Monday, October 26, 2015

Rain on Rain! {Week 8}

12  Ahora bien, ellos, después de haber sido santificados por el Espíritu Santo, habiendo sido blanqueados sus vestidos, encontrándose puros y sin mancha ante Dios, no podían ver el pecado sino con repugnancia; y hubo muchos, muchísimos, que fueron purificados y entraron en el reposo del Señor su Dios.
12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

We had another baptism Saturday! The girl we've been teaching got baptized and on Sunday was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. This is absolutely amazing. I am so lucky to be in an area where the Gospel is accepted and acted upon. Apparently some missionaries don't get a baptism until 6 months in. Ive been blessed to have 3 in 3 weeks. Blessed to have an awesome trainer who knows Spanish and knows the Gospel. Blessed to be in this wonderful country with this wonderful people.

So contacting this week was really fruitful! On 1 street we contacted 5 houses, and got 4 LESSONS in. Out of those 4 lessons we got 3 new investigators! They are great! I think I received personal revelation with one of them. As soon as we sat down, before we had said anything, I thought "I could see her getting baptized." After I told Elder Empey that and he was like, "Oh yeah? I thought that too." Amazing how the spirit works. We also have this guy Johnson we contacted last week. He is such a humble guy. He was in an accident so his memory is kind of bad and he doesn't remember a lot of things. He has the CUTEST little girl who is like almost 2 years old. We taught him this week and we are going slow for him so he completely understands everything we are going to teach him. But I know that through the lord anything is possible so I'm not worried at all!

So yesterday, we went through basically a small hurricane! We were out like 30 minutes from our house... and these clouds roll in, lightning coming in hot. Me and Empey look at each other and understood "We gotta get home now" It starts POURING. Like you cant even see in front of you the rain was so heavy. Oh, and the lightning? Ever been through an electrical storm? Me neither until now, the ground was literally shaking because of how close the lightning was striking. I thought my eardrums were gonna burst it was so loud. Imagine 2 missionaries sprinting through the streets with sheets of water coming down with lightning striking literally all around them. Like an action movie. That was me and Elder Empey. It was NUTS.

My Spanish is actually getting a lot better! I still wont be able to be fluent for like another 6 months but I am able to give small parts of the lesson now! Its really good. Every day I learn more :)

I'm able to slowly read the Book Of Mormon in Spanish now! Granted I need an open English one next to it for the words I don't know but its getting there. Its amazing the progress I'm making. :)

Remember to always read your guys' scriptures every day! It really is important! Also, make sure you guys read the Bible. I wish we would have, because I don't really know it well and these people DO. Keep Christ in your lives and don't take anything for granted! Like a nice toilet... oh my gosh.

President and Hermana Nuckols are really awesome. :) President is like 6'6'' or something like that. HE'S HUGE. The funny thing is that he has a really high voice so it doesn't match at all. The first time I met him in the MTC I almost laughed. He knows what he is doing and it's awesome. Hermana Nuckols is just a small woman who doesn't know Spanish that well either! We basically know the same amount of Spanish, but she's been here for 16 months. I don't know!

I got the package! Not sure when we actually got it, but President gave it to me when we had interviews last Wednesday. SO funny how everything is green.. I KNOW I'M A GREENIE haha. And YES. If you're gonna send a Christmas package, send it SOON. It's Christmas season here! Like 2 weeks ago. I really loved all the letters I got, so sweet of you guys! Even though I didn't know some of the people who wrote me something! 
Thank you guys for the package!! It is so awesome!  So in my package, if you send one, If I could get some actual pictures of our whole family (so i can put it in my book of mormon :)) And a Rubix cube! I actually learned how to solve one! My fastest time is 1m 30s. Pretty good if you ask me haha.

(about the pictures of Nova) Aw.... I miss my dog. I'm actually kind of sad now :( I hope she is still living when I get back! The dogs here are so sad. They eat the garbage people throw on the street because nobody will feed them otherwise, and that trash kills them. I cant tell you guys how many dead dogs I've seen here. Its really gross and sad. To get rid of them people literally just throw gasoline on them and burn them so it doesn't smell anymore. 

Well anyways, it was another good week in the Dominican Republic!  (in regards to Mom & Dad's letters) A soul is a soul! Everyone needs the gospel! No matter who, how, or when. You guys are awesome! I'm glad I'm able to be an example to you guys even all the way over here! Keep the gospel in your thoughts!

Love you all!
Elder Larkin

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week Something Or Other ;) | Week 7

So another update from Elder Larkin :)

It's happening! This week went by so quickly, it felt just like 2-3 days ago I was emailing. It's actually kind of nuts. Getting lost in the work is something I always heard of but I was always like "Yeah okay whatever" but in reality it's REAL. I've almost been out for 2 months now.

We have a lot of work to do here! Everyday we have a full schedule of cita's. (I can't remember what that means in English) and we have a lot of walking to do! Sometimes it takes us like 30 minutes just to walk to the place we are in for the day. Like most of the time we don't even contact. (going door to door or just talking to random people in the street) So our numbers for contacts are kinda low but we still hit the 70 contacts a week! Every day we try to get one of the members from the ward to come with us. There is this 16 year old kid named Felix who is just awesome. He comes with us like 2 or 3 times a week for like ALL day. I know that I wouldn't have wanted to do that when I was 16 that's for sure.  He is a stud for sure.

So the rain here is pretty crazy. One second it'll be completely dry and not a cloud in the sky. The next 10 minutes the whole sky will be filled with dark thunder clouds. And it could last for 10 minutes or all day, we never know. And let me tell you there is no drizzling. It's either pouring, or not at all. I love it so much!!!

Charo is gonna get baptized! She's left her BF and she's still finalizing her divorce but on the 7th she's gonna get baptized! So exciting. On Sunday we had 6 of our investigators in church! That makes you feel so good when the people you teach actually want to do the things the Lord does. 

I wanna tell you guys about our ward here. It is really strong. We have a full chapel every week! It was jaw-dropping when I got here the first week and saw how many people came. We have our awesome bishop who is really young so he's really cool, awesome teachers, and awesome members who go! It's probably like 200-250 member ward. I didn't know how strong it actually was here in La Republica Dominicana.

Another awesome week!


More details...

The city I'm in, I think is the size of Ivins, Utah most likely.  It's kinda hard to tell because there's not really a "Hey you're leaving Pedro Brand" type of sign. But yeah it's awesome!  Every other day we work right by where we live, and on the other days, we are in a different part.  It's REALLY REALLY poor but the people over here are super nice. Think of the favelas of Brazil.  Except not that bad haha. 

My companion is Elder Empey! He's been out for a little over a year and he is from St. George! Funny how that worked out. We get along great and it's really awesome because we know a lot of the same things, so we have a lot of stuff to talk about.

I actually haven't gotten my package yet!  It may be at the mission office waiting for me to go grab it... or it's been stolen or it just hasn't gotten to the D.R. yet. We are going to the mission office on Wednesday because we have interviews with the Mission President, so I'll get to see then!

Our teaching pool is actually really big! Lots of the time we don't even contact because we have a full day of walking / teaching! We do have quite a few youth we teach. I don't know how that is, but it works! A soul is a soul. We teach everyone though. From kids to this guy that is 102 years old!! His daughter is a member but we can't get him and his 98 year old wife baptized because they would have to keep covenants and go to church every Sunday, but they can't even leave the house. They would have no way to do that. The good thing is that they will have the opportunity to fully do their covenants after they die! (if they ever even do)

I don't know what to do about the mosquito's! I've just been wearing socks to bed and that seems to keep them away for the most part. It just sucks because it's soo flipping hot. We aren't really supposed to eat with members....but I do anyway! The rule is "your judgement" and so far I haven't been sick! It's pretty nice. I don't really know if I've been gaining or losing weight but I think I'm gaining! I bought this mass gainer protein stuff that gives me an extra 1500 calories every day so hopefully I'll see some results within 2 weeks. I wanna come home big. haha.

So not having a backpack SUCKS. The mission packet says not to bring one but President says they are fine to have! So I was wondering if you guys could send me a Camelback or something like it? The shoulder bag is just annoying to be frank. 

Thank you guys so much for everything you do for me! For praying, for supporting, for sending me packages! You guys are the best. Love you guys so much!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 6 | My First Days in the Field!

First Area:  Pedro Brand 

Woah. This is nuts. My first few days have been so awesome yet so hard AHH. I don't know how to explain it but this is for sure going to be the best two years of my life. I am so blessed to be here in the Dominican Republic. Sure I have to struggle to learn Spanish but there's an up side. The people here LOVE to talk about Jesus and the gospel. I could have gone to the US and spoken English but nobody really wants to talk to you. Or I could have gone to somewhere in Europe where the language is hard AND they don't want to talk to you.

It really is a blessing I'm here. It rains pretty often and I love it so much, especially since it like never rains in Vegas. One thing that sucks is the mosquito's. I am getting EATEN ALIVE. Oh my goodness its bad. I have one on the bottom of my foot somehow! They will bite you through your clothes its crazy.

I don't think I've ever been so sweaty in my whole life. It is soooo hot here. In a lesson I was LITERALLY dripping with sweat. I mean i was WET. My area is called Pedro Brand A1. All these people are really nice here. It might just be my area, but that's totally okay with me. Our investigators are incredible. First is an 11 year old. His dad is in the MLB (major league baseball). (big surprise) His brother and mother are members so that's pretty awesome. Another is Pedro. I don't really know much about him but he's like 14 and lives above a colmado. Those are basically just small places where you buy food from. Some of them are pretty ghetto but we gotta eat too, ya know? Another person is a 13 yr. old, and her grandma is a member so she´ll probably get baptized. She has a little sister who said the opening prayer and a part of it she said. ¨We are thankful for the missionaries, and please bless Elder Larkin. He is a good missionary. We are thankful for him.¨  It was probably the cutest thing I've ever heard! Next is a lady (about 40 yrs. old) and has been taking the missionary discussions for a while now. She is so ready to get baptized but there was a problem. She was married to a guy who lives in Panama and lives with a guy here in the DR. Elder Empey (my companion) told me she'd probably never get baptized because it was so hard to get a divorce, because the people are so poor and she might not leave her boyfriend. But that all changed in my first lesson with her. She told us (mostly my companion because I don't understand Spanish yet XD) that she prayed and she got the answer that the guy she was living with wasn't the right guy for her and she is going to leave him. And she said she found someone who would do the divorce for cheap! That's really exciting for us and I hope everything goes well. Our last big investigator is a 13 yr. old and is one of the best investigators we have. She's had the Book of Mormon for like 2 weeks and she's already in like Jacob. That is really impressive. The other day I asked them to be baptized on Dec. 12 and they said they would!!! Its so good to see the spirit work in people.

On Sunday we had a lot of investigators at church! We sat next to our investigator and her sister. When I stood up to go bare my testimony (In flippin' Spanish!!) they stood up too! We all bore our testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon. I can't wait to see them get baptized.

I already have....................... 2 BAPTISMS. WHATS UP!! They are both youths who were already ready to be baptized but ya know? I'm gonna count it. One was baptized by his brother and Pedro was baptized by Elder Empey. I've been out a week and this is what I see?! It makes me really optimistic. Once I get Spanish down in like 6 months I'm gonna DO WORK. :)

This has been one crazy week for me! Hope It was good for the rest of you too! I'm uploading pictures as I'm writing this so hopefully they all make it on there! This computer is pretty sketchy. Love you all!

KTMR (keep the mission rules)

Aneudy and Pedro get baptized! Aneudy was baptized by his brother, and Pedro was baptized by Elder Empey.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fresh out of the MTC!

Elder Empey 1st Companion in the Field
Pres. & Sister Nuckols & Elder Larkin

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Week 5

Some thoughts have been floating through my head the last few days. This Sunday in sacrament meeting we had a senior couple speak. Hermana Keisker was talking about Christ and some thoughts came to my head. I had this conversation with Dad once too! To fully atone for the sins of the world, Christ had to be completely alone. The Father, the one who is ALWAYS there, the most powerful being in all the Universe, had to withdraw and leave his Only Begotten. Crying out in agony in Gethsemane, Christ begged his father not to forsake him. "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." or "Dad, I know you can do anything, but please don’t make me do this, don’t leave me to suffer alone." And upon the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In that moment, Christ was alone. I thank God that we will never have to do that.

Another thing I was thinking about was singing. Two Hermana's sang 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives.' It was beautiful and the spirit permeated the room. Singing is DEFINITELY one of the things I'm going to look for in a wife! Like...dang.

I find joy in singing and hearing the hymns of the Lord. I have been told, and I believe it, that singing brings the Spirit faster than anything. I'll definitely do that with my investigators.

So last week on Friday we went out on splits with the missionaries in the field. I went with Elder Ramos who had been out for 23 months so it was pretty awesome! He's from Honduras but surprisingly he spoke perfect English and that was a big help. We taught a family that had recently been baptized so we taught them about the temple and then we went with them there! It was a really weird day as a missionary I was told because we basically only did that, and then got stuck with ward work. Nevertheless it was a really good experience!

This is my last week in the MTC!! It’s been so long yet so short! I don’t know how to explain it. It really is a giant blur. We leave on Tuesday! Unfortunately, my mission's P-Day is on Monday soooo I probably won’t be able to email for like a week and a half! Oh also... I’m technically an illegal here... soooo we are going to the immigration office tomorrow so I don’t get deported! Yay!!

Ps.  NOOOOOOO they did NOT like the bouillon prank!!! They'll never know who did it though!! HAHA My spanish is coming along great! Its crazy to look back to what I knew before! (like nothing)

E-mailing home on P-Day!
(awesome haircut from last week)
pic submitted by Elder Francis