Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jan 9 - Jan 23. The weeks fly by, even though not fast enough for Ry's mom!

So like 50? Jan. 9

Buenos dias familia! Como estan? espero que todo este bien con ustedes. Hemos tenido una semana muy buena! Comi mucho, trabaje mucho, dormi mucho, y tambien, bautizamos mucho! S. se bautizo ayer! Fue un servicio bonito. Yo tuve mucho estres, porque nuestro lider misonal del barrio no estaba, y yo tuve que hacer mucho, como llenar la pila bautismal, tocar el piano, encontrar personas a decir las oraciones y dar discursos, y cosas asi. me senti que yo tuviera mucha responsibilidad. No me gusto. No hay a nadie que deba confiarme con responsibilidad. Pero, todo fue bueno, y S. es muy feliz ahora. Y yo estoy feliz, porque ella es feliz. y tambien nos dio mucha carne asada con rica salsa picante. Bien rica.

Good day, family! I hope that all is well with you. We have had a great week! I ate a lot, worked a lot, slept a lot, and also, we baptized a lot! S. got baptized yesterday. It was a pretty service. I had a lot of stress, because our ward mission leader wasn't there, and I had a lot to do, like fill the baptismal font, play the piano, find people to say the prayers and give talks, and stuff like that. I felt like I had a lot of responsibility. I didn't like it. Nobody should trust me with responsibility. But, all was well, and S. is very happy now. And I am happy, because she is happy. And she also gave us a lot of carnegie salad with delicious hot salsa. Very tasty.

Good Morning Family!

This week, or the past 4 days since I last wrote have been great! I've actually got a lot to tell you about, in only 4 days! First of all, S. got baptized! The service went really well, and she seems really happy. Elder Moore got to baptize her! He did a great job. I forgot my camera, but I'll try and email some pictures next week. Or just send my memory card home. But it went really well, I was really stressed at the actual service, trying to make sure people were coming and everything was ready, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. But we got to sit down and eat dinner with her and her family later, and that was really cool. I remember the first time I went over to their house, the first lesson I taught her. And it's amazing the progress she's made, and also how close I feel to them after such a short time. They treated us like the guests of honor, it was very touching. And humbling, especially realizing how little I've really done. I've just sat in the lessons, occasionally said something, and then Heavenly Father has done the rest. It's been really cool. And it's stuff like that, that makes it all worth it. That makes it not work. That makes it being a missionary, not doing missionary things. It was a really amazing feeling. We've had some very good finding experiences this week as well. We received a referall, and we were trying to contact it. Elder Moore had a more complete map on him, so he could see it wasn't in our area. I thought it might be. And I just felt we should go check, so we ended up riding up there, even though Elder Moore knew it wasn't there. But as we were riding, we stopped at a stoplight. This guy named J. was there, and he just started talking to us. We found out he was baptized over 20 years ago, but hadn't been to church in at least that long. It was pretty crazy, that Heavenly Father put us there so we would be able to talk to him at just that moment. We set up an appt with him and we'll see what happens with it. Then, we got to the area, and learned that the house of the referral was not in our area. It made perfect sense to go down and visit another investigator we found, E., who was a lot of addiction problems. But I just felt we should tract around there. And we found this really cool guy with tons of questions and said he loved to read and said we could come back. It was a pretty amazing afternoon. We been very inspired this week. And then I accidentally turned down the wrong street and found another really cool guy. It's been a great week.

Also, me and Elder Moore had an awesome conversation yesterday. I can tell my spanish is getting good (or I'm just going crazy) We just finished contacting these two guys, and they didn't have much interest, and as they were talking I just had a very inspired question that they just couldn't answer. It's amazing how the Holy Ghost will just give you what you need to say. And I was talking to Elder Moore afterwards, and I said, I wish we were english missionaries sometimes, then I could talk and understand better, just like with those two guys over there. And then he was really confused, and he didn't get what he was saying. And I got frustrated, cause I had no idea what he was not getting about that. Then, about 4 hours later, I realized why Elder Moore was so confused. It's because I was speaking in spanish the whole time! I am getting to where after lessons I sometimes don't remember if we gave it in english or spanish. That's really cool. I guess I have not been able to really speak and address concerns like that in spanish before, and it just took me by surprise. After that conversation, all I could think about was me and amy's conversation. (48? 50?)

But that has been my week, it's been an awesome one, and I can't wait to talk to you all next week!

Borsh- I hope now that you're back at school, you'll have more to tell me about your week! How's your friends? How's school? how's Kola and Lily? How's mops? are you being nice to her? Have you read anything cool in the Book of Mormon lately? I love you bud, I can't wait to hear from you again next week!

A-mmmmm. Cheesecake. Email me some ok? I keep not having time to make those cookies you sent me, and it's making me sad. I also realized, I don't have a cookie sheet. Which makes it harder. but I will, and I will decorate them and make them beautiful. Also, I had some really delicious carne asada last night. It was so good. With grilled chilies and onions, and salsa de chile de arbol, it was so good. but bad news. I've inexplicably gotten fat this week. I don't know what happened. I still ride my bike, eat about the same, but somehow, my pants are tighter. This is not good news. I need to ride my bike harder and exercise more. because the eating won't stop. Also, I can't believe Cary gets his assignment soon! I'm already getting anxious about this next transfer, I can't even imagine how you and Cary feel. It's like an uber-transfar. Also, that's crazy that you have a gun. I can't e'en b'lee dat. Also, tell Abby and Cary hi!

B- I love your spiritual thought from a christmas carol B. It's so true. We've been dealing with some addiction problems this week, and knowing that they are not beyond hope is something incredible. They've been struggling their wholes lives with this, but they are still not beyond hope. It's truly the good news of the gospel. Also, I can't wait to get a little C's with you again. The mission time is feeling super weird right now. I feel like i'll be going home tomorrow, but at the same time, it feels forever away. Time is only going faster though. Keep up the good work with your studies! (my shtudies!)

KT- I am very sad to hear about the lack of sweatervests in your new class. But at least there is one with a suit, that makes it better. and I'm glad ellie is continuing to be adorable! You sending me something in bulgarian reminded me of an awesome experience me and elder moore had. We went to this musem wednesday for p-day (really boring, all they had was paintings and statues.) but as we were there, we ended up talking to this security guard. Who told us he knew 14 languages and was a russian emigrant. But the best part, I don't know if this was just an english mistake or what, but he said, "at 16, I was killed by the KGB" Me and Elder Moore almost started laughing right there. We still don't know what he meant. But say hi to todd and Ellie for me, and I hope Todd learns to eat fast soon!

M@- I just needed to tell you this. Thanks to my helmet, I know have a permanent bell. Also, I accidentally said, Elder Phone, do you have the moore? Luckily he didn't hear me. But I still laughed. Love you Matt!

Pops- You're so right pops. As I'm getting closer to my 6 month mark, the mission really is just getting better. I am starting to enjoy it more, and feeling more like myself during it. It's getting much better. I'm glad Kola and Lily didn't wear Elenore out completely! I can't wait to see some pictures of big Lily soon! You think she'll be bigger than Kola?

Mops-I sure love you momma! And I'm very impressed with your restraint. I hope it keeps up! Also, remember how all these years, you've told me to make sure I check the oven after I use it? It didn't take. I cooked a pot pie for lunch, and then me and Elder Moore got back about 9 at night, and our apartment felt like a sauna. We were confused, and then we discovered I left the oven on! I felt very smart about that. But thanks for your letters mops, I sure love you, and can you believe I'll hit 6 months this week? I really can't. I'm gonba be home before you know it. the time is really starting to go faster here. This transfer has flown by. But I'm all out of time, but I love you all, and I will write you next week!

We have two progrestigating investigators! Jan. 16

Buenos dias familia! It is so great to hear from you all today! You all wrote awesome letters, and all the other missionaries kept asking me why I was giggling the whole time. Because you guys are hilarious, that's why! Also, I am hilarious. I keep saying progrestigating this week! I think it's a cross between progressing and investigating, but I'm not really sure. But this has been a very interesting week for me and elder Moore. I had my first sick day on my mission! I just woke up wednesday, and I felt completely terrible! I think I just caught the 24 hour bug, because I woke up, felt terrible, went to a couple appointments, and then I ended up getting a fever and throwing up! It was fun. And also, Elder Moore got a great experience. He got to teach the Book of Mormon class all by himself that night! In spanish! He did great. I'm so proud of him, only 2 transfers and already teaching a BOM class in spanish. But this week has been interesting. It's been kind of a hard week, we've had tons of appointments fall through, and not a lot of visible success. But it's been good, all the same. Our newest progressing investigator, E., we just randomly tracted into him while trying to contact a former, and he loves the church. He really wants to be a part of it. He's got a few very difficult addictions, but we're working with him on those. He's doing great, and he's been clean for 24 days right now! He's really making a lot of progress, and it's honestly amazing to see. I have a lot of hope for him, and it's incredible the difference the gospel makes. Because, the only thing I've ever been addicted to is peanut butter m&m's. I don't know how to help him. But by doing what it says in Preach my Gospel, visiting him, as he is trying to come closer to Christ, he's getting over it. I know I'm really not doing much, i'm just grateful I get to be a part of helping him. That's been the biggest news of the week, oh, and before I forget, S. got confirmed yesterday! The bishop did it, and it went really well! we've got a lot of potential in our area, we've got tons of potentials, we'll just see this week what happens, and who becomes real investigators!

I had a really great day on friday. We were practicing teaching during our district meeting, and I just had a feeling of how I should teach the other elder, and he said he really liked it, and that was what he wanted to do for his investigator. It was really amazing. We also had a lesson with enrique that night, and he was telling us just a little bit about what the addictions do to him. I was just imagining that, imagining what it would feel like, and then I imagined what Christ would feel like taking that on himself. How much harder it would be for him, because He was perfect. And as we were teaching, I knew that he really did take it upon Him. He took every pain of E., and He's already paid for it. It was really amazing, to realize how little I truly comprehend the Atonement. Just that tiny little part, I understand a little bit better now. It's amazing. Well, can you all believe it's 6 months? Time is really starting to do weird things now. It's starting to go fast, and I'm really starting to enjoy it more as well. But I'm out of time, but I love you all, and I know that this church is true, and that Christ really did suffer for all of us. And more than anything, it's never too late to realize that. Have a great week, and I'll write you soon! P.S. transfers are this week, so we'll see what happens! I think I'll be staying here with Elder Moore. But we'll see!

Borsh-That is awesome that Bro D. is your teacher. I'm jealous of that. I'm glad to hear Kola and Lily are still adorable, and that they get along so well! I hope you have a great week bud!

B-2 dates? I'm so proud of you B. way to go! I can't believe you're playing for the BYu team! that's crazy. They're really good. And really fast. And I do get a lot of compliments on spanish actually, most people are surprised when they find out I've only been out 6 months.

m@-That's so crazy the Rich's know President Baker! He is great. I love him, but I don't get too much interaction with him, he is a busy man. also, I can't believe you're taking the GRE! that's crazy. good luck!

Lauren-Our teaching pool is slowly growing! It's going great, and we were all really sad about the mission home. It was quite the fire, I saw videos of it.

Kt-Please promise me Ellie will love me more than the ceiling fan when I get home. Please? I sure love you KT, and I'm so happy for you and Ellie! And I'm so glad she's sleeping more too!

A- I'm expecting a much longer list of delicious things this next week. I can't believe you are running another half mararthon. you are crazy.

Mops- transfers this week! We'll see what happens. And as for your questions, we get fed by members every night. Sometimes two or three times a night. And me and Elder Moore eat pasta roni every day pretty much, we don't cook much.

Pops- I can't believe you know elder cornish! His talk is one of my very favorite this conference, I read it a lot. It's awesome.

Well, that's my week family, it's been a good one, and we'll see where I'm writing you from next week! I love you all!

Transfers! Jan. 23

Buenas tardes (originally spelled tarders) familia! Pops escribio que el sentia bien inteligente porque el podia entender todo mi espanol la semana pasada. Entonces, yo voy a escribir completamente en espanol hoy. broma, yo no puedo. bueno, creo que yo puedo, pero me cuesta demasiado tiempo para hacerlo. yo he enviado algunos fotos con esta carta, de S. a su servicio bautismal, y tambien, yo compre un nuevo diario, y cuando recibi mi calendario de ustedes, me di cuenta que los dos son opuestos. yo voy a escribir en ingles ahora.

Good evening, family! Pops wrote that he felt very smart because he could understand all my Spanish lat week. So, I'm going to write completely in Spanish today. Joking, I can't. Well, I think I could, but it would take too much time to do it. I've sent some photos with this letter, of S. at her baptismal service, and also, I bought a new journal, and when I received my calendar from you guys, I realized that the two are opposites (?). And I'm going to write in English now.

Hi family! I hope everything is going well with all of you! It's been a good week here in......

L.A. 6th! Kudos to Matthew (chocolate chip kind), and to me, for guessing correctly! I'm staying here in L.A. 6th for another transfer with Elder Moore! I'm glad to still be here, I definitely feel like there's more work for me here. I'm excited to work here for another transfer. It's fun to be in an area long enough that I can walk down a street and say, "hey, I knocked that door." " a potential lives there" and stuff like that. Also, fun extra for this transfer, the district leader area changed again, and it's now in Jefferson park, so this week I get to go on splits back in my first area! It's gonna be fun to be back in that area for a day, and I don't think I ever told you all about this guy me and Elder Watkins contacted named F. We contacted him late one night, he didn't seem too interested, but we came back, he seemed to have more interest, and the other missionaries kept going back, and him and his family should all be getting baptized really soon! It's pretty crazy. It makes me really realize how important the small things are, and makes me realy grateful I listened to the Spirit that night and decided to contact him. I remember the night we contacted him really well, and I'm so grateful I did. Me and Elder Moore have had an interesting week. We've had a lot of our appointments fall through, but we've been having a lot of success just contacting. We had a really good day on saturday, I think it was one of the days in my mission where I've felt most guided by the Spirit. It was interesting, I've had some really miraculous finding experiences on my mission, and it wasn't like that, but it still felt just as guided, just in a quieter way. We found a lot of people at just the right time it seemed like. Including this black minister named R. P., who took out his phone and called for a Book of Mormon as we were standing there. That was so cool. We also had a pretty amazing lesson with Y. this week. most of Y.'s family is less active, really only her and her grandpa are active, faithful, members. But her uncle happened to be sitting with us, he's actually served a mission, but then has been less active for the past 10 years. We've talked to him a little bit, and we've invited him to come back to church and to sit in our lessons with us. But we was sitting there, and he was actually sick, and me and Elder Moore ended up giving him a blessing, and he just started crying, and saying how much he missed feeling the Spirit, and how he wanted it back. Then the whole family just started hugging each other, and the Spirit was really strong. And then, the next day at church, seeing him walk back into the chapel with Y. was one of the best feelings I've had on my mission. And he told us, thanks to you guys, I'm coming back to church, and I'm going to make my life right. It was really amazing, and it made me really feel like I'd been successful. Although I really don't feel like I do much. It was amazing, and amazing to see that after all this time, he still recognized what was missing, and he wanted it back. That was a testimony builder to me as well, seeing how much the church really does bless our lives, even though a lot of times we get so used to it that it can be hard to see, and sometimes we don't see it til it's gone.

But it's been a good week, and me and Elder Moore are really hoping to get some good progrestigating investigators this week. I love you all, thank you so much for your prayers, and love, and letters, and all you do to make me feel loved and missed. It really means a lot to me, and I couldn't do it without all of your support!

J- ah Skyrim is cool? There is a giant billboard for it that I always see on the freeway, and it always makes we want to play it. I'm jealous. That's really fun that you got to spend the weekend with Harris, that's great. Is school still going well? What classes are you taking this semester? Are you getting ready to start ultimate frisbee again? I hope so, then you can beat B. Well I love you g-borsh, have a great week!

B- You're going to be in such good shape when I get home. And I will be roughly the size and shape of a young killer whale, I think. And then you will have to teach me all your new frisbee skills. I'm so glad about your new Home teaching assignment. thats the kind of calling I want after my mission. Being in this ward here has really taught me how important that is. Mostly the lack of it here. There are so many less actives here in this ward that could have been avoided if people had done their home teaching. It's really sad, but it's a huge testimony to me of how inspired home teaching is. You've got such an important calling! no pressure, but everything depends on you. Just jk-ing B. Love you!

Kt-Woohoo! You almost exercised? 3 times? thats fantastic! I am already getting excited about your package. I can't imagine what it is. The way you described it, I'm imaging you're sending Ellie in a box of puppies. But whatever it is, I am sure I will squee, and I will love it! Ellie sounds so adorable, and I can understand her sleeve problem. I hate wearing long sleeve shirts here. Short sleeves are the way to go. Unfortunately, no sleeves are frowned upon. but I love you Kt, thanks for your awesome letters, they make me laugh every week, and I love hearing about all your little everyday things, they make me giggle all the time. I lvoe you sister!

M@- haha, find progrestigating investigators. I should send that in to Brother Bott. I'm sure he'd use it. I'm so glad to hear your GRE studying is going so well, I'm so proud of you.

Lauren- Thanks for the quote Lauren! I love it. That's a really applicable quote for me, it can be really hard for me to do that. I have the same problem you do, just focus on what I still have to do in the future, instead of enjoying what I'm doing now.

Mops- I've heard that about the Sacrament too, and I've also wondered about it. I've heard it enough times, and from enough sources, that I think it is true. It's something I've thought a lot about too, and the more I've thought about it, the more it seems to make sense to me and to help me understand more about the sacrament.

P.S. I got your package today! I still need to call about the credit card, and i got the shirt and calendar! I thought for sure I would make it in the calendar this year, but I guess not. There's always next year!

Pops-Ah did you tell Emily and Jessica hi for me? if you see Jessica again, remind her she promised to write me at least 2 letters while I was gone. I think you should come travel and be the high council speaker here. We have notoriously boring sacrament meetings here, with an average of one speaker per meeting. It's rough.

Well, I'm all out of time, but I love you family, and I can't wait to hear from you all again next week! Have a great week!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The last three weeks worth of emails. Catching up...

Christmas in Killarney December 19

I was in CVS two p-days ago, and they started playing that! And after that all of my other favorite Christmas songs! It was so great! Because I didn't really have a choice but to listen to them you know? But Merry Christmas from L.A. 6th! O, Feliz Navidad! And you know what Christmas means? I get to talk to you all in less than a week! I'm so excited! unfortunately only for 40 minutes, but we will make the best of it! And as for what we're planning right now, me and Elder Moore are thinking to call from 7-9. So I will most likely call you at 9 o clock at night christmas day! Please let me know if that won't work. And then we'll get to talk! I won't have time to talk to people individually, but hopefully you will all be able to be together and we can talk on speaker phone! and as for numbers, I'm just going to call Pops number if that's alright. Ah!!! I'm so excited!!!!!!!! I can't wait to talk to you all! I'm already getting excited and distracted.

But as for and my week, it's been an interesting week. Full of lots of ups and downs. First of all, we found out Y. had a problem that we weren't expecting. But she had her baptismal interview yesterday, and she passed! So she is now completely ready to get baptized Christmas Day! We are so excited with her, it's really been amazing to see the change in her. She hardly talked to us at first, but now she talks and laughs with us, and you can really tell what the difference the spirit has made in her. and she really likes reading in the book of mormon, she reads it every day and writes down her questions for us. She's really excited to be baptized, and we're really excited for her! Our other investigator, S., is still progressing, we actually got to go to the Visitors Center with her last night! Which was really good. I think they really enjoyed it. I hope they did! She's not going to be quite ready for baptism this week, but we're hoping for the week after I think. And we're hoping for 2 or 3 baptisms in january too! The visitors center is amazing here. We are incredibly fortunate to have it in our mission, especially during Christmas time! they have this amazing family video, it's great for investigators, but it's hard for missionaries. Speaking of family, I got your Christmas card this week! You all look awesome, and it was great to see you. I sure love you guys, it's hard being away at this time of year, but I do know this is where I'm supposed to be right now. This week has been really interesting. It is interesting being the senior companion. Very humbling. I learned a very important lesson from last week. Everything went really well, and I felt the spirit guiding me more than I ever have. And I've realized it's because I had the most faith right then and that I was thinking all about Elder Moore and my investigators, and not about myself. And it's really those two things, faith, and thinking about others, that help me the most. And my worst days in the mission, is really when I forget those two things. Me and Elder Moore had a couple really cool finding experiences, it was really cool, we were riding to S’s house, and under my excellent senior companionship leadership, we somehow ended up at the bottom left of our area. Which was really weird. We started riding back, and I felt we should go back to the street we were just on, so we did, and we stopped this guy on the street, who said he'd talked to missionaries before and wanted to go to church! He didn't end up coming, but it's incredible how Heavenly Father guides us. And I know without that, I really could do nothing. But it's been a great week, and I'm so excited to talk to you all!

Borsh-Have fun at cornbird! I am so jealous that you have all that time to channel your inner Ellie. I'll do my best by eating a lot this week, but I do that every week here! I hope Snowbird is great, and make sure you beat magneto for me!

Amy-I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying my iphone! Think of me every time you use it. And remember our great texts back and forth? (dishonor on you, dishonor on your family, dishonor on your cow!) I will have you know I ate a whole package of chips ahoy by myself this past week. I'm not ashamed. Y’'s grandma gives us tons of cookies every time we teach her. I eat so much here! I want to learn how to make this stuff so I can share it with you! It's so good. Have fun at cornbird, and I can't wait to talk to you and Cary!

B- In case you didn't know, I was the most popular guy on campus last year. Everybody in my mission thinks the same thing. I got 7 letters and 2 packages this week! I really felt the love from everybody this week. Do you remember anybody who's talked to you? I can't wait to talk to you soon B, and we can speak in czech together! (ahoy. knedliky. ahoy.) that's all I got.

M-You are definitely right, it's very humbling. It's really weird being the senior companion, and I find myself doing a lot of the same things I hated that my senior companions would do. I haven't had arroz con leche again, thankfully. But I did have pasole(?) for the first time! It was delicious. Say hi to Lauren for me!

Kt-Ellie is tots adorb! her snugglebug is awesome! hopefully she will learn to say Elder Yanr in the next 6 days so I can talk to her! And thanks for your christmas cds! I listen to them all I can! You're my favoritest sister with a kid! Tell Todd hi for me!

Mops and pops-I am sorry to hear about the lack of skiing! if it makes you feel better, there is a lot less here! I can't wait to talk to you next week, I love you, and Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year! December 26

Feliz Cumpleanos! o sea, Feliz navidad! Y feliz nuevo ano (with the accent over the n). Familia! Les extrano mucho, pero fue grandisimo a escuchar sus voces anoche! Ustedes suena a coro de angeles. yo queria que pudieramos hablar por un medio dia. pues, no es posible. lo siento que no hay mucho nieve, pero en 2013 voy a traer el nieve conmigo. no temais. Me siento que no tenga muchas cosas las cuales escribirles. porque hable con ustedes anoche! pero, voy a tratar y escribir algo interesante!

Belated translations:

Happy birthday! Or rather, Merry Christmas! And a happy new year (with an accent over the n). Family! I miss you a lot, but it was extremely grand (wonderful) to hear your voices last night! You sounded like a chorus of angels. I wished that we could talk for half a day. But, it's not possible. I'm so there isn't much snow, but in 2013 I will bring the snow with me. Don't fear. (temais = vosotros, or "you all" form, used only in Spain and the Bible, mainly.) I feel like I don't have much to write you guys. Because I spoke with you last night! But I'm going to try to write something interesting.

Editor's note: Ry's Spanish is awesome. I'm very impressed by his "suena a coro do angeles" line, because usually ESL would say "suena como coro" but that's an incorrect preposition. Unusual prepositions with certain verbs are the sort of advanced grammar points most missionaries never learn.

Hey familia! Man. Everybody who thinks it was good to talk last night, say yeah (yeah yeah yeah leprechaun leprechaun...) It was so good to hear your voices. Even if sometimes I couldn't actually tell who was talking! It was kind of weird to be talking on the phone in english too, I've gotten used to doing it in spanish! Ah. I'm worried. I'm worried that I'm forgetting how to talk. The only way I know how to be funny is through movie quotes. And movie quotes are discouraged here. But it was so good to talk with all of you and hear your voices and quote movies with you, just like we used too! And will do again! Except after my mission I'll be mixing in mission quotes. I need to start keeping a journal of funny stuff people say to me. a ver....

This week has been interesting. I've been kind of stressed this week. I'm really not sure why. Which has made this week harder. But it ended really well, with Y's baptism and talking to you all on Christmas! and also opening presents! The baptismal service went well, all the missionaries sang a song, and both my old companions came back for the service, so I got to see them! Y. seemed really happy afterwards, and that's what really matters! And then she'll get confirmed on New Years and she'll be a real member of the church! We have a couple other investigators getting close to baptism, so that's good. But this week we're going to work really hard, and we're going to do awesome. We're going to find some awesome new investigators and we're really excited. Also, I want to thank everyone who sent me packages/letters! They made my christmas morning awesome! Me and Elder Moore both woke up feeling terrible, on account of our four dinners the night before, neither of us slept very well, but then we turned the tree and the magic on! and we opened our presents before church. And Santa was good to us this year! I got so much candy, and the true desire of my heart, socks! Wouldn't Albus Dumbledore be proud? And mops, don't you worry, me and Elder Moore gave the cars their test run this morning, and they are awesome! It's going to be hard not to let them distract me from the work though. They are really fun!

Well I can't really remember too much more about my week right now. I've been learning a lot. This week especially, I've been learning a lot about the difference between doing missionary things and being a christlike missionary. A lot of my mission I've just been doing missionary things because I know it's what I'm supposed to do, and that's hard. I'm trying to learn more about the meaning behind the missionary work, and really trying to remember what's really important, which is the people I'm with. There was a quote I read in the general conference ensign, and it said "that is the model the Savior has given us. His love is for all, but he never loses sight of the one." And that's something I'm trying to do better. When I think about all I need to do, I try and do it all and then none of it really gets done well. I get rushed in lessons, they don't feel the spirit, I'm unhappy, and it doesn't work out well for anybody. But some of my best lessons have been where I've just forgotten about the time and concentrated on the person. Well, I'm running out of time (like always), but I sure love you all, and it was absolutely fantastic to hear all your voices last night! Even if Brent and Ellie were crying the whole time. Have a great week, and a happy new year!

Borsh-Have you been channeling your inner Ellie? sleeping and eating? It sounds like that's all you've got to do this year! besides go down to the northcade and play Tekken and x-men. Make sure you eat plenty for me!

KT- I have never heard such a story of travail! I'm sorry Ellie was so whiny! me and elder moore were like that too on christmas eve. We were so full and unhappy. We spent half the night crying! And I can't believe you dropped your phone in the toilet! It seems like they should have an app to prevent/fix something like that. I'm glad it survived! Maybe it was the spongebob case that did it. I mean, all drains lead to the ocean. Say hi to bundle D and Ellie for me!

B- You know B, a lot of people have told me that my spanish is good. But coming from you, that means a lot. A man of your spanish experience, i'm touched. But it was great to talk to you! I'm sorry that my czech is a little rusty, I'll work on that! I hope the skiing gets better soon, I can't believe there's no snow there. That's crazy. And I can't believe d-roy is getting married! that is crazy. And then you'll be next! I can't believe you got an ipad! I see tons of adds for them around here, I want to try one!

Matt- I can't wait to talk to you in spanish more! You will love my ghetto spanish, a mix of spanish from el salvador, guatemala, mexico, and also a touch of eubonics. It's fancy. I feel I had so much to say to you here, but now i can't remember anything. But I love you, and thanks for such an awesome letter every week! And the funnies and an awesome package!

Lauren, it was great to talk to you! I am still slightly embarrassed I couldn't recognize your voice at first!

Amy-I am very disappointed in your lack of eating good things. I ate pasole, pan con pollo, so many different things! tamales, man. I'm starving. One member brought us over a whole chicken! And me and Elder Moore ate with our pastaroni that we eat every day. It was great. Thanks so much for the package Yam! I sure love you, and I am really missing our christmas tradition of eating a lot! I mean, making and decorating cookies and then delivering them to the poor and needy. Like we always keep doing!

Momma-Thanks for helping to make this such a great Christmas! and you helped make someone else’s Christmas too! elder moore and i played secret santa, and delivered the christmas tree in a box, along with some other stuff to one of the families we were teaching. It was awesome! and your nativity set was much used and much loved. I sure love you momma, and merry Christmas! (also, I can't believe you! texting me? I was so surprised when I read it! But I can't believe you!) I love you momma!

pops-I'm sorry there's no snow! sounds like you're all having a great time. thanks for supporting me so much pops, I wouldn't be here without you and your support! love you, and I can't wait to talk to you all soon!

I love you all! Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Auld Lang Syne January 4

buenos dias familia! como estan? yo estoy muy bien! fui al templo esta manana! tengo mucho sueno, porque tuvimos que despertar muy temprano, pero me gusto bastante. me siento muy bien despues el templo, y tambien porque hemos tenido una semana muy buena. Y. fue confirmada en domingo! Elder Moore lo hizo, y lo hizo muy bien. estoy muy orgulloso de el. mi hijastro esta progresando muy bien. Tambien, tenemos muchas buenas nuevas! S. va a bautizarse este domingo! El Senor nos ha bendecido mucho, estoy seguro de eso. Infelizmente, tenemos que encontrar mucho mas personas, despues el bautismo de S., no tenemos mas investigadores que estan progresando! Pero, vamos a trabajar muy duro, especialmente porque pienso que yo voy a permanecer en esta area con elder moore por un traslado mas. pero esta bien! Una historia muy chistosa, elder moore tiene piel muy blanco y pelo y cejas muy amarillos. Dos morenitas estaban riendose, y le dijeron a Elder Moore cuandos les pasamos, "donde estan sus cejas?" fue bien chistoso. creo que el tiene el pelo mas amarillo en toda mi area. Pero, voy a escribir en ingles ahora.

Good day, family! How are you all? I am very good. I went to the temple this morning. I am very tired, because we had to wake up very early, but I loved it a lot. I feel very good after the temple, and we've also had a very good week. Y.was confirmed on Sunday! Elder Moore did it, and he did it very well. I am very proud of him. My stepson is progressing very well. Also, we have a lot of good new ones (c'mon, Ry, news = noticias). S. is going to get baptized this Sunday! The Lord has blessed us a lot, I'm sure of this. Unhappily, we have to find a lot more people, after the baptism of S., we don't have any other progressing investigators. But we are going to work very hard, especially because I think I'm going to stay in this area with Elder Moore for one more transfer. But it's OK! A funny story, Elder Moore has very white skin and very yellow hair and eyebrows. Two brown girls were laughing, and they told Elder Moore when we passed them, "Where are your eyebrows?" It was really funny. I think he has the yellowest hair in all of my area. But, I'm going to write in English now.

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's already 2012! It surprises me every time. I loved reading about all the new years festivities, I hope Brent remember (ed, i'm already speaking english like a latino) this year that six is not a word. Our new years was pretty great. We weren't able to go out, but we had a fiesta in the church with my zone. We played volleyball and basketball, and some of the sisters made chile relleno, and it was great. Me and Elder Moore didn't stay up, I was tempted to just use all the poppers and cover him with confetti while he slept, but I decided not to. I didn't want to scare all the cockroaches, for one. Our apartment has been progressively digressing. We finally got the maintenance man to our apartment, but both him and his wife, who is the landlady, are chinese, don't understand us very well. And every time we try and talk to them, we just end up accidentally speaking spanish to them. Just like pops speaking japanese in mexico, but al reves. He keeps coming over and telling us that we are dirty, which is true, and telling us we need to be cleaning before we start reading. Listening to him ranting at us in chinese/english is one of the more hilarious things I've heard, and the last time Elder Moore just lost it. He just had to go to the kitchen and laugh it out. But we've decided this p-day, we're going to clean it. We have more time, and we're going to make our apartment beautiful.

Apart from that, our week has been great! Y. got confirmed on sunday, and elder Moore did it! She seems to be doing good in the ward, we're glad her grandparents are members, even though her grandma is not the most faithful right now. And along with Y., S. will be baptized and confirmed in the next couple weeks! S. had her baptismal interview last night, and she is ready to get baptized this sunday! And Elder Moore is going to be doing that too! I'm really excited for her, she's really made a lot of progress the past couple weeks. We had a scare this week, Elder Moore just got random chest pains during a lesson, and he had them for the rest of the day and night, but turns out he was probably just too dehydrated (hydration is happiness!). But that took us out for most of last tuesday. As for me, I've seen a lot of tender mercies in my life this past week. Just those little things that make you realize Heavenly Father is watching, even when it's not really a big deal. Like last night, on exchanges, me and Elder Panta (from ecuador! We only spoke spanish the whole day, it was great) got out of a lesson really late. at like 9:30, which is supposed to be the latest you can be in. I felt pretty terrible, and we were driving back, and I remembered there is never parking where they live. Their area is called the Jungle, and the name fits. But I said a prayer right as we turned on the street, and there was this giant parking spot open right next to their house. Just little things like that, that help me know Heavenly Father is watching over me, even and especially when I'm not doing everything I should be or I've maybe messed up. It was really cool, and made me realize just a little bit more just how merciful my Heavenly Father is to me, and to those around me. But that's been my week, I don't have time to write more, but I love you all, and I love this church, and I'm glad to be here doing this. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I've felt it over and over again, and I know the Book of Mormon is true, I actually finished it, in spanish for the first time, on new years eve. and I prayed about it, and I got that witness that it is the word of God. I already knew it, but Heavenly Father told me again. And the thing that has most impressed me this week, is that God is listening. He hears our prayers, and he's always watching over us. I know he's watching over me, and I know he's watching over you all too, or I wouldn't be here. I love you all, and I will write again monday! Happy January!

Borsh! I can't believe you gave Cary another name! doesn't he already have enough? But I like Alfred. We should make Cary a list of all his names sometimes. And I can't believe how big Lilly is getting, and mostly I can't believe you still haven't sent me any pictures of her! I hope you have a good re entry into school this week buddy, and I love you! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon! Every day!

B- oh b. imaging you and Todd acting out Mr. Beans Christmas brought a smile to my face and happiness to my heart here. Hearing about your schedule for school, and realizing for the next couple years, the only math I have to do is for my groceries, made it even better. Good luck with that B!

Pops- I'm so proud of your surpreichmo! Todd is truly a member of the family now, being involved in a surpreichmo is the last phase of initiation to the clan. I'm so glad everyone tells mission stories at Snowbird, because that is definitely all I will be doing when I get home. I've already got so many good stories, I can't imagine what i'll have by the end of my mission!

Mops-Happy New Years! I'm glad you still got to have your news years kiss. even if it made you leak. Kt sent me a picture of you and Pops and Ellie on new years, and it was adorable! I love imagining you and Pops as grandparents, it makes me happy. You’re definitely going to spoil Ellie rotten! I love you so much mops, and hooray for one mission holiday over!

Kt-That picture is adorable! Ellie sounds so cute! My new years was good, but probably not as exciting as yours!

M@-oh tucanos......I am salivating just thinking about it. we woke up early for the temple and I didn't eat breakfast, and I could eat a horse right now.

Amy-I am so fat. I eat so much here! I had two dinners yesterday! I don't know what I will do when I get home. Will you still be my friend when I have to use a wheelchair and shower with moist towelettes?

Well I'm out of time, but I sure love you all, and happy new year!