Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sparks is Blowin Up!

Sparks is Blowin' Up!

Hola everycuerpo! Elder Gonzalez and I have had a really great week in Espars! First off I am 20 years old now and that is really weird to say. But yeah! Also, we set 3 investigators with baptismal dates this week and I am super pumped!

Some final pics from Tahoe before making the move to Sparks.

Victor y Zulma is a son/mother and are super pineapples. Elder Gonzalez has probably written about them before, but basically Victor (22) has a really close friend who recently served his mission, so when Victor saw some missionaries walking around on the street, he just went straight up to them and told them he wanted to take the lessons! Zulma is his mother, and as well is just trying to find the truth. She has been baptised 3 times in different religions, though, so she really wants to make sure that this is true before she does it again. We recently decided to do a church tour with them, as they had been super close to choosing a baptismal date. We figured the Spirit in the chapel would be the tipping point, and we were right! Unfortunately, we were on exchanges, so the duty fell on Elder Torres and Elder Gonzalez to ask the question for them to be baptised; the 10th of June. But they did it with confidence and Victor said of course, and Zulma said yes, if she receives an answer. So we will keep at it and help her to fully know. So we are mega excited to see how they progress.

My new work area in the Sparks apartment.

Yesterday was my first time having an all Spanish church session. It was great! We had a couple investigators there, so we got to accompany them to everything and help explain what was going on, since, for one of them, it was his first time ever at church with us! It is incredible how much my Spanish has been improving. Like seriously it has boosted my testimony so much of the gift of tongues (being able to speak and understand languages extra well through the help of the Spirit), as whenever I am in a serious lesson situation where the Spirit is in abundance, my Spanish doubly increases. It’s great, and we are doing more and more in Spanish every day to remain able to receive those blessings. Also, it has been a lot of fun meeting all of the new people in this ward, and getting used to all the new faces.

Group shot from the Zone Conference in Sparks. 
My new companion Elder Gonzalez and me at Zone Conference.

Last Wednesday, we had Zone Conference, where the whole zone got to meet together and have some trainings by President Chesnut, the assistants, and some other people. It was lots of fun, and it's always great getting to see President and Sister Chesnut. This next District Meeting (Tuesday), I am going to be giving a short training on boldness, so I have been studying (and practicing) for that! Samuel The Lamanite is an inspiration to us all.

A quick bite to eat with Elder Torres and Elder Gurr. That's Elder Gonzalez and me in the foreground.

We also had some awesome exchanges with Elder Torres (my new District Leader who I knew pretty well back in the Carson Zone) and Elder Gurr. I was with Elder Gurr, which is crazy, because I hadn't spent that much time with him since the MTC. It was great to get to catch up on everything since then and see how we have both grown so much as missionaries since then. Also to see how much I've grown in the lonjas (rolls).

Speaking of, I am ending my anti-diet and starting my real diet this week. I am actually mega excited because this past week I forced myself to eat like a pig and it disgusted me (which was the plan), so now I am super excited to start running in the morning and eating much better. #16MonthsToSexy

Anyway, hope everyone had a good one. Nos vemos!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Woah! Esparssss!

Happy My Birthday from Sparks (esparrss)!

As you can see I got transferred to the Rama Vista in Sparks, NV! This place is pretty lit!

It's a 100% Spanish area, and It's been kind of a trial by fire situation with my espanól. It's getting better really fast though, and I am starting to understand more and more. The area is very small, but very busy. It is probably a tenth of the size of my last area, but has probably 5x the work. Mostly because there are tons of huge apartment complexes that are chock full of Hispanics.

Sunset view of Sparks and Reno

This week has been pretty busy. This area had about 50 "investigators" total, many of which my companion had never even met or heard of. So we "dropped" (gave time) to all but around 12. This way we can focus our efforts and help lead these prepared people to baptism.

We have one kid named Hector who is going to be baptised in June, and two really solid investigators named Victor y Zulma who are sooo close to deciding on a baptismal date. Also, we found 5 new investigators this week, so I am mega pumped. We teach so much here compared to my last area. Like we have usually around 3-5 lessons a day, which is a lot for Nevada!

Downtown Sparks, NV

Really loving this place, and my new companion, Elder Gonzalez is cool too! He's from Argentina and Utah, and he is fully fluent in both languages. He's a really good teacher and wants to work hard, so that's what we are going to do.

We do some cool service here, a lot of it is with an old-folks home called More To Life. Which is funny because if you say that fast it sounds like Mortal-Life, which would be a pretty dark name for a retirement home. We also do some stuff for Habitat For Humanity, so that's chido. I don't have Elder Jarninja's AlphaSmart to write out all of my emails, so sorry this ones a little short. Also I goofed, I didn't bring my camera with me today so no personal pics today. Next week tho I promise!

View of Sparks Marina lake, a 77-acre lake in near me.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I'll be honest only like a few people wished me happy birthday so you should all feel guilty. But have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Feliz Dia De La Madre!

Hope all of you current and future mothers had a great Mother's Day! It was great to get to see my family again, and they've grown so much! Must be something in the water.

Darrian, Adam, Steph, and Beau! The South Lake fam. 

Beau and Steph's dugs! Kaloni (Colonoscopy) and Piper (Daiper)

Anyway, I'm getting transferred! I will be in the Vista Branch in the Sparks Zone in Sparks, Nevada! I will be with one Elder Gonzalez, who is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina, in a FULL Spanish area! Yay, Spanish will get to improve at a much faster rate!

The Miller fam! gueros chidos.

The crew at Blue Dog (overpriced Californian pizza).
We cover a pretty small actual physical area, but apparently it's all apartment complexes just lleno de Mexicans. So I should be busy! Also, since I am in Sparks, I will get to go the temple next transfer, LIT.

I am super excited to get to serve in this new area, but I will miss this one a ton. I was born here! And I will always love it as my first area. But I will be entrusting it to the loving but slightly chubby arms of my dear companion Elder Jarnagin, and as well Elder Hamilton Abbot, my district mate from the MTC! I trust these two servants of the Lord to take care of this beloved part of His vineyard, and I think they can do it!

The Ence fam! Sister Ence makes a mean shepherd's pie.

Another typewriter I have acquired. I might have a problem.

I know great things await me in my next area, and I am very excited for those things. The Lord always looks out for us, and I can testify of that. Anyway, I am off to pack and spend an awesome P-day hiking around South Lake Tahoe, so I hope everyone has a great week.

Adios gueros!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Whip, Sick Lyfe

Hola Everyone!

Had a pretty OKAY week this week! We bowled last P-day and went to a train museum, so that was fun. Got to get on a train the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood appeared on in a movie, so that was lit. We also caught another couple of mice and released them. One was by hand (via cage, no rabies don't worry)! I believe we have captured a total of 5 mice in our home, and now the activity has seemed to subsided. We haven't spotted/heard any mice for 3 days and the traps remain empty. We might have killed/relocated all of Stewartess'  posterity, yay!

Our visit to a train museum.
One of the trains used in a Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movie.

On Wednesday, we did a blitz (an exchange where 4 Elders work in one area) with the Zone Leaders in their area, and we did a ton of service. We help this guy name Dave out who is getting baptised soon by building a huge retaining wall in his front yard and basically totally re-landscaping it. It looks good tho! And now he can focus on his baptism and not his front yard!

Posing while doing manual labor as service for a new member.

Also that day, I taught this cool lady named Val on an Indian Reservation with Elder Clark, my new Zone Leader. We had this Sister in the ward come with us and she told Elder Clark, "I know you are new here, but we usually don't like to come out to the rez past dark. It gets a little .... *whispers* dangerous ... " It was like 4pm and there were a bunch of little kids running around lol. But anyway it was a fun time.

Some other flippin sweet news! We got a new vehicle! A brand new 2K17 Toyota RAV4! That's where all your tithing money goes! But seriously this thing is super nice. And since I got another chance to go on exchanges and drive on Saturday, you know I had to take the thing mudding (don't tell our vehicle coordinator ;)). Anyway, it's a lot of fun to drive and has crazy weird tech in it. Like radar to drive for you and stuff. It's a fun time!

Our new ride, a '17 Rav4. Fresh from a break-in session in the mud!

In other news, I was a little sick this week with some cruddy head cold that I probably got from Elder Clark (thanks a ton). But it's chill, I am overcoming it now after an *almost* unhealthy amount of Nyquil. Yay western Medicine.

Also, we almost got locked out of our house yesterday, so I had to sparta-kick our screen door down, and we were able to get in. And luckily no glass broke! And only minimal frame damage to the screen door! Keys!

Our door after I applied a little foot pressure.

Not much else went on this week. Just got a little trunky cuz of all the May the 4th Star Wars stuff going on. I miss it : (. But mission blessings are better!

Love all you beautiful children of God. Good night!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Keep Calm and "Sereno Moreno"

Salutations all!

Elder Jarninagin and I have had a great week this week! Elder Jay received an ENO Hammock in the mail this week (thanks Bro and Sis Jarninja), and we have spent a ridiculous but still obedient amount of time in it. Like enough to where we are sunburnt. Our granola levels are skyrocketing. It's coming out of my pockets.

Anyway, the actual missionary work has been going great too. We have started working with a less-active sister name Cindy. She is super cool and is very refreshing, in terms of she wants to change her life and get her faith back and she is actually willing to somewhat make and keep commitments to do so! She was very faithful as a young adult, but after moving to California from Utah at age 25, she got into some darker paths and stopped coming to church and of course subsequently lost her faith. She really wants it again because she remembers how happy she was before, because her life kind of stinks right now. Addiction is not a fun dragon to slay. But she is already showing great progress, so we continue to look forward to working with her.

A funny thing: There's a sister in South Lake who has a son who has somewhat "gone astray." But of course, like a good mother, she has not forgotten him, so we were tasked to bring her wayward son his Easter basket in his tattoo parlor lol. The look on the faces of these tatted, pierced, and otherwise modified people when two Mormon Missionaries with an Book of Mormon in one hand and an Easter basket in the other walk in their tattoo parlor is priceless. So we enjoyed that. And JoJo got his candy!

And right after that we got another treat. A sister in South Lake took us to a really nice Italian restaurant and we got to eat some bomb comidas Italianas. You know ya boy got the chicken parm. It was fuego.

The romantic fireplace where my chicken parm and I shared a nice evening.

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with the two Sciarrotta boys, Frankie and Tony. It's the first lesson we have had with them for a while, since their little brother has some serious health problems that keep them busy. We have set them with a baptismal date for the 20th of May! I am excited that they are going to be baptised, but a little saddened, since the week before that I am most likely going to be transferred :(. It's ok though, I am just glad they are getting baptised while they can!

On Friday in South Lake we ran into an interesting man named Shawn at Mickey D's. He is a Do Not Contact because had threatened an old bishop a while back. He looks about as loco as he sounds! He asked for our number and guess what, he didn't get it, yay! Then, that same day, we went to a ward party in South Lake. It was Luau themed, so we got some sick Hawaiian food, and got to see a bunch of weird people trying to hula hoop.  It was quite enjoyable.

Spring in the Sierra Nevada. 

Then, Saturday, we took Mike (the less active) to a Spanish baptism in Carson, and we translated for him. It was fun, and I am really enjoying Spanish now because I pretty much understood everything that was said. Yay gift of tongues! Also that day we did some service at Fish (a thrift tore) and I saw some sweeeet shoes and snagged them for literally $1 each pair. #perks.

We didn't see any Dog Alcohol Campers, woulda been cool though.

Entonces, some news about Stewart. Good news or bad news or good news first? We will do it like a sandwich. So good news, he is dead. Also it's Stewartess, because she's a girl. But she's still dead. Bad news, she got her thang on and there are 2 more little baby mice in the house now. Good news again, we caught one yesterday -humanely! - and we released him (Stewartito) into the deep wild of the back parking lot of a Sharkey's Casino. Also the Carson Valley is like the Bird of Prey capital of Nevada right now so good luck Stewartito. There is one more culprit at large but soon he or she will be brought to justice. If only we could have cats.

Dead Stewartess.

Stewartito, su hijo.

Jk I would never.
Not much else went on! Having a great time in Nevada/Cali as ever.

Have a great week everyone!