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.
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.

Elder Caleb

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tempus Fuget

Man, what a week!  I can not believe how fast the days and weeks are going!  It feels like justyesterday I was emailing y'all!  Each day feels like a blur and a dream, weird stuff.  I only have a school year left till I come home, that is gonna go by much too fast! 

Ezekiel got baptized!  He's that 9 year old boy I was teaching.  The service went really well!  We didn't have any investigators show up but like 20 less actives did because we had food afterwards haha.  You know it was a Spanish Branch's baptism cause the service started ONE HOUR LATE!!!!  Ezekiel and his family, the branch president, and the branch mission leader all showed up 50 minutes after it was scheduled to start.  That's the usual, though.  Hahaha.  After the 'tism we had some food, Chile Colorado.  It's some of my absolute favorite food in the world.  Just random parts of chicken in a spicy red chile sauce with real greasy rice and beans.  I love love love love it.  I didn't get sick from it this time either!  Haha.  I am finally becoming accustomed to real life Mexican food.  It was a real neat day and his confirmation went well as well.  It did start 20 minutes late though hahahaha.

So.  This week was a special one for one big reason!  On Wednesday morning we were playing basketball, just like we always do.  I was on fire, so I decided to drive in and take a shot. I ran down and jumped up to make a layup...and I missed :(.  I missed in two ways: 1, because the ball didn't go in the hoop, and 2, because my foot missed the ground!  What? Caleb, that doesn't make any sense, how could your foot miss the ground?  Well, let me tell you, my foot missed, but my ankle sure didn't!  Needless to say, it made a real gross noise and was instantly bruised and swollen.  I though for sure I shattered every bone in my leg, haha.  I went and got it x-rayed and it turns out it was just a real real bad sprain.  They told me it would still take 6 weeks to heal and they gave me crutches to walk.  I was bumped but got over it and went out with crutches that day!  You know in D&C 84, in the Oath and the Covenant of the Priesthood when it talks about whoever gets the two priesthoods and magnify their callings will be sanctified by the spirit unto the RENEWING of their bodies?  I have a testimony of that. I went on crutches on Wednesday, limped on Thursday and Friday, and by Saturday I was almost 100%!  I am even planning on playing basketball today (with an ankle brace of course).  HOW COOL IS THAT!  I know God is in this work and with me every step of the way.  I love it.

We got to teach a really cool lesson on Tuesday.  Cody, the 19 year old, and his girlfriend Yocelin (member) are the coolest people on the planet.  I love them so much.  I just want to hang out with them, haha.  Anyway, on Tuesday we taught about the Temple.  It was a dream, best lesson ever.  The Spirit was so thick you could chew it.  Both of them were SO enamored with it all. We challenged him to prepare to get his Endowment in a year and he accepted...he's not even baptized!   Hahaha.   At the end of the lesson he asked me if I would baptize him.  Wow.  What a special blessing.  We still don't have a date fro the baptism, but it's gonna happen! I am so blessed. 

I love you all so much, do some real good work this week.  Pray and read your scriptures every day!

Elder Caleb Porter


                                                          Cowboy Church

                                                           Cowboy Caleb

                                           Ezekiel after his baptism

                                              Family picture without the family.....Texas style.

                                                     Family picture Without Caleb, Utah style.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

By Grapthar's Hammer

This week was real good.  Do I say that every week?  It was, though.

We had Zone Conference on Wednesday, the first real one with President Heap.  It  was AMAZING!  I really really love working with President Heap.  We are starting to focus our work more on the members.  Right now, because of some previous rules, the members really don't like us!  All we ever did was ask them for referrals and nothing else.  Now we were told to make the members our FRIENDS!  President Heap kept referring to the scripture in the Bible where Christ institutes the higher law.  "It has been said by them of old that you should only have 3 meals a week with members, but I say unto shall eat with members whenever invited."  That is just one example of rule changes, haha.  Other changes were that we now have 10 hours a week for service instead of 3, we can play sports with members, and we can go to the Temple once a transfer.  Man, I am so excited for these changes!  Elder Pack and I already went to City Hall and got a list of all the local clubs and organizations so we can find some service and we have a butt ton of lessons set up with the members this week.  I am so happy with it all!  President Heap has made missionary service much more fun since he has been here!

We taught this guy named Chuy (pronounced Chewy) yesterday. Chuy is as bad as they get.  He was cussing up a storm while we talked to him, drinkin a beer, and had a big ol blunt in his hand.  He was telling us all about his time in prison, where to get drugs in town, and some of his bad things in the past.  It was real hard to teach him anything because he wouldn't shut up.  Some other guy came into the yard and elder Pack went to go teach him, so it was just me and Chuy, one on one.  Finally I found a place to cut him off and start to teach him.  The first thing I asked was if he wanted to change, he does, but he doesn't think it's possible.  Then I asked him if he believes in Christ, he does.  Then I told him about how I was a representative of Jesus Christ and that if He was there, He would say the same things as me.  It was powerful, he was blown away and I felt the spirit pretty good.  I ended up promising him that if he read a chapter a night from the Book of Mormon and said 4 prayers a day, that he would no longer have the desire to do all that bad stuff.  He was pumped.  I was pumped!  haha. 

I love love love it when the Spirit manifest itself to us like that ^^^ .  It is the neatest thing to have that kind of guidance and direction!  Being a missionary is the coolest thing because of that.  The Spirit is so important, crucial in our lives!  We can have it forever in every situation, but it's real hard.  I'm sure grateful for the help I get from the Spirit.  In all reality, the spirit is the teacher, us as missionaries are just supposed to invite him there and get out of the way, haha.

Mom sent me pictures from the family reunion.  It looked like so much fun!  I really love all y'all so much!  My favorite picture mom sent is the one with all my sabrinos lined up on that wall.  That is the coolest thing.  I don't know what I did in the Premortal Existence to get to come down here in this family, but it must have been something real good. I am so grateful for y'all's example and love!  I love you lots!

Elder Caleb

About Me

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