Monday, May 13, 2013

13 May 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
It was fun to Skype home yesterday! Especially being able to talk to you guys back home and having Mark skyped on a laptop at the same time...never done that before!

So I guess the big news is that .01% of the time I'm wrong and am not staying in Queen Creek. I was 99.99% sure I was staying haha. 

Chandler is a lot different than anywhere I have ever served. Yuma and Queen Creek had more farm fields than people it seemed. Our address is 1287 N Alma School Rd #174, Chandler, AZ, 85224

On Sunday night we were awaiting our transfer calls and as I wrote last week, they never came. Monday afternoon before the calls Elder Lanier and Sawyer called to say goodbye and told me I would enjoy this next few transfers, whatever that meant. That night as we were waiting around the house waiting for transfer calls President Howes called and asked me to be trainer among some other assignments. I was pretty nervous. Later that night the Zone Leaders called and said I was leaving (President Howes doesn't tell us if we're staying or leaving) which meant that I would whitewash train - just like how I started my mission down in Yuma. Whew I was pretty stressed out for that!

At transfer meeting we found out that five visa waiter Elders came in. Elder Myler was there as well as some other people I've gotten to know. "the Argentine" was slated to come in for 3 or 4 transfers but never came in due to visa problems. Everyone was fighting to get to train him since he is a native speaker haha. Anyway, long story short, I am training Elder Diaz, "the Argentine," and am having a great time. He is super energetic and very prepared to be a missionary. Already I've learned lots from him. I also realized that Elder Diaz is the first 18 year old spanish missionary here! Also the first one to come in for 3-4 transfers.

The rest of the transfer meeting was crazy. President Howes chose this past meeting to make all the changes for the mission split. All the missionaries in the valley/phoenix area were invited and told to bring all area books. They then changed just about everyone's wards, moved apartments, split zones and moved districts. Cars were swapped and taken away for some and weird changes were made to boundaries. They've moved districts from one zone to another zone now. I can't imagine prepping a mission for a split haha. I guess that's an accomplishment though, eh?

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When we first got to our apartment, I walked in the door but was very very confused when I saw a TV that was on and a computer. I looked around a bit then realized I had walked into someone else's apartment! I quickly ran out of the apartment and opened the door next door (?) and walked into ours. Unlike in Yuma, it was clean and everything was put away. Lots of food too!

So far we have been speaking tons of Spanish. I talk to him purely in spanish and he talks to me in English. I help him with his English and he helps me with my Spanish, kind of like with Elder Valdez but I'm trying not to be as lazy and am speaking more Spanish this time. I've already seen tons of improvement in just six days!

We cover the Spanish ward here. It was probably the most energetic ward I've ever been in! The Bishop is from Bar(th)elona Spain and has the very unique accent. He is an awesome guy and very very energetic with a young family. The ward had us stand up in sacrament meeting to introduce us, in Sunday school, and gospel principles. Never had that happen before! There hasn't been a baptism in the ward since September (when Elder Myler was here) but we're going to change that. Having a native speaker in a Spanish ward makes a HUGE difference. Not to mention there are seven 'Diaz' families in the Spanish ward haha

I was flipping through the Ensign and saw a picture of someone familiar ..Jim Kabbani!? Ensign from Oct 2008. Cool story!

Finding our way around Chandler has been an adventure. Someone in a ward that we don't cover offered to give us a ride around Chandler to show us all the streets and whatnot so we did that our first night. We drove over 30 miles and it was super super helpful. The roads are relatively easy to understand.

We found out that we're getting moved into a bigger apartment next month. It seems like every time I unpack I get told I'm moving.

We've been biking a lot. In Yuma I had 1,000 miles per month, in Queen Creek I had 1,100 per month and here we get 650. The area is a lot smaller but the Elders before used a lot of miles at the start so we bike 15 or so miles every day. It's hot, too...

The chapel for our ward is nine miles away which doesn't help too much. 18 mile round trip before lunch time on Sundays.

Elders quorum on Sunday was pretty funny. The lesson was all about being a good husband - we sat there awkwardly. It felt like a marriage prep class. 

We have one investigator in our area that was on date before that fell off. She was supposed to get baptized on the 11th but called the Elders and told her that she didn't want to on the 5th. We went by and visited her and found out that the problem is that she works a lot and rarely gets to see her kids. Her kids don't want to go to church and she won't go unless they go. So we're working with the Young Women's leaders to get the daughter interested and involved. The woman is very prepared and has a strong testimony but won't commit without the daughter. Usually the kids aren't the set back. 

Our district goes down to the Native American reservation. I'll be doing like 6 baptismal interviews down there on Wednesday and Thursday haha. In our district is a senior couple of who cover the reservation. They're on fire! Really nice senior couple, lots of energy, and a good sense of humor. Our district has no other Elders, just two Spanish sisters, the senior couple, and us. 

The Spanish work in Chandler is "legendary." I've heard about this ward and area my whole mission. We see more Hispanics in one day than I did in 3 months in Queen Creek. We have been busy talking with people and orienting ourselves. Chandler is full of apartment complexes (not vertical ones) and trailer parks. Perfect! 

Driving down the main street is a pretty nice experience, visually, but as soon as you turn off of it things change pretty rapidly. Imagine my surprise when I saw this Ferrari!
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I had almost the worst OYM of my mission but luckily saved myself. We went up to talk to someone on the street and asked her algunas questions. She responded that she wasn't interested. I offered to give her a card and she said, "I wouldn't be able to read it anyway!" I assumed she was blind and started to say, "Well if you see us and need anything..." but stopped myself at, "if you s-" Whew. To my defense, her guide dog didn't have one of the typical leashes and she didn't have a cane and was out with her kids. Disaster avoided! 

Anyway, we're in a good place doing good work in a good ward. Life is good.

Thanks for the letters: Andra and Grandpa and Grandma J!

Con mucho amor,

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