Wednesday, March 19, 2014

He made it to Saltillo(Letter from President Rodriguez Trejo) March 19, 2014


Calle Eulalio Gutiérrez # 1057
Col. Las Praderas
Saltillo, Coahuila
Mexico, Cp. 25295
Tel. 01 (844) 431-1417

March 19, 2014
Dear Earl Family:

It is my pleasure to let you know that your missionary, Elder Earl, arrived safely.  Sister Rodriguez and I met him at the airport and brought him to the offices of the Mexico Saltillo Mission.  Following orientation, he ate dinner with us.  After, he will move to his assigned area, where he will begin to develop many great qualities as a representative of our Lord, and become a true champion of the restored gospel.

During my interview with him, I couldn’t help but notice an abiding faith and love of the gospel.  Elder Earl will be working in the area Zaragoza 4; in the Zone of Acuña I trust that through his efforts and diligence, together with counsel from his leaders and companion, Elder Torres will grow in testimony and learn to appreciate the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He will also obtain many personal qualities and attributes that will prepare him for the work as well as benefit him for the rest of his life.

We will keep in touch with you by means of letters, and telephone calls if necessary, to inform you of the accomplishments of your missionary. We invite you to keep in communication with him through your letters.  We hope you may always have him in your prayers as well.

We are here to serve him and you.  You will see many blessings come through your son’s service in the Lord’s vineyard.

Pdte. Luis Fernando Rodríguez Trejo

video of Jordan and McKayla at Houston Airport

                                          Gotta love this!!!!!!!

Brother and Sister Earl get to meet at the Houston Airport March 17, 2014

 Jordan flew out of Salt Lake on Monday, March 17 into the Houston International Airport.  He had about an hour and 15 minutes before his plane took off for Saltillo.  McKayla got permission to go and see him at the airport.   Thanks to sister Liddle who drove her an hour to the airport and took video and pictures for us...Parents.  Jordan's plane was delayed out of Salt Lake so we were not sure they were even going to get to see one another....but it happened.  Yeah!!!

Last week in the MTC March 15, 2014

Well. It has been a pretty hectic week. I am getting super excited and super nervous for leaving to Mexico in two days! 

Yesterday was a really great day. It was in-field orientation. So, I was on main campus all day learning about everything that I need to know for being in the field. Throughout the day we were paired up with other missionaries to practice the things that we were learning. For one of the times, I was paired up with a missionary that was born in Chile. So, Spanish was his first language. He is going to a Spanish speaking mission, so he was only in the MTC for a week and a half and he is leaving on Monday! I got the chance to try to talk to him in Spanish for a while. We talked about our families and some other "get to know you stuff" that I have learned. It was really cool. I understood everything except for one sentence. But he was talking pretty slow for me.

Another cool thing that happened this week was that my companion and I got to teach a lesson to someone in Mexico over Skype. It was a great experience, but it was also really tough because he did not know any Spanish at all. He is a member, so we talked to him about member missionary work and we committed him to sharing a gospel message to one of his non member friends. At least I think he agreed to it...He talked really fast. 

Yesterday I also had to say goodbye to one of my teachers. Hermano Bond. It was actually way harder than I thought it would be. He has helped me so much here at the MTC with Spanish and with my testimony. Tonight I say goodbye to my other teacher. Hermano Bartolomei. It will be just as hard. And then tomorrow I say goodbye to all of the Hermanas in my district because they are leaving at like 4 in the morning on Monday for Pachuca Mexico. Then at 7:30 the Elders in my district all leave for the airport on our way to Saltillo!

I feel ready to be in Mexico. I don't necessarily feel ready to speak Spanish, but I know that the Lord God will help me. 

From reading in the Book of Mormon, I have found a chapter that I really love. It is chapter 29 of Alma. It is really powerful. I especially love verse 9. You should read it. It's great for missionaries, but it is applicable to every member of the church.

Elder Earl

Week 5 March 8, 2014

This week was a super crazy week! On Monday, Every missionary in my zone left for the field except for my district and two other missionaries. One of them left on Tuesday for some reason. The other on broke his arm on the 5th day that he was in the MTC! so he had his stay here extended by two weeks. So, he was supposed to leave the same day that I am leaving, but I will get to that later.
> Sunday, the Branch presidency told us that starting Tuesday, The Elder that broke his arm was going to be companions with Elder Gibb. And Elder Bradley, who was Elder Gibb's companion, was going to join Elder Stensrud and I in our companionship. We were not expecting this at all. I have never heard of people getting their companion changed in the MTC like that. They also asked me to start serving as the district leader, which I accepted.
> Then, everything got super crazy on Thursday. The elder that broke his arm had a doctors appointment in the morning, and then, during dinner, he was called to the main office by a security guard. We were all really nervous, because the only other time one of us was taken by a security guard, it was because of a death in the family. But, he was actually cleared to leave for the field! And, he was scheduled to leave the next morning! So that whole night, we were rushing around, trying to get him ready to leave.
> On Friday, he left in the morning, and everything went back to being normal. So, I was actually in a trio companionship for three days this week.
> The other cool thing this week was that we got two new districts in our zone! It has been really fun taking them under our wing, and explaining how things work at the MTC. It is also really fun, because around them, I feel like I am fluent in Spanish! I don't mean to be rude. It is just easier to see how much I have actually learned with them around. The gift of tongues is real!
> Also, I am leaving for Mexico in 9 days! crazy right! My whole district got their travel plans yesterday! I leave at 7:30 on the 17th. We fly to Houston, Texas, and then straight to the Saltillo airport. There are 5 missionaries going to Saltillo. The four elders in my district, and then one other sister, that is in a whole different zone. I am super excited!
> Spanish is coming great, and I have started to really get the hang of teaching lessons. Especially teaching about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. My companion and I taught the Restoration in Spanish to two sisters in my district yesterday, and they looked like they were about to cry. The Spirit was really strong. It also turned out that Carlos, our investigator is a member of the Church. He talked to us for a while after our last lesson with him. He said that he really enjoyed being taught by us, and then he told us a bunch of jokes. Some of them were actually really funny! we had a really good time with him. But I can't wait until I get to Mexico, and I find out just how bad my Spanish really is.
> Well, that's all for this week.
> Love, Elder Earl
District with Elder Porter...Missionary who broke his arm in the MTC and had to stay a bit longer

Week 4 in the MTC March 1, 2014

This last week was very exciting. We started doing TRC lessons this week. Basically, they assigned an investigator to me and my companion who we get teach four times a week for two weeks. Some of the TRCs are members, and some of them are real investigators, So, I don't really know which one our's is. But, his name is Carlos, and he is from Lima, Peru. And he is hilarious! He has a very thick accent when he speaks Spanish, so thankfully he speaks English as well. The best part about him is that he doesn't question anything. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith, and he accepted it right away! Also, He has already accepted the Book of Mormon as the word of God. He said "It seems to me that a book this inspired has to come from God". And he agreed to be baptised and to go to church! And, at the end of every lesson, he gives us our lesson topic for the next lesson. For example, yesterday at the end of our lesson, he said, "Next lesson, I want to talk more about repentance". Teaching him has been the most fun that I have had at the MTC. And I am glad that we get to do it for another week. 

This last Thursday, My companion and another Elder in my district went to Las Vegas for their visas, so I was reassigned to be the companion of the other Elder whose companion was gone. Elder Gibb. It was really though, because both of us have our own separate investigators we were teaching that day, so we taught four lessons that day, instead of the usual 1 or 2. It was really hard, because I had no idea how far he had progressed with his investigators, but it was good, because it helped prepare me for the field. His TRC investigator, Daniel, is really tough. For the first two lessons, Elder Gibb and Elder Bradley gave him, he would not let them teach anything, because he did not want to learn anything about the Church, but, Elder Gibb and I were finally able to get through to him, and he agreed to listen to the lessons from now on. The Spirit was so strong! It was really interesting going straight from Daniel to Carlos, because we had to work super hard just to get Daniel to let us talk about our Church, and then we went to Carlos who was practically begging us to ask him to be baptised! they are very different, but I love them both. I am a little sad that I wont get to teach Danel anymore though.

Friday was also very interesting. On this coming Monday, every district in my zone besides my district is going to report to the field! So they were all in "In-field training" all day. One elder in my district broke his arm on the 5th day that he was here, so his stay here was extended by two weeks. So, he got to join our district, for the day. And, on Tuesday, he is going to join our district permanently, until we leave two weeks later. And, there is a good chance that he is joining my companionship! I am excited, becasue I really like him, and he will be able to help a lot becasue his Spanish is really good. But, I do think that it is going to be really tough for him to stay here for an extra two weeks, while all of the friends he made in his district are leaving. But, he has a really good attitude about it all.

Today has been great so far, but two missionaries in my district woke up sick this morning. I really hope that I don't catch anything. the Temple was amazing as always, but it was sad that two of the companionships in my district couldn't go. 

I am doing great! Spanish is still coming. Slowly but surely. I can't wait until i get to Mexico. I should get my travel plans this Friday! Everyone reading this has to go and read St. John 16:33 in the New Testament. It is one of my favorite scriptures, and has really strengthened the love that I have for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elder Earl

My District at the Provo Temple

                                       Elder Bradley, Elder Gibb, Elder Stensrud, Elder Earl (Me)
                               Hermana Nielsen, Hermana Boone, Hermana Guerrero, Hermana Bailey

Week 3 February 22, 2014

This last week was full of excitement! Sunday was literally one of the best days of my life. The Sunday night Fireside was given by President Holland of Utah Valley University. He gave one of the best talks about the Prophet Joseph Smith that I have ever heard. He had a few stories that I had never even heard of before, from Joseph's childhood. But what made the talk even better was the UVU institute choir that came to sing at certain parts of him talk. In the middle of the talk, one guy who was playing the part of John Taylor singing in Carthage jail for Joseph Smith before he was martyred, sang a solo of my favorite Hymn, "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". It drove me to tears. Then at the end of the talk, the UVU choir joined the MTC choir that I was singing in, and we all sang "Praise to the Man". But, I haven't even said the best part of the night. Elder Holland came to see his son speak! He himself only spoke for a couple of minutes, mostly just to introduce his son, but the spirit that an Apostle of the Lord can bring into a room is incredible! I have been in the same room as an Apostle before, and it is always incredible. But, it means a little bit more when you are a missionary. Then, after the program he blew us all a kiss, which went straight to my heart.
On Wednesday, I got my travel plans in the mail to go to Las Vegas yesterday. So, I only got two days notice, but it was really great. 

On Friday Elder Gibb, Hermana Boone (two missionaries in my district), and I had to be at the bus at 4:30 a.m. to go to the airport to go to Las Vegas. The reason we had to go was that we had to make a personal appearance at the Mexican Consulate there in order to get our visas. The day was super long, we flew to Vegas and back all in one day, but we did get to go to all of the great sights of Las the airport...Burger King...and The Mexican Consulate. And, I did get my visa! so I am going to go straight to Mexico in just a few weeks! 

The Consulate was really kind of weird. We were told that we had to know exactly where we were going in Mexico, and to have a good explanation of why we were going. The missionaries who go to the Consulates in Boise and Salt Lake all were questioned, and sometimes they even deny people their visas. But in Vegas, they just take your picture and your finger prints and you are set in like 15 minutes. I didn't have to say a word, so that was really nice. But afterwards we had to wait in the airport for 4 hours, because we got done early, and to top it off, our flight was delayed an hour for some reason. 

Another cool thing that happened this week was when we walked onto the plane to Las Vegas on Friday. Elder Gibb turned to me and said, "that guy over there just took a picture of us". I didn't know which guy he was talking about, and I thought it was a little strange, but not too much, because while we were in Salt Lake people came up to talk to us about our missions all the time. But then I looked and saw that the "guy" who took a picture of us was actually my cousin Justin! It was really cool to be able to see him, and to talk with him a little bit after the plane ride. And then while we were waiting to board the plan going home, he bought some Bundt cakes for all of the missionaries that went to Vegas that day. It was super sweet! And the Bundt cakes were really good. 

Today was another P-day, so I got to go to the temple again today which was amazing. I am also getting a haircut in a few minutes, so we will see how that goes. Spanish is coming fairly well, and my lessons are getting better and better every day.

Elder Earl

Oh ya! I would like to thank Bro. Jones for sending me a Dear Elder this last week. It was really great! Thank you for taking the time to do that. It meant a lot.

guys in my District

Time flies here at the MTC February 15, 2014

Wow! another week has gone by here at the MTC. Time is very strange in the MTC. Everyday seems like a week long, and the whole week feels like a day. If you asked me what I did a specific day of the week, I couldn't tell you, because everything I have done has been mashed together into one long day. I feel like I just barely got here, but I also feel like I have been here for a couple years. A lot of stuff happened in the last week. I have given a few  lessons in Spanish. Each lesson gets a little bit better, but I am still quite a ways away from being able to give a good lesson in Spanish. But, I am getting there. Besides Spanish, I am also learning a whole bunch about how to effectively teach the Doctrine of Christ! Just yesterday, my district had a lesson from our new teacher Hermano Bartolomei. He really helped me see how to teach investigators needs, and not just teach them a lesson. 
The food here is pretty good. It is great for cafeteria food, but I can still tell it is cafeteria food. It tastes good, but I just want a nice home cooked meal. But everyone always says that the food here on West Campus is better than the food on the main campus. We don't have as many choices, but they don't have to make as much food, which allows them to pay more attention to the food here. I don't know if that is true, but it might be. Today for P-day, my district actually went out to eat at a place called Supreme Burger. It was pretty good to.
Gym time is also really cool here. The only choices that we have are Basketball, Volleyball, Foursquare, or just running for no reason. So, my companion and I usually play Basketball. I am a little over 6'3" and he is 6'2" so we do fairly well. And we are probably the tallest companionship that I have seen at the MTC. 
Today for P-day my zone got to go to the temple again. It was wonderful! But, one of the sisters in my district couldn't find her temple recommend, so her and her companion couldn't go today,which was really sad. I would absolutely hate not being able to go to the temple on P-day. Going to the Temple is my favorite part of the week.
This upcoming Sunday, TOMORROW! Elder Holland's son President Holland (He is the President of a University, I think that it is UVU) Is coming to speak to us. His talk is on the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I am super excited. And better yet, I am in the MTC choir that is singing "Praise to the Man" at the end of the Devotional. I love the Prophet Joseph Smith. I have been reading Joseph Smith History this last week, as well as his testimony at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, and my love for him My Savior Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Father grows with every verse I read. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that through him, the Priesthood authority of God, and the true church of Jesus Christ was restored onto this Earth. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon, and that the Book of Mormon truly contains the complete Doctrine of Christ, and that "a man can become closer to God by abiding by it's precepts than by any other book." Now I just need learn how to saw that in Spanish for my next lesson on Monday. Wish me luck!
Love, Elder Earl.

Hey.....I mean Hola February 8, 2014

Wow, a lot of things have happened in the last few days! I feel like I have literally been here for a few weeks, and it is only my fourth day. I have a lot to say, but I am not sure If I will remember all of it, but I will try my best. I got to the MTC on wednesday at around 12:30. I was so overwhelmed right when I got here. I was walking through all of these halls in the MTC and people were giving me stuff every couple seconds. I could barely carry it all. Luckily, I was able to see my friend and old roommate Matthew while I was checking in, because I don't think that I will see him for the rest of my time at the MTC, because after I received all of my supplies, I got on a bus and was shipped to a little placed called Wyview in West Campus. So, I am not actually staying at the main MTC building. Every missionary who is going to a Spanish speaking mission at the Provo MTC get's sent over to West campus, while everyone else stays at the main MTC campus. Right after I got to my room, I dropped of all of my luggage, and then I went to class. Didn't even have time to unpack. There I met my companion along with the rest of my district. My entire district is really awesome! my companion is from Dallas. His name is Elder Stensrud (stensrood). There are four elders in my district and four sisters. All of the elders are going to Saltillo with me, while the sisters are going to Pachuca Mexico. I have also met one sister in a different district who is going to Saltillo. My teacher is also extremely cool. His name is Bond, Hermano Bond. But he only speaks Spanish to us, so it can be a little frustrating. On the first day, we found out that we were teaching a lesson to an investigator on Friday! which was yesterday! and, it had to be all in Spanish! We only had two days to prepare, and Elder Stensrud and I barely got through it alive. But the worst part of the day was when we found out that we were teaching another lesson to our investigator on Saturday! which is today! giving us only one day to prepare a lesson in Spanish. And furthermore, we were told that we couldn't bring our notes in to help us with the Spanish. I am extremely overwhelmed all of the time, but I know that I will be able to cope with it all, especially when I get used to the schedule here. Luckily, our investigator is a little to white to be Felipe from Mexico. I was told by the other missionaries in my zone that we won't get real investigators until around our third week. I am also very thankful for gym time, because without it everyday, I am pretty sure that I would go insane. I also found out that Hermana Lybbert (Meg Lybbert) was in the branch at the MTC that I am in now. When I met my Branch Presidency, they asked me if I knew her, and when I said yes, then went on forever telling me about how good of a missionary she is and how high she set the bar for missionaries from Moses Lake. So that is just great. Today is my P-day, so I was able to go to the temple today and do my laundry. But truthfully, P-day is just as busy and overwhelming as any other day. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to the temple today with my zone. I can feel the Spirit everywhere here in the MTC, but in the temple, I was really able to feel the peace that the Spirit can bring to you. The importance of going on a mission, and sticking with it for the full two years has really hit me. It is amazing how much I have grown, and how much I still need to grow for this mission. It will be hard, but I know that the joys that a mission will bring to my life will make every hard time worth it, even if it seems that there are more hard times than food times.
Elder Earl