Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Apr 9-30

Feliz Pascua! April 9
Happy Easter fambly!  
I sure loved hearing all of your easter thoughts from you all this week.  I really missed that yesterday.  It seems Easter isn't really celebrated so much here.  But I really enjoyed hearing all of your different thoughts about Easter, and remembering the real meaning of it.  
It's been a pretty good few days over here in Shady Oaks.  First of all, this sunday was super exciting, because it was the first sunday of this transfer that we have had investigators at church!  We had two come, Emerito and Maria Mendoza, and they seemed to enjoy it.  It was kind of an interesting easter sunday, because I'm not sure if they even mentioned it.  And it was fast and testimony meeting.  It was just not the Easter I was expecting.  And that got me down for a while yesterday.  I was fasting, I was hot, I was tired, nobody wanted to listen to us because they were all playing at the park with their families or having BBQ's, and that was really tough.  Because that was exactly what I wanted to be doing yesterday.  And I was pretty down about that.  And as I was kind of wallowing in my bath of self-pity, I realized it was kind of fitting that that was the kind of Easter I was having.  During this one time of my life when I get to represent Him, I'm grateful I understand a little bit more about how His Easter was.  I felt pretty alone yesterday, but Christ was completely alone at the end.  His friends, disciples, family, and finally His Heavenly Father all had to leave Him for that last moment.  So that He would know exactly how we feel when we do sin and can't feel God in our lives.  And I'm so grateful that I don't have to do this alone.  Even though many times I feel alone, I always have your support, and His support.  And I'm really grateful for that.  
I don't really have too much to say, there is not too much that has happened in these past few days.  I haven't been attacked by dogs or drunk guys!  Although one cool thing, me and Elder Reeves were tracting, and we met a street vendor who had been to the church in norcross!  That was really cool.  He probably went to the same building we used to go!  And our district had some pretty bad news.  The mom and kid that I interviewed last week, the dad came out saturday afternoon and said they couldn't get baptized.  That was pretty rough.  We were all really excited about that, and they were super super excited.  But I know it will all work out in the end.  Maybe they just need the dad to come too! 
Borsh-That game sounds awesome bud!  I really want to play it.  I bought a frisbee today, that was super exciting!  How is frisbee going for you still?  Are the tournaments coming up soon?  
Kt- I think me and Ellie talk very similar right now.  I've had a persistent cough ever since I came to this area, and I keep coughing when I talk.  I really, really enjoyed your Easter thoughts Katie.  About how we need to use the Atonement to forgive other people.  It reminds me a lot of the talk Elder Bednar gave this month in the Ensign, about the enabling power of the Atonement.  How many times, we just think we need the Atonement to overcome bad things.  But also, how we need it to continually become better.  It was a really awesome talk.  I can't wait to see some pictures of Ellie from Easter, and your idea of putting old toys in her easter basket is brilliant! 
p.s. if facebook seemed even more preachy than usual this weekend, it's because it was.  The church actually did a huge ad campaign for Easter on Facebook and Youtube this weekend.
Pops-ah man.  I haven't been in a good egg hunt in forever.  That egg hunt with everybody there sounds awesome, just like the ones we used to have!  I liked your Easter thoughts as well, they really helped me to think of my Easter with a better perspective.  
B- I couldn't agree with you more about the easter songs.  They are just not quite the same in spanish, and we didn't even sing them yesterday!  I really missed singing those.  They do just sound triumphant.  
A- Reading your letter sounded a lot like what I was thinking about lately!  Having that personal relationship with Christ.  Knowing that He suffered for you, individually.  That's something I've been really thinking a lot lately.  
M@-Front page!  you did it pal, you won!  That's so awesome.  I'm now going to tell everyone you're a really famous journalist, and then make them feel bad if they haven't heard of you.  
Mops- feliz cumpleanos!  That's how we say it down here in the calles (streets).  But Happy Birthday/Easter to the best mom in the whole world!  I realize that more and more every day here, that i really did get the best.  I realized, your birthday, and christ's birthday are really close!  We have our zone goal for this month, is called Happy Birthday!  Because all the district leaders have birthdays this month.  And because it's Christ's birthday.  And as part of that, we have this insert in our planner that say, "what will you give to Christ today?"  It's been really cool, and it's very thought provoking, thinking about what you can give to Christ every day.  But thanks momma, for all those years, and here's to another happy one!  I thought about you ( and everyone a lot this week), remembering reading the scriptures in the eggs every Easter.  I really love that tradition, I missed it a lot.  Also, I thought of you the other day, because I cut up a watermelon all by myself!  and I made a new recipe!  I spread peanut butter on a tortilla, put apples and honey on it, and fry it.  It's really good.  I thought you'd be proud of me.  But happy birthday, and I love you a whole lot!  
sorry I'm out of time!  I love you all, and have a great week!  We'll see where I write you form next week!  
Isn’t this a Kodak moment!...Get that bear out of here!              April 16
Hello Family!
Buenos dias!  Esta Semana ha sido una semana increible.  En domingo, o
sea, ayer, tuve la oportunidad de bautizar a E.!  Eso fue
incredible.  El fue muy feliz, y casi toda su familia vino para
apoyarle.  Me sentia bien privilegido que el queria que le bautizara.
Pero fue muy bien, y tambien tuvimos dos otros bautismos en nuestro
distrito!  La familia que casi se bautizaron la semana pasada, el
esposo dijo que si, se cambio la mente, y ellos pudieron bautizarse
esta semana!  de todos modos, una buena semana.
(Matt’s translation - Good day! This week has been an incredible week. On Sunday, or in other words, yesterday, I had the opportunity to baptize E. That was incredible. He was very happy, and almost all his family came to support him. I felt very privileged that he wanted me to baptise him. But it was great, and also we had two other baptisms in our district! The family that almost got baptized last week, the husband said that yes, he changed his mind, and they could get baptized this week. Anyway, a good week.)
Hi Familia!
It's been a really good week.  And I know you've been wondering....but
the results of the transfers this week are....the same!  Hardly
anything changed!  We had one elder and one sister change in our ward,
and our district got a little bigger, we now have 4 companionships of
elders and 1 of sisters.  But I'm still district leader here, and
Elder Reeves is my companion!  It's been good.  We had a pretty good
week.  We've got so much potential in this area, it's really crazy.
Our biggest problem has actually just been getting member involvement.
 This ward is just a little disorganized, and with 5 companionships in
the ward it just gets crazier.  But now with the whole ward in one
district, it should get easier.  But I can tell you, I had no idea
member missionary work was this important before I left.  But really,
one of the biggest indicators in someones strength and activity and
conversion to the church is how well the ward does at fellowshipping
them.  We have a lot of less active members as a testament to that,
sadly.  but it's been doing my heart good to hear about all the help
you've been giving the elders at home! I can assure you that they need
it!  I had my first District meeting with President Baker this week,
and that was scary.  I was so nervous.  But this week was really
awesome. It was kind of stressful, but I've been feeling actually a
lot better, and enjoying myself a lot more.  It's been really good.
And especially, (for those who didn't read the spanish above) Enrique
got baptized this week!  And I got to be the one to baptize him!  It
was so awesome.  He seemed really happy, I know this was a big moment
for him.  And he's been waiting for a while.  But he's been completely
clean since we met him!  It was really cool.  And it was so fun to see
all his family again too, and see people from my old ward.  It's been
really amazing to see how Heavenly Father has blessed me.  I know I
don't deserve a lot of the blessings I've seen, but it's been amazing
to see that Heavenly Father has magnified my efforts, even when I've
made a lot of mistakes.  But it's been a really good week, the two
investigators from last week, also got baptized this sunday!  It was a
really good sunday for the mission yesterday.  We had at least 4
baptisms.  But it's been a really good week, and me and Elder Reeves
are excited to keep going and working hard here!  We've got a lot to
Borsh-You get to miss school all day for an orchestra thing?  That's
awesome.  Although you're not going to get any sympathy from me for
wearing your tux all day.  I have to wear nice clothes everyday!  Poor
Kola and Lily, I hope this week they get to be outside more!  Well
have a great week buddy, thanks for your awesome letter, and can't
wait to hear about your orchestra thing next week!
A- I'm so proud of you for reading Jesus the Christ Amy!  I'll read it
with you.  I started reading it again, I'm about halfway through.
It's such an amazing book. The more I read it, the more I realize
exactly how exceptional Jesus's life was.  The perfectness of it, if
nothing else, testify that He really was the Son of God.  I know
you'll love the book too, jsut keep plugging through!  And I
sympathize with you on the journal thing, it's been so hard for me on
my mission.  Also, you would appalled/proud about how much Easter
candy I've eaten.  I bought some things called peepsters, and they're
amazing.  And side note, my pants are getting tight.  I don't get it.
B- Well I'll be a shamed patoot, I love you mission advice!  Work
hard, have fun.  I've realized the truth of that recently.  Getting to
go back to my old area, I realized how much smarter I could have
worked, and how much more fun I could have had, but I didn't regret
the fun I'd had or the work I did.  Jeepers mister, you're smart!
M@- I had a Eureka moment this week during my studies.  Do you
remember the song, "El Shaddai"?  From that cheesy gospel cd?  And we
used to joke about how it meant something big.  Turns out it does.  I
learned it means, almighty god in hebrew!  I was so excited when I
found that.
Kt- squee!  Ellie looks super adorable!  And she looks like she loves
that easter basket!  And I was really sorry to hear that news about
your friend.  That's really hard.  I read a quote that I think you
would like about that, it says, when we seek to share the gospel out
of a genuine love and desire to help them, it starts to become
natural.  I would definitely encourage you to talk with your friend, I
can promise you that Heavenly Father will help you know to do and what
to say to help her!
Happy Birthday to me! April 23
Happy Birthday to me!  
o sea, feliz cumpleanos a mi!  Estoy bien animado para mi cumpleano!  Yo abri las paquetas hoy, pero no abri los regalos!  solo comi muchas dulces mientras cantaba a mi mismo.  Pero, fue muy bien.  hemos tenido una semana interesante, muchas cosas han pasado, pero tambien no fueron cosas muy grandes.  Entonces, tal vez esta carta no sea lo mas interesante. 
(Matt's translation…  Or in other words, happy birthday to me! I am very excited for my birthday! I opened the packages today, but I didn't open the gifts! I only ate a lot of candy while I sang to myself. But, it was very good. We've had an interesting week, a lot has happened, but then again they weren't big things. So, this might not be the most interesting letter.)
Hi familia!  It's so great to hear from you all this week!  And especially to get packages!  This is gonna be the coolest birthday ever!  I got a package that feels strangely like shoes, but I could be wrong.  I guess I'll find out on saturday!  Hopefully, on saturday I will be going up to the visitors center with E., one of our investigators here!  That would be an awesome birthday present.  He's doing well, he accepted the law of tithing this week, but then didn't end up coming to church yesterday, so we're not quite sure how he's doing.  But he's been doing really well on smoking, he's only doing about 5 a day now, and he used to be doing about a pack.  And our other most (originally typed moist) progressing investigator, M., was all set to come to church and the baptismal service yesterday, but then she ended up getting sick and couldn't come.  That was really sad.  But it's been a good week nonetheless.  Even though nobody came to church, I feel we worked harder than usual getting them there, and there wasn't much else we could do.  I feel like nothing really happened this week, although I did go on two exchanges this week.  And me and Elder Roberts, had one of the coolest lessons ever.  I found a new investigator with Elder Brinton, and then went back 3 days letter, and we just taught her for like 10 minutes, and then invited her to pray.  And she really didn't want to, but we kept trying to help her say it, and eventually she did.  And during her prayer, she just started crying, and it was one of the more heartfelt prayers I've ever heard.  That was probably one of the moments when I've most felt like I was doing my job, seeing her actually get closer to God through having her own spiritual experience through prayer.  It was really cool.  The other cool thing that happened was I got to do 2 more baptismal interviews!  And we had two more baptisms this sunday!  And we actually had tons of ward support, I think with these past few baptisms the ward has started to see a little more that we are all working really hard in the ward, and I'm really hopeful that we'll be able to get more ward support.  But it went really well, it's still really weird to have the kind of responsibility I have.  Baptismal interviews, filling out papers for their future membership records, making sure the baptismal service goes well, it's kind of weird.  And to think I used to hyperventilate about teaching in priests quorum for a sunday.  It's definitely an interesting shift.  But that's been my week, it's been a good one, and I love you all very much, and I can't wait to hear from you next week!  
Mops- I have important things to tell you!  So for the phone call on mothers day (three weeks away!), what time will work best for you and the family?  I have church from 9:30-12:30, but apart from that, my day should be pretty open.  I would probably personally say at night would work best for me, because I won't be good for much after the call.  But I'll talk to Elder Reeves as well, and find out what works next week!  Also, just a heads up, next week is beach p-day, and so my pday might be a little shorter.  I don't want a re-run from thanksgiving, when I missed the letter, but in case you don't hear from me, just know that's why!  Thanks so much for the package momma!  I started eating the candy, but I saved the gifts for saturday!  You're the best momma ever!  
Pops-ouch.  knee surgery.  Good thing I'm not there, I seem to have a habit of breaking relatives knees anyway.  Hopefully you'll be up and running in no time!  Have you still been playing old mens bball?  At least, before the knee thing.  Also, that's crazy that the house was in Jefferson park.  I would say there is a 75% chance I would recognize the house.  I'm glad to hear you're still watching the house remodeling shows, they are so strangely mesmerizing.  Also, I knocked a house the other day, and they were watching Deadliest Catch, and I thought of you!  
Kt- AH!  Squee!  I got your pictures today!  They were so adorable!  At least, when Ellie was in them.  The other ones had weird people wearing strange hats in them.  I took one of the photos of Ellie, and put her in my white handbook cover!  And now I'm going to brag on my niece all the way over here in L.A.!  She's gonna be a star.  But thanks so much Katie!  That's the one thing I don't have much of is pictures, and I loved looking through them this morning!  
m@ buenas!  I have had people say that to me all the time.  Matt, I love you and admire you so much more than I already did today.  I think I got a little taste of your mission.  I don't know what it was, something I ate, the flu, or something in the water, but I woke yesterday night with the worst diarrhea I have ever had in my life.  It was bad.  And it didn't stop.  It kept going all day.  It was ridiculous.  I'm still not quite better.  But, I admire you.  And I thought you'd appreciate it.  And now I'm just hoping it's better for my birthday.  That's so crazy that Jeff is probably getting his call this week!  I can't wait to hear where he's going.  
B- hey, remember when we surpreichmoed Mops so good last year?  That was so great.  You flying home just reminded me of me and you talking about how great a Denver-Provo flight would be, and now it's a reality!  That's crazy.  Time is really going fast.  This year started a little slow, but the time has really been flying by for me.  It's been good.  I hope your dance class isn't too stressful tomorrow!  
Amy and Josh-  dishonor on you, dishonor on your family, dishonor on your cow!
It’s the grand chawhees birthday! April 30
Hi familia!  
eso fue una semana muy interesante.  tuve algunos intercambios, reuniones, la actividad de las manos mormonas que ayudan, y tambien regalos!  fue una semana dificil, nuestros investigadores se disaparecieron.  No sabemos que paso.  No pudimos contactar a E. ni a M.a esta semana.  Y nadie vino para la iglesia ayer.  Pero, esta bien, tuvimos mucho entrenamiento acerca de como trabajar con los miembros, y yo se que vamos a tener mucho mas exito cuando trabajemos con los miembros mas.  
(Matt’s translation -Hi, family!
That was an interesting week. I had a few exchanges, meetings, the Mormon Helping Hands activity, and also gifts! It was a difficult week, our investigators disappeared.  We don't know what happened. We couldn't contact E. or M. this week. And nobody came to church yesterday. But, it's OK, we had a lot of training about how to work with members, and I know we're going to have a lot more success when we work with members more.)
Hi familia!  
I'm writing in english now.  First of all, I just wanted to say thank you for all the birthday wishes!  they were very much appreciated and loved.  I had a great birthday.  I actually got to go to the activity for mormon helping hands, so keep an eye out for pictures!  The lady running it said to look for Enterprise Park, compton, on lds.org and then later to look for it on world report.  that was really good, it felt great to just go and do service.  Oddly enough, nobody ever wants to let us help them.  We're always happy to help, but nobody ever lets us.  So it felt really good to actually just do manual labor.  So I really enjoyed that part of my birthday.  And then the rest of it....just kind of a normal day!  But it was good.  After me and Elder Reeves came back and planned, I made my little birthday cake and lit the candle, and sang happy birthday to myself, and it was great!  I got really excited.  Especially when I saw all the new ties and cds and shoes!  I'm wearing my new shoes, and a new tie, and I just listened to a new cd.  So they are very much loved and appreciated.  and don't worry, I opened the peanut butter m&m's yesterday, they should last me at least until tomorrow.  I took some pictures, so I'll send them next week.  I forgot my cord for the computer.  And mafew, don't worry, I got your package!  I can't wait to hang up that basketball hoop.  Brings me back to all those days playing nerf bball in the basement.  But I really had a great birthday, and thanks so much for helping it be so great!  It felt really weird, it didn't even feel like my birthday.  but it was really good.  And as for today, we had a great beach p-day!  Keep an eye on the CLAM blog the next couple days, and you should see some pictures of me!  Look for the snowbird shirt and piggly wiggly hat!  ( don't worry, I was representing the family on the beach).  But that was really fun, I played the best ultimate frisbee I've played in a long time.  And we played waterballon volleyball, and it was all around a great day.  As I write, I keep finding more sand in my hair and ears.  But it was worth it.  
As for the rest of this week, it's been an interesting week.  M. and E. kind of disappeared.  We weren't able to meet with either of them this week.  We're not sure if it's just this week, or if there are any larger problems.  We actually saw M., and she seems great.  She just has some poor health.  but as for E., we taught the law of tithing, and we're a little worried that he didn't like that.  but we'll see this week!  Our area has been struggling, but it's served as a testimony to me that i need to do better at working with the members of our ward.  We had a zone conference all about it this week, and I definitely learned a lot.  So if the missionaries ever come over for dinner, make sure you give them referrals!  I can promise you they need them.  And at least in our mission, they are 5 times more likely to get baptized if found through a member.  I feel like I haven't had anything very exciting or spiritual happen this week, but hopefully something will happen this next week!  I just hope you know how much I love all of you, and how much I know that the gospel is true.  and I really realized today, that it is the only thing that brings true happiness.  We all try and find substitutes sometimes, but in the end, serving in the gospel is the only way to really be happy.  And I know that's true.  I hope you all have had a great week, and i can't wait to hear from you next week!  (in May!  Where is time going?)
borsh-oh, I know you wrote me!  I was just giving you a hard time.  I'm glad to hear you and B got to play tons of frisbee when he was home.  And that you got to learn about ages in spanish!  how is spanish class going?  Will you write me some in spanish next week?  I'll try and understand, I'm still not very good at the whole spanish thing.  Also, how tall are you now?  I keep getting pictures, and you look bigger and bigger every time.  Heightwise. Have a good week buddy!  
Mops- Thank you so much mops!  I loved my presents.  I opened my package last week, and then saved the presents for saturday night.  but they made me very happy, and I could definitely feel the love with which they were sent!  I really like the magnet you sent me, I put it on my fridge.  I guess salvation is not a cheap experience.  I always want it to be, but I'm realizing every day, I don't think my mission will ever get easier for me.  I will just learn to enjoy the challenge more and not get so scared of it.  Thanks for all you do momma, and I love you so much!  
pops- I was feeling a little bit like you Pops this sunday, and I was realizing it's kind of weird to speak on sundays in wards that aren't your own.  this sunday, I had quite the sacrament meeting.  It was the most involved I've ever been in one.  I gave a talk, played piano, confirmed somebody, it was crazy.  And to think I almost fainted when I gave a talk when I was 14.  But I'm glad you made me talk anyway,  I'm just now starting to forgive you for that.  And speaking of things you did as bishop, what advice would you have for working with a ward?  What things did missionaries do that made you like them, and not like them?  because I know you had both during that time.  I hope your knee keeps healing, make sure you rest and eat plenty of Bluebell!  
Kt-I want to go to Yap after my mission.  It sounds like the place a noothgrush would live.  
m@-Thanks for the package brothero!  I loved the funnies as well.  I had one favorite, but I can't remember it right now.  But I loved them, and thanks for sending.  them to me!  
A-Oh man.  I loved that Limerick so much.  I had to draw something on the board for our gospel principles class yesterday, and everyone laughed at my drawing of Abraham.  Only you really understand my fine art.  Wax cow, for instance.  classic.  Also, very impressive list of things you ate this week!  I have mostly eaten a lot of candy people have sent me.  and beans.  Good combo right?  coincidentally, my stomach has been bothering me.  I don't get it.  I hope Oklahoma is not too boring for you!  One of the elders in my district is from Broken Arrow oklahoma, is that close at all?  
B-Whoa!  Future B! )all you need is beep beep...B.  future B.  I can't believe you might work with him.  Please shave your head for your meeting.  Also, you might stay at BYU?! that'd be awesome.  Also, did you ever meet any of skylars cousins?  One of the AP's right now, his name is Elder Muse, is the olsens cousin, and he said he met you!  isn't that craZY?