Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Week Down! Probably the Quickest One Yet!

(Emailed to Friends)
I´m going to do a quick play by play for this week.  We´ll see how it goes.  Here we go.

First off on Tuesday.  We had a really cool lesson with the Rhohas family.  They have an 8, 12, and 14 year old boy.  Lots of questions which was cool.  We'll see if they were interested in the message or just us next time.  See if they read our pamphlets or not.  I felt like part of the family though.  I really enjoyed that lesson.

Wednesday.  More contacting.  Not my favorite thing in the world.  A few other lessons.  One really cool one with Paula, one of the recent converts.  She's got a hard life.  Her husband works night shifts in a water factory alone.  Super dangerous.  She used to go with him (they'd read scriptures together during it), but can't now.  Her daughter in law bailed and just left her grandson to live with Paula and took the other grandson to live with her. Horrible.  I've never heard her complain about it though.  And she was very faithful about the whole thing.  Really an example for me.

Thursday.  We were teaching a family for the first time.  When we prayed to leave, this probably 11 year old kid (Christopher) asked me to pray for his eyesight.  He's had some problems with them for a lot of his life.  We should have blessed him, but it totally slipped my mind.  I've been praying we'll get another chance to talk to him.  Then we taught Nicolas's family, the family Dilone.  We taught his whole family.  His wife in the past has usually been pretty skeptical of us.  She showed us that she's read the two pamphlets we gave her (and read all the scriptures and actually wrote all the answers to them.  That's never happened before!).  At the end of the lesson we asked them if they've been praying if our message is true.  Her and Nicolas both said yes and said they've gotten an answer!  Ahh!  So crazy awesome.  She said she didn't think it was possible, but it happened.  We're going to give them a baptismal date this week, along with their 15 year old daughter.  So awesome!  They just aren't married so we've got to work on that.

Friday.  Normal lessons for most of the day.  We taught the familia Frias that night.  The mom and Olvida, their probably 20 year old daughter.  They both said they've received answers to their prayers too!  Ahhh!  I believe that their dad and another sister already have as well.  Probably going to give them baptismal dates this week too.

Saturday.  English class flopped this week.  We had to have it earlier and it rained (Dominicans never go out in the rain because they think they'll get sick. And they do really easy for some reason) so only like 7 people showed up.  They were like all our investigators though so that's cool.  Then the other Elders had two baptisms.  One 9 year old and one 10 year old I believe.  When they went to do the baptism someone had drained the font!  We had to wait for the font to fill and used another water spigot and garbage cans to fill it up faster.  Definitely a memory I'll never forget.  After Elder Romero and I gave a quick lesson.  There was probably about 20 people there.

Sunday.  Ward Conference.  I said the opening prayer.  The mom and Olvida of the familia Frias were there.  Awesome.  Their dad is going to change his work starting in January so he can come and I think the other sister will come next week.  Nicolas's family wasn't there though.  I don't know where they were at.  We haven't been able to get a hold of them so I think they're out of town.  About it for Sunday.

Today.  Lazy lazy day.  Cleaned a bit.  Slept some.  Studied some.  Wrote some letters.  Bought it. (He meant "that’s about it".)  Fun fun.

A few other thoughts for the week.

One night we were cooking eggs and ran out of gas.  Like 10 at night.  We called Nicolas and he came, took our gas and went and bought gas for us!  We paid him of course, but still way awesome.

I can roll my R's now!!!! I don't know if I said this before or not.  Quite the miracle in my opinion.  I put it to lots of people praying for me and the language.

Finally got the conference Ensign.  Woot!  Read a lot of it already.  Excited I get to read Priesthood conference finally.

Saw a guy in a Jazz hat.  What's up?

So it's really hot here, so there's a lot of guys without shirts.  Or they'll fold their shirts in half so only their stomach is poking out.  Anyways I saw a guy without a shirt and he had shaved a cross in his chest hair haha.  Made me laugh a ton...

All three of my baptisms here were at the baptism this week.  I thought that was pretty awesome.  That they are all still active and all that.  Pretty cool.

That's about all for this week!  Enjoy your week!  And Thanksgiving!  I think Thanksgiving is this week at least...
Love you all!  Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
(We am assuming you can skype on Christmas. Are you going to need a microphone and headphones?) Some of the internet centers have headphones and mics.  Just depends.  We went to a different one this week and it's a ton faster.  And cleaner.  Windows XP but a ton better.  Just saw an email dialog pop up and we've got 100 megabytes per second.  Way awesome.  I think we'll come here next week.  Oh and how's the new internet been at home?

(Is your conference an Ensign or a Liahona?) Conference is a Liahona, but the conference edition is exactly the same as an Ensign.  I've noticed with some of the other conference editions we have.

(What do you mean you “bought it” when you talked about p-day today?) I meant about it.  Like about it.  Haha just spelt it wrong.  My English is slowly deserting me and it scares me haha.

(Your food looks good! You figured out the French fry dish!) French fry dish is Yaroa.  Way good.

(Fieldings’ called and asked if we sent a water bottle/purifier with you. Did they give you one in the MTC, we had read that they would?)  They gave me one with a filter, but I hardly use it.  Maybe I'll use it if I'm in more of a fieldsy area.  Because when we're on the street there's nowhere to fill it up, like there's not drinking fountains here!  So we just buy Dasani’s.

Tell Grandma thanks!  We're set for Thanksgiving now.  And tell Harrops thanks too.  She sent me a small Christmas book (Wise Men and Women Still Seek Him) with money in it.  I have to look into changing the money.

Ask the Elder from Portland if he knows a Jeremy Hodges.  Elder Hodges was in the MTC with me and is into Math and such too.  I think he got a 32 on the ACT. Smart kid as well. I know Portland is big, but I'm sure there's not a ton of Mormons.

I took my baptism pants to a washing place today.  Like a dry cleaner place in our area I found.  I tried using some of the stain remover on part that Mom gave me, but it was just smearing it around.  I figured the professionals can do better than me.  (Easton hung them over a half wall after his first baptism and it stained them.)

For future reference I can't chew gum.  Not sure if you knew that or not.  Mints can be done though.

That’s awesome.  They (Ashley & Garrett) both are a lot more into things than I was.  Good for them.  I'm jealous.  I wish I would've done more of that stuff in junior high!  Haha I do remember that. (screenprinting) I did a mean Blitz shirt.  And I cried when it got stained when Brad fought me.  Oh the memories.

A few of my pictures from last week are of us in the dark.  Our invertor hasn't been working so we've been in the dark for a few nights.

 Time for my selfish request.  Could you send me some Jazz news?  Or at least their ranking and win loss record? ... Ahh I love it.  Sounds like Snyder is doing a great job.  Lots better than Corbin did.  Thank you for sending that to me!  Way awesome.  5 and 9 isn't terrible.  Lots better than last year.  We could potentially still make the playoffs.  And the team is still learning.  They're just going to get better as the year goes on.

OK, updated Christmas list.  This is pretty much it.  Backpack.  Shirts.  SD Card connector.  (Found one here but it was like 10 bucks.  Figured you could get me one for cheaper) pants.  3 ring binder.  Body spray. Maybe s'mores stuff?

I set up a scripture marking system for my whole mission in my study scriptures this week.  That's what I have with all the little post it notes in my picture.  Has room to expand and change easily if needed too.  I plan on adding more topics as time goes on.

The scripture study books look amazing.  I really want to give some a try.  There's some pretty deep doctrine in them.  We also have all of the teaching of the prophet’s books in our house, but they're in Spanish.  I can more or less read them, but it doesn't has the same significance as it would in English.  And it's just a little harder to read.

Do you have any ideas on how I can see my progress better?  Sometimes I feel like I'm not progressing at all.  It gets really depressing sometimes. …Thank you for the thoughts on progress.  Months wise it's very easy to see progress.  It's just been hard to see it the last couple of weeks.  Week by week.  It was easier to see when I was progressing faster, and it's just slowed down some.  I've made it over most of the learning curve is all. I just gave some advice about some stuff.  It's crazy how much more I know now! Wow.  I know a ton more scriptures and doctrine is a lot more solid.  Really cool.  Look forward to how much more I can learn in the next year and a half.

It finally clicked in me this week.  I'm a missionary.  The feel definitely comes and goes.  I realized that if I had to leave next week I would miss this country and have some regrets.  Not regrets exactly, but along those lines.  It finally clicked that I'm a missionary.  Crazy crazy stuff!

We also have the family Sosa.  The mom is a member, but goes to a Pentecostal church with her husband now.  Their Grandma happened to be there when we were talking with them and she's still very active.  We talked to their husband and he admitted than he could be in error or we could be.  They have potential.  Have four kids probably under the age of 12.  Would be another really cool family to teach.

(Is getting married a hard process down there or expensive for Nicholas?) It's on the pricey side.  And sometimes there is paperwork problems.  Like peoples papers won't say their right age.  Weird stuff.  And then it's if they actually want to be married.  We'll see how it goes.

Lessons went pretty well this week.  We had 35 this week.  Had 37 last week and 35 week before.  We had 7 with member this week though, which is over double last week.  We had 3 last week.  So better.  The only thing we're lacking is references and baptismal dates, which hopefully we'll be able to set a bunch this week.  Only thing is it's going to be for January because they need to get married or that's when they can start coming to church.  I've been praying to have one more transfer here so I can see all of these baptisms!  Like we'll probably have like 7 in January.  And maybe Magdalena's too.  That’d make like 8.  That'd be awesome!  But it'd be nice to change areas because the members treat me like I still don't know Spanish or anything.  Which was true, but times have changed.  We’ll see how it goes.  I've been praying to stay for one more transfer, but I don't know if it'll happen.  I would hope that we stay together one more transfer.  But I might be needed elsewhere by the Lord.  Or he might need to push me more elsewhere.  I don't know.

The ward is split into our areas.  Our area is on one side of the freeway and theirs (the other set of missionaries in Easton's apartment) is on the other.  We've kinda split our area into sections for contacting.  We’ll usually hit a couple of streets every morning.  It's hard to visit people in the mornings, so that's when we do a ton of contacting, and have more lessons in the night time.

We use the BOFM a ton more.  Give BOFM chapters for commitments.  I love using it this much.  We’ve probably given out like double the number of BOFMs and got like 30 more to give out this week.  Way awesome.

That's about all.  I included most of it in my public email.  Let me know if I missed anything.  Sorry it's mostly wants.  This week went by WAY fast.  On Thursday it felt like the day before was Monday.  Weird.

Anyways, love you tons!  Miss you tons.  I had a few rough moments this week.  Reading some of your old letters helped a ton. Love you more than I can explain! Thanks for everything.  All the support, stats, etc.  I couldn't ask for more.
Elder Easton Potokar.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Made It Through Another Week! Ahhh!

(Emailed to Friends)
What a week.  The weeks are going by a little quicker now.  Hallelujah.  I think.  That’s kind of a bad thing too though.

I'm going to do this a little differently today.  I'm going to go day by day through my week and after a few extra thoughts.

Tuesday - lots of contacting.  I'm not a huge fan of contacting, so not my favorite day.  We got a new second counselor in the bishopric.  He's very firm and straight in how he runs things.  We had a ward council with him and it was incredible.  Still not many solutions brought up, but it was better.  The Primary President wouldn’t take responsibility for anything.  It was ticking me off, until I realized I did the same like 20 minutes before.  Definite lesson for me.

Wednesday - more contacting.  Fun fun fun.  Just about always contacting in the morning at this point in time.  We had a lesson with Nicolas at night.  I believe that was the lesson when he committed himself to read the scriptures for at least 30 minutes a day.  With no commitment or mention of that from us.  WAY awesome.

Thursday.  We had a reunion.  We also taught Marta Ojeda that day.  She bought little happy Christmas things for us because Moncada was leaving.  Oh well.  Romero got his gift.  She said she went on (that like never happens) and chatted with an RM on there for like 4 hours.  WAY awesome.  She talked to us about how she's missing something in her life and how she needs friends.  We bore testimony that that is exactly what the church will bring her!  That'll fix that!  But she still didn't come to church on Sunday.  So I don't know.

Friday.  Another lesson with Nicolas.  Love teaching him.  We talked to his family more too.  We've slowly been working on them.

 Saturday.  Had a rockin English class.  I taught a little bit.  So did Elder Decker.  He's a lot more dynamic than I am at teaching.  Like he's more like an elementary junior high teacher and I'm more like a math or physics teacher.  Go figure.  Not as exciting, but more content over form.  You know.  An engineer haha.  Nicolas' daughter came as well.  She asked us at the end what she needs to do to be a member!  Ahh!  I think it was more because she likes the social side of it, but we'll work on her.

Sunday.  All of Nicolas's family came to church!  And they all liked it a lot.  His wife is a little skeptical but we'll work on her.  They were late coming in.  Before they made it I was all depressed because we didn't even have a single investigator there.  Not even our recent converts.  Then the recent converts came and I was feeling better.  Then the whole family showed up!  Awesome.  Then we had a family night with them.  Way fun.  We shared The Family a Proclamation to the World and then played mafia.  I was worried mafia was going to be rough, but it was way fun.  The other missionaries and the ward secretary (they live upstairs) and his wife came too.  Awesome.  Then we had some cake we made.  We lucked out, because it was probably the best cake I've made yet.  Good stuff. We had a family home evening two Mondays ago too.  It was a mess compared to this one.

The first few days of this transfer I had the phone with me.  It stressed me out haha.  I don't like talking on it in Spanish.  Elder Romero has gradually taken it though so no worries.

I had some of my first rejections the last couple of weeks.  A couple of people accused us of being polygamists and another straight up said no.  Those are the first times I've had that happen to me.

The DR is getting new money bills.  So I've gradually started making sure I have at least one of each old one.  Way cool.  That's just the packrat I am!

The other day I walked by the kitchen and heard a squeal.  Like a legit little kid squeal and after a ton of laughing.  Elder Romero was in the kitchen sneaking some of the brownies we made haha.  It killed me.  He's like a little kid some times.  I love it.

You can tell we're a relatively new companionship in the mission.  One day I left the house without my belt, and other days without my BOFM and planner.  Elder Romero takes the cake though.  He's forgotten his plaque (name badge) (bad, but not as bad as what's coming), his planner, and his TIE.  The man walked out of the house without his tie one day haha.  Didn't make it too far fortunately.

I saw a guy with a shirt that said "my sister has the best sister in the world".  Pretty sure he doesn't know English haha.

I went running this week!  AHH!  One day Elder Romero just asked me if I'd like to run in the morning.  I just about flipped out.  It felt great.  The first day he went out of the house really fast.  Then we stopped a lot.  Turns out he's never been running before.  We didn't run too much over a mile.  He did better today though.  I'm slowing going to ease him into this.  Way awesome.

So my Spanish at this point is good enough to say whatever I need to.  No biggy.  Accent isn't so hot, vocab is limited, but I can get out whatever and communicate well enough.  I just need to remember now it was really the Lord who's helped me so much with it.  Not me.

This week I bore testimony to these two ladies about their divine potential as daughters of God.  It was really cool.  I've never done that before.  It really clicked in my head how big of a deal that is.  How the Lord just wants us to grow up and become like Him.  That the commandments are like a ladder that's going to help us do that.

We cleaned out our freezer this week and threw huge ice chunks outside.  Some kid walked by later and flipped out and starting eating some of it.  Really weird.  Dominicans are crazy.

I got Tampico this week!  Brought back lots of cross country memories.

My comps are very different.  Elder Moncada from before used to say his heart hurts for the people who are very hardhearted.  Romero says that he likes talking to them so when they're at the judgment they won't have an excuse.  That the truth was offered to them.  Very different.

I was a little sick this week again.  My nose was clogged up real bad and a sore throat.  But you know.  Life.

I also saw a horse with the little side blinders made out of food cartons this week.  Dominicans are crazy!

That's about it for this week!  Love you guys.
E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
I wrote a lot in my friend letter this week.  Most of the info is in there.

Magdalena didn't come to church again.  That makes two weeks in a row.  We're going to have to postpone her baptism.  Pretty much indefinitely until she starts coming to church again.  I don't know if she'll be baptized while I'm here.  She hasn't really been doing anything.

Family Frias said they were coming to church but didn't show.  One of their daughters came to the English class.  They were out of town visiting her dad during the day.  The Mom's dad is super sick.  It wouldn't surprise me if that's why they didn't come to church. The Fria family is 3 or 4 people.  The parents, usually their 20 year old daughter and sometimes their 24 year old daughter.  The 24 year old came to the English class too.

Nicolas' family is him and his wife, his 15 year old stepdaughter, and a 4 year old stepdaughter.  She was dancing during FHE and it reminded me a lot of Lydia.  She didn't dance like Lydi but just the actual act of it. That's Nicolas’ family.  The really dark one is the ward secretary who was there.  The secretary’s wife took the picture.  That was after family night.

Some more Christmas ideas.  My digital watch I used to use for running.  I still really need a backpack.  My new side bag is falling apart.  I've had to sew it together some more.  Maybe some protein powder?  We do a decent amount of fruit smoothies and I figured that would help a ton in them.

So a pill question.  Can I take ibuprofen and the antihistamine pills together?  I did that a couple of times during the week and don't know if I should've.  I don't think I've used hand sanitizer honestly.  Haha maybe that's my problem right there.  Medicine I'm doing OK.  I'll keep you updated though.  I might be able to find some of it down here.  That's kind of sketchy though.

I read the letters in my journal you guys wrote this week.  I was feeling a little down and have been super curious about them.  It felt good and a major confidence boost.  I kind of regret it and wish I would've saved it for later.  A harder day.  Oh well.  I'm going to try not to over read them.  So I can still read the when I'm in some rough times.

I really liked President Twitchell's thoughts.  I'll have to work on that.  Remember it. (I mentioned that you are trying to discover exactly what a good missionary is like. Here is his advice. You will take bits and pieces from each missionary that you come in contact with. Things that will work with your personality. You can be a good missionary in your own way with your own tools. That is why different missionaries will touch different people. But he said the only person you need to emulate as a missionary is the Savior. Just follow his example and his teachings. Doing this you will be your best missionary for you and him.) I want it now haha!  I want to be a polished missionary now.  That's my problem.  Just need to be more patient.  It'll come.  Thank you for your words.  I'm going to print them and try to apply them.  Internalize it.

I talked to Elder Brearshears this week.  He called me.  He's from my MTC group.  This transfer he got transferred to a house with three Latinos.  His two dads were from the USA.  He said it's hard for him.  That his Spanish isn't so hot.  He struggled with it in the MTC too.  I hope I comforted him.  I want to talk to him again.  Probably tomorrow night, but we'll see.  I know exactly what he's going through!

There was some apostasy in church this week.  In the principles of the gospel class, for investigators, we were talking about the Spirit World.  And the topic turned to how the Spirit world is the Earth.  And then the teacher started talking about hearing voices, and spirits, and a bunch of Halloween crap.  Kind of ticked me off because it was the first time Nicolas's wife had been there!  What can you do though?  Then the bishop had a really, really deep doctrine talk in sacrament.  Way deep.  Not investigator friendly haha.

I've had some weird déjà vous this week.  Like I've had a dream about some experiences I've had.  I take it as a sign that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  That I made the right call about when to serve.

Romero cracks me up. Running came out of the blue.  He has never ran before.  Runs in like basketball shoes, high tops.  He just wants to exercise.  Says it'll help him which is very true.

We cleaned this morning, Romero took a few hour nap, I sewed my bag back together, wrote some letters, we ate lunch out and ya.  That was the day.  And the house is the cleanest it's been.  Romero knows how to clean.  Way awesome.

I love what the Primary did for Sister Roylance.  Way, way awesome.  I wish I could've been part of it.

The bomb was on a different part of the metro.  A different line.  One of the stations is in our area.  The guards are at restaurants and usually have a shotgun like gun.  I don't know if they are real guns, but who knows?

I don't remember if I said this or not.  Music wise I'd like all the hymns and children’s songbook if you can.  I think we have them.  In Spanish as well if you can.  And any kind of Christmas music would be absolutely fantastic.  Legal Christmas music of course.

It's mac with some kind of sauce and salami.  And rice with corn.  There was a TON of it.  WAY awesome.  It was a good lunch.  Basically when we get money we eat really good and then it slowly gets worse haha.

(Did you get your journal?) I did!  Thank you so much.  I'm trying to write in it more.  I went for like a week without.  We’re a lot busier now.  It's hard.  Thank you for the protein bars and the Ensign too!  Way awesome.  Unfortunately they ripped the package open when it crosses the border and retaped it on the church news.  But I still got most of it. (Do they always open your packages?) Yup.  Everyone so far.  Even a letter I got that was a little on the bigger side they cut open. They write on the outside what's in it, but in Spanish.  I think it's when they first get into the DR.  I'm glad it finally made it here. (Did you get your SD card that was inside the journal?) I did!  Way awesome.  Tons of talks.  Really happy about that.  Thank you guys so much.  Made my day.  My week really.  Surprises are the best! :)

That’s about all for this week! Please ask if you have any questions.
Love you tons.  Miss you millions.  More than I can explain. Elder Easton Potokar.

Here's what president Corbitt sent me this week too! I write him weekly.  Usually an update on my personal progress, progress as a companionship, and in our area.
Elder Potokar,
Thanks for this report and update. You've made it through to your next companion - awesome! Everything is right on track with you. I really felt good about the transfer and especially the companionship. This is Elder Romero's first opportunity as a senior companion and I have a lot of confidence in him. Elder Perry blessed me that I would be able to look at the transfer board and make powerful combinations. I feel you two are one companionship among many that fulfills this prophecy.
Keep up the great, diligent, faithful work!
Pres. Corbitt

Monday, November 10, 2014

Made It Through My First Transfer! Ahh!

(Emailed to Friends)
Wow.  Made it through my first comp exchange in the field.  And I´ve got to say, the Lord answered my prayers this transfer.  The three things I prayed very hard for in my companion this transfer: Obedience, Diligent, and Happy.  And I got all three! :)  Elder Romero is from Honduras, and is actually my "brother" in the mission, meaning we had the same Dad (Trainer).  He's always very happy and I've never seen him down.  He loves to work as well.  ahhh.  I've done more contacting and talking to people this last week than I have in my WHOLE mission.  My whole training.  We've got tons of new investigators, and basically things are better.  My trainer taught me how to love the people, and Elder Romero is going to teach me how to work.  Obedience I already knew.  And I think I'll learn a lot more from him, but that's just part of it.  Oh, and I can understand his Spanish!  Woot!

Unfortunately, our neighbors have taken to playing music from Shake it Up on Disney channel.  Don't ask me how I know it's from that.  And they play it Dominican style.  Loud enough for the whole neighborhood.  Sigh.

The weather is starting to cool down here.  Actually it already has a lot.  I don't sweat nearly as much now during the days.  Occasionally (usually at night or especially in the mornings) it actually feels nice.  We never have any of that Utah chill though.  Unfortunately, this also means our water is colder in the mornings.  I'm getting good at showering quick.

We made a double thing of Jell-O this week.  It was massive.  And we didn't know how to get it out of the container.  So we tried to pour it out.  It wasn't all the way solidified though.  It went everywhere haha.  Jell-O on everything.

We're also now closer to living the law of consecration in our house.  We all put money in a pot and use that for food for every meal.  Because of this and other reasons the house is a lot more unified.  And happier.  I think Elder Romero plays a big part into this.

There was a fire in the Metro like two weeks ago.  Some guy brought a bomb into it.  Crazy stuff.  I think one person died, and lots were hurt.  Crazy stuff.

Also, not to make my Mom worried more, there's a lot of guards with guns here.  Like guarding restaurants.  Kinda weird, but that gives you a feel for how crazy this country is.

This week I had my high for lessons in a week.  Awesome!  I also had my lowest number of investigators in church.  This in part has to do with recent converts, and a new comp, and I expect this number will go up.

This week I talked to a lady who had on a Halloween shirt!  I asked her if she celebrated Halloween and she said it was just a shirt.  That she only believes in God and not in Halloween haha.  She was a little hardhearted with our message too.  Oh well.

Basically, all the lessons we taught on Sunday I believe will be members someday, just maybe not with us.  It was an awesome day.  I actually felt like a missionary which was AWESOME.  First we taught Lisa, recent convert, and her Dad.  Her Dad had been reading one of our pamphlets.  I think eventually he'll come around.  Then we taught the Familia Frias.  The kidnapping family.  The dad of the family is changing his work schedule so he can come to church, but unfortunately not until January.  His daughter actually prayed to know the church was true, but no answer yet.  But everyone I've seen who was willing to do that has been baptized, or is really close.  Basically if someone actually acts on our message, they have a good chance of being baptized.  She's really smart too.  Hasn't forgot a thing.  Then we had Magdalena, our fecha for the 22 of November.  She has some problems, but I think she'll make it this time.  Then we taught Nicolas.  Oh my goodness.  He's awesome.  We read Alma 32 about faith with him.  After he told us that he knows the church is true, and is going to try to give at least a half an hour every day to read his scriptures.  Without us asking.  He just said that!  Ahhh!  So awesome.  His daughter likes the church too, we just need to work with his wife.  They're not married, so it could take a little while to get them ready for baptism.  But they will definitely make it there.  So awesome.  We'll hopefully give them a baptismal date pretty soon here.

I think that's about it for this week!  Transfers have been good.  I've worked hard this week, and hopefully the fruits of it will start showing in the next few weeks to come.

Love you all, E Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Ahh.  Loved the pics.  They're fun.  Garrett’s hair was ridiculous.  TONS longer than mine was.  Mom never let me keep mine that long haha.  Cracks me up about the girls too.  And I'm really glad he's found a passion.  He's just never really found one before this that he loved.

I talked a lot about Romero in my general email.  Let me know if you have any more questions about him though.

Sometimes I wonder why the Lord would call some 18 year old, sheltered kid from Utah to be in charge of people's eternal salvation.  This is one that really freaks me out sometimes. Missionary work is a lot different than what I'm used to/good at.  Usually it's like put a screw here, do this to the numbers.  It's a lot freer.  More like English haha.  Need to get used to it.  I have been talking a lot more.  Not quite 50 50 (Romero talks a lot like Moncada did), but definitely a LOT more.  I'm a lot more involved.

Romero, Moncada, Potokar
I'll go through the week now.

Tuesday - transfers in the morning.  Some guy dropped off Romero.  Nicolas (usually it's a member of the church, but you know) took Moncada to Oriental, his new zone.  Moncada didn't plan anything the day before with me.  I just wung it, and managed to fill the day.  We visited some of our investigators and a bunch of members.  Phew.

Wednesday - tons of contacting.  With Moncada we really didn't have too many investigators.

Thursday - Reunion.  New guy in our zone, Elder Anderson from Utah.  I think he's a lot like me.  Quiet, and laid back.  I found out almost all the new guys are being trained by zone leaders.  Like the zone leaders aren't companions, they each have a trainee.  Only in our zone and Moncada's new one are the Zone leaders not training.  And Anderson is in the house of our zone leaders.  Corbitt is making sure none of the new guys have problems.  I think he's putting new guys with new guys too.  Romero only has two transfers on me.  His old comp is with Elder Bassett (my comp from the MTC), and only has 3 more transfers than me.  A hermana from my group is finishing someone else's training in our zone.  President Corbitt is trying to keep the new guys and the old guys apart, with the exception of obedient missionaries.  I think I'll be finishing someone's training in the next couple of transfers.  Not training, but finishing someone's training is more likely.

Friday - more contacting.  We found a family which was awesome.

Saturday - Crazy lady with Halloween shirt.  More families.  We found a less active member of like 20 years.  That's a lot for down here.  He was quoting all kinds of scriptures too.  And good ones you have to search from.  Like D&C 84:106.  Daniel 12:4 which he thinks is about cell phones and technology.  He was way cool.  We'll have to work with him more. Also had our first English class.  Close to a flop, but not quite.  Only an investigator of like years (who knows everyone in the ward, but isn't a member for some reason) was there for a while.  Then we got some more later.

Sunday - I gave a talk!  All the missionaries did.  It was supposed to be like 5-10 minutes and mine was more like 10-15.  It wasn't that long written, but I think it was because I talk in Spanish slower.  I don't know how many people understood, but oh well.  It was on faith.  I was pretty nervous, but once I got going I was fine.  Same as with my farewell talk.  The time went by WAY fast.  Not too bad.  Not really any feedback.  Haha I don't know how many people understood me.  Lisa said she didn’t.  People have to focus on what I'm saying to understand.  Then we had our awesome lessons.

Today - We played basketball with some members at 8 this morning.  And Satan knows my weaknesses.  They put on some NBA highlights.  Naturally, I watched some.  Oops.  It was hard not to.  Then we cleaned some and that was the day.  I loved playing ball.  Elder Decker is REALLY good.  Way good.  It was fun. I did OK.  Romero and Ventura don't know how to play so they just played Dominoes.

This morning Elder Decker and I chilled up on the roof for like an hour before basketball.  It had just rained and was really calm and cool and the sun was just barely up.  I should be uploading some pictures of it.  I talk to Decker a lot more now.  A lot in English which I probably need to change.  I talked to him for like 40 minutes on the roof this morning.

Romero knows very little English.  Or knows the words, but doesn't talk too much in it.  He understands more than he can talk.  He loves music and has listened to a lot of English music.  He’s a convert of around 4 years.  Way awesome.

Not all his family is members.  One side of his family is members and the other isn't.  I want to say his parents aren't, or at least his dad isn't.

Ventura is DL now and that's changed them a lot.  They had more lessons than us this week.  We had 35 total (includes some of our longer contacts.  Anytime we teach a principle and say a prayer.  Sometimes can be like 10 minutes) and they had 37.  They are working WAY hard.  Awesome.  That's another way in how the house is different. I'm confident we'll hit 40 lessons this week.  I guess Rodriquez, my brother, hit 60 some weeks.  He'd do splits with Priests and get tons of lessons.

Food is for all four of us.  Every meal.  The house is a lot more united because of that.  I do less cooking now because it's for the four of us.  But we share the load pretty good now.  The apartment is cleaner.  Romero likes washing dishes too (or at least he's always really quick to do them) so that's helped a lot.  We cleaned a good amount today to help out too.

 (Your president sure sounds way organized and knows what he is doing. Have you seen him lately?) I haven't seen him in a little bit.  Not since interviews actually.  He definitely knows what he's doing.  He's INCREDIBLE.  I REALLY hope someday you guys can meet him.  I can't entirely describe it, the Spirit he invites just from his presence.  He knows everything that happens in the mission.  Everything about everyone in the mission and never forgets.  He's amazing.

(Is your water heated only by the sun? Are your showers always luke warm?) Our water sits in that big hole in the ground then is pumped to the roof in a big black container.  So it's just heated by the sun.  Water is usually just lukewarm.  Naturally in the morning it's pretty dang cold.  I take quicker showers now haha.

(So how are the Dominicans at playing b-ball? Do you play at the church?) They're good.  There's a ton of good players.  The secretary and our ward mission leader are really good.  I struggled to keep up.  And ya, we played at the church.  It was way fun.  We had to start early because of how hot it usually is during the day.  Today it's been really nice.  Light on and off rain.  Incredible really.

(Are you still getting most of your contacts on the street?) It's more or less door to door.  Just who we can see sitting on their porch or who's door is open.  Depends on the area in our area.  Not necessarily new people, but people are just showing more progress.  We are getting better at including the whole family though.  That's what’s making the difference. I love that we are teaching families too!  It's awesome.  That's something I've really wanted too.  Lots of people just teach kids or youth.  I like families a lot more.  The blessings of the gospel are more readily available in families.  And plus, more baptisms!  Haha that's not the reason, but it's true.

While in one house this little kid was SCREAMING his head off.  Wow.  It brought back memories of when I had to try to comfort Lydia when she was like that on rides home from places.  Lots of little memories pop up in my head like that often.

English class is going to be every Saturday night for everyone.  Anyone can come.  It's a way for members to invite friends and for investigators to meet members.  Has lots of uses.

Mom sent me a pictures of the flag pole!  It's huge haha.  It might just be because it's so different.  Definitely wasn't there before.  It looks really good though.  Really cool.

MY MOTHER HAS A PHONE.  After like 10 years of fighting to not get a real phone, she gets one when I'm not home :)  That's awesome!  I wish I could help you learn how to use it.  I'm pretty sure you’re going to use it more than you think.

For Christmas.  For you guys, I heard you can ship packages home through the mission.  The same way they come in.  I'm going to look into that.  For me, here's my wish list: 3 ring binder, pants, shirts, body spray, and stuff for s'mores.  Pretty much in that order.  And maybe some garments.

Still haven't gotten the journal.  I expect it'll come this week.  I haven't been very good at writing in it this week.  I had a talk to write for church so that took up a lot of my time.  And teaching Romero the area took some time too.

I think that's about it for this week.  Please feel free to ask me anything else if I forgot anything.

Thanks for keeping me so updated on everything at home.
Love you tons, and miss you a million.  It's been a great Monday.  Elder Easton Potokar.

Monday, November 3, 2014

4 Months: Check! Woot! Times Flies!

(Emailed to Friends)
Wow.  4 months down.  How crazy is that?  I don't feel like it was that long ago I was in an airport.  But then again I can't remember the last time I saw a movie.  So ya know.

First off, missions are frickin stressful.  I was looking in the mirror the other day and I have a few white hairs.  What.  Not like just sun bleach, like white white.  I'm getting old.  Not a kid anymore.

Remember Lisa, an investigator of mine who got baptized a few weeks ago?  Well she is CRAZY active in the church.  The week after her baptism she went with the ward to the temple and did baptisms for her grandparents.  And she's going to seminary every day.  So awesome.  I think I get more joy about seeing people active in the church than I do in seeing a baptism.

Also remember our small miracle with the taxi driver bringing our investigators to church?  (Nicolas) We taught him the Book of Mormon this week.  Actually he taught us.  We left him with the BOFM the week before and told him to read the intro.  When we asked him how it went, he told us about how Joseph Smith translated, Moroni, the whole 9 yards.  I was shocked.  We didn't have anything to teach!  Haha that was a good problem this time.  He doesn't forget anything.  He also came to church this Sunday and ate it up.  He came in late to the first class and said "Buenos Dias” to the whole class of high priests when he walked in.  Awesome.

Another miracle with him.  So the ward secretary moved and we haven't known where he's lived for like a month now.  Have been meaning to find where he lives.  Turns out he lives in the house above Nicolas's.  What!! What are the odds of that?  That means it's going to be REALLY easy to get him a friend in the church, and to have member present lessons.  Lots of small little miracles like that.

We found out transfers at around 11 last night.  Nobody in our district is changing except my companion.   I'm going to be with Elder Romero, from Honduras.  Actually, he's my brother!!  My Dad or trainer trained him too.  Way cool.

Got 3 new country guesses for me this week.  Spain, Honduras and Germany.  Guess my Spanish is getting less US or I'm getting darker.  *Crossing my fingers for both.

The streets here are like a parade 24/7.  Really loud and really crazy all the time.  But a lot faster and sketchier than a parade.  And less candy.  But ya tu sabes.  Ya know.

One morning this week I got on my roof and watched the sunrise.  Way pretty.  Unfortunately a tree was blocking the view of the sun, but still really pretty.  Lots of color.  Also was a ton cooler than normal, so awesome.

We gave Magdalena another fecha (baptism date) this week.  22 of November.  We'll see how that pans out.  I had a really cool lesson with her this week.  She told us how she needs emotional and social support in the church.  How she's been going for like 9 weeks and still really doesn't have a friend.  I was able to share how I felt similar when I got into the field.  Different language, culture and country.  Then I shared Mosiah 24:15 and how she just needs to pray for strength and be patient and it'll get better.  How I learned Spanish and got another gringo in my house.

That's about all for this week.  Finished my training this week too.  I guess that means I'm supposed to be a real missionary!  Ahh!  We'll see how that goes.

Love you all!  E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Ahh.  Sounds like it was a full week again.  That doesn't surprise me a bit with Garrett.  You could apply Ether 12:27 to that.  I guarantee he'll just get better at it.  That's one thing I wish I would have done in junior high. (NAL – National Academic League) Tell Ash congrats from me too.  And Lydia was adorable in that cowgirl costume.  Tears definitely came when I saw that one.

Journal package hasn't gotten here yet.  Only on Thursdays so I'm expecting this Thursday. Hopefully.

We do have a phone.  I've talked on it (IN SPANISH!!) like twice.  Scared the crap out of me haha.  It's not as hard as I expected though.  It's just that I still don't understand everything.

We didn't have any new food at the member’s house.  I think we're going to make arrozz con leche tonight.  I love it and really hope I can learn how to cook it well.

I was wondering about daylight savings time.  That's good to know. (Easton is now 3 hours ahead of us.)

Investigators are good.  Going into the next transfer, Nicolas and hopefully his family, Magdalena, and the Fria family are the ones I'm excited about.  I think they'll all be members at one point, even if it isn't with me.  Nicolas and his wife aren't married which is the main problem with him.  He really liked church so I hope he brings his whole family next week. We taught the Fria family the BOFM yesterday.  They still didn't come to church though so we'll see how they do going along.

I made an AWESOME planner for this next transfer.  I'm uploading a picture of it now.  I even found a magnet so the cover snaps closed.  Very scrapbooking, arts and craftsy.  You know how I am with these things though.


Also I was wondering, what do you need to cook fresh salsa?  Is it too hard?  I was thinking we could probably do that fairly easily here.  If you could try and find that recipe for me.

This week I was a TON happier.  I tried to stay positive all the time and that helped A TON.  Also next transfer is looking really bright.  I'm going to be getting a good solid companion who'll work and at least to my knowledge is obedient.  I'll be switching for him tomorrow morning.  Staying positive is the only way I survived the last week.  Anytime I'd start slipping or getting discouraged, I'd pray and He'd lift me right back up.

(I have noticed in your pictures on P-day you still wear dress clothes, white shirt and tie. Do you ever go out in t-shirts, shorts, or jeans on P-day?) We have to wear our uniform if we go into public on P-day.  If we're at a church or a park, we can bring clothes to change into.  A lot of missionaries just wear normal clothes to the place, but the handbook says to change.  It's a little strict, but not too hard to follow.

(Does Moncada have a red bag like yours or does he use yours?) That would be my bag.  The threads started coming out so I let him use it.  It's pretty much dead now, so I just let him have it.  It's the least I could do.  He also gave me a couple of ties and I gave him one.  Missionaries are very liberal about their stuff and money sometimes.  Weirds me out.  Haha I'm not like that at all.

(Grandma P. says to make sure and tell you to share your treats! :) She will send you more! ) I have been sharing my treats!  With Moncada and with the house.  You know how I hoard things though - I'll probably have them for quite a while.  I actually still have stuff in the bag that Grandma gave me in the airport haha.

This week.  Where do I even start?

Tuesday.  In the morning we didn't leave cuz we hung out in the house with the repair guy.  He fixed our good washer, our toilet, sink, and a few other little things.  Washing is doable now without destroying any clothes. (It ruined three of his shirts last week.) Things are a lot better now.  It's a lot easier to live in the house with things working better.  Nobody cleaned the kitchen today so it's filthy.  I cleaned the bathroom and bought a new shower curtain today, so that'll help with that. After ward council we had like 20 minutes to kill so I played some basketball with Elder Decker and the young men in the ward.  Felt SO good.  It's been way too long.  I think we'll ball this next Monday more. Ward council was a lot more boring this time.  The Justin kid (I gave him teeth the other day) was there and he was flipping out the entire time.  He was my entertainment.

Wednesday.  I  lost myself in the work a bit that night.  Felt good. Lots of studying that day and I made a cool bookmark and covered my planner.  Also I found a magnet so the flap stays closed with the magnet now too.  I'm so proud of it. haha We went to one lesson with Paula and Victor.

Friday. I did quick intercambios with Elder Decker. We had a good lesson with Nicolas that day. I really enjoy teaching Nicolas.  He understands a lot of my Spanish and learns way quick.  Really cool to teach him.

Saturday.  Cool lesson with Magdalena that day.

Sunday.  Nicolas was awesome at church.  We waited till 11 at night to hear transfers.  I'll be with Elder Romero.  That’s very good news.  I'm nervous, but it's good news.  Moncada is going to be a ZL in a different zone and part of the council of leaders which helps advise President Corbitt on some rules.  So ya. Elder Ventura will be our new DL.
Elder Ventura trying on
their Halloween Decor!
This week I studied a lot, worked on some project ideas I had, and just plugged along. If I thought I got stir crazy at home with a TV, computer, and a hoop, here is insane.  All I can do is read the scriptures, a Liahona, or sleep.  Ridiculous. Haha.

I feel like I've progressed in the language a ton, but not as much as I should have in teaching skills.  And in the language I've just been reading the BOFM out loud to help with my accent for a week or two.  It helps, but makes it feel like I'm not progressing like I should in that either.  Because my vocab and grammar hasn't been improving as much.

Today we shopped, ate out as a district and that was the day.

Since Elder Moncada trained Elder Romero he knows a lot about him.  I guess he's pretty quiet too.  Likes music a lot.  From Honduras.  Not too into sports.  I don't think we'll have much in common besides the work.  But he's obedient and diligent so I'm not complaining.  I do need to step it up and talk more now though.  I'll be junior comp too.

Pick up Romero tomorrow morning.  He just takes a taxi alone to our house.  I find that really weird.  I'm also worried I won't be able to understand his Spanish haha.  Moncada's Spanish is VERY easy to understand.  We'll see how that goes though.  After some time I'm sure I'll get it down. I plan on stepping it up a bit.  Taking a little more charge.  I think I'll sit down with him tomorrow night and set the rules for the transfer.  Eating with members, waking up time, comp study, planning, and all the little stuff so we don't have to figure it out as we go.  Have it all set in stone.  Set ways to help each other with it if one of us is slipping. Moncada will probably pack tonight after some lessons. He's going to be a ZL with an Elder from Haiti.  I think he's pretty nervous about that one.

The other Elders in our house have 5 fechas.  Mostly kids under 14 years old.  They use the members a ton.  I figure if we start doing that we'll be able to tear it up.  Members should be the center of our work, just not an afterthought.

Also new rule on music here.  Only music you can play in sacrament meeting.  That eliminates anything with a drum or trumpet.   Most EFY music.  If you could only send me stuff with that that'd be awesome.

How's your self-improvement, daily planning going since conference? I know that struggle.  It's very hard to find time to do stuff for the gospel. Just an idea.  Elder Decker reads the BOFM in all his free time.  Maybe you could do it throughout the day at school?  In your quiet moments at school?  I know it's not ideal, but it's better than nothing.

Not as much rain as before.  Lots of cooler days when it looks like it's going to rain, but doesn't.

(I was just looking at your pictures. I like the idea of going up on the roof and watching the sunrise. It looks way pretty. Just be careful of the power lines it looks like they are all over. Did you notice the dog across the street on the roof watching you? That is hilarious!) Haha I did notice the dog.  Too weird.  And I believe those power lines are a reason why the DR power is terrible.  Like all power lines are like that.  I want to get on the roof to eat dinner tonight.  It feels great out at night and is usually pretty peaceful.  A lot of the time there's music playing though.  Really loud.  Actually like all of the time.

I think that's about it.  Let me know if I missed anything. Miss you more than I can express in an email.  Love you TONS!  E. Potokar.