Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

Dear family,
SO, I am in the Vista 3rd ward still. Me and my companion, Elder Campbell are staying together still, which is nuts, because he has been here since his mission started and it has been 6 months already. Our ward is getting split with Elders on the other side of the 78. Only one person is getting transferred out of the district, one sister, sister lemon. so we will have a new sister plus 2 new elders.
Our district has been doing bad at numbers these last few weeks. Elder Campbell and I have been doing great with contacts but our baptismal dates have fallen through. But our contacts have been more then the rest of the districts combined, which is not saying how great we are doing, but how poorly everyone else is doing, everyone is in a big funk right now, but from what they say i think everyone wants to do something about it.
We had an ok week. Elder Campbell was 99% sure that he was getting transferred, so it he kind of gave up on being my friend haha. It is funny when that happens, most missionaries can put up with whatever their companions throw at them, but once they think they are getting transferred they stop trying haha. but it's ok, I still love him, we are good friends. But whenever you put two guys together for 24/7 they will always have something that bugs each other.
Not much happened this week... haha sorry.
Here are some pics 

Elder James Riley Strong

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 21, 2014

Dear Loved Ones,
Hey! This week went by extremely fast. In fact, this transfer has gone by extremely fast.
We had stake conference this week but it was pretty much an Area Conference, because it was broadcast from SLC to all of Southern California. Elder Anderson and Eyring spoke, also the relief society general president and someone from the 70. It was really neat! They talked a lot about having responsibilities to share the gospel with your family members and being held accountable for them. It was SUPER BOLD. That is something I have noticed with the saints in CA, they have to know that God doesn't change according to their opinions or interests. And the Church doesn't cater to the path that they want to take. There is only one way, and only one name in which we can be saved. It was amazing how they did it, that they maintained the obvious love and charity. I was touched.
I went to an Mission Leadership Council last week that was with a few brethren from SLC in the missionary department. One of them works with the Apostles when they assign calls. the other was the guy in charge of training teachers and establishing programs in the MTC's in North America. so basically Provo and Mexico. They had a lot of really good things to say and gave us a really spiritual meeting. so we have been planning a great zone training meeting to relay the message to all of the missionaries in our zone. I am a little nervous that we are not able to present the message in a way that will inspire a change of heart.
I have been really great lately, I feel that we have been blessed to see this ward improve even in the short time that I have been here. I hope to see an increase in investigators this week, I know that there are more out there for us to find.
Thanks for the treats, Elder Campbell and I ate it all in like 3 days haha. plus we shared with the 1st ward Elders.
Oh yeah, I gave a three month old baby a blessing last night, it was our investigator Jozlyns baby. We haven't heard from her yet, but she went into the ER right after. I hope that she is ok.
Love, Elder Strong

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Dear Family,
So, here is what my day has been like so far. We went to the library, and all of the computers were taken, so we did our shopping instead. We went to costco, because Elder Deeben, has a Costco card (genius) I got a months worth of food, like granola for breakfast and I bought a few gallons of almond milk (I hope I don't get transferred) tofu and veri teryaki sauce. enough to last me for the rest of my mission probably.
SO that was cool, after that, we went to the house of motorcycles and there was an RM that was a manager there. He let me start up a big V-Star. (not my style, but fun) (disclaimer, I did not put it in gear) we walked around there for like 45 minutes or so to kill time before coming to the library again. and, now we are here.
So, this ward is pretty solid, there is not a ton of work going on right now, but we have a lot of good potentials. We got a phone call from the mission secretary that someone was trying to track us down for a blessing at a hospice, so we grabbed our WML and went over, she had been moved to her sons house, and was on the end stage of pancreatic cancer. I gave her the blessing and after I was on a spiritual trip for the rest of the night. I received a TON of revelation and I couldn't believe the way I felt. Saturday we killed over a googleplex of germs at this non member/former investigator/veitnam vet's house. it was seriously the grossest place on the earth, I almost passed out because we used a whole gallon of bleach all together. he smokes like a carton every 2 days and really needs a haircut. 
we went and got haircuts at this place called Junebugs Barbershop. It is ran by this cholo named Junior, he has a 61 cadi and a 63 imperial and an old bobber motorcylce. he was really chill. they were cool because they were really honest about who they were and what they did. to many church members try to cover up everything about who they are so it was refreshing. they charged me 20 bucks though! I gave him a hard time about it haha, I told him next time I came in I would only pay 10 and that he would see me in a month. 
not much is happening around here. we have dropped like 8 investigators since I got here, but we pick new ones up every week. half of our ward was covered by sisters before, and they were teaching a creepy middle aged man that seemed to be progressing really well according to his teaching record, but when we told him that we were taking over for the sisters he wasn't interested in meeting anymore. hmm.
well that is all I have to say about that.
love you,

Elder James Riley Strong

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 6, 2014 - to me

In a personal email to me Riley gave some good advice, "Hey, you guys should read the uchtdorf message in the ensign, it is really good. I like to replace "trees" with "oil refineries" to be more politically in tune." Love Riley

January 6, 2014

Dear everyone,
I know that it has been a little while since I have written a letter, it seems like the last 2 weeks was a whole year long. So many things have happened out here.
My life has been really good to me lately, I am having an awesome time here in Vista. My Companion, Elder Campbell is a really funny guy haha. His personality is the guy who plays the boss on the BBC version of The Office...? I can't remember things like that anymore, but he is really funny. I am working with him to learn more of the lessons, and trying to help his memory, I think he could qualify for and institutional living situation with how bad his memory is.
Vista is a place. It is like Esco but on steroids. More diverse, lots of marines, younger people. It is a lot of fun, because there are a lot more potential investigators. Our WML is a really awesome guy, he knows everyone in Vista, and is a former Beach Bum. his family is all less active, except for his son who is a teacher (in the aaronic priesthood). My district is really awesome! We all have fun together, President Kendrick says that District Leaders have the choice of whether or not the Zone Leaders get to come into their meetings or not, so I kick them out most of the time haha. Elder Wilde&Smith are our ZL's and they are awesome, Elder Wilde and I were next to each other in Laguna, he is pro. He reminds me a lot of Tyson Galovich. Anyways, I kick them out so the rest of my district is more honest about how they are doing. I have Office Elders, Elder Dart and Deeben, they drive a truck and move couches and beds from place to place for our housing coordinator. And I have YSA Sisters SIster Lemon and Broadbent, they cover the Sisters in the YSA Ward, so they cover the whole Stake. And Vist 1st ward Sisters, Jones and Danielson. A good mix of personalities, I feel like our district is like the Bad News Bears of the Mission haha. But it is pretty awesome
I have been noticing that as time has gone on, I have learned a ton about life. I have learned good ways to manage my stress and to stay organized. I have also become what I think is a lot more of a nice, happy person. (I guess) I have learned that sometimes you need to be a certain way to help certain kinds of people out.. I love being a district leader, and hope that I can stay one for my whole life. It is the perfect calling for me, a good mix of coordinating the work, and ministering to others, and teaching, plus on top of that, I am still a "regular missionary" . It is like I have 7 investigators that are all mine to teach haha.
This week we are hoping to have 4 new people at church, our investigator Jozlyn hasn't been yet. hopefully she makes it.
Well, hope all is well!
Love, Elder Strong