Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Navasota Week 6

Hey mom!

So, I don't know why, but the server is being really weird right now and I haven't gotten any emails other than yesterday's pictures. I loved all the pictures of the blizzard y'all have had, I'm really jealous, because I don't get a lick of snow down here, but the two years I'm gone, we get a boatload of snow! 

On Monday, we went and had an awesome chili dinner with the Stuart Family. They are really cool, and we went and saw a tour of the house that they are building. It's real cool, they will even have a urinal and everything! Tuesday, was just a normal Tuesday.  In the morning we had out jingo with the old people. It almost didn't happen, because no one showed up until a bit later than we were supposed to start. We had dinner with this one family, the Jarvis family, and their daughter is so cute! She's four, so don't worry, it's like me saying Lilly is cute. We then had English class, which was fun, I got some selfie so with tapes of the kids (no idea what this means!?) that show up. We brought a youth out with us, and were able to see one of our really good potential, sadly she went to house sit down in Houston, so we haven't seen her in a while. 

Wednesday, we had an exchange with the ZLs, but the cool thing was, there was a world wide missionary broadcast as well that day. It was an awesome thing to go to, we heard from Elders Bednar, Anderson, Oaks, and a few other people on the missionary board. The exchange went great, we saw a bunch of potentials, and what not. English class didn't happen, no one showed up, so we went to teach a lesson. Wow do they know how to talk. We spoke a total of probably 20 min in an hour lesson. It was fun, Elder Nielsen, the ZL, is a cool kid. He goes home this week, so I was his last exchange. Thursday actually was a little different this week. We had interviews! They went great for me, president is such a cool kid. I started talking about school with him, once you find out the dates for the ecclesiastical thing, just let me know when. The rest of the day was weekly planning, and then at night we went on splits. I went with a guy named Billy. We went to see James! We had a great lesson about the restoration. Elder Heiner went with a youth to go contacting.

Friday was a normal day as well, district meeting, and then we went out to eat with the district because the hermanas are leaving us next transfer. After we finished weekly planning because interviews threw off the timing. At the end, we went and tried to visit someone out in the country, we confirmed the appointment and everything, but she was not there, so we came back and talked with a guy named Serafin. He is doin great, reading and everything. Saturday we had the potential to teach a ton, but a lot of it fell through. At one of the places we were gonna go to, there was a rope, so I climbed it. It was a good workout, and I gained more respect for those climbers, it takes a lot of muscle. We went out to dinner with a family way out in the country. It was cool because they invited their friends over, and we were able to teach them and talk with them. We gave them a Book of Mormon. We came back into town and went to see a less active Spanish family. We taught them the plan of salvation. I don't know why, but to me it is easier to teach in Spanish, so I enjoy every opportunity to teach in Spanish that I get.

Sunday was cool. I continued translating, which is always a fun job. It's a struggle sometimes because I  sometimes can't hear the speakers too well, so they get a little modified version of the talk. I learned that "If I Could Hie to Kolob" is such a deep hymn. If you read the lyrics and think about it, it is really deep. That day was a less actives day, meaning we tried to see all the less actives we could. We were able to see quite a few, and one of them had some cute puppies that we played with for a little bit.

Then today was fun. We went and hung out with the district, played some ball, pool, you know, just the fun stuff. We also went to Cave Deers, and I got myself a cool hat. Elder Heiner and I are staying together this transfer. I'm pumped because he is such a cool kid! Like I mentioned earlier, the email service is being strange, so I haven't
gotten emails since yesterday. I love you so much, and hope you had a great week!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Navasota Week 5

Hey mom!

So I got your letter, and it made me realize how short my time is, so thanks a lot. I will begin talking to president about everything, and get things done over here. Just any flavor of sunglasses will do, I have no particulars. So, the busy cookie mom once again... I hope you have a fun time at it! You know my favorites, tagalongs samoas and thin mints. That's so fun to hear of all the service that y'all are doin. 

Well, my week... It was kinda a struggle, but something I did notice is that when we go out finding, we don't teach as many lessons as we normally do. Monday I had an interesting experience, so at night, all of our appointments fell through, so we were deciding on what we needed to do that night. I had the impression to go to a potential investigator's house, but I ignored it and we went somewhere else. That person fell though, so I decided we should try out the potential that I felt we should visit earlier. He was home! And we had a really good lesson with him and his wife. It was a good learning experience for me that I need to do what the Spirit tells me to do.

On Tuesday... Tuesday was a pretty normal Tuesday, I didn't do anything too crazy. Just started the day off with Jingo (Bible Bingo). It was interesting because the old people almost got into a fight. Bingo is the best! After that, just a normal day luchando to see people. We were gonna help again with a move, but he had to cancel on us, he went to the temple. I wish I could have gone with him... Then we had English class at night, which is always fun. We had a larger class than normal, a whopping 4 people! Afterwards we took a youth out with us to teach some lessons, but again, nobody likes us so we went finding with the youth. One of the guys we talked to was a Muslim, so that was interesting to contrast his beliefs with ours. Then Wednesday came along. It was a pretty fun day, we went out to eat at a burger joint with some members for lunch. I got a burger and some delicious onion rings, just stuff that you wouldn't like to eat. After that we saw James, our investigator. He is doing great, he tells us that he can't wait till after he is baptized to be able to go and share his story with other people we teach. We also went to Bingo, and it was hilarious, one of the old folks rage quit on us. People were talking and he was like, "I'm not gonna deal with this crap!" And then wheeled away in his chair.

We ate and shared a message with on of the eternagators, fancy for eternal investigators/ dry members, we are teaching, and they are awesome! Then we had English class, which was cool because one of the less actives we are working with in the Spanish program came! Thursday, was long... As with every Thursday, we had the weekly planning session that lasted all day, basically, and then at the end of that, a member took us out to eat at a place called, the Cotton Patch. I had a delicious chicken fried steak. It was really fun because the member that took us had so many cool stories, so I, loving to listen to stories, had a blast just sitting there and drinking in his stories. Friday I went on an exchange with Elder Thorne! I had a blast being with him again. Again it was a day full of contacting, because nobody wanted to open up and let us in. We ate at a members house, chili and corn bread, which was really delicious! I love the people in this branch, they are all just really good people and very loving. So we go to Walmart sometimes to talk with people, so we went there and one guy came up to us and asked us about English class, we explained everything to him, and hopefully he will be there this week!

Saturday was a pretty fun day as well. We helped a family move in the morning. It was cool to see how many people came out to help them. We then ate hamburgers with them, which were really yummy. Went up to college station to get some training on FamilySearch.org, still not 100% sure as to what I'm doing, but now I have a better idea of what I'm doing, and to also exchange back.  We taught James and he is doing great, still so excited to be on this lovely path. It was also a day full of contacting, and what not. Sunday, woot woot! Sunday was fun, we split church, meaning we had a Spanish sacrament meeting and and English one. In the Spanish sacrament meeting, it touched me to play the piano, and give a talk. It is fun to be part of such a small group, we have so much to do! Oh the Spanish sacrament didn't start until late, and it was just so small! Again the struggles continued, and we weren't able to see many people. We had dinner with a family though, some good ole BBQ pork chops! There was a Spanish fireside that we tried to do last night, but nobody showed up to it, so we canceled it. It was pretty sad that we had to do that. 

Today was decent up to this point. We got to go and do all of the fun stuff we normally do on p-day, like wash clothes and shop and what not. We were taking out the trash, and then we stopped to help someone move. It was kind frustrating because afterwards, the person started asking us questions, but then got kinda bashy. It was frustrating because it lasted for at least an hour... But oh well, hopefully one day she will find missionaries again. Thanks so much for all the pictures and videos I get, I love seeing them, and enjoy watching them with whoever I'm with. 

It's fun to see how they all have grown up and changed. I love y'all so much, keep on being the awesome people that y'all are!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 4

¿Qué onda, mamá?

It's just fun to do Spanish every now and then. I'll start by taking out the nitty gritty. I got the videos of Lilly getting sung to, and yeah, the others as well. Whatever you are doing seems to be working, so keep it up. And to answer the journal question, yes. I haven't missed a day of my mission yet. It's cool because it gives me a chance to practice writing in Spanish! I got the letter, and I think Great grandma is so sweet, she doesn't need to write me back, I just want to send her that. 
Do you happen to know great grandma Johnson's address? I want to start writing her as well. 

Monday evening was pretty  cool. We just taught a family the restoration, hopefully everything goes well so they can begin to prepare to be baptized. Other than that we just went home, and did the normal nightly stuff. Tuesday was a fun day. District leaders had to go to MLC, so I was living the trio lifestyle with Elders Thorne and Heiner. We had a blast together. We did bingo, then helped a member move some of his stuff from an old house to his new one. He needed us for our muscles. After that we taught James, and he is doing great, he loves everything we teach him, and he drinks it all up. He is an awesome kid. 

That night we had English class, and then I went up on an exchange with Elder Aholelei in college Station Bryan. We taught a less active family and helped them set goals for the future. On Wednesday I spent a lot of the day up in College Station/Bryan. It was so much fun to be with Elder Aholelei, to talk and see how he has grown. With him, we had a ward correlation for the missionaries, and then we went out to do service. We helped this one guy feed his cows. It was a blast! It is such beautiful country up there, I can't believe it. After the exchange was over, I finished up English class, and then we went to teach this one lady we found recently. She has a lot of potential, her and her family, but I think pressure from the members might have turned her away. Thursday was the giant planning day. I can't think of anything too crazy that happened there. Friday was spiritually packed. We started out the day by going to the funeral of the 2nd councilor in the mission presidency's wife. They are Hispanic, so they asked all the Hispanic missionaries to come and sing a song there. It was awesome to feel the love that the children had for their mom, and the love that he had for her. Then after that we had to rush to get to zone meeting. Zone meeting was an uplifting experience. We learned about how to better teach profets and the Book of Mormon, so they could understand the importance of the BoM. That night we just went contacting for hours.... So much fun, especially when it got foggy. Saturday was a pretty fun day. We taught James again, and then gave him some service, we helped him get one car running again, so that was a lot of fun. Another fun thing that happened was we went contacting, and the wind tore right through the sweater, as if I wasn't wearing anything. That night for dinner, we had some fried chicken, and then some ribs. The ribs were so good, Valerie would have hated them, but everyone else would have enjoyed them. Sunday was fun... As you know I get to translate the meeting into Spanish. Guess who got to speak today? The high councilman. You know how they give talks, big words flowing in and out of scripture and talks, so it was a struggle to get everything from him down. The rest of Sunday was a normal day. We got to take a youth out after church, so it was fun that he got to do that. Also, at night we had a really spiritual lesson with a menos activo. We taught the plan, and when we were talking about the atonement of Jesuscrist, the spirit was felt so strongly. We decide to leave after that, to leave them on a spiritual  note. It's weird, I feel like my teaching in Spanish is more powerful than mine in English. 

Today, the reason for the late email, is we had a zone p-day activity.We went to a park in college station, and played soccer and football as a zone. I had such a great time, but I did come out injured. My glasses broke, and my shorts got ripped. It's whatever, things lie, that come and go, but the memories I made there were awesome. I love y'all so much. Y'all are the best, and thanks so much for the support y'all give me.

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 3

Hey what's up mom!

So my week was really fun, it was filled with a ton of missionary work though. Monday we took a youth out and found someone that went to his school, so that was really cool. It was also kinda weird because the guy we contacted into, the very first one, was someone we ran into at a gas station earlier. So that was really interesting.

On Tuesday we has a normal day, we played Bible bingo in the morning with old people and then just did normal missionary work. There was a kid we went to teach that we play some ball with as well, it was a tied set, and it was the third game, and we were down 9-1 and we came back and won, 15-11, so one could say we have good comp unity. Then English class. We were gonna take a youth out with us to go contacting, but he couldn't make it, so we went contacting and found some pretty good potentials.

Wednesday was a normal day, we played bingo at the old folks home, and it was funny to see Lathen's reaction to winning,and than think of the old people's reactions. I think they are pretty similar. Nothing too out of the ordinary happened on Wednesday, but at night we were gonna take another youth out, but he could only be there for the English class. 

Thursday was a pretty fun day, started a little boring at the giant planning session that we have every Thursday, but for the night, we had a party, because it was New Year's Eve. We had to be in the house at our regular time, but before that we had a great party with a bunch of Latinos. We had grilled fish, they were the whole fish bones and everything, see pictures.  Oh, I got to hold some little puppies, they fit into my hand, they were so cute! Then at night, we just chilled at our house, and then when midnight hit, we drank some of the sparkling well ha stuff, so that was fun.

On Friday, we started off normal, just district meeting and what not. We then went to a bomb BBQ place, I got some BBQ brisket sandwich, which was delicious. We saw some less active durin the day, then at night, we took a dad and his son out with us to teach some lessons. It was an awesome experience for everyone involved. I think it is really cool how we focus a lot on the young men in the branch. I love how it makes them feel included.

Saturday was a normal Saturday. We tried focusing on less actives and seeing them to church, but we only were able to hit a few. We took a little 12 year old deacon with us to a few lessons, it was his first time out, and he had a great time. He's already asking when he can come again. We saw this really awesome potential family, and they seem really solid. They drank up the knowledge that we had to offer them. 

Sunday was a pretty good day. We had 5 investigators at church, which was so cool! Two were guys we've been teaching for a while, and the other three were a new family we found this week. I had to translate
again, and I found it wasn't as hard as last time. Maybe I just psyched myself out last time. After church we had a break the fast, which was full of yummy food and fun mingling with the ward. Our investigators stayed and were part of that so it was cool. After church we took another youth out with us. Again he loved it and has expressed that he wants to come out with us again. After we got home and planned, we played a little game with pillow cushions and a nerf gun, it was very interesting. 

Today I had a blast! We did normal stuff until two, then we went up to an activity center and bowled, played laser tag and mini golf as a district. We all had so much fun! 

The main guy we are working with is James, he is a caretaker of a less active. He is really cool and really wants to know more. Also we have the Morris family, their kids are the members, but the parents are investigating. They are really cool people. The majority of the other people we have been working with are less active or just people that are potentials. 

I love y'all so much, y'all are the best and I wish y'all a happy new year!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 2

Hey what's up mother?

It was so much fun being able to see y'all on Saturday, and I'm really happy that I got to do that with y'all. I got the Christmas card and love the description you have for me, "Nic uses the word 'yall' way to much in his letters home." Just think it's funny that of all the stuff you could've used, you chose y'all. I'm glad everyone is enjoying the break, and doing a lot of fun stuff (sleeping in). That's exciting to hear about the sacrament meeting with all those great guys. I'm really excited for Ben, he will do great. I'm kinda glad I won't be at home when you do the mass cleaning thing, that sounds like a ton of work.

This week was a great week! There was a lot of fun/interesting things that happened this week. I've enjoyed my time out here in Navasota, there has been so much country it is the best. Unfortunately there hasn't been too many service opportunities yet. But the service that we do is with an old folks home, and on Tuesday we went to play Jingo (like bingo but instead of numbers uses things from the bible) with them and that is a lot of fun. The old people really love their bingo. Later that day we went back to help out with a Christmas party they did, it was fun, just helped hand out presents and food and drinks.

On Wednesday I had a blast because it was the mission wide Christmas conference. I love those things, so many missionaries, it is awesome. The conference itself was really cool, we got to listen to a bit of the words of President, and a lot of good musical numbers. We also watched the Nativity movie which is always a fun one to watch. We did some caroling, just singing some of the Christmas songs we know and love. After that, we went down to English class and I met a cool investigator that we got here. 

Thursday was a long day of planning what will be done in the coming week. After this giant planning session (we do them every Thursday, and sometimes I lovingly refer to it as weekly death), we went out to eat with a really cool member, the Thomas family. While in the course of conversation, I learned that we might be related to him, He has a Hansen in his family history that was in snowflake AZ, just like grammie! Then a youth came out with us, which was nice of him because era (Spanish for it was) Christmas Eve, so he's the bomb! Then Christmas Day! We had a terribly fun time in district meeting. We played an awesome game for language study, and then just had a great district meeting in general. During it we had a White elephant gift exchange thing, which was cool. Everyone in the district got something cool and we all enjoyed our time together. After district meeting, I got to talk with y'all! Such a blast, and the food we ate while at the house was amazing, ham and potatoes, and broccoli and what not. After that we went to a different members house and had dinner. The daughter there is so cute! (Don't worry she is only 4). We ate, and I helped the little boy there with one of his toys, a robot dinosaur. It was pretty interesting. Then we went to give cookies to a less active, all in all a great Christmas. 

Saturday returned to being a pretty normal day. The only thing really interesting is that the persons house that we went to eat at, were big fans of Star Wars and they were just pleasant company in general, lots of cool stories to listen to. Then after them we tried see some Spanish less actives and investigators, and then finding. 

Sunday, Sunday was a poquito ( a little) stressful for me. I had a talk that I had to give in sacrament meeting, the one catch is that it was the Spanish sacrament meeting (they occasionally do a split sacrament so the Hispanics can get all in Spanish with out translation). The talk was to be about the temples and their blessings, so I thought i was ok, not stress or anything like that. But then we got to church, and lo and behold the second councilor in the Mission Presidency is there (he speaks Spanish natively) and he goes to the Spanish sacrament meeting. So I had to give my talk in front of him. I wonder why this happens to me, in the CCM the President and his wife came when I gave a talk, and now this. I'm 2/3 for having people be there and watch me speak. The rest of the day was pretty normal. Oh I met a really cool member, and we taught his friend that was at his house. I love y'all so much! You da best!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)