Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Baptism & a Transfer

Hello to all:
Well, this week was great! We had been teaching the second daughter of a woman we baptized, and she said that she wanted to be baptized. We had the interview on Tuesday night and everything was great! She said that she wanted me to baptize her, too! Unfortunately, on Tuesday night, we got the call that I was being transfered up to Corpus Christi. It was very sad, but I'm glad that she was baptized yesterday and they gave me their address, so I will probably write them a letter soon.
Right now I'm in a place called Flour Bluff in Corpus Christi. It is right across Oso Bay and you have to drive over this bridge across the water to get the city. We also have North Padre Island in our area. It is a super cool place. I am co-senior companions with Elder Clarke, one of the missionaries that flew into Texas with me. He's From Toronto, Canada. We get along great and we are going to have an awesome transfer together. This area is super different than the valley. First of all, everyone has a southern accent and it's just a different type of people. It feels more like the actual "south." We have about 10000000 members in our area and we have a car, so I will probably get fat while I'm here.
Crazy story. So last night we went over to a member family's house on The Island, named the Sturgis family. The parents are both originally from Southern California, and Sister Sturgis is cousins with the Tanner family in Arcadia! Small world! Brother Sturgis is really into guitar and music recording and has a studio and a ton of guitars in his house. I think I'm really going to like this area a lot. The members are super awesome and feed us all of the time. Yesterday alone we had two dinner appointments in a row! They are all super excited about missionary work too, and so we have a lot of ward support.
As you know, we had the chance to have Elder Shumway come and train us. He was awesome! The whole Valley met up in McAllen at one of the chapels, and we had a huge Zone Conference. Elder Shumway talked about how he sees great potential in this mission!
I am also excited for General Conference (broadcast from Salt Lake City on television) this weekend. It's pretty much like Christmas for the missionaries, because all we do is hang out at the chapel and watch all 5 sessions.
Cooper told me his school might get cancelled because of gas shortages in Tennessee. We haven't really had any problems down here. We have had some debris washing up on the beach shores (tv, clothes, microwaves, etc.). Sounds like the hurricane did some real damage up in Houston! Well, gotta go, almost out of time!
Write soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Elder Carreon Reunites With Elder Maynes From MTC Days

Zone Conference & Transfers

Dear Family & Friends:
We haven't had any problems with gas prices or shortages in this area, but I heard that in northern Texas it's pretty bad. I also heard that gas prices might go up if any of the refineries were damaged by the hurricane.
Tomorrow we have Zone Conference with Elder Shumway of the Seventies, and then tomorrow night we have transfers. We are all excited to see what happens. Elder Gish wants to go to one more area before his mission is over, and I love this area and want to stay, so hopefully we will get our wishes! We are pretty sure that we will be splitting up.
Last monday for P-day we all went downtown. It was uncanny how much it looks like downtown Laredo,I felt like I knew my way around!
On Wednesday we had our interviews with President Miller. It was a really good interview. He's a really great Mission President and a great leader.
Thursday was pretty funny. We were teaching this lady on her front porch. The whole time her kids were runnig around in the yard going nuts. So we were talking about families and she said how much she loved hers, and that they were really happy. Almost on cue, her littlest son runs out into the front yard, pulls down his pants and starts going to the bathroom in front of us all. Then her other son grabbed the hose and started trying to squirt him and almost got us too! It was pretty funny. Also that night we had a very interesting experience. We went to a lesson with a member. When we got there, the family told us that the husband was running late and would be back in 5 or 10 minutes, so we decided to wait. About 5 minutes later the brother we were waiting with said, "Hey elders, lets go knock that door." So we go over to this door and knock it and start talking to this lady. All of the sudden she says to him, "Cousin is that you?" Apparently it was his cousin and he didn't even know she lived there! We were able to teach her a lesson and it went great!
On Friday the Ward put on this activity about the "Articles of Faith." It went really well. Each auxillary organization was assigned a few of the articles and had to recite them and explain what they meant. It was fun and we had a lot of people show up.
Today we are going to try and go to the zoo, but it was raining this morning, so we'll see what happens. Tell everyone to write soon, I really look forward to all your letters.
Love, Ryan

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ties and More Ties

Spending Time With a New Member

Looking Forward to Zone Conference

Dear Family and Friends:
I can't believe Nana and Ron will be getting home from their mission to Africa so soon!
Honestly, we were all pretty disappointed that Hurricane Ike totally missed us.
Just last night it started to rain and thunder just a bit, but other than that nothing much has really happened. We were excited because we were on call to see if we were going to get evacuated or not. Then, we went about three days with no new updates as to whether it was going to hit us or not. Then they finally called and said Ike had turned and was going up to Houston, so we were fine.
Yesterday at church however, the Bishop of the Spanish Ward said that there are two more hurricanes that are forming near the Gulf and we should be prepared.
Apparently, this year has been one of the most active hurricane years in a while!
It seems early to give you my Christmas wish list, but here goes: cds would be great. We can listen to MoTab, Hymns, and Classical music more than 100 years old. Any good classical music would be great. We were going to go to the zoo today, but it's pretty rainy outside, so maybe next week. Also next week, we are going to have Elder Shumway from the second Quorum of the Seventy come and give a special Zone Conference, which should be great! We are all very excited. Tell everyone hi and keep me updated!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Missionaries Return Home, Back to Work

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Texas McAllen Mission

To the Parents of Missionaries in the Texas McAllen Mission,

We are writing in concern of Hurricane Ike. As many of you have seen, the hurricane turned north of our mission towards the Houston area. All of our missionaries were well prepared for evacuation and for safety precautions some were evacuated, but we are happy to say that all of the missionaries have now returned home and are back to work. We experienced some minor rain, but there was no damage from the hurricane in our mission. Thank you for your prayers and concerns.

Kindest Regards,

President Gary F. Miller
Mission President

As Hurricane Ike continues its path across the Gulf of Mexico, representatives of the Church are planning ways to help. Church representatives have been asked by emergency management officials for the state of Texas to provide support. In fact, many relief supplies delivered by the Church are being stored in facilities managed by Texas authorities and in bishops’ storehouses. Church representatives continue to work with emergency management personnel to identify where help may be needed.
Emergency supplies are positioned in six different locations in the Gulf region and are ready for distribution to several thousand people. These supplies include truckloads of cleaning kits, hygiene kits, blankets, water and food. Small quantities of additional supplies such as sleeping bags, work gloves, chain saws, wheelbarrows, first aid kits, cots, tents and tarps are also on hand if needed. Additional truckloads of hygiene kits are currently being created in Salt Lake City today, many of which are being delivered to the Gulf region.
Following the storm, and after officials have authorized return to the area, the Church will offer support to local elected officials. “We have remarkably close relationships with those leaders. They are familiar with what the Church can do with our resources, manpower and commodities,” said Peter Evans of the Church’s Welfare Services Department.
Earlier this week and into today, volunteers are working at the Church’s Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City assembling hygiene kits to replenish supplies being used in support of current disasters. At the bishops’ storehouse in Dallas, volunteers are busy today assembling 2,400 food boxes and will continue their efforts tomorrow. Each of the food boxes can feed a family of four for 10 days.

Ike is by no means the first hurricane the Church has responded to. For instance, the Church provided 200 semi-truck loads of aid and 42,000 man-days of labor in response to Hurricane Katrina. In recent days the Church has offered support to Hurricane Gustav response efforts as well. The Church humanitarian aid system is experienced and is well-equipped to respond to a variety of disasters, including hurricanes.

Saturday, September 13, 200
GALVESTON, Texas (CNN) -- Rescuers in Galveston, Texas, were going door-to-door Saturday to check on 20,000 people who failed to flee from Hurricane Ike -- which has slowed to tropical storm status.
President Bush declared 29 Texas counties a major disaster area, making federal funds available for recovery from the storm.
Ike was downgraded Saturday to a tropical storm 11 hours after it crashed ashore as a Texas-sized hurricane that walloped southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
The storm's sustained winds dropped to 60 mph as it moved north across Texas, expending its power along the way.
In the coastal city of Galveston, CNN affiliate KPRC showed workers checking homes where people who had ignored warnings to evacuate had subsequently begged 911 operators for help.
Three deaths in Texas have been attributed to the storm.
"The hotel we were in was rocking and windows blowing out," Mark Sudduth, of, told CNN.
"There was enormous wave action, the wind, the power outages, fires in the distance. It was everything that a Hollywood epic disaster movie would be made of, but for real," he said. Watch where the storm is now »
Houston Mayor Bill White told CNN that his city appears to have avoided loss of life, but streets blocked by floodwaters, downed trees and power lines hampered efforts to determine the full extent of the damage.
White advised residents to drink bottled or boiled tap water as a precaution after a power outage reduced water pressure, but he said nothing indicated that the water supply was contaminated.
In downtown Houston, streets were littered with debris, including traffic lights and glass. The city's tallest skyscraper, the 75-story JP Morgan Chase Tower, was missing many of its windows.
Nearly 2.6 million customers in Texas and Louisiana lack power because of Ike, the U.S. Energy Department said on Saturday. Watch an iReporter's firsthand account of the storm »
"It's going to take several weeks to get all this power restored," CenterPoint Energy spokesman Floyd LeBlanc said. "We've been saying two to three weeks."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Elder Carreon et al prepared to "Hunker Down"

Texas McAllen Mission
To the Parents of Missionaries serving in the Texas McAllen Mission,

As we have continued to monitor Hurricane Ike, it has moved in a more north-easterly direction of our mission. We have evacuated the fourteen missionaries from the areas that we mentioned yesterday. It is anticipated the other missionaries will be able to remain in their own apartments. As the storm continues we will remain in communication with all of the missionaries to ensure their safety. Everyone is prepared with cell phones, full tanks of gas in their cars, food, and water. As of right now, there is no further need for further evacuations. We may lose power due to winds in some areas, but we expect that we will be able to continue communicating with you via email throughout the hurricane. Your missionary sons and daughters are the very best-thank you all for sending us such well prepared servants.

Best Regards,

President Gary F. Miller
Mission President

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Update on Hurricane Ike

Texas McAllen Mission
Hurricane Ike Update #2
Thursday 11 September 2008 12:30pm

To the Parents and other concerned parties:

As of 12:00 pm today the decision was taken to evacuated missionaries from the following areas:
· Beeville, Sinton, Ingleside, Portland and Rockport.

We will continue to monitor hourly the progress and tracking of Ike, as further evacuations may become necessary throughout the day and into tomorrow.

For those of you keeping abreast of the storm you know that the current projected path has shifted to the North, not withstanding we are monitoring its progress hourly.

Best Regards,

Gary F. Miller
President, Texas McAllen Mission

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Ike News From The Mission President

Texas McAllen Mission

To the Parents of Missionaries serving in the Texas McAllen Mission,
I am writing in concern of Hurricane Ike. We are well aware of the storm and have been monitoring it very closely. We will continue to watch this on an hourly basis. In event of an evacuation your son or daughter will temporally be located in a safe place in the mission. If an evacuation is necessary we will keep you updated. Your missionaries are in good hands. We will keep you updated daily.
All missionaries as of this moment are prepared, their automobiles have full tanks of fuel and each has an emergency preparedness kit.
At the present time there is a likelihood that all of the missionaries in and around the Corpus Christi area could be evacuated as early as tomorrow. Preparations are now in place for such an event.

Thank You,

Gary F. Miller
President Texas McAllen Mission

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CNN, AP Report Hurricane Ike Is Headed For South Texas

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, 11:45 p.m.
Texas readies evacuation order in case hurricane comes
The Associated Press

McALLEN, Texas | With Hurricane Ike steaming into the Gulf of Mexico, Texas emergency officials Tuesday stood ready to order a million people evacuated from the impoverished Rio Grande Valley.
The emergency officials have another problem: Convincing tens of thousands of illegal immigrants that they have less to fear from the Border Patrol than from the storm.
Emergency planning officials were meeting all day to decide whether and when to announce a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties close to the Mexican border.
With forecasts showing Ike blowing ashore this weekend, authorities lined up nearly 1,000 buses in case they were needed to move out the many poor and elderly people who have no cars.
Federal authorities gave assurances they would not check people’s immigration status at evacuation loading zones or inland checkpoints. But residents were skeptical, and there were worries that many illegal immigrants would refuse to board buses and go to shelters for fear of getting arrested and deported.
It would be the first mandatory large-scale evacuation in south Texas history. State and county officials let people decide for themselves whether to leave a hurricane area until just before Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. Now county officials can order people out of harm’s way.
Hurricane Ike left Cuba on Tuesday as a Category 1 storm, but left behind between $3 billion and $4 billion in wreckage to homes, agriculture, the electrical grid and public buildings, the United Nations said.

CNN) -- Hurricane Ike was strengthening Tuesday night in the Gulf of Mexico after battering Cuba, and forecasters said they expected it to hit Texas by week's end as a major hurricane.
Forecast models showed that Ike could cross Texas' coast Friday evening or Saturday morning anywhere from Brownsville, near the Mexico border, to Galveston, about 60 miles southwest of the Texas-Louisiana line, CNN meteorologists said.
Ike is expected to strengthen further over the Gulf's warm waters and could be a Category 3 storm -- with sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph -- when it makes landfall, the hurricane center said.
Galveston, Texas, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas warned residents to stock up on nonperishable items, including pet food and diapers, and to prepare for going without electricity.
City Manager Steve LeBlanc issued a warning to residents of Galveston's West End, citing forecasters' estimates that the area could get tides of 6 feet above normal if the storm arrives there. The West End, he said, is the area of Galveston most susceptible to flooding.
Thomas said she could call for voluntary evacuations of the West End by Wednesday morning, depending on forecasts.
By Tuesday night, officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, had called for the evacuations of special-needs residents beginning Wednesday morning. They also called for the relocation of high-profile vehicles -- including vans, motor homes, travel trailers and hitched boats -- that could hinder traffic if expanded evacuations become necessary.
The Texas Department of Transportation said it expected to open a shoulder of northbound Interstate 37 to traffic -- from coastal Corpus Christi to U.S. 281 roughly 80 miles inland -- on Wednesday morning to help people trying to leave the city.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry put 7,500 National Guard members on standby Tuesday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Elders Davich, To'o, Johansson, Fowler, Ortiz, Gish, Carreon, Viera & the Jaramillo Family

Popped Tire


Here Comes Ike

Dear Family & Friends:
So the word on the street is that Hurricane Ike is a Level 4 and might head our way. Last we heard it was just entering the Gulf today and we won't find out what happens until next week. Hopefully everything will be okay. My companion had a dream last night that we were getting evacuated and that he didn't have any food prepared, so needless to say he is going to buy lots of extra food today! Right now it's raining pretty hard and there has been some lightning and stuff.
This week was a pretty normal week. Supposedly it's going to start cooling down (yeah right!) in a couple of weeks. And were all excited to see who is going to come down for our super secret zone conference thingy. I met this other missionary named Elder Hancock who is from Bellevue. I don't have a lot of time, but I heard from Roxanne and Cooper in Tennessee, and that was great. Ask everyone to write me, I enjoy the letters and packages from home.
Love, Ryan

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McAllen Stake Reorganization

Hello to everyone. We didn't email monday because the library was closed for the holiday, and when we went to the library yesterday, the internet was down.
Well, it's official, Elder Oaks of the Twelve is coming to reorganize the McAllen Stake, and at the end of this month we are having a special Zone Conference and will be hearing from a "mystery" General Authority. Hopefully it will be Elder Oaks!
Last week at Zone Conference the Mission President told us some really interesting "news." He said that a few years ago he was a Stake President in California and the state was trying to pass the proposition defining marriage between a man and a woman, and about the same time the church came out with the Family Proclamation defining the church's views. Basically, the proposition passed. Then, there was a huge uproar, so on the ballot this year is an amendment to the California constitution defining what marriage is. So the other day, the President received some letters for some people claiming that there are people that don't support the church's position that marriage is between a man and woman only, and supposedly some of the "authorities" are involved and they are going to start a "secret society" to stand up against the church and such. He said he and his wife had a good laugh because part of the letter said something like "there are some key words that the members of our society will say across the pulpit at General Conference so you know that there are many people who hold this view. The key words are: Faith and Repentance"! We all laughed pretty hard. We continue to work hard and be positive, working to help people with whatever we can.
We keep hearing the news that there are a few other hurricanes brewing in the Gulf that might head this way. Everyone around here is getting way prepared in case anything happens, but it has pretty much been hot and sunny lately. Have a great week and write soon everyone!
Love, Ryan