Monday, January 28, 2008

Gunshots in Laredo

Hello to all

We received a phone call last night informing us that President Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet and leader of our church, had passed away. (For full story, see We were all sad, but happy for him since he was 97 and now he will be able to see his wife, Marjorie, again. Tell Uncle Matt, I am forever grateful for the opportunity he gave me to see President Hinckely last October at Conference in Salt Lake. We are all guessing here that perhaps Elder Jeffrey Holland will be called as a new member of the First Presidency.
After I emailed on Wednesday, I went on splits with Elder Metcalf. He was in a bike area so I was able to get a lot of riding in. It was hard, mostly because we have a car and I haven't ridden a bike that hard in a while. When we got there, we contacted a guy and talked to him on the street for almost 30 minutes. While we were talking to him we heard six gunshots go off down the street. Elder Metcalf said, "Welcome to Laredo," and we laughed. It's really not that dangerous here, but there are some pretty poor areas, and since we are a border town, there's a lot of drugs and stuff that come through Laredo.
All in all, things are great here. It's really warm now, so that's a plus. I'm having trouble finding a place to develop pictures, so I might be sending home a memory stick from my camera for you to get photos from. Tell everyone hi for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

First Week In Texas

Texas is great! Our P-Day (preparation day) is normally Monday, so I'll most likely write you then, but we went to Corpus Christi on Monday for Zone conference, so that's why I'm writing today. Right now, I'm in Laredo, Texas. It's pretty awesome, it reminds me a lot of Tijuana, Mexico. It is a fairly large border town (about 175,000 people) and about 95% of all the people are from Mexico and speak Spanish. Right across the border is the City of Neuvo Laredo, and our area goes right up along the border. I have been loving it here so far. My trainer is Elder Caywood from Napa, Calif. He has been out for about 16 months. We live in a four-elder apartment with another companionship in downtown Laredo.
We arrived in McAllen at 5 p.m. last Wednesday. When we were in the airport in Dallas this family came and sat next to me and some other missionaries and so I started sharing the gospel with them. The husband was really nice and liked talking, but his wife rejected me cold. My first real rejection! We spent the night meeting the mission president and getting to know some of the other missionaries, and the next day were driven to our areas. I have had some crazy experiences so far.
First off, this area had a Christmas miracle happen! There is a pornography store down the street from where we live, and on Christmas Eve, it caught fire. Unfortunately the Fire Department responded quickly and was able to put it out . . .
My first night, we went and visited this investigator (person interested in the church). We went by to follow up on some reading that he was assigned to do. He was a very interesting person. He and his wife are from Mexico and he has an illegal business selling alcohol that he operates out of his living room. He seemed fairly receptive but we had to stop visiting him a few days later because he refused to keep his commitments.
A few days later we received a referral from the Zone Leaders for a member's brother. We went over there, and it turns out he was a mute and didn't really understand anything other than sign language and a little bit of Spanish. That was a difficult lesson to try and teach! We are trying to find someone who speaks sign language to come with us next time.
We were supposed to have a baptism this past Sunday, but it fell through. The woman who we were teaching was living with her boyfriend, a less-active member, and she wanted to be baptized, so she made him move out and he left the area. The Sunday of the baptism, she wasn't at Sacrament Meeting, so we left early and called her. She said she was running late and she would be there, and after Sacrament we saw her with her kids and this guy we didn't recognize. Turns out her ex-husband came up from Mexico and wanted to get back together with her. While we were trying to sort all of that stuff out, her ex-boyfriend decided he was going to show up out of the blue as well. It was a huge mess and we had to postpone the baptism. We have it scheduled for this weekend and it looks like everything will be sorted out by then. It just goes to show you that when people start to make right choices, Satan works harder.
It has been really cold lately, when we got to Laredo it was in the 40s and it was steadily going up, but today it dropped back down. I guess every once in a while a cold front will come in and stay for a few days. As cold as it is, it is still warmer than Provo!
Yesterday we had a Zone Conference and we had Elder Anderson of the Seventies come and speak to us. It was awesome! He said a lot of really great things to us. We also had our Mission President speak to us, and some training by the Assistants to the Presidents (APs).
During this transfer, every companionship got a cell phone. It's pretty awesome, but we only get about 14 minutes a day of non-mobile-to-mobile minutes on it. It's been really handy though. I hope everything is going great for everyone and I will write to you all next Monday.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Last Week at the MTC

Hello to all.
We got a letter from the APs (Assistants to the Mission President) in Texas telling us that they're excited to meet us and what to expect, etc. Also, one of the elders in my district, Elder Fadely, has 11 siblings. This past week, we've been flooded with mail because they each wrote us individually for an FHE (Family Home Evening) activity. I got this one from his 6-year-old sister, and all it was, was a cut-out snowflake. I got some other hilarious ones from his smaller siblings as well. We figured out how to take pictures of us lying down on the ironing board to make it look like we're walking on the walls Matrix-style. We haven't printed them out yet, but I'll send them when I do. We also figured out how to make it look like we have light sabers. The Provo Temple was reopened today and we just got back from a session. We were also able to do some sealings as well, which was awesome. Elder Maynes and I had never done them before.
Everyone write soon to my new address in Texas!