Monday, July 16, 2012

Last P-Day Email

I love you all and I can't wait to see you tomorrow!  Thank you so much and I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Last Week . . .

Written 07/09/12:


This week went well, it was just crazy and busy again.  We had several more missionaries go into the doctor because of knee or joint problems.  We had another one have to go home this morning.  That makes four in this transfer for medical reasons, that's too bad, but the Lord knows what each person needs in their lives.  We have been going a lot to a place called Rehab.  There is a physical therapist that works there, and the area doctor for the Church likes that doctor, so he usually sends the missionaries there who have problems with joints.  We actually get to work with the Area Doctor a lot, which is kind of cool.  He and his wife are really cool people.  Anyway, because of all that we've been pretty busy.

I think I'm going to have to go, but I'll write more later.  I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Written 07/13/12:

Bon tardi famianan i amigunan stimá

Wow, I am so sorry that haven´t written until now.  Things have been pretty crazy getting ready for the check up that they did on the audit today.  We worked until about 1:00 AM on Wednesday night because they said originally that they were going to come on Thursday, but then the lady from the Central Offices called on Thursday and said that she couldn't do it until Friday because she had a bunch of stuff going on in the office.  So, they came today, but I actually wasn't here for the audit.  They came, but I was right next door in the Church House in the High Council room at an employment course that they give every transfer to the  missionaries who are leaving.  It was pretty much just a workshop on how to get a job and what to do with resumes and interviews and things like that.

The audit went well, when I came in at the end there were a couple things that we needed to go over, but there will always be some things because it's an ongoing process.  The lady from the Central Offices told me that I did a great job, and that I had worked very hard and basically that I was done.  That feels really good.  It's so nice to be on this end of it and be able to feel that I have accomplished something.  It has been a great opportunity, and  I have learned a lot through what I have had the privilege to do here in the office.  I can't believe that it's all coming to an end, it came faster than I thought.  Today is probably for the most part it for me in the office.  I will probably help with some things on Monday or Tuesday when we go to the airport, but other than that, I'm for the most part on my last day here, but you never know.

I can't believe how close I am to seeing you all, haha, it's unbelievable to see where I am and how far I have come.  

I can remember saying goodbye two years ago in the airport and walking off as a rather scared young boy.  Wow, so much has happened since that day, it almost feels like it has been a "mini" lifetime sine then.  I feel like I have learned so much and like I have come a really long ways.  I don't think that I ever imagined I would be where I am when I was starting my mission, and during the trials that I had on my mission.  It has been a wonderful experience, and I feel like I have learned lessons from my mission that will bless me for the rest of my life.  It has been wonderful to see the Lord work in my life.  He helped me overcome some of my weaknesses while I was on my Mission.  I am not perfect or even close to it, but I do feel like I was able to improve on many traits and qualities in my life through serving a mission.  How grateful I am for the Lord and His perfect Plan in my life.  I know that He lives and loves every one of us and that He knows us by name.

Well, I can't wait to see you all and be with you again.  I will try to call from the airports if I can.  Thank you so much for all that you do and for the wonderful examples that you have always been to me.  I love you and I will see you soon!


Elder Jeff DeSpain

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder DeSpain!

Bon tardi kerido famia y hendenan di mi!

Thanks for the Happy Birthday!  I haven't had a whole lot of time to think about that lately, but that's good, haha.  Yes, I would much rather just celebrate it at home when I get there with all of you!  It's crazy that it's so close.  I might try to get a cake or something and have with the guys in the office, but I don't want to make that big of a deal out of it, so I might just go to Baskin Robins with them or something like that.  Thank you for the money!  (With Jeff coming home less than two weeks after his birthday we decided it didn't make sense to ship packages to him this time, only to have to pack up the presents and bring them home again.  We put some money in his account and asked him to buy something that he would like to bring home.  We also asked him to buy whatever treat he has been craving and share it with the others serving in the office.  He' not much of a "cake" fan but he loves ice cream so hopefully he will get to enjoy something along those lines!)

Ya, things have been pretty crazy in the office.  We were here until four in the morning the other night because a bunch of people were needing to go to the doctor that day, and we had to do credit card transactions, support payments, and housing payments that day also.  All of the training, and at the same time having to implement a lot of new policies and procedures that I hadn't done in the past because of the things that we found in the audit make it a little crazy around here lately.  But, the Lord helped us out and we got it all done and we got to rest a little bit on Saturday and that has helped me out a lot.  I've just got to prioritize and plan a little bit better, and then go from there and just do the best that I can, because that's all that I can do.

Wow, haha, I guess you've got about as many people asking you how much time I've got left as I do here.  I didn't know that Bishop Oborn is the Bishop now!  Wow, isn't Brother Bawden a Bishop now too?  Crazy how things have changed since I left.  

Everything is going good here, I got a ticket on Thursday for running a red light, but it was a little ridiculous considering it was on a one way street and the cop was standing (they don't have cars here) on the other side of the intersection on a one way road and thus couldn't even see the light.  I felt kind of bad, but that was the day after the night that we were in the office until 4 AM, so I wasn't as good as I could have been to the cop, but I got the ticket so it's just a bummer and now I've just got to pay it and move on.

I am excited to see you and and be with you again!  I can't wait, but I'm trying not to think too much about it and just focus on what I'm doing until I am finished, otherwise it can get a little bit frustrating, haha, but please don't stop talking about it when you guys email me, that doesn't bother me at all.

Dad asked me about a couple of things the day that I get home.  That is fine if President Salmon asked me to come in and report to the High Council afterwards, that's not a problem, we can do that.  The only thing is as soon as I get in that day, let's go to the best Mexican place you guys know of, because I'm dying for some good authentic stuff, haha.  And I am very excited for the Weech Reunion after that!  (Jeff's plane is scheduled to land at 3:35 on July 17th.  We got a call asking us to be at the Stake President's office at 6:00 for Jeff to be released and then they also asked if he could report to the High Council that night at 7:00.  We'll find a time to work in the Mexican food some time that night also I'm sure!) 

I love you all and I can't wait to see you soon!


Elder Jeff DeSpain

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Crazy Week - Guess That's The "Norm" Now!

A couple of quick notes this week from Elder DeSpain - 

Sent Monday 6/25:

Bon nochi!

I'm good, we just had another kind of crazy day, someone got taken to the airport, and then we had to haul about 50 battery kits, which included about 100 actual car size batteries from the truck into the closet that we have here, so I'm just getting a chance now to get on the email.  I will have to write tomorrow probably, sorry!  I love you!

Sent Thursday 6/28:

Hey, really sorry, we're just still really busy.  I got a ticket today for running a red light, that was kind of a bummer, haha.  I think it converts to about $40 USD.  I'll just pay it using my debit card.  Last night we had a pretty late night, we worked until 4 AM, but we got some sleep after that, and we're going to keep trying to get some more rest.  I'm doing good, love you!

Sent Saturday 6/30:

Bon Nochia famia di mi

I'm going to take out a few minutes and try to write something a little more in depth for once, haha.

I am really sorry, I have just been really busy with all of the stuff that has been going on here.  Last Monday we all went and took a missionary with a hurt leg to the airport so that he could head home for treatment there.  I think he just has like a bad sprain of some sort in his knee.  There have been many medical problems lately, so it's kind of hard to keep them all straight.  

This week, we had interviews from Tuesday to Friday I think, and it was pretty crazy.  It's pretty crazy to think about, but this is the last time that I will see a lot of them, because I don't think that there are major meetings after the interviews.  We had several people get sick and someone had to go from the field into the CCM this week, so we were very busy taking people around.  People actually haven't been so much of "sick" as what I would classify as "hurt".  We've had several knee or leg problems and a shoulder problem come up in the last week.  We took all of them to a physical therapist and then to get some imaging done that the physical therapist wanted them to get done.  

The guy that went into the CCM went in because he actually entered the field without ever going through the MTC.  That's what happens down here now, when there is a Dominican that is going to a foreign country and thus a foreign MTC, they send them straight into the Mission Field with us before they send them to the MTC.  It's pretty interesting, but in a perfect world, they go into our mission until their visa comes, and then they go into the MTC that they were originally assigned to in their call.

President said we could take some rest today, so hopefully that will help me get up and going good again.  It's been pretty stressful, but I'm doing the best that I can and I'm hoping that I can re-prioritize to see if I can take the stress down a little.  I guess I can only do the best that I can do.

I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you on Monday!


Elder Jeff DeSpain

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Monday Letter!

Bon tardi kerido hendenan di mi!

You were right, it was a very busy week! We had the audit on Tuesday, and it went well. Two of the ladies from the Central Offices of the Church in the Caribbean came over to do it. Their names are Dayanara and Francisca. I talk to them all the time on the phone, like everyday probably. It´s kind of funny, one of the sisters that baptized Dayanara lives in Queen Creek, AZ!!! Pretty crazy, and Dayanara says that she actually goes down to Arizona every couple of years it sounds like, so the next time that she is down, you can meet her! I work with her all the time, she is kind of like our boss and helps us know what to do.

Anyway the audit went well, they seemed impressed because we actually found the audit form online and just went through the whole audit and filled out the questions before they even came, so we knew all of the questions that they asked us, and we even had the true or false stuff already marked many times on the questions, so they said they were quite impressed that we had practically done the whole audit before they even came. So, thinking of it that way, it went well.

Despite how well they thought that we had done in the preparation and cleaning up of the policies and filing, there are many things that still need to be fixed. One thing will be that we will need to review all of the housing contracts that we have in the Mission because of some issues that we have there. There are probably about 80 of those contracts. We need to do that as well as go back to 2011 and do some more filing for that year.  There are several other procedures that either need to be done differently or just set up and started.  We also need to go and try to get copies of missing receipts that we need. So we have thirty days to do all of that.  (Guess that works out well since Jeff has about 30 days left in the mission!)

Thanks for sending the debit card, I should be getting it hopefully in this coming week.  I´ll send you an email to let you know once I receive it so that you can activate it.

So, is Leah all set up for school? She's going to love ASU. It's a good thing that you chose to take another class, you will really be grateful that you did that later on.

Happy Father's Day Dad! I hope that you had a great day.

I don't recognize the name actually of the guy that asked you if you were the DeSpains, my family, at Stake Conference. Wow, I can't believe that Amanda Hansen is leaving on her mission! Tell her best of luck for me and that it's too bad that I can't see her before she leaves!  (One of Jeff's good friends from high school leaves for her mission two weeks before Jeff gets home so they won't get to see each other.  Bummer!) 

Things are going good here, we've been in the office a lot trying to train and learn, do an audit, pay everybody that needs paid, and getting all of the new items for the houses ready, and sometimes it seems like we're doing it all at the same time, haha. There is a big housing project that President Hernandez started here so that the missionaries can live a little more comfortably. He is such an understanding and loving man. He and his wife had visited some of the missionary housing and were pretty astounded at the overall quality of living that they were living it, so he has been working for a long time to try to make the missionaries more comfortable and help them have nice, clean housing. This week we were able to get microwaves, blenders, irons, and toasters (which were also waffle irons) to a good amount of the missionary houses. The missionaries are going to be really grateful for those blessings!

I'm busy, but that's a good thing, everything here is going good, I'm just a little tired. I still can't believe how far the Lord has carried me in my life and in my mission. He has changed me and helped me overcome so many things on my mission. I am so grateful for His Plan and His Love. I know that He knows all of us, that He will always help us pass through our trials, whatever they may be, and however hopeless they may seem to us.

I love you all, I'm sending a picture of me and Elder Perschon so that you can see us both!  (Elder Perschon is the missionary that Jeff is training to take care of mission finances.  The picture has been added to the blog!)

Elder DeSpain

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Working . . . ALOT!

Famia di mi!

I am doing good, we're just working a lot, but we're doing the best that we can, so that's all that we can do I guess. I am doing good, just tired. We have been putting in some pretty late nights trying to get everything in order here.  The audit went well, they were amazed at how much work we had done and how well we had organized everything. In fact, we had the audit papers reviewed and filled out, so they were pretty amazed that I could show them the audit before they even did it. Progress!  Sweet!  In a nut shell, we have 30 days to fix all of the problems, at least all that we can. We're doing good, we're trying our best, and I'm sure that the Lord will help us and everything will work out. I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Audit Week!

No regular email on Monday this week again.  Jeff and his companion have been extra busy with office stuff.  Henry finally received this short email from Jeff on Thursday.

Hey Dad,

I figured that I better take a few minutes and do what I can of my email now. I'm doing good, we had the audit yesterday, and it went good.  Now we´ve got 30 days to take care of everything that they found in the audit and get everything that we can in order. One of the big tasks for that will be reviewing all of the housing contracts that we have for the 70 or 80 houses that we have in the mission. Through the process of preparing and doing the audit, we found a lot of problems in the housing department of the mission too. That is my companion's assignment. So, we're just cleaning up the whole office now. There are quite a few problems with the housing department, and luckily we found those and can start working on them.  We're very blessed that Elder Marte is here in the office as the Housing Elder.  He and I both really want to do things right and get everything fixed up and how it should be.  It seems like I have been working my tail end off and we are making progress but there is a lot more to do!  We will keep giving it all we have and with the Lord's help we should be able to get a lot of things in better order.

I love you Dad, thanks for sending the pictures, haha.  I was wondering why you sent a video of the microwave, haha, but it was really nice to see the house again.  (We have been wanting to remodel our kitchen for a few years now and we finally got that started this past week.  Henry sent Jeff pictures of the kitchen as things were being torn out.  One picture was of the microwave being carried out of the kitchen.  That's a big joke in our family because it's the microwave that Henry and I were given for our wedding 24 years ago.  We tell the kids that we've had it longer than we have had any of them!)

Sorry, I forgot that I never sent this. I love you!

Elder DeSpain 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wow! Crazy Transfer Week!

We didn't get an email on Monday this week but we knew it was a transfer week plus Jeff is now training another elder on mission finances so we waited . . . patiently.  Finally Friday morning Henry got this email message from Jeff:  "I'm alive and I'll write a little bit later.  Love you!"  

Late Friday we got the email below.

Hey!  I'm really sorry, we have been way busy here, especially with training.  My new companion is named Elder Perschon, and he is from Spanish Fork, Utah.  We have to be ready for the audit on Tuesday, so we're working pretty hard.  We have had transfers to finish up with, and then tomorrow I think that we're going to have to try to finish up with audit stuff. 

(Leah went to ASU orientation last Friday so we had questions for Jeff about what he would recommend that she take.)  Leah, I would definitely take one more class.  If I counted correctly, you are taking 14 credits already.  If you took one more normal class, it would put you at 17, and I think that's actually what I took my first semester of my freshmen year.  Just take something easy, like a lot of the big generals classes are easy.  A lot of things that are lecture classes with 200+ students aren't very hard to take and get a good grade in, so  I would definitely suggest that.  Have you seen your major map yet?  Also, when I looked into getting a Spanish minor from ASU, I found out that I think that you are required to live on the ASU West Campus at some point, so it might be good to look into that before starting on that. 
With the jury duty, thanks for helping, and just leave it how it is, hopefully I won't have to convict a murderer or something.  Don't worry about it, thanks for helping with it.  (This is kind of unbelievable but Jeff was selected for jury duty in May.  He won't be home for that so he was granted a postponement - until July 23rd, six days after he gets home!  Welcome back to "civilian life" I guess!)
With the card, send it to me, envelope and all, as soon as you can to the letter address that is in Florida for the Mission, and then I will activate it from here.  (Jeff's debit card expires at the end of this month.  I talked to the nice lady at the bank  and they can't extend the expiration date for the extra 17 days to get him home so we have to get a new card to him so he will be able to pay for baggage costs and anything extra that he needs those last couple of weeks and on his trip home.)
Thanks!  I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, May 28, 2012

The elections went well - no incidents!

Bon nochi famianan i amigunan stimá!
We had a great p-day today. I finally got to play some basketball and have fun, it was the first really good P-day that I've had in a while. A great blessing from the Lord!

Well, it sure does feel like I've been busy non-stop over the last few months, but it's been such a blessing that it's been busy work doing things that I like. That has been a really big blessing from the Lord. He has blessed me so much, I cannot think of any other way that I could have served that I would have enjoyed more than what I have been able to do being in the office and serving in the ways that I have served here. What a blessing it has been.

It's been amazing for me to see how much the Lord will bless us for going through our trials, if we will keep walking faithfully through them when they come. It seems to me that my mission has been kind of like one big lesson of that. Life always seems to have it's challenges wherever we may be in it, but it has been amazing for me to see that as I started my mission and went through the first part of my mission, it wasn't easy, in fact, I went through many moments and situations that I might classify as trials. But, as I did my best and kept pushing through, the Lord, little by little, most of the time without me even noticing it, actually helped me move forward through my trials, and to the other side of them where I found many, many great blessings. That's not to say that it's easy now, but I definitely have seen miracles in my life and I think I have grown and I feel that I am very blessed now for passing through the trials at the beginning of my mission. I know that sometimes we have to wait for the blessings that come from passing through trials, but I know that the Lord knows us perfectly, and everything that happens to us happens for a reason. I also know that the Lord will always go with us through our trials, because He knows exactly how we feel, even if that is hard to feel sometimes when we're actually going through things. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He knows us personally and knows personally how everything feels that we have to go through in this life, the good, and the bad. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has a perfect plan for us. How grateful I am for that knowledge that comes through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Juan Carlos did not end up getting baptized on Saturday, but he has a baptismal date for this coming Saturday, and he already passed the interview, so hopefully everything works out there good. I feel kind of bad because I haven't really been able to be in a lot of the teaching appointments with him lately either, but I'm doing the best I can, so I guess that's what counts.

The elections here last Sunday luckily didn't end up being too bad, people were able to go out of their houses by Monday night. It was kind of quiet on Sunday too. We actually left our house both days because we took pills to a missionary on Sunday, and then on Monday we had to come in to the office and work.

This week was zone conference, so I did a big presentation on the new policies that we are putting in place here. Hopefully everyone doesn't think that I'm a grump, we're just trying to get everything in line with the Church Policies.

I hope that Dad keeps getting better! I see that you were able to go to Leah's Graduation, good deal. Congratulations Leah! Haha, I remember being a little bit scared when I graduated, but you're going to love college. It's a great transition!

Wow, I can't believe that I'm next on the wall of plaques, haha. I never thought that day would come. Pretty crazy. (There is a plaque case on the wall outside our Bishop's office with a missionary plaque for each missionary currently serving from our ward.  We told Jeff this week in our letter that his plaque is at the top of the list now which means he is the next missionary to come home!  Our case is totally full which is awesome!  Just before Jeff gets home we will have a total of 17 missionaries serving from our ward!) 
I saw that Andrew Lebaron spoke in our ward too, I can't wait to go to some ASU games with him again when I get back!

Well, I love you all. Thank you for all that you do and for the examples that you are to me! I am so grateful that I got to come from such a wonderful place and grow up with such great examples all around me. I love you!

Elder DeSpain

P.S.- Sorry that I didn't send any pics today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

Bon dia!
I'm really sorry that it has taken me so long to write! I love you all, I promise, I have just had so many things and deadlines that I haven't been able to sit down and take out some time to write.  We were supposed to write on Saturday because of the elections on Sunday but we had to take someone to the doctor instead that day and I had to finish up stuff in the office so that I was good to go for this week.  We did get to come in to the office today after all so I am writing today.  

Things here are good, I have been busy all week with financial secretary work, and I think that this week I'm just going to have to try to take out time for the audit and save everything else that I can for later.  

Happy Birthday Dad!  I hope that you have a great day and that you can get a good birthday dinner soon! I hope that your recovery continues well, and sorry that it's taking so long.

Wow, I never knew that Leah got her braces off! Wow, I can't believe that you are graduating Leah! I wish that I could be there, but I will get to see you soon enough after you're all done! Congratulations, and enjoy it! Tell Megan hi for me too!  Wow, so now the missionaries from Grandma Joy's area are writing you, wow! Let me know how that goes.

Todd, I got your video from your drum solo man, great job! Wow, that is so cool, I always wanted to play the drums, but I never was that good at the rhythm, but you are really good at it man! I can't wait to get to see you play when I get back!

Bob, I've been seeing all of your videos of your football plays that Dad has been sending me, and you are doing great man, you are a tenacious defender! Much better than I ever was. Keep up the good work buddy!

I would like to talk to Brother Richardson some day too! He served in the same area that I have served in for a majority of my Mission!

I am busy here, but doing very good. A little bit tired, but good. It has been a great learning experience for me on my mission and especially in the office to see that all I can do is the best that I can do. I think that many times I and many other people like me beat ourselves up for not being perfect. I've learned a little bit more in my experiences in the office that I can just do the best I can, and that is not perfect, but that is ok, and it's what the Lord expects of me. He knows that I am not perfect, but that I am doing the best that I can. If I do my best, then the difference between that and perfection is where the Atonement applies. The Lord will make up for the rest if I just do my best. I am so grateful for that Eternal, Infinite Sacrifice.

I love you all!

Elder DeSpain

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Great Talking To You!

Henry received a few lines on Monday of this week.  Jeff said that he wouldn't be able to write that day because he and his companion had to make a trip to the Campo (countryside) so they would try to take their P-Day on Wednesday.  This is the letter we received Wednesday.

Bon Tardi!

It was awesome to get to talk to you on Sunday! That was big blessing from the Lord. It really was a big aid and help to me. It was so nice to be able to hear you all again and feel your support. I love you!

Today has been a little crazier than we expected, sorry. That is why I'm writing so late. This morning we got a call from Sis. Hernandez (Mission President's wife) and they needed us to pick up a couple of elders and take them to a physical therapy place because one of them is having neck problems. Nothing serious, it's just that it's been bothering him at night and things like that, so we took him in, and then we needed to get him an X-ray, so we took him to Cedimat (we always use that hospital for the missionaries) and we got an x-ray for him there. But President is such an understanding man, he moved a meeting that him and the Assistants had for tonight so that we could take the rest of the day and evening as our P-Day. I love President and his wife. They are straight thinking people who seem to understand life in general and how things go some days.

Alma's Baptism went good on Saturday, it got started late, but that's nothing new here, haha. She had a daughter, and I think two sons come to the baptism, so that was awesome that she could have support from her family at her baptism. I feel kind of bad because I haven't been able to go to a lot of the appointments that my companions have had with her to teach her. I've had to stay in the office with the Assistants a lot of times to do the different things that need to be done right now as the Financial Secretary. On Saturday I was trying to take care of the support payments, so I just had to leave it while we had the baptism, and then I came back and was working on it until it was time to go home. But, in the end, all I can do is my best, and that's all that the Lord has asked of me, so I guess I'm doing the best that I can.

Man, you guys didn't tell me that Dad was going to have his surgery! You think that it's going to scare me, huh? Wow, they removed part of his uvula? That is crazy, haha. But I hope that he is feeling better.

I'm doing good here, just going to be time to start preparing for the audit. It's a little bit of a bear to tackle, haha, but I'll do my best and the Lord will make up for the rest. That's what life is about, right? That has been a big lesson for me in the office. The Lord has taught me that I just need to try my best, and after that, try not to worry too much. I guess that's part of trusting Christ and having faith in His Atonement. I'm not perfect, nor will I be in this life. I just need to try my best, know that I'm not perfect, try to be better and repent if needed, and then leave the rest in the past and trust that Christ has made up for it. It seems like that's a way that we learn to trust in the Lord and grow.

So how are all of my teams doing? Is the Pac-12 still the Pac-12? How is ASU Baseball? What about the Diamondbacks? How is Highland doing?

I will try to pick a new camera up. I can use the one that I've got for a little while if I've got tape to hold it together, but I think it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in a new one. The next time that we are in a mall to deposit checks, I will try to look into it.

I love you all! I attached some pictures of our road trip on Monday and one of the baptism on Saturday.  (Pictures are on the blog!)

Have a great week! I think that we are going to have to email on Saturday this coming week because the elections are on Sunday and we will be in the house on Sunday and Monday, so we will need to email before that. Elections can be a little bit dangerous I think, but I'm sure that we will be fine here in Gazcue, and everybody will be fine because we will all be in the houses, so there is no need to worry.

Elder DeSpain

Monday, May 7, 2012

Temple Opportunity Tomorrow!

Bon nochi!

I'm sorry, I had several things come up today that I needed to go and do, so this was the first chance that I had to get on and send an email!

I'm doing good, today was fun, we got up and played basketball in the morning with all of the elders. The elders who are working in Villa Francisca, which is the ward north of us, are living with us right now, and guess who is serving there, Elder Irizarry! (This is the new missionary that just arrived from Gilbert!) It's been sweet, I just feel kind of bad for them because they really have to walk a long ways everyday to get to their area and back. They are a companionship that got put into that area this transfer, and they haven't been able to get a house all set up for them yet. Villa Francisca is kind of a hard place to find a house in, because it's a really poor and a really dangerous area. I went to the old house that they used when there were missionaries there before (I had been there on exchanges because Maria Auxiliadora and La Cienaga actually border Villa Francisca on the north border of the ward limits) and it wasn't a very nice house, it was really small, and it didn't get water all of the time. Elder Jensen who I was with in Aruba actually served there for a while. But, the Elders have found a house in Villa Francisca, but there are a few things that need to be fixed on it before the elders can move there, so they are working on that right now. It's been sweet living in the same house with Elder Irizarry, we have found out about so many people that we both know and different things that we have in common from Gilbert. It's been cool!

(We asked about Elder Jenson that was Jeff's companion in Aruba.)  I don't know if I told you last time, but Elder Jensen is my Zone Leader now!!!! He got called back from the islands straight to be the zone leader of Santo Domingo. I've seen him several times already, and I actually got to go and pick him up from the airport, so it was awesome! He is doing great, I can't believe that he finishes in four weeks! He told me that Snow College will be playing MCC on October 7th I think at Mesa, so I will definatley go there! That is so cool! And he will hopefully be able to play EAC next year too, so I hope that they go to Eastern so that I can see that one in the Gila Valley too! I miss that place!  (Elder Jensen plays football for Snow College.)

I got a lot done this week, it was just really busy again. We had several late nights, and so I'm a little tired, but it will all be alright in the end. I'm doing good, now I have to start getting ready for the audit. It looks like they're going to re-plan it later after they do the audits in the other missions.

Thanks so much for taking care of all of my stuff on my MYASU account, I really appreciate that, it has been a huge help to me!

Alma is doing great, she had her interview on Saturday and she is good to go for this weekend! It will be sweet to see her baptized, even though I haven't been a part the whole two years of her investigating the Church, she really has waited a long time for this, and that will be a sweet baptism!

Juan Carlos is doing good too, we passed by yesterday, and he seems like he has a desire to do what's right. He just has to keep marching forward and preparing, and I think that he can be ready. We really have been blessed by the Lord with a lot of success in such a short time.

Yes, there is font here in the building we use, so no more baptisms in the Ocean, haha, but I had my fair share of them.

I think that Ulda is going to have to declare herself all over again to get her papers right. That requires money and two or three witnesses if I remember right to be able to get that done, but we know that the Lord has a Plan with everything.

I got my itinerary today for my flight home. It's kind of weird, I don't think that the times are right yet, but I will be flying the 17th of July, and I'm pretty sure that most of the time the Arizona elders get home by about 3 PM or 4 PM Arizona time. That should be a Tuesday. I will let you know when I get final word on the times, but it should be those days.

President Buckley and Brother Webb from the Saint Nicholas Branch in Aruba are here right now, and President is going to let me go to the Temple with them tomorrow! What a blessing!

My companions say that it is fine for us to do the Mothers Day call at 4:30 PM this Sunday. That should be 1:30 your time.  It would probably be the best quality for you to call me here in the office.  If something happens, we will just switch to my cell.   

Well, I better go. I love you all and I thank you for the wonderful people that you are. I have been so blessed with good examples in my life. I hope that you all have a great week and I will hear from you on Sunday!

Elder DeSpain

P.S.  Thanks for the pictures of Fathers and Sons.  Wow!  I can't believe how different Todd looks!  He is tall!  That is crazy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Transfers Again!

Bon Tardi!

It's been another pretty crazy week.  We had transfers, and then I had support payments to do, so there was quite a bit of work this week, but I'm doing good, just grateful that it's something that I like to do.
Elder Delarosa got a new companion.  His name is Elder Marte.  He is a good missionary, he's a way nice guy.  He is being trained by Elder Delarosa and then next transfer he will go solo and I will train someone probably and then they'll be the next companionship in the office (Elder Marte and whoever I train). 

Thanks so much for helping me out with my scholarship stuff and getting registered at ASU!  That has been a huge help for me!

So, Elder Irizarry is a new missionary that we have here, I can't remember if I told you yet, but he got in on Monday night, and he is from Gilbert, he went to Highland High!  He graduated in the same year as Matt Olsen I think.  He said that he actually used to hang out all the time with Matt and Zach Smith and Logan Williams before the mission.  That was sweet!  I got to be here when he first got here from the airport, and so I got to meet him right when he got into the field!  He knows a lot of people that I know actually, it's pretty crazy the people that we know in common.  He knows Aly Weech too!  Pretty crazy, haha.  I think he graduated like two years after I did.  His name is Jake Irizarry.  They are in what was the Highland Stake from what I understand.  Was there a recent stake split over there?

Things are going good here, we've got two people that have baptismal dates here.  One is a lady named Alma.  She is a lady that has been attending Church and investigating for about 2 years, but we just came into contact with her because she recently moved.  She lives now in the Gazcue boundaries.  She was actually going to Church in the neighboring ward called Villa Francisca, but the Assistants were able to give her to us as a reference.  She is probably the most ready investigator I have ever met.   She knows all kinds of stuff about the Gospel.  We can for the most part ask her questions about the Gospel and the Church and she can answer us without us explaining anything.  It has been a huge blessing from the Lord to be able to teach her.  I guess she hasn't been baptized yet because she wasn't married to her husband, but just recently within the last little while they got married!!!  What a blessing!  Wow, that is such a blessing.   She has a baptismal date for the 12 of May.

We are teaching another man whose name is Juan Carlos.  He is a good guy, he is actually a family member of a couple who have been investigating the Church for like more than 2 years I think.  Their names are Ulda and Domingo, and they aren't married, and she has problems with her papers, so they are waiting for that, but Juan Carlos is just living with them, so he can get baptized.  He is a good guy, and he really wants to follow the Lord.  His baptismal date is for the 26th of May.  The Lord is really blessing us.  We are seeing success!

I am so grateful for the Lord's Plan for me.  I have to come to see that as long as we put our trust in the Lord and keep moving our feet forward, the Lord will help us overcome whatever problem we may have.  I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for His infinite love.

I love you all!

Elder DeSpain

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still Alive and Kickin!

Hey, I'm doing good, still alive and kickin, just been busy all week. We finally got to take from about 3 PM yesterday (Friday) until the end of the day and take a p-day, it was really nice. I'm am sorry to be so late, this is the only chance that I have had to write. I have been doing good, just really busy. I have to try to get everything into order for the audit, and I had to take care of support payments and do a million other things this week it seemed like. And it was transfers also.  Just been really busy, but I'm doing my best, and I know that the Lord knows that, even if it doesn't feel all that accomplishing sometimes. I have to try to think about all that I am doing and all of the things that I am accomplishing instead of what didn't get done.

I hope that Dad can enjoy his training.

Tell Bob (a.k.a. Scott) great job on his football, those are sweet pics that you send me.

Tell Leah to hang in there, she must be excited to be done.  (Leah graduates in about a month!)

Tell Todd good luck with his performances in the plays, and hope that the best comes out of his tryout that he had with the band.

I love you all!

Elder DeSpain

P.S.  We got a new missionary in this week named Jake Iziarry or something like that, and he hung out with Matt Olsen like every day before his mission.  Small world, ha ha!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Doing good . . . just the busiest I've ever been, I think!

Bon nochi di Santo Domingo

I am doing good here in Santo Domingo, just still busy. This last week, I just couldn't quite get out of the office at 3 PM. There are just so many things that are beyond my control that happen that prevent me from doing that. I have a lot of things to do, especially with the transfer coming up. I tried my best to put things aside and get out, but we still couldn't quite get out like we had planned. But I think that President understands that it will still be crazy for a few weeks. Elder Delarosa had a weird rash of some sort show up on his leg this week too, which limited him on what he could do. Elder Jenson is doing good, I'm actually here with him right now. He is just about to be back to normal I think. He is still staying at President's house, but he has a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and hopefully there they will give him the 2 thumbs up to go and he will be good to start getting back into the normal swing of things.

Today was quite busy. There was a problem in Salt Lake and the support payments for the missionaries didn't come on time, so some missionaries didn't have money and we had to do some problem solving. But, the Lord helped us work everything out.

The transfer is coming up next week, so that means that we will be busy getting ready for it this week. We will be opening one house, and there's some thing going on with the transfers down in the islands that I have been working with as well. It's going to be a pretty sweet transfer.

Wow, Grandma saw Sis. Ward? That's cool, haha, she has written to a couple of people here and told them that she saw Grandma Joy at her homecoming.

Elder Delarosa will be training in this next transfer, and we will be a threesome. If it ends up that way, then it really looks like I will finish in the office, I would love that!

Sorry to be short, but everything here is good, I'm doing good, just still struggling to get to a point where I can finish enough work to be out of the office at 3 PM or 4 PM or whatever it may be so that we can also work in our area, but I hope that the Lord understands. I'm doing good, just the busiest I've ever been in my life I think!  I love you all, keep up the good work!


Elder DeSpain

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finally, A Real Letter!

Bon tardi!

We are still pretty busy here in the office, but things are good.
To answer Dad's question, the hurricane season starts right now in April and goes until November.

Elder Jenson is better and out of the hospital. He is in the office today, working like normal. He is a good guy, he's had a great attitude through this all. Today we had our office meeting, and we've had to do several errands, but I'm finally at the computer and taking a couple minutes to write home. It's been a pretty crazy month or so, but it's been a great experience and it was enjoyable while we were at it.

This week was kind of interesting, we got rear ended two times in two days. I was driving both times, haha, but luckily neither of them was my fault. The first one was during the afternoon last Monday. We were trying to drive to Quizno's to get some lunch, and we were coming up at a stoplight, but there was a small shopping center on the right hand side before the stoplight, and the car in front of us started slowing down pretty fast to turn into the parking lot, and so we had to slow down, and as we were slowing down, a lady hit us from behind while she was texting on her cell phone. But we were completely fine. I've had worse effects after slowing down too fast in the truck. We took the lady's information and then followed her to her work, she showed us a new place to eat-she works there, haha.

Then, the next day, we went to switch out Elder Green for Elder Delarosa to stay with Elder Jenson at the hospital. We left from there and tried to head towards the supermarket because I still needed to buy some things for a guy that was coming the next day to wash the cars at the office. While we were on our way, we were stopped at a stoplight, first in line. We were parked next to a trash truck, and I was looking over at the trash truck while we were waiting there, and then, all of sudden, a motorcycle came zooming by and something hit the back of our car, then, before I could put everything together, a car came shooting between us and the trash truck, and it hit our front end too, then the car that hit us followed the motorcycle, through the red light and the intersection and then they made a gigantic u-turn and headed back the other way, and the car almost ran over the motorcycle, and hit like 5 other cars while following the motorcycle until the car couldn't go anymore. We decided to go over and talk to the people in the car, we were going to need their information anyway to fill out the Church's accident report. When we got over there, I called President to tell him that we had been in an accident, and then when I got finished with the call and started talking to Elder Delarosa, it turns out that that car had been sitting like a car or two behind us in the line at the stoplight, and they had been robbed by the two guys that were on the motorcycle. The people in the car were a man and his mother-in-law or something of that sort, and the two guys had pulled up beside them on the motorcycle and I think that one of them must have pointed a gun at the lady that was riding shotgun because they were driving with their windows down. So she gave them her purse, and they took off on the motorcycle.  Then the guy driving the car took off after them, and it didn't matter to him who he hit or took out while he was in the process from what I could see. Luckily no one was hurt, and we took down his information and took off again. I wasn't in any way even slightly hurt in any of the accidents, I walked away completely unscathed from both accidents, and the cars left with only minor damage. We will get them repaired soon, but the damage doesn't prevent us from using them and driving them at all.

(We asked Jeff to tell us about the office he works in in the mornings.)  The Office here is pretty nice. It's actually right next to the stake center here in Santo Domingo. It's on the same property. We have a front waiting area and a place for the senior couple to work, and then we have an office where me and Elder Delarosa work, then there is an office in the back for the assistants, and then there is an office for President. There is also a kitchen, and then there is a back door and also a deposit room next to the back door. It's really nice. We don't have a conference room, but that's fine because we have all of our big meetings at the stake center next to the office.
Here Holy Friday is a big holiday, so most things close down for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This holiday is like bigger than Christmas for them here. We went out to San Pedro Saturday, we had to take some bed bases around. We went to Quisqueya again to take them a bed frame and pick up the contract for the missionaries house out there.   
Things should be getting more and more back to normal here, but transfers are coming up, so that means that we will be busy again pretty soon.  I'm doing great, this transfer has been busy, but it's been really fun too, it's such a blessing to have an assignment and a calling that I love so much.  The Lord has blessed me greater than I ever deserved!  It's been great to see how the Lord can strengthen me according to my challenge. I love you all!

Elder DeSpain

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crazy Few Weeks!

Things have been extra crazy for Jeff the past few weeks.  One of the Assistants to the President, Elder Jensen has been in the hospital for more than a week recovering from pneumonia.  The week prior to being admitted to the hospital he was struggling with sickness and had to stay at President Hernandez' house.  This meant that either the other AP (Elder Green) or one of the office elders (Elder DeLaRosa or Jeff) have been taking turns staying with Elder Jensen for about three weeks.  Jeff loves Elder Jensen and has enjoyed his time staying with him.  We have been praying for Elder Jensen and his family at home.  This situation means that the remaining two missionaries have been trying to take care of the responsibilities of both the APs and the Office Elders for the past three weeks.  Because of this Jeff was not able to write a normal letter last week and it doesn't look like we will be getting one again this week.  We have received a couple of one liners each week.  Because of the situation he is allowed to send something short when he can work that out.  I have tried to compile those below.

Sent on 3/27/12:  I'm doing good, we've just been really busy, but that's the way that I like it.  Elder Jensen has been admitted into the hospital so we are taking turns to be with him.  I think that he will be fine, it's just that the pneumonia has not gotten better which explains why he wasn't feeling as good this past weekend so that's why they admitted him to the hospital for a few days, but I'm sure he will be fine.  I will write when I get time.  Thanks so much and I love you.

Sent on 4/2/12:  Hey! I´m alive and well, just still very busy. Elder Jenson is doing a lot better, he should hopefully be getting out in the next two days or so.  I will write when I can. I´m doing really good. We didn´t get to see as much of conference as I had thought, we had two other missionaries go to the hospital over the weekend, but they both didn´t have to stay the night, so we´re all good there. I love you!

Sent on 4/4/12:  Hey, I´m still alive and kickin', today was crazy, but Elder Jenson got out of the hospital!  I´m doing great, loving it, just tired. I love you!

Elder DeSpain

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finally, a chance to write!

Bon Tardi!
Mi ta skirbiendo di e kas di e Presidente awe! I'm writing from President's house is what that says. I'm am sorry that it has taken me so long to get an opportunity to write this week, we've been pretty busy. Elder Jenson has pneumonia, so we have been doing a lot of exchanges trying to get stuff done. Me and Elder Green were pretty much on a three day exchange, it was actually great, we are pretty tight. For most of the week, we've been trying to do the errands of four missionaries with only two, and then when we would finish with the errands, we would need to go back and work more at the office, but it's work that I enjoy, and that is a huge blessing from the Lord. I really am loving it, even though we're so busy, it really has been a blessing to be busy. Last night was kind of cool, I went to President's house with Elder Jenson and President let me use his computer, so I actually set up a logmein.com account for the mission and put my computer on it in the office and then got on from President's house from his computer and was able to log on to my computer in the office through the internet and work through there. That was a huge blessing too! It's amazing what technology can do.
There's not a whole lot else to talk about here, haha. I'm working with the islands on some more stuff, and they were able to get their gas credit cards, at least Curacao was. That was a huge blessing! I think since the islands have been in the mission (when I say the islands, I mean the ABC islands), the financial secretary has always had to manually put money on the Church Credit Card of each missionary in the islands every two weeks or so. But the Lord helped us out and we were able to get fleet credit cards for them, so now they can do their own gas, and it will save the Financial Secretary from having to do that now, wonderful!
All is well here. I will not write too much because then I won't have much to write in two days, haha. I love you all and thank you so much for all that you do for me.
Elder DeSpain
P.S.-How is Scott Halbert doing? Didn't he just get home?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Prayer Answered

Bon Nochi di Santo Domingo!
This week went great, and transfers were a success! We got to have our P-Day today, Wednesday, which was a huge blessing. We got to rest from transfers and got to catch up on our sleep.

This time when we went to the airport in the morning, we only had one sister to take, Sister Ward from Thatcher. Then we headed back and tried to rest for about an hour, and then we picked up the new missionaries and they gave us breakfast at the CCM (that's what we call the MTC here in the DR), that was huge blessing too! We brought them back, and then we started the normal process there of the introduction meetings for the new missionaries and the meetings for the missionaries that are going to be their trainers. We also went back and picked up a new elder that just got set apart I believe. They are starting a new system here for elders who are Dominicans and going to foreign missions and will have to wait on visas. The elder that we picked up from the CCM is one of the first to be a part of this program. The new program is that when there are Dominican elders who are going to other countries like that and they have to wait on a visa, then they just go straight into the field in a mission in the country that they are coming from, so we get some of them, and they never enter the CCM here in the Dominican Republic. They will actually be in the mission here until they get their visa and head to their respective countries where they will serve their missions. Then, once they get their visas they will go the CCM that is in the country of their mission, which is the CCM where they should be. So there will actually be elders who have been in the field for a couple of transfers without any training who will then enter the MTC after a couple of months in the field and get their training in the MTC, pretty interesting, huh? I think that that will be the new system now for the Dominican Republic and missionaries who are waiting on visas.

(We asked Jeff if Senior couples are among those that they pick up and take to the airport each transfer.)  We do not pick up senior couples normally, and they don't typically come with the elders from the MTC. They usually come at different times, and up until now, other people have picked them up normally. People from the central offices I think. But that may change, I'm not for sure, because we are now going to be put almost completely in charge of senior missionary housing for senior missionaries who are assigned to our mission. We are going to be in charge of looking for housing for the senior missionaries who are coming to the mission. The next couple that we are looking for housing for is actually a couple from Arizona that should be getting here in April. Their names are the Haws, any chance that you know them? Haha, I doubt it.

James is doing great, I just feel kind of bad because he has been wanting to meet with us, but we just haven't been able to because of how busy we've been with transfers. We actually didn't go to our church on Sunday either. President invited us to go with him to Sabana Grande de Boya on Sunday and attend the meetings there with him and his wife. It was sweet, they have a really nice building there. There actually haven't been missionaries there for a while, but they are just getting put in again this transfer, so they are going to love that. We actually drove those missionaries out to their house yesterday, so they are there and ready to go. That was a pretty good story actually.

We took those elders (the ones opening up the area in Grande de Boya) out to their house in the office van because they had never seen the house. They were "white washing" as we call it, where two missionaries enter an area at the same time. In this case it happened because the area was closed prior to this transfer. So, we drove out there, probably about an hour or an hour and a half, and then I was supposed to show them where the house was, because I was the only one who had actually seen it before. So, we passed by the church and I said to turn down the next street, and we went down the street and down some more, but we couldn't find the house, so we tried the next street and couldn't find it, and then we ended up trying all over that area, and back down the first street again, haha. We finally called my regular companion Elder Delarosa, and he told me that it was by the police station, so we asked someone where that was, then we went there and turned down the street, and then we were able to find the house. I had told us to turn too early, haha, because I had never entered the town from that direction, I had always entered from the other side. So, then we finally got there, and as I was getting out of the car, I asked the others, "you have the keys, right?" And then they all started smiling and saying that I was joking, but I really didn't have the keys.  Being the financial secretary, I never thought about getting the keys from Elder DelaRosa before we left!    He is the missionary over housing so he keeps all the keys and I am usually with him.  This time I was with Elder Jensen.  No one had the keys. So we were on the northern edge of the mission, and the key for the house was on the complete other side of the mission! Wow, that made things difficult. So, we called the landlord who lives above the house on the second floor if he had a copy of the key, but he said that he didn't, and he came down and tried to help us. We asked him if there was a locksmith, but he said that the locksmiths only work during the day, so they wouldn't be out at that time. So then I thought about a door that I had seen inside the house that was a weaker door and just lead to the outside. It was actually a door that entered from the garage. So, the landlord let us in the garage, but the door wouldn't open. So, he backed his car out of the garage, and we had to move our van so that he could. As we were parking the van again, I jumped in the van real quick with Elder Jenson and we said a quick prayer, that was the only thing we had to try to get into this house. We just explained to Heavenly Father that we were trying our best to do His Work, but we had forgotten the keys, and we asked Him if it was His will to please help us to get into the house. So, we got out, and we talked with the landlord, and he said, "give me a minute, I'm going to see if a guy that I know can break the lock off." Before we had prayed, like I said, he said that all of the locksmiths didn't work at night, but after we prayed and got out of the van, he said that he knew someone that might be able to open the lock. He went and looked for the guy, and he found him and he came with a hammer and a chizel looking tool. He broke the lock off, and we got into the house, and the missionaries were still safe with the lock broken, because that door leads into a garage that is completely closed and has two other doors that lead out of it. What miracle! We were able to get the missionaries into the house (both of which are from Arizona, Elder Hiatt and Elder Ford), and they were able to get all set up and ready to go. We just have to take them the keys as soon as we can. I truly know that the Lord does hear every word that we say in prayer. How grateful I am that He helped us with those missionaries.

I love you all and am so grateful for the righteous examples that you are for me. Thank you so much Mom and Dad for helping me with my registration for school, that has been such a big help for me. I filled out the form and sent it back to you, please just let me know if you need anything else.

I should also tell you, there is a new missionary that came in yesterday named Elder Rainey. He actually went to Gilbert High, and we might be family. His mom is a Gillespe, and she is from Pinetop I think. He knows Aly Weech, Brother Grover, and Brother Abplanalp, and a bunch of kids from Highland that I know. It was really cool to get to talk to him and see how many connections that we have!

I love you all and thank you so much for all that you do! I will try to send pictures. Also, you talked about Matt Carlino in the last letter, does he play for BYU? How did Nick Jonson do this year as a guard for UA? Did you know that I trained for him too? His brother might be playing somewhere too, his name is Cris. Any idea what they're up to? Love you!


Elder DeSpain

Monday, March 5, 2012

Awesome Baptism!

Bon Tardi kerido famianan i amigonan

It was a great week, and it's looking like it's going to be another great one this week.  We are heading into the final week of the transfer, which means that transfers are coming up at the very beginning of next week.  Transfers are a lot of work, but I truly enjoy them.  It's such a cool experience to get to pick up the new missionaries and be a part of transfers and the behind the scenes work.  

Yesterday we had a big group of Americans who were here on a humanitarian effort.  I think that they've been here for a few weeks already, and they are doing dental work in the poorer areas of the country here.  It was cool to see them and very nice of that couple to send a picture home to you.  I cannot remember their names, sorry!  (A very nice couple from Utah surprised us early Sunday morning by texting a picture of Jeff and James, the newly baptized member to my cell phone!  What a happy surprise!)

James got baptized on Saturday!  It was great, he was so ready, and the service went great!  Then, on Sunday he showed up early and got confirmed and everything went great.  It truly was  blessing from the Lord to be able to be part of the baptism of a guy that was so solid after having a few transfers that were a little bit harder.  
Hey, so quick question, did you ever find out if we really are related to Rob DeSpain?  Because that would mean that we are somehow cousins with the other Elder Despain and Elder Clayton.  That would be sweet!

Man, that's too bad about ASU, I hope that they've got it all out for when I'm home and we can have good seasons in all of the sports, because it seems like they have struggled in general since I've been gone.  How is Highland High doing in sports?  

I am so sorry to hear about Sister Clouse.  She was a good lady.  I look up to Kevin, he is setting such a good example, and has such a strong testimony, he is a great man.  (Charlene Clouse, a wonderful lady in our ward passed last Monday after a two year battle with cancer.  She is the mother of seven boys.  Five are grown and married, one is 16 and still at home and the remaining son is Jeff's good friend Kevin who is currently serving a mission in Lima Peru.  We love Brother and Sister Clouse and are praying for their family and especially Kevin as he is away from home and family during this difficult time.  Kevin and Jeff used to go to the temple together once a week before their missions.  We love that guy and admire his strength and obedience!)

Hey, before I forget, there are a couple of elders here coming from Gilbert, Arizona, and I want to know if you know them.  One is coming in in the next transfer, and he is named Jenson Mikel Rainey, and the other one will be coming in the next transfer I think.  His name is Jacob Daniel Irizarry.  Do you know either of them?

We got to go to a really cool campo this week.  It's called Sabana Grande de Boya.  We had to check out a house that the mission has there.   It's the furthest area north that is in the mission I believe.  On the way back, we drove through a little bit of mountains that were probably more like hills, and it was gorgeous, I will try to send some pics when I can.  I'm sorry, we're really busy today and so I don't know if we'll have time.

Everything here is good, we are doing great, and being blessed greatly.  I truly have been blessed beyond measure here in the office.  I have a wonderful assignment, and am truly enjoying it.  We are helping things get better and better here in the office, at least as I feel, but I owe it all to the Lord.

I love you all!  Thank you for all that you do.

Elder DeSpain

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zone Conferences!

Bon Tardi!

This week was another good one, busy as well!

This week we got to do all of the zone conferences, one each day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The ones on Wednesday and Thursday were here in Gazcue at the stake center right next to the mission office.  We are actually on the same property, so we just walk right out our door and upstairs into the chapel and we do the meetings there.  It's really convenient!  So me and Elder Delarosa each got to talk for about 10 minutes each on each day.  Then, the zone conference on Friday was in La Romana, and we were going to go originally and then move the stuff into the house in Quisqueya after the conference, but we ended up not being able to move the stuff because that would mean that we were coming back too late in the evening on Friday night.  But, we still got to go to the zone conference in La Romana (1.5-2 hours away), and we gave our little part of the program there too, and then afterwards we took some elders home with a washer that we brought out for them.  They live in a small town out in the countryside called Hato Mayor, which is actually about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way to Sabanah de la Mar where we went one time.  We got there, and their sink was broke in the bathroom.

Elder Delarosa took a look at their sink, and then it started squirting water out of the pipes beneath the sink, and then it got worse and worse until it started to shoot water out of the pipes and then we had to get the landlord and go with him to the store to buy a couple of pieces that he needed in order to be able to fix it.  Then, by the time we got out, it was already dark, haha, so we ended up coming back a little bit late anyway, haha.  Then, we went to Plaza Lama, a big supermarket in the West Mission, when we got back to Santo Domingo, and there we bought all of the things that we needed to take to the house in Quisqueya.  Then, on Saturday, we woke up and headed out to La Romana again, haha, this time to get the things that we needed to take to the house in Quisqueya.  So, we stopped by two areas there and then we headed back to Quisqueya, which is in a campo north of San Pedro, a town between Santo Domingo and La Romana.  We got there and unloaded the stuff and then headed into San Pedro to eat at Paco's Tacos!!!  I am always grateful when we get that opportunity.  This time I got a plate that came with steak, enchiladas, and refried beans.  It was fantastic!  The Lord has blessed me so much in the office, I have gotten to see the country as I had always wanted to, and eat some awesome Mexican food!  Then later, we headed back to Santo Domingo.

I should tell you that I have met Elder McKernan here in the mission.  He is in San Pedro right now.  He is from Steven Matthews' ward back in Phoenix!!!  Small world.  (Steve Matthews is one of the partners at MGKS.  He's been so good to our family over the years.  He took Jeff and Henry on his boat several times to water ski.)  I got to see Elder McKernan again on Friday and talk with him a little bit about Phoenix and the people that he knows from there.  What a small world!  

Things are going great for James, his baptismal date is set for this Saturday!  He is doing great, he got interviewed last week, and he is excited for his baptism this Saturday!  The other person with the baptismal date is named Noelia.  She is doing good, but I think that we are going to have to scoot her baptismal date back a couple of weeks because we are now only able to meet with her once a week.  But that is alright, it will just mean that we will switch our schedule around a little bit. 

Before I forget, I actually emailed Roger last week, my boss at ASU Stores, and he said to be sure to come in when I get home!!!  That will be sweet!  I am soooo grateful that the Lord helped me get that job again! That will be such a wonderful blessing!  The one thing that I need you to do is make sure to find out when the registration opening day is at ASU for the coming fall semester.  It should all be online, so I will be able to do it from here, I just need to know when it the opening date is.  Hopefully I can get a good class schedule.

I can't believe that Leah did a modeling show.  That is sweet!  Wow, haha.  So she is going to ASU?  Right on, I will always someone to go with finally, haha.
How are my teams doing?  I heard that All-Star weekend was last weekend, how are the Suns doing?  How about Highland, how are they doing?

I forgot to tell you, but now zone conferences are once every three transfers I believe.  And yes, I was with Elder Clayton for one transfer, and it was great!  (We asked Jeff about how the zone conferences work plus he told us last week that he met the other Elder DeSpain who serves in the West Mission and he happens to be the cousin of Jeff's second companion in the field, Elder Clayton!  Fun!)

I cannot believe that Jeremy is home!!  That is so crazy!  Wow.  Scott will be home before I know it, haha.  Crazy to think about.  (Jeff's good friend Jeremy Gardner returned home from his mission this past week and another good friend Scott Halbert will be returning next month.  Love to see those guys we love come home after serving the Lord so well for two years!)  

Oh, I am so so so so sorry, but when we were getting ready to go on Saturday, I dropped my camera on accident, and the clip on the flap on the bottom where the batteries go broke, and right now it is taped shut, but I will have to get a new one at some point I think.  I don't know if it's better for me to try to use it taped all the time.  I don't think it's going to work like that, because I think it turns off alot like that.  If you could send me a new one, that would be good, or I can try to pick one up here too, that will probably be the easiest.  I am so sorry, I have been horrible with my cameras on the mission, but at least this one lasted for a long time.

I love you all, and I thank you so much for all that you do for me and the wonderful examples that you set for me!


Elder DeSpain

P.S.  Please tell Grandma Joy that I got the CD she sent.  It's a good one.  Tell her thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Met The Other Elder DeSpain!

Bon nochi!

This was great week, another busy one.  We are starting the process of looking for new houses for the new missionaries that will be coming in in the next transfer, and we got to go out to a place called Quisqueya on Saturday, and then we got to go out to La Romana from there because we needed to look for some things that were in the house of the zone leaders there.  I love getting to be able to see all of the place that are here in the mission, that is a big blessing from the Lord.  We will also be getting to go back out to La Romana on Friday, and I think that we will be moving all of the things for the house in Quisqueya that day as well.  We are going out there in the first  place for Zone Conference.  I think that that will be in La Romana.  In this round of Zone Conferences, me and Elder De La Rosa get to talk a little bit.  We are going to give a little presentation or "refresher" so that we can be sure that everyone knows about the different procedures and rules that there are in the finances and housing department.  I'm excited, it should be fun!

The meeting with Bishop McMullin was great.  He gave a great talk on how we can find true happiness through reading the Book of Mormon.  I think that three of the zones from the West Mission were invited, so I got to see a lot of different elders that were in my same group in the MTC here in the DR who I spent six weeks with at the beginning of my mission.  That was awesome.  And, get this, I met the other Elder Despain (they spell theirs without capitalizing the S), who serves in the West Mission, and this is the crazy part, he is Elder Clayton's cousin!  His dad is Rob DeSpain, who I asked Dad to do the genealogy on.  I could not believe it.  I thought it was way cool that we are related!  I think that he must have like 6 months or so in the mission, and one of the elders who was in my group here in the MTC actually trained him, and he is from Arizona.  His name is Elder Jordan Holt.  He is a great guy, and he is a great missionary.  I also got to see the other elder from Arizona that was in my group in the MTC in the DR, his name is Elder Klein.  He went to Mountain View and Elder Holt went to Red Mountain. We were actually at some of the same ballgames and stuff before the mission without knowing it.  Small world!  

Everything here is going great.  We were able to set a baptismal date with James for the the 3rd of March.  He is a great guy, and he will be a great Priesthood holder.  We have several other people who we are teaching as well who are progressing, but the only other one who has a baptismal date right now is a girl that has been attending church with a friend who I believe is her cousin.  The girl with the baptismal date's name is Noelia.  She has been coming to church for like 4 months already, and she is doing well.  She has a baptismal date for the 10th of March.

This morning we were walking out the door to go play baseball when we got a call from the Mission President's Wife.  She needed us to go and help one of the sisters who was sick and in the hospital for the night last night.  It was actually Sister Ward from Ft. Thomas.  We share our area with her and her companion.  We went to the hospital and finished up paying for everything there and then we took them to get her medicine.  The first pharmacy didn't have the medicine she needed so we went to another one and they had it.  Then we took them back home.  She is doing great now.  By the time we were able to get them to their apartment it was already noon, but lucky for us there were still some elders playing basketball at the church.  We played some 4 on 4 basketball with them.  That was a way fun and a tender mercy of the Lord!  We also got to go to Pizza Hut for lunch and it was awesome, a great P-Day!  
Wow, I can't believe that Scott's team won the championship!  That is awesome, man, he sounds like he is tearing it up!  He is going to end up playing ball in high school.  It sounds like he's the player out of all of us.  That is awesome.  Is he still interested in playing basketball and baseball too?  I would tell him to play all of them that he can in Junior High, he sounds like he will tear it up.  (We told Jeff in our email this week that Scott's flag football team won the championship for his division this past Saturday!  Out of 22 teams his team came out on top!  Fun!  We knew Jeff would enjoy that!) 
Dad asked me what I think is one of the biggest lessons/personality changes that I have had in my life while I have been on my mission.  I think it is probably that of learning to be patient, diligent, and persistent in the Gospel.  I think that I have learned to really be patient and rely on the Lord and have faith in His Plan and trust Him when the times are hard and I just don't know why, or when my trials will end.  I have learned that if we just keep on pressing forward, whatever our trial may be, and however hopeless we may feel, that just as one of the Apostle's said in the past, "Sunday will come".  Everything will turn out for our good if we just trust in the Lord and keep on walking.  I know that He will keep His promises, He knows where we are, what we are going through, and how we feel, but sometimes I have learned that He helps us grow by not giving us what we want or are waiting for in the moment that we want it.  Sometimes He helps us even more by making us go a little farther or endure a little bit longer before we get our relief.  I am so grateful for His perfect Plan, Love, and direction in my life.  
I love you all, keep being good examples for everyone!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Scott!

Bon tardi!

E siman aki tabata hopi bon!  Haha, I have to try to keep practicing my papiamento.

This week was a good one, just another busy one!  Sorry that I couldn't write until Tuesday, we were pretty busy on Monday because we had Parque del Este.  But then too at the end of it Elder Green, one of the Assistants, got into a collision with one of the other elders at the end of the soccer game and hurt his shoulder a little bit.  So we were trying to take care of that for a little while on P-Day, and then we had to go and eat, and then it was already time to head out, so we had to email on Tuesday.  But Elder Green is fine now.  In fact, if you can ever find his mom or Elder Jensen's mom on the missionary moms website/list, it would be cool to be in contact with them.  Elder Green is sweet, and so is Elder Jenson, and we are with them a lot. It's a really good time and a great blessing from the Lord to be able to work together and live together.

Man, Scott's birthday is tomorrow!  Happy Birthday Bob!  Wow, for the next one, I'll actually be there!  That will be sweet.  Be sure to tell me where you went to eat buddy!  I hope you have a great day, and I love you!
Wow, I cannot believe that we have that many missionaries out from our ward now!  How many is it now?  I think I count 14, and with three more, that would make 17, wow!  (Henry sent Jeff a picture of the board on the wall by the Bishop's Office that has a plaque for each missionary that we have out serving from our ward.  We have 14 missionaries out right now and three more preparing to leave before Jeff gets home so right before he finishes his mission we should have 17 missionaries out from our ward at one time!  Crazy!)

I truly do love the opportunities that we get to do errands to get to go out to different areas and see different parts of the country here in the Dominican Republic, it really is a sweet deal and a great blessing from the Lord.  I love getting to see all of the different places!  This weekend, we will actually be going out to another campo place called Quisqueya.  It's actually kind of like the neighbor of Los Llanos out in the campo.  One companionship had been covering Los Llanos, Quisqueya, and Consuelo, another campo town that is out there.  Now they put missionaries in Los Llanos, and so now there is a companionship that covers Quisqeya and Consuelo.  One of the missionaries there is actually Elder LeSueur, who is from Arizona, he went to Westwood if I remember right.  
The Lord is really helping to get things organized and more efficient here in the finances part of the mission.  We are now going to start the process of getting gas credit cards for the mission vehicles and make it easier on everyone (especially the islands) to get gas.  Now the islands won't have to call me to put gas money on their cards, and the assistants here won't need me to fill up their car all the time so that I can pay for it with the mission credit card.  Also, I am now going to start the process of setting up automatic payments called "area adjustments" so that I can assign an amount of money to specific areas of the mission and be able to give missionaries their "pasaje" which is basically like a bus fare (although I wouldn't really call those things buses as we think of them, haha) automatically by giving money to any missionary assigned to an area in a set amount that will be used for their bus fares.  Things are going well in the finance area and I am really being blessed by the Lord and loving the work that I am able to get done here in the office.

Jessica kind of told us that she doesn't really think that she's going to be interested in learning a lot more about the gospel, but that's fine, we found some new people this week, and they came to church.  James came again, and he is doing great!  He comes to church faithfully, and reads the Book of Mormon faithfully as well from what I have seen.  We hopefully could have some baptismal dates by the end of the week.

We had a visit from President Gonzalez of the Quorum of the Seventy on Saturday for all of the missionaries, it was sweet.  I actually offered the opening prayer, so I got to sit on the stand for the whole meeting because of that, haha.  There is another meeting on Saturday evening with Bishop McMullin, who is the Presiding Bishop if I remember right.  So that should be sweet too!

(Since Jeff gets to pick up the new missionaries as they come in to the DR we asked him how they look and how they seem when they arrive.)  The new missionaries that are coming in look great.  They really seem excited and pumped up and ready to go!  They all seem well prepared.

I attached a couple more pictures from our last campo trip when we went out to Higuey.  One is of either a country club or of the La Romana Airport, can't really remember, haha.  Sorry, none of them are very good.  I'm starting with my new memory card, so I'm going to try to send my old one home.

I am doing great here and being blessed by the Lord every day and every week.  I am so grateful for His perfect plan and His perfect love.  I will forever be indebted to Him for all the blessings that I have and have received.  I truly am blessed beyond measure.  I know that the Lord loves us and knows each one of us by our names, and that He sees divine potential in us, that we all have great worth to Him, and that He can work miracles through each one of us as we try our best to keep the commandments and to follow the example of His Son.

I love you all!

Elder DeSpain