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!

Elder Landon Bell

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