Monday, September 22, 2014

One Transfer Down!

(Email to Friends)
Already one transfer (Kinda 2 if you include the MTC) through my mission!  Only 15 more to go.  When said like that it feels like this might actually fly by.  Lots happened this week.  Lots of changes in the mission, our zone, our district, and our house.  Gonna be a lot different, and I think a lot better.

Where to begin with this week.  Our baptism for Saturday had some problems crop up so we have to postpone it for October 18th I believe.  The same day as a different baptismal date of ours.

I saw 2 Jazz uniforms this week!  A number 1 (believe it was Frank Layden) and another that was kinda a junior jazz jersey.  Made me really happy to see those.  Also saw a guy with the same exact Nike indoor shoes I used to have.  Was really weird to see that.

While playing dominoes at a family home evening Elder Moncada and I looked like chumps.  I didn't know what I was doing!  Then Magdalena, our postponed baptismal date, got in there and beat all these old cocky guys!  It was fantastic.  Made my day. Really though, I need to learn all the rules of dominoes.

While listening to a guy bear his testimony during a lesson he said "I know Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith live". Haha that just about killed me!  We didn't bother to correct him, or say anything about it.  I guess it's true, but it was just hilarious.

We also made another great contact family this week.  He's not part of any other religion, is a journalist, and was very receptive to our message.  And he's legally married and all his family is pretty normal.  I can't wait to teach him some more.

I biffed it going down some stairs in the rain this week.  My comp thought it was pretty funny.  No injuries and I was laughing.  So "all is well".

The Lord knows how to show me my weakness.  Ether 12:27.  This week we were preparing to sing during that baptismal service.  The four of us in our house.  Everyone else sounded pretty good, but I took the hint that I was stinking it up.  Turns out I'm tone deaf.  Add that to my list of weaknesses.  I also can't roll my R's.  Makes my pronunciation sound awful.  Super gringo.  Sometimes when trying to talk to people they tell me they can't understand English.  SUPER frustrating.  Plus since I'm tone deaf I struggle to tell when I'm pronouncing wrong.  I know with my work and the Lord's help I can do this though.  It's just going to take some time and faith.

I had the opportunity to help in two Priesthood blessings this week.   My first two.  Fully in Spanish.  Both to members for health.  The first one I anointed the oil and the second one I gave the blessing.  Super cool.  I did my best to just listen to the Spirit and go along with it, but it's hard.  I'm sure I'll get better at that as well.

We got to go to the temple this week!  It was fantastic.  Really great to go back and feel the peace there.  No crazy revelations there, but I just felt the love of the Lord and his peace.  It felt fantastic.  Also there's been a rule change and we get to go 4 times a year now!  Woot!  Made my day when I heard that.  Also at one point we were singing a hymn and the lights went out in the temple.  We all just kept humming it till it came back on.  There was probably like 100 missionaries that happened too.  I thought that was pretty cool.

During sacrament this week it started POURING.  We called it the rain of Noah.  You could barely hear the speaker.  I loved it.

It's also really hard to find reverence here.  When you think of a lesson it's normally quiet, in someone's house, and super reverent.  Unfortunately here, it's usually on their porch and pretty much everyone is always playing some kind of music.  So crazy.  We try to get through it though.  Do what we can.

Also a lot of people here say "si Dios quiere" which translated means "if Gods wants it".  Bugs the crap out of me.  Of course He wants you to go to church!  Just go! Ahh! Haha.

We also have a weeklong open house this week.  Fun Fun Fun.  I have a feeling the turnout won't be so hot.  It's for about 2 hours a day.  Wish us luck on that.

We also have another family, Paula and Victor and some of their family, coming to church.  She's very very happy (ALWAYS smiling and laughing) and besides forgetting the name of the church all the time loves the church.  Says she knows it to be true.  Her husband is getting closer to feeling the same way too.  I'm excited for them and only hope I'm here when they get baptized.  Plus he looks a ton like Morgan Freeman and I just straight up think that's dang chevere.

Anyways, that's about all for this week!  We have a new person (from the US, but that's all I know about him) in our house on Tuesday, and a new gringo ZL, and tons of changes in our zone.  I think it'll be for the best.  A lot of disobedient (and good, unfortunately) missionaries are leaving.

Love you all tons!  Talk to ya next week.  Stay in touch.
E. Potokar.

(Email to Family)
Ahh.  Sounds like you had a fantastic week.  I'm glad.  We both had great temple experiences this week!  So cool. For the temple this week I found a name!  Grandpa Ken's grandpa's brother.  Unfortunately I sent it to the mission office too late and they weren't able to do the baptisms for it before we came.  Next time.  I also saw Ashley's name while looking for names.  She has some names she's reserved.  Super cool.  The new family search is WAY nice.

 I'm also jealous about that internet.  I look forward to having that when I get back.  I think when I left Brother Irvine didn't have a job so that's awesome he's found one and is already working his way up the company.

Please forward me Ryan and Trevor's emails!  I've been emailing them personally, but they don't send those ones to me.  I also started emailing Nate Arrington after you told me about him and Marcos and Tyler some.

The other greenie Elder in our zone, went home this past week.  He was super quiet, but knew Spanish before.  I don't know what happened.  He was just gone.

To the list:
I made some mean breakfast skillet, but it just wasn't enough.  Tried hash browns again another day, but just didn't have time to finish them.  Took forever for them to cook.  I think my way will be to bake them and dice them the next day. I have some instant oatmeal I've been eating, but it's ridiculously bland.  Any ideas for stuff to put in it?  It's just oats pretty much.  I usually try cinnamon or peanut butter, but it's just not enough.

I like the maple syrup idea in oatmeal.  That should be good.  And the French toast was really good.  Since Moncada takes like an hour or two in the bathroom in the mornings I almost always cook.  I enjoy it, but it's hard to cook for two in that short amount of time before 8.  Hard to get enough for both of us.

If you wouldn't mind looking up dominoes rules and sending them to me that'd be great.  I was clueless at the FHE we had last week.  Felt and probably looked like a fool haha. The Dominicans slap down the dominoes super loudly whenever they play one.  They're crazy about it.

In sacrament we sat by a single mother and her two kids.  Her one kid is probably about a year old and was all over us haha! Climbing everywhere.  My pants were all dirty after from his crackers that were all slimy and gross.  It was distracting and really nice actually.

Payless is clean now.  It’s not always like that.

Transfers are tomorrow, and we found out about them last night. Transfers are going to change a lot.  I'm really excited for them.  Moncada is our new DL.  We're getting an Elder Decker in our house, from the US.  The new missionary in our apartment has been around 6 or 7 months I believe.  So he should just really be getting the hang of things. That's all we really know about him.  Also getting a new ZL, from the islands.  He was a ZL there.  Usually only the super obedient and strict missionaries are sent to the islands.  I think he'll be good. Lots of transfers within the Zone too so I think they'll be a lot more potential English now.

I don't remember if I asked, but if you guys could send me my threaders for my permanent retainer some time that'd be awesome.  Couldn't remember if I asked or not.

When I was with Kirk on splits and this week in church mothers just start breast feeding their kids right in front of us.  You can check that off my weird things to see list.

I felt easily irritated this week.  That was weird for me, because normally I'm super laid back.  I think it's just the stress getting to me.

Today for P-day was going to be a cleaning day.  All was going well, until we ran out of water.  That pretty much stopped any cleaning we could do! Ahh! So close.  We did get the fridge defrosted and cleaned today (at least the inside) so we're doing better.  The freezer is now like 50 percent bigger.  I sent pictures of all the ice that was stuck in it.

Moncada's birthday was Sunday too.  I made some hash browns and a huge mound of French toast for him.  And later I gave him a tie that I put on his bed with a note while he was napping.  Probably should've just given it to him in person, but oh well. I feel like I should've done more, but oh well.

Also made a few purchases this week.  Bought a new belt, but it stains too.  I'm going to rub it down real good and try to scrub on the staining stuff.  Moncada's tie.  And a 9x13 pan for brownies, cake, German pancakes, and if you can think of any other stuff I could make in it let me know.  Also if I'm buying too much stuff with my personal money let me know.

I had a young girl (probably Ashley’s age) tell me I'm good looking, compliment me on my eyes, and it was just really strange.  Could've gone downhill fast.  We bailed pretty quick.

The rain is off and on like normal.  I think it's been a littler cooler?  But when it is hot is hotter?  Haha I don't know.  It's been about the same.  There has been some more lightning.  It's super loud for some reason.  I think it's way cool.

Maritsa and Ferdinando didn't come this week.  He was the one who said Joseph Smith lives and I attached a picture of their house.  The grandma is Paula.  She did come and I think will progress well.  Doesn't learn to quick, but I think she loves the gospel. Lisa didn't come to church and we don't know why yet.  We had 5 there this week.  Paula and her husband, Magdalena, Darley (the 12 year old kid who just can't retain anything, but has come weekly with a friend for like 3 months), and Junior, a friend of a member family. Petter literally just disappeared.  We think he got in a fight with his Mom and left and we haven't seen him since.  That's probably been two or three weeks.

Also another thought with Marta Ojeda.  She's in her 50's and has seen tons of parts of the world.  US, Africa, all over.  She's seen a lot of bad stuff and frequently asks why there's so much horrible stuff in the world.  She's super friendly.  She started speaking to me in Spanish like I was 2.  It was hilarious.  She also gave me a thesaurus in Spanish to help me out.  Really awesome.  I want to give her a BOM in return.  She also had her mother pass away and has a struggling marriage.  I promised her that this gospel can and will fix all those things. We just need her to attend something and I think she'll be good.

At this point I can talk with anyone decently enough, I just have pretty bad grammar and my pronunciation is terrible.  Some people can't understand me at all.  Remember how I took speech for English?  Ya my Spanish isn't going to be much different!  Lots of work on pronunciation now.  It's really frustrating, because this isn't an obstacle I had foreseen. I've talked more, but still not a ton.  We got just over 20 lessons this last week.  Sometimes I try to talk, but people don't understand me all the time. Hardly any BOFMs.  Only if they are progressing really well.  Also could you see if you could look up and find the Gordon B. Hinckley promise to missionaries on reading the BOFM in their mission language?  I couldn't seem to find it. And maybe an article on how to roll your R's?  I've been trying but I can't! I've been reading the BOFM out loud in Spanish and I think it's already helped some with my pronunciation.

(Have you met anyone that speaks English yet?) Haha a few people know it well.  A few people think they know it.  Sometimes investigators will throw little English words into things when they're talking to show they know English.  It's really funny. Marta Ojeda lived in New Orleans for like 11 years too and knows a decent amount of English but her accent is super Latino.  Hard to understand her.  Super funny haha. I'm sure I sound the same though.

And the whole deal with the baptism.  Magdelena had some problems she called and told us about two nights before so we couldn't have the baptism.  It'll be postponed.  She almost didn't come to church because of it, but we got her there.  We're going to have to walk her through this step by step.  Show her she's still loved.  I really hope she sticks through this.  If she does her testimony will be stronger of the gospel.
Easton's District                           

The chapel is the stake center.  We meet there every week for zone/district meetings.  The six of us are our district, although only half of us (me, Moncada, and Ventura) will be there after this transfer.

                            Zone Conference
The group is just some of the zone who was there early.  The big group is more or less the whole zone.  Those pictures were taken on a timer so it was hard to get everyone into them.
 They are insane.  Latinos have a ridiculously amount of energy, especially the Peruvians.

Everything seems to be coming together.  Cleaning, cooking, all the small things.  I'll be able to start focusing more and more on the work now.

(Are you going to get to do any sightseeing in the future?) The problem with sightseeing right now is president Corbitt has banned any leaving of our zone.  Our zone really isn't that big so not too much we can do! I believe this is only temporary while he completely redoes the rules for P-days, at least I hope so.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll forward you some pictures Kirk sent me of the first place I went to. We mostly cleaned today.

The thoughts are getting better though.  I think of investigators more and more now.  Still home a tons though. That's about it.  Let me know if you have any more questions or comments.  Love that last quote.  Definitely printing that.

Anyways I've got to run.  Love you lots! Miss you tons.
E. Potokar.

(“Some missionaries may wonder whether they are in the right place, in the right mission. It is no accident for them to be where they are assigned. The Lord knows the missionaries. He knows their mission presidents. I think He knows who their companions will be. I don’t know the detail to which He knows the future, but my impression is He knows a great deal. He calls missionaries to the place they are assigned. So, even when it’s difficult, you can have confidence that the Lord knew the difficulty in advance, and just as He assured Nephi that He wouldn’t give a commandment save He prepared a way for it to be accomplished, missionaries can have that same assurance, tough as it may be, whatever the situation, that the Lord knew the difficulties would be there. He has prepared a way. Have Faith. Go forward.” Elder Henry B. Eyring)

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