I woke up this morning (like most mornings) to the beautiful sound of anti-cloud fireworks (an old Mexican superstition) and realized I had forgotten to mention it in my emails. The Mexican people have a superstition that aerial fireworks scare way clouds (especially when set off at extremely inconvenient hours) and so love to set off plenty when it begins to look cloudy or even when the sky is clear (just to be safe). So about every 2-3 hours they’ll set off several very large aerial fireworks and of course when it starts raining they set off several more before giving up. It’s actually quite enjoyable when it happens during class time as you can watch fireworks displays through the window almost daily. The scary thing is when you hear something that sounds very similar to fireworks but its a bit more sharp and you can’t see any fireworks. That’s only happened 4-5 times but one time we heard what was most certainly a shootout which lasted for several minutes, fortunately the CCM is surrounded by 10 foot walls topped with barbed wire and we’re on the Lords mission. Anyways, enough about fireworks and gunfights.
My Spanish is coming along really well and our practice lessons are improving immensely. About 150 new missionaries got here Tuesday and its strange to see them around. I feel so much older than them even though most of them are older than me, hearing their Spanish has really helped me to realize how far we have come since week 1. The gift of tongues is definitely real and at work here in the CCM. I’m getting along really well with my comp.
I also realized that I haven’t told you about my district much yet. Our President is Davis and his comp is Elder Martin, then there’s Elder Wilhelmsen (which is a really difficult name to pronounce if your native Spanish speaking) his comp is Elder Spencer who is a few years older than us but it’s really cool that he chose to come out here and serve despite that. We have two hermanas in our district Hermana Ballard (no she’s not related to the famous one) and Hermana Larsen (and of course me and my comp.).
For anybody who is considering going on a mission, I plead with you to do so. I’ve only been here for 3 weeks and have already grown and become closer to God than I imagined was possible. I have realized my complete dependence on Him for all that I am and can be. I know I’m young missionwise as I haven’t even left the MTC but from what I do know I can promise you that your mission will the most fun, difficult, wonderful, improving experience of your life.
Happy Late Birthday Ben!
I’m feeling great this week. I’m loving teaching the lessions and I could use prayers for patience with learning Spanish.
I eat healthy and take my vitamins every morning and most nights.
Spiritually I’m doing great. The Spirit is everywhere here. Physically I’m doing awesome. We have time to exercise everyday and sometimes I go running in the morning with elder Martin (my district leader’s comp.). Emotionally I’m excited but tired as well – it’s hard work every day but it’s fun. Mentally I’m good. I’m always exhausted mentally at the end of the day but sleep, exercise, and listening to the Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox is refreshing. We only get to go to the temple twice in the MTC and I’m not likely to go ever in the field which makes me all the more grateful for it.
We got to go to the temple last week and it was amazing! Here are some pics.
You can’t tell but that moth is about as big as Leo’s head
Love you guys so much!
Hey, sorry I didn’t email last Thursday, they said we could email every P-day which is Thursday but we didn’t get our first Thursday off.
I’m having an awesome time here and learning so much Spanish, I think I’ve learned more Spanish here in a week and a half than I did all school year.
The food is actually pretty good and there’s plenty of variety.
My comp. is awesome, his name is Elder Christopherson and he comes from California. He knows Spanish really well but has a speech impediment but I’m so proud of him for coming out here to teach anyways. Our district leader is Elder Davis, he’s great.
General conference was awesome, I especially like Dale G Renlund’s talk in which he made the rocket analogy about the priesthood.
I love you guys and miss you so much but I wouldn’t go home for a billion pesos, I know why I’m out here and am having some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
We get to go to the temple today and I’m super excited. thanks so much for the care packages and I cant wait to hear from and email you next week!
Hey guys, Im pretty much all settled in. This is almost the most fun ive ever had, getting to know the other elders and talking about where we are going after the CCM. Ill send some pictures back on Thursday which is my P-day.
Lots of Love
Most families in Nepal use open fires for cooking and heating, which leads to respiratory disease and burn injuries. For my Eagle Scout project, I’m raising money to pay for vented stoves for the under-priveleged. Each vented stove costs $125. I’m flying to Nepal April 30 to install these stoves with my Dad and brother Sam.
You can help me raise funds by donating (below)!
We wept tears of joy as we drove away from the hospital yesterday. Leo saw his first sunshine and breathed in the fresh air. The sky never looked so blue.
When Abi met him, she waved at him and was sad he wasn’t waving back, then he lifted his hand and waved back. His brothers and sisters stayed home from school and soaked him in.
We’ve never been more grateful to be in our home surrounded by our beautiful family.
We met as a family 10 days ago where we prayed to know when God wanted Leo to come home, then we made promises to God and made posters as reminders. We thank God for making this miracle happen.
Thank you Sherri for your great coaching. We thank the neonatologists, MDs, nurses for their skilled care. Thank you H. Wallace and Nancy T. and Susan for loving and supporting our family so much during this time. Thank YOU for your prayers – we know Leo is home now because of them.
I showed the family the video made by our church, then asked them what is possible #BecauseHeLives
Max hit a huge milestone today – he went skiing!! Max raced Sam down the mountain several times (and won every time).
He might have looked to people like just another skier. What they couldn’t see under his ski clothes is Max’s lion heart, his persistence in physical therapy and wearing his braces and cast faithfully for 4 months.
Skiing again has been his goal for months. It’s deeply meaningful because it represents success in gaining full range of motion!
As we soared down the slopes today, unfettered by contractures or casts, I wanted to cry out,
“Free at Last,
Free at Last,
Thank God Almighty,
We’re free at last!”
Update on Max: The doctors say he is on the road to full recovery! We are so grateful for Max’s diligence with wearing his splints and doing his physical therapy! Dr. Lewis was right when she told us that recovery from a burn is 10% surgery and 90% therapy. Max’s therapists told him that at his rate, he could be on the slopes in March! Go Max!
Many thanks to my Mom and Dad for loving on our kids while Natalie and I went to Jamaica for a week.
Thank you for all your prayers and faith. God is good!
The other day, Max was taking a bath and Abi insisted on jumping in with him and washing his feet.
Max’s doctors say that his recovery is 10% surgery, and 90% physical therapy. So he continues to stretch and heal every day. The miracle is that his grafts have no more open wounds, which means he can do way more stretching at this phase than he could before. His donor sites, which are on his back, still give him grief. But we are grateful for the gracious gifts of life and breath!