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!

Love,
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)

video

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

January 7, 2013

Email 1/7/13

Hello! Things are still going good out here in San B! I can't believe it's been another week already! This last week I passed my one month out in the field mark! Time can go by so fast, yet so slow at the same time. I've been feeling a little homesick lately missing family, friends, and girls haha. But it's getting better no worries! It's usually just in the mornings and at night when I have time to think about things besides missionary work.

Thank you so much everybody for all of the Christmas Cards and the Christmas letters! I got quite a bit of cards and pictures from Family, friends, and people in the Ward! So thank you for sending those out and showing some support and love towards me! It really meant a lot!

There is this apartment complex we have tracted at a couple times and have gotten a couple of investigators out of it, so we go there pretty often. Every time without fail when we come is this old guy out smoking on his porch and he always says something referring to the men in black. haha he always says stuff like "where is Tommy Lee Jones?" Or "Is that Will Smith?" it was pretty funny at first but I think he has a short memory span because he says it every time we come, and laughs way hard after he says it like was the first time he had said the joke.

We never talked to the people in our ward about moving in with them, we decided we would give it one more attempted break in before looking for a new place haha. We keep our hammers and PVC pipes close to our bed just in case. And we usually always leave a light on when we are gone so people think we are home. I am the new driver! I got a copy of my license and sent it in so i can drive. It's really nice because Elder Monk didn't like driving too much, and I didn't feel to safe when he was driving haha. We'd tease him about it a lot, but he's a good sport!

The new years party we had for the 500 baptisms was okay, not as awkward as the Christmas party, but still not super exciting. The best part was Elder Browning had flown in that morning so we got to welcome him to the party and got to talk again! He had been in the MTC for 4 extra weeks because of some medical issues. That would have drove me crazy! I was ready to leave after the second week. It was way good to see him, He's the one that has a personality like Remick haha. He had a lot of funny stories and we had a good time, if he wouldn't have been there the party wouldn't have been too good. I would have much rather had a regular P-day then miss half of it due to the party.

Tripanionship reunited! (Elder Escamilla, Elder Browning, and Elder Bell)

So Billy we've been teaching a lot, and we visit him daily checking up on him, and preparing him for his baptism on the 11th so this Friday. His best friend is over at his house a lot and we started teaching her as an investigator. Her name is Tausha and she is a pretty sweet girl! She doesn't live in our area but we are still going to teach her because she is comfortable around us and is good friends with Billy. She has a baptismal date of Feb 1st, and it will be great teaching her because whenever we go to see Billy, She is over there so we get two lessons out. Killing two birds with one stone.

Phillip is somebody we've been teaching since I've been out here, and he is making a lot of progress but very slowly. He's an awesome guy and way smart, but has a hard time believing in Jesus Christ and how, and why he's our Savior. We've spent at least 5-6 lessons with him just about Jesus and how he is our redeemer and have tried everything we can think of. On Saturday we finally made a lot of progress, thankfully to the Member in our ward that came with us and had an awesome explanation and Testimony about Jesus Christ. We're able to see that faith grow in him. We are making daily contact with him too, and our lessons can go pretty long! We've had a three hour lesson before! Phillip is a great guy and I know that he's made a lot of changes in his life and that this Gospel will make a big change in his life, and I've already seen it make changes. We're pretty confident that he'll be ready for his baptismal date on Jan 19th. Whenever he would pray he would thank God for sending the missionaries over. Now he thanks God for sending his friends over! I love that guy!

Like I said earlier we've been seeing Billy a lot and he has made so much progress from the last time I've E-mailed so if I repeat anything forgive me haha. Billy is 25, he has 3 kids and isn't married. He would smoke and drink pretty often. He would smoke about a Pack of cigarettes a day. We taught him the law of chastity and he agreed he would take the little pamphlets we gave him to his girl friend and explain to her why they can't sleep together. He has seen such a big effect of the Holy Ghost and wants to be baptized so bad he has given up a lot of things. We taught him the word of wisdom next and explained how smoking and drinking is bad for your body and it's bad for your spirit too, and that the spirit he has been feeling, that he'll get when he's baptized can't be there if he breaks that law so he agreed to live that too. The day after we taught him that he smoked 3 cigarettes. Since then, he has been clean from smoking and drinking. He dropped it so fast and I'm way proud of him. It's crazy how many people we tell that they can't smoke or drink and they say I know, I know it's bad for me, I know its wrong. It's crazy how fast he dropped it, only with the lords help is that so effective.

The day that he smoked 3 cigarettes we told him that he needed to stop and told him we could give him a priesthood blessing. I gave the blessing and it was all guided by the spirit. After I said Amen he was like: "whoa!! I felt that!!! That is crazy!" And he was able to stop smoking after that. I can't even describe in words the power of the priesthood and how grateful I am to be able to carry that.

Me and Billy are way close, I get so into the lessons every time, and we have such a good connection, at least once during the time I'm teaching Billy, I'll cry. I've probably cried like 10 times on my mission, one with an investigator, one at Jaramiah's Baptism when I was giving my talk, and the rest while teaching Billy. Me and him have a pretty strong connection, I don't know what it is. Last night we visited him and he is always really shy to pray in front of us, and last night we told him like we always do that it doesn't matter and he doesn't have to be scared, and God is always happy to hear from him, There is no such thing as a bad prayer. After the Prayer he was like "That wasn't me.. That wasn't me talking!! I'm trippin' out! That wasn't me talking during that prayer." It's so crazy how stuff like that happens because I feel the same way sometimes after I pray or give blessings. We made sure that he recognized that it was the spirit helping him.

Our ward has a lot of issues haha. Well the North part of our ward is okay where Escamilla and Austin are serving. But the South area where Elder Monk and I are is pretty bad. We could have our own reality TV show. It's got tons and tons of drama. A lot of people are on welfare and we had to cut back on it and everybody is freaking out. We have a lot of people ask when we first meet them if our church helps out with food, or rent, or clothes. It's hard because people really do need help. Some people have kids they need to feed, and stuff like that. But a lot of people that are capable of working are just taking advantage of the Church's and the States Welfare System. It's kind of frustrating, because they always come to us and complain about things. I've gotten into things I don't really want to have heard or known about. Half the time people think we are counselors or hold the same keys as the bishop so we hear just about everybody's problems who we visit. I love this area and this ward, but people need to take there serious problems to the Bishop, because we can't give you any money, and we can't really help out on most of the problems you have.

My new favorite lesson to teach is Tithing. When we explain it to people they say it makes a lot of sense, and we feel like they get it, but we have an object lesson we do that they love, and understand. In Malachi It promises that if you pay your tithing the blessings of heaven will pour down upon you so much that you can't receive them. So what we do is give them ten candies, and tell them to imagine I am God. I take away one of the candies so they only have nine left, and they see that it's only ten percent. We then ask if they are happy with those 9 candies and they can definitely be satisfied. We then pour out the rest of the candies in the bag in there hands and it overflows and spills on the floor. We explain that because you payed your tithing, this is what you'll get in return. Real blessings come from tithing, whether instantly, later in life, or in the next life. They will always come!

We've been seeing Jessie and Adam quite frequently and things have been going good with them! We have a baptismal date on the 26th of January and she prayed about it and is way stoked! She has great faith, and knows quite a lot and now she feels like she is ready to be baptized! She doesn't have any major problems with anything, as far as commandments go. She does live with Adam and they aren't married but they plan on it, so we're going to work with them and bishop to get them married before the 26th. Me and Monk are going to split the Marriage license haha. I love going over to there house and teaching, they are both way funny and fun to be around. Sometimes it's hard to get into the lesson, but as soon as we start the spirit is there and we can all feel it.

We got two new Investigators this week, Johnte and Monique. They are some pretty nice people and are really interested in the church and the Book of Mormon. They do have a problem with coming to church and not really seeing why it's needed. Now that we have 9 AM church it's a lot harder to get investigators there! But we'll continue to teach them and see how things go from there. They are preparing for a baptismal date on Feb 15.

I've decided I need to stop hiding my real side out on my mission and I decided to be myself, I've decided to live the THUG LIFE! hahaha Me and Elder Monk like to go shopping at dollar stores because they have the most random stuff there. We recently bought "Du-Rags". We only wear them in our apartment though because it's a scary world outside in San B! We don't want to get shot or anything. I have had a lot of fun taking pictures in my Du-Rag. I like to pretend to be gangster, even though i'm not.. At all.. haha I know it looks retarded but its just for fun!

Missionary gang sign: "M for Mormon"

I can't really think of anything else, but I do have one last thing.. Billy is getting baptized this Friday the 11th for sure!!! He has already had his baptismal interview, and all of the paperwork is signed and ready to go! I'm so excited for him and way proud of him, he's really come a long way! He is having me baptize him too! I knew going to the temple a lot, doing baptisms for the dead before my mission would pay off, I should be a pro baptizer by now! I love Billy so much! I hope we'll be able to stay in contact with each other after my mission. He's my first person I'll baptize myself, and the first person I've been here for the whole converting process (Jaramiah had been taught like a few months before I got there, and We taught Billy for the first time my first day.) I cannot wait for Friday, it's going to be such a great day for Billy!

Well that's all for this week! I love hearing from everybody, and I love letters so don't be shy, feel free to write me! :) I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Landon Bell

January 2, 2013

Email 1/2/13

Hey guys, sorry I wasn't able to email on Monday, the Library was closed for new years eve... Today they said we could email president and send a short letter to family so I just wanted to let you guys know the reason I didn't email on Monday, and that I'll be emailing this next Monday! I love you guys and I hope all is going well, and you've taken the challenge I've sent you with the pass along cards!

Love,
Elder Landon Bell