Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From Elders Veater, Valentine, Carreon & Hartner

Merry Christmas

Dear Family & Friends:
Sounds like those of you in Seattle, Wisconsin and Utah are having a very white Christmas!
Christmas is going to be great around here. We have been invited to a few members' houses and so things are looking good. I don't know what time my phone call will be at because we can't use phone cards on the cell phones, so we will either have to wait until 7 p.m. when it's free or try and use a telephone at a member's house.
Right now it's really cold here (around 38 I think) and we heard it might stay this way for a little bit. I did get some holiday packages, and now my companion and I have 3 Christmas trees and tons of presents.
Our ward had its Christmas party on Saturday, and Santa came, so we all got our picture with Santa. It's been a pretty exciting time around here, everybody is really going all out with their decorations. It's really interesting to see the difference between the people that have a great Christmas planned and the people who are giving up everything to make certain their kids have a good Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, we taught this Jewish lady the other day. She is super nice and has actually been to church before in Arizona.
Merry Christmas to everyone, I appreciate your cards, letters, gifts, encouragement, and support. I can't wait to call home to say hello!
Elder Carreon

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowman From the Famous Texas Snow of '04 - Will History Repeat Itself?

The Christmas Spirit Is Alive In Texas

Hello everyone
Happy Holidays.
We actually have transfers this week, but we all think that we are going to stay the same, but who knows. This week was a great week, we had a lot of success in finding new people to teach and we were really busy. I can't believe how fast time has flown by this transfer.
It's really starting to feel like Christmas around here. A lot of people go nuts with putting out lawn ornaments and lights and stuff and we figured it was because it is usually in the 80s around here, but all of that is changing! Today it's about 40 or so and last week it got down to about 30ish. There was a freak snow storm in 2004, and its looking like it may be cold enough to possibly get another one, but who knows. Today (Monday) we are going to go bowling because its the last P-Day of this transfer and next week we are going to have a multi-zone Christmas devotional and gift exchange.
Portland is great so far. It really has more of a smaller town feel to it and the people are generally very nice to us. The other day somebody gave us a box of chocolate-covered cherries! Things are definitely looking up for next transfer and hopefully we'll have some baptisms. We have a few that look good right now, but experience has taught me that you can't be sure until the baptism is already over! I got a letter the other day from our recent converts in Brownsville. The daughter really wants to go on a mission in July when she has a year in the church. She and her family went to the broadcast of the rededication of the Mexico City Temple and she said that motivated her even more to prepare to go. I am praying that I'll get transferred back into that ward before July so I can see her go! Anyway, have a great day, I want to thank everyone for their letters and words of support.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Historic Christmas Snow of 2004

The Holidays in Texas

Dear Family and Friends:
This week was pretty good. People around here really love Christmas. They go all out with decorating their lawns and houses and all sorts of stuff. We figured because it doesn't get cold here that people have to find other ways of getting in the holiday spirit. Apparently, it is supposed to get super super cold (maybe even the 30s) on Tuesday. It snowed on Christmas in 2004, and was a big deal, a children's' book was even written about it. Everyone says that was a one time fluke, however, and the temperature in South Texas is usually in the 70s or higher in December.
This week we had our interviews with Mission President Miller. I love interviews because I always get good counsel from him and learn a lot.
Every Friday we sing at this retirement home for an hour, and last Friday when we went and sang, there was this lady who had just had her birthday, so she had a balloon in her lap while we were singing. She started to flick the balloon with her nail and every time she did, it made this really loud popping noise. There was this older man sitting near her who was obviously bothered by the noise while we were singing, so he snuck up behind her and tried to steal the balloon from her, but it was wrapped around her finger. So they were both tugging at the balloon and the staff had to come and break it all up. It was pretty hilarious!
The First Presidency (out of Salt Lake) Christmas Devotional last night was awesome, and we even had some investigators come and watch it too!
Hopefully the memory card from the camera will turn up soon, in the mean time I'll try to get another one at Wal-Mart today (P-Day).
Right now Elder Waite is my Zone Leader, and tomorrow I'll will be going on exchanges with him. small world, right?
Mom, I don't know if you remember, but you sent me with three journal notebooks to write in. I am about to finish my second one and will start the third one soon, so if you could send me one more that should last me for the rest of my mission. So far I have written a journal entry for every single day of my mission! Tell everyone I love their cards and letters.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

View of the bay in Portland, Texas

Thanks for All the Packages and Cards

Dear Family:
Thanks for the various packages I have received from all of you and (those sent via dearelder.com, Deseret Book, etc.). Anything that wasn't sent by regular mail I will get on Wednesday when we have our interviews with President Miller.
This week was only so so. On Tuesday, I got pretty sick and had a fever and stuff, so we had to stay in all day and I mostly just slept! By that night my fever was totally gone and the next day I felt great, so It wasn't too big of a hinderance. Thanksgiving was great! We went over to the Kimmal families house. They had prepared the most awesome Thanksgiving dinner! There was so much food and they said they had used almost every dish they owned! It was an amazing meal, and it took us over an hour just to do the dishes! I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving. The only complaint I had was that it was about 75 degrees out and didn't feel at all like Thanksgiving or winter for that matter.
I can't believe it's already December, time is just flying around here. I also can't believe how fast this transfer has flown by. We have our interviews with President Miller next week and transfers are only in a couple of weeks. I really like it up here in Portland. Gas is at $1.57 now, and the rumor is that we might be next in line for getting a car. Cross your fingers. We have 3 companionships in our District. Of the 6 missionaries, 3 are from Washington, 1 from Oregon, and 2 from Utah, so the Northwest is pretty much dominating up here. Mom, I sent the memory card to the apartment address that you gave me, so maybe it's at the apartment office or something. I have a feeling that if it was returned to me, then I'll probably get it on Wednesday when we have our interviews. Tell everyone thanks for the birthday cards and that I'll write everyone back eventually! I hope all is well and that its not raining too hard. Thanks for your packages, letters, and prayers.