San Antonio

San Antonio

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beautiful Buda

I'm leaving!! We received our transfer calls last night and I will be transferred out of the St. Cloud Ward :( But... I will be senior companion! And get this... Elder Berntson is training!!! So, while I am very sad that I was only able to have one transfer with Elder Berntson (we were having such a blast), I am very excited to go have another "Young Guns" transfer with another missionary. Basically, I'm just kinda switching places, instead of being the young Young Gun, I will now be the old Young Gun. Haha, but I am so thankful for this past transfer that I was able to have here with Elder Berntson. We grew immensely! We grew not only physically (with our Perfect Pushups and Perfect Pullups, ha), but spiritually and mentally especially. I feel so much more prepared and know a whole lot more about what it takes to be an effective missionary. I do hope to work with Elder Berntson later down the road, but boy I will always remember this transfer that I had with him and the fun that we had together. So... this Thursday I will receive my new companion and will go to my new area.

Greetings from Buda, Texas! Where the heck is that you might say? Well, It's an amazing teeny little place just south of the city of Austin. Right above the city of Kyle and just west of Bastrop. So...'Beautiful Buda' as it is called, is just an awesome area. It is so sweet, we cover a teeny little portion of South Austin so there are very nice neighborhoods and industrial streets there, and then we travel all the way down to the town of Buda (Buda is pronounced like the word in 'Ferris BUELLER's Day off').

Anyway so, Elder Rudy, my new companion! So I liked your guesses on what my companion would look like, and're way off. He is a short, 5'8 guy who has a very sweet sense of humor, he is a really funny guy! He has just finished up his first 2 transfers here in Buda and has now been out a little over 3 months, cuz he is also an English speaking Elder and he only spent 3 weeks in the MTC. He is a stud! He is from West Jordan, Utah, and is the middle child of 3 boys. He actually took a year and did some school at Snow College prior to the mission, so he is already 20 years old. He is a very hard worker and is very obedient.

He and his last companion really got this area on fire, they just recently had 3 baptisms within the past 2 weeks, and so my first Sunday here, we had two Confirmations for two young guys named Adrian and Reuben. Adrian is 17, Reuben is 15, (their mother is a member) and then the other baptism they had was a kid named Nathaniel, who is only 18. So they like baptizing 'em young here!!! I like it! The ward here is so awesome though, even in just these few days that I have been here, I have come to know a few of the members fairly well, and a load of people came up to me at church and introduced themselves to me and welcomed me into the ward. It was so sweet! Buda is an awesome area, like I said it covers a little bit of the city and then it goes down into the country. It is so awesome though that just the other day, Elder Rudy and I were knocking doors in this super nice ritzy apartment complex... and then 10 minutes later, we were out in the middle of nowhere petting a horse! Haha I love it!

Well, it's been an exciting first few days here in Buda. The nice ritzy apartment complexes are tough work to say the least, but out in the country we have come across some interesting people...and a lot of Spanish! And so, seeing that Elder Rudy doesn't know Spanish, I have had to teach these Spanish lessons on my own! And I'm not really sure what to think about it, because on one hand, it is super exciting having the whole lesson rest on my shoulders, but on the other hand, it just isn't as effective without both of us testifying and teaching. And I also feel super bad about leaving Elder Rudy out of the lesson. He just has to sit there and smile and pretend that he knows what's going on. However, he has learned how to testify a little bit. He is able to say "I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God" and "I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God"! So he always testifies at the end and punches them in the face with the spirit. It's so great, so we'll continue working on it together so that he can testify like a champ by the time our we're finished together.

PS Last night, I hit a landmark... I ate a Habanero chili, the world's 2nd hottest food, next to the Ghost chili (which I don't think are found in Texas). It was insane, it was painful, I was crying my eyes out like a little girl, I was sweating, and it was AWESOME!!! I got a great video of it. True Texas experience. It was like having literal fire in your mouth! haha

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Alfonso's Big Day

Alfonso got baptized!!!! woooooo!!!

Alfonso Maldenado Jr. got baptized yesterday by my companion, Elder Berntson, after a really crazy journey. It seems like there are always some kinds of hurdles to jump before getting baptized. On Saturday night, we had a great baptismal interview and everything was looking solid. He then told us that he had to be moved out of his apartment complex by the next day because of some financial reasons, so Alfonso didn't think he was going to be able to get baptized the next day. But we put our foot down, called up about 4 other missionaries to come help us pack everything up and got Alfonso out and moved in a matter of a few hours... and he was baptized the next day! Right after his baptism, our bishop, Bishop Christensen, took him in and interviewed him to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. So next week, Alfonso will receive the Holy Ghost and then hopefully not too much longer after that, he'll get the priesthood!!!

Alfonso is such a stud. He is someone that we talked to on the street, and 4 weeks later... he's baptized! He has a few kids, one of which lives with him, but she was never home when we taught Alfonso, and she was not able to attend the baptism on Sunday either. But Alfonso is so determined to set an example for his kids, and he knows that someday they will be baptized as well.

Well, things are going great over here in San Antonio, the St. Cloud Ward is sweet, the food is amazing, and speaking Spanish is a blast. The heat has been brutal. But apparently it is not nearly as brutal as it was last year. We have had a solid amount of days over 100 degrees, but I guess last year they had something like 60 days in a row with temperatures over 100! I guess I am what you would say 'getting used to it', but boy, the humidity is just killer, and I'm sweating a ton.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Texas-Size Spiders

So first I gotta crazy little story. So I had no idea, but apparently there are a ton of tarantula spiders here in San Antonio. In fact, this past week, Elder Vickery and I saw 3 of them! So the very first one we saw was so dang freaky. We were knockin down a street and we walk in to this porch, Elder Vickery knocks on the door and kinda turns a little bit and notices a giant tarantula sitting right behind my head just chillin on this brick wall!!! At first I totally thought he was kidding, but I slowly turned my head around and there it was, no joke but this thing was as big as my hand!! It was hairy, big, and downright scary... we took a few pictures with our little camera phone that we have (which was scary enough just tryin to get close to it), but I'm not sure if I'm gonna be able to send you any pictures of it.

But boy, I have never seen a spider so big in my entire life! I'm used to just the teeny little house spiders that we have back in Boise, haha. And then the other 2 that we saw, one was dead and one was alive - we think they were fighting - but the crazy thing is that we saw all three of these spiders in a matter of 2 days. We talked to our recent convert, Olga Ekcstein, about it and she said that she has a ton that live in her bushes in her front yard and occasionally they come out but not very often. She says that they mostly come out in the summer because of all the humidity, so we'll see if I come across any more this summer.

Bike Adventures

So family, I have some bad news... My bike was stolen. Ya, so here's how it all went down. Elder Vickery and I set our bikes against the fence of our investigator's yard, and went to knock on the door solely to check up on the investigator and see if we could set up a return appointment - so we didn't lock up the bikes. When he answered the door, we talked for a bit and he surprisingly invited us to come inside. Immediately, Elder Vickery and I began thinking of what we were gonna share or teach to this man, and we totally spaced that our bikes were unlocked sitting outside the yard.

After the lesson, we came outside literally 20 minutes later, and Elder Vickery turns to me and was like, "Elder Mangum, where's your bike?" That sick feeling just came over me, cuz we both knew what had just happened.... So I no longer have that nice new Specialized Mountain Bike, but I'll be getting a used one from the mission office tomorrow.

Ya, I feel really stupid but I've been focusing on living by the words of Kirby Heyborne: "In the Eternal Perspective, the nicer things in this life, just don't matter." But Hey! It's all part of the missionary experience! Getting bit by dogs, getting doors slammed in the face, getting your bike stolen. I'm just eating the whole experience up!

Editor's Note: Because of a replacement bike policy purchased before the mission, Madison should receive a new bike, but as of this posting, it has not arrived. :(

I crashed my bike!!! Haha so story time - Elder Berntson and I were riding down the street on the sidewalk actually, and we were flying down this hill. And as you go down this hill you have to make a quick manuever to avoid these wires that hang down diagonally from this telephone pole. We were going extra fast this time because we were late for an appointment, so we quickly approached these wires in the middle of the sidewalk and I went to pull my brakes a little to slow myself and get in control, and my brakes were out! Gosh dang piece of junk bike (I haven't received my new bike yet, I dunno where it is), so I do my best to slide by these wires, but I didn't quite make it.

My pedal on my bike snags on to these wires and makes my bike completely stop and I go flying over the handle bars! My face slams into the ground and it was one of those deals where I blacked out for a split second, and when I came to, there was a ton of blood dripping from my face all over the sidewalk and on my white shirt. It was tight!!! Heck ya it hurt and super embarrassing, but I looked pretty beast nonetheless. So in the end, I had some serious road rash on my cheek and a gaping gash in my left eyebrow. I quickly covered up the gash and put a ton of pressure on it to stop the bleeding, and we proceeded to go into the next apartment complex to find the elect in helping out Elder Mangum.

Haha after about knocking on 7 or 8 doors, the Lord was testing our patience, someone finally opened their door and uncomfortably let us into their house so that I could clean up my wound. We got it all cleaned up and put some neosporin on it and slapped a couple band aids on it, and then before heading out the door of this kind samaritan's house, we gave her a pass along card and told her all about the importance of the message of the Restoration. She'll get baptized someday. haha

Editor's Note: Madison is fine, a slight headache the next day, but no further mention of any residual effects. Thank goodness!

New Companion

His name is Elder Eric Berntson (like - you got 'burnt son'). He is a freakin beast! Get this, he's one transfer ahead of me, so he's been out about 6 1/2 months, and I'm at 5 months, so between the two of us, we've got about 5 transfers of experience - We're the young guns, baby! He is 6'4 and weighs 235 and has a full scholarship to play football at Utah State as a Defensive End when he gets back. Just a pure stud, he's from Logan, UT and here's some crazy stuff... he is the middle child of 5 kids, with 2 other brothers and two other sisters. His birthday is in January, AND we realized that we had talked to each other before, in the cafeteria line in the MTC right before he was about to come out here to San Antonio...sick right?

But gosh, it is such a blast!!! We are definitely relying on the Lord for help bacuse of the lack of experience that we have. But we decided that the Lord, President Cutler, and the AP's have enough trust in us to work together and have success, so we are workin super hard to prove that we can do everything that is asked of us. Even in just these past few days that I've had with Elder Berntson, we have grown immensely and are having just a complete blast doing it!!! Our motto is, "Grab life by the Horns and just do it". Man, I am so stoked to spend these next few weeks with Elder Berntson here in the Saint Cloud area. He spent his first three transfers on the border in a town called Eagle Pass, so his Spanish is solid and we are workin extremely well together.

Good grief, I am a missionary. I still find myself everyday, shocked that I am actually doing this. Sometimes we're ridin down the road and people honk at us, and I look down and realize, "Oh, I have a nametag on and am wearing a white shirt and slacks and a tie!" I'M A MISSIONARY!!! hahaha so sick hahahaha!!! I'm actually doin it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Golden Contacts

I wanna tell you all a little bit about our recent convert, Olga Eckstein. She is the bomb!! She is 65 years old, and she has a mini-horse as a pet. Haha but she loves to feed us, and she loves coming to church and learning more in class. She loves to read! In fact, I believe she read the whole Gospel Principles Manual in like a week! But she is so awesome and Elder Vickery said that she's the strongest convert he's ever seen on his mission. Just a great lady.

So just yesterday on Monday, we had one of the coolest lessons that I've been able to have while here in San Antonio. We were knocking in this apartment complex and we knocked into this young woman probably in her early 20's. Her name was Angel. It came to our attention that she was having family troubles and that we needed to stress our discussion with her on that. As we talked she remained very quiet but the spirit was so strong, which was amazing because we were teaching her on her front porch amid the noises of the outside. But there was actually one point during the lesson where we had finished speaking about the Joseph Smith story and Elder Vickery asked her a question and we waited for her response for what seemed like an hour. But she slowly began to speak and said, " I believe that what you're saying is true...And I feel really good talking to you guys." We asked her if she would like to be baptized and she said 'yes'.

So basically it was pretty sick... It was just an awesome experience and I really wanted to share that with you guys. So family, your assignment for this week. "Will you... pray for Angel so that her baptism will go through?" GOLDEN!!

But here's what's up...really awesome week. So we had the really cool experience with Angel last Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, we stopped by a member's house for dinner, Sister Rodriguez. She invited a friend over with her kids to join us and we ended up setting up a time to go by them and teach them the next day. Her name is Ivan and she has 5 kids, 3 of which are baptismal age. The first time we taught em, we invited them to be baptized on June 6th! So sweet! Unfortunately they didn't come to church yestarday, so that will be our main focus with them. And also on Thursday, we are teaching a woman named Elva and she lives with her mom. The mom speaks Spanish but the daughter speaks both. We committed them as well to be baptized on June 6th, for the Spanish branch!! So it's really been just an amazing week.

Texas BBQ, Viscious Dogs and an Unexpected Visit

So a note about what the ratio of Spanish to English is here in my area. Right now, I would say that we teach 60% English and 40% Spanish. Most people here in my area speak Spanish and English both, but because they are so friendly, they speak English when we talk to them. Sometimes, when we approach someone on the street or in their yard, we introduce ourselves in English. And often people will say, "I no speak ingles". So Elder Vickery and I then say, "oh esta bien. Hablamos espanol tambien". (oh, it's ok. We speak Spanish too!)

It's really kinda fun not knowing what to expect... And the members are great about helping us with our Spanish as well.

Texas BBQ

So I thought I'd take a little time to kinda tell you a little more about what my area is like. So first off, my apartment is called the Sonoma Canyon complex and it is probably about 5 miles due Northwest of Downtown. My apartment complex is actually not even in our proselyting area, but the complex is owned by an LDS member so we're getting a great deal on it. But our proselyting area is just under the 410 freeway, or what's called, "the loop". Basically its in the northwest corner of the 410 loop, if that makes sense. It is considered a Spanish area, but like I said, we probably teach about 60% English and 40% Spanish. It really is a different world.

There are taquerias, or taco and mexican food restaurants, on every corner. Plenty of fast food. Haha do you remember the movie, "Super Size Me"? In that movie, it talks about how San Antonio is one of the most obese cities in America..... true doctrine. But hey, it's all good. It's just really easy to see how that became so, because everyone's favorite soda here in Texas is Big Red. Big Red is also referred to as liquid bubblegum. It tastes exactly like gum and it contains a a lot of sugar!... I had two of em last night at dinner... but, they also love the greasy fried TexMex. Plenty of fajitas, beans, ribs, corn, rice, guacamole, and plenty of other meats. Texas, like any other place loves its beer. We've had tons of times where we walk into someone's house and they're all just chillin, throwin back a large Little Ceasar's Pizza and an ice cold Budweiser.

Viscious Dogs
Here in my area, every household has either 1 of 2 things, a pet chihuahua, or a pitbull... or both. There's not a day that goes by when Elder Vickery and I don't get yelled and barked at by at least 50 dogs. Haven't been bitten yet, but I hear that that is a very common injury out here. It's crazy cuz every house has one of those "Beware of Dogs" signs out on their fence, no matter how big their dog is. What's also funny is that before we open and enter any gate to someone's yard, we always rattle the fence a bit to make sure there aren't any vicious dogs that we can't see. Haha cuz for real, those pitbulls are some strong dogs and if they decide to go after you, it's tough to stop em.

An Unexpected Visit

So just the other day, Elder Vickery and I were tracting, or knocking doors, down a kinda shady street. We were about to walk over to this house across the street and knock on the door, when all of a sudden, a bunch of cop cars come screeching down the street, sirens blaring, and pull up in front of the house. They bust into the door and arrest the man inside!! Elder Vickery and I just looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. haha we don't exactly know what this man was being arrested for, but who knows what could've happened to Elder Vickery and I.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

First letters from San Antonio

So I am officially in San Antonio, Texas! it is so crazy to finally get out here and to deal with real investigators! First off, here is my new e-mail address: Please write! (Include your home address so he can write you back!)

So, we arrived in Texas on Wednesday afternoon to a very hot day that reached the high 80's! it felt so weird to be in such heat after being in Utah these past couple months.

We met President Cutler and his wife and the APs at the airport and drove to the mission home. We had a brief orientation, had interviews with President Cutler and had a very delicious lunch.

After that we drove with the APs to the Alamo and did that whole ordeal that we saw on the movie "The District". It was so cool, haha it was so fun doing real missionary work one last time with Elder Eide before we separated the next day. He and I went out with Sister Rooney (I'm friends with her little brother at BYU), who was the lone sister in our group and attempted to place 6 Books of Mormon (we each had 2). The first person we run into is a man that speaks Spanish! We were so thankful to have Sister Rooney with us because she went through the MTC in the intermediate class, cuz she had spent a few months in Paraguay before coming on the mission. So she ended up doing most of the talking, haha, but I did my best to spit out a solid testimony to this man, and sure enough he took a Book of Mormon and was actually really interested to know more, so we got his address and gave it to the missionaries who work that area. It was so sick, we ended up placing 4 of our 6 Books throughout that hour.

So there are 4 zones here in the city of San Antonio: North, South, East, West. There are 3 more up in the Austin area, and 1 zone over on the Mexican border. So here I am in Northwest San Antonio a part of the San Antonio North Zone. And I am in a very Spanish populated area. This mission is so cool because we really have to be on our toes of whether we'll be speaking Spanish or English, so we do a lot of switching back and forth, depending on the people we find. This area is very ghetto, there are many run down apartment complexes and small homes, but the work is still rollin'. My companion and I are assigned to 2 wards: an English ward and a Spanish branch.

Now my companion: Elder Spencer Vickery. He is a 6'2 260 lb rugby player. And get this... he plays for Utah! but while by his stature you may think he's itimidating, he's literally the biggest friendly giant out there. He looks a lot like Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, and has a high voice, and is very humble. He works hard and is very obedient, so I am very lucky to have him. Elder Vickery attended... wait for it... Olympus High School!!! Yep, he's a Titan and lives just a couple blocks down from the Cliffords! He knows Brad and was coached by him on the Highland Rugby team. Crazy, right?

So the work is going great, just in these past few days, we have found a ton of people to teach. And also, this Saturday we will be baptizing a woman named Olga Eckstein, who is just as solid as ever. The people here are very friendly for the most part. Sure there are those who can be quite rude and ignorant, but most are very catholic and willing to listen to what we have to say. And because we are working in an area with less fortunate circumstances, there are many who are humble and are looking for direction in their lives. Which also makes me very grateful for what I have back home, so thank you mom and dad for everything that you have done for me, I can't thank you enough. Most of the families we talk to are either single moms with a few young kids and no father in the picture, or very broken up families with many extended family members living with them. So it is very easy to see the difficulties and the struggles of life, and I praise these families for striving to stay strong and to keep their families together. Every soul is great in the sight of God, and we always need to remember that.

So a little more about my situation here in San Antonio. Elder Vickery and I live in a nice little apartment complex, and a couple doors down are a couple more missionaries, Elder Butler and Elder Hewitson. We actually haven't had to use our bikes yet. We're in what's called a car share area. Which means that we switch off everyday between a car and bikes.

So yesterday we had the baptism of Olga Eckstein! And she was actually the first member of the new Saint Cloud Ward. Just a week before I came in, there were two wards in this area, but they combined them, to make one new big ward called the Saint Cloud Ward, so Olga was officially the first baptism of the Saint Cloud Ward, and my first baptism here in San Antonio! And even cooler, I was fortunate enough to perform the ordinance. It went great! Olga's son and daughter, Josh and Abby, from Austin drove down to witness it. Josh and Abby are both recent converts as well! And Olga's husband, Kenneth, who is not a member came and witnessed it too, so it was really an awesome experience. She is an amazing lady and will be a great addition to this new ward.

So a typical day here in San Antonio, the Saint Cloud 'C' Area. We wake up at 6:30 and work out for about 30 minutes - mostly push ups, sit ups, and Elder Vickery has a 25 pound weight that we use too. We then shower and eat breakfast from 7 AM-8 AM. Personal Study from 8-9, I have been reading the Book of Mormon starting in the MTC, and am now in the book of Helaman, so I am almost finished and I am really understanding it for the first time in my life. I read it in 9th grade and we would read it as a family, but I never really got much out of it. But now because of this great opportunity to serve a mission, and with the help of the Spirit, I am loving the Book of Mormon! From 9-10 we have companion study - mostly PMG stuff. from 10-11, we have language study for Spanish. Then depending on if we have an appointment at 11, we usually have lunch around there and then begin proselyting at 12. We were doing a lot of knocking for the first few days, but we certainly did find. We have had many teaching opportunities. In fact, last week, we taught 24 total lessons, which is quite crazy. The people here are very willing to listen. We usually take a dinner break around 6ish and then continue proselyting, which can include visiting less actives and recent converts, or knocking doors, or teaching appointments. And then we come back at 9 PM, we plan and then bedtime, lights out by 10:30, but that one is easy to obey because we're so pooped.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

MTC Life

Editors Note: We are so sorry we haven't been updating the blog lately. Here are a few excerpts from previous letters.)

Feb 12th letter:
My companion Elder Eide(I'd) is from Anderson, California, did you receive his letter? He is a very hard worker, knows his scriptures, and loves putting himself out there. He looks like Taylor Lautner funnily enough, but he's quite a bit on the nerdy side, sorry meredith :) haha but no he is awesome, I am so grateful to have a companion like him, we get along really well, and we make an awesome team when we teach lessons. Elder Eide is the oldest of 7 kids, but early in his life he had to take on a fatherly role because his dad died a few years ago. He wasn't very active from the age of 12 to 16, but has become a rock in the church and is super excited about serving a mission.

My district is awesome as well. Dad, as you guessed, I am one of three Idahoans in our 10 man district. Elder Cook, our district leader, is from Rexburg and tells stories of his mountain climbing trips in the Tetons! He's legit! And Elder Finn is from Pocatello, Idaho, and has been good friends with Elder Taysom Hill since Kindergarten! Taysom left for Australia a couple weeks ago, but I talked a little with him while he was here. Gym is a great break from the day, I play basketball and lift weights. I've played ball with Brett Thompson, Josh Hamblin (BYU football). Also, Elder Tialavea from the football team is in my district! Jordan Miller, Terrance Alletto, Trevor Bateman, and Mitch Matthews are all here in the MTC as well.We should be getting a new district in our zone next week, and so I'm really hoping that maybe Brock Hall could be in it! Cuz we've had a ton of Argentina bound elders in our zone. That'd be sick if he is, haha!

From Feb 19:
Well, I have some big news... I am now the new Zone Leader! Me and Elder Cook (our previous district leader), were called last sunday to be the new ZL's! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve, and also I think what I have really have loved so far is being able to get to know everyone on a more personal level. Also, this week we got a new district added into the zone. We have had a couple districts leave in the past couple weeks, which is always hard, because I became really close with some of the missionaries who left, but it was so awesome to get a new district. The best part was that Elder Cook and I were the ones to wlecome them into the MTC and show them how everything works, show them their rooms, the rules, the awesome experiences they would be having, and we also took them on a tour around the MTC grounds. It was so fun! It's really funny though, I don't know if I mentioned this to you before, but Elder Tialavea from the football team is in my zone. He is a 22 year old big huge nose tackle going to Chile. So parker, Elder Tialavea says hi and wants you to know how weird he thinks it is to have me as his Zone Leader!! haha. But in all seriousness, I am really lookin forward to continuing my service here as zone leader for the next 6 weeks, Elder Cook is such a stud (from Rexburg). I guess it's true that they grow 'em well in Idaho!! Elder Cook grew up working on a farm a ton, so he is such a hard worker, I only hope I can become like he is.

Well, let's see... I can't believe that you are all packin up and headin to a new house!! crazy, but again, I can't thank you enough for all the mail that I have received this week, it has been great :)

Elder Eide is doing awesome. He is such a scripture MASTER! We work really well together. During my time here in the MTC, I have been given the opportunity to give 2 priesthood blessings. Elder Eide asked me for one, and also the new district leader for this new district asked me as well to administer one to him. I was so grateful for the opportunity, and the spirit I felt during each one was incredible. Some of the words I said were simply not mine, but those of the spirit. I can truly testify of that, it was amazing. This whole MTC experience is amazing too!I am learning a ton, and I especially enjoy our P-days. We go to the temple every Friday morning, and I cannot wait to go to the temple because it is such an awesome place, and the spirit is freaking strong every single time, I love it!! Of course I miss you all, but I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else right now, this is some sick stuff, missionary work. I am growing a ton, I am super stoked to go to Texas, and our district has become so close in these past weeks. just the other day, we had to say goodbye to Elder Finn (Pocatello) and Elder Wendler (Farmington, Utah), because they headed down to the Dominican republic MTC for the remaining 6 weeks. It was hard to see them go and class is a lot different without them.

Well, Brock hall is here!!! His classroom is literally 10 feet from my class, we are not in the same zone, but I will be seeing him a ton everyday!!! Gosh it was so awesome to see him for the first time this week. He is loving it already and doing very well.

From March 13th
Buenas Tardes Familia,
Alright so first things first. Here are the scriptures I would liketo use for my plaques:
Broadway Ward - Matthew 10:39 Eagle Ward - 2 Corinthians 12:10
These scriptures are tight, in fact all scriptures are! I've really come to a strong testimony of the scriptures while I've been here, they are amazing and carry such power, and I know they're true.I know this because I have prayed about them and received the confirmation in my heart that they are. A couple more I'd like to share with you, look up:
- Mosiah 24:14- 2 Nephi 26:30- Helaman 5:12 - my personal BoM Favorite*- My all time favorite scripture, Proverbs 17:28-29, I found this years ago, but never really shared it with anyone. I think when you read it, you'll understand a little bit about why I am the way I am...:)
Perhaps you could read all these together during a family home evening or something, whatevski.
Hahaha sorry to like bombard y'all with this but I just figured Ineeded to. It's important stuff, it's the only stuff to be honest. Mom, you were right, I hated studying for school and stuff cuz it didn't matter all that much to me, haha. But now, I am so motivated to do this kind of work because it actually matters, you know?

(We will be sure to update the blog more often. Thanks for reading!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The First Letter!

We are very excited to receive Elder Mangum's first letter to home. We would like to share it with you:

Hey!!! Things are really starting to speed along here. Man, those first few days were really long and overwhelming, but these past few days have just flown by. We went to the TRC for the first time on Monday. We had to contact a random person for 5 minutes in pure Spanish getting to know him and what his needs are, and then we taught the first discussion in English. It's crazy, I've already taught the first discussion 4 times with my companion Elder Eide (pronounced I'd). And tonight, I am teaching a small part of a lesson to Elder Flake from my zone, in Spanish!! Haha we'll see how that goes... but honestly, my two years of Spanish have really helped here in the MTC. My companion still kinda struggles with the language but we've only been here for a little over a week so there's still so much time for learning.
My teachers are Hermano Del Toro and Hermana Smith. They are awesome. Hermano Del Toro is a skinny little fiery teacher who's first language is Spanish but is teaching us in English! He's amazingly smart and a great leader. Hermana Smith is a short little blonde girl and, as we all agree, is kind of a nice break from Hermano Del Toro, haha in the sense that women are a possibly a little more sympathetic than the men :) She is sooo nice and very smart! Del Toro is 23 and served in Buenos Aires, Argentina and hermana Smith is 23 also and served in Puerto Rico.My district leader Elder Cook who is from rexburg, is such a great leader. He's always makin sure we're on task and being obedient to everything, which is so important!
The food is alright I guess, much like the Cannon Center so I am very used to it haha. But thank you Meegan for sending me those homemade thin mints, they were very yummy! Mail time is an exciting time! I have to be honest, I didn't think I'd want a lot of letters, but it's so awesome when we hear from you. Thank you for sending letters they really brighten the day I can tell you that much! Ya, that DearElder site is pretty handy, so use it often haha.
On Wednesday, more Elders like Mitch Mathews and Craig Bills (BYU Football), Justin Lindstrom, and a couple friends from BYU showed up so it was nice to finally be more experienced than some people rather than being the new guys ha.
I'm trying to work hard, I have really come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior during this past week. We pray a lot, but it's so awesome, because I feel the spirit every time we do. Prayers are answered, I know this. The atmosphere here is exciting, and it's great to be with so many other missionaries that are here for the same purpose. Keep me posted with what's going on in your lives because I really wanna know. Don't worry, I won't be mad if some really sick stuff has happened and I missed it because I know why I am here and that I am doing the right thing. I love you all and am trying to make you all proud. Thanks for everything. I hope to hear from you, and I mean all of you! Tell me what's goin on, I miss you guys! ha but really, keep it real, serve others, and hace la justo (Choose the Right).
Elder Mangum

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Current Address

You can write to Elder Mangum at this address:

Elder Madison Mangum
8631 Fairhaven Apt #109-23
San Antonio TX 78229