Bon dia di Kursou!
We are in Curacao with Elder Holt and Elder Welch, and it is awesome! We flew in last night, it was pretty crazy, the first time that I've flown on September 11th. I don't know if that's ok to say, sorry, haha.
One quick thing, there were some tourists at church yesterday, and guess where they're from, MESA!!!! They are named the Freeman's, and they live at Gilbert and McKellips. Oh, what a tender mercy of the Lord it was, because Brother Freeman is a big Arizona State fan!! He had just flown in the day after ASU played Missouri, and he told me that ASU took down Missouri in overtime!! Go Sun Devils! 2-0 baby!! And hopefully now they're ranked in the top 25, because Missouri was, right? I am so excited to hear more updates, please, please, please keep me updated on my teams every week if you can. Are the D-backs going to make it to the playoffs? I cannot wait to hear more about that, haha.
Well, this week was good, we were just finishing up with some things with our cars. The mission bought new cars, so we traded one of the old ones in and then had to sell the other one to President Gozalez (Branch President of the Spanish Branch in Aruba). That poor man inherited a car with a lot of problems, but he is going to try to fix it up and then it will probably be a pretty good car for him. I don't know if I told you this, but last week we got a brand new 2011 Toyota Corolla with a 1.8, and the lady was really nice to us, so she put in a new aftermarket stereo with Bluetooth in it, so we have been making phone calls to people through bluetooth in the car, and they talk to us through the speakers of the car, haha, pretty sweet.
I didn't get the package that you sent yet, but I am expecting it this week, and me and Elder Jensen almost can't wait for the new Nashville Tribute CD!! We are pumped for that! Thanks so much for taking care of that! It will be so great to have some new music to listen to!
This weekend, we should be having the visit of either President Hernandez (New Mission President), or Elder Cornish of the Seventy who is a new member of the Area Presidency of the Caribbean. It sounds like President Hernandez will try to make it over to Aruba, but he is not sure if he will be able to make it. He is going to Curacao, so he might be spending all of his time there, but Elder Cornish should be coming to Aruba, and that will be sweet!
I cannot believe you saw Mrs. Dawe!!! And I cannot believe her new born baby is now 13 years old! Wow, was that really that long ago? Time flies. I have always wanted to see her again at the mountains, and I can't believe that you finally did! You have to tell her hi for me! I am so used to calling her Mrs. Dawe, but her first name is Melanie, haha. That is so awesome! (We saw Jeff's 2nd Grade Teacher at Columbine last weekend when we were at our cabin for Labor Day. Her name is Melanie Dawe and she was a Cluff with ties to Pima. She is Verle Cluff's granddaughter. It was fun to see her again. She asked about Jeff and when we told her he was serving a mission in the DR we were both excited when we realized that she was in the DR in April of this year on vacation at one of the resorts on the east end of the island. In April Jeff was still serving in Santo Domingo which is where she flew into of course! Fun!)
Wow, you ran into Miranda? No way!! I still feel bad that I made her go on that hike, it was so hot, I should not have done that that day. That was right before my mission. You'll have to tell her sorry again for me, haha. (We were at our friend Brad McBride's 50th birthday celebration on Saturday night and while there we were talking with Taylor McBride who served in the same mission as Jeff! He looks so GREAT! It was fun to talk with him again. We have a special place in our hearts for that guy! A friend of his, Miranda Lee was with him and when she learned that we were Jeff's parents she said "I know Jeff! He saved my life once!" We asked what she meant by that and she told us that she and Jeff were in a group that hiked Flat Iron before his mission. She only brought one small bottle of water and she told us that Jeff helped her make it all the way back down the mountain safely. It was fun to visit with her!)
We are going to have a baptism this Saturday of Daniel! That is going to be an awesome experience. Daniel has made such great changes, and he is such a great man. It has been awesome to see the Hope of Jesus Christ's Atonement enter that man's life. Looking back now, I can see the light and the hope that are in that man's life now, and how he has changed since we met him. He seems to have a new outlook on life, and I can't wait to see him get baptized and be completely pure, with a fresh start. How grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that He did descend below all things, so that He could conquer all things. I am so grateful for His all-powerful, all-loving sacrifice that He made for us. I testify that He lives, that He loves, and that He knows - you, by your name. He knows your struggles from day to day, and when we think that no one else could understand what we go through, I know that He does. He always knows exactly how we feel, and He always knows exactly how to heal us. I testify that He will heal us, all of us, if we will just follow Him. But one thing that I've learned is that sometimes following Him means having patience. Sometimes, we wonder, well, at least I wonder, why He doesn't just solve my problems right away, why doesn't He take that burden off of my back right away, why do I still suffer, even though I'm trying my best to follow Him. I've learned that He also wants to help us grow and become more like Him, and in order to do that, we have to pass through trials, we have to experience some of the bitter so that the sweet tastes all the sweeter when we have it. But no matter where we are, how we feel, what we've done, whether He takes away our burdens right away, or whether He lets us grow, I testify that He is there, right beside us, feeling what we feel. He is always right there with us, and always will suffer with us. How grateful I am for His never-ending, all-powerful love, and it's power and effects in my life.
Looking back on my mission, I can see how far He has carried me, how far He has helped me come. As I look back, now I can see a little glimpse of how far I have come since that scared, 19 year old Jeff DeSpain got on a plane heading from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. He has helped me every step of the way, but sometimes so subtly that I didn't even recognize it. How grateful I am for His love, and for my Father in Heaven's love, and His perfect plan that He has for each one of us. I testify of their reality.
Thank you so much for all that you do, for the examples that you all have always been to me. I love you! I'm going to try to send some pics from last week, but I left my camera in Aruba I think, haha, so they're from last week, sorry!