Monday, October 27, 2014

One Week Left In My Training!

(Emailed to Friends)
In all honesty, this was a super long week.  Lots of lows, the occasional high, and just plugging along.  Time just keeps moving though, so I guess that’s a blessing.  Not a ton happened (that I remember) so this might be short.

I had someone think I'm from Poland this week.  That makes USA (almost always), Russia, and Poland.  Oh well.  Not too shabby for a white kid.
Wonderful new members, Paula and Victor!
We had two baptisms this week!  Way cool!  I felt a lot happier for them, because we found them and they're more "our" investigators.  It went a lot smoother than the last baptism too. It was Paula and Victor who got baptized.  I got to baptize Hermana Paula which was way cool.  After, I was talking to the other missionaries (there were actually 3 baptisms that day) who baptized them and we all felt so calm.  Very peaceful.  There's something about exercising the priesthood that invites the Spirit in ridiculously fast.  I feel it every time I give a priesthood blessing as well.  The church is true!  The priesthood is the real power of God.

 Paula and Victor are usually happier. They are not used to having their picture taken.

They both got confirmed the next day by members of the ward, and Hermano Victor got the Aaronic Priesthood too!  He was ordained to the office of a Priest after church.  One of their Priests (probably like 17 years old) did it.  Way cool as well.  I think he's going to get a calling pretty soon here.

Elder Moncada, Lisa, Victor, Paula, Elder Potokar

I had my first intercambios/splits where I stayed in my area.  It was way cool.  Way nerve-wracking, but I got through it.  It was with a ZL, Elder Bateman, from Portland Oregon.  He's one of the first missionaries I've see who's like I imagined missionaries would be like before my mission.  Not too many of them here.  It wasn't as hard as I thought.  I know more Spanish than I thought too.  It was a little awkward at times when my Spanish or social deserted me, but all is well.  I made it through the day.  Taught a lot.  Made a few mistakes, of course, but made it through it.  Cool stuff.

On Thursday I had an interview with him too.  He talked about how my Spanish is solid and not to stress about it, how I can try to help others more to get my mind off home, and try and be happier.  That missionary work is fun.  To try to enjoy it more.  That's something I've definitely been slacking in.

I also had a few really cool lessons this week.  One was with Luis and a few members of his family.  It was going a little rough, until we asked them how they felt at that moment.  One of them commented that he felt really good, better than he does when in other churches.  I was able to bear testimony that we weren't there by coincidence, that we had been called of God to bring them the blessings and happiness of the gospel.  The Spirit rushed in when I did that and it was way cool.

The other one was with the family Fria yesterday.  The kidnapping family.  They're way quick at learning things.  Way quick.  Pretty easy to teach them.  The cool part was Elder Moncada and I actually took pretty good turns teaching.  Like back and forth.  I think it was our best lesson unity wise which was way cool.  A lot more effective and a lot more Spirit inviting.  Definitely a testimony, confidence building experience.

Song of the week: I Love You Son, by Joshua Creek.  Just about killed me when I found it on my MP3.  Brought back tons of memories of home.  I honestly bawled.  Great song. Great memories.  Great message.

That's about it for this week!  Love you all!  Enjoy your weeks, and remember the Lord always loves you!
Sincerely, Elder Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Honestly, it´s been an emotionally exhausting week.  I'm dead.  I'll try to explain some more.  It sounds like the week was fun though.  That 5K sounds like the R-scape one I did.  It was way cool.  But the course was 6 miles so a lot different.

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning I had intercambios with Elder Bateman.  It went pretty well actually.  The crazy part was I stayed in my own area!  I lead the lessons (mostly, he helped a good amount), lead him around the area, the whole 9 yards.  I was basically the senior comp for the day. He's the first missionary that talks slowly and thoughtfully (almost hypnotically) and really helps people.  Plans the lessons.  We had a really good comp study.  Way cool.  I really enjoyed that.

Then Thursday I had an interview with Elder Bateman.  It was really cool.  He talked with me about a few things, and helped me think through things.  He also suggested I try to be happier.  That missionary work is fun. Later Thursday I had my comp inventory with Moncada.  We talked about how I need to start focusing on people's needs and develop a love for them. I also realized that what I needed to do to gain charity, it has been on my wall for the last 10 weeks.  I just hadn't applied it.  In two little sticky notes.

That afternoon I realized I need to be positive and cheerful.  I might not be able to make myself happy like before, but I can at least be cheerful.  That helped a TON that day.  I felt better.  More like myself.  Look for those small miracles throughout the day, not just while writing in my journal.  We had some really good lessons that day.  I contributed a good amount.  We taught the kidnapping family and it went really well.

Any ideas on learning to the love the people more?  I think that'll help me get more excited to work.  Get a real desire to work.  I can feel it more and more during lessons, but it comes very slowly.  Or do I just need to give it time?

I did get to give vampire teeth from the package to a little kid.  He went crazy.  That brightened my day a bit.

Then this morning we printed some pictures, had a really early lunch, used the internet a bit, and then had a zone activity at 12.  Unfortunately we didn't start till 2.  That killed me a bit.  We did an amazing race thing.  I dragged Moncada through it.  I got really competitive and he was too slow for me haha.  They applied it to missionary work instead of having winners though.  Then we played some soccer and basketball which felt great and came here.

Thinking about others is something I've never had to do to this extent before. It's going to take a while.  I look forward to when I have it more.  The fun part is hard.  I have a little book they gave me about stresses in the mission and it said to "rediscover humor".  I'm going to work on that one later this week.  Once I get being positive done more.

I'm going to have to mix it up.  I'll get there.  Need to have more fun.  I think Moncada and I have been working each other into the ground.  Makes it hard to be positive.  I've had a ton of good moments, it's just the moments that are in between that are rough.

(Do you meet with many members to find people to teach?) We're starting the "every member a missionary" program the bishop wants us too.  It's actually really cool.  Puts some of the missionary responsibility on the members. This is the program the bishop has us using: Read DC 18:10-16 and DC 123:10 I believe.  Talks about the worth of souls.  Read DC 8:2-3 about how the Spirit can tell us in our heart and minds.  Pray with them to know people in their lives who need the gospel.  Write the names down and commit them to give them a BOFM, invite them to an activity, etc.  Read DC 9:7-9.  Pray again to confirm it.  Then set a date in the coming weeks to meet with that person.  This way the members have a way in mind to help the people and it's not initial contact with us.

The ward is really good with new members.
Sara, Elder Moncada, Victor, Paula, Elder Potokar
That's Hermana Sara.  She was a missionary here in 1982.  Teaches the class of investigators.  Crazy, fun lady.  She wanted to be in the picture so we let her haha.

We actually ate at a member’s house yesterday too.  It was amazing.  Super clean so I'm not worried about it.  I didn't feel so hot breaking the rules, but it was the best food I've had in a long time.  It was the family of the patriarch here.  They have family in Utah actually.

We did teach Nicholas again and it went pretty well.  He never forgets anything.  Anything.  It's pretty incredible.  We've talked to his wife, but they're usually not home when he is.  We're going to work on that.

I am very, very nervous for transfers, especially with all the disobedience here.  We'll see how it goes.  It wouldn't surprise me if I got a disobedient comp.  President Corbitt keeps telling me to make sure I stay firm when in trials, and he may or may not be hinting at something.

I got a package and letter from Grandma this week.  Way cool.  Tons of candy.  All the guys in the house were jealous I had a grandma like that.  And I was pretty thankful. Please tell Grandma thanks for the candy and stuff.  It was way awesome.  I'm spoiled for sure. I've shared some of it with the guys in the house.

I realize I'm always with short people.  Comps, family, baptisms, you name it! haha.

Do you have any fun ideas that we could do for Halloween?

Just a thought, could you guys write a letter for Moncada?  He pretty much never gets mail and would love that.  He can read English decently, or you guys could translate it.  That'd be really cool.

I'll look into the taco packets. We have tortillas and some different seasonings I know we could do it.

Sometimes memories of home don't hurt at all.  No biggy.  They're fun memories.  Other times they hurt a ton.  Just depends on the moment.

Think that's about all.  Let me know if you have any questions! Love you tons and always.  Miss and love you more than I can express.  E. Potokar.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Week Down. My First Baptism!

(Emailed to Friends)
This week has gone by relatively quick.  Faster than some, slower than others.  So here we go.

First off, since they don´t have Halloween or Thanksgiving here they are already putting up Christmas stuff!  The stores all have it and some houses already have lights.  And some people don't like it before Thanksgiving in Utah, how about before Halloween?  Haha I love it, but it makes me a little homesick.  I think the holidays are going to be hard times.

I had an amazing lesson this week.  We taught Nicholas, who was our miracle taxi driver from last week.  This was the first time I actually felt like a missionary.  I helped, felt the Spirit, the whole 9 yards.  Way cool.  I hope lessons like this come more naturally the longer that I'm out.  I'm sure they will.  We went back the other day and he said he feels the church is true, but he doesn't know if there's other true churches as well.  Doesn't make a ton of sense, but we'll get through it.

Another crazy kid in church.  Paula (one of our baptismal dates for this coming Saturday) brought her granddaughter to church.  She was crazy!  We sat by her and I was tired by the end of the meeting haha.  Brought back memories of watching crazy little kids in my home ward.  I love it.

Elder Moncada and I were the "super misioneros" this week in our zone.  We had the best numbers for this week.  That means we got a little crown and a treat.  Except we never got a treat.  So just a crown.  Haha.

We had interviews with the President on Tuesday which was AWESOME by the way.  President Corbitt is incredible.  I'm calling a future general authority.

Last week while sleeping I think I had a dream I was introducing myself to someone in Spanish, and I think I said it out loud.  Actually I think Moncada and I had a conversation in Spanish in our sleep because he remembers doing the same thing.  I guess that’s a good sign my Spanish is coming along.

I saw someone with a Jazz hat this week!  On the street.  And I found a Jazz hat in a store today, but it was like 1500 pesos or like 40 bucks.  No thank you.

I always looked forward to being an "RM" because of the Spirit and their skills they gained on their mission.  I wanted that growth and change in me.  What I didn't think of is that to grow we need challenges.  That's why the mission is so hard!  You don't just change overnight.  It takes time, and it hurts, but it'll be worth it.  I just have to stick it out.

Also had my first baptism this week!  Way cool.  Basically we planned it the day before, I thought it was pretty mangy, but Moncada said it was normal.  Not sure.  Everyone showed up like 30 minutes late, including the girl to be baptized.  That's Latino/DR time for ya.  The Priest from the ward who baptized her had to do it three times. And we gave a short overview of lesson 1.  There was around 20 or 30 people there.  The Spirit was there though, so it was good.  I got to participate in the confirmation the next day too.  Whenever I participate in a Priesthood ordinance the Spirit comes in so strong.  Way cool.  Plus we got ice cream after the baptism:)

I also want to say a few things about Paula and Victor, our baptism date for next week.  Their faith and dedication to the gospel is incredible.  They don't really have much.  Come from very humble circumstances.  When we taught them about tithing they had no hesitation.  She'll go to work with him sometimes so they can read the Book of Mormon together.  He'll call her so they can pray together at night while he's working.  They're incredible.  Truly prepared by the Lord.

We also had another small miracle yesterday.  This seem to be coming more often, or maybe I can just see them more now.  We were walking along, and a car drives by and they said something like "Hop in.  We're members and have a family we want you to meet."  We hopped in and I thought we were being kidnapped haha.  But it was legit.  They were a couple from a different ward.  They actually have a sister missionary serving in Oregon. They took us to the home of a family they work with and we shared some with them.  They have potential to progress.  They've been exposed and seen the goodness of the gospel through this family. It was really cool.

That's about all for this week.  We have 2 more baptisms coming up this Saturday.  I have about two more weeks left in my training.  Wish me luck!  Talk to ya'll next week.
Love, E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like you had a relaxing week in Park City.  That's awesome.  I'm glad you guys had a good time.

Sounds like Christian can really relate to what I'm going through. I'm sure he knows EXACTLY what I'm going through.   It's nice to know I'm not the only one.  I can only imagine it was a lot harder for him.  Spanish is relatively basic compare to Russian or whatever he had to learn.  Speaking of the Lippert’s, Do you know what Alex is up to?  I haven't heard anything about him since I've been out.

First off, the protein bars are lifesavers.  They are my headache killers.  Anytime I have a headache I'll eat one of those, have a couple ibuprofen and I'm good.  Maybe take a short nap too.  I've probably had like 3 of them now.  They are amazing.

Random note, the people here have really small heads.  All their hats are cinched up super tight.  Quite the contrast from our family!  Haha!

I also finished my journal tonight.  You know the huge one I thought would last my whole mission? Lasted around 3months.  My first baptism was the last entry in it which I found really cool.

The homesickness is getting better.  It comes and goes.  I think once I get some more responsibilities, more to think about, I'll do a lot better.

Can I use nonstick spray on a hot surface?  It says not too, but I'm just curious...

I love that quote.  It's getting printed this week. (“A mission is designed to focus your dependence on the Lord. It is the reason you leave your family and friends and also leave the world, so to speak. Go to Him often. He listens. He answers prayer. A mission forges a relationship between you and the Lord like nothing else.”)

Garrett gave me that little wallet size sheet of priesthood ordinances.  Do you think there's any way you could get me one in Spanish? Or email me one?  I could really use it haha.

We've officially named the other guys in our room schoolboys.  The food they bought was cereal, frozen pizza, fries, cup of noodles, and you get the jist.  I don't think their money is going to last the whole 15 days or so.

On to the week.

My interview with the President was definitely the highlight of my week.  He really is incredible.  You can tell he's guided by the Spirit.  Here's some things he said during my interview.  He said my group is a "chosen group" who'll help change the mission.  We're the first new group who's arrived under President Corbitt.  He said he can sense my capabilities or at least some of them.  That I may have more.  And he says that he knows me, and that he understands me and my humor.  That he can trust me and I can trust him.  When talking to him he makes me feel like I'm supposed to be here, like I have a purpose, like I can do this.  He's incredible.  I hope you get to meet him someday.

One thing that I've read and believe is true is that being a missionary really brings out your flaws.  I've heard it compared to raising a light for others to see and doing that illuminates all the chinks in your own armor more.  And it does that.  I've got a long ways to go. I pray a lot to be able to see my progression because that helps me cope a lot.  I'm getting excited cuz I'm almost to that 3 month mark.  I haven't decided if that marks the end of training of truly 3 months.  I don't know.  I can't imagine that it's like a blink and you’re changed.  I don't know.  I have way too much time to think and analyze things like that. I think it'll be the more opportunity that'll help.  You mentioned a while ago that the 3 month mark is when missionaries change and start looking forward to things more.  I look forward to hitting that.

I used the internet to do some training stuff during the week and I found a bunch of talks that I was looking for.  Weird thing is I read them before my mission and marked them all up.  Way too weird of a coincidence cuz I don't remember reading them at all.  Here's a quote from one of them that I really think is going to help me along.

Here's some other ones I'm going to print out today.

And the quote is in this one:

The quote:
When missionaries first come into the field, they usually lack self-confidence. So we put them with good companions, and those companions teach them the way of missionary work. In a few months they are filled with the Spirit. They are filled with the joy that comes from bringing souls to Christ. They understand that they are helping Heavenly Father and the Savior in the great work of redemption. When they realize that, they are on fire.

And yes, 2 more weeks before transfers.  We'll see how that'll go.  Not this Monday, but the next I'll know what I'm going to be doing!

Magdalena's date was postponed.  She had more problems crop up and was interviewed by a counselor of President Corbitt.  I didn't know he had counselors.  He was a Dominican who works and lives here and that's just his calling.  He said she needs to wait at least two weeks, and we shouldn't really talk about a date right now.

I consider Paula and Victor my first real "investigators" who I've seen the gospel change their lives.  They embraced it so quickly it's incredible.  It goes to show, you never know who might accept the gospel.  When we met him I wasn't completely sold on him yet.  So cool.  He's amazing! Paula and Victor's baptisms are next Saturday.  They are so ready I talked about them a bunch in my general email.  They are an inspiration and example to me.  So humble, and so dedicated to the Lord.  I hope to go through the temple with them.  They have to wait a year, and then they can go through the temple.  I'm hoping I'll be able to do that.

Today we went to MegoCentro.  It was like a giant mall.  Very US like.  US Prices too. The mall is in Santo Domingo I believe.  We took the metro and a taxi to get there.  Just the four of us.  I was going to buy Christmas gifts, cuz I don’t' know when I'll get to come back, but I waited.  I'll get something more Dominican. That's too bad the cardinals got knocked out.  I saw a bit of the game playing in the mall today while we walked by.


Hopefully the President will trust me with an assignment after this transfer.  That’d help me a ton.  To be able to have something else to worry about and think of.  Even just being more of an equal companion will help.  Moncada has been telling the President I'd be a great trainer.  We'll see where that’ll go.  Moncada is really close to the President.  Technically no missionaries are allowed to go places on Pday, but Moncada always asks the President and he says yes because he trusts him.

I also looked into sending a package home today, to get a feel before Christmas.  It would cost around 2000 pesos for the first pound and 200 every pound after.  So like 50 dollars and then 5 more every pound after.  Ridiculous.  I'm obviously going to keep looking around.  What's your thought on this? I'll keep asking around for sending packages.  I've been watching for a DR Santa too.  Have yet to see one.  Or even a Santa ornament.

Thank you for all your advice.  And the pictures.  They made me cry, but I loved them.  I plan on printing reading and applying your advice this week.  Thank you for everything.  For everything you taught me, and for helping me become the person I am.  I couldn’t have done it without you.
Love you more than I can express, Easton Potokar.

Two other thoughts as I looked through the pictures again.  Garrett’s hair is super long.  And he's rocking the jock sock.  Very nice.  Love you.


Monday, October 13, 2014

2 Months in the Field! Woot!

(Email to Friends)
So basically I can make up a checkpoint for every week I'm out here.  So that's cool.

Unfortunately this week was a long one.  A bit of a relapse homesickness wise.  I just plugged through it though, and here I am.  P-day once again.  It's funny how that happens, no matter how long the week, P-day always makes it here.

First off, a little funny note.  Whenever I try to have kids give me high 5s I usually get an awkward sideways handshake.  Really weird.  I've decided just to stick with the fist pump and a quick "que lo que".  Slang for what's up.  Probably shouldn't be saying that as a missionary, but it's in the street.  Oh well.

Unfortunately while talking to a lady on the street this week, I could hear a kid being beat and screaming in the house behind us.  It just about broke my heart.  There wasn't much I could do about it either.  It hurt.  A lot.

I had my first person try to guess where I'm from and they didn't guess US!  They guessed Russia.  I think it was for my last name.  You can also add Cuba and Alaska (after saying not the US) to the list of countries people think Elder Moncada is from along with Guatemala, Argentina, US, and Israel.  People here don't know their geography too well.

We had stake conference this week.  Honestly, it was really boring.  They talked to fast and it's hard to focus for long enough to understand what's going on.  President Corbitt and his wife were at both sessions we went to though.  Hermana Corbitt doesn't know Spanish, but still bore her testimony in Spanish in front of everyone.  That was really cool.  It's cool to see how she's progressed.  It's rather adorable actually.

I also realized this week how lucky I am to be serving in a very Christ centered country.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn't believe in Christ.  That makes our job a lot easier.  The problem arises when they don't see any one church being true, but rather think we're just hear to preach the word of God. Which is partly true, but not quite.

We've got two baptisms this Saturday!  Lisa and Magdalena.  Hopefully nothing crops up this week that would stop them.  They both know a lot and I believe are ready.  We also have two more in two Saturdays.

I got to see the ocean this week!  Way cool.  There was a meeting for DL's so I tagged along, but couldn't go in.  I got to go contacting with another Elder (he actually used to live with me) and we stopped by the ocean.  Way pretty.  Way cool.

We also had a bit of a miracle this week.  So since it was stake conference, it was at the stake center which was farther away.  We were worried how we were going to get some of our investigators with a baptism date there.  While in a taxi we started talking to the driver.  He said he's met with missionaries before and would love to come to church this week!  Well, turns out he lives next to the investigators who needed a ride (Magdalena and Paula and Victor) and gave them and us a ride!  I consider that a miracle of obedience.  Way awesome.

I believe that's about all for this week.  It's been a longer week, and not too eventful really.  Hopefully this week is more fun!  Wish me luck! Have a great week everyone!

Mosiah 4:27 is the scripture for the week.  Just to let ya'll know.
E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like a fun week.  I really admire how much you've implemented things you've learned from conference.  That's something I feel like I haven't done in a long time.  Just pick something to improve on.  There seems to be an overwhelming number of things to improve on.  I don't know where to start.  It's kind of frustrating.  I feel like I'm just trying to stay afloat right now, but yet try to swim.

(Did Ash tell you about her Jazz game?) She didn't.  Did she go to one? Lower bowl is crazy!  I'm way jealous.  I never did see the new screen down there!  It's supposed to be awesome.

Garrett looks good in his soccer pictures.  He looks a little more agile than normal.  Like his coordination has started to kick in.

(Lydia wants me to ask you, “How many people have you told the gospel to?”) Tell Lydia more people than I can count.  Lots every week.  (So she want to know "if you can count to a thousand!") :) Haha tell Lydia I can't count to a thousand in Spanish. In reality we don't find many new people weekly, but we easily teach around 10 different people every week.

(Do you talk to President Corbitt in English or Spanish?) It's usually Spanish because Elder Moncada is there with us and he doesn't understand everything in English. I have an interview with him this week (he's interviewing all the missionaries in the next few weeks) and I hope that'll be in English haha.

(What is in your empanadas? They looked good!) There was Kraft cheese and some smooshed sausage type things.  Not too shabby.

The weather is definitely a lot more bearable now.  I can actually feel kind of comfortable in it.  It's been really overcast and super close to raining a lot of days so it's been super cool.

(I'm so sorry you had to hear someone get beat up. I'm sure that was super hard! It brings tears to my eyes. That is when you have to remember that Heavenly Father knows all things, he knows what others go through, and whoever was doing the beating will have to account for that someday.) It was really hard.  I could hear the kid pretty clearly.  Don't want to go into details for ya.  I hope that kid is OK.  Just have to remember that Heavenly father is just.  What happens will be fair.

Do you have any tips on how to cook some basic meats?  We've done ground beef and have some sort of beef that we slice up and cook with green peppers, tomatoes, and onions.  That's all we cook though.  Any other ideas on how we could mix that up?

I made a marble(ish) cake this week.  It was pretty good.  The best one yet.  It was actually moist haha.  Cooked in like 15 minutes.  Our oven must be really hot cuz everything cooks way fast in it.

On to the week.  Unfortunately, it's been a long one this week.  I don't know if last P-day, or general conference or what kicked it in, but I've had a homesickness relapse.  It's been rough.  A really long one.  Lots of thinking of you guys.  It's been hard.  Stake Conference that I couldn't understand was a lot of time to just think to myself.  That was rough.

Cool fact.  I usually read my BOFM out loud from 830 to 9am.  Since I was thinking of home a ton this week I realized I read it the same times you guys do in the mornings!  Cool stuff.

Grandma M. suggested I boil my potatoes and try to hash them.  They actually hashed, but then just mushed together after.  I was frying mashed potatoes.  A little bit ridiculous haha.

The last two weeks have been rough studying wise.  Not this week, but the week before because all that weird stuff in the morning overlapped in my language study time.  And this week because of the DL meeting and ya, just doesn't feel like I'm studying the language as much as I should.

I had my first ward council this week.  It was INSANE.  Like a debate tournament.  It was hilarious.  Not productive at all, but hilarious haha.

I got your package this week!  It was fantastic.  Had pretty much everything I wanted in it.  The quicksilver belt has been helping a ton.  The measuring cups are an improvement over the ones I bought.  The shoes I just love.  I was a little disappointed in the music player at first (more like mad at myself again for losing the iPod), but I've gotten used to it and it's been amazing to have music.  Do you think you could send me some more?  I'd like Seven Wonders album by Greg Simpson, an album by Cherie Call with a blue cover, and the Forgotten Carols if you wouldn't mind!  If you could just upload them to the drive that'd be awesome. The only thing I needed in the package that I didn't get was a new journal.  I bought a spiral bound notebook from the store today that should work for quite a while.  It's fluorescent green, but was the best one I could find.

I uploaded some pics of little bits of articles in the Ensign that I liked too.  I need to work on applying some of them.  I also really appreciated the Ensign.  We get Liahona's here which have some of the same articles, but never quite as many.

I decked out my BOFM this week.  I pretty much always carry it in hand now.  I've got pass-along cards, some pictures for teaching purposes, a place to study my words for the day, and a place to take notes for thoughts for home, things to improve or new words I want to learn the next day.  I taped the whole thing so I can use it for a while now too. It makes things really handy because I always have that in hand. I also put the pictures of Christ on my daily planner.  I believe I uploaded a picture of it.

I figured out what Moncada does in the bathroom.  He shaves his arms and legs.  Lots of missionaries do I guess.  Helps with the heat.  I haven't quite bought into that yet.  Not sure what I'm going to do.

I realized I'm really good at seeing people's needs, but only if I've been through it before.  Like I wanted to compliment Hermana Corbitt on her Spanish (I didn't and regret that) or little things like that. I have trouble if I've never been through it before though.  I realized little things like that are probably promptings of the Spirit.  I need to follow them more.  I repented for not doing that as well.

We cleaned a mountain of dishes for Magdalena haha.

We have coke just about every lunch.  I'm kind of scared I'm getting addicted to it.  It's super cheap and super easy to get our hands on.

(Are you investigators ready for Saturday? That will be super neat for you too.) Lisa is definitely ready.  She knows a ton.  When we teach her mom with her and her mom says something with apostasy, she always knows and corrects her.  It's way cool.  She's more of a member than a lot of people down here.

Of course, Magdalena had some stuff crop up.  She should be OK for this Saturday, but has to be interviewed by President Corbitt.

Paula and Victor are next week.  I love teaching them. They are Dominican. She's told us how she feels happier and more joy at church and that's why she knows it's true.  While teaching them they originally weren't going to make it this Sunday and then Victor was like "No, God wants us to be at church.  We'll do this and this and this so we can go".  Way cool.  When we leave him with something to read he really reads and ponders it.  He knows the lessons before we teach him.  She's a bit slower and needs more help to learn stuff, but he's patient and helps her along.  I still don't know if she knows the name of the church haha. They are actually married! woohoo!  Lots of people down here aren't married, but live together with a family and everything.  Really weird.  It's a major baptism stopper because of the law of chastity and all.  We casually invited her to church while she walked by at another lesson and she came!  We've taught her and Victor ever since. They have grandkids.  Everyone is really young grandparents here.  It's really weird.  They amazing and super nice.  Every time Paula forgets something she just cracks up smiling.  She's always super smiley, even though she lives in super humble conditions.

Darlen who comes to church every week with a friend (he's 12), but is never home and doesn't remember stuff very well.  That's about it.  We'll need to find some more after Paula and Victor.  Which now that I think about it will be very close to the end of my training.  Uh oh, transfers are in about 3 more weeks.  I'll end my training then.

P-day today was OK.  We did a little personal shopping, I looked at some new slacks, cleaned some, I got another haircut, and that was it.  I feel like all work and no play make jack a dull boy is starting to apply to me.  I hope we can do some kind of sports next week. I've heard for around 700 pesos, just under 20 bucks, you can have some custom tailored slacks.  You give they like a yard and a half of material and they make it.  That'd be way cool.

Anyway you could get me Trevor or Ryan's address?  I'd love to write them a letter.  I'd love to get one from other missionaries so I think it'd be cool too.  Maybe Nate Arrington's too.  And would I just use US stamps on them if they're going to a different country? I talk to Ryan weekly and Trevor and Nate occasionally.  (Did you know Ryan is in Florida, waiting for his visa?) I did. He seems to be eating it up too.  Haha sometimes I think of how quickly I could've adjusted to an English speaking mission.  Oh well. This is where the lord wants me.

I also found a great quote about obedience by L. Tom Perry in the first Ensign you sent me.  I uploaded a picture of it.  I think that one is going to make my wall.  Also wall worthy little thoughts that will be going up soon "Make the Lord proud of you today" "Dios siempre quiere" which means Gods always wants, because the people here always say "if God wants me to".  Also "always have the energy of a greenie".  I heard a guy this week say another missionary has the energy of a greenie.  I want people to say that about me for all my mission.

This mission is definitely stretching and challenging me.

Tell the family I love them.  I'll talk to ya next week.
That's about it.  Love you tons!  Hope to hear from you.  E. Potokar

Monday, October 6, 2014

3 Months Down! Conference is the Best!

(Emailed to Friends)
I can´t believe I´ve been gone for 3 months now.  Time's starting to move quicker and I like that, and at the same time that scares me.  This week flew by though.  Yesterday feels like the last P-day.

First off, we had an exorcism go on next door one night.  There were animal noises, yelling, and I'm pretty sure mumbling in different languages.  Other religions are crazy sometimes.

Second, conference was awesome.  Maybe that's why this week went by so quickly.  The first session I got to watch in the secretary's office in the chapel with Elder Decker.  With AC.  Great stuff.  Second session was in an internet center and I had to watch in 144p.  Super low quality, but the voices came through loud and clear.  We missed Priesthood because we were out inviting people to the Sunday sessions.  Sunday morning I watched with Elder Moncada in the secretary's office again and the last session I watched in the stake center with the other gringos in our zone.  All over the place, but I got to watch almost all of them in English which is a major blessing.

The direct translation of sacrament comes out to "Holy Dinner" or "Holy Supper." We had one investigator flip out this week when he found out this dinner was only a piece of bread haha.  That cracked me up.

We also had at least one investigator at every session of conference, minus Priesthood.  Super cool.  I was way happy about that.  Our baptism dates all attended at least 2 sessions too.

I also got to have a meeting with all the other missionaries in my MTC group.  That was really cool.  Great to see all of them again, and just talk about things.  It wasn't quite the same without the missionaries in the West mission though.  We also got to talk to President Corbitt some which is always a blast.

That's all I got for this week.  Not too exciting.  Everything is starting to become routine. Here's some thoughts from conference though:

The Lord is the best teacher we'll ever have.  We just have to make sure we do our homework for Him.  Do the things He's asked us to do, and try our best to follow His will.  That's something I need to work on as a missionary.

Also, I got to make sure I continue studying to keep my testimony strong.  If my testimony falters, how am I going to help someone else with theirs?  What will happen when doubts arise when I'm teaching?  It's a constant promise to keep that fire burning.

That's about it for this week.  I also got the chance to buy some dominoes which I'm pretty happy about.  Dominoes are huge done here and I'm too competitive to stay crappy at them.  I got to practice some!  Of course, the work comes first though.

Love you all! E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Where to even begin.  This week FLEW by, but here's some things I managed to write down.

I talked more at the beginning of this week.  It really helps me feel the Spirit more and then I just feel better because of it.  I really just need to work on that.  If I can do that I'll be just fine. It makes me realize when I'm giving half the lessons how good I'm going to feel.  I look forward to that.

I had a meeting with all my MTC group this week.  It was really good.  President Corbitt knows so much.  We mentioned a problem with an investigator at one point and he gave us some obscure DC reference to give her.  I had never heard of it, but it was good.  It was also really good to see all the guys in my group.  I think my Spanish is at least as good as there's if not a little more dynamic.  My accent is terrible though.  I really need to work on that.

I talked with President Corbitt a few times this week.  He's amazing.  I'm very glad we have him here fixing the mission.  From talking to the other people in my group, not many are aware of the disobedience in this mission.  They were very surprised when I mentioned it.  I wonder if the Lord has a reason that I'm supposed to know about it.

While talking to the other greenies in my group, I'm way blessed to have AC.  There is not many houses at ALL who have that.  Maybe one other in our entire group.  I've been very blessed with our house.

Also the mornings this week were shot.  Tuesday we bought stuff, which I hated, but that's when we got our money and we didn't have enough to buy on Monday.  We thought the trainer meeting was on Wednesday and went out to the mission office, but it was actually on Friday.  Thursday was Zone reunion.  Friday was the training meeting.  Saturday was weird because of conference, and Sunday too.  It was kind of a funky week.  Because we were at the office with nothing to do for a while we talked to President Corbitt for a while.  It was really cool.  I love talking to him.  He knows a ton.  Like a TON.  And is very funny, and happy.  I hope someday you can meet him.

Could you send me Grandma's email?

I also got to do a practice in front of all the trainers, trainees, AP's, and Pres. Corbitt with Moncada.  Nerve wracking, but I think it went well.  I gave a tema (topic) on Thursday on Charity too.  Fun stuff.

I loved the pictures from all the cousins.  I felt famous getting 4 letters all at once.

I did talk to Elder Harsh some. (A new greenie in his district.)  I don't know how much I helped, but I tried.

General Conference did make me a little homesick.  I really like the first seventy of all the sessions talk, and Elder Uchtdorf’s in that session.  Elder Holland's and Bednar's too.  I missed like all the first speakers because we were always trying to find it in English somewhere. They had conference in the chapel for all the members and in English at the stake center too.  It was dubbed over.  I snuck into the secretary’s office (similar to the one at home actually) to watch it.

Our chapel is way close.  Maybe a 10 minute walk from our house.  We walk past it a ton while proselyting.

I agree with the personal testimony thing.  It's easy to get complacent and just be satisfied with how we are right now.  I really liked the one about living up to the blessings in our patriarchal blessing too.  The need for constant improvement, to be able to live up to our divine nature.

Also Elder Martinez (the seventy who spoke in Spanish) I have met!  Twice!  Once in our mission tour and once in the MTC.  I've shaken his hand a couple of times.  I thought that was way cool.

Paula and Victor I believe may be that family I had previously talked about.  She came to one session.  We're going to try to commit them to baptism this week.  Paula said she's ready for a baptismal date, but we just need to talk to her and her husband together first.

Lisa came to 3 sessions and Magdalena 2.  Lisa is in Alma in her BOFM reading.  She's way smart. She is investigating on her own.  We try to teach at least one of her parents or her brother at the same time, but they haven't showed any particular interest. Magdalena is a lot better now. I think all of them liked conference.

There's also the family of Orlando Ariez.  They are very calm, and normal.  Have 4 girls from 18 years old to around 4.  We've really been pushing them to do something, but to no avail yet. Thank you for praying for our investigators.  They definitely need the Lords help in this change in their life.
We found the "family of apostles” this week.  Juan, Pedro, Jose, and Alex.  All brothers, and they have 3 sisters too.  Remind me a lot of your brothers.  We tried to get them to come to conference to no avail.  They have lots of questions and seem interested so we'll just keep working at it.

(Have you had to teach again or talk yet in church? Are the members much help? Do they interact with the investigators that you bring to church?) We haven't had to do anything like that again at church.  Some do interact amazingly well.  We had a great lesson with Lisa's family and the president of the young women this week to get Lisa's family to help her come to church weekly.  The bishop also has a plan where we use a different family to help us weekly to get the ward more involved.  I think it'll help a ton.  I look forward to implementing it a lot actually.  They usually are friendly enough to our investigators.

Maritsa and Ferdinando’s house has some walls, and some rooms are split by sheets hung up. (Easton took a picture of their house in a previous letter.) Lots of houses are like that.  We live in a little more well off area than that, and most of the investigators we visit houses are a lot smaller than that, but a little nicer. We have tons of others who have values that are in line with the church, but they just won't do anything.  They are all SO close to progressing.

We went back to the Columbus site today for P-day.  It was way fun.  I actually didn't try to read any more of the signs!  Oops! Totally forgot.  But I did get to enjoy it more.  I wasn't as stressed about not having my camera and what was going on.  It was a lot more fun.

I got tons of pictures, and bought some good stuff.  I bought my own set of dominoes, a better side bag (my red one is unraveling. Either really low quality or just a bad choice.  I want a side bag for the days when I don't need as much.) I even did some bargaining.  Saved about 100 pesos from it.  Go garage selling.  The people are crazy and love to negotiate with ya.  It was kind of fun actually.

This picture is for Ashley!

If you end up sending that camelbackish bag I really don't need the bladder.  I'll probably still just use water bottles.  I looked at Bateman's more this week and his looks even smaller than that one.  Like way small.

I also made German Pancakes, and bought measuring cups and some pens this week.  Fun stuff!  I'm living the high life now. I made another killer cake this week (probably my best so far) and empanadas as taught by Elder Moncada, I'm basically the mother of the house haha. I also sewed a button back on some pants, and even sewed a stitch that came undone on the side of my pants. Haha I'm just a homemaker now!

I don't know if the others see me as the mom, but I do.  I usually cook dinner and breakfast for us, and am always trying to fix things.  Ventura does know a lot of things like that too though.  Haha I don't know.  I do refuse to do the dishes a lot though, because a lot of times (more often than not) I get left with doing them for the whole house.  Not a fan of that.

I also tried yaroa today.  It's like a cross between animal fries at In-n-Out Burger and lasagna, but it's sweet.  It was SUPER good.  It's on my bucket list to try and learn how to cook.  I really enjoyed it, but it just wasn't enough food! What's new though?

These are my new planner covers.  Missionaries like to decorate the front of their planners and Moncada showed me how to today.  I still need to finish the other side though.

Unfortunately I left a yellow piece of paper in a shirt pocket and now that pocket is yellow!  Luckily it's a long sleeve so I don't use it much, but do you have any ideas on how to fix it?

(Do you wash your dishes in your house water? If you can’t drink it, is it ok to wash your dishes in it?) Ya, we wash our dishes in house water.  Not sure how that works out.  I also shower in it.  It's really questionable, but it's not enough to get sick with I guess.

We did have enough water this week.  The water we bought lasted up till today.  I don't think we have anymore now.  We'll probably buy some more today or tomorrow.  I did get reimbursed for buying it last time though.

I just uploaded a few more pictures of the internet center we're at. It's way quiet.  I don't know if they know us by name, but they probably expect us every Monday now.

Ahh!  I love the pictures.  Please keep sending that many.  They lighten my day a ton.  I love it. Mom sent me some pictures with Garrett in them.  Oh my, his hair is long now.  It's ridiculous!  Hahah.  That's awesome.

It's still weird for me too, to not be at home with everyone.  I don't think I'll ever get used to that either.

Everything really is good down here.  The house, our area, Elder Moncada, investigators.  Obviously could be better, but could be a lot worse too.  General conference has helped me a ton with getting along.

Think that's about all.  Lots of pictures this week.  I love you tons!  Miss you tons and think of you often.  Glad you had Garrett this week to go to Priesthood with, so you didn't have to go alone. Glad to hear you enjoyed conference too.  That's a goal I've set for myself as well - visit the temple weekly when I get home.

Love you always, E. Potokar.