Monday, August 29, 2011

Tornado And Earthquake This Week!

Con bai di Aruba!?

Hello! Well, I'm not sure, but I think that the things that are happening here are from the hurricanes, haha. There has been some rain, but the craziest things were the tornado and earthquake. I don't know if word got out to you, but we had an earthquake here on Saturday, I think it was like a 4.6 from what someone told us. But it was not a big deal at all, so don't worry. We were teaching somebody and the couch and walls started to shake, but once we figured out what was happening, it was over. No damage or injury whatsoever, in fact I don't know if there were any damages on the whole island besides one car accident from someone who got scared. There was a tornado earlier in the week, but we didn't even know that it happened, haha. One morning we woke up and it was like raining really hard and we were just going about like normal, and then later that day we passed by a catholic church that is further north on the island and we noticed that all of the tiles were all over the place on the roof and two sections of the roof were completely missing, so we just said, wow, they're doing renovation on the catholic church, and then later, we found out that it had got ripped apart by a tornado!! But we are fine, like I said, we didn't even know that it had happened because it wasn't in our area, but some pretty crazy happenings this week haha!  (Henry found some information and a picture of the tornado damage at this link:  http://www.sxmislandtime.com/component/k2/item/15321-over-fifty-homes-damaged-during-early-morning-tornado-in-aruba.html )

We were able to set a baptismal date with Miriam, and we got her interviewed, so she will be baptized this Saturday, in the ocean!! It will be awesome, her husband is already a member, so in a year they will be able to go to the temple, and I so hope that they do and that I get the chance to see them there! It will be so awesome.

It was raining on Sunday morning, so it was a little bit harder to get some people to church, but we still had a very good day. We are still working with Daniel, and he seems to be progressing, so we are hoping for the best!

We also were able to find a couple of new families because of the reference of a member, and they are awesome, they had questions about Prophets in the Americas, so we were able to explain to them about the Book of Mormon, it was awesome!!

Awesome, I do not have that EFY CD you mentioned, so that will be perfect. With the pants, the waist works, so all I need is a size longer. That will be perfect because this type of pants has an adjustable waist, so that size works fine. It may be that they have just shrunk over time like you said, but I still think that I need a size longer, so that would be great if you could send pants one size longer. Thanks so much!

Well Bob, to be a head athletic trainer at a high school, you just need a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training and you need to pass a certifying exam if I remember right, but to be a trainer at a college or professional level, from what I understand you have to have a masters degree, and take the certifying exam. So I hope that that helps you out.  (Scott needed some information for a scout merit badge and we knew Jeff would know the answer so we asked him in our email this week.  "Big Bob" is Scott's nickname.  We called him "Big Bob" when he was young and actually pretty tiny and the name stuck for some reason.)

Wow, good for Leah, they are recommending that you do Barret? Well, it's a good program from what I understand, but it does sound like a lot more work. I met some people who were in it, and overall, it sounds like a lot of work. In fact, if it was me, I would probably just take normal classes instead of doing honors, but that's probably just because I wouldn't be interested in doing the extra work. I'm sure that it looks really good on a resume, but I would personally still go with the normal route and take normal classes I think. But don't let me pull you down if that's what you want to try to do. You have to do what makes you happy, and what you enjoy.  (He's answering an ASU question for Leah!)

Thanks so much for all that you do for me. I am so grateful for where I came from and the people that I know and the family that I am a part of. I'm so grateful for those who came before me and left a legacy behind for me. I have so many wonderful ancestors who were such wonderful people, and did such wonderful things for the Lord. I just pray that I can leave behind a portion of what they did.

It's amazing to see how simple the Gospel is. Really, when you look at it, the people who progress in life are those who keep the commandments, read their scriptures every day, pray every day, and go to church every week. Those are four simple things, and they probably sound like answers you hear every day in seminary or institute class, but those four things are part of the foundation of a Christ-like life. Those are four keys to our happiness here in this life, and in the next. I can see that with investigators as well as in my own life. Those things are like armor. We need the armor of God, and that is how we put it on every day; reading the scriptures, praying, keeping the commandments. I've learned to look at my scripture reading that way. If I read my scriptures today, then I'm showing to Heavenly Father that I want His protection, and once I have read them, I'm protected for that day. Now, I'm not saying that we should let our guard down or slack off, but I know that The Lord will help us if we make sure to include Him in our day. I am so grateful for His Love, His Mercy, His Guidance, His Peaceful whispers through the Holy Ghost, and for His Gospel. I love you all and thank you so much for the examples that you are to me of living the the Gospel and being disciples of Christ.

I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Adventures of Elder DeSpain and Elder Jensen Begin . . .

Bon Dia Famianan i amigunan stimá

We are doing so great here in Aruba, Elder Jensen got here safe and sound without any problems on Tuesday, and we have been working great!!! He is awesome!! He is from Layton Utah, and he has one older brother and one older sister, and he has two younger brothers, so their family is almost exactly like ours. He plays strong safety I think at Snow College in Utah (Dad probably played them when he played for EAC). We are doing fantastic. He actually knows a DeSpain girl that lives in Layton, we just can't remember her name, haha, maybe they're related to Rob DeSpain, Elder Clayton's Uncle, haha, one small world.

(We asked Jeff what his responsibilities are as a district leader.)  So as district leader out in the islands, it's a little bit different, but for the most part the same thing as in the DR, I conduct district meeting, and I take numbers from Curacao every week and pass them on to the Assistants, and then I do baptismal interviews as well, but through the phone, pretty crazy, huh? Haha, it's a great privilege the Lord has entrusted me with and I hope that I can live up to that calling and serve Him in a way that pleases Him.

(We asked how things worked getting Elder LeCheminant to the airport on Sunday and getting the Curacao Elders into Aruba and back out and getting Elder Jensen in to be his new companion.)  So when I had "mini" companions from the ward, for the most part I have to try to be with someone from the moment my companion leaves, but on Sunday, we just picked up the member and took him with us to the airport, and then he went with me to church and to Saint Nicholas (That's San Nicolas in English, but I've never seen Santa Clause there, haha).  President Buckley stayed with me until the Curacao Elders flew in and then on Tuesday, President Buckley showed up and walked over to the airport just right after I dropped off the Curacao Elders, so I went with him again, he is a way funny guy. Pretty interesting. He just went with me to pick up Elder Jensen too, and that was that, haha.

So, Miriam and Daniel are progressing well, and we should be able to set a baptismal date with Miriam this week hopefully. We did find a lot of new people, but we had trouble getting them to come to church, so we will work on that this week. We are doing more work down in Saint Nicholas now, so hopefully there will be some investigators down there soon. We didn't get anyone in church this week down there, but hopefully soon.

To answer your question, I have been able to talk to my new Mission President once on the phone after he did an interview, but other than that, just emails. I asked the assistants about him coming down, and they said that they were going to talk to him about it, so it should be soon.

Yes, go ahead and send the package with the clothes in it.  One thing, I'm really sorry, I don't know what happened, whether I'm getting fatter or what, but my pants are getting short, I swear that they're shorter than when I started, so if you could, it would be great to have pants just like a size longer, I'm really sorry. Thanks so much for getting the CD, and we would love any other CD's you could send us.  They can be anything like churchy I think. Thanks so much, and sorry for the inconvenience.

Oh, tell Grandma Joy not to worry, I'm pretty sure that I've received all of the money, haha, no worries.

I am so grateful for the watchful eye of the Lord in my life. I read a talk that Dad sent to me where the guy giving the talk explained how Heavenly Father knows what our limits are. He knows how far we can go, and He won't give us a trial that we cannot pass through. He said that if we are going through hard times and struggling through trials, and they haven't come to an end yet, then that means that we can go further, that means that we have more strength, that we can make it. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and I know that we can make it through whatever trail may come our way, because He will not give us a trial that we can't pass through, but most importantly, because the Savior will walk alongside us. He has already passed through our trials-alone. He knows personally how it feels to be in our shoes, to be going through what we're going through, to suffer as we are suffering. I know that He can conquer our Goliaths, but I have also learned that that doesn't mean that He will just take the burdens off of our backs. Just as I read in a recent Ensign, sometimes the Lord strengthens our backs without lightening our burdens. I love what I read in that article, it says that even though the Lord might not take the burden off of our backs, He is always willing to walk along side of us and share our load, to feel what we feel, and be there for us always. I know that He lives and that He knows us by name and knows our trials as well.

Thank you so much for all that you do. I love you so much! Sorry, I couldn't attach pictures this time because I'm transferring them onto a flash drive to send the card home, so hopefully next week!! Love you!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, August 15, 2011

Staying In Aruba . . .

Bon dia kerido Famianan i amigunan, awe nos a recibi algun cambianan di e trasladonan!! (rough translation from Popiamento to English - Good Morning dear family and friends, I will be receiving a new companion for transfers!)

Hello! We just got the call last night for transfers, here is what is happening:

First off, I'm with Elder Holt and Elder Welch right now, they had to come over here to Aruba to renew Elder Welch's permission to be in Curacao, you have to do it every 90 days. So yesterday for a good part of the day I was the only missionary on the island!! Way cool, I went to church with a member from San Nicolas and then stayed the rest of the day after church with President Buckley, the Branch President down in San Nicolas until the other missionaries got here.

Ok, here are transfers:

My new companion is named Elder Jensen, he is a way cool guy, I met him while we were in Santo Domingo, we served the in the same zone. He is one transfer ahead of me, so that means he is like one transfer older than me. He is way cool and I am very excited to get to work with him.

I will be the new district leader down here in the islands. Wow, that's a lot of responsibility, but more opportunities to serve!

Elder Holt and Elder Welch will both be staying in Curacao. We are hoping keep everything the same for a couple of transfers now. Elder Jensen gets here tomorrow at about two, so I'm going to be the only missionary on the island again for a little while.

I am way pumped!!!!

Our baptisms went great. I had the privilege of baptizing Mariana, and Elder LeCheminant baptized Edward. It was awesome, a bunch of members came and it was on the beach at sunset, wow, it was great! They both got confirmed yesterday too, so they are doing great!

We have a couple of people who are close, a lady named Miriam who is the wife of a member, she is great and really understands the Gospel. We also have a man progressing named Daniel. He is a good guy who is coming to church and reading, so we're going to keep working with him. But, we're really going to have to start looking for more people now.

The Mission President still hasn't been able to make it down here and we still don't know for sure when he is coming, but hopefully soon!

I got all of your packages this week, I got the birthday package from you guys and two packages from Grandma Joy. There was a hold up in DHL. There were some big charges to get them out though - like $130! I think the problem was mostly just because of sending food. But go ahead and send the new CD and garments down directly to President Pepe Gonzalez's house (the address that I sent to Dad and then had to make a correction in the next week). But if it costs too much, just send it to Santo Domingo. I think the big thing is just not sending candy or food. But thanks so much for doing that for me!!! Thanks for the garments and the dvds and tell Grandma thanks for the hair clippers. Sorry it caused such a big problem and cost so much to get it here.

Wow! I'm stoked for our AZ teams! Thanks Dad for the update!

I really hope that Dad's back gets better and doesn't hurt him so much, he will be in my prayers!! I love you all and thank you so much for all that you do. I'm transferring all of my pictures onto a flash drive so that I can send you my SD card home when the President comes down. Thank you so much! I love you! Keep up the good work, and never forget to keep putting one foot in front of the other! Christ will walk with us!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Work Of Salvation Moves Forward . . . in AZ and in Aruba! Congratulations Darleen & Jon!

Bon Dia mi kerido famianan i amigunan!

I'm so sorry about last week, I was running overtime on my email, and I had like ten pics attached to my email, so it took forever to send, but it told me that it was sent so I thought it went! So I tried to send it again just now, so it should be there, sorry!! (We did get the one from last week and it is copied in below!)

The baptism we had last week was of Marisol, her children were baptized before I got here, but she has been holding out, and she finally got baptized, so it was sweet!!! They are a sweet family! I'm hoping that my other email went through to tell you more about that.

Darleen went through the Temple!!! Wow, and it was the Gila Valley Temple. Ah, I am soooo jealous!!! I would have died to be there!!! And especially for her sealing this weekend. Man, that's alright, we'll both be involved in the work of salvation at about the same time, haha, because we have two more baptisms this Saturday!

One is Edward, he is so awesome!! He had a really tough past, but he has changed so much and wants to go to the Temple with his finance, who is already a member. They are going to be so awesome!! I hope so badly that I can go to their sealing!!!

The other baptism is a Dominican lady, haha, dejavu. Her name is Mariana. She is the friend of another Dominican lady. She is a good lady, she loves to tell us stories about her past in the DR, haha, nice lady.

Wow, you met Mrs. Forcey!!!! That is so awesome!! I remember her, she was a great teacher!!! She's the reason that I could fix so many of your computer problems! She taught my computers class. I can't believe that she still remembers me!! Wow, you have to tell her hi for me!!! (I was volunteering at band camp with several other parents. Someone asked me how Jeff was doing. Another parent that I did not know heard us talking and said oh I know Jeff DeSpain. I asked her how she knew Jeff and she said that she was his teacher when he was a freshman. She said some really kind things about Jeff that she remembered from all those years ago when he was in her class so I passed those comments on to him. Fun!!)

I finally got your package!! The mail guy delivered it to my door!!! But it only had one pair of garments in it and a paper with pics and a bag of beef jerky so I think it might be a different than the other one that you sent to me. Did you say you sent two? If not, then I guess somebody that works at the Aruban customs is walking around in a nice white shirt, haha!

I am so grateful for the Gospel, and I find myself being more and more grateful for the commandments that Heavenly Father has given us. The commandments are so much more that rules, they are the key to our happiness. When we keep the commandments, then we have a happiness and a peace that others don't have, and that everyone else is looking for. People looking for happiness sometimes go in the wrong direction looking for it. If we are keeping the commandments, then we can know that help will come in our trials, and that is not just wishful thinking or what I think, that is a promise, the truth, and a rock hard fact! I testify that if we are doing our best, and keeping the commandments with all of our might, then we have the largest help in the world - The Lord, for He is the only one who has conquered the world. How grateful I am for His sacrifice that gives us eternal hope. Sometimes we have big trials and Satan tries to get us down and to lose our faith, sometimes to the point where we feel like we don't have any hope. I testify that it is not so, because whenever we look in the future with Jesus Christ, there is always light. I am not perfect with my hope either, but I pray that I can get better every day by turning my sight to Jesus Christ when I feel down.

I love you all so much, and thank you so much for all that you do!!!

Oh, P.S.- We went to Arikok National Park today it was sweet! I attached some pictures from there. The cool ones are from the Fontein cave (maybe you can find pics of it on their website). It was way cool, there were holes in the roof of the cave, so light got in and we could do some cool camera tricks! It was awesome! I should be able to send my SD card home with the President when we comes, so you should have more pics!

Oh, and how is the Nashville Tribute CD coming along?

I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Here's the missing email . . .

We didn't receive our normal email from Jeff last week. We found out this week that he wrote it and sent it (at least the computer said it was sent) but it never made it to us so he resent it with his letter this week.  Here is the letter from 8/1/11:

Bon Dia!!

We had another baptism in the ocean on Saturday!!! It was sweet!!! We did it in a different place, and it was even cooler! Wow, it was awesome. It was for Marisol. She had a problem and couldn't make it to church on Sunday to be confirmed, and now she is leaving on vacation to Venezuela, so we will have to get her confirmed when she comes back, but that's alright, as long as it happens!

Alright! The Nashville Tribute Band CD is finally coming out!!! That is awesome, I can't wait to hear it!!! Thanks so much for staying on top of that for me!!!

The packages did not get here from Santo Domingo yet that we know of, but should be on their way. Also, I forgot to tell you, but I did get Grandma Joy's letter safe and sound with the money inside.  Tell her thanks!  But still no sign of the package with the garments and everything, but that's alright, haha.

Wow, so many people from home are getting their mission calls, that is awesome!!!! It is so wonderful to see so many people make the decision to serve.

We are doing great here. We still have the two baptismal dates for two weeks, on the 13, Edward and Mariana. Edward is so awesome. He is such a great guy and has had such a great change of heart and is so ready to be baptized and go to the temple in a year!!!

We also had a sweet experience when we went to church yesterday. The branch president invited a Chinese couple to attend church, and they both showed up and sat down by his wife. I went up and got to know them after Sacrament Meeting, and then they went to the Sunday School Class. There, a man translated for them while we had the class because they didn't really speak Spanish. The class was on service, and the teacher asked if anyone had examples of service in their lives. The lady decided to share an experience and actually started crying, so we had to come back to her after some other people talked, but she said later that she felt so loved in the short couple of hours that she had been in the church, so cared for, that that was a service to her. What a sweet experience it was, to see that the pure love of Christ touched this woman, to the point of tears. It really is true that Charity never faileth. Not to say that we are perfect here and are perfectly full of charity, but I truly believe that it was that love, that feeling of comfort and care, even the Pure Love of Christ that touched that woman, and that can touch us all, and does touch us all, which comes from our perfect example, Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives and loves and knows each one of us perfectly.

Pics of the baptism are included!!!

I am so sorry to be so short again, but I'm out of time again. I love you!!!

Elder DeSpain