Sunday, December 29, 2013

He Remembered his Mom's birthday

A special treat arrived in an email on my birthday.  So happy to know that Brian remembered and that he cared enough to mention it to one of his instructors.  He's a good son.

My name is David Terrazas and i am the instructor of your son Elder Luke in the MTC in Mexico, he told me that today is her mothers birthday an d i tell him that im going to write you.
Happy Birthday sister luke , tour son is doing great and he needed your prayers.
God bless you in this day and i know the church its true, your son is learning a lot and he is a good missionary.
Im sorry for my english im learning, but i try to write in english the best that y could.
we love.
David Terrazas

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pictures! He's taking Pictures!

We got emails from Elder Luke today and the photographer in me is very happy.  He took (and sent) pictures.  Its so hard to not know what he's doing or what conditions he is living in.  We have looked at pictures and videos online, but I wanted to know and see more.  My son... he took pictures!

Here are some highlights from his emails:
Hey Dad
I am actually getting over my sickness. I am almost at my prime. But regardless it is still tiring being here. We play ultimate Frisbee as a zone almost every day and i am one of the best. It is so much fun. Our zone is the best.[Learning humility I see.] 
But i do have to say i have been talking about your story. My best friend here's  dad had the same exact story and he said that his dad did tour de California. [oh no... is that a challenge for Dad]
Its fun here but i am having a hard time. I don't like being weak. i want to be the best Spanish speaker here but i am not even close. But i set a goal that i will be the best by the end of 6 weeks.
I am glad Brandon is helping out. i was really worried about that. But if he stays determined and gets good at it i am confidant that he will be amazing even with the pegged pants and V necks. ;D
Dad i really miss you. i thought it would be somewhat easy being away but once i was gone i missed you guys. I think thats the hardest part. But i know my purpose and why i am here. Attached are some pic. I love you dad.
Elder Luke
Hey mom
I really miss you and the family. Its awesome here but its tough. I have been taking a lot of pictures lately but unfortunate we aren't aloud to take pics except on p day which is lame. There is a lot of stuff i don't enjoy about this MTC but over all i am glad i am here with these people because its so Beautiful here. There is this other guy who is from Nampa who is super cool, just like me, mountain bikes, man he is so cool. ill send a picture of him giving me his favorite tie and now its my favorite. I love you mom. Here are some pics.
Oh i forgot, we got to go to the temple today. It was awesome. Weird to do it with english headphones on and i was tired. Other than that it was muy bien.  I Love you guys and you mom. 
Peace, or Paz
Elder Luke


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas message - No Phone calls from the CCM


i really miss me familia. I hope you are having an awesome Christmas. The mtc is awesome but i have found that i have mas weaknesses. Oh and its called the CCM or (say say M aye) if that makes sense. I am learning the true power of prayer. This Spanish thing is getting hard. It wasn't until yesterday that i could teach somewhat in Spanish. We are teaching an actor investigator, so role playing. We have been teaching him ever since we got here. And  i have to read the lesson off of a paper just to get everything in there. But i received a blessing from my district leader that i may receive the gift of tongues. We had the opportunity to bless the hermanes. Its the first time i have ever done that. it was quite a bonding experience for our district. My district is awesome. The Hermanes love to have fun and have beautiful testimonies and the elders are super fun and we really care about each other. I will send pictures tomorrow on my P days (Thursday). But i love them to death. Mom i felt like i needed to give out the big pictures you sent me with for Christmas. I just felt like it was right. My best friend here gave me a beautiful wool tie, very stylish, for Christmas, Guys i have never blessed or stand in a blessing but when the priesthood is strong and is used it is beautiful. I Loves this gospel. I came to realize something, that i haven't taken advantage of Dad´s priesthood. Use it, that's what its there for, for us. It was a beautiful experience for me to be in-tuned with the spirit and administer a blessing unto my companion. It was just an indescribable experience. Mom i am so grateful for all the pictures, they really help me, especially the letters that you gave me for today. So grateful. I really miss you but i know i need to be out here serving. This gospel is beautiful. Thank you for raising me in the right way. I will admit i miss riding a bike and listening to music. Oh and i had the same sickness mom had that made her lose her voice, today is actually the best i have felt. The weather here is hotter but i adapted pretty fast. I will tell you more about the fun i have been having tomorrow. But i want to wish you a merry Christmas. I miss you all so much. Thank you for the video. Can you have people email me? I want Dylan´s and Josh´s emails. I have seen the city of mexico and its unique and fun, but truth be told it is a dump, its ghetto. The CCM is literally like a little place of heaven among st all that craziness. Like yesterday we were sitting outside in the beautiful weather studying for our lesson with our investigator, the entire time the cars just right outside were just wailing on their horns the entire time. It was funny yet annoying. I have only been here for like 6 days and it has felt like eternity. Guys i know this gospel is true, i know Christ lives. That he loves us. I know Joseph smith say god the father and Jesus Christ and that Christ has restored His church. I love being here,
I miss you so much
I love you.
Elder Luke  

P.s. pics tomorrow.
[From Brian's mom]
  With so many missionaries at the MTC they do not have time or availability to make phone calls on Christmas.  We were glad to get his email though.  He sounds like he is doing well even though he was sick.  I wouldn't have been able to function, let alone learn and speak another language with the cold I gave him.  He mentions that it wasn't until yesterday that he could teach somewhat in Spanish.  It must seem like a long time, but most of us couldn't teach in Spanish after only 5 days of instruction. 
If you would like to email Elder Luke, let us know and we'll get you his email address.  I will also be "hacking" his email account later today and adding contacts to his account so that he has some email addresses.  One of those things on the list that didn't get done before he left
Thank you to all of you who sent a letter with him for his Christmas present. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Arrived Safely!!!

Hey dad, hope you check this email. I don't actually know moms email so yea. I learned from my experience traveling to the mtc i have realized that i don't like flying. Okay its not bad but its not my favorite. I don't know about you but i miss you guys and cried a bunch. Mom thank you so much for that picture book it really means a lot to me. The flying process was fine, i figured it out pretty easily and it helped that there was a missionary leaving from Boise who was going to the Mexico MTC. Oh and that couple in the Boise airport that was in front of us in security check in, they went and bought me breakfast and helped me out. Super grateful.So we helped each other out.Surprisingly i slept a bunch on the air ride. in Phoenix the transition was super easy to my next flight where we met up with a bunch of missionaries. But Mexico is a whole other world, its crazy how dirty and cluttered everything is. The street are crazy, nobody uses their blinker they just merge even if a car is there. They even had people walking through traffic selling candy and yogurt. There are also a lot of bill boards. So the drive was crazy. We just arrived at the MTC or CCM. i have to say wearing the name tag with Jesus Christ`s name is an honour. Physically i am doing good. The Air quality sucks here and its really hot. Its not even close to 18 degrees and i don't even have an iphone to check the weather. Its quite a shocker. I am still nervous about Spanish, relying on the lord for that. But the CCM is a beautiful place amongst all the craziness. I could write all day because i miss you guys but i did sign up for this. I Loves two both so much and am so grateful for what you have done for me to get to this point. In closing, i am alive, i am hear and i am ready.
I Love you
Elder Luke

And he's off to Mexico City

Early Wednesday morning we took Brian to the airport to say "See Ya later."  After the night before we were prepared with tissues but that didn't stop the tears.  Wow, its not easy sending your Son off to a foreign country and know that you wont see him for two years.  We wont be able to text him to find out how he's feeling or what he is doing.  We wont be able to protect him or guide him in the safe decisions.  We wont be there for him to hug him or to say it will all be alright.  We wont be able to make memories together.  It's not easy.

But he will be awesome.  He will make good decisions.  He will learn so much.  He will help and serve other people.  He will be protected and watched over.  He will serve God and have a grand adventure.

As we were saying goodbye  to Brian he was standing in line with a lady who looked like she was carrying a wedding dress.  She must have been excited to start her adventure or journey, but she took the time to talk with Brian.  After Brian went through the first stage of security and after we could no longer help him, there she was again.  God placed this lady in Brian's line to be his new friend and to help him through security.  It was just a simple act of kindness by a stranger, but it was so much more.  It was God saying directly to me "I will send people to watch over and help your son.  He will be taken care of.  Trust Me.  Believe in Me.  Your son is in good hands." (queue more tears)  Brian said that this lady and her companion stayed with him even after security and bought him breakfast.  Thank you stranger.  Thank you for being God's angel today and for comforting a worried mom's heart.

Definition of missionary - Someone who leaves their family for two years so that others may be with their families for Eternity.  (queue tears)

Easily Identified.  Well Represented.

Last goodbyes..

These arms will be a lot taller the next time they hug.

Its not easy

I may be sad... But I am ready!

Thank you Karel for coming to the airport just in time to take pictures for us.  I'm usually the one capturing these moments.  It was nice not to have to worry about documenting these tears.

Don't forget the Tissues

Brian was set apart as an full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Tuesday December 17th.  Our Stake President and Bishop came to our house late the night before Brian was to report the MTC.  We had family, friends and the missionaries who serve in our area over for the event.  Nobody warned us of the emotional experience we were about to have.  There was not a single dry eye in the house and no tissues either.  If you are going to be sending a son or daughter out into the mission field, make sure to have LOTS of tissues available.  I had to bring out the high class roll of TP and pass it around.

What made it such a memorable and emotional night was that we were all together one last time and we were focusing on Brian.  The Stake President gave him some missionary advice which included the number one thing is to write your mom!  (queue tears here)  Oh and number 2, treasure your mom's love no matter how hard your day is if you concentrate hard enough you can feel her love even if you are worlds apart.  (still crying over that one).  After the advice he asked everyone in the circle to bare their testimony and love for Brian.  Oh no... my dad is first in line.  He hates being called out to do things like this.  But the Stake President gave us an out if we didn't feel comfortable saying anything.  He said we could just say "I love you Brian."  I fully expected my dad to say that but no, he shared his feelings for Brian and how happy he was for him but how he was going to miss him terribly.  (wow)  Then Benjamin (Brian's youngest brother) had his turn.  He couldn't get anything out amongst his tears other than "I love you Brian".  (MORE tears around the room).  It's not very often that you see an eight year old boy show that kind of emotion.  The emotion of love, of the Spirit and of heart felt tenderness.  It was amazing.  The rest of the circle continued to be heart wrenching and so impactful. At one point Brian had to use the end of his tie to wipe his eyes.  (Good thing we invested in those waterproof ties).

It was an amazing experience.  An experience that no one in that room will ever forget.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One week before the adventure begins

Brian will be leaving December 18th from the Boise International? Airport.  He has a very full week planned of family, friends and last minute memories of home.

If you would like to say "See Ya Latter" to Brian we will be hosting an open house from 7 - 9pm.  Come wish him well on his adventures.

He will be speaking on Sunday December 15th in the Hobble Creek Ward Sacrament meeting at the Church building at Five Mile and Chinden at 11am.  He would love to fill the chapel and overflow with family and friends.