Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Well, I'm back in Jefferson City. After two years I made it home. Its been quite the journey, as many of you may well know. It feels good to be home, but at the same time there will always be a piece of me back in a few towns and cities scattered across Nevada. If anyone ever has any questions for me about anything from my blog posts over the last two years, don't be afraid to ask! If there is one thing I've gained an appreciation for over the last year, it is the power of questions. You cannot get any answer if you don't ask the question.

Well, I'll be starting a new blog or two shortly for those who would like to continue to follow the life of Ben Layton a little bit, haha. I suspect that number will be few due to the fact I fully believe that people do not generally tend to be that bored. I will also be updating my profile on, so you'll be able to check that out soon too!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Countdown: 1

Last week was busy – so busy that we totally forgot to organize a zone activity to climb Mt. Charleston!   Lots to do this week, too.  It will be my last Sunday in Las Vegas (last Sunday as a missionary -- wow!), so we’ll be inviting our investigators and less actives to come to church to say good-bye.  Hopefully it works. We honestly should be averaging between 5 and 10 investigators at church each Sunday, but the people just haven’t shown up yet. Last Sunday we only had one there.  But we had a success with a less-active member who came, and one of our recent converts was back in our ward this week along with a less-active lady from her work that she brought, so it was pretty solid. Lots of people out of town/family in town this week for Father's Day, so we weren’t really expecting a lot. Hopefully this is just the first week of things going right.

While I’m working and you’re waiting for me to return home, check out this video-- We have been sharing it a lot lately and it may be the best introduction to the Book of Mormon that the Church has made. I love it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Countdown: 2

Here are the zone leaders from the South zones.  (The pic of the North zones has them all with suit jackets -- go figure!)  I'm hiding in the back.  What does that mean?

Well, we did our departing temple trip this week. That was fun but not good:  all we did on the way there and back was talk to the other 15 missionaries going home about how little time we had left, hahaa. Didn’t need that, but it’s all good. Fortunately we have a ton to do, so it should be great.  Also the whole zone had to go in to the office one morning to wash and wax our cars. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The BEST zone ... Tule Springs ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Countdown: 3

Sunday we had a disappointment to start off the day; an investigator stood us up when we had a member there to pick her up, but I’m sure it was because of her medical problems, so there’s nothing she can do about that. After that though at church we had two of our investigators that we were really hoping for show up! Plus two that are always there. It went really well we think, but we'll find out more when we have our lessons with them this week. We were excited though. Oh and our recent convert F. gave his testimony this week and it was fantastic! Everyone loved it! It was pretty awesome! And it was really good for our investigators there. Fun.

During the week we had a really good lesson with his nephew A. and he was one of the ones at church. He will get baptized when he gets his answer, so that’s pretty cool. 

Best part of the week?  Any time A. or F. prays. It’s incredible. They have such real prayers and you can really feel that they are being listened to. They have a lot of faith.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Countdown: 4

So this week we started teaching a part member family. G. and A. are the couple and they have one little kid. G. has been a member his whole life, but his wife A. isn’t a member though she has already learned a little bit. We just talked about some of her concerns and about the Book of Mormon this week. It went really well. They are a super cool family and we are really looking forward to teaching them more. They are young, like late 20s and just great people.

We also had zone conference this week which was pretty good. I had to conduct which I wasn’t looking forward to, but it went alright I guess. We talked a lot about becoming master teachers and Christlike attributes. We watched a couple of the new Bible videos that are out. We talked a lot about the one that illustrates the parable of the good Samaritan, which I really enjoyed because its my favorite one. It went well overall.

For Memorial Day we had a really solid p-day at the park, but that was about it. We’re in a hispanic ward, so nobody even knows what Memorial Day is, so we didn’t have anything special.  Actually, all holidays are a little different in Vegas from the looks of things because people come here to vacation for the weekend so everyone has to be at work in the hotels and casinos to cover the influx of people. It’s a weird place. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Countdown: 5 ... (and click on "mariachi" while you read this)

My new comp is Elder Lopez.  He’s from West Valley City, Utah, now but lived in Aguas Calientes, Mexico, until he was 10ish. He has been out 14 months.  We've known each other since he came out. He was “born” in Battle Mountain while I was in Fallon, haha. He'd rather be doing regular missionary work all the time than have to do some of the zone leader stuff we do, but he’s happy to be here and excited to be in a Spanish ward.  Most of what I’ll be trying to do is get him ready to take over the area in one transfer (6 weeks – well, 5 now) because that’s going to come really fast. We've got some finding goals which have already started pretty well. We got 2 new investigators this week who are both pretty solid and should be picking up a few more this next week. We set 2 people with a baptism date the first day he was here, so that was fun, but then we found out one is already going to have to be pushed back and the other looks a little sketchy at the moment, but we will see. We also want to increase ward involvement and get more organized, but its difficult doing it all at once because Elder Lopez just needs to meet people first and gain their trust. Hopefully by the end everything will be ready for him. 

F. is doing pretty solid. He doesn’t have the priesthood yet, but the ward is working with him, so things are going pretty well. He came to our ward party this week and it was the first party he’s been to in a year because his old church didn’t allow dancing or "worldly music" etc. He loved it and had a great time. His sister and her family came too and also really enjoyed it, but no surprise there because the party was GREAT! They hired a Mariachi to come and serenade all the Moms in the ward, and they were great. It was so much fun. We had several of our other converts there and they all fellowshipped really well. Plus the bishop and a couple other members are DJs so they had the whole DJ set up and everything, haha. Went really well. 

This week, of our investigators we just had M. and E. at church, even though we had a lot more people promise to be there. We were happy to have those two though, but E. lost the key to turn on her oxygen tank and we can’t find it anywhere, so she is really struggling trying to figure out what she is going to do without that. We've been praying and feel like everything is going to work out, so we hope so! E. is set for baptism June 16th but this whole key to the oxygen tank thing is a huge trial for her, so hopefully everything works out. The other one with a baptism date it T.  She’s set for June 9th, but that has to be pushed back because she still didn’t make it to church. She has to come 3 times still but she’s been taught almost everything.

Lately we have been running out of things to teach 3 of our recent converts, B., L., and R ( who are 10, 8, and 8), so this week was super great that I had a new companion to bring new ideas to teaching them! Elder Lopez had a great idea to read the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s burying their weapons of war from the illustrated Book of Mormon stories book and then to draw weapons. On the weapons we each wrote things we wanted to give up that we don’t do right and then we went into the backyard and dug a whole and buried them. It was pretty fun and went really well. Hadn’t tried that one before!

Oh ya, and we also got another set of sisters into the zone so we had to help them move in and set stuff up for them this week, but now it is pretty much good to go I think so hopefully the extra companionship will bring more work to the zone! We are now the biggest zone in the mission by 2 companionships. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 7

We had another great lesson with F. and he finally confirmed for this weekend! We had a lesson at his apt, and outside was a big party with a DJ, food, a bounce house, piñata, the whole 9 yards. It looked super fun, but while we were teaching we could hear it but realized we'd rather be there teaching than at the party. That was pretty cool. Especially because we had to walk right through the party to get there and it looked super fun, ahah. So he will be getting baptized Saturday at 8:00pm.  After this long process of decision making it’s been so worth it!

We also had a good lesson with T. with a couple from the ward there who are ready to fellowship her, but she never called us back on Sunday about church so I guess she was working. The upside is I think this might have been her last weekend working, so she should be able to start coming to church next Sunday! We also taught our new investigator E., but she slept in through the time we were having a member pick her up because she is heavily medicated (still recovering from a stroke). Can’t blame her for that. We will keep working with her and hopefully get her to church next week!  And we've started teaching a guy named R. too. E. pretty much referred herself...she asked another investigator for our number, and R. is a ref from members in an English ward. Both going pretty well. Working on a couple more refs this week. 

May 2 (sorry for the gap -- we'll catch up)

Elder Kakau is back in my ward and had a baptism on Saturday. In the time when he was changing into dry clothing after the baptism itself and before we finished the meeting, Elder Corvalan and I taught the restoration with several non-members there. The spirit came super strong when we testified of the authority to baptize. It went really well. The air conditioning even cut out exactly when my comp started quoting the first vision. It was pretty incredible.

F. is doing doing well. He came to the baptism this weekend and got his interview with bishop and then was at church. We hear the interview went well and he LOVED the YSA (young single adult) Sunday School class we sent him to in church this week. We have one of the YSAs in the ward coming to a lesson with us for him tomorrow night! Bishop basically told him he has to make his decision between the gospel and playing the drums. I think he really liked it.

Transfers are coming up.  People are getting anxious.  President Black announced in the temple this morning that this transfer is goin to be it. Whichever mission you’re in, you'll stay in. So one week and a couple days till everyone finds out what mission they’ll be in when the mission boundary changes come July 1. We’re getting 27 new missionaries in the mission this transfer and 23 the next – a lot!. 

One day this week I was on splits with one of the district leaders (where one of them goes with me and the other goes with my companion), and we were tracting when a 17ish yr old black high school kid opened the door. The DL gave his little intro and asked if that’d be something he'd be interested in and I quote the reply......."Heeeeeaaall yeah it is!" ‘

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23

Here’s the Kansas City Temple.  Don’t miss the public open house ... this is the last week!  Don’t worry about a reservation; just go.  More information is here.

Here in Las Vegas, we are feeling the heat:  It was 99 a couple days last week according to the thermometer. Pretty hot.  Better this week.

The week had its ups and its downs, though quite a few downs unfortunately. We taught the fewest lessons we’ve taught here this week and had some frustrations.  But there was a real highlight:  F. set a date to be baptized!  We have been really staying on top of him to make sure he has the experiences he needs and understands how those experiences are helping him receive an answer to his prayers. He is getting there. 

Today we are having a bi-zone activity with Lone Mountain zone. Should be pretty fun. They challenged us in basketball, so we have to beat them. 

Mom asked about what I eat.  Let’s see, these days I mostly eat granola with yogurt for breakfast and for lunch I usually make myself some type of pasta. I make a big batch of pasta at the beginning of the week and then through some of it plus different sauces etc in a skillet each day. Works great and is super cheap. Definitely going to be on that in college, too. Dinners, let’s see. We eat in members’ homes every night.  This week I had chile relleno, a whole plate full of traditional Dominican food yesterday...really good, carne asada again, and some other stuff I don’t remember. Tonight J. and D. are coming up here to take us out to eat! We're excited. 

We study scriptures every day.  I’m in Acts at the moment. Crazy how much doctrine is in there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16

We had a pretty solid week. We got a new investigator this week named P. who will be baptized very soon. He is the one that showed up to church last Sunday and was there again yesterday. We taught him this week and he loved it. He is struggling looking for work, but I think this is really giving him some comfort. He even came to church on Saturday to help clean it. When we taught P. he really felt the spirit and was really touched by the message of the restoration. He is excited to be learning about the gospel and understands everything very well. We will be setting him with a date for baptism this week. His prayer (watch this video -- Spanish with subtitles) at the end of our lesson was fantastic and heartfelt. It was a great experience.

We also had a great lesson with F.and he came to church yesterday for the first time in 2 months. We are excited for him, and we really hope we can set him with a baptism date this week.

FYI: In our zone there are 3 stakes and 3 districts. The districts are not quite organized by stakes, so we have to get district and stake stats differently every week. For example we have to send our stats to another set of zone leaders for stake statistics in the Las Vegas Stake but our stats go to our district leader in our zone. There are a couple things like that inside our zone too. The English companionships each cover at least 2 wards and many of them cover 3. Each week we split and go to a district meeting in one of the districts. We rotate which one that were in that week.

I was glad to hear some of my friends were among the 40,000 people who visited the Kansas City Temple during the open house last week. It continues to the 28th. If you don't get a reservation, go anyway. They will work you in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 9

Here I am standing by the Las Vegas temple. For my friends back in Missouri, your chance to visit the inside of a temple is NOW, in Kansas City. Look on line or call or email my parents for more info.

Gl. got baptized and it went great! She was super happy and her whole family showed up (most are members, a couple not). Everything went really smoothly and the highlight was that there was water in the font, hahaha. The talks were great and she was fellowshipped pretty solidly. There wasn’t a huge crowd from the ward because the week before was conference and so there wasn’t a ward meeting where we could announce her baptism and encourage people to come. But her family made up for it. I was able to confirm her yesterday at church

This week was transfers. We lost two of our missionaries in the ward and got 3. We are the same and our roommates are the same. Elder Kakau is in the ward now, which is fun, but we were sad to see the other two go. Both to probably be in the new mission in Reno. Outside of our ward, we got some new people in the zone to meet and stuff, but I already know most of them and honestly the zone really just got better, so things should be going really well this month. The zone had 8 baptisms this weekend!

After our baptisms the last few weeks, we are at 4-5 investigator households (though we'll be getting another on Wednesday) and around 7 less active and recent convert households we’re teaching. Pretty decent, but working on getting that number up.

On Sunday, a guy just showed up to church who I guess had been going to another ward for a couple weeks and found out he corresponded to ours. Our bishopric grabbed him and introduced us to him and now we will be teaching him this week! That was pretty fun! Turns out he barely falls into our area, so it worked out great!

For Easter dinner we had some really solid carne asada. It was super good, been a while since somebody has made me good carne asada. For P-day today, we are having a bi-zone activity with Red Rock zone to play basketball and volleyball and stuff. Should be pretty fun.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 2, 2012

Here's a pic to go with last week's baptism story.

General conference was great. We watched at the stake center. I really enjoyed Elder Christofferson’s talk on the keys and how revelation has always worked, but the best might have been President Uchtdorf's talk on judging and gossip and stuff. That one was great.

This week is transfers. So Saturday, as zone leaders, we gave people calls who are staying in our zone and then let everyone know the times and places they need to be. Tonight we will be
hosting one of the new missionaries from the MTC in our apartment.

G., who was baptized last week, had his interview with bishop this week for the priesthood and for a temple recommend. They are doing fantastic!

This week we’ll be teaching and prepping for Gl's baptism this Saturday. So for the weekend we will be having a baptism and confirmation! Pretty solid Easter things, I’d say. Gl is super excited and we will try to get several other people to go to, but we will see. All of our best investigators are getting baptized, so we are trying to find some new good ones, hahaha. We will see how things go this week!

Click here for Easter. What a great day to remember our Savior!

And here for the KC temple -- where the open house has been extended. You better go!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 26

V’s baptism was great. The young women did a great job at showing up and playing a part in the program. V’s parents and brother came for both the baptism and the confirmation, so we will see in our lesson this week if that had any effect on them. Everything went super smooth.

Can’t say the same for the baptism one companionship in the ward had the next day though, hahahaa. Everything was going great when we got to the part where the actual baptisms happen and everything just stopped. We didn’t know what was going on until one of the witnesses peeks in, then turns around and says, "there’s no water." The Elders had asked those doing baptisms earlier to leave the water in the font, but they didn’t, and the missionaries/ward mission leader/ bishop never checked it!!! They were there like an hour early too! Ohhh my goodness. I couldn’t believe it. So we all four run back there and see this elder just staring at the empty font blankly and just say well, everyone is here ready to go, let’s get to work! So we hit the water and then find trash cans, serving trays, and bowls and start hauling water from every faucet in the building to the font to dump water in. We got it full enough for them to be baptized sitting down after about 40 minutes. It was nuts! Hopefully I can send some pictures, hahaha. In the end everything worked out. Only one of the 3 had to be done twice, and they were all confirmed on Sunday. Pretty fun.

Ok, last crazy part of the week. We were the temporary APs for part of the week, hahaa. The APs had to go to Reno for the week, but Visa waiters (missionaries called to serve in another country, but who can't get there because of delays in getting visas, so they are temporarily reassigned) were coming in from the MTC this week. President Black called on Monday and asked us if we would take the Silverado for the week and help him out on Thursday. Of course we said, uhhh, ya we'll take the Silverado, no problem, haha. So on Thursday we went to president's house at 8:00 and then left from there to head over to the Las Vegas International Airport!!! hahaha, that’s not something you want to do when you and your companion are about down to a total of 3 transfers left combined, but it was still pretty awesome. We got to go in and meet them at the bottom of the escalator and help them get their baggage and everything. It was super fun! Then we piled half of them and all the luggage in the Silverado and sent the rest with president and headed back to their house for breakfast and orientation. We helped do orientation and everything and then brought them over to the office to finish off their training. It was a crazy, crazy day. We got some pics of us with the new missionaries’ luggage in the airport and put them into the slideshow that’s the screensaver for all the office computers, hahaha. The office missionaries loved it. It was super funny. We had a great time.

After all of that, president came with us to a couple of lessons for the afternoon and helped us be a little bold with a guy we are teaching who needs to get divorced from a woman he hasn’t been with in about 15 years so he can actually marry his "wife" of about 12 years. I think it helped. They should be going to Cali for the divorce this coming weekend. We'll see what happens!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 19, 2012

Everyone back at home, watch this VIDEO!!! Sorry I can’t be there, but call or email my parents; you can go with them. Or just go yourself!

The most fun exciting event of the week in Nevada was when ex-elder Jeremy Bowe (just posted on Facebook a tag to an old pic of us) showed up at my door, haha. He was in town for volleyball, so he stopped by to say hey! I currently live in his first apartment on the mission, so he knew exactly where I was, haha. It was super good to see him and talk for a few minutes before he had to get back!

The second most exciting thing was stake conference, haha. Before conference there was a special meeting for all the recent converts in the stake with the stake presidency, President Anderson from the mission presidency, and Elder Webb of the 70. It was a very solid meeting and we had 5 recent converts there which was great...though we should have had more. The conference was really good as well. Of our investigators, G. and M. were at the conference, and they really enjoyed it. I think we may have been in the oldest stake center in Vegas. It’s very different. (Check this link from the ldsarchitecture blog.) It’s all white and kind of blocky, pretty cool place. The lobby looks like a temple lobby. After we got to each do a baptismal interview for one of the other companionships in the ward, which went great as well. The ward is having 3 baptisms this weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 12, 2012

We taught 12 lessons this week total. We taught G., prepping him for his baptism which was Saturday! It was Great! He was super happy and his family was too! Before the baptism we taught G. in the church and showed her the restoration and then she stayed for the baptism and loved it. She is super excited for her baptism on the 7th of April. Yesterday I confirmed G. a member, which is getting a lot easier, haha. It was great. We also taught T. again this week and she is excited to get baptized too, but she has to find new work so that she can go to church. With her faith it shouldn’t take long though. Let’s see, oh ya, also taught V.who is getting baptized on the 23rd and she and her brother and dad were all at church on Sunday, which was fantastic. We are trying to work with her brother to get him ready for baptism as well, but it’s coming a little slower than with her. We also taught a few less active families who we mostly just read with to try and establish the habit of reading in the scriptures everyday. It’s slow, but coming along decently enough. They are making progress. Oh ya, we also taught F. who believes that everything is true, but he is a drummer in a band for a non-denominational church and doesn’t want to lose that. He feels that he has a talent and that he wants to use that talent to praise God, but our church obviously doesn’t have a band for him to play in, so it’s just hard for him. He is working through it though. We talked a little about musicians in the church and will talk some more about prayer this week with him. So we had a pretty good week last week, but this one should end up better now that the zone leader training meetings (shown in the pics -- check out me and Elder Corvalan, my comp, teaching!) are out of the way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 5

Things here have been going crazy! The mission is going nuts right now. The Church has announced that changes in the boundaries of our mission and the creation of the Reno Mission, Some of the missionaries in our mission will be in the new mission. So the number of texts and calls we had through our phone the day they made the announcement about the mission was ridiculous. Everyone is freaking out because most people will get transferred by then, which will determine what mission they’ll be in. Me and my comp just told everyone we didn’t care because were going to be home, hahaha. Just messing with people.

But I’m glad to finish in this area when I do. It’s great. And we are teaching some great people.

We taught a lesson to Gl. this week which went great! She had wanted to get baptized on her birthday in May, but after church on Sunday she told us that she knew she would be ready earlier so we set her for the 7th of April, which was super exciting! She wants to be baptized badly and knows that it will be a great help in her life especially since she is having some problems with her husband right now.

We also had a great lesson with Go. on the commandments with our ward mission leader there. It went great. He is happy to keep any commandments at all and knows they will make him happier. His baptism is this Saturday and his wife and son (already members) are super excited! They are ready to be sealed in the temple as a family as soon as possible! His wife was giddy at the lesson when our ward mission leader testified of being sealed (in the temple like the one you can visit next month).

And then there are V. and her brother K. V. has been waiting for permission from her parents who just wanted her to wait a little bit longer but now feel like she is ready...and she definitely is! Her brother will be baptized soon, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 29

This week we went to the Las Vegas Temple on Monday, so I am writing on Wednesday. The temple was great! We had a special chapel session with President Black and the temple president which was pretty cool. They talked a little about working with the living in place of working with the dead and that being part of the reason that we only go to the temple once every quarter. It was very nice. Hopefully many of my friends will visit the new Kansas City Temple when it opens for public tours in April!

Afterwards, the member who drove us to the temple took us to 5 Guys before going back to the mission (the temple is on the East side of the valley; our mission covers the West side) so that some of the missionaries could try it. It was funny because the English-speaking elders who share our apartment just so happened to have the same thing happen to them. And we also ran into some missionaries from the East mission. Pretty funny experience. The missionaries from the East mission asked if we were new and we kind of just laughed and said nooo, it’s temple day! We thought it was funny cuz there were several of us and we were in their area, so of course we weren’t just new, haha. Good times.

A bit about the zone. We have the most missionaries in the mission at 25, and things are going well. We have 3 districts and all of our district leaders right now are ex-zone leaders, hahaha, so that’s pretty funny. One of them is Elder Ryan Matekal, so for the first time in my mission I see him a lot! haha, crazy how things work out like that. At the moment we have a lot of people set with a baptism date in the zone. Our district has 5-6 (3 ours) another district has around 3 and Matekals district has 18!

Our ward, the 4th Ward is the oldest of the Spanish wards in the valley. The new bishop is doing a great job. Our ward mission leader fortunately is one of the better leaders we have, so that’s helpful. He just came to a great lesson we had last night with a guy named G. who is the only one who is not a member in his family. He is set with a date for the 10th, so tonight we are teaching him again to prepare him for the baptism and everything. His wife is unbelievably happy he is getting baptized! She is super excited to get married in the temple. Our Elders quorum is also pretty good. We have one guy who just got back from his mission in the presidency and he is ready to work and is pushing to get to know all the less actives. There are 3 companionships in the ward because it covers a lot of area and a lot of Hispanics – us, Elders Cedeno and Buchovich, and Elders Farmer and Rodriguez. It’s pretty fun. One great thing the ward does is family home evenings in the church twice a month for whoever wants to come. Great opportunity for recent converts and investigators to get involved. It’s pretty nice. We are also trying to work through the basketball that they play at church too, but we'll see if that goes anywhere.

In addition to G., we are teaching around 5 investigators/households and then about another 4 less active families. We have 3 people with baptism dates right now, but one is going to be a different day because she wants to move it up! That’s always exciting. So we'll see when we set her for. Probably the last weekend in March. We will probably also pick up one more with a date this week, maybe more. We are going to need new investigators quick though because everyone is about to be baptized! hahaa, good reason to need new ones. We'll be pushing for referrals. I think we are going to do a church tour and some other activities to see what we can do to get more people involved.

As zone leaders, we spend about 80% of our time as Spanish missionaries and 20% taking care of stuff. For example, we go the mission each week to enter stats and miles and deal with miles if anybody is over, but fortunately our zone is doing incredibly well on miles and we are going to finish out the month with a bank of around 600 unused miles which is great cuz the mission goes over miles as a whole a lot, haha. And we stop by to pick up supplies or stuff for other missionaries.

So there are signs in all of the ward buildings here for something called the formal for priests and laurels (ages 16-18) and I kept wondering what it was. Just found out that they have a 10-stake priest/laurel dance on the roof of the world convention center next to the strip....the giant building right next to the outlets. That was when I realized how far from church life at home it is here, hahahaha. Oh, and speaking of the outlets, we went there today for P-day. It was pretty fun. We just found out that the other side of the outlets is the mission line there, so it’s in ours and not theirs, haha. We had a pretty good time checking things out. I almost bought a couple things but held back. I’m looking for a white pair of shoes because I’m going to have a missionary tag them for me with sharpies. We have a couple missionaries in the mission right now who are super good and make them custom to whoever wants them. Both are friends, so I’ll have to get it done before I leave!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb. 22: Good-bye Carson City!

I never made it back to Tahoe, unfortunately. Finished out the week in Carson and then packed and headed to Vegas. It’s been crazy transitioning for the last time, but it’s good to be here Vegas again. Things are really moving pretty well in this area, so its fun. I’m working in the Fourth Ward – the biggest Spanish ward in Vegas, so pretty big. I’m still getting to know our investigators obviously, but little by little!

My companion is Elder Corvalan, from Utah (originally from Argentina. His mom is actually from Córdoba, where my dad served as a missionary). Super cool guy, very excited to serve with him. We're already having a great time. He’s been on his mission one transfer longer than I have.

I'm not far from the mission office, so send those packages, cards, and letters to the address on my blog and I’ll get them promptly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feb. 13

This week it tried to snow, but didn’t really succeed. We worked in all three areas.

In Tahoe we found a couple new less active people that the ward had asked us to check out and had nice visits with them one Thursday and Friday. We also wanted to start teaching the couple in Tahoe who was been coming to church for over a month (nobody told us about them until after they’d come 5 times!) but the activity Friday night was canceled and then we haven’t made it back there yet.

In Gardnerville, we got the phone number for our solid investigator there, which is huge (she didn’t have a phone before) because now we can call ahead and not waste time and miles!

And we actually got pretty solid lessons with two of the investigators we are really striving to work with here in Carson. They are extremely difficult to catch, but always tell us how much they want us to teach them and everything. The one is Jorge and his family who we were able to teach this week a little about the plan of salvation. We also finished teaching Elsa about the plan of salvation too and she is just constantly blown away by the things we teach her, which is fun. The big problem right now is getting them to church on Sundays.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feb. 6

We had Zone conference this week combined with Fallon Zone. It was pretty fun. It was the first conference/training not on fundamentals of Preach My Gospel that we have had in a very long time, so it was nice to have the change up. We talked about finding, which we need, so it worked out great! I’m still learning how to work through the members effectively with no ward, but I’m getting the hang of it a little bit. We are starting to see results, which is good.

On P-Day, overlooking the Carson Valley.

We had our best investigator in GVille go to church, which was great. That’s three now for her, but she still has to get married before she can get baptized, so we're still working on a date with her.

We got to teach Elsa this week, which was great! She loves learning about the gospel, but her time is very limited right now due to her job. Hopefully this week things will calm down a little bit. She has already told us that she wants to have her sister join us for the lessons and that she is going to try to get two of her brothers to go to church with her! If her work calms down she will be such a great member! She said yes to a baptismal commitment, but won’t put a date until she feels that she has received an answer, which is great with us. We'll be meeting with her again this week to see how she’s doing and teach her more! We are excited for her. Hopefully it all works out.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jan. 30

Weeeeeeell, so a lot of the week wasn’t great... I’m totally fine now, but I just got a bad cold, the flu, and an ear infection this week. Went to the doctor and got meds, but had some of the longest most boring several days of my life while recovering.

I sent my comp with Elder Ah Mu to Tahoe Sunday. We were supposed to go up for the weekend, but I couldn’t do it. Then Sunday we were supposed to talk, but my throat wouldn’t really allow that and I wouldn’t have been able to stand the elevation climb with this stupid ear infection, so Elder Ah Mu bore his testimony and Elder Baker talked, so it worked out.

Right before I got sick we also got to go to Gardnerville and teach Lorena the first half of the plan of salvation, which was great. She really gets it. She’s such a great person! I don’t think I did a very great job teaching though cuz I was already feeling sick and thinking kinda slow. Unfortunately nobody has gone to church at all the last 2 weeks mostly because a kinda harsh flu has been spreading like craaaazy all over town and everybody’s kids are getting it one by one followed by them getting it. Everyone is sick right now in Carson, haha.

Now, best part of the week? Before I got sick...We finally got to teach Jorge and his family the first lesson! It went great! Jorge and his wife, Mari, really like the church and want to learn more and more, but, unfortunately, they don’t do appointments and they didn’t come to church...again. We have to help them understand the importance of commitments, but we'll also just have to stop by for appointments and when they can they'll let us in and have us start teaching like they did this week. That was a really exciting lesson though. Its nice to have a whole family interested in the message.

Anyway, we taught like 8 discussions. I wasn’t there for all of them, which was good for Elder Baker because he got to take lead for a few!

Meanwhile, I hope my friends at home are looking forward to the chance to visit a temple.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Caught up: Jan. 23

This week should be pretty busy. Zone conference here on Thursday. We will be in Tahoe Thursday night through Sunday church. We are going to be speaking up there this Sunday. Should be a good week coming.

We’ve stayed in Tahoe a couple of times now – back in the cabin. We stayed up there Friday night and woke up to between 5 and 6 inches of snow! Came down the whole day! It was great! Snowed down here in the valley last night so we've got some on the ground here too. That’s huge for the area because it was getting to be a not-good drought and the economy was taking a hit without snow at Heavenly. We had some good stuff though. We met most of the leadership in Tahoe over the weekend. We went to a lot of their houses to meet them and share some spiritual thoughts about missionary work and getting things started there. Still waiting on a lot of the potential to come through but so far so good. We also met a few of the less actives and had some wonderful conversations with some of them. Hopefully will be getting a few back soon!

We taught Elsa the first couple points of lesson one. She is very interested in it all and says she really doesn’t know much so everything is new for her. She never knew what a prophet was and was excited to hear a description. It was a pretty good little lesson and we also found out she used to work with one of our best members! Good to have somebody already set up to fellowship her. We also taught Lorena in Gardnerville and she has committed to baptism, but not to a date yet. She has to get married first and needs to consult with her husband on that. I think it will happen though. Let’s see, We also got to talk to Jorge in Carson a little bit, but unfortunately he wasn’t there for the lesson we set up and he didn’t go to church either. Actually we had around 11 people total commit to church and had 0 go. That was a little depressing, especially after really getting in and committing so many people. We will just have to go this week and really make sure they all understand why it’s important.

Last week was a leadership training – in Fallon! It was suuuper weird going back! Great meeting though. Just what we needed. Talked about the importance of love, how to explain how the spirit works with people, etc.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan. 16 -- finally posted!

This week we taught around 8 lessons, I think – not a lot. We did some tracting (door-to-door contacting), And some work with some members to try and get some referrals, but a lot of time was taken in travel. We were in Carson, Gardnerville, Tahoe, and Reno all this week and didn’t really have enough time in any of the areas and at the same time too much time! Nobody was home in the time we set out for each area, so we had to resort to backup and backup backup plans but that left our investigators untaught in the little time that we had to be in each area! We went by every investigator several times because it is sooo important that we see them but catching them at home has been a nightmare! We'll see how this week goes because time will be limited due to a leadership training, interviews with president, and a couple other things goin on. Hopefully we can work around everything well!

Oddly enough I think that this week’s most spiritual experience was one that we were not even present for. A couple of our investigators finally made it out to church this week in Carson for the first time but unfortunately we were in G-Ville! I was so excited to hear that they were finally able to make it there because we have been teaching them for a long time and one of them (sully) wants to get baptized! Hopefully this is the start of a good trend of every week attendance. We are hoping to have a lesson tonight to see how they liked it and commit them to keep coming and to a baptismal date.

We finally got to talk to the bishop in Tahoe and everything! He is fantastic! A very, very good missionary bishop, as all should be. He really understands the work and the help that we need to be able to really get the work going up there. Before we met with him we tried to find a referral and some less actives but only found one less active guy, though we had a nice conversation with him. We hope in the coming weeks things will be getting more and more organized. We should have at least 3 referrals coming in soon for up there but probably more! Hopefully we can get to teach all of them as fast as possible. It just snowed a little bit yesterday morning finally, but it sounds like we might be getting some real snow this weekend, especially up there.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Finally back again ...

On New Years day we went to church and then spent some time with a few member families around. It was a relaxed day and we enjoyed it. New Year's Eve the English-speaking missionaries in Carson came over and we played some games and chatted for a little while and then tried to go to bed with fireworks and party music going on all around us. Not the easiest of things to do, haha.

We were up in Tahoe for P-day last week and wow, it is absolutely incredible. Unbelieveably beautiful. We hiked to the beach and skipped rocks for a while and felt cold sand between our toes, haha. I reached down to touch the water and I really think it may be the coldest liquid I have ever touched in my life! It was a really great day though. In the 50s and lower 60s even! We also went to almost every ski and snowboard shop we could find...which was a lot, haha. Oh, and there’s no snow. It hasn’t snowed at all. The mountains are now completely brown again except for the runs at heavenly where they make snow at night. It’s ridiculous. We also ate at a diner which had the most incredible view. I wont be able to post a picture this week, but next week I will for sure.

In Carson, we were preparing the P’s for their baptism which finally happened this weekend! Yeaaa! They are super happy to be finally baptized and absolutely love it. They are already seeing blessings! Pedro told us he hasn’t had a full night sleep in 20 years but the night after his baptism he slept all the way through and felt great! He could also read the words of the opening hymn at the baptism which he can never do! It’s super cool. We are also now pushing for referrals in Carson harder and it looks like we should have a few of those coming in too. We are also trying to make contact with the son of an investigator who can’t go to church so can’t really progress. She wants her son to go and we taught him the first lesson a couple weeks ago and he liked it. He’s just not sure what he wants to do yet. We also got to see E. again. Unfortunately she didn’t make it out to church so this week we will have to find out why not (she was in Mexico again for the weekend).

We've also been to Tahoe of course, but we didn’t find ANY of the people we were trying to see in Tahoe...though we did get to know some members better. Sounds like some referrals coming!

We got restarted in Gardnerville after not seeing our investigators there for a little while because they’ve been out of town and stuff. It’s been pretty crazy. We taught a lady named L. again. She has actually gone to church twice now and we committed her to really get started on reading the Book of Mormon because she hasn’t had to do that (she has 3 girls the oldest must only be like 4). We will be seeing her again on Thursday to check up on her to see if she has read and prayed and also to teach lesson 2 probably. Then also in Gardnerville, there is the C. family who is basically the same deal minus the having been to church. Hermano C. is very interested and has a strong desire. We will be teaching the whole family the plan of salvation on Thursday. We built a little bit more of a relationship with the kids last week, so they like us now and won’t see us as strange guys in their house.