Thank you for all of your emails and love this week, I had A fantastic birthday. I made some time today [to write], along with three pizzas and bread sticks, so hopefully I can tell you a lot. Many of our investigators are doing well, we have many with a baptism date but thus far none have followed through. Some are difficult, because My companion worked with them before I came here, and a few others are struggling with the Word of Wisdom. My investigator who works at the theatres is battling depression with the struggles he has endured in his life, and when we realized he still uses beer to sleep at night, the three of us knew we had to do something creative. And yes, the three of us. on Tuesday we had Intercambios, so I was with Elder Tepox all day. After our first Ward council since I have been here (due to the holidays) we discovered that our Zone leader was sent home to Peru, and now until February I am in a Trio with Elder Jiménez and Elder Tepox, (Bebe y Xbox) we get along well, but Elder Xbox has a difficult time keeping focused in the morning. He has been a blessing, though. With him, we have returned to the apartment on time every night and he has helped us in our lessons, as another witness and another native who can speak the Language. He is a bit gordo and is from Puelba, Mexico, and is the most Senior of the three of us, having about 9 months. With both sectors in this ward merged, our workload has doubled, and so has the hills. I like it though, it feels like I am about to pass a Calculas Test and run a sub 5 minute mile on the same day! But hey, I have done that before, let´s double the Norma de Excelencia these weeks. This past week we did great, well surpassing the normal goal. We are aiming for almost double, and to keep our numbers controlled in the right places. Much of Stake conference this weekend was focused on La Obra of Salvation, or the Work of Salvation. Still, I understood most of it, but I have a difficulty expressing my comprehension. Today I spent a lot of the day with Hmo Rafa Reyes y Hma Nancy,[local members] making pizza and practicing some of the mission language. Trying to teach a family to make pizza in a different tongue is possible, but time consuming. I only hope we can control the massive amount of people we have to work with now.
My Birthday Was Incredible! Hma. Nancy made red enchiladas, and a lot of them! afterwards she brought out a red velvet cake, and we made Vampiros, without the tequila of course. The salted brims and the room filled with laughter was so good to feel this week. This was the best Comida we have hade yet in the mission, and it is not because the other foods were bad or the fact that it was my birthday. All of this was after a service project in the morning, making a driveway where once stood a stagnant puddle. While you were shoveling snow, I shovelled Dirt. 19, here I am!
The weather here is too perfect. The first week I came here we had a small rainstorm, but not a drop since. Not that the air has been absent of water, or pollution for that matter. Now that you mention it Dad, The cloud of smog does extend over us a bit, I am pretty sure there were some fires over the holidays. For now, the air is clearing out, that is when we can see San Diego. Many nights have been foggy, even though it is not extremely thick. Oh, and the other day with Elder Tepox, I ran up El cerro de Satanás, without a sweat. Thanks coach, and thank you teammates.
I am running out of time, but I left some questions unanswered. My interview with the Mission President went well, it was a brief welcome to the mission, celebrate your arrival and work! I have had no problem with that. Pres. Carreón pointed out a scripture in Alma 17, in the end of verse 4 and the beginning of verse 5. I am to Pray, fast, and study the scriptures. The word here in the Libro De Mormon say Escudriñar, to examine the scriptures. It is good to hear that my new cousin Ian is finally home, but is is a little betraying to hear that Cami is going to go to Bingham! :P All is well, I suppose. I have quite enjoying serving the Lord, and I hope everyone back home has their trust in the Lord to examine the scriptures daily, and to grow in your testimony. I love this Ward, and I have been incredibly blessed to use and to strenghten my testimony as I raise others to the tops of mountains I have ran and continue to teach them the simple wonders of the gospel. I bear my testimony, that I know that this church is true, and that Joesph Smith was a prophet and that Pres. Thomas S Monson is a prophet today. I love my family, and I hope they feel my love in every word I write.
Lengthening the stride,
Elder James Tobler