Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25, 2014 - Pictures

 The Rancho California District on P-day
 Elder Adams, Me, Elder Rupper (Roooooper) We drove Elder Rupper to the Mission Office because he was finished :'(
The Rancho California District

August 25, 2014

Hey Everyone! 

This was a very good week! We met a lot of new people, and things are going awesome! We got a phone call yesterday before church, and it was some one who had met with the missionaries before, and she asked if she could come to church with us! haha it was pretty funny, I was with Ethan Crisp doing stop by's for the YSA Branch, and the phone rang, and before I pulled the phone of my pocket, I jokingly said, "I better answer this, it is probably someone who wants to some to church." haha! and it really was! Ethan didn't believe me until she actually came!

So, basically, my mission changed forever this week. I got a phone call last week, from the Felicita Ward, in Escondido. I served there for a bout a month with Elder Thunell, long enough to teach, and get close to a lady named "Susan McLaine" she is one of the coolest people I have ever met, and was baptized shortly after I returned to Twin Oaks Valley Ward. anyways, the Elders called me to tell me that I had been invited to attend an Endowment Session on Saturday, August 23rd at 6 pm, while Sister McLaine recieved her Temple Endowment. O_O I was SOOOOO HAPPY!

So Elder Thunell and his Trainer, now an RM, came from Murrieta and picked me up, and we went down to La Jolla and went through the Temple with her! It was unforgettable! Being able to see all of my favorite people from the Felicita Ward, and to see Susan once again experience the blessings of the restored gospel through an ordinance performed by the priesthood. A very spiritual experience, Elder Thunell went through in proxy for her birth father, and I went through in proxy for her step father. it was so life changing for me to see someone make all of those steps in their life, and really, fully embrace the gospel. I was also very blessed, to see a great friend of mine from the Vista 3rd Ward, Darian Smith, who is on a service mission, and working as an ordinance worker in the San Diego temple. AND I saw Brother and Sister Wells who are from the TOV Ward, and who told me that they are currently teaching PAT VINCENT the temple prep classes. 

Life is good in the hood. We found out on Saturday night, that Elder Smith is getting transferred.... wah wah. I don't know what I am going to do with out that guy, he is an amazing missionary. The ward is going to miss him a lot. we have a lot of work to do, whoever my next companion is, so it is going to be an exciting transfer!

Love you!

Elder Strong

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014 - Pictures

 E. English in front of the Mile's house for the party
 Rainbow Birthday cake
 A guy at a farmers market gave us all of these different kind of mushrooms. (on a possibly related note, Elder Smith has not been feeling to well lately)
 Our friend Zack's dog "chubbs"
 Tanner got his Mission Call when we came over to his house to teach his girlfriend. (Lisbon, Portugal)
On Saturday, we baptized Sandy. (My past companions: Elder Cheney, Me, Elder Morrison, and Elder Mo'unga)

August 18, 2014

Hello Everybody!

We had a great week, yesterday one of the Elder's that I trained (Elder Despain) got transferred into our Zone, so that was awesome! 

It was my turn to be in the Butterfield Stage Ward this Sunday (we switch every Sunday and go to church ALONE) and I got to teach Gospel Principles to A Recent Convert Erin. She is awesome, we are teaching her family and helping them follow her footsteps. The lesson was on Temple Baptisms, and Family History, she is SOOOO excited to do family history and take her ancestors names to the temple! 

anyways, my home boy Brock was my companion all day, we got a new Ward Mission Leader (YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! FINALLY) and then after church we went to the YSA Branch to pick up Elder Smith, and to enjoy Linger Longer. Turns out, Elder Smith told everyone that it was my birthday, and so when I walked into the cultural hall, I got a couple of abrassos from only the best YSA members (only the guys, of course)

It was pretty amazing to be able to go back to Vista to Baptize Sandy. She went through a lot of struggles between the time we met her and the time she got baptized. She got up after she dried off and changed back, and bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon, and of how the savior has taken her pains upon himself and has strengthened her, and always gives strength to her. It was an amazing Baptism.

Thanks to everyone for the Birthday Wishes, and shout out to my grandmas for their gifts! thank you so much for all of the support! I love you!

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 11, 2014 - Pictures

 Rendom pic of the outskirts of temecula
 Mike Metzgers compound
 Hadoka Super Rat on the the freeway
Read the texts from the bottom up

August 11, 2014

Hey Everyone,

This week was great, we had a lot of success, and our hard work is paying off!

We set a baptismal date with our friend, we will call him Paul, (names have been changed to protect the individual)

Paul is a great guy, who has always had a ton of Mormon friends, but never wanted to join the church, because he wasn't interested in religion at all. He is now 26 and he is meeting with us at his best friends parents house, and is finding a faith in Jesus Christ. He reminds me of myself, and his friends remind me of the Halls, it is really cool how he gets so much support from his family and his friends family, like I do :)

A lot of busy things this week, we had to take two missionaries half way to the airport, one of them was finished with his 2 years and was on cloud nine, and the other was going home close to his 1 year mark for health reasons (the back problems) and was really torn apart. It was really interesting to see the differences in their attitudes when it came to going home. 

I love the mission and I am really happy I have so much time left!

Today we are going to the Mile's house for a Zone Party, I will get you some pics for next week!

Love you!

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 4, 2014 - Pictures

 Elder Mickelson recieved a free tube of tooth paste! (thanks mom)
Elder Smith surprised me with mickey mouse pancakes

August 4, 2014

Dear Family!

This week went by really quick :/ there were a lot of things to get done, but that is always a good thing. I want to tell you a little about an exchange I went on this week.

But first, we had a meeting with all of the mission leadership (STL's, DL's, ZL's) and it was great, President Kendrick talked a lot about fulfilling our purpose and having unity as a mission. We got to drive down, all 5 of us from Temecula who were going filled up the Corolla and took off (our Corolla is named Judy, by the way) on the way home, we just had to stop at Pedro's Taco's for a shrimp burrito and then we went back to the promise land. When we got back, we split up and did our weekly planning and then went to meet up with the Elders we were exchanging with. one of them went to the meeting in Vista with us. 

After Elder Smith left with the Elder he was going to be with, who is also named Elder Smith, I asked my temporary companion what our plans for dinner were, he told me that we didn't have any, and we were just going to eat at the apartment. so we sat down and started to decide what we would make, when he told me "Elder Strong, I am having the worst day today" he seemed really nervous and shaky. I told him it would be ok, and asked what was wrong. He told me he had been having back problems, which I already knew, but that they were worsening and he had not slept for more than about an hour, each night for several weeks. (he has really bad scoliosis and degenerative disc disease) He then told me that he had been to the doctors earlier in the week, and when we were at the conference, President called him into his office, and told him he would be going home to seek medical attention. 

This Elder has a reputation for his consecration and hard work. He has been out almost a year now. He was devastated to find out that he had to go home. I remembered the money in my pocket, that my sweet sweet mother (and father) sent to me, and I said, come on Elder, let me take you out to dinner. I asked him what he wanted and he said pizza, but the pizza place was really far away, and wouldn't work with our schedule if we walked or biked, so we headed towards the corner full of fast food... when suddenly a car pulls off to the side of the road! it was one of the YSA members Ben, he later told me that he was driving home after a hard day (girl drama/work) and felt an impression to ask if we needed anything, so we got into his car and he asked us what we wanted for dinner. we told him pizza, and his face lit up and he said, "do you want the best pizza I have ever found in California??" (Ben served in Italy) he said that it was expensive, but I told him about the money that I had from my parents and he took off to his favorite place. The people working there were only speaking Italian to each other, and they knew that Ben spoke Italian so we were seated and had a really great pizza! 

The rest of the exchange went really well, we made some arrangements for their upcoming baptism and taught some lessons. but the next morning we walked out side and it started to rain, and we walked from appointment to appointment in the rain, for hours. it was pretty miserable, especially in contrast to the usual weather of our mission. (that was the 3rd time I've been in the rain on my mission, i'm pretty sure) I was really impressed by this Elders great attitude, he was thankful that he had another day in the mission that he could prove his dedication to the Lord. We set some really great goals to help him magnify the last few weeks in the mission, including committing the family he has been working with to be baptized. He has strengthened my testimony of the work.

I was thinking of about this Elder in the car on the way here, and this song started to play, it is by the same guy who does all of the "Owl City" stuff, so basically the mission is the only place I would have ever heard it. but I listened to it a bunch a typed out the lyrics so you could read it. (hopefully i didn't mess up to bad) 

In Christ Alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
firm through the fiercest drought, and storm

what heights of love, what depths of peace
when fears are stilled, when striving ceased
my comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ, I stand

there in the ground, his body lay
light of the lord, in darkness lay
then bursting forth, in glorious day 
up from the grave he rose again

and as he stands in victory,
since curse has lost its grip on me
for i am his, and he is mine, 
bought with the precious blood of Christ

no guilt in life, no fear in death
this is the power of Christ in me
from life's first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

no power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever block me, from his hand

till he returns, or calls me home, 
here in the power of Christ, I'll stand

I love you! thanks for all of the support!


-- Elder James Riley Strong