Monday, June 1, 2015


Wow is pretty much all I can say right now!!  I can't believe 2 years is already up.  This has been a crazy little experience for me and now it's time to start the next stage!  As I have been reflecting on my missionary service for the past couple of days I feel a whole lot of peace.  I know that I have worked my hardest and gave my very best for two whole years. I don't regret anything.  It's weird because I have definitely done some things I have regretted on my mission, just little things here and there, but as I look back on what I have done I don't regret a single thing.  I know that God is pleased with what I have done and has and will continue to bless me for it. I really hope I feel like this come judgment day.
Serving a mission has changed me.  I used to always think about how much of a sacrifice it is to serve a mission, to put your whole life on hold for 2 years, but I now know that that isn't the best way to put it.  The price I have paid, or the sacrifice I have made, to become acquainted with God and the Savior and His Atonement is nothing less than a blessing.  I don't feel like I can call it a sacrifice because of how much God has paid me.  He hasn't paid me in money or in food or anything like that, in fact, it's really hard to describe how He's paid me, but I know that He has. There is nothing about me that hasn't been bettered or completely changed though my missionary service. God is good. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve Him.
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the same exact church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth 2000 years ago.  I know that He still leads and guides this Church and that the Prophets and Apostles are called of God and inspired of Him to help us in our lives. I know that if we follow their counsel, coupled with the counsel we receive from the Word of God we will come off conquerors of all.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. I know that He lived a perfect life to show us that it really is possible, the perfect example, and I know that He died for us to make the goal of living with God and our families forever in happiness an obtainable glory. Each trial we have in life is just another stepping stone to getting us there, if we can just trust in the Savior.  He's experienced all things and He will ALWAYS be there with His hand outstretched NO MATTER WHAT.  All we gotta do is reach out and take hold. It is never too late and no one is ever too lost to become acquainted with the Savior and His love, and as we do so we will change for the better. Don't y'all ever EVER forget any of this, OK?!?!  If you ever struggle then just come talk to me, haha. I leaned on my parent's and my siblings' testimonies for 18 years or so, but now I can finally say for sure that I know these things are true. So if you ever just need a little crutch, use mine.
Thanks to all y'all for your love and your prayers and your support. I am really excited to see and talk to y'all real soon!  I love you so much!!
May God Bless Y'all!
Elder Caleb Porter

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Elk Whistle

Holy crap I don't even know what to do!!  I go home in 8 days.  AH!  I am really really really excited to see y'all, but I am also real sad to be done. It's ok because I know that I have served my hardest for 2 years and not it's just time to go, I don't have any regrets. That is a good feeling, for sure.
Yesterday was SUCH a fun day! The Lubbock Stake (that's the one I'm part off) had a fun run for memorial day and we got permission to go if we could get a member to give us a ride. So what did we do? We got up at 5:15 and piled into Josh Gandy's tiny truck and rode to Lubbock.  Dress code for the Elders was: white shirt and tie and tag with basketball shorts. It was SO funny. It was pouring rain the entire time we were driving up there and we kept joking about it getting canceled, when we finally got to Lubbock it was still raining really hard but the park was SO full of Mormons ready to run the race! I was so pumped! Then it started to ended up getting canceled hahaha. Too bad. President Heap told all the missionaries to wait for the members to clear out before we left and by that time the lightning had stopped and so he yelled "the Willy and Martin handcart companies didn't quit because it was cold outside!! We can't just not run this race!!  It's in our heritage!" haha and so we ran a 5k in the pouring rain. Man, it was SO fun. I had a real great time.  I was hoping I would lose 10 pounds during the race, that didn't happen, but I still did really well. I am so sore today though, that is for sure.
This last week was some good work. I am finishing working my butt off and having a real great time doing it! Miracles are happening all over the place. One of the little miracles we saw is that we finally are making and keeping contact with a less active family called the Ibarras.  Another miralcesito is that Ivonne is their prima and loves them so much, so she's been helping A TON!  It is just so cool to see how things work out for our good. I love the Church and I love my mission!
I have been pondering Alma 25:35-37 quite a bit. It gives me a lot of peace.  I think it's my favorite scripture right now.  Just take a gander at it...God is good. He loves us so much. Don't forget that.  We have a really really really big reason to be happy, we have really big potential, so we better be happy and reach that potential!
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all powerall‍ wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful‍ Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my lightmy joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch‍ of the tree of Israel, and has been lost‍ from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers‍ in a strange land.
 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful‍ of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
I love you all so much. Sorry this email is kind of crappy. I'll just come home and tell you all the good stuff next week, ok?!  Be happy and safe!
ELDER Porter  

Monday, May 18, 2015


Wowzers, another week gone. Y'all will only get 2 more emails from me as a missionary....ahhhh. That is straight nuts. I don't even know how to react to that!
For the past few weeks we have been doing service at an old folks home, but not just any old folks home, we have been working at one that is specifically for old people who have alztymers. Yeah, I know I spelled that wrong, but spell check wont even correct it so I'm giving up on it. Anyway. It is really sad to see all these old ladies and men just be insane, but it is also really funny sometimes.  We go once a week and all we do is play bingo and sing hymns. It's a blast! They love us!  There is this one lady named Miss Ruby who just loves us to death. She is the very best at bingo.  She calls us the boys from her church and says that she knew us when we were just little bitty boys.  I'm happy I allowed her to make that false memory because it brings her joy. She always asks us about how our families are doing and she is just a good lover. One thing I think is awesome is that when we sing hymns a lot of the people know the words!  That is cool because 1, I didn't realize how many of our hymns aren't even specific to our hymn book and 2, it's sweet that even though they cant remember anything else they can remember their faith and the words of songs that has helped them in their life.  I think that is a cool piece of evidence that you cant get through life with out some kind of faith in Jesus Christ to get you through it. Even though these people cant remember much else, they always remember to pray and to thank the Lord in all they do and I really think they are blessed for it. I never want to have Alztihmers (another guess), but I hope I can have faith like that for forever like them!
Jose Francisco got baptized!  Yipee!  This guy is so legit. He read the whole BOM in 3 weeks and is almost done with it a second time. He also has read the Gospel Principles book and is working though the Priesthood manual. He just eats up the truth. The only reason it has taken him so long to get baptized is because he just feels so unworthy. The whole time I've been here we've been trying to help he realize that because he is unworthy he NEEDS to be baptized. It finally clicked! It was way sweet because President Reber and he have made a really good connection so President Reber did the baptism and the confirmation. You just gotta smile when the investigator picks a member to baptize them cause you know the fellow ship goal was met. Yay! At the baptism almost everything went wrong...hahah. Everybody showed up late, the people forgot to prepare their talks, and programs didn't show up till after the service, but it was still really good. No complaints at all. Jose will make a really good addition to the Hobbs Spanish Family.
Yesterday night we ate dinner with the Diaz family. They are so cool and they feed us like twice a week.  When we got there Hermana Diaz was obviously really upset about something, she had real red and watery eyes like she had been crying and was pretty quiet during dinner. Elder Heaps and I recognized it and really tried hard to be funny and make the whole family laugh to lighten the mood. They fed us Ceviche and elder Farley hated it, hahahaha, so he spent the whole time trying to figure out how to avoid eating it. At the end of the lesson I felt promped to share a scripture on prayer and to talk about that for al little while. Man, it was a good lesson. The spirit worked on them all and took over the teaching. They have been having some hard times and really needed a reminder of prayer. Sister Diaz bawled and bore her testimony to us about the power of prayer and how she was grateful for the reminder. It was so sweet. That lesson made me realize 2 things. The first is that prayer is awesome and the spirit is real, and the second is that I really really like being a missionary with the called and responsibility to teach and bless lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every once in a while it will randomly hit me that I am going home in a few weeks and for the most part I am so pumped, but in lessons like that it makes me really sad to have to leave this amazing work and go to a different work.  Obviously it's not the end of missionary work for me, but it's the end of full time, 100% dedicated service.  I love my mission. Is has changed me so much.  I'm sure y'all'll hear more about this in the next few weeks, but just know that I know the Church is true and that Jesus is the Christ! 
Love y'all so much. Don't forget to pray. Don't forget to read the scriptures. There is a lot of peace that can be found in the Word of God. And don't forget to smile!
Elder Porter

This is in response to my letter telling him that Roxann Jarvis, my wonderful long time friend, died.

Ah dang, mom.  That is really hard. I am real sorry to hear that. I loved Rox a lot. Don't forget that God has a plan, though.  She has something important she needs to do over there in spirit paradise, some other souls to uplift and help out.  Also don't forget that Christ knows how it is.  President Hughes counseled me that there will be times where I will be prompted to pray and pour out my soul to God to find solace, solace that can only come through Him. I know that that is a true principle. As you pray to God and seek peace and solace He will give it to you!  Don't forget that, ok Mom?  I love you a whole lot! 
I am happy to talk on the 24, whatever works best for y'all.
Love you so much!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Abuleita de Batman

This week was a real good one, duh. It was a little longer than what it's been in the past, I don't know whether I should be grateful or sad, haha.
So for the past 6 weeks or so we have been doing service at Salvation Army once a week for about 2 hours. It has always been really fun service, I love it a lot. The lady who is in charge, Cenia, ablsolutly loves us. At the end of every service she gives us a lot of food to tie us over for the week. We try to tell her that we cant take it and she just says "oh shush!  If my baby was out doing work like y'all I would want someone to take care of her too! So I'm just watchin out for y'all." She is awesome. This week we brought the other companionship in the city with us and we threw bread into a van and then unloaded it at the warehouse. Then Cenia asked us if there is any chance we could help later on in the day form 1 to 4 because she the other volunteers wouldn't be able to come, of course we said yes! So we went back and took carts of food to old people's cars to help out. We had a lot of down time so we were able to talk to Cenia a lot about the Church. She is pretty interested in it! I think it is so cool to see how many little ways you can spread the Gospel. Things like service make ALL the difference and really big impacts! I really love doing the service, too!
Mexicans are like my favorite people ever. I think I explained it before, but they just have a party for every thing possible. They just love to party. And there is no such thing as a small party.  This week alone we went to 3 parties in the branch to eat and had BBQ at like 2 other parties from just random people. I love it!  The Ormsby family's little son just turned what did they do? They cooked 30 lbs of carne asada and 100 hamburgers and hot dogs. We ate like champs and then they gave us some to take home:)  Then The Morales family's little son Levi just turned 4, so we went to the church for his piƱata and ate Nachos and hotdogs there. They gave us cake to take home. THEN the branch had a mother's day activity at the church so we ate REALLY good there and they gave us more to take home. There is this one song that they sing for every festivity called Mananitas. I  don't know why, but it is so awesome. At the mother's day thing they had all the men, us included, go up and sing this song to all the moms. It was SO funny. I was laughing for days. I cant wait to learn the words and sing it at every birthday party from now on. In short, this week was a party and I probably gained weight. #yay!
We had a Zone Conference this week, it was my very last one. It was so good. I just love the way that President Heap teaches. He has made a real good impact on my life. Right before the conference he pulled me into his office and we just chatted for a little bit about what I can do to help out Elder Farley and to still be going 100% in my other missionary duties. I was really appreciative of it.  Anyway, at the conference we learned more about planning and goal setting. It was cool because that stuff will still apply to me even when I am home, so I paid real good attention. The spirit taught me some stuff I can do.   For lunch we ate some real good BBQ...surprise, haha. But then after lunch came the real surprise... Sometimes in our mission we do this thing called "departing testimonies" that's where the missionaries who are about to go home give their testimony for the zone. It's pretty hit or miss on weather or not the zone conference will have it. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Well this one they sure did and me and 5 other missionaries had to give our departing testimonies. It was so nuts. I never thought I would be there. I cant believe how time flew. Gah. Anyway, it was really good and there were some powerful testimonies born.
I only have 3 more weeks. Holy crap.  I'm gonna keeping working really hard and hopefully I'll be able to help change a few more lives before I'm done! I love y'all so much! Have a good week and be happy and work hard!!
Elder Porter

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ft. Soy

This week was way good! I loved each minute of it. I dont know how, but each day goes faster. Another thing that keeps on progressing in my mission is how tired I am in the mornings, haha. Each day I am a little bit more tired than I was the day before. It's been going like that since day one. I feel like I should be dead by now, hahahah. I just shower first thing in the morning and then work out and after that I am fine. Weird though.
So as y'all know, Saturday was the kentucky Derby.  Well we all had a really good time picking horses and hearing about the winner, American Pharoah, but I'd say the very best Derby festivity we did was...IVONNE'S BAPTISM!  Haha it went so good. She invited a bazillion friends and family and a lot of our branch came as well. There were more people there than there is on a normal sunday!  Most of them were non-members too! Both talks that were givin were really really good and applied to her real well. The best part was the actual baptism, though. She was way nervous right as she was getting into the water, and was shaking a little bit during the baptismal prayer, but as she came out of the water she was BEAMING.  I have never seen her smile that big and happy. We keep teaching her about her "light" about how even though her family doesn't really want to get into the church at all, that she will be an amazing example and light to everyone.  Man, let me tell you, as soon as she got out of the water she was practically glowing. It was so cool. It was like a completely different person. She is gonna be a killer member for the rest of her life.
We had Stake conference this week as well, so as soon as we finished Ivonne's baptism we headed up to Lubbock.  Holy crap, it was a really good conference. The saturday night was all about the power of council within the family and the church, it was powerful. They also made the announcement that the transmitting stuff was broken so they weren't gonna be able to transmit it to Hobbs for the Sunday part. So we just stayed the night with the missionaries there in Lubbock!! I sure love missionary sleep overs, haha. It is a lot of fun. So anyway,on sunday the talks were all focused on 2 Nephi 4 and about the power of the Atonement.  President Shumway, the stake president, is notorious for speaking as if he were a southern baptist preacher, or in other words he just yells at the pulpit and is SO POWERFUL!   Then right after I went and participated in Josh Gandy's Melchizedek Priesthood ordination and President Shumway gave one of the coolest blessings I have ever heard. He just testified of the truthfulness of the promise that our body will be renewed as we use our priesthood righteously. It was so sweet. Church is true out here in the Lubbock Stake.
President Heap gave me and everyone else who goes home this transfer an assignment titled "My Plan". He said that the brethren are starting up something just like it, but we're just a little bit ahead of the rest.  He as asked us to study and prepare and make plans for home. He's given us a lot of topics to study and think about, it is way sweet. He asked me about it on Sunday and I told him it was making it a little bit hard to stay focused on the work and he just smiled and said "that is exactly what I intended".  I know that man is called of God and I know he is inspired in this, so I am really really excited to see the blessings that come from it.  
Anyway, I love y'all so so so much! Be safe and have a really good week. I get to Skype this week, so I'm pumped out of my mind. I will talk to a lot of y'all then.  
Elder Porter 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Is that a Football?

Well, this week was a dream.  I don't know, once again, how it ended soo fast. The weeks and days just get faster and faster. I can't even believe it.
Last Monday, just after emailing we went and played some basketball. I have never really been that good of a ball player, but I love it so much so I always play and have a great ol time. This week for some reason I was on fire, just making ever shot I took.  That doesn't really have that much to do with my story, I just wanted y'all to know that I did good, haha. Well this one time, I was playing defense and I don't know what happened, but Elder Banner, a little tiny twig guy, hit me in the eye with his elbow that is as sharp as Cutco (trust me, I would know since I worked as a cutco salesman for 3 days) and made my eyebrow rip open and start to pour blood. It was awesome. 7 stitches later it was still awesome. It looked so gnarley.  On Tuesday my eye was swollen shut. It was so funny. I wish I had my cord to send you a picture of it, but it's lost in the apartment somewhere, so I'll just show y'all in a few weeks.  It was so crazy though. In all honesty I think it helped the missionary work out cause everyone listened to us cause they wanted to hear the story about what happened haha. Earlier today elder Checketts pulled out the stitches with fingernail clippers, it was awesome.  One little 4 year old kid was staring at my stitches on like Thursday and just says "is that a football?". I laughed so hard.
On a more spiritual note, though, let me tell y'all about Ivonne. Ivonne has been meeting with missionary for about a year. She is 18 and way cool. She reads and prays and comes to church and everything, she just hasn't recognized an answer and she's scared her catholic family will disown her.  On Friday's weekly planning we said a special prayer to help us know what we could teach her to make her ready. I had the distinct impression to teach all about the Celestial Kingdom.  So we did. It was a KILLER LESSON.  SO GOOD. The spirit guided everything so much. At the end of the lesson I extended a bap date invitation for May 2 and she agreed!  Then we decided to do a fast, us and her, so that she would feel ready and that her parents would have soften hearts. So we fasted that day and the next day we went over and it her opening prayer she thanked God for finally giving her an answer.  IT WAS AMAZING!!  Ivonne is finally getting baptized this Saturday. I am so pumped. She told her parents and they weren't happy, but they didn't disown her either!  We taught her about how her light will grow and shine and eventually she will be able to help them accept the Gospel as well. Ah man, God is good. I know that He answers prayers and really does want to bless us and help us out. So that's that.  Pray that Ivonne's parents will be more submissive and that everything will go well!
For dinner on Saturday we got invited to one of the guys in the branches birthday party. It was a dream.  Mexicans have this way that they all goes like this:
  • Banda (that is a type of Mexican music) blasting
  • BBQ
  • Beans
  • A billion people
  • Everyone is related somehow
  • Usually there is beer too :(
This time there wasn't beer though cause they were all active members of the church, haha. It was SO MUCH FUN!  I love the Mexican culture so much.  Dad told me, as his advice before my mission, to love the culture and let me tell you, I succeeded in that. I hope there are Mexican hangouts in Provo that will let me join it, haha.
Anyway, I love y'all so much! Have a good week and don't get stitches in your eye!
Don't forget to pray and to smile!
Elder Porter 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Wrestle

First off in this email I feel the need to explain to y'all some mission lingo.  I don't know if you have ever heard it before so I will teach you as if you only have 4 years of age (sorry I sounded like an idiot when I said that, I just read Winston's letter and he always makes me lose a few IQ points).
When a missionary first starts his mission he is "born" in an area and his trainer is his "dad".  At the end of the mission and you think about home you are "trunky", hopefully y'all already knew that.  If a missionary is disobedient he is "apostate" and if something is against the rules it is "un-legit".  Lastly, and perhaps the most important one for this email, when a missionary finishes his mission he "dies" and his last companions "killed him". I believe you are ready for the rest of this email.

I'm gonna die in Hobbs!  We got our transfer calls and the Lord has called me to finish it out in Hobbs, that isn't the exciting news, though. Both Elder Whitesides and Bradshaw are leaving me, which isn't the exciting part either, and I'm getting....Elder HEAPS!! Do y'all remember Elder Heaps?  I served with him in Odessa exactly one year ago. I love the kid so much. He's easily one of my favorite companions ever.  It almost never happens that you get to serve with one of your old companions again OR that you serve in one of your old areas again and I'm doing BOTH!!  Yay.  I will still be in a trio. Our other companion's name is Elder Farley.  Now, y'all know that my title on my mission has basically been "babysitter"  (sorry, that's another lingo I forgot to mention. "Babysitter" means that you have an apostate companion or you have a companion that is struggling a lot with his mission and you need to help him out)  most of my companion since I left Hobbs last year have had troubles with their mission and President and God assigned me to serve with them to help out a lot.  I used to be so bugged by it, I always would dream of having a hard working, experienced, and obedient companion, but that just hasn't happened.   This transfer it hit me though that it is SUCH a huge sign of trust from both President Heap and also from God.  They are trusting another person's mission, which means the salvation of many souls, to me for 6 weeks.  Babysitting changed from a chore to an honor.  Well.  Elder Farley has been having a rough go on his mission. I  don't know any details, but I do know that my assignment for these next 6 weeks is to "save this boy". As soon as the AP told me that it all just clicked to an even deeper level.  I remember that when I was set apart as a missionary the first time President Hughes said that the mission president would trust me after a short time to take on sensitive or fragile assignments. I have seen that.  He also talked a lot about how he feels one of the purposes on his mission was to bless the life of one of his companions. I think if I look back on it I feel that way too. I think the whole timing thing with me not being able to come out, then getting a call anyway, then going home, then coming back after just one transfer, was so I could serve with who I have served with, not as much as so I could teach certain people in my areas. I feel like God has used me as a tool mostly for my companions.  That's not to say that I am the perfect companion at all, I'm sure a few of them have had problems for sure, but I know that I have some God given gifts that has helped me connect with my companions and help them make the changes they need to in their lives and in their missionary work.  Sorry this paragraph is a little crazy...I got most of that revelation as I was writing it, haha. Anyway.  I am pumped out of my mind for the next 6 weeks of my life and the last 6 weeks of my mission.

We also went to the Temple this week.  It was gnarly. We went with Josh Gandy, the recent convert from Lovington I told y'all about a few weeks ago. I met a guy there at the temple who is a professor at Texas Tech.  He knows Dad cause he used to work at BYU, but I forgot his name, sorry!  Anyway, we had a nice little chat and he taught me how to be a student again.  Pretty much he just told me to keep doing all my missionary stuff minus proselyting. It was sweet. I like the Temple, and I love Josh, and I like talking to random guys.

You know, that is about it.  I was gonna write y'all about Enos 1 and his "wrestle" that he has with God and then compare it to some of the things our investigators have been doing recently, but I ran out of time and ganas.  Sorry!!  SO anyway. Just know that the church is true and our investigators are progressing.

I love y'all a bazillion.  Have a really good and happy week!

Elder Porter

Monday, April 13, 2015

Glade Wars

This weeks was a really good week.  Every week is a really good week.  Life is really great as a missionary! 

We had exchanges go down this week.  It was gnarly.  Elder Bradshaw and I  stayed in Hobbs Spanish and Elder Checketts, our DL came with us for a day.  It was SO FUN.  Easily the most fun and funniest exchange of my whole life.  Elder Checketts goes home with me, so we are both pretty advancada in the mission, he was an AP for like 7 months or something like that, so he is a killer missionary and a way hard worker.  It was so fun just to go hard and do it well, ya know?  Right now he is training a missionary, Elder Banner.  Elder Banner is easily the most prepared kid I have ever met.  He works so hard. I would never guess that it is only his second transfer if it weren't for how skinny his cheeks are (because all missionaries get bigger cheeks).  They work real hard together, but Checketts wanted a break of sorts, to where he could talk about home and discuss plans for after the mission without making his greeny feel trunky.  That's why he came with us!  As I had previously stated, we went so hard, but had so much fun.  That is how missionary work should always be!!!  Sorry that paragraph was all misconstrued...Just know that it was fun.

For the past few weeks we have been doing service at Salvation Army for a few hours each week.  It has been a blast.  We do pretty much anything, from sort food, to building boxes, to mopping floors, to playing on fork lifts.  It is always a good time.  This week the lady who is in charge of it (who loves us to death) asked us if we could meet her at some random bakery here in town. We met her there and our job was to go through the bakery and find all the bread that was about to expire and then chuck it into her van.  I don't know if y'all have ever just chucked a loaf of bread as hard as you can before...but I would suggest it.  There is no explanation that I can tell, but it is way more fun to throw than a ball. Anyway, we spent about an hour and filled up her van so much that the shocks began to compress, it was a whole lot of bread! Then we went and helped her unload it all back at the Salvation Army building and this time we chucked it at each other.  If you haven't been hit in the face with hot dog buns...I plead with so now. At the end of the day she gave us a box of food!  We told her "no ma'am, we can't take this" and then she said some Mexican profanities and made us take it, so we were grateful!  She even had thrown in a few bags of Fruit Smileys, those walmart brand fruit snacks!! I was and am a happy camper:)

Back in the day, when I was 17ish I was assigned several times to take the sacrament to various viejos in the ward. At the time I thought of it as somewhat of a chore, but as I pondered back on it this past week I realized that it was a huge blessing.  Even then I always loved to take it to Brother Cole, a man in the ward who was real close to death and couldn't come to church.  He made sacrament a special thing.  Each time we would bring the bread and water he would ask us to start of with a prayer, then he would ask us to bear our testimony or to tell him about what we learned at church that day, or to share our favorite scripture, or something like that, and then when he took the sacrament he would always put it in his mouth and stop and close his eyes and just think for a second.  Some of the strongest times I have felt the spirit has been in the Cole's living room.  I never really understood why it was such a big deal to him, or why he asked us to do those things, but I sure know that it helped my understanding of the importance of the Sacrament grow and it kinda built a foundation for me that I could build upon.

This Saturday I was thinking about the Sacrament and about what I could do to make it a more spiritual experience for me.  I studied it out that day and on Sunday and I had some really neat personal realizations of things I can do to make it more special but also a little bit more about the meaning and significance of it.  I realized that when I prepare the sacrament I am preparing the means by which people can renew their covenants and become clean again. I realized that when I pass the Sacrament I am giving them that opportunity to repent and be clean, that is cool.  I realized that "nadie viene al Padre sino por mi" (sorry I don't know what that scripture says exactly in English), but also that no one can come to the Son but by the Sacrament and no one could come to the Sacrament but by me (if I were the one to prepare or pass it).  I though that was neat.  On Sunday I was blessed because they asked me if I would bless.  As I read the prayer my heart was filled with the Spirit and I felt like a really truly was making steps towards God, renewing and repromising. The Church is so true!  I know that the Sacrament is so important.  I know that as we take the sacrament worthily, and do our best to keep our covenants each week, to remember Christ always and to take His name as our own, we will never be beat by the adversary.  We will always have the strength necessary to do good and to stay good.

I love y'all a lot!  HAve a good week.  Be safe.  Read your scriptures.  SMILE!
Elder Porter

Monday, April 6, 2015

Black Box

This week we had a Zone Conference up in Lubbock.  It was a really really good one.  Pretty much ever meeting that Preident Heap participates in is really good. That guy is a powy how (that's just how you say Power House in shortened words...duh). He started his instruction by saying "Alright Elders and Sisters, ask me...what do you want to know" and then for the next hour he just answered our questions about the Gospel.  It was so powerful!  He sure knows his scriptures. One of the APs gave a really really good instruction as well. He taught about how to teach powerfully, something I am always looking to improve. He talked specifically about using short power statements to explain each point of the Restoration in 3 or 4 sentences each.  He stressed the importance of knowing the docterin so well that we can explain it simply, just like my boy Hyrum Smith talks about in PMG. It was a killer lesson and we have already seen a sweet change in our teaching, at least I have.  We also had a guy from the mission department in Salt Lake come up to talk to us.  He was specifically in charge of the Church's fleet of cars. They installed what we call "The Black Box" in each of our cars.  It monitors our speed, acceleration, turning, stops, seatbelts, and pretty much everthing else. It is the most annoying thing ever.  Whenever you have a violation it yells at you and you get a mark on your record.  I don't really get any marks except for speeding.  It is so frustrating when you're driving on a real wide, country road with no one on it in either direction going 25 miles per hour cause you have a stupid machine that will rip your face off if you go any faster. I mean, come on!!  You should be allowed to go at least like 80 on those roads!!  Am I right, or what!?!?  Nah, don't worry, y'all.  I don't actually get too many violations.  I certainly have slowed down a lot since they installed it, but it's whatever.  Still a good Zone Conference.

On Saturday we did some way fun service and cut down a tree. Do y'all remember Hector and Denise I told y'all about last year? They are the ones that Martin and I baptized, well it turns out that this whole time their next door neighbor was a member of the English ward and had been talking to them for forever about the Church! Good for her! Anyway, she is a really old lady and cant do much, so Hector and us cut down her tree for her. We got there at 6 in the morning on Saturday, so we could have time to finish and then go watch conference.  Hector had a great idea to just tie a rope to the top and the other part of the rope to his truck and then drive away to break off a few of the pesky branches right away. So we got it all hooked up and stuff and he drove off with his truck and....The ENTIRE tree fell to the ground hahah. It was so awesome. It was just a really really dry tree, I guess, cause it just crashed hard. Y me So we just chopped it up on the ground and moved it into a trailer.  It ended up being a lot easier than we had intended.  Easily one of my favorite service projects I have done in my mission!

Holy crap y'all, HOW WAS GENERAL CONFERENCE?!!? I thought it was so good.  I don't really have a favorite talk, at least not that I remember, because every talk was so good and inspired. I went with the question of "what things can I do at home to help me remember and apply all these good lesson I have learned on my mission and to be able to continue to grow into the man God needs me to be".  God sure answered my prayer because in almost every talk I was touched by the spirit and I learned something I can do to remember and grow.  It was so good. I love conference. I always get one of the warmest feelings ever whenever Thomas S Monson speaks.  I really do know that that man is called of God.

Also, Easter is the best time to be a missionary ever. It is so neat to be able to testify of Christ and his Atonement and life and stuff every day, but it is especially cool to testify of that stuff on Easter. Church is true.

Anyway, I love y'all a whole lot! Have a good and happy week!
Elder Porter  

Monday, March 30, 2015

He is Here

Welp!  I'm back already.  This is the beginning of week 4 of this transfer already, how nuts is that?  That means that I only have 9 weeks left on my mission, how even MORE NUTS is that?!  Time flies way too fast. I hope and pray I can stay focused and go as hard as ever in these last months.

Elder Bradshaw got here last Monday just after we emailed. I hate his guts.  Easily my least favorite companion I have ever had, ever.  Just kidding, haha, I only said that cause he was reading over my shoulder.  I actually love the kid. Elder Bradshaw, also known as lactate-face, is like the perfect medium between me and Elder Whitesides. He grew up in a puny town in Washington, so he get's Whiteside's obsession with small town crap, but he also didn't grow up on a dairy, so he is normal, haha.  He loves trucks, so now Elder Whitesides can talk to someone who cares, but he also loves sports so now I don't feel like I'm in my own world! It's the best. We all get along so well and had a really fun week. He's really good at Spanish, so he's been teaching me all the swear words and slang, haha just kidding, but he really has been helping me a lot. We speak Spanish to each other a lot, it's helping me a ton. Needless to say, I am a happy camper!

This week we started to teach a couple named Felix and Elisabet.  They are actually some people that I taught last year.  We were driving down the road, on out way to somewhere else and I felt real strongly that we should fill up the gas on our truck...which is a really random prompting, but I rolled with it and when I got out to pump the gas I looked across the street and saw their house and remembered them!  Elisabet was outside so we ran over and talked to her a little bit and they are both still way down to learn about the Gospel.  Apparently the missionaries who replaced me and Martin last year never went and visited them.  They were bummed because they still wanted to learn more. How sweet is that!!  We were so pumped. She was real pregnant when I left last year and now they have a 1 year old boy, it's nuts to me how fast time flies like that!!  Missionary work is a dream, I heart it real good.

Do y'all remember last years sweet Easter Video and the He is the Gift Video that the church did? Well the Church is way true and super awesome, so they did another video this year for Easter and it is a power house. Have y'all seen it?  If not then GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!! IT IS SO GOOD!! This is my favorite time of year to be a missionary.  This whole week and the few weeks to come we are just focusing so hard on testifying of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  I feel the Spirit so strong each day as I stop random druggies walking on the street to tell them what I know about their Savior and how what I teach them about Him will change their lives forever. My favorite part of the video is when it says you can reach out, call out, cry out and He is here.  At first I was all mad cause it was poor grammar.  I thought it should have said "you can call out...and He will be there" like in the future tense, but then I realized that I am an idiot.  He is already here.  He always has been and always will be.  He is always here, just waiting for us to come to him.  All we gotta do is reach out.  We just need to take His hand.  He is here.  I love that.  The thing I have learned about more than anything else here on my mission is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know He loves us.  I know that He died for us.  I know that because of His death and His sufferings we can do ANYTHING. "I can do all things though Christ, which strengtheneth me."  I too, glorly in mine infirmities because I know that because I am weak, He is strong, and because He is strong, I can be stronger than ever.  I love that.  I know that He lives today.  I know that He is here.

I love y'all so much!  Don't forget to say your prayers this week and do all you can to remember Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. Be happy and share the gift and light of the knowledge of our Savior and His Gospel with someone else, ok?! 
Elder Porter 

Monday, March 16, 2015

I hope I catch this...

Wowzers! Hobbs America is a good place to be!  I love love love it here! It's the ugliest place I have ever been too, but the work is booming.  The branch has changed a lot in the past year, too. The best part, to me at least, is that we have a new Branch President, President Reber. Last year he was the Stake President of the Roswell Stake, but they rearranged the Stake boundaries and so now we are in the Lubbock Stake and he was calling-less for a few months. He served his mission in Argentina, so that's why he speaks spanish.  Last year he made a really big impression on me because of how effectivley and powerfully he loved the Saints in this part of the world.  He's just a walking heart...if that makes any sense at all, haha.  He's just powerful. When he shakes hands he hold your hand for like 2 seconds longer than the average person and he makes killer eye contact and you can just know with out a doubt that he loves you. Power house.  Anyway, so now he's the branch president and he has made a lot of really needed changes to the area!  Also, our Branch Mission Leader is a guy named Hector Lopez.  Last year Elder Martin and I taught him the restoration a week before we got transferred and then the missionaries that replaced us baptized him 2 weeks later!!! How neat is that!?  It's cool to see someone I taught be an active, faithful member of the branch.  All the branch remembers me, which is really surprising to me, but they do!  I am happy and they are all happy as well. I cant wait to go hard as ever these next 3 months.
My new companion's name is Elder Austin Whitesides, or as the branch calls him, LadosBlancos.  He's from the booming city of Rupert Idaho!!  Just kidding, it's not booming, it's a puny town.  BUT its really close to Burley (where Grandma Taylor lives) so I wasn't too clueless about it. He grew up on a dairy farm.  How random is that?!  A freaking dairy farm.  He gets a long better with cows than with humans!!  Hahaha, nah for real though he is way sweet.  I am loving working with him so far.  We don't really connect really well on our interest which is ok cause now I get to learn a lot about cows and trucks and jeeping and stuff and he gets to learn about math and sports!  YAY!  He talks and smiles and laughs and everything so I can not complain!  Not to mention he is a way hard worker!  Good stuff.  I am pleased.
For reals though, family, let me tell you, the work here in Hobbs is out of control!! There are so many people out side all the time, so we talk to like 10 a day, at least.  The branch loves missionary work (I'm not sure when that started to happen) so they were getting like 11 member present lessons a week. People come to church, people invite us in, they read their book of mormon and everything. It is so strange to me! I have never had this many things happening at once in my whole mission!!  Elder Whitesides is just 2 transfers out, so it's the only thing he knows, he is lucky cause I've had like 14 transfers without that kind of stuff!!  It is really hard work, but I love it to death!!
We have this one Investigator named Jose Francisco, he's about as legit as they come. He has already read the entire book of Mormon and most of the Gospel Principles book and comes to church every week.  We just need to help him feel like he is ready to be baptized. Every Saturday he sells Carnitas which is just deep fried pork.  He invited is over so I could try some. He gave me the ear of the pig...ew. Even worse than menudo!  Never deep fry a pig ear, ok?
That's the happenings of this week though!  IT was a good one.  I hope y'all can have a real good one this next week as well!  God bless y'all!  Be safe and have fun!
Elder Porter 

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Comeback Kid

Well.  We got transfer calls on Saturday and I was informed that it is finally time for me to leave Odessa.  My heart dropped so hard when they told me.  I love Odessa SO MUCH!!  I am very grateful that God has given me the chance to be here for so long. I have a real big and awesome Mexican family here in Odessa. I have been here for 10.5 months!  I only lack 10 weeks from being here for a whole year.  How nuts is that?!  Oh well.  All good things must come to an end. I am getting transferred to Hobbs Spanish! "Oh.  I must be reading the wrong email.  Caleb was in Hobbs Spanish last year." No no no, do not fret, this is the right email!  I'm going BACK to Hobbs Spanish!  I am real excited.  It's not a Zone Leader area any more, but I will still have the same truck and apartment and stuff. Hobbs is my second favorite area, so I am REEALL content. I will probably finish my mission there!   The address is:
509 W Kiowa Dr. #D
Hobbs, New Mexico 88230
This week we got a call from some random number asking us if we would go give a blessing to a baby that was born pre-maturely in the Nicu (i don't know how to spell that).  Because we are the only missionaries with a car in the city other than the ZLs we always get calls to go give blessings at the hospitals.  We were a little bummed because we had to change a lesson we had planned, but we hustled over to the hospital to give a blessing.  We got there and called the number and they told us they would meet us in the Lobby.  We sat there and out from one of the hallways comes Manuel Zambrano.  Now, you don't know him because you haven't been with me on my mission this whole time. But he's a Less Active member I worked with a lot in Fort Stockton!!  I was so pumped to see them. They are the ones who we ate Thanksgiving dinner with last year.  They both recognized me right off.  I havent seen them for over a year. It was their baby that I gave a blessing to.  Anyway.  I gave the kid a blessing and it was a really special experience for me.  I really really REALLY felt guided in that blessing. I felt like I was watching a movie and just explaining what was happening.  Way cool experience. Church is true and so is the Priesthood!!
ANyway.  I am really really sorry, but I already got to go!  This was a really short email.  Please forgive me, but know that I am doing well and I'm happy. 
Y'alll be happy and stay safe!  God bless you! 
Elder Caleb


                                               Cody, Yocelyn and Junior

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Se porten bien

This week was a TREAT! Aka it was the same as every week, haha.  Do I say that every week, too? Gah. I 've been writing weekly letters for so long I'm running out of original content.  Sorry, y'all.
Do y'all remember Joe?  Not my brother, but the guy who I said was living with us at Brother Kelly's house?  Well after 4 months he finally left this week.  He had a really hard time here in Odessa and is probably one of the most unlucky guys that I have ever met in my entire life. He moved back to Utah, so I'm sure y'all will meet him someday, like maybe at my Homecoming.  Joe was a real interesting guy.  I love him to death, but he wasn't the easiest guy to live with.  He was really high maintenance and stuff, which makes sense givin his past, but still, it wasn't too easy. Anyway, the point is that I was really genuinely sad when he left!  That made me real scared for transfers this week.  The chances are pretty high that I will be leaving, fingers crossed that I wont, but I probably will. I realized that if I was that sad about saying goodbye to a guy I didn't even really enjoy being around then how much harder is it gonna be to say goodbye to Brother Kelly and the entire ODessa 3rd Branch!! Gah. I'm not looking forward to that at all!!  I love these people so so so so so much.  I mean, when I said goodbye to y'all it was sad, but I knew I'd see you again for 100% sure, but that's not the case here!  I guess it's a good thing facebook exists and ODessa is in the USA so I can come visit real easy.
It was freezing butt cold this week, real bad, and we dropped all of our investigators again, so we had nothing to do.  Elder Gillette was too cold to go street contacting (that's where we just walk around the streets and talk to people who are already outside) for too long so we decided to go knocking for a while!  We went to the mexicanyiest area and started our journey.  We talked to one pot head who really wasn't interested, but he told us that his neighbor was a devil worshiper and sacrificed dogs and we went and knocked that house to see what's up!!  IT ended up being the pot head's parents and they were really nice Christians.  They invited us right in and were quick to offer us some nice warm coffee ( no no). We talked to them for about an hour and let me tell you...they were SO DUMB!!  The lady was adamant that Baptism is not a commandment. She loved the Bible so much and she claimed that it never said that a person must be baptized...WOW!  So I used her own bible and showed her John 3:5 and explained the doctrine.  She totally just dismissed it, haha. I like tried to bash with here a little, I was pulling out all kinds of scriptures from her own bible, but every scriptural proof just rolled off of her haha, oh well. IT was still good practice for me!  I am very very grateful for their warm house!
Gillette and I decided to try by a few former investigators form our area book.  We prayed that we would be guided to people who would be ready to accept the message the just picked some names, neither of us felt extremely guided or anything.  We decided to go try by a guy named Ezekiel. So we drove up to the house and it was one I recognized. I had talked to the owner of that house 6 months ago, and it wasn't Ezekiel  AKA he had moved.  But we thought "hey why not try by the guy who does live here?" We knocked on the door and some other random guy answered!  He invited us right in, though.  He was real nice, Teo is his name. It turns out that he had just moved to ODessa from Denver and was taking missionary lessons over there! He was excited and happy to find us here in Texas as well and we had a really really good lesson about the Book of Mormon with him! I know that that house we went to visit wasn't Eziekel, but I do know that we were still guided by the spirit to pick that name and that house so we could find Teo!  The spirit of the lord works in mysterious ways!
Anyway, I think that's all I got to tell y'all! I love you so so much. Thanks a million for all your prayers and love. I pray for y'all each day.  Stay strong and have fun.  SMile!
Elder Porter 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Sorry I couldn't email yesterday, there was ice on the road and half of Odessa shut down.  The people here are wimps! We saw like 7 crashes in just a few minutes of driving wasn't even that bad!
We got to go to the temple this last week and it was so good!  The youth had their scheduled baptism trip and the branch needed more Priesthood, so they got us to help them out. IT was the first time in a long time I had gone to do baptisms, but it was so good!  I forgot how much I liked doing that. Only 2 youth showed up, the Velazquez boys.  We got to drive up with them, it was fun to talk to them for the 2 hour trips.  They talked about a lot of new movies and games and technology and stuff...I felt like a lost little puppy.  I don't know nothing!  Anyway, at the temple Elder Gillette and I witnessed and helped on confirmations, it was nice. I felt the spirit pretty strong and I was just so amazed as how EASY it was to do all those baptisms! For the past 20 months I have been walking around the streets, knocking doors, learning spanish, teaching and planning all day long to get a few baptisms to happen and at the temple all we had to do was SHOW UP!!  I have a lot greater understanding and appreciation of that vicarious missionary work after having seen the other side of it.  Don't take the temple for granted! That's easy #s!
On Sunday night we ate dinner with the Pena family.  They are a real cool family here in the branch, the mother is from Mexico, her husband is from Colombia and all their kids were born in the USA, I think.  They are awesome. The best part, though, was that the invited a non-member family to eat with us!!  THat was the first time that's happened to me on my mission! IT was so cool!  The family they invited is so cool!  An older couple with their 22 and 17 year old daughters.  They were pumped that we spoke spanish and even more pumped that we weren't very good at spanish because they have been trying to learn english so for most of the night we talked spanish to each other. They have been friends of the Penas for a really long time so they know a lot about the church already. Then enjoyed their time eating with us and they felt the spirit during our spiritual thought about prophets.  I sure hope we can teach them some more in the future!
One time, when I was like 7 or 8, I think, on Christmas eve all the family had come over to our house to do the traditional Christmas eve festivities.  We, as usual, got to open one present. I remember that CJ opened her present first, from mom, and she had got a toy.  I was so pumped to open my present after that.  I opened it up and saw that I had gotten a shirt. I cried my eyes out. I was so bummed that I had gotten a shirt and CJ got a toy.  I have often thought back to that day and I now feel really really bad about it!!  I realized that me crying about that present I got from mom didn't make her feel very good.  I'm sure she just brushed it off, but I know I still made her feel bad as my mother.  Another experience I had like that was when Dad was helping me with my math homework in like 7th grade.  I was frustrated because I couldn't figure out the Pythagorean theorem.  Dad was trying his very best to help me out and I kinda made fun of the way he said the word Pythagorean, it was different than what they said at school.  That didn't make Dad happy and he stopped helping me.  At the time I was real bummed because I needed his help still, but now I'm bummed because I know I made Dad feel bad.  "Elder're a lunatic!"  (that's a quote from brother Kelly) "what do these random stories have to do with your missionary work from this past week?!" Well let me tell ya! I was studying in the book of Moses this week.  In the chapter I was reading God was teaching Enoch about all the things that were gonna happen with regards to Noah and the flood.  When Enoch saw all the sin that was going on he noticed that God was weeping.  Confused, Enoch asked God, why in the world he was weeping if He was the God of everything, how could he weep?  God told him that He had givin Noah and all those people everything that they had....He created them, He gave them agency, He gave them life, He loved them...but He had to sit back and watch them sin, to watch them potentially be damned! He loved them so much that He weeped for them.  I realized that that's probably how he feels about us a lot of the time.  He is our God too, our Father, He's givin us everything, and we too are sinning.  Yikes!  I realized that if I could feel just as bad about making God feel bad and cry as I do about making my earth parents feel bad and cry I wouldn't make half the mistakes i've made in my life!!!  I know that my parents love me so much!  So I do every think I can to make them feel good and make them feel of my love for them.  Likewise I know that Our Heavenly Father loves us so much.  So we need to do every thing we can to make Him feel and know of our love.  Just a thought!
Anyway...I love y'all so much! I hope you have a good week and enjoy your lives this week!  Let me know if I can do anything for any of y'all.
Elder Porter 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I miss Pack

We had a neat week this past week!  I don't know how it went by so quick, but somehow I am already here again in the library and I still have things to tell y'all!  Weird.
We had Zone Conference this week.  I love love love Zone Conference because it means we get to sit there and receive some killer instruction from President Heap.  He is one of the best teachers I have ever met.  My mind gets blown each time he opens his mouth.  Well...I guess I should say that the Holy Ghost is the best teacher ever and that President Heap is just really really good at inviting him in.  Still's so good.  Heap talked about the role of the Spirit.  He gave us a list of 10 different ways the spirit can influence us all the way from common sense to seeing God face to face. It was a real good lesson, I learned a lot!  Then the APs taught about how to plan rather than just schedule and how to be a real powerful teacher using the pamphlets.  It's weird because the longer I have been out on a mission the more I realize I need to change and improve to be the missionary I was called to be!  That's another reason I like Zc so much cause it's just a whole afternoon of revelation and ideas on how to be better.  It sure is a good time to be a missionary.  For the lunch the first counselor in the mission presidency, Billy Riley, smoked us some brisket and chicken.  He said usually for a big feed you plan for .5 lbs a person, but for us he planned on 2 lbs each.  He's a Texans Texan.   It was SO GOOD.  I freaking love meat.  I'll have to smoke some good stuff for y'all upon my return.
I got to go on exchanges this week with Elder Powell.  I served around Powell a year ago when I was in Fort Stockton.  He is a really cool guy.  He's form PG!  Close to home.  We both have real fond memories of Provo Canyon and Betos.  We both really enjoyed the day, it was a break of sorts for each of us.  Well, kinda.  I mean break as in we were both able to go do some real hard, unhindered, experienced work. I love just going and working hard. Powell finishes his mission 6 weeks before me, so I hope to see him around at home.  Y'all'll probably meet him!
We had a killer Valentines party with the branch. Well, San Valentin, I guess.  Mexicans sure know how to party.  It was scheduled to start at 6:30, but when we got there at 6:45 there was only one car, haha.  We came back an hour later (7:30) and there were only 5 cars!  The food wasn't even served until 8:20!!  Gotta love that mexican culture. 
Church was pretty good yesterday. There really wasn't anything too awesome, but it was still good!! I realized something really cool during sacrament, the two guys who blessed the sacrament weren't members when I got here in Odessa!  I have been able to watch them both start investigating, learn more and more, make changes, get baptized, and continue to grow.  That is a really neat realization!   It's cool to have been able to be in a place for so long to actually see some progress being made.  I am so happy to have been here for so long!  Hopefully I can stay till the end!  WE'll see, I guess. At least for now I still have 3 weeks left guaranteed.
I sure love y'all a whole lot.  Be happy this week and stay warm and safe.  Don't forget to say your prayers!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Nair (???)

This week was pretty narley sweet.  Aka it was normal, but still good! 
We got a call from a recent convert in the 1st ward.  This guy is as sick (awesome) as they get.  He was baptized last April by Tom, he and his 2 kids.  The guy is a physics teacher and every time I see him we talk about how awesome and fun math is.  He even got me some sweet calculus worksheets a few months back, it's neat.  Anyway, he called us this week and said that he wanted us to go visit one of his students.  This girl was in his class reading the Bible so he went up ans struck some good ol' conversation about the Gospel.  He asked her what her favorite verse was in the Bible and in reply he said that his favorite verse is Ether 12:27.  She was confused, so he explained that in out church we have another "Bible of sorts" that teaches some real neat things.  He quickly gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and told her to read it.  She went home and came back the next day and was pumped because she brought the book home and found out that her mom was baptized into our church in Mexico a long time ago!  We were contacted soon after and assigned to give them a Spanish Book of Mormon.  Holy freaking crap!  This recent convert is the biggest dog!  I wish everyone in the world did what he does!  He gives referrals like crazy and spends every free minute with the missionaries.  He even just gave a talk in Stake Conference last week.  Anyway, we'll see how this referral goes!!
On Friday the Velazquez family, from the branch, called us and asked if we could help them in "a yard".  We were confused, but willing.  So we went on over to some random house and helped them clean it up!  We didn't know what they were gonna have us do, so we dressed in pros clothes and got real dirty, but it was still sick.  I got to climb a tree, cut down some branches, fix some shingles, mow a lawn, sweep, rake, and pick up was SO MUCH FUN!  I miss doing things that makes me sweat haha.  Anyway.  After like 2.5 hours they asked us if we wanted to move in to that house.  It turns out that house is theirs that they have been renting and need new tenants.  We live for free with Brother Kelly, so we declined, but there are 2 sets of missionaries looking for a cheaper place here in town!  The Zone Leaders are probably gonna move in.  They are lucky dogs cause that house is way nice!! No doubt we'll hang out there on P-days. They will always owe me and Elder Gillette for out work on it, haha.
This week Elder Powell taught a really good district meeting on the blessings of being happy.  It was such a good lesson.  No doubt a message we all needed to hear.  Having a positive attitude has helped me more on my mission than almost anything else.  My first time ever teaching a full home teaching lesson was in January 2012 and that month's message was "The Abundant Life".  I don't know why I remember that so well, haha, but there was a quote in that talk that has always impressed me and stayed with me for a while. "Attitude, to me, is more important than...the past...than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearances, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company, a church, a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cant direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.  For maximum happiness, peace and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude."  Thomas Monson is a real wise guy, a Prophet, even. I know attitude is everything and I am so happy I can choose every single day if I'm gonna be happy or not!  There is no such thing as "bad days" just rough moments.  Every day can and should be good.

Anyway.  I love y'all to death!  Do what's right and smile!
Elder Caleb :) 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Do you like Hip Hop?

I just read Winston's email and holy crap.  That guy is amazing.  Everyone go read all of his emails he's ever sent out ever.  I look up to him more than almost any person ever.  I hope I can develop that kind of love for the gospel and for our Savior.  He truly is an example to me.
This week was real neat.  I love transfer week because we usually get a roommate for the night.  The way we do transfers here is all those leaving just load up on a bus and it comes and drops people off at the main city.  We always get a roommate because we live so close to the church and a lot of times people need to stay the night before they get their new companion or go to their new area.  This week one of my favorite missionaries ever, Elder Oler, stayed with us. I knew him from when I was in Fort Stockton, he was in Mcamey and lived in a tiny trailer about 30 minutes away from where I was.  We spent all day on Tuesday reminiscing on Fort Stockton and the branch over there.  I forgot how much I loved it. Without fail ever person that stays here with us absolutely loves Odessa Spanish and offer to trade me places.  I really am so lucky and so blessed to have been trusted by the Lord to cover this area for so long!    I hope I can stay here for the rest of my mission.  I probably wont now that I just said that haha.
We picked up a new investigator this week named Veronica.  Holy crap, Veronica is extremely prepared. We had a killer lesson with her and she said some crazy things.  "I just don't feel like my church has authority from God to do what they do."  "I was baptized, but I don't think it's valid in God's eyes."  "When y'all talk I can feel the Holy Ghost.  I feel like it's true.  I haven't felt this feeling before."  Elder Gillette and I basically just sat there with our jaws hanging down, peeing our pants the whole time from the combination of being pumped and feeling the spirit.  IT was so good.  We are real happy to be teaching here now!  I'm real happy that there are still people here who need to be taught and who really are ready and willing to accept the Gospel, they just got to hear it!!  I can wait to go find more people in the weeks to come. 
The Odessa Stake had Stake Conference this week.  It was so good.  We get to go to the adult session now, it was only my second time ever.  So far I like the adult session a thousand times better than the Sunday deal.  It was SO good. Ever since Bednar came and instructed us I have really been trying to be taught by the spirit rather than by the words spoken and it sure happened this time!  I basically just learned that my will is dumb and I just need to submit to God.  "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord"  is a theme, or pattern, that I was instructed on quite a bit.  At one point President Vore (the stake president) invited all the recent converts up to the front of the stage and had them all participate!!  Can you believe that?!  I would crap my pants of fear!  Frank went up there and said some really really good stuff (I had to translate for him).  Real bold move, President Vore, but a real real good one.  It turned out awesome. 
Anyway.  I love y'all so so so much!  Stay strong this week and enjoy life!  Be happy and serve someone:)
Elder Porter 

PS (From Kathy)I am attaching Winston's e-mail. It is truly amazing.  His mom explains a few things at the beginning.

I love this kid, Mom.  I am so blessed to have him as my friend!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Miwako Farley <>
Date: Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 11:10 PM
Subject: Back to Every Week email Schedule!!
To: Miwako Farley <>

Dear family & friends,

   Winston finally came back to the main island (Tarawa) on January 19 after being on Onotoa for 6 months. Last Sunday we got to have our late Christmas skype for about a hour. It was so great!! He said it was so hard to say goodbye to the people on Onotoa. He is a ZL now and gets to drive a stick shift car having a mini culture shock. Let me share a few things from the skype before you can read his latest email. Please bare with me...

1.For 3 months until the middle of December they couldn’t get food shipment on the island because of the rough ocean. They were getting low on food. Winston and his companion would just drink water with some sugar and go all day without eating until dinner. They also had a drought so they couldn’t use water filter because the water was so low and there wasn’t enough water pressure. They had to boil water to drink and it tasted really bad. He got my package on the day it finally started to rain. Needless to say, they went crazy to see all these American candies and snacks to eat….

2. Originally he said he was going to be back on the main island at the end of December. The reason why it took so long was….1st week - The people on the island had a big farewell party for him.  The next day Winston and his comp went to the airport but the new elder wasn’t on the plane. 2nd week….They even had a bigger farewell party for Winston. This time everyone came to the airport to say good by to Winston. They didn’t have a room on the plane for this new elder on the main island so he couldn’t come again. When they found out everyone cheered that Winston was staying another week. 3rd week….The new elder came but there wasn’t room for Winston to get on the plane. 3 elders stayed in the small stick made shack for another week. Winston had to sleep outside. 4th week….Winston was finally able to fly back to the main island….Things move a bit slower there.

3. Some funny conversation - 
Mom (after finding out he has a bike there) “That’s nice you guys have a bike there." Winston, “Yeah, except it doesn’t have a saddle…”
Mom (after finding out Winston finally got a hair cut on Onotoa after his hair'd gotten pretty long) “Wow, that’s so nice you found a barber there.” Winston, “I wouldn’t call her a barber. She is more like a next door neighbor with scissors…”  

Anyways, thank you so much for sending letters and packages to him. He appreciates you so much. We are excited now that we can hear from him every week at least for a few months. . Have a great week. 

Hey Mom! Hey Clayton, "I ate 3 jimmie johns in l hour so whats up dog?"  

So I really don't know what to say or where to start because it has been so long, but I guess I will try my best.  So I got back from Onotoa on the 20 of January, and things here on Tarawa seem so foreign to me, for the last 7 months we have been sleeping in our buia and trying to be a branch president, it was so weird coming back to tarawa drinking cold water and sitting in a car with aircon, yesterday at church it was so strange having a bishop and an actual ward.  To be honest the first few days here I felt kind of lost because I had been in onotoa so long, but I think I have adjusted.  I will never forget the things I have learned and the experiences I have experienced.  My time in Onotoa I will truly cherish forever because I don't think I will ever be the same because of it, I learned so much about who I am and what I want to be, but more importantly what God wants me to be and what He wants me to become.  I am forever grateful for the time in Onotoa.  I will quickly describe a few experiences, so to the new food list I have now eaten, dog, jellyfish, stingray, hammerhead shark, seaturtle, raw sea worm, eel, hermitcrab, a 6 inch long fish throat, and rice, also I ate some cereal that I got in a package once.  ( thank you so much for all the letters and packages, shout out to, C.H. porter for the letters, Sis rees for the awesome cereal package, sis obrien for the great packages, and to you mom, for the neat Quad squad package.) ( and to you jacob c.r.s Hougaard for the many kindness.)  ( and to Pep for top right corner)  ( and to everyone for the great kindness and I love you all)  ( and to you clayton for the moldy sundried crunchy mullet in a bag you sent me last fall)  
  In the mean time, back in September i got a kid named elder Whitehead, we had some good times for sure, we basically tracted the whole island and the work was going way good, then in October we got kicked out of an islet because they decided that only Catholics were allowed. So there is a little causeway bridge out to this islet and we decided to go check it out because me and Elder matiare had some investigators there before, we showed up and all the villagers were just staring at  us from their houses, we showed up at one guys house and he told us that we were forbidden to enter that village, so me and whitehead jumped on our bikes and just raged, it was a law of the land that just one religion was allowed.  Other than that part of the island, everything else was going good though.  ( sorry, my english and grammar are probably very poor, sorry for the missspellings or the 4th grade level vocabulary.)  One time me and elder whitehead taught the mayors son, and we got the mayor to sit in, after they forced us to eat like 3 feet of eel skin because the meat had to many bones they said.  I will try to send pictures of our stick canopy we slept in or the place we did church.
      If you have any questions about onotoa please ask, I am sorry i don't have much time and I don't know what kind of stuff you want to hear, but I just want you to know that God's plan is perfect, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that onotoa was where I belonged and needed to serve, the things I learned and the people I met have changed me forever.  There was one investigator in particular that I want to talk about, his name was Bwarai, he was 22 years old and every time we went to the north village we stopped to talk to him ( in attempts to gain his trust so he would feel comfortable taking lessons)  after about 3 weeks one day we saw him on the road and he said, elder farley, I want to take lessons, I asked my dad and I am ready.  I was so pumped, we began teaching him but we couldn't teach him in his house because he lived next door to the kpc( kiribati protestant church).  So we taught him at my other recent converts house.  As we began teaching him, he was made fun of, and mocked, from his family and friends, but as we continued to teach i saw a great change in him, he wasn't afraid or shy of what others thought, he knew it was the truth.  A few weeks later he was baptized and confirmed a member.  This man bwarai was a great example to me, I think for all of us.  In life we sometimes are so worried about what others think, or where we stand in comparison to others, or sometimes we get so preoccupied by such little things that we forget the thing that is most important.  the most important thing is that we have a loving Heavenly Father that loved us enough to send His beloved son, who loved us so much He gave His life for us.  that is the most important thing we all need to focus on, continuously repenting and worthily taking the sacrament to always remember Christ, remember His life, His teachings, His death, but most importantly remember that He lives, and that only through Him we will return to God and receive everlasting peace and Joy.  I testify that Christ is our Savior, and that He gave His life that we may find ours.  I love the Lord, and I love my mission more than anything on earth.  I love Kiribati so much and the people are just the best ever.  It was the hardest thing ever to leave onotoa, I cried like a baby, they were litterally my family.  I love you all and I am sorry if my email was not adequate or long enough for you mom, but I just want you to know that I am in good hands, Kiribati hands and God's hands.  Much love to you all 

elder Farley.

About Me

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