Monday, July 25, 2011

Baptism In The Ocean

Bon dia mi famia y amigunan!!

Happy birthday Leah!!!!!! I'm so sorry that I didn't say that last week. The 22nd! Wow, so now you're 17, that's a fun one!

Hey, before I forget, I was just wondering what was up with the new Nashville Tribute Band CD, did it come out yet?

We're really thinking that I'm going to be staying here at the end of the transfer because we don't think that they're going to white wash the whole island, haha. (Jeff's companion goes home at the end of this transfer in three weeks so we wondered if he would get a new companion or get transferred.)

Alright! Taylor got to give his homecoming? That is sweet! Tell him congratulations for me and thanks for everything that he did for me and the example he was for me. He helped me so much, I can still remember being new in the mission and receiving a comforting call from Elder McBride who was all the way out on the other side of the DR, but he still remembered me. I am so grateful for all that he did for me! (Our friend Elder McBride was able to report on his mission last Sunday. Unfortunately we were out of town that day so we didn't get to hear his report. We heard that he did a wonderful job!)

We did have a baptism in the ocean!!! Karen got baptized!!!! Wow, it was so awesome! I finally figured out from Elder Lecheminant a way to get my pictures, so I attached a bunch to this email. (Henry is "renovating" the blog right now so once he gets through his construction phase we will add the new pictures to the blog.) Sorry for all of the time without pics!!! The baptism was awesome, and then on Sunday, they asked me to do the confirmation. It was such an honor. It was the first time that I had ever done the confirmation! They are an awesome family! What a privilege to be a part of working with that family!!!

Wow, Jacob had to have surgery??? I hope that everything is ok. Wow, he is a real trooper!!!

To answer Dad's question, actually, the English Branch isn't online. Like in the Church's chapel finder thing online, it doesn't show up, only the one in O'stad, which is the Spanish Branch. So we hardly ever get tourists down in the English Branch, but we tried to put their chapel online, so now we're just waiting for it to show up. We get the tourists in the Spanish Branch in O'stad and they just wear the headphones and listen to the translation to English. The O'stad Branch could be a ward if it was in a stake, but the San Nicolas branch, the English one, really needs help, they only get about 30 at church every week. I would really like to spend some more time working down there. Maybe that will happen more next transfer.

Really quick. We went by the main Aruba Post office today and checked just to make sure that they weren't holding the big envelope thing that you sent to my Aruba address, but the guy even went into the back and couldn't find it. If you have a tracking number from it, they said that they can look at what happened to it, haha. But he did find a letter from Todd and Grandma, so it was really nice to get those! Oh, and they sent my mail and packages that have been waiting at the mission home in Santo Domingo on Friday I think, so those will hopefully be getting here really soon.

Sorry, but I'm running out of time. We are doing great here, we have another baptismal date with the mom of members who is going to get baptized this weekend, and then we have two more baptismal dates for two weeks from now.

Thanks so much for all that you do and I love you! Keep up the great work, and never lose hope. I've learned that lesson, that if we set our minds on being happy, on eternal goals, on living worthy of those goals, then we will some day come to that, because that is what the Lord wants for us! I love you all! Thanks for the updates! And tell Dad that I'm not allowed to get on my blog, haha, sorry!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Hump Day!

Bon tardi querido famianan y amigunan

Yes, I did hit hump day this week. We didn't do anything special. We had district meeting that day on Skype and Elder Holt typed in "Happy Year!". That was about it. (Elder Holt was Jeff's MTC companion who is serving on the island of Curacao now.) No, I still haven't had the birthday dinner yet, haha, but it's all good, it will come sometime when we don't have so much food.

I just saw the picture Dad attached to his email of Todd and Mom. Wow, Todd is tall! Or Mom is getting shorter, haha!

I didn't get any packages yet, but I did get a letter from Grandma Weech this week, thanks! I'm not sure what's up with the package you sent, but I'm sure everything will work out. Actually the mission office finally figured out that the church HQ in Santo Domingo sends stuff to our branch president's house every week, so it sounds like they might start to send our stuff from the mission home to us down here through DHL. I'm not sure if that will be an ongoing thing, but I think that it will at least get what is already in the mission office now down here to me. One other thing is that you have to put "The Dutch Caribbean" at the bottom of the address when you send it. Apparently there is an Aruba in Africa somewhere, and the things can get sent there to that country if you don't put "The Dutch Caribbean". (We did put The Dutch Caribbean on our package, so . . . apparently even when you include that in the address packages go somewhere other than Aruba for a LONG time!) Sorry the mail system is such a mess, haha. But, don't worry about it for now, I'll be fine until I can find the other packages. Sounds like our new President will be coming down to the islands in August so that will be sweet!

Karen's family decided on this weekend for her baptism, so hopefully she will be baptized on Saturday. Also, we are just waiting on an interview for Marisol, and then she should be ready to go, so we hope that she can be baptized this weekend as well, but if not, then soon.

We had a great day in church yesterday, members brought friends! That is always awesome! We are also teaching a part member family who came to church. The wife is inactive and the husband is actually like Hindu. I don't even think that he believed in God before, but he is doing so awesome! He is progressing so much, and they came with their baby to church yesterday, and it would just be so great to see him get baptized and see them go to the temple. Wow, that would be truly amazing and a miracle!!!

We actually don't have a baptismal font while they are doing construction on the Church building in Oranjestad, because we're not supposed to be in the building while they do renovations, so we will have to use the world's biggest font!! The ocean! That is soooo cool!!

Morice told us that he can't do anything this month, so he is for the most part done, but that's alright, the Lord has blessed us with a lot of people who are progressing greatly so we will use our time there for now!!!

I can never get this camera to work, it will come up when I use the camera, but only after messing with it for a few minutes, so I will buy a card here, like Dad told me, and then I will try to send this one home when President comes down in August. Sorry, I have some sweet pictures, and I wish I could send them home!!

Hey, did you get to talk to Sister Halbert yet about the Lee's? We actually gave a blessing to a husband of a member from Bonaire that is here in the hospital with Dengue fever. That's nasty stuff, it looks really bad. So, the Lee's actually called us this week, just thought that was kind of cool. (The Lees are the senior couple serving on the island of Bonaire right now. They know Scott Halbert who is a good friend of Jeff's. He is currently serving a mission in Palmyra New York. I called Scott's mom Lila Halbert and found out that the Lees on Bonaire are not the Lees we knew from Gilbert 12th Ward years ago. They are Terry and Linda Lee - Scott's aunt's mother-in-law and father-in-law! Fun! Mystery solved!)

I love you all so much and I thank you very much Mom for what you said. I got my hands on a Doctrine and Covenants study guide this week, and I learned something from it, I think it must have been a quote from a past apostle or prophet, but it said basically that fear is the absence of faith. I had never thought of it that way, but it is that simple, fear does not come from Heavenly Father, it comes from when we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ. So let us "look and live". Because as I was taught earlier in my mission, "whenever we are looking to the future with Jesus Christ in it, in our sight, then there is always light." How grateful I am for that counsel that a very wise man gave me in my mission.

I love you all!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, July 11, 2011

Visit To Curacao Was Awesome!

Bon tardi di Aruba mi famia y amigunan!!

We had such a good time in Curacao!!! It was awesome!!! We flew out Sunday night and flew back in to Aruba early Tuesday morning. (Tuesday was Jeff's birthday so I asked him if he did anything special that day.) It was a good day, but completely normal for the most part, haha. We just worked and a lady brought us some fajitas. She brings us food every once in a while. Those were good! No, I didn't get to use the money you sent for a birthday dinner yet, still waiting on that, but that's alright, it'll come when we don't have food in the house, haha.

(We asked about Jeff seeing his old MTC companion Elder Holt on Curacao and how things were in Curacao compared to Aruba.) It was sweet to see Elder Holt again. We may actually be companions at some point. Curacao is actually more green than Aruba, and it's about twice as big. It was sweet! We got to play dominoes right one the coast. There is a huge stretch of rocky coast, so we set up a table a little ways away and we played dominoes, it was sweet. There is only one companionship over there, so us and them are the only companionships in our district! They actually have two cars also, but one of them doesn't have a battery, haha. Their house is sweet, it's big, but ours is probably a little bit nicer, we are way blessed!

Karen didn't get baptized this last week, but we got her interview done, so she is already to go. Now the only thing that we're waiting on is for the family to choose a date to do the baptism.

We do have some new people. Last week we found a lady named Anna. She lives by a member, and the member had already given her "the Testaments" movie in the past, and she has already been to church twice, so she is ready to be taught. We have some others who are getting close. There is a lady named Marisol who has been an investigator for a long time who is getting close to baptism. She has some doubts, I think it's mostly that she is afraid she will mess up after her baptism and not be perfect. We had a good visit with her this week and really helped her solve some doubts and recognize that those doubts don't come from Heavenly Father. We will hopefully be putting a baptismal date with her soon. We are doing good, just have a lot of people to visit, and we need to find some more! Haha.

I got two letters this week from Grandma DeSpain!! But no letters from you yet, sorry! One of them got here pretty fast, like in about 15 days I think. So, if you sent the letter to the same address as both Grandma's now have, I think it should work out, at least I hope it will! Everything will work out though. We don't know yet when President will be coming down, but we will hopefully know soon.

Thanks so much Mom, ya, this week is the hump day, haha. Hopefully that means that I'm a little better than I was a year ago. I felt way better this week. I'm not sure what I had, it was probably some long food poisoning from Taco Bell or something. But I'm good now, so don't worry Mom.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here in Aruba. This is truly a privilege and blessing I never thought that I would have. I have been blessed beyond measure with a once in a lifetime privilege. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, my home. I truly am the most blessed man in the world! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I owe everything I have to Him. He made happiness possible for me. He is allpowerful and I know He can overcome anything. I feel that I have learned a little bit more on my mission what it means when it says in D&C 88:6(I think) that Christ descended below all things. I think we all come to a point in our lives when we feel like no one understands us, no one knows what we are going through, or maybe we feel like no one cares much about our trials. What I have learned is that we are never alone, and there is always someone who not only cares about what we're going through and loves us, but there is someone who knows personally what it feels like to go through what we're going through, someone who knows what our own Gethsemanies feel like, and that is Jesus Christ. He descended below all things, and conquered them all. He knows every pain, sorrow, fear, or trial that we feel in this life, and He is always there with His Hand outstretched to put us on our feet again and walk alongside us. How grateful I am for Him and the hope that He can bring into our lives. I testify that He does live and does walk alongside us, and that if we trust Him, He will carry us through our trials, and the blessings will come!

I love you all so much, sorry, more camera problems, so I only got one picture in of Curacao!

Love you!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bon Dia di Curacao!

Wow, we are on the island of Curacao!!! It is awesome here!!! We are going to have to go on a vacation down here when I get back! We will come and visit Aruba and Curacao! We are with Elder Welch and Elder Holt right now, it is awesome!!! (Elder Holt was Jeff’s companion in the Provo MTC!) We flew out of Aruba last night on a big commercial plane and it was literally like a twenty or thirty minute flight, the shortest flight of my life! Haha, and we actually sat on the plane behind a couple from Tucson!! What a coincidence. I don't think that they were members though, they didn't seem to want to talk too much.

I haven't received anything besides the letter from Grandma Weech, but it's all good! I'm just happy to have the opportunity to be here in the islands! Well, I would probably say to wait until a package makes it here to me in Aruba so that we know for sure if the mail thing will work sending it here. I'm pretty sure that it will cost to receive things at President Gonzalez's home, but we could definitely do that if we needed to. I think they're pretty full in Santo Domingo with my packages that are waiting to come to me, and the other thing is that I kind of need to keep my church account free of package charges, because it's a little tough to keep track of money in that account here in Aruba. So we will wait until the garment package shows up, and then I will let you know, hopefully next week. But thanks so much!!! (We are having quite a hard time finding a good way to get things to Jeff in Aruba. None of the birthday packages/letters we have sent for the past month/six weeks have made it to him yet. I guess he must be wearing "blue striped" garments or washing more often because none of the replacement garments have made it to him either. :) Thank goodness for email so we can stay in touch with him that way!)

To answer Dad’s question, we actually never got to Skype with President Antivilo before he left and we still haven’t gotten an email from the new President, so we will hopefully be talking to him soon. I think that the new president should be coming down here this transfer sometime from what the AP’s have told us. Wow! You can get fireworks there now, huh? I forgot about that. That will be so sweet when I get back. Can you get bottle rockets? I bet you give mom fits when you buy those things, haha! Does she not like them? I hope she does like them because that’s one of the things I want to do when I get back now that it’s legal in Gilbert!

Well, we are still in about the same position with a lot of people. The thing is that there are a lot of people that we can only meet with like once a week, and there are a lot of people with addiction issues, and then there are a lot of people who just don't feel ready to be baptized. We have a lot of new people who just came to church for the first time too, so that is sweet! We are probably going to have a baptism of a member’s granddaughter named Karen. She is 9 and knows sooo much!!! She is way smart. That could be this Saturday or next Saturday. We are going to see. Sorry to be so brief, but I'm almost out of time.

I got sick this week, but we were still able to go out every day. I was sick for like four days, but I think we only lost like an hour or two total of proselyting time. It’s all good!

I actually got to translate yesterday in church using a headset, it was way sweet!!! I loved it.

I am so grateful for where I came from and the family that I have. I have been so blessed by unbelievable examples in my life. I am so grateful to have lived in an area where the church and it's members are so strong. I am so grateful to be in the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves us. I know that He can overcome ANYTHING. If we will just believe Him and move forward putting one foot in front of the other everyday, He can and will heal us, sometimes so subtly that we don't notice it.

I love you!

Elder DeSpain