San Antonio

San Antonio

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.