We started to teach a 9 year old kid named Ezekiel. He is so cool. His parents are members,b ut they have been less active for a while, they have been going active for about a year now, so the father has the M. Priesthood (i cant spell that haha) and they want to do a baptism. Since he is 9 he counts as a convert baptism, still, so we get to teach him. It sure is hard to teach a 9 year old in Spanish. We have no idea what words are hard words and if a word is hard we don't know the simpler version of it! The parents have to help us a lot as we explain. Tonight we are gonna do a fun activity lesson to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a real neat kid and I am real grateful to be able to teach him! His baptism will be on the 6th of September.
I went up to Crane this week on exchanges. I go up to Crane ever transfer, so this was my third time. I LOVE IT THERE! I forgot how sick small towns are. There are only 3000 people in Crane and every single person has talked to missionaries already. That is a unique challenge to small towns, but I love it. The way to get passed it, at least for me, is just to be real friendly and excited. I just go up and talk to people and when they say they have talked to missionaries I tell them that's so lucky, but I'm a new guy, so you get to talk to me now too. In small towns people care a lot more and are real friendly. I usually talk to them for 3 minutes or so about life, work, family, or random things like that and then teach a Gospel principle and likin in to their life. It is so much fun. I love love love talking to small town people. I'm fixin' to send a request to President to send me to one!
SInce I have been on my mission I have learned how to do so much random stuff. Every missionary can do something unique and awesome, so I just learn how. Crocheting is an example, I learned to crochet and I crocheted a scarf. This week a member taught me how to do a new crochet pattern, so I might pick it up again. I've learned to solve a Rubix cube real fast, sew ties, ride for miles and miles with no hands, and so many worthless things like that. I've also made a model airplane, carved a pinewood derby car, and learned some origami hahah. While i was up in Crane I picked up a new one! Knot tying and roping. How sick is that?! I have learned a lot of cool knots and just bought some rope to practice my roping. I love it a whole lot. '
THat's about all I have to say this week! Sorry it's a short one! I love you all a whole bunch. Be safe!
This week was packed full of blessings! I am one happy camper.
First off we had Stake Conference here in the Odessa Stake. Missionaries are allowed to go to the Saturday Night Session now, too, so it was so sweet. The Stake president here just recently got diagnosed with brain cancer, so there were a couple 70s here to reorganize the presidency. Every talk that Saturday night session hit me real good, the spirit was strong. Elder Meradith and Elder Retlund, from the 70, are power houses. The topic was missionary work, duh, that's all anybody ever talks about anymore, but it was so so good. President Zant, the old stake president with brain cancer gave his testimony about the Atonement and, boy, it was powerful. There was hardly a dry eye in that meeting. Sunday was so good too, we got to drive up to Midland (that's where the stake center is) and watch it there. Church is true even in the Odessa Texas stake!
I've had a question the past few weeks about how to remember. Whenever we feel the spirit real good we just want to be perfect, the atonement is working in us and we have no desire to do bad, but as soon as it's gone, at least for me, we forget. Forgetting is basically the cause of every short coming, because if we remembered that we are sons and daughters of God with devide potential we wouldn't fall!! So I asked President Heap for advice and he told me to study Heleman 5. I did and as I studied it hit me, what I need to do in order to remember better. SO. I followed that prompting and I have set a goal to memorize a scripture every day for the rest of my mission. It has already made a HUGE difference this last week and I am so excited to continue on. Each night I recite the scripture in my video journal, so y'all'll get to be involved a little. It's real neat.
I am the worst Spanish studier ever. 10 am has always been the hardest hour for me to stay focused. So I usually end up wandering off in my mind or studying something in English. The consequence of that is that I still am not very good at Spanish. This last week I prayed to be able to stay focused and it happened and there is already a REAL noticeable difference in my Spanish. That is a straight blessing. I'm gonna keep working harder haha.
Since we are the Spanish area we have a car, but most of the other areas don't. You know what that means? Missionary Taxi service. We spend a lot of time driving people around to appointments and out of rain and things like that. This week we got a ton of referrals from everybody. That is a blessing! Service=blessings, duh, why didn't you think of that? haha.
So anyway, that's just a few of the many blessings we saw! I love the church is real true. I love y'all a lot, too!! Be safe this week and love church on sunday:)
On Monday night we had THE COOLEST little branch activity. I say little because it was, but relative to usual branch activities (including church) it was enormous. We had so many people come! Each one of the missionaries, there are four of us in the branch, gave a short 3 min. instruction and then we ate. I taught about the importance of being a branch family. For food they feed us some real authentic Mexican food...Menudo. It was my first time eating it, but it is infamous in the mission! It's got a soup that's basically just red chili boiled down, that is pretty good, but the worst part is the meat. Have you ever heard of Tripas? What about Tripe? It's pig stomach and intestine. Well, that's the meat. I ate it and it wasn't too bad. The tripas was chewy and gross and almost even hairy, but I got over it...or so I thought. It did WORK on me. On Tuesday I crapped 23 times...TWEANTY THREE!!! Needless to say, we didn't go outside that day hahaha. It was a neat experience hahah.
Transfer calls were yesterday. I'm staying here with Elder Pack, so no change for us. My whole district didn't change, so that is cool. Elder Whatcott (Tom) is staying too, I'm real happy about that. Pack and I dropped every investigator but one this past week because they weren't doing anything. So we get to start over from square one! I am real excited:) Like I've always said, finding is my favorite part of missionary work.
Early on this week I had the impression that I should study more about some Latter Day Prophets, so I decided to start reading the priesthood manuals, the teachings of the prophets ones. I read George Albert Smith and learned a ton and felt the spirit real strong, so I decided to just keep reading. I only read during my spare time, so during lunch and dinner and at night, but somehow I am hauling through the books. I read Heber J. Grant in a day and got pretty far into Lorenzo Snow. I love love love LOVE it! I feel like I've been getting some real good blessings for it. First of all I am finding more and more attributes that I desire and more and more ways to achieve those things. I learn a lot of cool stories and teachings of Prophets of God and have been able to apply them to my teaching and personal study. And I have felt an outpour of the spirit. I don't know if it's cause I need to learn that stuff, or just cause I followed the prompting, but man am I grateful for it. This has been a HUGE week for me as far a spiritual growth.
I really like peace. Peace is the overpowering feeling for me. Does that even make sense? Like, I feel like my search for peace has givin me a testimony of the Gospel and keeps me into it. When I feel the spirit, I feel peace, and I always want that feelings. That's why I am so grateful for the Scriptures and the teachings of all prophets, and Jesus Christ. "In me you might have peace, in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." How neat is that?! Jesus Christ suffered for us so we could have PEACE! His yoke is easy and His burden is light, that's not to say that what He did was easy, but that if we turn to him we can find that peace and comfort in our own lives. The scriptures are magical things, I am so grateful I have an hour a day to study those words! "whosever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is QUICK and POWERFUL, which DEVIDETH ASUNDER ALL the cunning, and the strifes, and the wiles of the devil. And LEADETH the man of Christ in a straight and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery...and will land his soul, yea his immortal sould, at the RIGHT HAND OF GOD IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." That is the sickest thing ever! I love the scriptures, I love the Holy Ghost, I love the words of God! I know that as we follow those words and heed his counsel we can have peace and hope in every situation!!
The Gospel is the best. So anyway. I love y'all a whole lot! Be safe and have a bunch of fun this week.
Whooo-wee it was a pretty hot week. I love it being hot. At the end of the day I just die and sleep so good, haha. There is a down side, however. Each day between 12 and 5 there is absolutely NO ONE OUTSIDE! It's already hard during those hours because everyone works, but now no one leaves haha. Elder Pack and I don't even plan for those hours much anywhere, we just pick an area to walk around. Odessa is big, so we still can usually talk to 4 or 5 hot and sweaty people. While we walk we do a lot of things to make the time go faster like math, singing, rapping, skipping rocks, making noises, practicing Spanish, jumping, or throwing rocks at dogs. I'm sure we look so dumb. It sure is a different story between 6 and 9, though. Everyone and their dog (literally) is outside! BUT it's also the only time we ever have lessons so we don't get to talk to a lot of those people! That's the trouble in these parts now days.
Anyway. We met this kid named Cody this week. Cody is THE man. He's dating one of the girls in the branch and has been coming to church for a while just to please her, or so we thought. Last Sunday he asked us if we could come over and teach him, so we did! Right at the beginning we asked him WHY he wanted to learn more. If you don't have "real intent" nothing will happen, I know that to be a true principle. He told us that in the past 5 years he has seen so many miracles and blessings come from God and now he just wants to show God that his is for real, that he really believes and loves. Needless to say, we were pumped out of our minds. THEN he says that he had prayed that day for some guidance and he saw us walk up to him and talk just a few hours later, he took it as a sign! He is a real good guy. Just turned 18. For some reason 15-18 is the easiest age for me to teach. Probably cause I'm that age. It's just real fun and easy to teach to a high school kid!
Odessa Spanish covers Odessa and like 7 other little cities. This week we went to Andrews to try out the waters. There are missionaries in Andrews already, but neither of them speak Spanish, so we spent a day up there. I have no idea why there are no Spanish missionaries because we talked to 15 people and 100% didn't speak English. I don't know if it was just national be a Mexican day or something like that, but it was pure gold out there. The last guy we talked to, though, wasn't a really good guy. He tried to bash pretty hard and wouldn't accept anything we said. Even when we tried to get out and walk away he got mad. Hard hearted people never understand anything, that is another thing I know to be true. It just bounces off their face. Oh well, the rest of the city was so good. We are gonna go up there every week now!
At the end of this week some of my favorite missionaries are going home including Elder Greenman and Elder Martin! I can not believe they are done!! It's so weird to see people finish their mission. Where I'm at I feel like I've been here forever and that I have forever left, "without beginning of days or end of years". I love it a lot. I'm sad to see them all go though. They have made a HUGE impact in my service and my life! Luckily they just live in Utah, though, so I'll see them later haha.
That's it! Love y'all so much! Keep praying and stuff! It's important! I'll tlak to y'all again next week.