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Raymondville, Texas

Raymondville, Texas

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Transferring to Kingsville

July 26, 2010

Hi Family!!

Here are some cool pics for you. They are some of the really cool members from down here in Brownsville. Im gonna print out some pics today at Walmart and I'll try to make a disk thing as well.

Anyway I got a call from my Mission President on Sunday morning before church. He told me that Im getting transfered up north. I'm going to a city called Kingsville and Im gonna be district leader over some missionaries. My comp is a kid named Elder Marsdin or something like that. He was in Elder Grahams district in the MTC. I think he'll be alright, I'm way excited! The only bad part maybe is that Im gonna be on bike. So for the hottest part of the year I'm gonna be on bike which is kinda lame but I guess it will toughen me up. Transfers are tomorrow so I gotta pack up all my stuff. I have so much stuff its kinda rediculous. I've got a ton of ties and weights and stuff now but I'll make it work.

I'm super disapointed to be leaving my area right now. Its just started to blow up. We had 6 people at church yesterday and 3 of them were Jehovahs Witnesses! I was very surprised they came. We had 5 at the Spanish branch and 1 at English. The guy that came to English is this guy named Alex. Hes super shy and kinda weird but hes progressing a lot. He is very excited about baptism and Im sure hes gonna get baptized on the 22nd or before. This one day we showed up to his house and he had a pile of printed out papers under his BOM and I was like oh crap in my head. I thought it was a bunch of Anti stuff. But he had actually printed off a bunch of stuff from mormon.org about Thomas S Monson and and Law of Chastity and stuff like that. He's a way cool guy.

Another person I'm gonna be sad to leave is this lady named Aurora. Shes like 24 and has a 3 year old son, but lives with her dad and brothers. Shes way cool. She came to church and loved it. We had a lesson with her in the church and it was great. She really feels the spirit and Im sure shes gonna get baptized. Right when we get all these cool people I stinkin get transfered! Like they are gonna have probably 3 or 4 baptisms in August. We hooked them up. This missionary is coming in here for his last transfer to replace me. Hes a really good guy tho so he'll do well.

I'm officially a tie hustler. I have this new theory I guess for getting really good ties. Cus most missionaries down here have a few good ties, but I'm trying to have a bunch of really good ties. So lately I have been trading like 5 decent average kinda good ties, for 1 sick tie. And so now I have a lot better quality over quanity.

There has been a huge change in my life this transfer, I'm glad I finally learned how to rely on the Lord. I figured out I couldn't do anything a while ago, but I just figured out how to rely on the Lord and life has been great since then. I have had some super awesome personal studies lately. Like I used to kinda struggle through parts of personal study when I would get bored and I wouldn't know what to study, but the last few weeks I have been spending like 45 minutes a day in the BOM. And I'll read like 2 chapters in 45 minutes cus I'm really just analizing and applying everything. Its kinda cool how much more I have learned. I love studies now.

Life's been great. So I guess its time for more trials up in Kingsville now. I'm pretty sure 2 of the Elders in my district are super lazy which is going to be annoying to have to get them to wake up on time and work and stuff, but I'll have to figure it out. Anyway I think thats all I got for today. I gotta go pack today, we tried to get another tie bail but they didnt have one. Oh yea and if youre planning on sending me stuff for my bday, send it to the Mcallen address cus idk the Kingsville one yet.

Cool well I love you all a lot. Tell Grammy Barbie I got her package and it was way awesome! Exactly what I needed. Next time I email you I'll be a few hours north and 20 years old!

Elder Given

Fun Week!

July 19, 2010

Whats up Everyone!

Well I think I got to everyone except dad haha. I haven't got that much mail in a long time haha. The package was awesome, thanks a ton. Mom I still havnt got my asthma meds so idk whats up with that, I could really use those soon. Glad to hear that girls bball team is turning around cus that thing was a mess haha. Glad youre loving it too. Glad Tylers team is doing alright. It would be cool if that kid would write me every once and a while haha. Thats crazy the Jensons are moving and that everyone is thinking about it. That would be nuts if everybody left. Are you guys thinking about moving? haha I hope not.

Anyway we had a couple crazy things happen this week. I totally kicked a dog in that face while riding my bike yesterday. It was chasing me and I swerved at it but it kept going, so I tried to kick it and missed, but then the second time I got it real good, before he got me. There are so many stinkin dogs here its annoying. Oh yea and last night when we were riding home, it was like 9:15 and we were like 3 or 4 miles away so we were trying to book it, and then my companions seat fell off his bike. So we were trying to fix it but it wouldnt go on, so I just put the seat in my backpack, and my comp took off. So we go like 200 yards and I tell him to switch cus I could tell he was tired. It was a long day. I'll tell you about that in a sec. So we switch and I rode the rest of the way home on his bike with no seat so I had a stand up the whole time. It was a pain but I like the challange.

So that day our whole district was fasting to find a prepared family, so after church we went home and took a quick nap and then took the bikes out to go find our prepared family. So we decided to do this one trailor park. So we started at like 2 and then had a dinner appointment at like 5. So we knocked doors from like 2-445 and then had dinner with a member. it was fish but it was actually really good. So after dinner we went and were about to go just visit some people but I felt like we needed to go knock more doors, so thats what we did. we ended up knocking this trailor park from 615-9. It was a pain in the butt, we talked to a lot of dumb people not gonna lie. Might have found a good family tho, we'll see, we're going back tonight.

Found a cool guy named Alex this week. We had a super spiritual lesson with him in the church on Saturday, but he still didnt come to church on Sunday. I was annoyed about that but oh well, we'll get him next week. But yea its been a week of ups and downs. Next week is transfers so we'll see what happens then. Oh yea mom I think you were asking about if we have AC and we do. And in our car. So I stay pretty cool, dont worry. Well I think thats about it for this week.

I love you guys a lot and thanks again for the package.
Elder Given

Did Everyone Forget about me???

July 12, 2010

Whats up Everybody?

Its kinda lame not getting letters from anyone! I guess Im just at that point in my mission where everyone forgets about you and doesnt write you. That's cool tho I'll probably start getting letters again in about 8 months. Anyway, Im dieing right now. Im freeking sick again. I woke up at 4 AM this morning and I was just burning it, so I went to go get some water or something but I just felt crappy. So I stole a fan from the other elders, and put it in my room. So I tried to go back to sleep but then at like 445 I was still awake and my stomach was Killing me. Then I threw up a bunch of times. I feel like crap. I'm drinking a bunch of pepto bismal and I've got some powerade. Still not feeling so great tho. But whatever, I'll get over it. I already did once this week. I was super sick on Tuesday- Thursday, but I still worked. Hopefully the Lord will bless us for it cus jeez, Brownsville has been the biggest trial of my life. I love it here at times but its been super rough. Every time we have someone about to get baptized, something crazy happens and they dont get baptized, I just cant catch a break here. And especially for how hard Im working I would have expected to have a lot more success. We have a bunch of super lame investigators right now who wont do anything. We've been praying to find a prepared family and I know we'll find one this week.

I had a super fun day on Thursday, I went on splits with Elder Anderson, over in his area which is downtown Brownsville. Their area is usually a bike area but the other elders they live with crashed the car twice so they lost driving privladges so now downtown is a bike area. So we go to leave that morning and it is just coming down. I guess we had another tropical depression or somthing, and it rained a ton. If there is too much rain we aren't aloud to drive, so we had to take the bikes out, which was actually really fun. We road through the rain and the flooding for a while, thats probably why Im so sick, but theres nothing I could do about it. We just had a really fun day, and had a lot of success. It was kinda completely different from what Im used to. So that was fun.

But then Friday I was talking to our District Leader, who is Elder Hernandez, from back in Raymondville, and I was asking him how Graham did in leading the area. He told me that he got lost and that he said he gets nervous when he contacts people, and then he said "I just think he needs to be trained better" Wow that really ticked me off. Especially cus its not my fault if Graham doesnt know the area, he hasnt been paying attention when we are in the car and so he doesnt know how to get to places that we go to multiple times a day. And I've been working on helping Graham not be nervous for months, and there is only so much I can do in regards to that.

Alright well I think I've put way too much frustration into this email. Im sorry. There are a few good things going on here. We had a lesson with this guy last night and I felt the spirit tell me that we need to kneel down for the prayer, so as we finished up I taught him how to pray, and then invited him to say a kneeling prayer. The spirit was way strong, and he started crying. It was way cool. He has a lot of potential if we cfan get passed his dogs.

The mosquitos are driving everyone here crazy. They are HUGE and there are a billion of them. Flooding here is not a good thing. Its super bad and we have been getting attacked.

My new favorite basketball team is officially the Miami Heat, not questions asked haha.

Okay well I think thats all I got for today. Im probably gonna go home and sleep for the rest of the day. i love you guys a lot, just try to get me some letters, and some letters from my amigos. Alrights well I guess I'll talk to yall later
Elder Given

July 6, 2010

Hi Family!

Hurrican Alex was no big deal. Didn't even do anything to Brownsville. I was super excited for it tho. We got the call that the hurricane was coming on monday, and then we found out we would be getting evacuated on tuesday, and then we actually left Wednesday morning. We left at 7am for McAllen, which is like a 1 hour drive more or less. Actually it was kidna funny, the Zone Leaders called and told us to leave right at 7, but we were a little bit late getting everything ready and we didnt leave until like 705. Sure enough at like 702 the rain started pounding super hard and as we were loading our stuff into the car, we got soaked! It was kinda funny tho. So I drove all the way to McAllen in the rain, and we made it their safely.

It was cool cus we got to meet President and Sister Trayner. I love them. They are way way way awesome. I loved the Millers but I just have a really good feeling about President Trayner. Hes actually pretty funny and he speaks a lot of Spanish to us. He showed up to our training and just started it all in Spanish, and then would switch into Spanish at random parts of the training. He's already got TexMex down hahaha. Hes got great vision for the mission and I know we are going to progress a lot with him incharge. We had trainings from 10-5 on Wednesday, thursday, friday and saturday. It was like the MTC again, but it was cool. I learned a ton. We are really focusing on teaching simply now, its cool. SO yea, Wednesday, we had training till 5, and then after that we went and worked in the APs area. Kinda lame, but we found this super cool old guy. Then Thursday after the training, they said that the HUrricane had cleared up so they let us go back to brownsville. Oh yea and we stayed at the APs house in McAllen and I basicly traded a tie for 2 45 lb weights so I was stoked on that. (BTW tyler how much can you bench? I maxed out at 165 the other day and I weight 190) anyway so we went back and worked for like 2 hours on thursday and then Friday morning we had more trainings in Harlingen. SO we went to that and then had a few hours to work after it. Oh yea at that one they had me give a training to everyone about the importance of our investiagators reading the BOM, that went well. So we only had a few hours to work Friday, and then Saturday we had training again but this time in Brownsville, and we had a testimony meeting at the end of that and it was really cool. I can tell President Trayner really loves us. So we had a few hours to work Saturday night and then Sunday came. So in order to get investigators to church you have to have some really good lessons with them during the week, and that didn't happen cus we had barely any time to work, so we didnt see the results we wanted. This one game came tho, the same guy we went to mass with. He still says he Catholic tho.

So Carlos was supposed to get baptized this week, but he has some doubt that is holding him up and we haven't figured it out yet. I'm still trying to figure out what we need to help him understand. Once he gets over that doubt hes set, he'll get baptized.

Oh yea back on Tuesday we drove by H-E-B which is kinda like Ralphs grocery store, anyway we saw just a ton of people fillling up sandbags. I guess the city just dumped a bunch of sand and gave people bags and told them to fill them up if they wanted them for their house. So we went and helped people fill sand bags for like an hour, man that killed my back but we got to help a ton of people. It was kinda funny in church on sunday they had a special meeting 3rd hour about hurricane preparedness, kinda funny that they did that right after the hurrican hit haha. I hope we get another one before I get transfered.

We had a really cool lesson with this black guy named Alvin. I met him a while back, and we just now made it to his house to teach him. We talked with him about what he wants in life and he said he wanted to quit smoking, so we invited him to do that, and he grabed the cigarette that he had in his hand and ripped it up and threw it in the street. It was really cool the see him with that real desire to quit. Hes a cool guy.

How was the 4th of July? We had to be in at 6 so that the drunk people didn't shoot their fireworks at us. We just went over to the church and we got the watch the Other Side of Heaven. It was pretty cool to watch. Alright well I think thats about all that happened this week. It was fun, Im safe, just sick, but dont worry. I love you guys a lot. Im gonna try to send you a video so let me know if you get it. Talk to you all later.
Elder Given

Hurricane Coming!

June 28, 2010

Hi Family!

So we were in H-E-B today buying our groceries and we get a message from our Zone Leaders saying that there is a hurricane heading our way so we need to have a 72 hour kit ready. Im super excited!!! Its gonna be fun. Mom dont let grammy barbie or anyone call president miller and freek out and get me stuck in corpus for my whole mission. Thats what happened to this one kid and hes been up there for like a year and a half, so yea, no freeking out, we'll be fine, the Lords got our back. So we might end up stuck in a church for 3 days, which would be kinda crappy.

Anyway President and Sister Miller are leaving tomorrow which is sad. I think President Trayner will be awesome tho. We had our last zone confrence with president this week. It was all the missionaries in the valley so it was cool. Usually its just Brownsville and Harlingen zones, but this time it was mcallen and mission too. So it was 4 out of the 7 zones in the mission. My whole MTC district was there which was cool. Got to talk to Elder Brandley and Yergensen for a while. Sister Miller gave everyone hugs which was cool. She totally broke down at the end tho. Its gonna be weird without them but it'll be good.
We got cussed at kinda gnarly the other day. It was crazy i walked up to this lady that was getting something out of her car and I was like como esta, how you doing (I actually said both languages cus I couldnt tell which one she spoke) and she turns and looks at me and says,"Im gonna........... I was like okay... and then just walked away cus I didnt want to push it. It was pretty funny. Im glad I can laugh about that kind of stuff.

I figured out my companions problem. Hes getting way too much presure from his parents. He sent home a box full of ties like I did a long time ago, and I guess his dad sent him a letter saying he thinks he isn't focused on the work, in regards to sending home the ties. I told my comp he needs to stand up to his parents and tell them hes a big boy and can do what he wants. And if hes not wasting the Lords time then its okay. So that was annoying cus thats why hes so messed up in the head. Im still working on fixing him. He just wants to be a super missionary right now, which isnt gonna happen if hes always feeling super pressured.
Im gonna paste in my letter to President
Hey President,
This was another week of ups and downs. I learned some really good things that I know is going to help me progress. I loved how we focused on teaching simply in Zone Conference, it was exactly what I needed. So the next day during personal study I was reading through 2nd Nephi 25. 2nd Nephi 12-24 is all the Isaiah chapters and honestly I still haven't figured out how to understand them, so I didn't get a lot of of those chapters. So chapter 25 starts out and Nephi basically says, I know some of you didn't understand the words of Isaiah, so I'm going to make it as simple as possible, and then he proceeds to teach the Gospel so simply. All he focused on was Jesus Christ, he taught why he is important and why it matters. So it just clicked in my head, if I want to teach simply,that's what I need to teach. So I went out and applied that right away and we had a really awesome lesson with this guy named Javier and he really opened up to us. I am very grateful for the inspiration that I received and I am continuing to seek more and more.
On a sad note though, our investigator, Carlos, didn't get baptized. He was doing super solid all week, on Friday he even bore his testimony to us about why he wants to get baptized. So then we set up to go by on Saturday, and had a member set to go with us, and then he calls us and tells us he's with his family so he wasn't home. So we set up to go later that evening, and he still wasn't there. So I talked to him around 9 Saturday night and asked him how he's feeling about still doing the baptism. He said he was totally down to do and and excited, if he went. I was like wait wait wait, why would you not make it. He then told me about how his mom might be planning something for them to do, but basically it was just excuses. Sure enough he didn't show up for church and we didn't make it by him on Sunday so we'll see what happened tonight. I'm sure hes going to get baptized soon, it's just a trial of our faith we have to overcome. We ended the week with 148 contacts and 9 new investigators.

So yea thats what went on this week. I just read your email you sent. I think thats hilarious that I was right about everyone worrying about the hurricane. We'll be fine. Thats awesome that Tyler played so well. Give him a high 5 for me. Crazy that Laundy is gonna be playing for the Knicks, I totally know him. I'll probably be sending Dylan a package today. Mom thats super cool that you are coaching. Go and just do everything to put a good name out for the team. Wait does that mean you aren't going to orlando now? Good luck, just teach them everything that you taught me and you'll do great. Well I think thats all I got for now. I love you guys a lot and cant wait to get that tape.
Con mucho mucho mucho amor
elder given

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 21, 2010

Hey everybody!

I got the package this week. It was awesome. I loved the pictures, its crazy how everyone is growing up so fast, everyone is so tall haha. The protein is great, I love it. I wouldnt buy it again tho. Elder Sibbett was telling me about this sweet mass builder stuff that they have online for like 30 bucks and it is way more and way better. So maybe I'll get that next time. I've learned how to budget my money so I can buy protein. 

Anyway, we had a pretty cool week this week. I think I told you about our investigators Carlos, he is doing really well. He came to church yesterday and had his baptismal interview, he's way set. The only thing that might have been holding him back was that he hadnt recieved an answer about the BOM yet, so on Friday we decided to fast with him. So Saturday Elder Graham me and Carlos all started fasting and we fasting all Sat afternoon till Sunday after church. After church he prayer and then we went by later that night and he told us he had recived an answer and that he knew the BOM is true and all that stuff, so hes set on getting baptized this Sunday, at Stake Confrence in Harlingen. So that will be 2 stake confrence baptisms in a row for me. Last confrence the Quinteros got baptized. Either I'm gonna baptized Carlos or one of the members probably, havnt asked him yet. We'll see. Hes a really cool guy, I hope he goes on a mission. Ohhh I dont remember if I told you, Junior, who is a recent convert from Raymondville, who we helped baptize and stuff, me and Guillen kept him active, anyway, hes been a member for 6 months now and he just got put in as 1st councilor in the branch presidency over there in raymondville, so thats way cool. Im hoping Joe Quintero gets a calling soon, I guess hes had to work on Sundays occationally tho, but Elder Guillen said the whole family is doing really awesome and making a huge impact on the area. Elder Guillen was super close to baptizing the Quinteros neibors before he left so they'll probably be baptized soon.

Cool well mom I had a question, is it cool if I send a package to Dylan for his bday? I would like to but idk how much it is going to cost. Let me know what you think. Oh yea and there is a book I'd like for my bday, its called 1001 pitfalls of spanish or something like that. Elder Sibbett has it and he says it amazing so if you could find a cheap one on amazon or something that would be cool. Oh yea and if you could send me a Rubix Cube that would be cool. I can totally do it in under a minute, I have a video on my camera of me doing it in 40 somethin seconds. 

OK, well Idk anything esle thats is going on in my life. A bunch of good ball players got trasfered down here so we are about to go ball it up and its gonna be fun. Whats going on back home? Anything exciting? I feel like nobody lets me know. 

Alright well I love you guys.
Elder Given

I'm Staying in Brownsville!

June 14, 2010
Hi Everyone!

Yep Im stayin down here for another transfer which is cool.  Im staying with Graham for another one. Elder Sibbett is also staying, but Elder Holden is leaving which is sad. He is a cool kid, we get along really well. Elder Guillen and Horton are both getting transfered down to brownsville, so my two favorite comps are gonna be in my zone now. Horton is our ZL, hes taking Elder Reillys spot, and Elder Reillys going to Raymondville which is way cool.
Anyway, life is good. This is gonna be a really good transfer, I have a feeling its gonna fly by. Im pretty sure im gonna get transfered next transfer, we'll see tho. I like it down here, Im gonna try to get my spanish super good this transfer. I had a super cool experience this week. We found this guy who invited us in and just started crying. He told us about how he got a DUI and went to jail and how his family, home, job and basicly everything was gone when he got out. He is living with his mom now and his life sucks. He says he doesnt believe in God anymore, so it was kinda crazy. We were teaching him and as we were teaching him I had this thought come to my head like I dont know how to explain it, basicly it was just the spirit. It said, Tell him he'll get his family back if he keeps the comandments. Or something along those lines. And I thought about it again, cus thats kinda crazy to promise him that, but I felt the spirit as I thought about it again, so I promised him and told him what he had to do. And so we taught him and had a good lesson, but he didnt go to church. But we are going to keep teaching him and I know that as he starts keeping the commandments, there will be a change in his life, and he will get his family back.

The other Elders had a disaster baptism yesterday. I can laugh now cus she got baptized but man it was bad. First, one of the speakers couldnt show up, then, they forgot to fill the font, then, the bap clothes didnt fit, then, no members showed up for the baptism, then, the worst part, when he went to baptize her she threw her foot up and swallowed water, so they had to do it again and she was laughin really hard, and then they did it again, and her foot came up again, and all the memebrs were like trying to tell her what to do, it was soo funny, then he finally got her all the way under the third time. It was stinkin funny.
I figured out what car I want when I get home. I saw it and I loved it, and it should be cheap. It was just like my old one but better. Its a 1993 Mercedes 190 E 2.6, black. So if you can find me one of those that would be way cool. This guy had one and it was way nice. So yea, you got a year to find that haha.
Heres part of my letter to Prez that I dont feel like typing,

I am happy to be able to stay in Brownsville for another transfer. Elder Graham and I have a lot of people on the brink of being baptized so we just need to help them make those steps. We had 150 contacts and 12 new investigators this week. Satan really got to one of our investigators this weekend. We are teaching this awesome guy named Carlos who is really doing great and really progressing. He was scheduled to have his baptismal interview yesterday, but he didn't get to sleep until 7AM Saturday night, or Sunday morning because his cousin and friends randomly showed up and decided to stay up and drink and whatnot. Luckily Carlos told us he didn't drink, but he didn't wake up for church, and didn't get interviewed. We went by Sunday night and he felt bad, so we taught him repentance and invited him to repent and that is exactly what he plans on doing. I have no doubt he will be baptized this month. 

I forgot to email you last week about 2 of our investigators, named Arody and Angie Gonzalez. They are from Matamoros, but live with their Aunt(who is a members) here in Brownsville. Their father is a less active member. His name is Tomas Gonzalez and their mother is Marisa Garcia Rosas. They are not married by law. They live at 320 Calle Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez en la colonia Los Ebanos, Matamoros. They told me the missionaries already go by sometimes. Arody actually came to church for the third time yesterday which was exciting, and we are going over to his Aunt's house to eat tonight and we will be talking about baptism with him.

My testimony of faith grew this week. So we went to watch this movie, Jospen Smith, Prophet of the Restoration, with Carlos on Saturday, and we get to the church and I realize that we dont have keys to the library so we couldnt get out the TV. So we're trying to figure out how we can card into the door or something but we couldnt. Elder Graham had given up but I told him to have faith, that God would help us do it. I really was just bluffing, but it worked out. I went out to the car to grab my wallet to try to card in our something. And Elder Graham was like, Elder, its not possible we already looked, but I said to have faith, cus I was doing my works now, cus faith without works is dead. And just as I said that a member pulled up and helped us get the keys and we watched the movie. It was pretty sweet. Carlos is totally getting baptized in a couple weeks. Hes a way cool kid.

Anyway thats crazy about Hagens party. Thats like more than I had at my last 5 parties combined. haha wow time is totally flying by. It hit me today, we were at the grocery store and I saw some magazine that said its been 1 year since Michael Jackson died, which is crazy cus I totally remember that happening like a few weeks ago haha. I'll keep the Risenmays in my prayers. Is Tiff married yet? I feel like I have no idea about whats going on in the real world haha, nobody ever writes me back, its kinda funny. People stoped carring after a few months. I'll start getting more letters in like 8 months tho haha. Is Ryan Ricks gonna go back out on his misison soon? Has anybody left since Dylan left? Anyway I think thats all I got for today. I love you guys a lot, cant wait to get that package. Tell Grammy Barbie and Papa thanks for the package, I'll get a letter in the mail for them this week.

Elder Given

Ten Months

June 7, 2010

Hey Everyone,

Heres part of my letter to Prez Miller today,

Hey President,

We had a really great experience this week. So are we are teaching this 19 year old guy named Carlos. He is very outgoing and has been receiving us really well. We have been teaching him for a little over a month and he has really been progressing a lot, with the exception of church, until this week. He has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and told us he believes it is true. We had some really awesome lessons with him and finally got him to church this week. It amazes me how Satan tries to stop people from getting to church, there is always something they have to overcome to get there, for Carlos, he had a flat tire when he went to leave for church and had to go fill up his tire with air. Luckily he was leaving really early and still got to church before it even started. I kept telling him to pay attention to how he was feeling while he was at church, and he really loved it. Even though there was some crazy stuff said in Elders Quorum, he definitely still felt the spirit. So we went over Sunday evening and we were talking about church and about baptism, and as we were leading up to set a baptismal date with him, his 16 year old brother walked in and was like "So are you going to be a Mormon?" and Carlos said "Well yea, probably". So we ended up setting the baptismal date for the 20th of this month. He is doing great and is truly becoming converted to this gospel.
So yea Carlos is doing super well. Im really excited to see him get baptized here pretty soon. Oh yea and idk if I told you but the other elders are teaching this guy from Nigeria who is super super prepared. He was at church yesterday and when we were waiting for his ride with him we were teaching him spanish. It was funny hearing him speak spanish in an african accent. Hes was cool. Man if everyone was as prepared as him life would be so much easier. Im guessing there are a lot of people like him over there in Kenya, Dylans lucky haha.

Oh yea guess what, I learned how to do a Rubix Cube this transfer. I can do it super fast. Like in a 1 minute 20 seconds. Elder Holden, one of the other missionaries I live with taught me, hes pretty baller at them. I totally met a guy with Lepercy this week. He was just sitting in his car and I went to talk to him and I said how are you doing, and he said, pretty crappy (all this was in spanish of course) anyway he told me about how he just got this crazy skin disease and he doesnt know what it is and all his skin is falling off and stuff. Its super gross and super sad. Were gonna go teach him which will help. So then yesterday I was driving to church and there was a dead cat in the road and I was noticing that there was tons and tons of roadkill here in brownsville. Like a new one everyday. Any was right as I say, man theres a lot of roadkill, BOOM. I drilled a bird. This bird swooped down and hit the hood of the car and died in the road. It was kinda crazy. Oh yea and I'm gonna send you a pic of this HUGE triantula that I found in the middle of the road. I almost ran it over, but then I took a picture, and then I ran it over haha.

Oh yea so this kid we are teaching named Osmar, he has been doing alright, but we went over saturday and he was trying to drop us cus he likes being catholic. So I said "So you like being catholic cus you dont want to go to church?" Just totally called him out that hes lazy. And we went from getting an attempted drop, to a really good church commitment, and then he actually went. It was cool.

Mom that was a crazy story about almost getting you car jacked. That sucks. Just dont go to the mall for a while haha. Nobody here worries about that. They just worry about if they go to mexico in a nice car they will get jacked. Its funny. Alright well I think thats all I got for today. My email is out kinda late cus we got another 1000 lb tie bail today. It was kinda fun, only cost me $3 cus there were like 10 missionaries there. Cool well I love you guys a lot. Cant wait to get that package with the protein and pics and stuff.

Elder Given

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Baptism

Whats up everyone,

We had a pretty awesome week this week. Jocelyn got baptized on Sunday which was really cool to see. We went by Saturday to find out who would be baptizing her and they she didnt know who she wanted to do it so we said to think about it and tell us at church. So I asked Jocelyns mom at church who she wanted to do it and she said they still hadnt picked, but she wants me to do it, but I asked her if Elder Graham could do it. And she was cool with that, so Elder Graham got to do the baptism. It was a really good baptism cus a ton of the members were there. Basicly the branch mission leader got up during 3rd hour cus it was combined and told everyone that they need to support us as missionaries and basicly told them they arent doing their job unless they support us, so then everyone came to the baptism. It was pretty cool.

Guess who Im sitting next to right now. Marcus, our way cool black guy we're teaching. Hes in the library right now just chillin. We're about to go teach him later today. He didnt come to church yet tho cus hes not ready to make the commitment. Hes way cool tho. Rubin and Christian came to church again this week. Its freekin weird, Im trying to find their motivation for going to church, there is something that makes them go, I mean theyve gone 4 times, but they dont want to get baptized. Were still working with them trying to help them keep the commandments. Oh yea Happy Birthday to Sydney and Lauren! Thats exciting that you are gonna get baptized this week! Send me some pics :) Sorry I forgot to get a card out.

Thats exciting that school is almost over, they finish on thursday down here, so everyone is gonna be out and about a lot more, it will be cool. Its definently hot, like average 95, sometimes more. We have a really good AC unit our house and the car one works pretty well. I've been carying around a lot of water with me. I dont always use my camel back, it would work best on bike I think. That would be way cool if you got that Muscle Milk to me. Im staying away from raw eggs, I was just curious.

My comp is doing pretty well. He just is uptight about a lot of stuff but Im getting over it. Oh yea and as for the masks, those are like mexican wrestiling masks. I didnt buy one but on of the other elder bought two so we were bored and taking pics with them. We got them downtown right by the border. We got rid of all those ties by filling them up in the back of our car and emptying them into a dumpster by our house. The other elders want to get another 1000 lb one next week. Oh yea I played ball for like 3 hours yesterday! It was pretty fun, a bunch of the youth from our branch played with us cus they didnt have school. they were alright. We did they big 2 on 2 tournament and I was with this 14 year old kid who wasnt very good, and we won it all. It was fun. I had a couple really good dunks, but I cant jump any more. I am getting stronger tho, we've been working out pretty good.

Oh yea and we set a baptismal goal for 4 baptisms in July. Thats the highest Ive ever set, but it was under the direction of the spirit so we're gonna get it. We are just gonna have to work super hard to do it. Well I think thats all I got for this week. It would be cool if I got some letters every once and a while, I didnt get any at all last week. Anyway, love you guys a lot,
Con mucho amor
Elder Given

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rough Week

May 24, 2010

Hey Everyone,

This was a pretty rough week. A lot of people let us down and decided to be really lame. Im gonna paste in my letter to president cus thats got a lot of stuff in it.

Hey President,
This week definitely had its ups and its downs. Within the last week and a half we have had a lot of people let us down by not deciding to show up for their baptismal interviews, or just disappear. We had a really tough time getting by a lot of our investigators this week, mostly just because we could never catch them at home. It has been tough for me to see all these people doing great and progressing, and then just hit a brick wall and everything stops. I guess the best thing I can do now is just go to the Lord for help and answers on what to do. We have these two great teenagers named Arody and Angie who we are teaching, they are both very excited about getting baptized, and it is what they really want to do, but the want to go to Mexico every weekend to visit their family. They told us that they would just stay but their parents say they have to take their 7 year old brother over there every weekend, so we are trying to help them find a solution for that problem. It was just a week of lots of things like that coming up. But, on the bright side, on of our investigators passed her baptismal interview and she is very excited to get baptized this coming Sunday. 
Elder Graham is doing really well. He is picking up Spanish pretty quick and we're just working on helping him build his confidence. Honestly though President, I sometimes feel intimidated as a trainer, because I feel like my trainer, Elder Horton, knew everything, knew every little rule about Spanish, and is just an amazing missionary, which he is. I just feel like I'm not living up to that for Elder Graham, and it doesn't help that he questions a lot of the things that we do. That has been the hardest part for me this transfer, is just being confident in telling him that what we are doing is what we should be doing, because I don't want to come off like a know it all, especially because at the same time I definitely don't know everything. That's been the constant battle that is going on in my head, because I want to be a great missionary and an amazing trainer like Elder Horton was, I just don't feel I'm even close to his level of a missionary yet. That's not going to stop me from working though. We are going to keep working hard and do our best every day. We had 152 contacts and 10 new investigators this week.
-Elder Given
So yea thats basicly whats going on right now. I think Im starting to figure out Elder Graham. Basicly he didnt do anything but work on computers before his mission. And he really wants to be a missionary like his dad was 30 years ago in Ecuador, where he baptized a ton of people, and its just not the same mission, but he expects the same results. Thats the most annoying part. And then back home he didnt have a life so he would go out with the missionaries for like 12 hours a week and so he thinks he knows everything about missionarywork, when really he doesnt at all. It's kinda annoying but Im getting over it. 

We had zone confrence this week, I got this cool award cus I know a bunch of scriptures, Im gonna send you the pic. I learned a lot, got to talk to Elder Guillen which was cool. Friday we went to McAllen for new comp training. That was a lot of fun. I saw Elder Yergensen which was cool, he was there picking up baptismal clothes. Oh yea last week we went to the local High school and played at their open gym, I had a sick tip dunk and then I dunked on this kid that was pretty good. And then, yesterday, I found thats kids house and his brother was making fun cus I dunked on him. We're gonna have a baptism this Sunday for this 9 year old girl. Shes pretty cool, Im just glad we reactivated the family. Her mom had been inactive for a while. Well I think thats all I got for this week. 

I love you guys, Ill try to get some letters out this week.
Elder Given

Monday, May 3, 2010

Training a New Missionary!

May 3, 2010

Hi Family!!

Well transfers are tomorrow and we waited till we found out about what was going on till we emailed. Im staying and Valdez is leaving. Best case scenario. President definently prepared me to train this transfer by putting me with him. So I am getting a brand new missionary tomorrow which is kinda crazy. I got a lot of responsiblity now, I just gotta keep doing what Im doing I guess and just be a good example. I hope Valdez gets put with a good comp so he can stay positive. Man that kid was tough though, hardest transfer of my life. I wanted to crack so many times but Im glad I didnt. Oh yea and Elder Hernandez who I lived with in Raymondille for 3 transfers is coming down and gonna be in my district which is cool.

I dont think I got your letters yet, just one from dad and one from Grammy Maddy. Im way way way behind on my letter writing cus I am trying to finish the BOM in spanish. Im gonna finish on fri or sat! Im in 3 Nefi 25 right now! Im super stoked and my Spanish has improved dramaticly, I have no doubt I'll be basicly fluent by the end of this transfer, especially cus I'll have to be teaching a lot of the lesson.

Don't complain about the cold weather, its startin to cook here. Its been in the 90s all weekend. Im gonna melt this summer. Thats super cool that Tyler gets to baptize Sydney. Do we have any pics from when I baptized Kallie? If we do could you send me some cus for some reason I cant remember that experience happening.

I dont know the details about calling yet. Im guessing we'll get to call Sat night and tell you what time we're going to call on Sunday, but also, we are eating dinner with a super cool old lady on Sunday at like 1 our time and Im pretty sure she is going to let us use her phone so we can call so I might get like 20 minutes or so then so that will be cool, and then I think we are going to borrow a members phone so I can call for longer, dont know the details yet but I'll let you know ASAP.

We had a hilarious experience on Saturday. So I was sittin in my room, readin my spanish BOM, and I hear someone knock on the door, and then Elder Valdez opened it and some guy starts talking in spanish and valdez comes and runs to me and says hes a Jehovah's Witness. So I run and throw on my sweatshirt (so now I kinda look like a normal person) and I go to the door and start talking to him and asking him questions and stuff. Like he handed me a pamphlet that said "Where is God" but in spanish, and Im like well where is the church of God? And he starts going off about the Bible and about how Jesus has short hair and Chrtistains are wrong and all this crazy stuff. So then I hear our back door shut really loud and then like 30 seconds later Elder Holden and Elder Sibbett come around the corner in their missionary clothes hahaha. So Im preteneding to be a normal person and the other elders start talking to the JW, it was hilarious. Basicly what ended up happening was the JW ignored me and tried to bash with them and when into all their crazy doctrine. It was hilarious, I got a good laugh out of it.

So Christian and Rubin, our "gangstas" came to church yesterday, which was cool. They can get baptized now, we just gotta get them living the commandments and interviewed. Theyre cool kids, I hope they have the desire to live the commandments.

Cool that Garrett is leaving soon, hes gonna do great. Are Kyles papers in yet? They should be hear pretty soon. Wow thats crazy that Kasey and Sam come hom this summer, thats super fast. Im already about at 9 months, que loco. For real tho I love it out here and I wouldnt trade it for anything. Tyler and Hagen you are going on missions, I dont care what you say.

I love you all a lot and cant wait to talk to you this week!


elDeR GiVEn

Monday, April 26, 2010

Loving Brownsville!

April 26, 2010

Whats up everybody!

Wow this was a really weird week. I got sick on Friday night. My stomach was just torn up. It lasted till about lunch time on Saturday. It was tough and it affected how hard I worked on Saturday but oh well, I got over it. We worked pretty hard and me and my comp are starting to get along better. I can’t wait to see what happens at transfers next week. We'll see where we all end up. We are working with some cool people right now tho. We have Rubin and Christian, who are the gangsta teenagers. They almost went to our stake super Saturday thing but ended up not going for some reason and then didn’t go to church either. It might be cus we taught them the word of wisdom haha. But hopefully we can get them baptized. Then we got this guy Alfredo, he’s super cool when he’s not drunk. We had super super awesome lessons with him and set a bap date with him. He’s a funny guy. I like invited him to be baptized, and he just nodded his head and put out his hand to shake mine, it was cool. Then he gave me a hug after the lesson, the spirit was super strong, the Holy Ghost was totally guiding that lessons cus my Spanish was really flowin that time.

Oh yea and before that lesson his daughter came out, who is like 25, and he was like "do you think my daughter is pretty?" and I was like well, we cant say yes or no. and my comp didn’t know what he said cus it was in Spanish and he just nodded his head haha. It was funny cus she is actually really pretty. Then he said something like oh well would you want to marry her? And the daughter was like yea cant you have like 7 wives? hahah so I got to explain that to her in Spanish. It was fun.

We're also teaching a guy who knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he cant go to church. So we're going to keep working with him and try to get him to at least come to Sacrament. He is a really cool guy tho, named Geraldo. Then we got this kid Giovani. We started teaching him my first week him cus he was outside with his dad and his dad called us over and told us to talk to him. So we have been teaching him and he is really progressing, prays really well now, reads sometimes, just wont get up for church. We're giving him a chance tho cus hes only 13.

So we had interviews this week with Pres Miller. Before I was going in we were outside chattin and there was this CES guy there and I guess he emailed you dad. He called this other missionaries seminary teacher and the missionary got to talk to him so that was cool. Anyway, right when I got into my interview P Mills was like "You have no idea how much good you are doing for your companion!" and went on about that. It was prettty cool. He didn't even sit in front of me, he sat next to me, it was kinda weird but cool I guess. He is such a good guy, I’m gonna miss him a lot. I guess our new MPs name is Elder Trainer or something like that and he’s a lawyer. We'll see how that goes.

I played some ball this week. We were walking through a park and I was talking to these teenage kids and I was like "who’s the best here" and then "cool can you dunk?" obviously I knew what I was doing haha. So I through a couple down for them and it was cool. I can still get up sometimes. I think we're going to play today, Alburt our investigator wants to play. Oh yea Alburt is Daniels dad, he’s been coming to church for the last 3 or 4 weeks now so that’s cool.

I think I’m gonna send you guys a bunch of my pictures that I printed out, and then you can scan them or whatever and then send them back. I think that would be cool. Anyway I’m pretty sure I’m going to be calling for more that 45 minutes on Mothers Day. I’m excited for that!! Well I think that’s about it. I love you guys a lot and can’t wait to get some letters this week.


Elder Given

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baptism in Brownsville!!

April 19, 2010

Hi Family!

Wow we had an amazing week. We had a baptism! It was this kid Daniel that we have been teaching. He's 11 and way cool. Earlier in the week he decided he wanted to get baptized, so we got him interviewed, and he was good to go. His parents were happy and it was awesome. Then they call us Fri night and tell us they want to wait until next week so we were like whatever that works. But then we went by Sat and talked about why its important and stuff and they called us again that night and they said that he wanted to do it Sunday now. So we did it and it was awesome. We had my comp do it, cus it was his first baptism, and Daniel thought i was too tall to baptize him hahah. It was cool cus it finally got my companion excited about missionary work. That kid has been tough to handle but we're doing it.

This area is amazing. We had 5 people at church. They are all gonna get baptized hopefully. We got our 17 year old "gangstas" again which was cool. This guy Alfredo came. We taught him 3 times this week and for 2 of them he was drunk. But luckily we got him when he was sober on Saturday and he promised he would go to church and sure enough he did! It was my first pure Spanish investigator I've ever taught. I got a email from Elder Brandley saying Raymonville is going to be a ward soon!!! How cool is that. I love that place. Oh yea and the other guy that came to church is Alburt, who is Daniels dad. He is way cool, and even said the closing prayer in the baptism. And he played ball with us last p-day. It was so much fun, he's alright. There are a couple elders who can play so it was a lot of fun. I was stoked to get him there. I dunked on one of the zone leaders hahah, it was a sick (cool) dunk too.

So I am almost done with Alma in the Spanish BoM. I'm reading like 20 pages a day now so I'll be done a week from Friday. I love reading it, its helped a lot. Oh yea and I got the package, thanks, I've got a couple cinnamon roles left haha. And I think I got all the letters. Hopefully I'll have time to write back. We've been super busy on our PDays lately. The weather was pretty crazy this week, lost of thunder and lighting and rain. It was sucky for the bike elders but it was fun for us haha. MY KNEE IS FINE! It wasnt for like 2 weeks tho haha. Ill tell you about it when I get home hahahah.

Cool, well I think that's about it. We had a really really really good week and we are going to be having some more baptisms in the next months or so, so thats excited. We have just been working hard and whatnot. I love you guys a lot and cant wait to hear more about whats going on at home.


Elder GIven

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brownsville...A letter to his Mission President

April 12, 2010

Dear Family,

Wow that totally stinks that my memory card was stolen out of my letter. I definitely didn’t have any tape on it. Someone jacked it. Stupid Brownsville postal service. I’m mad. There were some sweet pictures on there. Like all the way back from Christmas! So dumb. At least I printed a bunch of them. I guess I'll send you all my photo things next time I send a package. Speaking of that I do want to send one soon cus I have some ties I want to send home and a tape hopefully soon. Guess what. I’m bout to go play some basketball after this! Im so stinking excited!!! Its gonna be fun. Hey so I'm gonna paste in my letter to president cus its got some cool stuff in it that I don’t feel like typing again.

Hey President,

We had a pretty good week this week. I learned a lot from Zone Conference and started doing my best to apply it right away. I have been focusing on asking good questions and really getting the investigators to tell me their testimonies that they already have. We ended up with 163 contacts and 13 new investigators. The Lord blessed us this week and we were able to find some cool people who had the desire to go to church and actually did it. It's amazing what happens when you focus on church basically all week. One of the best lessons we had this week was with a recent convert. His name is Eliseo and he was baptized in January and has been struggling with his testimony. So we talked with him Sunday evening and honestly as soon as we started talking I felt the Holy Ghost guiding everything I said. Basically we ended up going over Moroni 10:3-5, and I had him read it and then asked him how will we know if the Book of Mormon is true, and he said he didn't know. So I had him read it again and then asked the same question, and he said by the Holy Ghost, and I said exactly. Then he was confused on how the Holy Ghost would feel and didn't really know, so we pulled out Galatians 5:22-23 and read that with him. He still didn't get it because he thought he would see all those things in his life if it was true, so we explained that if he felt any of those feelings then it was the Holy Ghost testifying that it was true. And then it clicked. It all made sense for him and he was like I get it now! So then I asked him to pray right then and there about the Book of Mormon. So he did and while he was praying I was praying so hard that he would feel the Spirit, and as he finished his prayer, the Spirit was so strong. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt really good and peaceful, and I asked him what that meant and he said it means that the Book of Mormon is true. The Spirit was so strong, there was no denying the truth of the Book. I am so grateful for my testimony and for the witness that God has given me and now my testimony has grown that God will truly answer every ones prayers. It was an awesome experience.

Elder Sibbett and I made a goal this week to finish el Libro de Mormon before Mothers day. When we made the goal I was in Mosiah and he was in 2nd Nephi. So we are really going to be working at that, reading the necessary amount of pages every day in order to finish on time. We really want to improve our Spanish and we know that is the best thing we can do to help it. I can already see my Spanish improving. The Lord has truly blessed me with the Gift of Tongues and I am so grateful for it. As for companionship unity, it's going alright. I am really trying hard to get along with Elder...., but I am going to be honest it is really difficult sometimes. Usually we get along, its just sometimes he doesn't want to do what he know he needs to, or just has a bad attitude about it, and I just don't deal with his complaining. I basically tell him to "man up" and lets go work. It irritates him but I do it with good intentions. He just doesn't like doing things that he thinks don't matter like studying or planning or waking up on time. If he doesn't care about it, he won't do it. So I'm just trying to be an example to him and only tell him what to do when in completely necessary. Other than those few times we do get along pretty well. I will continue to work on it and do my best.

-Elder Given

So yep that’s a little of what happened this week. That’s the longest letter I’ve ever written him by far but I thought they were good things to tell him. So yea I guess there is a promise by Gordon B. Hinckley that if you read the BOM in you mission language then you will basicly be able to say what you need to. So I’m gonna power through it. I read like 15-20 pages a day (cus its longer en Espanol like 624 pages) I decided in like June or July I’m gonna read the whole BOM in English and Spanish in one month. Its gonne be sweet. I love that book. Its true. We had 5 investigators at church this week so that was cool. So Thursday night we taught this 17 year old kid named Christian, not even at his house, it was at his friends house. Basicly we taught him why he needs to go to church and gave him a really solid commitment, and sure enough, he went! and he brought his friend named Rubin. The guys at church were telling us that they are like the biggest gangtas in the school!!! hahah I love my ghetto people. So we're gonna keep working with them and get em in the wata. This other family came, its the Branch Pres's daughters family. So the 10 year old kid is hopefully getting baptized this sat. and eventually his dad too. We found out the parents arent married. Oh yea and so the kid is 10, guess how old the dad is. Okay you obviously have no idea, but I thought he was like 28ish, HES 22 YEARS OLD!!!!!! And he has a 10 year old. Gross. kinda crazy. He might be playin ball with us today tho.

So elder Holden is bugging me right now so I’m gonna write about him, cus he’s reading this haha. He fell super hard on his bike last night and messed up his shoulder, hopefully he gets put in the office. hahah jk that would be terrible. So hopefully I get some letters soon, I’ve been letterless for a while. Oh yea we had Zone Conf this week and I talked to Elder Guillen. JOE AND ANDROMEDA ARE GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so excited! I guess Joe was supposed to be this week and they are idk about Andy. I love Raymondville, that place was awesome.

One of our investigators is trying to talk me into watching new moon with him haha. Not gonna happen tho obviously. Good to hear Bishop read my letter, did he do it in Sacrament meeting? The weather hasnt actually been too bad, just a little raining and thundery but the temp has been really nice. We've been working hard and the Lord is blessing us for it. This transfer is already half over which is crazy. Time is starting to go by faster and faster. Well I think that’s all I got for this week. Nothing too exciting. I love you guys a lot and cant wait to get some mail.


Elder Given

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Transfer to Brownsville!!

March 29, 2010

Hi Family!!

I LOVE IT HERE! Its so awesome. I love love love love love it. Okay so my area is Brownsville Southmost. The Border Wall is in our area and we can totally cross it. Actually we do sometimes. Like there are houses in between the wall and the river haha and I guess they are part of the US so we go by. Its way way way cool. We teach a TON in Spanish!! I've learned so much Spanish in just this week its pretty crazy. Oh yea so my comp is Elder Valdez. He's from Oceanside. Kinda a chill kid, I'll talk more about that later.

Anyway, hes only been out 3 transfers, so I'm Senior comp. He was with this guy Elder Klc last transfer and Elder Klc trained Elder Yergensen in this area. Elder Valdez doesnt know the area, so basicly we're white washing. There were 3 investigators when I got here, thats terrible. So we did lots and lots and lots of finding this week. We found 29 new investigators, thats a ton, kinda rediculous. Prob 20 were in Spanish. Oh yea and Valdez doesnt know hardly any Spanish, so I teach basicly the whole lesson by myself. Even in English sometimes, he has issues talking. Its tough, I feel like Im training.

We're in a car area. We've only ridden our bikes once. Oh yea, and they opened up the area right next to ours, its called Chaparral. And the two missionaries who opened it live in our appartment, Elders Sibbett and Holden. Sibbett is my homie, he was in the MTC with me. We're way stoked to be livin together. The branch is way legit. So much better than Raymondville. They know whats going on. Hopefully its gonna be a ward soon. They need like 6 more Mel Priesthood holders I think, somethin like that. So I want this place to be a ward before I leave. I have a feeling Im gonna be here a while. I really do love it a lot here. We eat with members like 4-5 times a week. We had some tacos 3 times this week and they made me sick. They tasted real good but they are super greasy and I got sick from them. Our appartment is brick, its small but works. We have a washer and dryer which is nice. AC works. Oh yea and Elder Guillen is training a brand new missionary in Raymonville haha. I miss Raymonville, it was fun there, but I know I need to be here.

This place has been in the dumps since Elder Yergensen left. He had like 7 baptisms here so there are obviouly legit people, we just gotta find them. We have a zone activity thing today that im super excited for, were gonna BBQ (or as the people here say, were gonna make a BBQ) and play some beach Vball. One of the ZLs here is way cool, his name is Elder Reily, hes from San Diego. Hes way athletic, bout to play football at Col. St. after his mission. Hes a cool guy, anyway, he organizes all the stuff. Oh yea we have a bench in our house too! Im bout to get buff again.

Glad to hear Tyler got his permit. Is he gonna get a car? I didnt get any mail this week, its all probably in Raymonville now, kinda annoying. I did get that package tho! It was awesome. I loved the tape, Im working on sending one back. So Eddies taking over at Los Al, thats kinda crazy. I guess coach K is a good guy. So nobody ever told me about Jack. Is he actually going to UCLA to play ball? Where is Tim going? Anybody know about Cameron yet? Crazy that Todd and Benjamin are already home, that was fast. Im already pushin 8 months. Almost a 3rd done! Loco. I love it tho. Just gotta start baptizing again. Its been a while. There are gonna be a couple in Raymondville soon that I'm sad to miss. We'll find some legit people here in Brownsville tho. Okay well I think thats about it.I love you guys and hope to get some letters this week.

Con mucho amor

Elder Given

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Awesome Week and Maybe last day in Raymondville

March 22, 2010

Hey Everybody!

We find out about transfers today! Idk whats gonna happen. I could totally see me leaving but at the same time Elder Horton, Hernandez and another missionary were all here for 5 transfers. We'll see. I'll try to send out a letter as soon as I know.

Anyway it was a fun week, crappy at times but fun. We had 250 contacts this week, 61 one day. Those are both records for me haha. We just talk to EVERYONE. I have seriously talked to like 2500 people here in Raymondville, pretty crazy. And even though we had a ton on contacts we still had a ton of lessons. We were able to get members out to 15 lessons and just taught a ton!!! Close to 50 lessons this week haha. Its so true that when you teach more you become a better teacher.

So I'll start off with the crappy lessons. So we took out Junior with us, who is a way good member to take out cus he knows a lot. Anyway, we take him to this girl Marissa, who we set a Bap Date with the time before. So they realize they went to school together. (Juniors 23 shes 21) So thats always good. So we teach about the BoM and about authority and she felt the spirit and started to open up and whatnot. We were in the process of extending a church commitment, and then her mom walks out and is like "Hi Im Marissa's mom, blah blah blah, we have our church" Snatches the BoM out of her daughters hand and hands it back to me. It sucked. It was honestly the best lesson we had all week and Satan ruined it. Junior said hes gonna try to talk to her on Facebook tho haha. So then, we go to another lesson with this lady Bebe. We had gotten members over there 2 times earlier in the week, and she had kinda showed some signs that she did some research online. So we were expecting polygamy to come up. Sure enough, about 5 minutes in it did. So good thing I studied it that morning so I was able to destroy that doubt, but then she kept saying all this stupid stuff about how we just need to accept Jesus to be saved. It was dumb. I got mad, I tried not to but I did get mad. It was really frustrating. She tried to say she read half the BoM but she hasn't.

Oh yea I went on splits with Elder Horton this week. It was fun, like my first transfer all over again. We had a pretty good day. And on Wednesday, Elder Guillen and I went on splits with some members. I went with Louie, who is a 16 year old kid who got baptized a few months ago, and Elder Guillen went with Junior. It was so much fun. Guillen and Junior went to our set up lessons, and me and Louie went and knocked doors. I taught Louie how to contacts, and it was pretty funny, the first door he did by himself the lady was a jerk. She was like No, Were not interested, Bam door slammed. Luckily Louie is a cool kid and just laughed about it. Hes so going on a mission.

Oh yea HAPPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER!!!!!!! You better pass your permit test boy, its so easy!

Anyway, thanks for the college bball updates, but I already know all of them. Matt sent me a bracket so I printed it out and filled it out. I got 21/32 in the first round and I mission like 7 in the 2nd round I think. Kinda crappy but alright for not knowing anything. I still picked Kentucky last summer to win it and they are so going to. There is this number we can call that tells us the updates for the sports scores, so I do that on the nights when there are games.

Mom good to hear about what your learning from church. Joe Quintero totally taught that same lesson in church. I guess Pres Ramos called him and asked him to do it. So he studies it and then planned it out, and then like timed himself teaching it to his kids with questions and everything. He's such a smart guy. It was a really good lesson. He's so cool. Hopefully he gets a calling soon. I guess the sisters are going to go teach his mom this week so thats cool.

I finished the Doctrine and Covenants today. It took me about 6 weeks I think. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Book of Mormon. I love the BoM. I am in Mosiah right now. Love it. Dad how far in are you now? Probably like Helaman? Good to hear you got a job mom, that should be fun for the summer, and hopefully set up for a job in the future.

As for Prep-Days mom, we dont really do anything. There isn't much to do in Raymondville, and we don't have the miles to go to Harlingen, and that's not even that fun anyway. We played Monopoly with the Sisters at the park one time. That was alright, I won haha. Our appartment is pretty nice, it gets the job done except for the heater/AC. They both don't work. Its whatever tho cus it isnt hot yet. I do my laundry every week mom, it costs $3 to do it now. My favorite food I have had here is Choriso, I think thats how you spell it. But we had it with Hermana Barreras homemade tortiallas and beans, it was soooooo good. I loved it. Basicly every meal with a memeber we eat with Tortiallas and beans. I love both of those now, a lot haha. I had some BBQ one time at this guy JTs house. He is a guy that lives in the sisters area but we are going to start teaching him cus the sisters dont like him. He's kinda ghetto, he's killed someone (it was self defense) and he has a huge bullet hole in his truck door hahah. True story, anyway he made us some really good BBQ one time. I usually love the food down here. There isn't anywhere cool down here accept for the Island. Also known as South Padre Island, which I think is where the Druckers go. Its basicly just a huge party. Tons of Beer and half naked people. Its a big deal I guess, its the only thing cool in south texas, but we arent allowed to go out there haha.

Well I think thats about it. It was a fun week, we worked super hard, didn't see the success we wanted tho, nobody came to church. We did everything we could to get them there tho so Im not going to worry too much about it. I love you guys and cant wait to get that package!

HAPPY Birthday TyLEr!


Elder Given

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

Hi Family,

I got bit by a dog! haha and it was the Quinteros dog! It was last night, I was unlocking our bikes from the Stop sign and they had followed us out to the street barking, and when I turned my back to it, it totally bit my leg! Its half pit bull haha. But it wasn't hard, didnt hurt that bad or rip my pants. So anyway, we had an AMAZING week. We just keep working our butts off and things are working out well.

Did Tyler get his permit?

Okay so last Sunday, we had a branch fast for the missionary work here in Raymondville, and we just destroyed it this week. So we shoot to get 10 lessons with member presents every week, which is usually pretty tough, and in order to get 10 we plan a TON of lessons and try to get members to all of them, and usually like half or a third fall through. But this week, Everything was working out. It was legit. We ended up with 17 member presents, which is unheard of in little Raymondville. The Lord really blessed us a lot this week. Joe Rios came to church again. We got 3 members over to his house this week which was key. We commited him to live the WOW and hes getting ready to get baptized on April 11th. Hes already been to chruch twice. We just gotta get him married or seperated. Hes way set on getting baptized tho, hes legit.

We had interviews with pres this week. Mine went really well, he said "Im going to be a leader in the mission" and that Im probably gonna get transfered in a week, so we'll see where that takes me. I think Im going to either Edinburg or Lorado. We'll see tho, Im down for whatever. I got your letter dad, thats way cool about the March Madness, I Love the BOM, I started Jacob this week in Spanish and English. Ive been learning a ton lately. It was prettty cool cus last night Elder Guillen and I couldnt fall asleep, so we were talking about how we had a really good week, and then we were like, what can we do to work harder, so we talked about stuff we can do to be even better. Its pretty cool, we arent satisfied, we need to baptize!

We spent 2.5 hours at the Alejandros house yesterday, they are some way cool members. Sis Alejandro got baptized in Sep, and her daughter Frances, and her Frances' boyfriend Raymond got baptized like 2 months ago. Anyway Frances just turned 16 so we went over there and hung out with the members and thanked them for all the support they have given us. Elder Guillen took a bunch of sweet pics at the party so I'll send you some this week. WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER TIE BAIL THIS WEEEK! Im so excited. Its spring break here in the Valley, whens your guys spring break. Found out our way cool 17 year old investigator has a kid, never would have guessed, not really surprising tho.

Lets see what else happened this week, we road 15 miles one day, that was fun. Oh yead we went on splits again on Tuesday, but with the other Elders from our district, and I stayed In Raymond. with Elder Peterson who goes home in July. So we had a decent day, and we went to Juan, who loves cutting hair, and he cut Elder Petersons hair. SUPER SHORT! Like a 0 on the sides. It was bad, and the day before interviews, we just laughed about it cus there was nothing we could do. He just called up Sister Miller and told her to tell her husband not to yell at him haha.

Tyler are you doing anything for your Bday? I got Kallies letter, her hair is so long! OSS looked like a lot of fun. I love you guys a lot. I think thats all I got for this week.

Con Mucho Amor

Elder Given

March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

Hey Everybody,

We had a pretty good week. We've been working super hard and we're starting to see the fruits of our labors. I'll start with all the drama. So Brother Serrato, who baptized Joe Joe, and is one of the coolest members, is in jail. I guess he has some other kids with this other woman and he got behind on his child support cus he hasn’t been able to work cus of the weather. Anyway we took him out for a lesson Thursday night and he told us he had to go to court the next day and that there was a slight chance he would have to go to jail, and sure enough he did. Its pretty sad cus now Sister Serrato is all alone with her 4 crazy kids and they wont have any income. It’s not good. We had to go help her start her car this morning so she could take her youngest to the Doctor. This is why we need home teachers.

So to answer your question dad, I love my companion. He’s way cool. He started his mission in Washington, baptized like crazy. Got sick, stayed at home to long cus he started school, and then got sent here in Sept. He worked at an auto shop for 5 years and knows a lot about cars. He’s pretty athletic. Not good at basketball though. He is slowly getting worse at both English and Spanish while he is in Raymondville longer. He’s hilarious though!

And the coolest thing is I’m totally seeing myself help change my companions. Elder Brandley is ZL in Corpus now and he is over Elder Fowler, and he told me that Elder Fowler has really changed since his transfer with me, he’s really working hard and is doing really well. Ive seen the same change with Elder Guillen, he came to Raymondville just kinda feeling whatever about missionary work, cus he had a gay comp for 3 transfers in Corpus (and Corpus is the tough area) but He's really been getting excited lately and is down to work hard. It’s way cool. So Pres Ahlstrom knows what he’s talking about, or the spirit does haha!

The Viveros came to church! Actually only to like 45 minutes worth but they came. Not even the first 45 minutes. Okay let me go back. So we had a couple really good lessons with them this week, and they are super super excited about going to church and getting baptized, and then we went by Thursday or Friday, and the mom tells us that her husband got taken to jail! I guess the immigration people stopped him and took him basicly at gun point. So Udine, the mom, was all crying and so were the girls. It has been really though for them. But according to Elder Guillen, Hispanic women are usually over dramatic and emotional so it’s probably not as bad as she says.

But the good thing is that they did come to church, they didn’t make it to sacrament, but showed up during Sunday school. They really liked that, and then they went to Relief Society. I guess the girls didn’t want to leave their mom so they went too, and they were complaining and stuff, and according to the Sister Missionaries Relief Society was a "disaster" and the Viveros left half way through. So we stopped by later Sunday afternoon and Udine said she really loved it, but that the girls weren't ready yet. So they'll be back, once the dad gets out it will be a lot easier for the girls too. I guess he might be getting out today, its just a matter of how long he'll stay out. But my whole mindset of illegal immigrants has changed since I've been here. I used to be like all anti Illegal Mexicans and stuff, but I don’t care at all anymore, and when they take break apart families like they did with them, it really annoys me and makes me sad, but there’s nothing I can do.

I went on splits with the ZLs on Wednesday. I went with Elder Sheilds, who is Elder Hortons companion, and we worked in Harlingen. I did not like working outside of Raymondville! It’s weird cus part of me hates this place, but more and more of me is loving it. It’s really weird. I guess I’m ready to get transferred now. And when I say I hate this place a little, its only cus its really difficult at times and the people are driving me crazy sometimes. It doesn’t stop me from working though. I love working. Time is flying by! 7 months already! Crazy.

So Shelly’s engaged! Its funny cus I sent her a letter earlier this week and she said something about ring shopping and I said that next time I hear from her she'll probably be engaged, sure enough, I was right haha.Thats so weird, Dave's a cool guy tho. Oh yea and Dad I see Pres Miller like twice a transfer. Interviews and Zone Confrence. That’s it, unless we have something special in McAllen, which is very rare. No idea who the new mission pres is gonna be.

I bought Monopoly in Spanish this week at a garage sale. It was only 3 bucks and it was brand new! So we play that for like 30 minutes sometimes at night. We still haven’t even finished a game yet haha. Dad my Spanish is coming along. I understand a lot, pretty much everything, and I can get my point across pretty clearly. I’m gonna keep working, cus I don’t want to be an average speaker, I want to master it! I just have to put in the work. It’s a lot of fun though. I’m almost done with Segundo Nefi en El Libro de Mormon.

Oh yea and Juan came to church! The guy who we almost died with and that cuts our hair! It was way cool, Joe picked him up and he loved it. It was way cool to see him there. Well I think that’s about it. I hope I answered all the questions I was supposed to. I still haven’t heard anything about BYU. I guess I'll just have to wait. I have actually been thinking bout just going to JC for a year in Cali, to play ball, but we'll see tho. Utah St. is also a strong possibility. Next year I need to apply to a couple schools. I love you guys.

Send me a cassette!


Elder Given

P.S. mom I got your pics, thanks!

March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

Hey everybody. It was a weird week. We worked really hard again this week and got members out to lessons with us, but people were retarded and chose not to come to church. We helped this guy Juan (the same on we helped and almost died with, and the guy who cut our hair) anyway we helped him do some work again, and he was like "I don’t usually promise anyone anything, but I’m promising you guys that Ill be at church" But he didn’t show up. I guess he got stuck in Harlingen Saturday night. I was annoyed. We had some good lessons with that awesome family we found but when we stopped by Saturday the mom was sick, but said they would most likely being going to church unless she got worse. So we stopped by Sunday morning and their car wasn’t there! We still dont know what happened with that, there car has been gone since Saturday evening or Sunday morning, hopefully she didn’t get worse and have to go to the doctor, she has cancer and stuff so hopefully she’s okay. Joe and Andromada were supposed to come to church again too, but I guess Andys Grandpa died Sat night so they went to some random church. But, Yesenia (Veronica Quinteros sister) came to church so at least we got someone. We'e gonna talk to Joe and Veronica about if she’s gonna get baptized or not cus she can whenever she wants now.

Dad I got your letter. Sad that they lost to Mater Dei. Sounds like Timmy ended the year really strong! Where is he going? Demar was in the Dunk Contest!!! Thats crazy!!! Remember when we played him? hahaha. Has there been any surf? I heard there were like Tsuami warnings and stuff cus of the earthquake. That might be fun. Some warm water from the south and some legit waves haha. Mom I never got a letter from you, but I did get that one from papa. I still wanna know what the deal is with Jack and stuff.

Did I tell you we got a new car? The APs brought it by last week. Its basicly the same, just silver. Its an '07 Mazda 3. Angela and Derick tried to leave Raymondville last week but couldn’t, they’re just depressing now, I don’t like seeing them.

It was weird, yesterday this old guy in church was teaching Elders Quorumn and he randomly asked me like "Elder, (I guess he forgot my name haha) Your parents are probably gonna be pretty excited when you go home right? I’m like well, yea. He’s then like, you'll probably be even more excited tho right? And legitly in my head I was like, no, I don’t want to leave. Its weird but I really do love it hear and I love being a missionary. Its gonna be really weird not being a missionary, that’s a long time away tho so I’m not gonna think about it!! hahahah

President Ramos is hilarious. I swear he’s just crazy but I love him. We just laugh all the time. He calls the Sisters, Elders. At the end of coorilation meeting, he had one of the Sisters say the prayer, and after he was like "thank you Elder" it was soooo funny, cus he had been saying dumb stuff the whole meeting. So me and Elder Guillen walk out fast cus we were laughing so hard, then I’m like 10 feet away and I hear Pres Ramos say, "So you Elders have a car?" hahahah One of the Sisters was like "its Sisters!!!" It was hilarious. He just doesn’t get it at all.

We did a lot of service this week, like 4 hours worth. We had to drive this one member all over Raymonville for like an hour cus he got a flat, so we helped him pick up his check (which was $100 for the whole week) then took him to buy a used tire for $20. The people here live on nothing. Its crazy. We are so blessed, I can’t even imagine what Dylan is going through. But everyone does have money for drugs and alcohol, I don’t get it.

Well I think that’s about it. Not a very exciting week, a member said she’s gonna make her husband get a bail of ties for us this week haha so that could be fun. I love you guys. Tell everyone I say hi


Elder Given