Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 69~~

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

Week 68 ~~~ A letter to his DAD

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!!

Hi Dad;

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)

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 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!

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.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 67 ~~ Lots of teaching/learning experiences as a Zone Leader

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

Week 66 - Zone Leader Pictures!!

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!!!!!
Anyways, my first week as a zone leader was stressful, wow. I cannot believe how bad this place has been since I got here. Like there were people with 0 investigators with a baptismal date. I want to leave this place with at least 5 investigators per group. I am working hard to be able to help them, but really my area isn't good. We baptized this week, but we have no one else that is really progressing very well. Its very stressful for me, and I wish to do better.

I am so glad to hear how the sisters helped you out, that is honestly super incredible that they give service like that, I have yet to ever do anything like that to help anyone here. As to what Laura said, that would be great, I would love to do that, but we cannot because it is against the rules to do zone activities in mexico, it kind of stinks, no activities no sports, no get togethers, nothing. But as I have found that I have spent more and more time here, the mission seems to take up more of my thoughts and feelings and it is honestly great for me to grow like that.
I love you mom, good luck, you will be in my prayers.
Mom these are all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission. just thought you'd like the photo.

Elder KEvin Standridge

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.