It is great to hear from you today. I'm glad that everyone is doing so well. Im sorry that I dont have time to respond individually to everyone, but know that I appreciate the letters and love to read about your guys' adventures. Keep up all your good work.
Well guess what? im not in Puerto Rico anymore! They kicked me out. Im in Dominica (pronounced Dom-ih-knee-cah) now! It's a little island out in the Caribbean Sea. Elder Fournier is still my companion too. Here they speak English, so it's going to be tougher to work on spanish here. I practice with Elder Fournier but it's not the same. But yeah, i have some serious mixed feeling about the Island. It's absolutely beautiful. My front porch is like 30 feet from the Caribbean Sea. Like our house in california, where the dirt lot was across the street, thats all water. There are a lot of places where they filmed the Pirates of the Caribbean here. Check it out online, pretty cool stuff. Our apt is in Portsmouth, but im doing emails from roseau. for reference to how small the island is, portmouth to roseau is about an hour in car. Oh and if you thought Puerto rico was hot dad, HAH! Its way worse here. i almost passed out on saturday from walking around. Crazy hot. Super sunburned. We're the only missionaries here on the island. Tons of weed here too. Everyone smokes it here. Its not illegal. everyone here is Rasta. They think that jesus is black and has dreads.. Im like permanently high. Feel like i'm hanging out with jake rye constantly haha hey greg, remember that air freshener in his car? hahah classic. Love you zach. you'll learn.. anyways, so yeah thats all good, but at the same time it has been the hardest week of my life here. People here are racist against white people. We've gotten some more threats here. Plus, it's like a 3rd world country here. everyone is super poor. EVERYONE asks us for money. They assume that since we're dressed nicely that we are tourist with a lot of money. They are aggressive too. Everyday we have people begging for money, up in our faces. It's really hard. anyways, ive only been here since wednesday. its super weird teaching in english now. im like the senior comp almost now cause my comp learned english a few months ago, but hes still working on it. i gotta take the reigns. only been here for 6 weeks. you know me, i was never stressed before my mission. i feel overwhelmed here almost everyday. its hard to get up and keep goin in the morning. super hard. but im doin my best. i feel acceptance from the lord at the end of the day so i guess thats all that matters. Yesterday during sacrament meeting i straight up broke down in tears. it all hit me at once. It's been a really tough week. I dont want to complain or be all woe is me, but keep us and dominica in your prayers. We're gunna need some divine help here. Plus, since we had that assault experience in guaynabo, we both have some fears of talking to people, and now its ever harder because we're in a 3rd world place. People here are massive too, like freakin jacked. Thats scary in and of itself. Before my mission I never once felt stress. College, sports, family, nothing. I was always calm and collected. This week I have been feeling feelings of stress and tension. It's a little weird just because I've never had to deal with that before. I think that I am feeling this way because I know that the work that I am doing it so important and I sometimes feel like I can never amount up to what I need to be. We always say that we are follwing the example of the Savior and that we need to be like Him, and when I think of that it scares me a little. I know that I will never be able to measure up to the Savior, but I do know that I am trying my hardest. It's easy to say that the Lord gives us trials and struggles to make us stronger and that we need to be patient through them and put our trust in Him, but when we are in the heat of the battle, it can be hard sometimes. I feel like Elder Fournier and I have been going through so many trials together and it seems like they will never end. When I pray, though, I always feel the Lord saying "Just trust me." I feel like there is obviously something really important that Elder Fournier and I have to do because we are running into so much opposition. I am trying to "bear with patience our afflictions." I have been studying the doctrine of Christ and faith is obviously the first principle. I think that sometimes we think that faith is the easiest part. Faith, to me, can sometimes be the hardest part! We have to walk in faith, not knowing what is going to happen or where we are going to end up. The only thing we know is that the Lord looks at us and says "Just trust me." I am striving for perfect obedience and worthiness to have the Spirit to help me out, but sometimes I feel like my efforts are all for naught. Faith is action. Without action, faith is dead. I love the story in the bible about the people taking the ark of the covenant across the river. The Lord tells them to go stand in the water, and THEN he will part the waters. How scary that must have been, to go stand in a river with the ark on your back. they did it though and they were blessed. The Lord promises us that when we are obedience and do what is asked of us he is bound to his word. The hardest part is to put our feet into the water and trust that he will provide a way. I see my family's testimonies growing and I see all of my friends on missions saying that they are having all of this success, that they arent having struggles, and that everything is just fine. Then I look at my experince on my mission so far and see things differently. These last 7 weeks have been the toughest weeks of my life. I feel overwhelmed with adversity. I keep going back to my patriarchal blessing though. The Lord gave me a short one because he trusts me and knows that I will do what is right. I feel like the Lord is giving me so many trials and afflictions now because he trusts me and knows that I will be able to handle it. I know that I lived with him before I came to this earth. I know that I accepted the challenges that were ahead of me before I was born. I must have been such a valiant person before this life. I feel like the Lord trusts me so much and that I have such an important purpose to accomplish while I am here, not only just on my mission, but in life. This is why I sometimes feel like I dont quite measure up to what I should. I dont want to disappoint my Father, i want him to look at me and tell me that he is proud of me. I want him to be proud to call me his son. I want to be the most dedicated follower of the Savior I can be. I dont want to have any regrets. I know he'll provide a way. "I feel my Savior's love, in all the world around me. His spirit warms my soul, in everything thing I see. He knows i will follow Him, give all my life to him. I feel my Savior's love, the love he freely gives me."
Keep doing what you're doing, the Lord is blessing you. Be grateful for what you have. Like seriously grateful. Food for example. I havent eaten anything since saturday morning. When I was at home i was upset if we didnt have granola bars every 5 minutes. Now i'm just grateful to find something to eat. I lost 4 pounds since friday. Be sincere with people. Dont take anything for granted. You are loved by your heavenly father, and even though its not california, kansas is the promised land. seriously. Give more time to the Savior. He's given you so much, more than we can even comprehend.
Don't worry about me, we'll be fine. I dont want you guys (mom) to be all stressed out about me. The Lord knows what's up, whatever happens is part of the plan. we accepted it before we came here. Just trust in the lord. Faith. Faith. Faith. You guys keep me going, stay strong for me. I feel your prayers. Dont send any packages because i wont get them. they'll just be kept in the office in puerto rico until i get back.
I love you guys more than anything in the world, i hope you know that. I talk about you all the time and you're always in the back of my mind.