Monday, September 30, 2013

August 2, 2010

Dear Parents

Presidente De La Llate told me about your conversation and said you knew muy bien espanol. He was quite impressed. Don't worry I have a lot of trouble understanding him too especially on the phone but it is good that you got the gist of what he was saying.

Let’s see, we had a baptism this week with a part member family. He was a 13 year old kid named Joel. His parents aren't active any more but they drop the kids off at church. It is kind of weird but it worked out. So is Craig the one that is married? I saw both of the Holdaway kids at the MTC but I can't remember which is which. That is awesome that he is working a KJH. Do you know where he is moving to?

That is good that everything got worked out for you mom. Sounds like McKell likes her new job and riding bikes. Riding bikes here is miserable but sometimes we have to do it. I will send some more pics to you guys soon. Have a good week and you are in my prayers


Elder Strong


August 5, 2010

   Wow! Today was a very uneventfully but fun day. So we made plans to visit some members in Rancho Viejo & Olmito. Turned out that all were either bad addresses or not there, so on the way back we decided to take back roads. It was really fun but we got super lost. We took a lot of dirt roads and hit a lot of dead ends, but we got to see a lot of our area that we haven’t seen before. Then we took Eli, a member, out with us for the night. He loves to share his testimony with others & do missionary work. But boy does he have problems. I just pray the Lord will watch over him & help him out. Belinda is excited to be baptized on the 15th.


August 6, 2010

   Today was a busy day. We had weekly planning then we had lunch at the De La Llata’s. We saw a few pictures of their trip to Vegas & Utah, and then went to the Church to teach Belinda and Amanda. We went over the interview questions. Belinda said she felt warm inside when Amanda was answering the questions. It was pretty cool. We also met an awesome lady named Kayla. She was really nice & willing to learn. She has recently gone through some hard times & knew it was a blessing from God that we came.


August 10, 2010

   We got the baptismal interviews done for Belinda and Amanda today. They are so ready for their baptisms on Sunday. President Trayner came down and gave the interview & he really pushed Michael to be baptized. So I think he will really consider being baptized after his mom and sister. Also, Joel didn’t show up for his confirmation on Sunday, so we are trying to get him to come this week. Things are going great. We just need to be a little more diligent & tener animo in the work to make it better.


August 11, 2010

   Today was a great day. We just had a lot of contacting planned, but it paid off. We found two great new investigators. The first new one was Lisa. She just lives in a little trailer, but she is awesome. She doesn’t know anything about religion, but she is willing to learn. Later on we talked to a lady named Ana & she has a lot of questions for us so she is really cool. I have been praying for a family to teach & priesthood. I know if we continue to contact, we will find those prepared families to teach & baptize.


August 12, 2010

   We set a new baptismal date! We found a kid today named Chris who was awesome. We asked a lot of questions & found out his situation a little bit. We were able to set a baptismal date with him & it was really cool. It was an answer to our prayers.

August 15, 2010

   Today was a great day. Belinda & Amanda got baptized! It was awesome to finally see them baptized after months of hard work. They had a lot of the family there, so it was a great experience for them. Now we just need to work with her husband and son so the whole family can be baptized. We also talked with Bro Hinojosa & he said he wants to start coming back to Church, so we were pretty excited for that.


August 16, 2010

Dear Parents

Sorry for not e-mailing you last week but I didn't get your e-mail then so well you know. Haha. But I did get both of them today. So what is Jeff going to do now? Any other jobs lined up or anything?

This past week was really good for us. We had two baptisms that I had been waiting a long time for so it was awesome to finally get baptized. I got to baptize the daughter named Amanda so I'll send you pictures soon. We have been playing soccer the last couple of weeks and it has been really fun. Except that it is super humid and we all get drenched in sweat but it is still fun. That is cool that Garth and Bishop Brewer know my mission president. He is an awesome guy. What is Garth's last name? He always tells me I need to work on my Spanish because I will have to train in the future so that is scary but would be fun. I don't know if I told you but I went to the zoo a couple weeks ago and it was fun. I'll have to send pictures of that too. I know it takes me awhile to send them but it takes a long time to send them. That is no bueno for mom. I will definitely pray for her to find another job.

Anyways everything is great here. We have been working really hard and have had a lot of success. Have a great week.   Love Elder Strong


August 18, 2010

   We had a pretty slow day today. We only taught one lesson, but it was a good one. We taught our baptismal date, Chris Weli. He is awesome & really wants to learn more so we are excited to teach him. We have been playing a game where we call out all of the Astro Vans, Safari’s, and Aerostars & get points for each one. Elder Guillen smoked me yesterday, but I’ll beat him today.

August 23, 2010

   So last week we didn’t finish very strong. We were just having a bad week & it didn’t get any better  when I started getting sick about Friday night. I just had a sore throat and coughing with a bad headache. Saturday we worked really hard, though, in spite of our bad week. But on Sunday I didn’t have the energy to work & slept all day after Church. Today I felt a little better & decided to sweat out the sickness by playing soccer. It seemed to work a little bit. I scored lots of goals so it was fun, but I had a really bad headache after. I got a lot of different stuff to help like Ibuprophin, cough drops, decongestant & E. Smelcer gave me some Tylenol PM so I will sleep like a baby tonight. I also took some melatonin, so it should be a great night

August 23, 2010

Dear Parents

This week was good. The last couple of days I have been a little sick. It has just been a cough, runny nose and headache but I'll get over it soon. Yesterday after church I just slept for the rest of the day. Some members gave me some cough medicine that just knocked me out. So at night I couldn't sleep all night but today I got some cough medicine so I should be ok. I tried sweating it out by playing soccer and it seemed to work a little bit but I still have a headache. My comp is Elder Guillen. He lives in Highland Ut. by the Kohlers by Alpine so really close to grandma. He has been out for a while now and goes home Nov. 2. He started his mission in Washington St. but got sick and came down here. He was in the same mission as Scott Gifford and knows him. He was born in El Salvador and moved to the States at 5. He is cool and we get along well. Transfers are in a couple of weeks so I'm thinking that I will get transferred because I have been here awhile. I will send you some random pictures of the zoo and other things. Have a great week


Elder Strong

PS pictures take forever to send so I'm sending two


August 29, 10

   Again we didn’t finish the week strong. Elder Guillen also was a little sick at the start of the week so we didn’t do very much work. All week I haven’t been able to eat very much. Every time I eat, I feel like I am going to throw up. On Thursday I actually did throw up. We went to Sister Garcia’s house & she fed us this guava drink and guava dessert thing so I overdosed on guava & threw up at the church. It was horrible. Because of this, we didn’t get very many people to Church. Joe and Chris didn’t come, but Mary did. It was cool because the lesson in Gospel Principles was about faith & that is exactly what she needed. She kept saying how it wasn’t a coincidence that the subject was faith. I’m excited to see her today and see what we can do to help her out.


August 30, 2010

   So today is P-Day and we went and played soccer. As usual I was fasting, so that wasn’t the best thing to do. I kept getting really dizzy, so I would have to take a little break. Overall it was fun and I scored a lot of goals. When we E-Mailed, I got a letter from President Trayner in response to my question if it was possible that Scott & I could be companions for my last transfer. He said he was going to a conference and Scott’s Mission President would be there & he would consider talking to him about it. I know I need to prove to President that I am willing to work really hard with him (Scott) and especially from now on. I know the Lord blesses those righteous desires, so I’ll just have to do my part & be obedient as possible to obtain this blessing.

Brownsville District

September 1, 2010

   Yesterday was the last District Meeting of the transfer & the last one for Elder Smelcer and possibly the last one for me here in Brownsville. The special guest was A.P. Elder Torres & Elder Horeton. We went out to eat as usual & Sister Morgan made us fish, so we just threw out the fish. I feel bad, but next time we’ll just give it to a homeless guy. I also got a letter from Ashley & I think it was the first time all transfer I got mail, so I was excited. Today we got money from the Castillo’s for food so we went to Wing Stop. I had the Cajon & garlic Parmesan. It was delicious. We contacted a lot today, so it was a hot & sweaty day. Not a lot came from it, but we were diligent so I don’t feel bad about it.

Elder Strong at the Rio Grande


September 2, 2010

   I saw the Rio Grande today! We planned on washing our car today, so we thought we might as well try to go to the River. First we tried going through this one road, but we ended up on private property, so we tried taking this road that runs along the border fence, but we got scared, so we went to the first gap in the fence and saw the border patrol truck there. We left but decided to go back and ask if we could go to the border & he said it was alright, so we got to go to the River. It was Grande and you could see where the river had flooded to and it was like 8 feet higher. After, we washed the car. Looks good. Marcela touched me today. She grabbed my hand to explain something I didn’t understand & she grabbed my hand & I touched or rather rubbed her elbow. I still don’t know exactly what she was talking about, but still it was really weird.

Baptism for Grecia Artega

September 3, 2010

   Not much happened today. It was Frank’s birthday, though. We stopped by for a lesson and he said “No lesson today because it’s my birthday.” So we just watched a movie. Then Norma took us to Whataburger for dinner. We just had another lesson with Chris & he really wants to be baptized so that is cool. Oh last Saturday we were at a birthday/baptism party for Grecia Artega. They had music going & most of the people there only knew Spanish & they had shaggy playing. It was funny.


September 5, 2010

   Well last night we got the transfer calls and I totally thought I was going to be transferred but to mine and Elder Guillen’s surprise, Elder Guillen is getting transferred to Corpus. I am going to stay here again for at least another transfer. My new companion will be Elder Berglund. He will be Senior Comp. He is coming from Harlingen & leaves in April. I hope he is cool I’m excited for the next transfer.


September 6, 2010

   Today it rained a ton! We played soccer again & it was legit. We were super wet but I actually played really well. We then stuffed our faces at the Texas Roadhouse with Orozco & Peterson. We taught Mary and she is still legit. We kind of went into deep doctrine, but she is still cool. We said goodbye to the De La Llata’s. Guillen ate a ton of food & some of mine. Another tropical storm is hitting here. It is raining a lot and I got soaked walking/running inside.

Elder Strong, Elder Peterson, & Elder Smelcer

September 8, 2010

Dear Parents

Don't worry I am feeling better now. It was a cold-like thing so you know how I am with that
. This week was the last week of the transfer so we decided to try and go to the border of Mexico. We talked to some border patrol guy and he showed where the border was so I have pictures of the Rio Grande. You can see where it had flooded to also so it was pretty cool. Then I found out that I wasn't getting transferred but Elder Guillen was. So now I have a new companion and am still here in Brownsville. His name is Elder Berglund from northern Idaho. He has been for almost a year and a half now so I am still Jr. comp. It has rained a lot here. There was another tropical storm here but we didn't get evacuated. We also played soccer in the rain on p day so it was really fun. I heard about all the changes for BYU. That is crazy! I also heard about the Boise St game and it sounded like a good one. Well I don't have anything else to say. Have a great week!  Love Elder Strong


Elder Strong at Joe's Baptism
September 13, 2010

Dear Parents

That is great that mom got a job offer! I pray she gets the job. I heard about the cougars. That’s no bueno but that is good they stuck to just one QB this game. Things are going good here. Yesterday we had a surprise baptism. One of our investigators that we hadn't heard from in about a week called us about being baptized that Sunday. We found out on Saturday that one of our investigators was leaving to North Carolina this week and was going to be there for a month. So we called the zone leaders and they said we should get him baptized and confirmed before he leaves. So we had to set up an interview just before his baptism. Luckily the other elders in the ward were having a baptism so we combined programs with them and everything went well. It was hectic but awesome to see him get baptized. That’s good to hear things are going well at home. Have a great week!

Love Elder Strong



Elder Strong & Elder Berglund

September 14, 2010

   Today was another rainy P-Day playing soccer. We started playing with a new group of missionaries. It wasn’t the same, but it was fun. Elder Berglund and I are getting along pretty well. He is an interesting kid, but a really good and obedient missionary. He loves to set baptismal dates on the first lesson. Joe got baptized on Sunday! He called us on Saturday (after we hadn’t seen him in about a week) and told us that he wanted to get baptized before he goes to North Carolina for work for a month. We made some calls to get everything set up & everything worked out perfectly. It was a really good experience for him. We even got his girlfriend to speak about baptism. He said he felt goose bumps when they laid their hand on his head for the Holy Ghost & he knew it really was the Holy Ghost. He even has desires to serve a mission in the future.

 Elder Strong & Elder Sanchez

September 15, 2010

   On Tuesday we had a Valley Conference in which the Area Seventy, Elder Richards, instructed us. It was an awesome meeting & I learned a lot. Today we spoke Spanish all day for the President’s challenge to improve our Spanish & I think it helped out a lot. Now I have a way more meaningful Spanish study & can already see an improvement. Tomorrow we are celebrating Mexican Independence Day at the Branch, so it should be a lot of fun.

Elder Strong's Last Day Driving

September 19, 2010

   Today we woke up to a long night of rain. Our apartment was a bit flooded & we received a message from the Zone Leaders to stay in our apartment as the water was too high. The flooding wasn’t too bad in the parking lot & not really knowing how flooded the streets were, we still left to Church assuming the best. As usual we dropped Elder Berglund off at the Casa Linda branch. On the way there, the water was high in some spots, but we made it through just fine. Next was the Price Church. I made a decision to go another route, hoping that it would be less flooded. Of course, though, it was more flooded. Still, we were determined to get to Church so we pressed on. The turn came to go to the church, but it was super flooded. Elder Castillo advised me to keep going straight, but I thought we could make it. Noooope!!!! Halfway through the intersection the car stopped, so we stalled in the middle of a lake. So we got out in our suit pants & pushed the car to the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot. A mechanic stopped us and helped. For a while there wasn’t any foaming in the engine so we were just hoping nothing happened to the car. The mechanic told us that we could buy a filter & it should run OK. We bought one, put it in, but still didn’t work. Finally we did get it running, but that was when foam started coming, so that car was trashed at that point. We got the Zone Leaders & a guy from the ward to take us there. The good news was that Terry was there & the Ortiz family came. That night we went to the Banda’s for dinner.


September 20, 2010

Dear Parents

Well this last week was kind of a bad week for me, well Monday through Saturday was good but I had a bad Sunday. So we woke up on Sunday morning to see that it had rained all night. Some spots in our apartment complex were really flooded. We got a message from the Zone Leaders that if there was too much water in our parking lot, we shouldn't go out. Our parking lot was not too bad so we went to church. First we had to drop Elder Berglund off at the Spanish branch so we went up there. There were a few flooded spots but nothing extremely bad on the way to the branch and we made it there just fine. Next we went to go to the English ward. I decided to go a different way to see if there was less flooding but I was wrong. There was a lot more but we were making it through but as we went further and further it got deeper. Pretty soon we were in about 8 inches of water. We got to the street to go to church and that street was just as flooded if not more. I made the bad decision of turning. We hit the dip and the car died there so we had to push the car out of the water in our suit pants. At the dip the water was well over a foot. We pushed it to a Wal-Mart parking lot and found out about 30 minutes later that water had gotten into the engine and was done. So now we aren't going to have a car for a while and I probably will not be able to drive the rest of my mission. So I will have to get used to a bike for a while haha. Other than that we had a good amount of people at church and we had a good week.

Do they have the fire under control? That stinks that mom didn't get the job but she'll find one soon enough. I don't think I will be able to see the Women's Conference but maybe in the future. Well, have a good week and I love you.

Elder Strong


September 22, 2010

   P-Day without a car was pretty bad, but we made it work. So Monday, Tuesday, & today we have been on bikes. So far Elder Berglund is super pissed to be on bikes. We found out tonight that we probably won’t be getting a car for a long time, so he is even more pissed. I love the kid, but man does he complain about everything. Oh well, what is done is done & nothing can change that, whether he likes it or not. Today we had a really cool experience. We decided to work as close to home as possible so we didn’t have to ride very far & found a lady who was waiting for the bus. We contacted her and it turns out that she was one of the former investigators that we had found in our area book. We set up an appointment for later on. When we came back she told us an awesome story about how she had prayed to know what she should do with her life & which religion was the right one. We never would have found her if it wasn’t for us being on bikes today. She has really strong desires to come to Church on Sunday. She is also going to start reading the Book of Mormon again & pray to receive answers to the doubts she has. Cynthia is definitely a huge blessing that has come from the dumb decision I made on Sunday. I know if we continue to be diligent, even without a car, we will continue to see big blessings come from it. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.


September 27, 2010

Dear Parents

So my punishment was to ride a bike for a whole week. It was super hard because we live about 2 miles out of our area and our area is huge but it had to be done. We mainly worked as close as we could to our apartment so we didn't have to bike as far. Because of that the Lord blessed us with a really cool former investigator that we never would have found if we weren't on bikes. She was just waiting for a bus so we went and talked to her and that day I was looking through our area book and found her teaching record so I knew exactly who she was. If we were in a car at that time we never would have found her so it was pretty cool. She has a baptismal date for next month so we are really excited for that. Bikes were also a punishment too because of the mosquitos. I have never been bit by soo many mosquitos in my life. Now we have a car so we are really excited. I'm glad to hear things are going well. I didn't get a chance to see the conference so I didn't see mom. Yeah I hear BYU isn't doing so hot but oh well there is always next year. Let me know if that trade happens. Thank you and I love you mucho. Have a great week and I pray for mom everyday


Elder Strong


September 29, 2010

   Today we had a cool lesson with a new investigator named Jose. We had left him a pamphlet yesterday. Well the time before he had really studied it. He had many questions written down & he was ready for us to come, so it was cool. We didn’t get the opportunity to answer all his questions, but we are going by Friday so I’m excited for that. We got a car this Monday. It has been super nice getting it back.


September 30, 2010

   I really learned a lot from the lessons we had today. Our first lesson was with Ramiro, an old man who really wants to find the truth. Elder Berglund was asking questions that Ramiro didn’t like & I could tell he was getting a little mad, so I made sure to not ask a lot of questions, but Elder Berglund didn’t and he got mad. I learned then that my style of teaching is what Ramiro needs & because of it we can still visit. Then we visited Cristina & she told us she didn’t want to be baptized. It was then that Elder Berglund’s style of teaching is what really helped her. I really know that I am here for specific people in South Texas because of the God-given talents that I have & the same is with all missionaries world-wide. We are here for a specific reason.



October 1, 2010

   Today was a Friday, so we had weekly planning, but because of a lesson we weren’t able to plan. We did have a comp inventory & it went really well. We made plans to become a better companionship & more effective missionaries. I am super excited for General Conference Saturday & Sunday. I have learned so much as a missionary from the words of our living prophets & apostles.


October 4, 2010

Dear Parents

Yes Scott told me about the name change. That is really cool and I am jealous. People don't really even call me Elder Fuerte, they just say Estrong. Close enough.

It has been great to have our car back. We don't get half as many mosquito bites. I don't use repellant which probably isn't too smart because of West Nile virus. People usually offer some though so I take it when I can get it.

That is great to hear that you are finding work. I know someone will hire you eventually so keep being diligent. How did you like conference? I loved Elder Holland's talk about the sacrifices his parents made so that he could go on a mission. I committed myself to thank you for the same thing. For all you do to make it possible for me to be out here even though I didn't do my best to save up the money to go. Thanks you! Love you!

Elder Strong


October 8, 2010

   Conference was great last weekend. Probably my favorite talk was Pres. Uchdorf about pride. I am really going to work on being less prideful. Not just in my actions, but my thoughts as well. Yesterday we went on exchanges with Elder Sibbett and Elder Arnold. I got to go to their area with Elder Arnold and it was the first time I have left Villa Nueva in months. Since May 12 to be exact. It was great to get a break from the area for a day. I also got to speak a ton of Spanish because Elder Arnold is still really new, so it was a good test for me. Terry is doing really well. She has started a journal to write down her feelings about the Church. She is loving it & is excited for her baptism on the 17th. Tomorrow we have to walk from 11:00 to 4:00 as a new mission rule on Saturdays so the public can see us walking around. I should be fun & should find people prepared for our message.


October 11, 2010

   Today we received a text from Terry, saying she didn’t want to come to Church on Sunday. She went to a baptism this Sunday and she is a little scared about drowning. So we are going over today to maybe calm her down and get her excited again about her baptism. We have interviews today and then District Meeting tomorrow, so we have a lot going on this week.


October 11, 2010

Dearest Parents

That is great that mom may have found a job. It would be an answer to my prayers. This week has been great. We have interviews this week and then should find out if we get transferred or not on Saturday so I will have to let you know if I stay or go next week. Really nothing too exciting has happened, we are having a baptism this week and that is pretty much it. Yeah it is almost my year mark and it has flown by. Sorry I don't have a lot to say this week. You are always in my prayers. Have a great week


Elder Strong


Brownsville District

October 13, 2010

   Yesterday was interviews. We had a meeting before and it was great. We talked about getting the members to participate by giving us referrals and fellowshipping them. We will be role playing with the members to teach them how to introduce the gospel to their friends. We decided to start getting the Branch involved so tonight at coordination we talked about it to them. They seemed really excited and willing to help us in the missionary work. At District Meeting we all went to a taqueria to eat all you can eat tacos. Elder Franco won with 25 and I got second with 22. Between everyone we had 119 tacos.


October 14, 2010

   Well lately I have been having problems loving my comp. I let little small things annoy me and make me angry. In the morning for a dumb reason I was really annoyed with him. Elder Orozco was sick, so I was just waiting to go on an exchange with Castillo or something to get away from Elder Berglund for a while. Orozco started feeling better so I had to accept the fact that I was going to be with Berglund for the rest of the night. It is amazing what the Spirit and the Gospel can do. The more we taught in unity, the less angry I was. It was a really good lesson for me to learn to have patience with my companions. We had a good lesson with a member, Hna. Garcia. We were going to talk about our new focus on member referrals. Before we even started talking to her, she asked if she could have a Book of Mormon to give to her neighbor that she had been inviting to Church. She suggested to even have lessons at her house. It was an awesome experience.

Elder Berglund, Terry, Elder Strong, Unknown

October 17, 2010

   Today was a pretty eventful day. It was my last Sunday in the Branch, so they announced that they were going to have a “going away” Family Home Evening for me on Monday. Then I went to the Price Church because it was Terry’s baptism. She seemed really excited at first, but it suddenly turned into nervousness. Then when she saw the water, she turned to afraid. All the memories of almost drowning started to flash back and she was scared to go into the water. After a little assurance, she entered the water. Then the hardest part came. Going under. I said the prayer & got her, but she was too scared to go under. I gave her some more words of comfort & tried again. Still scared. The third time I did it and her body was all the way under, but she was wearing a huge dress and it came up. After she came out of the water, she was super scared and ran to the changing room. After I found out that she didn’t go under, I felt really bad to tell her she had to do it again. We went back and tried many different ways, forwards and backwards with no success. After a few tries, she ran out of the water saying “This was a bad idea.”  I was left in the water not having a clue of what to do. I got out and just waited to see what would happen. Elder Berglund found a jumpsuit for her and we told most of the people to leave because Terry didn’t like all of the people there. She was convinced to do it again with everyone gone. I knew this was it and she was ready to get it done. It went perfectly, with no problems. She and I felt great because of the Spirit that was there. She was really happy after and it was a very memorable baptism. I also found out I was being transferred to Edinburg Central with Elder Millar. I am super excited to go, but sad to leave. I’ve been in Brownsville for 7 months, so it is like home to me. I will miss a lot of people here but I’m ready to go where the Lord wants me.

Elder Strong's Going Away Party - Brownsville




Elder Millar & Elder Strong


October 21, 2010

   Well, I am in Edinburg now with Elder Millar. Edinburg is way different than Brownsville. It has been fun, though, even though we are on bikes and it is wearing me out! Eventually I think I’ll get in shape and used to it. Elder Millar and I are going to learn a lot of Spanish this transfer because we both don’t know that much.  We haven’t taught very much in Spanish yet, but it will come. There are some great people here in Edinburg. We are actually having a baptism on Saturday. Their names are Sylvia and Brandy. They are great people and I’m excited for their baptism. Also, there are a ton of less actives in the wards, so we are going to focus on getting them back to Church. I’m happy about this new experience and I like this area more and more each day.


October 22, 2010

   Today we talked to Sylvia and Brandy about their baptism tomorrow. They are ready and excited for their big step closer to God. We met a new kid named Matt. He has a lot of potential. We went to the Perales’ tonight and Sister Perales only speaks Spanish. She had some questions about the Book of Mormon and man did I struggle understanding and answering her questions. I really need to find a way to get at Spanish! I met Brother Bunch for the first time…He is an interesting man.

Elder Strong, Sylvia & Brandy, & Elder Millar

October 25, 2010

   A couple of days ago I decided to tell President Trayner about my past pornography addiction so I can truly repent and erase the guilty feeling that has been lingering in me. Today I told him through E-mail that I needed to talk to him. About 20 minutes later, he called me to set up an appointment for tomorrow. I am very nervous because I have never talked to anyone about this because I was always afraid of the consequences. Now I realize that this is something I need to do no matter what consequences follow. I love this gospel and the opportunity I have to repent so all my sins can be forgiven, even if I should’ve done this a lot earlier. I still know I will receive forgiveness.


October 25, 2010

Dear Parents

So I did finally get transferred. I am now senior comp in Edinburg which is next to McAllen. My comp is Elder Millar from Course Gold California. Yeah I was in Brownsville for 7 months so it was nice to get a change of scenery. That is great news about mom's new job! Sounds way better than Albertsons was. So is Billy Lovelace Spanish speaking too? Sorry I didn't write last week, I just didn't get your letter but I got it this week. So the little Branch in Brownsville threw me a little going away party. I got two cakes and a lot of food. It is way fun and I am going to miss that little branch. I am having a lot of fun in my new area though. We just had a baptism here with a grandma and granddaughter. They are super cool but now we don't have any investigators so we have to knock some doors. Oh yeah and I am on bike which kind of sucks but my legs are already getting pretty buff. It’s great to hear that things are going well at home. It was a real answer to my prayers that mom got a job. We will talk to you next week. Love you

Elder Strong


October 26, 2010

   So I was really nervous about talking to President Trayner today. So many thoughts were running through my head. I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. It was a good experience. He just told me that as long as I asked God for forgiveness, I would be forgiven. He also warned me that I should stay as far away from those things as I possibly can. Golly jeepers it feels good to have gotten that burden of shame and guilt lifted off my shoulders. We had a very different day today. We knocked a lot of doors with not a lot of success, but we stayed diligent. I know blessings should come soon as we continue to work hard.


October 30, 2010

   So on Thursday, it was my year mark. That day we worked super hard & found some cool people. I did the traditional burning of a shirt and it went well. Today was kind of a rough day. We didn’t teach very much and it was just a real lazy day. We had to be in the apartment a 7:00 tonight. On our way home we saw an accident where a truck was upside down and knocked down a power line fall in the bushes. Tomorrow is Halloween and we don’t have to be in early, so it is going to be interesting to see what happens with the crazy trick-or-treaters outside.

October 31, 2010

   Happy Halloween! Today we just went to Church. Next we ate at the Ayala’s. They are a funny family. We had to go out and work tonight, so we just knocked some doors. That didn’t work too well because everyone thought we were trick-or-treaters, so we went to the Gonzales family. Old Juan gave us a ride in his old truck and I’m pretty sure he had some beers before, but nevertheless we made it safely. Then we ate dinner at the Beltran’s. We just talk about sports, so it’s fun.

November 1, 2010

Dear Parents

I'm just starting to get familiar with the area now. Edinburg has Spanish and an English ward of about 150 or so members in each. Elder Millar is from Course Gold, CA. We get along really well. He has been out for a little over six months. Yeah we are on bikes 100 percent of the time and I don't mind it too much. The other day we rode to the very southernmost part of our area and Elder Millar got a flat tire so we started walking back home and we didn't get too far when one of the other elders called and said he had my bike from Brownsville (I left it down there so I was using someone else's) So they came and picked us up, it was miracle. We live in an apartment with one room. It’s not too bad. I cleaned all of it on Saturday so it is a lot better now. Yesterday for Halloween, we could stay out till nine so it was weird being around all the trick or treaters. We did knock a few doors and people thought we were dressed in costumes and gave us candy haha. Sure you can forward this to whoever you want I don't mind at all. Well that is about it from me. Have a great week.   Love Elder Strong



November 2, 2010

   Today started out great. We found a new investigator named Rocky who was really cool. Then we taught a lesson in Spanish. But after that we didn’t have success at all. We went by our appointments, but none of them were there and two of our BD’s kind of seemed uninterested, so today was rough. But I know things will get better and we’ll see success in this area.


November 3, 2010

   Today we had District Meeting It went well. After that the day got a little frustrating. We were riding to our first appointment and Elder Millar’s bike just decided to break. It was something to so with the derailleur but we fixed it. First app. wasn’t there, so we planned to contact. The first guy we talked to said “Keep walking. This is private property” and we were on the street. Haha! We didn’t have too much success and when we returned to the bikes, Elder Millar’s bike had a flat-well air was gradually leaking from the tire, so we rode past a tire shop and they put air in it for us. Then the derailleur got messed up again. Elder Millar was super frustrated. Later we went to Juan’s house. He asked me to trim the back of his hair. It was looking good until he moved and I cut too much on one side. He didn’t notice so I think it will be alright. I talked with Norma today about going to Michael’s baptism on Sunday. I’ll find out more information tomorrow

November 6, 2010

   Wow, a lot has happened in the last three days. The other day we found a guy named Joe a.k.a. Batman. He is an 8 year old in a 50 year old body. Some things he does reminds me of Terry. He has action figures and tractors & Popsicle stick mystery machines everywhere. He is a super funny guy. This week we should have some people at Church so we are very excited for that. Also, I have the chance to go to Michael’s baptism tomorrow. I’m very excited to go and baptize him. More happened, but I can’t remember it all.



November 8, 2010

   Michael’s baptism went very well. It was really weird going back but it seemed like I had never left. Some people there didn’t even know that I had gone, so it was pretty funny. We had to baptize Michael twice because I messed up with the prayer and I felt bad because the water was pretty cold. Man that family is so legit. It makes me happy to see how well they are doing in the Church. Norma got a calling to be the Visiting Teaching Supervisor. Anyway, back to Edinburg. Today we taught Estella & her mom and sister. Estella is really cool and is trying to get Sunday off to come to Church. Ana Marie is an awesome example to all her friends and family. Because of her many people will accept the Gospel because of her excitement for it.


November 8, 2010

Dear Parents

It is great to hear that you are doing well. This week was rough but it ended really good. The last two weeks we have found a lot of people but we never see them again so it has been really frustrating but we have faith at least one of them will be legit. We met a guy who goes by Batman. He is hilarious! He is a little "special" and is stuck in the 70's. He has action figures all over his living room and he watches cartoons all the time. Because he likes Batman so much, we asked him what he thinks about the new Batman movie, and he said "The one in '89?" haha! But he is great and very accepting of the gospel. Also I got permission from the mission president to go to Brownsville and baptize one of my recent convert’s sons so it was a really cool experience. So that is what I did Sunday night and it was good to see all the members and missionaries in Brownsville again. Well I can't think of anything to say anymore. Thanks for all your great letters. Have a great week and love you!

Elder Strong

Oh and I was going to ask you if I could get a copy of my line of authority? And I don't know my address; it is something 14th place, Edinburg. I will let you know what it is next week.


November 11, 2010

   Yesterday and today we saw some success in our area. Yesterday we had a good lesson with Estella & her Mom. Then we went to a rosary for Sylvia’s Aunt .Bro Bunch was asked to share a few words and it was awesome. He talked a little about the Plan of Salvation and even shared a scripture from the Pearl of Great Price. Today we were able to teach Rocky. He is really cool and says he wants to come to Church on Sunday. At about 3:00 we had nothing to do so we decided to go to Shanice. On the way there we saw an ice cream parlor and both of us got the same thought, so we went. It was closed for lunch so we just went to Shanice. She was there, but her Tia was on her way to pick her up. If the ice cream parlor was open, we never would have taught Shanice. It was a testimony to me that when the Spirit prompts you, do it immediately. Don’t stop for ice cream.


November 14, 2010

   OK, so Saturday was kind of a crappy day. We didn’t get a whole lot done. At about 4:00 in the afternoon, I got a call from Elder Whetjerell asking me how good my Spanish was. I knew he was going to say something bad. He told me I had to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting in Spanish. I accepted, but was super nervous. So we came home a night and I started to prepare my talk. I didn’t go to bed until 11:07 at night. I thought that I was going to be a lot more nervous, but during I felt fine and calm. I had prayed for the Spirit to be with me and it really helped a lot with my Spanish and nerves. I ended up speaking for about 10 minutes and I was really proud of myself.


November 15, 2010

Dear Parents

It has started to cool down quite a bit down here also. This last week we wore sweaters a few nights because it gets pretty chilly. This week I got stung by a bee....that wasn't fun but it is better. I was locking my bike at a stop sign and there was a bee nest there and one of them got me. Also this week on Saturday, I got a phone call from the zone leaders. They asked me how my Spanish was doing so I knew right away that what was coming next wouldn't be good. It was followed by a speaking assignment in the Spanish ward on Sunday. This is the first talk I have had to give in English or Spanish in the mission so I was pretty nervous. So when I went home that night I had to start writing my talk. It went really well though. I spoke for ten minutes about the Book of Mormon and how we can share it with others. The members said I did pretty well. Also we finally got someone to church this week so it was pretty good and we are excited for her because she has really great potential. Everything is going well here and hope all is well there. Have a good week and you are in my prayers

Love Elder Strong


November 16, 2010

   Today was a pretty eventful day. For starters, we headed down south to contact. Halfway down, Elder Millar’s bike broke. As we were fixing it a lady came up to us and asked us if we needed and help. She then told us she was the Bishop’s wife in the Spanish Ward and insisted on taking us out to eat. We went to Dairy Queen so, so far the morning was good. Then we got to the streets we planned to contact. We weren’t really finding anyone but people were home. Then when we decided to go home for lunch, we saw a man outside. We went to talk to him and he was really cool. He told us to wait while he went inside. He came out with a Book of Mormon and was ready to learn more about it. On the way home from that we were biking and saw an old lady just collapse. We stopped and quickly helped her. She landed on her face and broke her glasses and was bleeding on her face. It was amazing how great the timing was for that to happen and who knows if we saved her life or not. The Lord blessed us in that moment for sure.


November 19, 2010

   Today was a good day. An appointment fell through while we were down south, so we decided to stop by this old lady named Claire Wilson. She is in her 90’s and the sweetest old lady ever. She was so happy to see us again because she had some questions for us. We also taught Batman tonight. He opened the door and he was wearing his G.I. Joe costume. It was really funny to see that. I really hope we can get him to come to Church and he will have a good experience there so he can feel the Spirit and know these things are true. Estella is doing very well. We took Bro. Bunch over with us and man is it weird to see old people flirt. After, Bunch just told us about his woman problems and stuff so it was pretty awkward.

Spongebob Cake

November 21, 2010

   Yesterday we helped Rocky with his daughter’s birthday party. He went all out for her and needed help decorating Spongebob cakes. It was actually really fun. We also went on splits with the Beltran Boys. I want with Aaron and Elder Millar went with Liko. The appointments we had fell through, so we just contacted for a while. A kid invited us in and we started teaching him. Halfway through the lesson we heard a knock at the door, and of course it was Elder Millar and Liko contacting. It was pretty funny. Today we had Estella at Church. It was cool, because we called her before and she was all ready to go. When she got there she was saying how she really didn’t want to go to the Spanish Ward. She prayed about it, and the Lord told her exactly what she needed to do, so she was at Church. She has a great testimony already and she is doing really well. The Lord is really helping her be converted.


November 22, 2010

Dear Parents

That’s good that it is starting to cool down. I am jealous because it is still in the mid 80's here. I just want it to be somewhat cold but it is ok because it is usually really nice weather. The wind cools it down a lot. Wow Josh called? So is he going to write me or should I write him first? That is cool that the missionaries talked to him. So for Thanksgiving everyone in the ward wants to feed the missionaries so we are going to get fed a ton. We have about 4 dinner appointments planned and we had to turn down some others so I don't know how I am going to eat all the food! It should be fun though because all the missionaries should be at least two of the appointments. This week was pretty good for us. On Tuesday we found a guy who already had a Book of Mormon and wanted to learn more. Then on the way home from that, I was riding ahead of my comp and I saw an old lady just collapse while watering her plants. We stopped and got help for her. She was bleeding a little on her head but it was amazing that we just happened to be there to get help for her. We were deciding on which road to take and I am glad we took that one or else who knows what would have happened to her. Oh mom, I am on my last pair of contacts just to let you know. I am planning on wearing them for a couple months then just wear glasses if you want me to. That is all from me. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving 2010 - Elder Payne, Elder Strong, Elder Millar


November 25, 2010

   Happy Thanksgiving! Man, Thanksgiving in the Field is way different than at home. Today we ate three times. First with the Sanchez Family, with Elders Messervey and Payne. I wasn’t feeling well at all, and I struggled to finish my plate. Next we ate at the Gonzalez Family, and again I struggled to finish. Last, we went to the Holbrook’s. On the way there, Elder Millar’s bike broke beyond an easy repair, so we had to walk the rest of the way. The Holbrook’s are super crazy. Bro. Holbrook and his wife were excommunicated, but are starting to go back to Church again. After being stuffed, we had a great lesson with Estella to teach her all of the commandments. She only had a problem with coffee, but I know she will get over it. She also said that when she went to Church and after I had told her that there was a reason she needed to be at Church to receive some sort of blessing, she did. She received an account, and knew it was a blessing from the Lord for going to Church. She is so awesome!


November 29, 2010

   Well we got the transfer call and Elder Millar is leaving, unfortunately. So my new companion will be straight from the MTC. I’m freakin’ training! I’m so freakin’ nervous! I meet him tomorrow. I am going to have to pray a lot for help to be a good trainer. I need to start with obedience, then diligence. I am super excited, though, and I am ready for this great experience to help someone start their mission off right. I love all the new experience I’ve been given lately to grow and help others grow.

Elder Strong & Elder Millar

November 29, 2010

Dear Parents

So sounds like your Thanksgiving went well. Mine was great too. It was the opposite of cold though, about 85 degrees. We started the day off with a big meal. I wasn't feeling too good, the night before I was having an upset stomach and it stayed with me for Thanksgiving. I could barely finish the first plate at the first house so I knew the rest of the day would be hard. Right after that we went to another meal appointment. I didn't eat much at all. After that another dinner appointment and I ate at a plate there so it was pretty rough on my stomach. On the way to the last dinner appointment, my comp's bike broke so we had to lock it up on a pole and walk. Good thing it was only a few blocks away.

We also received the transfer call. I thought for sure my comp and I would stay together but he is leaving. My new comp is going to be brand new, straight from the MTC! I'm training! I am really nervous but ready for this big step. I won't find out anything about him until the day of transfers which is tomorrow. President likes to not tell the trainers who their companions are until the day of. A member in the ward and I are planning on scaring him. We are going to knock his house and he is going to pretend he is just a random guy and yell at him in Spanish. It will be hilarious! I am going to try not to laugh to give it away. It will be a warm welcome for the greeny haha! Anyways have a good week! I sent two pictures home for Thanksgiving, hope you like them. Love you!

Elder Strong

                                                           ELDER HARDMAN

Elder Strong & Elder Hardman