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Raymondville, Texas

Raymondville, Texas

Sunday, January 31, 2010

December 21, 2009

Feliz Navidad everyone!

I can't believe it is coming so fast! We'll be talking on the phone in just 3 days. Yep I'm calling on Christmas Eve too! But only for like 5 minutes. Then we'll get an hour to talk on Christmas day. I cant wait!

This was a good week!!! And kinda crappy but mostly good. I had a mission changing experience, and some retarded ones. Ill start with my most retarded one. So we were on our bikes on Saturday, and like always, I was doing wheelies cus my companion is realllllllly slow. So I do one good one for a couple seconds, and come down. Then I go up to do another one, and I start to overrotate I guess, like I pulled to hard back. And cus my bike is so tall my feet barely even hit the ground when Im sitting on the seat, so I couldnt just put my feet down. I fell hard hahahh. I fell to my right and just ate crap. I barely even braced myself. I scrapped up my right elbow pretty bad and my hand is all cut up, then the next day I found this HUGE bruise on my inner left leg. It must have hit something on my bike. Im fine tho dont worry. Im a graceful faller haha. I laughed it off. I still do wheelies, so I guess I havnt learned my lesson yet haha.

Okay so church yesterday, or should I say Sunday Mass again! What the heck!?! He said it at the start and the finish yesterday, thats not good haha. Anyway, Michelle showed up with her kids which is awesome. This was her 3rd Sunday in a row, so she could be baptized, but Ill tell you why not yet later. For some reason (divine intervention) we didnt start Sacrament metting (aka mass) until like 9:07. This worked out so well cus Mari was running late. She showed up right when the first prayer was said!!! Crazy huh. If we wouldnt have started late she wouldnt be getting baptized next Sunday!!! Sacrament meeting was pretty good. Our retarded high council rep guy that is supposed to train and help our branch didnt show up, so the 4 of us elders had to speak. We talked about what Christmas is like away from our families haha. Sunday school was really good and I guess relief society was terrible! But our investigators liked it and the other elders had a baptism after so that was cool. I guess the water was freezing tho haha.

So about Michelle, she lives in Sebastian, which is like 10 miles away from Raymondville, so we only go out there 3 or 4 times a week. We didnt catch her at all until Friday night. So we go over the bap interview questions cus her interview was going to be saturday. She answers the first two questions awesomly, then we get to the thrid question which is about any serious crimes. So Elder Fowler is like, for example like have you killed anyone (mostly joking) and then shes like yea.... Im mean not really but I feel like I have, we're confused and really trippin now, we're like what? Yea I had a couple abortions... nooooo. But she can still get baptized, she just has to get interviewed by President Miller or the Stake Pres. She also might have a record, she used to be a bad girl. Shes awesome now tho. THe worst part hasnt even come yet tho. So we get to chastity, and shes like, well we're not actually married. WHAT!!!!!!!! We made the mistake of assuming, cus she talked about how they were fighting and thinking about getting a divorce, so we thought that meant they were married, but noooooooo. If you live together for 6 months in Texas, its called common  law marriage, which means youd still have to get a divorce, but you cant get baptized with that!!! So gay. But I think they might actually get married. They have 3 kids together so they should. So we'll so what happens with that.

Mari had her baptismal interview last night, she went into it thinking she wasnt ready, but she came out smiling, and she passed. I was so nervous. I was doing push ups cus I couldnt handle it hahaha. Im so excited for her. Shes awesome.

I got 2 packages this week :) I didnt open any of my presents yet dont worry haha. I sent my lame christmas presents out on friday, it should get ther by wed at tha latest. Howd you like the christmas card? I finally got a letter from JT! I havnt gotten one from him since I was in the MTC! Still love that kid tho.

Okay so my mission changing experience. On Wednesday,I was super frustrated with my companion. Hes just reallly really lame sometimes a lot of the time. We had house cleaning checks on Friday, so we decided to clean a lot of it on Wednesday for some reason. So we start cleaning and my comp goes in the room and shuts the door. We're scrubbin floors, taking out trash, cleaning the kitchen, all that stuff, and hes in the room, doing nothing. We're like Elder Fowler, its your job the clean the dishes, he basicly ignored us. So we kinda finished cleaning, and Im just sitting on the couch, fuming, Im so mad. My comp is just being retarded, hes like, im not washing the dishes. none of them are mine blah blah blah blah blah. So the thought comes to my head, Love you companion. Ive heard that so many times but I didnt want to do it. THen I think, how bad do you want to baptize someone this month? Bad enough to wash the stupid dishes? So I get up and start washing the dishes. This is about 45 minutes into lunch, and there were a ton of dishes. (We get an hour for lunch) So I start cleaning and my comp comes out from his nap and lays on the couch where I just was. So an like 45 minutes later, Im thinking to myself, I want my comp to either tell me we need to leave, or come help me so it goes faster. He didnt do either. I wanted to see if he wanted to work bad enough to tell me to leave, cus I always have to tell him. Long story short he didnt do crap, but I didnt say anything. We took a 2 hour lunch and I clean for most of it. I didnt even say anything but Elder Hernandez kinda went off on him. He was like, Elder Fowler, youve been here for two hours, why didnt you wash the dishes? He just made excuses. But I just tried to be as Chirstlike as possible and let him do his thing. I kinda went off on him in a way but in a good way. I made him realize that he was retarded basicly. But the moral of the story is that all our member present lessons worked out that day and we had 4! So be Chirslike and things are better.

Well I think thats about it. Ill talk to you on Friday. I think I just want to talk to the family. We don't get a ton of time. Love you all a ton!

Elder Given

December 16, 2009

Hi Family!

I hope nobody freaked out on Monday cus I didnt email. The internet was down at the Library so we couldnt do it, then yesterday we didnt have a lot of time so we just postponed it until now.

We had a pretty awesome week last week. Church was pretty cool even tho the first words Pres Ramos said in Sacrament were "Welcome to Sunday Mass everyone..." hahahah so we're Catholic now? hahaha. I just laughed, hes getting better, he just has a few kinks to work out. We ended up with only 2 investigators at church but it was Michelle again and her son Derick and her daughter Hallie. They are such cute little kids, I really think Michelle and Derick are gonna get baptized(Hallie is only 6) They are so awesome and theyve been to church twice already. Our other awesome investigators are Mari and Mike Lopez. Mari didnt come to church cus she had a bad dream Sat night, and thought it was the Book of Mormon cus she read it right before she went to sleep. So we went over Sunday night and basicly destroyed her fear and doubt, so now shes way solid again. Shes gonna get baptized.

We went over to Mikes house Sunday night too and when we got there he was playing video games with his cousin and blasting super ghetto music and stuff. So they finished their games. There was basicly no spirit in the home. Then we put in "finding faith in Christ" and when that was over the spirit was so strong in the home. There whole family was the Mike, his wife Julie, his parents and his 3 kids, all sat down and watched it with us. We had a really powerful lesson and commited them all to be at church next Sunday. They agreed and things were great.

Then we went by last night, and everything had blown apart. We dont really know whats going on exactly, but Mike and his wife are having problems, Mike is really making good steps at repenting tho, he comited so strongly to live the Word of Wisdom a few nights ago. All we can do now is pray and hope things work out with them. Oh yea and we found out that theyve beeb together for 7 years and arent married! They have 3 kids, but only one of them is really theres, the older two are from Julies previous marriage, BUT SHES STILL MARIED TO HIM! So Mike cant get baptized til they work all this out, Julie has to get divorced and then they have to get maried. Not looking great but we're praying for a miracle. Does this story remind you of anyone? Derick and Angela? yea. Thats the only reason why I dont like it.

Angela was at church sunday tho so thats good. WE dont really worry about them anymore, we gave it to the branch basicly.

Okay and y'all dont need to worry bout me. Im gonna be safe. I know a lot of people are scared that I might get hurt or something, but we're smart and even the most ghetto crazy people here like us. But tell Grammy Barbie and Papa thanks for the second package! I got it right after I sent out my thank you letter for the first one. The warm clothes they sent are awesome! Ive been wearing them a lot, right now actually!

I sent out Christmas cards this week. You probably have them by now. I've sent out about 37 so I have only 3 left. Hope you all like them! Mom I got our family one, I like it a lot. Kinda immodest for a missionary tho hahhah. I really liked the random letter from Chris and Liz. Could somebody try to get me her address so I can write her. Actually Tyler next time your at the Bakkers just check out what # it is and write it in your phone, and then email it to me before monday. Or text auddy and have him tell you. Chill thanks. What happened to all those other addresses I asked you to get? I got awesome letters from Tyler and Cassidy this week. Sounds like Tyler is doing amazing in bball! Your team is awesome, keep working hard. Dont lose another game this season!

So Mom how much are you teaching at Los Al? Do you have like a long term sub job or something? Do you know what school Shaun Norum is at? Oh yea and who did Laundry dunk on? What school does he play at (not Laundry the other guy) and what kind of stats is Laundry putting up this year? The Varsity team played Mater Dei!!! No way I wish we could have played them last year! Too bad they lost tho.

Piano lessons were crazy this week! I had to teach Michelle's two kids, and then Mari's son and her neice and newphen. I taught 5 kids how to play 2 songs on the piano! It was sooooo stressful. They were from the all from the age 6-8 and I taught them how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and part of Jingle Bells. It made there moms happy so thats all that matters.

We had an awesome Zone Confrence in Mcallen this week. It was a special Christmas one so it was more missionaries. It was so awesome. I got to see all my old budies from the MTC like Elder Yergensen and Sibbet. They are both doing really well. Yergensens comp is an idiot tho. Hes been calling someone in the middle of the night and talking to them, and I guess he got CHEWED OUT by pres miller in his last interview. Pretty sad but theyre doing well now. We found an awesome new investigator this week. She lives right across from Mari, her name is Estela. Shes gonna get baptized next month. Her real test tho will be to see if she is at church this sunday. I think she will be.

Well I think thats about it. We worked super hard last week and are going to work even harder this week. My companion is really annoying me but Im just praying that I can love him more. I really hope I get transfered in 2 weeks but I know Im not going to now because I want to haha. I think Elder Brandley is going to leave and Elder Hernandez is going to train again and Elder FOwler and me will stay. Thats my guess.

Alright well I love you guys. Christmas is in 9 day!!!!!!!


Elder Given

December 7, 2009

Wow it was freezing this week!!! On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it was soooo cold! It got down to like 36 on Friday! There was ice all over the houses that day. Hopefully snow will come around Christmas cus it started to heat back up again. It was crazy tho how cold it was. I wore my black suit for the first time in a while. I had on 2 pairs of socks, basketball shorts on under my slacks, a long sleeve shirt, and then my suit jacket haha. It was so cold, pretty crazy. People here are retarded when its cold. I got more doors slammed in my face this week than I have my whole mission hahah. Everyone is out of their comfort zone cus they are not used to how cold it is so they dont want to talk to us. We only had 92 contacts this week. Thats TERRRRIBBBLLEEEE! I blame my companion for a lot of it but Im just gonna step up and do everything I can this week.

Besides the freezing cold and the crappy contacting it was a pretty good week. I think I told you about Eric and Michelle Figueroa before. But anyway Michelle came to church with her 3 kids! Eric didnt come for some reason but Michelle is awesome. She has a couple friends there at church so that helps a lot. Her kids are so cute and liked church a lot too. Mari, are other lady who came to church last week, didnt come this week. I guess her son flipped out and didnt want to go :( But the 1st Presidency Christmas Devo was last night and she came to that :) Im still sad she missed church tho cus it was actually a pretty good sunday. The testimony meeting was really good and I felt the spirit a lot. I bore my testimony, in spanish, it was alright, my problem was that I didnt know what I wanted to say in English, so that made it even harder to do in Spanish hahah.

Oh yea and I got chewed out by the Branch President. He called me into his office before church and was like "Um who was here last night" Elder Fowler and I were there teaching music lessons. He was like well someone left the side door wide open. You guys need to make sure you are locking the doors blah blah blah he just went off haha. The thing is we didnt even go back to that part of the building so it was someone before us. He wasnt like pissed at me he just talked really loud and intense, but he always does that so I dont take it personaly. Hes a good guy, I just think its funny he chews out the missionaries when we are the only thing holding this branch together. Scratch that, its us and the spirit haha.

Okay heres the sad part of my letter. Derick is in jail. He was doing a crap load of Coke and went back to Angelas house at like 2 in the morning and started pounding on the door. He kept pounding and pounding, so Angela let him in cus she thought he would break the door down (he was high by the way) so he comes in and starts beating the crap out of Angela. Yelling at her and all this terrible stuff, almost killed her, but the Crystal, who is Dericks sister, but was staying with Angela at her house with her Boyfriend and 2 kids (she has a husband who is in jail tho so thats a whole other issue) anyway her boyfriend goes and pushes Derick off of Angela, Derick turns around and punches him, they exchange some blows, and then Derick broke a broom handle on his head! Shortly thereafter the cops came and took Derick away to jail, charged with 2 felony counts or however you say it. I have no idea whats gone on since, we were told not to even deal with it, leave it to President Ramos. I almost cried that morning when I talked to Angela on the phone. Im just not gonna talk about them anymore. I loved Derick so much and he just threw it all away. Elder Brandley read my a scripture a few days ago, basicly is says, when the devil is cast out of people he comes back pissed off and even harder. Thats basicly what happend to Derick and he couldnt handle it. Enough about them.

Mike Lopez. This guy is pretty awesome. Hes super ghetto tho too and he might have killed 2 people. Im not sure tho, we have to find out this week. He has two tear drop tatoos on his face which usually means that you've killed someone but im not sure. Anyway hes still and awesome guy and the only reason he wasnt at church is because he car broke down the night before, and his wife wouldnt let him get a ride cus she made him fix the car. He felt really good when he prayed about the BOM so now we just have to help him realize that that is the Holy Ghost and that he needs to act on it. I really think he is going to be baptized, if his past isnt too sketchy. Oh yea and his little daughter has a crush on me hahah. Shes like 5 or 6 and she draws like little hearts on papers and throws them at me and smiles hahahhaah. Maybe she'll get her dad to go to church.

Dad if you ever talk to Sister Galik, tell her im really good friends with her last companion, Sister Mandrigal. She is in my district and she is awesome. She leaves in a couple weeks tho. The 21 I think, so she can be home for Christmas, the crazy thing is tho, her dad is the mission Prez in Panama so shes just gonna go be a missionary there for another 6 months hahah. Shes a really awesome missionary. Tell Sister Galik she says hi.

Wednesday was one of my favorite days on my mission. Me and Elder Brandley went on splits together. We have been together since day one in the MTC so its pretty awesome that we got to be comps for the day. We did work that day. We were in his area, on bikes, and we had like 4 lessons, 5 new investigators, set to Bap Dates, and had like 20 somethin contacts. We worked hard. I wish we could be comps. My comp is so lazy. He complains about being fat all the time but he wont do anything about it. He doesnt work out and he says hes going to eat healthy, but then he just eats his crappy food and the mooches our good food off of us. The other day he was like, I need to find a good cardio exercise, just not running cus I hate running. Im like, well you can use my jump rope if you want. Hes like no that hurts my back. I guess I got annoyed by that cus then I was like well then just ride your bike faster so you actually break a sweat so that you can be in shape! Seriously tho he rides sooooo slow. Dad youre right I will be able to do wheelie all over the street haha. And Im not actually senior comp, he is, he just has to be told what to do all the time. He used to do all kinds of illegal crap on his mission. He used to go to the movies and stuff. Hes seen a bunch, no wonder his numbers have sucked his whole mission. Hes trying to change tho, he just cant leave on time to save his life. I swear we leave 30 minutes late every day. I hate wasting time. Im just going to keep praying for charity. He had surgery on his ingrown toe this week so hes been complaining about that all week. I really dont think its even that bad cus he'll run to go get his guitar, but when we're contacting he complains about it. If he cared as much about playing his stupid guitar as he did about leaving on time, we would be able to do so much more work.

Tell thank you to Aunt Mary and Aunt Tootie for the hair cutters that they sent me! I already used them and they worked really good :) Mom should I buy a christmas present for all the kids or what? Its your money so tell me how much you want me to spend. Im gonna print christmas cards today and send them out. Its gonna cost like $40 for the cards and the stamps combined I think.

We went to church on Saturday. The 7th Day Adventist Church! hahah one of Elder Hernandez and Brandleys investigators invited them so all four of us went. It was really interesting and there wasnt any falst doctrine preached, just the fact that we were there on saturday. It was funny tho cus they had this Spanish preacher guy come in and he was all intense and rolled his Rs really gnarly like and then the guy that was translating to English would try to copy his intensity. It was really corny. Basicly the guy taught 1 princliple for like 40 minutes. It was lame. My favorite part tho was there fellowshiping. If we had the kind of fellowshipping they had, we would not have nearly as many less active. Everyone in the congregation came and talked to us and asked us to stay for lunch. It was crazy. Id probably go there if I didnt have the truth in my life. Oh yea and they have a bunch of black people!!! Like half the congregation! I didnt know there were that many black people in this town haha.

I got some good letters this week. I got one from Jack! That was cool, and I finally got one from Dylan. It took over a month to get here! Got another nice letter from Cassidy. IS Tyler ever going to write me? Tawny sent me a stinkin long letter. It was pretty awesome. Im still working on writing her back haha. I started cooking more creativly this week! I bought some ground beef and some bacon and made some bomb hamburgers and some bacon. And I make Cinnamon Roles twice a week and eat all 8 of them in like 5 minutes. Its like being at home when mom makes them, but without the competition haha. I've become a smart shopper. I can buy basicly everything I want, and never be hungry, and do it for about 30 dollars. Last week I spent $31 and got 19 items hahah. Ive been eating well. I think I officially like beans now. I had them last night and didnt even think while I was eating them, at least with a tortilla, Ive never had them without a tortilla so who knows. I havn't had to eat anything that was bad yet so Im surviving

Well I think thats about it. I can't wait until Christmas this year. Its gonna be really weird but fun to be able to talk to everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and is happy. Can Tyler dunk yet? Oh yea Jack told me he was throwing down before he got hurt. Is that true? Alirght well I cant wait to hear back from you guys. Nos vemos en augosto de 2011!

Con Amor

Elder Given

November 23, 2009

Como estan?

So we had transfers this week. We just finished our first transfer, which means I'm not a greenie anymore haha. Transfers were wednesday, so we decided to go to Olive Garden for lunch after our district meeting in Harlingen. It was our all our disctict, Elder Horton, Hernandez, Brandley and me, and then Sisters Mangrigal, Osborn, Call, and Woods. So we're sitting there gossiping on what we think is going to happen for transfers and then Elder Hernandez's phone rings. Its the assistants to the President so we all start lauging cus we know what that means. It means that he got called as District Leader, so he's talking to them on the phone and we all try to figure out whats going to happen to my comp, Elder Horton. So Elder Hernandez confirms it after he hangs up and we all laugh cus he was shaking. He was super nervous about it but hes a great missionary. Then like 5 minutes later, our phone rings and its President Miller! So I give the phone to Elder Horton and he gets called as Zone Leader! So that means im getting a new comp. So I end up with Elder Fowler. Hes pretty cool. Hes been out for about a year and a half. Hes a really good guy. So now Elder Hernandez is our DL and Elder Horton is the ZL in Harlingen, so Ill still see him every Tuesday at district meeting.

So yea Elder Fowler has been out for a long time, his Spanish kinda sucks tho, which im acutally kinda stoked on that tho cus its making me learn a lot more.

I had a full conversation with this lady in Spanish and I didnt even reallly have to think about the spanish! so cool. Hes a good missionary and we are really going to work hard. I know we are going to see lots of success in Dec. We had 60 contacts our first full day together!!! Thats rediculous. Thats like 3 days worth in 1 day haha. i know if we keep working hard we'll find those who really are prepared. Oh yea and Im driving now. Basicly Im training him on the area and like leading and stuff. Pretty rare for a 2nd transfer missionary to do that but I guess the Lord knows that I know what im doing. Or I atleast know the area.

But besides all that the week was disappointing. We had 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 people at church again! IM SO FRUSTRATED WITH THESE LAZY PEOPLE!!! I love them but they just are lazy on sunday mornings. This one family promised us they'd go to our church a couple weeks ago, but then didnt go last week cus she didnt want to wake up. So we stop by yesterday at like 815 to see if they were going and awake, and they tell us to our face that they're going to another church! So annoying. And our 2 families who told us they wer 100% going FOR SURE, didnt show up. One of them was sick, and im not sure about the other yet. Im really hoping the Lord is just trying my faith and that next month we will fill up the chapel. Im definently not going to stop working, you know that for sure.

We're going to Brother Abbys house for Thangsgiving. Hes an awesome guy. Hopefully he'll have some college football on haha. Anything you want to send me would be really appreciated mom. I think the biggest thing I want is pictures. I love pictures. That letter that Cassidy sent me was awesome. I loved it and all the pics were way cool. Oh yea and for Christmas, I'm just givin you time, but it would be cool to have a mile tracker thing for my bike, like the one dad has, and a hair cutter thing. I learned how to cut my own hair. Elder Hernandez taught be :)That letter from Cassidy was awesome. I loved all the pics, more of those would be great. Thanks Cassiddy!!!

We had rain again this week. And it was the day we picked to be on our bikes haha. It was pretty fun riding around in the rain. Im weird but I love riding my bike. Im learning how to do wheelies. I can do it for a couple seconds now haha. I had two cool drug experience haha. This was like tuesday I think, me and elder horton were walking down the middle of the street, and there is a car, next to a fence with the door open and there is a girl in the car, a guy behind the fence and another guy inbetween them. So the guy in the middle says, like all loud, " so you want extasy or coke?" the girl in the car said something, then the guy in the middle goes to the guy at the fence ( the guy at the fence was like 70) and grabs the drugs and makes the exchange. Im like No Way! Right in front of us! THis is worse than Los Al hahahah. So like 5 minutes later when we were walking back we went and contacted the old drug dealer guy haha. So then yesterday, we were contacting again, and we see these two guys BBQin outside, so we walk up. As we get close the guy is like "Im just gonna tell you im smokin week right now so..." haha so we ended up talking to him for like 5 minutes, while he was smoking. We smelled like weed the rest of the night hahaha. Probably not good as a missionary but I thought it was funny.

Anyway it was a decent week. I can do 50 pushups in a row without stopping at all now. Im getting a lot stronger. Tyler is not going to be stronger or bigger than me when I get home! hahah. Well thats all I got ta say. I hope all is well and I cant wait to get letters this week. I wrote one to Ryan so hopefully it'll help him out. Tell him I love him.

Have a very HappyThanksgiving and Ill talk to you all next week!!!


Elder Given

November 16, 2009

Hows everyone doing?

Life is pretty good here in Texas. We had a great baptism yesterday for this couple, Claudio and Ruth who the other Elders have been teaching. The members were really supportive and gave some really good talks.

They are really starting to understand what baptisms are supposed to be like. We have English classes every Tuesday night that Elder Horton and I teach and Claudio and Ruth were there along with another couple in our branch, the Lopez family. It was so great how they bonded and made friends cus I know thats whats gonna keep Claudio and Ruth in the church.

So Derick and Angelas wedding was interesting. We go to help some of the members set up at like 11-12 and it was looking kinda decent. Then we came back at like 4 to drop off some food after they had finished decorating and they made the chapel look really good! I was very impressed with the members and how hard they worked. THen the weeding comes at 7. It was just an awkward wedding. Presient Ramos just like read what he was supposed to out of the book. All crappy. Spead through it and the wedding was done by like 720 haha. Derick and Angela were so happy though. So then Derick gets baptized and we eat. It was seriously so fast but it was such a good night. I love those two and they've been doing great with the exception of one day.

So we have this new family that we've been teaching and they are pretty cool. They actually have been reading the BOM and enjoying it and were going to come to church but for some reason they didnt. Oh yea we had 00000000000000 people at church again. Im reallyy annoyed about that but whatever. Anyway we showed up at their house the other night with some members from our branch and I see Eric standing outside, like trippin out. So I go up to him and im like what up Eric? Then he sees its me and hes like oh cool its you guys, and then I realize that hes holding a gun. So then he tells me about how someone was shooting at his house right before we got there! Crazy. I guess some local gang is trying to mess with him cus he used to live in the other town like 5 miles away and Im guessing he was in a gang. But hes out now and has kids and he doesnt even know these people. So we taught him, hes a good guy. We're going back tomorrow and hopefully they'll be at church this week so they can be baptized on DEC 6th!

We had kinda another cool experience this week. It was like Wednesday morning and I was looking through the area book at some Former Investigatros. Im looking at this paper about a guy who has been to church like 5 times, but never got baptized, hasnt talked to missionaries for like a year tho. So Im like yea we gotta go by him, maybe hes ready now! Elder Horton didnt really want to but he was hoping that the spirit was directing me in this decision, which we'll find out later that it totally was. So we go to try to find this guy and he isnt there. So we go contact this street and we teach this guy. His buddy shows up half way through the lesson and he tells us to come to his house the next day on another street. So the next day we go over to his house when he tells us to and he isnt there. So we contact this street, and we find who we were lead to. This guy grew up in the church, hes like 21 and has been inactive for 2 years. Basicly he got a girl pregnant so he stopped going to church. Anyway he was really nice and Elder Horton told me the members have been looking for him for like a year and havnt been able to find him. So basicly the Lord lead us to him cus the way we found him was so random and so unplanned that it had to have been the Lord. So I think we're gonna take this guy out to lessons with us and stuff. Hopefully get him back to church. Ill let you know how it progresses.

Theres this other girl we've been teaching and I honestly think she knows our church is true but shes scared. So we have this lesson and basicly tell her that she knows it true and that she needs to do something about it. Something we said hit her, Im not sure if it was in a good way or a reallly bad way but she stopped talking. Like the last 15 minutes of the lesson she didnt talk at all, and this girl always talks! She kinda reminds me of Tawny, she just a cool girl. She didnt even say goodbye to us tho! So I think we're going back either tomorrow or Wednesday to see if she'll talk to us now. Pretty funny tho.

Theres this other old guy who we were teaching named Terry. He says he doesnt have a religion cus none of them do it exactly right. So we told him hes found the perfect religion, Gods! Basicly he said he'd read the BOM but decided to go to the internet instead and found some stuff he didnt like. We go back and explain what he found and give him some more to read. Then the next day he gives us a call and is just like, "Um hey could you guys come pick up your book please" So we go and he gives back the BOM and doesnt really want to talk to us. In the BOM are these papers. He printed off all this anti mormon stuff, one about the Meadows Masacer or whatev and the other one, which is my favorite: How to help a Mormon believe in Christ. ahhahahaha. I thought it was really ironic since our purpose as missionaries is To invite others to come unto Christ... It made me laugh pretty hard. So the next day we go back, even though he told us not to anymore, and try to give him an Ensign with Christ on the cover and its all the apostles sharing their testimony of Christ. He wouldnt take it though. Im glad Im able to laugh at stupidity like that haha.

The JWs stopped at our door the other day. I opened the door and smiled and said, how you doing? They looked up at me, said something in Spanish, so I was like como estan? They looked at me again all frightened and just handed me some paper and walked away. Haha what kind of missionary is that! Speaking of that Ive got a funny story. We were on our bikes 2 nights ago, and we stopped at this light and there was a cop at the stop light with his window down. So I decide I want to contact him so I do. I just rode over there, asked how he was doing and gave him a pass along card! It was pretty funny, I more did it just to do it haha.

Hows dance going for the girls? I bet its a ton of fun. Guess what? Im learing how to play the piano again. We teach piano lessons every Tuesday night so I practice a little then but whenever my comp has to interview someone or whenever Im bored, if theres a piano there I go play it. I can almost play a whole him with both hands again! I figure 1 hymn a transfer and I'll be able to play pretty decently when I get home!

Dad I have no idea what Spiritual Crockidles is haha. Happy Birthday tho! Im putting a card in the mail for you hopefully today, but if not tomorrow. Thanks for Jacks address. Im gonna write him soon. I told Tyler a bunch of people I wanted addresses for so hopefully he gets them soon. Well I think thats about it. I hope all is well. Oh yea send me some pics soon! I love you guys. Say hi to everyone for me. All is well in Ray-Town


Elder Given

November 2, 2009


Life is going pretty good. Had the worst day of my mission though yesterday. Elder Horton and I have been working our butts of and doing everything we can to get people to church, but only 1 person showed up again. We seriously called like 10 people, stopped by like 7 houses, and nobody would wake up. So lame cus we seriously do everything possible and they choose not to do anything about what we teach. I guess they cant wake up for 9 oclock church. It mostly frustrating cus the other Elders in our ward had 8 people at church! Im happy for them but it makes me feel like Im not doing good enough when I know I am. We are meeting all of our goals, working our butts off, but I guess we just aren't finding the prepared people. I think Ill get over it tho haha.

Anyway we had a huge storm last week. After I wrote my emails, we went to Walmart and it was kinda cloudy. We go home and change our clothes, cus we are gonna go to Harlingen, which is the bigget city I guess, where the stake center is. So we change and it starts POURING! It was so crazy. We ran out to the car and were totally drenched in like 5 seconds! I'm not even joking we couldnt even see out the windshield for most of the 25 minute trip. It was fun tho, and we made it to Harlingen safely haha. Once we were there we were kickin it with a bunch of missionaries in the area, playin some basketball, and volleyball and just having fun. It was really crazy how fast the storm came in tho. Gotta love Texas haha.

So my basic schedule is this: Wake up at 630, work out till 7, shower, eat, write some letters, start personal study at 8, comp study at 9 and then language study from 10-11. Then we start workin from 11 till about 2 or 3, we have lunch for an hour, which usually includes a nap, or some letter writing, then we work till 9, usually 930 and plan from either 9-930 or 930-940 haha. Then I eat, screw around, and go to sleep. It usually goes by really fast and is a lot of fun. Tuesdays we have District Meeting in Harlingen, with our district which is the 4 of us in Raymondville, and 4 sisters in a town by Harlingen. We have English Classes that we teach tuesday night at the church. Friday we have weekly planning from 11-230, which helps us out a lot. Then Sunday we have church from 9-12, and dinner at the Lopez home from 5-630. Monday is Pday, we still have our normal studies in the morning, then we go email right now, from like 1115-1215 or 1230. Then we go shopping at Walmart for about an hour, and after we usually clean and then either play some ball at the park, in Harlingen if we have enough miles on our car, or we sleep. We have that time till 6 and then its back to work, but we have dinner with the Barreras at 7 usually. So basicly thats our schedule.

I have enough money to survive. I spent about 25-30 bucks a week. We go to bed at 1030 (usually 11) every night. I guess its enough sleep haha. The library is really close, like 2 miles. Raymondville is tiny haha. Walmart only a couple miles away too. There arent really very many other stores. Theres a Stars, which is basicly the same as Sonic, and a Whataburger or something like that. Theres a McDonalds kinda by the Walmart. And we have a H.E.B. which is kinda like Ralphs I guess. Other than that theres just random shops and stuff. Our church building is TINY! the chapel holds like 50-60 people. There are like 5 classrooms and 2 offices for Presidente and the clerk. Its so funny Presidente Ramos just calls on people to pray while hes conducting. Hes like the first oracion (prayer) will be...hmmm....Hermana Lopez. Haha he totally just picks them randomly. Hes only been a member for 2 years so hes figuring it out slowly. His Tex Mex is so bad. He tells stories and says one sentance in English, then one in Spanish. Gotta love it tho, makes me laugh. I havnt been asked to play the piano, my comp plays. I can still play a little bit tho. If I had time to practice I could pick it back up fairly easily.

So did you get my pics? I dont need you to print any of them cus I do it at Walmart. Dad could you email a couple good ones to Dylan for me tho. Gracias. Got letters from the Grandparents this week which was nice.

Oh yea mom, for Breakfast I eat cereal every morning, and twice a week I have cinnamon roles that I buy from Walmart. 8 for myself haha. Lunch I either have MacNCheese, usually a Turkey Sandwhich, or a Quesodilla. The tortillas here are so bomb. Dinner is usually about the same. Ive learned to eat tortillas with everything tho at meals at members houses. Basicly you mix everything together and scoop it with the tortilla haha. It isnt too bad. I actually kinda like rice now. Still cant stand beans!

So we met this crazy lady who is really cool. Basicly shes been with the same guy for 12 years, they arent married, and he does some job and she wont see him for a month. Shes met with the missionaries a lot and sees that we help her life but shes never been baptized. So she basicly told us her whole life story the 2nd time we talked with her. Not even gonna go into that. Her husband is cheating on her through MySpace and her kids are terrible. The oldest is 13 and wants to be gangsta and life all the other thugz in Raymondville. We talked to him about gangs and why smoking weed is bad. Then there is this other girl who is always at there house who is 13, her life is Hell. Her dads in prison, her mom basicly sold her for drugs. Now she lives with her grandma, and hates her grandma and tries to hurt her cus she hates her life. She wants to die, and has tried to commit suicide. She is an extremely cute girl for how young she is and I guess some pastor or priest or something did some terrible stuff to her so now she doesnt believe in God. So we are really trying to work with her and make her life happier cus I feel terrible for her. Thats part of the reason why I felt like crap yesterday. By the Way they told us all this the 2nd time we talked to them. People really trust missionaries I guess. So we're trying to help these people as much as we can. Its really pretty sad tho. Ill let you know how it progresses.

On a happy note, note tho we did have a cool experience. It was Friday, we didnt have a lot of time to work with, so we had to pick between driving out to La Sara, which is like 10 miles away, and we barely had any miles to spare, or to stay in Raymondville. We didnt know if we would even get to talk to the person we were looking for in La Sara so that was our issue. So we were really confused, not knowing what to do, so we decided to pray. Both of us felt like we should go try to find Joe in La Sara. So we did and sure enough. He was there! It was a really cool experience.

For Halloween we just kicked it in Harlingen for the night with all the missionaries, from like 6-9. It was a lot of fun and I had Ice Cream for the first time in almost a month haha.

Alright well I think thats all Ive got to say. Hope everyone is doing well. Tell Tyler to write me. Love you all.

-Elder Given