Monday, March 23, 2015

Weeks of Updates!

Hello readers!  As the editor of this blog, I need to take a moment and apologize for the lack of updates.  Here is several weeks of emails and pictures! Enjoy! 

¿Qué pasa?
This week has been crazy!  So many things have happened and it's just been nuts!  Where to begin?

DOUGLAS GOT BAPTIZED!  We've been teaching Douglas since I got here and he's been amazing.  He's from El Salvador and moved here a month ago where he married his wife Irene. Their story is straight from the Hallmark Channel.  They dated when they were younger and her parentsdidn't like him and all that jazz.  Life intervened and took them in separate directions, both getting married and having families.  They both got divorced some time later and one day found each other on Facebook.  They started messaging and Irene's coworkers bought her a plane ticket to El Salvador to see him.  He moved here, they got married one week later, and he was baptized on Sunday the 15th!  He's just the coolest guy and always says "I just want to do the right thing and what is best for my family." He has such a strong testimony and is a great guy!

This past Wednesday was a day to remember for sure.  The night before we went out for sushi, I didn't partake because I was legit ill, and Elder Halversen was saying that he didn't feel good.  I guess he
should have skipped that sushi game too because I KNOW that's what the problem was.  So we go to bed and he wakes up the next morning in so much pain and so nauseous and is saying that he has a pain in his lower right side.  The moment he said that I said "Call the mission's appendicitis." Seeing as I'm a doctor and all.  So we call her and get sent to a doctor ten miles away only to be sent back
to the hospital in Oregon City because they said he had, wait for it, appendicitis.

We go to the hospital and the mission nurses husband and I waited in the lobby for 3 1/2 hours while these "doctors" ran tests and such. We got to know one another and we talked college and jobs and blah,blah, blah.  Elder Halversen and the mission nurse come waltzing out of the hospital with papers and everything was fine.  Turns out he had the beginnings of a virus in his colon.  He's been on laxatives and drinking Miralax for three straight days and hasn't had any improvement until today; he is no longer in pain or nauseous.

WHAT IS MY LIFE?!  Our first week together we had meetings everyday that took us away from teaching.  Our second week that heifer without a license hit our car, which we still haven't heard anything about, and this week we were in the hospital and practically home bound for
three days! SHOO!

We went on exchanges this week!  The Elder in my Facebook post is our District Leader, Elder Smith and he's way cool.  We were busy all day teaching awesome lessons and changing lives...the usual.  He really
helped me with the language and gave me some pointers to help move things along and those 24 hours were so informative!  It was awesome! We went to Patty's, a member in the ward who we are super tight with, for dinner and we had salmon and asparagus and I freaking at it all. ANOTHER FISH and more vegetables.  These hippies are taking over my life and it's getting out of hand!

Today for P-day we went on a hike.  I thought it was going to be a normal hike that took a couple hours and all...WRONG!  It took us almost an hour to even get to the trail head, by car!  So we are walking and walking and walking in really pretty and green forest and we are walking and walking and walking.  We climb some cliff and I thought we were done...nope!  That was half way.  So we keep walking and hiking and finally get to the top of this huge mountain.  Turns out it was the wrong mountain and we were on the smaller of the two. Could have fooled me! By the time we got back to the car it was around 6:00.  What time did we leave the house?  12:00.  What time did we start the hike?  2:30. That's a freaking long hike if you ask me!  But it was awesome and the pictures are too legit to quit!  We haven't been able to do a hike because I guess it rains here or something, and today was the perfect day for a hike!  It was a lot of fun!

Things are going really well!  We are always busy.  The work is hard.  We have long hours, the people we teach are tough and stubborn, and sometimes it gets discouraging.  But the benefits are absolutely amazing and we have a pretty great boss!  This is a wonderful opportunity I have to go out and help people basically change their lives.  The gospel is such a blessing and it is 100% true!

I love and miss you all.  I hope everything is going well with all y'all's lives and you are noticing the blessings in your lives each day!  Keep smiling and remember to shine, shine, shine!


Elder Keith

Surviving the long hike!

Oregon is beautiful!

¡Hola, Hola, Hola!

So I've been here for like four weeks. What is life?!  Time really does fly by!

What happened this week?  This week has been pretty slow. Just teaching people and saving lives like normal but nothing crazy happened. We have some new people we are teaching that we finally got a hold of. We've gone by a bunch and no one has been home or someone's floor needed mopping and we couldn't come in or whatever but this week a couple of people were home and let us in and we began teaching them!

Our investigator, Angel, who has a baptismal date for this Sunday is doing great!  He didn't come to church last week because, and I quote, he "thought his cat may be dying". This is the same cat that he literally throws out of the room when it comes sliding in like the trash it is and the same cat he bad mouths and says he hates all the time. But I digress. He's coming along really well and I'm excited for him to take this next step!  We just have to make sure everything is good to go and I really hope it is. He's a cool kid!

We had a meeting this week about our iPads. And boy was it a meeting. It started at 8:00, but we had to be seated by 7:30 because Elder Nielson of the Seventy and Brother Heaton from the MTC were there to welcome us and shake our hands, and it went until 12:00!  My MTC friends know of Brother Heaton because he spoke to us three separate times during our stay in Provo...and he followed me to Portland!  I couldn't believe it when I heard he was going to be there!  I screamed "NO!" To the heavens!  But it was an awesome meeting that was super informative and our work on the iPads is going to grow and be even better!  We all get new iPads this weekend and I'm pumped!  The one I'm using is still logged in as the old missionary and they haven't given me my account so I can't do too much. So I'm excited for these new ones!

My food adventures for the week: fruit cocktail!  I ate fruit cocktail last night and now I'm sitting here writing this email...something weird is happening here. I'm getting more adventurous with my food andI'm not dying. WEIRD!!  Haha!  But seriously, I'm growing up!

I finally got my haircut today. It's been like 6 weeks or something and I was starting to look like an animal. So I go to this place by our apartment and I'm not kidding when I say that SportsClips in Oregon City, OR gave me the best hair cutting experience of my entire life. I go in and it's like a big old sports store with jerseys and TVs playing basketball and all that jazz.  Angie, my hairdresser friend, was super cool and did a great job on the hair.  Since it was my first time there, I got bumped up to the MVP package which includes a hair wash and massage, a hot towel wrapped around my face, and SURPRISE a massaging chair.  I tell you what.  It's been almost four hours since that haircut and I'm still talking about it.  I almost fell asleep.  I was covered in goosebumps. It. Was. Amazing. Like oh my word!

Tomorrow we get to go to the temple and I'm so excited!  We've gone to the visitors center and walked around with investigators and such but now I finally get to go in a do a session!  I'm so excited. I love the opportunity we have to go to the temple and help those who couldn't while here on earth receive the eternal blessings that the gospel promises us!

Not much happened at all this week.  It's been pretty dead but things are starting to grow!  Our investigator's hearts are softening and the seeds of the gospel we are planting are starting to sprout!  Between our investigators, this temple trip, and my unbelievable haircut from
heaven, this week has been pretty dawg on good!

Remember to love the Lord.  He is always there. He will always answer our prayers and bless our lives. He is pretty awesome!  He loves us more than we can imagine!

I love you all and hope everything is going well!  I pray for you all daily and hope you are noticing the blessings of the Lord in our lives! 


Elder Keith

Missionaries by day, bakers by night. They made them for a pot luck!

Embracing the culture :)

Wassup, wassup, WASSUP?!

This week has been something else. People say that as a missionary you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Boy, were they right!

The highs:

1.  We got to go to the temple this week!  It was amazing. We've seen the outside of the temple many times before but now we finally got to go in and it is seriously the most beautiful temple I've seen.  I've
only been inside like 4 but it was so pretty!  It was such an awesome experience and I'm so grateful we have a temple in our mission where we get the opportunity to go and do sessions!

2.  We got new iPads!  They're basically the exact same ones we had before except that they're 32GB and we had to pay for them. Haha! They gave us new protective cases and these things make the iPad so bulky it's ridiculous. I have to shove this thing into my bag everyday and it sticks out and drives me nuts!  But we are so lucky to have these iPads and to be able to work with them....I guess. :)

3. Angel!  Angel is the investigator I've mentioned a few times and he is doing great!  He talked with his mom about his baptism and she said to wait it out and investigate it more and make sure it's not a rushed decision. That's totally understandable. But we've been going by and reading the scriptures with him and teaching him and they have been some of the greatest lessons we've had!  The spirit has been so strong and he has definitely felt it. We invited him to talk with his mom and see if she would come to one of our lessons because we, and he, really want to share the happiness we all feel that comes from the gospel! He's showing some major improvement and it's so awesome!  I'm really
excited for him.

4. Keith. My man, Keith. We were leaving our apartment the other day on our way to an appointment and we see this big, somewhat scary, black man walking towards us. I knew he was going to say something and I was praying it was kind. He calls "Hey Elders!" And stopped us introducing himself as Keith and he just wanted to say hi and tell usthat what we are doing is great. PHEW!  He was saying that some missionaries had been by his house before and he knows a bit about is and he understands how hard our job is and just wanted to say that what we're doing is great. He reeked of beer and was so drunk he probably didn't even know where he was. He kept saying stuff about how he was black and blah, blah, blah and asked me if it was weird for me to talk to black!  He was hilarious!  He was saying "yall know that I'm black and I know all that yall do so I want a blessing. Right here. Right now. Let's go!"  I looked at Elder Halversen who just was going to offer a prayer
on Keith's behalf when Keith yells "HANDS!!  Give me yo HANDS!"  So we all stood in a circle and prayed for Keith, who then offered a slurred prayer of his own. It was touching.

He went on talking to us for almost an hour. Judging our outfits and telling us that our ties were off that day. Hugging me like five times, I smelled like beer after that, and telling me to say "Datz
wassup!" After he gave me "credit where credit was due". This guy was seriously the best guy I've ever met in my life. We tried to leave like a million times and every time he would stick out his hand for a
handshake and say "tap it twice, cuz yo so fine!" And we would have to tap his hand twice and salute him. DATZ WASSUP!  He said that I don't talk enough and said I looked at Halversen when I talked so he made me look his straight in the eye and tell him why I was on my mission. He also wanted to steal our watches, that's what he said, and even grabbed Halversen's wrist. I LOVE KEITH!

The lows:

Really the lows were just a compilation of a lot of things. The stupid language. Why don't people want to learn English?!  I literally heard someone say "English is too hard and doesn't make sense. I don't want to learn it!"  Oh okay. I just turn around and say "well Spanish is even harder and really doesn't make sense but I HAVE to learn it!" Haha!

This week was rough on the lesson front. We had a day of meetings, pday, and a temple trip so we were already behind. But what was so upsetting was that we had set appointments with three or four
different people and none of these people showed up or were home. What was even worse?  They set these appointments according to their schedules!  We even brought members of the branch to to fellowship and get to know them better and no one was home. This was the first time on my mission where I have been really upset. It's so discouraging when stuff like that happens because all we want is for these people to receive the blessings of the gospel and they aren't home!  GAH!

Those are just a couple of the things that got us down. They may not have been the lowest of all lows but they were discouraging.  But I had four "highs" that I mentioned that totally outweigh the "lows". I
mean, people weren't home and the language is hard, but we got to go to the temple and teach lessons to people that really want those blessings. And we met Keith!

My emails are long. In reality, nothing happens!  I just ramble on about the little things!  We all will face challenges in life but the best way to get through those challenges is to focus on the abundant
amount of blessings that our loving Heavenly Father gives us each day!

I love and miss you all!  I hope everything is going magnificently in your lives and that we all can be able to recognize the blessings our loving Heavenly Father gives to us. You're all the best. Stay fresh.
Stay rad.


Elder Keith

Elder Keith and Elder Young

¡Hola, Hola!

This week has just been blah. Nothing has happened. Just one of those weeks where the days just blend together into one jumbled mess and then you realize it's P-day and there are people waiting with bated breath to hear from you....AHAHA!

I went on exchange this week with the zone leaders and I went to a town called Estacada. I met some of their investigators and they are awesome. We went to this place called "Calamity Jane's" for dinner and I got a bacon cheeseburger "trail boss" style. Which means that I got a bacon cheeseburger with a pound of meat and that was the size of my head.  No joke, it was the size of my head. I should have got a picture but I forgot and by the time I remembered, I had finished the whole thing!!!  Can you say heifer?!  I think I gained 6 pounds because of this burger.

We did some surprise service this week for the relief society president. We went over while she was at work and trimmed their backyard and picked up at the trash and pulled the weeds and planted a bunch of flowers in their front yard. It feels so amazing to help other people like that. The next morning we were invited to breakfast at their home and we sang hymns with them and sang her favorite hymn and she broke down crying. I'm getting legit emotional writing about it because it was simply amazing. The spirit was so strong and she is such a great woman and their family, along with Patty's have taken such great care of us and we are so blessed to have them.

We had some powerful lessons with our investigator Angel. We went by and watched "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" with his mad the spirit was so strong. The spirit hit him pretty hard and we could all definitely feel it!  That movie is so powerful and really strengthens my testimony of Joseph Smith. It's amazing.

This week was the end of the transfer and two missionaries, one sister and one elder, from our district left. It was sad because we've all grown close, but they only wish to be as close as we all were in the
MTC, and we were good friends and always had a good time together. But they are needed where they have been called and I know they will do great!

Seriously, nothing happened this week. Just another week saving souls and blessing lives. I hope everyone is having a great week and is recognizing the blessings of the Lord....I sure am!

Miss and love you all!

Elder Keith

Elder Keith and his new district.
¡¿Qué Pasa, Mufasa?!

Well, here we are!  Yet another week has gone by in just a blink of an eye. Man, that rhymed. I'm good!  This week has been good!  We met almost every single one of our goals this week, which made me so happy. Ever since I've got here we have had something hinder our work.  First it was a week of straight meetings, then we got in a car accident, then we had an infected turd that clogged a colon, then we had this, then we had that.  This was the first week in almost 7 weeks where we finally had each day open to teach!  It was awesome!  

I went on another exchange this week.  The district leader came to Oregon City and I went to Canby. Canby is this gross little town and we taught a few lessons. We ate dinner with an English family and, I'm not kidding, it was a dream. We had actual American food, chicken Parmesana, and actual dessert. We had cake!  It was beautiful. I also ate cauliflower and some sort of yellow chewy-maybe-squash-type-of-thing. It was awesome. We taught some great lessons and I learned a lot!  I love going on exchange because it's a great opportunity to learn from other missionaries and see how they do things in different areas.

We went to Yareli's first birthday party. Yareli is Jackie, who is Patty's sister, daughter. So she's Patty's niece. I had mole, which is this FREAKING SPICY sauce, and I got it on my shirt and that crap ain't coming out. An oil based stain of a dark red color on my white shirt...nope! We helped set up for the party and it was fun!  They go all out, these Latinos. I had one big birthday party, when I was 9, and it was almost identical to this party the other day. The girl was turning 1....and just sat there. But there was a bounce house...ya know, just in case she was feeling up to it.

Other than that, it was a pretty normal week...well as normal as you can get in Portland. We finally taught people that we have been trying to teach for six weeks and we had investigators at church!  We are slowly getting there!  Everything will work out, in time.  We just have to have faith and trust in the Lord and His timing that everything will work out...and it does!!  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Spring is here, well it was...the rain found its way back, but I hope everyone is enjoying their week and that you all are able to recognize the hand of the Lord in each of your lives because He is there!  I know it!  

Love and miss you all!  

Elder Keith 

Elder Keith and Gama, who just got back from serving a mission in Colombia.

Missionary plaque that is on display at the church building in Bloomington.

Elder Keith and his buddy, Yareli. She doesn't seem to impressed with his funny face.

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