Monday, December 31, 2012

New Area

This is the email we got from Mav today:)

Hey everyone,
I don't have a whole lot of time to write emails this week. I got transferred today from my area in Toa Baja. Now I am going to be working in an area called Arroyo with Elder Arteaga. He is from Bolivia. So the beginning of our area is about 7 miles away and we don't have a car, so this is definitely a big biking area haha. It is also really weird because this side of the island is a lot more brown and a lot less green and tropical looking. but the good news is that there are a lot less hills so it shouldn't be too hard riding the bike all the time haha. 
I was kind of bummed out to be transferred because I was supposed to baptize someone this Saturday, and I was really starting to make a lot of friends with the people in my old area. But hopefully this new one will be even better! Something else that is different about it is that we have to eat out like every day because the house is too far away to go back and make lunch. I don't know how I feel about that yet but we will see how it goes haha.
Well I hope that you all have a great week and a very Happy New Year!
Thank you all for all of the great Christmas gifts and cards and everything. I got a ton of stuff from a lot of people and it was awesome so thank you all! I love and miss you all! have a great week!
love,
Elder Searle

YAY for Skype

Skype is my new favorite thing in the whole world.  We were able to Skype with Maveric for about 40 minutes on Christmas Day.  It was such a blessing to be able to see him and talk to him.  He looks really good and actually seems happy.  He was pretty emotional though in a few parts of our conversation with him.  I think he is very homesick!! So, that was really hard. It kinda broke my heart.  But, overall, I think he is doing okay.  He is starting to enjoy things a little more and I am happy about that. Oh gosh,  I can't even tell you how good it was to see his face.  I have missed him so much and it was awesome to see him.  I feel very blessed to have the technology that we do.  I also feel blessed that people are kind enough to let him borrow their computers and allow us the privilege of seeing him.  Seeing him was so much better than just talking to him. What a fabulous day we had!!!  cant wait until Mothers day:). Well, thanks again for all your love and support...it is truly appreciated!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The power of fasting and prayer...

Okay once again it has been too long since I updated this blog.  There have been some ups and downs, some highs and lows for Elder Searle.  He went through a difficult time a couple weeks ago.  He was just struggling with a few things and it was difficult to not be able to help him through it.  I mentioned this to Brother Trussell and I would like to share with you what his response was.  He invited the Young Men, their parents and leaders, and the Bishopric over to his home.  As that group of 30 or so amazing men sat in his home they prayed for my son.  I can only imagine what that room must have looked like and felt like.  The spirit there must have been so strong.  As they gathered together Brother Trussell explained that there are times when we all need a little extra encouragement and support.  At this time Elder Searle was in need of that.  They began a 24 hour fast that night in hopes that Maveric would find some comfort and some strength to deal with the things he was struggling with.  There were no details given as to what he needed or what his worries were.  I did not even tell Brother Trussell what exactly was going on.  I just casually mentioned that Maveric was having a hard time.  I was so touched by the overwhelming love and support that these fine young men showed that night.  I will forever be thankful for this act of kindness.  Maveric will probably never know the events that took place that night.  But, I testify to you all that he felt the love that was being offered.  Since then there have been some events that have helped him so much.  He has had a different outlook on things and has been able to find a way through some difficult things.  He has been lifted up by the spirit and I credit this to the inspiration of Brother Trussell and his inclination to follow it.  I can bear testimony that the spirit comforted me in a way that I so desperately needed.  I was at a loss as to what to do for my son.  I knew that he needed comfort that I could not give him and I was comforted to know that he would recieve it through the faith of these young men. Thank you!!

I am happy to say that, as of today, things seem to be going well for Maveric.  He sent an email today that seemed encouraging.  I will include it below.  Thank you all for your continuing love and suppport.  It does not go unnoticed!!!



Hey everyone!
How is everybody doing? I hope well! I hope that you all had a great week! Sounds like things are a blast in good old Utah!
Haha things here are pretty much the same. I haven't noticed a difference at all in the supposed changes of the weather for winter haha it all feels the same to me. The only difference is that there are Christmas decorations everywhere! People here love Christmas! they start celebrating it the day after Thanksgiving, and they tell me that they finish usually around the 9th of January. Puerto Rican's love to party haha. They have so many holidays here it is nuts!
This week I did a lot of bike riding. We ride bikes everyday now because we don't have a car to use at all anymore so that is a lot of fun haha. I don't really get tired riding the bikes anymore usually, I just feel bad when we show up to people's houses all super sweaty and everything, but it isn't too bad. It hasn't been too rainy the last week (only like 4 days of the 7). There really hasn't been a whole lot new and exciting happening this week though. My Spanish is still getting a lot better everyday. I pretty much can talk with just about anyone now. I am sure I still don't sound all that intelligent when I speak Spanish, but they always know what I am trying to say haha.
I got the Christmas Calendar from Aunt Tina and that was awesome! Thank you for that! Everyone here is getting excited for Christmas, including me! We are having a Christmas Conference on the 17th and 18th, and I have no idea what that means and nobody know what we are doing, but it means we get kind of a day off at least haha so we are all excited for that. I am sure that I will have some good stories to tell you all about that in a few weeks.
Well I hope you all have a great week! I love you and miss you all. Talk to you soon!
love,
Elder Searle

 


Monday, November 12, 2012

A little out of order

Okay, I realize this is totally out of order but, this is the email we got last week.  Sorry I didn't post it then. 

Hey everyone!
How are you all doing? I hope that everyone is well and that everything is going good. It sounds like there is all kinds of fun stuff going on. That is too bad that Stansbury lost in football so Books doesn't get to cheer in Rice Eccles Stadium, but it is good that you get to do Ragnar again! I hope that you have a great time!
Well things here are pretty good. Once again I didn't get to get my driver's license yet. I was 4 people from the front of the line and the entire system for the DMV place crashed and they didn't know when it would be back up. And so now I am in a library in the city to do my emails because our P-Day schedule is kind of messed up again this week. Unfortunately my cord to attach my camera to the computer is in our house, so I won't be able to send any pictures this week. I will send some next week though.
This past week was pretty good for me. It went by a lot faster than any of the other weeks that I have been here. It is kind of crazy to think that I have already almost been here an entire month. Sometimes the days are super long, but looking back it doesn't feel like I have been here that long.
This week we actually had some pretty good lessons with some of our investigators. We have one family who really likes the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized, so hopefully they will be able to on November 24th, they just have to go to Church every Sunday before then haha. But it is really good to actually be teaching some people who want to hear what we have to say haha. It makes it a lot better than just trying to talk to people in the street.
This past week was pretty weird cus we had a lot of big meetings. On Halloween we had to be off the streets at 6:00pm because Halloween out here is not very friendly. People go around and shoot paintball guns and throw frozen eggs at people in the streets, so we had to go to a meeting instead of being out walking around haha. And then the next day, the 1st Councilor in the General Young Men's Presidency came and visited us, so we had a conference with him for about 3 hours. And the next day was my Zone Conference, which was another meeting that lasted about 8 hours. It was really good though. I really enjoyed this last week more than any other week I have had in my mission so far!
The other bit of big news is that a Wal-Mart opened up in my area, so everyone is pretty excited about that! Now I just have to hope that I don't get transferred so that I can enjoy it haha.
Well that's pretty much what has been going on with me this week! I hope you are all well, and I look forward to hearing from you again next week! Take Care!
Love you and miss you!
Love,
Elder Searle
P.S. oh yeah I have been receiving the Dear Elders. I got one from Dad, and Tawni, and a couple from Tina. So that still works! And thank you for sending them!! It is great to hear from you!

Update from Elder Searle

I know it has been too long since I updated the blog.  I really don't know if I will ever get good at it.  This is the email we received today:)


Hey everyone!
How is everybody doing? really well I hope! Sounds like the weather is Utah is pretty darn awesome right now with all the snow and what not. I am definitely not jeaulous of that yet. It is nice and right around mid 80's here, and it has stopped raining every single day and is down to about 4 days a week.
Well this past week was a pretty long week, but it also had some really good stuff in it. On Saturday night a man named Angel got baptized. He is in his 40's and is not the brightest guy on the planet, but it was incredible to me how much he loved hearing the Gospel and how badly he wanted to be baptized. It was like he can't really comprehend a lot of normal stuff or remember it or anything, but as soon as you start talking about Church he gets so excited and can explain all kinds of things to you. He was so happy when he got confirmed on Sunday in Sacrament meeting that he just went around and hugged all of the people on the stand with this big grin on his face. It really was pretty awesome. I have never seen somebody who wanted the Church more in their life. He stopped drinking about 2 weeks ago after he learned about the word of wisdom, and he had been drinking for all his life. He has been to church every single week since my second week here, which was his first week to go to church. And probably the coolest thing for me to see is that he doesn't know how to read, so one of his friends (who is also named Angel, and who was baptized about 2 months ago) goes over to his house and reads the scriptures to him everyday. Angel has been a great example to me of how the message of the Gospel can be applicable for everyone. No matter what your circumstances are.
The other cool thing that happened at church this week is that it was the Primary Program. Turns out that Primary Programs are pretty much exactly the same here as they are at home, except that there are only about 20 kids in the Primary haha. But it was a great program.
I also got the package that you sent me. That was great!! Everyone here drinks soda more than they drink water, but they pretty much only have pepsi and coke, so it was great to get some mountain dew haha. Thank you so much! It made my day when I got that package so thank you! I really appreciate it!
So today is some random holiday so all of the city buildings are closed. So once again I couldn't get my drivers license, and also the library we use to email was closed so we had to find a member who was home in the middle of the day that had a computer we could use. Maybe one day I will finally get my Driver's License haha.
Well other than those things, there wasn't really anything all that special about this week. We rode bikes a ton this week, every day except for Sunday, and most of the time we were working in an area about 8 miles away, so it was a pretty tiring week haha.
Well I am glad to hear that Ragnar went well, and that Brooklyn really liked Missionary Week. I hope that you all have a great week this week, and that you enjoy the snow! Take care! I love you and miss you! Talk to you next week,
love
Elder Searle






 

Monday, October 15, 2012

First email from Puerto Rico Yippee!!!!

Hola Everyone!
How is everybody doing? I hope well! It is weird to not get Dear Elders anymore. It seems like it has been forever since I actually talked to you all, even though it was just a few days ago. Well I hope that school and work and everything is going well! I did get my package! they had it waiting for me when I got here. Thank you so much! That was totally awesome! I really really enjoyed it so thank you! Well it turns out that my house doesn't actually have a mailbox, so all of my mail will still have to go to the mission home. So I don't know exactly how often I will get it. So if there is something important, send it in email, and the actual mail I think I might get like once every three weeks is all.
Well I made it to Puerto Rico! It was a really long flight here from Texas but we made it haha. I was sitting between two older ladies the whole way and they were kind of funny so that was good haha. Puerto Rico is sooo much different from home! First of all, if I had only three words to describe what stands out to me the most about Puerto Rico, they would be raining, cats, and dogs. It has rained every day since I got here, and just about everyone here has two or three dogs in their yards, and there are just like packs of little dogs and cats that roam the streets. It is super weird, and it is always loud because everybody's dogs bark at us haha. It is also incredibly hot. Like crazy crazy hot here, and it is the cool season right now. I definitely am going to need a while to get acclimatized to the heat and humidity. Just about everything is in Spanish. So I really can't understand anything, because they sure do not speak Spanish like the Spanish that they taught me in the MTC. They can all understand me, but I can only understand about a quarter of them haha. So that has been pretty fun to get used to. My new companion's name is Elder Ortiz. He is from El Salvador and doesn't speak hardly any English, and he has a pretty weird accent too...so there are a lot of times when we can't understand each other, especially the first day, but it is getting better now. He has only been here for two transfers, so as soon as he got done being trained, he started training me haha. He is a really nice guy though and we get along well so that's good! We are assigned to an area called Toa Baja, and we live in the barrio, Macun. There are two other Elders who are in our District and live with us. So far I have done everything by bike, but I think I will be getting my Puerto Rican driver's license fairly soon and then I might be able to drive but I am not really sure. The people here are pretty darn bad drivers haha so I am not really all that excited to do much driving, but it will be nice to have the option.
So a couple of fun experiences that I have had so far, my first lesson that we were going to teach was a lot of fun. We showed up to the lady's house, and she let us in and everything. And then just when we were about to start the police showed up and the whole family had to go with them. Everything was said in very rapid terrible Spanish so I didn't understand any of it, but it was awesome haha. Turns out that it wasn't actually police, it was some kind of social working or something, but they came in a police car so I thought the cops took them away haha. Then another fun thing, we went to eat at a chinese restaurant, and it turns out that Chinese food in Puerto Rico means fried chicken. So I had fried chicken, french fries, and some rice from this restaurant called Super China. It was delicious but not quite what I was expecting haha.
The food here is pretty good. It is very simple, just rice beans and chicken, but the seasonings make it really good. I have been fed by members twice already, and we have two or three more appointments set up with other members to feed us this week. The members are all really nice, and the people in general are really nice, it's just that pretty much only the members want to talk to us haha. Everybody else will offer us water or something, but not that many people want to talk to us. But even though they don't they are all very hospitable. It is definitely a foreign culture here though. I have seen only one white person who is not a missionary the whole first week that I have been here. It is super weird to be the minority haha.
So the area where we are living is supposedly not the best place to live. It is one of the few neighborhoods around here that doesn't have like bars and gates to get in. But I honestly have felt safe the whole time that I have been here. There have been missionaries living there for years, so the people are all used to them, and they are super friendly to us. It is probably not a place I would live normally, it's a little ghetto and kind of sketchy, but I really feel very welcome and safe here inspite of that. It is pretty cool how hospitable the people are to the missionaries here.
Well that's probably about all that I have right now. I am sure there were tons of other things that I was going to say but then forgot as I was writing this. If i remember them I will get them in a letter or something. Well I love you all and I miss you all. Please take care of yourselves and have a good week! Thank you for all of your support! Love you all,
Con mucho Amor,
Elder Searle
 
 
 
 
 
 
Not the greatest pic but I think he looks really happy

 
I think he looks like he is sweating like crazy. I think it will take some time to get used to the weather!

 
Wondering if this is a pic of his neighbors house or something

 
May or may not be his hmble new home???

 
Fish:)
 
 
 
Sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate this pic.  This is him with his companion, Elder Ortiz from El Salvador :)  I think they will be friends forever.  They just look like they will get along. 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

BEST PHONE CALL EVER!!


On Monday, October 8 Maveric left the MTC and headed to Puerto Rico.  His flight left Salt Lake City at 6:00 am.  We did not receive a phone call from Salt Lake and we were a little disappointed.  However, as soon as he got off the plane in Texas we got the call.  Best Call Ever!!!  As soon as I heard his voice I broke down.  At that moment I realized just exactly how much I have missed that boy.  We were able to talk to him for quite a while and it was wonderful.  Dave and I both took the day off work and the girls missed school so we could all talk to him.  It was a blessed day!!!  That is, however,  the only time we heard from him.  There were no more calls.  We tracked his flight online and made sure it landed safely in Puerto Rico.  Whew!!!  The next couple days were tough for us.  We just wanted to know that he was okay and that he found the right people once he arrived.  We received an email from President Alvarado, the mission President, and he told us that Maveric arrived safely and he has already been placed with a companion and they are busy doing the work.  We feel very blessed knowing that he is okay.  The only way we are able to handle this is through prayers and faith.  We believe full heartedly that he is doing the right thing and we are so very proud of him.  But, it definately is hard to have him gone.  I ask my Heavenly Father every day to watch over and protect him and I believe that those prayers are being heard and answered.  Thank you to all of you for your prayers as well.  It truly is appeciated.   I love you all!!!  Monday is his P Day so I am hoping for an email.  I will make sure to let you all know how he is doing.  Also,  I am hoping to get an address so we can start writing to him:)

Last Email from the MTC

Okay, I know it has been way too long since I updated this.  I have included the last email we received before he left the MTC.

Hey everyone!
How is everything going? It sounds like there has been all kinds of excitement there lately! It kind of sounds like the whole Homecoming thing was a little bit ridiculous! But it sounds like Kylie is doing alright with it which is the most important thing. Good job Ky, I am very proud of you and I love you a ton! I am sorry that your homecoming experience wasn't what you wanted it to be. Other than that though it sounds like everyone is doing alright. Thats good! I am so super excited to talk to all of you this Monday! All I can say is my flights better not be messed up timewise or something cus I really want that whole layover in Dallas! haha.
Things have been going good here. I have really enjoyed being a zone leader and I am going to be kind of sad to leave that behind. I have had so many more opportunities to help out new missionaries and help them get over the shock and the hardness of getting here. It has been really really good for me because I have been able to see how I can actually help a real person to learn and to grow instead of just my teacher who is pretending to be someone else! So I have really enjoyed that and I have been really thankful for that! It has been an incredible opportunity and it was definitely worth losing what little free time I had haha.
I am super pumped to get out to Puerto Rico! I don't really feel like I am 100% ready by any means, I still have days where I really struggle with Spanish, but I am super excited and eager to get there! I am definitely going to miss my district from here at the MTC though. I have really been blessed with a good district and I was able to make some really good friends with some of the other Elders. But I am excited to meet all kinds of new people in Puerto Rico. And I am also way excited to be fully immersed in Spanish. Even though I struggle with it pretty badly sometimes I really do love the language and I am way excited that soon i will be somewhere where I do not have much of a choice to speak in English. It is going to be so awesome! I have learned a lot in my time here at the MTC and I have definitely enjoyed it, but I am also definitely ready to move on to the next chapter of my mission! It is pretty crazy to think that I am already done with a twelfth of my mission. The time has really gone by fast, and from what I hear from everyone else, it will go by even faster when I am in the field. Before I know it I am going to be writing my last email from Puerto Rico haha, that is pretty crazy to think about.
Once again thank you for all of the support that you have all given me. I really do appreciate it all so much. It would have been a lot harder to make it through 9 weeks in the MTC without all of your letters, and the packages, and everyone's thoughts and prayers. I can't tell you all how much it means to me. Thank you all so much!
Well my email time is just about up, which means it is time to go and get my clothes out of the dryer and then head back and start packing most of them up! I can't wait til Monday when I get a chance to talk to you! I am really looking forward to it! Hope that everything goes well and that you are all happy healthy and safe! Love you and miss you!
Love,
Elder Searle

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update from Elder Searle

Here is a portion of the email we got today...sounds like things are okay!


This week was pretty much just a normal week here at the MTC. It is getting freezing cold in the mornings now. I sang in the choir again at the devotional this week and it was a lot better than it was last week haha. My knees were still killing me at the end because the seats that they have there are absolutely terrible, but it was definitely a much better experience. Everyone in my District is getting really excited and a little bit nervous to leave. I am definitely way more on the excited side here haha. I got to get off of the MTC campus for a little bit to take one of the elders in my district to the chiropractor and it was awesome! haha. I got to see some real people, and the real world again. It was very refreshing! I can't wait to get to Puerto Rico. Something that I learned this week that I thought was interesting is that the entire island of Puerto Rico, with a population over 1.5 million, has right around the same amount of LDS meetinghouses as Tooele and Grantsville. I thought that was pretty cool haha.

So after this coming Tuesday my District is going to be the oldest District in our zone, which is super weird. It is strange to watch people leave that you have met here. It is crazy how well you can get to know them in just a couple weeks. Once they leave there is a pretty good chance that Elder Astle and I will be called to be the new Zone leaders, so keep your fingers crossed that that doesn't happen haha. That would be a whole lot of work, so I am really rooting for someone else haha.

I am really starting to feel kind of comfortable with Spanish. I can pretty much understand everything that all of the teachers say to each other now in their conversations, and I can actually have pretty good conversations with people too! I am still planning on not understanding hardly anything that anyone says when I get to Puerto Rico, but thats all good haha. We have now learned all of the rules of grammar of the Spanish Language, so at least if people slow down and speak simply I should be able to understand them! I am way excited! It has been a good experience to be here but I am definitely ready to move on haha.

Well that is pretty much all that has been going on with me this past week. I started reading Jesus the Christ in Spanish, which is super hard, and I had to get a new watch because mine started going crazy and the alarm would just go off like 12 times a day, so that was pretty exciting haha. Everyone here is getting excited for Conference, I am way excited that my last sunday here will be conference. Oh and we get to watch the Brigham City Temple dedication this Sunday so that should be good too!

Well I hope you all have a good week! Good luck with everything that you have going on this week! Take care and I'll talk to you soon! I should be getting my travel plans next week! so we will know when for sure then!
Love you and miss you all! Thanks for all of your love and support!
Love,
Elder Searle

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 4

Hey everybody!!
I can't believe that I have already been in the MTC for almost a month! It is crazy to me. After the first few days, the time really has started to go by way faster here. I am still super busy with everything. I feel like my Spanish is getting a lot better now. I still definitely have a long way to go, but with all of the Spanish that I do know, now I don't have to translate stuff in my head anymore. I can just speak it in Spanish without having to think to much about how it correlates to English! So that is really good. Unfortunately I still don't know all that much Spanish, so when I want to say something more complicated I still struggle and usually butcher it! but oh well haha.
My first week of being District Leader so far has been pretty good. It really isn't all that much different except that now I have some extra leadership training meetings, so I have even less spare time haha. But other than that it has been incredibly unexciting haha.
Last Sunday during our weekly fireside, we got to watch President Monson's birthday celebration. It was Awesome!!! It was just like an hour and a half of some stories from his life and then songs that he likes from Broadway musicals and hymns and stuff. There were two people who were stars in Broadway musicals that each sang two songs (the lady who plays the lead in Phantom of the Opera, and the guy who plays the male lead in Les Miserables), and it was absolutely incredible. And then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang most of the other songs. It was such a good change of pace to just listen to some awesome music instead of just listening to another person talk to us, not that the talks aren't amazing or anything (cus they are), but it was just nice to have something a little different. It was exactly what I needed to kind of recharge my batteries. And now the entire broadcast is on LDS.org, so whenever I am doing my language work on the computers here, I can listen to it! I have listened to "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables", and "You Raise Me Up" about 30 times each since Sunday haha. It really makes the language work much more enjoyable!
I am still learning a lot of stuff every single day. I have been reading in The Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ for my Personal Study time, and it seems like I find something new that stands out to me every single day. I am actually going to finish the Book of Mormon later today, which will be pretty cool. On the first Sunday that I was here, I watched an Elder Bednar talk called "the Character of Christ", and it was awesome. I wish you could watch it but it was given at the MTC and apparently they don't have those anywhere for people just to watch whenever I guess. But in it he said that one of the best ways to study the scriptures is to go in with one specific question and then read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and find everywhere in there that you can find an answer to your question. So three weeks ago I started doing that with the same topic that I gave my farewell talk on, "How to find happiness and peace", and it has been awesome! I wish I had done it before I spoke on that because my talk would have been so much better haha! It is crazy how much stuff there is in the scriptures about that topic. I don't think that you can go through more than 2 pages in the copy of the Book of Mormon that I used to do this, without seeing something in orange that I marked as an answer. I have learned more about finding happiness and peace in the last three weeks since I started reading the Book of Mormon, than I had up to now in my entire life! It's good stuff haha. If any of you are having a hard time enjoying reading the scriptures, I would recommend trying this way! It makes it a lot better!
Well other than that stuff, not much new out of the ordinary is happening here. The days definitely all feel pretty much the same, and they all just seem to blend together. But I am doing very well and I can not wait to get out to Puerto Rico and really get started! Oh yeah! I guess they had to evacuate the Dominican Republic MTC because of the storms, so it is probably a really good thing that I ended up staying here in Provo!
Thank you all for all of your support and your love! I really appreciate all of it! I hope that you are all doing well and that everything is going good back at home!
Love and miss you all! Talk to you soon,
Con mucho amor,
Elder Searle
 
 
I thought you would all enjoy reading his latest email:)

A few more pics and a little video....YAY!!!

Here are some more pics from the MTC. I also added a couple short videos so you can meet the Elders in his district. He was called as the new District Leader on Sunday which we think is pretty cool. We are so proud of all he has accomplished so far and we look forward to many many more great things. Enjoy the videos....it is awesome to hear his voice!!!
 
 
 
 
He looks like he is really pondering something:)

 
His district!


 

 
He loves getting packages!  Thank you to everyone that has sent him something!!!

 
 
 

 
I am not sure who made these cookies and sent them.  I don't even know if they were for Mav or for his companon but I think they are super cute!!!

 
 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Words from Mav

Okay, I copied part of the email we got yesterday so you can all hear how he is doing in his own words...enjoy!!

 "Well things have pretty much fallen in to a solid pattern here. The days don't all seem to take forever anymore like they used to, which is good, and really most of them blend together. I do a lot of learning and teaching, and now most of everything we do is in Spanish. Yesterday my district even tried to go a whole day without speaking English. We didn't quite make it, but it was still really helpfull I think. I had a huge headache afterwards, but according to one of my teachers here, that is a good thing haha. Teaching lessons in Spanish is definitely the hardest thing that I have to do, and it doesn't help that my companion still does not really speak Spanish at all, but it is still a good experience, and I think that we are getting better everyday. One of the things that I really like about Spanish is how the Hymns sound. There are so many of them that are way better in Spanish than they are in English. We sing a lot, and I am going to start singing even more, because I am going to join the choir now. Since I am going to be here instead of the Dominican for the rest of the time, I will be here during Conference, so I am going to start going to choir practice just in case the MTC choir gets to sing in conference this year. That would be awesome! I am not really all that bummed out about not going to the D.R. MTC anymore. It sounds like their weather has been pretty rough lately, so its probably a really good thing that I don't have to try and fly there today! Yesterday Elder Park got here, and he is living about 4 rooms away from me! So thats pretty cool! Hopefully we will be able to have some gym time together or something. That would be really fun!
So far this week has been really great except that I have a sinus infection, which isn't all that fun! I actually got sick last week. The day I found out that I wasn't going to the Dominican MTC anymore, I also had a terrible headache, so I was bummed out and my head hurt, and then I had to go have a first lesson with a new "investigator". Let's just say that that was probably the worst lesson that has ever been taught by a missionary in the history of the universe lol. I couldn't focus on speaking Spanish at all, and my companion couldn't speak Spanish, so it was a very very rough lesson haha. Now I think that it is kind of funny, but at the time I was very unhappy about that lol. Luckily yesterday we had our second lesson, and it went about 100 times better! It is crazy to me how much your attitude can effect how effective you are as a teacher. It seems like everytime that I am in the right mindset, I am able to remember all of the Spanish that I need to know to say the stuff that I want to say, but as soon as you start getting negative, it just all goes out the door. It definitely has made me determined to be in the right frame of mind to be a teacher all the time.
I am getting really excited to get out to Puerto Rico and start teaching people there. I feel like I am a pretty good teacher when I am able to speak in English, and my Spanish is definitely getting better every single day, so I can't wait until I am able to teach in Spanish the way that I can teach in English right now. I think I am finally starting to have moments where I am getting there. Last Sunday I randomly got called on to give a 5 minute Sacrament meeting talk in Spanish and it went really well. I was able to make people laugh and still feel like I could connect with them while I was speaking Spanish. Unfortunately that is the only time that has really happened with my Spanish so far, but it was really awesome and I can't wait for that to start happening more and more!
Well I hope that everything is going well for everyone!"

I think he is doing okay.  Some days are better than others obviously but overall he is doing great. 

Here are some pics that he sent this week with the email.


Mav and Elder Astle pointing to Puerto Rico

Hangin out on the Temple grounds on Pday

YAY!!  Elder Wells is in the MTC with Elder Searle.  The arrived on the same day!

Cute leis from somebody...I should do something cute like this

Look how cute these cookies are:)

Okay, we have never seen his hair this short!

Look from up top!

Nice side view!

Haven't heard anything yet about this Elder...

Love this pic of these amazing young men!!!  Apparently it was "red tie day"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

okay, so here is our take on blessings and why things happen the way they do...Hurricane Isaac is a developing storm that has done alot of damage throughout Haiti and The Dominican Republic.  13000 people were evacuated in the Dominican Republic.  Today the storm is making its way into the Louisiana coast.  The weather has been terrible with winds reaching up to 80 mph.  As you can imagine, we would all be terribly nervous if Maveric had been sent into these circumstances.  I knew when he was called to Puerto Rico that there was quite a lengthy hurricane season there. I knew that this is something that we would continue to worry about while he was gone.  I think our Heavenly Father also knows it is a concern and therefore he has found a way to keep these young men safe at home for a little while longer.  So, for now, we will pray for those that have been affected by this storm and we will also pray with gratitude that our son is in Provo, Utah!! 

A few pictures from the MTC













Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ups and downs...

Well it has been a little over a week since I updated this.  He has had some ups and downs during the week. We have received lots of letters and we got another email on Thursday. Life in the MTC has been good. He was scheduled to leave there on the 30 th. he sent us all his travel information with flights and times and when he would be able to call home. So exciting....but, on Friday we received another email telling us that he no longer gets to go to the Dominican Republic MTC.  It is only suppossed to house 50 missionaries and there are 65 there right now.  So, He will finish his training in Provo and then go directly to Puerto Rico. He is very bummed about the changes. He was so excited to get started on the next part of his journey. He was looking forward to learning the language better and faster by being there. He was also very excited about calling home and talking to us. So we are all feeling a bit of sadness and disappointment. It is just the first of many trials I am sure. I know there is a reason for everything and it will be for the best. But I am just sad because he is sad:(

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First week in the MTC

Yay!!  We got our first email today and it was awesome.  Maveric is loving the MTC and having such a great time.  He has a lot of friends there and he loves it.  He went to the Temple with his district today and absolutely loved that.  He said they are all becoming really good friends.

The language is definately the biggest challenge for him.  He told of an experience he had with a "fake investigator"  They were there for about 50 minutes and he spoke only in Spanish.  He went on to say "it was really cool to see how we could convey everything that we needed to convey, and still have the spirit there, when we couldn't even really communicate!!"   He said the experience comforted him and helped him to not be so nervous about going to the Dominican Republic in a couple weeks.  He knows that there will be alot less English spoken while he is there.  I am so amazed at how fast he is learning Spanish.  It is incredible to me.

So, as of right now, he is scheduled to leave our MTC on the 30th.  He found out that he does not need a Visa so there shouldn't be any delays.  It is crazy for me to think about him leaving the country.  I have definately found comfort in knowing he is in little old Provo, Utah.  I am excited for him to start the next part of his journey though. I can't wait to hear all about it.

He loves getting letters so please write to him often.  He has appreciated the support from home so much!!  Thank you everyone that is writing to him.  He was happy to get his package of treats yesterday.  Apparently they let everything through so I was happy about that.  We weren't sure if they would let him have the salsa but I guess it wasn't a problem. 

It was nice to get a positive report from him.  We are so happy that he is happy.  I'm sure he will have bad days but... so far so good :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

He is doing great!!

We received a long letter from Mav today and it was wonderful.  He is doing great and is loving it.  I want to share with you a small part of the letter.  I think you will all see that he is going to be just fine.  I know that it was a huge comfort to me when I read it. Here goes:

 "I'm not sure if I already shared this experience with you but I wanted to make sure that I did.  The first day I got here, it was kind of hard at first.  After I said goodbye to you guys I went and got all of my missionary stuff and then got thrown into all Spanish class, which by the way they only do all Spanish on like the first two days, and now they are actually teaching us Spanish.  But anyway it was really overwhelming and I was pretty discouraged.  But then we went to the new missionary welcome meeting and as we were walking in we were singing "we'll bring the world his truth" which is my favorite church song, and we got to the part where it says "and we will be the Lord's missionaries but we sang "and we are now the Lord's missionaries" and at that moment I just got an incredible feeling of peace and I knew that I am in the right place and doing the right thing for myself right now.  My testimony has already grown more than I ever thought it would and I am loving it!"

I was so happy to read this and I am so comforted knowing that he had this amazing experience.  I wanted to share it because I thought it was pretty cool.  As a mom, you just need to know that they are okay.  That they are happy and that they are doing what they want  to do.  This was an answer to my prayers and I am so thankful that he is having such a positive experience.  This is such an exciting time in his life and I am so happy for him!!

He continued on by thanking everyone for the letters they have written.  So, please continue to write to him because he loves hearing from everybody.  Thank you all for your support.
I

Friday, August 10, 2012

First letter:)

We received our first letter from Elder Searle today.  He seems to be doing okay.  He is a litle overwhelmed with his class being taught in 80% Spanish.  I'm sure he will catch on quickly though.  His companion at the MTC is Elder Astle.  He said they get along pretty good so far.  He has seen a bunch of familiar faces because so many of his friends are also there right now.  I'm sure that is helping:)  He said p-day is on Thursday so hopefully he will have time to write a little more then.  I will keep you posted on his progress!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Saying goodbye :(

video
Taking him to the MTC was the hardest thing I have ever done.  It was so hard to think that it will be 2 years until I can wrap my arms around him again.  I know he will be so blessed and he will have the greatest experiences.  But, it was so hard to let him go.  I know the Lord will watch over and protect him and I am so thankful for that.  My poor girls had such a hard time letting him go.  They love him so much!  Dave and I are very proud parents but there is definately a whole in our hearts today.  We are praying for strength to make it through....Thank you to everyone for your love and support!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Saying some goodbyes











On Sunday, August 5, we decided to invite the family to come make s'mores, sit around the fire and just spend some time with Mav before he heads to the MTC on Wednesday.  It was such a great night.  We all just hung out and had a fabulous time.  It was hard to watch Mav say goodbye to everybody.  Especially all the little kids.  They will all be so grownup when he gets back.  I am very thankful for such an amazing family.  I know they will be a great support to Maveric and to all of us while he is gone.