Friday, August 14, 2015

Just another few weeks in paradise :)

Hello readers! Here are Elder Keith's emails from the last several weeks.  He is doing great in Portland and enjoying serving there! He is always in need of laffy taffy or homemade cookies. He told me so!

June 8, 2015
¡Buenas Días!

This week was a pretty good one. It was a pretty normal week, well, as normal as you can get in Portland!  We've seen some success among the investigator front!  We now have two progressing investigators and we found a few new investigators as well!  Prayer is something very real and I am so grateful for it. Heavenly Father really does listen to us!

Last Monday for Memorial Day we treated ourselves to a lunch at Famous Daves and went downtown blaring patriotic music. It was an awesome day remembering those who have served our country. We stopped in this fun looking store with all these funny shirts and weird knick knacks and the stuff we found blew my mind. I was walking with one of the sister missionaries around this store when she gasps and whispers "PERFECT!" And I see her walking up to a shelf with her hands out. She grabs, can you guess, a WICCAN SPELL BOOK!  It was crazy and we left immediately. Only in Portland.

We had dinner with an investigator this week. We had fish tacos, and I survived, and it was really nice. Her grandkids fell in love with Elder Laing and I and came over and sat on my lap while they were showing me how to play the game on their kindles. Romeo and Julian are new best friends. This lady loves us and treats us as if we are family. We went over to say goodbye before transfers and she gave us
both hugs and we sat and talked for a while. I'm glad I'm staying in the area because I love this lady!

We did our weekly service with my girlfriends at Brookdale and I lost at Skip Bo!  I guess all my practice hasn't paid off quite yet. But I did play Sorry! with this lady named Gloria who NEVER loses, and I beat her. So, there's that.

No one signed up for dinner a few days ago so we went to Red Robin because Laing was craving a hamburger. It was delicious, which I'm sure you don't need to be told, but something amazing and wonderful happened. As we were getting ready to pay, our waiter comes over and tells us that someone had already paid for our meal!  How awesome is that?! I was so touched and couldn't believe it. We went over to the guy and it turns out his son is serving in Arizona and he wanted to return the favor and take care of our meal. I was so overwhelmed with happiness and joy and I just love that guy.

We went to our trailer park stomping grounds and found four new investigators. They're all unrest the age of 11 but they're the coolest kids ever. They're in this "biker gang". They ride around in this big pack and yell at us "Hey!!"  "Hey missionaries!"  One kid says "Hey baby!"  Coolest kids. Well, we decided to make a game of things and have them race and we asked them what the winner wanted. What did they say?  "Winner gets a Jesus book!"  They all wanted a Book of Mormon. But we didn't have any in English, they wanted English ones, so we gave the, pamphlets and had them read the, for our next visit. How awesome is that?!  What's even better is that we are trying to teach all their parents so now we have an "in" with the kids!

We got transfer calls and Elder Laing got transferred. He moved three minutes away and we are still in the same district but I'm distraught and depressed. We had a lot of fun together, probably the reason we were separated, but it was a lot of fun. We laughed a bunch and started seeing success and my life is over. Just kidding!  My new companion, Elder Goff, is super awesome. He goes home next transfer and was my Zone Leader when I was in Oregon City. I have to lead out our area now and I'm stressing hardcore because I barely know my way around and can barely speak Spanish, but the Lord will provide a way! He always does!

It's been a good week. We saw some success and made some room for a little fun. It's hard work. I was just talking with Elder Smith, they're here doing laundry, and we were saying how the mission is the hardest thing we've ever done. I still have a year and a half and it freaks me out to think that's how long I have. It's hard work and stressful and tiring and sometimes you just need a big ole Coke. But it is also one of the most amazing, spiritual, strengthening, fun, and greatest experiences I've ever had the chance to have.

I love you all and hope you're having a wonderful week. I have pictures coming soon, and be warned, I look good!!

Elder Keith

June 15, 2015
¡Hola, Hola, Hola a todos!

This has been quite the week. I've been told by some of my fans that, sometimes, it sounds as though I am on one big, long vacation and hardly ever do missionary work. I will have you know that I share all those fun, "vacation" activities and stories because I am, in fact, on a big, long vacation. PSYCH!!  The work is so tough in our area that we like to have some fun and ease the pain of knocking doors and not
having very much success.

This weeks email of my life as a servant of the Lord doesn't contain any sitting on fire trucks or having skunks cling to chiseled chests. My sincerest apologies. This week was 100% missionary work. All day.
Everyday. I'm not complaining about doing missionary work, I signed up for that. We've been working so hard that our area is almost picked through and it's only been a week!

To begin, Elder Goff and I are getting along great and he's awesome. I don't remember if I told you about him so here goes. He's 19 years young and is from Syracuse, UT. He goes home in roughly 5 weeks time and he's awesome. This past week we have been knocking doors from 12:00-5:00 and then taking a quick, and I mean quick, break for dinner, then we are at it again. It has been an interesting week of ups, mostly downs, and a few in betweens.

Like I said, we go knocking from 12:00-5:00 everyday. Literally, 12:00-5:00. Every. Day. Knocking is one of my very least favorite things to do because people are rude. There is a lot of ruuuuuuude people out there in the world and I'm pretty sure we knocked most of their doors. We passed by a potential investigator and taught a short Restoration lesson and set up something to come by later. Like any
good missionary, we asked if she knew any other Hispanics in the apartment complex because we will take any where we can find them. She directs us to the apartment on the end and we go down and knock on the door. Then it happened.

The lady obviously gave us the wrong apartment because a Hispanic walks out from next door and we asked him a couple questions and he just kept walking not really interested.  Like I said. Rude. Well, then the door opens and this old white guy opens up and we make introductions and he answers with "Did I invite you here today?" We said no and apologized because we obviously knocked on the wrong door. This guy just keeps asking "Did I invite you here today?!" I knew deep down it was about to get real and all I wanted to do was leave. Then he freaks out!  Straight up yelling at us saying "I'm sick of the door to door stuff. I'm the manager here and I've had it with you guys. I found one of you peeing behind the dumpster (a special thanks to that friend) and I'm tired of you knocking on our doors. Now get out and
off the property or I will call the police!"  Then starts walking towards us, shewing us from his doorstep.  He follows us to our car, yelling, then is gremlin wife comes out telling us to tell all our
"colleges" to not come back. It was terrifying and we were angry. But we went back on Saturday and taught a lesson. So come right at us.

We had a few of those encounters but nothing that extreme. I'm sure if he had the chance he would have probably pulled a gun on us. It's been pretty tough all week. We didn't have very much luck finding people to teach but we did meet a crazy lady who made my entire week. She was the funniest lady I've ever met. Elder Goff, with his sneaky camera skills, video taped our encounter with her. We knocked on a door and no one was home but this lady comes walking down the stairs talking to us about how her cat knocked over her science project and she couldn't use the excuse "my dog ate my homework". She was nuts. Some of the funniest one liners I've ever heard. "You can't con a con artist" and she kept talking about Father Paladino, her priest. We definitely needed that 40 minute conversation because things were getting hard and we needed a laugh.

In all of our knocking endeavors we have found that our area has so many Muslims. Like so many Muslims. So we are knocking and talk with this guy from Palestine, I think, and we talked about our respective religions and we both were interested to learn more about Islam. Forgive me for not remembers his nor his Turkish roommates names, but we talked with his Turkish roommate for almost 2 hours about everything. He went into some detail about what they believe and there are some similarities amongst our religions. Although, he said, don't quote me in this, that Judas turned in the wrong guy and Jesus wasn't actually crucified but died later on in life. Interesting. What made
the experience so much better was when our Palestinian friend came back to the door and offered us an English copy of the Koran, which we politely declined yet regret because we now want to read it. They also invited us to come join them at their Mosque. They do services in both Arabic and English so we would be able to understand and participate. We are probably going to go back and ask for the Koran and when we can go to Mosque with them.

We did weekly planning at this lookout that looks right over downtown Portland. It was a nice sunny day so you could see everything. The only problem was that it was too sunny and I got sunburnt. But who
even cares because the weather has been nice lately. Actually, that's a straight up lie because it's been so hot lately. I don't think I've sweat this bad in like months. Last night, we were standing on this
guy's porch and I was dripping in sweat. I could feel the sweat dripping down my face. It was horrible.

This past week for P-day we went to the Rose Garden and got some frozen yogurt with some sisters and the Elders from Portland. It was a rainy day and so we decided to go to the outdoor Rose It was really pretty and smelled like a dream, but one time was enough. The frozen yogurt joint we hit up was some of the weirdest flavored and textured frozen yogurt I've ever had. But we had fun, then drove around trying to meet up with dinner. This little Hispanic lady called us and I answered, I don't know Spanish, and she told us dinner was at a Chinese restaurant on Main Street. Well, that narrows it down. So we drove around and eventually found it and everything turned out great!

We are on our way to go on another hike. Which hike?  The one I've done twice already. It's gonna be fun because there's a bunch of people going but the guy we are going with is a nutter. Not much else is happening. It's been a crazy week. Lots of hard work and it's been discouraging but everyday we come home and say that we feel good with the work we've done.

I finished the Book of Mormon this week!  I've been reading it everyday and I finished!  Other than that, life has been all about working hard and saving souls. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their week. Pray for me, because I may die on this hike.

Love and miss you all!
Elder Keith

June 22, 2015
Well, hello there!

Here we are again, another week later, writing about the happenings in the Oregon Portland Mission.  Let me begin by saying how quickly the week goes by. It's already Monday. I'm pretty sure it was Monday like two days ago when I was writing you all about my vacation, I mean missionary work, and the hike we were going on. It's so crazy!  Also, not only do the weeks go by that fast, but the months go by that fast too!  On Wednesday the 17th, I will reach my 6 month mark!  Can you believe that?  I get to wear the milestone gold chain and I'm making sure we go someplace good for District Meeting lunch that day. None of this "food court at the mall" or "hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that wrecks everyone". I'm talking about some upper class fast food. Like Panda Express or Five Guys....but I digress.

So last Monday we went on that hike that I wasn't too excited about. It was actually pretty fun...even though I've hiked this same hike three times. The view was awesome and it was nice to be outside and get some color. Boy, did I get some color. My arms looked like a couple of fresh lobsters and I had a pretty little line across the back of my neck. But it was nice and the pictures are bomb!

On Tuesday it was Elder Goff's 20th birthday!!  Happy Birthday, Elder Goff!  During studies I was thinking about what I could do for him and decided that I was going to take pictures of him all day long. Just
random pictures of him working and doing his thing and at the end of the day I would show them to him and he could keep them as something for him to remember how he spent his 20th birthday. I got pictures of him studying, doing his hair, at the surprise lunch a member threw for him, his mordida (where they smash your face in he cake), at ice-cream with Patty, at dinner, knocking on doors, etc!  The best part of all of this is that he had no idea I was taking any of these pictures. So I confessed what I had done and showed him and was praying he didn't think it would be weird. He thought they were hilarious and enjoyed it. Phew!  Aren't I creative and the best companion ever?

After district meeting this week we went and did our usual knocking. We knocked on this door and the moment it opened I knew it was a no-go. Tracy, who was pierced up and down, answered the door and says "I'll just stop you right here. This is a lesbian household and we are fine with what we have. Thanks and good luck!"  We got to talking and getting to know each other and come to find out, she is an
excommunicated lesbian and knows all about the church. She went on splits with missionaries and knows all about it. She was one of the nicest people we met all week. She even invited us to the gay pride parade that was happening downtown this weekend. We declined, we had Sunday worship services, but what a kind offer!

We did our weekly planning at that amazing park again and we met a bunch of members!  It's funny how many members we see out and about and they are all so nice to us. Well, this Hawaiian family came up to us and we all got to talking about everything and they were in town for a graduation happening this weekend and they were super nice! They left and then the mom came back up to us and asked if we get fed well here. We said yes and she held out her hand and said "Well, this is for you to get something nice. Stay strong!"  We looked down at what she handed us as she was walking away and she gave us a $50 bill!!  We were so shocked and taken aback and just said thank you a billion times and she just kept yelling back at us and waving as she got in the car. How awesome are people?  I've talked a lot about how rude people are lately but the good outweigh the bad. What a blessing that was to us!  We are so grateful and I love that woman. Now I have an excuse to travel to find her and give my thanks!

We did our service at Brookdale and it was awesomeness. A few weeks ago they took pictures of all of us playing with our girlfriends and they printed them out, framed them, and have placed them throughout the building. We are common celebrities among those residents. They love us. And we love them. I used the bathroom there and it was like a day spa in there. A huge, elderly friendly tub (the ones with the door and the seat and all those jets, which I will have in my home one day) greeted me from across the room with like three different types of scales scattered about. We got your old time, move-the-dial-up-and-down-until-it-balances-itself type, a normal step-up-and-be-disappointed type, then this cool one with a ramp for those who can't step up. I decided to us that one to weigh myself. I am proud to say that since I, Elder Tanner J. Keith of Ellettsville, Indiana, entered the Provo Missionary Training Center on December 17, 2014, have lost a total of 33 pounds!  How awesome!!  None of my pants
fit and my belts don't have enough holes, but yay!

We've done a lot of knocking and got 5 new investigators this week! Now let's see how many of them want to continue listening to us!  We taught a lot of lessons this week and worked really hard. We went
through our area book and mapped out our entire teaching pool and plan on going by and seeing who is really interested. We have a huge pool of people, but no one wants to keep commitments and just listen to us because it's a nice message about God. So we need to pick through and find the chosen ones. Like Harry Potter, chosen ones.

Last night we passed by one of our new investigators who is a Seventh Day Adventist. He said to come by Sunday night around 8 and he would be home and we could talk. Well, he was home. Along with his entire bible study group. He opened the door and said "Oh!  We are actually having bible study right now and you're more than welcome to come and join!"  I knew it was some sort of trap because we found out they have this bible study every Sunday at 8. We go in and sit down and start talking with this small group of people. I was just waiting for the bashing to begin...nothing happened. We had a nice little conversation and watched a video of this guys really sad testimony and they prayed.
They went around and asked everyone if there was something specific they wanted to pray for. They came to us and asked if we wanted them to pray for something like someone to listen to us or whatever we wanted. Then afterward, they gave us food. They told us that we were welcome back anytime. That their house was our house and we could come back anytime and were welcome in their home. Goff said they were some of the nicest people he's met on his mission and I agree.

So, we have added "bible study with the Adventists" to our calendar. They didn't bash, didn't want to bash, and were so welcoming and loving. I was so surprised and Goff was in heaven. He's so interested
in all these other religions. Every time someone says they're catholic, he asks which church they go to, in hopes of being invited. No one ever invites us because no one ever actually goes to church. But we found another Muslim who invited us, I'm holding my ground of "NO!" for that one but anyone of another religion we talk to, he keeps talking to them until he gets an invitation to go to church with them. I just stand there and laugh at him because it's so ridiculous.

Pues, I believe that's all folks. I hope this week of my vacation, oops, I mean mission, proved interesting, entertaining, and enjoyable. We've been working really hard and the days are long and hard but we
keep on going until the day is done...then crash and burn the moment we get home. We are asleep writhing 30 seconds of our heads hitting the pillow. It's an amazing feeling, being exhausted from a day of good, hard work. Especially when you're practically a super hero saving everyone's souls...well, trying to, at least!

I love and miss you all dearly. I hope everything is going well in your lives and you are recognizing the many blessings our Heavenly Father so willingly gives us every single day!  Keep on keepin on!
Stay rad. Stay golden. Stay Rufus. And don't forget to release the negativity and let it shine, shine, shine!

Elder Keith


June 29, 2015
Hola a Todos!

This week was just another normal week in the life of a Spanish missionary in the Oregon Portland Mission. Nothing unbelievable happened but we had a pretty good week of good old missionary work and fun!

Where shall I begin? Last Monday we did this cool hike called the 4T hike. We started at the zoo and hiked a Trail to the highest point in the city, then we took a Tram from the hospital down to the Trolley, which then took us downtown where we took the Train back to the zoo. Trail, Tram, Trolley, Train. 4T. Clever, I know. It was pretty fun! It was much hotter than I anticipated so by 30 minutes in I was dripping in sweat. Halfway through the group got split up, the whiners in the back and the rest of us up front, and half of us finished the entire hike while the other half was lost someplace. We finally got back together and rode the train by to our car. It was a fun day!  It was something different and we got to explore all of Portland...not to mention go downtown in normal clothes which is always a plus!

On Tuesday we did some service at this cat sanctuary. I hate cats so we opted out for yard work and let me tell you, it was the time of my life. We trimmed hedges for like two hours and I am starting my own lawn care business because those hedges have never looked so good!  We got some much needed color and it was a lot of fun. Right before we left the crazy lady in charge called us in the room of all the kittens and said we had to play with them. They were pretty cute but all their nasty parents were  walking around giving us the stink eye so we didn't stay very long!  This lady told us that they also have a barn on the property that was full of over 130 cats...some ferrel. What in the world are they doing having a barn of that many cats?  And why would they keep the wild ones?!  Nuts, I tell you. Nuts!

I went on two exchanges this week. One with the zone leaders and one with the district leader. The one with the zone leaders doesn't deserve much mention because I currently hate their guts, but I'll get to that later. Our DL came to my area and I went to his. His companion and I just chilled like straight up villains and we checked out a Brad Paisley CD from the library and jammed all night long while we played Skip Bo and gossiped!  Basically the best night of my life.

As far as missionary work goes, we are still stuck where we have been for a while. One of our investigators got into it with us about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost being one. Another less active straight up told us that she "doesn't want to find time" to read and pray. The investigators we are finding aren't ever home for their return appointments. So same old, same old.  But we are working really hard!  We had a meeting with the stake president and mission president about turning our little Spanish group into a branch and we have a lot of work to do. We have to map out where all the Hispanics live on a big old map and go by a big list of less actives (none of which still live at the addresses we have and people get mean when we knock on their doors asking for Hispanics). With how hard things have been lately, us giving it our all and working hard with no results, I have faith that pretty soon things are going to turn around. We just have to keep going and not give up!

So I mentioned before that I am not the biggest fan of ZL's as of late. Let me tell you why. As you all know, we do our weekly service at Brookdale playing games with all my cute old ladies. Well there's a couple people who go who think it's a waste of time and not the best service opportunity...bunch of losers, right?  Well, we hear from the ZL's that we can't go back to Brookdale anymore because, wait for it, we aren't seeing any missionary opportunities from our service. How disgusting!  I've done some intense research of messaging other missionaries and we've read through our service guidelines and there is nothing wrong with going to Brookdale for service. And, I have had two missionary opportunities at Brookdale thus far. My scrabble friend, Carolyn, asked me all about my mission and we sat and talked for almost 20 minutes about my mission, missionary work, and the church. And the lady in charge wants to feed us dinner. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!  I'm not going down without a fight. I will fight to keep weekly Skip Bo, Sorry, and Bingo. I will not give up on the residents of Brookdale!  Not now, not ever!!  (Cue inspirational music and a crowd going wild!) Please pray we will win this battle of service and will still be able to go and help our friends.

But to lighten the mood, let's talk about what happened at Brookdale this week. My girl Dorene, who is a member, was back from her trip to the coast and we got to play Skip Bo! And boy was it a good game. There was one point in time where I had 5, count em, 5 Skip Bo cards in my hands!  Needless to say, I won that game and finally beat Dorene. It was a red letter day!  Every third Friday they have a lady who brings exotic animals come and entertain the bored residents. She was there and brought some interesting things. Last time she had my skunk friend Digger and I couldn't wait to see who she brought this time. Well, she brought reptiles. Both Dorene and I are so afraid of snakes and we stayed in the game room. I built up enough courage to go out there and I held the snake!  It was the most terrifying moment of my life (not to mention the lady making jokes about the snake biting the last person who held it) but I did it!  I am my own hero!

I said nothing unbelievable happened this week but between those dementors, I mean Zone Leaders, trying to destroy of souls and me holding that nasty, gross, terrifying snake, some pretty unbelievable
things came to pass. Elder Goff keeps talking to Muslims and was pulled into their Mosque on Friday while we were on exchange (thank goodness I was gone). I tell him he needs to give up on them because they're pretty dedicated to their religion but he always goes back for more.

Today we are going to Mount Hood and are going to the Alpine Slide which should be fun but as always, when you get a group of missionaries together there's drama. Like drama for your mama and I can't handle it but it always happens when we get together. Like I always say "Shine, shine, shine!"

Well, I believe that's everything. It's been a pretty boring week, aside from the snake and all this drama. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and that you all are recognizing and enjoying the blessing of the Lord. He is always there to help and bless us, we just have to remember that He is there!  I love and miss you all!  Stay rad. Stay Rufus. And remember to release the negativity and let it shine, shine, shine!


Elder Keith

July 6, 2015
¡Buenas Días Hermanos y Hermanas! What is happening?  It's Monday again and I can't believe it. Tuesday through about 8:45 on Sunday is just one big blur and then it's Monday and I write you all telling you how I can't believe it's already Monday and times flies, blah, blah, blah. It's been a fun week and I'm excited to share my adventures. Last Monday was one of the greatest P-days of my life.  We went to Mount Hood out in Estacada and it was amazing.  A special shout out and thank you to Patty for driving and being an awesome conductor of the fun train. I'm not kidding when I say that it was such an awesome day. We started our day by dropping Elder Goff off in Oregon City so he could go on some hike with his real friends. We then drove back to Portland where we met up with an old missionary who just went home and we went to breakfast with Patty and another friend of the group. We went to this French café or something in rich-pants Lake Oswego (where I live) and I felt like a star!  I got this deliciously perfect cheesy polenta with scrambled eggs and sipped on my water from my baby wine
glass. It was awesome!

After breakfast we made the trek to Mount Hood. We met up with Patty again and her brother/my best friend Tony and their cousin Robert and we put in the country CDs and just drove. It was one of the prettiest drives I've ever driven, and I've driven across the country in the middle of the summer and through the desert to Vegas. Trees...everywhere!  The weather was a dream and it was perfect!  We first stopped at the Alpine Slide. It cost an arm and a leg to ride the thing and let me tell you, I paid with my arm and my leg. We rode the ski lift up to the top of the slide and sat in our carts. They gave us instructions and the only rule was "Don't lean on the turns. It's not a motorcycle. Don't lean of the turns". I release my break and start screaming my way down the slide.

Then comes the turn. I don't even know what happened but the next thing I know is my face is hitting the slide, my sled goes flying from underneath me, and I skid to a stop. I have no time to analyze what just happened to me because I hear Elder Hutchings cart coming up behind me. Tony is giggling in the lane next to me when he yells "Keith!!  What just happened?!" And I stand up to find my sled. It is sliding down the slide just getting faster and faster!  Behind me, Elder Hutchings rounds the corner and is screaming to me "Get on your cart!!  Don't use the break!  I'm too close...DON'T USE THE BREAK!" So I run. I run down the slide and finally get ahold of my sled and plop down and start going as fast as I can in order to save myself from being run over by my friend behind me.

We get to the bottom and I crawl off my sled and inspect my wounds. I have a big long burn on my arm from where I hit and slid down the slide. Along with the arm contusion, I have a busted up knee and a nice ole burn on my jaw line. That perfectly chiseled jaw line was defected. Now you can understand how I paid with my actual arm and leg. We paid for two rides so we ride the life back up and sit back down in a sled with me trying to cover up my wounds so the guy in charge doesn't see. Well, he saw. He looks right at me and goes "You leaned, didn't you?!"  Yes, sir, I leaned. And then I took off down the slide for another ride of joy!

After that we went up to the Timberline Lodge at the base of Mount Hood and rode the ski life to the top of the mountain. It is June and there were a bunch of snowboarding punks just living their lives andsnowboarding down the mountain. It was such a beautiful view and awesome experience. The top of the mountain was great and the ride to the top was too legit to quit. The pictures are pretty great too. It was just a great day!  I have battle wounds and soon to be scars to remember it by and we had a lot of fun together.

This week has been a good week for finding new investigators. We found 8 new investigators and we couldn't be happier. Well, we really only found 7 to teach because one of them is not Hispanic. His name is Willie Banks and is a nice black man who started his own church. Willie appreciates that we are out spreading the good word and was fun to talk to. We asked Elder Goff to put out his hand and set it next to his and asked "Now tell me, what's the difference?" I wanted to say "well, ones black and the other is white" but I knew he wanted a deeper answer than that. We both said there was no difference and he said "Exactly!  There ain't no difference. We may be different flavors but we all gonna go back to the same dust!"  Preach, Willie!  Preach! He said while he was studying to be a preacher he studied about the Mormons and knew a bit about us. We left him a Book of Mormon and he wants us to come back to talk about it. So we will see. Maybe we can convert a man who started his own church. It could happen!

We found this one guy names Venito who is the father of our investigator who has the baptismal date!  He invited us in, the first time anyone in this area has invited us in, and we taught him a really
great Restoration lesson!  He is awesome. He understood everything we taught and we asked him that if he knew that these things were true, would he be baptized and he said "Yes!"  We asked him why he would do it and he said "Because I would know it was true and the path that I needed to take!"  How awesome. We have yet to reach him since, but we have hope for him and are excited to teach him!

News on the Brookdale front!  My companion and I had a cordial discussion about Brookdale and I straight up told the fool that I wasn't going to stop going there for service. After quite some time of
deliberation and discussion, we settled for every other week. I know, it sounds like I gave in but I did this because I'm smart and look at the big picture. In two weeks time, my companion and one of the ZL's are going home. So in two weeks time, I will be going back to Brookdale full time with my new companion. Victory is ours!

We did our cat sanctuary service this week and had to help the lady get a feral cat into a carrier. This feral cat had straight up red eyes and I was stress sweating like crazy. He pick the cage up and it twists it's demonic body and slides out of the cage. I bolted for the door screaming for my life and everyone started dropping to the ground to catch the feline. They found her and got her into a cage and I just stood in the back fanning myself of my fear. I left and trimmed hedges and lived my life. We also did service at this hot air balloon festival. Lots of fun!  We set up for this dinner for all the sponsors and it was a million degrees and I was a hot mess. We also did service with Habitat for Humanity and helped build houses!  I'm a cat wrangling, table setting, ruggedly handsome carpenter!

I went on an exchange with my district leader this week and it was the best day of my life. Why? Guess where we went to dinner? DEL TACO! Del Taco is 5 miles from the district leaders house and we went to Del Taco!  Best day of my life. We taught some great lessons and I learned a lot. It was a really great exchange!

This is a really long email!  It was a pretty good week!  I best be off because in roughly one half hour I will be going to the Nike Employee Store and spending my entire life savings on things I probably don't really need. I'm so excited. We are so blessed in this mission to have all these things we have. Cars, iPads, a big city with lots to do, a life threatening Alpine Slide, Nike, beautiful views and nice weather (although it's been a sweat filled and smelly week). I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here serving in the Oregon Portland Mission!

I miss and love you all very much!  I'm grateful for all the letters and emails I get with updates of your lives. Sometimes being out here gets hard, but your emails and letters boost my spirits and always put a smile on my face!  I hope everyone has had an awesome week and will have an awesome one to come!  Remember the Lord, even in these crazytimes, because He is always there. Do your best to be righteous andcontinue doing everything you know to be true and the blessings willcome!  I love you all!

Elder Keith

July 13, 2015
Gooooooooood Moooooornin'!

Well, here we are again. Monday has arrived and it's time for your
weekly dose of Elder Keith and the shenanigans that occur in the
Oregon Portland Mission.

Last Monday I mentioned that we were going to the Nike Employee Store.
Well, it happened. And it was beautiful and amazing and perfect. I
told everyone that we needed to be there by 10:00 because it was going
to be crazy. No one ever listens to Elder Keith. They think I'm just
some ruggedly handsome missionary who doesn't know anything. To quote
my father "I'm not just a pretty face...I've got something upstairs
too!"  Well, no one listened to me and we didn't get there until 10:30
and the line was out the door and down the sidewalk. Thank goodness
Patty was there and we hopped in line with her. We waited in line for
about an hour and finally made it into the blessed store.

We were in the store for almost 5 hours. We didn't leave until 4:30
and I still think I needed more time!  The funny part is that there
wasn't even that many things to spend 5 hours looking at. It was a mad
house though. I felt like I was running around everywhere. I was
dripping in sweat by the 15 minute mark and all I wanted was a drink
of water. It was awesome though. I found some sick shoes and some cool
clothes and goodies for the family. My grand total?  I'm telling you
because it's the most money I've ever spent in my life. $387!!!  I
couldn't believe it. But I did the math and without the discounts I
would have spent close to $800, $300 of that being on shoes alone. So
I'd say it was a successful trip. Now I want to go back and buy
everything else.

We did some service at the cat sanctuary this week and I was stuck
inside working with the cats as opposed to being outside doing yard
work like a man. I have to take down shelves COVERED in dried feline
urine. Then I had to scrub carriers COVERED in feline urine. I was dry
heaving and crying the entire time while those nasty felines just
pranced around with that sung look on their face going "Oh!  You're
cleaning up my urine and mess!  Oohhhhh!"  I can't handle it. Not to
mention that the lady in charge is crazy. She calls us all by our
first names and we don't answer. She stood in the garage calling my
name for like five minutes and I didn't know who she was looking for.

I was talking with the sisters about our trip to Nike and how good I
looked in all my stuff and she pulled me back to the urine covered
crap and told me that we flirted too much. All us missionaries flirt
too much with the sisters. Well, excuse me. She's literally the
biggest flirt I've ever met in my life. All she does is flirt with one
of the elders and named two of the kittens after them. So she was
obviously deciding if she was going to be the pot or kettle when she
accused me of flirting.

Speaking of service, we went to Brookdale this week!!  I was in a bad
mood that day and we went to Brookdale and I was a new person upon our
departure. The lady in charge was on vacation so no one remembered
except for Doreen. Doreen is a member and she is the reigning Skip Bo
queen!  We played three rounds of Skip Bo and she didn't win a single
one. Muahaha. But it was a blast and I had such an awesome time!  I
promised Doreen that we would be back next week so we will be
returning. Victory is sweet!

We had Zone Conference this week and it was awesome!  The trainings
were great and focused on being bold with our commitments and our
investigators and just opening our mouth to everyone we see. It was
awesome!  Sister Ballard is a beautiful pianist and played my favorite
song for us. She played "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy and it was
perfect. I had chills and oh my gosh!  I love President and Sister
Ballard so much. They are inspired leaders and were meant to lead this
mission at this specific time. With the recent Supreme Court decision,
we took about 45 minutes to discuss different doubts and points that
people like to bring up when bashing. We took time to discuss each
point and appropriate answers to give and ways to answer these people
when they come at us with their crazy eyes and gnashing teeth. I've
only been to two Zone Conferences all together, but this was the best
one yet!  I felt so uplifted and rejuvenated after that meeting!  So

The 4th of July!! At the Zone Conference we got our rules for the 4th
of July. We were allowed to stay out until 11:00 and we could go watch
a firework show!  The only thing we had to do was open our mouth and
talk to five people each. I talked to six, but who is counting, and we
had an awesome day. I started my day by not working out. Why didn't I
work out? Because this is America and I have the freedom to not work
out!  I got up and starting making lunch for everyone because we had a
big district lunch. What did you make, Elder Keith? Cafe Rio!  I made
Cafe Rio!  We had sweet pork, some cilantro lime rice, some of their
delicioso ranch dressing, etc.  it was an awesome and most delicious
lunch of enjoying each other's company and enjoying the freedom that
is America!

We then went to the cat sanctuary and did some service for our friends
there. It was a good time and I worked things out so that I didn't
have to do much work so I had a blast! After service we went to this
park and had dinner with half our district and the senior couple from
our district, The Whites. I love Elder and Sister White. They are so
loving and kind and I just love being able to serve with them. We had
a water fight among the missionaries because it was hot as sin, and by
water fight I mean throwing our water bottles on each other, and we
walked down to the river and relaxed for a while. After dinner we went
to the park I always talk about that overlooks Portland and waited
ever so patiently for the fireworks to begin. We could see into
Vancouver, Washington and they were going at it with the fireworks.
And then you look at Portland and there were none. Come 10:45 there
are still no fireworks so we packed up our stuff and went home. It was
a blast though. The stench of alcohol and weed was amazing and made
for an interesting night. But it was amazing and I love America!

I think that's pretty much it!  It was a pretty good week. Not very
much missionary work was done because we had our Zone Conference and
then the 4th of July. So I guess this week was a bit of a vacation. As
I sit here in my head to toe Nike get up I am so grateful for all of
you and for this opportunity I have to serve my mission. It's been
tough. Really tough. But it's worth it. The blessings and tender
mercies from the Lord have outweighed the bad and tough times. I have
been so blessed these past 6 months and I can't believe I have so much
longer to go but I look forward to it all because I know that the Lord
will be there with me every step of the way.

Okay, too much missionary talk. I love and miss you all so much!  I
hope everything is going well with you and your lives and that you are
remembering the Lord everyday and recognizing the blessings we all
receive. I have pictures to come of all our shenanigans but know I
love you and miss you lots!

Elder Keith

July 20, 2015
Well, hello there!  Welcome back to our weekly email!  It's good to be
here and I hope you all enjoyed this past week!  It's been an alright
week. Lots has happened and I'm not sure how I feel about things.

To begin, Elders Goff, Laing, and Hutchings are leaving today and I
can't handle it. The mission world is slowing crumbling to pieces. All
of the sudden everyone that I've know and that has been apart of my
"family" is either leaving today or in six weeks. What is that?  How
disgusting!  It's sad to see them go and I know they have to, blah,
blah but some of my best friends are leaving and it's sad to see them

I'll be staying in my area with a kid who came out into the mission
with me. He was originally assigned to Brazil and was sent here to
wait for his visa. He got his visa and was reassigned to the Oregon
Portland Mission. He has grown up all over the U.S. but is from Mexico
and speaks perfect Spanish. So I'm really excited for him to help me
with my Spanish. Not to mention that now I get to drive the Subaru

When we got our transfer calls they told us that starting this
transfer there would no longer be any Spanish districts or zones. The
mission office hasn't released an official statement concerning the
matter but sources tell me that it is because of a couple of factors.
One being that Spanish doesn't have enough leadership to sustain
districts and zones. Another being that the relationships among the
Spanish and English missionaries aren't as strong as they could be. So
to make things better, we Spanish missionaries are stripped of our
identity and have everything taken away from us and are forced to go
with the English. I'm a little bitter but it's all going to work out
for the best. Just gotta shine, shine, shine.

This past Monday we went to Cabella's and shot arrows. It was amazing
and I felt like Katniss Everdeen. I'm too weak to shoot arrows though.
I would pull back on the bow and my arms would shake because I have
the strength of a 12 year old girl. We did some cat service and it was
a few people's last time there. Another emotional day. They fed us
lunch and we had a birthday party for Evan, the guy who runs the
place. He's the nicest man I've ever met and really appreciates our
work. We went to Brookdale again and had two, count them, two
missionary opportunities. I made sure to point them out to everyone so
they could all get over themselves and realize that Brookdale is the
place to be for service!

I went on another exchange this week. I've been on 5 exchanges in 6
weeks. I'm not sure why...either I need a loooooot of help or people
really enjoy my company and me as a companion. I was so mad about this
exchange because it was my last week with Goff and I had just been on
one like a week before. Elder Smith and I always have an awesome time
and it turned out to be an great exchange. We always laugh so much and
we do really good work!  We taught a lesson to these awesome
investigators they have and it went on forever. The Plan of Salvation
is a long lesson anyways and I never teach it all at once because it
gets a little confusing and is almost too much for them. Well Elder
Smith went for it and taught every last point. Did I mention he
started teaching these people at 8:50 after he had talked with them
for like 40 minutes?  What time did we get out of this lesson?  Like
10:20. We didn't get home until after 10:30!  I couldn't even believe
it!  It was an okay lesson, but I was losing my mind by 9:30 because I
felt like we had been there an eternity. Little did I know, right?!
But I love Elder Smith and we always have a great time. There's always
pillow talk and we were up until 2:00 talking about everything. Heart
to heart. Emotional. Best friend. And we wet to Del Taco for lunch the
next day, so, there's that.

Other than that awesome exchange and my life being turned upside down
right before my eyes, not much has happened this week. We are starting
to drop investigators because no one is ever home and no one ever
keeps commitments. I know there is someone in this area just waiting
for us...we just gotta find them!  Well, I best be off to go help Goff
finish packing. I've been a depressed old soul for three days now. The
moment we found out that the Spanish was no longer separate, that
Smith was no longer my DL (he has been since I started my mission),
and that all my friends are leaving, I've been a sad guy. But it's all
going to work out. I have faith it's all going to be great. Things
happen for a reason and I just gotta keep on keeping on and everything
is going to be great!

I love and miss you all so much!  I think of you all almost daily and
hope everything is going well! Stay rad. Stay golden. Stay Rufus. And
remember to release the negativity and let it shine, shine, shine!

Elder Keith

July 27, 2015
¡Bienvenidos a todos!

I can't say that I think it's so crazy that it's Monday already or
that I can't believe how quickly the week has gone because that would
be a lie and I'm a missionary and missionaries don't lie. This week
has been one of the slowest weeks of my mission and let me tell you,
I'm not a fan!

To begin, I was self-diagnosed with depression and have contacted my
doctor to see if Cymbalta was right for me. Three of my best friends
went home this week and my little heart couldn't handle it.  Elders
Goff, Laing, and Hutchings all said "peace out" to the missionary life
and made their way back to the real world. I was in mourning for like
three days and couldn't come to terms with my best friends being gone.
At the end of this next transfer, all my other friends will be gone
too and it'll just be the rest of us left here to die in the cold,
dark, hippie infested Oregon Portland Mission! My new companion is
alright. We came out at the same time so we are both 7 months along in
this journey of ours.

I mentioned before that there are no more Spanish districts or zones.
I'm still a Spanish missionary and do everything I have been doing, we
just no longer have separate Spanish meetings or any fun. We were
contacted at 10:06 the night before district meeting and were asked to
prepare and execute a training and practice. For those of you who
don't know, training and practices take some time because you want
them to be effective and fun. Well, we had to prepare a training and
practice in roughly 12 hours time. It wasn't the worst, because I did
it, but it wasn't the best either. So we show up to this district
meeting and we are the only Spanish companionship. So much for
practicing. We get up to start our thing and we spoke in Spanish and
through everyone off. In case you couldn't tell, I have some deep
rooted emotions about the "no more Spanish" movement that just took
place and it has only added to my self diagnosed depression. I'm sure
I'll get over it eventually and I know it is all for a good reason but
I miss my Spanish homies and being able to speak in Spanish during our

No one has been home this week. Not a one. We taught seven whole
lessons this week. It's been a discouraging week but we have seen some
success. Nothing from the investigator front but from one of our less
actives. We've been meeting with this guy for almost two months and
haven't been seeing any improvement. All he would do is justify his
bad behavior and try to get us to tell him it was okay. Well, he said
he was drinking coffee and we had a tough come to Jesus moment with
him. We told him that it comes down to whether or not he wanted to be
obedient and follow the commandments that God has asked us to follow.
So we meet up with him this week and he told us that he hadn't had any
coffee in 8 days!  I was so happy for him!  He said that he thought
about it and that we were right and he needed to keep the
commandments. He called us last night and said it has been 2 weeks
without coffee and he's going strong!  God is real!  How amazing is
that?  Man, I love helping people change their lives!

We had a visitor in the Oregon Portland Mission this week. President
Ballard has a special relationship with one of the apostles and Elder
M. Russell Ballard came to talk to us!  He was in town visiting family
and made a special stop to see the missionaries!  It was such an
awesome meeting. He really encouraged us and got us pumped up, well me
at least.  Some quotes for you:

"Calm down, say a prayer, and stay connected with heavenly power."

"The moment the Savior needs you most, don't let the fear of the world

"In the name of Jesus Christ, everything can be done!"

And my favorite: "Do not ever let the story of The Restoration become
just another story. We must never be casual. We must always be

Then he took some time to answer questions we had about how to be
better missionaries. It was such an awesome meeting. What a blessing
it was to hear from him!  Sister Ballard got pictures of us shaking
hands with him but she hasn't posted them online yet so once they're
up, I'll send it out!

We did some service at Brookdale!!  And it was animal day!  The animal
lady brought a bunch of little critters and I got to hold Tank, the
sugar glider. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen, yet I was
completely terrified to hold it. We played some games with my girls
Doreen and Gloria and had two missionary opportunities. Weird, I
thought we weren't allowed to go back because we weren't having any
there. In the past two weeks we've gone we have had two missionary
opportunities each week!  Elder Smith was talking with some old coot
about "those Mormons" who Doreen, the member, says just rambles on and
on with all these lies about us so she was glad they were talking to
him. I had a missionary opportunity with Danyle, the woman in charge.
Somehow we got on the topic of the temple and I asked her if she had
ever seen it or been. She said she was going to go when the public was
allowed inside but couldn't make it down and blah, blah, blah. Well, I
mentioned the Visitor Center and told her that if she ever wanted to
go to let us know and we would meet her there. She said "Oh, for sure!
 I would love to go!" Boom. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

At cat service this week, I almost a cat and the lady in charge. So
first of all without us that place would crumble to the ground.  We do
everything. So we are cleaning the windows because people were coming
to adopt. Christi, the lady in charge, was on one and was swearing and
was just super rude because, and I quote, she had "a s***ton of stuff
to do". Classy. So we are cleaning and this cat is in the way. I go to
shew it and it hisses at me. I don't like that. I come back some time
later and this thing straight up almost attacked me. It jumped up onto
the chair I was standing next to, claw out, fangs out, hissing and
screaming at me. I screamed because I thought I was going to be
attacked and I ran out of there. According to Smith, my face was white
because I was so scared. It was terrifying. Well, here comes Christi
yelling up the stairs and I go "it's okay. Nothing's wrong. Don't
worry!" And she comes busting through the door screaming at us "IT IS
NOT OKAY!  I have sick cats here who don't need to be frightened by
your screaming. I could have had people downstairs (she didn't, her
vacuum was on) and you're up here screaming. This is a business and
you're acting like this and we can not have that" I apologized and
took full blame for it all and told her one of her nasty felines
almost attacked me and she didn't even look at me. She stared down
Hermana Mercado and yelled at her the entire time. Did anything happen
to the cat? No!  It just pranced around with that smug look on its
face. Jerk. We got yelled at for helping her and doing all of her
work. We will see if we end up going back.

We were driving around yesterday and found this little tree house
looking library thing on the corner of some community
garden...hippies. Hippies everywhere. So we see this library thing
where the sign says "Take a look, take a book" well I read it as "Take
a book, leave a book". We pulled over, I got a Book of Mormon and
wrote our name and number in the front and left it for someone to read
and change their life. Did I take a book?  Of course I took a book.
Which book? Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook by Barbara Park. Memories of
my childhood came rushing back to me and it was amazing.

It's finally p-day and we are going downtown and I can't wait for it.
We are having a FHE with our Spanish group tonight and all of the
sudden I am put in charge. I've had to figure out the game and
refreshments and have to run the whole thing. The Lord is testing me
and my abilities right now. I know that this is all a test to see how
strong I am and I hope and pray for the strength to get through it!  I
have faith it'll all work out!

Well, that's all folks!  This was a long email. We had lots of stories
that needed to be shared and I hope they were to your liking. This is
no longer a vacation and it's full-on, 100% missionary work. It's
going to be great. I have the Lord on my side to help me along the
way. We all have Him there to help us when we need it. Don't forget

I miss and love you all and hope everything's going well!  Stay rad.
Stay golden. Stay Rufus. And remember to release that negativity and
let it shine, shine, shine!


Elder Keith

August 3, 2015
Another week has come and gone. This one seemed to go by even slower
than the last one and I'm not sure why. I am sure of one thing though,
I'm not a fan of these slow-going weeks. Not a fan. At least it's
Monday again and we are all gathered together around our various
devices to read the words of a one Elder Keith. I'm glad to be here
with you today and welcome you with heartfelt joy and excitement.
(I've been reading a lot of General Conference talks, hence the
subject of this email and firmly believe I could give a talk at

Where shall I begin? This past Monday we went downtown!  It's a whole
other world downtown and I love being there!  We were yelled at by
some lady with crazy eyes while we were crossing the street to "GO
not have known that we don't have access to the Internet to perform
such searches. What a shame!  While waiting outside the Apple Store,
this man came up and started talking to us. He was really nice and
wanted to know more about the church!  Elder Buhler and him got to
talking and this man was crying and giving us hugs and it was great.

We met up with a group of other missionaries and walked around the
crazy city of Portland. It was one of the elders first times ever
downtown but he wouldn't tell us where he wanted to go so we ended up
in nasty Chinatown where all the homeless criminals live. It was
sketchy and I was really uncomfortable so we got out of there pretty
fast!  On our way back we passed one of my favorite establishments the
city of Portland has to offer. There is an Elite Gentlemen's Club
titled "Club Rouge" that I always bring up as a possible p-day
activity. Whenever anyone asks what we should do I always say "Let's
go to Club Rouge!"  Well, we went to Club Rouge. And by "we went to
Club Rouge" I clearly mean "we walked past Club Rouge and I snapped a
few pictures to send home in my email!"  It was great.

We did more service at the cat sanctuary. I gave in and said we would
return after I was treated so poorly by the feline, I mean woman, in
charge. She told me she does Botox and I wasn't even surprised but her
face told me that she was!  She made me stay with us and help give
these nasty cats their medicine and I refused to help with that stuff.
So I was stuck cleaning out litter boxes and if I wasn't cleaning out
litter boxes I was wiping up barf or diarrhea. And if I wasn't doing
that I was trying to find an escape route before she came back with
more things for me to do. I didn't find one and was stuck there for a

On our way home for that day of cat prison, we stopped to get lunch
with some other missionaries. Well, I had no idea where I was going so
I got lost but my getting lost was an act of God. Guess what I found?
A Nothing Bundt Cake!  For those of you who don't know what that is,
shame on you. Jokes!  It's this really, really good cake shop and
they're delicious and amazing and I bought two baby Bundt cakes. Haha!
 It was a well deserved treat after that horrible cat place.

Since we no longer have Spanish districts or zones I find any chance I
can to speak Spanish to the English elders in my district. I was asked
to give the opening prayer in district meeting this week and I gladly
accepted!  I walked up and prayed in Spanish and I had never been so
proud in my life. I was amazing to finally speak Spanish and have
everyone wonder what I was saying. Hahaha, I'm mean, but I miss my
Spanish homies!

We had a temple trip!  It was quite the trip seeing as we live a mile
away but we finally got to go! I've been saying for weeks how badly I
wanted to go and we finally got in before they shut it down for
cleaning.  It was amazing, like it would be anything different, and I
want to go back!  We were sitting in the celestial room and I was
sitting there reflecting on life when I heard this thud!  It sounded
like someone dropped a Bible or something and I instantly judged them
for dropping the word of God in His house!  Well I turned around and
see that it wasn't a Bible that fell but a sister missionary. A sister
missionary was walking up the marble stairs and slipped on her dress
and fell!  She was laughing so she wasn't hurt and she got up and
walked over to her companion. What a day. What a day!

We are teaching a less active who I've been so fed up with. All this
guy would do would come to our meetings and try to justify and get us
to approve his bad behavior!  He said he didn't want to give up coffee
because he was afraid he would leave someone at the coffee business
out of a job. Okay, pal. Nice try!  Elder Goff and I really pushed
keeping the commandments and living them because God has asked us to
and we didn't know if it stuck. Well, he comes to our lesson and tells
us that he's been three weeks without coffee!!  Hallelujah!  I was so
happy and proud of him!  He told us that he thought about what Goff
and I told him and he decided that he needed to stop!  HALLELUJAH!
God is real!

To end the week, all the missionaries were roped into this huge
service project. It was an annual event in Beaverton and it was a lot
of fun!  We were the cheerleaders at the bike portion of this
triathlon. I was cheering on all these kids (it was a family event)
and it was awesome. Well, as you know, I love Elder Smith. I call him
my brother, and he does the same. Like for real, I love the kid. So he
is at the end of this trail and I'm walking down to pick up the cones.
Let me set the scene. It's raining, the beautiful Oregon mist turned
drizzle, and we are all wet, wearing NEON vests and I looked really
good. So, I'm walking down and I see him. I scream "SMITH!  BROTHER!!"
 He screams back "KEITH!!  BROTHER!!" And we start running to each
other. We both throw out arms open and he jumps into my arms and we
had the most powerful embrace I've ever had. He agreed and we both
wrote about it in our journals. He is my best friend. I love that guy.
But the service was great and was a lot of fun!  I'm glad we got to go
and participate in that event!

Well, I believe that's all. No one was really home this week. Summer
is coming to an end so everyone is out and about, living their lives,
not answering their doors!  It's been really tough and discouraging
but totally worth it. I'm grateful for this amazing opportunity I have
to go out and serve the Lord. It's been such an awesome ride, tough
and challenging, but awesome. I wouldn't give it up for anything!

I love and miss you all!  Remember the Lord because He is always
there. You're awesome. Stay golden. Stay rad. Stay Rufus. (I've had a
fan ask me what "Rufus" means. For those of you who haven't seen the
movie "Never Been Kissed", "Rufus" is a new slang term they're trying
to start using that would mean "awesome" or like "so cool"). So, stay
golden. Stay rad. Stay Rufus. And don't forget to release the
negativity and let it shine, shine, shine!


Elder Keith

August 10, 2015
Well, would you believe it?  It's finally Monday!  I echo the words of
my last email when I say that the week went by way too slow. I'm still
not a fan of these slowpoke weeks, they're the absolute worst, but I
am glad to be back with you once again to share the experiences I am
having while on this vacation, I mean while I am here serving my

Shall we begin with last weeks P-day?  In my journal I said "Today was
P-day and I don't think I've ever felt more cheated in the entirety of
my life!"  A direct quote. It was the biggest joke of my life. We went
to play kickball at a field by the stake center and it was alright. I
love kickball and my team won so that's all that really matters about
that. The problem was that some ragamuffin invited all the English
missionaries!  What is that?!  One of those English savages broke
Elder Mayer's glasses because they stepped on his shoe, where said
glasses were residing. Who would do such a thing?  A savage.  A savage
like that "princess" Pocahontas!

Then after kickball, we all went inside the church building and sat
there doing nothing!  There's nothing I hate more than wasting my
p-day and that's exactly what happened. The savages, I mean English
missionaries, always spend their p-days inside a church building
playing sports and wasting time. And that's what happened. I sat on
the stage in the stake center emailing and crying to the heavens to
set me free from the prison I was trapped in. All the English
missionaries and the choice few Spanish missionaries played sports all
day while the rest of us Spanish seriously sat there all day and I
couldn't leave because my companion was playing games, then got in the
car and said how bored he was....oh well. I did say this, I made an
unbreakable vow with myself and vowed to NEVER spend another p-day
inside a church building!  (To my English missionary friends, I don't
think you're savages, just the missionaries in my mission are savages.
Every last one of them!)

I took my name tag off and assumed the role of Danny Tanner from "Full
House" this week. We had the apartment inspectors come and I deep
cleaned the entire apartment. I say that I did it because I redid
everything I asked my companion to do. He's a sweet spirit, but the
kid doesn't know how to clean. The apartment looked amazing but when
we came back and saw our report I almost cursed those Canadian house
inspectors!  They said "Great job!  But no gold star!"  They told us
we needed to wipe down the handles of our fridge (our fridge doesn't
have handles) and to wipe out the microwave (which was covered in food
from my companion). Basically, my role as Danny Tanner went unnoticed
and we didn't even get a gold star. AND the FOOLS who inspected our
apartment took down our Christmas lights, thanks Scrooge, and ate one
of my cookies. I couldn't believe it.

We did cat service this week and I was blessed with the opportunity to
do yard work. The only problem was that it was a million degrees and I
was so exhausted and dehydrated after like 45 minutes of work!  So I
went into the cat building to get a drink when the lady in charge goes
"Why don't you come inside and play with the cats!  It's way too hot
for you to be out here."  So I went upstairs and sat there sipping my
Diet Coke playing with these kittens. It was fun and they're funny
little creatures. We went back this weekend to do some more service
and as I getting things ready to start cleaning this woman comes up to
me and goes "So you know, all those cats you guys were playing with
the other day, yeah, they all have ringworm now!"  I'm telling you
right now, I've never had so many emotions run through my body at one
point in time. I felt disgust for those felines and their ability to
contract any diseases, fear that my life would be forever changed if I
were to find that ringworm had made its way into my ruggedly handsome
body, and immense hatred for the cats and the lady in charge. She
waited like three days before telling us and I just hate cats in
general. So now I'm all worried that I'm going to get this feline
ringworm and I never want to go back!

We had an amazing lesson with Rosa at the Visitors Center this week.
Some other elders are working with her uncle and she tagged along with
them for the lesson. It was such a great experience. The spirit was
really strong and when I asked her what she liked most she said that
she really liked the idea of being with her family forever and being
able to see her family members that have passed away. It was great!
Her little brother Dylan came along too and was my best buddy all
night long. He turns to me as we are sitting there talking and he said
"I really like when you come to my house and talk to us!"  My day was
made!  Not to mention, I'm in love with almost all of the VC sisters
so it was really nice to see them too!

We were able to find a lady who I taught when I first got to the area
almost four months ago. We haven't taught her in about three and a
half months and every time we go by to see her, she's never home!
Well, we finally caught her at home and talked with her about faith.
Her husband fell off a ladder and is in a neck brace and is having
multiple surgeries and so we figured faith was something she needed to
hear about. It was an awesome lesson and the spirit was really strong.
We were also able to set another appointment with her for later on in
the week and I'm so excited to go back and teach her more about the
gospel. I love watching people feel and recognize the spirit touching
their hearts and when they let us come back to talk about our message.
It really does bless the lives of everyone and it's amazing to see it

We went to Brookdale and it was awesome, per usual. We got into some
heated games of Sorry and Skip Bo and I beat both reigning champs of
both games!  I considered it a major victory and I thanked every
single one of you in my victory speech!  I love going there and every
time we go we have a missionary opportunity. Whether it is someone
asking us about coffee or about the Book of Mormon, there is always
something we get to talk about with those adorable people. I love it

It's been a tough few weeks. Not very many people are home and we
haven't been able to teach very many lessons. It gets discouraging at
times but when I look back, the lessons we taught were pretty powerful
and the spirit touched some people's hearts. I'm excited for this next
week (hopefully it goes by a little quicker) and the chance I have to
go out and try to bless people's lives.  It's going to be a good week.
How do I know?  We are at the dentist, on a p-day yes, but Journey
just came on the radio!  If that isn't a sign that this week is going
to be great, I'm not sure what is!

I hope everyone is doing well!  I love and miss you all!  Stay golden.
Stay rad. Stay Rufus. And remember to release the negativity and let
it shine, shine, shine!


Elder Keith