Wednesday, June 25, 2014

week of June 23

I love hearing about summer preparations, and I am so excited to hear
all about Jackson hole again. I think I will be even more excited to
go with you all next year. I am stoked to go camping and wander around
in the outdoors on my own schedule.

We have continued to escalate in our success and that is fantastic.
Seeing work pay off is always gratifying. I would like to say that I
would be able to continue without it but I do love to see it. I have
finally counted, and now want to know how long I have left. I have
been working hard but now knowing that I have 10 months left is a
little jarring. I really realize know that I need to work so much
harder. I am giving a lot of myself but I need to give more of myself.
I really need to wear myself out in the service of my god, because he
is my god, and I have learned to really love him. That has been one of
the biggest changes for me as I have served a mission. I have a
personal relationship with god. It used to be casual, with only
occasional though about how our relationship was doing but now it is
an active part of my life. I like it that way and I am happy for it to
continue growing.

I have been using like every spare minute I have to study recently. I
want to know the gospel so much more thoroughly and profoundly. I
often think of how much the gospel has and will direct and change my
life. I see so many scenarios, SO MANY, further on in my life when I
am going to have to really figure stuff out and try and reconcile all
the thoughts in my head and and what I think god wants. That is going
to be an interesting thing to go through. Not because I will becoming
a robot, but that I will develop through my own processes of coming to
conclusions while enlarging my knowledge and understanding of this
world that we live in.

We are off to play soccer right now. Our p day ours are often filled
with soccer or basketball now. My current companion isn't really into
any sort of historical or cultural exhibitions and or museums. So I
guess I will do that later. I think though this transfer is going to
be my last one here. I don't really want it to be but that's what. Lot
of people keep saying, and it is what I am feeling. I wasn't feeling
it last transfer but I am now.

I love my mission. I love you guys. I love this world. I love my
potential. I love everyone I see.

week of June 16

How is everything going at home now that everything is back to normal?
 When do you all get on the move again for Jackson? Will you be
leaving at the very end of June like so often happens? I am trying to
gauge birthday presents... Speaking of that you should be receiving a
package for Father's Day, I tried to time it right but it might be
arriving today or tomorrow. It is a book, believe it or not. But I
hope a good one (i didn't read it). You can borrow it too.

This week I had a interesting experience with the Atonement I will
tell you all briefly about. I think for the first time I have really
experienced the Atonement as a supporting power. That I have
recognized at at least, I am sure it has supported me in the past.

I was having some doubts as I often do and I really need help figuring
stuff out. I became a little bit frantic in my search doing every
thing I could think of to gain the knowledge and peace I needed. After
lots of my own efforts and a lot of help from the other side I figured
out what I needed. In retrospect I realized that all I did was
exercise faith in Christ through Prayer and study as well as my own
sacrifice. I repented of my short-comings, remembered the promises I
made to follow Jesus Christ the last time I took the sacrament and
then bam, I felt the support of the spirit. It was a really fantastic
opportunity for me to experience the Atonement again. I know how I can
conquer all my doubts as they can continue to come for the rest of my
life, because I know they will. And, until I die, I won't have it all
figured out.

I am grateful for the power of the atonement in my life. I will
continue to use it and continue to share it.

Thank you for being great!

I Love You All//

Elder Jonny Bigelow

What are your summer goals girls?(evelyn and julia)
I hear that you are doing all sorts of good things in the mornings
before playing. You are going to be so much smarter than I was when I
a kid!

Mom, do you have a milage goal for your bike riding this year? That
could be a cool thing to accomplish.

week of June 9

This past week was another good one of progress. I still like
progress, but i still want BIGGER, FASTER, MORE. I don't know if I
will ever really be satisfied. I guess that is a good/bad thing. I
will figure that our later when we really are succeeding. The biggest
thing for me to gauge that though i think are my own personal goals.
As long as they always stretch me and I achieve them to perfection now
and again then I can be satisfied with the effort I put in. If I know
I am really giving everything I can at something then I should be
satisfied I guess. Anyway, enough about that.

This coming week we are a little bit in limbo because transfers are
this coming Thursday. Even though I have only been here for six weeks
I still could get transferred. That chance is higher this time around
for a number of reasons, so I am crossing my fingers I get to stay. We
really are finally rolling. We have a number of really cool
investigator families we just need to capitalize on. I want to see
them change! I am though happy to go wherever I am needed to do
whatever is asked. That is the whole point of this mission experience.

On Sunday we had a cool "charla foganera"(fireside) with many of the
recent converts. Every six weeks we have one of these, where the
recently baptized members get to bear their testimonies and share
their own conversion stories. They are pretty much always fun, and a
little enlightening because president Burton always speaks (have a
mentioned that I love him before?). But this time was special. A lot
of people were baptized in the past few weeks and there experiences
were so powerful. It was definitely a step above as far as firesides
go, extra cool part is that 3 kids of a part member families who
recently moved here from Honduras were there and loved it too. Carlos,
Nicole, and Gabriela are there names. They are one of the biggest
reasons I want to stay. Our whole mission is just stepping up there
game in all aspects. We are truly becoming powerful. It reminds me of
something I was studying recently. In the stories of Ammon and
Aaron--which we study all the time as missionaries-- they do all this
great stuff like do service, ask inspired questions and simply teach
doctrine etc etc but as I was studying them again I realized that the
thing that made everything happen was the "power" of the spirit. It
refers to power many times in both cases without explicitly saying, of
the spirit. But that is what it is, and that is what I personally am
gaining and what we as a mission are gaining.

I have realized even though I don't do this mission for myself, nor do
I do it for my own recognition and glory it really is for me. This is
not my work, and it would be done without me. I am asked to, and given
the opportunity to be apart of it so I can be changed. I have changed
a lot--but I think that is a good thing. In some ways I haven't
changed though, I almost bought some new expensive shoes today...I
however did buy the cheap ones because my green ones are kind of
starting to disintegrate.

.my desk is clean
.i am using the keyboard you guys got for me THANKYOU
.i really really really want to go on a  good proper bike ride right now
.yesterday i ate a weird/yummy thing called salchipapas it is got dogs
and french fries cut up with lettuce and tons of condiments. It is
apparently a tradition peruvian dish.
.me and the members here are finally tight
.i think when i get home one of the first things i will do is go camping
.last thing---new goal--finish the Book of Mormon as fast as I can, as
slow as I can. I am in alma 22 but I really want to finish soon. I am
reading very carefully and slowly. Ask me where I am next week

I have a lot left to go but I feel it is just around the corner.


Elder Jonathan Bigelow

ps. I got evelyns letter, it is great. I already hung up one of the paintings
pps. para terminar,pienso que voy a mandar algo en español para que
puedas practicar el tuyo también. He mejorado muchísimo en los últimos
seis semanas y estoy animado para continuar avanzando en mi español.
En un año más, seré pretty good.

My desk these days:

week of June 2

I have no idea how long I have in my mission, nor how long I have
left. Well no idea would be a lie because I know I will be going home
in April of next year so I know it is less than a year. But I actually
like not being quite sure because it puts a little bit more urgency in
my brain about the work I have. I want to just tear it up while I am
here. I am really trying to work my guts out.

It sounds like a TON of stuff is going on at home. The more I think
about it the more I feel like I am going to be surprised by so many
things. The craziest part will probably be seeing the girls and how
much they have grown up over the previous two years.

This week I have learned a lot about the value of truly "owning up" to
everything you do. I made myself much more accountable to everything
we did this week, especially our goals. We exceeded some of them! We
did not accomplish many others. So, in short  I have about the same
feelings as I did last week but I am a little happier about what is
going on because we are progressing in a bigger way.

hey quick question, do you like hearing more about these little
miracle experiences or my thoughts and feelings about what is going on
specifically with occasional super duper stories? I think I prefer
one... But let me know what you would like to hear about to.

That being said here is a super duper cool story this week. I am going
to tell it a little like a story--While walking up a flight of stairs
in a rundown apartment complex we dodged some little Guatemalan girls
as they chittered about who knows what and continued up the stinky
stairwell to go visit Roberto. As I grabbed the peeling guardrail to
avoid slipping on the slick linoleum on the way up to level C a small
women bursted out of  apartment B3 saying "Elderes, Elderes--como
estan? como estan? Me llamo Kariely y soy miembro. Nos mudamos por aca
como dos meces atras y no sabemos donde esta la capilla. Nos pueden
ayudar?" Un poco soprendido le dije, "Claro, aqui esta la dirrecion.
Tiene una familia?" She rattled off again about her family story and
called her two daughters to come and talk to us. One of the little
girls we saw earlier introduced herself as Aura, and we later met
Aury. We set up a time that we could come back to meet her husband and
teach a lesson.-- We ended up going back and finding out that the dad
had lived there for around 5 years and had gone inactive while working
to bring his family over. The Mom was pumped to see us and ended up
telling us that both of the daughters needed to be taught and baptized
as well because they wanted to wait until their Dad could baptize them
in the States. The really cool thing is that we went that area as a
like fifth back up plan because everything we had called to confirm
had cancelled. God makes magic happen! He will micromanage our lives
if we let him--so says my mission president. He also says "God puts
prepared people of his prepared servants who want to share the
Gospel." So be prepared! More opportunities will come to the sharpest

I am so thankful that I have learned how God works and how he
communicates with me on my mission. I still have all sorts of doubts
and my testimony is very often tried but I bear what I do have with
faith, and I will always but what I have already won first. My doubts
will help me to grow as I resolve them.

.i love the glass that is going on at home. i will be expecting some
pretty magnificent pieces for my home
.i almost bought a pair of SWEET nikes today. they were all black everything
.i am having to deal with some ghirardelli chocolate here in manassas.
There aint no guitard
.i like speaking spanish--i am also a lot better
.i feel really good right now. rested enough, fed enough, worked out
this morning and we have an awesome week ahead of us.

you guys are the dopest

Love// lot lots lot of love

E. J. B.

Week of May 25

It is great to hear about summer again. It is really weird though because all these things you told me happened last year--with variation of course-- but this is the the last summer you are going to tell me about. Things only happen twice in a mission. I am trying not to keep track of time and just work as hard as I can and continue progressing as fast as I can to serve well where I am. 

This week I am disappointed/happy with how we have done in achieving our goals. On one side we did not achieve all of our goals in bringing others to Christ (key indicators/numbers). But I tried to work really hard and achieved a lot of my personal development goals. It teaches in preach my gospel something along the lines of, "a successful missionary is not ONLY measured on the number of people baptized[or found or at church or whatever], but rather their commitment to their goals and their dedication to the work" the problem is the ONLY. It is part of it though and I don't feel like it is being accomplished in the way it should. We are progressing a long and it is harder because we are restarting the area but those are just excuses. Any excuse no matter how valid, lessens your credibility. This week will be better.

I am about out of words, but one more thing you can do for me is pray for missionary opportunities of your own every day. Something will come up, for sure. It will probably require you to be bold. But something will come, always. I have seen that.

Love you guys lots. Have a tremendous day!