Dos semanas para usted (Two weeks for you). January 23, 2017

So last week our reverse osmosis filter that we don't use too much stopped filtering and started flooding. Ahh! But it's all taken care of now and now I have more time to email. So now you get a big 2-week update. But first I want you to know that the mission is going amazing. I'm so glad I decided to go. I miss everyone more than I think I did before because it's been six months now, but I've been learning and growing so much that I know it will be worth it when I get to see you guys.

Last Tuesday we had all our appointments cancel and we were too far away from the other half of our area to do anything about it. So we got to tract for three to four hours or so. We decided to drop 50 passalong cards. One at each door, but every 1 out of 4 or 5 answered the door so we needed up knocking on 50+ doors that Tuesday. We also tracted this Wednesday as well. And the funny part about that is that none of the people that we knocked on the door of we've started meeting with but whenever we start knocking on doors members of others will call us and let us know that someone they know is interested in learning about the gospel. Crazy right? All success out here no matter what comes from the Lord.

I also got sick finally. It wasn't fun. It wasn't too bad but it wasn't good either. I had bad sniffles. But I'm feeling way better now.

We also got to go to the temple too. And that was amazing. We went with the Penrods who are amazing members who I count as my friends.You always learn something in the temple. And that because the spirit who is sent to teach us is present at that temple.

We've also started teaching a young boy who's trying to get baptized. His parents are going to be baptized March 4th but he doesn't want to wait. So we're trying to teach him all the lessons but also making sure that he understands it all. And it's been going really well.

We've also started teaching a young girl. And she's been learning more and more about Christ since we met her. She's super cool and enjoys learning the gospel. Her friend started taking her to
church and it's changed her life since she's learned that Christ really does live and love her.

Then we are also teaching a family. They are a super cool couple who have a bunch of horses and do team roping. They taught Elder Hilton and I how to rope a steer and put on a small rodeo for us for all the lessons we share with them. I wish I got pictures but I left everything in the car and it was a good walk back. Sorry.

Fun story, short story, true story. It rained a lot this winter and it rained a lot recently as well. A certain road was closed. The only road that takes us to the family we are teaching. But I thought I remembered a shortcut instead of going ALL the way around this other highway which would have been much shorter than what my "shortcut" turned into. There's a river here called the Hassayampa that never flows. It only occasionally becomes really muddy when it rains. My shortcut quickly took forks in the road to the point where I couldn't turn back because I couldn't remember the roads I took. Then I lost the roads because I thought I was on one. Unable to navigate my way I had to follow the"river." The bank forced me into the river and I rode through mud hoping to find a road. I did thankfully but now the truck is dirty.

Another fun story is I finally on my mission met a crazy cat lady. But it was a crazy dog lady. There were so many dogs that you couldn't walk. It was so nuts. But I lost it when she said I could take a seat and when I pulled out the chair there was a dog already laying there ready for me to pet him. It was hilarious.

Also, I wanted to say thank you for praying for me. I felt it. I love you.


Broken Water Line. January 16, 2017

We've had a busy pday and I don't have much time to email. We had a problem with the water line and it almost ruined our sink cabinets so we didn't have any water and we couldn't get ready for awhile. So we've been busy. I hope I can actually get out a good email.
(from Carma: This is all the letter we got, but at least we got some cute pics!!)

Great families in Buckeye! January 9, 2017

So why I decided to go on a mission is a fun story. I just knew I should but then everyone started asking me that question. "Why are you going?" So I found an answer that I could tell everyone "so that others have the same opportunities I do." Which was true.

But in the MTC I met a girl named Candace who I had the opportunity to teach a little bit. She told me she prayed and God didn't answer her prayers. She came to a conclusion that either God isn't real or God doesn't love her and he picks and chooses who he loves. Either way I had no idea what to say.

And Candace was just a teacher, role playing, but I was scared if someone in Arizona asked me that I wouldn't know what to say. I was scared I wouldn't be able to help them. And that's when I realized why I was going. Some people in this world do not know that Heavenly Father loves them.

And I don't like that.

That's a clip from another email and it was so good that I wanted to share it again!

This week was great. I had an exchange with Elder Crook from the MTC and we spent a day trying to find people who wanted to hear us out. Not many people did except for one person who we are actually planning on visiting tomorrow. So remind me and I'll let you know how it goes. They're a family with a 16-year-old boy who's never been baptized but his mom has.

We also ate dinner with the McWilliams family and they're my favorite. They were baptized a year and a half ago and they're super cool. They also cool really well so I'm excited to eat there again at the end of the month.

The Woods family are also doing well. We met with them again and they decided to start reading the Book of Mormon as a family every night. They're super nice and cool. They're ranchers from Idaho. We also got to help them paint some of the poles for their roping arena.

2016 was amazing! I'm ready for 2017. January 2, 2017

We met with the Sanchez family again! So ever since we lost contact with them we've knocked on their door every day or anytime that were in the area. I was worried Elder Hilton just thought I was knocking on the door for fun but they finally answered and we're going to meet with them this week so I'm really excited.

And we usually in this area we get a flat every transfer because we're always driving on dirt roads trying to get to our appointments and we finally got our flat. Later that day though, someone left something on the road and it took a chunk out of the tire. The tire was so worn down so there was no saving it. We went to Fletcher's and bought a new flashy tire. It was quite an adventure but now I'm a master at changing tires.

We also got to eat at Texas roadhouse, a member took us and I got chicken fried steak and it was one of the best days ever. The members here down in Buckeye are just super cool.

This was a way different week though with the holidays. So many people were out of town and busy. It was hard trying to meet with people and schedule times we could meet. We did get to teach some people though. We met with the Woods early in the week because they went to a team roping competition because they're super cool like that. The Woods are super cool also because they just walked into church one day and wanted someone to teach them.

Also, all the mutual theme songs are on LDS music!!

And guys I'm super excited for the new year. 2016 was amazing. I grew more in that year than I ever have. (It was technically the middle of 2015-July 2016 but whatever, I'll call it all 2016.) I started mountain biking and birdwatching and finished my Eagle, became a billiard master, wrote a book, ate grilled cheese (a lot), worked on family relationships, graduated high school, stopped procrastinating (near the end of the year), kept a job, prepared for a mission, left on a mission, and became more than I ever was. The new year, to me, was the end of the best period of growth for me. But the biggest thing I learned in 2016 is that I have more life left to go. It was the end of the beginning of my life, especially where I graduated and left on a mission. This is also the only year, January to December, where I can dedicate 100% of time to study and service.

This week, especially near the end, I could feel something guiding me. I'm getting stronger, more obedient, more compassionate, smarter even. I'm realizing that The Lord has more in store for me right now and I need to be more aware of where he guides me than ever before. And I can feel it now as I rekindle that fire of starting new just like July 27 when I went into the MTC. Just like Aug 17 when I stepped into Cottonwood. Even Nov 9 when I came here to Buckeye. Now it's January 1, where I feel and know that Heavenly Father is guiding me.

I've thought a lot about last year, but I'm ready for 2017.

And video because everywhere I go doesn't stop raining. It was crazy.

Merry Christmas!!! Dec 26, 2016

This week was awesome. On Sunday we had a young couple look up the church address and they came and asked if missionaries would teach them. They're the woods and they've been super fun to teach. They have a ranch out by the power plant where they do team roping.

This week we also have been very busy. We haven't had much time so in the time we had we've been teaching and finding. We haven't found many people yet. Just the woods this week.

But it's been a great week. I still learning lots.

For Christmas we had breakfast with the members we live with which was super fun and then had to go to church right after. Our two new investigators came and thought it was awesome. Then we started our Christmas call to family. I loved getting to see them all! It was very nice and I felt so good afterwards. I got to see my dumb dog too. Then we ate lunch with the Cosmans and that was fun too. We played a fun game where you sing songs about a certain topic. The last group who can't think of that topic loses. Then we are with the Endersons who have always had missionaries coming over for Christmas.

That was really it. For Christmas Eve we really just played games with the other Elders.

The week before Christmas, Pres Griffon gave to me...December 19, 2016

So the week started out with introducing Elder Hilton to the ward. We got lost. More than a few times. I'm so directionally challenged. Scout camp is coming back to haunt me. I signed up for the
Orienteering class but got totally lost on the way there and now I've just never learned directions. That time to learn is now. And it needs to happen fast. And yes I do have a gps but the gps has no idea what roads I'm driving on. We do work out in an area called Tonapah which means unmarked random dirt roads. Yay!

So way out here in the desert the dirt apparently can be pretty sandy and soft. Our truck which tries so hard to be a real truck but is just a Nissan Frontier got super stuck. The wheels were just digging themselves deeper. So we had to call a member with a real truck and he pulled us out of the ditch.

We also had both ward Christmas parties. For the Skyline Ward we had a dinner and the primary put on a cool program. We spent most of the party introducing ourselves so that the members could meet Elder Hilton and there was a lot of small talk. I'm still learning how to small talk and it's way more exhausting than I thought it would be.

The Palo Verde Ward had a cowboy style Christmas party. We went out to a ranch. A member of the ward has a cooking pit and so we had pitted pigs. We got to help pull it all apart for pulled pork sandwiches. They were so good! There was so much left over that we got just a cut of meat that we hadn't even pulled yet because there was so much pork left over.

This week has been interesting. Getting lost a lot. Reading maps. Eating pork. And driving a lot.

We may have run the phone over a bit. December 13, 2016

We've taught the Sanchez family a few other times yes. They're super awesome! We also teach another family who are super cool! They are preparing for baptism but their daughter just got baptized a few weeks ago.

I have Google Maps, downloaded offline and a gps in the car. Problem being with many roads out here is that Maps has no idea where we are so I get lost but it's no biggie. Elder Bies knows where it is if I need him so I can call him when I'm on exchanges getting lost.

So Elder Bies has three months left. He's a big Pokemon nerd. A fun guy. I love being around him. I learn a lot from him. He's just a great guy and I blessed to have met him. He's getting transferred tomorrow which makes me Senior companion and I now lead the area. I'm probably now the driver too. I don't know if I know the area well enough yet but I think I can do this. My new companions name is Elder Hilton. I haven't met him yet but I hear he's super cool. 

Wish me luck! 

This week not too much happened. We did lose the phone for a few days. We finally found it by the gate we have to open every day on a dirt road. We may have run the phone over a bit :)

This is going to be interesting though. I'm leading this area now. And I'll probably be here a long time because now I'm the senior companion and you usually stay in an area for awhile when your senior and then right before the Mission President leaves (five months away) he keeps everything as stable as possible. And when a new President comes in they usually don't change much for awhile while they learn the mission. #buckeyeforever