Happy Birthday Mom!!! Hope you had an awesome birthday. I love you bunches. Congrats on hitting the big 29, but don´t stress it will only get better from there!
Thanks bunches for the awesome letter you sent! Sounds like you all had a really great, fun week and that New Years was awesome! New Years here was pretty good too. I welcomed in the New Year by sleeping, hah! But all of the Santa Ritaños were going crazy for sure. One thing I really love about here is that it´s very family-ish. I don´t know if that´s just because it´s the holidays and everyone is together with their family, but it seems like there are a lot more families here than in my last area. That´s a really nice thing and it´s good for the work because we are always looking for awesome families.
That´s too funny that granda called over and got a hold of the Woodruffs. What a small world! In the email Elder Woodruff got today, he said that Grandpa called while they were writing the email to him so they mentioned it in there as well. Elder Woodruff is awesome. Sounds like grandpa told you he was an AP. That was right before he trained Elder Durrant. I can definitely understand why he was called to be a leader in the mission, his diligence and work ethic is incredible. I am learning to work hard and efficiently with him and I´m really grateful for the time I´ll have to learn from him. You all will have to take a trip over to the chapel on Center street and meet his family the next time you´re up there.
Elder Woodruff told me he knows where Grandma and Grandpa´s cabin is and that it´s not too far from his house.
I really liked what mom had to say about Elder Andersen´s talk on "Never Leave Him." It is very true what Elder Andersen says. I also recently applied this talk to myself and to the work here. Elder Andersen says something about how if we really love the Savior, we won´t try to conform the church to us, but rather conform ourselves to the church. If we love Him, we´ll keep His commandments. I´ve seen a couple of times here that investigators will want to keep all of the commandments except one or two. We can´t make exceptions for ourselves. If we really love the Savior, we´ll keep all of His commandments rather than trying to conform the church to us.
That´s cool that Matt and Tasha are down there! You´ll have to tell them hi for me and that I miss our hearts and scum battles haha.
I think what made me feel most trunky out of everything you wrote about the holidays in your letter would be the food! Oh man, it sounds like you guys are feasting everyday! Not that I´m complaining, but my mind wandered to mom´s spaghetti the other day and I think I started to drool a little bit haha. For now I´ll just have to stick to my empanadas!
So you mentioned that there are no ecclesiastical leaders in your new area. So does that mean that it isn’t even a branch yet?
No, it´s still not even a branch yet. It´s suuuuper new. Pretty much everyone is a new convert.
Do the missionaries basically have to conduct and organize the meetings each Sunday?
Yeah, we plan out all the talks, give assignments, plan the meetings, all that good stuff. There is one Melchizedek Priesthood holder and he conducts the meetings a lot I think. He was out of town this week, so Elder Woodruff did it yesterday. On that note, our attendance yesterday was 9, four of those being us missionaries. The holidays kind of gave us a hit. But we´ll be back to normal next week I´m sure! It was kind of a different experience, I always heard stories of missionaries who had served where the church wasn´t developed and attendance was low, but I never realized how weird it is until I experienced it.
So have you had any chance to use your piano playing abilities yet?
haha, about that... I attempted yesterday. It turned out realllly bad. Nobody else knows how to play. So I´ll keep practicing I guess...
But apart from that, the work is going great. I really love the people here. We are talking with many people right now and many of them are progressing towards baptism. I have faith that we will see a lot of success in this area. With Elder Woodruff, I am learning to become a better missionary each day and I really believe that this change is going to be especial.
That´s crazy that President Pace will be released. He is a remarkable man. I always was impressed by his Spirit and the way he was able to express himself when he spoke. That´s cool that maybe you´ll have the chance to meet some general authorities. That would be awesome.
I have a testimony that Christ lives. I know that he is helping me tons in this work. Sometimes it´s tough, but that´s what helps me grow closer to the Savior. I love you all and am grateful for your examples.
Love you all so much
P.s. Dad had asked if I would like for him to send me box scores of the BYU games. That would be nice, I´d like to see just how much my pal Jimmer is dominating
P.p.s. To Dan: Ya falo muito bien, Portuguese. ¡Eu façe trabajo afol! Haha that´s like 3 languages in one sentence. Be impressed.