Monday, September 29, 2014

Doing the work!

Well I got to hold a baby alligator yesterday! Was really cool! Kind of wanted him to bite me, but I resisted the urge.

We had a pretty good week.  Our area is still a little slow, so this might not be as exciting as some other places. But good for me.

Some funny things I have noticed. People automatically think that missionaries know how to lead music, wonder if they have realized I have been writing my name in cursive ;) And they love to have the new missionaries say the prayers. They think it is funny or something. And since they put me on the spot, I don’t remember how to pray in Spanish sometimes.

Being with someone 24/7 is harder than I thought. I never realized how much I like being alone, until I cant. But live and learn. But you do learn many important lessons that will help you later in life. Which I can see is a blessing.

This week has been a trial of faith. One day we were getting ready to leave and I felt that we needed to go tract this part of town. I had no idea why but we weren’t even going to do it but I made us do it. We go there and take the list of the people who have Hispanic sounding last names, and no one answers their door. We are walking back down the street to our car and I notice a sand box exactly like the one I had as a kid (it was a turtle) and I was looking at it. There was a guy shooting hoops, a typical Hoosier, no shirt, beer belly, etc. He was white so we waved hello and kept walking. Then he runs to his fence and tells us to come back. Asks us if we were going door to door, we said yes, and then asked why we didn’t stop at his door. We explained we were really only looking for Spanish speaking people. But then he started telling us all this stuff about his life. Man he has lived a hard life. Been to like 6 different religions, lived on the streets for 10 years, has anger issues.......many more problems. Thought he knew God then realized all the bad stuff that happens in the world and doesn’t know if he believes in him or not. I felt like he needed the gospel so bad! And he was genuinely interested, but we couldn’t stay because his girlfriend showed up and stuff. He was the answer and the blessing of our faith. We were literally done tracting and were about to go somewhere else. We set up a return appointment so we could introduce him to the Elders. Sadly he wasn’t there and he is getting kicked out of his house tomorrow. We have stopped by but no avail. I hope he finds the missionaries wherever he ends up, because he is so ready to receive it!

Another good thing that happened this week is we got one of our investigators to say that she would be baptized if she came to know the church was true! We tried to get her to commit to November first, but she said that it might be too soon, so we asked her to pray about it and tell us a date that she would feel comfortable with. Then we committed her to pray about the Book of Mormon. The lesson was sooooooo cool because the spirit was literally so strong that I could almost touch it! Leaving that lesson I felt on fire, not because I had done a good job, but because the spirit is awesome! I wanted to go up and commit everyone to being baptized! She is one of those investigators who is super prepared, has been searching for the right church for a while, and has a lot of our same beliefs. 

Heavenly Father is merciful, because we were able to teach her in English, and the only reason is, is because if she were to ever bring her husband to church, it would be in the Spanish branch because he is from Mexico. It was nice because I was a little down and then the spirit like smacked me awake! It was awesome! It is interesting how He will comfort you too. Like one small compliment on how good my Spanish is after 2 months goes a long ways in making me feel a little more comfortable, but not go to my head because I can’t understand what they are saying after that. Which is ironic.

Elder Porter

A few extra’s to questions I asked him: 
The language is coming.....slowly. It’s hard when you are surrounded by English. We mostly speak English but I am trying to speak more Spanish. 
Our area is huge! Because we are Spanish. We don’t even go up into Michigan because there aren’t very many Hispanics, and we don’t have the miles for it. 
We will be watching conference at the chapel, and we could choose to watch it in Spanish if we wanted.
I try to exercise every morning and I am getting better at it :) but I don’t like it very much still.
I am building up my stores of cooking supplies; it’s just hard because we can’t buy in bulk cuz we move so much. But I made fettuccini and French toast, and we got fed this week too because of mission conference and stuff. I am trying to be healthy too. But bread is not healthy no matter what, but I do get wheat :)

(Oops – I have ruined him for store bought bread - since I have made our bread for most of his life.)

I reread my Patriarchal blessing this week. Wow it’s crazy how much you get out of it when you are at a different stage in life. I hope I can make the correct decisions to accomplish the "great and holy work" the Lord has for me . . . . I want to do what the Lord wants me to do so bad, and it scares me that I won’t do what I’m supposed to do.  Just a thought.

Love you

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Second Week in Indiana

 I bought an awesome king sized cheetah blanket when I got here. It is awesome. [see picture below]

This week has been hard; but still good in its own way.  I don’t have very many crazy cool stories because it hasn’t really been that exciting. 
The other day we didn’t do anything but walk around and knock on doors.  Didn’t teach any lessons or anything. That night when we were doing daily planning I realized that it wasn’t a bad day. And then I thought about it and I realized it had been awful numbers wise, but it still didn’t feel bad.  I realized that it was because we did what we were supposed to do. And so Heavenly Father didn’t let us feel like it was an awful day because we were doing what he has commanded us to do. And that was to get out there and work.

 I almost had to give a talk in church, and I was terrified because it was different than the CCM because the people are all native Spanish speakers. But then another Elder volunteered and I was super happy.

So to describe lots of the people living around me: Think of a redneck with no teeth. Yep. That’s the white people here. They are called HOOSIERS. And they think that is a compliment. They all have no teeth and work at the same factory as their great grandparents. They talk about dentures and how much denture glue you should use. It’s way different.

One thing I am grateful for is my bed. It is the nicest bed I have ever slept in in my entire life!  I lay down and I am out! It’s wonderful!

 I bought a blueberry muffin mix so I could have muffins for breakfast. And then I got home and realized that I didn’t have a muffin pan! It’s crazy that I literally own nothing. And yet I can survive. And that is a lot better than a lot of the people in the world! You don’t realize how much you have until you don’t have it. But you don’t realize how little you really need in your life until that’s all you have is the things that you need.  I had so much back home that I didn’t need that I thought I did. But turns out I really don’t. 
What surprises me is how expensive living is. I’m sorry mom that I ate so much! Geez food is expensive! Ha ha, well better learn this lesson now before I actually have a family to provide for! 

God really watches out for missionaries. We live in a pretty rough area and a couple nights ago Elder Thurston left the keys in the lock while we went to bed. We didn’t realize till noon the next day. We could have had someone literally just walk into our house and not have to break in, but no one did! A miracle!

Sad day. Weighed myself yesterday and I have gained 6lbs.  I don’t even know how!! Maybe it’s the fact that I have 4 hours of studying a day. But I can’t keep that up or ill be a fat man!

Had mission conference yesterday and it was super good!  I got questions answered that I didn’t even know I had. It is amazing what the spirit will teach you!

We have a couple of investigators, but they aren’t progressing very fast. It is hard to find Hispanic people to teach when you live in America. But I know they are out there and I pray to find them every day!

One cool experience I had was last Saturday. We had a dinner appointment with the Diaz family and they don’t speak much English.  I prayed super hard to be able to understand them.  I was able to go through most of the appointment and know the gist of what was going on.  I missed a couple jokes but when we left Hermana Diaz said that my Spanish was a lot better. Then on Sunday I had to bear my testimony because I was new and a member of the ward came up to me after and told me, in Spanish, that I don’t need to worry about my Spanish.  I know I do need to worry and keep improving, but it was nice to have people recognize that I am trying.

Love you all!
Elder Porter

Some answers to questions mom had:

We have two members in our area, so we get fed by them each once a week. But there is a less active English family down the street from us that invite us over every Thursday for dinner with the English zone leaders. So we have 3 appointments a week.

Cooking is hard because I don’t have all the ingredients, I mean ANY, stocked up, so I have been eating not very good lately and it is making me break out.

We live in a house. It’s pretty big for two people, but we sleep in the front room.  I feel safe, but it’s kind of a sketchy area.

We are the only Spanish Elders in South Bend, but in the whole Spanish branch area there are 3 companionships of Spanish Elders.

Elder Thurston / Elder Porter

Me and my cheetah blanket!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Now officially in Indiana!

So I made it safe and sound to Indiana! It’s crazy here now because it is cold and Mexico was warm! I am in South Bend right now, which is almost to Michigan. I live in, I expected it, the ghetto. My house is right across from a school. There is like a bajillion churches here in South Bend, and a lot of statues of the Virgin Mary, because it is right by Notre Dame, a Catholic college.

My companion is Elder Thurston, and he is really nice. Very knowlegable about how to teach, and about gospel topics. We like a lot of the same things, like sausage over bacon and such.  It is really a blessing because his mom is from Argentina, so he actually learned English as his second language. So I’ve got a walking dictionary I can rely on for Spanish.
I thought Spanish was going good in the CCM, but then I got out here and realized that I still know nothing. Well guess I have to learn :)

The area is relatively new, like less than a year old. So there is not too much success here yet. We were double transferred in (which means both companions go to a new area) and there were no progressing investigators, and the investigators we do have are not very solid, but I am grateful for the opportunity to work hard. We spent a good couple days to just read through the area book to try and familiarize ourselves with the area. So we haven’t gotten out to do much tracting. But I did talk to one Latino, and totally blew the door approach, oh well it was my first one.

We have a really nice car, a 2014 Corolla, but we can only use 1250 miles a month, so we have to ride bikes to save miles for when we have to drive down 150 miles down into the heart of Indiana. So we have a car, but can’t always use it. Good thing I have the nicest bike I have owned to date. Which is also scary cuz I live in the ghetto. But people said don’t get a bike that is crappy ( like my companion got a the thrift shop) so I got a nice one and boy can I go fast, which is fun! (well relative to walking)

It was kind of crazy getting up here to South Bend from Indianapolis because neither of us had a GPS and my companion hadn’t been here before. So got in way late, and had to call some people to find our house. It is about 3 hours from Indianapolis to where we are now in South Bend

It is really humid here. The first full day here I got out of the shower in the morning, got ready in the bathroom and then walked outside, and it felt like I never got out of the bathroom it was so humid! But that was a really humid day they say, which I hope is true.

Cool thing, if any of you know Easton Williams, we actually got here to the mission on the same day, But he is speaking English and I’m Spanish. But it is cool that we came here on the same day, because we will probably fly home together.

Cool experiences, I got to talk to every person I sat by on the plane, and someone in the airport about the gospel. Me and another Elder placed two Book of Mormons as well.

First man I sat next two was from Japan on a business trip. I talked to him and he knew pretty good English but wasn’t interested in religion. However I said my dad served in Japan and he asked what I was. So I explained a little and gave him a little paper with the church name on, and told him there was a temple in Tokyo where he lives. He said he would look it up. Then he started watching X-men and that was the end of it.

In the airport in Atlanta while we were waiting for an Elder, me and Elder Blood started talking to this lady and she asked what we were and stuff. We explained, talked to her about her family and religion. Then brought it back to the gospel. I bought an English BOM and I explained what it was and folded down the corner of Moroni 10. She was super grateful for the book and said she would read it. I pray every day that she does.

On the plane to Indiana Elder Blood and I sat by a guy named John who works for Office Depot. Talked the whole flight, had a kink in my neck from looking over at him to talk to him. Talked about work and his family. He updated us on current events including the bombing of Iraq WHAT!!?!?!? and stuff like that. Elder Blood talked about sports a little but I didn’t really care about that. But we talked to him about religion and the differences between us and Catholicism. Elder Blood had a Book of Mormon and we gave it to him and he said he would read it because he was curious. He had been to Temple Square before which helped a lot. I pray for him every night too.

Went to church yesterday in the Spanish branch. Boy is it hard to understand. I can understand Mexican Spanish better than other Spanish because that’s what I learned. And yes there is a difference. But I can pick out words and try and figure out what they mean which is nice. It is hard to speak Spanish when everything is in English around me though. But I know if I put my mind to it and have Gods help behind me.

I have learned so much already, and I know that with the Lords help we can do anything. He has helped me so much already!
Love you all so much!

Elder Porter

Additionally:  I asked how the letters of encouragement that everyone wrote to him are holding up – has he read all or any?  Here is his reply:

I have read two letters of encouragement and I just got a box to keep them in! Boy I love them. They help so much!  I read one yesterday actually and it helps so much. Thank you again for it. But before I read them I always pour out my heart to Heavenly Father for help.  And He does give it, sometimes through the letters.

A little he sent to his dad:

Thank you for sharing piece of “How to Win Friends”.... I think it will really help. I have definitely learned the criticism lesson the hard way. Yelling and telling them what they did wrong does not help at all. Communications class was one of the most useful things to learn because we discussed things like this.  Also thank you so much for those Joseph Smith CD’s! They are incredible!! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to listen to them but we have a portable DVD player that plays CD’s too!  I am going to listen to them at least a couple of times! Boy was Joseph Smith amazing!

Also being friendly helps a ton! Boy does it change an outlook when someone smiles and says hi ,than just scowls.

Look where I am!

No one was home - bummer!

Remember to click on today's link to the right to see all  of Drew's photo's!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Companion

Brother & Sister Porter, 
Attached is Elder Porter and his new companion, Elder Thurston.  They have been assigned to the Elkhart 3rd Spanish Branch.  You can send mail directly to him or to the Mission Office.  They will be at this location for at least 12 weeks.

We are excited to have Elder Porter join us in the best mission in the world!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Arrived and safe in Indiana!

Dear Brother & Sister Porter,
Your son, Elder Drew Clifford Porter, arrived safely in Indiana.  It was a pleasure to meet and welcome him to the mission.  He has a solid testimony of the gospel and is excited to be doing the Lord’s work.  Sister Cleveland and I look forward to serving with your son during this special time in his life.

Sister Cleveland and I will love, care for, and watch over Elder Porter as if he were our own son.  Thank you for the love and support you have given, and will give him on his mission.