Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Talk to You Very Soon

Hey Mom I am going to keep this relatively short, so I have a lot more to say on Christmas. So I am sending a Christmas package home today! I hope it gets there by Christmas. I will call Christmas Eve to let you know when I will be calling for just a minute. Uhm invite my friends to come over. I will actually have little gifts and cards in the package for them. So if they want them they need to come get them lol! I just did not feel like sending out 5 differnt packages. It's just small stuff so just tell them on facebook.  They each have something. So let them know. Call them or something and let them know. And what else... Oh yeah Melissa will not be able to make it :( It sounds like we don't really have restricitons of phone calls so I will probably just be giving her a call. And I wil be able to talk to you all for a long time :)

 ... Oh before I forget - Elder Wilkey! He is related to Bladen!! He is Whitney (His wife's) cousin! Haha how cool is that! We talked about it for like a good hour lol Small world! I forgot Brandon told me that Whitney had a cousin in the same mission. Crazy right?? Don't tell him! Elder Wilkey is going to call them on Sunday and I am going to talk to him for a moment! Well Tell Nicole I am happy for her! And that is so exciting! I hope you all have a great Christmas! I am excited to talk to you all! :) You seriously have no idea! Make sure Greg has a good day! It's his first Christmas home! Seriously! Ahh.. I wish I could be home. Just for Christmas! Well I will give a quick ring on Saturday! Well I love you all so much! 

Love Mark! 

Talk to you all very soon! :) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First Week in the Bronx

Hello Everyone! Happy Hanukkah! :) 

So what's up? How is everything going this week? So The Bronx! Well it's the Bronx lol! Awesome place, so far -not Harlem though! We are having a little trouble getting the area started! I love my companion Elder Wilkey! Such a fun and awesome kid! We get along and can talk for hours! I get along with him, probably better than the rest of my comps so far! Such a fun loving kid. Only problem he is a little hard to get out the door. We are going to pick it up! I could really see that last night. He just needs someone to tell him "kay lets go!". But he is a way good missionary. So good with people! Very personable and loving! And just hilarious! He reminds me of my friends back home! And makes me miss them! So right now, really our only investigator that I have met is an older man named Jerry. Very nice/humble fellow he is! lol! But he is going to Florida for 6 months this weekend, so yeah. We are working from the ground up but I know we can do it. Plus on top of all that we do not know very many of the members. And his Spanish is not the best, and neither is mine lol! But I have been leading a lot, and he is the senior comp.  He is such a peoples person! But I think this is going to be a great way for us to learn! I am excited! We have already had a ton of laughs/good times together! :)

So I don't know if I told you last week, but Elder Kay is my District Leader and Elder Huerta is in my District. He has two more cycles so I will have ended up spending half of my mission by him when he leaves lol! So I am excited for that! Your relationship with someone is so much different when you are their companion. You have to make decisions together and be with each other 24/7. You just see it from another perspective when you take a step back and observe what it is that you are looking at. But most of the people here are Dominican! And I love Dominicans so it's going to be good.. Before my mission, I had no idea what or who they even were lol! I just thought all Spanish people were Mexican lol! (not really) Now I know better lol! Just never thought that I would meet black people who speak Spanish.. Well if you can call it Spanish. Half the time it sounds like rocks hitting cement lol! But it's fun to imitate and speak like them! Not your typical Spanish. 

So this cycle is goign to be good! Some Christmas miracles are going to be comign soon! I can feel that! And I know that! The Lord will bless us! This is his work, and I love what I am doing, and am so excited to fall in love with the people here! I am going to love it! My attitude this week is much better about the situation than it was last week! i have an awesome district and an amazing zone! It just feels right now! Looking back at last cycle in Harlem, it really was time for me to leave and move on. And move to the next stage in my mission and find those people here who are ready to accept the gospel! I am excited to see more come into it! Its true happiness! That is Christ! That is his nature! To make one happy! And what makes one happy? Love! Pure love! and that is the Gospel! That is the Atonement! That is the sacrifice and divine mercy of Christ! :) 

So today we went to Harlem today so I could go around and buy some things for Christmas! That city! That island and the people there mean so much to me! New York City means something completely different to me, then what it means to the 6 Billion other people in this world. The people there, are not the people the world believes them to be. It is not the place that the media and TV shows, and movies, and magazines tell us it is. It is a place where love is found and where good things happen. Yes there is a lot of bad. But the good shines through it! Just as the Lord promises it always will! We just have to be looking for it! I love the people on that small island! and I miss them! And that city, those people hold a special place in my heart that will never be taken away! I went back today and it just felt like home! It was nice! :) It was my first area in the mission, and I am excited to see what it prepared me for! :)} 

So yes mom I got the package - thank you so much! :) I started opening gifts yesterday! :) I got the CD and the stocking full of candy and toys! Thank you so much! :) I will be sending home Greg's gifts, and the small gifts I got for you all very soon! :) I am excited to call on Christmas as well! That I think will be the best gift of all! Is talking to my family! Well, that and celebrating and remembering the real meaning of Christmas! I read a talk in the Christmas Ensign today... I don't remember who it was by. But it talked about the Birth of Christ and the Atonement! It was so good! I just loved it! My goal this Christmas is to learn who Christ really is! 

So the Bronx is crazy! Bunch of drunks and poor people just like Harlem. But just like Harlem, it has the good! It's going to be tight getting to say I lived in the Bronx and in Harlem after I get home! haha! Not very many people can say that! and it actually means something! But yeah! 

So tell Aimee I said congrats about school! Good for her! I am happy for her! I have a letter for her and Stella! But I dont have their addresses if you could send them that would be awesome! :) And tell Trevor I say Hi! and g2ive him a huge hug for me! I miss that kid! I was just thinking about him the other day! 

So crazy to think Mckeon left a year ago! :( Miss him! But I am happy for him! :) Stinks he moved ya know?? :( But oh well! :) lol! I was just telling Elder Wilkey last night that it was about a year ago that I got my call! So weird! Remember it like it was yesterday! That was unforgettable for me and Jackson! Such a good night! 

Oh yeah, you and Dad both asked.. So yes we mostly tract here lol! Funny there is a Book of Mormon ad that says "Doorbells ring are you listening?" It's Christmas themed lol! I think it is funny!  But yeah like I said we don't really know a lot of the members yet. Wilkey has been here for 2 cycles but his former companion had a small group of members they visited. But a normal day..

6:30 punch my Alarm clock.
6:31-7 Tire myself out even more than what I already am  by working out with Elder Kroph (We live with Elder Kroph and Peterson. Elder Peterson came out with me. Kroph is from New Mexico. Peterson is from Snowflake Arizona)

7-8 Drink Protein shake, stuff my face (If we are lucky and have food) Wait for showers... Waiting continued... A little more. Okay now like 5 minute shower after everone else takes forever. During the waiting try to clean up the apartment a little. MOM I wash dishes! Amazing right???? We don't have a dishwasher either!! You won't believe it!
8-9 Try not to fall asleep while studying. Haha right now I am reading The Book of Mormon. And also reading a talk out of the Ensign each day. I am hoping to finish the Book of Mormon by Christmas. Then I want to read the New Testament. And Preach my Gospel after that. (most likely during companion study. Followed by the Book of Mormon in Spanish. And eventually the Old Testament. We will see what happens lol! 

9-10 companion study. Sing as an apartment, pray, read the White handbook. 5 pages. then share what we learned in Personal study. Then prepare lessons for the day and what and who we will teach. Go over plans from nigh before.

10-11. Language study- if we are lucky enough to get to it! :/ Seems like we never really do. Elder Wilkey and I decided we are going to make time for it! 

11-12 lunch! if we have any. By this point I am starving. If not we go out and get some :) 

12- all day! Teach lessons, teach of Christ! Contact and knock doors! Sometimes with other random things in between like we do things called blitzes were our Zone comes together and we focus on 1 missionary area and we all knock doors or contact people in that area. Then we have service too once a week! In Harlem we worked at a food shelter! That was fun! They would give us a bag of food to take home! They loved the missionaries! (Speaking of which a guy gave me a 5 dollar discount today because I was with the church when I was buying Greg his presents Gotta love people! They are too nice! :) ) But here we help at an old folks home and serve lunches and play pool with the old men! It's a neat thing we got going on! Oh and they feed us lunch! :) Then we also have Baptisms and other activites and meetings with the Ward/mission. It's all fun stuff! :) But I love teaching! It's fun! And more than that I think I just love getting to know people and finding out how the Gospel will help them! 

9-9:30 come home, plan... and play Bang! Or watch a church movie eat some more. write in my journal (or during personal study) Hang out, talk and then hit the hay at 10:30 And Elder Wilkey and I will talk for a little bit and then have good dreams! :) And Thats pretty much a day of my life in a nutshell.

Well that's about all I got for today! Actually no! Mom send me my Bank of America card when it arrives at home! I had to send it back home before I could get it! So please do that ASAP! Thanks so much! And also if you could get a cord to fix the N64 that would also be great... And the Hockey net... Please... Well I love you all! :) Take care and have a good week! Merry Christmas! :) 

Love, your crazy Son, brother, and Friend Mark! :) 

PS.. No I did not hear about freaking Pujols... that ticks me off... Ah! Domincans... lol! J.K. He is a good guy whatever reasons he did it for I am sure were the right ones! Love you all! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Moving to the Bronx

Hello everyone! So I am out :( I am way sad! I will probably keep this email really short because I was up really late packing after saying bye to a ton of people! I am sad, but happy! Elder Huerta Luna (his trainer) is in my District again! And Elder Kay (from the MTC) is my DL so in that regards it is good! Also my new companion Elder Wilki seems way cool! I can already tell we are going to get along! But yes I got the tree and the Package! Thank you so much! It means a lot! So tell everyone for now to just send mail to the mission office until I get you all the new address in the Bronx. I am serving in South Bronx. So yeah I am excited it will be a nice change I think! :)

But I will miss Harlem :( Haha I gave Hermana Munoz your number mom and she said she might call you lol! I was way emotional when I left. I was there for so long. And it was my first area. I think I cried everywhere I went lol! I just seriously love those people so much! I will tell you guys more when Icall this month! But yeah.. I was sad. When I heard Elder Torres say we were getting whitewashed  (having both missionaries leave) I thought he was joking.. But then he said seriously.. and I just went and cried.. I thought for sure I would be there for 1 more. President basically promised me.. But God's will will be done! And I felt comfortable with it. I have made so many friends there. Life long friends. I did not think it was possible to grow to love so many people in so little time. I was and am way sad. But excited for what is up ahead and who I will meet and who else I will get to spend time with, and grow and learn from them.
I learned and felt my testimony grow so much in the past 7 months. I have changed as a person for the better that is for sure! Elder Hellberg helped me get over the change and now all is running smoothly as it should. New York, and especially Manhattan holds a special place in my heart. The lights, the city, the noise, and especially the people I have grown to love! They are amazing! This city is amazing! I believe I look at New York 1000 times different than the majority of the world does! This truly is the greatest place on earth!
So Elder Hellberg just left! I gave him a hug and will see him soon! He is going to come back for when Angie and Anthony are sealed! So Anthony's Baptism was great! Elder Hellberg baptized him.. and I confirmed him a member of the Church! Talk about stressful.. But seriously the gift of tongues and guidance of the Holy Ghost are real. I felt them! It was an awesome experience! :) Crazy week this week! Really eventful. went from Elder Hellberg saying bye, to us having to go back again so I could say bye and Thank you! :)
Well thanks for the pictures. Dad is in my prayers. Sounds like he is working hard! and Mom just keep doing what you do! Because you are doing a great job at it! :) I am really tired this week and don't feel like writing a lot! I will fill you in more next week! Take care and God Bless! I have felt his hand in my life. And no matter what all the doubters, all the unbelievers, and all the persecuters may say,He is there. And he loves us. Keep him in your hearts, and don't be afraid to question. Because if we don't question there is no growth! :) I have felt that and I know that! Love you guys so much! Love you! Take care!
Love, Marky Mark!!