Man I love you all!!! I am missing all of you so much right now!! It has been a tough first week especially when the thought creeps in that I can't see you all for 2 years... or watch my brother play football or basketball or talk to you guys!! That has been really tough for me but I have such a great companion and the work here in Carmelo is going to be awesome!
So I guess I have really bad luck with traveling haha.. because the day I got my companion we took a bus North to the Colonia Zone, but our bus got there too late so we missed our connection bus to Carmelo. We ended up taking a taxi to another Missionary house to sleep and took the next bus early that morning, I hate traveling!!
My companion, Elder Nord is from Alaska and is actually 28 years old! It surprised me a little but he is definitely an example and I have already learned a lot from him. Our house is not too bad and has really tall ceilings too :) These first few days we have been buying, installing, and situating the Hermana's new house in our area because they split the area recently.
The work we are doing now is a different type of missionary work than I expected. We are in more of a rescue mode right now.... with members. The ward had some terrible things happen and it imploded on itself starting from the president of the branch and other leadership positions on down. I'll put it into perspective: There are about 500 members but 25 go to church regularly. We have also been going to each member's house and talking (at least trying to for me) with them. I really can't understand anything they say... and that is pretty hard for me to not understand because then I feel like I can't help, but Elder Nord has just been telling me to not worry, listen, and smile always. Really has been great advice to hear and I have been doing that! I'm the town's smiler :)
Cool experience though the other day. We got a call from a person who had a sister in the hospital so we were able to go over and give her a blessing after we went through 10 steps of washing and putting on nuclear protective gear. I had the opportunity to anoint the oil and do it in Spanish.
Another experience is this new convert who is 11 years old, named Ivan. He is huge!! (bigger then Justin.... I didn't think that was possible :) ) but he loves walking around with us at night when we are going to talk with people in the ward. We also had a lesson with him on Aaronic Priesthood and I could tell how excited he is to be able to become a Deacon. Such a strong kid who is loving the Church.
This week we are setting up a bunch of activities at the church to include people like English class one night, Scripture reading another, and then futbol every Saturday night on the small, little concrete floor they have in the back. We really want to get people to have good feelings about the church again and forget the past. I guess I came at a good time too because a few months ago the area had a really strong contentious spirit about it, but it is starting to turn for the better. It will be tough but I am looking forward to the work!
I heave emailed some pictures from the MTC, hope you like them.
2 Nephi 9:40 was a scripture me and Elder Nord talked about the other day and I really liked how is has many parts to study and ponder on.
Love you all! And I really do miss you guys a lot and hope everything is going well! This work is true. The Church is of Jesus Christ and that is truly what our purpose is here. Give people the opportunity to come to Christ and be saved. The Atonement of Christ is incredible. It covers anything and everything. Any doubt, pain, sadness, sin, imperfection, fall can be overcome with Christ. It is up to us if we want to accept him in our lives more and use the Atonement to bring us closer to him and perfection. I know this church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and he went through a ton of persecution to stand up for what he knew was pure truth.