Friday, May 13, 2016

Back to Houston 5 Week 2

What's up mom?

So I just saw you yesterday, so nothing much has really changed since then. I'm still doing great and enjoying life the way I should be. I'm glad to hear about all the adventures that's been happening in the family. So, my week went a little like this: Last p-day was a more relax and chill type of p-day. We spent the majority of the time at the church just hanging out with the other elders. We had a great time, played a little ball and got everything done shopping wise. We went to a burger joint called Speedy Burger that was pretty good. That night I went down to H3 (Houston 3rd Ward) on an exchange. I had to give an interview and be with Elder Gibbs (he's one of the ZLs for the zone) the next day. We had a fun time talking that night, stayed up till about 12:30. Tuesday I had a giant meeting that I needed to to with elder Gibbs. This meeting is called MLC, or Missionary Leadership Council, and usually only the zone level leaders go, but that one applied to District Leaders, so I got to go. It was a really edifying meeting. It was really cool because President Mortensen just taught us for a long time, and every time I get training like that from him, I come away feeling awesome. 

At the end I exchanged back to elder Tidwell, and we visited Rocio, the girl that got baptized Saturday. We had splits that night, so I went and saw Eduardo with a member. He's doing pretty good. On Wednesday, we had some time to just go out and try some potentials and knock. Knocking doesn't really bother me anymore. It's really just become a normal part of my daily life, so I'm happy about that. We saw a really cool potential family, and was able to read the BoM with them. At the end of the night we saw an investigator we were promoted to go see. He was a pretty cool guy named Jose. To finish the night we visited a menos activo and had a bold lesson with him about church. When Thursday rolled around, I got a lovely break from the normal daily life of a missionary. I went to do service at the peanut butter factory that the church owns down here. It was a ton of fun, I love doing it because it breaks up the monotony of the days as missionaries. I stacked boxes full of peanut butter jars on a pallet and wrapped the pallet with plastic wrap. After that we ate with the Noreña family, we had gringas, quesadillas with meat inside of them, and they are delicious. Then we left to have Ward missionary correlation to wrap up the night. 

Friday was a fun day. We had zone meeting, a meeting where the zone meets up and then the zone leaders and sister training leaders give us training for what happened in MLC. I felt like I was on the inside because I had been to MLC. After zone meeting we took photos and then I ate some Panda Express. It was delicious as normal. After that we went out to do the obra for the area. We saw Deyrin Cruz, someone we are teaching and should be baptized soon, hopefully. We also visited Rocio, going over some final things for the baptism. After, we were going to knock, but then we got a referral, so we visited them instead. We will see where they go.

Saturday was a fun day, a day I was looking forward to all week. We only had the opportunity to work about half the day, so we knocked and tried seeing some of our investigators to remind them of church. After that, we went and started setting up for the baptism. Getting the programs were a bit of a pain, but we managed to do it. The baptism itself started a half hour late, that's normal around Hispanics, you tell them it's at 5, then they show up at 530, or later. The missionaries had a musical number there that was good. After we had the ward Mother's Day party. We all had a blast eating and enjoying the time together. We, the missionaries, put on a fake mariachi band and played at the party. It was a ton of fun.

Sunday was a normal day, nothing too interesting happened that day, psych! (It was Mother's Day and we skyped!) We had a great day at church, we had to open up the back wall to accommodate  everyone that was coming. It was cool to see that because I've never seen it happen before. After that, we talked with the family, mine is doing awesome!  After we contacted and saw a little cat fight between two girls while knocking. It was...different, we just went back the way we came. We finished the night eating fajita and nachos with the Juarez family. It was delicious. Went home and did the normal thing.Today we are going to the zoo, which should be a ton of fun. There is a dinosaur exhibit apparently, so I'm excited about that because dinosaurs. 

I love y'all so much and can't wait to be part of the craziness again! Well, I can wait, but I'm excited for it.

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Back to Houston 5 Week 1

Hey mom!

I'm so excited to hear about all of your experiences that  you had with your family! it sounds and looks like you had a ton of fun. I have talked with Sister Nelson about my date going home, and she talked about that with me. I was fixin to tell you about it next week... but I guess the surprise is spoiled. Oh well... So my new area... it's kinda an old area. I'm back in H5, the area I was in before going to Navasota. I'm really happy to be back here. It has been cool seeing all the members again, and especially Eduardo Parra. My new companion is named Elder Tidwell. He is from Nampa ID. Hes a fun kid, I'm greenie breaking him, meaning I'm the first companion after the Trainer. We have had some pretty deep and pretty not deep talks that lead into the night. Just mail everything to the mission office, cuz I'm up there regularly enough.

So, my last night in Navasota I went around to say goodbye to the members there. I'm really sad to leave all the people there, but I felt like my time there was done. I learned that night that i was being sent to H5, and that was one of the areas that I didn't really expect to go to. 

That Tuesday I started to get back in the swing of things here. Its a little different because of the Recent Converts that have been baptized since I left, and a few new people who have moved in. Another thing is that the area is a little bit bigger than I left it, we have the area that the other Elders had when i was here. That day we did a bit of finding, and then we went to see Maribel Parra (Eduardo's wife) and she freaked out when she saw me. We saw a Guy that got recently baptized and he is really cool. We are teaching his daughter, and she should be baptized soon. 

Wednesday was a pretty fun day. We were running out of miles for the month, so we decided to walk during the day. We walked a ton, at least 5 miles in that time. That night we went to see one of the investigators they have been teaching for a while. She will be baptized soon (this Saturday). She is pretty cool, and super ready to be baptized. That night we went to a wedding and got to see a bunch of members.
Thursday was a normal day. We taught English class in the morning, cause that's what we do on Thursday and Tuesday. After that we got some weekly planning done, it was cool to learn a little about the people that I will be working with this transfer. Later that day we ate spaghetti with a member, and it was yummy. We then got to go to the Ward Missionary Correlation.

On Friday we went and had district meeting! I'm DL again, so i got to give the training for that. YAY! After that we had a lunch with the district, and then left to do the work. We've been trying to do some finding to build up the teaching pool, so that has been a fun little lucha we have been doing. We had dinner that night with a part member family we are trying to teach. 

On Saturday, we tried to only drive a limited amount of miles because it was the last day and we only had a little bit left. We saw a potential family that they had been trying to see, and they seemed pretty legit. So I'm excited to see where it leads us. We also saw a family that was a referral from Georgia, and they seem pretty solid. I'm excited to see where they go. We were going to go to a sports night, but we couldn't get a ride, so we walked and tried to see some less actives around us. We were walking and a drunk lady called us over and talked with us about how she loved Mormons. It was weird, but whatever, them fun memories of a missionary.

Sunday was a fun day as well. Got to see Eduardo for the first time since being here, so i loved that. Apparently he had a dream where i came back, and than it happened, so that was cool. It was fun to see all of the people that I missed there. After church we did some finding, and then ate with a member. That day Rocio (the investigator that's going to be baptized) had her interview and she passed! so pumped to come help out these people here.

Today is a more relaxed P-day, we will try to go to the zoo or something similar in the future, but we shall see.

I love you so much!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Navasota Week 19

Mommy! Te amo!

The flooding wasn't too bad out here in Navasota. We just had a lot of rain, but not flooding like Houston. I saw the pictures you sent, and it looked really cool. I loved the reflection pool like look of the temple. I'm getting sent away from Navasota. I don't know where I'm headed, I should have fun wherever I go. I'll miss the branch, but I'm
kinda pumped to leave and see what else I have in store for me. 

Hey so last Monday I had an awesome p-day. We went out to this one little town (smaller than Navasota) called Snook and hung out with a bunch of missionaries. It was a blast, we had barbecue, s'mores, sausage, we tried going fishing (no fish) and we went on a little hike. We saw an oil pad that a member owns on that hike so that was pretty cool. That night we ate with the Howell family. I love brother Howell, he is a funny old guy. Was also visited with a less active member, shared a little bit from the Book of Mormon with him, and then we exchanged with the Brazos elders, I went up to Ryan/College Station with elder Guzman. Tuesday I was up there, and had a pretty good time there. We did service with this one Baptist church. Other missionaries were there so that was fun. That's a theme I've learned more and more as I've been a missionary. The more missionaries there are, the more fun I have. The rest of the day we just went and visited some of their people. We changed back at the end of the night, and I stayed in Navasota the rest of the week. 

Wednesday was a normal day in Navasota. We tried visiting people, but no estaban, so we went knocking. We also did the bingo deal with the old folks. We saw one of our investigators, Pablo and Lupe. Pablo got hit in the face by a pipe at his job, so he wasn't feeling too well. After them, we were going to teach English class, but no one showed up, so we helped out with a mission prep class for the young men. It was fun, we got to share some of our experiences from the mission. Thursday was a normal Thursday. We planned for the week to come, and then we went out and started working. We didn't get to play soccer though 😢. We did go knocking in a neighborhood we recently learned about. It was actually a cool experience how we learned about that neighborhood. On Monday we didn't know where to go to knock, so we prayed to find an area to knock. Then about 10 minutes later we got a call from one of the members who had talked with someone from that neighborhood. He didn't know exactly which house the guy lived, but he was able answer our prayer. 

Friday was a normal Friday as well. We had district meeting, and then some training in family history. Still don't know too much what I'm doing, but I can stay afloat. We got some Laynes afterwards (an awesome place with delicious chicken fingers). We came back to Navasota, and then went to Anderson, another small city in our area, to go knocking. After that we went to eat with a member down in Plantersville. We talked about the state of the obra in Navasota among other gospel topics. Saturday was a pretty fun day. We were able to go out knocking. Unfortunately, all of out appointments fell through, so we did some knocking. It's OK, because that night we had a branch activity. We did a lot of games, food, and other activities. There was a watermelon eating contest, yours truly won it. But I had a blast with the branch there. I was happy to see them before I left. 

Sunday we had church, normal church. I had to get up and give my testimony and translate. It wasn't too bad, I'm glad we didn't have a high councilor show up. They are the worst to translate, I believe I've already told you why. After church we ate, and then had to head down to Houston for a Mission President's Fireside. It was awesome.
You remember my idea about the more missionaries the more fun? Well all of the Spanish missionaries were there and you can imagine the fun I had jumping from friend to friend. I got to sit next to Elder Bonzo, which was fun. I also got to see some of the members that I have served with, so that was really fun. Today should be a solid last p-day with the district, we'll see what we do. I love you so much! You have a great day!

Elder Atkinson(Nic)

Navasota Week 18

What's up mom!

I'm lovin it out here in Navasota. It is probably my last week here. Transfer are in this coming week, because we had a funky 7 week transfer. I have been very fortunate that the rain has not really hit me during the day when I'm doing work, but there has been a ton of rain thus far today. The roads aren't looking too bad, no major flooding or anything like that. I did get all the letters, the insurance card, and Lilly's letter. I loved her letter, it was so cute!

I'm glad to see that everyone is doing good in their aspects of life. Kiley seems to be enjoying herself... Though a boyfriend.... I feel like bother my sisters were like "Nic's gone lets get boyfriends!" Don't know how I feel about that, but I can't do too much about it. Arielle sounds normal, singing and doing all sorts of fun stuff like that, being crazy and what not. Bella sounds like she is being more extroverted than before, that's good, I know she will have fun. Lilly is just the same as ever, enjoying life and being her normal self. Lathen sounds like he hasn't changed too much, just a little older. 

So, this week has been nothing too new around here in Navasota. On Monday, I had a great p-day with the district. We were all down here in Navasota for a change, which was nice, and we played at a park. It is always fun to have these awesome people in the district to enjoy p-day. At the end of that we went and ate with a member and then saw a less active Spanish guy. Hopefully he will come back, but we will see. 

Tuesday was the same old Tuesday as every other Tuesday. We had the jingo with the old people, I took a selfie of that. And we went contacting and saw some investigators we had, and had to drop some of them. You'll find that that was a theme of the week, finding and dropping old investigators because they are being flakey. 

Tuesday we also had the English class going on, and we had a student came. Wednesday was a day very much like Tuesday. We were contacting(knocking doors) the majority of the day. While we weren't knocking, we did the bingo thing with the old folks, which was pretty fun. We also saw Pablo and Lupe, some eternigators (eternal investigators) we teach. It's nice because they feed us, and they have been my only consistent source of Mexican food since I've been here. English class again. Not too much else. Thursday was a fun day. We drove a ton that day because we had to go up to college station to have interviews with President Mortensen. They were pretty good, he's a great guy. We talked about going home and some other stuff, mostly about finishing the mission strong. It was good. We had to stay up in College Station a little longer because our car was getting fixed, so we ate out with the district. 

Upon returning to Navasota, we went down to Plantersville to teach one of our investigators, but there was a giant miscommunication, so we just ate with a member instead. Friday was a pretty good day. Started out going to district meeting, which was very nice and dandy, Elder Curtis is a great district leader. After that we headed out to Bedais to see one of our investigator part member family, the Morris family. We ate with them and then taught them about when Christ came to the Americas. After that more trying to see some other investigators, but not really getting in with them. Saturday was a bear of a day. We went contacting all day. Literally about 8 hours worth of it. It was cool, probably the longest period of time that I've gone contacting my whole mission. Sunday was a pretty normal day. Church was fun, I had to give a talk (in English). It was on prayer and I think I did a pretty good job, no one has told me otherwise. After church we ate a quick lunch, and then went out to contact some more. Right now I'm crossing fingers that some miracles happen this week from all the finding. That night we ate with a member and had a great time with them. It also thunder stormed so we got some pretty cool light displays. Hopefully the miracles will come, it will be so sweet!

I love you so much mom, you rock, I couldn't have a better mom here on earth!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 17

Hello Mother, who knows best!

 I had a pretty ok week this week. It was kinda a lucha week this week. But hey you win some you lose some. Last pday we had another party day, just like every p-day. We went and played at the playground again. There was a volleyball court so we played volleyball there and then chucked water balloons at each other. We then went and played on the playground that was there. 

That evening through Wednesday morning I was on another exchange with elder Aholelei up in his area. I got flashbacks to woodlands day with him. While I was there we did some contacting, and saw some of the members up there. There are a bunch of cool people there, one owns a taco place, and missionaries eat free, so I had a quesadilla while I as up there. One night we had some Chipotle because he had coupons for there, it was pretty good to eat some Americanized Mexican food. 

After the exchange, life in Navasota for the rest of the week was a little struggle, what feels like everything fell through for us, so that meant we ended up contacting more! Yay! But it wasn't too bad, Elder Curtis and I had a ton of fun together, and contacting is where a lot of the memories are made as a missionary. Oh and another one of our investigators went AWOL. Nobody knows where he is, so... Yeah. 

Thursday was pretty fun because we got to go and play soccer, you know continue building the trust and friendships of the Latinos out here. I'm not too bad, and there are some times when I even surprise myself from my skill. 

Friday the highlight was one of elder Curtis' recent convert was up here (because he was working in college station) so he was with us that night, and we had a blast with him. Saturday was a normal day, nothing too over the top happens there. Sunday was again a normal day, but we had white tacos for dinner, and those were delicious. Nice to eat some of the white foods while I'm here.Sorry to be brief just not too much of anything going on this week. I love you so much! You are the best!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)