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