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,  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. 

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!

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!!


About Me

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