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 

About Me

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