Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Latest and Greatest in my Life

Bought a NEW CAR

2007 Mazda3, 4 cylinder, 2.3L. Manual. 
Any suggestions for a name for him?


Yeah I totally joined that bandwagon of returned missionaries working for vivint... But in all seriousness I love this job. I love the people I work with and I have the best shift. I work graveyards. It's awesome. 


I adopted Shredder from a friend who called him "Fishy".


Andre, Joe, Dennis and I took this picture for my best friend who is on a mission in Peru! 
(Not pictured are Brandon and RJ.)  


Friday, July 12, 2013

The Story of My Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Chapter One: Guatamala City, Guatemala CCM 

On March 5th, 2013 I was set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by my stake president.

 I said goodbye to my mom, my brothers and sister-in-law, and my best friends. I put on a name tag and boarded a plane to a foreign land. 

I was joined on the flight by around 30 other North American missionaries who were headed to various missions in Central America. During my layover in Los Angeles, California, I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the other missionaries. Three stood out in my mind and became great friends over the course of the six weeks we were in the CCM together. The first was Elder Peterson. We talked a bit on the flight and he seemed very quiet and reserved. Over the course of the six weeks he became like a little brother. He was 18 when he arrived in the CCM and had a birthday in the m as well. He was very supportive and helped me feel at home.
(Elder Peterson is the one with the glasses)
The next amazing person I met was Hermana Nielson. In the airport in LA we bonded over our disgust at eating McDonald’s and I ate all her fries while we talked about music, and our families, and things we were so excited for. It took one hour, and we became best friends. We spent the next six weeks growing closer and closer. We did everything we could together. She did my hair, sang for me, and I ate half her ice cream every meal. She was my saving grace in the CCM. I consider her to be my sister. The day she boarded the bus to head to the plane for Nicaragua was so hard for me. She had been an amazing source of inspiration and love for me. We took care of each other and I will always love her for being there for me.

And the third person I met during the layover was a tall, awkward, annoying elder named Elder Turley. He irritated me so much that first evening because he would not shut up. He was talking and making jokes, and I was just annoyed by him at first. But by the end of the CCM he was one of my best friends. He never gave up on trying to get me to laugh, and I am so glad he was as persistent as he was or else I would never had realized how incredible he is. We had these random “no smiling” contests, that I almost never won because he had this ability to make me smile no matter how upset or irritated or whatever I was. (I don't have a picture of him unfortunately...)
Distrito Mateo
 I made many other friends in the CCM and we had a lot of adventures together. Everyone at the MTC made me feel very welcome. Even the kitchen staff, and Carlos, the head chef. They took excellent care of me and made sure I never ate a bite of pork because I am allergic. The greatest thing they did for me though was on my birthday. They actually surprised me by making me a pink pig face birthday cake! I was so surprised and touched, I almost cried. They even attached a little note that said, "This will be the only piggy you ever eat!" It was so cute!
My teachers were also super supportive. I had a few different teachers while at the CCM. One I had the entire 6 weeks was Hermano (Brother) Lopez. He is incredibly intelligent when it comes to anything gospel related. He was incredibly in tune with the spirit, and he always knew exactly what to say. He was a rock for me from the beginning and I am so grateful to him for all of his support and encouragement. Another teacher was Hermano Chavez. He was with us for less than 2 weeks but he was incredible! He served his mission in El Salvador and he immediately became my go to guy for any questions I had about El Salvador. He is an amazing person and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to become friends with him.  
The CCM was an amazing experience and I cannot express how grateful I am to have had that opportunity.  
Chapter Two: Metapan, El Salvador 

On April 16th I left the CCM in Guatemala, and took a bus with a group of missionaries to Santa Ana, El Salvador. I arrived and met my mission president and his wife. The next day I was assigned a companion and an area. I was assigned to a little town about 2 hours north of Santa Ana called Metapan. Metapan was absolutely beautiful and the people were amazing.

Distrito Texistepeque

My district leader Elder Urban

While walking around the streets of Metapan I began to notice a pain in my back. I took ibuprofen all the time and was constantly icing my back. The pain gradually worsened until I could hardly sit for more than 30 minutes and cried whenever we walked a good distance. Of course, it began to weigh me down emotionally. After days of consideration and prayer, I decided going home would be the best option for me. So when an opportunity presented itself, I took it. I accepted the offer to go home and began the process.

Chapter Three: Coming Home 

On May 10th, I was driven to the airport in San Salvador and waited for my  flight. I prayed before the flight for an opportunity to share my testimony with someone, and I was blessed to be able to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with an amazing woman from Missouri. I was thanking my Heavenly Father for that experience when I met a man during the layover in Houston and ended up sitting next to him on the flight to Salt Lake. He was a member and I was able to answer some of his questions during the flight, and I bore testimony to him about the priesthood. Both experiences I hold dear to my heart and I hope to one day meet those individuals again and find out what became of our conversations.  Those two conversations on the flights home made the whole thing complete in my mind. I knew that the spirit had guided me in those moments and was so grateful for them. I had read in Preach My Gospel just days before that "You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." I knew that the Lord was pleased with me, and I knew that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. Choosing to go home was not an easy decision to make, but the Lord led me in it and I know that it was the right thing for me.

Chapter Four: New Adventures 

Since I came home, I have been extremely blessed. I have a new job and am working towards buying myself a car and progressing in my life. It has certainly been an interesting year so far and I am looking forward to new adventures to come.