Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Made it to Costa Rica

Hey, they are letting us send a quick email just to let you know that we made it okay so yeah we got through the airport at like 7:00 I think haha it may have been more like 8:00.  Also, we can email to let you know about the Facebook page that there is for Costa Rican Mission Parents which I think you are a member of but I wasn't sure anyways, here's the Facebook thing just to make sure ;):Costa Rica San Jose Missionary Parents.  So yeah, we are here in Costa Rica and we met with President Wilkinson and we're going to our first area tomorrow I believe where I will get my first companion! Talk to you guys on Monday.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Dear Family,

Welp, this is my last letter to you guys before I head to Costa Rica. I figured I should write you once more before I leave! So, today we had fast Sunday; it's like every 3 weeks here in the MTC. And I didn't get the opportunity to share something I had experienced but it's okay because after our priesthood lesson I was able to share it. Something I have found here in the MTC, and you know how with the gift of the Holy Ghost you say, "receive the Holy Ghost" - it's an action. You have to receive it. Anyways, what I have found here in the MTC is that when I'm not paying attention or something I'm still feeling the Spirit. Any time I sit for a moment, I can feel and recognize the Spirit. I don't think I have ever had this before where I can just sit for a moment and find the spirit. It's really, really cool. Each of you has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, you have been told to receive it, and I encourage you to strive to constantly feel the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I'm sure and I know that it's really hard to do out in the real world, out of Provo and the MTC, but I encourage you to feel it at least once each day if not more.

That's was basically all I had to say. I love you guys so much. Thanks for your prayers and all your support, and keep being righteous and awesome. Kara feel free to post on Facebook whatevs you want, girl! ;)


P.S. We said goodbye to our teachers and the other districts and it was sad, lots of hugs. Time to say goodbye to my district for 2 years.

Love, Elder Lohberg
Always and Forever

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Say goodbye, oh oh just say goodbye!

Wow, this week has been pretty crazy haha. So this is my last week here in the MTC. Monday was normal - nothing really happened (honestly, I just have no idea what we did Monday. I can't remember). Tuesday, I remember that we went to the devotional and had Elder Ballard come and talk to us. He basically just started it out by saying, "I'm going to talk to you guys like I'm your grandpa" and then he just kind of gave us advice for our mission and stuff. It was really cool and I felt like it was awesome that he was there basically just to help us, I guess. It made me think of the key principle that they drill into your head: Teach people not lessons. So that was cool. Something he said that really stood out for me was that our missions can also help people back home come closer to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, so he encouraged us to send letters of encouragement and love back home! Que mas, hmm...Wednesday was basically just teaching our "investigators" and such and yeah...Thursday was our last day with E Pence "Brother Pence"and it was kind of sad haha. We've only had like 8 lessons with him, but still we've grown pretty close and learned so much about them that it makes it hard for us to say goodbye. It's even hard to say goodbye to our fake investigators (our teachers). Thursday we said goodbye to B Wright, Bro. Wright, and that was just as hard. I did get photos with both of them - both single and with my whole district, so I guess I will get those home somehow from Costa Rica since I forgot my camera.

They both signed my Costa Rica flag so that was cool haha. E had a really cool looking signature and I asked Hermano LeBron (our first teacher we got) if he had a better one and he like looked at his and was like, "That? That's nothing." He's really funny. His story is insane too.  He was like the leader of a gang in Cleveland with his older brothers and he's literally been shot at and shot at people and stuff; his story is just insanely awesome. I wish I had more time to share it with you guys. Perhaps when I return haha.

Hmm, yesterday we had in-field orientation so we just like walked from classroom to classroom at the main campus from 8:00-6:30 and learned stuff that really wasn't all that helpful. Some of it was, but most of it was kind of common sense. Also, I got to shake Brother/Elder Christensen's hand, from the District, twice haha; because he was one of the guys and he shook my hand, and then decided to go around the entire room shaking hands and ended up shaking mine again. It was dank. So that was cool.

Spent the rest of my money on my MTC card today. I had $14 on it and I bought a Costa Rica shirt and 4 more Hi-Gliders. They're like gel scripture markers and they're really awesome. We did endowments in the temple today and so we got to leave on a good note; just one more super busy day. The branch president is making us go to all our meetings tomorrow so that we can show the only new district how it's done because in our zone there are 3 leaving districts and we just got a new one this last Wednesday (also I got to do like the orientation for them, so that was a lot of fun! Seeing their scared faces). They will be the only district so the branch pres. wants us to come to the meetings, instead of using that time to pack, so they get a good idea of how one works when there are more districts. Our zone is the last to leave west campus and west campus closes Oct. 30th. Can't think of much else that's new. Stoked to leave the MTC, but also kind of sad to leave all the people I've met!

No pictures today (I inserted pictures when they came in) because I forgot my camera at the apartment. I don't have a picture of me by the map thing, but on the camera that is in the box that Jessie and Spencer are picking up that memory card should have one of me at the main campus pointing to Costa Rica. The problem is to get that picture, I have to be at main campus with my camera which you aren't supposed to bring your camera to the devotionals and that's the only time we go to the main campus besides p-day. If I take my camera on p-day, we have to check it at the temple which is a pain in the butt haha.

Today's been good. Lots of things to do and my companions REALLY want to play zone volleyball today, even though we're teaching priesthood tomorrow and we still have to pack and we have like stuff to do, but whatever. Also we're doing like a sleep over with another district from our zone that leaves with us. They're dragging their mattresses over and we're pulling ours down...again not my idea but oh wells.

I'm excited to maybe finally get out of a trio, teaching is way hard to try and balance who talks so much. EL and I don't get along that well. We make it work but our personalities are different. I would relate how I have to deal with him with how I will have to deal with my wife haha. ES is cool but he's like kind of on the line sometimes. He just does what EL wants in some cases, even if he agrees with me.

B and his companion in the MTC bought this cheap bookstore watch haha. It looks like gold/silver; it looks REALLY nice but it was like $15 and it's actually cheap plastic. They're going to see who gets it robbed off them first. I thought that wasn't a good idea, but they want to have a story haha.

Oh hey, SA. I might have met that guy but I'm not sure. If I did meet him, he told me he has been to Costa Rica and he loved the beach. He saw a really scary thing that he had no idea what it was, but I'm not sure haha, that is weird.

It's like slow and quick. Days are so long; weeks are like minutes. I honestly remember the day I got here pretty well, and that week and then everything else I can't remember at all. I did get Laurzia's mail. I'm trying to send out a letter back to them before I leave; probably gunna get it in the box on Sunday. We found stamps in our inheritance from the other zone leaders haha. After my companions bought 10 stamps each, we found FIFTY stamps in one of our boxes, so crazy. That's $25 in stamps haha. We're going to give what's left to Elder Stoker since he'll be in Cali.

I bought a tie that Elder Selfaison's mom made (he's originally from Hawaii). She had Hawaiian fabric and she made ties. He said, "Pay as much as you think it's worth," and so I gave him $10 like everyone else. It's pretty cool looking. At first, I was like mehh because I didn't get to pick a unique one. I got one of the general fabric ones, but it's really cool now haha.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Secret Room

Alrighty, well this week is probably the highlight of my MTC stay so far. I'm not sure if it was this week or last week, but we technically committed two of our investigators to baptism and our investigators (they all fake) have been progressing really well. I can personally tell that I'm improving as a missionary and as a tool for the Lord. Hmm. We have a TRC investigator, which TRC is basically just like come teach a lesson every day to someone. For a while it was just to older members of the church, so it was like we were doing 20 minute lessons for the members which was easy because we could just like ask them really vague questions and get huge responses from them that made the lesson really strong.

But anyways, we have an investigator in TRC named Carlos who has been pretending to be a nonmember. He's a really logical guy; like REALLY logical, so we would like teach him a principle and then he would talk for 5 minutes and prove like every single principle we taught him. Then we basically were able to commit him to baptism on the second visit haha. It was extremely obvious he was already a member. But he likes to have little fun talks before we begin our lesson, and one time this week, on Thursday I believe, we walked in and he had 2 scriptures written out in a really fancy writing on yellowish-white paper that he had done with a normal regular pen and it looked really cool. So we like complimented him on them and stuff and then he gave them to us, so Lindstrom and I took one because he only had two and then Stoker didn't get one but he was like, "What is your favorite scripture? I'll do it right now," because it only takes like 3 minutes. So Lindstrom stole that option from Stoker and got him to do a scripture for him and gave Stoker the pre-done one, which was really mean, in my opinion.

So I got 1 Nephi 4:6, I believe, and then the next day when we saw him I was like, "Hey, would it be alright if we come by and get some more scriptures written?" and he said of course haha. So that evening (yesterday night), which was technically our lst scheduled lesson with him, he wrote out two more for Lindstrom and 2 more for me and then 1 more for Stoker. I asked for 1 and then Stoker did since we didn't get to choose our original scriptures and then Linstrom was like, "I have 2 but I can't decided between them," and so he was like that's fine I'll do them both and then he did and then I got him to do 1 more haha.  So we're loaded - I have 3 scriptures written out really cool.

Hmmm, lots happened today so I will try and begin with some of the other days. Our Spanish has improved a lot, as such we're able to bring people closer to Christ even better than we could before. :) I'm trying avoid like bragging or talking highly of myself and ourselves because I know it's the Lord helping us haha and not just our learning. Que mas...hmmm...oh the other district left that had 12 elders which took a huge cut out of our zone so I got some photos with them and such.

Elder Scott visited on Tuesday...I think..yeah...and he talked about prayer for the devotional and it was really good. One thing he said that really stuck out to me was that personal prayers will be less scripted and better essentially if you can offer them in a whisper, even a slight whisper rather than just in your head. That was really something that I had never really thought to do, I guess. It was really cool seeing him there.

I really appreciate all the spiritually uplifting thoughts you guys are sharing with me. OH YEAH, so yesterday we got our travel plans. I will be leaving September 29th, not 30th, which was confusing until we got them because half my documents said I would leave on the 29th and the other said 30th. Elder Stoker is the only one from our district leaving on the 30th. He's gunna spend a day with our neighbors who are also going to California after we leave. So yeah, meet at the travel office at 4:35am on the 29th and then my first flight is at 9:40 and I fly to Atlanta, GA. Then I get into Costa Rica at 7:45pm. I was afraid at first because after I get into Costa Rica there was another flight scheduled on the 11th of Nov. to fly back to Atlanta, GA haha, but I heard that's just what the church does. It's easier to get your visa if they think you aren't staying and then they just cancel the flight, which is kind of misleading but hey...hahah. So yeah, I leave the 29th, first flight at 9:40, get to GA at 3:25, next flight is at 4:50, and get into Costa Rica at 7:45. :) Cool beans. We were all stoked to get them hahahah. Elder Stoker didn't get his until later haha and so he was really bummed for a bit.

There's going to be 12 people in my travel group, so that'll be cool and I did meet some other Elders going to Costa Rica. Not sure how I feel about them but we'll see. I'll learn to get over it haha. We've been tracking the days until we get out of the MTC and as far as "real" days go where we're actually learning and doing our usual MTC stuff, we have like 4 left, I think, and then we have infield orientation. ELDER CHRISTENSON, or whatever, from The District does the infield orientation. Apparently, he doesn't give out autographs, but I think I will get to shake his hand. I got to take photos with Z and B before they left on Sunday.

And, today we woke up, went to service. We didn't get up super earlier, we're just doing our laundry right now. So we got to service and then our district leader kind of barely raised his hand so they didn't assign us, which I know is bad...but then we found a service lady and told her this was our last week and we would like to see the secret room. She was like, "I'll see if we can do it," so then she had us help her clean. Then she said we could go, and some sisters showed up...that are really annoying and we don't really like... and we tried to get them to leave so that they wouldn't come with us to the secret room, but it didn't work out and they wouldn't leave. They had no clue what was going on.  So she took us to the building, told us the rules: can't tell anyone where it is and something else..was so excited I didn't really listen. And then we took off our shoes and our loose stuff and she walked to the end of the hall and opened the door and we saw the pillows as high as the ceiling almost (about shoulder height on me). We ran and jumped in and it was freaking awesome. We were in there for like 10-14 minutes, typically you only get two. I do have photos. Both sets of zone leaders from the zones that left told us about it and I had already heard about it but it was like a reminder, so we went. We might try and get to go next week during service if the same girl is there haha. So yeah, it was pretty freaking exciting. And then we went to the temple and did endowments. Then..hmmm. we printed emails, got our hair cut, and here we are!

My haircut, it's not bad. It was really fast. She did like a comb with a handle and the electric razor in one hand and just did it all with that and sprayed everything haha, I said 2 on the sides and long enough on top that I can put it up and it came out okay. I asked if I could have spiked sideburns and she was like, "Not allowed to do that, Elder" but then she just didn't touch my sideburns so I was like, "Sweet, no flat line poop" haha. Also, she didn't shave my neck very well and she used like a vacuum thing to get the extra hair off. No, it was like a larger comb with a handle on it, and then in her other hand was an electric razor like yours. My razor does but I didn't bring it which is okay. I've also only been using my electric razor because of time constraints in the morning haha. 5 guys, 1 bathroom, 30 minutes. It's been hard to get used to not showering every day. The haircut was free - just swiped my card haha. We have like a food card we swipe for meals and it gets $6 every Wednesday to buy stuff with, but haircuts are free.
Los Tres Amigos (Aaron, Zack and Ben)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Woah! I want an autograph and he just laughed"


Sunday was good.  So essentially, our zone has a separate sacrament meeting in a part of the overflow in the Wyview chapel, which is right next to the Creamery.  The zone leaders get prayers and people to do the sacrament, and we work with one of the Hermanas for the hymns.  After the sacrament (the prayers are read in Spanish), the Branch President, President Steward, selects two missionaries from our zone (which we have only 4 districts now; 2 other districts arrived the same day as ours) to go up and give what are supposed to be 4-minute talks in Spanish on that Sunday's topic.  For instance, last Sunday's topic was the Holy Ghost, so on Saturday we prepare talks for it and then kind of hope we don't get called on to speak haha.  When our district and the other two that arrived with us got here, we had 6 districts, I think.  They were trying out the idea of a large zone and I guess it didn't go to well, so we haven't gotten any new people in our zone, yet.  But yeah, after the two talks, one of the members of the branch presidency speaks and then their wife speaks, but they have to talk in English because they don't want the new missionaries not being able to understand (even though we have none).  Yeah...it's usually pretty good.  Kind of a pressure until you know if you're speaking or not.  I haven't spoken yet and the other two companionships of zone leaders from the two districts that left didn't speak so maybe I will luck out.

I like your story about, or your scripture sorry, about missionary work and the importance of companionship unity.  It seems as though our district is going to keep in touch and be real good friends after; a member of the branch pres., Brother Taylor, told us that.

I have found 3 other missionaries in another zone besides Orlandi going to Costa Rica the same day as me.  The only reason I'm not with them is because I'm intermediate.  You can totally hear the difference between our Spanish and theirs.  I talked with them this evening at the devotional; Elder Shoemaker, and I forgot the other two - not sure how I feel about them.  At the devotional tonight, we had our first apostle speak - Elder Scott - and he talked about prayer and recommended that we whisper in our personal prayers when we are alone. I thought that was cool/interesting.  Also, another thing, here in the MTC we have a LOT (actually underlined 3 times!) of kneeling prayers.  I would recommend you guys start doing that after scripture study again.  There's a sort of reverence about it that makes it nice.  We do it before and after each class with a teacher, and we were doing it each night before bed but then our district leader changed and we stopped doing district prayers.  So, we'll see.  We don't do companionship prayer because of the trio - should probably start those. Hmm..oh, yeah, today dinner was cod and I found out if you put A-1 sauce on cod it's edible haha.  Also, it tastes like A-1 sauce. :)

10:27....running out of time....hmmm, got the Dear Elder today.  We've been counting down our MTC days.  We "basically" have like 11.5 days now because the last few are packing and in field orientation. Oh yea! I saw the guy from the first district (the videos).  I don't know his name but they teach that couple, the girl who gets baptized and chews gum - blonde hair with white kind of sticky-outy teeth - and her boyfriend has the earring and shows up at her baptism right after work with his sweatshirt on.  It's the Asian-looking missionary.  I saw him and I was like, "WOAH! I want an autograph," and he just laughed. Also, what I have heard is Elder Christenson from the District 2 still works at the MTC too. B said he had him for their in-field orientation teacher and he got to shake his hand. Pretty dang exciting.

Every native-speaking speaker/teacher from like Mexico tells me I will love Costa Rica because they have heard it's beautiful and I'm like, thanks...me too :) haha.  So yeah, Elder Scott has visited us.  We usually just get members of the Seventies.  We had a native teacher substitute one of our classes and he said that every one of us will get diarrhea our first few weeks, except Elder Stoker (California).  We were like ohh...and he said their are times missionaries go out and then there is like poop running down their pants and out the bottom.  We were like ughhhh, hahah.  He said to burn the garment bottoms if that happens.  He was like, "Burn dem.  Dat's so disgusting."  We have a game of flicking bottlecaps to shoot them.  We get'em going pretty fast and it's fun.  Also, I'm getting pretty good at volleyball.  Love you guys so much, keep being awesome! Love Aaron, woops Elder Lohberg.

P.S. Walking to breakfast - If you send stuff to Costa Rica at all, plaster the outside in pictures of the Virgin Mary and it should make it unopened.  Put it on the seals so they don't rip her.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"We're just like WUTTTT"

Okay, this week has been pretty busy...we have our 3 teachers: Hermano LeBron (our first investigator) who we all love, Hermano Wright (he's kind of quirky, but really funny and I love him too), and Hermano Pence who served a year Spanish speaking in Utah but he is really good at explaining stuff simply for us and he knows how to teach really well so I love him as well haha.  We kind of scored; most people only have 2 teachers.

Each of them plays as an investigator - someone they know.  Hermano Pence is named Samuel and he is basically a golden investigator who just wants to know more about the church, so we're just teaching him and he is Christian.

Hermano Wright is playing his brother Caleb who has been a member and was baptized and all, but he got diagnosed with like depression when he was like 14 and never felt like he fit in at church and so he's been really hard to teach.  His main problem was that he was praying to know if God existed a ton and wasn't getting answers until one time on trek when he felt he actually received an answer and then after that he hasn't receive any and so he has like TONS of doubts that God exists.  We basically had 3 lessons just where we literally taught him nothing, we just tried to help get past the first problem haha.  Teaching is about the investigators not the lessons, and so we're finally at a point where he is willing to try and sincerely pray to know if God exists again, (he is inactive in real life so Hermano Wright actually tries some of the techniques we use with his brother or will like text him to know his reaction to some of the things we say because his brother knows he's pretending to be him).

Then Hermano LeBron swapped from his dad (who passed away when he was on his mission, Edilberto) to his brother Jose who isn't a member in real life either even though he has talked to him about the gospel.  He has been like divorced and had a son and we were at the point in the story where he can't see his son because his wife won't let him have any custody.  It's like pretty difficult but this week we got him to commit to being baptized in 2 weeks, which is fake but still feels really real.

Then we have our TRC investigator.  Every Tuesday, we teach 2 members in 2 lessons just a short spiritual message and they're usually older and it's pretty easy because since they are members we can like ask them questions and they add a lot haha.  We basically learn from them.  Then we have our TRC investigator who is also a member but pretends not to be and we got him to commit to be baptized.  His name is Carlos and he's pretty funny and is a SUPER logical person, which is funny because he basically confirms everything we tell him is true to himself so all we have to do is lay it out and he talks for like 10 minutes about logical reasoning for why it's true.  At one point, he was like, "So I just need to know if Jose Smith was a prophet and then I'll know if this is the true church," cuz he had investigated a lot of churches and his only question when we started was "how do I get into heaven?" so we just basically talked about the restoration and then we challenged him to pray and find out if Jose Smith was a prophet.  He didn't do it the first time, but the second time I made him promise to pray and he said he wouldn't break his promise again so he prayed.  In our third lesson, we're like, "Did you pray?" and he's like, "I did, and I got an answer, and it's true" and we're just like WUTTTTT hahaha.  I'm not sure if we had even really explained how the spirit talks to people or anything so it was like what?!  Then we talked about the plan of salvation and he started crying as we talked about the premortal life. Then he just made logic and it was true to him he said, he was like, "I know this is true" right after, and he said, "You have no idea what this means to me."  He asked us when we had learned this and we said when we were really young and he was like,  "This, this is life changing."  He said, "The difference is, I'm no longer trying to get into heaven. I'm trying to return to heaven."  It was really cool, but I didn't do very well in this lesson.  I was under pressure from our teachers watching and it wasn't my best, but I got humbled and realized once again that it's not about me.  And it never is, it's about the investigators; we're just tools.  The Lord will hasten His work without us.

Also, if you haven't seen it, watch "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar.  We have seen it twice here for our devotionals; it's really good.  Apparently, there were 6 general authorities, meaning the prophet and 5 apostles, at a BYU inauguration on Tuesday and none of them came to speak to us.  We were really thinking they would come. Okay...so...yeah, 5 investigators, 4 lessons a day typically.

So, district leader is just 1 person.  So Elder Lindstrom was the district leader, and then now he, Elder Stoker, and I are zone leaders.  All three of us.  Elder Coombs is the district leader for right now, and in like half a week or a week Elder Gomez will become the new district leader.  It's weird since there's only five of us.  They interview all of us in the district, so like Elder Coombs interviews us, and then as zone leaders we will interview him and all the other district leaders haha.  So effective.

Oh yeah, my trio is going to be the zone leaders for our last two weeks.  Tomorrow, at sacrament, we get moved in as zone leaders for our zone.  It's an assignment not a calling and so that'll be fun.  Doesn't really seem like we do much other than interview the district leaders though, so easy peasy.  Hmmm.  Friday was a really humbling day for me because I had thought my Spanish was getting really good and I felt like I could teach well and then I didn't do amazing.  Then, like I said, I realized I was focused on the wrong things.  So, the bouncy balls (so many) and the letter cheering me up haha.  I took some pictures of Z and got a few at the temple today with my companions.  Sorry, I really don't have a good picture of just me yet...I will try and find a way to get one.  Right now I'm in gym clothes so I have my magnetic tag if you want me to try and do some picture with that?  I  have only spent money from my MTC card; 6 dollars every Wednesday night. I've been trying to be frugal but today my companions wanted to go to Brigham's Landing, which is like a little gas station place just near by west campus with like a DP Cheesesteak and Jamba Juice and stuff.  We get discounts so they wanted to go...so I had to..so we had lunch and it was like 8.50 I think on the debit card. :(  I didn't want to spend the money...Sorry haha but the cheesesteak was pretty decent.  I got the hot pepper steak; it had loads of banana peppers and a full jalapeno on it, which I ate whole and my companions just kind of looked at me haha.

Elder Stoker, Elder Lohberg, Elder Lindstrom, Elder Gomez, Elder Coombs
Today, as we were waiting at the bus station to come back from main campus after the temple, I saw a homeless guy sitting there and I was like, dude, we need to talk to him.  So I went over and started talking to him just like I would at work and he said he hadn't spoken to missionaries before, I think, but then later in he said he had been a member for a few years so i'm not really sure haha.  But it was kind of cool to have like a "street contact" maybe?  Even though he said he was a member.

The main campus cafeteria is way better. The housing isn't as great or the classrooms, but food is a bigger priority, right?  I've talked briefly with Hispanic people outside the temple; it's kind of fun.. I could easily survive in Costa Rica at this point, and at the very least, teach simple principles and bear my testimony.  I can teach probably most principles, it just wouldn't flow very smooth.  Hmmm, the door problem is because people just try and run through once they get in, so it gets going really fast and then people like misjudge the timing.  Like the fastest we've seen it going is when I got hit by it hahahaha.  No regrets.  Anyways, yeah it happens a lot.

I love you so much, Mom! Happy birthday and I hope it goes really well! I pray for you guys.  I think my emails home are technically supposed to be spiritual, so keep going to church and being converted and such.  Also, watch the Character of Christ! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014


On P-day, we wake up at 5:25 to basically compete against other districts for the laundry machines because there is only like 40 and every missionary takes usually like 2, so you kind of compete on who wakes up the earliest to put their stuff in first.  Otherwise, you have to wait for them to move it and we have service at 6:15 so it's kind of a pain haha.  Today we got there and found out a district left their place at 5:00 so they had taken up most of them, and then two of our friends from a different district had woken up at 4:30 to put their stuff in and then went back to sleep so we had to wait a lil bit to get ours in but it ended up okay, just had to be smart about it.

My companions are all going to different places. Elder Stoker is going to Arcadia California, Lindstrom is going to Culican Mexico, Coombs is going to Oaxaca Mexico, and Gomez to Mexico City South East Mission.  I have see that Orlandi guy once.  I had been looking for him really hard and then my companion actually found him because we walked by him and he was like, "Hey, that was him".  So I said hi and that was about it haha. Haha yeah, we're starting to be known by everyone now.

We ended up getting 3 teachers, which is unusual I think, and apparently at the teachers Thursday night conference or meeting or something it was brought up that we are the best district as far as Spanish goes, and focus and like idk..we good.  We have Hermano LeBron (he was our first investigator and now he's playing a different one) and Hermano Wright and Hermano Pence (listed in order of awesomeness).

Hermano LeBron has a really awesome conversion story. He was basically a gangster and he's from Puerto Rico, but he lived in the ghetto in like Cleveland and it was really rough.  He had like dreadlocks haha, but anyways he heard the gospel and got baptized, I think I told you all this, anyways his family isn't members and so the first investigator he played was his Dad who actually passed away while he was on his mission and then the one he is for us right now is his brother Jose who has a rough life because he is divorced and he couldn't see his kid that he had with his ex-wife and anyways it was really emotional in our second lesson with him because we were really listening to the spirit and trying to help him, and he started to tear up because as he told us later he tried to help his brother through this by teaching him the gospel when he was going through it and he said he could just see the pain his brother was going through and it was pretty serious and stuff and so he said that he kind of became his brother in the discussion.  I had a chance to pretend to be an investigator just with a quick demonstration with Hermano Wright and I chose C and it literally felt like I was him, like it was really cool and I enjoyed it.  So Hermano LeBron is a native speaker basically.  He knows English and goes to BYU though but since he was in Puerto Rico until he was 13, he basically knows Spanish really well and he also served in Argentina.

Anyways, I told Hermano LeBron we're going to be Facebook friends; he's so awesome. We did practices with like street contacting with him once where you get like 30 seconds - 2 minutes to like talk to someone and share something with them and set an appointment to visit and when he showed us his example, like any time he has showed us a teaching example I'm like, "BAPTIZE ME NOW!"

Hermano Wright actually went state-side Spanish but he was really persistent in learning it and he speaks it really well and has like 0 problems with pronunciation. Hermano LeBron said he sounded like a native speaker to him. I really like him; he's super nit picky with our Spanish.

Then Hermano Pence seems like he's just here for a job.  His first half of his mission was Spanish and his second got swapped to English, he served in Salt Lake I think, but he's not bad.  He knows how to use the scriptures really well which makes all three like amazing.  The Hermana teacher got transferred.

We've gone to the temple 3 times now; we did sealings the first time and then sessions the other two times.  Scripture reading is coming along well.  I don't have or always have a ton of time to just continue where I've been reading because typically our personal study is used looking for applicable scriptures to what our investigators need and then struggling to stay awake.  Our study block is typically from like 1:00 to 4:00 which is right after lunch and right before dinner, so the struggle to stay awake is real.  I'm in Helaman 4-5ish with my personal reading right now I believe; the Lamanites dun be righteous!

The Spanish is coming along great.  I'm really enjoying it and it's improving.  We're the intermediate district so our lessons have been 100% Spanish from the beginning, but it's just more simple haha.  It's getting better as we learn though.  Apparently our Spanish when we arrived was about as good as the Spanish of the beginners that are leaving..poor them.

I am feeling the spirit; I'm not sure if it's really prompting me to say stuff or helping me with the language.  I think it is with the language at times, but I know I'm feeling it pretty often.  If I kind of sit for a second and think, I can feel it, whenever.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"The words of Christ shall lead you from this valley of pain and sorrow to a far better land"

short excerpt from August 25th letter - rest September 4th letter:

"Our first lesson with Edilberto went pretty well, the Spirit was there and we covered most of the Restoration of the Gospel but he didn't participate much and he has only kept a few commitments.  Our second discussion was best, we totally dropped the plan we'd had and talked about faith and prayer and taught him how to pray.  Then our third discussion, this evening, went really badly.  He stumped us by saying he didn't believe we were God's literal children, so we tried to explain it to him and basically our lesson fell apart.  He is actually going to be our second teacher though, we got our first teacher to tell us, haha.  Adios, mi familia Se amo, Aaron"

Dear Family,

I thought I would just go ahead and write my testimony for you guys in Spanish!  Or as much as I can. Yo se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos dias es verdadero.  Yo testifico y yo se que a travez de la Expiacion de Jesucristo, nuestro Salvador, pademos a ser perdonado de nuestros pecados y olividar nuestras penas.  Dios tiene un amor por nosotros que no podemos entendor, El tiene un plan, o El dio un plan para nosotros y por medio de este plan podemos regresar con Dios y Jesucristo en el cielo.  Yo se que Jose Smith era un profeta de Nuestro Padre Celestial y por medio Jose Smith, Dios ha restnado Su Iglesia o La Iglesia le Jesucristo en la tierra otravez.  Yo Leia el Libro De Mormon y yo se y you prometo que este Libro es mas verdadero de alguno libro. Y yo digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Translation: I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.  I testify and I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we can be forgiven of our sins and forget our sorrows.  God has a love for us that we can't understand, He has a plan, or He gave us a plan and through (by) this plan we can return with God and Jesus Christ in heaven.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of our Heavenly Father and through Joseph Smith, God has restored His church, or the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth again.  I read the Book of Mormon and I know and I promise that this book is more true than any book.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I hope you are all doing okay! A scripture I found that I really love, and it's really just amazing is: Alma 37:45 (I only had Spanish B of M in my apartment when I wrote this and I'm like 99% this is the right one)  It says something along the lines of : "The words of Christ shall lead you from this valley of pain and sorrow to a far better land" I testify that this is true, feast on the words of Christ.  Love you guys!  Aaron