Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Man it has been a strange week, just crazy! It has been good though, I have learned so much stuff!

This week, Elder Montoya came home from the capital...  alone. Elder Peña is still out in the capital, living with the president, to feel better. He will come back home this Friday. The President has put us three together, Elder Montoya, Elder Quiñonez, and I, so now I am working in both areas! It has made the work a little hard, because we don't have much time teaching our own investigators. But I have seen many blessings. One of our investigators, Manuel, got to go to EFY with the young adults in the ward this week. When he came home, he was a changed kid, and he looked at us and said "I need to be baptized." We have asked permission from the president to baptize him this Saturday. If all goes well, Manuel will get baptized this Saturday! It was a great blessing to see the change in him. He went from being a timid kid, not so sure about his position in life, to finding his love for his Savior. Oh, so that you know who I am talking about, it is the son of Jose, the spirit's other convert! Lots of people say "my convert", but I don't think I can take that credit. I supply information, but I have learned that the spirit is the one that testifies and converts the hearts of the investigators. It's the Holy Ghost's convert. I just was lucky enough to see the blessing of their conversion process.

I had time this week to read two books! I read "Our Search For Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard on Wednesday. Took me one day to read, but the power behind that book is amazing. I tell you, he wrote that book for investigators, but even I was touched by his words. I also read "Our Heritage" on Thursday. That book explains everything about how our church began and how we are who we are today. I think these week has been amazing because I felt the most powerful spirit as I read those two books. I received my testimony of the truth of this gospel. It is so perfect and so true. Now you can see why I love going out each day and sharing it with the world. 

Now as you know, the gangs have been a havoc in my area. I am pleased to say for the entire week I have only heard three gunshots!!!! Still, bad. But it is a lot less. They are calming down, and the area is more at peace now. 

I do have to share something funny though. For some reason there is a girl on our street, that every time we walk by, she screams at me, yelling "I AM GOING TO MARRY YOU! LISTEN WHITE BOY!!!!!!!!!! I'LL MARRY YOU." At first I didn't know what to do. Just kept walking. My two companions were dying of laughter. Then Elder Montoya offered that we contact her. So we did. Ya, she didn't let up. So we walked away. So every day as I walk by she makes those comments. Kind of funny now though.... I think I might take a video one of these days. Crazy lady. I stay far away from her. Hahah thought it was a funny story. To prove how crazy this country is, the other day there was a man walking down the street, about 56 years old, in a thong. Ya, I thought I had seen everything. Guess not..... But hey, even though my mind and eyes are eternally scarred, it was a funny story that I thought I would share. Hahah 

Overall this week has been amazing. I have been on a spiritual high recently and I love it. The people that we are teaching her are only a few, but the change I see in them every day is truly amazing. I pray for you all that you all can earn your testimony just as I did this week. It only strengthens your love for this gospel. I love you all. I am happy, even when life is throwing me all these horrible curve-balls. I am happy, because I have the best job ever!!! I work for the Lord! 

Dios les bendiga. 
Elder Weiss :)

Mother's Note:  Parker and I email chatted for a bit. He shared a few extra things and some funny stories that I will copy/paste here:
We too have tons of ants in our house, but that is just normal! They crawl on our desks as we are studying, sometimes on us as we sleep! Except they are so much tinier than the ones in Utah, and there are millions of them. We try to control them, but it is hopeless. And the cockroaches here, OH GOSH they are huge and fast. And when they fly..... Hay mi madre..... Scarier than the terminator. Goodness. Spiders don't bother me anymore. One was crawling on me the other day, and I just starting playing with it. Never thought that fear would leave, but there it went. Hahah They are pretty fasinating. Although the big ones still kind of get me nervous.... hahha

 I get to go to the Temple at the end of August, so I am super excited for that!!!! Also transfers are coming up on the9th of August. I might be leaving this area, but I might stay one more. I mean, I have been here since April (Man time flies). Who knows. While Elder Peña is in the capital, he is helping do the transfers, so he might put a good word in to make me stay here one more transfer. If I stay one more, I will be in Barahona until the 23rd of September, when I will have 11 months out in the mission!!!!!! If I leave this transfer, I will leave in August. But as of right now, I have no idea what will happen. I just put trust in the Lord that He knows where to put me. :) 

 I get to go at the end of August, so I am super excited for that!!!! Also transfers are coming up on the9th of August. I might be leaving this area, but I might stay one more. I mean, I have been here since April (Man time flies). Who knows. While Elder Peña is in the capital, he is helping do the transfers, so he might put a good word in to make me stay here one more transfer. If I stay one more, I will be in Barahona until the 23rd of September, when I will have 11 months out in the mission!!!!!! If I leave this transfer, I will leave in August. But as of right now, I have no idea what will happen. I just put trust in the Lord that He knows where to put me. :)

My health is good. I am happy for that. We have been drinking lots of natural juice from all the fruits we get from members, so that is a nice change. :)

My health is good. I am happy for that. We have been drinking lots of natural juice from all the fruits we get from members, so that is a nice change. :)

(I asked Parker to tell me something funny that's happened to him. Here's his story:)
Something funny...... well there was one time that Elder Quinonez and I were walking down the street, and we decided to go down a road that was somewhat narrow. As we were walking down the road a car was honking behind us to pass, and we were as far over to the side as we could! So the guy, out the window yelled, "Greengo!!!!" which means white boy, "Greengo!!!! get the freak out of my way so I can move! Do you know anything??" I yelled back "Well I know how to walk, so wait." I started walking slowly, so he leaned out the window again and said, " HEY!!! Didn't you hear me? I said----.." As he was yelling at me, a bird pooped on his head. Then I stopped walking and was laughing so hard I almost fell to the ground, then my companion told the guy "The bird says to shut up and let the missionaries walk." Then he laughed and asked us who we were, and we ended up contacting him. Hahaha

(He then ended with this:)
Mom: "Parker, stop drinking all the milk."

Parker: "No."

Sorry if you that it was going to be something better than that.... I just miss milk. Boom. Done. I am out! Love you! :)

Elder Weiss and Elder Sanchez (an Elder in his zone)

This little girl is from Italy and taught them some Italian

Elder Weiss with Jose and Dilsia (converts)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Its that email that everyone sees and goes, "Dang, this kid sure writes a lot:" THE BEST EMAIL EVER IS ABOUT TO COME. NAh, I am kidding, but a lot did happen this week!

For starters, Elder Montoya still has the chinkonguya, and hasn´t been able to work at all all week. Its kinda hard because I go on splits with Elder Peña every other day so that he can work in his area, but it takes away time from me teaching my investigators. But I want to help. And I know it stinks being stuck in the house all day! So that has been the week. Elder Montoya is also really mad at all of us. We aren´t sure why but he wont talk to us.... we think its because he is going to be going home at the end of this transfer and it´s just now hitting him. I don´t blame him for anything. It is just a little sad that he wont talk to us. 

As for our investigators go, there is a new desire in Manuel, who is the son of José, my recent convert. He keeps coming to church and now wants to be baptized. So we gave him a baptismal date for the 23rd of August. Not sure if I will be here to see that, the transfer ends on the ninth of August, and it´s possible that I leave this transfer, but we will see what happens. I am just happy he is willing to accept the date, and wants to work towards it. Whether I am here or not to see it isn´t important. It´s that he gets the blessing to be baptized and become a member of the true church.  As for Elizabeth, she still is super ready for baptism. She is now actually excited to be married on the first, which is a little funny. She went from saying "NO I will NEVER be married at such a young age!" to "I am so excited to get married!!!" Just shows how the Lord prepares people, and the Holy Ghost testifies to them it is the right thing. It is good to see that desire. With the little amount of time we had to work in our area this week, that is all I really have of news to say for this week!

We had a different experience this week.. On Sunday we left for church, me and my companion. Elder Montoya is still sick and Elder Peña woke up with some really bad pain. They showed up to church for sacrament (which in this country is the last hour) and I was leading the music, but I could see when they entered that something was wrong with Elder Peña... When sacrament ended we rushed home so he could relax. We got home, and he told us he needed to go to the hospital, so him and Elder Montoya left for the hospital. When they got back, they immediately started packing stuff up. Elder Peña learned his appendix is close to exploding so they were leaving for the capital to get surgery that instant. So they left. Today I get a call in the morning from them. Elder Peña is fine. He had is surgery and he is in recovery now, but he put me in a scare. One of my best friends in the mission, this kid. He will be fine. He is deeply in my prayers. The hospital did a good job and he´ll make a full recovery. I learned the true mercy of our Lord in that moment. He eased my heart, and He kept my friend and his servant safe from further harm. The Lord protects His servants, and keeps them at ease during times of hardship. I am grateful for my Lord and the love that He has for me. No need to worry for Elder Peña. He is a trooper and is recovering quickly and should be home to rest tomorrow. That was my learning experience this week. Different, but I know it was something I needed to learn.

I love you all! May you all have a great week! Keep your faith in the Lord. He will bless you! And never be afraid to get on your knees for all of your "kneeds" I love you! I pray for you! And of course I miss every single one of you. 

Les quiero!

Elder Weiss :)

Parker sent a separate email with this as it's subject line:  "Non-believers..."  Then he sent this picture with this caption: "Now I know you didn´t believe me when I said I have a six pack now, so I send you this picture to prove it. :)"  Haha. I got a good chuckle on that one and then asked him what kind of drink it was.

"...its called Areito, a sparkling cider! It is good!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wow, alright so lots happened this week. I am changing the format this week, I will be just giving overall highlights of what happened because to be completely honest, I don´t remember what day everything happened. The mission has all just changed into a blur! Tuesday to Saturday just feels like one day to me, then there is Sunday for church, and then Monday to prepare, then the blur happens again, but I will get into the week.

So a big thing that happened this week was the faith. And when I say faith, I am talking faith in everything. In the investigators, in the house, in our safety, in what I was reading to be true. Let me explain. Right now, we have lots of investigators, amazing people, that just aren´t doing the things necessary to find out the truth of the church, so I have been doing a little more "direct" approach, or basically, I am not beating around the bush. We are trying to use straight doctrine to testify of the truth, and then bare a straight hard testimony that its true. No more messing around with "Oh, well it is a commandment of God to be married, but its a time process. We´ll work with it."  Now it is something more like " You need to live the law of chastity, because its a commandment from our Heavenly Father. If you do not follow these things, you will not be able to live with your Father in Heaven." At first I found that to be brutal and straight, and I wanted to try a different approach, but by doing that this week, I have seen so many blessings from that. Manuel, for example, gave up his daily sleep routine to wake up and come to church this week, and now Elizabeth is beyond excited to be married on the first of August. It is how the spirit testifies to people, by being honest and sincere. The people feel our love for them by us showing them the love we have of the gospel.

More faith building things was the house. Kind of dumb, but we lost water this week, and we were hit hard. We never lose water so we weren't prepared for that. But with lots of faith in prayer, we received help from the housekeeper until water came back. Taught me two principals, never lose the faith that things will get better, and to ALWAYS BE PREPARED. Scouts right there. Haha.

For safety, let me share a story that happened. We were walking to go visit a Family. The Family Nova, and as we were walking a man yelled "Are you nuts? Don´t you see that gang with the shotguns and guns sitting right there, and you just walked right through it? Do you want to die?" As we turned around, I saw a whole gang sitting in a roundabout with guns, shotguns and all sorts of weapons. So we basically dove into Nova´s house, because they live right next to this guy. This gang was waiting for another gang to show up to have a shootout, and my companion and I obliviously walked right through them, even saying hello to a couple of them, without realizing they were packing. Faith was strengthened there, that the Lord is protecting us, even when we aren't paying attention, and aren't completely understanding of what is happening! We were safe, the gang scatter, and there was no fight, but it was a little scary. The gangs just don´t stop here. But we are safe, don´t worry.

The President came into our area on Saturday, and I got to teach a lesson with him and his wife, to a family. It was an amazing lesson! They bring such a spirit to them that is indescribable, even though they are still getting a hang of the Spanish. They speak with power. They praised us for the way we taught the lesson, and said we did a really good job, and they were proud of us. Then on Sunday they came and ate lunch with us. I made them Paticones, a Colombian dish, and man was the President enjoying it. He kept saying, "I love this. Can I have more?" He is a funny guy. He called me desperate, because I told them to try mayonnaise and rice together. He said, "Elder, you are desperate. Desperate for real food aren't you?" He has a good sense of humor, and I really enjoy spending time with him. He and his wife speak perfect French, so I tried to speaking to them in french. Didn't work. Hahaha oh well.

That was the week. I can´t believe how many blessings I have seen. I am fine health wise. I got bit by some mosquitoes, the usual, but I am fine. No worries. I also finally got my cases for my scriptures! They are beautiful! I will send you some beautiful pictures of these majestic creatures. Hahah. I love you all! Hope the week was just as great for you as it was for me! Keep the faith strong in your life! Notice your trials in your faith, and tell me how that helped strengthen your faith. It´s your testimonies that help push me along! Love you all!

Les quiero muchísimo!

Elder Weiss
(Notes from Mother's email:---I asked how is shoes are holding up and other questions)

My shoes are so dead. They all have ripped and been abused. Hahah I will find some new ones. Elder Hope was just at my house today! Awesome kid! and also, MY COMPANION IS AWESOME! He is the funniest kid ever! He has got a great sense of humor, so we get along so well! I love this kid to death. He acts like dad, to the point he does the "Dad whistle" as I call it. That little weird whistle he does to sing. Hahah He is super awesome and I love this kid to death! A very awesome fun companion! And we always have the spirit with us. Also I learned a new word- Bumbleclod. hahaha. I learned that is English Creole. Elder Peña told me it means Ah shoot. haha.

Daniela Nova cooking "Trigo Magica" (basically magic of flour) for Elders Weiss & Quinonez

A typical bathroom in Domincan Republic. (Not in the Elder's home) That's a bucket of water they use.

Elder Weiss, & Quinonez with Mission President Nuckols and his wife. I'm not sure who the members are.

Parker's new covers that someone made for him. The middle is for his Hymn book.

The back covers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! Ignore the subject. Just wanted to grab your attention. But I love food. I just don´t eat that much anymore. And goodness, I miss American food. Rice and beans every day gets old. Hahaha But now that I have your attention, I will move on to the week!

Tuesday - This begins day number one of when Elder Quiñónez caught the chinconguya! Got it early that morning. So I stayed home all day, which turned out to be a real blessing for a couple reasons. One, the gangs were going nuts in our area and I wasn´t outside to be caught in any of it. Two, I finished the book Jesus the Christ. My second favorite book, other than the Book of Mormon. Man, this book answers so many questions. Three, I got to learn how to be my brother´s keeper better, because I tended to every care of my companion all day. Didn´t bother me. Service is amazing and I was happy to help him out. He was so bad, he couldn´t even open his eyes. I expect everyone in this country will get this disease. It is bad.

Wednesday - I stayed inside again, all day, because my companion still had the chinconguya. I cleaned the house all day and reorganized everything so that when the other Elders got home, that wouldn´t come home to a filthy home and wondered what I did all day. I also read a lot in the scriptures. I am in Mosiah right now, marking up these amazing verses that are in there. He speaks with great power. I love the stories too. Just amazes me how much more I capture when I read if I start and end with prayer. If I just jump into it, I get carried away in other thoughts, or things distract me, but when I pray, I am focused and the verses just fill my head with knowledge. I don´t know the scriptures perfectly, but I understand the Book of Mormon a lot more than what I used to. My favorite part? It is like a giant story. It´s a story book, without the pìctures. Who doesn´t want to read that?

Thursday - I was still in the house. This chinconguya killed my companion. So I cooked for everyone, read some more in the scriptures, found some deep doctrine to study, and ended up giving myself a headache for how much I studied. But it was good! I learned a lot, and I got to in depth to explain the deep doctrine I learned over email! Let´s just say....dang. Good stuff.

Friday - I woke up and my hands and feet were swollen. The darn chinconguya attacks me again with symptoms. But my companion is a little bit better. He is like a walking zombie, but he wants to work. So we went out and worked for a tiny bit. Only taught Dominga, who was going to get baptized this week, but she told me she hadn´t been reading in the Book of Mormon, she still drinks coffee, and it was a little bummer. She is a prepared person, she just needs to do the things that she knows is right. I know she can do it. I won´t give up on her, but as of now, she won´t be getting baptized this Saturday (12 of July).

Saturday - My companion and I were still suffering from the symptoms of chinconguya, so we worked at what I thought was a slow calm pace. Turns out we ended up having 10 appointments that day. It just goes to show, we don´t need to run to get our message to the people. The Lord knows and is preparing a way so that all will be able to hear this glad message. Even if it comes from two young boys walking at the pace of a grandma on her little motorskooter. (No offense to any grandmas, I love you all, that was just how fast I was walking that day)

Sunday - My companion recaught the chinconguya, so we went to church and then came home and stayed home. But we did go to all of our meeting through the day, which were important. We are trying to get the Missionary work more in progress in this area. It is a long process, but it´s necessary!

Monday - My companion feels better now. Still has some symptoms. I am less swelled, so we went to the beach with the Zone Leaders and the Sisters in our zone, and their District Leader. Had lunch there and had a way good time! Super fun day! Now I am here.

That was my week! I didn´t get to work a lot, but man did I learn a lot this week! I am so happy that I was able to help out my companion this week and to learn more about the beauty of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and all the blessings he has given me! I did have lots of time to think this week as well, which isn´t always a good thing for me, but with lots of prayer, the Lord is keeping me on the right path. I am happy. Things are happening in my life. I am changing. It´s weird. I think differently, I see things with a different view than what I did before. I see changes happening in my life, but at the same time, I still see the same me. Just a better me. The Lord loves me. He loves all of us. I feel his love every day and I just love sharing it. Having Him in my life is a true blessing. And to know of this gospel, the true gospel on the earth, is amazing. I will stay firm in this foundation until the day I die. I hope all of you have a good week! I challenge you all to pray every morning and every night this week, to really feel the love of your heavenly father! I love you all, and I continually pray for you!

Con mucho amor,

Élder Weiss

Extra email sent to his mom:
Wow sounds like a very full week! My week has been good! Don´t be worried about me, the gangs have settled down now. There are less fightings and I haven´t been hearing too many gunshots lately. There was a fight on our street again, but it was short and no one died. They were just shooting in the air to freak each other out. Still dangerous. But we are okay. The President is aware and has asked us to be careful. If it gets to out of hand, we will be going in earlier like at 7 or 8. But for now we are fine! 

I am glad the week was good, sounds like you had a lot of fun! The fourth of July here was eh... there were fireworks, but I thought they were gunshots and freaked. Turned out they were tiny fireworks on our street, but I am a different person now. I think differently. Fireworks scare me. The noise is like a gun, and I have seen way to many people with guns in this country. We didn´t do anything to celebrate sadly. I am the only American in my house, so to the others, they just were like eh.... although I did make some delicious banana bread (AMERICAN) with the help of Elder Peña, so you could count that. Hahah

This week was good. I will explain a little more in the big email, but I have no complaints. I still love my companion. It´s nice to be with someone like Elder Quiñónez. He is calm and willing to learn, and I love that. He has less time in the mission, so he is always asking me to teach him new things. Which is strange, because I would think he´d know more, showing that he SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE. But guess not! Hahah but ya the week was good.

Thank you for the pictures! The other elders didn´t believe I was a wolf for a part of my life. Hahah. So ya. Oh and I hope you continue to feel better. I hurt real bad but it is the side effects of Chinconguya. In my hands especially. They have been swelling up and I can´t close them. Hurts, but you live with it, right? haha. And tell Sydney awesome job on making the competition team! That will be so cool!!!

Mom's note:  I was able to email "chat" with Parker for a while which was sweet!  We talked about getting medical care but it's 6 hours away and he said the president is aware they're sick and told them what medicine to take. His feet and hands have been swollen. Hopefully that will help.  The "wolf" comment came about because he wanted me to send pictures of him as the mascot at his high school. We talked more but nothing worth sharing with the world. :)  Thanks for keeping him in your prayers!

Elder Weiss named him "Loopy" for Cantoloopy
His 4th of July Banana Bread

"Hello bird, have you heard about the Mormons?"


Elder Quinonez and Elder Weiss
Wish we could surf.  Elder Pena, a surfer & Parker

Hahahaha Wipeout!   A native surfing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Man what a week it has been. Boy have I learned a ton. Let me see if I will be able to remember it all! hahah

Tuesday - We had a big meeting at night. Goodness it was huge, for all the missionaries in the ward and how they can improve. It was fun but dang, it was a long one. But I learned a lot of helpful stuff!

Wednesday - Elder Quiñonez and I have been focusing a lot this week in our investigator Elizabeth, who doesn't want to get married. So this day we went to her house and I chewed her out a little bit, telling her it is not a commandment from us, but it is from God. She told me still, that she will never ever get married. But I am not a quitter......

Thursday - So the day was good. We worked hard. But get this, you remember that story from last week about the man that I saw die? Turns out a bunch of gangs are in massive fights right now in our area. Well we were walking through the streets and we heard billions of gunshots. TONS. They have gotten into massive fights now. It has gotten so dangerous, that it even happens during the day too. Can I be honest? I am really scared. I have been praying for lots of protection. We informed our President and he might be changing what time we go home in our area because it is so dangerous, but for now, I seek the help of the Lord, to guide me where it is safe and to put me in the right path. I will be fine. :)

Friday - I went BACK to Elizabeth. I am not quitting on her. We explained the Law of Chastity a little bit better, and explained using a lot of scripture. We spoke direct, but my companion pointed out to me this... he said, "When do you feel the spirit in The Book of Mormon, or why do you feel the spirit when Elder Holland gives his talks? It's because they speak directly. They speak with the spirit." So yes, we speak a little, as they say in spanish, fuerte. Or strong. But the message hit her. She told me that now she will get married next year. Progress right? I ain't done though....

Saturday - We were getting fired a lot. And I was with Elder Peña on an intercambio, or a change is how you say it in English I think.... anyways, no one wanted to listen to us, so I took him back to Elizabeth to try one last time. When we got there, she told me she had asked God what to do and that she felt like she needed to talk to her boyfriend, so that is what she did. They talked about it, and they have decided that they are going to get married on August 1st. Wow. What a change. It is amazing to see how the Lord changes the hearts of those who are willing and listening. We went from "NO, I will NEVER get married."  to "We're getting married August 1st." The change came from the Lord. She is a great person. We gave her a baptismal date for the 6th of September, but if she wants, right after she gets married, she can get baptized. I also gave a baptismal date to Dominga for the 12th of July. She has been progressing so well this week and I just felt happy and felt like she was ready for it this time. I love the Lord. He does so much to help me and everyone in our everyday lives. Without him, I would be nowhere.

Sunday - I got to give a talk in church. That was great. I talked about how to be a disciple of Christ. After that, a member came up to me and told me without a doubt she wants to work with us. So after church we went out and worked with her, and she gave us an awesome new reference that we contacted and taught. We'll see how she goes, but so far she is a really cool new investigator!

Today - Stayed home, played dominoes. I am fun. :)

I have been seeing many blessings this week. For example, the safety of my companion, the other missionaries in my area, and me. That alone is a blessing. Haven't come across these gangs yet. Thank goodness. Also, I have almost finished Jesus the Christ. Only two more chapters! Man what a dang good book! Love it. I want to read that book thirty more times. Hahaha I also love the book you guys sent me. Power to Become, powerful book. I love it. But hey, the week was amazing. I challenge anyone who hasn't asked God for themselves to know if this church is true to DO IT NOW. When you get the answer, never forget it. That is the key to my testimony, I know the church is true. I love it and I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, who sacrificied everything for me. This church is true. Hope you all have a great week! :)

Con mucho amor,
Les quiero mucho!!!

Elder Weiss
Parker's new companion Elder Quinonez

A typical home in Barahona

The Elder's with their "serious" faces.