Buenos Dias Mi Familia!
Wow! I've been out in the field for a week! I just sent you an email today with some info, so I hope that helps. Behind me, my companions and district are b-ballin' it up but since my shorts are in the wash I'm writing letters to you! Hooray!
Sheesh, I'm not sure where to begin. I'll start with today, and see where I get from there. I woke up at 4:00AM so we could go to a session at the San Diego Temple. Elders Custer and Van Leer (my english speaking roommates [It seems that there are missionaries assigned to separately serve spanish and english speaking people in the San Diego mission]) and I went (we can only go once every 3 months and my companions already went.) It is such a beautiful and amazing temple, I love its design and architecture, and definitely the Spirit there. I really enjoyed going but as you might guess, I'm kind of tired. After the temple, my companions and I wrote emails, did a little shopping and washed some dishes. Living with 4 other college-aged men, the kitchen can get a little messy, so I was trying to cut down on our dirty dishes. It's a little tough keeping things clean, but I'm trying for it, because having a clean home invites the Spirit.
Like I said before, I've got an airmattress, which is actually pretty nice, and no closet, but I've been fine just using my suitcases, and no one else seems to mind me having my luggage out. Our apartment is a touch old, but good and gets the job done. A lot of people here live in apartments, and after a while I'm kind of looking forward to living in one myself at some point! Kind of fun. National City is actually separate from San Diego (founded in 1881 or something) and I enjoy it! Like I said, it's a bit poorer than where we live [Katy] but the people are wonderful. I've really enjoyed getting to know the members here, and a lot of them help us out with missionary work! A lot of people travel back and forth from Tijuana, which is pretty cool. It's super nice too, how the members feed us occasionally!! It's quite delicious, and I get to try some new foods. Unfortunately I over ate once or twice (had 2 meals back-to-back) but I just need to be grateful and do my best. The Lord will take care of my needs.
I really like my companions. Elder Jardine is from Canada and has been out for about a year and a half. He has a cast (broke his hand on his bike) so we drive a car but it doesn't slow him down. He's an awesome teacher and loves the people he teaches. He's taught me a lot about being a missionary. Actually the mission really works hard to build in us the ability to recognize people's needs and focus on purpose in everything we do. I'm really grateful that I came here to get to learn so many important skills that I can take with me to Mexico! I haven't been working on Spanish as much as I've been trying to master the principles behind these skills so I can apply them to my teaching, using what Espanol I learned in the MTC. Actually I've been able to understand most every conversation I listen to (though it's easy to lose track when I'm tired or distracted) which I feel is the gift of interpretation of tongues, honestly! Speaking is tough at times (nerves) bit I can communicate. I need to work on that! I'm so grateful though for the Spirit helping me with where I'm at already.
So, yeah, Elder Jardine is a greater teacher and trainer. My other companion is Elder DeBaltzo, from Ohio. He's been here 2 or 3 months, so he's just a little "older" than me, though he already has a lot of experience and helps me too. He has great Spanish, so I rely on them to a good amount. He's pretty similar to me, actually, in lots of things! So he helps me out with beginner things and stuff like that. I was blessed to come in on their hard work, and I hope over time I'll get to know them better and be able to work with them better. They've tried to get to me know me, though, which I really appreciate. And our district is really friendly. It's not easy, but they make it a lot better than it could be. Service and thinking about others is really important.
That's all the background I can think of for now. The biggest thing this past week was the baptism of Maria Valdez. She's really nice, in her 60's or so, and has an amazing testimony, mostly gained by herself. A really nice baptism. Apparently the mission has been having a lot of success lately; there were 3 others baptized with Maria. We're still trying to find some more people to teach but that will come eventually. Just have faith!
With all the work we've done with members, reaching them and visiting and asking for their help, I wonder how the elders in our (Katy) ward are doing? Maybe you could invite them over!
I'm glad you are all well. Wish Sam well for me! And Julia - I hope school's going great for you! And GOOD LUCK AT UIL AND AREA!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
PS Say Hi to Boris for me!