Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Dream: toothpaste and deodorant

Dear family,

           I love being a missionary so very much and it saddens me to see it coming closer to an end and it seems to just come faster and faster.  I do miss all of you and know that there are very important things for me to do at home but I do love this stage of my life and I know that the church is true and that the teachings are perfect but not the people.  I love working with so many people though.  In my new area we work with just white people and it is a lot different but the process for conversion is the same and the members are AWESOME!  They work so hard and we are seeing a ton of success.  We should be having some baptisms here with in the month.

            Being an assistant is a VERY busy life but I love it.  I take nothing on myself but am just very happy to serve and it is SERVICE.  A ton of service and I love it.  I as well love getting to be around President much more and I love him so much.  He is like another parent to me (NEVER to replace you both, of course).  I absolutely love him and the missionaries that are here in the mission.  I love the assignment for that too, that I get to see all the missionaries in the whole mission periodically for conferences and such.  We do a lot of planning and preparation for meetings and all the behind the scenes work so everything runs smoothly.  We also have to do lots of different training and reports and work with missionaries as well.  Elder Riboldi has been an assistant for 2 transfers or 3 months now and he is a great missionary.  His father is from Argentina and that is where the name comes from although Argentina was mainly occupied by lots of Europeans so they are usually more white.  So I would imagine if you trace back far enough, it is Italian.  He goes home one transfer before me in April.

             If you would like to send me something, a watch would be great cause I gave my other one to a recent convert of 10 years and a cheap one is fine but just classy prefferably, like metal but not expensive at all.  But what ever you get is fine with me, I will not complain one bit.  Maybe some more toothpaste and deoderant just so I don't have to keep buying it.  Not a ton cause I don't have that much longer left but some more.  Other than that what ever is fine.

             We are teaching a family of 11 people and half of them got baptized before I got here but 3 got home from college and are now there for a little more than a month so we are working with them and they are great.  They have had 7 children that they adopted and half their family is black and I just feel like I am home haha.  I love working with them and the 3 older girls are really interested and are most likely going to be baptized this month.

               I love you all so much and am greatful for all your love and prayers and letters and gifts that you have been sending me.  Please share the Gospel, especially in this time of year when we have so much to be greatful to are Heavenly Father for.  I love being a missionary and know again that this church is lead by Jesus Christ and is His only true church on the face of the earth not as discrimination at all but as invitation to all to come and drink from the fountain that has no cost but gives forth life eternal and happiness.

-Love Elder Neeley

"You won't need that anymore..."

Dear family,

                This week has been great and very exciting.  We just had 2 baptisms on Saturday of the 10 and 12 year old brother and sister named Rodolfo and Claudia.  Their mom was just so happy and pleased to see her children baptized and confirmed and she will be soon too.  She is needing to fix up some worthiness issues but she wants to be baptized.

                 I did get transferred and now I am in Fresno and I am one of the assistants to the President with my new companion Elder Riboldi.  I am really excited and happy to be here right now.  The first thing that the assistants did was they looked at my bike and said "you won't need that anymore".  Well we are short on time and I got to go but I will send pictures from the baptism next week.  Tell Quintin that I am excited to welcome him off the plane.

             I love you all so much and hope you are being missionaries every day.  LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2 baptisms this week!

November 26th, 2012
Dear family,
           Thank you so much for understanding my desires and for giving me your cooperation to let me extend.  I love being a missionary and I know that the Lord has very important things to be done with me in that time I will be here.  I will give you the exact date as I let President know that I will be able to extend.  SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT will be to change my defferal.  You will need to call the register office and they will tell you how to do it and there is no resistance or anything with it.  You just have to make the call and let them know that I will be moving to my defferal to Fall instead of Summer because of my mission and they will be fine with it.

            I am really excited to talk to all of you for Christmas!  I hope that all is going well and I can't wait to hear all your voices.  Grandma some tiger fudge and rasberry tarts would be great but really anything will be good.  I love all your baked goods!

            We had 2 baptisms this past weekend and it was a great baptism.  We had to fight really hard though cause things kept coming up and then the day before the baptism the daughter was talking the mom out of the baptism and we had to step in and remind her of the Spirit she felt and the testimony that she recieved already and she looked at us and told us that she knew it was true and that this was what she wanted for her and her family.  It was a relieving and powerful moment.

           I will send pictures this next monday with my email cause I forgot the cable this week.  Sorry!  I love you all so much and hope that all is well in the ward and at home.  Keep being a missionary every single day.  LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!
-Love Elder Neeley 

Attention! Extension Ahead! :)

November 19th, 2012
Dear family,
            This past Sunday I got to confirm the girl who got baptized the Sunday previous and as well I got to bless the sacrament for the first time in spanish because we were a little short on priesthood when the meeting started so they asked me to help and it was a great experience.  It was interesting to really think about what I was doing where as when I was a priest I would just tear the bread as fast as I could and almost race the other priest.  As I thought about the Saviour dying and suffering I really felt the Spirit strongly and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in sacrament meeting.

            This Saturday we should be having 2 baptisms and 2 more on Sunday so we are very excited about that.  We will send pictures and all the goods.

            We taught this one family about not worshipping saints and we read in Mosiah about the 10 commandments and told them we only pray to God.  They later told us that other people had come before and any time they told them that the saints were bad they had just tossed them out but since we read from the Book of Mormon about it and they felt the Spirit and accepted it completely.  They then followed by throwing down on their own catholic religion and they think it is apostate now by their own doing.  It was just neat to see how the Book of Mormon softened their heart and allowed them to accept something they had rejected so many times before only cause they felt the Spirit through the Lord's scriptures.

            Ok now for some different thoughts.  I would like to extend my mission and I want you to move my defferal for BYU til the fall instead of the summer so that I can extend for a month, get home at the end of June and then have 2 more months to spend with you all.  That way we would have a little more time together and I could extend my mission for a little longer that I may help the Lord.  I have prayed and talked to my mission President and I know this is what the Lord wants.  I know that I can change even more lives and help a lot more people by helping missionaries become who they should be.  A missionary recently extended and from the reports of the mission Presiendent, he saved that missionary's mission and life.  He was able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to change that missinaries life.  I want to serve the Lord that way.  I will have all my life to go to school and do those other things which are important but I will only have this time to be a fully consecrated missionary and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Please let me do this.  I love you and ask you to pray about this and let me know for next monday.  I love you all so much!!!
-Love Elder Neeley  ps i will make an email for the ward next week.  LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Like a laser drew a line in his head"

Dear family,
          We just had a baptism on Sunday of Indra Canchola who is 13 years old.  Her sister Deyra was supposed to get baptized as well but she has some nerves to get over first.  She is 9 years old and loves church and has friends there but she is just nervous about the baptism so we are working with her.  The mom also came and she started crying during the service and really felt the Spirit so we are hoping to set a date for baptism with the mom and daughter tonight when we see them.  We have another family of 3 who I mentioned last week who are preparing for baptism for the 24th of this month and the 10 year old son named Rodalfo followed us over to his neighbors house to teach them with us and he taught them how to pray.  It was really funny and he just thought it was normal that he was teaching people with us and told us how he wants to be a missionary some day too.

           Tell Quinton that he needs to get gel and he might as well starting parting his hair now since it is a rule in our mission.  Lots of missionaries fight it at first and have these half done parts and stuff and then you see as the missionary grows more in obedience and humility and they just have nice clean parts.  It is pretty funny but just tell him that when he gets to the MTC he should start parting it with gel so it is like a laser drew a line in his head.  I am really excited he is coming and know he is going to love the mission!

           I love you all so much and hope you like the pictures.  The one of the sign is a recent convert who is 27 and is really goofy and is running for mayor of his city and painted one campaign sign and put it in the main enterance for the city and it says "vote 4 troy" hahah.  Well I love you and pray for you and hope that you are being a missionary every day because you have people that are READY to hear the Gospel and are just waiting and on you, so stop making them waiting and invite them everyday.  


Monday, November 5, 2012

Killer Dogs? No problem...

Dear family,
               That is crazy that Quintin is coming here!!!!!  I can't believe it, that is so awesome.  He is going to love it here and if I get to train him it would be my last two transfers with him.  That would be pretty cool.  Wow!  I am really excited about that and just about all the missionaries coming out in general.  It is amazing to see such desire in all these future missionaries.  We will have an increase to about 275 total missionaries and 250 will be young missionaries.  We have 190 young missinaries right now so it will be quite the leap here.

               We had two families come to church this week and they are preparing for baptism this month.  We have a baptism this sunday of two young girls, Indra and Deyra, and their mom will get baptized the week after and then their neighbors, which is a family of 3 will be baptized the week following.  It is amazing to see these miracles every day and we are starting to prepare for December right now so we can keep baptizing like crazy.  There are so many people prepared but we need to find them now.  The family of three that is going to get baptized on the 24th found us as we left from her neighbor's house after an appointment and we started playing football outside in the street with their youngest son.  Then she said that she wanted us to give her children "classes" so we started to teach them all and they all set a date for baptism for the 24th.  Then later we were walking and these two big dogs started to chase us but they got close and just stopped and sat there and we walked away.  The Lord definitely watches out for His missionaries.  That is the 3rd time that someone has had a killer dog that didn't bite us and the owners always get amazed about why they don't bite us.  It isn't quite being thown into a furnace but we are protected all the same.

                 I love being a missionary and I love sharing the Gospel with others.  I hope that you are all missionaries everyday.  Read your scriptures and pray daily.  Don't watch trashy TV, R rated movies or even bad movies that aren't R.  "If it would poison a Lamanite it would poison a Nephite"  so if it is bad for a 5 year old to watch it is bad for anyone.  Don't waste your time with filth and garbage.  You are never too old for poison to be poison.  I love you all and pray for you all every day.  Sorry I didn't send pictures.  My camera is at home so I can charge it instead of the car so I forgot to grab it.  Next week for sure!  LOVE YOU!!!
-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, October 29, 2012

Playing Re-Po Men

Dear family,
          I am glad that you have all been doing well and enjoying the pictures.  I will send more next week for sure.  We have 2 baptisms scheduled for the 10th of November of two young ladies of 13 and 9 years of age.  We found them through that recent convert I told you about last week.  This past week we taught 26 lessons and 14 were to investigators.  It was a pretty good week.  We have transfers this Wednesday and I will be here with Elder Gygi for another 6 weeks so I am excited for that.  The next transfer will be mid December before I call home so I may be some where else before the call but that is still a little ways off and you will know before the call anyway.

          We had a really crazy day as we moved a lady named Dian from a super ghetto part of town and we found out after we got there that she was moving out cause her old roommate (Jannette) would get drunk and beat her.  So they were fighting and screaming at each other and swearing lots and the roommate hit Dian in the head with a door so she came out screaming and was like "she hit me, y'all saw it.  Call the cops!"  So we were a little worried as she told us to go in the house and get her bed that her roommate did not want to give away.  We played re-po for the day and then we went to do apartment checks and a large Tongan Elder tackled my companion and abused him.  They were just palying but it was really funny.

         I love being a missionary and I miss you all and pray for you.  I don't want my mission to end cause this is the greatest thing I have done so far in my life and I love being here.  I hope you all continue  to read and pray daily and share you testimonies with others every single day.  I love you all!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Recovering from food poisoning

Dear family,

             So right now things are going well in California as the weather continues to cool down.  The work is going really well as we are continuing to find new people and strengthen those we are working with.  We should be having some baptisms come up this month.  We have preparation today, wednesday, because yesterday and monday we were in fresno for a leadership training.  I got to work in my old area for the night and saw some recent converts that we baptized and it was great.  Then I got food poisoning and threw up at like 1:30 in the morning on tuesday morning.  That was not so fun.  So now I am finally feeling better but it was a rough day yesterday.  A guy named Greg Mckewoen (I think that is roughly how you spell it) came and did training on tuesday called the "The Essentialist" he is the co-author of the book "Multipliers" and lot of others.  He is a friend of President Gelwix and travels the world giving leadership trainings to companies and stuff for LOTS of money.  Dad are you still going to go do training in President Jordan's mission in London one of these days.  That would be great!  If you wait til I get home I will go with you.  It would be a burden and all to travel around London and all and see missionaries but I love you so much Dad that I would sacrifice for you - haha.

            We are working with a lady who wants to be baptized but her husband is super catholic and doesn't let her come to church so we went by this morning and she was like, "I don't know how but I am getting to church this sunday!"  So please pray for Maria Gonzalez and that her husbands heart may be softened that she may be baptized.  We are working with another sister of a member and we had a very spiritual lesson this morning where she felt the Spirit and began to cry as we testified of God's love for her and how she is never too far from Him and His light.  We taught her of the Book of Mormon and she will be baptized here soon.  Her name is Maria, as well, and if you could keep her in your prayers that she may recieve a confirmation of these things to be true that would be great.  I love you all so much and pray for you always.  Keep being a missoinary every single day.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

"I love being on the Lord's errand"

Oct. 8th, 2012
Dear family,

             Things are going well here in California and things are finally starting to cool down a little.  We are working with a lot of people right now but because we had a strecht a month ago of very little finding it will be tough to get these people ready for this month to get baptized but the end of this month and november should hold lots of success.  We are working with a lot of wonderful families and people to have a desire to be baptized but just need some more preparation.  There is one 12 year old boy who wants to get baptized and he is so smart.  He just gets the Gospel and as we explain it he is like "duh, of course we need a restoration" or "of course we need to be obedient to follow Jesus Christ".  He is awesome and should be baptized at the end of this month.
               General Conference was awesome and we had 7 people come watch and they really enjoyed it.  I love all the talks and really don't know which was my favorite cause they were all so good.  I think Elder Oaks though may have been my very favorite about kids and the importance of treating and teaching them well.  I love Priesthood session too and President Monson's talk.  He follows the Spirit so well it amazes me and I try to emulate that in my mission and life.

                As far as transfers I don't think I should be transfered but I don't know really.  I will have been here for 5 and a half months at the end of this one so I don't know how it will go but I hope to stay.  I love it here and the work is going well and the members are wonderful and so missionary minded.  My companion and I get along well and we will see if we stay together.  The transfer is on halloween day the 31st but we will find out the Saturday before.

               My spelling is awful but I have been catching most of it I think but I keep spelling stuff really badly and then catch it after.  My spanish is getting better though and I just contribute it to that.  Sorry about the pictures they just didn't send so I will upload them next week and send them again.

                We see miracles every day here in the field and it is so amazing.  It is just like President Monson says about just following the Spirit and being the answer to people's prayers.  So many times we stop by and people are just at the breaking point and are about to drink or smoke or are really feeling low and need the Spirit in their lives.  It is amazing and I love being on the Lord's errand.  Doing what He wants through His Spirit is one of the best feelings cause you know you literally are doing what He would do if He were here.  I know that you can do the same in your lives and be the  blessing to those you don't even know are praying for your help.  God knows though and if we listen He will send us to answer their unspoken prayer.  I love missionary work cause all it is, is sharing my happiness with others and I pray you will all do the same.  I love you all so much and keep you all in my prayers.

-Love Elder Neeley

Break-dancing and Clip-on ties

Oct. 1st, 2012

Dear family,

               I know that you love pictures so I will start by describing them.  The little mexican boy is named Johnny Ochoa and he break dances for us when we come over and dresses like a "little brother" on sundays with his clip on tie.  He wants to be a missionary but his family still has not decided to get baptized.  The other two mexican boy are Victor (the chubbier one) and Luis, they are Johnny's brothers.  Then there is the picture in front of the river with me and the whole family.  Then there is our "sandlot" picture of me and a ton of Tongan boys.  We played rugby and football and it was a ton of fun being with all them.  The baptism picture is the Piza family and the little boy is Agustin who got baptized 3 weeks earlier and the girl is his older sister, Yaniri, and the man is there recently reactivated father who should be getting the Melchezidek Priesthood this Stake Conference.  The picture with all the missionaries is our zone right before transfers and then there is the one with me and one of my very favorite missionaries in the mission, Elder Grange from Bountiful Utah and he sweats a lot as you can see haha.

              I teach about 20-25 lesson per week and I would say that 70% are spanish.  It is about the same as Fresno but probably more hispanic here.  Everyone here is from the Mexican state of Michoacan.  This last week we taught 24 lessons and we had our baptism.  Things in our zone are going great and me and my companion are getting along well.  We get most of our work from referals and recent convert family.

             I hope all is well and I want you to know that I am praying for you each every single night.  I love my mission and I love the Gospel and I have changed because of it.  I know it is true.  I hope that you all will find that joy and knowledge and grow in it and SHARE it.  I challenge each of you to bring someone to the waters of baptism before I get home.  I KNOW that you can and that there are people ready to hear it if you are willing to take the Lord's challenge and find them and invite them to church and introduce them to the missionaries and baptize them.  I love you all so much and pray you will accept and do all you can to find these brothers and sisters of ours.  LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

ps Grandma thanks for the family history stuff.  It is SUPER interesting!! I can't wait to read it all when I am home.  LOVE YOU!
-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, September 24, 2012

"I am an exceptional missionary" :)

Dear family,
             Things are going really well in my mission.  I love to be a missionary.  We aren't have the most baptisms we every had or even finding a ton.  The work is good but not where it should be and we are working on that.  But we are working our hardest and I absolutely sharing this Gospel with everyone.  It is true.  It is not a lie it is 100% true and I know it is.  I love it and I love you and pray for each of you every day and for your success in all aspects but especially the Gospel.  Please never lose focus that the Gospel and living it IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.  There is no real and lasting happiness outside the plan of happiness so let's not look.

             We had a wonderful zone conference with Elder Golden and he is just amazing.  My interview with him was great and I love him.  He told me to tell you today that he says I am an exceptional missionary.  I loved every minute of the interview and wish I could go on a plane ride with him around the world so we could just talk.  He has a great South African accent.

              For transfers we are staying the same and I am in Ceres with Elder Gygi.  The zone is doing so well and we are so excited about this month and the following.  Right now after emails we are going to Patterson, a near by city in the zone, and we are going to play football and rugby but not tackle cause we can't.  A ton of Tongans live in Patterson so we go to play with them.  I can't wait.

               We have a baptism this weekend of an 11 year old girl named Yaniri Piza.  She is the daughter of a recently activated man who is doing really well right now.  We have some others who will be baptized soon as well at the end of the month or October.

              Please do your scripture study every day.  EVERY DAY.  Please I know that in prayer twice a day and in daily study is found the strength that our family NEEDS (like is essential) in order to become an eternal family one day.  It is a COMMANDMENT to read and pray every day.  Do it cause you love our Saviour and honor Him, His life and example.  Go share this with everyone and don't let our family reunion in heaven be short even one person.  We all need to make it home.  I love you all SOOOOOOOOOO much I can't describe and I pray for each of you and think of you even though I fail at writing you.  I LOVE YOU!
-Love Elder Neeley
ps the elder in the ice cream pic is Elder Hardy who serves around me and is going home after 2yrs on weds.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Come on!" :)

Dear family,
           I just got the new camera and here are some pictures that I have taken with it.  I can't find my old card right now so I only have these pictures as I have taken them but it is ok cause Sarah has all my old pictures.  As I take more, I will send more but here are the first of them.  The work is a little slow right now as some people with baptismal dates have pushed them back or dropped them right now.  We have been finding some new solid investigators though right now and we feel like they have some promise.

            We taught a lady named Griselda who through a personal experience knows that we have the priesthood authority.  So we were excited to teach her as she recieved an undeniable witness we are representatives of Jesus Christ.  Then we share the first vision and she says "I am sorry but I don't believe you.  I can't believe it."  So we were confused and she explained John 1:18 where is says no man has ever seen God or could basically.  We explained that Moses saw God "face to face and spoke to him as a man speaketh to a friend" and how Stephen saw the Son of Man on the right hand of God.  She said she wanted to see the scriptures so we are going to explain more next time.  But the JST explains how John 1:18 says that no SINNER could ever or has ever seen God.  I really don't like the Apostasy because it is SO evident in the world around us and in the mere fact that the Bible says 10+ times that people have seen God and then says no man has ever seen God.  Then as obvious as it is people are so blinded by the mists of darkness and their hearts are hardened to the truth.  But it is amazing because the iron rod takes them out of the mist of darkness, reading the Book of Mormon takes them out of the confusion that is the Apostasy.  Like wise in our lives we can cast our doubts and confusion away as we search the scriptures.  It is so easy and so true that the iron rod, the word of God,  will bring us understanding and bring us out of the blindness.

           We are teaching another man named Lionel who is deciding what church is true between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and another christian church.  Last night after 2 months of teaching him we watched the Restoration movie and re explained the story of Joseph Smith and found out he is deciding which church is true but has not been praying at all to know!  COME ON!  It is like I want to know about science but I am not going to read any science books or talk to any science proffessors!  Well we made a course change and directed him to read and pray DAILY cause it is the only way to know the truth.  We said you can get an answer other ways but the truth only comes in one way and from one person, God.  So we are excited for him to find his answer.

          Tomorrow Elder Golden of the 70 comes to the nothern zones (we are one of them) for a zone conference and he is going to interview one on one 4 missionaries and President asked me to be one of them.  I am excited for the opportunity.  I will let you know how it goes.  We will find out about transfers this weekend too so I will let you know next week if I am staying her and with my companion.

          Well I love you all and pray for you every day and feel and appreciate your prayers.  Live your faith don't just say it and pray and read EVERY day.  No vacations for spiritual things.  Be a missionary and live the commandments.  Missionary work isn't hard, it is just sharing what makes you happy, really happy.  Because the only lasting happiness is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ so just tell them this makes me happy and I want you to be happy too.  Share it and bring our family home.  I love you all SO much! SO MUCH!  Thank you for your examples and letters and all that you do for me.
-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, August 20, 2012

"It is hot"

Dear family,
             Things are going well here in Ceres CA and it is hot.  We had a baptism this last Saturday of a 9 year old boy and his name is Tonatihu Morales had he is HILARIOUS.  He is the sweetest kid ever and he just says the funniest random stuff.  His mom just came from being semi/less active to activity and he got baptized right after.  This weekend we will have 2 more baptisms that were supposed to happen this last weekend but 2 hospital emergencies.  Ivan, the first one, his wife had her baby 2 weeks early so we are waiting so she can be there and then the other one, Angelina, had her mom go to the hospital so she took her.  We are really trying to get ready for Sept right now.  I am not the Senior companion cause when your a zone leader you are co-seniors but I have been here longer and my companion is a brand new zone leader so I am teaching how to be a zone leader and guiding things but we are co-seniors.  My companion Elder Gygi was in the same MTC district as me so we know each other well.

               We are having about 20-25 lessons per week so we are teaching quite a bit but we are trying to find a little more right now so we can be ready for the months ahead.  Things are going well and the zone is ramping up for a really good September.  We have great district leaders and just a great set of missionaries so it is really easy to be a zone leader haha.

              We are still working out everyday but sunday and I am staying fit so things are good with that.  We are going to play basketball right now when I am done so I am excited for that.  Pictures will be coming through the computer next week so get excited!  I am sorry I have been putting things off but I promise Preparation days have been really busy with different random stuff different weeks and I have not been napping haha.

               I know the Church is true and that Heavenly Father is a real person.  He really is some where right now watching, and caring for us and listening to us.  Jesus really suffered, died and came back to live as a resurrected person.  I know they really are true and my mission has done that for me.  I love my Heavenly Father SO much and I just want to make Him happy and I know that we will live for ever together if we can be obedient.  Not to earn God's permission into heaven but to prepare our hearts to be in His presence because through obedienc our hearts are changed through the Atonement to be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  It is not that we are obedient to pay back the debt because even if we did our very best we would still be "unprofittable" (mosiah 2).  I love you all so much and want to live with each of you for ever.  Share this with everyone you can cause whats a family reunion with out all our brothers and sisters.  You all know that 90% of our family for Christmas is just not good enough.  Everyone needs to get home and we need and GET to help them do it.
-Love Elder Neeley

Companion sick and a car to be waxed... busy, busy, busy

Dear family,
          Today will have to be short (I'm sorry!).  My companion got sick today and we had to wax our car because of a zone conference and I also had to cut my hair which doesn't happen every week and it all happened this week so hurray!  I love you all a ton though and I really can feel your prayers and your love.  I feel your support as I go through out the day and it is wonderful to know that my family is there for me and that you are wonderful examples to me in the Gospel.  Dad to respond to some questions, no shoes or camera,  i am sorry but I already stated the craziness of the day so next week it will be done.  I will be going back home on May the 27th of 2013.  I am pretty sure cause that is what they told me pretty much when I started but I would rather not bring that up.  It is so crazy how fast the time goes and how it feels like I just started my mission.  I think I will be going to school in the summer because that is what I told BYU but I don't know but it is something I will think about as I would like some time home with all of you.

          Angelina, one of our investigators, was supposed to get baptized on this past Sunday yesterday, but was admitted to the hospital on Saturday night so she rescheduled for this next Sunday and we have 2 others on Saturday at 6.  We are very excited and seeing these people tonight.  The work is great and I LOVE being a missionary.  I get very envious of the sons of Mosiah and their 14 year missions as mine winds down more and more.  It drives me nuts.  I really can't and and don't want to imagine not being a missionary.  Well I love you all and am so proud and excited about the missionary work that you are doing and telling me about.  Grandma is a missionary machine!  I love you all!!!
-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thanks for the Letters!

Dear family,
           Thanks for your emails and your letters.  I love you all so much and am so happy you are my family cause you are the BEST!!!  We did have a baptism this last week and it was a girl named Vivian who is 11.  We have been working with her cause her mom is a member and she just surprised us.  We have 2 more this weekend and 2 more this month.  We are working hard and I am getting a new companion.  His name is Elder Gygi and I was in the MTC district with him.  I am super excited for this transfer cause I know that the zone is going to be on fire and we are going to be more obedient and more unified than ever.  I love you all SO much I can't even describe.  I love this work and you all mean so much to me.  Thank you JoAnna and Aunt Krsten for your emails they meant a lot to me and hearing from you.  I also enjoyed my emails from Grandma, Dad and Uncle Keith but I thought I would mention those specifically as well.  I am SO happy that you are all working hard to be missionaries!!!!!!!!! that is so awesome and I pray for you all individually and for your problems and stresses and your happiness.  Please keep telling me and updating me on your missionary efforts.  I am going to get a camera this week so don't worry about that.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

"Things are Well"

Dear family,
             Thank you for all your emails this week and also all the letters from the family down at the beach!  I appreciated them a ton and today I will not be able to write back because of a few other items of business but I hope to write back a few of you next week.  As well don't worry if you can't send letters or you haven't or you are busy or what ever.  I love to hear from you but I understand how life gets and I am always praying for you and do feel your love for me.  So don't feel like you are a bad person if you don't get a chance to write me.  I am so gald that you are all enjoying lots of time together.  It always makes me happy to hear that you all get to see eachother and spend quality time with one another.  One thing I have truly realized on my mission is the importance of family and not just a family but an eternal one and I am greatful for mine.  I love you all so much!

              I will for sure go buy a camera and just keep using my card so I don't need to buy one of those but maybe as well I will buy a piece of equipment to but the pictures right on the computer instead of sending the memory card to Sarah or hard copies to you all.  As well I will be taking care of the shoes as well so no worries.

              Also it is great to hear that all of the kids are doing lots of stuff like EFY and Youth Conference because those are the things that they need to be doing cause they certainly are not getting those wonderful messages everyday with their friends.  Keep praying as a family and reading the scriptures together and going to the temple when you can because when you look at how much bad influence in the world there truly is no time to waste.  There can't be one day where we aren't praying and reading because promise satan isn't resting and especially for the youth, they have those influences around them daily and need that spiritual refuge at home.  Don't miss out on it.  President Packer said that "the spiritual shield is made at home".  Not even in churhc or seminary but at home.  We can't just go to church every week and expect to have a lasting protection and conversion to the gospel.

              We had 3 baptisms this past week as Yobanni Cabrera(12 year old boy), Emmanuel Matadamas (which his last name means kills women, 8 year old boy) and Tania Garcia (25 year old woman) were all baptized.  Tania was baptized by her boyfriend who is a convert of a month and they are getting married next week (they don't live together).  Then in a year I hope and pray I will be able to come back from Utah and visit cause they should be getting sealed in that time!  I love them so much and truly feel a portion of the Saviour's love for them as I get the chance to teach them and guide them to the truth.  We had a lady come up to us in the store today and just tell us that she came to church and then gave us her adress and number and told us to come by so that was really awesome.  Hopefully she will get baptized as well.  We have 3 baptisms right now planned for August but there will be atleast 4 because we have some other people we are working close with who are on the edge.

              We have transfers this week and Elder DeWitt is going to Argentina on Monday and we will see what happens with me and Elder Burnett.  I have a feeling that there will be a change though.

               Things are well and we are working very hard.  I love you all so much and hope that the missionary work is going well in your lives.  I have heard a few stories of missionary work from some members of our family but I would love to hear all of your stories from each of you.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chased by a Chiwawa!

Dear family,
           It has been awesome to hear about your trip to Alaska and now it sounds like you are at the beach!  That sounds like a lot of fun.  Here in the mission things are going great and I am loving it. My companions and I are getting along great and we are having a blast working hard and being obedient.  My first companion, Elder Burnett does not go home until September atleast and Elder DeWitt is still waiting on his visa for Argentina so it looks like more and more that he may just be staying here which would be great for the mission but for his sake I hope he goes.  He has been a good sport about waiting and being focused on the work here in CA but I think it would really break his heart to know that Argentina is never going to come.  He is such a good missionary and is just new still but he knows just what he is doing.  We are preparing for a baptism this next Saturday and hopefully we will have one the following Saturday.  We have one scheduled but this week will determine a lot.  The one in 2 weeks is a 9 year old boy whose family needs to get on the ball so he can be active and ready for baptism.  They are all members but him and his sister who will be baptized at the same time, she is 8 years old.  Their names are Chris (the boy) and Mel.  If you could keep them in your prayers that would be wonderful.

             I think that I would consider my self good at speaking but not really fluent.  I can understand all the conversation from day to day but there are still so many areas of conversation like science or anatomy that I am still learning.  I don't think I could translate for you Dad in the hospital but for the rest of the day I could in just your everyday conversation.  I know a little in each "field" I guess you could say but I couldn't explain how to fix your car in spanish.

             I understand it being crazy all the time with vacation and what not going on and then trying to do family scripture study or prayer but I just wanted to give you a reminder about it.  I know you are all working hard but just know the Lord wants your best which is not perfection.  So if that is only 3 people at prayer cause that is all that is home then that is what we do.  I know you know this stuff but it is just something that has impressed me recently so I thought I would give the whole family a reminder.

            We were running the other day at 6 30 and a chiwawa that started chasing us and I went to punt it and it ran away.  Good times.  I am not always a morning person and that chiwawa realized that as my foot went over its head.  The rest of the run was peaceful.

             Well I love you all so much and I am really sorry that I don't write anyone ever but I have more time to email so just email if that works if not I will make the time to write but email is easier.  I keep you in my prayers and thought every day.  I hope you are all being missionaries and bringing yourselves to Christ as well as others EVERY DAY.  Love you!!! And with everyting going on I won't be extending so don't worry about it.  President would let me I think but I would need to ask him and that would mean that I have no other obligations to be home and I am pretty sure he wouldn't approve of me extending with my time schedule.  If he were to ask me out of neccesity I would extend but he has never done that since I have been here so it is pretty much I won't be extending.  I love you!
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley
P.S.  Uncle Keith I have noticed a difference since being here in the northern part of the mission in the language.  Only slightly because it has been very Americanized across the board but about 90% of the people up here are all from a certain state  of Mexico and in Fresno they were from a variety and about 40% from another different state of Mexico so it was different a little bit.  But I am sure it is nothing compared to what you experienced from country to country.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Big Goals

Dear family,
            I am glad to hear that your trip to Alaska went well.  Did you see any whales?  I bet it was beautiful being out there in the wild.  How was the food?  I heard that is the best part of the cruise, all the crab, steak and lobster you can eat.

            How is family scripture study going?  What about the kids personal scripture study and prayer.  Those things are so important for them especially with the hard storm of temptation that they are facing.  It truly is like nothing I am sure that you and mom saw in your day and I am sure you recognize that.  But being on a mission I have truly seen the filth that is the television, high school, and internet.  I am not trying to sound like I am getting up on the pulpit and doing some holier than thou speech but it is true.  The younger kids have missiles in their lives and they need the defense of the scriptures and prayer.  President Kimball said "I do not worry about the youth that will say their prayers TWICE a day".  The Prophets only ever talk about the youth and how they are so worried about the imense temptation they face in this generation but he said he would not worry about those who pray twice daily.  That is quite the statement.  Make sure that is something you ask them and ask them.  We can't make anyone do anything but we can teach and invite and follow up.  Make sure they know 1) the danger all around them and 2) the way to defend them selves from it.  I know you are doing a good job and I know because of all you taught me but I know I didn't do those 2 things enough growing up.  Encourage them to do so and make sure that you get to the temple as often as possible.

           The work is going really well.  This month we are committed, and obssessed with every companionship baptizing this month of July.  It is a feat that has never been done.  We will have all 11 companionships baptizing through the Lord's power and mercy.  It is our only desire this month.  We baptized a lady named Maria Duarte yesterday and we have another baptism on the 14th of July.  We are very excited for the work right now.  We have a lot of good missionaries in the zone this transfer and I would like to say that we are "stacked". 

           On another note we ate out of a taco bus today and the lady who just got baptized was baptized by a recent convert who had got baptized exactly one week earlier and then got confirmed and recieved the preisthood and baptized Maria.  It was so awesome!

           Maria lives alone and has like 6 dogs who are all pretty sickly and one even has 3 legs and there is another we things is pregnant who goes to the bathroom in front of us every time we come over.  It is kind of sick but we love Maria!  Everything is good and I am about to go play basket ball and have a little relax time for preparation day.  I love you all so much and care and pray about you every day.  I hope all is well and especially that you are all being missionaries every day.  Invite you friends to church!  Get over to the house for FHE or something.  I love you SO MUCH!!!
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley

Busy Being the Zone Leader

Dear family,
              It is good to hear that everything is going great so far with the cruise in Alaska and that you got to see Uncle Bob and Ryan.  I bet it is beautiful up there in Alaska.  Is it really cold there or is it warm enough since it is summer right now.  Here in Ceres  it is cooler than Fresno but it still got up to 105 the other day.  Today though it is not too bad with a light breeze that cools things down.  Also do you get to see any whales or anything on the cruise cause that would be so awesome!  Take some pictures for me if you do.

             We are super busy since being a Zone Leader.  We have appartment checks this week so we have to drive all over the Turlock Zone to see all the different appartments and make sure no one is living in filth.  As well on Wednesday we have to make sure everything goes well with transfers and then on Friday we go to Fresno for Zone Leader Council.  It is busy but I love being able to serve and help others to succeed.  I think that is the real key to happiness.  Just focusing on others makes me so happy and completely forget my own problems which aren't as stressful as we make them out to be sometimes.

              We are also going to be splitting the Branch with Sister missionaries because the work is going so well.  So we have to find a house for them in 2 days before they transfer here or 2 missionaries will be living with us and the Sisters will be in their home until we can get them a place to stay until the 25th of July.  Because then a Senior couple in our Zone finishes their mission and the Sisters are going to move in there.

              We just had a baptism yesterday of Jose Cabrera and he is doing so good.  He is getting confirmed next Sunday and will get the Priesthood and then when his friend Ivan gets married and baptized Jose will baptize him.  It is very exciting and our next baptism is this next Sunday of a lady named Maria Duarte who is in her 60's or 70's and she is so nice and funny.  She lives by herself and has like 6 dogs and she has a son in prison.  She has had some tough times but she is very excited to be baptized.  She is the friend of a recent convert of about a month who introduced her to the gospel as well.  The work is going awesome here.

                I still have my same companions Elder Burnett and Elder DeWitt.  Elder DeWitt is awaiting his visa and it can come any day now they say so we don't know how much longer he will be waiting to go to Argentina.  Elder Burnett has 2 transfers left (about 3 months) and so he will probably finish his mission here but we don't know.  Also we have had a few zone meetings which are just the Zone and I have always done training in those because they are ran by us as Zone Leaders.  With Zone Conference (which is multiple zones) I have not done any training cause it is usually just President and some guest people or counselors of the mission presidency.

               I love you all so much and I love being a missionary.  I know I tell you every week but I do love it so much.  I am so greatful for the time I have here and try to work my hardest to make it count.  I love it!  I have felt the Spirit so strong and I have learned so much more about my Heavenly Father and how good of a relationship I can have with Him.  He knows us and is a real person like you and me.  It is wonderful the changes I have been make in my life as I learn more about the Gospel and come closer to my Saviour.  Go be a missionary every day so that you can feel this joy that I feel every day of my life.  I love you and pray for you.
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley

Border Crossing Story

Dear family,
         Things are going great here in Ceres.  We just baptized a young man named Armando Garcia who is the son of the family we baptized 9 days ago.  Armando was baptized on Thursday the 14th and confirmed the following Sunday.  This next Sunday we have a baptism of a man named Jose Cabrera.  He is about 22 years old and has had a a really rough life from being a in a gang.  He got shot in his ear and the bullet went down through his mouth and they had to reconstruct his mouth and all sorts of stuff.  He says that he can feel his brain move around sometimes in his head!  He has been a heavy drinker and missed his first  baptismal date in May because of that but since we have been working with him a lot more consistantly (and therefore because he has felt the Spirit more) he has stopped drinking and is super excited for his baptism on Sunday.  The Spirit does the converstion and the changing of hearts we just need to be the biggest and purest vessel that we can be in order to carry the Spirit.  We do that obviously by being worthy, obedient, committed and focused.  We have a lot of other investigators that are pretty set to get baptized in July and we are very excited for them as well.  I will be letting you know about them as their baptism comes closer.

             On another note here is a border crossing story.  A missionary that is serving here is from Riverside CA (5 hours away) and he is here because he is not a citizen so they keep him close to home.  This is so there is no need to travel and need a passport or something.  He crossed when he was 7 and he was hidden in between a set of seats and the back of the car(there was no trunk) and he was covered by some blankets and stuff and when they stopped the driver told him he would turn of the music and that meant he could not move a muscle and couldn't make any sound whatsoever.  So they were driving and the driver stopped and hit the power button and he froze.  They looked through some stuff and never saw him and they let him go.  He lived in a garage with his mom and they are dirt poor.  He is the only member in his family and his mom said she was going to burn down the church when he decided to serve a mission.  Thank you all so much for supporting me and being wonderful parents and family to me.  I can only imagine the struggles this missionary friend of mine feels .  Thank you so much again.  I love you all so much.

             Thanks a ton for the Sestito's address.  I will be sending my letter to them today.  As well I will talk to President about extending my mission but I will do what is best and I appreciate your support in that.  I understand the consequences of the different decisions and I will let you know for sure in the close future.  I love you all SO much and pray that you be missionaries every day.
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend

New Area

Dear family,
                  Sorry about the short email last week, this one will be a little better.  This area is awesome and I am still speaking spanish just as much here as I did in Fresno.  There are tons of hispanics and we speak quite a bit in our companionship because we are training Elder DeWitt who is waiting on his visa to go to Argentina.  He is an awesome missionary who works hard and is really smart.  My other companion who is teaching me how to be a Zone Leader is Elder Burnett and he is REALLY smart, like a genius.  We have 7 baptisms for this weekend and we are super excited for them.  I will get some pictures and send them off this month some time.  One of them, Juana, is the sister of a recent convert who got baptized a week ago and then 2 cousins of the same recent convert.  Their whole family is hilarious I love them so much.  They are just awesome and they love the Gospel and the Lord.  Another 3 of the 7 are all a family (a son, daughter and a faither) who are cousins of Juana and her sister (the recent convert) as well.  The father, daughter and son, are only 3 of 5 in the family as wll and the other two (the mom and another son) will probably be baptized some time in this month as well.  Then the last of the 7 is an 11 year old who is named Elizabeth who is the friend of a recent convert who is 11 or 12 to and she comes to church with her friend every week.  We are super excited and the work is going so well.
            I did get the email last week and I thought I commented on Ruthe's awesome preformance but if not... IT WAS AWESOME!  That is so cool that as a freshman she is already a track all star and champion of the world.  Just tell her not to be prideful and to not get caught up in things that are nice but are not actually important in the scheme of eternity.  Tell Nate also that I said congrats and I am super happy for him to be married.
                  Also our apartment is now fine and we just need to clean the carpet and move our stuff back downstairs when we feel like it but I am enjoying it up stairs.  As well like 60 to 80 percent are illegal here but I really don't care I just love them all the same.  They are our brothers and they need the Gospel.  Don't tell Uncle Ed I said that haha but that is how I feel.  We never really use our bike every since I have been here except for an exchange I had with our District leader.  I still work out and now they have us running every day cause some elders didn't work out really so they did a mission wide program.  So i am still skinny and muscular for the most part so don't worry about that.  I eat so much mexican food and still don't put on weight.
                 I am so glad to hear that you are all being missionaries!  That is so amazing and I know that people may not be super interested most of the time but it is all worth it for the 1 who is.  Keep it up.  Keep helping the missionaries cause they need it.  I love you all so much and keep you in my prayers.  I love you!!!!!!!!!!!
-Love Elder Neeley

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Washer Flooded...

Dear family,
     I don't have much time today to email because we have to email on Tuesday instead of yesterday and because we have apartment checks as Zone Leaders.  But the new ward is going great and we had 5 more baptisms this past weekend and it was awesome.  

Also the washer flooded and we had an inch of water to come to come home to after shopping.  FUN!  So we have cleaned most and now are working on the drying everything completely out.  Well I am very sorry for the short letter but I love you and I am working very hard.  Be a missionary every day please!!!!!!!!!!  You will not regret it ever but you will if you don't.  I love you all so much and am greatful for your support to me and your prayers.  You are always in mine.