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

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hey! I got your letters just now, but I still haven't been able to read them! I haven't had time because I just picked them up and then I'm here right now and we're going to the university to do some service after! Sorry, I did write you all letters though, but the problem was that it was before I got these ones.

So yes, that address will work for sending packages, Grandma already sent me a couple, so that rocked! Haha, so everyone should be getting a letter before too long.

That's so crazy about Taylor! Wow, I can't believe that the place he lives in is also the Church, wow! That's crazy, but I'm starting to see that that's how the Church sets up a lot of buildings here, like the one we live in, serveral purposes, not just as an MTC.

So ya, the food is way better here now I bet because it's catered! We do have rice and beans every lunch, but it's like way nice and there's meat with it! It's way good, just kinda weird because the big meal is lunch here, so it's a little weird when you go in for dinner and it's like a smaller meal.

Well, we're learning alot! We learn everyday and the gift of tongues has been prevelant! I can't believe how well I know the language, not that I know it well at all, haha, but we can teach whole lessons in Spanish, wow. The Lord is really blessing us! I can't believe that I've been out for like a month already! It's unbelievable! I wonder if Elder McBride will be my trainer, probably not. (Elder Taylor McBride is our friend that we have known for many years since he and Jeff were little boys. He is serving in the same mission as Jeff and has been out for almost a year now.)

So to answer your question, yes, I am the District Leader. Pretty much I have to run district meeting and tell the Elders what our tasks are and where we need to be, but other than that, not a whole lot different.

So we get gym everyday, and this week one of the elders in my district grabbed the rim on the basketball hoop, and it broke off! Haha, he was fine, but he fell all the way to the ground and he took the hoop off the basket! Wow, The Lord was watching over us that day, because that could have hurt someone!

I had a cool experience yesterday. We were teaching a practice lesson to a teacher here and afterwards, instead of giving us suggestions, she told us that what we had taught in this pretend lesson had actually really touched her and that the testimony that I shared she really needed in her life right then and then she thanked us. That was awesome!

The Lord has been so wonderful to me, He has broadened my vision. With Him, He won't let us fail. I'm so grateful for Him! He will always overcome evil and bad.

Thanks so much for all that you do! I love you so much! Thank you and I can't wait to hear from you! I love you and keep writing me! Thanks for praying for me! I really appreciate it and I can sure use it!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hey! Thanks so much! I love hearing from you. I"m going to try to answer your questions:

I just got the first letters last night, so the one that Dad sent didn't get here until last night. I got the package from Grandma the night that I got here and another one like two days later because I think she sent them like two weeks before I got here! The Spanish is coming great! I don't speak it all the time,but definitely more than in Provo, and I'm learning really well! I even had some natives that are cooks here tell me that my Spanish is really good! It's amazing to see the gift of tongues! I love it!

I'm a District Leader for our District! I can't believe it! WE have eight elders, Elder Getts (my companion), he's a great awesome elder from Montana with an unbelievable desire and will to work an improve and get better! I love working with him because he's so focused! We get a lot done! The other elders are Elder Curtis (Utah), Elder DeLeon (Texas), Elder Hatch and Elder Griffin (Utah), and Elder Brezek (Nebreska), and Elder Anderson (Utah). I have a great district, I just hope that I can lead them well. Sometimes I feel inadequate, but no one is inadequate with the Lord!

The food here is AMAZING! No offense, but especially after the BYU food at Provo! It's catered, and it's amazing! What happens is we live on the fourth floor of this building, and that floor is the MTC, or the CCM as they call it here! The cafeteria is down on the first floor and we go there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it's a little different because here the lunch is like bigger than the dinner., It's like the big meal of the day. It sounds like maybe they're not as into siestas here as I thought, ha ha :) My P_Day is Thursday, so expect to hear from me and write then, but please, keep writing me all the time I love hearing form you!

I didn't get to stay with Elder Holt, I got a new companion, and we have four to a room here again. It's awesome here though, we can listen to music! I love it, ha ha!

There's not very many missionaries here at all! We only have like forty here right now, and the whole MTC is one floor! We have a Mission President and his wife here, the Hendricks. So I guess that we're actually in the West mission, but my mission president lives in a high rise condo right next door! Ha Ha :) And the the area presidency lives there too! I don't know if you remember Elder Vinas of the quorum of the seventy, but he spoke in general conference and he came here on Tuesday and spoke to us! I got to meet him. I think the other counselors from the area presidency will be here as well to speak to us!

They have several Hatian missionaries here and they will be leaving gin three weeks and then we will be getting some Latino missionaries for the lat three weeks! That's when most things will switch to Spanish, ha ha! Better be ready!

We have class most all day, with some gym time outside. President Hendricks can shoot hook shots out there! And we're right next to the Temple. It's like a gigantic version of the Gila Valley Temple! We get to walk around it every day! The first and second floors of the building that we're in are housing for it! So when people come here, they stay in those floors and we stay on the fourth floor.

We get to go to the Temple on P-Days and we got to go to the University today and pick up trash! It was crazy, the streets are lined with trash here and their wires go all over the place. We've already had the power go out! but the Church doesn't mess around, they have a generator, so it comes back on soon.

We got to talk to a couple of people in Spanish today and it was crazy! They really do talk fast! Tomorrow we get to go to the university and talk to people!

I'd like to bear my testimony again. I know that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father live! They live, and they know us by name. If we will but be obedient to them, WE CANNOT FAIL! what great joy and confidence this can bring into our lives! We cannot fail, light will ALWAYS TRIUMPH OVER EVIL. We cannot be defeated with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father on our sides! He lives, and He blesses us every day. Fear truly is of the devil. Heavenly Father doesn't want us to fear, and we have nothing to fear with Heavenly Father on our side. HE won't give us something that we can't do. with him, all things are possible. I have to apply that in my life more. In 2 Nephi chapter 4, Nephi recognizes that his soul is drooping in sin for no reason. He know in who he has trusted! He knows that heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are with us. How great a cause!

I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you! I love you, and please write me all the time!

Elder DeSpain

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hey guys,

I'm here! Wow, it was such an experience! So after I talked to you guys we went and got something to eat, then we got on our plane a little while later. It was almost as big as the one that we flew on from Chicago to Dallas where there were seats in the middle! (Our family went to Nauvoo, IL this past Spring Break.) There were two seats on each side by the windows, then there were three seats in the middle. I was sitting in the middle on the left side by the aisle. I was actually surrounded by Elders this time, so I didn't talk to anyone about the gospel, I wrote in my journal and read the Ensign. (He told us on the phone from Miami that he was able to share a Book of Mormon and a pass-a-long card with a young lady on the flight from Dallas to Miami!)

We descended into Santo Domingo, and I was shocked at how small the airport was compared to all of the ones that we've seen. I could not believe that a Boeing 767 was landing at an airport like that, and that all of the international flights to the Dominican Republic come through there! It was unbelievable! So we got off the plane and went into the terminal. I was surprised that they would do this, but we had not received any direction from the Provo MTC when we left, we just received flight plans in the mail and they pretty much said "see ya", in fact no one in person talked to us before we left. We got into the airport and eventually figured out how to get through the security. Somebody picked us up and drove us down the highway and eventually we were in downtown Santo Domingo, then we saw the Temple! We're there, right next to the Temple in downtown Santo Domingo!

I'm here, I love you! Talk to you later!

Elder Jeff DeSpain

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I have my flight plans. I didn't bring them with me again! Ahhh! But my companion is right here so we're going to give it our best shot at what it is. We will fly into Dallas I think sometime betwen 10-12. And I think we will be in Miami at about 3:30 - 5:30. That's really rough, and I'll see if I can't get back to you with for sure times, but I'm not sure if those times are local to the area or to our starting destination if that makes sense. I think they may be telling us local times of where we will be when we are at the airports. I'm gonna try to get the for sure times though.

Things are going well! I had the priviledge of going to the Temple and doing an Endownment Session today. Wow, I felt such a great peace come over me as I was in the Celestial Room. I had been kind of struggling, and then I felt a great peace. There is a picture of Christ hanging in the Celelstial Room of the Provo Temple, and as I prayed to Heavenly Father, I finally felt peace as I felt my Savior and my Heavenly Father's presence. I also felt someone else's presence with me. I felt Grandpa again! I felt that he was there that he is with me, that he is proud of me! I"m so grateful that I have such a righteous Grandpa. I've been thinking this week about something that I learned this year in Institute. Our ancestors who have passed away are here and can see us and what we're doing and the choices that we're making. Sometimes they're disapppointed with the decisions we make. That's been a source of motivation for me. There are so many great people that have come before me in my family. They were righteous, wholesome people. I'm so grateful for the example that they left for me and I pray that I can be even part of the kind of person that they all were.

I also was reminded of another quote that I loved that I heard from my Institute teacher this year, Brother Bawden, which has been a good source of motivation for me. He stated the following: "The real hell is when the man you are meets the man you could have become." Wow, what great words of wisdom. I love that quote.

So I'll be heading out in two days! I'll be in a different country in two days for the first time in my life, wow! I'm not sure if they print off "Dearelder.com" letters down there, but I kind of think that maybe they do, so you may still be able to talk to me in the same day if you continue to use "Dearelder.com".

I just want to part with a portion of my testimony. I know that my Savior, my Redeemer, my Brother, even Jesus Christ lives. He lives! I testify of it this day! He lives, and we all have a loving Heavenly Father who lives and loves us too! He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what is best for us in our lives! When times get tough, I try to imagine my Heavenly Father embracing me in His arms, promising me that He won't let anything happen to me. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ were restored to the earth through him! How grateful I am for him! I know that by the Power of God Joseph translated the Book of Mormon. I know that that book is true. It is more true than any book on this earth! I promise you that you will grow closer to your Heavnely Father by abiding by the teachings of the Book of Mormon. The Gospel blesses families! How great it is that we can be together forever. How great is our God! He loves us so much! I am so blessed and so grateful for Him and His love for me. I know He hears our prayers! He listens to everything we pray for, He listens even when we're not praying. He listens to and knows our hearts. We are all children, when I think about it, we're all little children, not knowing as much as He does, but He will help us learn and grow and through us He can work miracles! Everyday He works miracles. Everyday He works miracles in my life. The simple fact that I can be happy is a miracle! Just look for it everyday, look for one thing that He has done for you and you will see that He truly can work a miracle in your life everyday! We have so much potential, I pray that I can live up to it and be the man that I can be.

I love you all so much, thank you for all that you do! I"ll call you from the airport! Don't worry if it's not till like 5 o'clock or later, I think we need to factor in time change because it's already an hour different here in Utah. I love you so much! Keep up the good work!

Elder Jeffrey DeSpain

Later Jeff sent the actual flight plans for Thursday (8/5):

He leaves Salt Lake City at 6:00 AM (5:00 AM AZ time).
He arrives in the Dominican Republic at 7:30 PM (4:30 PM AZ Time).