Monday, July 28, 2014

My Bob Gigi

Last Monday night we taught the SICKEST lesson ever.  I had so much fun and realized how much I actually do love to teach.  We were teaching Jose, he's our most solid investigator.  WE found him right after his girlfriend dumped him, and he was so pitiful.  He just layed on the floor all day long and smelled so bad.  We started to teach him and he changed immediately.  I'd say his understanding level is that of a 10 year old, so we have to go pretty slow and explain things a lot.  He never keeps his commitments though, so the purpose of our lesson on Monday was to tell him to start acting or we were gonna stop coming by.  I felt promped to read 1 Nephi 8 with him, that's Lehi's dream about the tree of life.  We read it and explained it a few times, but he still wasn't getting it all the way.  So I got up and found a broom to be the Iron Rod and put my scriptures as the tree of life.  I made him act out the dream, it was so fun.  Instead of having mists of darkness I just hit his hand really hard with a fly swatter till he let go.  Finally he figured things out and did so well all week.  It was SO MUCH FUN TO TEACH!  The Gospel is real fun. 

We had interviews with President Heap this week as well.  My interview was INCREDIBLE.  We had 15 minutes each to talk with him, I kinda feel jipped because I got in there, sat down, said a prayer and the time was up, at least that's what it felt like.  He asked me "How can I, me specifically, help you?"  I told him I want to learn more about the scriptures, understand better, and apply them better and that he could help me because he was a seminary and institute guy.  He was pumped and then began to change my life.  He made incredibly powerful and personal comments and promises, challenges that are perfect for what I want to become and read some scriptures that blew my mind.  What a great guy!!  I love that guy.  He's a real life human being.  A lot of times, with President Augustin, whom I  also love, I felt like I was talking to a Robot.  But President Heap is ALIVEEEEEE  #Frankensteinreference.  He told me to read PMG to understand the Scriptures more and it has already made a tremendous impact on my studies.  #yay

Let me tell you a little bit about Odessa.  When you drive in to Odessa you see a sign that say Population:100,000.  That is such a LIE!  Odessa/Midland is a HUGE oil field based city and right now the Oil is BOOOOOMMMMIIINNNG!!  So there are a gazillion people here.  There are usually 5 or 6 different small families in the same trailer!  It is SO insane.  There are a lot of Mexican here because of it, though, so I am pleased.  We realized early this week that we see license plates from other states more than we see Texas ones. We started keeping track and we found 40 states in one week!  Hawaii, New Hampshire, Connecticut,  Road Island, Oregon, Delaware, Kentucky, and 2 other random little ones are the only states we are missing.  It makes driving so much fun to be looking!!  I love it here in Odessa.  It is the promised land.  Often reffered to as Odessalation, though haaha.  

I love y'all a whole bunch!  Have a good week and be real safe.  Don't forget to pray and read your Book of Mormon!! 
ELder Caleb Porter

Monday, July 21, 2014


Not much happened again this week and last night I fell asleep before I could write an outline for this email so it wont be very good today! I feel like I say that every other week, haha.
Elder Pack ordered a calculator watch like mine last week, so all this week we did fun calculations while we were walking around.  We never knock, especially in a Spanish Area, cause we'll never find any Spanish!  So we spend up to 8 hours every day walking around!  It's a lot of fun.  We have a lot of time to do random things like calculate what percent of our mission is 1 day and how many total hours is p-day.  It's a lot of fun.  I miss math a lot.  I tried to teach Brother Kelly how to do some basic calculus, but he didn't get it.  Oh well, I guess you don't really need it to deliver babies.  Maybe though. 
Before I left for my mission the first time Dad gave me some advice, to "learn to love the language and the culture and the people".  He said that there were a lot of missionaries in his mission that couldn't do that and he felt like they missed out.  Learning to love those things has actually been pretty hard for me!  The Mexican-American culture is probably the biggest hindrance to the work here in Odessa and was the same way in Hobbs.  The people are just naturally lazy, which is fine cause so am I, but also extremely unreliable.  It is not uncommon to have a member scheduled to come out with us who just never shows up, even after confirmation an hour before.  We had 5 lessons set up on Wednesday with 1 member to come.  The member canceled, 2 appointments punched, and the other 3 rescheduled forThursday.  So, on Thursday we had 3 appointments with 3 members, surprisingly all the members followed through, but all 3 appointments rescheduled again, for the next day.  We have made contact with these 3 investigators everyday but still haven't had a lesson.  Hahahah.  I love the Mexicans a whole bunch though.  Obviously it's not all Mexicans, but 98% is, so I just call them Mexicans.  I do love Mexican food though:) 
In Odessa all the missionaries get free food 2 times a week from local restaurants owned by members.  We also go to a place called Rosa's every Tuesday cause it's real cheap and then have district lunch at a buffet once a transfer.  Needless to say we eat a whole butt ton.  It is begging to destroy me.  When I got to Odessa I weighted 170, less than I did in 7th grade, and was in pretty good shape form biking a lot.  Now I weigh more and am in terrible shape....:(  SO Tom gave me a diet to do and a work out to follow.  Tom is the most healthy person I know, so I trust it.  Elder Pack and I are starting today to get healthy again....yay.
Anyway, that's it!  I love y'all a lot!  Be safe and read your scriptures! 
Love, Elder Porter

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Know

How're y'all doin'?? 
This week was pretty good!  Elder Pack was sick, so we had to stay inside a little bit.  He's a real neat guy and went out as much as he could, but he just finally gave up on Thursday and slept the whole day!!  Brother Kelly was in OREM UTAH all week too, so I didn't have anyone to talk to!  I just did a lot of thinking.  When Brother Kelly came home on Friday he told us all about Orem and Provo.   That little rat was telling me about how pretty Provo Canyon is. GAH.  Tom and I talked on the phone about how much we loved that Canyon for an hour that night haha. 
Anyway, I want to explain to you some of my thought process I had during the down hours!  President Heap is a real influential guy, at least he is to me!  When we met him last week he said something that has provoked a lot of thought in a lot of missionaries.  He told us that he BELIEVES a lot of things, but he only KNOWS a few things.  He told us to never ever tell someone that we KNOW something to be true if it is still only a BELIEF.  That's just a real neat thought to me.  So, naturally, I wanted to figure out what I KNOW to be true. 
Always before my mission I figured missionaries were perfect:  no sins, perfect knowledge, perfect testimony, no trials, always happy and all that.  It didn't take me very long before I realized that that is a false idea.  Missionaries are still human, too bad, huh?  Something we teach in our church is that the Holy Ghost will touch our hearts and testify to the truthfulness of what we hear and learn.  That feeling or experience is what we base our testimonies off and once we experience that we change from BELIEVE to KNOW.  One of my problems I have always had with my own personal testimony of the Gospel is the feelings of the Spirit.  When I feel the Spirit, in the moment, I have no doubts at all.  I know that it's all true. But after the fact Satan puts these little doubts into my mind.  I try to justify those sacred feelings of the spirit as my own thoughts, things I want to be true so badly that my mind makes me feel it.  A big ol' placebo effect, you could say.  This thought and Idea has always been in the back of my mind. 
When I was thinking about the thinks I should know I went down a list.  Does God exist and is he my Spirit Father?  I wanted to believe that, I could never deny the existence of something higher up, but is it God?   Next question:  Is Jesus Christ my Savior?  Once again, I believed it to be true...but those feelings of doubt kept me from knowing.  Was Joseph Smith a prophet?  Belief.  When I  got to this point I was real scared that I didn't have a testimony at all, but the next question changed it.  Is the Book of Mormon true?  For some reason I have never had a single doubt about that.  I have prayed and felt the spirit countless times as I read the B o M.  I KNOW it to be the word of God with everything that I am.  You know what that means?  I KNOW that God is my loving Father in Heaven.  He loves me so much, that's why He sends the Holy Ghost to testify of truths.  It means I KNOW that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Redeemer.  I KNOW that he suffered and died for me.  I KNOW that He loves me.  It means that I KNOW Joseph Smith was called as a Prophet to restore Jesus Christ's one and only true church.  I KNOW that the Chruch I represent is that church.  I KNOW that Jesus is at the head, leading and guiding everything and that Thomas Monson is a real life prophet.
I am grateful for that testimony that I have.  I am real grateful for the Book of Mormon for being that anchor for me.  I really do know these things and I am so blessed to be here to share them with others. 
What do you KNOW?
I love you so much. 
Elder Porter

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rolls from heaven

On Wednesday morning Elder Pack and I realized that we forgot to buy toilet paper on Monday and that we were just about out.  We were a little worried, but if worse came to worse we could just buy some whenever we ran out, we sure didn't want to do that, though.  We did our studies and stuff and during comp study we went to check the mail and guess what...our neighbors got TOILET PAPERED!!!  We cleaned it up for them, since that's what we do, and in the process we found 3 full, unused, rolls of TP.  WHAT A MIRACLE!!  Even a little funny thing like that just tells me that God knows each of us and our situations perfectly.  A tender mercy, no doubt. 
The fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday in the world.  I love fire and fireworks.  I think it probably has something to do with Ben and Joe strapping fireworks to my toys when I was 5 and watching them explode.  Thanks guys, for real, cause that is the funnest thing on the planet.  As a missionary, the 4th isn't very cool.  We had to go in at 6 to keep us safe from the drunk people and the temptation to blow things up.  We went to the church and played basketball with some other missionaries.  I stayed up real late and sat on our car outside so I could watch some fireworks still.  It wasn't nearly as fun, but still real good:)
I met the new mission president, President Heap, this week!  WHAT A COOL MAN!  He has already made some changes in the mission that I like a lot.  He's been a CES guy his whole life.  He loves loves loves the scriptures and has already taught me some really cool things.  His wife is really cool, too.  She's just a hyper mom that just loves us so much.  I am so excited to continue to get to know and love them.  No doubt, a power house couple.  They have refueled my fire to learn all about the scriptures.
We starting teaching a girl named Tania last night.  She's the daughter of a recent convert who just arrived here from Ecuador.  The lesson we had was pretty good, luckily elder Pack is amazing at Spanish so he could answer some of her questions.  The coolest part though is the dream she had a few weeks ago!  Dreams are a huge part in the conversion of a lot of the people we teach, clearly sons and daughters of Lehi.  Judy, her mom, had a dream of 2 americans, later identified as elder Heaps and the other missionary that taughter, helping her across a river and being clean on the otherside, pretty cool! Tania's dream was neat too.  She dreamed that "the Elder who was with Heaps" (that's me, its really hard for them to say Porter haha) was reading a book with her.  As she listen to the words she cried and felt so good.  Last night I really did read the Book of Mormon to her and she felt a similar sensation!  Pretty cool to be apart of these miracles!
Love y'all.  I hope you had a real great time at the reunion!  I'm glad my cardboard me was there! 
Elder Porter

 There were hundreds of these little frogs after it rained on Tuesday.

I made these ties! For real!

About Me

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