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 around...it 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 Porter...you'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 though...it'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 trash...it 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 <miwakof@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 11:10 PM
Subject: Back to Every Week email Schedule!!
To: Miwako Farley <farleymiwako@gmail.com>

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!