Thursday, April 24, 2014

Busy, busy, busy...


So glad to hear everything's okay. I heard the wedding was fun. I got the package, btw, and the pants fit good and my razor's worked nicely. This week's been rather normal. The two things I want to mention were our devotionals. On Easter we had none other that Dieter F. Uchtdorf speak to us. It was a wonderful recounting of the Easter story. Afterwards, he came around and shook hands. I was in the choir and was mere feet from the floor and thought he'd come up a couple stairs to shake hands. He came around and when he got to us... Nothing. I'll admit, I was rather heartbroken by that because I missed my chance. On our way back to West Campus for lunch, I was in a slump. But lo and behold, President Uchtdorf showed up unexpectedly in our cafeteria. I got both a hug and a handshake. I was ecstatic beyond compare. Haha. Then on Tuesday night, we had Dallin H. Oaks speak to us in regards to missionary work. Up till now, everything's been normal. Busy, busy, busy. It's really stressful, but I'm glad to be here. Sorry for the short letter, but the computer doesn't seem to want to read my SD card, so figuring that out has been taking my time. I love you so much, though, and hope all is well. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this church is true and that through humility and coming to Christ, we can all receive happiness through His Atonement. Till next week, sending all my love. Bye!

Elder Santos

Friday, April 18, 2014

Things have been busy...


Well, it's been another busy week. Things have been busy with class and studying and all the things that arise in my life here at the MTC. I'm glad things are well back home. I'd really love to have more of that lovely Hermiston spring weather since it tends to be a bit cold sometimes down here. We've had our share of lovely days such as today, though. That's lame that the Puzey's are moving, but they're going where they'll be needed. Please wish them the best for me. I'm so sorry I haven't been able to write home outside of email. This is one of the few times I've been able to just sit down and write. One things I've learned this week is about teaching by the spirit. We've had practice
investigators and they haven't been the greatest teaching experiences, especially with the language. If this were an english lesson, things would be just dandy, however, the Lord hasn't called me to preach His word in english, sooooo... Sometimes you just have to move past some of these things. Haha. As we've continued with our lessons, we've been learning how to teach by the spirit, and that in itself is so incredible because then you realize that as soon as you sit down with the investigator, you have to bring the spirit with you 100%, or else you won't be able to convey the message that the Lord has for that particular person at that particular moment. This week for our Tuesday night devotional, we had Neil L. Anderson speak to us. So wonderful. He taught about the Book of Mormon and how it really is a life changing book. It truly does testify of Christ and will truly answer the questions of the soul. I'm so excited for Easter because we're going to have someone real big speak to us, but we don't know who. I'll be sure to report this next week. I hope things are going well back home and I'm
trying hard to write home. I have time to do so today, so hopefully I'll have some letters sent. I got over my strep, so things are good, but the prayers are appreciated. I love you all so much and I can't wait to continue hearing from you. Email time is limited, so please send my love to the family.

Te quiero mucho!

Love, Elder Santos

Watch this Easter Message...

"God sent Jesus to earth to teach us a better way to live. Though His ministry lasted only three years, His teachings have influenced billions for nearly two millennia. But the greatest gift Jesus gave to us was His life. He paid the price for our sins, died on the cross, and rose from the dead—providing a way for each one of us to return and live with God someday."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"I've adjusted well..."

Hey mom! I'm doing well. I actually got yours and dad's letters today and need some time to respond to them because of how busy things are, but I will write back hopefully in the next few days.

I've adjusted well. I have really wonderful companions. Yes, companions. It was originally just myself and my companion, but there was another missionary in our district who was also supposed to live in our apartments who's companion never arrived, so now we're a trio. My original companion's name is Elder Oberan. He's an American elder from Mesa, Arizona (Neat, right?) and will be serving in the Georgia, Atlanta North mission. He's 6"6.5 ft. tall, so you can imagine the contrast between us in height, but he's wonderful. He's so intelligent about pretty much everything, so you can only imagine how his gospel knowledge is. It's incredible. Then there's my other companion, Elder Tuala, who's like everything polynesian. He's Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian, and even a bit Japanese. He's from Azusa, California and just has a big heart. He's 18, I'm 19, and then Elder Oberan's 20. It's pretty funny. Haha.

Conference in the MTC is pretty amazing. I'm actually a zone leader now and my p-day's on Thursdays now, so that's when you'll be hearing from me.

I'm so glad things are good at home and that dad's taking things well. I'll be sure to keep him and you in my prayers. I always do. And I appreciate the counsel on eating good. Please send my love to everyone, especially the missionaries. Please tell them thank you for the preparation, that I miss them, I love them, and most importantly, besos. I love you guys so much and can't wait to hear from you again next week. Bye!

PS I've included a picture of my companions that we took just a few minutes ago. Haha.

And also, if you're wondering who the lady is in the other picture, she's the olympic lady that was talked about in conference (Noelle Pikus-Pace). I had to go to Las Vegas for my Visa, and my group ran into her at the Salt Lake airport.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reporting to the MTC...You can do this. You ARE doing this!

On Monday March 31st he drove to Utah with his mom, dad and grandma. Me and my family were anxiously awaiting his arrival. That night he was able to spend some quality time with us and get a nice long "big sister" pep talk from our family the word "cousin" doesn't adequately describe our relationships. We are way closer than most cousins, we are like brother and sister. (We even dressed all matchy matchy without even trying)

Tuesday morning, April 1st, Manuel and I were able to go to the Bountiful temple and go through for some family names, a brother and a sister, it was a very special experience. It was only Manuel's second time through the temple, and because the session was so full we were able to sit by each other.

The rest of that day was busy getting last minute errands done and spending time together.

The car was full but Eden didn't mind riding dirty...

His mom and abuelita made sure that the suit cases were packed properly and that he had everything he needed.

Tuesday night I had planned a special farewell dinner for Manuel. One of our other cousins, Leah and her boyfriend Jay, came up to eat and spend time with him.

I had made some chocolate mint brownies for dessert since they were Manuel's favorite. Leah fed him his first bite.

Nothin' but love between these two...although this picture looks like Manuel is about to slap her, he is really just stroking her cheek...

Leah and Manuel have a very special relationship so it was important for Jay to get Manuel's approval to date Leah. He won him over...

That night he also got a visit from the Stringhams. Their son is serving a mission in Manuel's hometown in Oregon. Manuel spent a lot of time with him the past few months.

After dinner Manuel and his mom (and Leah) were able to receive priesthood blessings by Aric (my husband). It was a very beautiful and sacred experience. He stayed up late visiting and getting last minute counsel from me, Aric and his mom.

April 2nd, Wednesday morning, he got up and took his time getting ready. The plan was to be in Provo around noon to meet up with our other cousin, Ammon, before Manuel reported to the MTC at 1pm.

He said his goodbyes to his cousins Maya and Eden before they went to school.

Once he got to Provo Manuel still needed a messenger bag, so after we picked up Ammon he ran into the BYU bookstore and his dad bought him a very nice bag. By the time that was done he only had a five minutes to say goodbyes before being dropped off at the MTC.

The last words I said to Manuel were "You can do this...You ARE doing this! I love you." I wrote it on an index card and gave it to him just in case he forgot.

The relationship between a mom and her son is something fierce, especially when you waited and prayed as long as this mama did to get her baby. She is sending him off with the faith of a warrior mom...
Julie Beck said, "In the Book of Mormon we read about 2,000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous, and strong. “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him” (Alma 53:21). These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48)

The drop off went smooth and there was a super sweet elder waiting to greet him and escort him inside. There were just a couple of minutes to unload him and take a few pictures.

This was the hardest thing Manuel or his parents have ever done. To be a witness to it all was an honor. Manuel is going to be an amazing missionary and the lives he will touch will be too many to count. He is an example of strength, courage and faith to his family and friends.

You've got this Manuel!  XOXO