Monday, June 27, 2011

One year and ... not counting

As of tomorrow, I have one year left of my mission...odd.  This week my stomach didn't really feel like allowing me to work at full capacity, but I did what I could.  There are 2 other missionaries living with us now, which is fun sometimes and usually annoying, but it's good because they might have killed each other if they weren't living with us, and that's a pretty major sin.  I don't know, maybe I'm just cranky because I've been sick, but i'm a missionary, not a babysitter.  President Anderson gets here today.  I'm excited to meet him and to help in whatever way I can.  Take care!  Love you.

Elder Fine

Monday, June 20, 2011


Happy Father's Day!

Wow, a new grill? Was there also a tie and at least one power-tool or golf club?  I'm kind of glad my family is so stereotypical American.  I made some very american food (biscuits and gravy) for breakfast.  There is another companionship temporarily living with us and one of the Elders is from Honduras, so he's never had biscuits and gravy before.  He was quite impressed.  So I'll teach him how to make that and he'll teach me how to make baliadas and all will be well in zion. My new companion is Elder Cathro from Evansville, Indiana.  He's super happy and a great leader.  I'm senior companion for the first time and it's a little challenging since I can't rely on someone who's been in the area for a third of their mission and knows exactly where everything is.  So we simply are guided by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that we should do.  For example, we decided to go knock doors in the super-rich people houses.  Normally these are the stiffnecked people who are learned and think they are wise, and it's a lot easier to knock trailer parks because the people are compelled to be humble.  However, we just felt like we needed to turn down a particular street and knock the doors on it.  It didn't matter that the door itself costs as much as someone else's house.  And I met the vice president of sales to south america for UPS.  Guess what? He was baptized in Puerto Rico when he was 11.  Guess what else?  He's inactive and is married with 2 kids that he was very excited to have us teach.  Unexpected, yes.  Accidental, no.  Anywho, that's this week's miracle.  I'm not surprised at all that missionaries go home.  Missions are hard.  But I'm not even halfway done and I'm already almost blind from overexposure to pure awesomeness.  So it's definitely worth it.  There are missionaries who, for a variety of reasons, cannot serve.  I find no fault with that.  Elder Oaks talked about desire in the last conference.  My last companion, Elder, now Jayson, Kennington was an extraordinary example of the overriding desire to serve a full-time mission despite difficulties.  Before he was called here, he had submitted his papers twice and been honorably excused and deemed physically (mentally) unable to serve...twice.  He struggled immensely with the spanish language.  He had difficulty remembering things because he got very, very sick during high school.  I'm talking bi-polar, manic-depressive, inanimate objects talking to you and telling you to harm yourself sick.  Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, modern medicine, and the money from 9 cows, he was able to serve a full 2 years as one of the greatest missionaries I have ever seen.  Not because he was eloquent or because he was brilliant, persuasive, or charming, in fact, he wasn't any of those, but because he wanted to do what was right and he did it.

Happy Father's Day!


Elder Fine

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Being Mormon

I don't know if you knew this, but President Hale served in the Vina del Mar mission (the one that that one kid that Lauren knows is going to).  At one point in his mission, he baptized about 200 people, climbed on top of their church, cut the cross off, and tacked up a sign with the new corrected name of the church.  Pretty crazy, huh?  That man is incredible, and I'm sad to see him go, but President Anderson is going to be awesome.  Tomorrow is transfers and I'm staying here in Kendall (South Miami) and Elder Kennington is "transfering."  He knows where his area is (Afton, Wyoming) but he doesn't know who his companion will be.  I'm sure he'll do great.  He's been here a while and really impacted this ward a lot.  So much so that they had what can only be described as a farewell meeting last sunday, which we both groaned about, but it wasn't really up to us.  I'm going to try not to tell anyone when I'm going home just to avoid the hassel of dealing with members who want to say goodbye.  I'll say goodbye, I just don't want 4 dinner appointments and a planned party, which is sometimes what happens.  It's been unusually dry here.  Hopefully we'll get some real rain soon.  It's starting to look like Arizona.  Temple groundbreaking is this saturday.  I'm super excited.  It won't be finished before I leave, but I'd like to come back for the dedication if at all possible. Temples are a pretty big deal.  I've gotten a new appreciation for temples and for the old testament by reading the old testament.  The dedicatory prayer for the temple of solomon, as well as the Lord's answer to that prayer when he accepts the temple, are amazing.  I also think David gets criticized way too much by members of the church.  Yeah, he messed up bigtime, but the rest of his life was spent in the service of God and he was able to repent of everything except the murder of Uriah the Hittite.  Anyway, this is p-day, not institute class.  Btw Lauren, I think I remember something about how you liked the Ford Fusion.  Just wanted to let you know we're driving a brand spanking new one around Miami that the mission just got.  It smells nice.  Well, I'm still good.  My clothes are fine.  I'll let you know if I need to replace anything.  Being Mormon is just so dang fun.  I don't know why the whole world doesn't do it.

Hasta Lasagna (don't get any on ya)

Elder Fine

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Miami Zion

Hold on there, you didn't get an email last week?  Blasted Internet Goblins!  I'll re-send tuesday's letter.  Ok, now read last week's.  Did you read it?  Ok.

We didn't get evicted.  President Hale decided that we were staying.  So we did.  Also Guillermo still hasn't typed up his talk.  He's been pretty bummed about being unemployed and has depression problems.  We (and by we I mean the elder's quorum president) are trying to help him function so that he can go job hunting.  A family from Gilbert just moved into our neighborhood.  Brother Doctor Garmin the podiatrist and his family.  He looks and acts like Uncle Shane.  We helped the Elders' Quorum unpack his 27 foot trailer packed full of stuff.  The only thing that didn't come out was the airplane.  He buys and sells broken a hobby.  His dad and his brother do the same thing as a full time job in Arizona (Falcon Field).

EFY and Geronimo are both excellent places to be.  I don't know if I told you, but because I came to this mission at a strange time, I'll be serving a 23 month mission.  Not sure how I feel about that...I'll ask President Anderson when he gets here, but for now, that's just off in the distance somewhere that I  don't want to think about. 

Speaking of difficult Legal tests, we're teaching someone who is taking the federal bar exam soon.  Her husband is a member and teaches in Elders' Quorum and they've both been active for about 6 months.  Not sure why nobody thought to tell the missionaries that she wasn't a member before, but all's well in zion now that we're teaching her.  She's really cool and could probably be baptized this month except she's uber-pregnant.  She also needs a testimony of the restoration, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem, her 6 year old can tell the Joseph Smith story.

Other than her and one other investigator, our teaching pool dried up in a hurry this week.  Our main man Tony disappeared.  We can't find him.  Maybe it was the internet goblins.  Anywho, just more opportunities to find, I guess.
Don't worry about getting old.  There's a Jeffrey R. Holland talk that I carry around with me called "The Best is Yet to Be" from January 2009 Ensign.  I highly recommend it.

Miami Zion is doing well.  Onward and Upward.

Elder Fine

Evicted from a Great and Spacious Building

hello everypeople!

Beginning with the first question, on days like yesterday, missionaries go about proselyting like normal.  Holidays are great times to find people at home.  Scout camp and efy are good memories.  Have Diane look out for youth from Miami and the surrounding area.  I know the stake president here is really pushing for the kids to go to efy.  Wow, LSAT time already?  Good Luck Adam!  There are a lot of Law students and lawyers in my ward.  The president of the UM branch of the J Ruben Clark LDS law society is in my ward.  UM is a pricey school.  I wouldn't recommend it.  You can probably get a cheaper and just as good if not better education at BYU. 

The official start of hurricane season is today.  You're right, I do want to experience a hurricane, although from what I've heard from people, it's not a pleasant experience.  We've gone through our 72 hour kits and replaced a lot of the food and stored some water, and of course we're very organized and planned for the probable event of a hurricane. 

Some guy just pulled us aside to present a speech for a class about his perceived self and presented self.  The content was good, but it could have used some more preparation.  In other words, if it's for a speech class, emphasize speaking.  Then again, Brigham Young was converted by the testimony of a "man without eloquence."  Anyway, that was service.

I'm not sure I've told you the story of our apartment, but let me summarize.  It's a condominium, meaning that we pay rent to the owner, and the owner pays, or in our specific case doesn't pay, the association.  A recently passed Florida statute says that if the owner is delinquent and fails to pay, the association may collect rent directly from the tenants.  The owner of our apartment lives in Mexico City and hasn't payed the association since March of 2010.  The rent has already been payed to the owner for next month, and the church is very organized and checked and balanced, so it would be difficult to change.  Red tape.  Also, when the mission signed the contract, someone wrote the wrong unit number somewhere so we had been paying for our neighbor's electricity and water.  Ours, however, was not being payed.  I think the water heater was here during the Spanish colonization of Florida.  Anyway, our water heater has broken and was fixed twice.  Our electricity has been turned off.  Our water has been turned off twice.  We've received several demands for the rent which we've forwarded to the mission office.  And last Friday we received our Three Days Notice to Tennant:  Demand for Payment or Possession.  In other words, we are being evicted :)

The mission will probably pay a fine to have us stay a little longer and then move us somewhere close by.  You can be assured that your equalized mission funds are going to good use.

Lest you think that this had any impact on the work, we baptized Guillermo on Sunday.  I'll wait to tell you more about him until I have his 4 page talk that he wrote and gave after he was baptized.  Suffice it to say he's the most amazing convert so far and the baptism was super powerful.

Also, here's a picture of the sign on a really old chapel in our zone.  Miami 2nd branch no longer exists, and neither does the southern states mission, but they kept the sign.

The lizard on the palm tree is a big dude.  I'm not sure if it's a little iguana or a giant gecko or one of those lizards with the beards or whatever you call them, big red ovals that they stick out of their necks to catch the attention of the lizard womenfolk.

And of course the eviction notice.

I need to report to President Hale now.  Have a good week!

Elder Fine