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