Hello Mom! (This letter is from last week, May 18th. He wrote to his mom and dad separately because he had some other things to discuss he didn't want on the blog. I will omit those items and this is it.)
Thanks for still writing so late though. You can always write in the morning before 10 and I'll get your letter though :D.
Harold Navarro just got his hair cut recently and the barber was a little drunk and he didn't realize it until the sides of his hair were completely chopped off. He wrote, "Sadly they had to leave my hair much shorter than I wanted. I didn't notice that the barber was a little drunk before he started and he left me two chimones.
President Bowler just called me and needs me to meet him somewhere so I have to finish up real quickly with this week.
We went mouse hunting in our house last night and I caught him in a box. We don't have gloves but Elder Johns has a slingshot so we were going to cut through the box and then shoot the littler critter but as I opened the top of the box and started looking for the mouse, this flying rodent leaps at me and runs up my arm and then jumps for the door and escaped. Darn! hahaha right after that, I went to go to the bathroom out in the backyard baño and there was a bat in our yard. So I hid in the bathroom and shut the door but then it flew into the bathroom and I shot out of that bathroom like lightning and screaming like a little girl at 1130 at night (we weren't going to be on time with a mouse and a bat in our house). So that was adventurous and we're doing okay. If that grosses you out, just don't worry. It was really funny :D. (This made me laugh SO HARD! But I'm grateful it turned out like this and no biting/rabies allowed!)
Hard week this week but just pray for this ward. They aren't doing so well. You can read Dad's letter but I didn't want to write about all the problems to the family or to the world. So that's why I wrote personal letters today.
Hey Dad, (Written 18 May also.)
I love you and I'm always smiling and happy reading your letters. This week, I wanted to write you a personal letter because I don't want some of this on the blog to the world. I'm still reading your letter but as I read, I'll be writing as well.
Nothing much has changed from last week with the ward. They continually are a bit discouraging but that's why I'm pressing forward with faith.
Elder J and I are doing great and we had a few investigators and less-actives come to the activity on Thursday, which was great! I've been praying and I feel the Holy Ghost in my life and in the lessons and I'm still learning every day how to teach the lessons better but it just seems like all the doors are closing on us after we invite them to be baptized. I feel that God loves us and that we are doing what we need to do but it's hard. He's here with us in every step. I know He wants us to keep moving forward and thinking and coming up with new ideas. I normally ask Heavenly Father what we need to be doing, but recently I feel like He's been asking us, "What do you think?" That's a really hard situation but I do feel like God is guiding us all the time.
I like the dental illustration to help show the principle of faith and I just quickly thought about if I could share it or not with investigators but I think not. It's a little advanced that they wouldn't understand. Plus, many of them NEVER brush their teeth... :P
Who is your companion for your home teaching? I'm happy that they are all doing well and I'll enjoy coming home to see them again. :D
Love you Dad! This area has gotten pretty hard, and even Elder J commented, "What did we do to deserve all this crap?" I never stop smiling though. I never stop praying. I just keep teaching the humble and those that want to listen whether they be members or non-members alike. I wrote President about this too and I hope to get a response. I'll probably only be here for a week more anyway. I just don't want to leave this area in such poor condition.
Now for this week =====================
I'm doing great this week. I get a lot of letters and I only have 10 minutes to write at the end... sometimes I go over the hour so I can tell you a little more and so you can enjoy hearing from me. But I also know of the blessings that come from being EXACTLY obedient. So today may be rushed but I hope to get everything to you and Dad just fine.
President Bowler came to town right when I wrote you last week and so I had to go meet him to get the phones for my ZL's and another pair of missionaries because their broke or lost theirs. So, president couldn't call them to come meet them so he called me. I got to talk to him for just a moment and get some advice for how to work with the ward. He told me to go to the bishop and ask with all sincerity, "Bishop, what can I do for YOU this week?" So I did just that and the bishop just shooed me away. So, I got to thinking and I decided that I was going to do everything to show him that we are working as hard as week can with the members and less-actives and bring them to church.
As a result, we brought four NEW investigators to church this week that are looking possitive and one talked to a member and said, "I'm getting baptized next month!" So, the ward energy increased and I hope the Bishop felt that energy. We also talked to him and shared with him the plans for the night time and he had a few suggestions that we followed through with and now we'll report to him tonight. Things are looking optimistic.
We challenged 59 people this week to be baptized and we have 11 that excepted dates for baptism and so we just need to follow through and prepare them and help them to pray to find an answer.
Send Brad a little message from me regarding his upcoming graduations (Congrats this week!) & mission (I hope!). I had to answer some really hard questions for myself while I was serving at first. But as I have prayed and been diligent and trusting in the spiritual confirmations (however small or big they were) that I have received in my life, I was able to gain a more powerful testimony of the divinity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a very dark 2 to 4 months but I made it. :D And it's sooo worth the wait and the tests. Just pray!
Mom, I've always had a testimony of the Gospel and of the reality that this is Christ's living church, but on the mission I had to realize what it meant to have that testimony. There is no where I would rather be than in the temple. And that's one of the things that has let me know of the truthfulness of the Gospel. Sometimes, in trials, we focus on the "here and now" of things. But as we focus less on the bushes of thorns that surround us and try to look through to see the light, we will be able to see the temple on the other side. The eternal perspective is always better.
I'll let you know next week if I have changes. It's been 6 months here in Danli, 6 great months.
Have fun with all the great activities. It was weird seeing that Missy (Lindsay) driving. And she's lucky that she didn't have to wait until her permit came in the mail like I had to wait for mine. I remember, I got to drive the car from the driveway to the garage for my first time driving. Second time was in the parking lot with you and the third was on the FREEWAY with Dad! And we didn't die!!! :D Don't let me touch a car when I get back unless I'm with you guys! They drive really crazy here!
Little Mister Spencer James
Love reading yours and mom's letters always. Yes, I'm smiling and happy here in Danli. I'll miss these people if I go this change. I don't know what to expect but I can bet that I'm not going to the south where the mosquitoes are.
I'm glad Memorial Day has gone well for you all and that you were able to spend time with Grandma and the family. It's so cute to see that little Audrey and see her growing up. She is quite the character.
If I'm going this Wednesday, then I'll do the things you asked me to do to start off the week well with the ward. I don't want another catastrophe with the ward.
I am a true believer that if we are anxiously engaged in a good cause, then we will never fall into the depths of temptation and of sin. I know that the solution for all doubt and all sadness and all of Satan's lies, is HARD and DILIGENT WORK. "Work, work, work. There is no better remedy." So that's what I will do... for the rest of my life.
We've not turned the area completely around yet but we have turned ourselves around. I've become a better missionary, I can feel it. Even though I'm not perfect, I can still do what God needs me to do because I choose to be good without guile and because I love and want to do what HE wants me to do. The mission has once again, changed me. OR I should say that God has changed me by small and simple ways that confound the wise.
Can't write much more but I love you and appreciate your great example for me. If I can be like you, I could eventually become like my Savior. Love you Dad!
¡Hurrah por Israel!