Monday, December 28, 2015
Wow mother, I am truly happy for all that you have done for those Elders. I am sure that I am blessed for how you treat them. That is just wonderful.
(Marriage of Lorenzo and Francisca)
Mother, I spoke with President this week and it was honestly one of the most touching and spiritual experiences that I have had in my entire mission. First off, he talked to me about how to put goals. He asked me a question, how did Joseph smith enjoy his time in prison. How did Moses enjoy taking the children of Israel out of Egypt, to which I responded that I thought they hated it. He talked to me about how while eating rotten poisoned food, Joseph got his best revelations. While helping the horrible people of Israel, Moses got to see God and was shown everything. God prepared these men, and while they suffered they got their best revelations. They were taught to pray differently, beg differently, fight differently.
I know mom that it is in the time when we are working and suffering that we are able to get out best blessings. I want to encourage you to pray differently, talk differently, be more sincere, put your goals, study your scriptures for these goals, because when things are the hardest if we do things better, we will be blessed. Remember the saviors commandment to be of good cheer. It is probably the most important of any commandment.
He then talked me about obedience. I went to that Rancho to baptize someone and I said I didn't feel bad about it. He then said if you don't feel guilty why did you tell me. And he said, you do feel guilty and guilt is a sign of sin, and I knew in my heart he was right. He helped me to not harden my heart. He asked me if we became happy by disobedience, and I said no. I know that happiness is not achieved that way, happiness is found through obedience. Its so very important. He told me that the reason I never felt happiness with baptisms is because I am not working for father in heaven. He said don't baptize just to baptize, baptize so that these people get home to Father in Heaven. When I start baptizing for him, I will start to find joy in the baptisms.
(Baptism of Francisca and Jose)
He finally told me to never be satisfied, he helped me realize that each of us has a potential greater than what we know. Each of us will reach an accomplishment and then we need to go on working hard so that we reach the next level. I love you, and am very happy with everything that is going on here, I really want you to know that I am going to work hard and will see you soon.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Hi mom, so I will be speaking at 5 my time, which I think is 3 your time! I think I am going to talk to you on the tablet because it will be a little cooler. I love you very much I am very excited and hope that you enjoy my pictures!
Anyways, in regards to studying I hope that everything is going well and that you are going to have some success here in February, when you finish your test I will be really close to home.
I honestly cannot believe that Lauren Benson is already getting married, that was extremely fast, I cannot believe how people are changing. That is super cool about Abbie, that is honestly a really big accomplishment for her, because it really is not easy at all. Its funny because had I not gone on a mission I would be graduating right now. I cannot believe that Meg and Kevin are married, it honestly seems like the world keeps changing and getting more and more different and I cannot believe it. Although it seems like all of the people and the life you are talking to me about isn't really mine. Like where I am right now is life, and I cannot imagine anything different. I love the people I am meeting, I love the people I am talking to and the people I am able to help.
My companion and I are having really a month of miracles, this month we should honestly be able to get out 6 or 7 baptisms (a few more than I think we have back home). Do you know what I find really funny though mom, is that I have no idea what missionaries back home do all day. I honestly feel like they have so few baptisms, that I dont' know if they are walking around aimlessly in the street, or if they just give service, but its super weird.
Other than that, I just wanted to tell you that I really am enjoying these things here. Our neighbors take such very good care of us, I really love them, they are super duper nice to us. In regards to the work, things keep going forward. Its funny because things just keep moving on here, we keep finding new investigators and keep baptizing the old ones. We married a couple this week. You need to understand that my companion and I pulled birth certificates out from puebla, cordova and the city of tierra blanca to marry some people. Its funny because of these places tierra blanca, where I am was by far the hardest to take out because they RAN OUT OF BIRTH CERTIFICATES (to get married here you have to have a certified birth certificate pulled out within 1 year of getting married). It is so hard sometimes Dad because I have seen that before every wedding (there will be another one tomorrow) there are fights, and sometimes pretty brutal fights before the wedding, so my companion and I have to counsel them and try and help them, and its so very hard to know what to say sometimes. Other times we have parents who simply dont know how to help their kids, and its so hard to know how to help them, how to guide them, how to teach them what they need in the Gospel. That being said I am so grateful because the gospel resolves so many of the problems we have. I really got to watch these couples change a ton! and its awesome because all we taught them was to study their scriptures, pray, and repent, and it made all the difference!
I am nervous because of what I am going to have to do here soon, when I go home, but I love my mission and am looking forward to seeing you soon
Monday, December 14, 2015
Well mom I am really starting to get jealous with all of the Christmas stuff that is starting to come out.
I cannot believe that I have not even met the little tyke and he is already 6 months old. In fact I didn't even get to see Ally pregnant, that is super weird. ( This is my niece; Charlene)
I am getting progressively more excited. Veronica is taking such good care of us mom, we are really super spoiled, and I am going to miss it, but at least for this period of Christmas I am going to be super well taken care of. In regards to this week I just wanted to share some super cool experiences. We just baptized Elizabeth's two daughters, so I am super duper pumped about that because I love these two little girls. The one I baptized whose name is evelynn, she is so super duper cute, we were teaching her, and we asked like what did you learn from alma 12 to which she responded that hte spiritual death of man is seperation from god. That little girls wonderful. Besides them, there was a girls mom who we baptized, and she was wonderful as well. So that is one part of what happened this week.
I don't want to scare you guys, but I used up at least 2 of my nine lives this week. First, we were trying to heat the water for a baptism, and apparently this boiler had a gas leak. I try lighting it, and there wasnt enough gas, so the pilot wasnt working. I then open it to full blast to see if I can get this boiler lit (by the way I am pretty sure that even though everything has a spark plug here, they never worked because I never have seen any that work). When I go to ignite it, the gas that had leaked out all around me ignited, and a boom like a gun shot knocked me back. Needless to say i lost hearing for a minute, but was luckily not even singed :). The other instance, there is a rancho here where that woman who got baptized lives. We are not allowed to go to ranchos. We were going to lose the baptism if I didnt go, so I said lets go. It was pitch black, 5 kilometers away down a path where there are no lights, and no people. I was in divisions with one of my district leaders, and he says your the boss. I still dont know whether I was brave, stupid, or just disobedient, but I said lets go. We started walking and I wanted to get us moving, so with a long stride, I pulled my companion who was slightly jogging along. As I did, I pulled a little ahead, but I hear a small scream from my companion as he runs towards me. Apparently I had walked right by a snake that was as big around as my quad. We got there and back wihtout incident, but I am pretty sure that we were being pretty darn protected this past week. we will not be going to that rancho again. BTW found out later that rancho is far enough a way that we actually enter into the next state :P whoopsies! Other than that, I am becoming a marriage expert as I am pulling out birth certificates from all over MExico :) So its pretty cool. I love you mom. Take care, I am telling you this out of confidence that you wont have a heart attack. Dont worry, I am fine :)
Monday, December 7, 2015
I have skipped another week, because last week was Kevin's bday and he was short on time due to trying to write back to some of the people who wrote him. THANK YOU
For those people not on FB; here are some pictures from Kevin's 21st bday from a neighbor, and the bible covers Rick made him. Kevin received his birthday package on his birthday!! MIRACLE!!!
Thank you all for your support of Elder Standridge!
HI MOM ~
For those people not on FB; here are some pictures from Kevin's 21st bday from a neighbor, and the bible covers Rick made him. Kevin received his birthday package on his birthday!! MIRACLE!!!
Thank you all for your support of Elder Standridge!
HI MOM ~
I really really loved the bible covers mother, I was going to make a comment about them this week. Everyone was asking me how much dad would charge to do them for them, they wanted me to see what he could do. In all honesty mom, I think that dad could get in and get a little bit of extra work through handy work that he does for others. He has talents and it might be helpful just to search for something in addition to what he already has. Just a thought, i know its tough, but I actually really like what Doug has done with the pictures because honestly that is the way to build a business.
I really love the pictures mother, it really truly seems like Christmas there, whereas here we have just gotten some nice Christmas weather, everyone has busted out their sweaters and jackets for the 68 degree weather, ha!
In regrds to Lauren and Kate, I cannot believe how fast the time is flying by, but I am super happy for them. It will only be a matter of time before I see you again dont worry. I hope you and the jones continue to have a great friendship!
In regards to things here I am so incredibly angrily happy. One of my converts got sealed to his wife in the temple this week, but no one told me so I didnt get to go. That is so frustrating but I am super happy for him and his family. The Gospel is true, and although I didnt get to see them get sealed, I know I will have so much happiness with them in Heaven. Mother I want you to hear my testimony of things that I am certain of. I know, without a single dobt in my mind that Heavenly Father takes care of his children. He protects them and guides them. Sometimes he mkes us live like he did with the children of israel, day by day, so that we remember him and keep humble, but he is always there. Mother I know with all of my heart and soul that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God This is the true Church on earth, and I know that this will guide us to happiness. I know mom that if we are diligent and obedient that everything will work out. We just need to listen and do what God says, he will speak to us through his prophets. I used to think that the self reliance and all of that was a little weird but I have come to know on the course of my mission that each and every single principles taught by the prophets is true, good, and the key to happiness. We just need to obey them, and then diligently follow through. Diligence is more than just doing what they tell us to, it is using our minds, our hearts, the spirit, everything at our disposal to find a solution. Mom I have no doubts about when I get back. Somehow, each and every week God has provided me with investigators for months, I have found someone that accepted the gospel to be baptized each week for a long time. I know that God will not abandon me when I get back, I know that there is nothing to fear. Yes I may have to sacrifice, work, and do many things that I dont like at first, but God will not abandon me, and one day we will have what we need mom. Do not give up. Do not lose faith. Do not get depressed, do not criticize, complain, or ever say the words I cant. You will pass the bar. You will get a job. You will do everything that you need to do, it only requires diligence, disposition, and obedience. I love you so very much, so dont worry, everything will be okay :)
PS The zone is doing well we have 3 investigators with a baptismal date progressing in every area :)
Monday, November 23, 2015
Hi mom, I am super duper happy to be able to talk to you,its great to see those fotos from home, I cannot believe what it was like to be in the youth programs. Its funny because so much has changed in just two short years, its incredibly funny. They checked today for the package and no dice whatsoever, but they have the general conference talks in magazines, so that is super cool! The little things missionaries get excited about. I have unfortunately realized that two things now excite me, when things go well in the zone, and when I get good food. Good food has never been so valued!
I went out today and ran another mile, and keep getting faster. As I was running, I really started pondering about how time passes with us. It can be such a frustrating thing to us, it feels so very long at times, and others it feels so frustratingly short. I think that the mission is really similar to running a marathon, much more so than to a mile or a 400. In the mission its just a game of constant endurance. No missionary has a herculean day that makes them a great missionary, just like no marathoners mile changes the whole marathon. Instead, we go day by day, week by week, month by month doing our best job. Some months are better than others. Some days are longer than others, but as we go accumulating our months the character of a missionary begins to shine through. I thought when I came out here that I would be the most obedient, the most diligent, but what I realized was that the attitude I had was always aimed towards a short sprint instead of a marathon. Its one thing to be obedient for a day, to shine your shoes when President or the assistants come. Its one thing to have a good day when you go on divisions. Its another thing entirely to do it everyday. I suppose last week that I really did have a tough week. I was sad. I was depressed, I suppose because I had reached the wall so to speak of my mission. That point where I was just tired of doing the same repeated motions over and over again. That being said I am feeling a lot more comfortable this week, a lot more relaxed and capable. The funny thing is that the numbers this week are a lot worse. I suppose that so often what counts in missionary service is the service part. Too often I think of this as a job, a job where my product is baptisms. They say the Sabbath should be a delight but all too often for me it is when the product is delivered and so can be incredibly stressful. I want it to be service. I want to focus more on helping others that on helping myself. I think that is part of why I was feeling so unsatisfied with myself is that I didn't see the point. It wasn't a lack of numerical success, in fact as far as numbers go they were fantastic (in my area alone we had 9 people with baptismal dates and have baptized basically every week for the past transfer). The problem was that we just were not giving service, my motivations were not pure, and the great lesson in this whole thing is that money cannot make us happy. We can have lots of money, lots of success, lots of a lot of things, but the world does not truly make us happy, god does, its funny.
So this week Elizabeth got baptized, and wow, just wow. I cannot tell you just how much time this took, and how happy I am. IT was honestly one of the best moments of my life. She is a single mother with a lot of guilt and who has had a really hard time, but she really finally took this step. Ill be honest she went to Edgars baptism last week, and I will be honest, I nearly dropped him, so she was scared, but her baptism went off without a hitch, it was honestly just one of the fastest ones I have ever done. down and up like it was just nothing. Anyways, we still have to work on her two daughters who are going to catacism, but one of them would so get baptized in a heart beat, I left her alma 12 and she told me that it talked about the importance of keeping the commandments to avoid spiritual death, oh and she is 9!!!!
In regards to how people have their agency to accept or not, that is so true, but that being said, a missionary has full capacity to achieve their goals. Wilford Woodrow in terms of historical facts, baptized over a thousand people. That's not just luck, he had the spirit with him. I am responsible to complete my goals, if someone doesn't accept, then I need to do everything in my power to touch their needs so that they understand. People don't accept only because they don't understand, if they understood everyone would keep the commandments. If after I have done everything in my power they still don't accept well then oh well I have to find someone else to replace them. I never thought the mission would teach me diligence to be honest, I thought I was going to learn love and humility, but never diligence, I thought I had that one in the bag and I was wrong. I have really learned that with the right amount of effort planning and faith one can achieve just about anything.
I am absolutely amazed at the Christmas scene, it is beautiful, and tell dad just how impressed I am by it. I do remember Jason, and wow, I cannot believe how many years it has been since I have seen them mom. I last saw David and Kristy 5 years ago!!! I must admit that it absolutely terrifies me that dad is getting eye surgery, I feel like they go wrong often, but if the cataracts are dangerous its probably for the best.
I used to be jealous about seeing movies, but given that I didn't see part 1, my desire to see part 2 has greatly diminished, although all of the girls I knew from before hand seem a lot older, everyone seems to have grown up since I have been away. Don't worry, there are about 4 or 5 more weeks, and although i will receive no turkey, i will be fine and super happy here.
Monday, November 9, 2015
I am really quite happy to hear how much you are studying. I hope that you will really be able to use this time to study what you need to understand to be able to pass this bar. I know you are capable of doing this so keep it up. It makes me a little sad that I will not be there to see the Christmas scene, but that being said I am enjoying the cooler weather here, it has actually gotten into the 70´s. I think that the link that you sent me should be just fine, I have already picked out a house where I will be able to talk to you on a television! With any luck this should be the last time I talk to you, but I don't want to think about that, I enjoy my mission so much, and I am going to miss getting to have spiritual experiences daily. President Jordan told me that later in my mission I would realize that it was something normal to have spiritual experiences, to the fact that I didnt even notice it, and in truth I have come to realize that is so very true.
What have you been doing in your calling right now, any cool activities. My companion and I came up with a pretty cool activity, we are doing a dessert contest. Every sister in the stake is invited to bring a dessert and investigators or members to try them. With any luck, everyone should be able to enjoy it.
(Here, Kevin is talking about Anika Busby and her amazing times she did on her Marathon last week). Mother you need to understand just how impressive that is. That is not just fast, that is exceptionally fast, especially for a girl, especially for her age. At no point in my fitness could I have done that!
Things keep on moving here mom, honestly its pretty cool because the investigators keep progressing, but I have been honestly more concerned with the missionaries in these days. The thing is, I am not just worried about how I progress, but I also want to help my missionaries to progress. They're like my kids, and I have to protect and help them as they keep moving. I really have learned to love each of them in their own way. Its funny really because they frustrate me when they do stupid things (believe you me all sunday, all i heard was one foolishness after another, but I care about them a lot so gaah!
I really enjoy working, but today I have 6 months left, I am pretty sure of how the changes will go from here on out, I have never trained so I think they are going to put me to do that here once I finish in Tierra Blanca, and I will finish training. Boy Time Flies when you are having fun! Love you lots, take care!
Monday, November 2, 2015
Hi mother, what a wonderful week it has been. I am really truly enjoying my time here in Mexico. It is incredible to me just how fast this year has past. I have 6 months to go, and it feels like just yesterday. This week was really good. We were able to keep the assistance up. Its really truly difficult sometimes mom because I have this horrible expectation that everyone else is like me. The simple fact of the matter is that everyone else is not like me, and will never be like me. Its funny because I realized that the most important work that I am going to do here as a leader will be to help the other missionaries to grow into becoming who they are capable of being.
Is it sad mother that i still totally remember those amendments, although I must admit I tend to think more of the 10 commandments these days instead of the 10 amendments. That being said, I love the freedom that I have had recently, its really been a blessing to be able to search for personal solutions to the different problems that present themselves. Do you remember that chapel that we saw there at stanford, well apparently elder cook went and spoke there, I wish we had gone inside, it honestly looks beautiful. In regards to news, I really dont have much, things keep going pretty much the usual, we didnt cook this week, I have been a little sick because I ate some chile ancho which I am allergic to. Just so you know, it honestly sucks, and made my blood pressure drop a ton, but I am all better now. Anyways, other than that nothing new.
Oh by the way, this week I got the chance to go talk to a less active whose son had been killed 2 years ago in a car accident. Today is the day of the dead, which means everyone is making bread, but this woman was obviously thinking a ton more in her son. It was odd to see, because this boy was the pride and joy of her life, I cannot believe how much it devastated her. I thought of you in this moment. The mission is so very much like being dead in so many ways. Of course one day we will be able to see the person again, but for these two years, we cannot. During the mission we live learn grow, and then gradually we come to realize that everyone else in the mission is younger and less experienced. Its funny because I looked around and noticed that everyone looks up to my companion and I to help them with their problems, I feel to a certain extent like a dad. Anyways, its funny because we learn so much, I just cannot imagine ever coming home, but I will get to see you soon. I love you, please take care and say safe.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Hi mom, I am so happy to be able to email you. It is absolutely incredible to me that week past week, the time just keeps flying by. I am so thankful for the support of the Ward as you are going through this difficult process of retraining. I feel so much confidence in you, and am so grateful to our Father in Heaven for having revealed the importance of fasting for these times of need. I will be especially generous in my fast this weekend, because I know that there are families with even more need than our own and those families that I see here. IT is such a blessing to be a member of a church guided by revelation from a loving heavenly father.
That being said, I definitely have some interesting things that happened this week.
1. Missionaries go through a little bit of a midlife crisis, This week my companion saw my photos from before my mission and was telling me how much weaker I as than before (I ever so politely invited him to shut up hahaha) but I decided to run a mile today to see how I would do. There is actually a 400 meter track here in tierra blanca so I took him out, and ran a 4:54. Given I never really ran the mile this is a new record for me, and gave me a, I've still got it, kind of feeling.
2. This week was absolutely and completely a success for our zone. We hit an assistance of 470 this week as a stake. To give you an idea, when I got here it was 370. I am honestly so grateful for the hard work of the missionaries in the zone. I am super blessed to be able to work with so many people who are capable of serving the Lord with all of their hearts, its wonderful. Needless to say that is more than a 25% increase in stake attendance in 2 months of work. At the same time I feel like I never reach a point at which I can sit back and said that is success, because now I feel incredibly nervous that the number is going to drop this week, and feel an incredible need to fix this.
3. That being said, today my companion and I decided to make some pizza as a reward for the zone, and it went absolutely wonderfully. I now have hand made corn tortillas, empanadas, budin, volovanes, pizza, empanadillas, a variety of chicken recipes, several new taco recipes, a variety of salsas, pastas, and new ways of cooking steaks. So needless to say I am going to be a little chef when I get home.
4. In regards to the hurricane it was so bad they closed schools and a bunch of other things, only to find it rained, which happens so frequently is a bit like saying in California it was dry.
5. Today we were studying and all of a sudden, I saw a pillar of light descend from the sky until it rested upon me. It was just one of those moments when I realized oh my gosh, can you imagine what it would have been like to actually see a pillar of light brighter than the sun, and to see God and Jesus in that light. Wow, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I feel it with every fiber of my being.
6. So we have baptized 2 weeks in a row and have 1 for this week too, and sounds like we might go a full 6 weeks baptizing every week if everything goes well, so I am super pumped about that.
Just a note, I love Elder Mangum, he is super chill and relaxed, we get along great and he is a good teacher. One of the best times in my mission right now!
Monday, October 19, 2015
Well mom, it is certainly an interesting week, its honestly so weird sometimes. I feel like I am working so hard sometimes, and yet I feel like the results never come as fast as I would like them to. This week was a good week because we saw that the church assistance really went up for the zone, so we are starting to see a little bit of success which makes me feel good. I wish I could see other missions and their focus because I feel like here sometimes is way different than i imagine how it is in other areas.
In regards to the pants, they're fine don't worry, they just need to be sewn, its mainly the shoes that are starting to wear out. I am so so so proud of you for not studying on Sundays mom, I really want you to know how happy that makes me. When I get back I will work too don't worry, we all really need to be self sufficient and I just feel incredibly guilty the way that I depended on you guys so much before my mission. When I get back I want to be able to pay for my food housing and college. My goal is to be self sufficient, I don't want you guys to have to pay anything. At least that is the goal.
Mom the reason why I haven't sent pictures is I lost my memory card so I borrowed one to send them. I will have good ones next week because I did volovanes with a companion in a bright pink apron, so I look very pretty! Hahaha, I am just honestly impressed with the people at church they are so wonderful. Its honestly great how much they are there for you guys. Please tell both Laura and Chad and And Garry and Diana how grateful I am to them and how much I look forward to seeing them soon. I really hope that we can enjoy some time together.
The reason mom why we call one another brother and sister is because we are one giant family. To me, we are all brothers and sisters of Christ. Now that being said we have a sacred responsibility given from God to take care of our parents and our children. Hey by the way, have you seen Deborah from Red Lobster lately? I haven't heard you mention her in ages.
Hey mom in regards to our living conditions these are by far the best living conditions I have ever had in my mission. I have a super chill clima. I live with a 40 year old single sister and her mother, and they give us food regularly. (I hope I don't get fat). We have a decent shower, and I have a super duper comfy mattress. The sisters give us a lot to eat, its honestly great, we have 5 or sisters who all worked as cooks and I am honestly super impressed and happy. That being said I have a ton of work. The bishop is never there and no one takes any responsibility. The ward is basically run by the second counselor and there are so many open callings, but we have ex-missionaries that are being used by the stake. Its ridiculous but we are seeing some progress. we started off with 110 when I got here and this week we had 137. So there is popping up the assistance little by little. I want to see the ward get to 150, that's my goal.
Kevin's Companion and sleeping quarters
You have come so long in 3 short years mom, I love you so much. I am loving life right now. Hahah, you will soon get to see Lauren and all of them when they finish up, its funny how soon they finish, you wouldn't even notice it.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
My week was really quite stressful mom. I feel like sometimes I am pushing against a brick wall just hoping that it will move but it never does. It sucked because we had more than 20 people in the zone with baptismal dates Saturday, but they keep falling and like people don't work, its just stressful because I don't know what to do with the elders sometimes. The thing is that I have noticed how the number of baptisms has kept going down since President Cordova has got here. I noticed that generally people had better results when they just got mad at the elders and yelled at them until they baptized. After Sunday went poorly I lost my patience with one elder who lets just say is less than obedient and less than diligent, and just let him have it. It neither made me feel better nor do I truly believe that the conditions will improve based on what I did. Furthermore I feel that it had the negative result of hurting my trust with the elder. I was feeling guilty about the zone so I decided to call him about my doubts. He responded to me that the secret was to do 3 less active lessons and 10 contacts everyday, if we do it, we will have success. This is the same thing we have always been told, but he said it with such certainty and I felt the spirit testify to me that what he said was true. He told me how happy he was with what I was doing, how the Stake President was so happy with how we were helping with the less actives and how he just wanted me to be patient and the results would come. I knew he was right, I knew I should never chew anyone out again. I really hurt inside for what I did. It was honestly so hard, but I know what to do now. I love the atonement of Jesus Christ. I love how I can become clean. Mom if it weren't for him, for what I did, I would be unworthy to enter into the presence of God. I would be forever cast off from his presence. How terrible it would be without him. I know that through the spirit we can feel better. I love and treasure him.That being said, I am grateful for the chance to feel stressed and learn here as a missionary. What a gift it is to be able to learn how to lead in the Lords way. What a gift it is to be able to face challenges and difficulties in so many different ways. Trying to get the spirit, trying to get revelation, trying to get results, trying to build up our ward, it is honestly so difficult.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Hi mother, I am really glad to hear that you are doing well at home, it sounds awesome with what you are doing with the bar prep. Will you get the bar results before I get home? Hey can you find out when do I have to decide on my classes for byu? I want to know your opinion on something. The econ department at byu is notoriously hard. If I want to become a professor I will have to take these classes at some point, but if I go through Econ, I might put at risk my scholarship. Although idk if I want to be a professor or no. If I decide to do other things, I could take classes to learn Portuguese and learn how to do personal training and get a degree in that in 1 year, and then finish out accounting (I have to send in my application in may and i need to take like 2 more classes). That being said, I don't know what you think, personal training is a small dream of mine, and something I would really like to do because I find it super interesting but I don't know what do you think?
Mom they say that there are different levels of faith in our lives. It gradually grows over time but we can see certain specific things that people do that show the size of their faith. For example with tithing, some people never pay tithing, some people buy it when things are going good, others unless their is an emergency situation, and others no matter what happens. It is incredible mother, because choosing not to study, eat out, work, and other activities on the Sabbath Day we show the degree of our faith. Mother I really admire your faith and more importantly, I admire how your faith has grown. I remember when the idea of going without iced tea was about as unthinkable as jumping off a Cliff! It makes me so happy to see how much you have grown and changed. I would honestly do anything to have someone like you here in my Ward, because I know how much it would help here in the work. That being said, I would use some of your Sunday time to rest, some of it to be with Dad, but also I would talk to some of the relief society presidency about who is less active and needs some help or a good friend. Or you could talk to the missionaries and ask if there is anyone that they would like you to accompany with. Mom, I am sure that missionary work brings blessings. These blessings are many, from increased testimony to increased love, but for me two of the greatest are the approval of Heavenly Father and the new relationships with the people you serve. I may be the one on the mission but you have grown so much mom. As the Lord said to Peter, when though art converted, strengthen thy brethren. The Sabbath day is a relief, a delight, and I will make you a promise, that each step you take in the Gospel, you will receive more and more help in your law school. I know how hard it will be, but I know how capable and incredible you are. If you are going to ask permission, then ask through President Jordan, there is a much higher probability.
That all being said I would like to comment about how my week is going. I had a really interesting week in a lot of ways. Right now we have found a single mother and her two daughters, and they are honestly incredible. I left this 9 year old little girl alma 12 to read, and when I asked what she thought she responded wow, I loved how it talked about how we can avoid the spiritual death that separates us from God. It is honestly so incredible because I cannot get that response out of 90% of the people here, but a 9 year old Little girl was more capable. Its so incredible here. Her mom loved conference and is honestly progressing quite well, although she still took her daughters to Catholicism this weekend. I honestly believe that this family will get baptized and it makes me really happy. Something that makes me really frustrated is the widespread amount of lying that has been going on recently. I hate when people tell me they re going to do something and then don't do it. Its just like acceptable to some people and I don't understand it. I always have so many people here who say they will do things but then they never complete. That being said I have also found some people with an incredible amount of faith and love. The sister that we live with is so kind to us, and treats us so well, she is single and in her 40´s and I feel bad for her, because she is that type who has always been waiting to get married but never has. In addition, this week we had 17 less actives in church,which made me really happy. There is a man who everyone calls Pita ho has brought his whole family back. Its honestly incredible because he was he Ward secretary and all we had to do was visit him 1 or 2 times and he was active again!
Anyways, I love you and Dad very very much. You are wonderful and I am so thankful for all that you do for me. I realized just how true the love is that you have had for me, and honestly I cannot describe how very grateful I am for that. Please tell Grandma just how much I love her, I would love to hear from her if she can. I miss her terribly and want to hear what is going on with her and Doug right now. Take care for one more week!
Monday, September 28, 2015
Hi mother its wonderful to hear from you! I love hearing your stories. Wow, those sisters are really different from how the elders are. I will be honest, if anyone in my zone helped out as much as those sisters did I would not be a happy camper. Its weird because they are always talking with us about the importance of making progress, of ensuring that our wards grow and that kind of thing. Its honestly so different in US missions, they are all about getting service done! Hahaha, that is actually super funny that the misión president did that. I honestly had that moment to when I realized how grateful I needed to be for what they were giving me, because I did a super tough fast one day and honestly it changed my perspective completely.
Wow mom, I forget sometimes just how far you have come in the church, to me, it is wonderful to hear that you are able to go in and do initiatories and endowment sessions, I honestly cannot believe that! When I get back, here is the order of how I want things to go. Sushi, reléase, run, gym, massage, nap. (Those are the material things I miss most) Its so cool to hear that Dad helped clean the church, that is an activity that is almost impossible over here. I honestly love Dad, its incredible to me all of the service that he gives, I don't know how he does that. Hey if Wayne Baldwin is the employment specialist, who are the counselors.
As far as the weather goes, things are actually significantly cooler, its been in the low 90s in these days :P People have actually been able to take the bags of chips out of the freezer (during the summer the bags would melt on to the chips). I have actually become so accustomed to being wet from my own sweat it feels weird to be dry. Just FYI none of these clothes will be usable when I get done, the shirts are gradually turning yellow, the pants are changing colors, the shoes are dying, but everything will hold out until the end.
As far as my week, it went significantly better. We had 19 investigators progressing, which for 7 companionship's is not great but it is at the very least acceptable. I felt good because I did a fast this week so that people would come to church, and we passed by for everyone, and o the 12 people who said they would go did not. That made me think well what can I do and I was super disappointed. Literally as the sacrament trays went around like everyone got to church, and we had 7 investigators. IT made me feel a lot better! Hey mom, I have always wanted some advice from you on this. What have you done to stay with dad for all of these years. I remember when I was Little several heavy fights, specifically, I remember hiding upstairs and you like hit him with your purse and he broke the purse. But as I got older there weren't those kinds of conflicts. Here I face a society in which people beat each other regularly. Marriage has become more of a tax convenience than a social institution, and children are often left parent-less, beaten regularly, and face huge obstacles. All of that being said, how did you two do all of that, what made you two different than everyone here.
As far as things are going here, tomorrow we have conference with president so I am excited. I love you, and treasure your letters.
Love you, Kevin
Monday, September 21, 2015
Kevin's letter this week was very personal to me and not a lot to share, however he wrote his dad a great letter and it shows how much he has grown; so I thought I would share that. I will put a little of what he shared in my letter at the bottom. Thank you for reading every week and sharing in Kevin's journey!!
1. Bubble Bobble together as a family, getting to the last level and never beating it.
2. The light-saber battles where we would break them outback.
3. That star-wars ship game where we would always play together, and which we also did not beat the last level on.
4. Going to San Francisco and buying a giant stuffed fish and eating at Bubba Gumps in a convertible
5. Going to home town buffet every Thursday.
6. When you used to tell me Mom was moody and I went and wrote that down in a paper for school and got you in big trouble.
7. Pretending to be afraid of the rides there at Disneyland so they'd be more fun.
8. Cans and bottles...so many
9. Various vacations to Hawaii and scuba diving.
10. All of the movie nights, and game nights, and just boys nights to everywhere.I had a pretty darn good childhood and am super grateful. I see so many parents here who are super abusive to their kids and who don't treat them right at all, and never realized how lucky i was. I love you!
You know I was sitting alone last night and suddenly a flood of memories came into my mind from my childhood, and I just wanted to share them with you (you can read my email to mom for everything else)
Hi mom, I am really happy to hear from you, and you are definitely right about that with pride. That is one of the most famous talks that President Benson ever gave, and honestly it is so true. It is such a difficult thing to overcome but it is something that as alma says in Alma 5, if we are not stripped of pride we are not prepared to meet God.
As far as conditions here goes I am up to my neck in stress right now. My zone has 7 companionship's and right now there are only 11 investigators with a specific baptismal date. That is not good, and honestly we got hit hard on Sunday. The night before we had 30 people with baptismal dates, but like no one that committed to go went to church. Its so tough mom. You have to understand, I have a reputation for 2 thing in the missions. 1. I ask a lot of questions always. 2. I love reactivating people. The goal right now for the zone is that everyone can get the 15 priesthood holders paying tithing needed to get a functional ward. I put the elders to work on that, but as soon as they did, its like their horses with blinders and forgot their investigators. Its incredibly frustrating because on my own, I have always had my conscience which wants to help reactivate people and zone leader pressure which made me baptize. But its weird because I dunno sometimes people just cannot focus on more than one thing, and I don't know what to do to help them.In addition, I don't know if I told you but I got something called chicungooya. Now its basically like a dengue that gets spread in the air. That stuff sucks! I felt like someone hit me with a truck and my knees were hurting so bad....I still got my companion up to run. Don't worry its all gone now and i actually didn't get it that bad, but right now like everyone here has it, and for the old folk and kids its pretty bad because they're confined to their beds basically. I miss you lots, and I love you. Please take care, do well with your law school and I know everything will be a okay.
LOVE ELDER STANDRIDGE--
Monday, September 14, 2015
Hi mother, I really enjoy getting to see how much fun that you guys get to have their back at home. Sometimes it make me a Little jealous, but in all honestly, I cant remember home anymore. Its really weird, but I have forgotten life outside of the mission. It has just become what I think about when I wake up and what I think about when I go to bed. There is a promise in one of our manuals, that if we serve with all of our hearts God would change us. I did not really believe that at first, but slowly but surely, I have come to know how true that is. I don't know if I have changed mom, I really hope so, it would be quite a waste if I didn't.. (this computer is super slow so I type faster than it writes and it doesn't write everything).
Anyways, my first companion is really interesting he is from los Mochis Sinaloa,wants to go into the military,and loves Halo (he is making me think about the fact that halo 5 is coming out which I miss). It is really interesting because this week we did two different divisions. It was really funny mom because I really believe that one of the key ways for missionaries to work is to go find people who are inactive and reactivate them. So many of the missionaries here simply do not get it, we have to help people. I told the whole Zone I wanted 5 people who promised to pay tithing by the end of the week. On Sunday afternoon I started calling the district leaders and many of the companionship's had no one. So I started calling companionship's personally and they all started working much much harder and had 2 families that afternoon. It was weird because just by talking to them they understood. In this effort, one of the key ways that we used to find new members was that we would go with less actives and members and ask for the directions of new less actives, as we searched them, slowly but surely found families with people that weren't members.
One morning I woke up and felt the strong impression that we needed to do divisions with a companionship that had no one in their tank. As I went running I felt another impression to go and start the division at 8 am and to not tell them they were going to have the division. As we did so, it was great because we found that one of the elders was still showering when he should have been studying (busted!). It was a really good chance to help that Elder understand why what he was doing was wrong. As I started the division that day, the Elder who had been studying he shared with me his frustration and anger with the fact that they could find no one. We started out the day, no one was home, and I say take me to the closest active member. He does so, and I start asking the member for names of less actives. We go searching for them, and not a single one was home. We then go to lunch and the sister who was going to give us lunch that day wasn't home, and we then go with the one investigator they had and she was out of town. For a day that should have been productive and a teaching experience I felt like a failure. Bu just as the day was about to end we found one of those less actives from earlier, and inside was a 30 year old man that accepted a baptismal date and was Golden. Whats more is I get a call from this elder the next day telling me he did the same thing and found another one.
One of the things I have really come to learn is that I never find anyone I never know what to say, I just try my best to find people, talk with people and trust that the lord will help me, and he always does. It honestly makes me feel great because I go to help this Elder grow and learn something new. I feel mom like this is how missionary work should be,I get to help people and I have learned so much. I get the freedom to make my own decisions and its honestly great .
I am really happy because since I have been gone, I have seen how you've grown and changed too. You've learned so very much.I find it funny how much you love this pair of sisters mom, have you been giving them references, or why do they keep stopping by? Your not a recent convert anymore, it is a Little odd!
I laughed so much when you said dad got there at 1030, that is so very much him.
I love you very much, hope to hear from you soon..
Monday, September 7, 2015
Hi Mom, how are you doing, I just wanted to share with you that I really loved you a lot. It is amazing to me how far you have come. You have worked so hard for 4 very long years, and you've really grown a lot. I hope that you do well in your job search, something that they always say to us as missionaries is that we need to do without stopping to do. We need to teach without stopping to search, we need to help less actives without stopping to baptize and we need to help other missionaries without stopping working in our own areas. I think that this is a lesson that moms so very frequently demonstrate, especially moms like you that worked when I was a kid. Its incredible to me that you have done without stopping to do in your work and your studies and everything that you are doing. I know how hard it is, and I am proud for you.Thanks for talking to me. You are probably going to be mad at me but I left my memory stick to my camera, I have a backup of a vast majority of what I had, and have sent you most of my photos. That being said I no longer have that copy and cannot send you anymore until I buy a new one which I wont have time to do today, so mil disculpes!!!!!
Mom these are all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission. just thought you'd like the photo.
Thanks Dad, I love you a ton, this will be perfect, I will definitely do this soon here. I miss you a ton, enjoy your beach time. I hope you take care, you are in my thoughts daily, This week I am 8 months out, the time is going too fast, I am not ready to come home. While here I am in a training ground for life. I am learning how to take care of myself, but I am scared because soon I am going to have to face so many challenges, and I dont know anything about how to deal with so many of the challenges I will face, I am excited to see home, but I know how hard it will soon be. Take care, I love you very much, and hope to see you soon.