Thursday, June 23, 2011

Steven's Letter - meeting Mission Pres in MTC

Dear Family,
I just want to start by saying Happy Father's day to you dad!  I am very greatful for a father that cares so much about me and has raised me to be the young man I am now.  You are a wonderful example to me in all I do and am greatful to have the best dad in the world.  I am glad you got to spend time with all our family on Father's day and enjoy their company.  I am working hard to make you proud and am trying to do my best to serve the Lord with all my capacity.  Elder Koford and I were recently called to be zone leaders this past sunday so this week we have been getting trained in order to fulfill our calling.  The first thing we have realized is that this is a lot of service and helping others.  I love it and value the oppurtunity to grow and serve Heavenly Father in a greater capacity.  It is hard work but me and Elder Koford are very greatful for the opportunity.
I got to meet my new mission president as well, Larry Gelwix.  I met him at first for about a minute just to indtroduce myself after lunch and then that same day later on I went to the book store with Elder Koford and we ran into him again there and that time he kept me and we talked for about a half hour which was really nice to get to know him a little better.  He is a wonderful man and just from being with him he is inspiring.  He is quite shorter than I thought he would be but he is very kind and has a presence about him.  His wife is also a very sweet lady and I am excited to serve with both of them.  He asked me some questions though and I meet with him again tomorrow along with the rest of the Fresno missionaries and he told me to give my answers then.  He asked me three questions which were: "Why am I on a mission?" "How do I know that I know the Church is true?" and "How can he (President Gelwix) bless my life now?"  Which are pretty large questions so I am excited to talk to him again because I have been thinking about it a lot.

Also while I remember tell Alex Fishler I say congratulations and that I am very excited for him.  Tell him also that I am slightly dissapointed though that he did not get on this sooner so I could attend the wedding, but that is just a joke.  Also I do not think that I will be able to see you and I don't know how it would work if you were dropping off a package for me.  I think that security would take it and get it delivered to the mail spot but I don't think that they will let you in but I am not positive.  Either way if you come tomorrow then if you can make it there at 12:15 I have lunch then and I can stop by and atleast wave to you and we could see eachother while you are at the gate.  Otherwise I have dinner at 5:15 but it is not super important because we will only see eachother and won't be able to actually talk or anything.  But I still love you and am very greatful for the package and your love for me.  If we don't see eachother either way I still love you a ton plus another ton.

Tell Ryan I love him and miss him a ton and that I hope all is well.  I pray for him every single night a long with the rest of our family.  I love you and care so much about you and think and pray for you all the time.  I know that two years is nothing to the eternity we will spend together through our righteousness.  I am very proud of my whole family and it is only because of you and this Church that I am the person I am today, so thank you.  I know that the Lord blesses us each day and I am thankful for it.  I hope all is well at home and I can tell you that all is well in the MTC.  I feel progression each day and can't wait to get into the field even though my Spanish is still shakey.  Also I have not read the Book of Mormon all the way through yet and I am not reading Jesus the Christ right now and it is because they said not to until the field but to just focus on the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures.  Elder Koford and I however have set a goal to read 1st Nephi in Spanish before we leave and we are almost done and only 4 weeks in and we are surprised how easy it is getting to read spanish as we do it more and more.  Also I forgot but if I write a letter for Ryan and send it home can you send it to him for me?  The Lord's hand is truly in my life and helping me daily and I am greatful for it.  Always remember I love you and that the Church is true and that through faith in the Lord all is possible.  Continue to pray and make sure it is always with feeling.  I love you so much!
      -Love your Son/brother/cousin/uncle/nephew/grandson, Elder Neeley

Stevie's Farewell

Every Farewell needs cake...
  ...and  a supportive uncle
Elder Neeley agrees! :)

Warning: Yes, all of the following pictures include Jacob! I can't help it if everyone wants their picture taken with this cutie - wouldn't you??

Steven had a layover in Chicago on his way to the MTC

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starting week 4 in the MTC

So I am on week 4 (I have been here for 3) and my teacher has now commited my district and I to only speak in spanish from here on out in the MTC.  It is pretty dificult but I know that it is helping me a ton in becoming a better spanish speaker.  I love being here and I am growing every day I feel like.  P day is awesome because we get to go to the temple and do laundry and write letters and it is very relaxing and is every missionaries favorite day.  I have taught two lessons in the TRC which is where volunteers come and pretend to be investigators of the language you are speaking and both times I taught lesson one which is about the restoration of the gospel.  This week however on saturday when we go to the TRC we will be teaching lesson 2 which is the plan of salvation in spanish so Elder Koford and I are very excited as well as very nervous but I know that we will do well.  

I am so glad to here from everyone and recieve letters from my family because I makes me very happy and brightens up my day anytime I see something from you guys.  I love the constant feel of the spirit I have in the MTC and can see my testimony grow.  I love the work and I know I need to learn spanish much better but I really just want to get out in the field.  I heard from a missionary that is also going to Fresno that our Mission President (which is Larry Gelwix who is from the Forever Strong movie about the Rugby coach) is coming the MTC on Wednesday the 22 of June and will be here for a week and there is a night when he will meet with all the missionaries that are going to Fresno in the MTC.  I am very excited for this oppurtunity.  Also I have lots of pictures that I am going to get printed out and sent home and I would send them digitaly but I don't think we can so sorry about not being able to send them in an easy and copiable manner.

This past week Aunt Linda's neice Sam has come into the MTC and I get to see her all the time because she is in my building and we have class and temple time and gym time all the same.  Also Victoria I am sorry I did not see you at the temple but give me a specific date when you will be there and I just wait outside the temple before 9 15 and I will find you if you are there.  As for Sarah I appreciate you forwarding all my emails and setting up a blog for me.  I can send the pictures to you too but I don't know if you can scan them to put them on the blog but once I get to Fresno I can send my pics digitally for sure.  Also I don't have my Fresno adress with me right now but I will send it in a letter because I do not have time to get it because I only have a half hour to write but I will send it in a letter and I appreciate what you are doing so very much and I love you a ton, and obviously I love the rest of our family a ton too!!! I am happy Eleanor is carrying on the famliy Neeley class president tradition and helping grandma (which is something all the Neeley children should be doing) and I want to say HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to Ruthe!!! Sorry I couldn't get you a letter in time but I am sending one home today so it should be there in a few days.  Alex I also heard the "you get all the girls" haha which I'm glad for you but there better not be any girlfriends because they are trouble! Mom and Dad can tell you all about that.  I hope all is going well with Olivia and Amber and what ever sport they are in and I know that you are doing awesome!:)  That is also really cool that JoAnna and Elizabeth are coming home and that they have these jobs/phd oppurtunities lined up for them.  I hope all is going well with the whole family though.  I hear from Victoria a few times a week which is awesome and I hear from Uncle Keith and Sarah every week.  I love everyone and am always happy to hear from you personally but never feel obligated.  I am doing fine in the MTC.  I really have no complaints.  

I do miss you all a ton and especially my Mom and Dad but I know that this is the work I must do and I know it will help a lot of people in a way that cannot be exceeded by any other type of service.  I am greatful for my parents and my entire family and the example you are to me.  I love the work and I know it is blessing me and all of you.  I hope all is going well at home and I hope that you were able to get my letter I sent home to Barbara Edwards.  Tell everyone I say hi and I love them and I will talk to you all real soon.  Dad thanks for emailing me all the time and thanks for just being a wonderful father to me all my life and Mom I want to thank you for the same thing but not for being an awesome father but obviously being the best mom in the world.  Tell Margot that she should share her testimony with all her Kanine friends and keep her goals oriented towards the temple.  I think about you all, each one of you, daily and pray for each of you every night.  I am so greatful for my family and the oppurtunity we have to be together for the eternities because it keeps me going when days are hard.  I know that 2 years is nothing when I have an eternity with you so be happy I will keep in touch and I am greatful for you all.  The Church is true.

      -Love your son/brother/nephew/grandson/uncle/cousin/friend Elder Neeley

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thursday June 9th Letter

Dear Family,

My daily routine usually consists of 6 hours of class (3 hours at a time) and also a couple hours of personal/compainion study time and also an hour of gym time (which keeps me going a lot of times because i love it so much).  But obviously I wake up every day at 6 30 or earlier depending on exactly what is going on the next day and I go to bed at 10 30 but we plan as companions at 9 then get back to the dorm at 9 30 and just hang out as a district in my room until we all have to go to bed.  On tuesdays we do service at 6 05 in the morning until 7 20 which sounds awful but is not that bad at all.  The MTC is a lot of work I have come to realize, but it is nowhere near too much work and I think that is what is most important.  I am very greatful to Mom and Dad for the example of work they have been in my life and have instilled in me.  It makes everything so much easier hear in the MTC.  And obviously coming from a huge, outgoing family has allowed me to get along with everyone here that I meet.  It is so wonderful to be here because every young man and woman here is doing the same thing and here for the same reason and there is a very strong spirit here.  Everyone is so friendly and it is impossible to not meet new people every day.

As for  Spanish, it is going great! A mi me encanta hablando espanol!  (that means i love speaking spanish haha) but it is great and we gave our first lesson in spanish last saturday and it was the best experience I had here.  It was extremely spiritual and I know that me and Elder Koford have been working on our spanish very hard but I know that the Lord aided us in that lesson, even though it was a pretend investigator, the Spirit was there and helped us to understand and communicate with Pablo (our fake investigator).  We also have a devotional and fireside every tuesday and sunday and both are always great I have been learning so much and have come to realize that it is truly the small and simple things that bring great things to pass.  

We have been studying the Book of Mormon as a district and I have realized that a major difference between Laman and Lemuel and then Nephi is just their attitudes, which is truly a small thing, but obviously brought a great difference in their lives to pass.  I know that things as simple as my attitude as a missionary and my ability to love everyone that I teach and come in contact with will allow to make great things happen. I know that the Lord has great things in store for me and this district as missionaries and I know that we will be tools in His hands as we do the small things that he wants.  I know that this is also not true in my life as a missionary but directly applies to everyones lives at home and where ever you are.  We can all do great things but by simple acts.  We can all be missionaries but we don't have to do the large act of going in the field and devoting years of your life to it.  You can do the simple things at home for the people around you to be missionaries in your own life.

I am so happy to hear from all of you and I think I will just send one general email to everone that emails me and who ever doesn't have it, Sarah is going to forward it (if you wouldn't mind doing that for me my wonderful, darling big sister:).  I also will send a short one for mom and dad but I love all of you and appreciate your emails but in general writing is best but using the website, is the best thing to do.  Eleanor and Sarah both sent me a letter via that website and it is AWESOME! I get the letter the same day you send it.  It will walk you through it but if you have questions just ask Eleanor or Sarah and they can help.  Grandma I love you a ton and appreciate your email and I also appreciate your Email Eleanor and obviously Dad.  I also appreciate your letters and will respond as soon as possible.  I love you all and hope home and summer break is going well.  Know that I miss you a ton but this is where and I need to be and I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again.  You are the best family a missionary could ask for, which by the way Mom I got the care package which I LOVED!!  Thanks a ton!!! and I can only write/email back once a week so just be patient and I love you a ton mommy:)  I love you all and I know that the Lord is blessing me and all of you daily.  Be good and remember who loves you!
         -Hasta dos anos, with a TON of love from Elder Neeley

Stevie's Letters

While Stevie is on a mission in Fresno, California (Spanish speaking), I will be posting his emails on this blog so we can all read them and get updated . . . I think it will be nice to have them all in one place. For Stevie, and especially if you happen to miss an email or letter here or there.

I think he usually emails on Thursdays, so you can expect a new letter about every week or so.

We're proud of you, Steve!