Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baptisms on Christmas Day!

Hey Family!

Thanks so much for the emails! I really appreciated them! Mom and Dad, I love you so much and thank you so much for all of your prayers and for all of your help and support!

So, this week went great, we had two baptisms on Christmas Night! (The picture from the baptism is on the blog!) It was a guy named Jose Luis who is 18 and a guy named Roberto who is 66, and Christmas was his birthday! It was such an amazing experience, I got to baptize them both. For the first time in my mission I got to baptize someone! It was such an amazing experience! It was so awesome to be able to give the Savior a present on His Birthday! What an amazing experience it was! In the scriptures it says that our joy will be so great if we bring but one soul into the Kingdom of God, and we had the great privilege and opportunity to bring two souls into His kingdom on the same Day, and on The Savior's Birthday!

Wow, it was great, and we are still working with two families, Chello and Claribel, and the other Henri and Carmen, to get them married this week hopefully. We have tried twice now to set an appointment to get Chello and Claribel married, but both times we haven't been able to get it done, the first time because we didn't have the correct identification card, and the second time they wouldn't quite help us out because we went to a different place. But we're going to try again at the first place tomorrow with the new identification card.

It was a lesson for us today. It was really easy to feel down, and like we wasted our time. It is preparation day, the only day that we have to go and play sports or whatever it may be, and the zone was having an activity playing volleyball and stick ball at the church. But instead we went in to a government office to try to help these people get married. They didn't give us the appointment and told us that instead we needed to go to a different place to get a new id card for Chello. They said that we couldn't do it, but that Chello himself had to do it. So we had to come back, empty handed, and some would say in vain, having accomplished nothing on this trip. We just lost our opportunity to enjoy our P Day and also having lost a bit of money on buses to get to the government office and back. Some would call that a trip in vain, wasted time and effort, but I remember an Apostle giving a story of an old man that there once was who had cancer and was pretty much bed bound. But he took the assignment to go and hoe weeds on a church farm. If I remember right, he had to pull himself along dragging his body on the ground through the field to pick the weeds because he was so sick. Then, a couple of days later, he found out that the field he had worked so hard on to pull weeds in had been sprayed a couple of days earlier, and all of the weeds he had worked so hard to pull were going to die anyway. When he was told that the field had been sprayed a couple of days earlier, he just laughed. After all of the hard work and struggle that he had done to work on that field, it appeared that his effort was wasted, but he just laughed, and then he said,¨I wasn't there for the weeds¨. He was there to serve the Lord. What a great example this is to me, we all have our times when it feels as though our time and efforts have been wasted and in vain, just like today for me and my companion, but then I remembered today that The Lord always knows our efforts, and he appreciates and rewards every bit of it. It's such a great lesson to learn to serve the Lord and remember that it is for Him that we are working and serving. I testify that He appreciates every bit of service that we do. He hears every word of your prayers, He knows you by name, and I know that He is happy with whatever bit of good we do, however useful or useless it may appear. So keep up the good work, a reward is in store, and I'll try to keep looking to Him in my efforts as well!

Thank you so much for all that you do and I love you!

Elder DeSpain

I was so glad he remembered this story today. I remember hearing it as well and I was glad for the reminder! It was wonderful to talk with him on Christmas night! His voice sounds the same to me and it was just awesome to hear it again! We got to ask many of the questions we had been wondering about so that was great! He actually had a message for Brother Richardson in our ward. (Brother Richardson served in Jeff's mission a few years ago.) One of the investigators that Jeff and Elder Clayton are working with remembers Brother Richardson and asked Jeff to get a message to him that he said hello! We gave Brother Richardson the message on Sunday. That was fun! It was a great call and a wonderful experience for our family! What a great way to end our celebration on Christmas Day! We all love him so much and miss having him with us here at home but we know he is doing the Lord's will and we are grateful for the example he sets for us!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Here comes the Christmas Call!!!


Ok, first thing, there are two area codes here. There is 809 and there is 829 for cell phones. For our number use the 829 area code. There are no city codes, and I kind of think that you can just dial it through normal like a long distance call by putting a 1 in front of the number. Ya, President only wants the call to be 30 to 40 minutes, and we need to do it after we come in for the night, at 9 pm our time. So there is only enough time for me and Elder Clayton to call, then we have to go to bed at 10 30. So, I need you to figure out the time difference for sure too. I don't think that they have daylight savings time down here, so I'm not sure if we are still the same time as Miami and the east coast. But when you figure out what the time difference is, I need you to call me at 9 PM my time. Then we will talk and then Elder Clayton's family will call afterwards.

I did get the camera! I've got it and I'm going to add some pictures to this email!

Things are going great! It's just a little tough to get people to go to church, but no complaints here because we have three baptismal dates for this Saturday, and if Henry and Carmen can get married on Tuesday, then we will have 7 if all goes well! Wow, The Lord has blessed us so much to be witness to baptisms on Christmas Day!

Thanks Mom, I really appreciate what you said! I love you too! I truly was sent to the best family in the World. Wow, it is amazing and unbelievable how blessed I have been, with two righteous parents, and an extended family I couldn't have asked for anything more!

We are doing good! Here's the fechas (baptismal dates) that we have for this week:

Jose Luis - He is 18 and doing great!

Iriada - single Mom with a couple of little kids

Roberto - Turns 66 on Christmas Day! Wow, how awesome that will be!

(hopefully) Henry and Carmen - They also have two kids named Henry Antonio and Camila

The Lord has blessed us beyond measure! Thank you so much for all that you have done, do, and will continue to do for me in my life. I love you so much and it will be sweet to talk to you!

Elder DeSpain

P.S. I attached a couple of pictures. One is of me and Elder Clayton sitting at our table. I could only get one to attach, sorry! (Henry will put the picture on the blog soon. We were so happy to see that the kitchen in the apartment they live in seems to be a very nice place . . . at least compared to the area they serve in each day! They don't live in the area they serve in. They live across the river in a neighboring area. We are grateful for that little blessing!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Gilbert friends in the same zone . . . watch out world!


Yes, my new companion is named Elder Clayton! We are doing so great! We click really well. We are working so hard! He actually just came from working in the office for 8 months I think. He is the second oldest kid in his family. He has an older sister on a mission. Then I think he has like a couple other sisters or maybe just one, and then they have two boys like Todd and Scott, haha. He has been out a little more than a year now.

Ya, I have seen Elder McBride twice already! I saw him at our Zone Meeting on Friday, and then I saw him today at what we call the Parque del Este. Every first P-Day of the transfer, all of the missionaries that want to that live close to the Capitol go to a big park that was built for the 2003 Pan American Games and play football and soccer. I always play football of course, haha. I saw him again there today. He and Elder Brown are doing great. Elder Brown is a tough Elder, he just keeps going and he's doing great! He was out playing football today. (Elder Brown is the missionary Jeff wrote about last week whose father passed away unexpectedly.) We haven't seen Elder McGlothin yet (another AZ elder that both Jeff and Elder McBride know). Elder McBride told me he is in the countryside, here it's called the campo, and he is in a place called San Pedro. Elder McBride told me that in the three transfers that he had out in Bavaro, there weren't any baptisms, but that they were hoping to have two families this transfer I think, so I'm not sure if President will close the area again or not. He sent Elder McBride out to open it. It is Elder McBride's first time in the capitol, but he is serving in a branch, which means that he still has never served in a ward in his mission, wow!

Iraida didn't get baptized this week after all, but she came to church, so we are going to try to put another fecha (baptismal date) with her again. We actually have a great investigator right now named Jose Luis. He is 18 and he was actually dropped because he told us that he didn't think that he wanted to go to church or progress. He lives right next to Iraida, and one time we were teaching her and he came out and asked what time church was at. All of sudden, that Sunday, he showed up! We went by and visited him, and he said that he had read some of the Book of Mormon, and he had decided that he needed to go and check it out for himself to see if it was true. He came again this last week and is progressing for Baptism! He is doing great and his date is set for the 25th! We actually have a lot of fechas for the 25th of December, the thing is that some people need to get married, and there is still no word yet on the papers of Chello and Claribel. We turned in the ID's for Henri and Carmen in order for the AP's to look for their birth certificates this week. Hopefully all will go well, but The Lord is in charge, and everything will be fine!

Wow, Leah got her license? Wow, ya, I thought that they changed the law now so that she can only take a certain amount of friends with her in the car? She'll do great, just needs patience, congratulations Leah! OH! And I know your first date Leah. He was in my seminary class, and his sister married Jarom Taylor. Haha!

Ah, goodie plates, I remember those! Haha, every year is a challenge! (We missed having Jeff help us deliver our Christmas goodie plates this year!)

So, my companion actually told me that the rule is with the phone call that we set it up by email the week before, and that I never call you, you just call me the day of. We're going to see how it works, because President hasn't informed us yet what the instructions will be, but everything will be fine! The Lord knows that I need to talk to you! (And we need to talk to HIM also! We can hardly wait!!)

I still have not received the package with the camera in it, but I heard that forty packages were coming in today, so hopefully it is with that group!

Thanks so much, I love you so much! Thank you for all that you do for me!

Elder DeSpain

P.S.-How are my teams doing?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Staying in Guachupita for Christmas


We do know what is going to happen in transfers! Elder Blake will be heading for a place called Oriental to be a Zone Leader! I am staying here and an awesome Elder named Elder Clayton is coming here! I think he is from California, and he will be the District Leader too just like Elder Blake was! He was an office elder, and I've seen him a couple of times, he actually picked us up from the MTC here! I hope that we can tear it up! Yes, we do have a cell phone, and I think that we will be calling from the cell phone at Christmas.

I actually already opened the Christmas packages that you sent me, haha. Sorry, I had to, Elder Blake opened his and shared it with me. His Mom sent stuff for both of us, so I opened mine too and shared some stuff with him! But don't worry, the cd player and cds were wrapped up, so I left them like that for Christmas Day. So I will have something to open then. But the cereal has been sweet! As well as the Ding Dongs and all of the candy, thanks so much!

Oh, I forgot something! Elder McBride called me, and he is coming to my zone!!!! (Elder McBride is our good friend from Gilbert. He and Jeff have known each other since they were little guys!) He is getting transferred to an area that is only an area away from mine! But his poor companion is named Elder Brown. I know him from District meetings. I was talking to him this week, and his Dad just died last week. I feel so bad for that elder. He is a really good guy and I'm sure that he and Elder McBride will work miracles!

Iraida is looking like she's not going to get baptized until later. She still doesn't want to get baptized yet. She has to work Saturday, but if need be, she can be baptized Sunday morning if she decides to. But we have some great news that we received from a family that we have been working with for 4 and a half months (even before I got here!) Their names are Jose Luis and Claribel. They are an amazing family that is practically already members with I think two daughters and one son, one of which is already baptized. They have been waiting on papers to get married for four and a half months, and hopefully they will be getting them this week and getting baptized on Christmas Day! How awesome that will be! They are going to be such a powerhouse for the Lord! We also have a goal with another family of four for Christmas Day to get baptized! The mom and dad are named Carmen and Henry, and the kids are named Henri Antonio (17) and Camila (10). They are an awesome family, and the Gospel has changed Henry so much! Wow, what a miracle the Gospel has worked in his life!

Yes Mom, I have finished the 12 days of November, I was so grateful for it! And I'm writing them all letters now too! But in the meantime, thank you so much Adi, Aubree, and Lauren!!! I really appreciated that! (Some of Jeff's good friends sent him a package for the twelve days of Christmas, but he opened it by accident early so he just decided to do the twelve days of November. Thanks so much Aubree, Adi and Lauren! We appreciate all that you do for Jeff and the other missionaries that are serving right now!)

Thanks Mom, I really appreciate what you said about me trying to give the impromptu talk last week in Sacrament meeting. It wasn't easy, but I hope that it showed The Lord that I wanted to serve Him.

Thank you so much for all that you do, I love you so much!!!!

Elder DeSpain

P.S. Send more chili if you can. That is such a delicacy and was such a great treat, ha ha!

Love you so much!

Oh, one more thing, I forwarded some pictures to you from Elder Blake of our last baptism.

(Henry will put one of these pictures on the blog later this week. We have to use Elder Blake's pictures because Jeff lost his camera. Another camera is in the mail on it's way to him so hopefully soon we will get some more pictures from him!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving was a real surprise because we actually got Grandma's package with the beef steak tips in it that day, Thanksgiving Day! So we got to have a treat for Thanksgiving Dinner! It rocked! How was Fort Thomas? Did you make it on in to Pima and Safford?

We have a stove and oven, but it's all gas. (We asked about his kitchen facilities.) We actually haven't opened anything from Elder Blake's Mom because it is the 25 days of Christmas, haha. (We knew Jeff's companion's mom had sent a package which we thought was food for Thanksgiving, but it turns out it is for Christmas!) But I've already opened one of my packages that was a 12 Days of Christmas package, woops! JK, I opened it and have had the 12 days of November. Adi, Aubree and Lauren sent it to me! Don't worry Mom, I found your two Christmas Packages in the office this morning and I left them there because you told me not to open them until Christmas!

The Baptism this past Saturday went good! We had Obenson get baptized, and the other Elders that work in the other half of the ward (areas here have the same boundaries as wards, and zones are the same as stakes) had a baptism too, so we had two that night, and then they had another one in the morning at 8 before Church started at 9! So it was sweet! We have another baptismal date for the 11th of December. It is a lady with two kids named Iraida. If it's in the Lord's Plan, then it will happen. She really doesn't like it when we say that she has a date for the 11th, because she wants to say when she's ready. But if it's in the Lord's Plan, she will be baptized that day.

Celio is amazing! Our last two Baptisms (And our only two this transfer) have been references from Celio. He has such a kind desire for the welfare of his friends, he is a huge reason for their baptisms. And because of him they will stay active, what a great example of Christlike love and friendship.

I had an interesting thing happen at church yesterday. A member came down before church started and asked two of the other missionaries that serve in the ward here to give talks in Sacrament Meeting and they both said no. I was surprised because they have both been out longer than I have. I thought they would say yes, of course but they both told him no. So he didn't ask me, but I volunteered and said that I would go up and talk. And so I did. I knew that the Lord would help me. I knew that He would help me know what to say. So, without knowing what I would talk about and in a language that's not my own and that I am still learning I went up and tried to serve the Lord by giving a talk without knowing what I was going to do beforehand and the Lord helped me to do it! And He didn't just help me, He did give the talk! There is no way I could have given that talk without Him! What a blessing it is to be a part of that! What an opportunity from the Lord! It's still a little hard when you (Dad and Mom) aren't there afterwards to tell me good job! But I'm learning that I shouldn't be concerned with the praise of the world. I think that's what I need to learn. I think it's pleasing Heavenly Father that I should be focused on. I know that I did my best to take that chance to serve Him. I guess that's what it's really about!

We went back to the Conde again today and ate at Pizza Hut! The chichiguas (homemade kites) went sooo good! We got it probably about two football fields away in the air, it was way out there! Ya, Dad will probably like to make a chichigua, they're sweet! We usually get more wind here than in AZ, and it is really needed because it helps keep the house cooler, haha. I think we got more wind because of the ocean.

Ya, transfers will be not tomorrow, but the following Tuesday, so we will know either Sunday night or Monday morning what will be happening. Sorry, I've already had one transfer, and we both just stayed here.

Wow, I do know Elder Wixom! (See below) He is in my group! I have talked to him! Wow, that is so awesome that his brother is ok!

Thank you so much for all that you do and I love you! Thanks for praying for me!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

I read something that one of the missionary moms wrote in the missionary moms email group that I belong to. The mother told about her son (Dallas Wixom) that is serving in Tennessee right now. He was involved in a freak accident on his bike. The back tire of a truck ran over his chest. Incredibly, he had no broken bones, not even a cracked rib. He had some damage to muscles in his shoulder but he has had some physical therapy and is doing great. His shirt was ripped, but his garment top was untouched. Truly divine intervention there! Anyway, this mom has two sons serving missions right now and the other son she mentioned (Doug Wixom) is not only in Jeff's mission, but entered the Provo MTC on the same day as Jeff so we were pretty sure Jeff would know him and would have been in the same group with him so we told him the story and asked if he knew Doug Wixom, the brother serving in the DR.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Walked Down The Oldest Street In The New World

Hey everyone!

Hey, we haven't received instruction yet on how the call home will work on Christmas Day. I've actually heard that it's different depending on where you are, but I will let you know once I know!

The baptism that we still had scheduled actually didn't end up working out. The girl would like to wait for her family to get baptized, but we're not sure what's going to happen with them for sure because they didn't come to church again, so they're kind of struggling to progress. But The Lord did bless us with another baptismal date for this Saturday! We had been praying to Heavenly Father to let us have more success if it was His will, and we ended up teaching a Haitian 21 year old named Obinson. He is a stud! He was actually referred to us from the Haitian convert named Celio. He is way ready! He wants to be a missionary! He is so ready! We had only taught him probably two or three times, and he is already ready for baptism! Talk about the Elect of God! Wow, so he has a baptismal date this week for Saturday, and then the missionaries in the other half of our area actually have a baptism scheduled for this Sunday at 8 AM before Church!

So I don't think that they know that Thanksgiving exists down here, haha, but it will just be a normal day for us I'm pretty sure for that day. We don't eat with the members, but sometimes that can be a blessing, haha!

Oh, so I thought I would let you know what we did today so far. We went into the office and then we went to a place called the Conde. It is the oldest street in the new world! That means it's the oldest street in the Americas! It's like a street that you walk down with shops. There is a Pizza Hut and a KFC there, and we ate at the KFC, it was so good! Then we went to a supermarket, and then we came here, and then we're going to fly chichiguas. They are home made kites! You take a reed and break it into three pieces, then you take a grocery bag and tie it over the top, and then you just use some string and put a tail on it and it flies! Some people here put Gillette razors in the tail, and then they try to cut down other kites! It is sweet!

Ok, I'm glad I'm not there to here Mom scream, but I think all the pictures I have taken so far on my camera are gone. I actually think that I must have left the camera at the Internet place two weeks ago when I was emailing, and someone must have stolen it from the Internet Center where it was at. I've checked everywhere and we went back to the Internet Center and they didn't have it. I have checked everything in the apartment and it's not there, so I'm going to need you to send me another one, maybe in the Christmas package. I did get the new SD card, so I have one of those, but I guess I'm going to need a new camera. The good news is, you have all of the pictures of my baptisms and the cool pictures from the MTC, and I have two hard copies of the pictures at the MTC here. We were only allowed to take pictures on two days at the MTC, so there's not a whole lot to miss there, haha. I'm really sorry, and please tell Grandma D I'm really sorry too because she bought me that camera. I'm so sorry, that is totally my fault. (We are not worried about the camera. It can be easily replaced. But we are sad about the pictures being gone. We aren't sure how many pictures he had on his camera, but we have only received three hard copies of pictures from the Provo MTC and 8 pictures from him in the DR through email. Oh well . . . he is safe and happy and serving the Lord . . . they're only pictures!)

Thank you so much to everyone for all that you do for me and the examples that you are to me in my life! I'm so grateful for all the blessings in my life! The Lord truly sent me to live in the best place in the world!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Release in the House . . .

Saludos Mom!

Congratulations Mom! Wow, thanks for being such a great example of faith to me Mom. You didn't know how you were going to get all of that stuff done with Dad being the Bishop and you being the Stake YW President, but you showed your faith because you did it anyway without knowing. It's like in the Bible when the men carrying the Ark of the Covenant had to cross a river. Heavenly Father promised them that they would make it across safely, but they had to get their feet wet first. They acted on their faith, and then the Lord blessed them. Just like in Ether 12:27. Thanks so much Mom and Dad for always being such an unbelievable example to me of faith! (I was released from my calling as Stake YW President yesterday and we told Jeff about it in our letters.)

Things are great here in Guachupita! We are doing good, and no rain! It stopped raining, but apparently there was an earthquake here this week one morning at like 1:00 in the morning! There are some elders that live on the fifth floor of a building in the other side of our area, and I guess they woke up because the building was shaking! We didn't get woken up. Our apartment is on the third floor, haha.

It is pretty humid here but the Lord has blessed me so much so that it doesn't bother me anymore. I'm so blessed that I came from a hot area! It helps me deal with the heat out here. But now the temperature gets really nice at night. It gets cool!

(We asked Jeff how his clothes were holding up and also asked him to send some more ideas for Christmas because we need to mail his package out this week.) My clothes are doing great! I could use some more toiletries because those are really expensive here. Also, if there is anyway that you could send cereal in my Christmas package, that would be so awesome! I can get milk here, but to have cereal would be awesome! It costs a lot here, and it would be an amazing treat! But no sweat if it's too hard to send. Here are some other ideas I thought of for the Christmas package, thanks so much for asking! It would be sweet to have a family history book or more than one of them. I'm talking about like the journals that we have from David Henry Weech or the History of the Gila Valley or Mount Graham or something like that.

I actually write you from an Internet center. I'm right down the street from our house right now actually! I just got your letter with the other Priesthood talks and the memory card. Thanks so much! If you sent the other letter with the two memory cards in it to the DR MTC then ya, it might still be coming, ha ha! Oh, and we went in to the office today and I got another package from Grandma Joy! It has so much good stuff in it, the stuff to make green chili burros and candy! Tell her thanks so much for me! And the frosting on the cookies that she sent me earlier made it here fine!

Things are going great here! The Lord has blessed us beyond measure! I think that we may need to start focusing a little bit more on helping people keep their commitments. I think that many of them may still lack a strong testimony and conviction of the truthfulness of the Gospel. We really struggle with getting people to come to Church. As well, the investigators that are progressing need to get married, haha. But, we keep doing everything that we can and then we leave the rest up to the Lord! I know that He knows how hard we are working.

We had one great experience this week. We actually were trying to find a lady that was running away trying to hide from us and we came across a couple of guys sitting in lawn chairs out in the street. We stopped and asked them if they had seen the lady. They said no, but we contacted them and invited them to church. One of them asked us why we were called by the name "Mormon." We actually started to teach the first lesson to him, and he was so ready for the Gospel! A couple of times I wondered if he was already a member and playing a joke on us. He understood the Gospel so well! What a privilege it was to teach one of the elect of God! I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for that opportunity.

We had three baptismal dates for this week and about two more for the following week, but none of them came to Church, so we only have one for this week now because the other ones haven't been to Church enough times yet. All is well though, we just do the best we can, and I know that The Lord will work everything out!

Like you said in your last letter Dad, sometimes it may seem that you are doing everything right and nothing's working out. We really are blessed and I should be counting my many blessings and they are many! It will be a payday when a family's life is changed for eternity! I just got to keep trying!

I thank Heavenly Father more and more for the unbelievable family that I was sent to. I truly was blessed with the best family in the world. You know, we were visiting a member family a couple of days ago and they have an inactive daughter who just had a baby. I just thought wow, that kid got just got sent to a mom that doesn't go to church and is inactive. How blessed beyond measure I am to have a mom and dad who always took me to church and taught me what was right. I truly was born of goodly parents.

I am so grateful for the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father. I am so grateful that Jesus Christ walks with me every step of every day, and I testify that He walks with each one of you who read this letter. He is walking beside you right now, and He knows you by name. He loves us so much, and I am so grateful for Him!

Thank you so much for all that you do and I love you so much! I'll talk to you later!

-Elder DeSpain

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Big Hurricaine Damage in Santo Domingo, Thankfully!

Hey everyone!

So we did know about the hurricane. We had heard that it hit Haiti. We did get a lot of rain and wind, but nothing that kept the work from progressing. The Lord really helped us and it didn't even rain that much during the times when we were out tracting! Wow, but I feel bad for the people in Haiti. They've had a rough series of events!

Just one random little thing that I remember someone asking me that I never answered. I talk to Elder Blake in English. I've had a few people ask me if we speak Spanish all the time or what, but we speak English to each other and Spanish to the people. Sorry, that was a totally random note that I thought of.

Fermin actually has not been at his house when we pass by for quite some time. We have run into him a couple of times, but he is really struggling. He needs some more time, so we're going to wait until this weekend to talk to him. He's got a good heart though.

Hey, no worries about the letters! I just got like fifteen of them this week. We picked some up today at the office and I got a bunch last week too, including the one from Dad that had the Priesthood talks in it, but not the one with the memory cards in it. But that's fine, no worries! It will all work out. The Dearelder letters are coming through just fine, and I think the SDQ address is correct for the regular letters! I'm really sorry to the Karges family because I just got a dearelder letter from them that they wrote probably two months ago! I think it got to the MTC after I left there! Sorry Karges family, I'll write you back! I'm going to write everyone back, it's just a matter of the letters getting here first, haha!

So things are going great! We haven't seen a whole lot of baptisms, but the Lord has blessed us with the privilege of teaching so many families! The thing with the families here is that almost none are married that we teach, so we need to go through the process first of getting them married before they can be baptized. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure though! Wow, we have about 50 investigators right now! It is amazing to see the Hand of the Lord in our lives and in this work! It's amazing to see the people that He puts in our path. It really is true that there is no such thing as a coincidence. The Lord is in charge and everything happens for a reason!

Ok, so I promised Dad that I would tell you what happened last week when we got robbed. So we were entering a street and Elder Blake was in front of me, two guys came up behind me and one grabbed my arm. This was all in plain sight of people at like one o'clock in the afternoon. They showed me a gun and told me to be quiet and call Elder Blake, so I decided real quick that I would do that, haha. I called Elder Blake and he came back and they checked our pockets and let us go. They went down a street to the left and we went down a street to the right to get our lunch. Then, when we got to the house where our lunch was, they passed us again, and there were people around again, so Elder Blake gave them a high five and then one of them tried to take his CTR ring! How ironic. So Elder Blake took his hand back, but this time they pulled the gun out on us, so Elder Blake let them try to take it and they figured it was plastic and took off. The same two guys robbed us twice in a matter of like five minutes! The Lord was watching out for us, I am so grateful for His protection, because I know that it was only because of His protection that we got out ok. He is always protecting us, so don't worry Mom!

(Last week we got a nice, long, wonderful email from Jeff telling us about several great things that were going on with the missionary work in the area where he is serving. He attached a picture which he rarely does. I have the email address of his companion's mother so I forwarded a copy of the picture to her. In her email back to me, she thanked me for the picture and said how good they both look and how well they must be doing there together. Then she asked if Jeff had mentioned that they had been held up with a gun. [No . . . he hadn't mentioned that little experience to us at all!] She shared some details. I was scared at first and then I got pretty miffed that someone would even think about bothering missionaries on the Lord's errand! Every time I hear about something like this it makes me crazy. What kind of person robs a servant of the Lord??? Anyway, by lunch time that day I came to the conclusion that the Lord can protect his missionaries anywhere in the world better than I can protect one right here in Gilbert so I just try not to think about it. I decided not to ask Jeff about it, but I knew Henry would probably question him about the experience and he did so the paragraph above is in response to Henry trying to figure out what all really happened!)

Thank you so much for all that you do! I am so grateful for my family and friends. We taught two families last night and I testified both times about how I had parents who were good examples to me and taught me to do what was right and that my life is by far different today because of them and the things that they have done for me in my life. That goes for everyone in my life, my family, cousins who have set a good example for me and Grandma's and Grandpa's that have taught me how to live by their examples and have left behind a legacy that I hope to live up to! I have had friends that have been such a good influence in my life and been so good to me. I come from a ward full of fantastic examples that I wish to become like. Thank you so much to everyone for all that you do. You mean more to people than you know! Thanks so much, and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yeah! Word from the DR!

(We wondered what happened last week because we only got a few sentences from Jeff as a reply to an email that Henry had sent - not the normal email. We thought there might have been computer problems and it looks like that was what happened.)

Hey! So here's the deal. Really sorry, but all of the computers crashed last week right when I was just about to send the email, sorry! But it's all good! Here's what's left of last weeks email:

Hey family! Thanks so much for getting the plaque set up, I really appreciate it! Digno and Dulce are doing good, they just didn't come to church this week. They really seem happier, and what a privilege to experience that in someone's life! Now Dulce will actually have to go back to the town where she was born and take care of some paperwork. I don't know if they can afford a bus ticket right now, but I know that The Lord will provide if they want to get baptized! He is always in charge! Pedro actually is a contact that we made, but he hasn't come to church yet. He had a baptismal date, but since he hasn't come to church yet, we will have to continue to work with him and help him gain a testimony about attending church! No way, haha, I didn't know that you knew a Dulce too, haha! (I grew up with a girl who had a little sister named Dulce so when I saw the name I told Jeff about her.)

Ok, now for this week! We had two with baptismal dates for this last Saturday. One of them did get baptized! His name is Sano. He is actually Haitian, and it was awesome because there is another Haitian that is in our ward here that got baptized about three months ago and he baptized Sano! His name is Celio and he is a super stud! He has the faith of Nephi of old, wow, he is doing great! I sent a picture of me and Elder Blake standing with them before their baptism. (New picture on the blog.) You've got to tell me what you think, because I've had two people now tell me that I'm getting fatter! haha, I was flattered! Never have I been so honored as to have someone call me fat, haha, JK!

As for the other man that had a baptismal date, his name is Fermin. He is doing great! He's trying to stop smoking, the only thing was that we couldn't find him all the last part of last week! We would pass by his house like two or three times a day but couldn't find him. Then he actually showed up to the baptism in a white shirt! We asked him if he had smoked and he said that he had the day before. So we are postponing his baptismal date until this week, but that will be great! He is a great guy with a great heart!

Thank you so much mom for sending me that story about the Grovers in that last email. I am sooooo grateful for that! And Grovers, thank you so much! You are a great family full of people that will be working miracles for the Lord your whole lives! Thank you for the example that you are to me!

Thank you to everybody back home! You are all such great examples to me and have been such a big impact on my life! Now that I have been in a ward where the activity rate isn't as high, it has made me recognize how blessed I am to live in such a great place with so many great people! Keep up the great work and thanks so much for the example that you set for me! I love you all very much and am so grateful for all that you do for me! Oh, one more thing! I am very sorry, but I haven't received mail in almost three weeks, so I apologize and I promise I will write back to any of the letters, I just haven't received them yet. But thank you so much to all those of you who write me, I really appreciate it!

Love, Elder DeSpain

P.S. It's que lo que not kay oh kay - ha ha! It means "what's up" here. As for the language, I feel like the Lord has blessed me more than I ever could have asked for with my Spanish. He has blessed me so much that I have been able to understand these people and I have been speaking to them and making good progress. But it's all thanks to Him! I truly am nothing without Him. I'm so grateful that He lets me help in His work! (This paragraph was in response to Henry telling Jeff about a friend from our ward who just returned from a mission in Puerto Rico, Jared Hardy. Jared asked Henry to tell Jeff "que lo que" which apparently we slaughtered quite badly in our attempt to spell it! Henry also asked Jeff how the Spanish was coming for him.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our snail mail continues to disappear into a black hole . . .

We didn't get the normal email from Jeff this week. Not sure what happened. He did send a short reply to an email that Henry sent to him. Here is what we did receive:

Hey Dad!

Thanks for sending the copies of the Priesthood talks from Conference! I still haven't gotten any of them, ha ha, but that is fine. The Lord will take care of it! Sorry I haven't sent the memory card from my camera home so you can see some of my pictures. I think I will send the card home when I get the new cards in the mail that you sent me. (We have sent at least three or four letters through the regular mail to Jeff since he has been in the field, one of which had new memory cards for his camera in it. Two others had copies of Conference talks from the Priesthood session of Conference because he was not able to see that session. Jeff hasn't received any of these snail mail letters we have sent in the last month or so. Not sure why that is yet. But we hope to figure that out soon!)

We are doing great here! We are going to have two more baptisms this Saturday! And they are both going to be potential Priesthood Holders! That will be awesome and will really help out the ward here! It's kind of a smaller ward and there are quite a few inactives, so it will be really good to get some more Priesthood holders and see the Church grow here. We are so blessed to have such a strong ward, full of such good people back home in Gilbert.

Hey that's alright about the Arizona teams. (Henry, Scott and I try to give Jeff updates every so often on how the Cardinals and ASU are doing.) They'll pull it out, ha ha! Thanks for keeping me updated. How is Highland football doing? I'm doing great! Thanks so much and I love you so much!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey! So good to hear from you! Things are going so great here! We are being blessed beyond measure truly!

(The sister in our ward who updates the missionary plaques on the wall near the Bishop's office asked us for a picture and Jeff's favorite scripture so they can make a plaque for him.)
For the scripture, thank you so much for asking me, that was really nice of you, I think I would like to have D&C 88 verses 67 through 69, but I don't know if that will fit, and if not, that's absolutely fine. If it doesn't fit, don't worry about it and just put verse 67 on it, I think that might be the only thing that fits, and that's the one that I think would be better for the plaque. Thanks so much!

Hey, so the bug net I just haven't even thought of. I haven't heard of anyone who uses one yet, but the Lord is protecting me and I'm doing great, just got a few bug bites. I'm adapting to the humidity. What a blessing! Also, I haven't received either of the letters you sent to me through regular mail.

Things here are going so great! I forgot about Pedro the Chevy, haha. We are still teaching Pedro, we just haven´t seen him at church yet. But he is doing great and progressing to baptism, and I think if he goes to church once he will be doing even better and be progressing to baptism!
(Jeff told us last week about a new investigator named Pedro. Our whole family laughed out loud when we read that because Jeff had named the little Chevy Blazer that he drove before his mission Pedro!)

I am doing fantastic! We have had a lot of rain, but I had no idea it was from tropical storms. We haven't had any baptisms for the last few weeks, but we are working hard and we have a couple of more baptismal dates set in a couple of weeks from now. We're working hard, so the Lord knows the rest! We are so blessed though! We are teaching like 15 families and we are teaching so many potential Priesthood holders! It rocks! The Church has so much potential to grow out here! The other half of our area has two potential baptisms for the same day as us. So hopefully that will be a great day here in this ward, and the ward will really start to grow and become a strong stake of Zion!

We had a great experience this week. We were teaching a family whose parents are named Digno and Dulce. They were really kind of struggling. They're not married and they have two children. So the goal has been to have the whole family baptized on the same day, but they have really been struggling a little bit with coming to church and had been struggling with reading the Book of Mormon and praying together as a couple. We went there this week and they were really kind of struggling. They still weren't reading and praying together and they had been fighting a little bit with each other. On top of that, the bank had called and Digno was having problems with paying them. We taught them about how they could show their faith by reading the Book of Mormon together and praying together and that Heavenly Father would bless them and that if they would just try one time to start to read and pray for one night that it would get easier and easier and easier every time after that. We left them with that commitment and came back in two or three days, and they had done it! Not only that, they had done it and then the bank had called and told Digno to just pay when he could and everything is ok there! The Lord blessed them! And then they came to church on Sunday! It is amazing!

There is so much power in the Book of Mormon. If we read that Book every day and pray every day to Heavenly Father, we will see miracles! It truly is a book of miracles! But it is more than a book, I testify that it is the Word of God! It contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has conquered the world. He has felt every single thing that we feel in our lives, and He has conquered every single trial and difficulty that we have in our lives. I testify that He is always there and always knows the answer to our problems. When we want to talk to Heavenly Father, we pray, when we want Him to talk to us, we read the scriptures. The answers are in the Book of Mormon!

That's so awesome that you are all done with your work deadline and the Trek! I hope you finally get a chance to rest! I got the package. Thanks so much!

I love you so much, thank you for all that you have done, do, and will do for me!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Windows . . . Electricity . . . Water . . . Who needs those things???

Hey! Ya, so there's no glass in our windows, they're just kind of like big blinds, but I think that's so that air can get in, and it's a really big blessing because it keeps it from getting too hot! But The Lord blessed us each with a fan, so we do just fine. The electricity actually never goes off for more than like four hours. I used to think it was more because we were never in the apartment for long enough to see how long it took it to come back on, but it's usually only like four hours, and we have it all night, so it rocks! The Lord has blessed us so much with a schedule for electricity, because we always have it at the times when we need it! I get bug bites all the time, like during appointments a lot. I have a lot of them, but I'm getting used to it now. It's such a blessing that the Lord had me get all of those vaccinations! They're definitely keeping me safe!

Grandma Joy actually sent me a little flashlight, and it has been such a blessing! We have been able to use it in appointments a lot so that we can share scriptures and help investigators with their problems or teach them using the scriptures. That flashlight is bright too! Wow, it packs a punch for a little flashlight, that's probably because it take three batteries and not two! Haha, JK

Hey, Scott is so welcome for the letter, did it get there? Sorry it took so long! I missed him a week, sorry buddy!

All is well with the money! I did receive your package, thank you so much! I am so grateful for it! It was so yummy! The oreos were a tender mercy! And there's still a whole other package of them for us to eat. Thanks so much for it and thank so much for the letters! Ya, the money is fine, I haven't even needed to use my debit card yet. I've only been using the Church one. The Lord has blessed me and I've only had to use that money so far. And I converted all of my travel money into pesos, so I have plenty if there should ever be a problem, so no worries!
Thanks so much for telling me that about Elder Blake´s Mom. I really appreciate that!

Ya, Elder Blake said that this is actually the hardest that he's ever worked in his whole mission! I'm so glad that I could be a part of that. I'm so grateful that the Lord blessed me to be here and blessed me to be able to work hard and blessed us with so much success.

We are applying the new "Points of Emphasis" here that are going to help us have so much more success! So everything really points the investigators that we teach to baptism, because in the end, that is always what they need, because that is the only door to enter into the path that leads to eternal life. So we really start focusing now with one of the eight points from this new Points of Emphasis Program which is focusing on baptism. We've really been focusing on baptism in the first lesson and praying with the investigators, even in the first lesson, especially in the first lesson, and it goes so great! It helps these people progress so much faster and with so much more enthusiasm! Their lives are blessed quicker by focusing them faster on baptism. Interesting how that works!

We had a great experience this week with an investigator named Pedro. Pedro works at night and we visit him during the mornings. But during our first visit, we had the privilege to pray with Pedro, and Elder Blake shared with him the scripture that talks about the fruits of the Spirit, peace, joy, patience, and tried to help him understand that the peace that he was feeling was the Spirit and that that is how Heavenly Father answers our prayers, is through the Spirit and peace like he was feeling. I had the sweetest peace come over me. It was such a privilege to feel the Peace of God come over me. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is when you are literally encircled in the Arms of Heavenly Father, and as it says in D&C 88: 3-4, it is the promise of Eternal Life. Heaven is a little bit closer when you feel that peace. Heavenly Father is there with you, He is abiding with you, staying with you, comforting you, speaking to you. What a priceless peace this is. It is the sweetest peace in this world, and that's because it comes from Heavenly Father. One other thing I had the privilege of learning this week, did you know that light is literally from the presence of Heavenly Father? I learned that this week. The sun doesn't make light, it reflects light that comes from Kolob. Wow, so we are literally surrounded in Heavenly Father's Light and Power. Wow, that is so awesome! I love that all of the light that we have is from Him! We are literally surrounded by light that comes from His presence!

Thank you so much for all that you do! I love you so much and will talk to you soon!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, October 4, 2010

I loved conference!!

Hello all! I did get to see conference, and it was sweet! I loved it. It is so amazing how Heavenly Father loves us all so much and knows us all personally so that He can deliver the message that we need personally in our lives to each one of us through the same speaker. The Spirit is amazing! I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for His love and care for me. It is so comforting to know that He is there! He loves us all so much!

So for us we actually got to watch conference in English! It was awesome! We got to see every session except for Priesthood, so if you can like print those talks out for me or something and send them, that would be awesome! But we had to go to the chapel in a place called Gazcue, it is close to the CCM (MTC) and the Temple, although we didn’t pass them on the way there. But I did get my first view of the ocean! Wow, what a tender mercy of the Lord, it was sweet! I also got to the see the capitol here, like the royal palace and the government offices and all of the capitol buildings. It is pretty sweet!

Ya, you’re exactly on the money with the times. We ate like at night on Sunday because in between sessions we had to go and look for people and we spent all of our time doing that. It was great. We rented a gua gua, which is like a Volkswagen van pretty much, but here those are like their buses, and they put a lot of people in them. My companion said that one time they got twenty four people in one! We rented one of those and one of our investigators drove it, it was crazy! Stoplights don’t really mean anything here, so it was an experience!

I have not received the memory sticks you sent yet or that letter, but they could be on their way. If it got sent to the package address it could be a little while before I get it too. I don’t know for sure how that all works, but there’s two different addresses, and I think if a letter gets sent to the package address it will take a while to get here. I had some letters come from the Provo MTC that way I think and it took about a month, so we’ll hold out hoping that it’s still on it’s way.

We usually go to a store called Olé on Preparation Day, it is like a big supermarket, and we shop there. I usually just get mostly food there. But I could always use more snacks, I can never hold on to those very long, my stomach always gets to them, first, haha! (We had asked him what kind of shopping was available near where he lives. Apparently Walmart hasn't made it's way to Guachpita yet, but it sounds like there is a place to get most of what he needs!)

Thanks so much for that quote and telling me that Brother Bawden said that. I appreciate that so much. I want to work miracles for the Lord! I want to be one that runs His errands and is always about His work. I want to be one that that Lord looks to when He needs something done. We all have so much potential, and we have to learn to see ourselves like Heavenly Father does, just like President Uchtdorf said in conference.

(Brother Bawden was Jeff's Institute teacher. In one of Jeff's letters home before he left Provo, he shared two quotes that Brother Bawden had taught him that had really touched him. We sent a note to Brother Bawden telling him how grateful Jeff was for what he had taught him. Brother Bawden sent us the nicest reply sharing President Benson' quote where he says in part "Give me a young man that has read the Book of Mormon, who is worthy, who is a seminary graduate . . . and I will give you a young man that can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life!" He told us he could see that in Jeff. We shared that with Jeff this week in our letter to him. That's the quote he is referring to.)

Thank you so much for all that you do for me and for your love for me! I love you so much! Oh, I want to be the kind of man that does the things that the Lord needs done and that the Lord can look to when He needs something done. I want to be like President Monson when he said that he wanted the Lord to know that Tom Monson would run His errands for Him. I want to be that kind of man too. I want to run the Lord´s errands. What a privilege that is! I am so grateful for the Lord and His trust in me and for His plan! He loves us all so much and He has miracles that He needs all of us to help Him with! He needs us, each and every one of us! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Him!

I am very sorry that I haven’t attached pictures, here are some for you to see. The first two are from when we made smoothies for FHE at an investigators house. Haha, the guy had to hold the blender while he turned it on and held it close to the plug because the cord wouldn’t reach to the table. This is the house that we get lunch from every day. And the only deal is that we pay her every week, but we set it up and it´s just for us two elders because she doesn’t cook for anyone else.

The next two are from the baptism of Rafi and Noelia that we had last week. It was awesome! They are a solid family. Their mom is inactive and their dad isn´t a member, but he has committed to baptism and now I think that their mom will come back to church! What a miracle! They are going to be solid! And Rafi wants to go on a mission! Their cousin is named Luisin and he also has a baptismal date, it was going to be Saturday, but President would like candidates under 18 to go to church longer before they are baptized, so that is great and he will hopefully be baptized in a couple of weeks!

I just had to send you the sweet pics we took in the MTC back in Provo. This is the ever famous ironing board trick, it´s sweet! And it seems real, haha!

(We will share pictures as soon as I can get someone to help me load them onto the blog!)

By the way, the work is going great. We are teaching some families, but not so much with Victor and Samaris lately because they are really hard to get a hold of. We are teaching a wonderful family that has a mom , two sons and two daughters. They are golden and the mom even asked us in one of the lessons if there really was peace in this life! What a privilege Heavenly Father has given me to be able to take peace to this family! She came to conference on Sunday and made some sacrifices to do it, so hopefully that family will have baptismal dates before too long! What a privilege!

The guy that I contacted who came to church is doing great, and he has a baptismal date! How fantastic! He is actually here because he was in an accident while working on another island and is here recuperating and will be having surgery tomorrow!

Thanks so much for all that you do for me! I love you!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello to you from Guachpita!

Saludos! That's hello here. Another great week this week! We did have another TWO baptisms this week on Saturday. It was great! We felt the Spirit and the kid who has the baptismal date for this coming week was there and we actually didn't think that he was going to make it for this week because he hadn't come to church, but after the baptism he came up to us and just said, so it's me next week, right? Wow, so he had really been torn between us and some friends that he has that attend a different church, but at the Baptism, he felt the spirit and he felt like it was him that was getting baptized! Wow, what a miracle! The Lord has blessed us with so much success! It is truly a miracle that he now wants to get baptized this Saturday. We are really busy!

A little more about my companion and the area. My companion's name is Elder Blake from Boston MA! (Henry served his mission in Boston so we were excited to hear this!) His dad's ward would have been Marlboro or Weston Ward back then. As for lunch food, we usually have some form of rice and beans from the lady that cooks for us for lunch, and it usually comes with some kind of meat. The beans are soooo good! Wow, I never knew rice and beans could taste so good! But now we've got all the stuff for green chili burros too because Grandma sent it to me! That was pretty funny. I guess "burro" is only a word in Arizona, because nobody else knew what a burro was, ha ha! They only know burrito. Poor elders, they haven't had enough Mexican food. We live in Maria Auxiliaora and we don't use American money here, but we can exchange it. My apollo is down to about three hundred pesos, so I'm going to have to start using some of the money I brought with me for travel money. But in a few days I should be getting some more money on my card, and don't worry, I have plenty of money and always have my debit card if I need it, which I believe will work at the ATMs here. The motorcycle we rode on to the baptism was a street bike, but I don't think that that's something that we will commonly do, it's pretty dangerous. We are actually in a ward that meets in a two story church building with a basketball court out in front. It looks like the model for church houses that the Church uses in this country is a two story model. (We asked him a ton of questions and he was trying to answer some of them!)

I'm learning a lot and I've been teaching more and more during our appointments. I had a really great experience this week. I was on an exchange in our area with Elder Almonte (who
is in a different area) because both of our companions were at the training meeting for the eight new points of emphasis. We were contacting and we ended up being let into the porch of a man that lives in our area because it was raining. Interestingly enough, this was a man that we had contacted just a few minutes earlier. I began to talk to him and he had actually visited with the missionaries when he was younger. He said that he lived on a different island and had gone to church there as well when he was younger. Elder Almonte let me do almost all of the talking, and I actually set up a return appointment, placed a Restoration pamphlet and invited him to church. Then when we were sitting in church on Sunday, he walked in! I couldn't believe it! What a miracle! This really isn't a huge deal, it was just awesome for me because I did most of the talking while we were there and he actually came to church. When he walked into church on Sunday, I felt like this was The Lord telling me that He trusts me and that He thinks that I'm alright. I'm so grateful for that opportunity that I had and the success The Lord blessed me with! He has blessed me beyond measure! I hope that this man begins to take the steps toward baptism with his family as well!

I'm so grateful that the Lord trusts me and that He has all power! He has conquered the world and He can conquer anything in our lives. Satan works through fear and trys to destroy who we are and get us not to live up to our potential. But this isn't Heavenly Father that puts doubt and fear into our minds, that's what we have to recognize. We have so much potential! Heavenly Father knows our potential and will provide a way for us to live up to it! He has conquered the world and there is nothing that He can´t conquer. He is always watching over us, and He is always there, even when we don't feel it. We all can do so much good! We have a lot of potential, and with Heavenly Father's help, we can live up to that potential. I'm so grateful for His trust and His watchful eye and His power.

I love you all so much! Thanks so much for all that you do for me and for your love for me!

P.S. I really don't have any pictures from the area other than baptisms and those are of the church building, so I will try to take some more and send some to you! I have a lot from the MTC, so I'll try to send some of those too! I love you so much! Please keep me in your prayers!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where in the World is Elder DeSpain?!?!?!

Hey! Sorry, I haven't received any new letters since I got into the field, so this is my only contact with you that I've had for almost two weeks!

So Guachpita is the area I'm serving in! It's in Santo Domingo! So it's actually like the slums of Santo Domingo, but to tell you the truth, I think that most of the area around here is slums. It is poor like you've never seen.

Remember when we saw the pictures of the Santo Domingo East Mission on Facebook? They were contacting someone at a tin shack. That is what I'm working in. But don't worry Mom, the place where I live is way better than that. So we work mostly in the area with the tin shacks and also a place that is just full of these buildings that are about four or five stories tall and made of pure cement, and I'm not kidding, cement floors, walls, and ceilings, and they're all pretty old. There is a lot of trash on the streets and everywhere in general. The water only comes certain days of the week, and it rains a lot too. They really don´t have very good water drainage either, and on the days when they get water from the pipes (only certain days of the week like I mentioned earlier) to drink and use, it pours out of kind of funny places. Like in the slums with the cement skyscrapers, the water pours down from one of the higher floors into the courtyard type of area that is between two buildings.

Boy Mom, if you could see some of the places I've been! Wow, we took a taxi today and we stuffed like six elders into the shotgun seat and the back seat of a little beat up car that didn't even have an inside cover on the door. We've already had to take a motorcycle, because we were running late on Saturday, haha.

So anyway, enough about where I'm at, sorry to go on with that, it doesn't really matter, I'll talk about the work! So I'm getting trained by an Elder who has been out about 14 or 15 months named Elder Blake. Mom, I think that there is a website called missionarymoms.com or something that all of the Moms join, and his mom is on there, so you should check it out if you want! He is from Boston Dad! (Henry served his mission in Boston!)

We're doing so great! I cannot believe how much the Lord has blessed us this week! In my first week! We met all of the mission norms for the first time in Elder Blake´s whole mission! In my first week! Those are like standards that we try to achieve. And we had a baptism! On my first Saturday! Wow, the Lord really blessed me! Just to give you an idea, we taught about 43 lessons and had 15 new investigators this week!

I had pictures of the Baptism, but I forgot my USB cord at home, so I´ll have to send pictures next week!

So we have a baptismal date set for every Saturday of every week including General Conference Saturday every week until the 23 of October except for the 16 right now I think.

I really have been blessed beyond measure, because this area was not having success earlier, and I think my companion has been working here for two transfers already, and his work set everything up so that we could have so much success when I got here. We´re also teaching a couple of families. One of them we taught last night. It's a Dad, a Mom, and two kids, age 12 and 8. The Dad's name is Victor. It is such a privilege to be a representative of Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to teach an entire family as they sit together before you. Wow, if I could have the privilege to bring them to the knowledge of their Savior, and see them be sealed together as a family for Eternity, that would be priceless. I was thinking about that today, and that would truly be something that never ended. That would be happiness, and a difference in someone's life, joy that would never end. Oh, I hope that I can be a part of that, bringing a family into the Gospel, so that they never fall away.

So I didn't get to baptize on Saturday, but his name was Bryan and he is about 12 I believe. The funny part was, we had one baptism, but in Church on Sunday Morning we had two confirmations. A boy showed up that got baptized about two months ago! I guess he had never been to church since!

So that is so sweet that Elder Hyde is getting trained by Elder Taylor!

Oh, I saw Elder McBride again at Transfers! He gave me a tie! Transfers are why I couldn't email you, because in the MTC we had Thursday Preparation Days, and in the field their on Mondays. Transfers are on Tuesdays, and so I started in the field on Tuesday and this is my first Preparation Day!

I think that you can send letters in an envelope to this Miami Address, in fact, my companion says to use this one.

Elder Jeffrey DeSpain
SDQ 4102
2250 NW 114th Ave. Unit 1A
Miami FL 33172

Thank you so much for all that you do! I just want to say a little something in closing, I have grown to love the Song ¨I Know that My Redeemer Lives¨ Satan will work so hard to scare you and discourage you, he is really good at what he does. He will work so hard to get you afraid, but we have to recognize that that is how he works, through fear. Jesus Christ lives to silence all my fears! He lives, He lives, and He will always conquer Satan, we just have to look to Him!

I've got to go, sorry! I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hey! So I´m doing good! To answer a couple of your questions, we do get to go to the Temple every week, and it´s actually in English! Wow, how about that! Imagine that! Wow, so I've only got like five more days til I´m in the field too! It´s all flying so fast!

That´s awesome that you got to to go to the mountains again, I´m sure it was fun! I can´t believe you got a hold of Uncle Mark on his cell phone so Uncle Daryl could bring the keys back! Wow, sounds like a little bit of back tracking, haha. (Many in our family hike from the top down to the base of the mountain that our cabin is on every Labor Day. This year, the hikers got down the mountain about a mile into the hike before we realized that the keys to one of the vehicles we were trying to drive down the mountain were in one of their pockets! We were very lucky to reach one of them on a cell phone to let them know they had the keys we needed. Uncle Daryl made the mile hike back up to the top and hid the key behind a sign so that Aunt Eileen and Amanda could find it and drive the "keyless" vehicle down!)

So I was at the university last Preparation Day a week ago and we were picking up trash, and I was draggin our trash bag around, and it was pretty full, and apparently we had thrown something in it that had blue paint it. Apparently whatever it was broke, but we didn't know that. So it was really not a very nice or clean place, but there was this random one nice cement section with red paint and light posts and benches, like the nicest place I had seen at the university. I dragged the trash bag across it, and then I noticed blue paint on my shoe and on the ground. I looked under the bag and I found out that I had trailed paint across the whole thing! Oops, so I threw that bag away fast! haha!

So we have been getting some crazy rain here now, and it´s been pretty heavy and rough storms the last couple of days. But it´s been really quick storms and then it´ll just be sunny again.

I actually have no idea where I´m going or who my first companion will be or anything, I've just heard that we go to the chapel a little ways from here, and they have transfers there and then we go to our areas.

So when you get your next email, I´ll be in the field! I have heard that President Antivillo is really rewarding for obedience, so I hope that I can be a good missionary for him. I hope that he thinks that I´m an OK elder and that I can do this work.

I think it would be sweet if I get to be trained with Elder McBride! That would be crazy! It would be so fun! It will be so interesting to see where the Lord wants me to go and what work He has planned for me. (We keep hoping that maybe, by some chance, Jeff's first companion in the field (trainer) could be our friend Elder McBride. I know it's a long shot, but we can hope . . . I know the Lord will send him wherever he is supposed to be!)

I hope that I can represent the Lord and do it worthily. I so badly want to to have His peace in my life all of the time. I want to have His spirit with me, to do His work with confidence in myself. I´m so grateful for the Atonement. There is nothing more priceless than the peace that comes from being in line with the teaching of the Savior and the Gospel. It will be priceless to see that peace come into someone else´s life and to see them change for eternity, what a privilege! I´m so grateful for the Lord and His love for me. I have a picture of the Savior with a smile on His face and I keep it in my pocket. I try to remember that He´s watching over me, and that I´m trying to follow Him. I´m so grateful for His love for me and for all of us.

I love you so much! Thanks so much for all that you do and continue to do for me! Please keep me in your prayers, I love you!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Thursday, September 2, 2010


First off, we haven´t even heard of a Hurricane Earl, so no need to worry, we had some rain and wind this week, but nothing else. We´re completely fine and I never even would have known about it if you didn't tell me!

So yes, I just saw Elder McBride yesterday! He was here for his Temple trip and I was actually inside the MTC across the street, so he sent someone up to get me! I went down and talked to him. He is doing great! He thinks that his companion is going to get transferred this next transfer, so maybe I could be with him! Haha, I don´t know about that, but it was awesome to see him! He said that there were a lot of elders from Arizona here, and I saw another one, Elder Senderhaus, he played basketball at Red Mountain. (We are soooo excited that Jeff and our friend Elder McBride were able to see each other! We have been waiting for that opportunity to happen and we consider it a tender mercy for us as his parents!)

Speaking of Arizonans, one of the counselors in the Area Presidency is named Elder Anderson, and he is from Mesa! He is here and he spoke to us in a large group meeting on Tuesday, he asked me what my Dad´s name was and what my Grandpa´s name was, but he never said if he knew them, so I don´t know that he does. And there´s a couple other Arizona Elders in the group as well. I don´t know if I told you that, but there´s Elder Jordan Holt who played us in basketball several times while he went to Red Mountain High, so I've been to several events where he was, and there´s Elder Kleiner, he played football at Red Mountain, so I've been at a game or two with him too, but I had never met them before!

NO WAY! Elder Taylor and Elder Hyde, sweet! I took some pictures with Elder Hyde before I left the Provo MTC, they were by the Provo Temple, so that was sweet. And I've got to take some pictures here, but I can´t send them, I have to wait until later. We´re not allowed to use cameras here, only once and once again when we leave. So you´ll get some pictures in a while, haha. (We just wrote Jeff to tell him that one of Jeff's friends from our ward, Elder Jake Taylor is training another one of Jeff's friends from Mesa, Elder Quentin Hyde! They don't know each other but they are both serving in the Philippines.)

This week was pretty normal. We had a great experience during our university experience last week. We got to place all of our pamphlets, we did really well, and at the end we had like five minutes left, and we went and tried to talk to one more guy while some of the Elders gathered up getting ready to leave. We talked to him and he was actually learning English at the university. We placed a pamphlet with him and another guy walked by while we were there and he yelled something at us about Jose Smith which is Spanish for Joseph Smith. We didn't understand, but the guy that we were talking to was able to translate, and he said that the other guy wanted a pamphlet, so we gave him one also! Very simple, but another example of the Lord putting people in our path.

Ok, so it looks like I´m leaving a week from Tuesday in the morning, then I´ll be in the field! Wow, way soon!

Mom, thanks for what you said, I am so grateful for a righteous Mother in my life. I pray that I am worthy and that the Lord is pleased with me just as you said. I would love to live in peace knowing that. That´s all that I want, is to always stand worthy before Heavenly Father.

I love you all so much! I love you and I´ll write you!

Elder DeSpain

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hola! I got your email and I had the chance to read it early today! I also got a bunch of dearelders and some letters last night, thanks for all of the mail! Wow, I can't believe that Shawn has already given his talk! And Trent will be leaving soon! I can't believe how fast time is flying, it is unreal to think that it will be September in like five days. Wow, I'm getting close to the field! That's crazy!

So Leah hurt her ankle at Jumpstreet too, huh? Which one? I hurt my right one, so if it's her right one too then we really are just cursed. Well, you know, maybe I hurt my tendons and ligaments too, we don't really know because they just took an x-ray. I guess I was just more of a man about it than Leah, haha, JK Leah! I know that those hurt really bad and definitely use the crutches! Ah man, if I could do that over again I would so use the crutches! It makes such a difference in the healing of your ankle, if you don't use them, then your ankle will hurt for waaaaayyy longer! (Three of our kids have gone to Jumpstreet. Two of them came home with ankle injuries - Jeff and now Leah. Our family probably shouldn't go to that place anymore!)

Oh I thought of one thing, please make sure that Mr. Hayward (Head Athletic Trainer @ Highland High) is on the email list, if you don't have it, please have Leah go to his classroom and ask him for it. In fact, you don't even need to because you can probably find it in my stuff or on the school website. Thanks!

Oh no, what a bummer for Kade! Ah, that stinks, I'm sorry, but I know he will just shake it off and keep going, he's got a great attitude! (Our cousin had a little fender bender with the car that he has only had for a couple of weeks. Everyone is fine. The car is the only thing hurt so that's a blessing!)

So we just got the native group of elders and the Latinos in today, so now the real Spanish starts. Almost everything will be in Spanish now, so I'll really start learning it now! We had a group of Haitians that were here, but they left on Tuesday and now we got the Natives and the Latinos in. The Haitians spoke French, so we couldn't practice Spanish with them.

We actually play basketball outside in the parking lot. It's pretty interesting actually because we play in the parking lot on three (two now that one is broke) rims and we're right in the shadow of the Temple. Not many people get to play basketball that close to a Temple!

We got to go to the store on Tuesday, so I got some food and it rocks to have snacks now! I heard that Dad told Grandma not to send me cookies every week! I can use whatever you got, so keep 'em coming! Haha! I'll be able to buy more snacks when I get into the field.

So I got my hair cut today and the barber said that the baseball league here is a big deal. I was talking to him in Spanish, so it was kind of hard to understand, but I think he said that the league is the one run my the MLB, so that's sweet! The MLB runs a winter league down here and I think it's classified in their minor league system, so I think that's a big deal here!

Tonight our district gets to sing a special musical number which is Army of Helaman in Spanish. I love the message of that song. I too have truly been born of goodly parents, better than I ever could have asked for. Not only have I been born of goodly parents, but I have been blessed to come from a long line of great people in a great family. I pray that I can honor the two names I wear on my tag, one representing all of my righteous ancestors who have come before me and most importantly one representing Jesus Christ, my Savior, my advocate, my hope. Everything I am, and everything I ever want to be and will be is in and through Him. He is the very reason I am alive and any hope or happiness that I have in this life is in every way because of Him. I pray with everything I have and that I am and ever will be that I can honor those two names, and most importantly the name of Jesus Christ. I want to serve Him with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength, I owe everything to Him. I know that He can work miracles in my life and He can work miracles through me. I want so much to serve Him with everything that I am and only look to Him, only follow Him.

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for you! All of my family and friends, I am blessed beyond measure. I love you so much!

-Elder Jeff DeSpain