Address

Elder Eric Johnson
1650 R W BERENDS DR SW apt 6
Wyoming, MI 49519


Please send letters or packages by First class or Priority Mail via U.S.P.S. so they can be forwarded to him.

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9, 2018

Fam, 

Teodoro and Edin are maintaining their progress really well. Teodoro had his baptismal interview Saturday and it turned out positive. The only thing standing between us and the 14th are the programs. Everything is already planned and assigned. 

We are still meeting with Edin daily. We've been able to have most of the Branch missionaries involved as well as nearly all the YSA aged members. He is reading well, talking with the members he lives with about the gospel, and has been teaching his family back in Guatemala the things we teach him. Things are about as ideal as they can be. 

We did a practice baptisimal interview and he bore his testimony throughout the whole process and it was quite awesome. He got a little hung up on the word of wisdom, he explained the word wisdom instead of the word of wisdom, we clarified things up and he fixed his mistake. 

Thursday we meet Elder Barry, the new Spanish elder. We now have 8 missionaries in the Spanish branch. About 30 minutes before they arrived in Grand Rapids we finally finished carving out the area boundaries. The Stake president sent a proposal which we then slightly edited and then shared that with President Brennan. 

We've worked a little with the stake president on matters concerning the areas as well as the Branch. He impresses me, his understanding and awareness of the Branch and the stake shows a lot of experience and capability. 

Elder Barry and Guerrero have been bunking with us in our apartment since then. Elder Magalei and I cover the northern portion Grand Rapids and everything north of the city in the zone/stake. We likely will be moving to a new apartment so that we don't live like 10 miles outside of our area, so heads up on that. Not sure when that will take place but President said he wants that done as soon as possible. 

We had a pretty fun experience with this one lady this week that spotlighted the importance of the spirit in missionary work. We were talking on the door step with this lady we had spoken with a few days earlier. She was busy but we still had an opportunity to talk with her. She didn't seem interested in a lesson so we just kept talking and taught basically the entire restoration on her door step. We had an opportunity to talk about how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ really helps families be happier and have more direction in their lives and that really invited the spirit. We invited her to read Mosiah 2-5 in the book of mormon and think about the question, "how can I have a happier/stronger family."  We asked her if we could pray with her and she consented. Elder Magalei offered the prayer and after he closed I asked if we could come back in a few days to talk more about the homework we left her. The spirit was able to touch her heart in such a way to change the "oh I'm busy" into a "please come back."  

The Book of Mormon is a super cool book. The doctrine and Covenants is also super cool but that's a different topic. To think that a 20 something year old with 3 years of an education could produce a volume of scripture the length of the Book of Mormon littered with literary complexities, significant biblical parallelism, perfect continuity in theme, story and doctrine, all within 60 days with the kicker being that he dictated it is absolutely insane. Looking at the photos of the original manuscript also brings a level of awe on it own. Aside from the later added punctuation and a handful of scribal errors there isn't a single correction, just straight text. It truly is a marvelous work in a wonder as mentioned in Isaiah 29:14. 

The new Preach My Gospel is also super good. In the lesson about The Gospel of Jesus Christ is makes the point that the Book of Mormon contains the clearest presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, found anywhere in scripture. I read that and realized it is so true. 

Just read any one of the following four chapters in the book of mormon
2 Nephi 31 (pg 113)
Mosiah 18 (pg 181)
3 Nephi 11 (pg 426)
3 Nephi 27 (pg 458) 

And try to find a comparison of clarity anywhere in the Bible.

Also when are we going to be able to get a printed copy of the new Preach My Gospel? Preferable the small size. 

June 25, 2018

Fam, 

Well this week was quite the week in a few different ways. 

Thursday we had a trip out to Holland. We had two appointments, the first being with a referral from the Holland sisters and the second being a lesson with Mercedes. 

We received a call from the Holland sisters explaining that two hispanic guys just showed up to church and that they couldn't communicate with them but that they set up a return appointment for us to meet with them. They called us a little frantically that Sunday afternoon asking if we could join them. Thursday came and we headed to the member's home that the lesson was going to be in and had a great visit with them. Turns out the two guys were actually members who just came up on visas to work for six months. They have a car and seem like really stalwart men who would be a very good influence on the Branch. Their arrival was a big answer to prayer. We put them in contact with the branch leadership and showed them where our Chapel was in Grand Rapids. 

Mercedes' lesson was just about ideal. She had some problems with Sabbath day worship that we had been discussing and that wasn't going super well. It wasn't bad, but we weren't doing that great of a job. Unfortunately opening the scriptures to people isn't always the best route to resolve concerns, regardless of scriptural proficiency. Feeling guided we decided to jump over her concerns for a minute and teach more important doctrine. We decided we were going to read 2 Nephi 31 and talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Turned out she hadn't read since our last appointment, which is a problem, so we decided to just read where she was. She had gotten stuck in 1 Nephi 13 because of lack of comprehension so we decided to help her get through that chapter. We read up to verse 16 and Elder Magalei asked a really good question about being humble in context of the phrase, "[and they] had humbled themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them,"  which helped spark a good discussion. It helped her open up about some trials going on in her life and family. As she was explaining some things going on I had a clear prompting to invite her to be baptized using the passage in the BOM we had previously planned. I kind of thought about it for a second, thinking about all the doctrinal questions she had and all these things I thought would make her really not ready to say yes, but following the prompting we opened up to 2 Nephi 31 and read verses 4-12. Using verse 12 we made a pretty bold invite and the spirit was super strong. There were a few moments of silence as she recognized the spirit and she let out a quiet yes. It was a really good moment. We had been going at the problem of her doctrinal doubts in the wrong way and thankfully we were open enough to follow the spirit trying to tell us how we really should be handling the problem. 

As we drove off I was thinking about that moment and the scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9 came to mind which says 

"8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" 

The scripture fit perfectly for what I was thinking in the moment. God always knows best no matter what we think or can rationalize on our own. Our success comes as we yield to the spirit and do missionary work the way it should be done.

Sunday we met with Edin again. He is just a stellar kid. After our first lesson last week the Duran family asked us if we could give them a blessing. It was really good because we had just had a lesson on the restoration where the spirit was quite strong and continued to be during the blessing. Yesterday we had simple lesson where we read a little with him. Our last lesson he said that he knew this was the church for him after a series of spiritual experiences that he shared with us, and that he would prepare to be baptized. Yesterday he explained that while he was sitting in church he had a really strong feeling that he needed to be baptized as soon as he could. It was super cool because he bore a really nice testimony of how he knew these things for himself. We set a date for July 21 and we have a standing appointment everyday until then! Of all the miracles of the mission this one was the one I've hoped for for the longest. The blessing we gave him was very special and we dedicated his apartment right after and it was a sweet moment in every sense possible.  

Teodoro is doing pretty well. We've been helping him out a little with his wedding that will be this Saturday! Hoping that everything goes well he should be able to make July 14 for his baptism. There are still a few things that we want to make sure are set in stone before he is baptized but on the other hand he has been steady, consistent and solid for the amount of time I've been in the Branch, so we'll see what we think will be best. 

Today I bought some new non-prosyliting shoes. I took off my everyday dress shoes and started trying on some shoes. Elder Magalei was absolutely and thoroughy destracted by the wooden heels. Before I had them resoled you could click the heels together and make a loud clicking sound that would mimic a wood block pretty well, it still does that now but not as loudly, but it was that feature grabbed the attention of Elder Magalei the whole time it took me to pick some shoes. It was pretty humorous.

Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018

Fam, 

We met with the Sarmientos on Wednesday and we were able to follow up on the 7 day challenge of reading the BOM everyday and praying to know if it's true every day. The family took the challenge and it turned out pretty well. Daniel still feels like he hasn't received an answer but I've never seen him so excited to read the scriptures. He had skipped to Moroni to read what the last person to write in the BOM would include. He mentioned how struck he was by the hope that Moroni had as he was writing his portion in the book. (For  some context he is the last Nephite who hasn't been put to death because he won't deny the christ. He is on the run for his life and he chooses to write about how to organize the church again.) He includes in his chapters how to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, how to ordain people to the priesthood, and how to bless the sacrament. Thinking about his point it made me think of the last chapter in the BOM. Moroni 10 is a profound call to his brethren the Lamanites to remember the scriptures, remember God, and to come unto Christ to gain a remission of their sins. It's a pretty powerful chapter and I was thinking about how awesome it's going to be for Daniel to read that chapter. He also had a question on why we don't drink wine during the sacrament. To answer that question we pulled out D&C 27 and read verse 2. He thought that was really interesting and continued to read to veces 3-5 about how when Jesus comes again he will "drink of the fruit of the vine" and that blew up his curiosity, he probably read it over and over again three times. 

Thursday was tradeoffs. This time I went with Elder Wilkins. The new missionary study schedule is just absolutely brutal. We have our normal personal, comp, and language studies but we've been asked to do an hour and a half of putting old records into the phone and then on top of that we had been asked to extend the 12 week program from 30 minutes back to an hour. We were both dead after 5.5 hours of just study.

The morning of tradeoffs we meet with the Francos. That lesson reminded me that Elder Wilkins speaks about 10 weeks of Spanish. We walked in and I caught up with the Francos for a few minutes and I turned to him giving him a confirming nod to start the lesson and got a wide eyed blank stare in return. I continued talking with the Francos for another second or two and gave the same reassuring nod to him to start, only to get the same look back. I said the opening prayer and gave him again another reassuring nod to start off what we had planned. This time he sent the nod back to me which I then sent back to him with a smile hearing the words in my head of our President when he said, referring to giving new missionaries moments to stretch a little bit, "Let 'em hang." After another pause and another back and forth he was able to get things going and did a great job. The thing is the missionaries we work with are either the Zone Leaders or the missionaries we've spent basically our whole missions with so it slipped my mind that it is Elder Wilkins' first transfer in the field. 

A few weeks ago we had interviews with President Brennan, something I always enjoy. During my mother's day call Mark asked if I had ever thought about seeing if we could change our attire to help people not be ask scared of us on the streets, so that we aren't confuse with ICE. I didn't really think about the idea much but it stayed on my mind. I spoke to President about it and he said that the quorum of the twelve have been thinking about changes to missionary work that would include a change of attire, something that has felt more and more like a needed change. This problem was bought up again this week after Elder Wilkins and I had spent the afternoon stopping by former investigators. We pulled up to one street and there were three families outside on the street, near the former investigator, enjoying the evening on their porches. We said a quick prayer, jumped out of the car to talk to everyone and literally everyone on the street quickly slipped into their homes the second they saw us. Within a minute kids where off the street, and things went quiet. Elder Wilkins and I were just stunned. We stood in the street for a second, copies of the Book of Mormon in hand, just astonished. We knocked the door we came for with no response and just kind of looked at each other thinking, "what just happened?"

Sunday we had a pretty awesome lesson with a kid named Edin. He is a referral from the Duran family. They work with an organization called the Bethany program which brings in youth from South and Central America to the United States to teach them how to be productive residents/citizens. They help the youth get a basic education, good housing, and a job. The Durans rent out housing to like 6-7 youth, which they love to do because then they are able to share the gospel with all these hard working motivated youth. It turns out to be a pretty good referral source for us. Edin has come to church three times now and really enjoys what he sees. Due to his work and school schedule, yesterday was the first day we could meet with him outside of church. We taught a pretty decent restoration lesson. He said he had prayed about which church he should be attending and really felt strongly that the church he had been attending was not true. He then attended another Christian church and felt the same things but then felt something special about our church when he came with the Duran family. Edin is a pretty awesome guy and hopefully things turn out well for him. 

Sunday morning we had a really short lesson with Teodoro. He is on date for July 14 and things seem to be going well. We documented our plan for all the things we wanted to review before his baptism and will be giving him that soon. Sunday we taught the very last topic he hasn't been taught: tithing! It was an intense lesson, not for what we covered but the situation. We taught the lesson in under 20 minutes because the poor guy was wrestling his four kids the whole time. The two oldest, ages 5 and 7 where running around playing and getting dressed for church. He had his new baby on his lap feeding her while she was trying to eat the pamphlet, and he was feeding the next youngest between crying fits. It wasn't the best teaching environment but he said he'd pay his tithing.

Happy fathers day! 

Eric

Sunday, June 17, 2018

June 11, 2018

fam,

Tuesday we had our first trade-offs with Elder Wilkins. I went with Elder Rencher and we had a decent day. We had a lesson with a former investigator that we set up as we were going through the records again. The lesson was okay but she had a massive aggressive dog that made it difficult to get to her door. Flashback to a few days prior Elder Magalei and I knocked the door to first make contact with the lady. 

I'll add a little bit of context before we move on, Grand Rapids seems to have had a difficult time during the recession. The reason I think of that is that in the sketchier parts of town, the areas are often times filled with large homes in complete disrepair that are then often divided up into 3-4 apartments which are often filled to capacity with people. When you come to a home to knock the doors you basically knock all the doors because all could be a different apartment. It's okay most of the time. This is what Elder Magalei and I did. No one answered the front or side door so we moved to the back door. Elder Magalei knocked the door that turned out to not be locked and as his hand hit the door it swung open. To our surprise a deep growl met the opening of the door and a large dog jumped against the door that by that point was being held shut by Elder Magalei's hands. I jumped so bad. There was only a curtain and some 2x4s separating the inside of the porch from us on the outside. The dog jumped as if to jump through the curtain presumably to kill us. Its front legs made it through the barrier but the dog's head got caught in the curtain giving us just enough time to execute a dignified but very quick retreat to the car. He tried to scramble out once he got his head free but thankfully couldn't muster enough traction with his back legs. Pics down below. We called the lady and we were able to meet her a few minutes later. 



Mercedes is our investigator in Holland who is pretty awesome. She has been facing a lot of opposition but seems to be handling it okay. She was reading in 1 Nephi 13 and had a lot of questions about Nephi's vision. It talked about a great and abominable church and then gives a few attributes of this church. I'm sure she was a little upset or disconcerted as she probably assigned a specific church or denomination to what was described without really reading into what it was saying. We talked about that which opened up almost a floodgate of questions that seemed to have been pent up. We answered a few and it went pretty well. It actually was kind of fun. It was all over Facebook chat and I had written out a pretty solid essay on why we go to church on Sunday but it's probably too bashy to share. But it was fun to write. We are actually going to be driving out to Holland later today and I anticipate that she will be wanting a lot of answers to some questions we told her we would cover at a later day. I'm all for answering questions but sometimes people need a stronger foundation of core doctrine before we jump into the deep end. Hopefully things go well!

Thursday I had an amazing personal study. It wasn't really about anything all that important but the spirit was super strong that confirmed to me yet again that the BOM is the word of God. I've been reorganizing the Book of Alma from chapters into years to be able to better observe the pride cycle of the Lamanites and Nephites. It's been an interesting study. You just can't really ever hit the bottom of things you can learn about the BOM. There is just so much depth that you miss when you read quickly. The scriptures are awesome. It's really too bad that most people don't really give diligent heed as they really should. You just miss out on tons of blessings if you don't break the barrier that so often keeps people from having uplifting experiences with the word of God. 

"And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God". D&C 84:43-44

We had one of the new member lesson with Francesca on Friday that was SO good. The Plan of Salvation lesson really is an awesome lesson. We talked about the role of agency at every step of the plan of salvation and the spirit was just so strong. I was thinking about why it was so strong and I was reminded of a talk by Bruce R McConkie I heard a while ago. I may have already included this in an older email, so if I did I apologize. The teachers through their preparation are more capable of bringing larger quantities of living water to the lesson while the students through their preparation are more able to collect larger volumes of living water. The best lessons I've had are when the student was very ready to receive our lesson and we were very ready to share what we had. When that happens the spirit is more capable of being present and testifying of true doctrine. D&C 50:22 sets the standard of good teaching. It teaches that when we teach by the spirit of truth "he that preacheth and he that recieveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." It's a joy when that can take place.



-eric

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 4, 2018

Fam,

Weeks go by really quickly. It's pretty hard not to get into a daily grind of things sometimes. The good thing though was this week was a lot better than the last.

Tuesday we had an interesting call with Mercedes. A few days prior the church published a bunch of new stuff under the church history section in gospel library and in the app there was a pop up to inform everyone of the new free media. It's super interesting stuff to read but there are a few articles that have doctrine that can be a little hard to understand, it's the whole milk vs meat kind of idea (1 Corinthians 3:2). Some time in the evening we got a call from Mercedes and she had a lot of questions about what she read. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with her talking about some of the articles she read. My favorite part was when she said a particular point was blasphemy. It was a good opportunity to correct some false doctrine. People just don't read their scriptures. Elder Magalei and I were worried about how so much meaty doctrine would effect someone who really needs the core doctrine at the moment. Ezra T Benson said something along the lines of how everyone eventually will be backed up into the wall of faith and will have to make a decision. It's a pretty powerful statement and we figured this was going to be a make or break moment for her.

Wednesday was a super busy day for us. We would have had time for everything we wanted to do but we accidentally got locked out of the church building for an hour. Around mid day we had a video call with, Elder Rencher, Elder Wilkins, and Elder Guerrero, who is currently in St. Joseph's. We spent about an hour discussing possible area boundaries. As we were leaving the building someone pulled up into the church parking lot and asked for a tour. We consented and began a tour with him. The other Elders had to leave so Elder Magalei and I gave the tour. About half way through the guy starts to anti us and getting a little animated. Instead of really not liking Joseph Smith he really didn't like Brigham Young and the BOM. After a few minutes of being talked at we just told him we weren't going to have someone try to fight us in our own Chapel and we lead him all the way out of the church building. That gave us an opportunity to bear our testimonies about what we are doing and the truthfulness of the message we share. Not wanting things to end harshly we offered to shake his hand goodbye but he ignored the gesture and stomped off. We walked to our car as if to leave as well but we realized we had left the keys in the now locked church building. We walked to the other side of the church as if to grab something so we wouldn't look like we just locked out selves out and called the other missionaries to come save us. They where able to come an hour later, but we were able to set up a few appointments over the internet in that time.

Home field advantage is pretty nice when it comes to anti. If we had been sitting down in this guy's living room it would have been significantly harder to cut him off and leave a bad situation.

Right before I left on my mission I was reflecting on the restoration and realized that I didn't really know all that much about other churches. That bothered me a little because I felt like I wouldn't be able to authoritatively say that we were the only true church in the world. I spent time thinking that through and I remember one day I realized that I knew the Book of Mormon is true and that the LDS church was the only church to fully incorporate it as canon. With that alone I knew that this was the only true church regardless of what others say. The BOM is super not only because its an awesome story, teaches doctrine not found in the Bible, clarifies doctrine found in the bible, but because it truly is irrefutable evidence of the restoration. Unfortunately the guy who came to the church to be mad at who ever he found had never read the BoM or even prayed about it.

Friday we had a meeting with Mercedes that went super well. She talked about how she was reading all these articles and realized that this was deeper doctrine than she was ready for and decided to stop prioritizing it over reading the BOM and praying to know if it is true. It was a miracle that she was able to realize that and change her focus. In that same meeting we also were able to figure out that she was waiting to finish the BOM to ask if it was true. We invited her to specifically ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and if the BOM is true. There is no other way to gain this kind of knowledge without prayer.

Our church is different from other churches. We are the only ones who have a real claim to have the authority of God. We are the only church built upon the foundation of Apostles and prophets  today with the chief corner stone being Jesus Christ today.

We've been able to have the branch missionaries come out with us a few times and that has been pretty good. Andres is a kid from Guatemala. He grew up speaking Mam and another dialect native to the area he grew up in. He learned Spanish as teenager and came to the United States. He shared his conversion story in a lesson, and its interesting. Apparently he grew up being told legends about his ancestors by his grandma. She said that all these stories had been written down in a lost book with an unknown name. He then comes to the states and meets Mormon missionaries who gave him a BOM and to his surprise he found many of the same stories his grandmother had taught him. I'm not sure about their validity but there are tons of little stories and cultural insights that members from Central/South America will mention offhandedly that relate to the BOM that really makes me want to know more about what is known of the Americas between 600BC-400AD.

Also the Saints publication is super cool. There is a lot of cool stuff in there that I actually didn't know.

So I might be incapable of sending the right address. The zip code was wrong but that shouldn't do too much harm

( mi nombre )
1650 R W Berends Dr SW
Wyoming, Michigan 49519


As a reminder I can't chat over email anymore there really isn't a way to have a continuous conversation on the same day.

May 28, 2018

Fam, 

This week was interesting. It started off  rough with the transfer call I didn't want to hear, going back to the Grandville Spanish 1 area, an area that has just completely struggled for its entire recorded history. It was pretty hard for me to be excited about that so the weekend was spent thinking about what could be done differently this time than the 11 months I spent there. That call started a study on what my missionary purpose is. That study has been going well and has continued since then.

Sunday last week we got a call from President where he apologized saying that he had made the wrong transfer on accident and that Elder Rencher would train in the Spanish 1 area. I'm staying in the Grandville Spanish 2 area so my mailing address is 

1650 R W Berends Dr Sw APT#6
Wyoming, MI 59519

Next transfer we'll have a new elder coming out and as it sits right now President is wanting to open a third Spanish area. We are under a pretty tight schedule to hammer out the boundaries of a third Spanish area. The problem is where it might be. Our options are tight but right now they include opening an area in Holland, kalamazu, or some reorganization of the two areas in the greater Grand Rapids area.  

Sunday we had what felt like an important advancement in the Spanish branch. We've been working with a few members to help them be ready for being called to be branch missionaries. Before church we had a long meeting with the Branch President where we were able to set some goals and plans related with certain things going on within the Branch and after church we were able to set apart the Branch missionaries. As we left the setting apart of the four missionaries I felt a pretty strong impression of how important this call was to the four missionaries called. If they chose to magnify their calling I felt that it would be a step that would lead them to being able to become leaders in the Branch. 

Being able to meet with people online really has helped a few people progress more than they probably would have. 

The most clear example is Patricia. For a few reasons we really can't meet with her frequently. Things are different with our video chat lessons. We've had consistan lessons with her over the last few weeks and her progression has taken off. She loves to study which is super convenient for us because she actually wants to read in the BOM. She'll bring us questions and we'll organize a study for her to go through the scriptures and find her own answer. We've set the pattern with her with starting with a question, opening with prayer, searching, then writing down her answer and asking God if how she answered the question was correct or not, and continuing until she receives a witness of the Holy Ghost. She recognized the spirit she feels as her husband and she have gone through these studies. Our most recent lesson with her we left a study on Baptism with the questions being "what can I do to feel more prepared for baptism?" and "What are the blessings of baptism." She wasn't in church this Sunday so we talked with her husband who told us why. Good news is that she wants to be baptized and even asked Fred, her husband, to preform it. Hopefully we can set some dates in our next lesson. 

All in all the week ended well

May 14, 2018




Fam, 

A few important things happened this week. We had Elder Magalei's birthday, Zone conference... I mean phone conference, and Mother's Day. 

Tuesday was Elder Magalei's birthday. We didn't do a whole lot because we were busy but we baked him a cake. He appreciated that and we had a nice day. On another note, on April 16 I bought and planted a Chile de ├írbol seed in a cup filled with potting soil. I watered it and waited. The packet said that it should have germinated within 14 days. 14 days came and went and I was a little annoyed. It's almost like everything I plant dies. May 8 a bud finally popped out of the soil. To my surprise there are now two buds after having thought I planted one seed. In Alma 32 in the BoM gives powerful insight on how the word of God can be compared to a seed which can sprout up into increase faith. So I guess the lesson is that as we give place to one seed two will sprout up. 
Image result for chile de arbol plant

Wednesday we went out to Mercedes. It's kind of a weird situation. We meet her about 10 weeks ago after a member of the Holland ward brought her to our branch. With the help from the Pectols we were able to set up a lesson with her, and we just had an absolutely fantastic lesson with her. She lives about 40 miles away which makes it really hard to stop by to see how she is doing so we kept pretty good contact with her over the phone. For various reasons she had to cancel a few lessons with us and then she dropped us after about 3 weeks of back and forth. We weren't able to figure out why and so we kind of had to leave it at that. Flashforward to last week she comes to church and we were able to talk and set up another lesson. So within those few weeks of no contact she had been reading in the BoM, watched General conference, watched the longer Restoration video, Legacy and some other church history movie all on her own volition. It was quite the surprise, nigh unto miraculous even.

Later the same night we had a lesson with the Sarmiento family that went well. We had left them The Family - A Proclamation To The World, a document put out by the church in like 1995 which obviously is about the family, to read. We had a good discussion on how homes centered on the gospel are stronger in all aspects of life. Daniel really impresses me with his ability to just capture understanding when he applies himself. A few lessons ago we left him and his family a question to study for which has really kick started his reading. At this lesson we started off by asking everyone what they had learned. Daniel clearly had a very solid understanding of the paper we left. In my experience there is a significant variance of the amount of information people can take in at one time, and for Daniel that level is pretty high.

Thursday was z(ph)one conference. It was an enjoyable zone conferance, and I have a smart phone now and no longer the terrible blue brick! 

Sunday was Mother's day. It was fun to talk with the family. As we walked to our car to drive to church Elder Rencher and I both realized that our Skype calls home would be the last one during our missions. The next time we will see each other will be when we come home... Scary. Elder Magalaei swiftly made a  joke about how old we were. Although the room I was in wasn't the same as my first two phone calls, don't worry, it was still the same home. At the end of this transfer, this Monday, so my next P-Day is this Saturday. I'll have been in this branch for about 16 months, 6 of those months with Elder Magalaei and about 8 months with Elder Rencher.  

Ah. New rules regarding technology:
1) We have Facebook! But we can't chat with friends and family unless we have approval for missionary business 
2)We can write letters, but back and forth chatting is no longer allowed. This one hurts but apparently it comes from the area authority over President Brennan.