Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas! What a Week. Great Week.

(Emailed to Friends)
It's been a long, hard week, but it's been fantastic.  Really loved it.  I'll do a day by day breakdown now.  Here we go.

Monday night.  We went to a FHE and Elder Decker managed to cook a birthday cake without me knowing.  Awesome surprise.  Made my day.  I got to blow out the candles and they sang happy birthday in Spanish and everything.  Great day.  That night was really hard though.  Tears were shed.  First birthday without the family.  Made it through it though.

Tuesday.  My first full day intercambios/splits.  Way fun.  I was with Elder Pena.  He's Dominican and is 25 years old.  Has been a member for 3 years and the friends who invited him to church are now inactive.  Crazy crazy stuff.  It was good.  A lot easier than I expected.  We had 11 lessons which is solid.

Wednesday.  Dead day.  Christmas Eve and all.  Here (and in a lot of Latino countries) the tradition is to have a huge dinner the 24th.  Like their Thanksgiving.  All of the 24th is spent preparing for it, so really hard to teach.  Elder Romero knew this so we didn't try too hard to find people.  We had a few lessons, he got a haircut, we set up Skype at our internet place, and we bought presents for Elder Pawn and Decker.  Bought a ball pump and Spam for them.  Both were good presents.  We then had a cena or one of those big dinners with an inactive family.  Really good food.

Thursday.  Christmas!  We wrapped their presents and put a note on it from Santa.  It was really cool.  I liked that.  Another Dominican tradition is to party and drink hard Christmas Eve, so we had to come back early at night and couldn't work in the morning.  We slept in, opened presents (my family is the best!), and then I taught a few lessons with Elder Decker.  We did a quick splits.  Then we had dinner with the patriarch’s family.  Super good too.  Tons of food and tons of leftovers.  LOVED IT.  Good Christmas overall.

Friday.  We had a district meeting.  The zone did a gift exchange, white elephant, and I ended up with a little wooden turtle.  Pretty cool.  I got TONS of letters.  Thank you everyone in the ward!  And family again!  Made my day.  Really really awesome.  Then I called home.  It was fantastic.  It felt great to talk to everyone and see how they were doing.  Skype worked well.  Definitely a highlight of my week!  Obviously.

Saturday.  We did service at a member’s house.  We painted a ton of their house.  Really really fun.  I enjoyed that.  Something different to do.  Then that night we had the English class.  It was good.  Normal.  8 or 9 people came.


Sunday.  Only a few investigators at church.  We had some solid lessons with members.  Really enjoyed those.  Put two baptism dates too!  Pretty sure ones too.  Awesome.  We've been waiting forever for this.  Hopefully we'll be able to put some more next Monday as well.

Today.  We played basketball with some wardies this morning.  Way way fun.  I enjoyed that a ton.  Then we just relaxed in the house.  Good day.

Other thoughts from the week.

I really enjoyed teaching about Christmas this week.  Shared Luke 2, Isaiah 9:6, and John 3:16 a ton of times.  I really really enjoyed those lessons.

The Dilone Family is progressing well.  At least the mom and her daughter.  They read a few verses of the BOFM together before bed (the parents) and she stopped drinking coffee.  The only problem is they aren't married and I don't think he wants to be.  She would if he would.  Really frustrating cuz they are really close.  They also gave us some ties for Christmas which was really awesome.


Really cool story an investigator told us this week.  She said she was praying for direction, that the Lord would send her an angel to guide her or something, and then we showed up on her doorstep shouting her name.  We were looking for a reference, but found her.  (She has the same name).  Kinda cool.  Really cool actually.

Well that's my week!   Hope you all really enjoyed your Christmas's!  Nothing better like a mission Christmas honestly.

Love you tons!  Enjoy your guys New Year’s!
Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like you guys had a fantastic week!  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  I'm sad Garrett was sick.  Sounds like it was a rough Christmas for him.  Definitely not one he'll forget though haha.

(The lights were amazing as usual, and the Christus is just so humbling to see.) I'm jealous of the Christus too.  That's really amazing.  SO pretty.  I loved going to see that.

Homesickness wise, I'm doing better than I thought.  Really though, my drive and motivation to work has been coming back this week and it feels amazing.  Really incredible.  I love it.  It's been a while since I've felt that.

Talking to you guys was definitely the highlight of my week as well.  I loved it.  It was the best.  I really wish I could've talked for longer, but I'm thankful I got to talk for as long as I did.  I had troubles saying goodbye as well.  Lots of them.

The highlight of my week was probably bringing Paula and Victor dinner.  Missionary work wise at least.  Really cool.  Not super amazing, but just felt good.

Painting went well.  I wasn't too terrible, but definitely didn't know what I was doing haha!  I did get paint all over my shirt and shorts, but not too bad.  It was really fun though.  Something different to do.

One other thought on Christmas.  Honestly, it felt more like a fourth of July.  With the heat and all the partying.

(This Friday is your "bump" day!) I've never heard that term, or of any traditions.  Just another day haha.  I've heard of burning a shirt on the year mark though.  I'll buy something good though.  A treat or something to celebrate.  It's weird to think this was about the time Elder Decker showed up in our house.  He seemed to know so much!  Weird that I'm almost there.

(Cameron Crittenden’s dad was the other speaker with Kenny. He even mentioned some of the questions Cameron had as he started into the field. Like, I feel like we are just thrown out here and expected to baptize. Where do we start? What is a good missionary? How can I be effective right now? Do these sound familiar?) I had a lot of the same questions as Cameron.  Like I really knew nothing about missionary work. I hope I'm actually touching people here!  Sometimes I feel like that with Elder Romero.  We're both really new, and sometimes it feels like we're just floundering around and not getting too much done. It’s hard to know how to really be effective. Putting a solid fecha day felt good though.  Felt right.  I know I'll get more confidence in it in time though.  It'll keep coming and I'll get a feel for it.  Hard to know what's the most effective way to use your time.

We only had 2 at church.  Freisy (part of the Dilone or Nicolas’s family) and another friend of a member.  That's it.  Very disappointing Sunday.  Paula and Victor weren't there either which was disappointing.

We set the dates for Hno Renoso's daughter.  Carolina.  And her daughter, Rochelle.  Really easy baptisms.  Basically were handed to us.  The date for now is January 17.  It's coming to come up quick.

Also my motivation is kicking back in! It's finally getting focused on missionary work.  It's probably too competitive/pride based, but it's better than nothing.  Hopefully it'll become more charity based in time.

I believe that was on Monday.  The family night when they brought me my cake.  They are young men in the ward.  A couple are ward missionaries.

(Are the jungle pictures taken outside of the patriarch's?) Yes they are.  They are the last house on the street.

Inside is with the Family Castro.  Their sons served missions, but they are inactive now.  One of their sons was ward mission leader and is now president of the young men.

(The picture with your birthday cake; is that ice cream in the pan or mashed potatoes?) Ice cream.  The thing we bought it in was too big, so we had to put it in different containers to fit in the freezer and that's what we ended up with. We ran out of whipped cream for the cake too, but it was still excellente.  Loved it soooo much. Sounds like it was a good week!  Love you guys tons.  Like always, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Great memories were made this week.  I really enjoyed it.  Long, but good.
Love and miss you tons.  Elder Easton Potokar.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week Before Christmas! And My B-Day!

(Emailed to Friends)
What a week!  Actually it's been pretty average.  I'll go through it real quick day by day.

Monday last week.  We had a crazy family night at a member’s house.  She has 6 kids under the age of 14 (Hermana Joseline is her name) and it was awesome.  Really fun.

Tuesday.  In the morning we had transfers.  Elder Pawn-Kalilikane is now living in our house and is Elder Decker's companion.  He's from Hawaii.  He's got a twin serving in Peru too. He's crazy.  Super goofy, super fun.  Has a heart of gold.  Always positive.  My comp and him have really hit it off too.  Cracks me up.  They're really goofy and silly together.  I'm pretty close with Elder Decker though so it all works out in the end.  That night we had a few other lessons.  Nothing very exciting.

Wednesday.  I had a quick comp exchange in the morning while Romero was at a meeting.  Elder Solis was with me.  Elder Solis is from El Salvador. We taught one lesson.  I was really, really impressed with him.  He's super funny and goofy, but he taught very, very clearly and it was amazing.  It was cool to see how another missionary teaches.  That day was his 2 year mark of being a member of the church too.  He's been in the mission like 11 months.  So crazy.  Some really amazing people out here. We then had and English class and after the ward Christmas activity that night and it was AWESOME.  Loved it.  It's the first activity the ward has done since I've been here and it was a blast.  Two of the Frias family, all 4 of the Dilone family, and 3 from Lisa's family (One of my recent converts) were all there.  That's a solid 8 investigators.  Very, very successful night.  They presented a message, the youth served an excellent dinner and it was just great.  I loved messing around with the kids and running around talking to people during it.  It was a blast.

Thursday.  First zone meeting of this transfer.  Not too many changes in our zone.  It was good.  Romero's first one as a DL.  He struggled a bit, but made it through it.  Lesson wise the day was rough.  Everything seemed to be falling through.  Really frustrated Romero.

Friday.  Tons of lessons.  Really short ones, but good.  Fun day.  Had some good lessons.  Average day.

Saturday.  Decent lessons too. English class that night.  Not a ton happened either.

Sunday.  So a quick story.  The bishop on Saturday said we were going to be the backups for the speakers on Sunday.  That probably one or two of us would speak.  I figured I wouldn't since last time I spoke I don't think anyone understood me.  None of us really prepared anything.  Then on Sunday turns out we were the whole program.  Just us 4 and a quick testimony of a family.  Ahhh!  We all panicked and were writing our talks during the sacrament.  I was supposed to go last, but we ran out of time so I didn't have to go!  I was a little disappointed, but I was lucky.  Lesson wise we did a ton of walking and had a few lessons.

Today. My birthday!  It's been fun.  We did some cleaning, I opened some presents from home and from Elder Decker, we then went to Megocentro, and met up with Elder Moncada and Elder Ventura there.  I ate some KFC, and scored a great deal on some ties and slacks.  Really happy about that.  Then we came back, made a cake, and that was the day so far.  We have a FHE tonight and it's supposed to be huge so we'll see how it goes!

Romero, Ventura, Moncada, Potokar, Decker, Pawn

Few notes and memories from the week.

My comp introduced some lady as the bishop's wife to some investigators this week and she really wasn't the bishop's wife.  Really funny.

I asked Paula if she was ready for Christmas and she told me Christmas was always really sad at her house.  I felt really bad for asking and realized how great I have/had it.  She also didn't come to the ward party because she was assigned to bring plates and didn't have money to buy them.  My heart ached for her.

We walked through a rap battle going on one night.

We watched this one kid standing on the sidewalk, facing the street, just start taking a pee right there.  This country is crazy.

Not sure if I mentioned this, but we had the primary program last week.  It was fantastic.  I loved it.

I believe that's about all for this week!  Thank's for all the birthday wishes!  Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!

Love you all.
Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
I didn't have time to make a list again this week so I'll just try to think of things off the top of my head.

Wasn't able to find a speaker today at Megocentro.  I'm thinking sending one to me might be the best idea.  Elder Pawn has one I've been using that I can plug the micros into, but can't choose the song which bothers me.  It'll work for a while though.  I'll check la sirena this week so don’t' buy me one just yet.

Snagged a germx for my bad (uploaded pic) and a file folder binder to hold papers and a a-z tab dividers for my 3 ring binder on Thursday. I felt I should be using Germx more so I bought one to strap to the outside of my bag.  Then I'll just fill it up once it empties with my big one.

Today I snagged some really good deals at Megocentro.  Some nice ties.  4 for 1000 pesos.  I bought two and Moncada and Romero each bought one.  That's 500 pesos (like 15 bucks) for two solid ties.  Also found some slacks on sale.  One for 400 pesos (10 bucks) and one for 600 (like 15 bucks).  One fits really well and the others a little tight, but will work.  I'm really happy with that.

Unfortunately, Nicolas has been going a little cold this week.  His wife (not really married though) and step daughter are eating everything we give them.  Reading, come to all the activities, church, everything.  He just lost the fire.  He did come to sacrament meeting and I think he'll come to the FHE tonight.  We'll see what we can do with him.  Relight his fire.  I really like Nicolas's daughter, Melony, who's four years old.  She's my little buddy.

Family Frias is doing OK.  Haven't been reading or coming to church.  They live really busy lives and it is December.  Maybe after December. The dad should be able to come to church starting in January and I think that'll make them all start to do more.  We'll see how it goes.

We were also going to put a baptism date yesterday for Caolina Renosos, but her dad said she wasn't home.  Her parents are active members, her husband is inactive and she's taken the missionary lessons twice, but wasn't married and couldn't come to church before.  Now she can and she came on Sunday so she should be an easy baptism.  She has a testimony so that's even better.  Her daughter is 10 as well so we're going to see if we can baptize her too.

Another experience this week that was hard.  A little girl showed me her light up princess shoes.  How could that not remind me of Lydia?  That was rough, rough, rough for me.  I was close to tears in the middle of that lesson. I really enjoyed Lydia's letter.  I'm pretty connected to the whole family, but her.  It's hard sometimes because of that.

Also for Christmas.  We work until 7 on Christmas Eve and don't work Christmas morning.  It's too dangerous. It's looking like I'll call at 6 o clock here, which is about 3 o clock there. We're eating with a member that night so we'll see how it goes down.  I'll shoot you an email when I'm ready to get on.

Eating with member rule changed.  We can now eat with members on weekends and holidays and ward activities.  Investigators too.  That's huge.  I'm way excited about that.

We're going to eat with the Patriarch again on Christmas.  It'll be really good.  I'm looking forward to it.  I think we'll use the internet cafe. (for Skyping) We'll see how it goes though.  They said they're open that day, but they don't know until what time.  We'll see what happens.  We're only supposed to use a member’s house if we absolutely can't find anywhere else. (We received an email from Easton a few days later and we will be Skyping him on Friday instead.)

Thank you for all your birthday gifts too!  I'm excited to try my new garments and the books you sent.  I'm pumped.  Elder Decker also gave me the pink tie in the pictures and a notebook, Elder Moncada gave me a green DR shirt, and some hermana who was at Megocentro bought me a keychain.  Really cool.  It's been a fun day. l'm blessed it was on a p-day!

Our zone is going to do a white elephant thing on Friday.  The month after the mission tours we have a temple trip usually. I could use a huge favor from you.  We're going to the temple in the first or second week of January.  Would you mind searching for a family name for me?  I was going to do it today, but we didn't have nearly as much time on the internet as usual.

I got 5 letters this week.  Opened a few of them, and will open the rest of them tonight.  I'm definitely a very, very spoiled missionary. It's a huge blessing.  Means a ton to me.  Helps me move along.  I'm just starting to feel my personality surface (especially with Elder Decker) and getting a hold on things.  I just need to learn to lead lessons and the work.  Be a senior comp.  And then I feel like I'll be completely comfortable being a missionary.  Intercambios make me really nervous for that reason.  I don’t' feel like I know how to direct an area like that.

It's really weird that it's so hot here during Christmas.  Definitely doesn't feel like Christmas too much.  Elder Decker and I just sat in his room and listened to White Christmas one day.  It was weird. Not a ton of rain here.  It gets pretty cool at night though and in the mornings.  Makes for cold showers, but feels great outside.  I don't know if it's because I've gotten used to it, or if it's because it's actually nice out.  Probably a little of both haha.

Think that's about all. Looking forward to Thursday!  Like a ton.
I Love you tons!  Elder Easton Potokar.

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

(Emailed to Friends)
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Not here though.  Still a solid 80 degrees every day!  But it's starting to feel like Christmas and that's what matters.  Sorry if that was really cheesy.

Anyways, quick, hard week.  They're all starting to blend together.  Not sure if that's a good thing or not.  I really don't know!

Quick overview of the week:

Monday - taught a lesson.  Taught Maricela.  She's probably like 70 years old, but really understands what we're teaching.  She has a bad leg though and can't make it to church.  Rough.  We'll keep working with her.

Tuesday - normal day in the mission.  Lessons.  Nothing too spectacular.

Wednesday - meetings with the zone and district.  Last one of this transfer so lots of pictures.  And we had to bring our area book so spent a good amount of time the day before, ya know, actually doing something in it.  A ward missionary left with us to some lessons after.  It went well.

Villa Mella Zone
District - Potokar, Stephens, Ventura, Romero, Decker, Pena
Elder Rodriquez, Mocada, Pres Corbitt, Romero, Potokar

The missionary on the left is Elder Rodriquez.  He's my older brother in the mission.  He's an excellent missionary.

Thursday - Mission tour with President Corbitt (mission pres) and President Cornish (President of the Caribbean, of the Seventy).  Way awesome.  I don't think I got the full significance of what they taught because it was in Spanish, but really awesome.  Elder Cornish knows a TON.  Like a lot a lot.  It was incredible to listen to him teach.  We talked about the atonement and he went deeper into it than I've ever heard anyone here.  I think a lot of the time the seventies don't get as much respect in comparison to the apostles, but they all know an insane amount of doctrine.  Some of the most Christ like, humble people on the planet.  After we ran to the temple store, and taught a few lessons.  I said hi to Miranda Fielding at the MTC so that was cool!

Friday - we taught a guy who's been coming to church activities for a while, but never has come to church.  I think we can get him to baptism eventually though, so no worries.

Saturday - found another family, we'll see if they'll progress.  We also taught Antonio, a 70 year old man from Columbia.  He's reading everything we give him really fast, we just need to work with him to get him to church.

Sunday - had 3 investigators at church.  Part of the family Dilone (Nicolas's family.  Everyone, but him) and another investigator we found.  Here they do a primary program right before Christmas.  It was on the articles of faith.  I love watching the little kids.  I really enjoyed that.  After we taught Carolina Renoso, the daughter of a member.  She's married and has two kids.  Her husband is inactive.  She took all the missionary lessons, but couldn't get baptized because she worked on Sunday and wasn't married, but lived with her husband.  Now she doesn't have either of those problems.  Should be a fairly easy baptism.

Today - easy going day.  A guy came and fixed some stuff in our house.  Awesome.  We ate as a district for the last time.  Bout it.

And about Transfers.  We found out last night.  I'm staying with Elder Romero for another transfer.  Elder Ventura is changing though.  We're going to have Elder Paw, from Hawaii in our house.  He has about 8 months in the mission.  I actually talked to him for a minute at the mission tour.  Seems like a really good guy.  Should be fun.  Elder Romero is going to be our DL too.  That worries me a bit because he's kind of forgetful, but I'll help him along.

I also found Marcos in an Ensign this week.  May 2010 Ensign.  I pretty much freaked out when I saw it.  So shout out to Elder Ninataype for being famous.


We had hot chocolate a few times this week.  Weird since it was still hot outside, but was amazing.  Really enjoyed that.

And ya.  I think that was pretty much the week.  Fun stuff.  My birthday is next pday, so I think we'll do something fun for that.  I'm looking forward to skyping next week with the fam.

Have a great week everyone!  Love ya lots.
Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Honestly, just kind of a normal week.  I felt a ton better this week.  Physically, and emotionally.  I felt more like myself and less depressed.  It was awesome.  I'll put up my list from the week.

Still stinking at writing in my journal.  Don't think I've done it for like a week.

I wasn't able to buy the study stuff I wanted.  They only had it in Spanish, and it's a little too in-depth for my Spanish vocab.

I made my new agenda for the next transfer.  Uploaded pics of it too.


I tried to stay positive this week and it really helped me out.  I honestly just felt a lot better.  I set some goals for this transfer, and for who I want to be at the end of my mission today.  Took a solid hour or hour and a half to do it.  I think it'll help me stay positive.

It's cooling down here.  It's like the summers at home I think haha.  It's bearable and I don't sweat as much now.  Still way hot during the midday though.

I did get another package.  I got it from the office during the mission tour and then dragged it all the way to the temple and through the metro haha.  It was a 10 pounder too.  Wowza.  Fun stuff.  I was worried I was going to get transferred and have to take it with me, but I'm in good shape in regards to that.  While walking to the metro with it, I had it in front of me and I didn’t see a short little post.  It hit the package and jammed it into my gut haha.  It was pretty funny.  I had no idea that post was there.

Skype.  I think and am actually pretty sure I'll be able to use Skype.  If you could make an account for me and all that that'd be awesome.  Also around what time would you want to Skype?

Funny story from this week.  We were walking down the street and these crazy eveangelitcos were have a crazy sermon outside and they all eyed us down while we walked by and then these nuns walked by in the other direction and it was like a three way stare down.  Haha I felt like a fight was going to break out.

I accidentally broke my clock yesterday.  Went to snooze it and knocked it off my dresser.  I'm going to use the analog one.  We usually have the fan on at night so it's good.  I don’t' hear it at all.

Speaking of which our AC has been disconnected.  We've been using too much power so they shut it off.  They screwed up our power when they did it so we didn't have any power in our kitchen.  We moved our fridge and washer and microwave to the living room, but there's only one outlet there so we had to switch them in and out when we wanted to use something.  The mission handyman came today and fixed everything though.  I still think we don't have AC, but everything else works again.  He fixed our toilet too which leaked so we had to bucket flush. Really nice. (Does the guy that comes and fixes things in your apartment a member? Or does the mission hire him?) He works for the mission.  He was a missionary here actually.  This is the second time he came.  It's a wonderful day when he comes.

They have a mission newsletter with all of the birthdays.  So everyone knows when they are.  Ventura is moving to Moncada's house now, so we talked about all going to Megocentro next week for my birthday. That'd be fun.

We were at the family Baez’s house yesterday.  He's missing one leg and is in a wheelchair.  She was talking about how when he had Chikungunya his leg was huge - and then said it was that leg, because the other one isn't there.  And then he lifted up his half leg and set it back down.  I don’t' know why, but I found that pretty funny.  I had to stifle my laugh quite a bit haha.

Joints are fine.  I still feel tired at times, but I think that's more just form the work.  That's about it physically though.

I think we'll get to go to the temple again in January.  I think it's usually the month after the mission tour.

Also Elder Bateman is getting transferred to be a finance clerk.  I did splits with him once.  I don't know who our other ZL is going to be.

(I was going to tell you Garrett Bingham got the math sterling scholar.) That's awesome!  Tell him congrats from me.  Let me know how they do going on to the next competitions.  Who won some of the others?

Got to decorate the house a bit. Elder Decker took over with me and we did it one morning.That tree with the presents was actually one that was already in the house.  The one you guys sent me is the one against the wall.  Haha it is pretty small, but better than nothing.  Far better than nothing.

(Do you have any plans for Christmas yet?) We don’t' have any plans.  We're hoping some members invite us over for dinner, but we might have to ask them.  I know we do work on Christmas, but I've heard lots of people will be drunk or out of town.  I don’t' expect it'll be a very productive day.

We committed Nicolas's family to live the WOW (Word of Wisdom) this week.  That was pretty cool for me.  I enjoy teaching the commandments and committing people to living them because that's when the blessings will start coming in. (How is the Dilone family coming?) They are going to church.  The mom, and the two daughters came to church, but the dad was sick or something.  The mom is pushing to come to the ward dinner on Wednesday too which is awesome.  They committed to living the WOW too.  That was an awesome lesson.  Still haven't accepted a baptism date, but they'll get there.  We need to talk about the law of chastity though and talked about marriage.  I don't know if they want to be married, so that could be a problem. We've been really patient with them so far.  Haven't taught the lessons too fast.  We'll keep working with them.  That's a huge step in their life so we'll give them time.

Honestly, Paula and Victor were golden.  They really didn't have any problems, we just taught them and that was it.  I'm probably going to miss them the most from our area.

Other investigators who have potential to be baptized.  Maricela.  I talked about her a bit in my general email.

Mon.  He's been coming to church activities, but not church.  Has lots of friends in the church and sometimes that’s half the battle.

Nicole.  She's been coming to church with her cousin for like 5 months and says it's really changed her already.  Just need to help her get a testimony and that's about it.

(Did they feed you lunch or anything at the mission tour?) We did have lunch there.  They even had leftovers and we took like all the rice.  They were handing out the rice to everyone, we just took the most. Like 7 Ziploc bags full of it.  We had that rice for lunch for the next three days.  Carried us through the end of the allowance.

During lunch Cornish had a Q and A about church doctrine.  He knows a lot.  I don't think I got the significance of it there because it was in Spanish, but really amazing.  Really amazing.  President Corbitt also talked a lot on Thursday about the spiritual potential of this country.  Like the people here are raised believing in God a ton, and can really grow in the gospel really fast.  But Satan has attacked here really hard with the law of chastity, especially with the missionaries.  He said that he felt that before, and now knows it’s true.  I thought that was very interesting and very true.

Elder Paw seems like a great guy.  I talked to him for a few minutes at the mission tour.  He has two more transfers than me (he's in Elder Romero's group) and one less than Elder Decker.  A very young house mission wise.  He's seems really laidback and really loving.  Like a Hawaiian.  That's about all I know. Decker is now senior companion.  That gives us someone with 10, 8, 7, and 5 months in our house.  And then Elder Stephens and Pena have 12 and 7 months as well.  Very young district.  Pretty awesome in my opinion. I'm pretty close to Elder Decker.

We also got shots at the mission tour for influenza or something like that.  I just marched up, got it, and ya.  Like no hesitations.  It was like 10 seconds long too.  They didn’t' do it too quick.  I was pretty proud of it! Haha (Easton dreads getting a flu shot every year!)

I come home dead at night.  We walk tons and we walk fast.  I never have (*knock on wood) problems getting to sleep.

I set some daily goals for the transfer.  New words, BOFM pages to read, etc.  Let me know if you have any more ideas for some daily ones.  My problem is there are lots of good little ones so I'll set tons of them, but then don't have time to do them all.  I worked on taking it easier this time though.

I was happy this week and it felt great.  Hopefully it stays and last for a while!  I pray a lot that it will.

I believe that's all for this week. Please ask if there's any more questions.  Thanks for the Jazz news too.  Made my day! Sent my Christmas letters home too.  You can open them - everything is individually wrapped.

Love you lots.  Looking forward to next week and Christmas!  Miss you tons.
Love, Elder Easton Potokar.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Overcame the Goon!

(Emailed to Friends)
So basically, the jist of this week has been it's been the hardest week of my mission physically.  Last Sunday and Monday I had a pretty nasty fever, headache and was just straight up dead!  And since then I've felt rather weak all week.  I've had sore calves, and always was really tired.  So then yesterday came and I had this weird rash on my arms.  I told my comp I need to call the doctor and he was like "Wo!  You have chikungunya!"  Basically that rash is the ending of it, so I survived chikungunya  without even knowing I had it!  (You can tell from the picture above that Easton doesn't look 100 percent.) Sometimes missionaries can't walk for a week with it, so I guess I didn't have it as bad.  And a lot of people will have joint pain for months after, but I don't have any of that.  Lucky me!  Definitely been blessed.  And you can only get it once, so I think I'm in good shape! (Chikungunya name means "bending over in pain." [pronounced chik-un-GOON-ya] It has no treatment or vaccine. Its symptoms resemble Dengue fever. And it has infected more than 1 million people -- 155 of them fatally -- since spreading to the Americas one year ago.)

Because of that, don't have a ton to write about this week.  Any spare time I had this week was spent sleeping.  But here we go anyways!

Monday - Felt sick after p-day.  We came back to the house early because we both had really bad headaches.

Tuesday - Lots of contacting.  Had a few solid lessons in the night.  Nothing really exciting.  We visited with the family Baez for a while too.  Pretty cool.  They're like your stereotypical grandparents.  I love them.  He can talk for hours.

Wednesday - More contacting in the morning.  Visited a part member family and their niece.  She's been coming to church for like 5 months, but we never knew until the last few weeks.  My trainer never told me anything about that.  We can't visit her alone though, but her aunt will be home more often after Christmas.  We're going to start teaching her more then.  She'll be baptized, I'm pretty sure about that.

Thursday - District meeting and mail came.  I'm a VERY spoiled missionary.  I got 4 packages from my family and grandparents, and 2 letters, one from my Dad and one from the Urban’s.  Please tell them thanks if you see them!  They're awesome.  Then that night we had a few lessons, but it was a long day as well.

Left: Potokar, Decker     Right: Romero, Ventura
Friday - Pretty lame day up until the night.  We had a bell choir we went to at night in the mission office.  It was beautiful.  Probably the highlight of my week.  We had an investigator show up which is awesome too.  Nicolas's wife.  Also got to see President Corbitt which is always a highlight as well.  And we had Wendy's for dinner which was awesome.

Saturday - Ran around a lot inviting people to church.  Then we went to a baptism of the other Elders that night (Sencela, 15 years old was baptized) and had a small English class.  Very dark, depressing day for me.  I just lost all motivation to be a missionary.  I need to continue regaining my motivation cuz I still feel a little down.

Sunday - Close to no investigators at church.  Only 1.  Lots of people had things crop up, or at least that's what they tell us.  Rough day for that reason.  Had some good lessons that night which helped pick things up some.

Today - Visited Sambil!  It's like a USA mall basically.  Had an Adidas store, Reebok, Claire’s, you name it.  We even ate at Subway!! AHH.  It was so good.  Really fun to see a bunch of US stores, even if the stuff was in Spanish.  Also was a Crispy Crème, but we didn't end up buying anything there.

Other thoughts for the week -

I got some Christmas music in one of my packages.  Have been listening to it a ton all throughout the week.  I love the Forgotten Carols.  Already come close to overplaying that album.

The bishop came with us to a lesson with Nicolas's family.  He really laid down the law and told them how our church is a way of life and really can change their life.  Really cool.  They had full intentions of coming to church too, but then they got sick.  So what can you do?

I believe that's about all for this week!

Love you all tons.  Hope you all have a great December!  Good luck on finals for you college students!
Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
I'm definitely doing better.  I believe I had chikungunya, but don't really know for sure.  Elder Ventura and Romero are pretty sure that I did.  The rash has now gone away and I think I'm fine now.  So that's good.  I think I'm pretty much good now.

I honestly don't have a ton to write today.  I didn't have time to make my list like I usually do, so I'll just see what pops into my head.  Please feel free to ask any other questions as well.

Families are progressing a lot slower.  We have tons of investigators now so we don't visit them as frequently.  Difference of styles between Elder Romero and Moncada.  I think I like somewhere in between the best.

I saw a guy with my exact same phone this week.  That was kind of cool.

I've tried to pick up the journal writing again this past week.  It didn't happen daily, but more often.  Still working on improving that one.

I try to take more populated roads at night when walking back to the house.  Sometimes we have to visit dangerous roads at night, but I avoid them when possible.

We got vetoed for permission to go to the distribution center.  It closes at 5, so we would've wasted a lot of time after.  We have the mission tour this week on Thursday, so after that I think we'll go to the distribution center.  I have to prepare another talk for it like I did last time.  This time on how the atonement and missionary work are related.

Elder Potokar & Elder Decker
Sambil was AWESOME.  I splurged and bought a meatball foot long, just like I would've at home.  It was just over 10 bucks, but I figured it was worth the splurge. Meatball was the cheapest and a little piece of home.  Go figure.  I'm in a foreign country and I buy all the same stuff I did at home haha.   I didn't end up buying anything else.  Everything was USA prices or higher.  And there wasn't really anything I needed.  I wanted a cool tie, but never saw any there.  I know there's some cool ones in Megocentro so maybe next time I go back there.  Sambil today was about 30 or 40 minutes away on the metro.  I'm still pretty close to the city so everything is decently close.

We have the mission tour on Thursday, I think we're going to watch the Christmas devotional on Wednesday, and I think ward council tomorrow.  Leaves me with Friday and Saturday full days.  The ward has a dinner thing, but I'm not sure if we're invited or when it is.  We didn't decorate the house today although I wanted to.  We were at the mall.  Maybe tonight or tomorrow afternoon or morning.  Hopefully.  I know Elder Decker really wants to do it too.

I already wore that Christmas tie as well.  I got quite a few comments on it too.

The Bell Choir was awesome.  10 kids, probably ages 9-17.  Very, very pretty.  Not the things I looked forward to back home, but I really enjoyed it now.  It was something different so it was good. Elder Decker has a video of the bell choir so I'll get that from him and upload it soon.  Some missionaries sang too and did really good. I only talked to president for like a minute.  It was Nicolas's wife who was there.  She loved it!  It was in Gazque at the mission office, close to the temple.  She works down there so stopped by after her work.  We couldn't get anyone else out there because of the distance.

Oh and I did get the backpack.  It's the perfect size.  Any smaller and I wouldn't be able to carry everything.  It's a lot sweatier than a side bag though.  I'm going to keep using it though cuz it's a lot easier to carry a lot more in a backpack.

I will know this time next week about transfers.  I'm mixed.  Ready for a change of pace but I'll miss Elder Decker and Paula and Victor and a few others.  It's just I don't know where I'll be.

Elder Decker also talked to me for a while yesterday about how I've been feeling.  He really complimented my Spanish.  Said I really have a gift.  He hasn't heard any at 5 months know more than me.  That was pretty cool for me, to know that I'm doing alright.  That the Lord has blessed me now I need to do something with it!

Also realized my bday is on a pday!  How lucky am I.  That's way awesome.

There's a balance to be found there, and I need to look for it.  I honestly have been pretty rough on myself the last little while.  I think setting little goals like this will help me along.  Maybe reward myself at night with a treat if I get them all done.  Things like that.  President Corbitt sent me this this week.  I mentioned how I need to set goals better and how that'll help me progress more.
Elder Potokar, 
Good to see you the other day.
The best-seller book, "Good to Great" is all about how difficult it is to pursue that path, while going from bad to good is much easier.
You've captured it without writing a book. Goal setting is a good way to go. Realistic goals to accomplish things within your reach will help you see your achievements more readily. I.E. I'll be able to teach all of the lessons in Spanish by _____, or the indicadores clave goals for new investigators, etc. That way you can set yourself up to be encouraged by achieving short-term goals rather than to be discouraged that you're still not where you'll be in 8 months or a year. This is another clever tactic of the Adversary: create unrealistic expectation, then discourage the servant of the Lord when s/he doesn't achieve it...
Let me know if this makes sense.
All the best,
Pres. Corbitt
I have an amazing president.  That's something I'll be applying this week.  Very inspired email of him.  I need to tone down my goals.  Make them doable and daily, and not too many of them.  I tried that a while ago, but I had too many of them and it didn't help haha.  I need to work on it.

That's about all for this week!  I didn't get to talk to Miranda this week either (we asked for permission, but got vetoed), but I think I will on Thursday this week.  We'll see how it goes!

Love you tons!  Your Elder is still alive! Haha miss you millions!
Elder Potokar.