Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 9 (December 3, 2012)

Howdy ya'll! I am finally in Texas.

 And first thing, the weather here is sooooo much better than in Utah. It has been about 80 degrees here all week and I am loving it. :) Haha. So first things first. Last week on Thanksgiving, Elder Jeffery R. Holland came to the MTC and spoke to us for a Thanksgiving day Devotional. I loved listening to him speak. What an amazing man and apostle of the Lord. Then from Friday to Monday, everything was kinda a blur. I remember teaching a few times, packing, doing laundry and just getting ready to leave the MTC. I also found out that if I would've been in the MTC a week longer, Chase Holman and I would've been in the same Zone. So we would've seen a ton of each other! Just barely missed him. 

So Monday morning rolled around and we were so stoked to be finally leaving. We got up at 3:45 to get ready for the day and be at the travel office at 5. We loaded all of our suitcases and got on the bus and drove to Salt Lake City. It was so weird for me to be doing that cause I was passing all of these places that I knew, passed home, work, friends, family. I was within a mile of some of my friends and family as we drove. 

We got to the airport and I called home and got to talk to Dad, Josh and Ian at the SLC airport for a very long time. It was so fun to hear everyones voices and to be able to talk to them. Every time I think about that experience I think about families and what a blessing they are to us. Also what it must be like for a Father in Heaven to have his children gone and can't talk to them like we can when we are with our families. It makes me think of prayer and how important it is for all of us to pray and talk with our Heavenly Father. That would've been completely pointless if I called home and talked the whole time and didn't even get to hear their voices. We are fortunate enough to have the gift of the Holy Ghost so we can here the voice of our Heavenly Father through our thoughts and feelings. :) 

We flew to the Dallas/ Fort Worth airport and had a 1 hour layover there. I got to call Mom and talk to her for a little while and it was amazing. I realized that I kinda have to grow up but I am still a mommas boy. ;) 

We got into Lubbock and my first impression/thought of it was,"Wow, this is a LOT like Delta Utah. Haha. It was very small town, old houses and buildings, nice people. Just amazing. I kept thinking about how everyone said it would be so ugly. But I guess the Lord put me there for a reason and is helping me cause I think this is beautiful. It is Gods country out here. 

I met President and Sister Agustin at the airport. They are absolutely incredible. I cannot even begin to describe to you how much they feel like parents to me. It is incredibly weird (but in a good way). We loaded all of our stuff onto a trailer and got in the truck and they told us to get ready,"cause you're going to work". We were sooooooo STOKED!!! Our first hour in Lubbock and we got to go tracting. Apparently it was a new thing and they had never done it before. But we were so happy to be doing something that was "real" work that we hopped right on it and tackled a street and talked to everyone. We ended up placing 2 Book of Mormon's, Another Testiment of Jesus Chrst (we are told to call it by it's full name.), and set up appointments for the missionaries in the area to come back and teach the lessons. We got to speak Spanish to only one lady but that's okay. :) Then for the next two days we just did housekeeping training and work. 

Then on Wednesday I left to my first area and met my first companion. My companion's name is Elder Rockwood. He is from Enem Claw Washington (I guess he was in your stake Cadie and Bray?). He is a stud. He just barely got done training last transfer and now, he is training me. I have learned a ton from him. 

Area #1: Big Lake, Texas

My area is a brand new area. We re-opened it when we got here. It is in a tiny town called Big Lake Texas. If any of you have seen the movie "The Rookie" that will have sounded familiar to you. Our area is where that movie was filmed. So if you want to see what kind of country I am dealing with, go watch that movie. Haha. It is awesome though, there are about 2,931 people here. Very very tiny. It is one of those towns that if you blink, you missed it. Haha. Our first day here we got all unpacked, ate dinner and went tracting. our very last house of the night (after having no success in getting into a home) we knocked on a door and a family opened, let us in and listened to us. We'll call them the Martinez Family. It was awesome!! We taught the first part of the first lesson and asked if we could come back. They told us yes and wanted to learn more. So we are going back tonight to share a Christmas message and get to know them a little better. So we are going to do that tonight. On Friday we met our first preacher and he tried to Bible bash with us. I learned very very quickly, not to ever do that again. That was no fun. We are speaking some Spanish here. Most everyone speaks english but a few only speak spanish. Our branch president's english isn't too good so we have to speak spanish to him sometimes. In sacrament meeting there was only about 15 people. That was crazy! I have never experienced anything like it. It is so wonderful though. It was half Spanish and half english. They tried to get both of us to translate but we knew our volcabulary wasn't big enough. So we told them that we will try in a few weeks. But that is it! Crazy crazy week but I am here and loving it. The sky is huge, the people are absolutely incredible and I couldn't wish for anything better. Les amo. Have a great week!
1. MTC District
2. Leaving the MTC!
3. Landed in the Flat Zone
4. Welcome to Lubbock
5. Lubbock Temple
6. More of Nothing
7. Oil Pumps, Everywhere
8. Big Lake Water Tower
9. Tracting with Santa!
Elder KP

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 8 (November 22, 2012)

Hello family! Happy Holidays to y'all (practicing my Texan accent;)! This is going to be a short letter because our P-day is on Thanksgiving and we don't have time to do any writing because we have a big service project that we are doing tomorrow. So hopefully I can get done what I need to in this letter. :) So first item of big news is that I got my travel plans last week right after I sent my last e-mail! I am leaving the MTC at 5 o'clock in the morning on Monday November 26, 2012. I am stoked! We are flying American Airlines to Dallas first and we have an hour and a half layover in Dallas then we will fly the rest of the way to the airport in Lubbock. I am so excited to meet my mission president and his wife. Apparently we have a lot of English speaking Elders going with us. So we'll see how it goes. All of the preparation for my mission ends on Monday. But I think I am as ready as I am going to get. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot more to learn but I just need to get out there and get going. I am so excited!! Anyway, that is that. Everything here is starting to get crazy again, but the Lord qualifies those he calls. He is preparing a way for us every day to get the things done that we need to get done. We are trying so hard to learn as much Spanish as possible before we get to the field to minimize the shock (to be honest, I don't think there is anything that I could do with my natural man self to prepare for that shock of my first lesson). But I am definitely becoming more fluent. I am not fluent yet but the words are coming easier and we teach natives every week that come to the MTC to volunteer and the conversation part is much easier now. I don't have to think about how I am going to say something, it just comes out. The gift of tongues is absolutely incredible. I only claim to have a testimony of it because I know that I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have the help of the Lord guiding my every step. So grateful for that gift. We are becoming better teachers as well. On Saturday we taught William about the importance of repentance in the view of the Plan of Salvation. He committed to change and wants to change to show his love for the Lord. I read a quote the other day from Joseph Smith that made me realize why missionaries can have so much success. He said," And now, I ask, how righteousness and truth are going to sweep the earth as a flood? I will answer. Men and angels are going to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work and Zion is to be prepared, even a new Jerusalem, for the elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth." Knowing that a prophet of the Lord promised that angels will be my co-workers in this work has increased my faith incredibly. And it is true in all of our lives. Anytime that we are contributing to the work of the Lord, we are living worthy of that promise. So in short, do gods work so you can see the miracles of angels in you lives. I know it's true, and I haven't even made it to the field yet. I wish I had more time to write but this is all I can do for this week. We have an apostle coming to talk to us tomorrow, so hopefully I can end the week on a bang. If you were planning on sending a letter to me, the last time I receive letters is on Saturday morning. So I will have my dad post my mission home address and you can send it there. Les amo. Remember that with you faith, anything is possible. So go and do good works according to your faith. Have a Happy Holiday!!


Elder KP

Week 7 (November 15, 2012)

Hola! Como estan? How is life back at home? How has the last week been? I want to hear from everyone. I really only have this next week left in the MTC and then I ship out a week from Monday on the 26. So I will be here for Thanksgiving!!! I hope they cook good food here. ;) I can't wait to see what it will be like. I am glad to hear that everyone is doing so good from the letters that I have received. How is the snow and the cold for everyone? I am so grateful that I am about to leave to somewhere warm! This cold is awful. Has Rachel received her mission call yet? We could be the twins serving at the same time! First ones since Rich and Russ. ;) Everything is very good here. Learning more and more every day. I want to leave here so bad but at the same time I want to stay and learn as much as I can so that I will be ready for the field. But, I am on the Lords schedule and it isn't about what I want, it is his will. But life is good. Love the MTC always. This last Sunday they changed me out of district leader. It is nice but at the same time, the opportunity to serve in that kind of capacity is taken away. But service is always needed. Whether you are a bishop or a member without a specific calling. Service is the key to love. That is something that I have studied a lot this past week. In Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel are the Christ like Attributes. One of them is love and charity. If anyone has access to a Preach My Gospel I would recommend studying that. It is so good. And like it says in the scriptures, the first great commandment is to love the Lord thy God, and the second is like unto it. Love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt 26). Then the scripture that says " never faileth." How would it be to never fail? That is my challenge for this week. Study charity and pray for it to be given to you (it is a gift) and I promise that you will find more success and see miracles happen in your life and the lives around you. Monday we taught our investigator William. He is trying to overcome several problems that are keeping him from becoming baptized. We are working with him on growing his faith. They key to anything like that is point them to the savior. The savior satisfies all needs. That is our job and a majority of what we learn about here at the MTC, how we can point others to Christ. On Tuesday I got to leave the MTC campus for the first time! That was so weird! Elder Smith needed to go to the bank and get a new debit card so they got us into a shuttle and took us there so that he could do that before we left. We talked to a lot of people. It would be fun being a missionary in Utah. But I am glad for my call in Texas.Then on we had a member of the 70 come and speak to us. One of the things that he said that I loved so much was, "We have 2 years (talking about missionary work) to do what we can, and an eternity to think about what we did." I think this can be applied into our life in general. We have approximately 79 years or whatever it is now, but then an eternity to think about what we did with it. Don't waste a minute of it. Like my old basketball coach used to say,"Leave with no regrets." I love it. The spirit is always willing to testify of amazing things if we just listen. That I think is one of the biggest things that I have learned here at the MTC. Then on Wednesday I got to leave one more time and this time a little further. One of the Elders in our district needed to go to physical therapy because he had knee surgery and he couldn't get him companion to go for some reason so they had me go with him. We went to the Utah Valley Hospital in their physical therapy center. That was even more weird. Once again, talked to a ton of people. People in Utah just love talking to missionaries so it made it very easy. And get this. I was Hosting for all of the new missionaries later that day and lo and behold, here comes Branson!!! I was so happy! I chased him down and got to help him and host for him. I got to see his family which was so amazing! I missed all of them so much! I couldn't give anyone hugs except for Mason who came out to get a picture with me. :) I got him all set up for his room and classes. He did so much better than me on my first day. What a stud. I couldn't believe it the whole time that I was reunited with my best buddy. I loved it. Haha. I saw him this morning from a distance (not too hard to see a 6'4" redhead;) and it looked like that he was doing pretty good. Love that kid. Hopefully I will get to talk to you all soon. I don't get a phone call for Thanksgiving but I will write. Love you all! Have a great week!

1. Snowing
2. Me and the Statue
3. Snow Man in Class
4. Temple Walk :)
5. Freezing at the Temple
6. Elder Summers and I
7. Elder Wilson and I
8. Elder Despain and I (Elder Jensen in the background)
9. Outside the MTC!!
Elder KP

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 6 (November 8, 2012)

Hello! How is everyone!

A lot has happened this week. Hopefully I can get this all done before the computer kicks me off. Haha. How is school for everyone? We heard that the storm on the east coast got pretty bad. We also found out about the presidential election. It was sad but still a great day in the MTC.

There is so much to talk about! Uhhhh I'll start with Friday last week. Sounds correct logically. On Friday we started getting more investigators. We became the investigators for our district. So we are teaching "new investigators" that are Elders in our own district. The purpose for all of this is so that we can get a feel of what an investigator feels like in a lesson. Also, what they need to feel in order to become converted to Jesus Christ and his gospel. It has been an amazing experience thus far. I have learned so much about being an investigator. I had never really thought about how important it is for us to feel how they feel. It is awesome. We also practiced how to find someone on the street, give them a 1 minute lesson and to set an appointment to come and visit later. It is a lot harder than it sounds. But with practice it will come. It made me think of how I may be doing that when I get to Texas. I want to get out there and get to work, but I have a lot of work to do.

I have felt a little stressed with the language this week. It seemed that I had hit that 6 week plateau that everyone talked about. But with a lot of prayer and hard work, I finally overcame it and am back on track. This week we started going out to the field for our gym time. It is so much fun to be outside and running around. We have been playing Frisbee. It feels so good to get out there and sprint a little bit. On Saturday I studied a lot about faith and how it needs to be grown and used to be able to work miracles in our lives. In Preach My Gospel it talks about faith in Chapter 6: Christlike Attributes. In there in one of the paragraphs it says something to the effect of, the Lord gets his power to bless us from the faith that we exercise and put in him. This hit me so hard and I realized what I could actually do with my faith. I could literally do so much more than I have been. So I have gone to work on applying that in our lessons and in my day to day life. The results are absolutely astonishing. I cannot ever remember a time in my life that so many miracles have happened. My testimony of faith has gone through the Heavens.

Fast Sunday was awesome. It is hard in the MTC but good at the same time. They remove all temptation of food by closing down the cafeteria. Good thing that they do. But the day was such a good spiritual day and I learned so much. We had great talks in all of our meetings. The one that I liked the most was called "The Black Name Tag". The speaker spoke about how amazing our black name tags can be in proselyting and getting work done. He also talked a lot about what it signifies and how it should remind us of our calling. I can't wait for members of our family to start getting "The Black Name Tag". We taught Sal on Monday morning and we taught him about the Word of Wisdom and how important it is that we take care of the bodies that our Heavenly Father has given us. We challenged him to give up all of his coffee, alcohol and drinking for one week. His response was so surprising we almost had to ask him twice. He said,"Yeah sure! That is easy. I could do it for a month if you would like?" He was so happy to give it up for what the Savior had done for him. He wanted to obey and make his Heavenly Father happy. It was an amazing experience.

On Tuesday I hit a milestone in my mission. I spoke 100% for the day. The only time that I spoke English was in a meeting that I had to conduct in our branch (so I am not counting that. hehe). It was so much fun. I realized that I could actually do it after that day. When I had to get up to speak English in that meeting I sat there for probably a solid 10-15 seconds, trying to figure out how I was going to say what I wanted to in English. Such a weird feeling! But I am grateful for it. It was a great day. We also had a member of the 70 come and speak to us. One of the things he said was absolutely amazing. He said," Discipleship isn't about giving something up. It is about becoming something more through being a Disciple of Jesus Christ." I love that quote so much. It is true. The things that we give up are nothing compared to what Heavenly Father gives to us every day. So I challenge all of you reading this to not be afraid to give something up to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ. Yesterday was a great day. We got so much done. One of the things that was highlighting our day was that everyone kept doing these little secrete acts of service. Like someone came and shined all of my shoes for me. It was very nice of them. I wont say what I did cause it is secrete service. But it was a good day.

I hope everything is well! I only have 18 more days in here. The 26 of November is the magic day! It isn't coming soon enough. Haha. I hosted for all of the new missionaries last week and one of them is going to the Portland Oregon mission. Maybe he'll get to see Russ & Jeanette? I am also Hosting this Wednesday when Branson comes in! It will be hard to miss him so hopefully I can get to him and help him out. I'll be reading in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 21- 2 Nephi 4 this week if any of you want to read it and send me what you learned. I would love it. have a great week! Les Amo.
Elder KP

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 5 (November 1, 2012)

Hola familia!
Como estan? Haha. How is life in the real world? What is going on with that storm? We heard that it was pretty bad. How are Blaine and Heather doing? Thanks for everyone that wrote this week. I love getting mail from you all. Rachel I loved your letter and the Shout out to my car (yours too;). Thank you dad and Grandma for the packages. They were amazing. I loved the pictures that you sent. They are up where I see them any time I walk into our room. Thank you for the letters too Wendi, Rylee, and Kaitlyn (hope I spelled that right). The pictures of Ian on Halloween were great! He looked awesome! Charlie and Avery looked authentic and Gracie looked like a princess. :) It was good to look at some of the pictures. Jordan, you letter had me in stitches. My companions couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Haha. It is weird to think that I have been here for over a month. It feels like and eternity. And to think that I am still so close to all of you is a weird thought as well. I hope everything is well out there (out there, I feel imprisoned. But I love it so it is okay;). This week has been amazing! I think this is the week that I have been waiting for since I have got here. I am finally beginning to understand Spanish and speak it. I am thinking less and less about what I am going to say and how I am going to say it. It's starting to be fun! The past week has been good cause I have learned so much about myself and the power of the Savior. I would have times where I would get home sick or feel like I am all alone, but then every time that I would turn to the Savior for help I was so happy and I wanted to leave the MTC and go share it with someone so they could feel it too. But I can't do it like that so this is how I am doing it. Sharing how amazing it feels when you have an experience with the Savior. So good. :D On Saturday we started a new service assignment in the MTC. We worked in the kitchens for an hour and it was crazy! I guess I didn't realize how much money the Church spent on the missionaries until I saw how much food we eat. It sounds bad but it is true haha. Anyway, Elder Miles was sick, so Elder Smith and I got assigned to de-stem grapes. We did 117 pounds of it. It seemed like an eternity but it was fun cause we talked and just sang church hymns as loud as we could. On Sunday we had a speaker come and talk to us, and he was the church official that was over all of the missionary work in the world. He said that missionary applications have jumped 471% in the last month! Unbelievable! Also, that since there would be so many coming out, that in 3-4 months, I could very well be a senior companion and training a new missionary. Talk about stress! I need to work and get ready! But I am excited for the challenge. On Monday we taught Sal again. He is making progress with his testimony of Christ and his power as Savior and Redeemer of the world. We talked to him about the plan of salvation and how it can bless him and his family and make each other stronger. We have really focused on the Book of Mormon and how important it is. It is such an amazing book! The next time you read it, just watch at how many times it mentions or even just talks about the Savior. It is mind boggling. On Tuesday I weighed myself and I am finally gaining weight! But only 4 pounds more than from when I got here. All I can say is it is about time. I have been working out in the mornings doing pushups, situps, and using the exercise band they gave us. I would like to think that the weight is from that but I am not sure. Innocent until proven guilty. Haha. On Tuesday we also taught William. He is starting to make some serious progress. We taught him about the plan of salvation and how it can help his family regain the relationship they once had and how it teaches his children to grow up happy and strong making good decisions. He liked this a lot and wanted to know more. So we invited him to start having Family Home evenings and reading the Book of Mormon together from passages that we assigned him to read (once again, The importance and power of the Book of Mormon, it strengthens families). He committed to do it and we are teaching him tonight so we'll see. Yesterday though, I had one of the best experiences yet in the MTC. I have talked about being obedient and then when you have done all that you can do, the Lord steps in and does what he does best... blesses you (2 Nephi 25:23). So I have been working really hard to learn Spanish and so all that I can to be worthy of the Gift of Tongues and I have been praying for it. Yesterday something clicked, something just... happened. I couldn't not speak Spanish. It was almost like English didn't even exist. One of our instructors, Hermano Hill said that by the start of your 6th week, you should be able to speak only in Spanish. Now I can. I am very very very very far from fluent but I can say whatever I want to in Spanish now. It is such an amazing blessing. I am so happy and Now I really want to get to Texas and get to work, but I know I have more to do. I also would like to extend an invitation to you. This week I am studying 1 Nephi Chapter 15-21. Would you read it with me and then mail me insights and things that you learned? I am hoping this will help me learn more then we can learn from each other. Plus we can all benefit and grow closer together from reading the Book of Mormon. I love you all. Go forward with faith. Les amo.

Week 4 (October 25th, 2012)

One month under my belt!! I cannot believe it. But it has been the funnest month ever. I love the MTC. So many things have happened this week. Elder Adamson and Elder Thomson (both going to Ecuador) got their visa's and left within 2 days. They left Tuesday night to Washington D.C. to get their visa's and then straight from D.C. to the Peru MTC where they will finish up their MTC Training. So my first companion is gone. Our branch president anticipated this and on Thursday evening changed my companion. So Elder Adamson and Thomson were companions for the last week here. I am now in a trio with the two other Elders in our district that are going to the Texas Lubbock mission (Elder Smith and Elder Miles). It has been a fun change. I get along really well with both of them and we have a blast. So by joining them I got a new investigator. His name is William. It was a little hard for me to come in and start teaching him cause they hadn't really found his needs yet but we all hopped right on it and are on the right track to helping him coming unto Christ. Also on Sunday I had a meeting with our branch president, President Cameron. In the meeting he called me to be the District leader for district 40E. Crazy crazy. I never saw that coming. Haha. But with the help of the Lord I have been able to accomplish the things that he has commanded me to do. I have heard a lot from everyone at home. It is so much fun for me to get a letter or a package and see what is happening outside of the walls of the MTC. We get to go on temple walks and attend the temple once a week but that is it. So as for news, we have none. But there are rumors here about Romney destroying Obama in a debate. But like I said, only rumors. Also, on Saturday I set an MTC record in "most Half-court shot's made in one gym period." I am almost positive that this isn't a real record being kept but me and my district decided that it is the new standard at the MTC. I hit 11 half court shots with 2 runs of 3 in a row. It was a good day needless to say. Hehe. This week though, I have had a my first real pangs of homesickness. I am pretty proud that I have made it this long without feeling that before now. But it is a good thing for me. I get to think about you all at home. I think about all of the cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and it makes me happy that there are people at home keeping everything in order so I have something to come home to. :) Thank you dad for keeping the blog going. I am glad that everyone enjoys it. I will try and make something cool happen in the coming weeks so there will be something interesting to write about. There is still so much to write about anyway I don't really need to do anything. This week at the MTC we had the opportunity of having Elder Larry Echo Hawk, who spoke in conference this last month, to come and speak to us on Tuesday. In it he said something that changed my outlook on how I endure challenges. He said, "Hard things will come. Expect it, respond to it and become stronger." I love how he said that. It has prepared me so much more for being the district leader and a missionary in general. Hard things do come, even in the MTC. But we all have the opportunity to learn from them and most importantly, grow. I had an experience with learning Spanish this week as well. I was having a little bit of trouble learning the language and I felt like I had hit a plateau in my learning. I spoke with one of my instructors, Hermano Wagner, and he gave me some great hints and scriptures to help me in my learning. So we were teaching this lesson to Sal about how he can feel the spirit and receive answers to his prayers. I started out using my knowledge and skills to try and communicate. For very obvious reasons this didn't work. About a quarter of the way into the lesson I realized that. I knew what I was doing wrong. I put my faith in the Lord and opened my mouth. From there to the end of the lesson, I was able to speak every word that came to my mind, convey the message that we had been prompted to share and the spirit did what he does best and took the lesson home to the heart of Salvadore. At the end of the lesson we asked him to pray with us and if we could kneel. He was a bit surprised but did so. I asked him to ask Heavenly Father a specific question about one of the needs he had. As he prayed the spirit exploded in the room. Even though it was a "fake" investigator, we were teaching true principles and he applied them. When we were done praying I had very wet eyes (it's genetic and I blame Dad;). Such  a powerful experience. I am so grateful for the spirit and his role in the work. I also was able to gain a very strong testimony as we were learning how to teach lesson 3 in Preach My Gospel. One of my companions was my role-play partner and we were supposed to be ourselves and the "missionary" in the role-play was supposed to find the needs of that person and teach the doctrine that would help them. As I began to ask questions and teach the spirit guided me as what to say. He opened up and told me what he needed. We had a very good lesson on the atonement where the spirit did all of the work. We both were so uplifted and full of the spirit we both began to tear up. As we knelt and asked Heavenly Father for help and to bless him with the answers and comfort he needed we both knew that he had received an answer. I love the MTC and this work is moving forth, with or without us. The Lord is in the details. The atonement is real and is for everyone. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, that he lives, he loves us, he wants to help us if we only ask. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. The Book of Mormon is our number one tool in enduring to the end. I extend a challenge to read the introduction and all of the testimonies in the beginning of the Book of Mormon then do as Moroni directs in Moroni 10:3-5. I promise you will receive an answer if your heart is open. I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you.
With all the love in the world,
Elder KP

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 3 (October 18, 2012)

Time flies on a mission! one more week and I will be out for 1 Month! The MTC is so great though, and the food (can't stop talking about the food) is the best thing in the world! I did lose a lot of weight though. Which to me is really backwards. When you eat 4-5 plates of food then sit for about 4 hours eat 4-5 more then sit then 4-5 more then sit you think I would be writing home for a bigger suit but nope! (sorry Kirsten)

This week has been amazing though. I have had so many opportunities to teach our investigators. On Thursday last week we were able to go on a temporary exchange with some Elders in our Zone to teach one of our investigators. I was assigned to teach with Elder Despain from Boise Idaho. He has been here for 6 weeks, so I was very anxious to learn something from him. It ended up being such a good lesson and we felt the spirit so strong, testifying of the things that we were teaching about. In the middle of the lesson the spirit took me away from the lesson for a second and bore a very strong witness to me of why I am here and how important the work I am doing really is. It was an amazing experience for me and a definite testimony builder of how the Lord works and the power of the Holy Ghost.

Throughout the week though, Elder Adamson and I have been doing what we call "Street Contacting" where we stop Elders in the MTC (or people at the temple on the day that we are there vitisitng) and we bear our testimonies to them in Spanish. It is fun and very powerful to be able to bear testimony with a surity in a language that is not yet my own. If you have the spirit with you and you just do as the Lord says and open your mouth, it really is filled.

We are still teaching the boy named Javier. It is really hard for 2 reasons. 1. he talkes so fast! (even faster than you Josh:) and we can barely understand him cause he slurs his words together. But we are still able to communicate with him. 2. He has no purpose, no desires, he is content with what he has and doesn't want any more than that. We have been really stretched on planning a lesson that will break through that barrier and help him out. I know that there is something. We just need to be faithful and trust that the Lord will provide a way. But it doesn't get any better than this. I love a good challenge.

So here is a funny experience. We were sitting outside on Saturday setting goals for our investigators and planning for them. While we were sitting there, we heard a roar of what seemed like 10,000 people from just a block away. In fact that is exactly what it was. BYU was playing I believe Oregon State (at least that was the rumor. No information really gets in here.) we couldn't plan anymore. Our minds were on the game and what could be happening. I have no idea how it ended but we all have our speculations here. Haha. Also another funny side note. The other night we were running back to the residency after gym, as I got close to the door I saw a big crowd of people bending over someone and someone started yelling for help. So I ran in to see what was happening and an Elder in my district had an inch long gash in his shin, all the way to the bone. He was running and jumped over one of the benches but didn't get high enough and smacked it on that and split it. It was pretty wide. So as best I could I ran and got my little tiny first aid kit (so weird not having my regular sized one) and controlled the bleeding and bandaged it up. By that time the MTC security people were there and they let me finish up. I knew he was going to need stitches cause it was wide open. So they took him to the hospital and that was that. It was kinda fun to do some work while on the mission. Never thought I would be doing that but hey, I was ready to go. Haha. I think I should be careful of my karma though, cause it usally isn't too nice back.

Thank you for the package as well Grandma! And to all of you that wrote me letters. I love hearing from you guys. It is so much fun to read what is happening in the life back home and how everyone is doing. The package was awesome. When I opened it up one of the Elders in our room said "wow. and I thought my family loved me" hahaha. So thank you guys. I got a letter from Branson's family with some pictures of their family. So good to see those faces again. Then I got a letter from the ward and it sounds like everything is great there. Thank you dad for your card and it's contents. Would you send a picture of our whole family? I miss seeing your faces.

I love all of you and hope to talk to you all soon!

Elder KP

Week 2 (October 11, 2012)

Hello hello hello!

How are you? I miss everyone so much! I realized after the last letter home how much you all meant to me. I knew it before but now it is a very strong reality. But the Lord provides a way to overcome any and all problems that we have so I know everything will be okay. :) I have received so many letters. I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to send one to me. It means so much to go check the mailbox and have a letter there waiting for me. It makes my day! (plus I look super loved to my whole district, but that isn't what matters hehe).

So since I sent a letter last a lot has happened. We finished teaching Florentino. He ended up being one of our teachers here in the MTC. His name is Hermano Wagner. He served his mission in Texas too, in the Texas Fort Worth Mission. It is weird to hear him talk in English, but especially because every time he addresses us he says y'all. It makes me wonder what I will come back with. ;) We have been learning so much Spanish and lessons, it is hard to remember what we do each day. The days are long, the weeks are fast! But everything is so memorable.

So conference..... WOW. We watched it all together as missionaries. When President Monson announced that Elders will be able to serve at 18 and Sisters at 19, the MTC lost the reverence it usually has for about 5 seconds while we let out a cheer/gasp. It was definitely the talk of the day. This has by far been the most spiritual and meaningful conference to me yet. I was able to learn so much and feel the spirit so strong. My favorite talks were by M. Russell Ballard and David A. Bednar. And now I can confidently say that Elder Bednar is my most favorite speaker of all time. I have had an interesting experience with him. So Saturday morning I was able to listen to him speak and testify of testimony and how we need to not only have a testimony but be converted. We then had the opportunity Sunday night during our "Sunday movie" to watch a recorded Christmas devotional by him and he spoke in great detail about the same thing. THEN Tuesday night we had the very pleasurable experience of having him visit us for our Tuesday Night Devotional. He again talked about the same things and gave us amazing tips on how we should study the talks from conference. My study has changed completely and has become more meaningful. So I guess testimony and conversion are things I need to learn.

Spanish is coming well, we were able to start teaching more people. A new man named Salvador who is a baptist looking for more truth. He is divorced and his family lives in South Carolina. He is very lost and confused on the topic of religion. The gospel has already blessed his life and we have seen significant change in just two lessons. He is so hungry for truth he absorbs our broken Spanish language like a sponge. Next we are teaching a young man named Javier. We have only had one lesson with him. He is a lost teenager and doesn't really have purpose in his life. We are so happy to teach both of them. Though it is hard, the Lord is guiding us in our preparation. I also had the chance yesterday to do something called TRC. It is where members of the church who speak Spanish come and we teach them doctrines of the gospel just like we would in an investigator situation. It isn't role play though. We find out what their needs are and what they want then give them a lesson, directed by the spirit, to help them receive what they want. The gospel has the power to give anything if we continually seek and ask for it. I don't have much more time to write. Hopefully I gave enough info. I testify that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer and through him, everything is possible. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the Power of God. And by reading and abiding by the precepts taught in the Book of Mormon we can come closer to our Heavenly Father. Go forward with faith.

Te amo.

Elder Jacob Kirkpatrick

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Week 1 (October 4, 2012)

Hola familia! Como estas??

Holy cow this is crazy! I can't believe it's been one week already. I am so swamped with stuff to do my P-day crept up on me too quickly. How is everything at home? I have had the chance to recieve a few letters from family and friends. I am so grateful for them too. They helped remind me I had a family back at home and a life outside of this one. Haha jk ;).

Thank you Cari for your letter. :) I can't believe it either. It has been so amazing though. I know that you will have a blast when it comes time for you and Matt. The work is just so busy and fun all the time.

Thank you Josh for you letter. It was brief and specific, just like you. ;) In answer to you question... I LOVE THE FOOOD!!!!!! It is soo good here and anyone who says they don't like the MTC food is in the wrong church. I'm kidding. But it is so true about the food. My companion and I eat for a solid 45 minutes whenever we go to breakfast lunch or dinner. Maybe I will put on a few pounds...

Mom, thank you for your letter. I am glad to hear that you guys are having fun. I was slighltly jealous when you told me you went to see a movie but that is okay. I'll just keep swimming. ;) I sent a letter to you last week in the mail. They gave us permission to write one letter home to our mom's so that they knew that we were okay. I knew you weren't worrying but I jumped at the chance to send something to you. ;)

Thank you for the letter dad and sharing that experience with me. It made me feel close to home and happy about what I am doing. Not that I am unhappy about it otherwise, It just enhanced the experience. :) I miss you all like crazy and can't wait to call you at Christmas. But I will be very busy until that time. I have shared a lot of your experiences on your mission dad. Hope that is okay. haha. But I am already making some of my own.

Entonces (so) down to buisness. Right after I was dopped off they took me to the main building to get my tag, books, meal card/ everything card, and while I was doing that I ran into someone that knew you mom and dad. Not sure what her name was anymore. Too much going on to remember names but she said to tell you hello. :) After we went to my residency (my room) and my key didn't work so I had to go back and get a new one. We finally got in and it is so small. I am sharing the room with 3 other Elders. After I went to meet my companion. His name is Elder Adamson. He is awesome. He is from Spokane Washington and is going to Equadore on his mission (if that is how you spell it). We have never had any problems and get along really really well. In our district we have 10 Elders. 2 of which are also going to my mission spanish speaking. Ironically they are the ones staying with us in our room. Their names are Elder Miles from Sandy and Elder Smith from Highland. Elder Miles is really quite and nice. Elder Smith is nice as well but he misses his "girlfriend". He is super funny about it though. The other Elders in our district are going to Mexico, Equadore, Texas, Pittsburg, and Detroit. We all get along almost too well. It becomes destracting sometimes. But it is all very fun.

Elder Adamson and I have been working super hard on our spanish. I must say it's coming faster than I expected. We are already praying in spanish, talking to each other about 50% in spanish and we have taught 4 full lessons in spanish. Each have been about 30-45 minutes long. Our investigators name is Florentino. He is a very humble man from Mexico. He moved here to work and send money home for his family. He wanted peace and happiness. We have taught him the first 3 lessons and one lesson we focused on just baptism and how taking that first step will help get him onto the path to living with his family for eternity. He committed to baptism and we are continuing to teach him. Unfortunately, we are teaching him our last lesson this evening. Hopefully we will be able to send him off with a strong enough testimony he will be able to continue to work toward his goal of baptism. We have grown to love him and his family. I I know that the Lord is playing a very intimate role in my life right now. I am learning so much spanish and my testimony is growing so fast, I have never experienced anything like it before. I love the MTC. The spirit just pours out of heaven and gives every missionary here who is praying for it recieves divine blessings. I know that all of this is for my good and I appreciate all the prayers that have come my way. I feel them every day and I am grateful for them.

I don't have anyones addresses so please send them to me. I would really appreciate it. :) Drea if you are reading this, please send me yours so I can send my letter to you.

Hoping everything is well. Go forward with faith. :D

Elder KP

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Into the field that is white...!!!

Jacob arrived at the Missionary Training Center just after 1:00pm yesterday, September 26, 2012.  The truck ride to the MTC was calm and peaceful and a great outpouring of the Spirit was felt.  Jacob was a little quieter than usual.  He asked me at one point if there was a medical term for "butterflies in the stomach."  That was all that he needed to say to let me know how he was feeling.

I think that the impact of being a missionary had already hit him though after being set-apart on Tuesday night.  Although the blessing he received through President Gottfredson rivaled anything I have ever experienced, I saw that reality had truly set in when I looked into Jacob's eyes as he surrendered his cell phone later that night. 

The Farewell - 9 Sept 2012

Though a little nervous this morning, Jacob arose early bearing that confident mantle that seems to overcome him every time he is about to do something remarkable.

He and his dad journeyed very early to LuDean Barnes' house to haul the unbelievable amount of food she had prepared for the luncheon. Between being blessed by LuDean as party planner and the beautiful setting of Bill & Margo's "secret garden", sprinkled with additional "tasty creations" from Grandma Kirk, Aunt Wendi, Aunt Margo, Polly Spencer, Derrilee Thomas and others . . . surely there has never been a mission luncheon of such beauty and magnitude!

Jacob's talk in sacrament meeting was truly after the manner by which he does everything. . . with all his heart.  I overheard someone saying, "When you see the Bishop and the Stake President wiping their eyes, you know it's a good talk."

There are many more photos taken that day, but they will wait for another time, so please check back!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Digital Plates of Jacob Begin...

In an era forseen by the prophets of old . . . record keeping makes a giant leap from 'pen and ink' to 'electrons and words that begin with a lowercase "i".'  (How many times do you think Isaiah said to himself, "What the heck?")

Thus begins the iChronicles of all things related to the service of Jacob Kirkpatrick in the Texas Lubbock Mission (Spanish speaking) [2012-2014].

**For the convenience of the reader, the following posts will be translated into English.

iJacob, having been born in 1993 (. . .always wanted to write this somewhere).

Texas...the final frontier. These are the posts of the missionary 'KP'.

His mission:
. . . to seek out new converts and new congregations,
. . . to lead them into the waters of baptism,
. . . to boldly go where no Elder has gone before...

da ta da ta da ta da taaaaa! Ta da tada da ta da ta da ta data!