¡Muy buenas tardes de Villahermosa! :)
How is everyone? Things are going wonderfully well here in Villa. I think I always say that (because it's true), but this week has been an amazing one and I'm feeling especially good right now. So let's get to it!
For one thing, the weather's pretty nice. As you mentioned, Dad, it's high 80s. That sounds hot, but for me it's a huge relief. was actually cold last night. It's all cloudy and has been sprinkling off and on. Very nice to have a bit of a break from such intense heat. They say that within the next month the rainy season starts. It'll still be hot, but it'll rain a lot and that should cool things down some. They also say that there are flood rumors going around again. Three years ago, Villahermosa flooded (in some places up to thirty feet), and people had to evacuate (or move to higher ground) for almost a month; they say Tabasco itself almost just slid away into the Gulf. It always floods a little in the fall, but they say this year might be worse than normal. So, I guess we'll see how that goes. :) I'm sure I'll be fine though.
We had Zone Conference this last Friday. It was the last conference with President and Sister Velasco, and as such it was really special. We talked about avoiding hypocrisy, being pure inside and out, and solving problems by relying on the Spirit. One part I liked was that President Velasco taught us that when we are tired or discouraged, we should get to work even harder and start testifying and sharing the testimony that we have. Then, the Spirit will come and lessen our challenges and burdens so that we can be able to deal with them. I thought that was pretty profound. I heard a quote once that said that God doesn't get rid of our challenges, but he increases our capacity so that we are then able to solve or overcome them. That's definitely true. If I'm feeling tired or unexcited, the worst thing to do is stop working - but whenever I've continued and worked even harder, the Spirit came and suddenly I felt fine again. We also talked about a talk given by President Monson called "To the Rescue" and we were given photocopies of the painting he mentions in the talk. It's a really interesting message and has a lot of cool points. You should look it up and give it another read through - very motivating and with lots of good examples and quotes. All in all, the conference was wonderful and I really learned a lot. It was kind of sad to say goodbye to them, because I've learned a lot and had a good time these eight months (almost) in Mexico, but I'm excited to get to know the new president and have that experience. Plus, President Velasco gave us his email and I'll be able to keep in touch with him that way.
As for the question of the new mission - I'm officially in the Mexico Villahermosa Mission. There won't be any more changes between missions and the new president arrives June 28th (my birthday!). We don't know when transfers will be, because normally they'd be that same day, but they'll probably be delayed two or three weeks so that the new president can get to know us a bit before making changes. That's fine by me. I really like being here and working with Elder Tanner and I'm excited for what we're doing and going to be doing in the coming weeks. (By the way, I do know the new president's name, but keep forgetting. Haha.) As far as sending letters and packages goes - they haven't given us the new address yet, and have told us that everyone can keep sending things to Tuxtla and they'll just ship it up to Villahermosa. So no worries on that front, and I'll let you know the new address as soon as I know it. I received a couple letters and a package this conference. Two letters from the Windleys - which is really cool. I appreciate their support so much. Tell them thanks from me and that I love their letters. Two letters each from Lisa and Laura. Also, a letter from Sister Endicott and the Primary children. That was really cool. They thanked me for being a missionary and asked questions and stuff. Pretty funny, some of them. I really appreciated the thought put into it and am working on sending a reply sometime soon. The package I received was from Lisa and Laura and contained Cocoa Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats, and root beer. I couldn't have asked for anything better. :) I thoroughly enjoyed the root beer and am still working my way through the cereal. Lisa and Laura, thanks a ton! :) I know, Mom, that you've send packages (and Dad, you too?), and I think they'll probably get here soon. I might get them at the end of the month when they make the mission switch, but I'm not sure. I'll let you know though.
So, a little bit on this past week. We had some great success this week. Feliciano came to church and had a great time. He's still really excited about his baptism and I'm loving working with him. Every visit with him is really spiritual and he understands really well. We also now have three other investigators with baptismal dates! Their names are Ricardo, Rosa, and María Louisa. Two weeks ago we were contacting and found Rosa - she was busy, but told us to come back a few days later. We did so, and found out that her mom is a less active who used to live in Cancún but is now here to stay. She's come to church the last two weeks and seems like she's becoming active again. We started teaching Rosa and her husband, Ricardo, along with Rosa's grandma, María. When we went back for the second lesson, we invited Ricardo and María to be baptized and they accepted without hesitation. The following day, we returned (Rosa had been sick that first day), and she accepted baptism as well! We heard that Rosa's aunt just was baptized in another part of the city and that her cousin is listening to the missionaries in yet another area. So this family is golden and are doing really well. Their baptismal date is set for July 3rd. I'm really excited for it and hope to still be here to see the baptism. We're having a great time teaching them and helping them progress. Also, Saira, the investigator that we've been teaching for a while, finally came to church and really liked it. We're going to talk with her tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. :) Basically, the work has been going really well and I'm extremely excited for this coming week. We'll continue working with these people and search out other brothers and sisters who need the gospel. It's going to be fun. :)
In essence, that was this week. It was a great week and I'm thinking this one will be even better. I'm loving missionary work and continually improving and learning a lot. In the interview with the President we had a really good talk and the things he told me will help me become even better and be a more effective missionary. I feel really excited to get out and work and talk to people. And now for the good stuff... :)
Gabbie: Hey! Sounds like you had an awesome time in Disneyland! I'm so jealous that you were able to go and have so much fun. I thought it was funny that you actually did eat a turkey leg. Were they the same ones as before? If you have any pictures from the trip, get Dad to send them next week! I'm really glad you had so much fun and it sounds like you did a lot. Now that you're back and you have all of summer ahead of you, what are you going to do? Any cool plans or goals? Well, Gabs, as always I appreciate your letters very much - especially this week's multicolored "I love you." That was a very nice touch. :) I love you so much too! Have a great week! :)
Miranda: The Asian weekend sounds pretty fun! (I laughed last week at what Dad said: "I think the proper nomenclature is Chinaman week." Haha.) It seems like a good experience all around; I would have liked to have been there. Any chance that one of the places you went was a Chinese (perhaps Japanese) market on State Street by that Greek restaurant? Josh and Kevin and I went there a few times and would buy drinks and chow mein and snacks. Pretty tasty stuff. I thought it was funny that the drinks exploded and I laughed at the dried baby crabs... yum! :) When does Toy Story 3 come out? I've been seeing ads for it all around the city and it looks pretty cool. I wonder what Reagan will think. Laser tag must have been cool - I've never played free-for-all, though. That would be interesting. Thanks for your answer on why you like church. I sounds like you've been having a good summer so far. Excited to start working around the house? :) It'll be good though - I really grew to like working in the yard (after summers of hating it, however. haha). One thing that came to my mind this week - do you remember watching Darkwing Duck and Chip 'n' Dale? Those were some good times... :) Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for writing me! Love you! :)
Mom: Everything is going great! :) I did like how you switched up the opening to your email. I thought it was funny. Sounds like you've been having a busy week (maybe because you said "this week has been a really busy one" haha). I'm sure you can trust in Dad for watching Reagan and I'm sure you'll have a blast at camp too. The news about Reagan sounds good, except for the whole bathroom thing of course. I hope he gets better on that, the way he was a couple months back. But it sounds like he has a fun summer lined up and that he'll enjoy himself. Gabbie sounded like she had a great time at Disneyland and I laughed at the story about them on the plane. It's great that she had so much fun. It's always cool to hear about everyone in the family and see the progress from week to week. I can't believe I hit the 300-day mark; that's pretty weird. Saturday I hit 10 months. That seems like forever. It doesn't seem like I've been out that long, but when I think about all that I've experienced and everything that I've learned, I guess it has been. I'm glad you're doing well and thankful that I can always hear from you and hear about the family each week. Remember that I'm always praying for everyone and that the Lord is watching over us. I love you, Mom. Have a great week! :)
Dad: I skimmed through the stuff about Gideon because I don't have much time right now, but I'm going to print the letter out (I always do, and have quite the collection going now) and I'll read it tonight. From what I did read, it sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to rereading the chapters and your comments on them. I also liked the "The Lord needs us because of our weaknesses" thought. I think that's true and that it can have a lot of meaning for us. We should learn to develop our talents and strengths, and also lean on the Lord in our weaknesses. Our imperfections might actually turn out to be strengths, or might bless us in some way, and we just never know. But the Lord always does, and is always willing to show us His love if we let Him. Funny what you said about the medical thing - I'd heard of them before, but nothing like firsthand experience, huh? :) It was something new and will make a good mission story. Seems like everything's fine now. I finished the "treatment" and haven't had any further problems. I always like your final words - words of encouragement, advice, and support. And they always include something new that I try to focus on in the coming week. I've definitely seen the blessings from doing so. I just got the pictures you sent and laughed at them. Cool stuff. :) Cool to hear about Mike and Chris. I laughed as well at what you said "I got published by spite. Spite motivated me." That was a pretty good one. Well, as always, Dad, thanks for writing and for everything you teach me. I hope you have a great week. I love you very much! :)
I love you all very much. Thanks for writing and for being awesome. :) Have a great week! See you next Monday! :)