Monday, June 30, 2014

Don't stop til big Nelly gets dropped

Ho'y'all doin'?!  It's real neat that all my family is together cause that's a lot of fun.  I was gonna say something else, but I couldn't figure out how to word it...hehe.  I'm pumped y'all made a life-size me too, I want to keep that for the rest of my life!

This week, or at least Yesterday, in Odessa they are having a mexi-mobile-paluza.  I hope you know what I mean when I say mexi-mobile.  There are a few in Orem called 40oz.  One is always parked outside of a house just off 4th on the way to Hogie's house.  Its just an old car, like a 60's Impala or Cadillac or Lincoln or something like that made nice again and pained either really plain, like straight white, or really crazy, like bright blue and pink with fire on it.  The best part about the cars though, is the wheels. They have little baby wheels, Denton Spokes, white walled and errythang, with some sweet hydraulics to make it all jacked up and crooked and stuff.  I hope I painted a good enough picture.  Anyway, at home I always thought is was pretty cool just because it was funny, but since my mission I have realized that it is one of my favorite things in the world and I will probably have one when I'm rich.  Every parkinglot here had at least 5 in it last night. I was so mad cause I forgot my camera:(  We talked to a lot of the guys though, and they were pretty cool, generally uninterested, but cool.

So prolly one of the most stressful things about a mission, or at least our mission, is getting members to come out with us.  They never do, and when they do the "hijack" the lesson.  Let me explain by way of story:  A member came out with us this week, the second one I've had come since I've been in Odessa.  He is a really cool guy, convert, strong testimony, very knowledgeable.  We sat down before the lesson and explained that his role as a member is to teach absolutely nothing, but to testify to what we have said when invited (I don't know if it's the same everywhere, so don't think missionaries in your perspective areas are bad if they ask you to participate more).  He understood.  As we began to teach the Alamos family their first lesson we quickly realized that he ignored us.  At one point in the lesson, right after the we recited the first vision, the woman asked "So...was he a prophet then?"  That is a REALLY good question, cause it means she was paying attention.  The member took it upon himself to answer that question.  The answer is yes, right?  Well, yes, but in his answer he explained 1.Forordination. 2. War in Heaven. 3. Celestial Glory.  4. Outer Darkness. 5. The Pearl of Great Price.  and 6. Man's potential to be like God.  Those are all eternal and important truths, yes, but its a whole lot of meat for someone who needs only milk haha.  We were happy the member came though, even after all that, friendship=membership.  We're gonna do a better job in prepping the members from now on!

I am absolutely loving working with Elder Pack. It is such a blessing!  For both of us, it sounds like.  The biggest city he has served in before Odessa had 3000 people in it!  INSANE!  Real small west Texas I guess.  So he loves Odessa.  He is UNREAL at Spanish. The Spanish speakers think he is straight from mexico.  It's weird cause he's never even served in a Spanish area!  I guess it goes to show that studying and working hard pays off!  I am having a great time:)

Well.  I love y'all so so much!  Have an amazing day and week and I'll hear from ya more next week:)

Elder Porter

Monday, June 23, 2014


We had a five week transfer because of the new mission president, I guess, that is the only thing I can think to explain it.  Anyway, the transfer is over and we got our "Transfer Doctrine" last night.  Elder Heaps is leaving off to Borger, a city in the Panhandle and I will be staying here serving with Elder Pack!  Elder Pack was one of the missionaries I was in the MTC with the first time I was in.  I got to go on exchanges with him last week and he is way cool.  I am definitely blessed!  I learned a lot and loved every second of this last transfer.  Elder Heaps will be a friend for forever.  I'm pumped out of my mind for these next 6 weeks though!! 

This past week was pretty sweet.  We had 4 more new investigators and set 3 baptismal dates!  No one came to church, but it was still a really great week.  We did a lot of walking around again, looking for new people to teach, but there was almost no one out!!  It rained so much for a couple days, so obviously there was no one then, and on the days when it wasn't raining it was real hot and humid.  I still haven't complained about the heat, by the way, I vowed I wouldn't.  It's a lot nicer than the cold.  A lot of the people we did talk to, though, were pretty cool.  There were a lot more rude people than usual out, too.  I need to work on my patience because I got pretty fed up with a few of them and made some smart alec comments!  "Hey, man, how's it going? "  "I don't have time, leave."  "Can I at least give you a picture of Jesus?"  "NO!"  " don't have time for God? That's too bad.  Well...I hope he has time for you!  God bless you, sir. Have an amazing day."  Not too bad, but I got my desired point across, haha.  I need to be better.  One drunk guy who rejected us pretty bad at first actually responded really well to my sarcasm.  He yelled at me at first, then he realized that he needed to listen.  He explained why he was getting drunk, a real sad story.  We were able to teach and testify and then pray with him.  We left him with a word of wisdom pamphlet and our number, so it was good. 

Out here, since it's in the middle of the Bible Belt everyone has a real strong belief in something and is generally pretty active in what they believe.   Most people recognize that our message is from God and so they hear us out for 5 minutes or even for the first lesson, but they usually just DON'T GET why the restoration of the gospel is a big deal.  We get the comment "yeah, that's exactly how I believe" all the time.  This requires us to be pretty bold.  A lot of missionaries are scared to be bold, but elder heaps and I got it down this last transfer.  I read 1 Nephi 14:10 all the time which specifically states that there is only ONE true church and that all the rest are false, the scripture even says that they are the church of the devil.  There is obviously a fine line between boldness and overbearance, but this method works.  We have seen miracles as far as the understanding comes.  The sprit trumps all, and I strive to follow that more than anything else, obviously that's what's gonna work.  That is just a fun scripture we use haha.

Since I hit 1 year I have been thinking of home, probably too much, but a few things really stuck in my memory.  Specifically a few friends back at home who really need some prayers.  So I want to ask y'all if you would keep Chad Wright and Daniel Evans in your prayers.  I haven't had much contact with them, but I know they aren't in a really good place right now.  So pray for them?  Thank you so much.  I love y'all so much!  Enjoy the family reunion, whenever that is...

Love ya!!

Elder Porter

Monday, June 16, 2014

1 year

Holy CRAP!!  One year ago on Thursday I entered into the MTC (for the first time)!  I can NOT even believe that it has been one entire year since all this started!  Time flies by real quick.  Time on the mission is pretty weird.  When I was in the MTC the days went by long and the weeks went by long.  In training and a little bit after that the days went by long but the weeks went by fast.  Now the days are short and the weeks are short!  I've already been in Odessa for five weeks (well, this is week 5)  That is SO insane.  I'm pumped time is going fast, cause I miss all y'all, but I'm even more pumped that I still have a year, cause I don't want to be done!  Weird concept haha.  I still have a year full of so much good stuff, so I'm pumped. 

We talked to a Jew this week, the first non messianic-Jew I've talked to.  He's full on orthodox.  I had a ton of questions about what they believe and how they worshiped and stuff so we spent a good 10 minutes talking about all that.  It made me sick.  I felt so sad for the guy.  Orthodox Jew means he's hardcore, same as the Pharisees, that means he doesn't believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.  Everything inside me wanted to give him the testimony I have of the Savior and his Atonement, but nothing I said did anything. He started to get kinda rude so I just asked him if before we left if I could share my testimony about what I know to be true.  He allowed it.  I quoted the Living Christ to him.  I memorized it at Christmas and I was so grateful I was able to use it at that moment.  The guy is still a Jew and still not interested, but I think that experience made my testimony a little bit stronger. Now I understand why The Living Christ was even written, it really is a great testimony and document of TRUTH!!

Church in a Spanish Branch is really funny.  Sunday is always interesting.  Half the time the assigned speakers don't show up, but it's no big deal because it's expected to happen!  The Branch President always has a back up assigned hahah.  A lot of the people, when they give their talks or testimonies, have to ask the congregation how to say certain words in Spanish!!  This last week a woman was talking about Girls Camp and couldn't figure out how to say what she wanted to say, so she just said the sentence in English and the congregation as a whole yelled back the phrase in Spanish!  It's priceless.  There are only a few members who don't speak English at all, for the most part its just Mexican who want to stick with their culture.  I hear some of the most fluent Spanglish ever during church.  "Y sabia que my prayer was answered y que Dios loves us."  "Uno tiene que wantar salvacion (wantar isn't a word.  It's just want with a Spanish ar at the end haha)"  It is so cool.  I don't even care how well I learn Spanish, as long as I can speak some good Spanglish. 

We saw miracles this week after our real dry week last week.  We taught quite a few lessons and have 4 new investigators.  We will keep working hard and the Milagros will keep coming!!  I am so grateful for this work and I know that God is in charge. We really are just tools  in his hands.  I hope I can always be counted on to get the job done when I am needed. I love you all so so much and I'll talk to ya later!


Monday, June 9, 2014


We had Zone Conference this last week, the last one ever for President Augustin.  Man, that guy is one amazing guy and I am so grateful for his service here!  He has no doubt changed my life and my thought process. His big thing throughout his time here was teaching us to always face the Lord.  He gives an analogy of standing on the stand at church and looking out to the congregation, the world. As a leader or just a member we often times want to do the "popular" thing, we want the approval of those that we are facing!  But, the then explains that as we turn around from the congregation, the Lord and the Prophets and Apostles are sitting on the choir seats.  We need to decide which way we are gonna face, the world, or the Lord.  I didn't explain it really well in my rushed emailing, but it had helped me grow a whole lot!  Popularity<Integrity.

In church we heard a Hermana give her testimony about her conversion, it was really cool so I want to share it with y'all as well.   She is from Mexico, duh, but had lived a lot of her life in El Paso, so she could speak English real well/  She made her living by being a private tutor for those who wanted to learn Spanish.  She talked about a couple who had just moved down to her city and wanted to learn Spanish, so she told them to pick a book to study, just a normal book to read.  She did this with all her students, she just read with them and helped them talk or whatever.  This new family picked to study the book of Mormon.  After a few months, this woman stopped the lesson and asked the family about the book.  She began to weep as she explained that the moment she started to read it with them she felt her life light up and she saw a light in the family and she wanted to learn more!  She was baptized and now is our relief society president.  The book of Mormon really is such a powerful book  I am really grateful that we have that evidence of the message of the restored gospel and of God's love.  I definitely can feel the spirit every time I read it.  Whenever my day had been bad or sad or whatever, I just take time to read a chapter and it just makes everything ok.  It's like the Atonement on paper! Anyway, read the book of Mormon!

We didn't teach a single lesson this week!  There was nothing going on.  Ever lesson we had set up canceled or punched, so we didn't teach once.  I definitely didn't feel like it though!  We really are working so so hard, so every day I feel so good about the work we did.  I never once felt down about not  teaching, I didn't even realize till last night.  I am confident that the blessings will come soon enough, well I guess the blessings are already here!  I feel so happy and am growing a lot, so I guess that is good enough:)

Love you all so much!!
Elder Porter

Monday, June 2, 2014

the work is true

We have seen miracles this week!  I love every second of my missionary work right now.  On Friday we decided our efforts for finding people, which consisted of mainly morning finding, wasn't as effective as we had hoped and we decided to move our efforts in another direction.  Our Area Book is huge because it has so many former investigators, but it is EXTREMELLY unorganized.  We spent virtually the entire day on Friday taking it apart, going through the formers and organizing it, throwing away people who had moved or placing them in a pile according to their area of the city.  After we had 4 piles, for the 4 English area's of Odessa, we went to work calling them!  I called probably more than 100 numbers.  Most of the numbers were incorrect, didn't exist or had since changed, but SO many amazing things happened from this effort!
I called a guy, Juan, who had investigated the church 9 YEARS AGO.  When he answered the phone I asked him if he remembered talking with missionaries so long ago, his voice lit up and sounded real excited when he asked me if we were from the Catholic Church.  I assumed he was hoping we were, but when I told him "no, we're the Mormons" (I had previously stated the true name for the Church) he got even more excited!  It turns out that 9 years ago, when he met with missionaries he loved what he heard, but for some reason he had lost contact with the missionaries.  Now here we are!!  We set up a lesson to go bytomorrow night and we have real high hopes for the lesson.
Another miracle that happened is just now beginning to unfold,  literally, as we speak we have a text from this kid!  One of the very first numbers I called, looking for a 60 year old woman named Maria, a kid named Andy answered.  I was a little confused so I kinda awkwardly announced that I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that we were looking for service to do.  He told me that because he was young enough, he could do all that his family needs, but he was curious about what kind of service I answered because he knew some people who could use some help.  I told him that as a missionary, my main purpose was to teach about Jesus Christ, in hopes to bring a few people to the level of knowledge and happiness that I have, but that we also offer all kinds of services.  He was so pumped!!  He wasn't interested, but he said he had a whole lot of friends who could use our help and that he would call us if some people to try by.  This morning we got a text at 9:00 asking for me.  He just told us, 20 minutes ago, that ever since Friday he has been thinking about his situation in life, he said that as he's thought, he's realized that he needs Jesus now, more than ever before in his life.  He is begging to hang out with the wrong crowd and is becoming worried for the salvation of his soul.  He told us that he thinks the call on Friday, the wrong number call, was a sign from God that he needs to take!  I am so so happy to be a tool in God's hands in this missionary work!!!!  I won't be able to teach Andy, because he is English, but I am confident that he will accept this Gospel and make the appropriate changes in his life.

I still love the crap out of Odessa, it is a great place full of great people.  It is becoming easier and easier for me to love the people and therefore we are becoming more and more effective missionaries.

We have Zone Conference this week and I don't have to do anything for it!!  That is real nice:)  I do get to see Elder Nelson, though!  If you don't remember, he's the missionary I trained.  Anyway.  I love y'all to bits.  Have a real great week and I love you so much!!
Elder Porter
                                                        Caleb and Thomas,

                                                                    Elder Heaps

                                                      Streets of Odessa

                                                             More streets (rivers) of Odessa

About Me

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