Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 25, 2011

Dear Fam,

This week was awesome again.  A lot went on, it was kind of ridiculous, but at the same time it feels like nothing happened because I can't really remember an entire week back!  We met a lot of people that seemed really interested, but they never pick up their phones or answer their doors when we go back to talk to them.  One of the people that we set a baptismal date with is one of them, but then we got a call from her saying that she was in Palm Beach or something with her mom, so maybe everybody's just vacationing at the same time.  The work feels like it's going great always, but then at the end of the week we don't have new investigators because everyone that we talk to we can't get a hold of the next day to ask how they're doing. 

The goal for our mission for baptisms this year is 900, and it's kind of ridiculous, but I know that with the Lord's help anything could happen.  If we had two years where we actually made the goal, I'm pretty sure that they would announce a Temple here in Jacksonville...  That would be awesome!  I guess that can be my goal before I leave the mission.  To have a temple announced in General Conference of April 2013...  So I just really think that as a whole huge mission we can do it, so keep us in your prayers, along with all missionaries around the world.  It's tough work and we get rejected more often than accepted, unfortunately...  In the words of Elder Holland (Who's coming to speak to our mission on the 14th by the way) "This isn't Burger King, you can't have it your way."  Haha kinda funny, but so true. 

Last week we went over to invite some Spanish-speaking members to come to our branch because it's the only Spanish-speaking Branch in this side of Jacksonville and we just ended up reading in the book of mormon with their son because his parents weren't home.  And he didn't speak spanish, so it felt a little pointless, but then when we were about to leave we asked him if he needed us to do anything for him.  He asked us to vaccuum his house!  Haha what a punk!  He told us that there was only one vaccuum though and that we would have to take turns.  Kids trying to get us to do their chores...  We asked him if he had any friends we could talk to that spoke spanish and he said "I'm pretty sure my friend lives in this neighborhood," as he showed us a neighborhood on Google Maps, "But don't tell them I sent you."  Haha how helpful! 

It's good that you're trying to be better member missionaries, because I know I didn't do anything before my mission to help...  I really wish that I had though, because now I know how those missionaries feel when they ask for referrals and almost every person tells them that they don't know ANYONE that would possibly be interested in hearing the message of the Restoration.  I just feel like I'm going to be doing this work for the rest of my life, and I'm completely fine with that. 

So you're moving this week!  That's exciting!  I can't wait to see more pictures of the house, especially when it's filled with our things and furniture and everything.  I'm sure that it will be awesome in another week or two!  This week we helped a family move into an apartment just as an act of service, we didn't know them or anything because we figured that they would love to hear our message after we helped them finish twice as fast as they would have without us.  So when we finished we asked them if we could share a 10-minute long message with them and they told us that they didn't have time.  Ugh people are just so rude sometimes it's ridiculous, but we ended up talking to them for ten minutes anyway.  Haha that's one thing I love about hispanic people is that they talk forever and invite you in regardless of whether or not they say they have time.  So we just taught them and had a lesson and it was great!

So today is P-Day obviously and I'm just doing everything that we normally do on our P-Days.  WE get up and go over to the other missionaries' apartment to do our laundry and have our study time and then we come to the library to write e-mails.  I always feel so rushed because my companions don't like to spend a lot of time here, but it's fine.  After this we're going to the grocery store and then to wash our car and then to play Ultimate Frisbee in the church with our zone.  It should be an awesome day!  And then we're gonna go back and take a nap or something.  It just comes and goes so fast it's stressful!  I never have any time to just relax, but such is the life of a missionary! 

I love you a lot and hope that I didn't leave anything important out of this letter!  Just let me know if I did and I'll answer you in a week, haha.  I'm doing awesome and the work is great. :)



Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

Dear Family, 

This week was really amazing!  Other than the fact that there were a lot of meetings, my companions and I did a ton.  It's hard to even remember what was this week and what was last.  On Wednesday I went over on an exchange with some other Elders to this eternal investigator's house and invited him to be baptized and he said he wasn't ready.  So I guess that's why they call them eternal, but whatever.  President Barry has us do this awesome thing called the baptismal test or something where we just have the investigators draw their own conclusions and it helps them to realize for themselves that baptism really is a step of faith that they have to do themselves to progress.  So anyway, after nothing happened, I started talking to the wife, who was from Brazil and I told her that Dad served there and I told her how much I loved Guarana and also that one of my biggest dreams in life is to go to Iguazu.  She then just left and I was thinking "ok, whatever I guess I'll probably never see her again :/" and then she came back with this two-liter bottle full of Guarana :D I was so incredibly happy when she gave it to me!  I just wanted to give her the biggest hug ever!  It was the real deal, the stuff from Brazil, so I drank it with my companions in like a day or two.  Haha so no baptism, but it was still awesome.

The wedding and baptism were supposed to be at 6:00 on Saturday night, but the couple didn't show up.  They called at 6:40 and said that they weren't ready and didn't want to do it, so after 10 or 15 minutes of trying to call them back to talk, we decided to drive 30 minutes to their house and talk to them in person.  When we got there, apparently the couple had been fighting and Satan was just working his hardest to convince them that it wasn't something that they had to do.  The Branch President came with us and talked to them and the Spirit was so strong it was amazing.  So we eventually got the husband to get up and go and we had the baptism sometime like 10 o'clock haha.  There were only like 4 or 5 people there other than the family, because everyone had already left, so it was a little bit awkward at first, but after the wedding ceremony, the spirit was strong and they were both in tears and all smiles and then the baptism was just awesome because of that.  So much for William & Kate, we've got our very own Royal Wedding down here Jacksonville Florida. The whole experience was really just awesome and so great :)

Next week their son is going to get baptized with another less-active member's 8 year-old so that should be pretty cool.  We had the idea to make invitations to hand out to people so that we can invite whoever we meet or that wants to come to the baptism. 

 I don't know how much time I have left, so I might have another abrupt ending just letting you know.  I don't really eat anything that interesting.  I eat most of the time just at our apartment, which is boring, but whatever we're getting more dinner appointments this week I think.  It was so funny!  Yesterday we were just standing by our car about to leave and Elder Johnson invited himself over for El Salvadorian food with one of our neighbors we've never met on Saturday night.  He just asked what food they make in her country and she told him and then he asked when we could come over to have it!  Haha kinda bold, but I'm excited.  And I think that's just the way that culture works.  They're a lot more hospitable than Americans.  Being here is great.  I obviously have a lot of stuff that I could say to complain, but I'm not going to because I can't really think of anything.  I wish that I could eat come Alligator.  Haha or at least see one!  I'm sure that I will.     

One of my companions went to BYU Hawaii, Elder McArthur, and he's got a bunch of the habits that people from Hawaii have, like the Hang Loose sign and just different quirks, so that'll be funny to see Garrett like that haha.  I'm kinda jealous!  That really is such an awesome school.  But there is no way I would EVER get anything done if I lived that close to the beach.  So it's probably not for me :P 

So I probably shouldn't be on here for too much longer, so I'll just wrap up until next week.  The Spanish is coming fine, not too fast but I'll eventually have it, and I am feeling great.  You don't have anything to worry about, because nothing can ever happen to break the bonds we have as an eternal family.  That is the reason missionaries do what they do:  We sacrifice a short amount of time away from our families so that other families can be together forever :)  I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you again!  Until next week!



Friday, July 15, 2011

June 11, 2011


Eric arrived in the mission field along with two other Elders--Elder  Wise and Elder Bennion

Here's his first email from the mission field:
Dear Family:

My companions are awesome.  I've learned so much already it's crazy!  It's really scary talking to real people that don't know about the message you have to share for them.  After the first couple times I started getting better and now it's pretty simple.  We only teach people that speak Spanish, so I probably won't be able to teach that cousin..  The Hispanic people are so amazing and nice.  You can ask them for anything and they will do it for you.  It's amazing how many people like to hear this message.  The other day we were tracting in this neighborhood full of black people and I got like 3 referrals for the English-speaking Sisters on my own!  It was so awesome.  I was telling the story of the Restoration to this one guy and he said that I was "singing his song" or something like that.  I literally wanted to jump for joy!  When someone accepts what you have to say, the joy you feel is incredible!  It's like all that I want is for that person to be baptized and return to live with Heavenly Father!

The members here are amazing.  The ones that stay in church are always solid gold.  They tell all of their friends and there's even this lady that knocks doors! 
Love,  Eric

Hey Fam,

I just ran out of time on the computers and i don't have a library card.  I seriously wish that I could write you like ten pages because I could.  I just wanted to tell you about a pretty huge miracle that happened this week.

We're going to baptize a family of three on Saturday and apparently have a wedding for them like an hour before the baptism!  Their names are Joaquin, Guadalupe, and Bryan.  They are an awesome family!  Because of that, we're gonna almost make our goal of four baptisms for the month of July! 

My companions are seriously amazing.  I'll tell you about them when I have more time, but I just wanted to write this second e-mail to just be able to actually tell you I love you and that I'm alive and doing the Lord's work.  I know that this is what I should be doing and I am so glad to have a family that has supported me and given me so much throughout all of my life.  I'll talk to you in another week.  I've gotta go because people are waiting to play ultimate frisbee with us right now for a "zone P-Day."  I love you!  This is the true gospel and everyone on earth should get the chance to hear the wonderful message that we share :)  Don't be afraid to speak up!  People love being talked to!

Love you so much,


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eric's First Day in the Mission Field! July 5, 2011

Eric being introduced to the district by his companions/trainers Elder McArthur and Elder Johnson.  
The address at the top of the blog is the mission home.  His current residence is:
6200 Barnes Road South Apt. S08 (S not 5)
Jacksonville, Florida 32216
I'm sure he would love to hear from you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011, Arrived in Jacksonville, Florida Mission

Eric traveled all day today and arrived late this afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida.  We got a nice email from his mission president and wife, President and Sister Barry, saying how happy they are to have him there!

Friday, July 1, 2011

June 30, 2011

Eric's new mission assignment is Jacksonville, Florida.  He leaves the MTC for Florida on Monday, July 4th.  Prayers go out to him for a quick, smooth adjustment to his new location.  We think he's going to be a great missionary no matter where he serves!

June 28, 2011
This week was alright.  I really got a lot done, but I can't really recall much other than what has been going on these past few days with the hospital and clinic visits.  President Wilkins told me that he would let me know everything the second he finds out, so I hope I'll be in the loop considering I'm not sure if I'm going to Mexico or not.   So I'm just waiting to hear from President Wilkins.  He said he'd probably get back to me on Friday or so.  I don't really know.  I'm not really all too worried about it yet, hey the people of Des Moines, Iowa need missionaries too. :/  I hope I get called somewhere cool in the US at least...  
I just feel pretty much like I'm not gonna get a whole lot done until I figure this whole thing out.  Considering I was planning on getting my travel plans this week, I'm pretty bummed.  All is well though.  I just know that there's some unspoken reason behind this.

So I really can't think of a whole lot to say because I just talked to you about all of this on the phone today, but I'll just tell you about the Devotional on Friday.  It was so amazing.  David A. Bednar gave the talk and he was accompanied by six other Apostles.  No Prophet or counselors, but it was still an awesome experience.  The people that were there were Richard G. Scott, David A. Bednar, Jeffrey R. Holland, M. Russell Ballard, Dallin H. Oaks, Russell M. Nelson, and Neil A. Anderson.  It was awesome!  He gave a talk encouraging us that we can do it.  He gave us instructions on how to become "Preach My Gospel Missionaries" and really just helped everyone to feel that they were in the right place, unless they weren't worthy...  He really gave a lot of people a hard time on the fact that if you don't have the Spirit, you don't convert people...  My teacher said something really funny a few weeks ago about how we can't be "conversational terrorists."  As in we can't force people to believe something just because of the way that we word the statement or whatever we're teaching...  Haha that was Hna. Smith.  She was so awesome, but we got a new teacher.  I'm not sure if I told you this, but we have a Mexican native speaker for our new teacher.  He is way awesome.
Tell Hannah that BYU really is awesome and that really if you just put yourself out there that it is so incredibly easy to make friends.   I really think that regardless of where she goes that she'll be happy.  If she doesn't find any other people in the whole school, I'm sure that she will have an awesome time with her roommates.  I know that I did and I didn't really go out looking for anybody.  College is just so great! (Most of the time)
I loved being able to talk to you on the phone today.  Hearing your voice was very reassuring and I am glad that you love me and care for me so much.  I am so glad for everything that everybody does for me.  I'm doing really great, the Spanish is coming along...  Even though the teacher speaks so fast and impossible to understand!  I love you all and hope you are having a wonderful summer.  Don't worry too much and just know that I am still in the Lord's hands! 
I love you all so much!