Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 39~~

Hi mom,

 I really hope that you are enjoying your time back home, I honestly cannot tell you how happy I am on my mission right now, everything is perfect. I honestly have grown to be so thankful for this district, they call us Proguero (guero is a spanish word for american and the wards name is progreso) because we are all white. I have mentioned Elder Bennet before, he is my super cool country boy district leader, and honestly is such a great example of leadership, like he never gets mad or lets his own pride dictate his decisions, but instead does what is best for us. Elder Mcgannon is my companion, I think I already mentioned I home taught his girlfriend in college, I honestly love him, he is super chill, like super patient, and its nice because we are like equals, even though I am senior companion, I don't feel it at all because we honestly just work together in like super good unity. Elder Sleight is Elder Bennetts companion, he is super humble and nice, he wants to be an actor and loved to lift before the mission, so he and I have bonded over that. Anyways, we all went bowling today, and it was just super chill, I haven't gotten to have fun like that for a while. We went with our misison leader Carlos Tellez, who is just an awesome guy. He speaks English too, so the 5 of us just bond together, its awesome. 

I have really grown to love this area, like its pretty sick, I have air conditioning in my room, two bathrooms, a nearby park to run at in the mornings, and I just found out that my area is the largest in the mission, so I never have to worry about trying to learn anything bigger. Its incredible to think that I will end up spending 6 months here, but I will be here for 1 more month can you believe that. Anyways, I am just enjoying myself because it was stake conference this week, and 1 of my converts received the melchezideck priesthood after a month of being baptized, and the family of hindus plus Daniel went to the temple to do baptisms. Like that moment when you start seeing people reactivate or get converted is just the absolute best. I love it so much. I did get the thing from the relief society, and it was great, I loved it, we are so blessed as missionaries to have a ward and a stake that loves us enough to do all that they do for us. We got a letter once a month from the high council, and that was honestly one of the biggest sources of comfort that I received at the start of my mission. Honestly the start was rough, but like right now, I just am enjoying everyday, getting to help people. They say that in the mission we learn to love people, and I suppose that is true, but it is different to how I expected. Like I honestly get super irritated at some people when they are super rude or mean to us, but at the same time I really just love some of the people that I have seen converted to death. You do grow in love for everyone though because when people refuse to do things at first I feel a little rejected, as if they are rejecting me, which makes me irritated,  but then I realize that this is not my work, and I invite them to do what will make them happy, and feel sad for them if they don't accept.

So today I will be cooking your tacos for a noche de hogar, so we will see how they turn out. IF you buy flour tortillas that are like corn tortilla sized, you can actually just throw them in the microwave and they taste as good as the corn ones. Also if you want, you can try soy meat (oxymoron) which is a cheap, healthier substitute for groundbeef, that I surprisingly could not believe was not beef. Its great! If you could look up some kind of recipe for a postre that I could cook for a family that has really been active in missionary work, I would really appreciate it (maybe an apple pie would be good).

Anyways, like I said we had stake conference this week, and it was honestly awesome because I learned so much. I am totally gonna be a church nerd when I get back, I love getting to learn about the manual of instruction and things like that, and they did a full explanation during the priesthood session about what each quorum should do, and each reunion, which I honestly found incredible to hear because I really learned a lot. We also had a 70 get up that we could ask questions to, and we really talked about how the members and missionaries could work together, and it was awesome because the next night I got to go on a visit with member with a couple, and they honestly just offered a powerful testimony that really touched the heart of the woman we were teaching, and made me super happy.

This week, I got to see one of the greatest examples of true love that I have ever seen in my life. There is a woman who is crippled, she cannot walk, and she met this man, although she was crippled he still fell in love with her. He takes care of her, and does everything for her, and just shows true christlike love, although he never gets anything physical. It is beautiful because she is a very faithful member and is starting to bring her husband along, and he reads the book of mormon and talks with us because he loves her. I honestly love how beautiful their relationship is.

Anyways, that's all there is to report here mom, I love you, I love my mission, take care.

Elder Kevin Standridge

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 38~~

Hi Mom,

 I am glad to hear that things are going good back home, I honestly find it awesome how much work you are doing back there at the house, it honestly maks me super happy to know that everything is going well. It looks like so much fun, but its so hard, i cannot imagine being at home right now, this is where I need to be. I love this place and this ward mother. These people are good and the relief society really wants to help other people. The relief society presidents daughter almost got kidnapped this weekend on the street corner by their house, and still went in and visited all of the new converts in the ward. They all love one another mom, and it is wonderful. 

I have seen wonderful examples of service and selfless out here. My watch broke, my ward mission leader looked at me, took the watch off his wrist and said here, take mine, I have another. I really wish mom that I could be selfless and loving like so many others. I find that all too often I am more focused on what I want and what would make me happy, that I become selfish and forget others and what they want, and paradoxically lose my own happiness. I love getting to see how well things took off out there in the relief society, its so great to see how successful your activities are. It makes me even more excited to hear about the temple. Two more weeks, that is awesome, now you just need to baptize dad and we can get sealed ;)

As far as my relationship with my leaders go, my district leader Elder Bennet is awesome and has kept the heat off me for a while. The in-actives are honestly just stupid mom, like they don't want to do anything to get a testimony and put 10 billion excuses why they cannot do things instead of honestly solving their problems. Finding the lords chosen people is what needs to be done, but it is true that I do not have a magic wand that makes them appear out of nowhere.

Its incredible that Taylor is already done, but the sweet thing is mom, is that Lauren hits her halfway point this week, 3 more months until we talk again, and 3 more months until my halfway, and from there it flies by :)

This week was honestly awesome, there were multiple instances when things happened that I honestly cannot explain. All of my plans would fail, and Id be left to contact, and I found that all of my plans had failed because the lord wanted me to go with one specific person. I also noticed how I have so often put my own will and my own desire over the will of the lord, I honestly had a week of huge growth and felt like I had my mind enlightened this week. I really have been pondering more and more on the example of Christ. He suffered more than anyone else, why? So he could become like his Father and understand us perfectly. We too must suffer to become like him, and that is okay, because he is the source of true happiness. I love my Father, and know that if I trust in God and his spirit he will guide me. 

It is interesting because this week is carnaval, which means that it is the festival of flesh in the centro, so there is a lot of very very bad stuff going on. Despite that, God still works, guides us, and shows us how to love. I love God mom, I want you to know that. I love my savior, and something I never knew before, I love other people. People are good and do there best, and although their bodies make them lazy, in their spirits they want to do right, because they are children of our Father. Stay safe mom, keep up the hard work, I will keep you always in my prayers and in my heart, happy valentines day, stay strong.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 37 ~~


Well its just another week down here in Mexico, there were changes, and I am staying for another week. I do have pictures for you, that will be sent as soon as I get access to a computer from which to send them, the computer I am on right now, barely functions so you know, pickers cannot be choosers. Anyways, I am so happy to learn about temple prep, like that will be super cool. All I will say is when you go there for the first time really pay attention more than anything to how you feel, and what it means to keep the covenants that you will make. You will have years to ponder the symbolism and learn, but you will only ever make the covenants once for yourself. Its honestly super cool that Taylor is home, like I am counting one by one as more and more missionaries make it home, pretty soon here porter will make it home, and then I will be really close. This month Lauren hits 9 months, now that is just incredible, her halfway point. As I have been in this district, I have really come to appreciate so many of the trials that I have had in the past on the mission. Having tried the bitter, I really have come to appreciate the sweet so much more. Like honestly I love my district and am working hard and enjoying every day of it.

This week was honestly a really hard week for me in terms of the work. Like the lessons didn't come the way they normally do, we only had like 23 and no one came to church, so I had some very angry zone leaders breathing down my neck. Luckily my district leader Elder Bennett is super nice, and a great guy, so he really took the bullet for my companion and I, and really supported us, I love that guy. Anyways, the coolest experience was last night with an investigator named Ismael, he is starting up a small bread selling business, which is super chill (its really hard to not critique a lot of the business practices sometimes, but I always have to remember I am a missionary that was a business major, not a business major who is right now a missionary). Anyways, we brought a recent convert named Rafael, and honestly Rafael started whipping out scriptures and testifying powerfully, and I realized like I could baptize no one for the rest of my mission and i wouldn't matter because at the very least I had this one solid convert who would always be there, he honestly has made the two years worth it. I also felt a little bit like I was involved in a pyramid scheme because Rafael is getting ready for a mission, so I will have joy, not only with him, but with all of the people that he converts during his mission, its honestly awesome that I get to be a part of all of this.

Anyways, this week I have honestly had some big thoughts on what I am going to do with my life, and the direction that I want to take it. I honestly realized that the Lord gives us commandments and we always have the ability to keep them, no matter what. So I was thinking about Sunday work, it is a commandment that I should not work that day, and I honestly wondered what I should do. I realized that I have to choose a job and a career that will not force me to  work on Sunday, so for example investment banking is just not an option. That said, what happens if like I get back and someone says that I have to work a Sunday a month, and I can find no other work in Provo. Well then, I avoid Sunday work as much as possible then I either do not accept pay, or I give them obey to the church for a a donation for that Sunday, and then I trust that the Lord will bless me for that. With that in mind, I still need to spend a lot more of my time working than I did in the past, I honestly have relaxed way too much in my life, one of my favorite quotes is ´´Sleep is the cousin of death´´. So I honestly am going to probably sacrifice a little more sleep to be able to work hard, take all the classes I want to, and go to the temple. Lets just say I plan on working over 20 hours every week while keeping the class schedule the same. I also have begun to realize that Mexico is the place to invest for small businesses man. Like honestly, in the US if you start a small business, everyone else is competitive, but here, like your are going up against people who are not remotely competitive in terms of business ability. I honestly some day really want to come in and invest, plus with the dollar to peso ratio, like you can get a huge kickstart in terms of funds, and then earn large margins, so i definitely want to invest here some day. So that said, I am looking at being a lawyer or being a professor, we will see when we get back.

Oh this week we got to have a meeting with Presidente Hoyos. He honestly is just super cool, and it was awesome to be able to interact and talk with him. Hoyos honestly focused on how we work with members a lot, and the thing that touched me the most was that when we really understand the restoration, we really want to interact with our neighbors. When we understand that this is the biggest thing and most important thing in life, and that those around us cannot be saved if they dont know about it, then we really want to share it with those around us. He gave us some technical advice about how to teach and use members. I apparently have gotten to be known for asking questions by president because in the last interview we had, he didnt ask me anything and was like well elder standridge what questions to you have for me. And this week I asked hoyos a couple of questions, and he was cracking up.

Anyways, I want to tell you all how much I love you, this gospel is true, to those who have not ever truly experienced the joy that comes from honest sincere repentance, I honestly can tell you that it brings peace and joy to the wounded soul. To those who earnestly seek the atonement of Jesus Christ there is peace, and happiness at the end. I honestly have really learned that when we stop being so selfish, love those around us, love God, and are willing to listen to his spirit without regard for what the consequences are because we trust in him, life is happier. I miss you all very much, and love your letters so much, I really try and write back to everyone, but sometimes I am bad about it, so forgive me please!!!!

Elder Standridge

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 36 - WE GOT PICTURES!!!

Kevin has not had time to write multiple letters lately, so here is the letter he wrote to Rick and I.  He has included some pictures that have been on his camera for awhile!! :)

This is Kevin and his first companion.  Boy he looks different now!  The next one is Kevin's current companion and Kevin says he is getting chewed out.  The next picture is of what Kevin eats for dinner.

Wow mom, it honestly sounds to me like you are doing an incredible job with your school work, you are staying on top of everything, working hard at work, and moving right along, I am super duper proud of you and all you do. I really will be looking at law when I come back, it honestly depends on how things go with my studies, but it would def be something that I would be interested in. I don't know how the insurance is, and I can deal with out it if you cannot get it, but an inhaler could really be useful if you could find it, like I get it if you cant, but just one of those things. Dad is an amazing man, at 65 years old he is incredibly strong and active, and I super proud that he is my father, I really would do anything to be able to spend time with both of you, and my appreciation for both of you has grown a lot while being out here. 
This week was a little bit of less success in terms of people. We basically baptized everyone we were teaching, and although we have been searching like madmen for new investigators, no one that we have found has really been progressing and keeping their commitments so it is frustrating in that way. At the same time, I really cannot complain about the work sometimes. I listen to other missionaries and they say things like oh we taught 3 lessons this week. I would get chewed the heck out of me if I taught 3 lessons in one day, if I taught 3 in a week and I was not on my death bed I am pretty sure they would send me home. Then I see photos of other missionaries houses and I am like wow and I felt like my house was nice. So I think every mission has their trials and things that are nice about them, but that is not what matters, a bad bed or really spicy food, those things are not what matter, instead it is how hard we are working to follow  what the spirit tells us to do, and how much we love everyone around us. Its honestly super cool because this week we are going to go to a talk by the area president. I really hope that I can learn something cool from him that will help in my area. All of that said, I really realized this week helping people to understand what is not okay. An ex-missionary was talking to me after going with us to a lesson and I honestly could not get the guys need, he told me we all need to feel the freedom from the guilt that comes from sin. Even if we do not realize it, we all have a guilt that is inside us for what we have done wrong, and through the atonement, repentance, and then baptism, we can become free from that guilt. It honestly really touched me because I realized I need to help people to understand that their behavior is not okay, and that they have to overcome that through repentance, not because I am looking for baptisms or anything like that, but instead because I know how much better they will feel if they repent, and how much happier their lives will be.
                                                         Cheering for the Patriots still.....

                                                                    District Progreso
I honestly love you both so much, I am working hard, week by week, little by little, as an email from Jen said to me, you just finished your first trimester just like me. Its happening little by little guys, this month, Lauren and Kate hit their halfway points, I miss you guys,  but I know that I could do nothing better for the family than be here right now.
I love you guys,

                               The baptism's that Kevin did this week; Alankra, Lakshmi, Daniel and Rafael
Kevin with his Companion Elder McGannon