Saturday, August 9, 2014

Birthday Celebrations and Missionaries in the Projects!

Hey everybody!

So great to hear that school is back in swing. Thank you so much for this letter. 

It was great to hear how everyone is doing. I know Dad will be fine and will give his body the attention it needs. I know also that all of you back home will be of great support for him. John has to change some things in his diet due to some test results. When John diets and exercises, the whole family benefits. This is a change that will be good for our family.

I'm so proud of you Will! Good job on your first day of school. Make sure you study really hard and behave for your teacher. William was nervous about his first day of second grade, but found his classroom all by himself and loves his new teacher.

(BYUI Classes) That´s super exciting! The Pathways program is also down here and recently they had a series of firesides about the same program you and Dad are going to do. They're also offering courses to learn English, so lots of young adults and even parents here are thinking about doing it. John and I are going to do the Pathways program the church is offering which will get us credit hours at BYUI and tuition at an amazing rate. We both have several years of college from before we got married, but then life happened and we did not finish. Now we are going to start this path to getting our college degrees together and are excited about this program the church has created. 

This last week was amazing! It was Ben's 20th birthday on August 3rd. Everyone was so amazing! My companion made me a Frozen Custard Cake (he cooks really well). The Burnett family (the senior missionary couple that works here in the offices) invited all of the office missionaries and Sister Training Leaders over for a birthday dinner for me. They made American food: Pork chops and mushrooms served with homemade mashed potatoes, broccoli, cole-slaw, and a white gravy. For the birthday cake, we had a delicious Lemon Cake and ice cream. It was a great time to spend with them. They're always so kind and loving to us. 

I also made a Derby Pie today (What I was going to do last P-day, but we ran out of time) and it was amazing!!! Shared it with everyone in the house and it was something that no one had had before. 

Outside of that, this week was great. We recently found out that our only progressing investigator doesn´t actually live in our area or even in the stake. She is from Belloni (pronounced bay-show-nee) from the stake Maroñas (right next to Libia, my first area). It's a 50 min bus ride that she's apparently been taking every weekend for the last few weeks. She had accepted a baptismal date for today, actually (the 9th of August), but it's going to be pushed back a week or two. That's been a little difficult for us. 

When we leave the offices, it's already dark outside and no one is in the street, making it hard to find many new people to teach. I know she'll still get baptized eventually. She has been prepared more than most people I have met, to receive the gospel at this time in her life. She is planing on attending the ward closer to her home this week with a friend who is a member. We'll keep praying for her.

In happier news we have payed all of the rents for this month without any huge problems!!! Just lots of trips to and from the world trade center. It looks like because of some visa complications I won´t be able to get my licence to drive here. 

Another funny story: apparently we've been paying rent for this house in our mission for a few years. I was reading the contract, and a few of the notices that the missionaries have been getting at their door, and it turns out that we've been renting an apartment from someone who is (illegally) renting out government project housing. So basically, we have missionaries living in the projects. They're nice projects, not dangerous, but legally you can't charge rent to someone else for a house that the government has loaned to you. 

That has been a little bit of a hassle for us to fix and it has made for an interesting story and a good learning experience as to why it is important to review the contracts of all the houses frequently and carefully. I can comfortably say that I understand most housing contracts better than any given native Spanish speaker after having read hundreds by now.

Everything is great back here. I'm very thankful for all of the things you sent. I just got the box yesterday! I wore the t-shirt around the house today.  I'll make sure to send pictures next week since I forgot to bring my camera. We sent Ben a small box of things he requested and a few things he didn't for his birthday. We have to keep the packages small due to the restrictions with customs and the cost to send things to him. We did not want him to go without something from home for his birthday. It is always a relief when the package arrives complete and in a reasonable time frame.

Happy anniversary! (John and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary)
Y'all take care!

Élder Benjamin Taylor

Pday last weekend when we played Fútbol with the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission.
Elder Gallagher, Me, Elder Salas, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Eraso, Elder Quezada, Elder Rydalch, Elder Pointer, Elder Galeano, Elder Plautz

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