Monday, April 9, 2012

March 26, 2012

Hey Family,
It is like a foreign country up here in South Carolina.  I am having a little bit of a hard time honestly connecting with the people, so I just try to be extra outgoing when I talk to anybody.  I was emergency transferred because Elder Lee's companion went home early...  I don't really know what else to tell you, but I came up from a zebra trio in Gainesville, meaing a companionship of both English and Spanish-speakers. 
The people up here are all so nice, but most of them are really religious in Ridgeland.  The members are wonderful people and they will do anything for us it seems.  It seems like most of the recent baptisms have been from people that the ward have referred to the Elders.  This is where Elder Winward was trained, back when it was a part of the Macon, GA mission, so a lot of people know him.  I honestly miss Gainesville a lot and have been having a hard time getting over the sudden change, but I know that it will all work out in the end.  Elder Lee is from Escondido, CA and I told him that I knew someone named Marriah from there and he told me that he didn't just know her, but apparently they were almost dating at one point.  It's crazy how small the world is when you're LDS.  We are pretty different, and it's been presenting some challenges, but I think that we'll be able to sort those things out in the coming days.
Yesterday we were planning on biking down to Hardeeville, but stopped about a quarter of the way and realized it was a bad idea, so we went to visit a recent convert, Brother Spann.  He has a great testimony and is so solid and loves the church!  He told us that there was a big crash under the bridge right by where he lives.  A semi full of mangoes crashed into the pillar!  From what we heard, he made it out alright, but it was an intense wreck.  We went down and got a bunch of mangoes after they cleaned up the bigger parts of the accident.  haha yum.
When we were sitting in sacrament meeting this week a member brought her friend, Melissa, to come and visit the church with us and she got up and bore her testimony because she felt the spirit so strong.  Before we could ask her to set up an appointment with us, she approached us and set up her own appointment to meet with us on Tuesday.  I am excited for this Ward!  We are working both Spanish and English here because we are the only missionaries for miles, so it's a culture shock, but it just means more opportunities to teach and especially to find. 
A funny saying that I thought I would share with you that I heard from Elder Lee is that only in the Jacksonville, FL mission: The further north you go, the further south you get.  Haha it's so true.  I'm sure that I will have a lot of stories to share about this place in my coming letters. 
It's been a really tough week, but I am still convinced that the Lord is helping me along.  I'm really excited for General Conference and I hope you are too.  Keep praying for me and I'll do the same!  I love you a lot and don't have a ton of time because of the fact that I had to share a computer!  I'll talk to you in a week :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 19, 2012

Hey Family,

This week was the most crazy thing of my entire life.  So transfers were on Wednesday and we got put into a "zebra trio" with our District Leader and then I found out on Saturday that I was getting emergency transferred to Ridgeland, SC.  The furthest south to the furthest North.  The weird thing is that I am going to be serving in the same ward that one of my great friends, Emalie Ingram, from BYU's family attends.  Her dad is the bishop and I will see her when she comes home around the end of next transfer...  Isn't that crazy?!  It's funny because she just wrote me a letter last week telling me to get transferred to her area and then I didn't, and now I'm on my way there!  I'm actually writing you from the mission office right now.  

We had a MIRACLE this week.  Those cards that we wrote Elena touched her so much that she had a dream about being in front of the ward bearing her testimony and thanking them for their love and care.  She talked to Terecina for a while and then when we went back to visit her on Saturday, she told us that she is ready.  It was a mix of emotions, to be completely honest I really wish that I could be there for her baptism, but I was so happy and excited for her.  It is humbling knowing that the Lord provides when you just listen to what he wants you to do.  It's incredible and I honestly was speechless for about a half hour after that happened.  

I loved being in Gainesville.  It was really, ridiculously fun and inspirational and I learned more than I could ever express in words.  Being with Elder Winward was wonderful.  I am so incredibly sad to be getting emergency transferred, but like I said to President Barry, the more that I pray about it, the more that I realize all of the incredible blessings that are in store for all of his children.  I am just an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands and I will just do what he wants.  It should be a lot of fun going up to Ridgeland, being companions with Elder Lee.  Just pray for me that I will be able to stay strong in my faith and that I will be spiritually in-tuned enough to recognize those that the Lord wants me to convert up in South Carolina!

I'm not very interested any more in animation.  I'm not really that interested in things that are going to happen after my mission right now, which is something that I thought I would never say, but I just honestly feel like I could stay here forever.  Just like Ammon said to King Lamoni!

That is a great picture of Madison!  She is so beautiful and I am so excited for her to go out and serve in California.  I still remember that first time I went to the temple.  It was so wonderful and I can't wait to be able to do that again!

Sorry I don't have very much time this week to write, but all three of us wore green ties on St. Patrick's Day :)



Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 12, 2012

Dear Family,

Lately we have just kept looking for people, but our efforts have been seeming to pay off a bit more this week.  We met a man at the Flea Market, which is the BEST place to talk to people by the way, named Kevin and he is from Honduras.  He actually reminded me a lot of Elder Vilorio.  It was so easy to get along with him and he was completely open to talk about the gospel.  We said a prayer with him right there and set up an appointment to go and visit him on Thursday.  Today while we were shopping, we met some Puerto Ricans and they were just about the same!  Both of these people just seemed like they wanted to come to a new church, and we told them that they picked the right one!  

This week I think we only taught Elena once again, but she's in the hospital.  Apparently she has been having a lot of seizures, so we don't really know what to do.  On Saturday I had the idea to go to Walmart and buy some colorful paper so that we could make get well cards for her in church on Sunday in all of the different auxiliaries.  She loved them a lot, but when we went to teach she just told us that she can't accept the Book of Mormon as holy scripture or the word of God.  I know that it's true that whoever asks with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart will receive a witness that it is from God, but we just can't figure out what it is that we are not telling her.  You're right about us paving the path, but I just wish that she could get an answer sooner than later.  Something interesting that I've noticed is that almost every Spanish person that converts waits for a dream to know if something is true or not...  A lot of people do at least.  Just keep praying that God will tell her the Book of Mormon is true.

It has just been a very nice week and I found out that I'll be here at least another 6 weeks with Elder Winward! 

This looks like a big pineapple

Elder Windward and Elder Moore

The District

Love these beautiful flowers that are blooming everywhere right now

The University of Florida football stadium

Spanish Conference--Jacksonville Mission

Promise to Lehi's descendants:

"And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us...And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ...And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people." 2 Nephi 30:4-6

BACK ROW:  Elder Jones, Elder Evans, Elder Phelps, Elder Garnica, Elder Nelson, Elder Winward.  MIDDLE ROW:  Elder Vilorio, Elder McArthur, Elder Oteo, Elder Warren, Elder Mourra, Elder Lee and Elder Hernandez, President Barry. KNEELING:  Elder Moore, Elder Quintano, Elder Larrocha 
These are the missionaries that have the privilege of bringing the Gospel to the Lamanites and being the Lord's instruments in making this prophecy come to pass.  We had a Spanish Conference where they taught each other and learned how to connect with the Hispanic people and how to better teach them.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 5, 2012

Dear Family,

The trees and bushes in Florida are starting to bloom and it is so beautiful here some days.  I have a feeling like you would love Gainesville a lot.  There are just a lot of old houses and flowers and Spanish moss- EVERYWHERE.  It rained really hard on Saturday night, but we slept like babies through it because we were tired from fasting...  Other than that there hasn't been much bad weather.  It's a PERFECT day outside today.  I think it would be great to get hit by a tornado or earthquake or hurricane, as long as we didn't die.  People remember God when they're humbled!  

This week we have been studying and working a lot with the ward trying to find solid new investigators.  There hasn't been a baptism in Gainesville for a while it seems, but we have been working to get everyone in the ward on our team.  We got 5 referrals this week from the youth that we are planning on helping the members teach sometime this week.  I think that when it comes down to it, every single member should make a goal to baptize one person they know every single year.  That doesn't seem too ridiculous, does it?? 

We just got a new ward mission leader named Brother Driaza and him and his family are really excited about the call.  They are Colombian, so it's great knowing that he will be able to help us out a lot in finding Hispanics!  I'm pretty sure that even before they were called, they were out every day making visits and helping members out.  They are a wonderful example to the ward and to us (the missionaries).  Sister Driaza was telling us about how a lot of people go to college to make friends, or even to get an education, but when she went she did it to preach the gospel!  Haha I hope that kind of helps you to get an idea of what they are like!  

I'M SO SORRY!!  I forgot my camera cord today again, so I'll have to wait an entire week before sending you pictures :(  But I haven't been good at taking pictures lately, so I'll take a lot and send a lot next week!  I'll try to let you see some of Gainesville and my companion and just things that we do.  It'll be great.  Be excited!  

This week we taught the most powerful lesson of my entire mission.  We had Elena read the Living Christ and then we shared our testimonies about Jesus and the Apostles and then Terecina (her recent-convert friend) told her about how she knew that God had set her up to come to Gainesville again to hear this gospel.  The house might as well have been on fire, had the roof blow off and legions of angels telling her to get baptized, but she still claims to not have felt anything!  It feels like we have done everything, but we're still just being patient and trying to find other people.  Elena and Stephanie have been coming to church, but just won't set a date to be baptized.  It's frustrating sometimes, but they'll come around!

I can't wait to see what you do with the house.  I'm sure it will be amazing.  I remember when we had that garden show in our backyard on Amethyst Dr. and all those people got to see how wonderfully talented you are at arranging foliage haha.  It's only a matter of time before the news crews are back over wanting some Moore flowers.  

Have a great week!  I love you a lot :)

Elder Eric

Sunday, March 4, 2012

February 26, 2012

Dear Family,

This week we did find some really elect people, but they were outside of our ward boundaries and English-speaking so we had to hand them off to the other Elders.  It was a really tough week because we didn't have a lot of set appointments with investigators...  I know that it's just a trial of our faith and that really we can do anything if it's what the Lord wants.  I'll let you know next week about the hundreds of baptismal dates we set :)

Elena and Stephanie both came to church, so we picked them up again, but other than that we are still just out looking and looking and looking some more!  We met a man named Eric that speaks only English, but is inside our ward boundaries, so we can teach him...  He had a book called "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith" that apparently a member gave to him...  It sure would be nice if people could just stick to the Book of Mormon haha.  We had to explain so many incredibly difficult to answer questions about things that Joseph Smith had said.  Goodness gracious I don't know why Deseret Book publishes some of the things it publishes.  

President Barry has emphasized a lot lately the fact that we need to be finding through members.  He is trying to help us all to get a glimpse of the vision he has of how the missionary work of this church is going to start flying!  Like I was telling Dad, could you imagine how much growth would happen in the church if every member would just help the missionaries teach one of their friends?  The church would double in size.  

It sounds like you are having a great time down there in Texas.  I'm sure that they are all thrilled to have you down there.  Make sure that you let everyone know that I'm still alive.



February 20, 2012

Dear Family,

This week was a little bit different than most.  We dropped almost all of our investigators because we just figured that none of them were progressing towards baptism.  We have been having a hard time finding elect investigators.  It was the hardest to drop Elena, even though it was such a huge relief at the same time.  I don't mean to sound self-righteous, but we were such a huge blessing in her life that came straight from Heavenly Father to help her accept the gospel into her life, but she just couldn't get past her old beliefs.  It wasn't so much teaching, rather that just talking at somebody that is just thinking about how they're going to counter what we say with something they already believe.  It's just hard to teach people that aren't willing to listen to what we say when it comes down to it.  

So now we are pretty much starting from scratch and just working to find people that will be baptized.  Our Mission President tells us again and again to find through the members and on our own time, so we've been doing that.  On Friday we went up to contact some people in a little town to the north of Gainesville called Alachua.  We found SO MANY HISPANICS!!  It was wonderful!  A member had just recently moved up there too that will be coming down to our ward for translation, so we don't really even have to worry about transportation for this one man we talked to that had already been attending church just a few weeks before.  Even though we dropped almost everyone, we can clearly see that the Lord provides to those that trust Him!  

On Wednesday we had a Spanish-speaking missionary conference.  It was a lot of fun to be with only the people that I will for sure be companions with at some point.  There was a lot of excitement and it was really funny being able to talk about all of the ways that we use to find Hispanics.  Haha they tell us to look for clues and I'll just share a couple with you:  an upside down mop by their front door, Dora the Explorer gear (of course), frogs, pieces of carpet instead of welcome mats, Fabuloso soap in the windows, a lot of plants in their front yard, foreign flags, Dish 500 satellites, little trucks with rims that cost more than the car, etc...  Haha it's just so funny. 

I am happy that Hannah decided to go to USU, even though it's sad that she's going to be gone next summer.  I'm sure it will be a sad adjustment, but it's ok because we'll be together forever :)

I hope you have a wonderful week.  I am doing great here in Gainesville.  I'll send you some pictures next week in my e-mail!  Kira's a munequita!  I'll be praying for all ya'll.  



Friday, February 17, 2012

A few Moore mission pictures! 2/17/12

They built this driveway!

It's funny that the mission cars are the exact same car that Eric drove in high school!

I just think this is the coolest looking place.  Kind of scary and adventurous.  You don't know what's down that road, but you'd kind of like to go down there!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 13, 2012

Dear Family,

In Gainesville we are having a hard time finding investigators that will progress...  We find and find and find and find some more, but it seems like literally everybody in the Hispanic world works all the time.  It's amazing that they can even do it!  We got a media referral this week from a man that requested a visit from the missionaries himself named Victor.  He is reading Jesus the Christ and very interested in the Book of Mormon.  We didn't get to teach him anything when we went over there because he conducted an interview with us it felt, but we did tell him to keep reading from the Book of Mormon and praying.  He is strongly Catholic, but we'll get him.  He has 3 kids and a wife and I think that they are from Peru.  

You're right about everything working out.  I know that's true in every situation because when worse comes to worse, nothing bad can eternally affect you except sin.  It's like how there are a lot of things about my mission that I wish that I could immediately be better at, but I know that I'll get there one day if I'm just patient and keep my covenants that I have made!  It's really weird what we are doing as 20 year old men, but I know that it's what the Lord wants and he equips his called.

Keep on being amazing!  I love you.  Thank you for the card and little box of chocolates...?  I haven't opened that package yet, but I'm assuming that there is a card and little box of chocolates inside of the package and that card and little box of chocolates is the card and little box of chocolates to which you refer when you say "Did you get our card and little box of chocolates?"  I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!



February 6, 2012

It sounds like you have a load of plans ahead of you this week.  I hope that everything works out wonderfully and that Hannah finally decides on a school.  It's great that she is auditioning at Utah State.  One of the sister missionaries was telling me about how, surprisingly, their music program is pretty high up there in nation ranks or something like that.  She is going to have the best time ever at All State.  Those were some of my best memories from high school.  You learn so much it is incredible!  

I would say that I am jealous of the foot of snow outside and the bright blue sky, but here it's still green and in the 80's.  It's crazy how moving just a couple miles south makes such a HUGE difference.  My new companion's name is Elder Winward and he is from Lehi, UT.  He has been telling me a lot about the areas that he had been in before in Georgia and South Carolina and it sounds like there are a lot of funny people up there.  We technically are further south, but when it comes down to it, I would say that Georgia's probably the most southern state.  Elder Winward's Spanish is amazing.  He told me one of his goals is to talk like he's a Mexican by the end of his mission.  He does a good job at it too, I just told him that I would prefer to talk more like someone from South America.  Mexican's use a lot of twang when they speak and have a million slang words.  It's almost like a different language sometimes.  It's great how being around Hispanic people all the time is helping me to distinguish where somebody is from just based on their appearance or the way that they talk.  It makes it a lot easier to talk to people and you connect a lot better when you can guess where they are from.  

Speaking of Mexicans, we met a man named Erasto from Cuernavaca last night.  He was really smart and could understand every single thing that we told him.  He told me that they call it the land of eternal spring and told me it's wonderful.  It made me think about how that's where almost all of my district is right now and it was a little sad, but really I feel like being a missionary is probably pretty similar no matter where you are.  I love Florida.  

Elena is progressing so much.  She will be baptized sometime soon, the only problem is that she doesn't feel the joy that she felt in the Catholic church.  We are trying to help her have a spiritual experience, and we have explained to her that it might just be that she feels that joy in the Catholic church because it's what she is used to.  Her sister that lives in Honduras is a member and told her she would buy a plane ticket to come over here if she is baptized.  There are just so many things pointing her in the right direction, we just are trying to help her recognize that.

It's still the same work...  We're finding, teaching, and baptizing in Jacksonville, FL so just pray that we'll be blessed with more elect and ready people to teach.  I love you a lot and hope you all have a wonderful week.  I am doing great!



Sunday, February 5, 2012

January 30, 2012

Dear Family,

This week was great.  We just heard from Elder Ballard yesterday in a Regional Stake Conference all about missionary work.  It's so true that great things lie ahead in the future for the church.  He talked about if everyone would invite one person into the gospel each year the number or baptisms would be substantial.  It seems like the leaders of our church are really trying to help every member to realize that their responsibility is to help their friends into the gospel and not just immediately tell the missionaries to go see them.  The Spanish members in Gainesville are all so wonderful.  They are trying their best to help us find new people in this predominantly white and black part of the United States.  :)

Elena is going through some hard times right now with her health and I'm not sure at times what to even tell her.  It's amazing that regardless of how complex or nasty your problems are physically, simple doctrine, like resurrection or eternal life, shifts your mind from worry mode to living the gospel mode.  Elena is still praying.  She is really on and off about being baptized, but she's the one that always brings it up now, so we're just waiting until she undeniably feels the Holy Ghost in her life so we can help her into this wonderful church!  

Stephanie came to church this week!  She doesn't seem to be progressing too much, but we challenged her to live her life as if she was a member of the church and she's doing a good job at it so far.  She's just scared to be baptized...  President Barry told us an interesting quote this weekend about success in missionary work.  Success isn't measured by how many people you can fit in the font, but how many you can fit into the pews.  Haha I like that quote a lot.  

On Saturday we volunteered at this event sponsored by the family of the man that invented Gatorade.  They were all turned off by the fact that we were dressed in suits and had tags that say Jesus Christ on them, but all of the people we talked to wanted to know about what we did.  It was funny.  We were assigned to help out with a "science experiment" all day where we would trap CO2 in bubbles using dry ice and dish soap and the people that came over to our table wanted to talk more about the church than about the bubbles.  It ended up being a lot better than I thought it was going to.  We weren't allowed to "solicit" to anyone, but we still got the name of the church out and showed people that we are just normal people.

Yesterday we got to watch a man named Marvin Goldsteen perform a devotional based on his piano-playing and conversion story.  He talked a lot about Judaism and how he travels all around the world and helps people to feel the spirit, regardless of race, nationality, or religion.  He talked a lot about how music needs to be incorporated into every day of our lives and should be something we use in missionary work.  It was a wonderful performance and he inspired me to sing more hymns than we already do when we proselyte!  

That is crazy that Garrett is going to Helsinki.  I'm sure that he'll meet Bryce there...  I couldn't imagine that mission being too huge or anything.  That would be great if he was trained by him.  Let Madison know that I am so proud of her and I love her and know she will be a great missionary in Disneyland.  I'm sure that they will both be wonderful.  Tell them that the trick to missionary work is to talk to everyone and ask everyone for referrals, work hard, and always be 100% worthy for the spirit.  They have a LOT to look forward to.  I really do feel that I have learned more as a missionary than the rest of my life put together.

I'm going to the Mayo Clinic today for a check-up at 3:00.  I have to drive 2 hours to get there, but hopefully they tell me some good news or at least make it worth the trip.  I'm feeling fine and I am happy as can be.  I'll let you know what they tell me next week if Sister Barry doesn't.  

Keep up the good work!  I love you a lot and love hearing from you.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 23, 2012

Dear Family,

Time sure has slowed down in January, you're right...  But the thing is that I have been in Gainesville for almost an entire transfer.  I'm guessing that Elder Vilorio will be leaving next Wednesday, but I hope not!  We are doing really well together & getting up every morning at 6:15 to go running.  It's nice having a companion to push me to do a little bit better than I would otherwise.  

Gainesville is still beautiful, but it doesn't feel like a whole lot happened this week.  Elena and Stephanie both told us they weren't ready.  Elena I can understand, but I feel like Stephanie is just afraid of the commitment involved with baptism.  I don't know if we need to be teaching with whipped cream and a cherry on top or what, but it just feels at times like you have to bribe people to live the gospel...  Elena is still reading in the Book of Mormon and she really seems to be doing all that she can to get some sort of answer.  I know that she will be answered if we are all patient and wait upon the Lord.  

We met a lot of Mexicans this week that apparently all work for the same company and move all around the United States together.  The funny thing is that the last places they lived in were Idaho Falls and Brigham City.  They seem to all have spoken to missionaries before, but they're all still pretty set on Catholicism.  I don't know that they can read, but that won't stop us from trying to help them!  

That was the most horrifying story I have ever read in my life about Molly.  I can't believe how terrible that is.  She's ok now, right?  I didn't really want to keep reading because I thought that you were going to tell me that she got killed or something.  Tell Dad to give her a Priesthood Blessing haha.  That is so funny that Sophie wanted to Skype with Molly and Lucy.  She's starting to sound like a little 2 year old girl!

I am so proud of Hannah for standing up and saying that in class.  Do everything you can to get him baptized!  If he reads the Book of Mormon he'll want to be.  You should talk to the missionaries about him and ask them about how you can help to convert that man.  He sounds elect as can be!  I am also proud of Russell for deciding to serve a mission.  I read his talk that Dad sent to me.  He is such an interesting person.  I didn't even know he knew anything about trucks.  I'm glad that he's excited because he is going to learn more on a mission than anywhere else in his entire life.  

I love you a lot and I'm so happy to hear from you.  Have a wonderful week!  



Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 16, 2012

Eric sent some pictures home this past week!  It was really great to see pictures of him looking so happy and healthy!  He is having such a great mission and we are so proud of him!  Here are just a few of my favorites.  For his birthday, I sent him a do-it-yourself birthday party kit!  It had a cake mix with frosting, sprinkles, and candles as well as balloons and a Happy Birthday sign for his door!

The mission president gave permission for the Elder's to participate in their ward campout activities.

We may have to wait until Eric gets back to identify the people in the pictures!  It looks like he is teaching a lot of truly wonderful folks!  Here's this week's letter:

This week was wonderful.  We started it off by going to this great Zone Meeting with everyone in the Gainesville and Lake City zones and we were told our yearly focus and goals and what President Barry has in mind for us.  I can't decide if this quote he told us is something to worry about or something to be thrilled about...  He said that Elder Russell M. Nelson told a Mission President that was almost done with his call:  "There will come a day when people will flock to the church because it is the last bastion of hope on earth and people will flock to it because that is the only place from where hope and light will come.  It will happen in your lifetime, and in my lifetime too.  Now you go think and pray about that."  

We were told again to take advantage of the time that we are in with these presidential candidates and this play and this explosion of all over the world.  I know that we have a lot of responsibility as members of the church!  

So anyway, we have been talking a lot to Elena and Stephanie.  Their dates are set for this weekend and they can be ready, they just need to have the faith to do it.  Stephanie has been telling us that she wants to wait, but last night we figured out she was holding back reasons from us.  I think she trusts us a lot and felt that what we told her about the Atonement and Repentance and Baptism was true.  The spirit almost burned a hole through me it was so strong in that lesson.  She's still a little bit shy and scared, but she will be baptized soon.  Hopefully this weekend.  Elena has been going out with a member and running errands and claims that member's house as "her second home."  This member is harboring her and helping her through a rough time...  I don't even know that they talk about the gospel all that much, but she still came to church yesterday because the member invited her and gave her a ride.  That's what the Lord asks of members!  Be an example and always be willing to lend a hand to those in need.  Just pray for those two because they need some guidance!!

Thank you for sending that package.  I got it on Friday I think.  I'm glad that the camera worked out and that you liked that picture of us in the wilderness.  I set up the camera on a fence post to take it.  That path was just way too desolate and untamed to not take some pictures to remember it.  I wish that you could actually see how scary that place is.  Haha

I am really enjoying everything that we are studying in Sunday School as well.  President Barry invited us to read the Book of Mormon and mark everything that relates to the doctrine of Christ as we do and to finish in 6 months.  It's interesting how there is always so much to learn from the scriptures.  I have a color pattern going on right now to tell when it's talking about faith or repentance or whatever part of the gospel.  We are taught in Spanish about the Book of Mormon in Sunday School.  Most of the people in Gainesville are actually from South America and the Caribbean Islands.  The members are from Peru and Colombia and Cuba and The Dominican Republic.  They are all wonderful people.  

Gainesville has been pretty cold this week, but all of the students are back.  It is crazy how many people live in such a small area.  There's bound to be a lot of people willing to accept the gospel and get baptized!  Keep on praying!  I love you.

I am feeling fine.  I am still on a pretty big dose of medication, but I am going to call Sister Barry to see if she thinks I should call the Mayo Clinic to get it put back to normal or something.  I haven't talked to a Doctor in almost a month...  Don't worry about me though.  In my setting apart blessing I was told that I would not ever be sick enough to impede the work.  So all you have to worry about is if I am qualifying for the blessings of the Lord :) haha which, of course I better be!



Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

Gainesville, Florida
Dear Family,

One of our investigators, Elena, has been reading every day and is really trying to see if this is what God wants from her, but I think she might be a little bit "off" because she had brain cancer a while ago and is epileptic and just acts a little strange sometimes.  The other day she told us that she was really stressed out because she couldn't find her medicine, so she went to bed worried about it and in the morning picked up the Book of Mormon and said a prayer to find it.  She said the second she did that, she looked and saw them sitting there.  I would think that would tell her something about the church!  She came to church yesterday and afterwards we showed her around the building.  She told us that she was a little bit offended that we didn't have even a cross in the chapel, so one of the members explained to her that we worship the living Jesus and not the one on the cross and that seemed to calm her down a little bit.  She says that her brother in-law is an "Elder" so we're wondering if that means he's a seventy...?  That would be crazy.  Basically, when it comes down to it, a bunch of different things have been leading up to us meeting with her and her becoming converted, but she is still not sure.  Pray hard for her!  We won't give up until the door is slammed and locked in our face haha.

Stephanie might get baptized this week, she's just 13 and doesn't have a lot of support from anyone except us, so pray extra hard for her to have a mighty change of heart.

This week I was focusing my studies a lot on the Doctrine of Christ and the missionary purpose and just want to tell you how wonderful Jesus is.  You should read that talk given by Bruce R. McConkie right before he died.  It is really powerful and opened my eyes about how important Christ's life truly is to us.  

We are working hard in Gainesville!  The winter semester just started, so all of the students are back and we get to write our e-mails in the Library.  It really is a beautiful place.  It just feels so secluded and cut off from the rest of the world.  It's been a little chilly, but now it's been back up to 70 and 80.  I don't really feel the January blues because all the months pretty much feel the same haha.  I hope that you are successful in finding people to help out.  It's interesting how true it is about always knowing what to do when you have stewardship over a group of people.  All you really have to worry about right now is Hannah haha.

I hope you have a wonderful week!  I love you so much.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 2, 2011

Dear Family,
This week and last week we have had to do our e-mails at the members' houses because of the holidays.  Usually in Gainesville I guess we go to the University Library to do our e-mail, but that won't be until next week. 
The town is a lot like Boulder.  There are a lot more trees though.  It is so beautiful.  I'll try to take some pictures, but just so you know they won't do this place justice.  It literally feels like we are never under an open sky.  Both the East and the West are beautiful in their own ways, but I just think I'm more used to more open spaces...  Haha. 
We saw so many miracles this week it was incredible.  We went to this neighborhood and prayed to be a little more humble and see more miracles because we were already pretty excited about all of the lessons we had taught that day and then went up to the first door.  We were a little hesitant to knock at first because somebody was inside playing waltz-style classical music on the piano, and I haven't met a whole lot of hispanics that are into that kind of stuff, but we knocked anyway.  The guy's name was Airan and we thought he was Indian...  We asked if we could come in and listen to him play and he ended up telling us he was from Cuba!  He played a couple songs and I played a couple songs and he opened right up to hear about what we had to say.  It was a powerful lesson and he committed to read the Book of Mormon. 
He referred us to a couple of his neighbors and told us that almost that entire complex is full of Hispanics.  We visited his neighbors the next day and everyone has just been so open to listen and to read!  Just pray that we will be able to help them to understand the importance of there being a living prophet.  We found nine new investigators and I know that it was only because we went out and diligently sought and prayed to recognize those people that we should talk with.  The gospel will change their lives for so much good if they take those next few steps of reading and praying and receiving an answer for themselves. 
We are also teaching a girl named Stephanie that is a little bit nervous about getting baptized for some reason, but she has been taught everything.  All she needs to do is sincerely pray and she'll realized why she needs to do it.  We set a goal with her to be ready by the 15th.
I'm sorry I don't have a ton of time and I always feel in situations like this that all my companion is thinking is "when do I get to write my family?!" So I'm going to have to cut it short.  Just know that the work here is wonderful and that I am so excited to be companions with Elder Vilorio.  We have been working hard and even getting up to run every morning.  The harder you work and the more obedient you are and diligent in sharing the gospel the more you realize that there really is no shame in sharing with people the way to Salvation.  I love being a missionary.
I will be praying for Hannah and hoping that she gets into the BYU music program, and if not that program that she will decide to go there anyway haha.  I love you a lot and love hearing from you.  You are such a great example and I know that I am blessed because of your constant prayer and concern.  Look at Romans 1:16 and get to work with handing out those Books of Mormon!