Saturday, December 22, 2012

The reason we celebrate Christmas

Hello Family!

This week was really great! Elder Lopez and I are really seeing a ton of blessings of the Lord!

Elders O'Brien and Scott--ultimate T Swizzle fans!
First off that is hilarious the thing that the kid said at Justin's farewell! You don't happen to know who said it? I want to shake his hand for that one! Haha! 
I can't believe that Aubrey is going to Honduras for her mission! That is absolutely nuts! She will be heading out way quick! Tell her congratulations!
Suzanne is going on a mission also! Japan! Man everyone is going all over the place!

Julia is already getting married! Golly that was quick! Pania will be married to a Russian man? That is crazy!

I am telling Lopez about all my friends going on missions or getting married and that I will have absolutely NO FRIENDS when I get home haha. I guess Elder Lamm, Elder Murphy and I will be hanging out a lot until summer when everyone else      gets home!

How is McKenzie feeling about finals? I hope all goes really well for her! Finals week in college is the worst!
The package made it to you? That is good! The paper was way nice huh? I had to put paper on it to mail it then they gave me all these way cool papers to choose from so I thought that one would be fun for Christmas huh? How do you all like the fun little trinkets from Mexico?

I haven't heard anything about Skype yet but I will ask the zone leaders tomorrow to find out what they say about it!

We had a really good week actually. Elder Scott and I did divisions again this week! Oh so fun! He is the funniest Elder and I really enjoyed working with him! We took some way awesome pictures. I hope you like them ;)

Another great blessing we had were 2 more references this week! We met them on Sunday at church. They will make great investigators!

I also got to give a talk yesterday with Elder Lopez and our ward mission leader. It went really well actually. I hardly had time to prepare anything but I feel it went well. I talked about the reason we truly celebrate Christmas is to remember the birth of a SAVIOR! We remember his birth because he came to SAVE us! That is why the birth and life of Christ are so important to us, for his atonement. I then explained more about the atonement and the great  change it can cause within us. I then at the end shared how to develop Christ like attributes and use that to share the gospel this Christmas season!

I can really feel the power of the atonement of Christ in my life. I know that through him I can be saved. It is making a great change in me as I apply the atonement every day. I know that ALL can feel that same power. I am so thankful for Christ and the blessings he gives to me.

I hope you all have a really great week! Happy Birthday on Saturday mom!

Love you all!
Elder O'Brien :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Follow His example

Hey family!
Another week has already come and gone! Can you believe it?! One week closer to Christmas! :)

It is awesome that McKenzie will be getting home so quick! That way you won't have only one kid in the house. That should give you a little bit more company! Haha. I was telling her that she will be wanting to work in Panda Express! Haha. With that and Institute she should stay pretty busy. Does she have other friends with the same track as her?

Man, everyone I know is getting married or going on a mission! Haha. I am happy for them all though! Everyone is making such great decisions in their lives that will truly be for the good! I know we live in a time with such great people and I am so thankful for my friends and all the great examples they are for me! Tell everyone congratulations!

That is so crazy that Tiann is already home! How is she doing?! I hope she is getting back to everything well! Let her know I hope to hear from her soon!  
That is such a touching story with Sister Wasden. Tell her to keep strong and that all will turn out just fine. We just can't lose our faith in the Lord.  He truly is always watching over us.
One of the greatest blessings I have seen these last couple weeks is the Atonement. I have been studying about Christ's life a ton lately and more about the atonement! In our conference last week we talked a ton about the atonement, and the way to apply it to our lives is though repentance. Now that is pretty obvious but they asked if we are really utilizing it as we should. They taught how we should look to repent every day because we are continually making mistakes. When we use the atonement through repentance, the atonement becomes something real to us! I can truly testify of that! I really feel the Spirit so much in my life as I am utilizing the atonement to become sanctified though Christ. I am so grateful for Christ and that atoning sacrifice He made for us. We can never repay Him for that. But all that he asks is that we follow His example and keep His commandments.
Thanks for all your love family! Have a great week!
Elder O'Brien :)
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it. Love it. Share it! :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

In search of investigadores

Hey family!

It is true it was another really quick week! I saw there is a video on of your dance for the temple. I haven't been able to watch it though. I am sure it is really good! There are also pictures of the temple and it looks WAY WAY nice! I couldn't believe it when I saw it.
It sounds like everyone had a really nice Thanksgiving with the family! I hope all went really well and that you all enjoyed your time together as a family. I am sure all went great! McKenzie is already gone but I am sure you really liked having her home for a while. She will have winter semester off right? She'll be back again before you know it. After a while you'll be wishing she was gone hahaha. ;)
These next four weeks will be way busy huh! It should be good then. Before you know it we'll be Skyping again! I haven't heard too many details about that yet but I'll let you know as soon as I do!
The branch conference went really well here in Tepa. The choir did alright. We didn't have much time to practice but it all turned out pretty well. We increased the attendance even more with 60 people! That was really exciting. We are also expecting 2 more families to go next week which will be really awesome! Things are really starting to progress here which is exciting to see!
We received our first references this week. I was in Guadalajara in divisions when my companion met them but I met one of them yesterday. Kind of a funny old man haha. He seems pretty sincere but is really hard to keep focused. He lives out on a ranch so we'll be seeing him about 2 times a week. I really hope he will be able to progress! Elder Santos, my zone leader, came this last week to meet some of his old investigadores that he knew a year ago. They went to visit them all so we should be getting some good investigadores out of that which is really good! I've been getting a bit more guidance from President Camarillo lately so I'll be working 110% these weeks!
 I did get the chance to watch Elder Holland's talk in Englsh a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed that one! One of my favorites of all time! I really hope that inspired everyone to be a little better and look to be examples and share the gospel every chance they have!
I was a little nervous with President Camarillo coming to our branch this week. We had to teach Gospel Principles and he came to our class. We didn't have anything prepared but we decided to teach about charity and all went really well! I think everyone learned something in that class including me as the teacher! There is always something we can do to improve!
Remember that I love you all! Keep being great and remember to be great!
Love you all!
Elder O'Brien :)
P.S. Read Moroni 7 again. Really study it and see what the Lord has to tell you! :)
P.S.S. The gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it. Love it. Share it! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Love is the key

Hey Famiy!!! 

I hope you all had a really great week! Thanksgiving is this week! Are you excited for that one! You all will have a nice time at Grandma's house.

That is awesome that the Temple dedication was this week. How did it go? I am still super jealous! I like what you said about the blessings of the Lord and that was something I was really thinking about a lot this week! The Lord doesn't always bless us exactly in the manner in which we hope, but as long as we are obedient we are blessed. Even if it is only by the fact that the Spirit is with us to make us happy.  I think that is one of the biggest blessings we can have. It has been hard luck here with investigators and baptisms but the church attendance has gone up a ton lately! 59 yesterday! The most I have ever seen here in Tepa. We have a goal of 65 by the end of the month so we'll see how it goes this week and I know that as we are diligent and obedient the Lord will bless us! 

Haha I definitely won't be eating  deviled eggs this year but hey it's all good haha. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving down here. There is the day of the Virgin here on the 12th of December which should be pretty crazy! Then the next big holiday is Christmas. Only a month away! I truly can't believe it! Oh and I did get the birthday package last week. I must confess something also....I opened it early. Sorry!!! They pressured me into it! Haha. I read on the side what was in it so I said "Well I already know what is inside so I'm just going to open it".  I felt guilty afterwards though haha. Thanks for all the awesome stuff to make a cake and for a little party. Elder Lopez's birthday is the 26th so we are going to have a little party the 16th in case we have changes. It should be great! :)

McKenzie sounds really excited to be coming home this weekend. You will have to spoil her a little bit haha.

One really cool thing that we could do this last week was have the children's program. My companion was in charge of the music for them and I directed. All went SO well! It was so awesome to be part of that! Definitely stressful teaching them everything and making sure they got it down well but they did SO good on Sunday! I was proud haha. We are also getting a choir ready for branch conference this weekend and another for Christmas so we are staying nice and busy! 

We also got to listen to an area 70 this last Friday. Elder De Hoyos. It was really great as they mostly talked about the Book of Mormon and the Atonement of Christ which to me are the biggest messages we have to the world! We all made a lot of commitments to be better missionaries. I am looking forward to completing all the goals we have set! 

I hope you all have a really great Thanksgiving and that the Lord continues to bless you all! Remember that He loves you. Love is the key to everything in life. If we can develop perfect love is when we will truly be converted to the Lord and His gospel.

Love you all!
Elder O'Brien :)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it. Love it. Share it. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Patience and Love

Hey fam!!!
Well it was another REALLY quick week in the mission! I can't believe how quick they are going by! It is really good though! All is going really well!
Haha it sounds like you are all starting to get really busy! I bet even more with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up! It should be really good though! After all, it's the happiest time of the year! :) Haha.
It sounds like Thanksgiving will be really nice for you all! I am sure McKenzie and Ashley will be happy to set everything up for you that weekend haha. I am going to buy some Christmas lights today because one of the Hermanas here told me where we can buy them really cheap! We are getting excited for it over here! :)
You call McKenzie everyday? Haha. I am sure she loves that! Ah. I wouldn't say every minute but every once in a while haha. It did say in my card from President Monson that I had to call you everyday before the mission but it doesn't say anything about after the mission ;) haha.
Ah you are all so lucky that you will be going to the temple dedication! I am SO jealous! Though we did get to go to the temple again this weekend. It was really great! We will be going there again in a month with the missionaries. That is one of the benefits of Tepa! We always go to the temple! :) It is true at least I will be home for the Meridian temple! Haha married in three years? Hmmmm...who knows!

It is just starting to get cold there? It has been cold here for a while. Well kinda. It gets a little chilly at nights here. I don't remember if I told you but I had to buy a sweater last week so I can put it on at the end of the night. Gives me a little piece of home for a little while :)
Haha Ashley is willing to go on a mission if you send her the 12 days of Christmas eh? Haha that was easy! Be sure to get that in writing! ;) Actually I could see Ashley going on a mission! I think she would enjoy it!  
Not too much else is going on here in Tepa. We are still working with a lot of less active families but there aren't too many so we are doing everything to help them get active again. We don't really have investigators right now so we are working a lot with the members so we can get references out of them. Many of them have mentioned friends that they believe would be interested but we just can't get an appointment set up with them! That is the hard part. Things are always coming up for them which shows that Satan is working really hard! We just have to work even harder than him!
Our zone leaders told our district leader, who told his companion, who told me that we will probably start being in our areas for 6 to 9 months! That is quite a while haha. I was thinking how I already almost have 5 months here so I could wind up being here until March!  that would be quite a while. Everything is in the Lord's hands though so we will see what he does with me!
Elder Lopez is doing really well! He really knows how to work and share his testimony! He is so good at testifying and I really admire him for that. He is coming along really well!
We have zone conferences again this week with an area seventy. It should be really good. I will be going to that on Friday so I will let you know how it goes!
All is going really well though. We talked about patience this week and I can really feel that beginning to develop in me because we all know I am not very patient. I have really been praying to show more patience and love this week, and I can feel those developing. I really know though at times things seem slow all is okay as long as I am diligent in my part and then trust in the Lord for the rest. He will always complete with me as I complete my part.
I hope you all have a really great week and that the Lord will continue to bless everyone in work, school, and everything else they do! Remember to always choose the right and everything will turn out perfect. I think of the song, "I'm trying to be like Jesus''.  As we do what he would do all will be good.
Love you all,
Elder O'Brien :)
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it. Love it. Share it! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

And we lived in a state of happiness

Hey family!
Well it was another really really quick week here in Mexico! I can't believe how quick they are going by! Sounds like you and dad enjoyed the weekend! The last time cutting the grass for the winter! Pretty crazy!! Is it getting pretty cold up there? Only one trick or treater. That is pretty sad haha. I guess it is exactly the same as all the other years though haha.

It is crazy that everyone is hitting the year mark. Elder Lamm should be getting there also in about a week I believe! There were changes again yesterday but I am still here with Elder Lopez in Tepa. We look forward to being together until at least the 17th of December!

How does Ashley feel about turning 16 pretty soon? Excited out of her mind I am sure to get some freedom haha.

It is true there is Dairy Queen here. But the one where we went is the only one I have seen. It doesn't have all the burgers and everything. It is just a small little one with Blizzards and other ice cream. Way expensive but we only go there every couple months so we figured it was worth it. :)

That is so great the Sister Wasden was able to make it home! I bet that would be quite the thing to finally go home. She must be so happy! :)

It is true I have been really surprised how many people have been writing me! I know it is really a hard thing for people to sit down and write a letter when you won't even get a response for about 3 months. It is really hard to find time. Even here in the mission there almost isn't time so it is even harder back home! I am really grateful for the letters that I do receive.

This week was really great. It had its slow moments but overall it went really well! We are still working a lot with the members here so we can get the church attendance up. We were able to complete our goal of 55 last month and we are working for 65 this month! We are going to keep visiting everyone so we are able to complete this goal!

We tried started a choir yesterday!! But nobody came....haha. We will see how it goes though cuz we want a choir for the branch conference in 3 weeks and for Christmas! We will keep trying!

We also helped a family move today! Ugh that wore me out haha.

We are hoping to get our first reference tonight so we will see how that goes!

All is going well. I am happy. My companion is well. We are getting along really well also!
I hope the Lord continues to bless you! The branch President shared a very simple scripture in church yesterday that I loved. It simply states "and we lived in a state of happiness." I know as we live obediently we will have the spirit with us and we will live in a state of happiness.

Love you all!!

Elder O'Brien :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Trifecta

Hi everyone, Jacob is coming up on 3 milestones at the end of the year: his 20th birthday, Christmas and half way through his mission. We would like to invite all of you to write to him to show support at this time. We know he would love to hear from all of you! If you can send a letter, we would encourage you to mail it between now and  November 21st so that it will arrive in late December. His address is on the right column of this page. It takes 2 stamps on a regular envelope to make it to him. Thanks for your support, and don't forget to write other missionaries. We know they all love hearing from home.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweet Music

Hey family!

Well it was a really good week and it was really good to hear from you all also!

That is really good that McKenzie was able to make it home for the weekend! I am sure you all really enjoyed a good weekend with her! Sounds like it went by really fast though (as does every weekend I am sure)!! You will have a while before seeing her again! That is pretty nuts. I am sure that it will fly by though! It's crazy that Porter is headed out already also! Everyone is leaving!

That is crazy that Lauren is headed off on the mission! She will be about 20 when she leaves right? To Paris! That is nuts! I am sure that she will love that! Tell her good luck with that! All the missionaries here are saying the same thing! That we will all be writing our missionaries instead of them writing us hahahaha. Have you heard if anyone else is planning to leave on the mission yet? We had a conference for the trainers and the trainees today and President Camarillo said that there has been a 450 percent increase in papers sent in to go on missions, with over 50 percent of those applications coming from girls! Elder Lucas just told me that the true data are that before 700 applications were received a week and now over 4000!!!! Everyone is responding to the call to serve! Pretty awesome huh! :) We are going to see many changes! I have thought though the harder we are working the harder the adversary will be working! It has come to that point in the history of the world when we have to be that much better!

This was another really great week though! We didn't have any dramatic events. We almost had Maria  ready to get baptized but she still needs just a bit more preparation. She wants to feel a little more sure about her decision. We are really working with her so she can develop the faith to get baptized. 

After the conference today we ate buffet tacos in TacoPlaza which was really good. We then went to eat at Dairy Queen! Oh so good! :) I got a strawberry cheese cake. Tell McKenzie to be jealous! ;)

We have had some really great lessons lately. We have really been looking for ways to be better as missionaries. Last night we shared a lesson with a recent convert looking for a reference. We read in Mosiah 16 I believe it is. The chapter where it is Abinadi reading the words of Isaiah. It is a short chapter but so powerful about the atonement! At one point it describes all Christ did for us and he didn't open his mouth. We then shared how much he has done for us and now it is time for us to open our mouths and share it with everyone else! It was so powerful!

Today I got letters from Lexi, Aubrey, Elder Beus, and Elder Mills. It sounds like everyone is doing really really good! 

Today is also Dad's birthday! Happy Birthday dad!! :)

Well we don't have much time but have a really good week. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to church. Love others!
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it. Love it. Share it!

Love you all!

Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Live it. Love it. Share it.

Hey fam!!
Well it was another really great week. I really felt good about this one! I'm not sure why but it felt even greater that the others! :)
That is so awesome that you will be able to go to the temple open house! It will be such a blessing to hear President Monson speak!! I heard Lexie came home this weekend with a boyfriend! Tell her to be careful! ;) haha. Which picture did McKenzie put up on facebook? That is awesome about the blog! I hope everyone is really enjoying it! I am enjoying writing it.
That is crazy that it is already Dad's birthday coming up! man he is getting old! Hahaha. Don't tell him I said that. You can put it on the blog though ;)
Ashley got to work in the temple! That is way awesome! She was one of the shoe people like when we went to Twin Falls? She sure sounded like she enjoyed it in her email to me!

Man you all had a lot to teach this week! I'm sure Ashley enjoyed a break though. That is a way funny story about Bayler! Let him know that I owe him candy also! Ha. ;)
Wow sounds like you sent the whole store in the Christmas slash birthday gifts. I am planning on sending some little things to everyone. It depends on if they get done on time or not. We will see how it goes! Be excited! :)
This week went extremely quick! We had a bit more success this week but everything is still pretty slow here in Tepa. We are really trying to focus in on the members. We hope as a result of that they will have much success with missionary work here if their own testimonies are very strong. We are looking for people to teach but still pretty dry. It is all good though. I know I am doing all I can and the Lord will continue to bless me, my companion, and the people here. My companion and I asked to talk this week in church in hopes of being an inspiration to our members here. My companion spoke like an apostle, and I feel I did really well also. It was amazing how reverent the people were and they just listened to us. Oh it was such an experience. It talks about so much in the book of mormon about teaching with authority and power. We are given authority by being called as missionaries but we receive power through righteousness. I could really feel the power of the spirit manifested through us this Sunday. The spirit could actually be felt very strong there. I LOVED IT!!! :)
We also did divisions this week and I went to Guadalajara again. I got to see a lot of people I knew back there! I was with a newer missionary. His name is Elder Ryan Scott from Salt Lake City, UT. He is a way cool guy. He only has 4 months and his Spanish is really good. I was extremely impressed! It was really great to work with him and learn from him and his example. His dad is a convert also which is really cool. It was awesome to get to work with him for a day!
Well I am looking forward to another great week! I know that the Lord is blessing you and will continue to do so according to your faith and obedience. Always be grateful for the rough moments cuz they make the good ones that much sweeter. Be an example and always do what you know what is right. Remember....Live it. Love it. Share it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Love you all!
Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Tepa Rain Dance

Hey family!!!! Well it was another pretty good week here in Tepa! Nothing too crazy to report this week but it was another good one for sure!

First off to answer your question, yes we are the only missionaries in Tepa! It's definitely a fun time traveling haha. We plan as well as we can but sometimes we spend up to a half hour walking between appointments! Sounds like a party huh?

It was definitely quite the news when they made the changes for missionaries. Especially the girls. I am sure we will be seeing many more girls leaving for the mission field now! It will be a really big change but I know it is definitely a change the Lord made through the prophet. It seemed a lot of conference dealt with missionary work also and charity. It seems the church is really making a push in that and getting everyone to work! I think it will be an extremely great change! 

It is way awesome that we have so many missionaries out of our ward right now! All over the world too! Pretty crazy!

That is so cool that you got everything done for the Temple open house! Send me some pictures of all of your work as soon as you can! That is so cool that it will be President Monson that will be heading up there to do the dedication. I am definitely very jealous! Have a good time with that! The dance sounds like it will be way awesome! How often are they practicing? What kind of dance are they doing?

That is really good that Sister Wasden is improving! She should be out of there in no time! How long has she been in there? Well over a month no? Or is it two? Either way that is more than enough time. She'll be right out! :)

Wow it is still really warm up there for October! Sounds like Dad will have a lot of work to do next summer planting trees or something out there in the yard! 

Well it was about this time last year that I put up the Christmas lights at college so I decided to keep up the tradition ;) They do celebrate Halloween but they don't really decorate or anything. I hear it is pretty much the same here as back home for Halloween. Kids go around asking for candy haha. They also celebrate the day of the dead but I am not sure which day that is? It is coming up soon though! 

I like how you say I can ask for things I want or NEED in my packages haha.  ;) The only  thing I have been wanting lately is peanut butter! It is SOO expensive here! About 4 dollars for a quarter or less of what is a normal jar of peanut butter. Pretty ridiculous huh?

That is way awesome that Tyler has started training also! He'll be completing a year in just a couple weeks! That is pretty nuts eh? I can't believe that! 

One thing that has really been coming to my mind lately has to do with what you said about every moment is an opportunity. I have been thinking am I utilizing every chance I have to share the gospel with someone. Am I willing to ask the people that randomly start talking to me even though it may come off a little awkward. What I have realized is that I not only should but I MUST utilize every chance I have to share the gospel with the people here. The message I share is the good news of true happiness. I know that it is only through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are able to find true happiness. If I truly love God's children, my brothers and sisters, I will do all in my power to invite them to listen to this message we bring to the world. 

I think my companion has been down a little bit at moments this week because things are pretty rough here in Tepa. I know he was really meant to come here with me though because he is such a positive guy with such energy. He is really helping the people here in Tepa so much and me also. I am thankful that the Lord is always watching over me and He is blessing me in so many ways. I have learned so much in my time here and I have felt the Spirit of the Lord in my life. Even more in these last couple weeks I have felt the power of the message through the Spirit. I am so grateful that the Lord promises us the Comforter in times of hardship and that great feeling of the Spirit in our daily lives. 

I was reading something that one of the sisters in the Relief Society wrote me a while back that says something like this, ''If we want to be HAPPY we want the SPIRIT of the Lord in our lives. Let us reach out and help others.'' I know that through acts of service we are able to have the Spirit of the Lord more abundantly in our lives. I encourage us all to look for more opportunities to serve that we may ''rejoice together''.

Well I hope this little testimony will help you this week. Thanks for emailing me every week. It is such a joy to hear how everyone is doing! Love you all! Be safe and be great! :)


Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

That holiday spirit

Hey family!!!
Well this was a pretty good week! Nothing to complain about for sure! It sounds like you all stayed pretty busy! Ashley included!
So when is the temple open house going to be? I think that is so cool that you get to be part of that! It will look so great in the autumn weather also! How is it up there weather wise right now? Pretty warm still or cooling off? Sounds like you are seeing many miracles taking place up there with this open house. We know it is by obedience and faith we can see these miracles in our lives so keep being righteous!
Conference went really well! I was not able to watch it in English so I didn't understand 100% but the majority for sure! I really felt like I received a lot of personal revelation though so I am able to continue working hard here. I also learned many new ways I can help the members of the church and my investigators! My new companion does speak English. I am not sure how much cuz we don't speak it much but from what I have seen he speaks alright. I can understand him pretty well. 

That is so crazy Mishelle is still in the hospital. I can't believe that! I hope she is getting better. I will really be asking for special blessings for her in my prayers. That must be really hard for her and Dallin. I can't imagine that for Dallin! I hope he is doing alright with it!
Haha Dallin ate his first cow tongue? I am sure he loved that!

Well Christmas is coming up really quick! Today I bought a little tree and some ornaments for it! I also bought us some little stockings cuz I am getting WAY too excited for Christmas! It is coming up quick. If I'm not mistaken only 82 days! I counted a couple days ago so I am not exactly sure but it is something like that! Exciting no? Only 2 more months til we get to talk again! :)
Well this week we didn't get to work much cuz we had P day. Then our meeting on Tuesday in Guadalajara, then Wednesday we worked until 7 then we went to Guadalajara again for a leadership conference in the morning of Thursday and Friday. We got back Friday night and went around reminding everyone of conference on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we watched conference all day and then Sunday we watched it again and then went to visit a couple people at the end of the night! Exciting week no? It was good though so see some of my old missionary friends that are in other areas! I loved conference! I loved most listening to choir sing in English! Ahhh it was amazing!
One thing I am working on this upcoming week is to have more faith. I find that I begin to assume that people aren't going to come to church because they haven't in the past. One thing I was reading in the Liahona is that there is faith to complete the commandments and that is the faith we should teach investigators but there is another type of faith when we are able to see miracles! I know I have the faith to keep the commandments so now I want that faith to see miracles! That is a goal I have!
Well I hope the Lord will continue to bless you this week! Good luck in everything! Be safe. Say family prayer and read together. I really have gained a strong testimony of the difference that makes in our lives. Thanks for everything!
Love you!
Elder O'Brien :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Great to be a "dad"

Hey family!!!
Well it is true I had my first child last Tuesday morning. His name is Elder Lopez he is from Leon so he is only about 2 hours from his house here in Tepa! Crazy huh? I think that would make me go nuts! He is 18 years old. Not scared of anything which I love. He loves the work and is constantly sharing his testimony. I think he actually came pre-trained. I am just here to make sure he doesn't die or anything haha. ;)
Thanks for the tips to help him. I am going to try to explain really well to him everything we do. That was the hard part for me at first. I walked around just completely lost haha. I think that was definitely because of the language haha.

That is way sweet that the spear came out well. I still think it is really weird that is was a spear this year! That is so awesome that Kayelee won homecoming queen! Tell her congratulations for me!! That is way awesome!
I don't think it is too early to be training. There is another American that is training who only has 6 months. He is training an American. That should be fun for those two.
The weather is good. The same as everyday still haha. Nothing has changed at all!
This week was pretty good though! Nearly all of the investigators were on vacations so we couldn't get too many lessons but I believe we visited every member at least once! We are getting everyone ready to have a real spiritual experience for General Conference! It was a lot different being in charge of everything but all turned out really well. Nothing too bad! We had a lot of good lessons with the members and I could feel the Spirit really strong with Elder Lopez. He hurt his foot from walking so much. Poor guy :) haha.
Elder Lopez seems to be enjoying the work so far though! He will complete 1 month in the mission this week. WAY GREEN! Haha. He is already a pro at missionary work! 
We have a baptism lined up for the 13th of October!  My companion is really excited for that! :) It will be his first one!
It was a good week. I am really excited for conference! It should be a really good week. Be safe and don't have too much fun!
Love you all!
Elder O'Brien

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Expecting...great things

Hey family!! How are you all doing?
Well to start off, I have some exciting news for you....I'M PREGNANT!!! Yes I am about to have my first little boy this week. In case you have gotten worried about the meaning of this statement, it means I am TRAINING! Yes that might have sounded a little strange. I'm sure you would rather have heard that from one of your daughters in the far future but it is true! I am PREGNANT. Tomorrow I will be going to the offices to meet my little boy! I am not sure if it will be a Native or an American but we'll let you know next week! They told us last night and I was pretty nervous but I feel pretty good up to this point. It will definitely be an exciting experience! I don't feel qualified but the Lord qualifies those he calls. I think of a saying a friend once told me, The Lord doesn't like comfort zones. He continually moves around his choice servants that they may grow and serve him even more. I know the Lord is preparing something special for me and I am excited to find out just what it is!
That's definitely the exciting news for the week!

I can't believe Mishelle Wasden is still in the hospital.  I hope they can get her healed soon.  She must be going crazy!  Does Dallin know everything that has happened?  I will keep her in my prayers.

That's awesome McKenzie will be coming home for the weekend! Enjoy the weekend with her! That is crazy Zac is already giving his farewell! Oh that sounds so weird to hear! Definitely let him know that he is going to be an awesome missionary! He is going to be rocking that ice cold Russia! At least we know he'll be eating well for the next three months in the MTC. That way he can store up a little fat for the winter ;) hahahaha. Austin Rogers is off to Texas! That's great! Is he speaking English or Spanish?
The only thing I have to say about homecoming is that it is pretty lame they changed the club to a spear? WHY? haha.
What can I say about the statement ''Gone but never forgotten.'' Somethings in life are unforgettable ;)
Ahh man you already had the primary program! That was always my favorite Sunday of the year! How did it go? The usual kids going crazy, making ridiculous faces at those in the crowd, and singing like little angels? ;)
That is an awesome new calling that you got! Enjoy it!!! You be teaching the same stuff as I. Is that different than Gospel Principles?
Well the temple trip went really well! I really enjoyed it! We didn't get home until 10:40 though. I felt like a rebel being out so late haha. We weren't able to have the FHE again but we'll be hoping to have it this week!
Well I've already told you the majority of the news for the week. I will definitely be needing lots of prayers this week. I know that the Lord will guide me on this journey I am starting with a young companion and that through my obedience, prayers, and personal sanctification I will always have the Spirit to guide me in these coming months! I hope you all have an amazing week and that the Lord will continue to bless you all!
Elder O'Brien :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Goin' to the Temple

Hey family! 

Well it was a pretty nice week here in Mexico! Nothing too crazy to report! All went really well though! Another good week trying to help others to understand a little bit more of the gospel!
That is really good that everyone got out on missions! That is a success in itself I suppose!
That is crazy you are taking out the balloons! When you are able to get helium will you put it back up? Why is it so hard to get hold of? Ahhhh McKenzie going on dates already! Well I guess we all knew she had it coming haha. Not much I can do now but in a year and three months those guys better be watching out! ;)
Are you guys going to the game on Thursday? That ought to be a good one! Be sure to let me know how it goes!
At times we have some spicy food. Some of the hermanas down here give me peppers just to watch my face after. I am sure it is pretty hilarious cuz at times they are pretty hot!
Well something cool this week was that Elder Jones came up to Tepatitlan to do divisions. We had a good time together. I really like working with him. I feel like we really work well together and we can really focus in on the needs of the investigators. We spent Friday together and I feel like I really learned a lot! Elder Jones was in the same zone as me in the MTC so we knew a lot of the same teachers and missionaries so we are able to remind each other of stuff the teachers taught us since it has been a while since we were in the MTC! Almost to nine months already! It's pretty crazy! I didn't realize time could go so fast! Elder Jones and I also made chocolate chip cookies and ate Domino's. Classic divisions tradition ;)
The work is getting pretty slow here in Tepa. There are very few members so we are typically visiting the less actives a couple times a week or visiting the few investigators that we have at this time. We have been very blessed and some people have been contacting us in the street. We are hoping they will be able to progress and we will start baptizing again. The last while has been pretty dry haha. We still have faith though and continue working hard day after day! We have a FHE tonight to get our first references so we are really excited!
Changes are a week from today! I am pretty sure I will be staying here in Tepa but we will see what happens! Elder Alvarado will most likely be headed out after 8 months here haha. I hope I don't last that long! Ha. That is a long time in one area!
Oh question mom. Can you send me a french toast recipe! I am pretty sure I know how to do it. Eggs, sugar, milk, cinnamon. Something like that. I want to be sure though haha. I don't want to make myself sick ha.
Well Elder Alvarado and I are going to work hard one more week here in Tepa! We continue to look for the blessings of the Lord and we realize we are receiving many! We are headed to the temple with the branch on Saturday! It will be a great week!
You are all in my prayers and I know the Lord is blessing you in many ways! Love you!
Elder O'Brien :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who knew it was so simple?

Hey family!! :)
Well it was another really good week in the mission! All seemed to go really well. It definitely had its hard moments but I really feel like I put my heart 100% into the work this week!
We set teaching goals for the month, so Elder Alvarado and I both prayed and we felt there are 4 people we need to work with. We weren't 100% sure where they would come from at first but we knew that should be the goal! We then got the advice from Elder Jones that we should pray to know who those four would be so we could focus ourselves in. We then prayed and wrote down who we felt. Once again we compared and the names were exactly the same! Definitely a week of receiving revelation which was one of my goals for this week!
So far it is looking really rough to see anyone getting baptized this month, but what we have been talking about a lot is faith. I know that I received revelation from the Lord and that He will not fail me in this if I am truly giving 100% everyday! I am not sure how the future will go but I must trust in the Lord and do my part and the blessings will come!
That is really crazy that McKenzie is in college! Her dorm is definitely much nicer than mine! But just so Markus Beus doesn't say anything if he ever reads this, BYU Provo will ever be the Lord's true University ;) It sounds like McKenzie is having a good time up there! You two look pretty down about her leaving haha. That is so weird though that Ashley is the only kid in the house! How is she liking it so far? Bored out of her mind or is she keeping pretty busy?
Sounds like you had lots of fun this week Dad, but how did Mom like that? Haha. Did you find a bunch of information for genealogy at least?
Thanks for the addresses. I sent Dallin a letter a while back. Did he never get it? If not I will send him another one! Tell him to send the college pictures also ;)  Thanks for the updates on Mishelle too.  I can't believe she is still in the hospital.  I will keep her in my prayers.
That's pretty crazy that the blog is already up to 2000 views. I'm not sure why. My letters have been pretty boring lately! There isn't much to do here in Tepa haha. On P day about all we do is wash clothes, clean the house, eat, write the family, then at the end of the day write some letters, sleep, or just chill for a bit. It is kind of sad being an hour away from the rest of the zone haha. 
Oh I had some questions. Is Wade on his mission? Kevin Jurgensmeier? Craig Sanderson? Will you check on that for me please? :)
How is Ashley liking being back in high school? Does she think she in the queen of the world? Haha :)
I hope you all keep receiving the blessings of the Lord in your life! I know it is by the obedience that we receive blessings. One of the greatest blessings we have here on the earth is the family and the Spirit. As we allow the Spirit to be present in our home through obedience and the commandments of the Lord we will truly find happiness in life. That is the secret to happiness. The Spirit! And how do we have the Spirit of the Lord in our lives? By truly living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Keeping his commandments, developing Christlike attributes, searching the scriptures, praying, and by serving others. Who knew it was so simple?? :)
I hope the Lord will continue to bless you all in every aspect of life this week and forever! Keep being great!
Love you!
Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Looking for the Chosen

Hey family!!
Well this was another quick week! I'm not sick today either so I can actually remember it all hahaha.
That is way exciting that you are getting everything ready at the Hobby Center again and making it all pretty! Ha. That is absolutely disgusting though that you've had some stuff in there for 20 years! Haha. I bet it feels great to get that all cleaned out and everything is looking new again!

Kuna got another new football coach eh? Well they already have won one game! That ties the amount of wins they had as a team my Senior year! It is good to hear they started off the year well! Grandma told me that BSU lost their first game to some no namer but BYU won. That's all good with me! :)
That is weird to think that McKenzie is finally off to college! Tell her good luck! She is going to absolutely love it up there! And she will be right next door to Jenny all the time so that's good! Tell her to keep her room clean and help keep the kitchen clean and everything! ;)
I haven't gotten a letter from John and Michelle and them yet but the Zone Leaders are going to the offices on Wednesday I believe so it should be here for next Tuesday! We'll see what they say though?
That is crazy about Mishelle Wasden! I will be sure to keep her in my prayers! I hope everything goes well for her.  Keep me updated on how she is doing.  That must be really difficult for her family.
That is great what is going on with Joey up there in Tijuana. Tell him to keep having fun up there! Will you get me his address please? Also Michael Shreeve's address if you could? :)
Well nothing too crazy to report this week! We have been trying to look for more chosen investigators. Many have been so so in the interest to follow the commandments of the Lord. That is something that has really surprised me more that anything in my mission. The true reason the church membership is fairly small isn't because the people are looking to prove us wrong. I thought I would have to be dealing with that all my mission. But the true reason is that the number of people who truly want to know the will of God in these days is very limited! We were very blessed this week! We found two more very chosen people yesterday and one during the week! One actually started crying the first time we met her!
We went to visit the mom of a less active family and this lady was sitting outside talking with her also. So naturally we introduced ourselves and she asked what we did as missionaries. She then asked us some questions and we wound up explaining part of the Plan of Salvation. It then started to rain so we went inside of her ''garage'' to talk. She told us a story for about an hour about how her son had gotten extremely sick and just how big of a trial that was for her when he nearly died. She was a little teary at one point. We had to be getting back home but I was able to testify of the purpose of life on Earth and we have another appointment to see her on Wednesday.
We also met the girlfriend and the sister of a current investigator. We have baptismal dates for them all at the end of the month. We truly were blessed this week to find so many great new investigators! :)
Something funny this week. I went to make pancakes this morning and we mix it in the blender cuz we don't have a mixing bowl. I put everything in the blender cup thing ready to mix it up. When I went to lift it up EVERYTHING spilled on the counter, on the floor, and on me! I was so confused. I had no idea what happened. When I looked over by the blender machine I saw the bottom of the blender cup. The bottom was not connected! Oh man was that quite a mystery solved and definitely a big mess to clean up! :)
Oh just a heads up for the next package that you send...will you send some marshmallows and graham crackers? I hope you know what I am planning to make :) Oh and pudding mix also if you could! The type where you just add milk ;)
Well it was a really good week and we saw many blessings! I know that obedience, faith, prayer, and fasting really do make a difference for all of us. I hope you have a really good week and that the Lord continues to bless you all in every aspect of life!

Love you all
Elder O'Brien :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tender Blessings

Hey family!!!
Well this week went by way fast! I am having a hard time to remember all that happened!
The interview with President Camarillo went really well! He is a really great guy! It is amazing how you are able to feel the Spirit just talking to him! The food isn't too different here in Tepa. The people are really nice and all is good! We don't ever feed ourselves besides P day. The same members feed us every week which is nice because I am able to get to know the members really well!
Haha I am pretty sure that there is no such thing as normal life mom. That is why it is called life hahaha.
Is it weird only having one kid in high school? We only missed having all three of us in high school by one year!
Well I am a little sick right now so I don't remember everything from this week. It went well. We got to meet with some good investigators. We have 6 people with baptismal dates right now which is really exciting! Edgar has been having a hard time lately and didn't want to come to church but his parents came and stayed the WHOLE time! That was definitely a tender blessing of the Lord. It was all thanks to the members. It was so great to see them all getting involved! Definitely a dream come true!
Another cool spiritual experience is that I was feeling pretty sick last night but we went to visit an investigator who is really coming along. It was really hard for me to stay focused because I was seriously about to fall asleep. But I was praying for the Spirit and then when I went to testify I felt fine again. It is amazing how the Spirit helps us!

Not too much else happened this week. We kept working hard and we have some pretty great results! We still need a lot more references but we are trying our best!
Well hope you have another great week family! Good luck everyone is school and college! Life is great!
Love Elder O'Brien ;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All is well in Tepa

Hey fam!!!

It was another quick week! Hope everything has been going great!! All is going well here in Tepatitlan! Sounds like everyone has been having lots of fun back home in the last couple weeks of summer! Everyone is starting to get busy again that is for sure!
Oh good you got my package! I wasn't sure if it would make it to you or not haha. That's good to know everything made it there safely! Have you started studying you Spanish yet?? ;)
Well I've only got 8 months out but hey it's a going and going quick for that! The language has definitely improved a ton in the last couple months. Elder Alvarado speaks literally zero English so it has definitely helped a ton. It was different having an American companion for so long. Now that the language has improved, I feel much more at home now. I have a feeling I will be here in Tepatitlan til Christmas so if it doesn't feel like home yet it sure will soon! Haha. 
It has already been a year since the sealing! Man time sure goes quick!

You are leaving to Portland again?? Man you spoil Dad way too much! Haha. What is McKenzie thinking to do for her birthday? It is true. Good thing Grandma lives right next door :)
Is McKenzie all packed up and ready to go to college? haha. I'm sure she is just dying to get out the door!
Things have been going pretty well here in Tepa. It was a quick week. We were definitely blessed in many different ways! During the week we worked hard to visit many different people and we were able to see many great results on Sunday. We had  39 people in church!!! It was much better than the 29 last week haha. We were also able to get 5 investigators and 5 less actives to come with us this week. We are going to keep working hard with everyone and we hope we can get more and more in church every week! It is definitely exciting to see!
The spiritual experience this week happened during my interview with President Camarillo. He is doing interviews with everyone and I was the first one. I'm still not sure if that is good or bad hahaha. We got talking and he asked me a question that really got to me! He said, "What do you think your family does at the end of every night? 'Haha man I couldn't hold back the tears when he asked me that. It really made me realize how blessed I am here in the mission because of your prayers and all the help you give to me. Thanks for all that you do for me fam!! :)
A fun experience this week was last night we went to have a FHE and we got to play some games. We are working a lot with the less actives because we still haven't gotten references from anyone. That is the harder thing about being out here in a small branch and we can't contact. We have a FHE tonight though so that should be really helpful to get some good references going!
It sounds like Mark and Dallin had a really good week! That is crazy that Mark's trainer is Elder Henderson! It seems like forever ago that I was with Elder Henderson at EFY. I saw him a bit in the MTC also! Hope they are doing great. Dallin sounds like he is staying busy out there in  New Mexico haha.
Well I am looking forward to another real great week in the mission! I have a feeling I will learn much this week and I know as I look to learn the Lord will help me to receive the revelation to help the people here in Tepatitlan so that we can continue to have more and more people in church and to receive more and more references from the members!
Thanks for everything fam!! Hope you have a great week! Be safe and have fun!

Love ya!!!
Elder O'Brien :)