Welcome Family and Friends to Elder Given's Blog

Please feel free to leave comments! I have changed the setting so you do not have to log in, in order to comment.

Raymondville, Texas

Raymondville, Texas

Friday, September 25, 2009

This letter made me cry!

Hola Familia,

Hows its going? Things here are pretty good at the MTC. Thanks so much for the package!!! This pictures were amazing and the Cinnamon Rolls were the same as always....AMAZING. I just had two after I got back from the temple. So bomb. You dont need to print me off any of my pictures, I printed a bunch here at the book store. Thanks for all the cards from the kids and whatnot. Kallie made me laugh the hardest tho. Miss you guys a lot. Thanks for Dylan's email. Sounds like hes doin way good and I liked his pictures. Im gonna email him today if I have any extra time.    

CRAZY about Los Al bball! Tyler just work your butt off and youll be fine. I'm way stoked for Coach Smith, I love that guy. I was actually thinking bout him the other day cus me and Elder Harword were talking about my plan to be on his team at BYU in 2 years. I really hope it works out. So once I get back, Im gonna come home and work my butt off shooting a couple hours a day and getting in better shape. Then go up to the tryouts for the team and earn a spot. Harword legitly thinks I would have a really good chance at making it. There's another kid who just got into the MTC this week that is commited to play at BYU and he's going to McAllen! So I could have two buddies on the team when I get back that are gonna help me get on that team. Hopefully tho, Ive been praying already.   

So sounds like seminary is going good so far. Nice big class and I already know Sister Hiatt is gonna be a great teacher. Dad Im glad your getting tons of work, how was that job in Vegas? Did you hit up any buffets? haha. It's totally starting to cool down here. It was pooring yesterday morning. I really really want it to snow! Cassidy sounds like you and your team are doing really well! Keep up the good work! Im sure your athletesism will come with time and work.    

OH YEA! Jeffery R. Holland spoke to us on Tuesday! So cool! He is so intense and so entertaining, but we can totally tell he just cares so much about us and about the work. I feel so blessed to get to here from 2 apostles while im here. So Sandy leaves today at like 4! She is gonna do great. Its funny that we've talked more here in the last 7 weeks than we did before. Didnt even realize we'd be in here togehter before I got here! haha.    We get our travel plans on Thursday! I can't wait. It will tell us exactly what day we leave. Either two weeks from today tuesday or wednesday. I thought I was ready until I called this lady in the RC in Spanish! It was so crazy! I could barely understand her! Needless to say I've been working way hard now. Yesterday I memorized over 75 words. Hopefully they actually stick tho. It's funny I actually have been looking forward to the temple now. I don't know I liked the temple before, I just wasn't exicted to go. Now I'm stoked to go so that's good.    

I'm considering possibly going to Utah State if I don't go to BYU. A ton of my friends from here are going there. We have time for that tho. I've been getting all kinds of dunks now in gym. I had this sick lefty 180 tip jam on this kid who is really good. I was so stoked. It was way clean too. Then the next day I jumped through this kid, like all the way through his body and tip dunked it and then hung on the rim with him directly under me. So sick. My list of people I've dunked on is up to 15 haha.    

We got to host all the new people getting droped off on Wednesday. Me and my comps had the best job. We had walkytalkys and would like tell each other which spots are open and whatnot. They have 25 drop off spots now where they used to have 12 a couple weeks ago. We got 400 people into the MTC in a little over an hour. Way fun. Oh yea and that speach that you saw on the video on the camera. Elder Burningham is the one who gave it and he left for Florida a weeks ago. He "left" me his speach to give to the new elders coming in haha. I feel honored that he trusted me with it. We'll see how I do on Wednesday.    

Well I just wanted to let you both(mom and dad) know how much I love and appreciate how you raised me and how you set me up for success in so many ways. I owe everything I am to you and I hope you really know how much I love and appreciate you. I never thought I'd miss everyone this much but I do. Absolutly not even thinking about coming home tho. I realized in the temple today that I promised to give all my time talents and whatnot to the Lord, so thats exactly what I'm doing. I'm gonna work my butt off while I'm here and come home with no regrets. I just can't wait to actually get out there! Alright well I think thats all for this week. 

Love you a lot! Elder Given

September 14, 2009 Miracle donation from Japan and most hilarious missionary story yet!!!

Hola Familia,

This was kinda an uneventful week but I feel like Im learning tons of spanish. Yesterday was exactly the half way point. Its totally flying by. Can't wait to get out of here tho. I love it but I wanna be in Texas. I'm working super hard in my new companionship. We are doing are best to not waste any time and are talking a ton of spanish to each other. We speak spanish at all meals now. I'm pretty sure I can teach the whole first lesson is Spanish now. We'll find out on thursday. Were gonna practice a bunch tho before then. Im surprised at how easy it is seeming, everything clicks most of the time. 

I bore my testimony in church yesterday, in Spanish. It was pretty cool, I said basicly what I wanted to say. I was the only person in my district to do it. My comps and I decided this week that we want to be a lot more mature, that representatives of Jesus Christ need to be more mature. Obviously we havn't been screwing around, we just used to occationally get off task or whatever, or laugh at jokes that we shouldn'. So we are really working on that and also on following every rule. I feel lame doing it sometimes but I know the blessing will be great if I follow all the rules. 

I got the package, loved it. Loved the pictures and the leters. Are you going to send me some shoes and a memory card tho?  Thats soooo AWESOME about the person that gave us that money from Japan! If you are reading this, whoever you are in Japan, muchas muchas, muchas gracias for the money! You have no idea how grateful I am. It will help pay for my bike!! And to Grammy Barbie and Papa, thank you so much for paying for this month. You spoil me way too much :) 

So have you sold my car yet? Or my phone? Hopefully, I've been praying for that. Coach Lopez will take that program somewhere. Tyler, I hear you actually started working out with Auddy so thats good. Hows off season with Eddie? I bet you guys do a lot of abs and running. Work your butt off kid. Your sophmore year is when you need to get in really good shape for varsity. Do work. Cassidy hows volleyball going? Do you play. Oh yea I think I know one of the girls on your team. She was at Deweys house a couple times cus shes friends with Deweys sisters, Niki and Dani. Do you have any classes with them? Seminary starts tomorrow Im guessing! Have fun with that haha. I'm just kidding you guys have a great teacher, it will be fun. HOW CRAZY IS IT THAT BYU WON! I'm so disapointed I missed that. I'm guessing it was number 1 or 2 on sportscenter that night. What a crazy upset. They announced it over the pulpit in our stake confrence like meeting we had yesterday hahaha. 

I bought this photo ablum at the book store. Its pretty nice and holds 204 pictures! and its was only $4.71! So great, so if you wanna send me some more pictures go ahead, such as Costa Rica pics or bball or something, idk. We got a new teacher for our classes. She is brand new but she is way good. She is teaching us a ton of spanish and doesn't have to cry every lesson like our old ones haha. Speaking of teachers how are everyones teachers so far? Kallie you got the same teacher for the third year in a row!?! And Lauren and Sydney are in the same class? So cool. I miss you guys a lot. How's being in the middle of the middle school Hagen. I hated 7th grade but that doesn't mean you have to. I havn't gained any weight in like a week :( Im stuck at 182. I really need to gain another 8 lbs in the next couple weeks! 

So Idk if I explained what the RC is here but its a place where we go and make phonecalls to people to see if they got there BOMs our whatever. But on another floor it has the same things but it has inbound calls and chats. I love doing it. We have people call in and ask us about the gospel or whatever. I chated with this guy for like 80 minutes on Saturday, he was mostly trying to bash but I bore my testimony like 5 times. I tried to help him the best I could. Then yesterday I went and this guy was trying to say we dont need to be baptized, so I showed him Matthew 3 and whatnot. He was saying its not literal and all this stuff. I'm supposed to love him but I'm not gonna lie he was an idiot hahah. He kept saying how we dont need works to be saved and stuff and how works will drag us to hell. I'm like have you read James 2? I think he was a JW. All you can do in that situation is just bear your testimony. It sucks how bad peoles understandings are of the Bible. On a funnier note I had a guy call in and ask if God is magical haha. I was like well, he can do anything but I wouldnt say he's magical. I could tell they obviously wern't really interested. Then he was like (sorry if this is innapropriate) can God make monkeys come out of my butt? hahahaa I was like sorry dude Im here to answer questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Then he hung up. You just gotta laugh at how dumb people are sometimes. 

Especially cus I fall into that category a lot. I had to get up to use the bathroom at like 4 AM this morning, so I went out, did my buisness, and when I went to go in my room the door was locked! The door is never locked! I was like what do I do? I didnt wanna wake up my comps but I had to. So I knocked quietly but trying not to be loud if that makes sense, and finally after like 5 minutes I decided to say a prayer and sure enough he opened the door all confused haha. I was about to sleep on the ground outside my door if he hadn't opened it right then. Well that's prettymuch whats going on in my life, how are things back at home? Is it still hot, its starting to get cold here. That's okay tho cus im in church clothes all day. Can't wait to here from you guys! LOVE YOU!
Su hijo, hermano, y amigo,
Elder Given

September 4, 2009

Hola Familia,

How is everyone? I gave a talk in church yesterday in Spanish. I was super nervous but people told me I did good. It's funny everyone tells me I'm doing really good at Spanish but I dont believe them. I have so much room for improvment, all I can do is work my butt off and let the Lord help me with the rest. We started this thing where we only speak Spanish now when we have our tags on, so basicly all day. It's pretty crazy but I like the challenge. It's really gonna make us a lot better at spanish. Love the shoes. Had a dunk in them the first game I wore them in. Packages are always good. Did you say your sending more pictures this week?    

I heard about you guys going to the beach with the Hickens. Leah wrote me last week. She said something about Dad and Scott doing headstands? haha So cool that the twins can surf. Not surprised tho, they are related to me :) Thanks for Dylans address mom but I already had it, I'm waiting for him to write me. I should hopefully get a letter this week. Heard any other news about him tho? Thats cool that your reading Jesus the Christ mom, I havn't been reading it as much any more cus it puts me to sleep sometimes cus I'm always tired during personal study. It's good when I do read it tho.    

Sounds like Cassidy is doing really good in volleyball. I'm not surprised that she is 6 foot! Keep me updated on how your team does, and Varsity. Thanks for the stamps. I got kinda a lot now cus Elder Taylor left me like 20. I definently didn't need the envelopes cus I got some out of the free box a couple weeks ago but thanks anyway. And don't send anymore gum cus its against the rules and I'm trying to be obedient.   

So the most consistant person at writing me is Tawny. I get a letter from her every week. JT is usually every week two. Gramm wrote me this super long Dear Elder the other day. It was kinda funny tho.  Chase and Zac wrote me once so far and so did Leah. Hopefully that letter from Dylan comes pretty soon. Tiffani wrote me a couple weeks ago but I havn't heard back from her yet. Got a great package from Aunt Kathleen and Aunt Mary. Awesome cookies!!! Gracias for ordering my bike. I'll make sure and be extra careful when Im there and always lock it up.    

I was playing ball on Saturday and I went to dunk it super hard and hit my finger on the rim. I broke part of the fingernail and was bleeding all over the place. So I went over to the trainers office and got it all fixed and kept playing. Being in the training room was kinda funny. Brought back some memories for sure. So I had a pretty good week in bball. Last Tuesday I had a lefty tip jam which I was pretty stoked on. Then the next day I was playing with Elder Hardward (gonna play at BYU) and I went up for a tip jam, kinda through him, and dunked it hard. So basicly I dunked on him, it wasn't straight on him but I still count it cus he's 6'10", I told him we're gonna be on the same team in 2 years anyway so its cool haha.    

Oh yea I got a letter from Japan. Enjoyed it a lot!! Sent my pics home today. Make sure you back them up on both external harddrives please. Theres like 230 pics I think so enjoy. Im only up to 183 lbs. I cant gain any more weight and Im so over the food. Its all good tho.    

Richard G. Hinckley spoke to us last week. Way cool, sounded like his dad. My best friends here in the MTC leave tomorrow morning. Its gonna be sad but Im way stoked for them. We'll be the oldest district now. Crazy how time flies. Almost 6 weeks! I've really started to miss you guys a lot lately, mostly the kids. I know im supposed to be here tho so I'm not worrying too much about it. Love you guys a lot tho.    

Taught the whole first lesson in Spanish a couple days ago. Went really well, surprisingly isn't that hard. Just need to be able to relate it better in spanish like I can in English now.    

So whats the deal with Los Al bball? Oh yea ask the Risenmays if they know Elder Orme. He said he knew them. Hes new in our zone, seems like a nice, kinda awkward guy.    Alright well I'm basicly out of time. Love you all a lot. Can't wait to here back. BTW its raining super hard here right now. 

Love it. Adios, Elder Given


Saturday, September 5, 2009

A visit from Richard G. Scott!!

This was a very interesting week, Elder Taylor, my comp went home. He was having really bad anxiety I guess and it was just a bunch of stuff adding up. He was only getting like 3 hours of sleep a night and whatnot. I knew he was having problems but I didnt think it was that bad. On Wednesday tho he talked to some high up people here for like 2 and a half hours, while I sat and did nothing. Then that night his dad came and talked to him cus he lives like 10 minutes away. That was one of the biggest problems for him, he was too close to home. So then he talked to some kind of doctor saturday morning and he told him that he needed to go home, basicly as a medical reason to get his head fixed. So he left Thursday and 2 pm. He hopes to be able to come back in about 6 months and hopefully end up in McAllen. I really really hope I see him there in a few months.

Im doing pretty good tho. He asked me, Elder Hansen, Elder Burningham, and Elder Cockrell to give him a blessing before he left. All 3 of them are in the older group and leave in 3 weeks but they are like my best friends. So I gave the blessing and the spirit was so strong it was crazy. Elder Hansen said the blessing was really good. I think Elder Taylor will be back. So now Im in a tripod, or threesome, whatever its called with Elder Navarro and Elder Rudd. They work super hard so its gonna be good for me. I like them a lot and we teach pretty well together so far. Speaking of teaching I can basicly teach the first 4 principles of lesson 1 in Spanish so thats legit. Gift of Tongues is a crazy amazing blessing, especially when you get it from an Apostle of the Lord. Yea, we had an apostle speak to us. So sick. So we are sitting in our Tuesday night devotional, like 5th row cus we know shortcuts haha, anyway we're all noticing all this stupid stuff like how it isnt showing who the speaker is on the slideshow, theres an extra security guard by the door, a lot more old people were there, so we're hyping it up sooooo much, kinda expecting it to be a letdown like a 70 or something hahahah. So Richard G Scott walks it. It was so crazy. I just got the chills as I was typing that. The spirit was so strong. In the middle of his talk he asked, how many of you are learning languages, so like half the place raised their hand, then he said: okay well as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I give you the gift of tongues. WHAT! It was so cool. Like I felt it hit me. Like a flipping wave. So crazy. I can't even describe it. So needless to say Spanish is going a lot better now.

Another amazing experience I had this week was seeing one of my best friends gain a testimony for the first time. I think I told you about Elder Yergensen last week, anyway he never really had a testimony and he was just here hoping to get one. He was really close to leaving but I kinda helped him stay and told him to start reading the Book of Mormon and whatnot and praying. So hes in his TRC lesson on Thursday night which is like a "real" investigator, and he starts sharing his testimony of family and it totally just hits him. Like this kid is a huge football player who never crys, and he just started balling. After we both finished our lesson he was still all teary eyed and I didnt know what happened yet so he was like, Elder Given come here, and he told me everything that happened, and how he knows the church is true and stuff. It was so cool. Im so proud of him, I love that kid, or Elder haha.

Alright so on a random note, I figured out that I've legitly dunked on 5 people here. Im gonna try and take pictures with a bunch of them hahah. Oh yea and im up to 182, hopefully I can keep increasing, Ive started to slow down, but Elder Taylor did leave me and ton of food so thats good. So I was telling you bout Elder Hansen earlier. He basicly is my best friend here. He is so awesome, hes form Wyoming and is going to Philly spanish speaking. Anyway his companion is a wack job crazy guy who never talks and is just a weirdo. He has endured him pretty well but he flipped out the other day and just like ran out of class and had to be alone cus his comp is a physco. So anyway I talked to him that night and Im gald we can just help each other out when we need to talk. We got a new district this week. The majority of them are way cool kids. They actually hang out with us and stuff, I like them so far.

I said the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting yesterday, in Spanish. I thought it was pretty good but when I got done President Watkins got up and said how good it was and made an example for the younger districts of how if you work hard the Spanish will come. I was stoked.

Oh yea and thanks for telling me about Forever stamps mom. I should have saved those. I didnt understand how they all work until I used my last one and someone told me. I got some more regualr 44 ones tho now. So the whole Coach May thing is no surprise at all. Eddie coming back blew my mind tho! So Russell is still gonna teach another year? So does that mean Eddie is taking Ms. Mais job for this year and then Mays job next year? I was tryin to figure out who would stay if Eddie wouldnt had come. James still might transfer now, prob not tho since Coach May is staying at Los Al and can sign him at some Pac-10 school. Eddie walked in on such a legit job. Tyler you got some good teachers. Work hard in bball and in school. What teachers did you get Cassidy?

So time is totally flying by. This week went some fast. Im lovin it. Could you get my Kyle Poes address in Utah. I wanna write him. Thanks for the package that's coming. I think I told you everything I need. Tyler could you get some sweet Facebook pics for me and print them out off my profile por favor. Crazy that Dylans gone. Next letter I get from him will be straight outtaa Africa. Dad, Im gald you're having great classes so far, and I had already written Tawny before you even told me to haha. And guess what, I've been writing in my journal every night. Oh yea and I had to get a flu shot. They said it was "optional" but I figured Id get it anyway. I paid for it with my card. And Listerine sucks. Elder Taylor gave me his crest mouthwash tho so that will work while im here. Our district went from 11 people a week ago, to 7 today. We lost the 3 hermanas to Guatemala and Elder Taylor. It seems so small in class now. Im reading Jesus the Christ. Its gnarly. Okay totally out of time! BYE!
Elder Given
- Show quoted text -