Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30 2013 - pictures

 Riley was able to baptize Sheryl before he got transferred. 
Mistletoe Street on December 25th 
(I love Riley's sense of humor! I hope he never changes)
I know from my Christmas call that this is Riley's new companion Elder Campbell. 
He is from Mesa Arizona and has been in the mission field about 6 weeks and he as been in this area his whole mission. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 25,2013 - Phone Call Home

We had a great hour long Skype session with Riley on Christmas Day.

It was really nice to see his face. 
He bore his sweet testimony a little until he got emotional and lost his train of thought
"This is what I've learned, In the end it's not all about just being a member of the church, it's about following Heavenly Father. It's about listening to Heavenly Father or not because it comes down to following the prompting of the spirit in prayer.

December 23, 2013 - Christmas

hey, luckily i got permission to email you to tell you that I will call on christmas between 1-3 California time.

love you

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013 - Pictures

 The KROGHS! they are the best. Kathleen is 15 Danny is 11. PDay at the Kroghs is my favorite place to play Monopoly
 Pretty decent Sushi
 Elder English. It was a PERFECT day.
 Elder English and I setting up the Woodland Viallage Christmas Tree
that is our christmas tree in our appartment

December 16, 2013

Well, I am getting transferred after all. 7 1/2 months here was a trip. I got to know a lot of people and I am really happy with how things worked out. I think one more transfer would have been a little too long, so it worked out just right, I have today to say my goodbyes and teach a few more lessons, so I am happy. :)
I have no idea where I could go. I don't even have a thought of where it could be. I just want to see another part of the mission and meet more people.

Any ways. This week was really busy, we did a lot of service. We built Bethlehem for a thing that this Methodist Church does on christmas. It was tons of fun, it took FOREVER. We had used sheets of ply wood framed with 1x2's and srewed them all together, and painted, and made everything look like it was authentic with staw and palm leaves. I am happy that we got to do it.
Any ways, hope everything goes ok for the holidays. talk to you on christmas!

Elder James Riley Strong

December 10, 2013

So this has been a great week. And this next week is gong to be VERY VERY BUSY. We have service projects a few of the days, for interfaith and local churches in the area. This Saturday we will get our calls for transfers, and we have NO IDEA what could happen. I should be leaving since I have been here for 7 1/2 months, BUT English should be leaving since his family just moved into Escondido... I guess we will have to see what happens.
We had a service project in Del Mar, where we cleaned up a free dental clinic that happened over the weekend. they serviced over 2500 underprivileged people. After that got over, we drove up the coast through Solana Beach and Cardiff to this Mexican place in Encinitas. It was a lot of fun! I have loosened up a lot these last few transfers, the missionaries in my mission have been a lot less strict, or straight laced since we got a new mission president. A lot of things that happen were unheard of with President Cook. I don't know how to take it. I don't want to drop down to a lower level, but I know that if I don't at least a little bit, then I am expecting more from missionaries than my mission president does. So, it is a struggle for me. It's funny because our mission is still a lot more strict than most missions are...
I think I told you about Sheryl, she is getting baptized on the 21st of December! ah yeah! it's going down! it went from a few months out to in 2 weeks! we have already set up everything to make it happen, and chose hymns, and people to speak. She is living all of the commandments and is sharing the gospel with EVERYONE. I don't know why I was blessed with so many rock solid investigators.. I don't ever teach a ton of people, but looking back, almost all of the Investigators that my companions and I have taught more than once have been baptized.... hmm.
So that's that. pretty awesome, I think.
Next week is the transfer meeting/ Christmas Conference, and Sister Kendrick asked me if I would be the Photographer! yeah! that's why I had you send me my camera equipment. I have to say, It has made me remember how much of a nerd I am. The sad part is, a missionary shouldn't walk around with a big slr around his neck to take pictures of things, so it just sits under my bed until pday when I can take pictures of elder English eating almonds.
I hope that everything works out for you.
It has been freezing here. I am glad I bought that trench coat from Costco, it rained ALL DAY last Thursday. and it has been fine since then. Yeah, my mission is pretty awesome.
Love ya!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 2, 2013 - Pictures

 Donavin's 5 B-day cake for breakfast at the Slater's 
 One of my favorite people Jerry (non member, married to a recent convert) gave me his old leather jacket. so awesome haha
Thanksgiving via care package

December 2, 2013

Dear Family, this is me, Elder Strong
So, these last few weeks have been realllly slow and hard. It has been "cold" and everyone hides in there house and thinks that you are literally insane to be outside if it looks like it might rain. Plus, on Thanksgiving, no one really wanted to remember that we excited. When we left the apartment on Thursday, we had to psych our selves up a little to get motivated for it, and the first guy we talked to, literally 50 ft from the door went like this "WOW, YOU PEOPLE DO THIS EVEN ON THANKSGIVING???? THAT'S GREAT" imagine that but in an annoyed, and disappointed tone of voice. SO, needless to say, it was a long holiday.
We went to a really cool families house for dinner though, they are the Cranney's. they live in rural San Marcos, Bro. Cranney is a farm animal veterinarian, and sister Cranny is a REALLY good cook, so it was pretty awesome. all four of us were together, so that is like a security blanket for us, it is a treat for us to eat dinner together, I don't really like it all of the time because it makes it hard to get things done.
I was fasting last week because so many things told me to. I started a study on the spirit and I ended up focussing on fasting. then, on exchanges with a Zone Leader, Elder Holmes, while we were talking about the work in my area, he looked at me and said, "I don't know why, but I just feel like I should tell you to fast". SO, I did. It is interesting how many times the Lord has to tell me that I need his help before I ask him for it. I guess I am just stubburn and try to handle everything on my own.
So what happened? Sheryl.
Sheryl was one of Steve's friends he brought to church a while back. I have met with her afew times but that is it. she doesn't have a perminant residence so it was hard to meet up. She came with Steve last week and had read from 1st nephi to 3rd nephi since that last time we had met, and she told me that she wanted me to baptize her. It was pretty crazy. she is SOOOOO ready, I think she has a better testimony of the Book of Mormon than most of the missionaries I know. It is breath taking to hear her speak about it.
Well, gotta go,


November 25, 2013

They put new computers in the library!! they are so nice!
I feel like my emails are campared to Hermana Pattons and hers was a really good one this week. All I have to say is that I just organized my inbox finally, and put labels on everything so that on Pday everything is neat and I get more things done. Of course, the week was filled with productivity and teaching, but just the same old stuff. We picked up a couple of investingators this week, they are SUPER CATHOLIC but they really like us. I just hope we can bridge the gap between "just friends" to "we are joining their church" Missionary work is a lot like dating.
SO, something crazy is going down, Elder English's dad just got made the EP for "Wake Up San Diego" and is moving to Escondido in January.... this probably means that he will be transfered so I will probably end up staying here for another transfer.... what the?! how does that even happen? Out of nowhere his family is moving into the mission, and crazily enough, into the ward right next to the one that we are serving in?
I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week, I got to go to their area, its in Valley Center.... That ward is HUGE the boundaries are larger than all of the Stakes in the mission. It would be like serving full time from Indianola to Mount Pleasant (or something like that) the area looks pretty similar but more hills. It is just a bunch of hillbillies and immigrants. We picked up a guy who lived in a rock and took him to a lesson we taught in a horse stall. and the lesson was in spanish so I was pretty out of the loop. My spanish has been coming back from High School though. From contacting in Escondido on 9th ave. and from reading letters from Hmna P. Not enough to think of the words to teach in though. It was definately different from the rest of the mission. I would be lying if I said there was a lack of variety in this Mission.
The Woodland Village Thanksgiving dinner was pretty awesome. I love that place so much. We were in charge of filling up peoples water, we talked to alot of them while they were waiting for their food. I love being able to serve there so much, I can feel everyone slowly becoming closer to accepting the gospel in their lives. I think that it is important for them, because even though they might be set in the ways of their mortal life, they can be softened in the ways of their spirit life. It's just a whole other ball game. They are wise though, they see where it is god but need help seeing where they need it.
Sorry I am not as good as the other missionaries at writing good letters home all of the time.
Wish me luck!