Monday, December 17, 2012

Dec 17--Dear Elder: Christmas Concerts, Plays, and Parties

Dear Elder ,

Hi!  How are you this fine December day?  I hope that you are doing very well.  This morning I was thinking about you in La Paz and about how things are going a bit slow as far as missionary work goes, and I am hoping that things are getting better.  Even though the greatest service that you can give to Heavenly Father’s children is to bring them into the fold of His son, Jesus Christ, there are many other ways to go about doing good as Jesus did.  He not only taught but served.  In October’s general conference, the President of the Relief Society, Linda K Burton reminded us to “first observe and then serve,” so keep your eyes open to the opportunities to serve all around you!  I just deposited $50 into your checking account as a Christmas gift from your very sweet and loving grandparents.  Added to the money that you already had, that brings your account total to $177.00.  It’s not much, but it will help you as you look for opportunities to help others have a merry Christmas not just by sharing your means, but also your time and talents to bless their lives.

I just got an email from Grandpa that made me chuckle.  Here’s what it said,

Dear Family and Friends,

Since many from all around the world have asked, here is what I would like for Christmas 2012:

   - The world not to end before Christmas (that would be really nice)
   - A bigger lump of coal than last year (so at least I can burn it)
   - A winter cold enough to kill the bugs (but not so cold as to kill any
   trees or vegetables of course)
   - More rain (but only at night, or when I haven't washed the car)
   - Peace all around the world
   - Success to each of you
   - Freedom for all
   - Enough food for everyone
   - The president to be as good as he sounds
   - A tube of Shoe Goo
   - JB-Weld
   - Lots of good friends like you

Merry Christmas and (don't forget why we celebrate)!

A very nice Christmas list, don’t you think?  I wrote him back with a hope that he gets everything of his list, except the coal, of course!

Anyway, we’ve had a nice Christmas-y week.  Last night we were at the Beyer’s where we ate (of course!!!) and visited and sang.  It was a wonderful evening.  Tonight we are getting together with the Teicherts for a Christmas family home evening where I think we will read Luke 2 and watch the Teichert kids act out the nativity.  Oh, and we’ll eat.  Of course!!!

Saturday we saw the Hobbit.  Meh.  It was okay.  Why they ever thought that they should stretch out the story into 3 movies three hours long each, I’ll never know.  I like the Hobbit.  It’s a nice story.  In fact, I read it to Grandma in the last months of her life (I have no idea what she thought of that, but she liked having someone there keeping her company), but the Hobbit is not the Lord of the Rings, and justice could have been done it in one well-done movie.  It was fun, though, going to the movies with the fam.

Jon came over Saturday night and Dad and I enjoyed visiting with him.  He is so interesting to talk to!  He’s been working hard, so it was nice to see him for a while.  It was also nice to help him fix his shirts the other day although putting in button holes is not my speshiality, ha ha.  I also talked to Cassandra for just a sec last night which was nice and we also have seen quite a few videos of Lily on both Emerson’s and Cassandra’s Facebook.  She is such a cutie!  I wish I could send you one of those, especially the one of her “reading” a book.  If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought she was really speaking in another language :)

Saturday night we watched Thomas be Mr. Cold Miser, and Miriam and Katrina sing “I’ll have a Blue Christmas” in the neighborhood play.  They did a good job, of course, and it was fun to be with the neighbors.  Our neighborhood was getting pretty oldy moldy with all the kids growing up, but a new influx of move-ins has brought more children to our street and to our annual play and we loved seeing them sing and act for us.  Derek was Santa and made the cutest Santa I’ve ever seen!  I got a video of Thomas and the girls, kind of.  It’s pretty sad, actually.  I am going to try to get it to you one way or the other.

Thomas also tried out for the junior high play this week which is “Little Mermaid” and he made call backs for almost every male character, so he was at the school most of Friday afternoon, evening, and night.   The rest of us went to the ward Christmas party.  Miriam and Katrina went early to be Santa’s elves.  They were dressed like elves, and looked very cute!  At dinner we sat next to the missionaries.  It was nice to see them since they cover half of Spanish Fork, so seeing them is kind of rare.  They are working with fifty families right now!  We ate and watched the program.  The primary children were on the stage acting out the Christmas story as each of the other age groups (the men, the women, the young women, and the young men) took turns singing different songs depicting Christ’s birth.  We Relief Society sisters sang “When Joseph Went to Bethlehem.”  Thomas got there in time to sing with the young men and of course Miriam and Katrina sang with the young women.  It was all very nice.

Other things we did this week to celebrate Christmas were Carols and Confections at the high school and Thomas’s jazz band concert at the junior high.  This year’s Carols and Confections was the best ever!  Tear streamed down my face the entire second half as they sang about our Savior.  I grumbled (as always) about the ten dollar tickets, but it was worth every penny.  Miriam was right in front and we got to see her sing the whole time!  Thomas has his breath back and did a wonderful job on the trumpet at his jazz band concert.   I’m so glad that we could see him play.  I am so excited to hear Katrina and Thomas sing at their children’s choir Christmas concert on Tuesday.  I especially love the song they sing called “Angels are Making their Rounds” which I’ve hear them sing 3 times so far.  It celebrates Gabriel’s visits to Zachariah, Mary, and Joseph and is a beautiful song.  They sound like angels when they sing it!  On Wednesday we get to go to see Miriam’s choir sing again.  We are so blessed to be put in the Christmas spirit every year through sacred music!  Dad was just commenting on the fact yesterday.

Wow, I just looked up the current time in La Paz, and it’s the same as ours.  That is so weird, but it sure makes planning easier.  We will want to Skype on Christmas day because Jon has to work on Christmas Eve.   The missionaries are coming to eat at Cassandra and Emerson’s house on Christmas evening, so let’s plan on Skyping at noon if that works for you.  Let us know!

I love you, Matt!  I hope I didn’t write too much and take up all of your time.  It is so nice to hear from you every Monday!  I am sending you pictures, and I am going to try and send videos of the Neighborhood play. too.

Love, Mom

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dec 10--Matt's Last Letter

Katrina: That's great! I'm so glad that you have been reading for 4 years
straight! I never actually did that.... woops I wish I would've done it
though. You took third?! That's way cool especcially in your first
compatition. How was it? What did you do? Haha, LOTR, well, although I
would like to see the hobbit I am content with waiting to see it. Movies
are like wine, the longer you wait to drink it, the sweeter it becomes. The
only bad thing is that we don't drink... haha. Heavens you always ask me
about spanish, Sí pienso mucho en español y también cuando tenga sueños,
hablo en español, pero no es algo muy grande y todavía necesito aprender
mas. Does that answer your question?

Mom, yeah I actually didn't understand that scripture when you shared it
with me. Now that I do I am super glad you did share it with me, during
this time I have been thinking a little bit (not too much, because more
than anything I think about missionary things) in how I am going to be able
to have a family and what kind of responsibility that is going to be and
what type of person that I am going to have to be. Well you can probably
help with missionary work with the family more than I can but I will try.
haha. Speaking of making plans, Do you all want to talk to me on Christmas
or on the 24th? at what time (in either of those days I can do it in the
time frames of 10:00 am to 2:00 pm  and 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm)? are you going
to Skye? if you don't Skye than I am going to have to give you a number to
call, ok? Also if we are going to do Skye I guess you are going to have to
send me the information of the Skye account that you are going to be using,
I might have to make a Skye account but we'll see, we (AKA you guys and I)
organize this, not the mission, you will have to pay if we are going to
make a call. Tell me an hour and if ya'll are going to use Skye or not, if
it is Skye it will only be one hour. haha, well I hope you understood all
of that. Love you Mom, Thanks again for the letter and PICTURES would be a
much appreciated Christmas present. As to what I am going to do this
Christmas, I'm going to hit the street and work haha.
Dad, you just said, my my son in Spanish.... haha. it'd be mi hijo, if you
wanted to be informal: mijo, basically sounds the same though. Thank you
for the complement but I'm sure that Spanish is just a tadd bit easier to
learn than Japanese. Thanks for the story, it is really cool. It's acts
like that, when the world would look at the situation and call it
ridiculous, that really make an impression. I think one of the things you
did for me was drive out into the middle of nowhere to pick up a bunch of
rocks, then about 4-5 months later, take those rocks and throw them back
haha! I pray for tyou too, every day.
Miriam, Why has this week been stresful for you? Have you heard about the
abilitating power of the atonement? it helps us stand up to more chalanges
than we normally can. That's great about the compatition! What exactly did
you do? Try to focus on the happy times during the stressful ones, they
always help us pick up the pieces and keep on going. Tell me more about
your life and what's up!
Thomas, I love the comics, keep it up buddy, Out there in the internet
there are a lot of people who are ready to critisise anything that they
can, I'm sure it will happen to you, not because your comics are bad but
because they are good, when that happens, look at the critism objectivly
and decided if that person actually knows what they are talking about or if
they are just being a jerk. They made me laugh! And that is no excuse for
sending me a shorter letter young man! You hardly write me! Budd, I'd
really like to know what is going on in your life! I have to hear stuff
through mom about you! Talk to me about what you do in school, hanging out
with your friends, funny experiences comic Ideas and stuff like that.

Im not going to include a bigger part below because I took up my time
writing to ya'll!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec 10--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

Hi.  How are you?  Boy, thanks for your last letter.  It was wonderful!  I
really like what you said about Dad being the repairer of the breach,
because that is what he is, and so are all of you kids in your own way.  
Thank you also for your kind words about us teaching you when you were
young.    There are so many things that we neglected to do or did wrong,
but I know that if we stay close to Jesus Christ and do our best, He will
make up the difference.

So, you opened your Christmas present early.  I don't know how
Santa feels about that, ha ha.  Actually, I am glad you made such a
generous choice.  It wasn't much, but you managed to magnify something
small into something bigger.   I did wonder what you would do on Christmas
day, but with such a giving attitude, I know you will be filled with the
spirit of Christmas and find great joy.  Much of my joy that day will come
from being able to Skype with you!

You have written to us about doing missionary work as a family, and I'm
sorry that we didn't fast about it last month.  Maybe next month?  My
guess is that it will have to come from you, not from me, to get everyone
on board.  I have been praying for help to do missionary work as a family.
 The scriptures say that all things are possible with God.  If our family
actually had a successful missionary experience, it would certainly prove
that scripture, ha ha.  We did take Christmas gifts around to neighbors as
a family last night.  We got to visit with quite a few, and it was a
wonderful experience.

I'm sorry things are slow in your area right now.  I am praying for you
and your companion.  Dad says you are having more success now than he had
in any area of his mission to Japan.  When you start out with a bang,
though, it's hard to go down to a dull roar, right?

Thomas's tests came back and showed that he has had undiagnosed mono in
the past, so he doesn't have to stay home from school or anything.  He is
allowed to do anything he feels up to.  Well, I take that back, he can't
participate in contact sports till we have him checked by our doctor to
make sure he doesn't have an enlarged spleen.  He was going to go out for
wrestling, but decided not to and to try out for the school play instead.

Tuesday night, we went to hear Katrina and Thomas sing Christmas songs with the children's choir. We met Allen and
Becky there and the kids sang beautifully.  We had a nice time with Allen
and Becky, and they treated us to Subway afterward.  Sadly, Dad had to
work and couldn't come.  

Let's see,yesterday I had lots of meetings.  Last night, Cassandra
and I made plans for when we go stay with them.  I told the family at
dinner what she and I discussed, and we are very excited.  Jon came by
yesterday, too.  I thought he was going to bring by some shirts for me to
sew.  Maybe he will today.

Today I am subbing which I am going to begin doing again now that Grandma
no longer needs my care.  I don't know how I feel about it, but it will
probably end up being good.  Dad and I have been watching LOTR in
anticipation of seeing the Hobbit on Saturday.  I'm sure we will not
finish LOTR by then, but it is fun to watch what we can.  This week is the
ward Christmas party and also the neighborhood play.  Thomas is Mr. Cold
Miser.  The girls are supposed to sing, but I'm not sure whether or not
that will happen.  Tonight we will be doing toys for tots for family home
evening.  Have a wonderful  week!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dec 3--Matt's Latest Email

Dad, thank you for your letter, when I read it it came to me that you have
been leading your family as the youngest. (kinda like Nephi) and it also
brought to my mind a scripture that mom actually showed to me a long time
ago that I re-found the other day in Isaiah (I really don't remember how to
spell in English) chapter 58:12 I'd write it in English but I only have it
in Spanish so let's see...
''And your loved ones will build upon the ancient ruins. yea ye shall raise
the foundations of generations in generations, and thy name shall be:
repairer of breach-es, restorer of places of habituation.''
That scripture is actually happening and you are help it happen. Thank you
so much for that, it really touches my heart and makes me happy.

Right now in the mission I am learning that I know nothing at all, haha,
This area is difficult, it is the sort of area that (in the sense of the
commitment to work) kills some missionaries. I'm not saying that so that
you will worry, I'm sayiing that because you have taught us kids how to be
persistant. I appriciate that and I use it every day. Thank you for helping
me get out here. It has the best thing that has happend to me. I am finally
becoming the kind of person that will be able to build upon what you taught
us, put it in practice in my own family ( my VERY much in the future
family) I have had to learn how to do other things that I didn't know how
to do, like helping other people receive revelation from the scriptures. I
know I wouldn't be able to do those things without the help that you have
and continue to give me.

Hey mom, thankyou for this letter, I always enjoy reading it weakly. Umm,
also thanks for the pictures, you and dad are looking great, The service
also looks like it was very beautiful, Thank you. BTdubbs, yes I did recive
the package, and it was a huge hit, I made to choise (or mistake) to open
it in a meeting with a lot of missionaries (11 to be exact) and you had
included 12 peanut butter cookies in the package! it was perfect! I started
handing out the cookies, honestly it was like a pack of salvage wolfs were
bearing down on me, but after everyone got a cookie they all were very
happy! haha. Thank you! also, thank you for the pictures! I love getting
pictures of the family!

Miriam, That's cool about everything, what will I be doing for christmas?
Well, i think I will be out in the street preaching, haha, no we are going
to organise a lot of family home evenings and a choir to sing to the less
active people that live here. I'll wish you luck at your deca concert right
now! I know that that kinda stuff can help you in your life later, how are
you and presty poo doing? Are you turning into a hipster? We will have to
talk about this.... Why did the hipster burn his mouth when he ate pizza?
Because he ate it before it was COOL! haha!

So Thomas, where did you get mono from buddy ol' pal? Haha, well how are
you feeling? are you still feeling weak and such? Tell me about school and
your web comic!! Send me more comics, the last one made me laugh.

Katrina, I still have a long time left on the mission, but sure, when I get
back, if you remember, we can watch LOTR, I remember the feeling of
finishing a play, everyone super tired out and wondering ''What next?''
That's really cool that you are reading the scriptures! yay!

 ok well this week has been... interesting, we tried changing the way we
are working and... the change we made... didn't work at all hah, so we had
to change again, asking the Lord for help. We are starting to see some
budds that could grow into something amazing here in the ward!

Missionay work is as simple as doing home or visiting teaching. I invite
all of you to do is to look for someone to share the gosple with. The
missionaries there will love you, I promise! If you take it one step
farther and tell them that you would love to accompany them and visit the
person they will probably die of happiness, Im hitting myself in the head
for not asking you guys to fast last week to find someone to share the
gosple with! If you don't want to do it, before you say: ''No, I cant do
that'' Think of your brother (or son) that is walking for hours up and down
the streets here looking for someone to talk to. I can promise blessings
and a spiritual improvement in your life.

I am glad that you could all sing to Grandma and tell her that you love her
before she passed away. well, I love you all and I am sad that I wasn't
able to be there. I cant wait to be able to talk to you all this christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dec 3--Dear Elder: Sally's Passing and Funeral

Dear Elder,

Hi, How are you?  Thanks for your last letter.  We really enjoyed reading it.  I’m glad you like your camera.  I know it didn’t seem like much of a gift when we gave it to you, but we knew it would come in handy.  I’m sorry the work is slow right now, but I am glad you are keeping the missionary spirit and also examining how you and Elder Trejo can improve working together.  He seems like a very serious and diligent missionary.

Matt, Grandma passed away at our house last Monday evening.  Dad, Becky, and I were with Grandma when she took her last breaths and entered the Spirit World.  She struggled the last few days of her life, but was peaceful at the end.  The kids had left to the store and so weren’t there when she passed away, but about an hour before that they had sung to her and kissed her and told her that they love her.  We have been so blessed to have had her in our home for 9 months.

We spent the rest of the week taking care of funeral plans and spending time together, especially me and Dad.  He had the week off, and I think it comforted him to just be together.  Tuesday night we watched “Savior of the World,” a beautiful play depicting Christ’s birth and resurrection.  It was especially comforting after Grandma's death to be reminded of our Savior and his resurrection which makes the resurrection of Grandma, as well as all the rest of us, possible.

On Thursday, Dad and I took Thomas up to the children’s hospital to see if the doctors up there could figure out why he is always out of breath.  He got a blood test and an EKG.  The doctor there thinks he may have mono, which as you may know is a very common illness in teenagers.  We kind of hope that he does since it is less serious than some of the things he could have.  I guess we’ll find out this week. 

Friday, Dad and I went to the temple and felt very comforted there.   Yesterday (Saturday) was the funeral for Grandma.  Dad delivered a beautiful eulogy.  He, Jonathan, and Thomas were pall bearers.  I gave the opening prayer and Miriam and Katrina sang.  Dad also gave the family prayer at the viewing and dedicated the grave.  My sister, Elizabeth, came to the funeral, and Grandpa and Grandma and all their children sent a beautiful flower bouquet.  It was comforting that my family cared so much.  After the funeral we and all Dad’s siblings, spouses and kids went out to eat.  I’m guessing that the funeral was this is the first time they have all been together since Allen moved away from home.  We had a nice time visiting. 

Today we have Allen and Becky over.  They are in town for the funeral, of course.  We just finished eating dinner together and are now visiting.  I just found out that Dad is also taking tomorrow off, so I guess things will get back to normal come Tuesday. 

I love you very much, Matthew, and cannot wait to get your next letter.  I hope everything is going good for you.  I may have pictures for you tomorrow, we’ll see.


Nov 26--Matt's Last Letter

Hi mom, I am doing well, thank you again for your nice long letter about
the week, I always enjoy reading it. I don't really use the money that
much, I did in my last area because the bus money ran out, but really you
would be surprised at how little I need to have to get along comfortably in
life, to come over to La Paz, I took one suitcase with my pillow in it and
mostly cloths, I couldn't think of anything else to use. Also we have to
use ATMs here because they usually don't accept cards. No, my present
didn't get here yet, I don't think that there will be any problem with
Skype here, they have a pretty stable Internet connection here. I don't
know why you think I need so much stuff haha, what would I buy here? I did
see some things that you guys might want as souvenirs but I couldn't take
pictures. anyway, I don't remember if you had any other questions.
Katrina: That's pretty impressive with the target thing! I'm really glad
that you had a great time with the family! Let's see, what did I do for
thanksgiving? I ate Oreos with milk.... that's about it haha. I didn't even
realise that it was thanksgiving until night time. Man, it's hard to
remember how to write in English. :P Tell me about your life and stuff!
Miriam, First things first, I hope I am not losing my sister to that
''Hipster'' crowd... I'll have to have a talk with Preston about that haha.
(I'm joking, mom sent me a picture of ya'll and ya'll look great) To answer
your question: ''Am I in one of the most beautiful places on earth?'' If I
am, there are a lot more cactuses here than I thought there would be...
haha, no I don't know, we are always far away from the beach here. Thank
you for telling me about your week, I love hearing what is going on with
Thomas, Just remember that the computer really sucks your life away,
Looking back now in all of the times when you would ask me if I wanted to
play sports with you and I said: ''No,'' I wish I would've said ''Yes''
now. How is it going in school for you? Also to write a blog, you have to
actually get out and do stuff haha! so go out and do stuff! haha, I have
been telling Elder Trejo that when I get back, I'm not going to play video
games anymore.
Dad, That's some... news the
re about Grandma, Mom talked about it a little
bit too, that means that it is probably really hard on you guys. Maybe
Grandma has something on her mind that she feels like she needs to finish
before she goes and maybe that's why she has been hanging on so long, maybe
you could put her in contact with the Bishop or something like that. Dad, I
would love to see you too but that would be something really bad, haha
don't do it! La Paz or at least the part I'm in right now is not that
pretty and there is a ton of sand everywhere. I came here in plane it
costed about 25$, no I can't stay here after my mission but I'd love to
come back, we could probably travel to sinaloa in bus and then hop over to
La Paz, it'd be cheaper. haha, Dad, I haven't even been here for a year yet
don't think about that stuff!

Anyway, so Manuel has disappeared from off the face of the earth, that
isn't that uncommon here, and it probably means that he doesn't want to
talk to us any more so he is avoiding us. We are trying to find the people
that need and want to hear us, it is a hard thing to do sometimes and
requires that we always have a vision of all of the time that we are going
to spend here because sometimes we have to do something that isn't even
going to help us in the short run. Sorry if I use some weird phrases or
something like that, having a Mexican companion is really taking it out of
my English. Right now it's all about keeping that missionary fire, because
it can be hard to keep a good attitude after a few days of looking and not
teaching much. We have had to look at ourselves, our companionship and how
we are working, very closely to see what the Lord wants us to change or
improve so that we can bring His children back to him.
The picture I'm sending is the only picture I took this week, woops haha
sorry I forget to take pictures... I'll try harder next week but, don't
expect too much.

Elder Trejo and La Paz
P.S. The camera is awesome and perfect for missionary work because I can take a picture of the map and then use it like a little portable map. haha!