Monday, February 28, 2011

Elder McBride and Elder DeSpain are now in the same district!

Saludos queridos famila y amigos!

A good week here in the warm winter Dominican Republic!

Wow, so it hailed in Gilbert? That's crazy, it sounds more like a touch of snow! Wow, is it still cold there in Arizona?

Bob (It's a long story, but "Bob" is the nickname we sometimes use for Scott!)hiked Picacho Peak? Sweet! I love that hike man! They have an old bridge that you cross at the top that is sweet! We went down there over spring break of my senior year just me and a couple buds and we hiked it, it was sweet! Haha, Scott acts like me? That's funny, because I think I've only shown a picture of our family to one Dominican, and they told me that Scott looks a lot like me! Haha, that's funny! (Scott went on his first overnight scout campout and one of the leaders who also went on campouts with Jeff in years past told Henry that Scott reminds him so much of Jeff on campouts.)

Thanks so much Mom! (We sent a package with another new pair of shoes and some other things Jeff needed.) We just got the transfer call this morning, and Elder Jackson is being transferred to an area in a zone called Osama, and I am staying here and a Dominican Elder named Elder Clausen is coming here. He sounds like an awesome Elder! And, you know how Elder McBride is in my zone, well, they are changing the districts up with this transfer, and Elder McBride is my new District Leader!!!! How awesome is that, to get to work in the same district with Elder McBride! Wow, how awesome!

This transfer will be awesome! There are so many people who are so ready to hear this Gospel here in La Cienaga, and I hope that me and Elder Clausen can find them and help them come unto Jesus Christ and receive even more blessings for the faith that they already have.

The Dominican People have so much faith, they are so ready to receive the Gospel, they just need to put their faith into this Gospel, and then they will receive the blessings that everyone is looking for in this life, lasting peace and happiness which come from the promise of Eternal Life.

We are working with a guy and his family named Enrique, and he is an awesome guy! He has had some problems with drugs in his life, and I think it may have actually had some lasting effects on him, but he is so awesome! It seems like every time we pass by his house, he is reading the Book of Mormon! And he is going to church and he asked us in one of our last visits when he was going to get baptized! I hope soon. They have a picture of the Temple in their house, and he actually ended up at the the Temple on accident this weekend while he was looking for a different building, and he really liked it and wants to go there in a year! Hopefully we can get that year started soon! They still have to get married, so we're going to have to start working on that next.

Two ladies showed up at Church yesterday that I had never seen. I didn't have a lot of time to get to know them because I had to talk to them in between hours of church and President Antivillo was at church with his wife. But, I got their information and later we went by and visited them. We actually met with them separately, and when we met with the second lady, she told us that they had been trying for some time to visit the Church. They had seen it and they had been trying to visit for some time, but every time they passed by, the church was closed. But this Sunday morning when they passed by, it was finally open, so they went in! Wow, how amazing that is, people who were literally looking for the Church! I haven't had very many experiences like that. One of the ladies is named Maria, and she has so much faith. She has lost several family members within the last few years, and she actually started crying when she was talking to us about them, but she has so much faith. She knows that it's all part of Heavenly Father's Plan, and she has faith in Him! Now she just has to use that faith to pray to know if this is the true Church and she can start progressing towards having the blessing of an eternal family in the Temple! What a privilege it is to be a representative of the Lord in situations like that!

I know that sometimes we have really hard times in our lives, and sometimes it just feels like we don't know if we can go on, like we're just worn out and done, the tank is empty, and we just don't know how we can go on. But when those times come and the discouragement comes with them, we can't give up. We have to remember the Lord, Jesus Christ and that He knows where we are. If we look, we will find Him standing next to us. He is always there, and He always knows how we feel. That helpless moment, that breaking point, the times when we just don't know how we're going to go on or how long this will last, in these moments of discouragement, helplessness, and maybe even hopelessness and loneliness, Jesus Christ is there, He is there and He knows how we feel. And Heavenly Father won't give us a trial that we can't make it through faithfully. We cannot be conquered if we have faith in Jesus Christ, for He has conquered the World. So whoever you are, and wherever you may be, don't you give up. Relief, peace, and your reward are closer that you think. Don't forget to pray!

I love to relate the Gospel to sports, and I was blessed during high school to get the opportunity to work with the schools football team, and I daresay that I've seen a few other football games in my life. I think one of my favorite analogies is what I call hitting the pile. Many times, in a running play, the ball handler will run into the opposing defense, but will not quite be tackled, just what we call stood up. Other defenders will fly in and try to aid in the tackle of the ball handler. There can easily be a situation with the ball handler being stood up with two or three defenders trying to tackle him. In this moment, the ball handler's progress is rapidly impeded and slowed down. But what the ball handler has to do is keep moving his feet. He should never stop moving his feet. Sometimes it seems like he isn't going anywhere, just staying in place pushing against a wall of defenders. But if he doesn't stop moving his feet, he can get one more yard. That yard can be the difference in a game. That can be the difference between a first down and a turnover, a touchdown or a field goal, a win or a loss. I think we can take a great lesson out this. When we hit the piles of defenders in our life, if we keep our feet moving, even though it's hard, if we keep walking, we will always win, because Jesus Christ will always push us that extra yard!

I love you all so much!

Elder DeSpain

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elder Nelson Visited Us!

Saludos Familia y amigos!

Well, we had three baptisms on Saturday, and it was great! I attached a picture of it. We baptized Carlos Manuel, who is 18, Wellington, who is 18, and Rubi, who is like 14 I think. It went great! Carlos Manuel is on fire! He already wants to serve a mission, and he is already teaching the restoration! He is so good, giving us references and everything!

On Saturday we had a special conference with Elder Nelson from the Quorum of the 12! It was awesome, I got to shake his hand! And then, our stake got to have a special conference with him on Sunday, so we got to hear from them again. We also got to hear from two members of the Seventy who are here in the Caribbean Area Presidency, Elder Anderson (He is from Mesa) and Elder Coleman. It was fantastic! Great messages!

Today we had P Day because we got to go to the Temple this week! So P Day got moved to Wednesday. I felt such a great peace there, a peace that I haven't felt in a long time. It was so uplifting and strengthening. The blessings of the Temple are amazing!

I also got to go eat with Elder McBride and for the first time ever, we ran into Elder McGlothin from Gilbert! He ate with us too! We had Pizza Hut! Elder McGlothin and I were scripture buddies in seminary! It was awesome to have us three together! I attached a picture of us three too!

Before I forget, there are a few things that it would be awesome if you could send me. I don't need them by any stretch of the imagination, it would just be nice to have them.

A hammock would work perfect at our house right now. A haircutting kit, a razor and the clip on settings would be great to cut my hair often and for free! And last, has the Nashville Tribute CD come out yet? If so, that would be sweet!

My testimony of My Savior has been strengthened so much on my mission. You know, when I was younger, I would go to church every week, and I think close to every week I must have heard someone testify from the pulpit that they knew that Jesus Christ lived. But I didn't understand what that meant. I just thought that that was great and didn't really understand what that meant. Jesus Christ was crucified for us, and when He was in the Garden, He took upon Himself every single thing we will go through and feel in this life. He took upon Him every single fear, doubt, sin, chastisement, and transgression that we will ever feel upon Himself. We all feel alone sometimes, we all have times in our life when we think that there isn't anyone else who understands how we feel or what we're going through, but He went through something no one will ever know what it was like, and He did it alone, so that we wouldn't have to be alone. He was crucified, but He rose again. He lived again and He lives still, and that means that not only did He take all of those things upon Him, but He conquered every last one. With His Resurrection, everything was conquered, even death, as long as we come unto Him. He lives, and that's what it means, it means that we are NEVER alone and that He is always there, ready to help us and give us peace. I testify that He lives, and it means the world. I hope that I can keep a better understanding of that phrase in my life from here on out. When someone testifies that Jesus Christ lives, it means the world! It means peace, happiness and hope. So, I will echo the words of the Apostle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in saying that when Gethsemane's of our own come, don't you stop walking! Keep going, and He will deliver you!

I love you all so much!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Scott!!!


Haha, well Mom, let me just say that you have nothing to worry about, The Lord is watching out for us, and even if we get robbed a couple of times, that's a small price to pay for the Kingdom of God, right? Actually, to be honest, I bet Brother Richardson would be surprised if you told him that we live in Los Guandules. It's quite the experience down here. But don't worry Mom, because I'm not worried. (Brother Richardson is the young guy in our ward that served in Jeff's mission just a couple of years ago. When I told him where Jeff had been transferred to, he was kind of quiet like maybe he was deciding what would be appropriate to share with a missionary's mom. I already knew from another conversation with Brother Richardson that Jeff's first area of Guachpita was one of the two areas in the mission with the highest gang crime problems, so when Brother Richardson was so quiet when I told him about Jeff's next transfer to La Cienaga, I was pretty sure that wasn't a good sign! No worries though . . . apparently Jeff says he is just fine!)

Brother Richardson is exactly right. Los Guandules and La Cienaga are on the hill coming up from the Ozama River, then Guachupita, and then Maria Auxiliadora, all going uphill from the river.

The shoes are fantastic!!! In fact, they're all that I wear, so I'm really sorry, but being the condition of my others, could you send me a pair just like these ones you just sent, they're awesome!

Oh, the Mehrs must be serving in the entire Caribbean area of the Church! Haha, Jamaica isn't in our mission, but they are probably based here in Santo Domingo. I think I remember her saying that, and that is because the Church Headquarters for the Caribbean Area is in Santo Domingo, how lucky are we?!!

Wellington and Carlos Manuel are doing so good! They're going to get baptized this week! Wow, Carlos Manuel is doing so great! We always find him reading the Book of Mormon, and now he and Wellington both have white shirts and ties, so they are looking good! They came to Church, and Carlos Manuel was giving prayers and reading, man, they are doing so good! Wellington's Mom and Sister came and Carlos Manuel's brother came too! They are great missionaries! They are doing great, and we're hoping for the families to get baptized too, but we need papers for Wellington's Mom, and we need to start teaching his Dad too.

I think we actually ran into the Branch President's mom and we are now teaching her too! She is awesome. The Branch President said something about it from the pulpit in church on Sunday, and I think it's his Mom!

I love you all so much and Happy Birthday to Scott Jay E´Spain, Big Boy, Brother! (That is what Scott used to call himself when he was little!) I love you buddy, and there's a card on the way.

Keep up the great work, and if you're going through hard times in your life, hang in there, and remember that your Savior and Redeemer lives, that phrase means not only that He has conquered death, but He has conquered your struggles as well, and relief is closer than you think. I testify as well that He lives.


Elder DeSpain

P.S. I think I need another SD card so I will have an extra.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yes, we have running water!!!


The packages got here! On Thursday I got five packages! Thank you soooo much! The shoes are great and we are loving the cereal, from both you and Grandma! Thanks so much to both Grandmas for the packages, I have not thanked you enough! I really love you!

Our water did get hooked up. What happens is that water doesn't always run into the house, only during the mornings sometimes. So the guy hooked up a pump that runs that water up to a big tank on the roof that holds our water called a tinaculo. Then, the water is fed down through another tube connected to the water for the faucets in the house, so now water goes in everything! Its really nice, like a real house! So we are doing great now! And yes, our apartment is pink, haha! But its awesome, a great blessing from The Lord!

Wow, Scott, you're tearing it up on the basketball court buddy! Keep it up! Did you know that I never scored more than four points in a game until I was like a Sophomore? You are doing great! Keep it up! I cant wait to see how you're doing when I get back! (We told Jeff that Scott is playing WHAM basketball for the first time this year and he really likes it!)

I actually don't know the Mehrs, but ask the Petersons if they're in the ABC Islands, because I know that there is a senior couple down in one of the islands down there. That couple is actually the only missionaries on the island! (The Petersons in our old ward have a brother in law and his wife serving in Jeff's mission and wanted us to ask Jeff if he had met them yet.)

Thanks so much for getting the money taken care of Mom! I really appreciate that! Well, I think the most fun thing that I spent my Christmas money on was today at a place called Los Tres Ojos, which are like 3 underground lakes, really cool! We went in there, and then there was this one guy in there who would climb up to this ledge of the cave and jump off if you paid him like 300 pesos, which is like 10 bucks. So, we said, its only like three bucks a person, and we paid him, and then he went over and climbed up to this ledge about thirty feet up the cave, and he jumped off and did a dive, it was sweet! He said that he has been doing that for 54 years! And he is 61, so since he was 7! Crazy, huh!

Wellington is doing great! He came to church again this week with a friend named Carlos Manuel, They are both 18 and have a friend in the Church named Jensi. Now they both have fechas for the 19th of this month. That will be so awesome, they want to serve missions, so in a year there will be three missionaries! They are awesome! Wellington's family also came to church, well, at least his mom and his sister, so they are doing great!

(We asked if he ever gets to go to the temple in Santo Domingo.) The Temple is close, but we still haven't had the opportunity to go since I have been out in the field (middle of September). We will be going the 23rd of this month. I will get to go with the families that I work with who get baptized, but I haven't had any that are able to go to the temple yet because I haven't been here long enough yet. We are always searching for new families to teach. We've got one right now that we're just waiting on papers with.

Thanks for all that you do and all that you have done for me. Never forget that The Savior lives, and that means that He can conquer whatever is in your life and give you hope!

Elder DeSpain