Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 27, 2014 - Pictures

 drive-by shootings

 Brandon Fahnestock and his wife Jessica, Brandon was baptized by Brother Lavulavu

October 27, 2014

Things have been going great!

Brandon's Baptism we one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. He is so devoted to following the savior and doing what is right. this is the kind of thing that missionaries dream of.

Our Zone Activity is today, we are going to carve pumpkins and play some games, hopefully is a success!

One of my new heroes is our new Ward Mission Leader, Brother Shrope, he is a "Spiritual Jedi", as he has been titled. I really think that he is going to be responsible for MANY missionary successes while he is here. 

We went to the temple but we didn't take any pictures, it was great! like always. a very spiritual experience.

Well, love you! 

P.S. Someone should look for a hot wheels of a 58 corvette, so that Brother Shrope can have his dream car!

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 20, 2014 - Pictures

 another pic from the front gate of Camp Pendleton 
 The San Luis Rey Mission, where the people "go" to church
 Halloween is my favorite
The Oceanside civic center/library

October 20, 2014

Hi everybody!

Another great week of the mission. This week went by crazy fast! Elder Boehme (a good friend) had to be switched to a different zone, so that was sad. He actually got transferred into the Farsi group in Del Mar, which, is one of the only ones in North America, so he has to learn a new (ridiculous) language, and he probably stay there for the rest of his mission.

We spent a lot of time on base this week, I found out that one of my biggest fears is accidentally speeding on a military base, because the speed limits are all a lot slower than usual and all of the marines on patrol have M-16s and not all of them are particularly fond of missionaries. I had to get a temporary military ID to be allowed on base, and you have to have an active duty marine sponsor you to get one, so we had our investigator meet us at the gate and fill out some paperwork to get it done. 

His name is Brandon, he is from the Kansas and his wife Jessica is a member, they are in their early-20's and Brandon is getting baptized this week! He is really cool. super nice guy, solid testimony, strong desire to follow Christ. He always wanted to go to church when he was growing up, but his parents would never take him. and he is soaking it all up now! we have only been teaching him for like 4 weeks but it feels like we have all known each other for years! it has been amazing to get to know them, and to see how much they love the gospel, and how much they want to get sealed in the temple.

Then there is Charles, a 65 year old recent convert. We go over to his humble home and act as physical therapists, and help him work out and take care of his other needs. His life is a shadow of the modern day Job (from the Old Testament) in a matter of 4 or 5 years, he lost his wife and his daughter in a car crash, his son became a raging alcoholic, the recession hit and he lost EVERYTHING. He used to live in a really nice house in Falbrook, he had an avocado grove and horses and the whole 9 yards. And then he had a massive stroke, losing the ability to walk and move his arms for the most part. he speaks really slow and it is very difficult to understand him sometimes. He has a really hard time not getting discouraged, but he really wants to be able to walk again. he was only baptized 3 or 4 months ago and you can tell that he is doing better then he was before. He is a grumpy old man haha. he rides his little jazzy around town and enjoys seeing the sights.

Well I gotta go love you!

Elder James Riley Strong

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 14, 2014

we got to go see "Meet the Mormon's" as a whole mission. It was REALLY good.

I got transferred into the Oceanside 1st Ward, here is the map of the whole zone, the Carlsbad Zone. Our ward is at the top.

this is my companion Elder Petersen, I have known him for a long time, and we are good friends. This is Charles, he is a recent convert that is a quadriplegic, we go over to his house every couple of days to help take care of him. I will have to tell you more about him another time. 

Our area covers Camp Pendleton, so there are a TON of Marines in our ward, and a lot of investigators from base. Marines are either the most polite or the LEAST polite. 

There are also a lot of gangs in Oceanside. the two that are in our ward boundaries are Pasole (where we live) and Central (they hate each other) 

But I have heard that a lot of the gang members like the missionaries. Also the apartment we live in is full of marines so we feel safe. 

I went on a Spanish exchange, with Elder Garcia. I got to ride a bike for once! And I got the BEST fish tacos ever!

Things have been going great. We are working with a lot of people right now, and we are having a lot of success. we are really happy about being companions (well at least I am) We served together in the Twin Oaks Valley Ward, he was on the other side. 

And we live 2 miles away from the beach. We run to the end of the pier almost every morning. 

There are a lot of really awesome people out here, it is kinda like my ward in vista, because that ward covered parts of O'side. it is a really interesting part of the mission. I love it.

There is a guy that is getting close to baptism named Brandon. He is a marine and is married to a member, we are going over to their house for dinner and a lesson tonight. He is awesome! 

There are a lot of people to talk to. Just need to filter out the elect! haha, my favorite!

Well, I love you. talk to ya next week.

Elder James Riley Strong

October 6, 2014 - Pictures

 R.I.P. Elder Casper

Elder Casper got his visa and is hopefully in Taiwan now

 waiting for our dinner

Elder W opened up the Ford's fridge and a big bowl of salad fell all over the floor

 Saying goodbye to the Dudley's + Karlie

 Saying goodbye to the Ford's

October 6, 2014

Dear Family,

I have loved being in Temecula, but the call has come to leave. There are a few spots opening up in other wards in this area, so maybe I will be lucky enough to stay close. I guess we will have to see, as always.

Conference is always a special time in the mission field. The Zone got together at the stake center to watch all of the 4 general sessions, and we did a "blitz" on the Rancho California Ward, where we all split up into twos, with a different companion, and took a different section of the area and all worked in the same ward at one time. They got a handful of good referrals out of it, and it was a lot of fun!

My favorite talks were Elder Jörg Klebingat's from Sat. afternoon and President Uchtdorf's from the Priesthood Session. They both gave us very clear guidance on how to become better.

Brother Ford took us out to a really nice Thai Food place before the Priesthood Session, and we watched it at the Stake Center as well.

I love you! we are going to go get some lunch and enjoy my last day in Temecula!

Elder Strong

Elder James Riley Strong