HOWDY Family! Guess what: I got my travel plans today! I'm off to MEXICO!!!
Here's the plans. I leave tomorrow from the San Diego airport at 417PM and fly to Los Angeles, where I have a layover for about an hour and a half until I fly to Las Vegas. The mission there is picking me up (Elder Frame's old stomping grounds! : D) and taking me to the consulate there on Thursday, and I should be off to Monterrey on Friday the 28th is all goes well. I don't have any info past that for now. [I haven't asked President yet if I can talk to you all in the airport, but I'll ask him, and I should be able to. There's the times, just in case.]
SO HOW ABOUT THAT!! : O I'm doing well : D. I'm excited, though honestly not ready to leave yet. I was expecting to be leaving sometime last week (a few other Mexican elders, including my friend Elder Wright, left yesterday and today), and now I find myself leaving tomorrow! I joked about having just one day's notice before, and here I am : D.
So I guess today and tomorrow I'll be packin'. Conveniently, there's not a whole lot for me to collect, since our apartment is getting new carpet today. We had to move all our furniture off into the dining area and kitchen, and all my stuff is crammed in the corner. Shouldn't be too difficult! As for other plans today, there isn't much. Elder Jardine is Skyping his family today, because his sister's having a baby (he got permission from President Donaldson)! I probably will just go with whoever, perhaps to the mall or something. I'm not sure if I'll have much time to write a letter today, so I'll try to get most of it in the email. Sorry about that! We also have a few appointments tonight that I want to go to, but that's about it. The sad news is that there's a General Authority coming to visit San Diego on Thursday (an Elder Evans, I think; a member of the MissionaryBoard or something?), and I have to miss his tour! The good news is that I was able to be here for Mission President Interviews yesterday, my first ever! I'm really glad that I was able to do that before I left San Diego. I asked President Donaldson a few questions about my mission, like my patriarchal blessing and such. It was a really nice meeting, and one thing that really stuck out was that he said he appreciated the contribution I made to the San Diego mission, and that he wanted me to stay! That meant a lot to me, and I'm grateful for it. [Oh! The letters I RECEIVED today: Mom's from the 19th and Dad's from the 14th, plus one from Elder Snyder, one of my MTC companions!]
So what's else has been happening this past week? We had transfers on Wednesday; like I might have mentioned, no changes in my companionship, but new English companions and a few changes in the district. They seem like cool elders, though I didn't get to know them really well. Apparently there's also a new pilot program starting with some of the new missionaries, some kind of training where they don't teach any of the lessons in the MTC, instead just focusing on 8 Foundational Principles, like the missionary purpose and making commitments. It sounds exciting; the missionary office/organization/thing from Salt Lake is also coming down to FILM the training (I don't know if Sam remembers, but they filmed here before, demonstrating principles of Preach My Gospel and Teaching by the Spirit)! I don't have much to do with that, though.
I got to visit the mission home for the first time last week; it's really nice (built in the 70s, so lots of beautiful dark hardwood and stuff)! Several bedrooms for all the new missionaries : D. Elder Krasovec had to sign a few things to get permission to drive, so it was just a short visit. We also stopped by Chik-fil-a last week; very delicious! There's close to NONE here in SD, which is a surprise. Good stuff. I also had an interesting member meal too: barbacoa de chivo (barbacoa made of goat meat)! Actually quite tasty, though different from Chipotle barbacoa (it had red sauce).
We've been focusing a lot as a district on building up the ward, from helping the leaders fulfill their purpose, the ward mission plan, to meeting with a lot of less-actives and young adults. We hope to get more people to the Institute in Chula Vista! We also hope by building up the members, we can help them come closer to Christ, and have a greater desire to share the gospel with their friends. Member work is slow, but satisfying.
Whew! That's a lot. I guess I'll wrap up this super email. I've really started to build a great relationship with my companions, and it's sad that I have to leave. Elder Krasovec is a cool elder, who likes to joke around a lot and is a good balance for me. I've really liked Elder Jardine too! I really appreciate all he's done, though if I told him that he'd probably just wave it off : D. He's like that. I don't know if he'll want to keep in touch after the mission, but we'll see. He's a really cool guy! He keeps crackin' trunky jokes about his leaving on March 1st, but I guess I beat him to the chase : D! I'll miss San Diego for sure, and especially the people I've met here: Leticia, the Aguirres, the Guzmans, Abinadi (loves to go to raves; ever since I told him I DJed as a hobby, he keeps calling me "the DJ" or "dj haka" or whatever : D)... there's a lot. It's just a new stage, I guess! I wonder if I'll ever come back to visit! I'd kind of like to; I hope people would remember me. Oh well, that's a bit down the line.
SHEESH this email is super long! I have little to no idea what awaits me in Monterrey, but I'm super excited! I love you tons and tons, and I hope you all are doing SUPER back in the luverly homeland of Texas. Thanks again for your letters and everything, and I hope to talk to you soon!