July 25, 2013

Facebook 7/25/2013

I'm sad to announce that I've made the decision to not return on my mission. After talking it over with my family, counselors, and giving it a lot of thought we all thought it would be best for me not to return. If anybody would like to know more, feel free to message me. Even though I'm not returning to serve my full mission, I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to serve it honorably. I am also very blessed to have met the people I did, and bring them closer to our Lord. Thanks for the love and support, the church is true.

March 31, 2013

Random March Pictures

Tie Collection - It is yet to be determined if all 48 ties belong to Elder Bell

March 25, 2013

Facebook 3/25/13

Hey I just want to let everybody know I'm having some medical issues right now that are not allowing me to stay in the mission field at this time. I am now back in Utah, but I can't wait to go back out into the field. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement, if you have any questions or would like to know more, I'm open to talk about it, so call/text/message me. Thanks!

March 20, 2013

Email 3/20/13

Hey sorry I forgot to write in my last email, that Monday wasn't going to be our P-day this week. It was our Zone's turn to have a temple trip, and so we got to do that this morning, and they just made today our P-day instead of Monday. Things have been going better, well things got worse, but I've been able to handle a lot of pretty crazy stuff and quite a bit of drama, this past week with a good attitude, so it doesn't seem as bad. If people are wondering why I haven't been writing you back it's because I haven't been getting letters. Somebody crossed out our address on the stickers that they put on our mail to forward to our apartments and put a different number. So some of it went to this other guy, and I'm guessing the rest of them got returned, so if you get it returned please just resend it, and it will get to me. So if you haven't found out by now, I'm obsessed with nice ties, (Stacy Adams are my favorite) and so it's been hard to not buy a lot of ties considering missionaries aren't made of money. Our AP has this thing with his ward and family where if they send him a tie in the mail, he'll send them a picture back of him wearing it in return. He even has an announcement like that in his ward bulletin, we should get one of those for me! haha. I can't get enough of the classy ties.

Temple Trip - Elders: Werner (companion), Escamilla, Bell, Clark, and Garfield

The weather here has been crazy this past week! It was in the 80's, and then it went up to the 100's and now it's back down to the 70's! It's super crazy. It was a hot couple days when it was up in the hundreds. It's still winter is what is the crazy thing! I was worried about the winters here having snow in the mountain areas because I wanted to get away from snow for a while, but I'm starting to wish it would snow instead of getting that hot in the winter. The summer is just going to kill me!

How hot was your winter?

We had a day this week that was really good for tracting. I had been thinking of the streets we hadn't tracted yet, so we went to 10th street and tracted it for about a half hour. The first six houses we went to, we got five return appointments. Unfortunately three of them were referrals for the Spanish missionaries, but it was crazy how many people on that street were interested! We also had a cool tracting experience with a youth member of our ward tracting with us. He was supposed to come to a lesson with us but it fell through so we just took him tracting with us. As soon as we got done praying the street Wabash popped right into my head, and so we went there. We had started on the first house, but saw somebody like 3 houses down walking out to their car and so I went over to him and skipped the other houses. His name is Gio, the member we brought asked him what school he goes to, which we would have never thought about asking, and he goes to a school and is like best friends with somebody Elder Werner had baptized a year ago. Gio was way pumped about meeting with us, I was on exchanges that day with the zone leaders, but they said they had a great first lesson with him. We went over a couple days later to follow up with him and he had read 15 pages of the Book of Mormon already. I'm really excited to work with him. I'm glad we brought that member, because if we hadn't he might not have met with us not knowing his best friend was a member.

We have been helping the little league baseball fields prepare for their season. Our zone probably worked with them once a month maybe twice a month doing service on their fields and snackbar. I don't remember if I wrote about this or not, but me and a couple other Elders repainted their whole clubhouse about a month ago. They had opening day this week and we got asked to come over and do service. When we got there it was like a carnival, they had face paint, games, a blow up house, and cotton candy and snow cones. Elder Clark and I ended up working in the cotton candy and snow cone area and it was a bunch of fun. We were there for six hours it was such a nice day and nice to help out other people get their calories on haha. Before it all started we got to jump in the bounce house and mess around it was pretty fun. During the whole thing we got unlimited snow cones and cotton candy which is really delicious and addicting. I didn't realize how good cotton candy was until Saturday! We both switched off, but mostly it was Elder Clark doing the cotton candy and I was doing the snow cones. All of my experience working at Snowie finally payed off! haha. The cotton candy was really messy and they had us come in our Proselyting clothes. I don't know why, but luckily I didn't spill on myself. They also had a competition at who could throw the fastest, and the missionaries got to do it for free, but couldn't win the prize because it was a movie gift card. I ended up throwing the fastest out of all the missionaries at 74 mph with a baseball, and 71 mph with a softball haha.

Elders Clark & Bell having way too much fun in the bounce house
Making cotton candy at the carnival
The Elders really felt the spirit in this house

Elder Escamilla and I were companions in the MTC, ward-mates out here in the field, but we have never been in the same district before, so we have never gotten to go on exchanges and work together. We are finally in the same district this transfer and we got to go on exchanges. It was so much fun. We were on bikes, and oh man that is tough. My thighs and legs were burning that entire day. It made me really appreciate having a car. Elder Clark's bike seat is awful, my butt got really sore too, I was whining the whole day haha. But besides the fact we were on bikes and rode up some big hills, it was really fun and Elder Escamilla and I had a good time being companions again.

We got some new roommates at our apartment! :) We actually got kicked out and they are running the apartment. Sunday night I found a nice little friend sitting on the top of my bed. It explains why we've been so itchy, and the random blood stains on our sheets. Yup. We have bed bugs. Pretty awesome haha, just kidding. We had been getting bites and been itchy for the past couple of days. And we joked around about having bed bugs, but never thought we actually had them haha. The next day we washed our sheets and blankets and put them in bags and then called the housing missionaries and they came over and we discovered a bunch of them under our box springs. We looked up online that 120 degrees will kill them so we went around the edges and border of our mattress' and box springs and they would come running out. We ended up using our pass along cards and scooped up all that we could. It was pretty gross. We then had to take all of our clothes whether they were clean or dirty and had to wash them all. We had to throw away our pillows, which made me sad because my pillow was very comfy! I wrote "bed bugs" in sharpie on our pillows because homeless people dumpster dive at our place daily so hopefully they won't take them. I warned them so it's not my fault if they get bed bugs! We moved out and we are now living with our ward-mates. Which will be really fun the nights we have to stay in if we don't have appointments. All four of us have a guitar and so we all like to play together. If we start to get distracted from the work, I'm going to see if we can live with a member until our place gets done getting fumigated. I love our ward-mates and we have a lot of fun, but I'm worried we'll get distracted from going out to work, or even during our studies. We'll probably be out of our apartment for about 2-3 weeks.

A bed bug
Some of the captured bed bugs

There is this mountain that overlooks our whole area called little mountain, and this last week one night we went out and drove to the top with our guitars and had a little jamming session. We're not very good, or in sync with each other at all, so it didn't sound very good but it was still pretty fun. I want to start to play or at least start learning how to play church hymns. I think that would be really cool to learn. I'm not sure if I'm good enough yet though.

Jammin' on Little Mountain
Elder Bell's (highly anticipated) first album cover

I got a package from mom that had a tie in it, she didn't want me to wear... but I did anyways! :) Don't worry I didn't wear this tie outside our apartment. I wanted to start out the tie thing with this tie, if you send me a tie... I'll send you a picture of me wearing it in return! haha. I hope everybody has a good week. I love hearing from everybody so keep those letters coming!

Elder Bell's most recent "classy" tie - a St. Patrick's Day "Beer Tie" from Mom

Elder Landon Bell

March 14, 2013

The Best 4 Months

Elder Bell has been on his mission for 4 months today! Yesterday we received a DVD from him that highlights the first 4 months of his mission in picture/video form (he said he has been working on this during his P-days). So for those of you that need to get caught up on what Elder Bell has been up to, or just want a refresher, enjoy!

March 11, 2013

Email 3/11/13

So this week was pretty good. It was really slow, again, but all in all it went pretty well. But I'm pressing forward. I'm trying my hardest and that's all you can really do. It's all about your attitude, I've found that out recently. The only person who can control your own happiness is you. As long as you do your best and you're trying your hardest you should be happy. I've figured that out, now I just have to apply it to myself.

We have a new rule in our Area/Zone, that once it is dark and you don't have any set appointments you have to be inside. I guess our area is just to dangerous to be outside at night. It really sucks because we get a lot less done. I thought we were able to go visit less actives and stuff, because we have been going around to people we don't know that is on the ward list and have been trying to visit with them at night, but I guess if we don't know who they are, and we don't have a set appointment then we just go back to our apartment.

There is this member named Myrl that we'll go see about once a week. He was less active, but now we have him coming back to church. He is awesome. He is this older guy that's about 70 years old. Even though we have got him coming back to church the past few weeks, we still go over there because he needs a lot of strengthening. He is a really lonely guy and we make his week when we go over and visit with him. He'll usually have us play him in a game of pool and then we'll share our message with him. It's a lot of fun, and it really helps him out. His home teacher tells us that he is always talking about the missionaries. He took us out to lunch this week at his favorite burger place and then he even danced for us haha. He claimed he could boogie, so we had to get some proof!

Myrl Boogie dancing

This week we did a lot of preparation for the baptism and made sure that it went well. We usually do testimonies during the baptismal program while the people are getting changed, but it was always the same people going up and essentially saying the same things, so we started playing Mormon Messages. We found this really cool one that is called "The Patterns of Light". They don't have it out on DVD yet and it's a three part video. So one night after it was dark and our appointments fell through we went over to a members house and downloaded the videos and put it on DVD. It ended up being really good, and perfect for the baptism.

When we were preparing for the baptism, we were going through some of the Hymns to see which ones they wanted. Kayla wanted "I Am a Child of God" And Don said "How about for me, you play 'Eye of the Tiger'!" hahaha Don is way funny, he's such a great guy.

I've been learning how to play guitar and so this past week I decided I would buy one. It's a Black Fender guitar it's pretty sweet, and it sounds really good. I've got a Red Utes sticker on there too, so that makes it even sweeter! The guitar store out here is crazy, they have guitars for like 10 grand. I've been practicing a lot during my free time in the mornings before studies, during lunch break, the times we have to go in after dark, and any other free time I have. I'm still not very good at it though. I can play "Good Riddance" by Green Day, "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons, and "Fall for You" by Second Hand Serenade. Hopefully I'll be able to get good here soon! I've been giving up my lunch time naps for guitar practice but it's worth it.

Elder Bell's guitar

Kayla and Don Schreiner's baptism was last weekend and everything went great! We were in a rut all week running all around trying to find different baptismal suits to fit Don but we finally found one. Tim, (Don's son and Kayla's dad) baptized both of them, but Don is too big for him to do it by himself and so I was in the font and I helped with the baptism for Don, helping him back up and stuff like that. All of the Schreiner kids came and so it was like a three-ring circus. Those kids are so wild! Everything ended up being a great baptism.

Schreiner Baptism - 3/8/2013

This week we had lunch at 5 Guys, and it was really weird. I love 5 guys, the food was good, but it was just weird being there. For 3 and a half months I've been living in the ghetto, where there are no normal fast-food places like that. Everybody there was clean and happy, which is a total opposite of what most people are like in San B. We found out that our area is like 3 miles bigger then we thought it was, but most of it is industrial stuff, and so when we went looking around the area that we didn't know was ours, we found a 5 Guys. It's weird how San B works. It's nice from like 60th street down to 30th and then the south (My area) down to 2nd is all ghetto, and then it starts to get nice again at the bottom of our area. So it's like a Ghetto Sandwich or something. So that 5 Guys was down there. They have bulletin boards where you can color flash cards and put them up, and so Elder Clark and I both made some signs and put them up, along with our pass along cards. Elder Clark and I are good friends, we get along really well!

5 Guys signs

The work out here lately has been super super slow. We'll have appointments with investigators, and potential investigators but it seems like every single one has fallen through this past week. We end up Tracting for about 3 hours a day. We get a lot of contacts and potential investigators but we just are having a hard time finding somebody who is solid, interested, and will keep commitments. Sunday I confirmed Kayla a member of the church and that was pretty cool. My first confirmation, Melvina felt like it wasn't much of the spirit talking and it was all me coming up with what to say during the blessing, but Kayla's confirmation was awesome, I don't feel like any of it was me, it was all the spirit.

-Elder Landon Bell

March 6, 2013

Mission Videos

Elder Bell sent me his video card and asked me to upload some of the videos off of there. Here are some good ones that I thought everyone would enjoy! (NOTE: If you are viewing this through an RSS feed you may have to visit the blog directly to see the videos)

Traditional MTC Farewell - "God Be With You Till We Meet Again"

Jaramiah performs "I Believe I Can Fly" after Billy's Baptism

Sign Dancing Fundraiser for Baby Isaiah - Part 1

Sign Dancing Fundraiser for Baby Isaiah - Part 2

March 4, 2013

Email 3/4/13

Hey guys, this letter probably won't be as long as it usually is this week. Things have been pretty hard out here lately. We've barely been able to teach any lessons this past week. I think we ended out the week with 6 lessons taught, which is pretty terrible compared to the 15-20 lessons a week we usually are teaching. The work is really slow, and I've been in a Bum mood lately, so that doesn't help anything either. Satan's been working really hard on me trying to make me give up. I don't know what's wrong, haha. I've just been so down lately. Hopefully things will start to get better soon.

Our days consist of having a few appointments, and then tracting the rest of the day, and then the appointments fall through so we end up tracting like the whole day. We get quite a bit of potential investigators from tracting, but a lot of them have been falling through on the appointments. It's hard because we have great feelings about somebody, but they're too scared to say no to your face, so they tell you to come back and they don't answer or they aren't home, and then you never see them again. It's hard to decide who to come back too and teach, and who to not come back too. There are some names on the ward list who we don't know so we just assume they're less active, and so we've been trying to visit all of them, but most of the time they don't answer either.

Elder Werner was telling us this story about how he was on exchanges one time and worked in our ward, and he went to this ladies house and she took him to her backyard and said "well.. Here's Blue Beard.." and sitting there was this dead cat with flies all around it, He went on to tell us how he had to bury this cat for this lady in our ward. Since him and I are going around visiting the people in our ward that are less active we go to this house, and it just has this gnarly smell coming from inside, that we could smell outside. We knew it was a cat lady. It ended up being that same lady that had him bury Blue Beard haha. R.I.P Blue Beard.. That story doesn't really have much of a point to it, I just thought it was funny.. haha.

I've been really into getting new ties lately, and since missionaries don't have jobs, we've been going around to all the thrift stores and searching through a bunch of those. This last week, I think I got like 16 new ties. They are so cheap and some of them are way nice. I really like the Gnarly, flower ties that there are. I have quite a bit of those. We'll go on P-day and sometimes even during lunch hour. It's pretty fun to go to all of the Thrift stores in our area searching for ties.

Don and Kayla Schreiners baptism is supposed to be this Friday, but we don't know what's going on with it yet. Don is ready and he wants to be baptized this Friday, and we're trying to decide if Kayla is ready or not. Both of them said that they didn't feel like they were ready and that they didn't know enough about the church, but we handled it very well. We showed them the video "You know enough." A Mormon Messages video that talks about how you don't have to know everything and that our life is a spiritual Journey, we all learn new things each day. A quote from that talk I really like is "You don't know everything, but you know enough." The spirit was really strong and they could definitely feel it. Don even prayed right there in front of us and asked if the 8th was the right day to be baptized and he got his answer as a yes. There is a lot of complications going on about the baptism that we have to resolve tonight. Don wants to for sure get baptized this Friday, and we'll see about Kayla tonight after we go and visit them.

The weather here has been pretty weird lately. It will be really warm and then it will be cold the next day. Saturday we decided we would walk around all day and tract and contact people on the street. It was eighty five degrees that day! It was so hot! I am not looking forward to the summers where it is like one ten! I'm going to die when it gets that hot. My back was just drenched in sweat haha it was pretty gross. I thought that my CamelBak had a leak in it or something like that. When we were walking around we ran into this guy who was on a Jazzy scooter and he had this sub-woofer and speaker bungie corded to the back of it. It was pretty loud. It was way funny though, oh the things you'll see while you're out here in the ghetto!

Church was pretty good this week. Well, it was good for me, I was able to feel the spirit and it put me in a better mood. But it was bad for investigators. We didn't have anybody show up to church that we are, or have been teaching. The Schreiners car broke down and they were like an hour away, Melvina's daughter had an asthma attack so Billy and Melvina were with her at the hospital. Jessie's kids were sick, and all of the other investigators we have bailed out and didn't show up. It was a pretty rough week.

Alright well sorry this letter is so short, that's about all I've got. Nothing exciting happened this week that I have to write about. Hopefully this next week will go better and we'll be able to start teaching some lessons. Thank you to those people who are writing me, it means a lot and can really help out when I've been having a rough day/week. Take care.

-Elder Landon Bell

February 28, 2013

Random February Pictures

Cereal Box Wallpaper - Elder Bell says he eats cereal for breakfast and lunch, and started collecting the boxes after they started filling up the trash can too quickly. 14 out of the 18 were eaten by Elder Bell personally.

Soon Elder Bell will wear a suit of dog hair

Buying Corn-on-the-Cob on the street - with mayo, Parmesan cheese, and chili powder

Too hot...?

Cologne from an investigator in the ghetto

February 25, 2013

Email 2/25/13

Hey Folks, man it seems like I haven't written in forever, Two weeks without emailing goes by slow, but it goes by fast at the same time. Mission time is so wierd! So this letter either could be long.. or it could be short We'll have to see haha. We had exchanges with the zone leaders this week, and I was scared to go with Elder Marriott because he's super strict, and I don't know me and him just don't get along the best.. So we went on exchanges last week and it went a lot better then I thought it was going to go! I got a lot of good stuff from him some good ideas on how to contact people, tract, teach a lesson in unity, and set up lessons for members to come along.

We've still been teaching Chris, and he is doing great! He really understands what we teach him and always tells us that we're really good at breaking it down for him. It's always the best when people tell you that, because sometimes we can just ramble on and not even realize that they aren't even understanding the words we're saying so it feels good when people are able to understand and you're able to teach it simply. Everytime we teach Chris the spirit is way strong, I've had lessons like that, but it seems like every lesson we have with him the spirit is way strong. He has a baptismal date of March 16th, but he's not going to be able to make that date because he has been missing church, a lot of things have come up that stopped him from coming, and he also has a leadership position in his church, so we're hoping that we can get him to come next week.

So one of our zone leaders Elder Crozer got the call to be the AP and so he had to leave a few days earlier then when transfers were, leaving Elder Marriott all by himself. So Elder Marriott came into a trio With Elder Monk and I. And I thought it was going to be horrible haha. It actually wasn't that bad. We didn't get much work done, but it was fun. Well we did get work done, just not a bunch of work in our area. We had to do the appointments in our area as well as the appointments in his area so we were constantly running back and forth between areas and stuff like that. We also went to his wards church, and so we went to six hours of church. I love church.. But six hours is way to much for me haha.

Melvina was baptized last Friday the 15th, and it was good! Elder Monk ended up baptizing her and then I confirmed her on Sunday. It was a great baptism like usual the spirit was there really strong, and everything just went really good. After the baptism Billy came up to Me, Elder Monk, Elder Austin, and Elder Escamilla and asked us if we could be his "best men" at his wedding! It was so sweet! It's really an honor to be asked that by anybody, but by somebody we baptized makes it so much sweeter! His wedding isn't until June, so hopefully I'm not too far away if I get transferred.. I'll still be able to get permission to leave my area and go to it though! I'm way pumped for that!

Melvina's Baptism - 2/15/2013

On Saturday we got a text to go help with a car wash that was a fundraiser for these investigators that the sister missionaries are teaching. I guess one of the people they are teaching had a baby, and it passed away at three months old. They don't have enough money to do a funeral or even bury the baby, so we did a car wash. I was already dressed up and I decided I'd just do the car wash in my white shirt and tie haha. When we got there they had a bunch of signs and so I was a sign dancer. Not just any sign dancer though.. I was the best sign dancer ever! haha I've never danced so crazy in my life. I was going absolutely crazy, luckily Some of the elders saw how crazy I was going and they were so kind to take pictures and video, so I have that as a great memory! The sign dancing was getting everybody's attention, but the car wash was still pretty slow, and not a lot of people wanted to pay for one. I had gotten about 10 dollars in tips for my dancing that went to the fundraiser. More people were pulling over to give me money then they were to get a car wash. haha. I decided since all of the signs said something about Baby Isaiah and it being a fundraiser I made a sign that said "What would Jesus do?" And I would hold it at the end of the line of everybody's signs. I only was holding it for about ten minutes, and by that time we had gotten 4 customers in the ten minutes. It was awesome! haha. Unfortunately we had to leave to an appointment so I couldn't hold that sign anymore, but I had a lot of fun, looking like a fool dancing out on the streets of San B, sweating like crazy. I'll send some pictures, but the videos are too big, I'll send my SD card home soon so you can see those videos haha.

Elder Monk & Elder Bell - Sign Dancers
Elder Bell's carwash sign

After our appointment that day we decided we wanted to order a pizza, but didn't know how many to order for 5 elders. We had heard about a place called La Pizza Loca, and they have these giant pizzas for really cheap. We ended up going there and ordering the "La Gigante" pizza combo. It was a thirty two slice pizza, with wings, breadsticks  and a 2-liter soda for under 20 bucks! The pizza was actually a lot better then I thought it was going to be, it being that cheap I thought it was going to taste like cardboard. It was pretty good though, and it filled all five of us!

"La Gigante" pizza

So I had talked a little about transfers in my last letter, or at least I think I did.. Transfers were last week and we got our calls on sunday Morning. Elder Monk is Gonzo, and I am staying in San B! I was really glad to hear that I was staying because there is a lot of good work going on in this area and I didn't want to leave it! My new Companion Is Elder Werner. He's been out on his mission for 18 months, and he is a great guy! He is unfortunately from Provo Utah, so of course he is a BYU fan, but that's okay we still get along haha. He's actually a really nice guy, and we work together really well. He's a hard worker and so it's fun to be with someone that wants to do the work as much as I do. I think this is going to be a really good transfer, I'm really stoked for it. I think I'm going to learn, and grow a lot by having Elder Werner as my companion.

Saying Goodbye to Elder Monk
(pictures with Elder Werner forthcoming)

We've still been teaching Don and Kayla, and they are still on track for their baptism on March 8th. Dons Girlfriend is getting a hip replacement surgery sometime soon and so he might have to postpone his baptism until after that happens. We're hoping that it won't happen until after his baptism, because he wants to be there for her, and help her learn to walk again, and so it could be a while before he got baptized. Don is an awesome guy, I've really grown to love him. He's about 70 years old and had gotten in a car crash and broke his glasses so he couldn't read from the book of Mormon. They recently got him a new pair of glasses and he has been reading from it a lot. He said to his family. "Have you read this whole book before? Well you should because it's true!" He says he knows it's true and he feels the spirit when he reads it. It's awesome in his prayers he talks to god just like he was on the phone with him (Which isn't a bad thing, I think it's awesome) But he usually says something like "I'm glad the Elders were able to come over today and talk about the Book of Mormon. I know that book is true and I'm.. I'm gonna read all of it. It might take me a while, But I'm gonna do it!" Don is just an awesome guy. He doesn't like to wear a shirt and he's got a pretty big beer belly, it's so funny he'll like set food on the top of his stomach and use it as a table, or he'll just sit there the whole lesson without a shirt on rubbing his belly hahaha.

Don the Investigator

Some big news came in Friday night, The San Bernardino mission will be shut down on July first.... For the creation of two new missions! Currently there is the San Bernardino mission, and the Riverside Mission. What they're going to do is put Redlands, and San B into one mission. They'll call that the California Redlands Mission, and our mission right now (With a couple areas cut out going to the Redlands Mission) Will be called the California Rancho Cucamonga mission. The Riverside Mission will still be there with some of it's areas a part of the Redlands mission. The cool thing about this all is there will be twice as many missionaries covering the areas out here. The field is white and ready to harvest for sure! I'm excited to see how this new mission will go, and where I'll end up going. If I'm in San Bernardino at that time of transfers I think it's June 25th. If I stay in San B or if I'm in Rialto, or Fontana I'll be apart of the Redlands Mission. If I'm somewhere in Rancho, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Etc. Then I'll be serving in the Rancho Cucamonga mission. It's kinda crazy thinking about it all and If I leave the mission, I won't ever have the chance to be transferred back around the same area so I couldn't visit people I had taught before. I hope that paragraph made sense because I rambled on forever there haha.

Elder Werner and I have been tracting a lot trying to find some new investigators, I usually hate tracting, but it isn't too bad, I'm starting to like it! We've had a lot of fun tracting and talking to a bunch of the crazy people out here in San B. We haven't had a lot of new investigators, but we have quite a bit of potentials that we're hoping to teach. We actually have a potential family. We got a referral for them and went over and talked to them it's a family of six, and we're going to teach them tomorrow. Hopefully that goes well and we can pick them up as new gators and get them baptized! I've always wanted to convert a family, I hope this will be them!

Don has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and we went over this week and read along with him making sure he was understanding and everything. It was way funny, we would read two verses each except for Don. He would always read like four or five verses. Elder Werner would be right after him and he would always start reading after Don had read two verses but Don would keep going and just cut Elder Werner off. One of the times that it was Dons turn to read, he read like 7 verses and then on the 8th one he cut off Elder Werner again and then stopped half way inbetween the verse and said okay, you can read now. hahah it was so hard to not laugh! He just decided he'd be done at the end of a sentance, instead of at the end of a verse. I don't even think he realized it either. Don is just awesome, He sat by me at church and he was singing along in sacrament meeting. He isn't much of a singer, he would just read the words. I'm fine with that becasue none of our investigators will ever sing, they'll just open the book and read along while everybody else sings. He even tried singing along in elders quorum. We didn't have any hymn books and he didn't know the words so he went along with it and mumbled the whole song, pretending like he knew the words. It was awesome. I had the hardest time keeping myself from laughing.

Elder Werner plays the guitar, and I decided that I'm going to start playing too! haha. He has taught me a few cords, and so I practice a lot at night, and during lunch hour and any other personal time we have. It's really hard, a lot harder then I thought it was going to be! I can now slowly play amazing grace, it sounds pretty bad though. Hopefully I'll be able to stick with it and practice a lot so I can be some guitar master! I just want to write a bunch of songs. The thing that kind of sucks about starting to play is holding down the strings on the guitar can start to hurt your fingers, so if you play too much, your fingers start hurting. I can already start feeling that my fingers are going to be callased! Oh well.

Well sorry my letter should have been like twice as long as this one is since I missed emailing last week. But nothing too new is happening out here. Thanks for the prayers and support, it really means a lot. I've been having a rough time lately, and it really does mean a lot to me. Have a great week everyone.

Elder Bell

February 11, 2013

Email 2/11/13

Hiya!:) haha I guess everybody mentioned something about my introduction to my letter last week, sorry I don't have anything good like that this week! Things are going pretty good! Everything is about the same here out in San-B.. Transfers are coming up this next Tuesday, hopefully I'll stay! Elder Monk is thinking he'll leave since it will be like 9 months that he's been in this area. I hope at least one of us will be able to stay because the work in our area is starting to go really well, and there are tons of people with the potential to be baptized that we've worked with.

Billy is still a stud, haha. Last week we saw him a couple of times and the first time we saw him, he had told us he had started reading the Book of Mormon and he can't read.. So we asked how he was reading it and he got this app on his phone that reads it to him and he just follows along and listens to it. On the first day he had read/listened all the way up to 1 Nephi chapter 17! He was talking about what he had learned, and was saying some new words I had never heard him say before, it was pretty sweet! It was like there was a new Billy from just reading/listening to the Book of Mormon that day.

We were tracting Magnolia street this week, (Magnolia is a place you do not want to be at after dark, straight up ghetto) and we came across this gated house, and the gate was locked and they had a beware of dog sign, and also these huge crosses in their yard, like wooden stakes, I would say about at least 4 feet tall. We decided we would skip that house, and the gate was locked anyways so we couldn't do anything about that. On our way back down the street, a guy came out and started laughing at us, so we just ignored him and kept walking, then he called us to come over. So we started walking over there and he had this wrench in his hand, I thought we were going to brawl! But he was really nice, he said he was a member he got baptized 25 years ago and fell away a couple years after his baptism. We were about to head to dinner and so we couldn't stay and teach him then, but our after dinner appointment fell through and so we went back. (After hearing a couple of gun shots that lesson, we now know not to go back there at night,,) But we shared a message with him and got to know him better. His name is Ralph, and he is a character! He is so goofy and funny. He would call his son Chris out randomly when he wouldn't know the word for something, or just the most random things. Anyways, His son Chris way nice kid, he kind of chilled out there after Ralph kept calling him outside to answer questions. We weren't talking much about the gospel but Chris was just chillin out there with us. He knew we were from some kind of church, but didn't really know what we believed and stuff like that. So he asked if we were Christian and we told him yes. He said the church he goes to now sells food and drinks during the service, and he wanted to know whether or not that was right, so I went over and talked to him and talked about how we weren't really in the place to say whether or not it was right, because we don't know what the proceeds are going to, But I told him that Jesus taught in the Bible that priestcraft is bad. And from there the spirit took off, I went on to teach him the restoration or the summary in about 2 minutes and it was awesome, I don't even remember what I said. I just told him about how Jesus Christs church was back on this earth and there is evidence in the Book of Mormon. I don't really remember what else was said, but it was the best contact I've ever made with somebody, usually when we street contact, I'll talk about something and then when they respond I'll let Monk take over because I'll get stuck or something, this was the first one I've done all by myself and it went so great! I'm a big boy now! haha.

We went back over to teach Chris a couple days later, and it was the best lesson me and Elder Monk have ever taught together. We were working together so well, transitioning topics back and forth, bearing testimony frequently, and we used A lot of scriptures from the Bible that were really helpful with Chris because he knows the Bible pretty well. It was the best lesson we've taught so far, the spirit was so strong. I don't really remember what was said, but that's the best, because when you don't remember what you were saying, that means that the Holy Ghost was talking through you, and it wasn't just you talking. When we introduced the Book of Mormon too him, we explained really well that it doesn't replace the Bible it's another Testament, and they work hand in hand, Considering how the Bible can be translated so many different ways, it's like a door, with only one door hinge. You can swing it so many different directions, (Why people translate it or find so many different meanings, and why there are so many religions.) But as soon as you place the second door hinge on that door (The Book of Mormon) you can only swing it one way and one direction, not misinterpreting anything. He was so excited to read it, and actually said that he felt like it was true just from us talking about it and him not reading anything at all from it! He said "This is exactly what I've been searching for, I wish I would have known about this book a long time ago! I really appreciate you guys coming out here and sharing this with me and other people, I hope to someday go out and do the same as you guys." After that we committed him to baptism, and it was just the best lesson ever! Nothing went wrong, and after teaching this guy the first lesson he told us he wishes someday he can serve a mission! It was so crazy!! Unfortunately, he's already had children, but it was really cool to hear somebody you just taught the first lesson say they want to serve someday!

Melvina is getting baptized this Friday, but unfortunately Billy won't be able to baptize her because they went out of town this weekend and he wasn't presented in front of the ward, and he missed his interview and stuff like that, but he really wanted to, it's sad knowing he can't, We had a pretty sweet lesson with her this week, and then went over the baptismal interview questions with her. The best thing she said this week, and I just want to write this on a big piece of paper and hang it up on my wall! haha she said "I've fallen in love with your guys' church, I've fallen in love with the truth." Boom! haha I just got the chills! It was so sweet! She has so much faith, and I know she'll make a good addition to the ward family. Our ward is awesome, The bishop and everybody. I wouldn't mind moving to this ward after my mission.. Until I realize that it's San Bernardino and then that cancels out the sweetness of the ward haha.

It's actually pretty scary here. Especially right now, there is a guy they are looking for. They call him the "Cop Killer" he is an old cop, and I guess he's going around and killing other cops. He wasn't doing that here in San-B but that is where they lost him after they were chasing him, so we have a guy that has a lot of skills with a gun running around, hiding where we knock door to door. Every night the Ghetto bird (A helicopter that searches for people with its spotlight) looks for him, and it's hard sometimes when we are teaching a lesson and the light shines right outside the peoples front yard, and they freak out and think that the cop killer is by them. Total spirit killer! I'm sure that this guy is somewhere out of the country by now, and everybody is freaking out about it. It's fun to play along. I'm not afraid of him, I'm an adult. Haha just kidding, I'm scared but I doubt he's even in this town anymore.

We were able to go do baptisms for the dead this Saturday with our ward and that was sweet. The Redlands temple is way pretty, and their baptismal font is so cool! Last time we went there, I baptized and the other elders did confirmations, so this time I let them do the baptizing and I helped with Confirmations. It was really cool, I love the temple so much! After that we went out to In-n-Out burger and that was a lot of fun. We all got the 4x4 burgers because we're men and we like to do manly stuff like that. This newly ordained deacon that is tiny he's like way small compared to the other kids, pounded down 2 4x4 cheese burgers and a shake! Now that is manly! haha.

I guess the only other cool thing that happened this week, besides some of the awesome letters I got! :) We have been teaching Don and Kayla this week, and they have a baptismal date for the 9th of March and I'm thinking they'll definitely be ready for that by then! One of the days we were over there, their cousin was over, and he was giving them a hard time and heckling them about them being baptized saying like that's so dumb! Who would want to be baptized? And both Kayla and Don chewed him out and were yelling at him saying they wanted to be baptized, and why they needed to be baptized and all of that stuff, it was so awesome to see them stand up for the church and stuff like that!

The library is closed next Monday because of President's Day and so If I can't write next week, I'll talk to you guys in two weeks!

Elder Landon Bell

February 4, 2013

Email 2/4/13

My beloved brethren and sisters, haha just kidding, I'm trying different approaches on how to start my letters, so bare with me! It has been a pretty good week again, everything out here is going well, and is about all the same, I'm not sure how long this letter will be, so sorry if it is short this week. Nothing too exciting or any crazy stories happened this week. Time goes by so fast it's crazy, it doesn't seem like only a week ago we were emailing! Sometimes days can drag on and take forever, but looking back it really goes fast!

I guess to start out I'll talk about Melvina, We've been going over there about every other day and at least trying to make daily contact with her, if we can't teach her we'll either stop by or give her a call and just see how she is doing. She is still going good with everything, and is looking forward to her baptism on the 15th. We have been going over there and teaching her all of the commandments and all of that good stuff. She is really close to baptism and is definitely ready! Billy is doing awesome like always, he should be getting the priesthood this Sunday and hopefully he'll be ready to baptize Melvina on Friday! We always have the best time going over there and teaching them, one day this week we had "Dancing class" after we taught them. They taught us how to do all of the dances like Cupid Shuffle, and Dougie, etc. Better watch out ladies.. Elder Bell can bust a move! haha just kidding. I can just rock at doing the Bernie! (The dance me and K.C. did on the cruise.)

The "Bernie"

Phillip has been making some awesome progress. Well, it's hard to explain with him, because he's making progress, yet not really making progress at the same time, it's confusing, I know. He's been really learning a lot about the gospel and we can always feel the spirit when we go and teach him, but he still isn't over his drug addictions. It's hard because he doesn't have a job so he has all of this idle time, yet if he was to find a job which is way hard in San-B right now, he wouldn't be able to pass the drug test. It blows. He has really been making a lot of progress though, saying sincere prayers and reading from the Book of Mormon daily, He also really likes D&C too. He tried setting a baptismal date for himself, but it wouldn't work out haha. He said he wants to be baptized while we are here and transfers are in two weeks, but we'd rather have him be baptized when he is ready and not for the convenience of us. We also want him to be off of drugs for at least a month before being baptized. The requirements are off of an addiction for a week to be baptized, but this addiction we want him to be off for at least a month so he doesn't relapse.

We started teaching Ricky this week, I don't know if I mentioned him before, but he is Jessie's son. He's fifteen years old and is a really smart kid. We taught him the restoration but didn't have time to finish so we came back another time to finish it, and the second time was so much better then the first. The spirit was there way strong and he was able to feel it. He says just by us telling him about the Book of Mormon and the short passages we have read with him that he believes it's true. We committed to be baptized, but we haven't set a date with him yet. It's so crazy inviting people to be baptized on the first lesson, I thought it would be nuts and people would get like scared or thrown off by it, but after practicing and role playing it's natural for me to invite somebody to be baptized on the first or second lesson.

Jessie and Adam, I love them, but they are causing us some real problems! They are like two fifth-graders that are in love, that have to be mean towards each other to show it. The missionaries get to be the lucky candidates they have chosen to be in between all of the problems they have. We constantly get texts or calls from them, complaining about the other person, or saying something is wrong, and it's just really hard to be patient with them because half the time they are joking around and the other half they are being serious. I think I'm going to go over there this week and read them the story, The boy who cried wolf. haha

We have this recent convert in our ward I don't remember if I mentioned him before, Bobby Bradley! He is this ex-professional wrestler. We had dinner with him this week and it was awesome! He has so many stories! He was telling us about how he would do wrestling in Mexico and that all of that wrestling is real, but the WWE wrestling is fake, he did both wrestling. I've never heard of him and I used to be big into that fake wrestling stuff, but he's on a video game! It's so crazy seeing his old pictures and hearing his stories. I don't know if he was very good or not haha, has anybody ever heard of him? I'll have to look him up on YouTube when I get back or something! He was talking about his first time being on TV with Rob Van Dam who was his tag team partner he told us that they froze up on the camera and didn't know what to say so they were all pumped up and said: "I'm Robby V, And I'm Bobby B, and we're here to wrastle!" and then they just awkwardly sat there haha.

We see the Schreiners almost every day, but are only able to teach them like 2 good lessons a week. We try more but their house is so chaotic! Kayla and Don have been sick these past two weekends and so they haven't been able to make it to church yet, but the first time we asked them to be baptized they were kind of hesitant, we asked them last night again and set a date with them and they were way excited and said they really wanted to. The Schreiners have like 7 kids, one kid with autism, another they adopted that was a drug baby so he has super crazy ADHD like hyper 24/7, and a three year old that is uncontrollable. They also have a couple dogs that like to fight and bark, so it's really hard teaching a lesson there. If not all of the kids are going crazy, at least one of them is crying or getting into trouble, and if that ever isn't happening the dogs see something outside go by and they start barking until the kids come. It's almost impossible to teach over there. We've been trying to get them to come to a member's house to teach but they have a hard time getting over there and stuff like that. I think we'll start asking if we can teach them outside, so we can feel the spirit. One of their puppies loves me though, it's a pitbull/collie mix, that gets into so much trouble, but whenever I pick it up it falls asleep in like five minutes. The other dogs come and sit on me too, it's pretty funny when I have a puppy sleeping in my arms, and then two other dogs sitting on my lap. You can just call me the dog whisperer!

Elder Bell - The "Dog Whisperer"

We had a zone conference which was way sweet. We went and they talked to us and pumped us up about missionary work and how to better work in our area. They had this amazing talk/video, It's two talks combined Elder Eyring and Elder Holland talking about the atonement. It's called missionary work and the atonement. Look it up on youtube, it's so awesome! It will make you cry! It talks about a lot the atonement and missionary work (hence the name..) but you can relate almost all of it to life back at home, and when things get tough. I strongly encourage everybody to watch that video. After zone conference we went to the ensign book and I was like a little kid in a candy shop! I got so many things to help me study, to help me teach, and to help my investigators! (Sorry mom if I spent too much haha)

Elder Bell put this in his room to remind him of that Zone Conference

The February Book of Mormon Challenge is going great so far. I'm loving reading it! It's such a great book, this book is truly the word of God. "no wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." This book is so true it's ridiculous. I bore my testimony this Sunday all on the Book of Mormon, and how I know without a doubt it is true. There is this challenge in one of my books that I want to give to somebody that doesn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. It's a challenge for somebody to write a book like the Book Of Mormon and it states like 27 different steps and ends with finally giving up your life for that book. It's kind of cool, I'm just worried if I give them all of those facts about the Book of Mormon and how it was written they would get mad or something, or I would make them feel kind of dumb. I would feel like a Boss walking away from that lesson, because the more I think about it, it really would make them look kind of dumb. Anyways, yesterday during our study/personal time I got lost in the Book of Mormon, and ended up reading 60 pages! Whoops, I went a little too far ahead! I'm hoping I can finish it in even less then the 27 days I had set aside in February. Is anybody else doing this challenge with me? It's awesome.

We went to teach Phillip, who lives in a retirement home with his mom, but he wasn't home and we saw these people moving. Although we were in our suits and everything we still decided to help. The lady was an inactive member and knew who we were and didn't want help from us, but we kind of ignored her and asked the husband and he was glad we were there to help. I knew that they weren't really interested in hearing a message, but we helped anyways. When you're in the service of your fellow beings, you are in the service of your god, so why not? After we helped move them in they started talking to us and were being super nice. The husband isn't a member but he knows almost everything about our church. He told us stories how he is an electrician and worked on the Conference Center. He said he would go to the park during his lunch breaks and he saw Gordon B. Hinckley. Supposedly they sat and talked there for like six hours, and he talked about how great of a guy, and spirit President Hinckley had. He said that, that had happened a couple of times and they got to be good friends. After he told us the stories, they told us to come by sometime and share a message with them, and then I thought. How awesome would it be if we ended up baptizing this guy? We baptized somebody who couldn't be converted by President Hinckley! That would be nuts. That's what I love about my mission is seeing people who had such a bad past, or somebody who wasn't ever interested in the gospel before, become interested in it. I love my mission.

Have a great week everybody! Can't wait to hear from Y'all. haha

Elder Landon Bell

January 31, 2013

Random January Pictures

Fun with "Bananagrams"

More fun - Elder Bell says he likes to think he's creative

A sign leaving the LDS church parking lot (every member a missionary)

He never knows who he'll meet on the streets

Elder Bell in his Du-Rag

Elder Bell with another "White Honkey"

Q&A in January

Here are the questions I got answered from Elder Bell during the month of January:

Q: How was Christmas in the field?
A: Christmas was awesome out here, kind of weird being away from family and snow, but it was still good!

Q: Did all the elders in your area exchange gifts?
A: The other elders didn't get me anything for Christmas, but that's just because I just taped a bunch of garbage together for them ha ha.

Q: Where/How did you learn to shine your shoes?
A: I'm still not really sure about how to shine my shoes, I kind of just guessed ha ha.

Q: Did you have any service opportunities in the MTC?
A: We had service once a week on Tuesdays (and since we left on a Tuesday we only had to do it twice). We were in charge of cleaning our building. Once I swept and mopped the stairs, and the other time I cleaned the toilets. The toilets were actually funner to clean than the stupid stairs!

If you have your own questions you'd like answered by Elder Bell, add them in a comment below and I'll send it to him, or just write him a letter!

January 28, 2013

Email 1/28/13

Hey what's up guys!? I don't expect anybody to answer these questions or statements I post at the beginning of my letters, I just don't know how to start them.. haha. I hope everybody has had a great week. It was a pretty weird week for us, but it was still pretty good. The flu has hit San-B and is affecting almost everybody! Most of our appointments this week fell through because people were sick with the flu and we couldn't visit them. We only got fed twice out of the seven days this week, so many people were sick it was ridiculous! Elder Monk and I started feeling sick, but after we went back to the apartment and took a nap we were able to feel better, luckily we haven't caught it yet.

I decided that I'm going to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, the month of February. I planned it all out and I wrote down all of the pages I need to read and what days. It will end up being about 19-21 pages a day. I'm pumped to do it! Anybody who wants to join in, join in! Any Takers?

So this week, we were ready to drop Phillip. He wasn't making any progress and every time we would go over there we would pretty much just be counseling him. The day we went over to drop him, was the day he was ready to make changes. He has had a problem with smoking weed, and combining pills with it, that would give him the same affect as a very serious drug would do. Unfortunately he lives in a retirement home with his mom, and so with all of the old people around it is very easy for him to find those certain pills. He has a medicinal marijuana card (they give them out here if you say your back hurts). After a lot of talk, and trying our hardest, we finally left his house that night with a "Today is the day I stop" promise. When we left his house we left with his medicinal marijuana card, ripped up, and his pipe he would smoke from. We were feeling pretty confident about him and his progression we were hoping he would make.

Melvina is doing really well. We were able to teach her a couple times this week before she ended up getting sick too. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and that answered a lot of her questions. We had the lesson at a members house and they sat in and put a lot of good input in that she was able to understand and take to heart. She told us, she prayed about the Book of Mormon and knows it's true, and also that it has already helped her with some of her trials she has run into. Her and Billy had some drama going on this past week, (due to his mom) and she said that she went home and got a whole bunch of answers to questions she had, and has been reading it when she feels down, and always is comforted by the spirit. It was awesome to hear her say that if it weren't for the Book of Mormon, she wouldn't be with Billy anymore. Ah, the church is true!! Melvina is awesome too, she always prays for understanding on the Book of Mormon and said that she has had a lot of help understanding it after she prays. She's already ahead of me, I have a tough time understanding sometimes! Stupid ADHD!! haha.

Adam... Adam is a challenge for us sometimes haha. He does a whole bunch of stuff to drag everybody's attention towards him, and if he doesn't get the attention he wants, he'll make something up. This past week he made something up, at least we hope he was making it up. We were sitting there teaching him and Jessie, and he talked about his past and about how he used to associate himself with the devil. He told us that he sees demons, and there was one in the room, sitting there in-between Elder Monk and I laughing at us. And then he went on to tell us how he thinks the house is haunted because there are like three other demons that live there that are like half man, half animal. I believe in evil spirits and everything because those are the ones who didn't follow Jesus Christ's plan in the pre-Earth life and weren't born on this earth but still exist as evil spirits, but I don't believe in the spirits most people think of, the half human half animal, Narnia stuff. haha. He asked for a blessing on his house so we gave his home a blessing and then like ten minutes later, he said the room was empty. I feel bad for him, and I really feel bad for him if he really is seeing demons, but he just does so much stuff for attention and makes up so many things, it's hard to know what is the truth and what is a lie.

We taught Melvina about the Law of Chastity, and she was super excited and pumped about it all! She agreed to live it without any hesitation. She was already living it anyways because Billy was living it, but she was excited to say she was living it and would be living it for herself, and not be doing those things because Billy couldn't. I always thought that teaching the law of chastity would be awkward, but it's not when everybody acts like adults haha.

We went over to Phillips yesterday and the day before and taught him, we found out that he had gone three days cold turkey without any drugs. He stayed up three consecutive days, he couldn't eat, and he threw up a lot. He went to the hospital and the doctors told him that he needed to "weed it out" he was having the biggest problems combining the two drugs. He used to take the pills and smoke until he would pass out, but now he smokes when he needs it, and doesn't abuse it. This has made such a big difference in teaching him. You can automatically see a new glow in him, and I love teaching him now! When we go over to his house we have the best discussions and lessons, and the spirit is so strong there, when before it wasn't ever really there. He's already made a bunch of progress, and I can't wait to see how he does this next week.

So this statement is probably pretty obvious, but I never really said it before, I love church!!! As a kid, and even a couple months before my mission, Church wasn't my favorite thing to go to haha. But now, I look forward to it every week, church is awesome. The spirit is always so strong there, especially during the sacrament. I Definitely wish I would have realized how great church was when I was little. It's the best three hours of the week, you get to learn more about Christ, recharge your batteries, and most importantly take the Sacrament, and renew your baptismal covenants. I love it!

I hope Everybody has an awesome week! Take into consideration the February Book of Mormon challenge. I can promise you you'll see a difference in this next month if you are reading it everyday, then if you weren't. This is a challenge from L-Bell! I hope all of you will accept it.

"Peace and Blessings",
Elder Bell

P.S. I don't have any new pictures this week.. :( Sorry!

January 22, 2013

Email 1/22/13

This week was a lot better, I had some struggles and I was having a really hard time with homesickness and stuff like that, but looking back it was an amazing week! Sorry I wasn't able to write yesterday, The libraries were closed for Martin Luther King day, Which is a holiday out here? Like the whole city shuts down for that. I remember in elementary learning about MLK and stuff like that, but never missing school for it, or I don't ever remember the post office, and city buildings being closed for that. So last Monday when I had emailed I was really upset about a few things, but I'm doing a lot better now. Thanks for those that were concerned about me and how I was doing.

I've talked about him a lot before, but me and Billy have such a strong friendship, that dude is awesome! After what he did with Jaramiah and holding people back from attacking him, and all of the times we have gone over to visit him we just keep growing closer and closer, i'm going to be sad when I get transferred out of here, me and him are great friends. Last P-day we hadn't called him because we don't ever really teach him in the night and have things to do during the day, and he gave us a call and said what's up guys? I'm just checking up on you! Like we would do with him all the time, but he decided to check up on us, so we decided to go over and share a message with him. That went really well, we had a lot of fun talking, and laughing, but also teaching and feeling the spirit. Every time we have gone to teach him at night when we leave, he always says "Give me a call when you've made it home safely." Haha I can't explain how cool he is, and he shows love towards everybody he comes in contact with. I'll talk more about him later in the letter.

Jessie was our investigator that lives with Adam. The reason she's no longer an investigator is.. We baptized her on Sunday! She really wanted the bishop to be there for her baptism, her original date was the 26th, but he is going to be out of town, so we prayed about it, and prayed about it with her, and we decided we would move her date to the 20th. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her to see where she was at and to see if we needed to reteach anything she had forgotten. Her son Rickie was there and he's 15, he has seen us before but never really sat in on a lesson. We had a lot of fun that night going over the questions, and joking around. It was cool because we were laughing really hard at one time and then could be serious at another time. Her son really likes us and we are going to be teaching him hopefully tonight.

Melvina is Billy's fiancée. She just moved here from the mountains but they had been doing a long distance relationship type thing. (I don't remember if I talked about this in my last email..) She moved to San B about a week before Billy's Baptism and he taught her the law of chastity right away and she agreed to live it and help him live it. She came to church the week before he was baptized and she said she really liked it, but we hadn't gotten the time to teach her yet. That week we had been teaching Billy everyday and going over some of the fist lessons and some videos to increase his faith, We showed "Finding Faith in Jesus Christ" and she was crying during that movie, we didn't get the chance to teach her until Tuesday. When we went over she had told us she had been praying about a church she should join, She knew James 1:5 very well. When she had seen Billy's baptism and had gone to church with him that Sunday she felt like she had gotten an answer to her prayers and she loved our church, and is going to come every Sunday.

We taught Melvina the first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon and a baptismal date for February 15th. When we went back to teach her again, we asked if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon, like we challenged her to do. She said no, but she knows it's true. She said just by reading it she can feel the spirit and can tell that it's a book from God. She said she did pray about her Baptismal date, (which we didn't ask her to do.) She got out a calendar and prayed about multiple dates, and felt like the 15th was perfect. It was a way neat experience hearing her say that she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and she had prayed about something we didn't even challenge her to do. We asked Billy to give his testimony on the Book of Mormon and what his feelings are about it. Now Billy isn't the brightest kid, He knows what to say, but he has a hard time speaking it, if that makes sense. He knows all the things, but has a hard time finding words. He started talking and like stuttering, We could tell he couldn't register his words so I started talking to try and help him, but he cut me off, stood up, grabbed the Book of Mormon holds it high in the Air and yells "This book is true!!!!!!" It was amazing! It gives me the chills every time I talk about it, I just wanted to cry when he said that haha.

Billy asked if a girl would be baptizing her, (he had forgotten that only men could have the priesthood.) So we told him that it would be a male baptizing her, and she automatically pointed to me. I was honored! I didn't decline the offer, but I countered it with something. Billy being a member, is now able to get the Priesthood, and I told them that he could baptize her. He's really scared too, but we've gone over and taught him about the priesthood, and he has a interview with bishop tonight so they can see where he's at and what he needs to do to receive the priesthood. It was funny, he asked me at Jessie's Baptism if it's hard to baptize, and then asked if I could say the prayer, and then he could dunk her haha. I really hope he'll be able to baptize her, although it's an honor for me to baptize somebody, it's ten times better if a member does it, so they have that fellowship and connection for when I get transferred out of the area.

So Jessie has this incredible faith, she has such a strong testimony of this church, she has been ready for baptism for a while, but couldn't because she was living with Adam. But because of his health situation, and them no longer being a couple, Bishop talked to them and they are allowed to live in the same house if they are in different rooms, so she can still take care of him. She was able to get a job too this past week! She drives for a nursing home, either taking patients to appointments, or to the hospital. So she has a lot of down time. During that time she carries around in her bag, a Book of Mormon, a Gospel Principles book, and The Lorenzo Snow book! She has been studying those books like crazy, and she loves them!

The Schreiners are this family that moved into the ward the day I came out into the field, and they are awesome! I love going over and visiting with them. Their dad is a non member and a civil war vet.. that has a hard time remembering things, so we were a little worried to go teach him. Their daughter who is 11 just moved in with them, and isn't a member either so we are now teaching Kayla, and Don. Don, remembered a lot more then I thought he was going too. And Kayla is way smart for an 11 year old, so she understood everything we taught her too. They both have a baptismal date for Feb 15th as well!

We had a ward movie night on Friday night at the church, we projected the movie Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration. I think it's the same one they play in temple square. I've seen that movie a couple times, but it has never had that impact on me before like it did on Friday. The spirit there was so strong. Being a missionary and watching that video, helped me understand so much more about the restoration of the church then I had known, and it will help me teach better too! Don and Kayla Schreiner were there and they thought it was really good. Melvina was there with Billy and she said that everything makes so much more sense now, and that it was an amazing movie. When the movie had ended, I asked her what she thought and she was just speechless, she said it was such a beautiful movie.

Sunday night we had Jessie's baptism. She asked me to baptize her too! It was awesome! It was our third baptism, and my second physical baptism. She's a little bit bigger then me, and a lot of people teased me before about dropping her and not being strong enough to pull her back up, but I was able to do it just fine! I did get a little worried though, because the font at our church has a leak in the drain so while you fill it up, it drains at the same time just not very fast. When we went into the font I thought I was going to have to baptize her more then once because the water was so shallow, it was like only three feet high! The Baptism was awesome though, and we got permission to do a font side confirmation instead of doing it during sacrament meeting. There was a very strong spirit there and you could tell everybody whether they were members or not, could feel it. Her son Rickie who we are going to teach tonight really felt it and wants to learn about the church now, and Her daughter Emery, who is 8 even said after Jessie was baptized that she wanted to be baptized! We might start teaching her too, it was cool because we were planning on teaching her before she said that. Saturday night we went over and taught Jessie and Adam and she had come at the end and said she wanted to say the prayer and so we taught her how to pray, and she got really excited after she said the closing prayer and said she wanted to do it again haha. Hopefully she'll be there tonight and will listen in on the lesson we teach Rickie. I'm a little nervous about teaching an 8 year old, because I'm worried I'll go on thinking she's an older person and teaching her way advanced stuff haha.

Jessie's Baptism - 1/20/2013

I've gotta run, but thanks for the letters, and the prayers. I love you guys and I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Landon Bell

January 14, 2013

Email 1/14/13

It's been a pretty rough week this past week, but hopefully things will get better! I don't really have much to talk about in this email, but i'll try to say as much as I can haha. It feels like so much happened, but so little happened. We had a pretty unsucessful week, and quite a bit of stuff go on that I won't even be able to talk about on here. I have just been in a downer mood lately with everything going on out here. Everybody brings their problems directly to us instead of the bishop, so that's super frustrating. I don't think I could handle being a bishop!

We had exchanges twice this week, I exchanged with Elder Neonte, a spanish speaking Elder, and Elder Crozer, the zone leader. That was pretty fun, and it was cool to go around with them and see their different techniques, and teaching/tracting skills! The only bad thing about that was both of those days that I went on exchanges, pretty much all of our appointments fell through so it made our area look bad! It was still a good time though.

Billy did good this whole last week with not smoking and obeying the other commandments that he struggled with, so he was baptized on friday! It was way good! I was able to baptize him, and I did it on the first try! haha. When I was pulling him back up, his foot slipped on the ground and he almost fell back down but I caught him. Only one person noticed that I almost dropped him though so that saved me from a lot of embarrassment! Haha I'm sure Bishop would have teased me a lot about that.

Billy asked Elder Bell to baptize him!

Billy's Baptism - 1/11/2013

We have a few new investigators that we're not sure about yet, we can't really tell if they'll progress or not. We had a bad turn out at church this week we only had two of our investigators show up. We'll still invite them all to be baptized and continue to work with them, they just seem like they aren't super interested.

We taught Jessie and Adam the law of chastity this week, and we thought it was going to be hard because they have been living together for a while. Adam has some pretty bad health problems and we talked to bishop and asked if there is anything we could do about him not moving out. We came to an agreement that they could live in the same house, as long as they are in different rooms. They aren't a couple anymore anyways, and they live with a bunch of family so we know that they aren't sleeping in the same room now. Actually as soon as we told them Adam might have to move out he started sleeping out on the couch instead of in the same room as Jessie. Her baptismal date is on the 26th, but Bishop will be out of town and she really wants him to be there, so it might be pushed up a week! We'll find out about whether she feels good about it tonight when we go see her. She's awesome and has so much faith! We've prayed and been answered that she is ready, and so we'll see what her answer is tonight!

Phillip hasn't really been progressing lately, and it's really sad because he has a lot of potential, but just isn't making any progress I hope we don't have to drop him because we've spent probably over 30 hours working with him! He just doesn't have a love for himself and has some other problems. He is just overcoming a drug addiction he has had for 17 years and it's taking a big toll on him. He knows exactly what he needs to do, but he has a problem doing it. He knows by changing things it will make him happier, he just can't act on things. He knows the church is true and the Book of Mormon is true but still isn't sure about Jesus Christ. I know it doesn't really make sense, he's super confusing.

So Jaramiah sang some song about prayer at his baptism and he asked Billy if he could sing at his. Billy wanted him to sing "I Believe I Can Fly" at the end after all of it was over. It was ridiculous! Jaramiah tried impersonating R. Kelly's voice and trying to sing exactly like it sounded, but he didn't hit any of the notes haha. He would flap his arms like you would do in the chicken dance, while he singed the chorus "I believe I can fly". It was so hard not to laugh, I would send the recording of it, but it's too big of a file. (Elder Bell later sent his SD card, and the video is posted below)

I've grown to love Jaramiah so much, and I care about him a lot too. Saturday night is what made me in such a bad mood. We went over to Billy's to make sure he was going to be at church on time so he wouldn't miss his confirmation. When Theresa his mom answered the door, you could tell she was drunk. She started yelling at us about Jaramiah. They had done a background check online and there was something that happened in his past that they weren't too happy about. She told us that if we couldn't get him to leave her property, then she would call the cops and make him leave. I told her we couldn't really do anything about it, and that I'd call the Bishop. He said he would interview Jaramiah in the morning but couldn't really do anything about it. After we had left, we had probably stopped by 5-6 peoples houses and nobody answered. We were having really bad success. We got a call from Bishop saying that we needed to go to Theresa's and tell him that he was on his way over. He then specifically told us to be out of sight, and far away by the time he got there.

When Bishop got there, he woke Jaramiah up out of the Carport and talked to him about what he did. It was something in his past, but he hadn't talked with the police station about it yet. It wasn't a warrant or anything, he just needed to re-register. So Bishop told him to pack all of his belongings and to come with him, Jaramiah without fighting went with him. About ten seconds after they had walked out of the drive-way a car pulled up. A gang of teenagers hopped out and were looking for Jaramiah. Theresa, being drunk called some family friends to come over and take care of business. Billy, being the only sober one there ran out and held the gang back before they could get to Jaramiah. They were able to get away safely. He has always been talking about wanting to go back home to Cincinnati where all of his family is. He hasn't talked to them in a long time though, and isn't sure if they live there anymore. He wasn't safe being here in San B with a gang trying to kill him. A member in our ward bought him a bus ticket back to Ohio. I'll never be able to see Jaramiah again...

The Bishop kept thanking us for calling and not ignoring the promptings of the spirit. If we wouldn't have called, or gone over there, Jaramiah probably wouldn't be alive. Never ignore the promptings of the spirit! I'm so thankful that we had recognized that we needed to get bishop over there, and that the spirit was able to talk to me. I'm going to miss Jaramiah he's an awesome guy. I hope he can be safe and continue to go to church wherever he ends up.

That's pretty much all I have to talk about this week, it wasn't very eventful. Sorry I'm been in a bad mood, a lot of stuff has gone on in the past couple of days and it is just over whelming and depressing. I hope everybody is doing good! I love you guys and i'll talk to you next week.

Elder Landon Bell