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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