Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Let's start with the bad news. 3:00 AM on the morning of Saturday, October 30, a fire was intentionally started in the chapel of the LDS meetinghouse where the Miller and Granite Spanish Wards meet. The building was extensively damaged and will be unusable for many months. Another building on Main St was also burned, but caught sooner. Luckily, there are many meetinghouses here in Salt Lake, and other stakes kindly took us in, but it is further away, and many of our members walked to church before it was burned. South Salt Lake Police have arrested the person responsible.
But that didn't stop our ward from having 3 baptisms that same morning, or having the primary program the next day. Our Stake had a pretty cool Halloween carnival. The missionaries had a booth where we would ask questions to the kids and give them prizes when they answered them. Who baptized Jesus? What did the Lord command Nephi to go and build? Questions like that. We spent Saturday Evening at a Member's house with the whole zone because we had to stay in and, well, might as well have a zone activity. Details se encuentran en Lauren's email. We had to wear proselyting clothes, so my halloween costume was a black suit, black tie, black sunglasses, and a black raincoat (which I have). Transfers were today. Elder Seivert and I are staying in our area, but Elder Chavez is leaving and we have a new companion, Elder Guillen, from Paraguay. Native Companion!!!!! Yessss! Elder Chavez was technically a native speaker but not really because he grew up in California and spoke English more. We also are moving apartments and no longer have a car. Hopefully Obispo Melquisedec Matute will let us use his truck to move some stuff (like my mattress because we have 3 misioneros and the new apartment only has 2 camas). Anyway, gotta get back to baptizing nations ;)
The church is true!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
PICTURES!!!! (note from the editor: sorry about this photo teaser, my mom said there weren't any photos with the email. Perhaps he forgot or there was an attachment error. Either way, we should have some pictures of Elder Fine soon)
Ernesto got married and baptized!!!! woot. The Lord is working some mighty miracles in that family. 12 year old Ernesto Jr. (Gordo) was baptized a month ago and is pretty much a miniature general authority. He's very smart, has a huge desire to learn and a strong testimony and he wants his family to have it as well. Ernesto Sr. is also amazing. Smart, unlearned, but smart. Gordo gave the talk on baptism at his dad's baptismal service, and it was amazing. 12 years old, pure doctrine, powerful testimony, delivered with love, and he's only been a member for a month. He basically holds that family together. So, I don't want to bore you with too much character background, but this is all leading up to a pretty amazing story. Well, it was amazing when it happened and I'll try to convey the amazingness when I tell it. So last night we went over there to get the details for Ernesto's baptismal record (place of birth, children's full names and birthdays, etc.) We had some extra time before our next appointment so we decided to watch a church film. During the film, it didn't really seem like anyone was paying too much attention, and then afterward we bore testimony of God's love for his children and the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon, and that we were the only ones who have the restored gospel. Jasmin (14), who had never been interested in talking to us, at least not since I've been here, started asking questions and really showing what is referred to in the scriptures as real intent. Even before the movie, she was kind of ignoring us and Gordo said in a perfect annoying little brother tone "I'm gonna keep praying for you until you realize that church is good for you, you know that right?" Anyway, probably because of him, she started paying attention. So we knelt down and had her ask God, right then and there if this was his true church (that's how she phrased it "your true church"). And then we stayed on our knees for what could have been anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, I'm not sure. How do you feel? "weird" The spirit feels weird when we don't know what it is. It's a good weird, but yeah. She agreed to prepare to be baptized on November 6, and this is where Ernesto Jr. says "hey, can I say something?" and in three or four of the most powerful sentences I've ever heard, bears testimony to his sister of how this decision will make her a better and happier person and that's what he wants for her. Nothing we could say was going to top that, so we closed with a prayer and then left in absolute awe of how the spirit directed everything in there. We didn't go there to talk to Jasmin, nor to watch a film. We weren't even planning on having a lesson! If you had asked me beforehand if Jasmin would accept a baptismal date that night, I would have laughed. Gordo doesn't know a whole lot of doctrine, but he knows how to follow the spirit when directed, and he knows that going to church is good for you, because when men speak by the power of the spirit, it carries their words unto the hearts of men. We do not know who God has prepared. The field is white, already to harvest.
This week is Stake conference. It's in the conference center and we'll have the opportunity to hear from one of the Twelve. It is also possible that one of the first presidency could be there as well. Gettin kinda tired of always interacting with prophets here...yawn...Chiste! I love it.
It's up to you. I get mail on Monday, so it's possible I won't have it until next week if it gets here after Monday, but what I've heard is that I will be here for a week after I receive word of my VISA. Since I have not received word, I will still be here for at least a week, possibly more. So, yes. I will be here. I don't care what you send me. A harmonica would be nice.
Found in the pictures is the missionary light saber photo trick (done by holding a scripture highlighter close to the camera), the reason LDS missionaries support tide to go (before and after) I think there's a mexican flag one, and the I was reassigned picture, some from GENCON 2010 pt 2 and one of me and my buddy Adam at the provo temple.
The church is true. The book is blue. I love the food and I'm getting pretty good at "smashing" (that's what happens when missionaries eat with members, which we do every day). Keep building Zion. Good luck.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Everything is going well here in the Salt Lake mission. I'm speaking Spanish on Spanish here, and it's been a pretty crazy first week. My address here is:
Elder Brandon Kevin Fine
Utah Salt Lake City Mission
3487 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106-2951
I don't drive because a) I don't know where anything is. b) I don't have a TIWI card to log in because I'm not actually a permanent Salt Lake City missionary and c) I probably shouldn't be driving anyway. A few things I learned this week include: Mexicans are very forgiving and patient with those who are trying to learn their language and they'll still understand you even if you conjugate something incorrectly. The definition of "agua" is not limited to water, but includes juice, horchata, kool-aid, and basically any other drink. Interesting mission story of the week: We stopped by to visit Ernesto, who is planning on being married and baptized soon and has a 12 year old son who was baptized a few weeks ago. I was feeling rather awful and we had eaten an abundance of taquitos at a member of the bishopric's house. Gordo (the 12-year-old) informed us that his dad had just gotten home and was asleep and maybe we could try to talk to him later. I became increasingly aware that I was not okay. Luckily Gordo speaks perfect english and is a huge fan of the missionaries, otherwise it might have been awkward for me to ask if I could throw up in his bathroom. Moral of the story, you never know what it is that's going to get you inside talking to investigators. Once we were in, we were able to answer questions and plan for Ernesto. Now, don't you worry about anything. I got some nyquil, some rest, and a priesthood blessing, and I'm feeling much better. I can actually breath through my nose! I've really had to hit the ground running here. There's no time to waste. Get here, get with your companion, and go teach, testify, and invite people to be baptized, in spanish. I'm not very good at it yet, but I can tell that with the help of the spirit I am rapidly improving. They give us money periodically. Because I'm not technically a permanent part of this mission, I don't actually have a card, so they put my money on Elder Chavez's card and then we go take it out of an ATM. Simple enough.
Ok, so you got the bad story. Now here's the good one. Prepare yourself. On Monday we went to do Temple Service in the Salt Lake Temple. The first little bit of it was moving cabinets and stuff around and riding up and down in the freight elevator in the basement. Then we went up to the fourth floor and moved the Apostles' chairs from their room to the solemn assembly room on the 5th floor. You have to keep them in order because they're all memory foam and contoured to fit each individual apostle. Then we put their personal hymn books, which they all write notes in (Elder Holland writes the dates that each is sung), on their chairs. We couldn't find Elder Nelson's at first because it was on the organ in their room, because he had played the hymn on Sunday. We also got to see the top of the dome. Simply incredible. Trivia question: There are three portraits of the three witnesses outside the Apostles' meeting room. Why are they there? Do you know the answer? I didn't. Turns out the three witnesses were assigned to call the very first quorum of twelve in this dispensation. Interesting stuff. So I've now been inside the Salt Lake temple and in parts of it that most temple patrons don't go but haven't yet done anything redemptive in it. I'll be downtown for conference making sure our investigators know where to go and we might even be able to get into a session. We'll probably attend priesthood in Spanish with Ernesto and Gordo. Not really sure what the plan is. I'm excited though.
Let's see, you requested a typical day. I haven't really had one of those yet, but I'll tell you some of the things that are fairly consistent. Wake up at 6:25, excercise for half an hour, shower, eat, personal study, companion study (role play for practice). Mornings like that are pretty regular, the time for language study shifts around depending on what we have going on in the mission and with appointments. Dinner is usually at 5 and we are very well fed. Good thing I like mexican food. They put this sweet chili pepper powder stuff on watermelon. I thought it was kinda weird, but I liked it when I tried it. Have you ever heard of that? Most of our teaching appointments are after dinner during the week because that's when the most people are home. We keep pretty busy. Sometimes people aren't home, so we leave them a note and go talk to someone else. We always have someone to talk to. It's great. Anyway, life is good, the church is true, the book is blue. Have a fantastic week. I love you all!
Elder Brandon Kevin Fine
Reply to all
2) Are your going to Mexico City on Sunday?
3) If not Mexico City, where are you going and when are you leaving?
4) Did you get the ties we mailed to you?
Sunday, August 15, 2010
There's an investigator I need to email today so that should save some time at the end. Also tell Sister Beecher I've been meaning to write her back and thank her for the donuts but time just disappears on P-day, I can't email pictures in the mtc because there's no way to get them onto the computers here and then into an attachment, but I should be printing some in the next week or so and I will send those home :) The food here is abundant, sometimes questionable, and extraordinarily unhealthy, I think I have actually managed to gain weight for the first time in a while, I'll keep doing resistance band curls and sit ups to prevent it from becoming a problem. This week in visa rumors: The head of the Mexican Consulate is taking a 2 week vacation starting sometime this week, and the Consulate in Utah is a mormon hater. Speaking of Mormon haters, the big concrete signs in front of the MTC are gone. Rumor (which is all we really get here) is that we got hate crimed and the signs were vandalized badly enough to warrant replacement. Well, I love you all and hope you are well. Dad, if you could read up on whether or not taping a memory card inside a cracker box or a pringles can or putting stickers of Jesus across the seal or any other variation of that and shipping it actually works? Let me know what you find out. Thanks!