Friday, December 25, 2015

Navasota Week 1

Que onda?

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HOHOHO!! Lol. 

I guess I'll start with your questions, my address is:
1208 Victoria Ave #2 Navasota, TX 77868  And I know cards are good to be sent here, and I believe packages are too.

I love my new area, it has more open space than Waller does, that means I'm really out in the country. It's funny because there are some appointments of ours that are about 30 miles away, and it takes about 30 minutes to get there. So much open space, oh and the stars are absolutely beautiful out here. It is nice that I don't get the Houston pollution out here, so I can see the stars beautifully and clearly. 

Here we work with a branch, it is an English-Spanish branch, so I get to work with every walk of life out here. The scary thing is that our job as missionaries is to translate sacrament meeting into Spanish for the Hispanic members of the branch. Oh my gosh that is so hard. Fortunately this week was the Christmas program so there was a lot of singing and reading in the scriptures, so I got it easy. I'm scared for when they do talks the whole time, or fast and testimony meeting... It will be fun, and definitely help my Spanish grow, if not just from new vocabulary. 

Everyone that I have met thus far are really nice, it's good ol' southern hospitality, must be something that I'm not too used to from the city. Here when people see you on the street, they wave, it almost shocked me the first time I saw it. Also, the speed limits are a lot higher out here, so I can be a little heavier on the pedal. It's nice to go faster than neighborhood speeds. Oh I also get a truck up here! I'm so excited about this! I missed the truck from Walls so much. It's exactly the same as the Waller truck, but I still enjoy driving it so much better than a Corolla. My new companion is awesome, his name is Elder Heiner. He is from American Fork, Utah, and about 6'5". He is a fun guy, you will probably recognize him from some past selfies. I can tell he and I will have a lot of fun together. We have enjoyed the bat that you sent me.

Hmm, the thing that we did all week was just try to see some investigators and some potentials. We had a little time to also contact. The people we are teaching have some pretty good potential, and I am eager to see how they take everything. The people in my district are about 20 miles away, so we don't get too much interaction
with people outside of Navasota, but we do have district meeting every Thursday still, so we see them then. The two other elders in my district are past companions, Elders Thorne and Aholelei, so it's fun to be reunited with them.

I love you so much! Remember to let me know how the new Star Wars is! Oh Skype call will be around 3 your time, and 2 my time, so be prepared!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

An excerpt from Valerie's letter:
"Well, this week I had a normal week, kinda slower, just trying to get to know the area, and the investigators and the members. Everyone that I have met is really cool. We have some pretty solid people that the other elders were teaching. I'm excited to see where everyone goes. So some cool things that go on out here are every Tuesday and Wednesday we have bingo with a bunch of older folks. It's awesome to go and do that with them, but they get very irritated and bossy while they are playing. Also on these days we have English classes at night, so that is a ton of fun, though only a little bit of people come to the classes.  Something that we do with the young men here is take them to lessons with us, and then afterwards get ice cream. It is really fun because it helps me get to know the ward, and also helps the young men get excited for missions of their own. Something that is cool is that the branch already has a good rep for going and helps out the missionaries, so people are really happy to come and help us out. I can tell that they are ready for the awesome blessings that Heavenly Father has for them."

Houston 5 Week 12

What's good in the hood mom?

This week was so bomb! So much fun stuff happened, it was all so fun! 

First off, I'm glad to hear that everyone in the fam is doing well, and are enjoying their respective lives. I'm glad to hear that your are keeping busy with your calling and with my siblings lives, sometimes it's nice to be busy. 

Well this week, like I said, was a bomb week so much funness it's not even real man. Oh first off I'm getting transferred, so I loved how much fun the final week in this area has been. Tuesday was probably the most normal day of the week, just English class, and nothing else overly interesting happened. In the night we had splits and I met a really cool guy who is an ex army guy who served in Vietnam. Then on Wednesday we got to go to the TEMPLE!!!!! It was a bomb experience as it always is in the temple. I wish I could go there more often, the spirit there is great. One thing that President asked us to think about there was a gift to Christ that we could give this year, so I will try to Better use my talents in missionary work. After the temple it was just a normal day, go and see people and what not. Then Thursday I had the chance to go to the peanut butter factory and give service there. It was fun to see how a peanut butter factory works from the inside. While I was there I got to help stack boxes filled with peanut butter onto pallets and the other station I worked at was screwing on lids for the peanut butter jars. It was rather fun for a bit of manual labor. Then planning, which was just normal, and the ward mission coordination meeting with all the missionaries and the ward mission leader. A good Thursday. On Friday we had zone meeting,always a fun experience to go and do that. This Zone Meeting we talked about how we are light bearers and we need to be the leaders in the world to help bring others to this happiness. After that we took some fun pictures and had a gift exchange, so a pretty fun day. After the meeting it was a normal day, we saw an investigator that we haven't seen for a while(he is an English one) and so that is always fun. Had a lesson with the less active 9 year old we are gonna baptize, and the 9 year old wants it, but I don't know how much the parents do. Then Saturday was a great day, the baptism was beautiful, we worked hard throughout the week to make sure everything was set up and good, and it was a beautiful baptism, and such an awesome way to finish the transfer. We had a pretty good showing from the ward, which was nice, and then some good semi-american refreshments, nachos and hotdogs. We also saw another investigator that we are teaching later that night. On Sunday we had a blast, it was cool to see the guy who got baptized confirmed. It was funny because at the end of sacrament meeting, they invited him to say the closing prayer, so he went up like a trooper and did it. I believe that they already have a calling in mind for him, so he should get busy soon with that. 

Today was a blast, we won the zone activity, so basically that means we got to get together as a zone with the Mortensen's and play sports and spend the day in the park with them. It was so much fun, but the fields were really wet and I got extremely muddy. But it was so much fun, lots of slipping and sliding going on. Other than that, it has been a chil pday, hang out and then tonight I gotta pack. I love you so much and am excited to talk with y'all next week.

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Houston 5 Week 11

Hey mommy!

First off, I did get the advent package and have enjoyed reading he letters and everyone's thoughts, so far I've gotten Kellie, Bret and Shay, The walker kids, Head, Mabry, Amberly and Ryan, and Pa. Thank you all so much for the love you send my way, it always means a lot to hear from y'all. I look forward every morning to see who I get to read a letter from. 

Well, the weather has been beautiful, it still has yet to feel like December, but I'm enjoying while I still can. It's really funny though because all the natives are putting on jackets, but Elder Norton and I are just rockin our short sleeve shirts. I do miss the cold and snow sometimes, but sometimes it's nice to not have to worry about it. 

Oh, I am so pumped for this Saturday, we are gonna have a baptism! It is gonna be so great! The cool thing is that we have been working with him for basically our whole time here, so it's awesome to see the fruits come from our labors. He is really ready, and really excited to take this step. 

We have also found some really cool new people that we are teaching. This one family that just moved into the ward has helped us a lot and has already given us some referrals. One of the guys that they gave us is really cool, and loves to laugh and have a good time, so I'm excited about work with him. On Saturday we were able to go up to the Marin house and see all of the nativity that they have there. So that was really fun to do. Always a good time to see Obispo Marin. 

I was able to see the Christmas devotional, and it was ok, kinda harder to pay attention to because it was in Spanish, and I get distracted easier when they do the voice overs. 

So I had a really awesome experience with family history this week were I feel like I really gained a testimony of that work. I have always thought that the work was basically done, and there was nothing else I could do, but on Friday we had a training were I was looking through and learned how to find people, and I found someone, and I'm gonna take him to the temple this week, because we get to go. I can honestly say that the Spirit of Elijah is real, and that I felt it when I found that name, and it left me with a desire to do it more often. I love y'all so much! You are the best, and I'm excited to talk to y'all on Christmas!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Houston 5 Week 10

Hey mom!?

What no knife? Ok, a big stick is good with me.

I'm looking forward to that Christmas advent package, is it kinda gonna be like last year? With letters and pictures? That was fun to see everyone. It is so weird, Dallin isn't a missionary anymore, he isn't on the LDS tools app, I didn't think it was that long that he was gone. Oh well, I'm glad he's home and I'm sure his family is as well. 

I'm really jealous about all the time you were spending with Spencer and Janna, I feel like I haven't seen them all in a while, even after spending so much time with them when I was younger. My week was pretty good, and Thanksgiving was awesome. The missionaries over there had me beat though, I had three citas (dinners) with members on Thursday. The first one I ate papusas, which is a delicious salvadoreño food, that was with the Ward Mission Leader. It was fun, we went to a little joint, and there was the Macey's parade going on the TV there, so that was fun to see a bit. Then at the second cita, we had some nachos and fruit kabobs, which were pretty good. I love eating nachos, they are delicious. Then the last cita, we had a good Thanksgiving dinner, turkey potatoes rolls and what not. 

On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Schloer. He is a really cool kid. To kind understand what he looks like, picture Fix It Felix from wreck it Ralph. We had a great day even though we contacted all day basically. But we did have a few bomb lessons, and met some really cool people, whom I have high hopes for.  This week for some reason, was a bomb (meaning great) week for us, lots of lessons and lots of good contacting. The investigators are doing great. We have started teaching a 9 year old from an inactive family, so we are hoping to reactivate the family and baptize the kid. The part member family is great, he is doing really well, and he will be ready for his date. Hmm, I don't really what else has gone on, today we are just balling up a storm as usual, so it's a blast.

I love y'all!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Houston 5 Week 9

Hey! Much love comin from down here in Houston!

This week was a pretty fun one, full of a lot of fun activities. First off, Monday night I got a call in the middle of a lesson we were having from Obispo Marin's phone, I didn't answer it because it's in the middle of the lesson. I listen to the voice mail later that night and I hear dad's voice. I listened to it a few times, and it jerked some tears out of me. It's amazing what just hearin s voice can do to you. (Jim had a business meeting in Houston and had dinner at the Bishop of the ward Nic is serving in) 

Then Tuesday we had half a mission conference with Elder Packer. It was really cool to hear  what he had to say to help us. It was also cool because I got to meet an Apostle's son. He had a lot of really cool stories about football, and he related them to missionary work. A theme of that conference was "when you can't do what you want to do, you can only do what you need to do". It was interesting to see how we can try right now to do what we need to do, and then get blessed for doing what the Lord wants us to do.

For lunch I sat with some of the ASL missionaries, and learned some sign language. One of the ASL missionaries is deaf, and he is a really cool kid. I want to learn some sign language just to talk with him, and all the other deaf people. That night, when we got home, Obispo Marin was waiting with this giant box filled with goodies from dad. There was a lot of food, I don't know how I will eat it all, I shared some muffins with the district on Friday for district meeting. Not gonna lie, I was kinda jealous of the Marin family for having been able to see/talk with dad. 

The rest of the week went by normally, nothing too over the top. We had really good lessons with all he investigators. We actually have set a new date with another guy we are teaching. He is already in 2 Nephi chapter 20. He came to church as well, so he's pretty on fire right now. I love seeing when people are doin the things necessary to change their lives, and seeing them be inspired from that.

On Friday we had a Thanksgiving party with the ward were we had a little spiritual program beforehand. So I, knowing how to play the piano, was elected to do a solo for the program, and play for a missionary choir. I only practiced the song I would do for the solo a few times, luckily it was easier, and I could pull it off like that. We got some good turkey and classic thanksgiving dinner with a Hispanic twist, they added rice.

That was the week, and it was pretty fun. This Thursday, Thanksgiving, we are scheduled to have about three dinners, so I should be getting really fat, yay! 

For Christmas, maybe a knife would be nice, a little extra backup for the dogs, if you know what I mean.
I love you so much, I'm off to ball, like any other pday! (I did NOT know what he meant about a knife.... I know he has a fear of dogs, but a knife??  I did find out he has his pepper spray but he is afraid it won't work on the big dogs.  I plan to send him a mini baseball bat instead and give him some pointers on how handle a dog situation if it arises.  Silly guy....a missionary with a knife in downtown Houston?? )

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Houston 5 Week 8

What's up mother?!

I'm really glad you enjoyed your tough week on the cruise. I imagine it was extremely draining to do it all, all the fun, all the food, and what not. All the pictures look really pretty, and I loved the video of you eating whatever you did. The buttery garlic sounded good. From what it looks like you all had a great time. 

This week was a lot of fun. On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Bonzo, he is the district leader for our district right now. It was a lot of fun because he is in a bike area, so I got to ride a bike and be a stereotypical Mormon missionary. While we were riding around, I found a Mexican flag, so I picked it up and took it with me. It was a lot of fun to get that exercise on the bike. It was also cool to meet the people that they are teaching. It's always fun meeting all of the cool people. 

The rest of the week wasn't anything too different, teaching people, and trying to find people. The one guy with the member wife is doing great, he still says he hasn't gotten an answer yet, but he knows all the doctrine and stuff, so his baptism is probably gonna be pushed back a little bit. He is doing really great though. This Tuesday we will be eating wings with them, so it should be fun. There is another guy we are teaching who is already in 2 Nephi and we've only been teaching him for 2 weeks, which is really good. The very intellectual one is the same, he just goes off into random rants in the middle of the lesson, so it's hard to teach him. His most recent fascinations are the Giants and how fallen angels are their fathers. 

This week we had two people come to church, and there were some there that we will probably begin teaching sometime soon. So all in all it was a great week, oh my belt broke one day as I put it on...😵 I must be getting pretty fat (I double checked if this was a joke or not, he was teasing. :). I have another belt, but it is brown and kinda more a work belt. I know you always ask if there is anything I need, so would you be able to put a belt in the package you are sending? Thanks!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Houston 5 Week 7


I can tell that it is the voice recognition, every one's names are spelled wrong. I guess everyone just has weird, not normal, spelling of names in our family. 

I'm jealous that you get to go to Puerto Rico, it would be fun to use my language skills that I have acquired. That and a cruise would be fun, bien relajado. But later we will go on one.

As always it is fun to hear who the sibs are doing, I hope they don't go crazy with Lexie in charge of them. It will be really fun for them. And you and dad with Dennis and Jannea, it is a recipe for disaster, well the dad and Dennis part, maybe not you and Jannea as much. 

My week went by really well, but there has been a strange tendency that has been going on here in the mission. It only rains on Saturdays, and for the past three Saturday's it has rained. So my nice warm socks came in handy again this week. Again, I'm so thankful that I'm not on bikes. I would be so wet.

The part member investigator we have is doing great. He came to church and the temple tours that happened yesterday. He is doing so well, and he is really trying to get an answer before he gets baptized which is the best thing he can do, because that will be better in the long run for him. The intellectual investigator is doing OK. He doesn't really want to read the Book of Mormon without too much of an incentive, so it is something we are trying to help him out with. 

We have been doing good with getting to know the ward, but yet another thing happened that caused not normal Sunday meetings. We had a regional conference, so it was a motley of people. The people I do know have been really cool, and they are really nice. I think I am good on clothes, and I can't think of anything for Christmas.

Love y'all a ton, and enjoy your cruise!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Houston 5 Week 6

Whats up mommy?!?

I think it's cool that Arielle invited her friends to church, I hope they enjoyed the fast Sunday testimonies. 

This week went by really fast, though I didn't do anything all that interesting on Halloween. Last night, we got transfer calls, and nothing new is happening with my companionship, but from what I hear, the districts are getting changed up in the zone, and now there are two district leaders in the same district, so I don't know what is going on there, either me or the other guy is getting released as a district leader. 

The week wasn't too bad, although we did get a ton of rain on Saturday again. some flooding, so again the socks came in handy, SUPER SOCKS!!!! Teaching is going pretty good, I didn't have to do district meeting this week because it was a zone meeting, which was a nice little break. 

Lets see, oh we got a new bishopric, so Obispo Marin is no longer with us, It's sad to see him go, but the new bishop looks like he will do a good job. Oh, also on Sunday, the investigator married to a member came to church, and stayed the whole time! it was awesome, and I think that he enjoyed himself. He is doing really good, and I'm happy to see that he is taking so well to everything that we are teaching him.  For dinner on Sunday we went to eat with Obispo Marin and his family, kinda a good bye thing for him. At the end of that, he gave us all a bag of candy. The super smart investigator is kinda hard to teach, because of all the tangents that he goes on, but hopefully, little by little we will help him understand the Gospel and the Book of Mormon. No one really that new that we are teaching, just the same old same old for the rest of the week. 

On Friday I went on an exchange up to H6 with one of the Elders there, and it was really fun. One awkward thing though, was that while I was up there I had to go with an English elder to teach someone who spoke Spanish. It was awkward because, I just talked with the lady in Spanish, and nobody else really knew what was going on... soo it went pretty good, I think. 

 I ate two habanero peppers and I was on fire for a bit (I told him I accidentally ate a jalapeno and was dying). I guess the culture has latched onto me. I really hope to bring some of the Hispanic foods that I eat home.

Well it is done my letter (that is a Spanish way of speaking!), so I'll just want to say that I love y'all, and hope the best for y'all!

Have a great week!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)