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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The No Subject Email

Well, I don't have much to say, so I'll just tell you what I can and answer some questions and such that have come up to me that I've basically ignored/looked over.

Someone tell Grandpa D to stop driving, cause if this pattern continues, when Jackson goes on his mission in a couple months a third car will be wrecked, and he might not be as lucky. And I'm pretty I speak for both (and soon, all three) of us Elders Dial that we want a grandpa when we get back. :)

Sarah, good luck with your new calling, but if it makes you feel better, there isn't even a choir here, so yeah.  The ward has 94 or so active people, and to tell you how much work needs to be done, there were only 6 in Elders Quorum on Sunday- there are supposed to be 46. And there's 109 prospective elders- so at least 50 inactive families we need to play hide and seek with.  They have 3 or 4 active young men- and for mutual, every week is combined because they only have a max of 10 active youth-- and that's with the football players who can't go cause of practice.

Dad, no, we weren't near UTEP, as there are 3 zones/stakes just for the city of El Paso, and we have downtown/we're the central zone.  (That's code for I have no idea where UTEP even is, so I'm gonna say no.) And no, I have no idea what movie that is, but the quote from last week was meant to be from "Forever Strong".

Merinda, of course the minions are driving you nuts.  It's cause I'm not there so someone's got to do it!  They are just fulfilling their calling. ;)  And you better actually paint the rooms- we've been saying that we would for like 6 years, but we never did- so you'd best follow up on the word. 

I lied last week when I said that I'd be sending a package to Adi soon. I'm just actually going to send a package to my parents, and some of the stuff inside will be for her and Emera, meant to be delivered to her sometime. I haven't sent it yet, so you probably won't get it in time for this weekend.  The package will have letters for most of the fam back there, so that's why you haven't really gotten any.

So Elder Proctor and I had a genius idea to go contacting some people downtown--at night... on a Friday... yeah... needless to say that was pretty ineffective...  We found out later that a guy had been stabbed to death that same night- the only consolation is that we don't know where downtown it happened but that it was apparently around midnight (I think the guy was lying to us when he said that, but it did help, a little bit).

Now it's picture time. The first two pictures are from the hike we did as a zone last P-day.  The first picture should be one side of El Paso, and the other picture should be the other side.  Yes, the mountains we hiked are in the middle of the city- and it literally is city.  At night, all I can see on the horizon is city. Literally. 
The next two are from temple day, yesterday.  I am not actually the tallest, I just wanted to be seen over the Elder who is the tallest, who is standing in front of me.  That's my zone here in the Chamizal zone.  The next one, is me and my comp, Elder Proctor.  This picture doesn't accurately describe his personality, but it does describe the differences in his personality and mine.  

I almost forgot to talk about Missionary Monday (temple Monday)-  President and Sister Guffey gave short talks before each session (there were 4) and we were the last session, cause we're the farthest away from the temple.  So they came into the session with us!  I actually ended up sitting by President Guffey the whole time-which was slightly intimidating but epic.

I'm doing good, my body's getting used to the weather- 60 degrees is starting to be cold (I don't like that at all) but it's only been that way since yesterday- and we were in Albuquerque yesterday, where it was 70 degrees and that was perfect.

Also, about my Christmas present- I have no preference of the size of the picture or anything like that.  Just send them when you can. :)

Anyways, I got to go! There is work for us all to do!

Te whanaunga mo ake tonu!

Elder Eli James Dial

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Espanol is no Bueno

First things first (I'm the realest #fancy ;)  happy birthday Adi! I know you can't read this, and that your birthday's actually tomorrow, but have a great 5th birthday! I'll send a package there soon!  :)

A lot has happened this week, and it started last Wednesday with exchanges!  So I got to spend a full 24 hours away from my companion and my area, with the only other Elders in our District--the Zone Leaders.  And naturally, they're the Spanish Elders.  So basically, I got to spend a whole day listening and acting like I knew what was going on, as most of it was in Spanish.  Twas a dream come true. ;)

Next, Juan.  He was gone Monday through Thursday last week, picking up his brother from California, and so we go and try to meet with him for our appointment and boom-- his brother's atheist, and we couldn't get in with Juan, because it's the brother answering the door.  We'll keep trying and doing our best, but this brother is "always trying to kill my vibes" (name that movie). 

So we met another Juan, Juan 2.0.  We had met him before, but we met him again on the bus, and that's when he looks at us and (without us asking) gives us his address and asks us to go meet with him- every missionaries' dream!  His story though, is epic, and typically, he's the guy you would think is super intimidating just by his looks.  He's been shot at least 6 times (maybe 8, we're not sure), is an amputee (he's got an artificial leg from the knee down on his left leg), and a couple months ago, he broke his other leg, when a car fell on it.  He wasn't supposed to walk for 5 more months, but he's on a cane now, and he's doing work.  He's been in prison for drug abuse, his wife is still in and out of prison for it, but 10 years ago, his 2 kids were almost put up for adoption.  That's when he changed his life around.  He cleaned up, stopped using drugs, and is now working as best he can to support those two kids, who have been living with him for about 9 years now.  He knows he's alive for a reason, and he believes that that reason is his kids.  Literally, the epitome of what a missionary wants from an investigator.  Unfortunately, after we met with him, we found out from him that he would prefer to receive the lessons IN SPANISH.  WE DON'T EVEN GET TO TEACH THE GUY.  So Elder Proctor and I are really upset about that.

Yesterday was Zone Conference.  So, a little background. What they do, is about 3 days in advance, they give you a topic and you prepare a 5 minute talk on it, but you don't know who's talking until they announce your name over the pulpit.  The biggest catch to it- you're not allowed to take anything up there with you.  Your scriptures, notes, nothing.  It's just you and the congregation.

So Elder Proctor needs to go to the bathroom.  And when he needs to go, HE NEEDS TO GO.  So we wait till the end of the Stake President's talk, get up and go.  When we walk back in, while Sister Ashton (one of the missionaries) is giving her talk, one Elder looks me in the eye as I'm walking to my seat and mouths the words "you're talking".  I sit down, and I have four missionaries look at me, with either worry, sadness, or maybe a little joking.  I look at Elder Larkin, one of the AP's and point to myself, to which he nods slightly.  When Sister Ashton finishes, I look to the conducting AP, Elder McGarry, and he just looks at me and nods.  This whole time, I'm thinking "ah crap. I have nothing prepared for this"  And I didn't.  The topic was the scripture of the month that we had to memorize, Moroni 8:25 (or something like that)- "The firstfruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins" So what did I do? I got up and gave a 5 minute talk on it.  I have no idea what I said, but it was cool.  I basically tied it in to the missionary purpose, to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End"  It was sweet.

I'm growing closer to the members and it's awesome!  I have had some spicy food now, and after two weeks of waiting, I can finally say that the food here makes me want El Paso El Gas-o. (I've literally been waiting for 2 weeks to say that). It's still tasty, though, and as far as I know, I haven't gained any weight since the MTC, so I'm still going to eat more and more. ;)

Now, on to more serious matters: my Christmas wish list.  What I want from all of you, is your favorite picture of Christ and your testimony (hard copies of both) and you better sign your name at the bottom of your testimony.  I don't care if I get the same picture 30 times, if it's wallet size or what, but just send it to me.  I know this is 3 months in advance, but I figured I'd let you know so you can start preparing.  You can put your testimony on the back of the picture, you can send them as two separate items, but either way, I want them both.  If you don't want to send them yourself, you can give them to my parents and they will send them for you, or get together with a group of friends and do it, I don't care, just do it! (As for the missionaries who are out serving, just send me your testimony, however long you want it to be, and I can print it off here.)

My address is: 
Elder Eli James Dial
New Mexico Albuquerque Mission

(This is the mission office address, that's where they want the mail sent, and I don't know where/when I'm going to be transferred, so just send it here so it won't get lost in the mail)
(Mom, I don't know how long it takes the mail to get here because it gets to the mission office and I get it whenever someone goes up there or they come down here [it's a 4 hour drive], so I got your package and all that yesterday, if that helps)

Sorry this is a long one, but there was a lot that I wanted to tell you all!

Te whanaunga mo ake tonu!

Elder Eli James Dial

PS I challenge you all to study in depth (the interpretations as contained in 1 Nephi 13, the grammar, the placement of what he says and where he says it, stuff like that) Lehi's vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8), cause I have been since I've restarted the BOM back in the MTC, and there's a ton of perspectives that can be added to make it cooler, and I'd love to hear what you all come up with. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

El Paso

Week 1 in a nutshell:  I've been chased down by a prostitute, sworn at by a drunk old man and a sweet-looking old lady (who yelled obscenities at us while we walked away), helped a different drunk guy lay on the ground while we waited for the EMT's to get there, cause he had passed out while in his wheelchair (or he fell down or something, I don't even know), got to baptize an investigator named David, have walked through the most ghetto part of town (called the Devil's Triangle, where we met the prostitute), and walked to the Mexican border.

So, from what I've been told, this is just another week in El Paso. XD

This next part, Merinda, you'll love. The ward that I go to, just so happens to be in the OLDEST chapel in Texas. Literally.  It has a plaque and everything about how it's the oldest church building in Texas.   And, in the ward I'm in, I met our fourth cousin- on the Dial side!  We're related through Samuel Dial, (Grandpa's grandpa) and her grandpa's grandpa is Samuel's brother!  Her name is Gabrielle Cheney (Hey yo, Chris, you related to her??) and she's also big into family history!

So the ward is great here, we get fed every night (that's something my companion makes sure of) and last night we had BAKED POTATOES. It was fantastic that I had the opportunity to have a taste of home, but I didn't get to bring up Spud Day, so that was a little sad, but I'm over it. 

Holly, you would love the apartment I live in because A) the hot water doesn't run out. Ever. The cold water runs out.  If I wash my hands in cold water, then I have to brush my teeth with warm water, and that is not something that I like to do, but whatever.  The longer you're in the shower, the hotter it gets. I came out of the shower today, and I was steaming for 5 minutes.  It's like I was Captain America or something. XD  B) it has the best view of the sunrise. OF. MY. LIFE. We live on a little bit of a mountain, and most of El Paso is east of us, so the sunrise (which happens at around 6:45, 7 ish) has most of the city in it.  It's sweet.  I'll take a picture when I get the SD card.

My Spanish is very limited, I can now say that "We're the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and that's it.  That's all my companion knows, so that's all he's taught me. XD

Sarah, Nate, congrats on the house and the job, that's awesome! Have fun moving everything before Christmas!! l:) ;)

So, a couple more details, my area is a driving mission, but in order to talk to more people, my comp and I ride the bus and walk most everywhere, depending on where we're going.  David, the guy who I baptized, was super prepared (I guess that he had read the Book of Mormon multiple times prior to meeting the missionaries) and I got to baptize him because the guy that he wanted found out the night before that he couldn't make it, so Elder Proctor told me that I could do it!  

We've met some people who are absolutely prepared to accept the gospel, one who's name is Juan (haha, stop laughing, "one Juan") and he doesn't believe in Christ, but he really wants to change his life around, so he's taking the lessons!  He even said that he would be baptized- and we're going to teach an actual lesson for the first time on Thursday, when he gets back from California.

The work goes on, even though I want to rest sometimes (it's really hard for me to stay awake during personal study but hey, I'm getting better).  And even though I miss you people, I know this is where I'm supposed to be, working and (believe it or not) talking to people!  Keep the faith!!

Te whanaunga mo ake tonu!!
Elder Eli James Dial

PS If you want to send snail mail, send it to the mission office, I don't know the address, but it's on the blog that my sisters made for me.  If you don't know what or where it is, someone send it to me and I'll include it in the next email next week. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In the field Day 2

So, here I am in the field!!  Still alive!!

I have been in New Mexico for a total of 30 hours or so.  Yes, I did do my math right, that should be closer to 40 ish by now, but, that's what happens when my first area is El Paso, Texas!

Before I get going, I have seen Elder Larkin- AP, welcomed me at the airport and called me out for being from Shelley (I was shocked when he did, I had no idea who he was at first) Elder Kirkham-(who is not my trainer, but was shocked to see me) Elder Nulph (in the same ward as Grandma Dial, and is returning home today), Elder Gulbransen (who is also leaving today, he got a picture of us, I told him to put it on Facebook or something, so be on the lookout for that in the next week [hopefully])  And the senior couple from Shelley that's serving here, the Butlers, I guess are in my zone.  I met Elder Lester-the guy who's cousins with the people who own that MASSIVE mansion on the end of Hansen- yeah, I went tracting with him for 2 hours in ABQ. 

Anyways, from the beginning.  

I am not getting on a plane again until it is absolutely necessary.  That was no bueno, even for a 75 minute flight.  I did not have a window seat, but that's ok, cause the guy next to me who did acted asleep when I was looking through, and when I looked away he was suddenly awake.  It's almost like I was Medusa or something. XD

My trainer is Elder Proctor, he's awesome, and I'm his last companion.  He's the District leader, and the other missionaries in the district are all Sisters, so guess who gets to teach tons of lessons?  Our area is the El Paso 1st ward, we have a baptism on Saturday, and we have the ghettos of El Paso. We go all the way to the border (with Mexico), and from what I understand, El Paso is where the mission president sends all the English speakers to learn some Spanish-- also, no bueno.

We are the farthest you can get from the mission home/office. And because the mail is unreliable/people steal your mail and stuff, we've been asked that you send all your mail to the mission office.  Someone will give them to me as often as they can, but, because we're the farthest you can get from the mission office, I will basically get all your snail mail once a month, when we have zone conferences.  P-day is usually Tuesday, but I get to send this because it was Labor Day on Monday, Transfer day yesterday, so now it's email day today.

We get to do a temple trip twice a year, right around General Conference, so I get to go through the ABQ temple on Sep 26- So I get a 4 hour car ride to get there, and a 4 hour ride back on the same day. We do a mission wide phone call every Tuesday, so we have all the missionaries from Santa Fe to El Paso listening in and participating when asked to beforehand, and it's sweet!

President and Sister Guffey are awesome, and this mission is a hugging mission. Literally everyone hugs. EVERYONE. 6 months ago I wouldn't have liked it, but now I don't really mind.  I'm now more prepared for it.

Some of the mission rules- the 4 C's
No Complaining- (makes sense, that's not good, distracts from the work, I agree)
No Criticism- (also makes sense, that destroys comp unity, not good for teaching)
No Comparing- (well yeah, that's understandable, everyone's different, don't try and think other wise) and 
No sarCasm.



That's enough said about that.

If there's anything more you want to know, let me know through email, cause I don't know when ZC is, so I have no idea when I'll get your mail.

Te whanaunga mo ake tonu!
(Tay Faw-now moe aw-kay toe-new)
[Maori for "Great is my love for you all"]

Elder Eli James Dial

PS- tell the nieces, the minions, (and the Nestle ;) that I love them! Email ya all next week!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The rest of the MTC info

So, this is super early for some of you when you get this, (I started writing this at 6:15 this morning, but I've had to stop and go with my comp and do some things)  but for me, I've been up since 6, so this is perfectly normal.  Anyways, I need to get to some of the facts that I forgot to mention last week:

No, Merinda, I did not get fat. I have gained like 5 pounds, so now I'm 140 or so, but I'm still not the lightest in the district.

I am part of the MTC choir's bass section, and this choir is better than every other choir, even the MoTab.  The first time I sang with them was with the Nashville Tribute Band, (the guys who sing, "I was born in the mountains of Idaho" then it switches to another person and they sing where they were born and so on) and I got to sing that song with them and 1702 other missionaries! Since then, the choir has been getting smaller, it's now like only 1500 missionaries, but who knows, with this next batch of newbies we might have more!  (If you want to know about how many people that is in that choir, just put about 5 MoTab's together, then you have about the size of us [when we have 1500, none of which sing quietly] XD)

Along with that, IN YOUR FACE HOLLY. Guess which Elder got to be a host?!?!  Yep! I got to welcome some of the newbies into the MTC and tell them what's up!!  Some of the other missionaries here tried to tell them that the orange juice was the best, and after that was said, and we were out of ear shot of those Elders, I told the newbie that that was the biggest lie.  It was the chocolate milk they wanted.  (It's literally like drinking ice cream, but better).  While I was hosting, I found out that we only had to welcome 300 new missionaries, last week was 700, and the week I came in I think was 800.  So the lines for food are absolutely terrible (surprise surprise).

I've seen Elders Jaynes, Orme, Higham (I'm pretty sure it was Keifer) and Sister Kelley, but other than that, I haven't seen anyone else from Shelley yet, someone should let me know if I should even bother to keep looking for them, especially when I leave on Monday.

Of my district, 6 of us are going to New Mexico- Elders Jackman, Pitcher, Broadhead, Gibbs, and I, along with Sister Hay- 3 are going to Omaha, Nabraska, (where Elder Tanner Winward is)- Elders Ohlson, Adams, and Westenskow- and the other three Sisters are going to Scotsdale, Arizona- Sisters Lawrence, Walker and Cahoon.  There is a second district that came in with us and is in our zone and they have some going to the same places (like a companion for Sister Hay) and all that, but not as many going to New Mexico.

If you wanted pictures, I'm gonna have to apologize, because my camera may or may not have an SD card anymore... before anyone freaks out, I took it out to send pictures to you (because some of the computers here have to do that instead of plug it in, like, you know, THE KIND EVERY MISSIONARY WANTS HERE, but whatever, so when I get in New Mexico my district (who's not serving in the same mission as me) is going to send pictures of us all to each of us, which I will then send to you, so you'll just have to wait.

Speaking of which, I do fly out to NM on this next Monday, Labor Day.  I have to meet to catch the bus at 6:20 or something like that, the plane leaves around 9, and I get there around 11:30 ish. Don't take my word for most of that, I last looked at it like last Saturday. I just know the around 6:20 part for sure.

I'm sick of teaching lessons when it's unnecessary that Elder Gibbs and I be the one to teach them.  I'm fine with teaching investigators- even if one of them is from Korea and speaks severely accented English, (which he's still learning) (and he's sick, so it's very much no bueno)- but the first Sunday here, we taught in priesthood how baptize someone correctly (5 min).  The next week we taught our district meeting (35 min), and this coming Sunday we are teaching priesthood meeting (I think 60 min or so).  And sometime Sunday we need to find time to pack our suitcases and clean our room, outside of choir practice (which is only Sundays and Tuesdays) and devotional. 

Speaking of devotional, for the 4 that I've been here for, we had the Nashville Tribute Band on Sunday, the 21st, Elder Juan A. Uceda of the Seventy (Tues. the 23rd), Bro Watson (don't remember his first name) one of the creators of Preach My Gospel (Sun. the 28th) and Richard J. Maynes, of the Presidency of the Seventy (Tues. the 30th).  They have all been really good, and the choir has performed at all of them, except for the one with Bro Watson, we spent the whole practice practicing the song for Bro Maynes, and it was flipping epic.

So here at the MTC there are multiple things you learn: how to fall asleep in 5 minutes (anywhere), how to cut the lines for meals (sometimes I feel bad, others I don't), and the language of the Spirit.  It's cool what unexpected things can come out of your mouth when you're in the zone. For example, the district meeting that I taught, the topic was "Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement" and the direction we took it was with the story Elder Bednar shared a couple years ago of his friend who got a new truck, wanted to go test it out and get firewood, got stuck and after filling the truck with wood was able to get out. The main point was that it was the burden that helped him get out. (If you don't remember it, it's called something like "Bearing our Burdens with Hope" and watch the Mormon message about it)  In there he talks about two questions that have the specific phrase "spiritual traction" so we talked about what can give us spiritual traction as missionaries.  Then, I changed the phrase to "spiritual distraction" and we made a list of that.  We then explained that Faith in Christ and His Atonement is how we can change those distractions into traction to make us more effective missionaries- and one of the things that came out of my mouth while I was bearing my testimony on faith was surprising:  "If you don't think you have enough faith, exercise it, cause I'm pretty sure that Moses didn't plan on parting the Red Sea."  That's been on my mind a lot the past couple of days-until I stopped to think about it and wrote about it in my journal.  As a result, I decided to exercise my faith a little bit by trusting that the Lord would put words in my mouth as I taught my investigators yesterday.  I did that at the beginning of the MTC, but then i got comfortable with my companion and district, so then I wouldn't as much.  So I changed my focus to "What does the investigator need to hear?" rather than, "What do I want to say?" and it was a lot better.  After the first lesson I taught yesterday, I had never had the Spirit with me that strongly from teaching an investigator before.  And Elder Gibbs knew it and felt it, too.  It was incredible.

I might have time later today to check my email again, so if you have anything you want to say to me or have me respond to send it before 6, cause that's when P day ends and I have to go teach Dongho, the Korean from before, for the last time at 6:30!  If you can't email me before then, just send one to me sometime!!  I would rather have you weirdos send one sentence telling me you hate me then not have anything to which I must reply (#thatwasgrammaticallycorrect)

Anyways, I gots to go and help el sicky from my district, Elder Broadhead. 

Te whanaunga mo ake tonu.

Elder Eli James Dial