Monday, June 27, 2011

We Are Doing Fantastic Here In Aruba!

Bon Tardi!!

Well, we are doing fantastic here in Aruba, blessed as always.

Thanks for sending the package!! I think it will probably just come to the landlords here and then I can get it from them. We'll see how it works. Yes, those charges are from me!! I got new shirts, and then I got a legitimate Aruban flag with the birthday money, so thanks so much!!!!

Well, for all the missionaries in the Dominican Republic, they all had a President P-day and President did a special p-day with each zone or a few zones at a time to say goodbye, but we weren't able to get anything, so we will wait for the new President. We actually don't know when we're going to get to see him. But the people in the English branch down in San Nicolas said that they might be doing a Skype conference with him on Thursday night, so we might be able to meet him there. Other than that, we really don't know anything. (Jeff's mission is getting a new mission president tomorrow. We asked him how that all works, how the President Antivilo says goodbye to everyone and how everyone gets to meet the new president. Looks like he missed out on the goodbye conferences because he is in Aruba. I guess that's the price you pay for having air conditioning to use at night!)

I actually just got to talk to someone last night who is from AZ. They are friends or relatives of the Halberts. So the ABC islands consist of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. There are Elders on Aruba and Curacao, but there is only a senior couple on Bonaire. They are named the Lee's, and we actually got to call them last night and it ends up that they know Scott Halbert and get his emails sometimes!! They are from the 12th ward in the Val Vista Stake. Way cool!!!! (Can't wait to check this out because we knew some Lees when we were in the 12th Ward many years back when Jeff was just a baby. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it is the same people!)

There is also a missionary going back to the Dominican Republic and a new one coming out to the islands, and guess who the new one is, Elder Holt!!!! My MTC companion!!!! No way!!! It would be sweet if we ended up becoming companions!!! The other elder that went back to be a Zone Leader is Elder Hunsaker, he's a great guy!

Well, most of our baptismal dates have fallen through, but that's alright, we're going to keep working. A lot of them will still get baptized, we will just have to put a new baptismal date. Morice actually still has some problems with the Word of Wisdom, so we're still working with him (We talk to him in English, he's one of the only one's we speak English to.)

Haha, we actually just had a Mormon family walk into our Internet center and say hi to us! That's way cool! They are here on vacation from Suriname, haha!

Ah, ASU Baseball didn't make it past the super regional? That's too bad, but that's still a good year. I heard that the BYU star got drafted 10th. Is he a member? That would be way cool. And aren't there like two Mormon guys running for president? wow, that would be so cool if one of them got elected!

Hey, so the next time that I write you it will probably actually be from a different island. We are going to have to leave for a day and come back so that Elder LeCheminant's 90 days will reset, sweet!!!!

Well, I am so grateful for the Gospel. Whether they know it or not, everyone in the world is searching for the same thing, they want to be happy. Many don't know it yet, but the only way to have happiness is through living the Gospel, and through the promise of Eternal Life. How blessed we are to have that knowledge. Jesus Christ has done so much for us, He has made it all possible. I am so grateful that He went down all of my roads personally, that He descended below all things, so that He is the light through all things (D C 88). I testify that He lives and He can conquer any trial, struggle, or difficulty in this world, if we will but turn around and focus our vision on Him. He is our light and life, He is always our hope. He can heal us, if we will but look to Him. How grateful I am for His sacrifice and His and our Heavenly Father's love for each one of us.

Sorry, camera is acting up again, so some of the pictures aren't very good or might be repetitive.

Elder DeSpain

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Most Blessed Missionaries In The Whole World!

Bon Dia Famianan y amigunan!

We are doing great here in Aruba, the most blessed missionaries in the whole world!!!!

I can't believe that the Massow's stopped by, that is sweet!!

President Antivilo's trip actually had to be cancelled because he did not have the time to come to the islands. So, the packages will be coming sometime with the new President, haha, but that's fine! I did get a letter this week from Grandma Weech. It came through Arabian mail. It was sweet! (We sent our birthday packages to the mission home as directed by Sister Antivilo and Jeff. Normally President A. brings packages to the islands on his normal visit (every six weeks) which was scheduled for June 15th. That trip didn’t happen because President A. didn’t have enough time to make the trip before he is released on the 28th. So, no birthday packages made it to Jeff. Bummer. They are probably sitting in the mission home and hopefully the new president will make a trip to the islands soon! Oh well . . .) On June 28th the New President officially arrives and President Antivilo leaves, they actually only have three hours together. Kind of crazy!

We are still working with Morice, he is like 33 I think, and Soledad, she is a little bit older, the mom of a member. They are both from here in Oranjestad. Morice is a great guy, he is making changes by himself, he just has the desire to do what's right because he has found that that is the only thing in this world that will bring him happiness. What a great experience to be able to see him and the changes in his life. We are a little bit afraid that he is still smoking, but he is doing great. We need to find Soledad again, because she wasn't there when we tried to pass by this week and she didn't make it to church yesterday, but we will keep working. There is actually a lady who has been investigating the Church for a year or more now and we just got the OK to have the Branch President do her interview (because there aren't any more missionaries on the island to do the baptismal interview) and hopefully she will get baptized this Saturday! She is a great lady. She had been waiting to try to get her husband to be baptized with her, but it looks like he is going to choose not to be baptized, but that's alright, we will move forward with her.

The Church in Oranjestad (Spanish Branch) is going to be renting a building while they remodel, but I still don't think I've seen it. In San Nicolas (English Branch), they have a house, but it's sweet, I attached a picture of the view from that church, sometimes you can see Venezuela from there!

(Henry asked Jeff is he dreams in Spanish.) Haha, I haven't noticed myself dreaming in Spanish yet, but who knows it could be happening. Right now we're talking a lot of English and all kinds of languages, so I'm not sure if that's going to start happening to me at this point, haha. Elder LeCheminant says that Papiamento is actually a dialect and not a language, but I say that it's the same thing!

I've been hearing about a fire in Arizona here, what's up? They told me that 40 houses were burned and one person died, that's pretty bad. Wow, another year without 4th of July on the mountain, wow! Well . . . it's a good year for it to happen . . . at least for me!

One quick thing, Elder L. put a pen through the washer with our whites, so I need to buy like five new white shirts, and I'll just do that here, and it would be really nice if you could send me some replacement garments, because those will be impossible to get here, haha. I don't care what kind of fabric. Right now I have dry lux, probably that or mesh.

Sorry, I am out of time, but I love you so much!

Thank you so much for all that you do. It seems like I learn more and more about how the Gospel will make us truly happy in this life. It is all because of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we start looking at the darkness, the unknown, what could go wrong, but what someone once taught me was that you have to turn around when that happens and look at Jesus Christ, he told me that when you are looking at a future with Christ, there is always light.

I love you so much!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well Wishes For Elder McBride!

Our good friend Elder McBride who served in the same mission as Jeff was involved in a very freak accident one week ago today. He and five other elders were at the local church to play basketball on p-day. Elder McBride opened a heavy, metal sliding gate so they could enter the church property. The supports for the gate were rusted and gave way so the gate fell and hit Elder McBride on the lower part of the back of his head causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head in a second place on the cement curb. There is much more to the story, but to summarize, Elder McBride was treated in the DR and then it was determined he needed to be brought to the states to receive more extensive care. He is home now and being treated at Barrows Neurological Institute. We have been impressed over the years with the top notch care available at Barrows so we know he is in the best spot possible receiving wonderful care! He is doing well, especially for the kind of trauma he has been through. Jeff loves Elder McBride and we love Elder McBride and his whole family! We are so grateful for the little miracles that the Lord has blessed us with in Taylor's situation and we continue to pray for his complete recovery!

We copied the entries from Taylor's missionary blog site about the accident into our email to Jeff this week so he could read them and have a better understanding of what has been happening with Taylor and how he is now. We knew Jeff would need to use most of his computer time reading those entries so his email this week is short as we anticipated it would be. He sounds great . . .

Hello Family and Friends,

I heard about Elder McBride when we called the APs this week, and I have been worried about him. He was one of the biggest influences on me in my whole mission. I am sorry, I'm going to have to make this very short because I am out of time.

Really quick, things are great here, we have a couple of baptismal dates, and those were ones that we put this week, a guy named Morice who has changed greatly and a mom of a member named Soledad.

To answer Dad's question, Papiamento is more like Spanish than English. I can read most of the excerpts from the Book of Mormon that we have in Papiamento now only having to look up a few words still. I'm starting to get the hang of reading it, but it's harder to speak, but I'm doing a little bit of that now too.

(Henry did some research and found that a man by the name of Jose Gonzalez was the first member in Aruba. He asked Jeff if Brother Gonzalez was still on the island anywhere. He also asked what kind of buildings the two branches on the island meet in.) That is soooo cool that you found that history about Jose Gonzalez! He is the Branch President up here in the Oranjestad Branch. I talk to that guy all the time!!! He is a way cool guy! The San Nicolas church is a big old house that sits right up on a hill there. You can see the refinery really well from there, and on a clear day you can see Venezuela!!! That is soooo cool! The church up in Oranjestad is actually a church building built by the Church, but we're moving out of it temporarily while they do a remodel and make it bigger.

I am so grateful that you sent me all of that information on Taylor. He is a great missionary, he did such a good job, and he did so many things for me and helped me so much! I am almost positive that he doesn't know what a big influence and help he was to me in my mission. I am so grateful for my lifelong AZ friend, and how he taught me how to be a good missionary. He is a great guy with a great testimony and love for the Lord. I am so grateful that I know Taylor and I'm really grateful that I had the privilege to serve my mission with him!

I am so sorry to be so short, I'm doing good, just out of time!!!! I love you and keep it up!!!

Elder DeSpain

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Visitors From AZ In Aruba!

Bon Tardi famia y amigunan!!!

Wow, things are going great here, and I have an awesome story about church yesterday!

First off, to answer your question, one Sacrament meeting is at 9:00 AM, and the other one doesn't start until like 11:30, so we go to the first one and Sunday School there, then we leave and drive down to the other one. You can actually see Venezuela from the second Church in San Nicolas, it's really cool! (There are two branches on the island and we asked if he and Elder LeCheminant are able to attend both or if they meet at the same time.)

Ok, so get this, yesterday there were like 20 American tourists that came to one of the branches, and one of them was a couple that lives five miles from us at home!!! Their names are Jay and Mary Massow. Jay actually does work with Uncle Mark!!!! It is so cool! They are going to call mom, well, the wife is, and they took a picture with me! That's way cool. We actually were just playing raquetball at the hotel they're staying at this morning for p-day, and they invited us to go to lunch, but we decided that we better not. Even though it's not really the members from here and it's not really eating in their house, we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, so we didn't eat with them, but they should be giving you a call!!!! (In Jeff's mission one of the rules is that they are not supposed to eat with the members in their homes.)

Papiamento is like the native language of the ABC islands, but almost everyone also knows Spanish and English, so we've done some teaching in English even!!! We have mostly done Spanish. It's kind of hard right now because Elder LeCheminant only has one more transfer than me down here, so he is learning Papiamento too, but he does way better than I do. He bore his testimony in both churches yesterday in Papiamento. I'm coming along. There is really only like one book that some Aruban guy wrote that is for English speakers learning Papiamento, so we both bought that one and that is what we use and sometimes we study it together, and we have a dictionary. And get this, the Book of Mormon is only partly translated in Papiamento, so it looks like a regular Book of Mormon, just smaller, and it says "selections" of the Book of Mormon, so we read that too. It is kind of cool, you'll just be reading through like 1 Nephi 5 and then you'll finish the chapter and it just jumps right to chapter 16. It's really cool. They only translated a few different parts.

They actually have water that you can drink out of the faucet here and there is always water and always electricity, but I'm not sure where it comes from. (Henry wanted to know where they generate the electricity on such a small island . . . it doesn't matter really to me where it comes from, I'm just glad it's there and available all the time! :)

Hey, to answer your question about the birthday package, send the package to the MISSION OFFICE IN SANTO DOMINGO anyway. It's fine. I think that it will be fine with President to bring three down instead of just two, we can work that out. What's up is that I don't know how the package would work out getting here to the Aruban address, plus we're not at home all day. I would tell you to send it to the Branch President's house here, but we don't have his address. You can give it a shot here, but I'm pretty sure DHL will charge me at the door.

One of the pictures I sent is of President and Sister Martineau with Tenerey when they were here, one is of the beach, and another of the downtown part. (The last two are on the blog now. The one of Tenery is a picture of a picture so it is pretty blurry.) I'm sorry to be so short, but I'm out of time! I love you so much!!!

Elder DeSpain