Not so shady oaks... Sept 17
Buenas tardes familia!
Hace mucho calor. no me aguanto eso. yo he sudado demasiado esta semana, hacia muchismo calor.
Good afternoon familia!
Man. It has been so hot and humid here. Apparently, California does not always have perfect weather. Who knew, right? and not only is the weather hot, but nobody (including us) has air conditioning. I have been sweating like a monkey this week. But all aside, it's been a good week. I've gotten tanner, our investigators have been doing pretty well. First of all, big announcements! We had stake conference yesterday, and in case I never said, I am in the Huntington Park West Stake (and I have been my whole mission), which was the first all spanish stake in the U.S. and apparently, also one of the last. porque, ya no existe. They dissolved my stake! It was a big surprise. So now, the stake is being put in the 3 surrounding english stakes, to better care for the youth. Its an inspired decision, the youth really struggle here, because they don't really speak much spanish sometimes. So they don't really get church. But I think it will help them a lot. So, 3 of the wards went to the Los Angeles Stake, 3 went to the Huntington Park stake, and the odd one out is Southgate 2nd ward (where I am). And so, they are splitting the ward, and we will now have the southgate 1st branch in the inglewood stake, and the southgate 2nd ward in the Huntington Park Stake. And, the split is right down the middle of my area! So, if I stay here in Shady Oaks, I don't know what my area will look like, or which ward I will go to. It's interesting. the changes don't take effect til October, so I might be transferred by then. But it was an exciting stake conference! G. didn't really understand what was going on. I had to explain to her that things like this don't usually happen. G. is still doing well, her family started school and work, so we haven't been able to teach them as much as we would like to. But, I hope to see them start progressing as well. We also weren't able to see C. or Y. this week, everybody has been really busy. But we did have a really cool lesson with our investigator named M. Her husband, J., has some sort of muscle disease, so that he loses his strength in like all his muscles. It's been a really hard time with them, and I've thought for sure that they were ready for the gospel. And they keep feeling it, and then just pushing it away. But we stopped by on thursday, and Marta was the only one home, and she was sick, and I gave her a plan of salvation pamphlet, and then she just broke down. Started crying, and told us everything that was going on. And we shared some scriptures, read in the pamphlet, and answered a lot of her questions, all just standing in the doorway at her house. And it was a really, really, spiritual lesson. It was amazing that we were there to offer her what she needed at the right time, and I really hope they accept it. They are an awesome family, and I know how much the gospel would help them. I said a prayer as we left, and it was awesome. It was like I knew exactly what to say, and it really felt like we were all talking to God. It was a really cool experience. We also got to give service on saturday. It was super hot, but one of our investigators is involved with the city, and he invited us. and we cleaned the streets and alleys of Southgate for like 4 hours. It was really good. The alleys here have everything! tires, couches, fish heads, dog poop, dead squirrels, etc. It was an interesting experience. It went really well though, and we met a lot of new people, and I think it helped a lot of people see the church in a good light. It's been a really good week, and I hope it cools down, and I thank you all for your letters! Have a great week!
Borsh- I knew it was green! I'm sure it's an awesome book. the movie was horrible, by the way. Also, you've already almost got your camping merit badge? that's great, that was the one that was hardest for me. Are you getting close to your Eagle?
A- yay for new house! and bigger yay for Ellie eating a lemon! It was hilarious. Me and Elder Ramos both watched it and laughed. Also, it looks a little bit like me eating arroz con leche...Also, Emily is married? that's crazy. Who is Haley engaged to? That's also crazy. Everyone is getting married. I hope you and Cary get reunited soon and head up to Spokane!
M@- peoples spelling is awesome. my favorite is when people don't realize it's wrong, and they try and correct my spelling. b and vs are always mixed up, especially on signs. Also, that steak sounds amazing. guadelupe made us carne asada yesterday, with guacamole and salsa. And fresh picked limones. It was so good. I ate like 5 pieces.
Lauren- I can't believe Jeff is already gone! that's so crazy! I'm glad your enjoying your new house/job I can't wait to see them. As for any treats or anything, I have been having a craving for beef jerky. But I know its expensive so don't worry about it! Thanks for writing me!
Kt- yay family pitchers! I bet they are tots adorb. I can't wait to see your Swiss Family Robinson island. There is an apartment buolding here that I call the Swiss Family Robinson house, it has tons of walkways high up. It's awesome.
Mops and Pops- I love you!
Love you all!
Kind of shady oaks Sept 24
me dio mucho gusto leer sus cartas esta semana. fueron muy buenas. ustedes me caen muy bien. pues, esta semana, hacia un poco de calor. no tanto, como la semana pasada, pero bastante. pero hoy, se me quemo! anduvimos afuera por una actividad de zona, y no se que paso, pero estoy quemado. estoy muy ansioso ahorita, quiero saber lo que va a pasar por los intercambios ahorita. pero, todo esta bien. Ya sabemos que vamos a cambiar de apartamentos, por lo menos. todo esta en las manos de Dios.
It was wonderful to read your letters this week! I really enjoyed them. I realize, more and more, how great my family is! Seeing a lot of families with a lot of troubles here, i am very grateful that we have such a close family. So thank you!
It has been a pretty good week here in Shady oaks. it has cooled down a little bit, but it's still been pretty hot. Its very unusually hot apparently, everyone has been telling us its not usually like this. but oh well. It should cool down soon. We have had an interesting week! We've had some really good lessons with our investigators, but not too much has happened. And this week, was a really big week! we had 9 member present lessons! (lessons where members are present when we teach). Which was a really big deal for us, and especially in this area. It's the most I've ever gotten in a week. And when i first started in willowbrook, we averaged maybe 1-2 a week. so it's a big improvement. We've had some good lessons this week, but not too much has happened. C. and Y. are still MIA, we haven't been able to find them this week either. But, one of our investigators, M., is doing awesome! We set a baptismal date for her, for october. and she's been being taught for a while. But we had a good lesson with her and her boyfriend, and afterwards they decided to stop living together so they can keep the law of chastity! It was cool. That's the biggest thing that is keeping her from baptism. So, if all keeps going well, she should be getting baptized soon! We also got to go to the Visitors Center, and to the departing missionary fireside with her this weekend. So she's doing really well, and I am excited for her. she's a really great person, and her baby is adorable. Her name is S., and every time we teach her i want to hold her. (the baby, by the way). As for transfers, we still don't know whats going to happen! we found out this morning we are moving apartments though! so if nothing else, we are moving apartments. And the apartment is in southgate 1st branch, which they organized yesterday, so if we both stay we will probably be involved in helping the branch become organized. Which could be really cool. But, I'm pretty nervous about these transfers, I just want to find out what's going to happen! But it will all work out. Sorry it has been a boring week, but hopefully I will have tons more to tell you about this next week! I love you all, and have an awesome week!
Borsh- hey buddy! I hope you had a good weekend with tatie and kodd and ellie and amy (and all the dogs). That's awesome that you started reading Triss, I hope you like it. Those books are awesome. How's school going? it's weird, when i talk to kids in the ward who are just starting high school, i always picture you as being younger. but you're a sophomore! How crazy is that? Well, have a good week buddy!
B- I am sorry b! I did indeed get your letter last week, but I don't know how I forgot your note. I am a worm. I am sure you are quite ready for your semester to be over. Don't worry, starting next month, all the holidays start, and then it'll fly by. Camping sounds awesome. I am starting to forget what a mountain is. It sounds nice though. I love LA, but it is always smoggy and city-y. Not a lot of mountains. Just the one with the hollywood sign. Say hi to Angela for me!
A- mmmm food. I'm currently eating a whole bag of coke-bottles as I'm writing this (my secret mission rebellion-all of the taste, none of the caffeine). Hey, that's funny that you got a retainer made, I remember when i had one of those. My retainer wearing has really been suffering here. But It'll get better. Also, I think momma emailed her cold to me too! I got really sick this week. Also, how are you buying a house?! that is totally ruining our plans to live with mom forever. But i can't believe that. It's weird that you will be all responsible like with a house and everything. Crazy! I love you Yam! good luck this week!
M@- ew, dead moose. that sounds gross. Camping sounds awesome though. I am certainly glad that I am not missing any good BYU sports. I can handle that. Thanks for the updates though! I love you matt! te quiero mucho, hermano!
Kt- yay! Ellie has a tooth! That's awesome! Then she can start eating delicious things! I am very glad to hear that Ellie has already developed such a great relationship with the perros. Kola needed another person to spoil her, with me gone. Also, i sympathize with Ellie. i got a cold too, and I've been cranky. Also, I went on a photo tour with Ellie again this morning to the disney cruise! thanks so much for sending that, I love it. also, a bunch of my investigators have little babies. So I feel like I'm devolping a vicarious relationship with ellie through them. So we'll be besties when i get home! thanks for your letter Kt, I love you!
pops- man, I feel like matt. Everyone is going on cruises, and I just get zit cream. I am really excited to hear what happens with transfers this week, hopefully I'll get transferred to the disney cruise mission. But it'll be really interesting to see what happens, how they will change the areas, everything.
Mops- Peyton is going where speaking what? That is crazy. he is not old enough to go on a mission. I hope you had a great time on your cruise. Thanks for your awesome letter mops, I love you!
Well, thats all folks! I love you all!
Celebrity is as celebrity does... Fame is a fickle friend, Harry, remember that
It is a pleasure to write you on this wonderful monday morning! I realized, as I was reading your emails this morning, that transfers must be worse for you all than they are for me! You have to wait til I write on monday to find out what happened! So, without further ado, I.....
i have had the weirdest transfer of my mission! Shady Oaks, alas, is no longer my home. but I didn't really leave my area. Remember how i started with a small area, and then 9 weeks ago, mid transfer, it got a lot bigger? so I am still in the part that got added on, but i lost my original area. But I am still in the same apartment, with elder ramos, for the 6th transfer in a row! It's great! And as for my title (which I almost spelled as celibacy en lugar de celebrity), i am no longer a District Leader! I got dropped as they say. So i am now just a regular missionary. also, Athens zone, which was created about a year ago, at the end of my first transfer, and my home for the last 7 months, is no more! due to the changes, they dissolved Athens zone, and created a new one in a different part of the mission. And now here is where the story gets crazy. On Friday, we start our district meeting, as normal, and then President Baker comes in. (he comes to a DDM somewhere in the mission every week, so it wasn't all that unusual.) but then, (this is the unusual part), he asks to speak with me for a second. So we go into a room, and he started talking. And due to a mistake, one of the companionships has two missionaries who don't have driving priviledges together. And they are in the upper part of Watts, so they need to have a car, for safety and the size of the area. So, President asked me if i would be willing to switch and go with one of the other missionaries and be their driver! So, I went to the area in Southgate ward that borders the original Shady Oaks! So, i still see the same members, but in a different area. So, i am in southgate for the 6th transfer, having served in almost every area in the ward. It's been quite the adventure. And in the last 5 days, i have belonged to 3 different zones, had 3 different areas, and 2 different companions. It's been quite the transfer. And i am also junior companion, so I have very little responsibility right now. I am actually kind of enjoying that, it's been a nice break. So, that is my transfers!
As for my week, it's been pretty good. Made better by the arrival of a book containing jokes from one hilarious family! That's right, I received the blog book this week! And boy have i loved it. you all are high (not just low, but high) larious. That is a lot of larious right there. also, due to carelessness in the shipping, when I received the package on friday, it was already mostly open. And i, seeing the beef jerky inside, realized it must be perishable. So i kind of opened my package right there and saw the book! (I tried to convince Elder Ramos to fight me so it would "accidentally" open all the way, but it was a no go. But it was already open anyway that's ok right?). and it's awesome. I have a great family. thanks for thinking of me. Also, i have some hilarious tidbits to share with you this week. First of all, on monday, we had a ward FHE, kind of a farewell to the barrio before it splits. and the missionaries organized it, and it went really well. It wasn't my idea, but i organized most of it. And we did a salsa contest! We had 3 categories: spicy, tasty, and original. And it was a lot of fun. We had a good turnout, and me and Elder Ramos shared a mormon message and then our testimonies, and then everybody got to try the salsas. My idea of an FHE, short sweet, spiritual and lots of food. We chose 9 ward members to be the judges, and they judged as we presented our message. And we gave the winner of each category a tie! And oh man. somebody made a salsa to burn your eyes out. It was so picante. I tried it right before I announced the winners, and I was gasping for air and sweating and red faced. And all the ward made fun of me. but it was really hot. But it was a really good activity, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's amazing how close you feel to people after 7 months with them, it really felt like family. (no movie quotes though, so not quite). That was the highlight of the week. but a few other fun parts: I found out that one of my investigators is an actor. I met my first movie star! His name is Walter Perez, you should be able to find him on IMDB. and for those who have seen the Avengers, he was one of the pilots in one of the planes! That was fun. also, I found out on monday about transfers. everyone found out on tuesday. And then on wednesday, me and elder Ramos realized, since our area changed, we had no idea what to do. nobody told us what our new area was or anything. So we visited all the people we knew we weren't going to see anymore and said goodbye. and while we were eating with one of my favorite families for the last time, the husband said this hilarious joke. And it was one of those jokes i think is hilarious, but i feel bad laughing about it as a missionary. Apparently, in el Salvador, when they mix rice and beans together, they call is "casamiento". And in the interest of the joke, I will translate that for you who speak weird European languages instead of spanish....it means marriage. And i think that is hilarious. so whenever i go over, i always talk about that with them. but she served us the rice and beans separate. So I said, "el arroz y los frijoles son solteros" (rice and beans are single). -insert laugh sound track: one of those jokes that isn't really that funny but you got to laugh. so we went on in this vein for a while, and then the husband, who is a quiet, small guy with an awesome mustache, starts mixing his rice and beans together and says, "ahorita estan en fornicacion". I will leave you to translate that one. It was hilarious. I died, mostly because it was so unexpected. He is a funny guy. But that has been my week.
It has been a good week. Lots going on, my head is kind of spinning still, but it'll all be good. I know for a fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and he is working in my life. As i was studying on saturday, I had a little epiphany. And I really liked it. As a missionary, (and a person), one of the hardest things for me to do is impose on people. I hate asking them to do things for me, even when it is for both of our benefit. And i realized, I sometimes take that attitude towards Christ and his Atonement. I love Him, and I don't want to put Him through any pain because of my sins. So I try to be so good, to reduce what He carried in the garden. I feel like a bad person sinning after all he has done for me. but I realized, He already suffered for me. He did it, so I don't have to. So when I get to the point where I am so frustrated and angry and depressed I can't take it anymore, He can. And when I lash out and sin, and hurt Him, He can take it. He loves me so much He would rather He suffer than I did. that is what really hit me. And He doesn't care what I do to Him, He just wants me to feel better. And sometimes, I want to do it on my own. And I'm so grateful for Him. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there, and they are real. And i know that they love me. And I say that in His name, Jesus Christ, amen.
I sure love you all, and thanks for your great letters, your prayers, and your love. And the blog book. i will write you all next week!
Borsh- Me da muchismo gusto que usted esta leyendo los libros de Brian Jacques. I am so glad to hear you are enjoying all the Redwall books! I think that is all the ones i have at home, but they have tons at the library. Which one is your favorite so far? Also, that is a big sacrifice, to miss your frisbee game. I always hated missing those. But at least you go to go eat Pizza and Tucanos with Matt and Lauren and B and Angela! I lvoe you buddy!
A- oh man. I feel you Amy. I can imagine the anxiety you feel, getting ready to get all settled into your new house. I think we are kind of in the same boat! I hope it all works out though. And you got a cold! for the love! I have had a cold too. We are so much the same. how in the heck? also, I have eaten so much the past 2 days I've felt nauseous. In two separate occasions. I swear, they get fed even more in this area! On saturday, we had these shrimp tails, wrapped in bacon, and cooked in chili bbq sauce. they were ridiculously good. I need to stop crashing birthday parties. the food is amazing, but so much of it! P.S. lets move home, get fat, (or just not worry about already being fat), and live happily ever after. deal?
B- Well B, I am glad to hear your left the fart out of your heart. From what I hear, you're happy as a clam, it's just paining the rest. Just kidding B! I am glad things are still going well with Angela (hi Angela!). Also, everytime you write me, it makes me glad i am on a break from school. So thank you for that weekly reminder about the blessings of a mission. I am sure excited and glad that things are going so well with you. Love you B!
M@- oh man. don't even get me started. Everyone here has problems with marriage. i have tried to get many people married here. The hard part is not getting them married. that is easy. The hard part is getting them divorced from their lost spouse in guatemala, so they can legally get married. It's interesting. Also, I have heard conflicting news about the tucanos party for grandpa. were 50 people there, or just like 50? you said 50, but I heard from others it was just like 50. Also, thanks for the snail mail! i love it. I've explained to people about the whole Yanr/cup incident of 2008, but they just don't seem to get it.
kt- you went to the zoo!? did you see any Ellie-phants there? oh man, I kill myself. They have billboards for the San Diego zoo here everywhere, which is kind of weird seeing as I am in los angeles, San diego just needs to mind it's own business. but also, I have seen Ellie pictures on the blog, and man. she is adorable. The picture of her casually chatting on the airplane is my favorite of all time I think. She is adorable. I have this large desire to hold her. Thanks for helping me to be updated on her life, even from far away! Love you tatie! (and Kodd and Ellie). (and yoshi).
Mops- thanks for the package momma! You are the beast. I am indeed excited for conference here. I don't know where I will watch it yet, seeing as the huntington park west spanish stake is dissolved. But it will be good just the same. Thanks for all your encouragement, and especially for the talks! I love you more than you love me no matter what you say!
Pops- I am so glad to hear your legs did not swell up at Disney. That is good news. how were the lines? I can't believe Grandpa is 80! that is crazy. also that rhymes. That party at Tucanos sounds awesome. how is your knee feeling these days anyway? I love you Pops, thanks for all you do!
I love you all! I can't wait to hear from you next week!
Santa’s coming, tonight, tonight... or on Wednesday Oct. 8
Well. It is with many different thoughts and emotions that I sit down and write this letter to you all. But mostly, I am super excited to see you all on wednesday! (well, everyone who will be at the airport). Right now, that is my overriding feeling. I feel very excited to see everyone, and I feel actually a great sense of peace. Heavenly Father has shown me this past week that this is His will for me, which I am very grateful for. I feel very happy that I get to see you all, I feel in harmony with Heavenly Fathers plan, and I feel very relieved right now, even if it's just temporary, from a lot of the anxiety I was experiencing. So, I am happy. I know there will be some hard times, there have definitely already been some sad moments, but I am happy right now. So I hope you all are too!
Well, I don't really know how to explain everything. So I'm not going to in this email, but I will explain a lot more in person. I just want you all to know how grateful I am for your support, and for how much you all have done for me. It's been a very difficult last few years, and I could not be where I am without your support. So thank you all very much. And thank you especially for helping me to know how much you all love me, and especially that you're not disappointed in me. It means a lot to me, and I know Heavenly Father is not disappointed with me either.
I would like to warn everyone though about a little bit more what to expect. I don't know what it will be like, but just due to the nature of some of my difficulties I don't feel I will be able to to just get back into the groove, nor is it wise for me to do so. I just don't want anybody to be disappointed if I don't go quite back into the way things were before, I need some time to figure things out.
But I love you all so much family, and the reason I am happy, even though this is happening, is because I get to see you all so soon. You mean everything to me, and I can't wait to see everyone! I wanted to end with one of the awesomest things that happened to me this week. After President Baker told me the news last night, we went to visit our bishop. and our bishop is an awesome guy. He's a really tall Mexican guy, very faithful, and a really solid guy. as a bishop though, he's super serious, and he talks with a really low, movie announcer voice. We talked with him for a while, and as we were leaving I told him I would be going home for health reasons. His daughter actually just returned home from a mission due to health reasons a month or two ago, so he was very understanding. But he thanked me for the work I'd done in the ward, and then we were standing on his doorstep to leave. It was almost like an awkward door situation after a date. Nobody really knew what to say. And then bishop, the guy I always see as this super serious guy, just turns to me, and says, "elder, le puedo dar un abrazo?" yo le dije, "claro que si obispo." And it was a very heartwarming moment for me, and it really made me feel good. Like all my work in Southgate was noticed.
So, I love you all, and I'm so excited to see you wednesday! ( I will be tired, I have to wake up early). SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!
Borsh- thanks for your letter bud! I am sorry to hear about your frisbee tournament! I haven't really known what it's like for a while to be cold, so I can't sympathize with you too much there. But i can imagine what it's like to be cold. Glad to hear you toughed it out anyway!
A-ew, kidney infection. I sorry amy. Guess what? I totally forgot to say this. I got super, super sick on friday. I don't know if it was food poisoning or some kind of bug, but I woke up and threw up like 4 times before noon. And had diarhea the whole day. It was bad. but Your kidney infection sounds worse actually. Also, your story about tipping your DC in your lap makes me laugh. I bet Wilson was super supportive and didn't laugh at all. Also, I can't wait to see your new house!
B-Well yes, my brother does work in quantum mechanics....that could be a good tracting line. Also, that is so cool you translate for conference. I am jealous of that. Also, I am so excited to meet Angela! And speak spanish to her so you can't understand us! It will be awesome.
m@- I AM SO EXCITED TOO!
KT- Boston sounds super awesome! I hope you didn't start arguing with Thomas Jefferson like Tracy....I am glad to hear there were plenty of twofer jokes though. Also, the idea of Pops scaring Ellie is super hilarious. I would have given my favorite tie to see that. He probably woke up from a nap and his hair looked funny, just like it always does in the afternoons. Start showing Ellie pictures so she likes me!
Pops- that announcement about the age limit for missionaries was surprising. It was pretty crazy. We were watching it at a members house, but they could only get it in english. So they announced that, and me and my companion were freaking out, and the members had no idea was was going on and they asked us, but we were too excited to tell them.
Mops- I love you! I'm so excited to see you!
I love you family!