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!)