Hola Familia! como esta? yo espero que ustedes estén bien. Mi semana fue interesante. Yo he aprendido mucho, sobre el evangelio y español y estoy progresando. No puedo entender a nadie! Todas las personas hablan demasiado rapido! Pero, esta bien. Por lo general, yo puedo entender mucho. El problema es yo necesito aprender escuchar mejor. En ingles y español tambien. Tambien, no me gusta cantar en español. Las personas en iglesia cantan muy mal. Pero, me gusta la himno 88, porque no tenemos este himno en ingles. yo escribire en ingles ahora.
I hope everything is going well at home! Everything is going pretty well here. I feel like Russell. Missions are hard. But I know this is definitely what i'm supposed to be doing, I really am learning a lot here, and i've had a few hard times but really overall it's pretty good. President Baker is awesome. He's pretty strict with the rules, we follow the handbook pretty closely. But he's really funny, and he definitely understands how to have fun but also work hard. Which is definitely something I need. I have a tendency to work hard and not have fun, but I've been realizing that it won't work. you can't testify of the gospel very convincingly, that the gospel is a gospel of joy, when you're not joyful yourself. I've been improving on that. I had a good talk with President Baker this week, and we talked a little bit about that. I'm getting better. I'm starting to enjoy a lot of the people here, even if I can't always understand them. But they're very nice, and they sure love to feed us. Speaking of having fun, Elder Watkins is so goofy. He's from Vernal, UT, and he's great. He works hard, and really tries to help his investigators, but we have a lot of fun too. He has 5 months left, so he's not trunky yet. But his spanish is good, which is a very good thing. And our living situation is interesting actually. We live next door to members, and there's like these two apartments things right next to their house. We live in one, and the english elders live in the other. I'm going to send some pictures today, so you'll be able to see soon for yourselves! But it's nice. It's a little small, and a little dirty, and we don't have beds, our mattresses are just on the floor, but it's just fine. We really don't need anything else. It's an interesting neighborhood. I often go to sleep to the song of the sirens (them sireens!). It's interesting. You almost always here fire trucks and ambulances going all over the place. And the other day, there was a helicopter flying all over looking for somebody. My whole area is pretty much central americans and black people. It makes tracting interesting. you never know which language to speak when people answer the door, especially because everyone has these thick metal doors with metal mesh over them, so you can talk but you can't see them. I'm still terrified of tracting. I don't know what to say in English or spanish. but I'm slowly improving. We give out pass-a-long cards like there's no tomorrow. Also, remember how last week I told you about the lady I started speaking english to? Very good news on that front. We got to come back and start teaching her, and she seems very interested. She even came to church yesterday with her kids! That was really exciting. Also side note, her husband is a black man from honduras. So her kids are black but speak spanish. They didn't seem super comfortable in the latino ward, but she seems really interested. We taught her the first lesson on saturday, and that was scary. I still can't understand everything they are saying, so I'm a little scared to teach, because I don't want to misunderstand their concern or anything. But it's coming. There's a lot of potential with her. We also had a really awesome lesson on friday. I think I mentioned her in my last letter, but she actually talked to us first, and later said that she didn't know why she talked to us. We went and taught her, and she's a single mom with two kids, and her cousin lives with her and helps her take care of her kids. She has it pretty tough, she lives in a rough part of town in a rough part of town. But we taught her and her cousin, in english, and it went really well. you could definitely tel they were feeling the Spirit, and you could tell what a difference the gospel could make to them. she said a couple different times, she's often scared to be in her house. but she said she felt good, she felt peace when she was with us. I definitely think the Spirit has been and is working with her, I have very high hopes for them. The only problem is she works every sunday. So i'm not really sure what to do about that yet. But hopefully that'll work out. We actually had a lot of investigators at church yesterday. I think we had 6. We have about 3 investigators that are pretty much members but haven't been able to be baptized yet. One is on probation, one is waiting to divorce a lost man in guatemala so that she can marry the man she's living with her, and the other is waiting for a birth certificate from Guatemala so she can get married. It's interesting. It's a very interesting ward. There are some really great, really strong members but also a lot of not so strong members. We have lots of less actives. It's really a pretty weak ward to be honest. But that's why we're here. I also learned this week that it is very hard to teach somebody who is stoned. they're not very receptive. We have a less active who is trying to overcome an addiction to crack, and the way he's doing that is by using a lot of marijuana. It's an interesting ward. And I'm realizing more and more, it really is the small things that determine that. When you talk to less actives, they are never reading and praying regularly. Because if you are reading and praying regularly, you will know you need to go to church and keep the commandments and everything else comes with it. The ensign this month is all about the Book of Mormon. I would definitely recommend you all read it. I read it the other day, and it's awesome. The more I learn and think about it, the more I realize what an incredible gift it is. It's what God wants us to know right now, and it's what he's given us. moral of the story is read the scriptures. You can't go wrong when you're reading and praying daily. church is super interesting her. first of all, they sing terrible. Amy and Brent might have torn their ears off. It's pretty bad. But it was good. Second, I can't understand them. Church is even harder to pay attention in when you can't understand what they're saying. Third, latinos in priesthood like to tell long stories even more than the other wards i've been in. and fourth, church is super stressful as a missionary. You spend all your time hoping and praying that your investigators will come, and then the rest of the time hoping nobody in the ward will offend them/hoping they will be nice to them. They had a baptism after for another companionship, that was cool. but it made me realize how baptism really is the gate. There's so many people who are baptized here, who have never made it farther. There's a lot of families who have never been to the temple, and that's really hard to see.
But anyway, i'm running out of time so I'll talk to every next week! I love you all! have a great week, and thanks so much for the letters and emails! they make it easier to shoulder the load. I love you all!
Borsh-I'll forgive you this week, but i'm expecting a longer letter next week Josh! you need to tell me all about your puppy! You spent all this time trying to get one, you better tell me more about her! And make sure you're helping take care of her too! how's school going? you need to tell me all about it! I know you've got lots of exciting things you can tell me, you're way too cool. good luck with everything. Love you bud!
B-no forgiveness. You kissed a girl, and I had to find out from someone else? no letter? disgraceful
Amy-I love your letters! They're so awesome. I LQTM'ed while I was reading it. and Katies. My sisters are so dang funny! And if you wanted to send me a package, I always like food, especially of the candy/chip/snack variety. I hope Care-Bear does better with pilot training, I'm praying for him! I can only imagine how frustrating and how stressful that must be. But Heavenly Father will take care of you guys. He always does. I realize more and more every day how Heavenly Father has guided my life without me even realizing it. It'll all work out. I love you!
Matt- I would say i'm jealous you're going to Mexico, but I'm pretty much already there. The only thing missing is the daquiris. I hope you and Lauren have a great time, I got a letter from you this week, and I'm guessing there are more funny pictures in there, and I can't wait to open it later! Stay safe and I'll hear from you soon! If you can't write me next week, I will understand. I already love you more than Brent anyway. Just jking. Love you!
KT-Oh man. hearing your stories about Clarence and Lola and Lily made me LOL in the mission office and the other missionaries looked at me. Thanks a lot. It sounds like everything is going very well with you guys, and I can't believe in less than two months I'll be an uncle! I love you guys!
Mops and pops-sorry you guys always get the short end of the stick. But I sure love you guys, and thanks for your constant support and everything. And for the 19 years of life and everything. Love you two!
Translations furnished by Matt:
Placentero Nos Es Trabajar = It Is Pleasing To Us to Work, hymn #88
Hi family! How are you? I hope you are all well. My week was very interesting. I have learned a lot about the Gospel and Spanish and I am progressing. I can't understand anybody! All the people talk too fast. But, it's OK. In general, I can understand a lot. The problem is I need to learn to listen better. In English and Spanish, too. Also, I don't like to sing in Spanish. The people in the church sing very bad. Also, I like hymn number 88 because we don't have that hymn in English. I will write in English now.
Sidenote I: When I first heard this hymn, I was like, "Well, no wonder they left it out of the English hymnal, it's terrible." But then it made me cry when they sang it on my last Sunday in Mexico.
Sidenote II: Ryan's Spanish is really coming along Hola Familia! como esta? yo espero que ustedes estén bien. Mi semana fue interesante. Yo he aprendido mucho, sobre el evangelio y español y estoy progresando. No puedo entender a nadie! Todas las personas hablan demasiado rapido! Pero, esta bien. Por lo general, yo puedo entender mucho. El problema es yo necesito aprender escuchar mejor. En ingles y español tambien. Tambien, no me gusta cantar en español. Las personas en iglesia cantan muy mal. Pero, me gusta la himno 88, porque no tenemos este himno en ingles. yo escribire en ingles ahora.