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
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!
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
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
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
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
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.