Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec 29th Christmas in the Mission field


Well... it was really great to talk to you all on Christmas :) it was kinda hard to talk in English as you all noticed... ha ha I don't know, I can still write in English but I am really struggling with the speaking it right now... but I don't have to worry about that for about a year... I am glad you all were there and that even though I couldn't be there the whole time with you, for an hour we got to be together and I had a good experience anyways and I hope you all did too :)
After we talked, we went and played volleyball and it is obvious that I haven't had any practice doing anything sporty for a while... but I can still touch a 10 foot rim so that is a little comforting... but it was still fun :) then my companion talked with his family on the phone because skype wasn't working... We missed some of the activities they did like the piñata and the dinner because he was kinda talking for a long time... I let him keep talking because he found out about something that had happened in his family and I felt like he needed a little more time... he found out that his sister had been kidnapped in February and that they later found a body and had a funeral and everything... and they hadn't even told him..... I couldn't find it in me to make him end the call... that is a lot to take in... I feel really bad for him.... well anyways.... it's kind of a long story and so I will just leave it there. 
 
While he was talking they ate and had some activity but I don't really know what they were doing.... but it sounded fun. Then after that we watched How to Train Your Dragon 2! I thought I would have to wait until I got home to see it! but I got to watch it early but in Spanish :) it is pretty good but I still plan on watching it when I get home :)
Well what we did on Christmas was just go to an investigators house to teach and then when we were leaving... They invited us to eat a bowl of soup. It is called Posole and it was pretty good. Then we got to the house and  our neighbor that is a member brought us some beans and carne asada that was also very good :) but we kinda just were there in the house eating and stuff... but I did really enjoy it :) it was a little weird to be honest... like different but it was still a good experience :)
This week we did get someone to come to church with us! And a member brought a friend so there were two new people there! It was good :) we set up an appointment with the one that came with her friend and we are going to visit her this week and we are going to keep on visiting Anatolio, he is the guy that came with us :) We didn't teach as many lessons this week because we were trying to find a lot of people because we were leaving the investigators that aren't progressing.  
 
We had a Noche de Hogar in the ward and it was fun because we played telephone to introduce the topic of "La Apostasía." I thought that they would be able to successfully pass the frase "necesitamos tener fe en Jesucristo" but we ended up with "Jesucristo.... no sé que" so it is quite easy to see how big a problem apostasy can be ;) but the activity was pretty good and I think the members enjoyed it although not very many showed up...  we are trying to get the ward excited because right now they aren't helping us and aren't very willing to do anything but we will see what we can do :)
Well that is all I've got for you right now... but I will send some pictures of my Christmas!!! ;) it looks like you are all having a great time there at the homecoming! Tell Lizzie "hola" for me :) 
 
I love you all and hope you have a great new year! :)
-Elder Sampson :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 15th Transfers...Got a New Companion

Hey! algo loco está pasando ahorita... ¡Tuvimos cambios ya! Elder Porter se fue y me dejó aquí en Morelos B... que triste... apenas tengo 5 semanas de conocerle y ya está en otro área... Todavía no sé quien sea mi compañero... es de Bolivia o algo así pero no sé su nombre ni nada porque no entendí lo que dijo mi líder de distrito  pero va a llegar más a rato como las seis o siete más o menos...

So ya, we had transfers... and just before Christmas too... Well this last week it was a little bit of a disappointment because Mari didn't come to church... She went to buy the stuff for her "restaurant" and didn't have anyone to help her so... she didn't show up :/ we will have to put another baptismal date with her... and nobody else showed up either... investigators that is. So that was a little sad... But this last week was good because we found some new investigators that I think have some pretty good potential so we will see what happens with them :) that girl that went to the activity wasn't home when we went to the appointment we set with her but we did talk to her dad and he's a good guy, he accepted another visit from us and a Book of Mormon and said he would read it so we will see how it goes.

This week we had a Noche de Hogar in the ward but it was Christmas themed so every organization put on a little show for everyone and it was pretty fun. We, the missionaries, also did a little show... ;) we acted out "a Christmas in the Mission" with sock puppets and everything so it was pretty funny :) unfortunately I don't have the video of it but I can assure you that there are some pretty funny parts in it ;)

Anyways,   I don't really know what else to tell you... oh... We set up the Christmas tree! with lights and ornaments and everything! I was going to send a picture but I don't have my camera with me so I will have to do that next week... I also got a package... but not from you mom, actually it is from Ashley's parents... How great is that!? it had some presents and a stocking so the tree also has presents under it and the stocking is on the wall behind it! it is great :) but no, your packages have not arrived.

Well that's all I've got this week, I will let you know who my new companion is and all that good stuff next week and by the way, I am not going to write on Monday but on Christmas because that is going to be our p-day so I don't know if I will really write much or anything but it's just a heads up :) Well I love you all very much and we won't be in contact until Christmas:)
 
-Elder Sampson

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dec 8th Christmas Devotional

Well, hello everyone!
We only had one investigator at church this week... but there is no reason to complain because she is great! It is the lady with "cancer." Her name is Mari and she found out that she actually doesn't have cancer... one doctor said that she did and then later she went and had some tests done and they said that it isn't cancer just a sore (probably an ulcer or something) in her intestines. Well that, I would say, is a lot better than cancer don't you think? I do! so anyways, she totally came to church and is really excited for her baptismal date and all that good stuff. She told us that she talked to her "husband" (they aren't married) and he said that if she gets baptized they would separate and he would leave her... and she basically said  "Ok well if you think that's what you want to do, go ahead, you are an adult and can make your own decisions." Wow... that for me is a ton of faith... we talked a little bit about the law of chastity (we hadn't gotten to that part yet) and informed her that she wouldn't be able to get baptized if she was living with someone that she isn't married to but it isn't much of a problem in this case...
Anyways... We got to go to the Christmas devotional if we took an investigator and we were looking and inviting and looking and inviting but we couldn't find anyone... Luckily the other elders in the ward had a reference to pass us of an investigator in our area that had gone to a mutual activity on Saturday and said she would go to the devotional :) We got to go and meet our new investigator and now we have an appointment to teach her and her family! We will see how it goes :) and we totally got to go to the devotional! It was great wasn't it? I really liked all the stories they shared about examples of how we should live and how we can bring joy into the lives of others through service and giving of our time and attention to the people that really need it, and we all know that everyone needs it so we can confidently share those things with everyone and try to show our thanks to God for the wonderful gift He gave us when he gave us His Son. 
 
I don't know if you have all heard about the campaign the church is doing (you probably have) of (well in Spanish it's "Él es la Dádiva") He is the Gift. It is really great and it is a video that helps us realize how blessed we are to have received Christ as the first Christmas present and what this whole season is all about :) Our Heavenly Father gave us the gift of a Redeemer, someone that can help us achieve eternal life, all we have to do is accept Him, have faith in Him, love Him, and obey Him. Even though we have so many sins and mistakes and defects, he can cleanse us and make us pure, all we have to do is follow Him. I hope that we can all keep in mind this truly amazing Gift that God has given us and do all we can to change and become more like Him.
Elder Sampson's new home

I love you all and hope you have a great week! :)
-Elder Sampson




Monday, December 1, 2014

Dec. 1st Having A Little Fun While Serving


So a little bit about this week... we went to Xicotencatl! How crazy is that name huh? Everyone says Xico (hee-ko). Xico is a little town like an hour away from Mante and it is one of the areas in the zone, we went there to do a service project as a district and then I stayed there in companion exchanges with Elder Arizmendi. The service we did was clean up the yard of a sister from the ward there. We "mowed" the "lawn" with machetes and cut some big trees down and it was a lot of fun :) I kinda have some mad skills with a machete ;) the sister has a lemon tree and a bunch of lemons had fallen to the ground so some one would throw me a lemon and I would cut it in half with a machete! How cool is that?! but don't worry, I wasn't goofing around very much, but we did have a little fun as we worked :) I haven't done much hard physical work with my hands for a while so I got a few blisters but it's all good :)

We only had one investigator show up at church so a few baptisms fell through which is disappointing but I am sure that one of the people that had a date that fell through is going to get baptized because she really has a desire to follow the Savior's example and also she wants to set the example for her whole family. She is the person who kinda runs her home and so it would help the others there to start taking an interest and be a good influence on them. The sad thing about the story is that she has a tumor and hasn't been feeling that great, well she was feeling better the last time we talked to her but she didn't show up at church so we are going to see how she is. She has been struggling a lot but has so much faith and really a strong determination to do what is right and it is really great to see that, she is really a great lady and I hope we will be able to help her get baptized soon because that really is her wish.

About thanksgiving, yes I knew it was thanksgiving because of the family calender I have :) and my comp wouldn't listen to Christmas music until after that day so I kinda had it all in mind but now we are listening to Christmas music and in the house there is a Christmas tree we are going to set up :) ha ha actually, yesterday we helped a less-active family set up their Christmas tree... it was funny :) but anyways, random acts of service are great :)

Mom I haven't gotten any of those packages yet, I don't know if I will soon or not but it is going to take longer than normal because I am not so close to the offices so they will only make it out to me when someone from there comes over here... but it's all good, they will show up sometime :)

Well we are going to keep on working here, there are plenty of things to do in this area, we just have to work on them all effectively and it will all work out alright :) I love you all :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nov. 24th Always Improving

Hey everybody, 
I don't know if it is as strange to you as it is to me but Christmas is in a month!!! I kinda just realized that as I was typing the date up there at the top but wow... the time goes by so fast! Oh, and I will actually be writing on Monday (today) this week because we didn't have anything else come up :) Well a little about the people we have been teaching.

The older couple we have been teaching weren't able to make it this week because the husband wasn't feeling good and the wife, like I think I already might have said but I'm not sure, doesn't have the use of her legs and is in a wheelchair and can't really get to church by herself. We thought they would be able to make it because they have a car but the husband, like I said wasn't feeling good, but the good news is that they really wanted to come and so this week we are going to find someone that can help them get there because they kinda have to carry the lady at least a little bit and the man has back problems or something like that, but they were really happy when we told them we would find someone to help them because the lady was upset that she wasn't able to make it... she has been through a lot these past couple years and is pretty sad about all that... I feel bad for her, but that is why we teach them the Gospel, because that is what is going to bring them happiness even with all the problems they may have. Right now we are teaching them about el Plan de Salvación and I know that it will help them a lot. We have also been teaching their granddaughter because she lives there with them. She is about 30 years old and has two little girls. She is always interested in what we have to say and all that but isn't as willing to accept a baptismal date or go to church, but we know that she is hiding something from us and is kinda struggling right now, but as we have been teaching them leccion 2 she has been very attentive and I believe that what she is going through has to do with a loss of some sort and I know that she is going to find a lot of hope and peace as she learns more about the Plan that God has for all of us.

Well, with Alexandra... we still haven't been able to find her... so we will keep looking.... 
We had exchanges this last week and the elder that came to our area and my comp found a new investigator and yesterday we went to teach him and I got to meet him. He is pretty great, he is very interested and had been reading the Book of Mormon. He had a few doubts but we helped clear them up and I think he will have some really great progress this week but we will see how it goes :)

Well, I had an interesting experience this week with contacting... I can't lie and say that I am contacting all the time or talking with everyone but I have been improving... and well I have found that if I really make the effort even if I am really bad at it, the Lord will bless me for my efforts. Before I was contacting but only kinda halfheartedly because it is something that is against my nature and I kinda only did it if we were already out talking to someone, but as I put my trust in the Lord and was looking for the opportunity to talk to someone and then just going up to someone to talk to them about the gospel I found that we had a lot more success finding people interested in our message and they wanted to hear more... I am sure you are all kinda thinking " what the heck, he already has like 9 months out there and is barely figuring that out?" but hey... I am far from perfect and I have a lot to learn but I am thankful for the help of the Lord and that I know that if I do my part he will do His. We can always trust in Him because He can't lie and has the power to fulfill his promises. I am grateful to have Him with me to make up for all that I lack so I can at least help a few of his children make it back to him. I have a testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He atoned for our sins, and that is what I am here to share.

I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week!

-Elder Sampson

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov. 18 3 Investigators at Church

Hola!
Well this week was pretty good, I am learning to talk even more! haha with all my other companions, they were always the person that spoke more because they knew Spanish better and like to talk more than I did (I´m not saying that I didn't talk and teach and stuff like that, it's just that my companions usually did a little more) but now, with Elder Porter I get to talk a lot more :) ha ha, he doesn't like to talk all that much... he is already pretty good at Spanish but he isn't much of a talker :) he teaches and all that but now I do a lot more talking :) it's all good,  I can learn even more! Elder Porter es muy tranquilo :) he does like to work and we get along pretty well :)
The members here are great :) the bishop has randomly brought us dinner twice and his whole family is great. There are several families that live here in our area and we are going to work on getting them all involved :)
Well it was good, this Sunday we had 3 investigators in church, one of them is the father of 3 recent converts and the other two are an older couple. The dad of the recent converts is really interested in the church and has a lot of questions but he is willing to progress, also his wife (whom I still haven't met) is really excited and said that she wants to be the next baptism in the ward (she said that at the baptism of her three sons like 3 weeks ago I think) at least that is what my comp told me. The only problem is that she is working like all the time! 
 
The elderly couple are pretty interested as well, they were listening to the missionaries in a different area three years ago but moved and lost contact but now we are visiting them and we had a really great lesson with them last night about the Restoration and everything was perfect(or almost)... until the wife, Maria, says " I have an experience I want to share with you" then she started to rattle off about something that happened to her in the hospital like 5 years ago and she didn't want to stop talking about it... it was an interesting story put the Spirit left and so it didn't help all that much. That was right at the end so it didn't like ruin the lesson or anything but we did want to leave the Spirit with them so they could just think about what we taught and gain testimonies through the presence of the Spirit but it just didn't work out that way... ha ha oh well, we'll get 'em with it next time :)
We weren't able to teach Alexandra because we weren't able to find her all week which was rather disappointing but we will see if we can teach her this week because I feel like she has some real potential.
Ha ha funny story, all the "guerros" that got here with me, the ones that were with me in the MTC are all here in this Zone, it was a little crazy when I found out(at least to me) but it's all good :)
Surprisingly enough it has been pretty cold here... and although the temperature isn't super low or anything, it still feels cold... The house we live in is really small and I don't think we have a boiler so sometimes in the morning it is a nice (freezing) cold shower ;)
Well that's all I've got for this week, I hope you are all quite well and that you all have a great week :) Love you all :)
-Elder Sampson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nov. 11th New Area, New Companion

Hola todos!
 
Pues, estoy escribiendo hoy porque ayer tuvimos cambios! ¿que loco no? ahora estoy con mi primer compañero que también es gringo! que raro... no hemos hablado en inglés todavía... quien sabe si vamos a hacerlo o no? Mi nuevo compañero es Elder Porter, es de Hurrican ( creo que se escribe así) y apenas terminó su entrenamiento y ya habla bien el español y es muy bueno. Mi nueva área es Ciudad Mante en el barrio Morelos. Aquí hay 4 misioneros. no es muy cuidad aquí es como un vecindario pero definitivamente más fresa que Anáhuac... jaja. 
 
Translation:
Well I am writing today because yesterday we had changes!  How crazy right? Now I am with my first companion that is also a gringo! How strange....and we still haven't spoken in English...who knows if we are going to do it or not?  My new companion is Elder Porter, he is from Hurricane and he just finished his training and now speaks Spanish well and is really great.  My new area is Ciudad Mante in the Morelos ward.  Here there are 4 missionaries.  It's not really a city here it is more like a suburb but is definitely more posh than Anáhuac...ha ha
 
So ya, here the streets are paved and all that and the houses are nicer and I am pretty sure there aren't any problems with having water here. And I didn't write yesterday because we didn't get here until the evening and they had appointments so we went out to teach, this area has some great potential. We went to the house of an investigator that they hadn't talked to in a month because they hadn't been able to find her and it turns out that she was reading the Bible and had a question and then later read in the Book of Mormon and found the answer to the question and she, all by herself, said that she was in the wrong church and then was asking about how to become a member of the church and how to accept Christ in her life and we obviously explained a little about baptism and the confirmation. We have an appointment with her on Saturday so we will see how it goes, her name is Alexandra.
 
About the last week in Anáhuac... well it really wasn't a very good week, my companion was kinda dying... he is really great and all, but he was kinda down and he just didn't want to work very much and it was already hard enough with how the area is that we didn't have much success. Don't worry, I made sure we worked and stuff but it just wasn't very effective... they actually closed the area and now there are only two missionaries there because we really didn't have much support from the members and stuff like that. But last couple weeks we were having family home evenings to animate (he means get the members excited) the members and those were starting to work out so I hope they can keep working with that so the branch can get back into gear and they can put another pair of missionaries there.
 
A good experience that we did have with the FHE that we had with the branch president and his family, well at least it was something really cool that I learned, was that Christ gave his life for us because He knows our potential, He was willing to give his life because he knew it would give us the chance to someday become like our Heavenly Father. He knew that some wouldn't take the chance but even then he was willing to give it to them. All we have to do now is take advantage of the opportunity that The Savior has so lovingly given us and make sure that He will be proud of the things we do and that he will know that we truly love Him because of the choices we make. I know that our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ love us and that They have prepared a way for us to return to them and become like them and have eternal happiness.
 
Well, that's about all the time I have for this week, I hope all is well at home and that you enjoy my email :) Keep on keepin' on! haha. I love you all :)
 
-Elder Sampson

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nov 3rd Some great things happened this week

Oh my... it's already November...

Well honestly, Halloween is kinda weird here... they don't really celebrate it... we were walking down the street at like 6:40 and everything was all dark when I actually realized that it was Halloween... Ha ha the only people that "celebrate" Halloween here are the little kids that went around in little groups chanting "¡queremos Halloween! ¡queremos Halloween!" it was kinda funny :) The people here do celebrate el Día de los Muertos which is actually two days the 1st and 2nd of November and they just all go to the cemetery to hang out, like alllllll day even late into the night, it's crazy.

Some great things that happened this week :) We have been teaching two of the friends of Angie (a resent convert) Miriam and Nayeli. With Miriam, it is a little hard to teach because she says that she doesn't understand what the scriptures say or if she does understand it doesn't stick for very long... at least that's what she says. But what happened yesterday was really great. We showed up in the stake center for Stake Conference not expecting to find any of our investigators but as we walk in, we see Angie with Miriam! How crazy is that?! We hadn't even invited her because we hadn't seen her all week but Angie had invited her. But later Angie told us that Miriam had gone to Angie's house at 7 in the morning to wake here up so they wouldn't be late, and it didn't even start until 10. It was really great to have that experience :)
Now a little about Nayeli. She is a little easier to teach and really thinks about what we are saying so that is really great. What was good that happened with her this week is that she talked to her mom about going to church (they are Catholics and her mom was kinda en contra de nosotros...) and her mom said she could! She is also reading her scriptures and so we feel like she is really progressing. In one of the lessons she asked us about la virgin... and what we believe about her. Elder Cortez and I tried explaining it to her but we didn't do a very good job because she was still a little unsure about it all but luckily we had a member with us because she totally saved the day. She says to us "Elders, let me explain it to her." Well that's perfect! so we say " Go for it!" and she explains it all really well and Nayeli understands perfectly and accepts it! It was a really great experience and it was cool because we weren't even going to take this member with us, we were going to take Angie but she wasn't home so we went next door and asked the daughter of the ex-president of the branch to go with us. I am sure it wasn't luck that things turned out that way... it was really great to see this little miracle that helped Nayeli to learn a little bit more :)

Also, a little boost that I had in the Stake Conference was that I am still in the stake of my first area so I got to see a lot of the members and they were all really great and some were pretty excited to see me and I got to see a recent convert that I started teaching but left before he got baptized (his name is Juan Manuel). It was a good experience and helped me feel better about the work I am doing and that although it is hard and a lot of the time I don't see much success, what I am doing has at least a little bit of an effect in the lives of some and helps them find a little more happiness. I felt the love of our Lord through the kindness of these members and I am glad to have had the chance to see them again :)

I hope that you all have a very amazing week and I love you all :)

-Elder Sampson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oct. 14th Fuimos al Templo

Hola!

Discúlpame mamá por favor, es que la semana pasada olvidé decirles que íbamos a ir al Templo esta semana.... y no podemos ir el lunes porque está cerrado entonces... cambiamos p-day al martes... pero no se preocupen! todo está muy bien! :) y pues, tuve una experiencia muy buena en el Templo entonces estoy muy feliz :)

I made a short little recording this week  that talks about what we are going to do this week, forgive me if you don't speak Spanish because I have been struggling with my English and it was easier to make it in Spanish... I don't know why it is still easier to write in English, but talking has become easier in Spanish... I think that is a good thing :) I still have plenty to learn but it is coming along quite well :)
(For those who don't speak Spanish I will just tell you the just of what he talked about in his recording....He told how they went to the temple on Tuesday because it is closed on Mondays so they switched their pday. He shared what a great experience it was and that they got to be in the Celestial room for awhile and could feel peace and tranquility.  He also talked about that the investigators they have are not really progressing and doing their part so they need to move on and find a lot more new investigators.  So that is what they are going to focus on this week.  That's basically what it said.)

A little bit about Francisco, unfortunately he wasn't able to come this week because his leg is in a lot of pain right now and it was raining pretty good and his vision is really bad so... there were a whole lot of things working against us but he really did want to come with us and I am sure he will come this week :) he is still really interested in what we have to teach and wants to learn. He always says such great prayers.

A little bit about what is going on there. Charles it's good that you have work, I never thought of you as a waiter but I am sure you are doing great! :) I am a little glad I wasn't there for the potatoes... ;) but I don't know what I am going to do without my annual workout... The people here say that I have gained a little weight (I thought I had lost some but who knows?) so maybe it would've been good if I participated in that... Lauren, what is going on with all the boys? are you going to pick one and marry him or what? ;) did you get the Facebook message from Edwin? ;) he is the branch mission leader and just got back from his mission like a year ago, You can come down here and meet him if you want ;) you've gotta tell Claire she can't just skip classes like that ;) it would be pretty cool to learn about that stuff... :) Dad, I am getting to experience what it is like to be choir director a little bit, they don't have me do it in sacrament meeting but in other classes and meetings we have they almost always pick me to lead the music... The people here have some pretty interesting ways of singing the hymns... and it would really help to have someone that plays the piano really well (mom, you don't have to comment on that last part, I already know what you are thinking... ;) ) to help them learn what the notes and tunes really are...
This is home sweet home for Elder Sampson
Bueno, eso es todo lo que tengo para ustedes esta semana pero les amo muchísimo y espero lo mejor para cada uno de ustedes esta semana :) Disfruten la grabación!

-Elder Sampson

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6th Very Touching Experience

Hey!

Wow... it's crazy to me that it is already October... That's right I just went to my second General Conference in the mission... And it was pretty dang awesome... and in Spanish :) I thought it was really cool how much they talked about having a real and strong testimony, also how much they testified of the current prophet as well as Joseph Smith. Also learned some really great things that I believe are going to help me be a better missionary or improve my manner of teaching which I am really excited for because it will help the people I teach grow closer to Christ. Unfortunately we didn't have any investigators in any of the sessions and I am kinda beating myself up a little about that but I will explain that a little later on...

My companion is pretty good. He works hard although he isn't the hardest worker around but it's all good, we do the work we can. I am going to send some pictures of us next week. He is pretty serious, but has really opened up with me, and we get along great. Something interesting he told me is that I am one of the happiest missionaries he knows... I thought that was weird because a lot of people think I am very serious, at least at first but here I think I have kinda changed a little and am less reserved with the people I don't know, but... who knows?

This area... well, the area is fine and the people are great, but I was kinda hoping to change areas because I want to get to know other areas of the mission, I have been in this same stake my whole mission and I want to see other parts but it's all good, I know I will have the chance sooner or later and I am just fine working here :)

Yes the branch mission leader is helping and also his dad has been helping. We are going to see what we can do to get all the members involved in the work.

About not having investigators in the church... well this week I was trying to take Elder Cortez around so he can meet all the people I know and get to know the members and investigators. I had in mind to go visit Francisco  but I kept saving it for he next day and the next day (lesson about not procrastinating) and the next thing I knew I was sitting in the Sunday afternoon session at the end and thinking "ah crap! we never went to visit Francisco!" (pardon my strong language ;) ). I felt pretty bad about that... so when the conference ended we went and visited him. When we got there he was like "Oh, I was waiting for you guys to visit me all week to see if we were going to go to the church this week" that's right, sucker-punch to the face... I felt so bad and well at the end of the lesson we asked if we could have a prayer and my companion said he would say it and then Francisco said "well you can do one then I will do one" we thought... " well that's great" :) so when my companion finished his prayer Francisco starts his... He thanked our Heavenly Father that we had come to teach him again and that God had answered his prayer that we would come again. He was so sincere and loving in his prayer and I felt so warm and happy inside  that I cried a little... and right now as I am writing this and remembering that experience I am holding back my tears because I feel that it would be really weird if the people here in this cyber saw me crying right here at the computer for no apparent reason... wow that was weird... Anyways, Francisco has shared a Christ-like love so strong and sincere desire to follow our Savior that I believe it has effected my whole soul... wow... I don't think these words can express how I feel... but it is such a great feeling... and again I am trying not to cry... wow :')

Well that's all I have time to write this week I hope you all enjoy it and that you all learned really great things in the conference :) I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

-Elder Sampson

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sep. 29th Finally! Investigator came to Church!!!!

Hello...

We didn't have investigators in the chapel... BUT! we did have AN investigator! ¡¡¡Por FIN!!!  We finally had an investigator in the church :) a good way to end the cambio :) This week we really didn't have very many lessons, but a lot of lessons aren't good for anything if the people don't do anything and don't come to church so I am satisfied with the work we did, we really focused on the people and it helped them have a little change in their lives. We saw small changes in the way the people listened to us and how they responded and little by little I think they are changing for the better.

A little bit about the investigator that came to church this week. His name is Francisco Hernandez and about 14 years ago he met the missionaries and was going to church with them and all that good stuff but then the missionaries got transferred or something and he lost contact with the church. This week the elders in the other side of the branch contacted him in the street then gave us his address and we went by to visit him. He really liked that we went by to visit him and that we could teach him, he is going to una iglesia adventista ( I can't remember how to say that correctly in English right now) but wants to know why there are so many churches and which one is the church of God, we figured we could help him with that ;) so we invited him to church and all that and he came!
It was really great to see someone actually do something they said they were going to do!
Well that was good... I hope we will start having more success here :)

Oh by the way, I am still here in Anahuac, I am now with Elder Cortez, un chaparro de El Salvador... interesting isn't it? I was just here with one of those... :) he also has the same amount of time in the mission as Elder Escobar, They got here at the same time, how crazy is that? I don't know, I think it is kinda crazy... but anyways, we will see what we can do here and try to have a great cambio! Well that is about all I have got for now, I will see if I can make a recording or take some photos or something but for now...  I love you all and have a great week :)

-Elder Sampson 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sep. 22nd We have a Branch Mission Leader finally!

Hey y'all!

Well we had another disappointing week with investigators in the chapel... that's right... another week with nobody.... That makes 9 weeks in a row. I feel bad for the people that are missing out on all these blessings the Lord is just waiting to give them but I can't make them show up so I don't know how to help them. But I actually feel worse for my companion. This whole thing has been really hard on him... He actually cried yesterday because he felt so bad for the people and that they were missing out and not coming to church. Also he feels like a failure because with so much time in the mission, people expect him to have a lot of success and stuff like that and he expects it as well and really wants it and feels bad because it just hasn't happened. He says that all of this has been teaching him humility. I want to be able to help him not be so down, but I think the only thing that will help him with that is having people in the church.... anyways, that is a lot of what has been going on since yesterday.

Actually, I have some good news about yesterday. We finally have a branch mission leader! We haven't had one this whole time and that means it is kinda hard to work well with the branch. But now we have one, he is a recently returned missionary so he knows how all the mission stuff works so hopefully we will be able to have some success.

I made a recording that is in three parts that I will send (it is all in Spanish by the way so I hope you can understand or at least have someone tell you what it says, I don't know, it is getting kinda hard to talk in English sometimes...). In it I talk about someone that we were going to visit on Saturday but just to let you know he wasn't there when we went because he had work, just so you know what's going on with him. We are going to look for him this week and see how things work out.

This week was a little better than the past couple that we have had but by way of people in the church it was the same... I am really hoping the work this week pays off and we will get to see some of the fruit of the labor start to appear. Not only for the people here but for my companion and I.  It has been a little hard on us.

I am so sorry about Claudette.  I don't really know what to say about all that happened. I am with mom on this whole death thing... it would be good if it just took a break for a long while... I don't know, it seems that so much has happened at home since I have been in the mission and it will be weird when I get back, not that that is anytime soon but still...

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week and all that good stuff :) You are all very amazing people and I am blessed to have you in my life :)

-Elder Sampson

PS I am going to invite you all to guess what it is that we ate with some of the members ;)
PSS
If you couldn't tell what they are... they are chapolines! (they are like grasshoppers :) ) We ate a bunch of those fried in tacos :) they are actually pretty " tasty;)"  go very well with a little salsa lemon and salt; and have a nice crunch :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sep 8th Él escribe en Español

Hola todos! :) 

La conferencia de Zona fue bien padre la verdad! Presidente nos enseñó mucho del bautismo y como podemos ayudar a las personas a entender la importancia de este convenio. 

Un poco acerca de Alejandra, pues ella todavía tiene interés y todo pero casi nunca esta y es muy difícil encontrarla entonces no hemos tenido mucho éxito con ayudándola a progresar y no ha asistido.  

Esas dos hermanas, Mari y Gladis han escuchado y todo pero otra vez no vivieron a la capilla entonces no hemos visto progreso con ellas tampoco pero vamos a seguir tratando de ayudarlas.  

Un experiencia que tuvimos que fue buena pero no increíble fue con un hermano que se llama Francisco.  Al principio él no quería recibirnos en su casa ni nada pero después nos permitió entrar y enseñamos a él. La próxima vez que fuimos, le encontramos leyendo el Libro de mormón que dejamos y todo fue muy bueno eso. El único problema  él tiene es su trabajo. Pero, él estaba pensando en cambiarlo para poder asistir.  él nos dijo, " espérenme un poquito, me gusta todo eso pero necesito un poco de tiempo." El problema es que no quiero esperar pero es lo que me toca entonces voy a hacerlo... :)

 No se preocupen por el agua, siempre podemos encontrarla, viene y se va pero no es un problema muy grave, solo me molesta un poco.

No sé, quise escribir este correo en Español :) La verdad, tardo un poco en escribir en español entonces quizás es corto pero espero que les gusten :)

Les amo a todos ustedes mucho! Tengan una buena semana :)

-Élder Sampson
 
Translation for non Spanish speakers
 
The Zone Conference was in truth really great! President taught us a lot about baptism and how we can help the people understand the importance of this covenant.

A little bit about Alejandra, well she still is interested and all but she is almost never there and is very difficult to find her so we haven't had much success with helping her progress and she hasn't come to church.

Then there's the two sisters, Mari and Gladys, they listen and all but once again they did not come to church so we haven't seen progress with them either but we're going to continue trying to help them.

An experience that we had that was good but not incredible was with a brother named Francisco.  At the beginning he did not want to have us come in his house or anything but then he let us come in and teach him.  The next time we went we found him reading the Book of Mormon that we left and he was really great with all of it.  The only problem that he has is his work.  But he is thinking about changing it so he could attend.  He told us..."Be patient with me a little bit, I like all of this but I need a little time."  The problem is that I don't want to wait but if that's what I have to do then I will do it...:)

Don't worry about the water, we can always find some, it comes and goes but it's not a big deal,  it only bugs me a little.

I don't know, I just wanted to write this email in Spanish:)  In truth I'm a little slow at writing in Spanish that's why it's short but I hope you enjoyed it :)  

I love you all very much!  Have a great week :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sep 1st Doing all that we can

Hola todos! Como están? bien? Bien bien :)

Well I feel like we have been cursed with the worst church assistance ever... We have gone a whole cambio without investigators... I don't understand them... we invite them to come, they say they will, we send messages to remind them, we call them, we pass by their houses but they just won't come even though at least ten promised they would... it is really weird to us but oh well there isn't anything we can do but just keep working. We taught more lessons, contacted more in the street, taught the members to work with us and everything else we could think of but they still don't come...

That family I talked about is doing pretty well, there are these two sisters and they listen and have good questions and everything and they say they will come to church, the only problem is that they don't show up...

We are finding a lot of new people all the time but we still haven't found the people that will make the effort. We teach all the people how important it is to go to church but they just don't seem to understand that they need to actually do it...

Alejandra is still interested but she still hasn't come to church, this week it might be that her kids were sick but we will find out what happened there.

We don't have water right now... it came back for a little during the week but then ran out again... we shower with buckets that we fill with water from a tank the neighbor has and we actually went to the house of the recently released branch president to wash our clothes today because they have some pretty big tanks of water and a washing machine so that was fun :) it isn't too bad, it is just a pain to wash the dishes so we end up eating things that don 't require them like crackers and such :)

Well that's about all I've got for now, we are going to keep working hard this week and see if we can have some more success with the investigators. Tomorrow we have a zone conference so that should be great :) I love you all and have a great week! :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25th Pray for our Investigators


Hey everybody!                   

Guess what! we don't have any water :) the plumbing here isn't very reliable and normally we have a tank with water to hold  us over if there isn't any water in the system, but that is empty too :) ha ha it's great to be in Anahuac!

Anyways this week and people in the church... once again no investigators came... a little bit of a disappointment there... but we did go with one of the investigators and she told us she was going to come  but she didn't wake up until 10:30 she does have a pretty good excuse for that and I felt that she sincerely wanted to come and I am sure she will be there next week :)

We found an investigator with a lot of potential this week it was pretty great :) We were walking down the street and saw some people cleaning up some garbage in front of their house so we went and helped them and then we were talking to them afterwards and it went really well. Well the mom left when we started talking but we were talking to Alejandra and she had a lot of questions about doctrine and such and we were answering them all and she was really interested and she asked us what she needed to do to get baptized and so we are excited to see how things go with her :)

Well that is about all I have for this week I hope you are all doing great and that this week goes very well for you all.  Please pray for our investigators so they can progress and come to church :)
Love Y'all!! :)

-Elder Sampson

Here is a picture of my swollen finger and a street of oyster shells.  Oh and my finger is back to normal now, it only took like 4 days... :)




Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18th Staying in Anahuac

Hello everyone!

Just so you know... we had cambios this week and I will be spending another 6 weeks here in Anahuac with Elder Escobar. It's all good because the rain is about to start and instead of being blazing hot all the time it will be raining and muddy and just a ton of fun :) I just hope we will be able to have a little more success here with getting the people to church because we had another killer week with 0 investigators at church...

A word to the wise... if you notice a big flying bug and don't know what it is... don't grab it! haha sounds like common sense, I know, but this morning we were outside and I noticed a bug and I thought it was a mosquito and so I grabbed it out of reflex and well it turns out it was a wasp... it totally stung my finger and it's all swollen... This wasn't an ordinary wasp though, it was about an inch or so long... you can imagine how that felt... great! :)

Well anyways enough with that little story, I also made a mop out of a stick, some old pants and some rope because the other mop we had didn't work very well. :)

Well a little bit about the investigators. We have started teaching a family, but we teach each person separately because they are all grown ups and have their own houses and such but  they all live right next to each other. They all have desires to change because they have had problems with alcohol and stuff and even though they all live right there they don't talk because something happened between them a while back or something. We are going to teach them and help them change and resolve whatever problems they have between themselves :). and we are going to help them, well I mean the Gospel is going to help them because we are just two young men and alone we can't really do anything to help but the teachings of Jesus Christ have the power to change anyone and solve their problems if they let it, and we are really hoping they let it because that would be great to see the Lord start to work in their lives and help them find true happiness :)

Well that's all for now folks! Have a great week everyone! I love you all! :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11th They just don't get it:(

Hey everybody!

Guess what! none of the investigators came to church! again! I really don't know what the problem is... they tell us that they will come and then... they don't! Then we talk with them later and they tell us someone got sick or there was a sale on school supplies or something like that... it is kinda sad that they would rather buy school supplies than remember the Savior and the sacrifice He has made for them so they can be saved... I don't know how to get them to understand the importance of that... we teach them what it all means and testify about it and everything but they just don't get it or don't care enough about it to do anything... I want to help these people but they aren't really willing to make an effort.
 
Mom asked about teaching, contacts and referrals. Yes we teach a lot, about 30 or 40 lessons each week. I do about 1/2 the talking but sometimes a little less. The members don't really give us referrals very often, we do get some from them but mostly we get the referrals from investigators or people we talk to in the street. We do street contacts, Elder Escobar does them more often then I do but I do them as well.  This week we were teaching a new investigator about the restoration and then he told us of a cool experience when God answered his prayer to help him and some of his co-workers (they work on those ocean oil rigs) out of a tough situation and they all made it through and it has allowed him to see the hand of the Lord in his life. He was really receptive and I really hope he is willing to put in his part. His name is Miguel Guadalupe.

I would probably write more about the people we teach and what we teach if they would come to church, when they say they will come and don't I get a little disappointed and don't really want to write about them because I don't feel like we have helped them because they haven't taken any steps to progress.

That's about all I have for now although I have some cool pictures to send :)

Oh and Mom if you want to send me some more pages for my journal that would be nice, I'm starting to run out of room...
 
Oh!  I got the package from Ashley's mom and it was really 
cool :) Thank you so much!
 
Love you all! Have a great week! :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4th Why won't they come to church?!?!?

Hello!!!

wow it is crazy to me that it is already August...
 Well with Giovani, we aren't teaching him anymore... we don't know what happened but the last time we went he told us he didn't want us to teach him anymore. He wouldn't say why but we haven't gone back because he said he didn't want us to. It made us pretty sad because we thought he was going along great and learning a bunch but then ya, BAM! nada... I don't know but I had to be really positive about the whole situation because Elder Escobar was pretty down after that. Some of the other people we have been teaching... Julio Antonio. He worked in a pharmacy for like twenty years but right now I don't know what he does. He is pretty great and friendly and likes to listen and asks questions and stuff like that so it is good when we teach him but the only problem is that he never shows up to church... he is always so sure he will be there and stuff but then Sunday shows up and he doesn't... I don't know what it is, one week his dog was sick then the other his grandson and this week we haven't heard the excuse yet but I don't know, he is always promising he will be there but then he isn't. We also have been teaching Mari, She likes to listen as well but she doesn't like going to churches because they make her cry. She said she would come this week and last week but wasn't there for either of them.

We didn't have anyone in the sacrament meeting this week either... I honestly don't know what the  deal is with these people, but they just don't come... I am going to be honest, but we haven't been having much success and honestly it is hot here all the time... I feel like this would get most people's spirit at least a little down... But honestly I am happy and enjoying myself :) I don't know what is wrong with me, but I am happy so don't worry about me :)

One of the experiences I have had that has helped my faith grow is that you can always find the answer to a question you have in the scriptures. Maybe you won't find it right off but it is always there and if you don't find it at first it always shows up if you don't give up :) And something more, the promise of the Lord is that if you have the Spirit you won't be confounded before men. We get asked lots of questions and some of them I haven't even thought of before but when the people ask I can answer them just fine and give the correct answer, that is completely true even if I didn't know before they asked, and I know that answer couldn't be from my brain so I know it is from Someone else. Sometimes we may not think about these things but really it is a sign that He is there for us and wants to help :)

We have found some nice opportunities to serve here, the most common one is to help people open oyster shells, because that is what everyone here does, in fact there is an area here that is called the Conchero which basically means like area of shells. Some of the houses here are built on shells and some of the streets are shell instead of dirt and it is just crazy how many shells there are here. We help people with that sometimes and sometimes we cut down trees with machetes of what ever, just what ever the people need we will do it :)

Well that's about all I've got for this week, I hope you all enjoy it :)
Love Y'all! :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21 Giovani accepted!


Well just to answer some of the questions from Mom. I am still close to Tampico, although we have to cross the River Panaco to get here and we are actually in a different state here, we are in Vera Cruz. I get along really well with Elder Escobar and we try to get a lot done. We are in a branch and well there are a bunch of members but most of them are inactive, you could say the branch is kinda struggling but we are doing what we can, we are going to have an activity this Friday and we will see how that goes. Elder Escobar has been out the same amount of time I have left and in case you didn't realize... I have been a missionary for 6 months now! It is so crazy right? I only have a year and a half left to serve the Lord like this, it is just flying by! Well for me at least... we are pretty close to other missionaries because there are 4 here in the branch so we see them a lot.
Well I am going to tell y'all about Giovani :) He is an investigator that they had before I got here and he went to the church and stuff several times but he never accepted a bautismal date because he still hadn't received an answer and he doesn't want to mess around with God and just go with whatever church you know? He is like 19 I think and is very serious about stuff related to God. Well we were talking to him and well teaching him of course and we were teaching about the priesthood and stuff like that. He was going to a baptist church before I think and was baptized with them and well he was telling us about how he was talking to some of the people from his church and they were talking about Los Mormones and were saying stuff that wasn't true or whatever and he totally defended our beliefs and what we teach and I thought that was pretty cool. and well, since we were talking about the priesthood I asked him, "do you believe that Joseph Smith received the proper authority of God and that we have that authority in this church?" and he said "From what I have seen... yes" so then we asked if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and he accepted and was excited about it so that was pretty awesome. We are pretty sure he is going to get baptized and be a strong member of the branch so we are pretty excited :)

Well that was the cool experience for the week :) I just want to let you know that it is super hot here :) we recently started the 40 hottest days of the year here and like three days ago some guy died from the heat in Tampico just to give you all a taste of how hot it is, I don't know what degree it gets to but the sun with the heat and the humidity is just killer... But don't worry, we will make it just fine :) I love you all and here are some pics :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14 Anahuac, my new area

Hola todos!

Como están? todo bien? que bueno :) debería escribir este correo en español? nah... no quiero hacerlo :) 

Well, here I am in Anahuac, there are TONS of mosquitoes here but don't worry mom, I don't have any repellent so I can't use any and I don't know where to buy some so ya... I am getting used to having large itchy lumps all over my body ;) don't worry it's not that bad :)

Well there is a lot of stuff going on here in this little branch and we have a lot of work to do but it is great, walking through the lodo (swampy areas, or in other words, all the streets) and dodging charcos (puddles). There are some really great people here, a recent convert who reminds me of Gomer from the Andy Griffith Show and the Branch President and his family are great :) I get along really well with Elder Escobar and we are working here but he does like to spend a little time more than necessary in the houses of members so I'm going to see if I can get that little habit out of him, but he likes to work and is a good teacher and all is going well. I already gave a talk here in the branch and I didn't feel like it went very well but like a good companion he told me it wasn't too bad so I guess it was alright, I had a list of scriptures I was going to share but I left it at the house so that might have been part of why it didn't go so well but whatever I will be fine :) I have some pictures I want to send you all but this cyber doesn't have a place to put and sd card so I  can't send them right now.

We had a couple run ins with some JW's or testigos as they are called here, we were teaching one and he basically said to us "well you guys are still young, you can still be forgiven and join the true church" ha ha it was pretty funny to me :)

Some things that I have eaten here that are interesting, Moronga and Ceviche. I ate Moronga in the other area but I forgot to tell you about it, want to know what it is? :) well even if you don't I am going to tell you :) it's cooked pig blood! how crazy is that? who even came up with that is my question... it really isn't that bad, with a little salsa and a tortilla it is quite enjoyable :) and the Ceviche is just raw fish in lime juice I think they had that in Charles' mission too...

Hey Lauren I forgot to tell you something, I met an Elder Guzman, well he isn't Elder anymore but he was in your mission and knows you :) He is the grandson of the landlady from my first area, I was going to tell you earlier but I kept forgetting... but isn't that crazy!? :)

Well I love you all and I hope you have a good week :)

-Elder Sampson

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7 Transfers! Short post

Hey!

Sorry but this is going to be kinda short because we had changes today and the cyber is kinda full so we don't have time.

I got transferred! but I'm still in the same Zone/Stake so it is kinda weird huh? I am now in Anahuac with Elder Escobar. he is from El Salvador. I will tell you more next week when I have time but here it is a branch and we are on a peninsula that is basically an island and it is definitely not the city so I am excited, but there are like a billion mosquitoes here. I have some pictures to send but I will do that next week. Sorry it is so short but we really just don't have much time... I love you all and hope you have a great week! :)

-Elder Sampson

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 3....¡Fuimos al Templo! por fin!!!





¡Hola!

¡Fuimos al Templo! por fin!!! fue bien padre y me gustó un buen! fue un poquito raro para hacer todo eso en español pero todavía me gustó mucho :) The Temple is just really great and you can feel the Spirit so strong there, I love it! We changed P-day to today so we could go,  so that's why I didn't write yesterday.

Don't worry, I am feeling better this week and it went pretty well :) the struggle this week was that the members didn't want to help us out, nobody answered their phones when we called to see if they could accompany us and if they did answer (which was really rare...) they were busy... The work goes a lot better if we have their help but we did have some success this week, We had 4 investigators at church! How great is that? :) it was pretty cool and I was happy :)

A cool experience we had this week was a noche de hogar we had with some members and investigators. We taught about repentance, like the steps there are and also we had a good example to help them understand and everything. It just went really well and I felt really good about it so it made me happy and I think it helped Juan Manuel get more excited about the church and stuff.

That is cool that you all got to hang out in California.  I got the invite to the wedding and thought about just showing up, but I already had plans... ;) haha :) could you tell Mckay Felizidades por mi? :)

Well that's all I've got... Well that's not true, I have some pictures too :)

I love you all!

-Elder Sampson