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Raymondville, Texas

Raymondville, Texas

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Service is Legit"

October 26, 2009

Whats up everyone!?!

Time is flying by, feels like it was just P-Day yesterday! Once again Happy Birthday to Kallie! How was your party? Did you get anything cool for your birthday? Glad you liked my card and all the ties and stuff. Sorry it made you cry tho haha. Sounds like Cassidys team is doing really well and that Cassidy keeps improving! Whats her teams record? I've only heard of them losing 1 game so far so sounds like they are really good. Hows varsity doing? What about the football team?

Sounds like the Halloween dance and party was a lot of fun. I think we are having a branch party but I'm not sure. I know Elder Horton and I are having a pumpkin painting/carving thing on Thursday but thats mostly for this one girl who we want to get baptized. On Halloween night we have to be in at 6. I'm not sure what we are donig yet.

Thats really sad about Sister Carlton. If she is in pain then its probably for the best then. I'm still praying she gets better tho. I totally forgot about the twins Flat Stanley thing. I'll do it today and put it in the mail tomorrow.

So life is pretty good here. Yesterday was a really interesting day at church. Actually I'll just go back to the week in general. We invited probably like 50 people to church. I thought and was hoping we would get about 5. We only got 1. We gotta start doing something to get people to church, cus they can't get baptized if they aren't at church. Anyway that one person was Derrick. He's my favorite, I'll tell more about him later.

Oh yea we only had 1 investigator, but we had this innactive guy come who we talked to. He basicly hated us when we first talked to him, but as we talked to him more he opened up (by the way this was like a week and a half ago) and he was actually kinda nice by the end of the lesson. So I had totally forgot about him, but then he showed up at church! He's been innactive for 10 years!!! And he said he's coming back next week, hopefully he brings his family.

So after Sunday school I went to go help the Presidente with something, and he handed me and Ensign. Hes like, pick an article and go teach Elders Quorum. Haha I was like okayyy cool. The lesson ended up being alright tho cus I basicly used it as time to teach our investigator Derrick. I just thought it was funny how I had to do it on the spot tho. I love our branch.

Used my bike kinda a lot this week which was fun. I love riding it. It works really well, thanks Mom and Dad. We are able to talk to tons of people when we are on our bikes. We ended up having 148 contacts this week which is cool. Our goal is 140 every week.

We helped some people move into their house yesterday and the day before. Usually people don't let us help them but they really needed the help cus they were all tired and it was hot so we just helped them unload the moving van. It was acutally kinda fun and they said we can come back whenever they want. Service is legit.

My memory card on my camera is full so Im gonna be sending that back tomorrow with over 200 pictures on it. There are some funny videos on there too. Tyler are you putting my pics on Facebook? I finally played basketball last week! I couldn't jump tho it was kinda sad. I blame the cement court and the high rims tho haha. It was fun tho. Whats the latest with Los Al bball? Anything interesting happening? Is Tyler ever gonna write me? Oh so check this out. We came home the other day, and I went to make a sandwhich, and my comps bread had been chewed on. Like threw the plastic! So we think there are mice or something in our house which is gross. We cleaned up a lot tho so I think that will help.

Is anyone in our family a Pentecostal? We contacted this lady who was Pentecostal and she was so loud and just like "PRAISE JESUS" but every time we asked her to pray about our message she was like "NO". Which we get a lot so that's not what annoyed me. She was all talking about how she was feeling the spirit and stuff and then started mumblin something all loud and then just kept going. Apperently she was "speaking in tongues". They just dont get it do they? It's so sad but really hilarious. She was like "can you speak in tongues? I can. Praise Jesus! Amen. I can speak in tongues. I go to church every Sunday. Amen! Can you speak in tongues?" That was basicly what she was saying for like 20 minutes. haha thats why I love missionary work.

People are so stuborn tho. We're like, if you knew these things were true would you change? And they're like nope. Then we say, so if God told you to do something, and that what your doing is wrong, your going to keep doing it your way? Yep. Woooow. But then we just move on because they obviously aren't getting it. But honestly it is pretty fun. Stuborn people make me laugh. They don't get it and they wont let us help them figure it out.

Okay enough about annoying people. Derrick and Angela. I think I told you about them last week. Derrick got interviewed by President Miller this week, cus he was down here for Zone Confrence. And he passed!!! We were scarred cus he has a scetchy passed but he's good to go. He just either has to get married or seperated. That's what we've been working on a lot but he keeps putting too much on us. I love that guy tho. He's gonna be such a big help to us as missionaries cus he can relate with all the super ghetto people we have been teaching. I try but I can only pretend to be ghetto hahah. Hopefully next time I talk to you he will be married!!! Alright well I think thats all I got for this week.

Mostly just want everyone to know how much I love and miss them. Can’t wait to here back from everyone.

Con Amor,

Elder Given

Working hard and getting plenty to eat...haha

October 19, 2009

Hows it going family?

Sad to hear a bunch of you are sick! Tyler dont worry your braces will come off eventually haha. Addy has swine flu? Crazy. Whats Cassidys volleyball team record? Sounds like shes doing great which is good to hear. Im sending out a package today. Its got some clothes in it that I dont need anymore and some stuff for Kallie and letters for everyone.

BTW Happy Birthday Kallie (for tomorrow) and guess what? My companions birthday is tomorrow too!!! He's gonna be twice your age tho :) Sounds like Hagen did a great job on his talk in church. Must take after his dad. Did he speak with Mike? Oh yea so my bike, I didnt even get it until Friday of this week when we went back up to McAllen for New Comp Training. Its great. I love it.

New Comp Training was way fun cus I got to see all my buddies from the MTC and we told all our stories and stuff. The weather has been pretty nice lately, around 80 so we decided to ride our bikes Saturday. It was fun and I wanna do it more often. Its a really good bike, definently worth the money. It was also nice to finally get some letters this week! No surprise the first letter I got was from Tawny. Then I got a letter from Dad and that package the next day. The package was soo good! I only have 2 cinnamon roles left haha. I gave some to my comp and our roomates tho so don't worry. The cookies were really good too. When do I need to send Lauren and Sydneys Flat Stanley thing back?

This week flew by soooo fast. So there is this thing, kinda like a goal but its more of a way of life in the mission, called 20-20-2. Which means if you have 20 contacts a day, 20 lessons a week then you'll have 2 baptisms a month. Basicly its revalation and it works like everytime. So obviously that’s what we're striving for. We ended up with 153 contacts this week. I’m pretty stoked cus thats a ton. We have over 30 twice. And we have 14 new investigators ( which means we taught them a lesson and made a return appointment) and we have like 25 lessons( which includes at least 1 prayer, usually 2). So basicly we worked our butt of and it was fun. But at the same time I feel like it was unsuccessful cus we didnt have any investigators at church. We called, arranged rides, made sure people would be there, but people used there agency to not show up. All I can do is work harder and pray more I guess.

Our kid that got baptized last week scared us this week. Basicly he’s not all there, is what we decided. We couldn’t find him until Saturday, and we had to get confirmed Sunday. All the little kids that live by him said they heard he was smoking and that he didn’t want to talk to us. But we ended up finding him and talking to him, he barely wanted to go to church but he did. It all worked out but he’s just weird, I don’t get it. We'll see if we can find him this week, it doesn’t help that his grandma hates us.

Oh yea so last Moday, after we went and bought food, we had lunch with the new brach presidente, and it was some bomb BBQ, so I ate a ton. Then we had double dinner appointments that night! Back to back at 7 and 8! So we go to this members house at 7 and she made some chicken for us, it was alright but I was still full. Everytime I finished my plate she would be like "sirvense mas elder!" which means serve yourself more elder! She made me eat like 4 plates! I almost threw up haha. So then we have our other appointment, which was with Derrick and Angela, who I'll tell you about later. Derricks hopefully getting baptized on the 1st of Nov. Anyway Angela(who is a member) made us Navaho Tacos, and they were actually kinda good but I was so stuffed that it took me forever to eat. I almost threw up but it was funny.

I’ve got some good pictures on my camera to send home probably in a week or two. You can send me some pictures of the family or whatever too if you want. I’ve got a picture of this Elder who I went on splits with on Wed. He’s under 5 feet tall. I think he’s like part midget or dwarf or something, he’s really cool tho. Anyway it was really funny cus it was big ol lengthy me and little tiny Elder Cutler. So we've got some pictures that’ll make you laugh.

Our grass in our yard was seriously like 2 feet long! We were told one of the members was supposed to cut it, but he never did so we had the branch president come over with his tractor to do it but we had to help him some. It was crazy how long it was. It looks so much better now haha.

We taught this guy from Honduras today. I couldn’t understand I thing he was saying but I guess he was really prepared and we set a baptismal date with him for Nov. 15. I'm excited cus I think hes really serious about it.

So our Branch basicly got changed to English cus the Branch President prefers English over Spanish. He kinda switched back and forth the sometimes. Typical Tex Mex haha. Even stupid me spoke some Tex Mex yesterday! I was saying the prayer in priesthood ( cus we do everything) and for some reason I was praying in English, which I havn't done outloud in a long time, and in the middle I said "te damos gracias por" which means we thank thee for, I really dont know why I switched to Spanish for a phrase but Elder Hernandez, Elder Brandleys comp, was laughing at me haha. It was pretty funny but that is so typical of what people do here. I’m actually struggling with it a lot tho. It’s hard to learn cus I can never practice cus people always wanna talk to us in English. Most can speak both but they see that we're white so even if we talk to them in Spanish they answer in English. Oh well tho, when I need it the Lord will bless me with it.

Oh yea so Derrick and Angela. Angela has been a member for like 10 years, but is kinda crazy. She used to have lots of drinking and drug problems but she’s cleaned up lately. Her and Derrick have been together for 8 years but aren’t married. Derrick is really changing his life and is planning on getting baptized soon. We are really helping them try to keep the word of wisdom. I really love them and really hope Derrick can get baptized. They have to get married tho and his interview is on Thursday so they gotta do it fast. Im nervous but I have faith its gonna happen.

Alright well I guess that’s all that’s happened this week. It’s going by really fast. Tell everyone I love them and to write me. Especially Tyler, I havn’t heard from him in forever!

Love you guys a lot and thanks for all the support

-Elder Given

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey family!
So I'm here at the Library in  Raymondville Texas! I love it! Its so great here. So basicly our town is tiny and is kinda like that town on the movie "Cars". It has a main road that goes through it, but then a freeway was made around it so now there is like no one here. But the people who are here are great. We can talk to basicly anyone, I haven't had one door slammed in my face yet haha. 

The Branch here is pretty crazy, but the members are great. There are some really really awesome families. Its funny there are two families with like 4 little kids and they all love missionaries. They drew us pictures and stuff. It was so cool. They always see me and yell GIVEN! But surprisingly we speak a TON of English. We teach about 75 percent of our lessons in English. I dont really like it, but whatever. This is supposed to be one of the more spanish areas, and I guess one of the most dangerous haha. We've had 3 meals with members and they were all pretty good. Probably because I'm always starving. We haven't gotten to shop for food yet, so we've been eating our comps food, which isn't much. Oh yea so my comp is Elder Horton, and he and his comp, Elder Hernandez were here for 2 transfers before us and were doing really well, so they split them and made them both trainers, sooo me and Elder Brandley are here. My comp is the District Leader so we get the car. Its actually been pretty cool the last couple days tho, only like 80-85 haha. It really gets hot tho but I still love it. I just don't like all the bugs. I got bug bites allllllll over my legs. Oh and the kids here are crazy, like the teenagers. Basicly they have nothing better to do then drink, do drugs and do other things. Its not good. Drugs are really easy to come by but we had to teach this 12 year old kid about the word of wisdom and really worry if he would keep it. I still love the people tho. They're really nice and whatnot. 

Surprisingly I haven't had any tacos yet. Had some really good spaghetti tho! Ive tried a bunch of stuff but nothing has really been terrible, except some beans I had yesterday but whatever.

My companion is great. He is a super hard worker and is gonna be a great trainer for me. He follows the spirit really well. Hes from St. George and has a scholarship to play soccer at the U of U when he gets back. We basicly do anything and everything to get our investigators to church. We were calling people at like 730 yesterday and aranging rides and stuff. We had 3 people at church so not bad. The branch is soooo different then ours. There is 1 priest, actually 2 now after our baptism, and that's all the young men, like 3 young women and just a bunch of random people. I'd say like 40 percent of the people actually wore church clothes. Maybe even less. Most people had jeans on. And we got a new branch president who is a recent convert and is really gonna help our work. The last one was way worn out and didn't really care about missionary work, I guess he was Brach Presidente for like 10 years! They need us to do like everything at church. We and the branch president, run the place. I bore my testimony in Spanish yesterday. We think the branch might be changed to English soon. Also hopefully it will be a ward before I leave! 

Oh yea so we had a baptism yesterday, pretty cool. He is a 16 year old kid names George and he almost didnt get baptized. We had to get consent from his parents cus hes under 18 but his parents live in another city outside our area and they dont have a car, but we ended up being aloud to have his older brother sign it so it all worked out. 

Our ward mission leader is a great guy. His name is Brother Abby, one of the few white people here, and he will do anything for us. He bought us food our first two nights here and gives the other Elders and bikes rides all the time. He really does his calling well and cares about the work. Our house is really nice. We have one room that we all sleep in, we have 2 study rooms, a living room, and a nice kitchen. We just need to fill that kitchen with some food haha. I heard we might be losing our house tho cus the owner might be selling it so that would suck. We've commited 4 people to be baptized since I've been here! We had a legit one yesterday, he is seriously so prepared and hopefully his wife and son will be too. I have a really good feeling about him. 

I've been sleeping really well, I basicly pass out at night, and my bed is long enough and really comfortable. We made a goal to have 20 contacts a day and we've been really living up to that. We actually had 31 one day. Im pretty comfortable talking to people now so thats good. There are so insane dogs here tho. They like run out infront of cars and bark at them. We almost hit on yesterday! They always basicly try to attack our car! So stupid but whatever. I havnt gotten 1 letter since Ive been here which really sucks. Tyler tell my friends to write me haha. Give them the address I gave mom. Actually here it is again: 204 Alamo St. Raymondville, TX 78580. I need some letters. I only have like 45 minutes to email and only to family so yea. We are about to go shopping at Wal-mart soon! I'm starving, I had watermelon for breakfast haha. Well let me know how everything is going. Sounds like Coach K might actually do a good job. Hows school going for everyone? Cassidy hows volleyball? WEll I think thats about it. I love you guys and am loving it here! I'm happy and slowly learning Spanish.
Elder Given