branch there is a clan of Hernandez'.  The big 3: Juan, Lorenzo, and Beatriz.  These three plus 8 other siblings were all baptized in El Paso 8 years ago.  These 3 moved down here and the rest stayed in El Paso.  Their families make up probably 50% of the branch.  Juan is our Branch Mission Leader.  He's pretty inspiring but incredibly flaky.  He and his wife have 4 daughters, the oldest being 17 and the youngest is 7.  Lidia, his wife, makes the best food out of anyone in the branch, but she gets offended if we don't eat 2 plates so she's a reason I'm gaining weight.  I love them a lot.  Lorenzo is one of only 3 high priests in the Branch
 I thought it said Dork

.  He and his wife have 2 boys, one of them is on a mission and the other one is preparing for it.  I have never seen them stay for all three hours of chruch hahaha.  I love that family a lot too.  Beatriz is awesome, the older sister of Juan and Lorenzo.  She's got 2 sons, Gerrardo and Kevin.  Gereardo is 26 and has 3 kids of his own.  Ezikiel, his oldest, is the kid that Elder Pack and I baptized.  Kevin, Beatriz' other son is 10.  That sector of the Hernandez is my favorite probably.  Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this is just because we ate with a portion of hernandez every day this week!!  IT was neat. They make a lot of food. They showed me how to make chile verde, I'm gonna make that this afternoon.  It's another reason I love it here so much! 
Exchanges took place this week as well.  I was hoping to go with Tom but still no :(  He felt like he needed to go with Elder Gillette because he's been having some problems adapting to missionary life.  So I went with Harris again. I love Harris a lot.  I got to go to their area, so finally left spanish for a day. It was nice and relaxing.  It's kind of weird in an English area. We talked to a few people and each time I was so pumped because of how legit the people seemed, but Harris thought they seemed way uninterested.  We decided it's becaue even an uninterested white person is a lot more solid than an interested Mexican haha.  Ilove mexicans.  We spent the night walking around and playing duets on our harmonicas, real fun.
The Church is having a new Christmas initiative this year and it is SO SICK!! On Friday we drove down to MOnahans to learn about it and I am so pumped for the magic that is gonna happen!!  It's all about how Jesus Christ is the first Christmas Gift and the best one over.  The Church made a new neat video and a web sight all about about it, christmas.mormon.org.  It wont be open till blackFriday, but go check it out.  THat's not all though.  On December 7 the Church bought out every single advertismetn sport on yourtube...aka the only adds that will show is about Jesus Christ from the mormon church!  They anticipate 220 million people will view their video they made.  From Nov 28 to Jan 1 we will be advertising on a billboard in Time Square...right where they will have the ball drop for the new year.  We got a ton of cards to pass out, you'll get some too in the december ensign.  I am so excited!!  CHristmas is the best and I have really loved it a lot more on my mission!  It really is all about Christ! 
I love you all so much!!  HAve a really good week and be safe:)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Isaiah 40:28-31

Man!  It was such a good week this week!  I don't even know where to start!! 
MONDAY:  P- day (my favorite day of the year) was really good as always.  At night we had a Family Home Evening and dinner with the Rodriguez family and Cody.  For the activity I did that one thing where we turned off the lights and I told them to draw a lot of things in the pitch black.  It was really funny and fun even though there was no one younger than 19.  Thanks Dad for teaching me that one haha.  Then we gave a lesson about how Jesus Christ should be our light and how we need Him to do anything to its full potential.  For the treat we just did arm wrestles hahaha.  I was undefeated until their youngest son came home from the gym at the end of the lesson, he's only 15, but he looks at least 25 and is jacked out of his mind.  He squashed me.  The lesson still went really good though and we all had a great time.
TUESDAY: We got a new roommate in Brother Kelly's house!  Juaquine moved into his apartment with his family last week so we were back to normal, but that only lasted a few days.  Joseph Hauk (howk) is the new guy and he is way cool.  He's 35 and unmarried, but he's got a rock solid testimony and has enlightened our days quite a bit.  He served his mission in Ecuador, so he has been helping us a little bit with our Spanish as well. I have loved talking with him and getting to know him.  It's gonna be neat to have him for the holiday season.
WEDNESDAY:  We had Zone Conference and President Heap blew my mind, as usual.  He taught about how Jesus Christ, during His mortal ministry always went about "preaching, teaching, and healing".  President focused on the healing part.  He says that all too often missionaries go around and they teach and they preach, but they don't heal.  Not like Priesthood power heal, but like Holy Ghost, discerning needs, and applying Gospel heal. It really inspired Elder Gillette and myself and we have loved trying to apply what we have learned into the day to day stuff.  AND I GOT TO SEE STU GADD!!  It was so so so cool to have Tom, Stu and I all together again!  You know in the Book of Mormon when Ammon gets all pumped because he see's his bretherin? So pumped that he drops to the ground and loses strength?  Well that didn't happen to me, but I was still really happy.  We laughed so much.
THURSDAY: We did service at the Humane Society and I got to play with 7 little puppies.  It was pure bliss.  I love puppies.  Then we helped some lady from Tom's area move, she made us really good brownies.
FRIDAY:  THere was a Thanksgiving activity at the Chruch.  All the branch member made some kind of tasty food.  The best part was the brisket, easily the best I have ever had.  Texas and Mexicans know about their brisket. 
SATURDAY:  I ate a Ghost Pepper!!!  It's supposedly one of the hottest pepers and I just popped it into my mouth and ate it whole.  It was nuts.  My whole body hurt!  I felt like molten lava was pouring out of my ears and I had the hiccups for 5 hours, but other than that I suffered no damage hahaha.  I instantly earned the title of man though, in the mission.  Worth it.
SUNDAY:   We have a less active member in the branch named Jesus, he's 21.  He's been slowly progressing the entire time I've been here and I've gained a huge love for him.  Yesterday at church I felt like I should ask him to come out, I've asked him a million times before, but I tried anyway.  He agreed to come for 1 hour right after church!  We took him and our recent convert, Cody, to visit another less-active family in the branch.  We taught about Jesus Christ's atonement and about how we can apply it in our lives.  Both Jesus and Cody bore really good testimony and had some good comments.  Jesus, at one point in the lesson, shared a story about when he prayed for his dad's health and it happened, he explained how that was how he knew that God really does love us and that Jesus Christ really is the Savior.  The spirit was so strong.  The family we were visiting then opened up and explained a trial they are having in their life right now with a family member being extremely sick.  We were able to give them a blessing of peace and comfort.  It was such a killer lesson for all of us, we all were "healed" to some degree.  The best part, to me, is that Jesus set up a return appointment for us and offered to give us a ride.  He felt the spirit and he knows it's true, now he's being a missionary.
This work is the best.
I love y'all so so so much!! Have a really good week. 

Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

Monday, November 10, 2014

Big WC

On Wednesday morning I picked up Elder Gillette from the transfer sight here in Odessa.  So far I have really enjoyed my time with him.  He's from Park City and he looks and sounds just like Tanner Neilson, I doubt you remember him, but he was one of my pals.  Probably the best part about him though is that he LOVES Betos:)  Finally I have a comp who understands my constant ranting about Betos and the glory that in it is haha.  He even had a "last supper" with his friends at Betos the same way I did!  Thank heavens there is a store close to our new house, cause I'll need a burrito often at home.  Anyway, Gillette is way cool.  His Spanish isn't too bad, he's obviously new, but he is learning a lot every day.  It is so crazy to talk to him about home because home sounds a whole lot different than 16 months ago!  I almost cant relate on a lot of things because I don't know about any new things.  Oh well.  #blastinthepast
I got a letter from Elder Greenman, my trainer, this week and he reminded me of something we talked about a lot called "laser love".  It's just the idea of someone being so full of Christ-like Love that when they look at you you just feel so loved by them.  He was a really good example of that to me.  It had been a long time since I had thought about how important showing love for everyone is.  I prayed all last transfer to be able to love Elder Davis and I was miracles with it and just a few weeks ago I started to pray to be better at loving everyone.  Obviously I love the members here a lot, I tell y'
all about it every week haha, but I want to be able to love the random people I talk to everyday with that same intensity.  As I've been praying I really have been able to love a lot more.  I feel like the more love I have for others, the more love I feel from God.  It's a neat little cycle. As a missionary my life is focused on serving and loving others all day every day, the more I serve and the more I love the better I feel and the more I want to be better at serving and loving.  These past few weeks as I have been working on this have been the happiest weeks of my life.  YAY!
On Saturday I found out that a Less Active family I worked with in Fort Stockton a year ago just went to the Temple and got sealed!!  How neat is that!  They sent me a text and just thanked me for the influence I was on their family and in getting them to the Temple.  Man, I felt SO GOOD!!  I didn't even feel like I did anything for them, they weren't a focus or anything like that, but I still helped them out.  IT is so neat to see that my efforts really are making differences and helping people out. 
The Church is so true!  I cant deny it one single bit.  I just love it, everything about it.  I am so blessed, we all are!  God is real, Jesus is the Christ, and they love us!  They still love us.  They love us so much that they are still talking to us, the same way they did thousands of years ago.  Thomas Monson is a Prophet of God just like Moses, but on the earth today.  The Book of Mormon and the Bible and all the cannonised scriptures are true and have been given to us to help!  I know that God answers prayers, always.  How neat is it that we are able to have this knowledge in our lives?!  I feel bad for those who don't believe and if there are any of you who have doubts...JUST PRAY ABOUT IT!!  God will guide you.  Don't take my word. 
I love y'all so much and I will continue to pray for you as always!  Be safe and have fun!
Love,
Caleb

Monday, November 3, 2014

2 minutes

Well, transfer calls were on Saturday night!  I love transfer time because it's a real mystery on what's gonna happen. It stresses a lot of missionaries out, but I just love it.  Anyway, after 6 months (4 transfers) here in Odessa the Lord has called me to.....TRAIN in.....ODESSA SPANISH!  Hahah I get to stay here in Odessa and train!  I am so SO happy and excited!  I'll be getting Elder Gillette.  He's not brand spanking new, though, he's already had his first 6 weeks of training over in Seminole, so I'm just finishing it off.  I am PUMPED!  I am so grateful for this last transfer as well.  Elder Davis taught me a lot of things.  He's a really hard worker and wants to do the best he can in everything and I love that.  He's going to Dumas with 2 of my favorite missionaries out here so he'll have a real good time.  Man, the changes are so insane!  Every 6 weeks is just a blur and then it changes! 

This week we had a member of the 70 come to our mission and instruct us.  It was neat as can be.  This time it was Elder Pino, he's from Argentina and DOESN'T SPEAK ENGLISH!!  He spoke in Spanish and had some missionaries translate for him.  It was so special to me that he spoke Spanish.  I just tuned out the English translation and was edified by what he said.  To me, the fact that he was puro espanol was a blessing from God.  It's like He was telling me "Hey man, I know you're there in Odessa.  I know you're trying to learn Spanish.  I know it's hard.  You know I'm helping you out.  Here...enjoy My words in Spanish today as proof that you are doing well."  It was neat.  He taught a lot of really good things and I am so excited to go apply it to Odessa this transfer. I think it's cool how God speaks to us generally through the scriptures or his servants, and then the spirit brings it to a personal level.  So Elder Pino talked to the whole TLM (Texas Lubbock Mission) and I learned very specific things for Odessa Spanish. 

We also had a chance to go to the Temple again this week.  We went with the Spanish branch so guess what...that was in Spanish too!  Just another blessing.  I love the spirit you can feel at the temple, it's always needed.  I love the branch so much, y'all already know that, haha.  They took us to Golden Corral and we just had a great time talking and joking with them.  It's cool because most of them are converts of only just a few years, yet they are so faithful and everything!  I would never guess that they weren't raised in the church.  It gives me hope for some of my converts!

We didn't end up cooking waffles on Halloween, but we had SUCH a good time.  Tom and his comp and the ZLs came over and we played poker and used a lot of candy to bet hahaha.  None of us ate any of the candy, but it was still a lot of fun.  Tom and I laughed so hard remembering some funny things about Winston. Tom is staying too, and his comp as well.  I am so happy.  Ilove those guys a lot.

I finished Deuteronomy this morning.  It's funny cause I feel like I had developed a relationship with Moses as I've been reading his writings haha.  In the last chapter of Deut Moses gets to see the promised land and then he gets translated.  I was so happy for him as he saw that land!  It was like he was my best friend who had got the only thing he'd ever wanted!  Hahah I was even sad when it was over cause I felt like my pal had just moved or something!  The scriptures are real cool, I love them a lot.

Well.  I love y'all a whole bunch!  Be safe and know I love you!!

Love,
Caleb

Monday, October 27, 2014

ipads

Just kidding...there aren't any iPads yet haha. 
This week is...HALLOWEEN!! I really really REALLY like Halloween.  Not as much as Ben does, but I still like it a lot.  As a missionary, we cant dress up  BUT Elder Davis and I are gonna switch name tags and I'm gonna wear my tie all goofy like he does.  Being Elder Davis for Halloween is real scary stuff!  Brother Kelly will be on call on Halloween night, so he asked us if we could pass out candy for him.  We have to go in at 6 anyway, so we happily complied.  He bought over $900 worth of candy....for reals.  I counted it out and there is enough candy for a person to eat a full size piece of candy and a handful of little candies everyday for more 7.34 years.  HOLY CRAP!  How insane is that hahah.  He plans on there being a ton left over...I'm gonna get HUGE!  Tom and Elder Harris are gonna come over that night and we're gonna make waffles. I got a recipe for Applesauce and Applesauce Pancakes, so I'm gonna do that as well. Fun stuff going on this Friday

I was able to be part of a neat miracle this past week.  Some lady who is investigating the Church in Midland called the West Elders and asked if they could go give a blessing to her mom at the hospital here in Odessa.  Of course they were willing.  The mom only speaks Spanish though, so they picked me up so I could give her the blessing.  When we got there she was on life-support and they didn't expect her to live much longer.  A lot of her family was there and we needed to explain what the blessing was before they'd let us do it.  As I blessed her, though, I felt inspired to tell her that based on faith of her family she could be healed.  It was a neat blessing.  Then, a few days later we got a call to go back there and give another blessing.  This time the same woman was up and walking around, just a few hours from being discharged.  He family was amazed by the miracle and asked it we would give another blessing.  We did, of course.  This time as I blessed her I told her that God has a very special plan for her and she still needed time to get it all done.  It was so so neat to feel those words come to me.  I know that in both instances they weren't my words.  I'd be way to scared to make promises like that without some guidance!  Anyway, she's investigating the church now as well and her daughter who called us is getting baptized this Saturday.  It's cool to be able to be part of things like that.  Missionary work is neat.

This Thursday we have a mission tour.  It's just like a giant Zone Conference except with 5 zones.  One of the members of the 70 will be coming down to instruct us.  I am real excited.  Last time we had a gereneral authoruity it was Elder Walker and he inspired me a lot.  They asked me to lead the music.  I have no idea why they asked me...there are a lot more qualified people, but I gladly accepted the invitation!  I guess all those times leading the music in Priesthood opening exercise was worth it! 

Transfer calls are on Saturday. I can't believe how fast this transfer went!  It still feels like yesterday that Davis got here. I'm scared.  I've been in Odessa for 6 months almost and I don't want to leave!  I want to stay one more at least...and I want Tom to stay as well. I know I'm not in charge of the transfer board, that's the Lord's job, so I'll be happy and willing with whatever call comes. 

I love y'all so much.  Have a lot of fun this Halloween and be safe!!  DOn't forget to pray!

Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ebola is real

Don't worry.  I don't have Ebola despite the recent outbreaks in Dallas.  I live.
This week was neat.
I got to do an exchange on Wednesday.  I was pumped to be in Tom's district cause that meant I got to do an exchange with him.  That wasn't the case though ;( .  Elder Davis has been real upset and stressed with Spanish and our lack of teaching lessons, so Tom took him for the day in their area and I got Elder Harris, Tom's comp. No worries though cause I love Elder Harris.  Harris is cool cause he doesn't have a large intestine...they took it out.  Needless to say he poops all the time and they are really loud poops haha. The exchange kinda ended in disaster cause both Tom and Elder Harris got sick and we ended up inside at 8 trying to figure out what it was.  I had a lot of fun though.  Tom got a Salavary Stone, yikes, and Harris got the flu.  It was neat because the next day as they laid inside all helpless and stuff we cooked them dinner and brought it over to them!  Just call me the Relief Society President. The day after that Harris was still sick, but they had to teach a lesson to some guy, so we got to do a little mini exchange and Tom and I went and taught the lesson together.  It was so much fun.  He is a really good teacher. 
In the past Brother Kelly has had other members staying at his house as well.  I felt jipped cause the other members are always way cooler than Brother Kelly haha.  Recently I've been dying at home because both Brother Kelly and Elder Davis are so weird I just have no one to talk to and nothing to say. BUT it all changed cause a member moved in for the rest of the transfer!  He's a black man from Mosambeak, how neat is that?!  His name is Juaqine (Jew-alking) and he is so cool.  He served his mission in Portugal and he's just the bees knees. I cant wait to get to know him better, he just got in last night so we haven't talked much.  BENDICIONES
For my birthday Brother Kelly took us out to a sweet dinner at a japanese restaurant. He payed for us, himself, and 2 other companionships, it ended up being like $200.  It was one of those restaurants that the chairs are all around the grill and the guy cooks in the middle of y'all and does cool tricks.  It was taste.  Elder Davis got a sushi plate and afterwards was complaining about how hot the tuna roll was.  It really caused some damage to him.  I asked him about it later and it turns out he just ate a giant glob of wasabe cause he thought it was  a roll....hahahahaha.  Poor kid.
I really feel blessed now a days.  Things just are going my way.  President Heap called me a few times just to teach me something about the scriptures, I thought it was awesome.  He's a ggreat example of Christ-like love.  We have the best members here.  It's hard to get them to come out, but they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure we get fed and are happy, I love them so much.  Odessa Spanish is the best area in the world.  It's been almost 3 weeks since we've taught a lesson, but our hopes and heads are still high (weed).  Just kidding about that last word hahaha. When you ask someone how they are doing out on the street they always reply "FIne, just blessed, absolutely blessed, and you?" That's how I feel.  How are y'all?
I love you so much and thanks again for all your love and prayers. 
Love,
Elder Porter

Monday, October 13, 2014

Is mayonnaise an instrument?

This week was killer, man week was all I hoped it would be, haha. Thank all y'all for the birthday wishes and letters and presents and stuff!  I am a spoiled kid, no doubt the favorite child ;)

This week we got to use all 10 hours of our allotted service time!  It was so neat!!  On Thursday we (all the missionaries in Odessa) got together and helped paint a house!  Elder Whatcott and I spent most of our time on the roof painting the chimney and stuff, it was sweet!  From there we went straight to the Boys and Girls Club to help the little kids paint the bowls we made last week!  I helped out these two black girls that had AT^TITUDE!  As soon as I could I dumped them off to someone else and helped this kid named Jaden paint.  He's in 6th grade.  We just talked about SpongeBob hahaha.  At one point he yelled "SCRAPS!  I forgot my library book!" and ran out the door.  I thought it was cool that he said scraps and didn't cuss.  When he got back I asked about why he said that and he told me about how much his parents cuss and drink and smoke and all that stuff and how he is determined to be different.  What a cool 11 year old. The book he had forgotten ended up being Captain Underpants so...that's what we talked about next.  Probably the best book ever written.  While his bowl was drying I helped him do his math homework.  Jaden is my bud.

This week was insane and we had only one real day of work. 
Monday we had P-day (my favorite holiday)
Tuesday was interviews with President Heap.  It's real nice cause he does them every transfer even though it means a lot more work for him.  He does really well  showing love and respect.  He has really helped me out a lot!
Wednesday was Zone Training which is like Zone Conference without the APs and President.
Thursday was service day.
Friday was weekly planning with a little more house painting.
Saturday was normal.
Sunday was church!
I love weeks like that!  It keeps life interesting and the hours we do get to use for proselyting are much more focused and dedicated.  


I've still been working with Cody and Yocelin.  They are so legit.  We had a lesson where we set goals for the temple and things like that.  He set his own goal by himself to read the Book of Mormon by a certain date and has been studying every day.  We went over to the Rodriguez' house for dinner (Yocelin's family) and found out that they all love SpongeBob,  Mom, I'd  just like to point out that that is 2 spongebob connections in one week...it was inspired that I watched that show all the time!  "You na├»ve cube!" -Plankton hahaha.  Anyway.  I really do know that Cody and Yocelin are a huge reason for why I am here in Odessa at this time.  I connect with them really really well, better than most missionaries would.  I am happy to know that the Lord really is in charge of the transfer board and the timing of life and everything.  Just think, I might not have been here right now if I didn't end up going home for that little bit! 

We had branch conference and I loved it.  All the Stake leaders came and we had a meeting to talk about the Less Active's in the branch.  None of the Stake leaders speak Spanish, but they tried.  Our Stake President, President Vore, even gave a talk in sacrament meeting in Spanish.  Very very simple, and poorly structured Spanish.  His Spanish testimony touched my heart in a way his English one couldn't have done.  He testified of God's love for us, and of the Saviors hand and help in our life. President Vore and the other stake leaders are prime examples of Christ-like love.  They love the Spanish Branch so much that they tried to speak their language and humbly bore testimony so they could fully understand.  I know that the church is true even in Odessa Texas. 

I love y'all so much and I will talk to y'all later!  Enjoy fall weather:)

Love,
Elder Caleb




Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcome to: Man WEEK

Well well well.  The time has FINALLY arrived.  Caleb Porter, you know, that kid y'all used to know?  He was a pretty cool kid.  Average at a lot of things, but fun to hang around with.  A good kid.  NOT ANYMORE!!!  Now (on friday) he's a good MAN!  Hahaha.  For some reason I feel like when I'm 20 people will think I'm a man.  I still look 17, but inside I feel like a man.  Heck, I've got 2 decades on my belt!  It's not really that big of a deal haha, I'm just happy for my birthday:) 
On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference.  It was a real neat one.  When we have a ZC they combine 2 Zones together, so we had to drive up to Midland for the meeting.  We got there and something was off because the Zone Leaders weren't leading anything...they were just sitting in the back of the gym eating pop corn.  President and Sister Heap walked in and announced that for ZC we would be watching...THE AVENGERS!!  Just kidding.  We did watch Meet the Mormons, though.  Man, it is SUCH A GOOD MOVIE.  It was funny, actiony (at the football parts), and real spiritual.  I went from laughing to crying real quick.  It's pretty neat cause they don't teach any unique doctrine in the movie, it's central focus is to show that Mormons are normal.  I think it will be an AMAZING help to the work.  I just wanted to go be friends with every Mormon I saw.  Who woulda thought that the First Presidency would ever produce a movie?!  Go watch it!  It comes out on the 10th.  So good. Tell all your non member friends to watch it...and strangers:)
We got to do some killer service this week, too!  We worked at the Humane Society again.  We're regulars there now.  They love us.  It's so sweet to be able to help out and just be a pal.  We don't proselyte one little bit during service, just help. Another project that we got to help with is called the Empty Bowl Project.  We went to the Boys and Girls Club, a place for under-privileged children to spend their day.  It was SO COOL.  We helped them BUILD clay bowls.  There were 9 of us and 50 little kids from 4 to 12.  I loved every second of it!  It's just so fun doing projects like that with kids.  I helped one kid name Adolfo build a bowl that had Santa in the inside, it was awesome.  When this week we are gonna help them glaze the bows, then paint, and eventually sell them.  Each bowl is $10.  I could be the ugliest or the prettiest bowl, but its all $10.  100% of the proceeds go to the Food Bank and the Food Bank, with that money, will feed the children and the Boys and Girls Club.  SO we are teaching the kids the value of working for your food and money and having fun at the same time.  I cant wait to go back.  I'll try to get some pictures of it this next week.
Conference was amazing. I loved it.  I am pleased to say that I didn't fall asleep one time!  I loved that they talked so much about the importance of personal revelation and charity and caring for the poor. Charity prevents a multitude of sins and every day growth will keep you from falling off the path!  It's a real simple idea, but real hard to put into practice, so I am grateful for the steps and advice the inspired apostles and prophet gave to us!!  D. Todd Christofferson had my favorite one liner.."Devine aid can be with us in every hour of every day no matter where we are in the path of obedience."  I think that's neat.  That gives me a lot of hope.
Anyway.  I love y'all so much!  Have an amazing day and I'll talk to you next week.

Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

Saturday, October 4, 2014

en medio de la nada

Oh gah-lee.  I told y'all about the change in rules about eating at member's houses, right?  Well the members hopped on that real quick and I had a meal every day last week and have on scheduled every day for the entire transfer.  HOLY CRAP!!  It's official...I need to find myself a Mexican wife that can cook like these members do.  The food is out of this world. I have never been so happy while eating in my entire life, haha. Gorditas, Tostadas, floutas, aroz y frijoles, fajitas, carne asada, chile colorado, chicken y todo.  Man it is so good. I have also gained a deep love for spicy salsa.  "If the food doesn't sting, then it's not food!" - Hermano Carrion.  I am gonna be HUGE in just a few more weeks, haha.  Tom made a work out plan for me and I'm gonna start going hard in the mornings. I LOVE IT HERE IN ODESSA! 
The members are amazing.  The Odessa 3rd Branch is as close and family like as it gets.  They do everything they can to make us feel at home.  Everyone just loves each other and serves selflessly all day long!  It's still hard to get them to come to lessons, but man, they are SO kind when it comes to other members.  I was real scared that after Pack left our relationship with the members would crash.  He is perfect at Spanish, so all the members loved talking to him, but with him gone I thought they would go back to being disappointed with the level of Spanish from the Elders.  BUT NO!!  They still show so much love and support for us.  They are real patient and helpful.  I have absolutely experienced the gift of tongues in the past week.  We have been trying to clean off the branch roster, so we have been meeting a lot of less active members.  EVEN THE LAs ARE AMAZING!  We have a lot of new people to work with and I am as content as can be.  I know without a doubt that the Lord is with us here in this branch.  There is a lot of potential and I am happy to be able to say that I spent time working here.
I got to go on a little exchange on Tuesday cause Pack left and Davis didn't get here till Wednesday, so I spent the day with Elder Hastings.  Now, y'all don't know Elder Hastings, but maybe you know his alias GRAND MASTER Z.  Just kidding, you don't know him either, haha.  Hastings is a real cool guy, very different, pretty nerdy in all honesty, but he raps.  Yes, you read that right, he RAPS!  That's where Grand Master Z comes in.  He's gota rap about all the lessons we teach and all the finding techniques, it is so funny.  I spent the day walking the streets and listening to his magic.  It was so fun.
Elder Davis is my boy.  He's so cool.  No doubt he is different, but there aren't really many problems I foresee.  We work really well together y todo.  He's got a different sense of humor, but I can adapt that no problem! In all reality it will be a really big blessing to have him.  With my last companions, pretty much all my companions, I have been real good friends with right away.  We had lot's to talk about and related really well, so that's what we did.  But with Elder Davis we have 0 similarities and not really much to talk about, so what do we do?  Well, we just go twice as hard at the missionary work!  Sure, it's not as much fun, but we are getting so much done.  I am SO HAPPY with what we are doing and I know I will come to love Elder Davis, this work, and the Lord so much more throghout this transfer!
Love,
Caleb!
P.S.  I'm almost 20.  Can you believe that?!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Come what may and Love it

Have y'all ever heard of a Quincenera?  You should have, they have them in Utah too.  When Hispanic girls turn 15 they have a real big party and they wear a big ol' dress and have a real good time.  This week Elder Pack and I hit out 15 month mark, so we wanted to have our own little Quincenera. Luckily it just so happened to land on the same day that the branch had a giant party to celebrate Mexico's Independence.   It was a HUGE party.  There were over 150 people there, lots of styles of Spanish Music (even Karaoke), lots and lots of food, and fun games.  What a fun party they threw for us, huh?  They made us sing the National Anthem since we are from America hahaha.  It was such a good time.  We didn't have any investigators go, but there were at least 70 less actives haha.  I loved it.  I love the branch so much!
 
Saturday was probably the best day in the whole world ever.  We went to the Temple to start things off, our first time since PResident Heap changed the rule.  We hitched a ride with the Chandler family, a while family that grew up on the ranch and learned to speak Spanish from all the workers. They have to be at least 77, but are easily some of my favorite people in the branch.  Billy Chandler told us all kinds of fun stories about the ranch, Viet Nam, rodeoin and so much more!  He taught me a new Texas saying "man, that chocolate is richer than 3 feet up a bull's rear!".  Use that one, ok?  The Temple was really good, I got to see Elder England, my comp from Seminole, he's doing well. They showed the OLD video at the Temple :(  I was pretty bumed haha.  We finished, went to Golden Corral, and got home just in time to start filling the font for Cody's baptism. 
 
The baptism was SO SWEET!  It was awesome to see Cody make that change.  Yocelin, his member girlfriend, gave the talk on baptism and cried when she explained how eternal life is a blessing that comes from baptism and enduring to the end.  It was precious.  The branch has been giving Cody a lot of support and I know he'll go far in life.  On Sunday he got confirmed and ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.   Life is goooood. 
 
Transfer calls were on Saturday as well. I found out I am gonna stay another 6 here in Odessa!  Good thing I love it here, haha.  Elder Pack is gonna go train over in Hobbs Spanish, my old area.  He's gonna do great.   I have had a ton of fun serving with Pack and I'll miss him a lot.  I got a new assignment now though!   When the AP was telling me who I was gonna be with he told me that this next transfer is gonna take more patience and leadership than being a ZL took...yay!  I'm getting an Elder Davis.  He's had a real rough mission so far!  He's a different kid and all his pervious companions have hated him because of his strangeness.  Basically I am called right now to be his friend.  I am so excited.  I know Elder Davis a little already.  I know it will be hard, but luckily I'm usually pretty good at being friendly:)  I love him a lot already and I know good things will come from this transfer:)
 
I love y'all a whole bunch.  Be safe and pray and all that, ok?  Read the Old Testament tonight.  Just kidding, you don't have to do that, haha.
 
Love,
Elder Caleb Porter

                                                              Brother Kelly

        Cody"s Baptism

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Fearless Leader Juan Hernandez

Gah-lee!  I can not even believe how fast time is going!  The transfer ends next week and I've already been here in Odessa for about 4.5 months! Isn't that crazy?!  I feel like I just got here...but I also feel like I've been here for forever.  I'm excited for calls, but I hope I get to stay a little longer.

Last Monday we got a call from a random member, one who isn't less active, but also not active.  We really haven't been working with the family much at all.  He called us and said he had a referral for us!  Yay!  So that night we went and taught a family home evening.  The investigators are way cool but there was a problem...they're English!!  So we decided to do a handoff lesson (that's just like a mini exchange with whatever companionship we are handing them off to.  That way both the investigators and the missionaries who are gonna teach can feel more comfortable). It was a REALLY neat thing because we handed them off to 1 East AKA: Tom. So I got to go and be companions with Tom for about an hour.  It was a DREAM!  How cool is it that I got to teach a lesson and just be a missionary with one of my best friends?!  I am so lucky.  The lesson went great and Tom and I work real good together.  I hope we can do that again. 

We usually have our correlation meeting every Wednesday night.  Except that's a lie, I guess, because our Branch Mission Leader is the most unreliable person in the planet and cancels usually haha (see email subject).  This week they had Branch Counsel instead of correlation.  It was the first Branch Counsel they have had in 5 months....gotta love the Spanish Branch!  The meeting was so funny.  Everyone was just yelling over each other and making side comments and jokes.  Our poor Branch President couldn't be there, so he was on speaker phone the whole time.  I can imagine how hard it was  to focus. We joked about how funny it would be if they made a movie called The Spanish Branch.  It'd be kinda like The Singles Ward, but better.  It would still be in English, since everyone speaks English, and would be about the Branch from the day in became a branch to when it becomes a functional branch or a ward haha.  I would pay to watch it.  After the meeting some members fed us Menudo again :( .  I was able to eat the whole bowl this time and wasn't even sick the next day.  Just call me Juan

Oh my, just sit and let me tell you about Cody's progress this week.  We went over on Tuesday and taught about the Priesthood.  Also present at that lesson was Yoselin (Cody's girlfriend) and her less active brother Jesus.  Between the three of them there were some of the best/most thoughtful questions I have had in my whole mission.  Yocelin wants to know more about the life of Christ, Cody wants to understand the Celestial Kingdom more, and Jesus is beginning to show interest in coming back to church.  The spirit was real real strong the whole time.  Right as we were about to finish things up Jesus asked me if I had ever read the book of Mormon and felt the spirit just like it promises.  I bore him my testimony and then made them a promise.  I assigned them to read Enos 1, to pray about it, and to think about it.  I promised them that if they did that not only would they understand it, but they would feel the sprit stronger than they had ever felt it before.  Then I went and made each of them specific promises according to their own needs.  I felt so driven by the spirit, it was a dream.  As soon as we left from that lesson, though, I got SO scared that what I promised wouldn't happen, weak faith, I guess.  I prayed so hard for the next few days and even fasted that that miracle would happen in their lives. 

On Sunday we had another lesson with Cody about faith.  When we followed up with him on if he read Enos or not he told us he hadn't.  I was real sad, but we still had a really good lesson.  We ended up challenging him to be baptized this Saturday.  He's been pretty scared to be baptized, so he still was unsure.  So we told him to go home and pray about it and to read that chapter and let us know.  Last night at like 10 we got a call from him.  He told us that he read it and wasn't sure what happened.  He said he felt so good that he was dizzy and felt happier than he had ever had been in his life.  He asked us if that was the spirit.  We told him to read a scripture from alma and for him to tell us what it was.  He called back 10 min and told us he knew it was the spirit and that Saturday was the day for him.  Man.  How blessed am I?  God made the promise I made come true for Cody.  I can't wait to follow up with Yoselin and Jesus.  I know that this is God's work and that I am nothing more than a tool in His hands, but how neat is it that I get to be that tool?  I hope I can always be that. 

I love you all a whole bunch!  Have a god day and week.

Love,
Elder Caleb

About Me

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