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