Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 23, 2011

Well there are obvious differences between Las Vegas and Fallon: stoplights, traffic, people, buildings, places to shop, etc. Hahaha. Other than that the biggest difference between Fallon and here is switching to a ward from a branch. You don’t get nearly as close to members in a ward like here as you do in a branch like in Fallon, but there are so many more legit investigators here. People here are a lot more educated. In Fallon, there weren't many people that could read aloud in Spanish better than me, but here everyone can. We actually go to houses instead of trailers, even pretty nice houses. Almost everyone here has a base in English. People are more active here too. The people I work with are still Hispanic, so they are super nice, but they aren’t quite as hospitable over all as they were in the small towns. They still are, just not to the extreme like in Fallon. However, the people here also have more personality, which is fun. Joking around in Spanish is a good time. I’m not really good enough to initiate much of it, but I can hang with it and play my part pretty decently. It’s fun. I like it up here.

We don’t work as tightly with the ward here as we did with the branch in Fallon. Part of that is that there are actually some home teachers, but we don’t do much less active work anyway because we don’t have time. On the other hand, families here get us to work with their families like crazy, which is great! It’s also weird being around so many people who are bilingual. They come from Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Argentina, El Salvador, and a couple other countries, I think, but those ones for sure.

This Sunday, Andriette asked me to confirm her. I was super scared, because it was obviously going to be in Spanish in front of the whole ward and I’ve never even done that in English. I prayed a lot for help and repeated the beginning over and over in my head. I guess I did what I was supposed to because she was super happy and I was told I did a good job. I didn't really know what to say, so I just talked. Fortunately you don’t speak your words when confirming somebody a member, you are speaking whatever the Spirit has you speak, so I just trusted that whatever was coming out of my mouth would work, and it did. It felt really good to know that the Lord was there to help me with that. That was just one of the 4 confirmations we had yesterday, which is fun for the ward to see. It was a pretty spiritual 20-30 minutes. They had to cancel the last speaker because they had so many. He is our Gospel Principles (Sunday School class) teacher and a super funny guy. He is incredible. Used to be in a couple stake presidencies back in Nicaragua. They passed him the note that said they wouldn't have time for him to speak, he read it, smiled, gave a fist pump, and got up and walked off the stand with a huge smile on his face. It was super funny. His granddaughter and daughter are 2 of our investigators. His granddaughter Karen is getting baptized this Saturday. I’m sure he will speak at it, so it will be good. The spirit was also super strong at all of the baptisms this weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 18, 2011

Well, we went to the temple this morning, so I jumped the mission boundaries! hahaha. We didn’t know we had this trip until like Sunday. People forgot to tell us. So that was all morning and now we are emailing and then we will shop a little and that’s about all the time we will have. It’s a busy day. The Vegas temple is really pretty. All of the palm trees and flowers around it make it look really cool.

I was riding bikes all week last week. It was a good time despite how saddle sore I was the first few days. Fortunately it cooled down a lot for us. No, no close calls with cars, haha. While I was out riding, I saw Jason (Sarah’s husband) :) Hahaha, yep. That was fun. I laughed. He came out of nowhere and we had actually just been talking to another member who pulled over to talk to us right before that. Pretty funny day.

This week we set another girl with a date for baptism. She will be baptized June 4th and confirmed on Sarah’s birthday. Last night, we also taught the one who will be baptized Friday. She is super excited, but she is making me sing with my comp at her baptism, so I’m not happy with her right now, haha. Let’s see. Oh, so I don’t think I’ve written since Daniela's baptism because of the p-day change (temple trip)! So it was pretty much the biggest baptism ever. There were over 60 people there! There wasn't even room in the primary room for all of the people so people were out in the hall with the doors open so that they could see too. It was crazy. Between the 2 companionships we had 8-9 investigators there, and after being there most of them are about ready to get baptized too. It was pretty sweet. President Black was there too because he had to give an interview right before. It was super good. Hopefully we can get half that for the rest of our baptisms coming up. Daniela was all smiles after. She was super excited. She and another girl were both confirmed on church Sunday and they were both so happy. It was cool to see. This ward is going to have to get used to a lot of confirmations in Sacrament meeting because there are more coming. This Sunday there will be 3, next Sunday I think 2, and the Sunday after I think 3 again. It’s pretty fun. We are having a good time with it all. The members here are pretty personable. A lot of really funny people, which makes our lives a good time, especially since my comp is really good at Spanish and can keep up with them.

Do we have our car back? Yes, thank goodness, I was done with that bike. I hugged our little Corrolla when we got it back.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pic by brother-in-law

Yes, Sarah's husband Jason saw Ben last week, when Elders Layton and Miller were on bikes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mothers Day call

My whole family together -- virtually.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Now starring in Las Vegas: Elder Layton!

Transferred! Saturday I freaked out because I had to pack and visit everyone as soon as possible. Plus I had to leave a lot of food. They didn't call me until Saturday night around 9:00, which was ridiculous because that meant I had to pack everything and visit everyone and go to church all on Sunday. That made my life impossible. We couldn't quite visit everyone we wanted to because we simply didn't have the time. Plus I didn't have a car because its been in Reno getting fixed for the last several days, which is also ridiculous. It was a crazy couple days.

It was tough leaving Fallon. I love all of the people there. It was especially hard because the Ugaldes were in Utah, so I couldn't say goodbye to them. Fortunately I got a picture with them before they left just in case. I helped translate in church! That’s pretty tough. We have a couple people in the branch who can’t speak Spanish, so we translate for them over headphones. It’s hard to translate, but I think I did a pretty good job relatively speaking. I got all of the main points pretty well. Everyone was sad to see me go, but they are excited to get the guy who is replacing me too. He is Peruvian, so there are a few people that will really love him! Should be pretty cool. After church we went to see Carmen, the Peruvian lady who fed us once a week, one more time. She fed us a ton again. Soooo much food, hahaha. She was our prep for eating the Monster Burger. Then we ran to visit as many people as we could. The Zone leaders let us borrow their car until 6:45, so that helped a lot. We visited a couple of the families and then we went to visit a less active and part member family who happened to be having a bbq when we came by and made sure that we at least ate a little bit, so more food on an already full stomach. Then we went to Yalema's house to say goodbye to her and her family. I talked to her dad about her getting baptized. I just said that Yalema had told us she wanted to get baptized and asked him when we were going to do that. He kind of laughed, but then just said he wanted to make sure that she really knew what she was doing. We told him that there are only 2 more lessons and an interview and she will be ready, and he said ok. So, Yalema should be getting baptized next month. It took some work, but we made it. I don’t think her family will be very far behind. So that is good news. Now, after that we had to meet with the ZLs again to give them their car so they could drop us off at dinner and go to some appointments. Yes, dinner. Meal number 3 in a 5-hour span. Another large meal too. It was a big eating day to say the least. Thank goodness all of it was super good, otherwise I would have died, hahaha. After that the ZLs picked us up and we went home so I could pack, which I did until about 12:00. It was a long day.

Transfers in Fallon are something like this: You are told to be at the Taylor building Monday morning at 8:30 when the transfer van/caravan rolls in. At about 9:15 when the caravan actually gets there (it is ALWAYS late), you give hugs to everyone who came down from Reno that you haven't seen for a while. Then you chill for about 20 mins with everyone until you get everything loaded up and everyone out of the bathrooms. After that everyone hops in where they are supposed to and the caravan heads on out. There is the big transfer van and usually between 3-5 cars in the caravan. I was in one of the cars with some elders that I like, thank goodness. The van is not comfortable. The backseat of the Corrola is bad enough, but the van is worse. So, so far, I've never had to ride in the van. You then proceed to drive down to Hawthorne where you briefly stop to use the bathrooms. From there the next stop is Tonapah, then to Beatty, and finally to Vegas. Since we drive extra slow in the Caravan, we arrived at about 5:00. It’s a loooooong ride. Normally its only about 6 hours from what I hear. For the Caravan it’s a little over 7. Longer if you are doing the full Vegas to Reno. Crazy day. When you get to Vegas there are just tons of missionaries running around everywhere. It’s pretty nuts. The parking lot at the office is just insane for about an hour. It’s pretty fun. It was nice to see a couple of Elders that I hadn't seen in a while again. Then on Tuesday, we go back to the madness in the morning to see off all of the elders that are leaving to go north...for example the elder that I replaced here. It’s a good time.

Now I’m in Flamingo Ward – actually, flamingo West. There are 2 companionships in the Ward. We cover the west half of the ward. My new companion is Elder Miller, who is the district leader (DL). He is from Colorado. I hadn't met him before. There are a lot of people down here that I've never met before, hahaha. Vegas is pretty different from the North when it comes to missionaries’ opportunities to see each other. Elder Miller has been out 2-3 more transfers than me. Something like that. Cool guy. Great rep in the mission. I think it should be pretty fun.