Primero, talking with all of you was aweome. Sorry I woke up the family back in SLC at a less than pleasant hour but I figured you would want to talk and that was the only time that I knew I had. It was good to talk to you and I'm glad you're doing well. It was good to talk to Michelle and the kids as well (Sorry Tyler, when I fly to
Brazil I'll hit
you up as well). There was a phone in the Denver
airport that let us make calls for free to anywhere in the US so my
companion and I called our brothers' families. I'm glad I got to talk to each
one of you. Coleman seemed very excited about me eating a lot of fruit in
Brazil and he told me
"once you're done in Brazil
you should come visit my house in Georgia". I guess I have
plans once I get home then.
Anyway, I feel like so much has happened since last time I wrote so I'll give you a brief play by play of stuff that happened since Friday.
Saturday was much of the same. It was the last class day for four of those in our district. Our teachers shared with us some awesome experiences from their missions, pictures from their missions, and general advice. One of my teachers was temporarily reassigned to
Alabama for three months
before she received her visa, so she gave us advice on how to keep up on
Portuguese and some general stuff of stateside missions. Altogether,
though I'm sad I'm not in Brazil,
I've certainlly grown to appreciate this time that I have here in Kansas more than I may
have otherwise. Essentially, nothing on Saturday was overly
eventful. We got lots of pictures, though I still don't know how to
upload them places. I'll work on that.
Sunday was a fairly emotional day. It was the last time our whole district will see each other for a long time. It was also fast Sunday so we had an extra abundance of the Spirit. We had mission conference at the MTC (like a mini general conference) and that was pretty good. We had our exit interviews with President Hodges (our branch president) and then headed to Fast and Testimony meeting. I felt compelled to share part of my experience with Grandma's passing and the scripture from D&C 42:44-46. Essentially, my words were about how a lot of beauty can be found in times of tragedy. Altogether it was a good meeting. In our branch the departing district sings the closing hymn as a musical number. We sang our own arrangement of "How Great Thou Art" and wow, that was amazing. Our idea in choosing that song was that we wanted to share our testimonies in song, and it was fantastic. The Spirit flooded the room and filled me up to the point that it testified to everyone that what we were saying was true. It was an amazing experience. After devotional that night (we had a man and his wife give some talks. They were both hilarious and talked about effective missionary work) our district skipped the films and had a final testimony meeting with each other. The Spirit was again very very strong with us that night. It was amazing to hear from each person about their "last words" they would say to the district. I lot of very tender testimony was shared and we learned so much that night. We truly loved each other and learned so much. I know we will all serve honorably and that we will change lives.
Monday was sad because our district began to shrink. We lost our first four missionaries:
Trenton Stratton - Colorado Fort
Sister Megan Brown & Ashley McBride -
Elder Giovanni Hartman - Salt Lake City East (look for him. He's been permanently reassigned for medical reasons so he'll be there the full term)
The morning was spent with our teacher Irmao (portuguese for brother) Porter. He mostly told us stories about his mission and really cool things. We helped another class teach the first lesson and had a great last time with him. I was super sad to see him go, but I know we were very blessed by the Lord to have him as our teacher. He taught me so much and I know that he truly loved us as a class. I just hope I can change other people's lives as much as he changed mine. That afternoon the remaining Elders did our packing. I managed to hit under the weight limit (even with all my Portuguese books) so I was thrilled about that. At dinner we said our final goodbyes to the sisters and said we would see them again (which most of us did) and headed to class. We had our final class with Irma (portuguese for sister) Dangerfield. We began reading in
Alma 26 and shared some
thoughts about how this gospel is important to us, what we hope to gain from
our missions, and what we hope to give while on our missions and that was a
very powerful experience. We helped another class learn how to ask
inspired questions and then we ended with Irma Dangerfield showing us pictures
from her mission and telling us stories. That goodbye was also painful for us
because we loved her so much as well, but she said we're all going to have a
reunion party when we get back so we'll look forward to that day. We also
lost three more sisters that evening:
Sister Janae Tenney, Kailey Sherman, Alexis Walker -
Tuesday was wonderful. I got three hours of sleep (huzzah for waking up at 1:45) and had the wonderful issue in the airport. The last of us left the MTC and we're all in our respective fields of labor now.
Elder Alexander Lash & Trent Evans -
Elder Jerry Pimentel -
Idaho Twin Falls
Anyway, we all made it to
(there were 23 of us reporting to Kansas,
23!) and I was the 6th missionary to ever arrive in the Kansas Wichita Mission.
On the plane I sat by another missionary on the way to Denver
and a lady whose husband was a stake president on the way to Kansas. The lady was from Kansas and she told me about Kansas, what a wonderful place it was and
other general stories about her life. Then we disembarked from the plane
and met President and Sister Bell.
Sure enough, the sister trio that left the night before was waiting at
baggage claim so we talked to them a little. Then we went, took pictures,
and reported to the mission home. We had some meetings and the office
missionaries told us about the details of things and we had our interviews with
President Bell. He told me I get language study time (YAY!) and generally
that he's just excited to have us all here to serve no matter how long we're
here for. He also said that once we receive word that the church has our
visa, the mission is given three days to hold on to us before shipping us out.
Wow. The Church doesn't waste any time. Afterwards, we had an
amazing dinner then the sisters stayed at the mission home that night and the
Elders were shipped off to various places around Wichita for the night.
Wednesday we went to the church at 7:30 to receive our areas, companions, and part ways. I've been assigned to the Wellington Ward and my trainer's name is Elder Sutherland. He's a pretty neat guy from
and we get along pretty well. Our ward is huge and is mostly comprised of
a bunch of small towns. One way or another we're going around, doing
work, spreading the gospel, and inviting others to come to Christ.
O evangelho e' verdadiero! Ate' mais!