Friday, December 26, 2014

December 24, 2014 - Last email

hey, bad news, things are not going too great today. I am doing a photobooth today at the big christmas party and I need to go set up for it and it is in san marcos, and we are helping set up a bunch of stuff. So I dont have very much time today.
quick updates, (sorry) We went to the temple with Pat Vincent! she got her endowments out. the temple grounds were decorated with lights all over the place. we didn't have time to do any pictures :/ but it was still a sweet experience
We got to meet up with one of the coolest cats in the world, Madelyn (she got baptized in San Marcos) it was nice to say goodbye to her. She is doing really well :)
I love doing missionary work around this time of year because people are nicer than usual, and we get to tell people that we actually do believe in Jesus Christ. It is a special time of year were people can come together and remember what this life is all about.
see you soon
Elder Strong
Elder James Riley Strong

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 15, 2014 - Pictures

 we found a service missionary sleeping on the job... haha
 things just keep getting more and more strange around oceanside,

that is a mural on the back of a store and a drunk homeless guy teaching us how to fire and assault rifle

December 15, 2014


it has been very interesting lately, Elder Petersen and I have been having weird encounters in the wilds of Oceanside. It has been really cold and rainy for a week now (55-60) so the homeless population got a little stirred up and we have been seeing them a lot more often. Some of them are really nice, but most of them are the variety that are just really hosile and volatile. It has been difficult. We started teach one of them who is elect, his name is Ronald, and he is really nice guy. He has come to church with us twice now, and he wants to get baptized. He came to us and told us he wanted to get baptized, we didn't invite him. but, we helped him get a bus pass from the bishop, and some warmer clothes, so he told some of his friends about our Christmas party and said that we were nice people and that we helped him out. So a few of his friends showed up drunk and went around the church asking everyone for money... we helped them and gave them lots of warm food, but they were belligerent and causing a lot of problems, so they were escorted out of the building and he had to talk to Ronald about it. I hope that we can figure out how to help Ronald, he is in a really hard spot right now.

Our ward made packs with cups and hot chocolate with invitations to the Christmas party for everyone on the ward list (they came with the family who they were for attached to them). After church last Sunday, the men were supposed to grab them for the families that they home teach. We agreed to help pass out the ones that were not taken. Well... there were a TON of them that were left over. a ridiculous amount. so needless to say, we did not get all of them handed out, between missionary work and preparing for our Zone Training Meeting, we did not have enough time. we made sure we did the most important ones, but as for the others, we have a lot of hot chocolate in our apartment now. :) haha

Well. signing off

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 8, 2014 - Pictures

 Elder Adams vs. Carne Asada Fries

 Samantha with the blind cat "Milo"

December 8, 2014


How is everyone doing?

It rained a few days last week, it is always easy to appreciate the change of scenery, I kind of like grey skies :) it slows everyone down here for a minute or two. We finally realized that it was fall and almost the end of the year, and I can hardly pay attention to my "Christmas Countdown" because it is counting down to more than just Christmas.

I have a huge testimony that missionaries are sent to teach people that are waiting for them. I have met hundreds of different missionaries, and there is no prototype, there is no silver bullet, there is no "one way to do this" or "you have to be that". Heavenly Father KNOWS all of his children very well. He knows who a missionary can help, and he puts them in a place where they can find people who are open to feeling the spirit. There are people that I have met in my mission, who I know were sent to bless me, in my life, and I know that I have been sent to share the Gospel with those who I have been able to teach, and help come to know Jesus Christ. 

In short, I know that I was meant to serve a mission, and that the California Carlsbad Mission is where Heavenly Father new would be the best place for me to serve. I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it shows that we have a God who loves us. I know that Joseph Smith was a tool in our Heavenly Fathers hand to restore the truths that were taught by Jesus Christ himself. And anyone can receive that answer for themselves by reading the Book of Mormon and praying if God has called a prophet to guide us by continuing revelation in these days. I know that I couldn't have gotten here on my own, but that Heavenly Father blessed me with so many great people in my family, and extended family and friends (family). I know that we can all live together forever, through the gift that Jesus Christ makes available to all of us.

Thank you all for being such a great support to me on my mission, I owe a lot to each of you. 

Love, Elder Strong

Elder James Riley Strong

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 1, 2014 - Pictures

Mormon street art (Alma 32:16)
 more street art

 Elder Petersen destroyed me when we played Risk on thanksgiving.

December 1, 2014


This was a very interesting week. last Sunday, our friend Charles (in a wheel chair, stroke victim) was heading out the door because he wasn't feeling well and we found him outside in his chair unconscious, he wasn't breathing. He then threw up, we got him out of his chair and laid him out on the cement to open up his airway and then called 911, he was doing fine before the ambulance got tho the church, but they wanted to take him in to make sure everything was ok. It turns out, that he had another small stroke. We visited him in the Hospital a few times this week, and he got out before thanksgiving. They want to put a stint in the next time he come in, but it wasn't to bad 

Helping to take care of Charles has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done on my mission. It has made me very grateful for a body that works and that heals quickly. It makes me want to make sure that I don't let anything bad into my body. But what I have learned the most is humility. Charles can do very little on his own, and has to let others take care of him. For someone who used to be very wealthy and self made successful, to let 20 year old boys teach him how to pray, let alone teach him how to breath and exercise, is amazing to me. Even though it is seemingly degrading for him, Charles is very appreciative for the help and support that he gets.

I hope that all of you can feel the warm fuzzy of service. It is more than just a duty or a moral obligation. It is a privilege to stand in the Saviors place, and act as someones helper or healer. It isn't always physical service, but is often as simple as being friendly to someone, or most importantly, catering to others spiritual needs. Through Home or Visiting Teaching, you are caring for someones needs in all of these ways. And through being spiritually aware of others (praying to see opportunities to help others) you can help everyone that you come into contact with, one simple act at a time. I challenge you to seek divine guidance to find someone that you can help. 

Elder Strong