Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Punishment=Blessings Apparently (Week #9)

The other evening, while we were getting dinner on the table, I called Gannon's name as loud as I could and asked him to fill a pitcher with water....Obviously, he never came. We all had a good laugh about it--I'm so glad my family gets my sense of humor. 

My email to Elder Hess this week started like this:

"Hey, boy!

"How's your week been? I called you to fill a pitcher with water the other night for dinner, but you never came and did it....RUDE! 😉"

Thus his first response to me....

Hey mommypie!

Things here are good. Sorry for not filling the pitcher! I was busy...

We meet with P maybe once a week just to say hi and maybe read some scriptures. She lives with her cousin who is a JDub so we teach her and she does great and then her cousin comes in and bashes everything we say...We've tried to get her to come to church but her cousin leaves and P has to take care of all her kids...

The wedding was super awesome! We gave the money to the bishop to save a fund for when other investigators need to get married. I took a lot of pictures I'll try to attach them.

Everyone we talk to just doesn't care or slams the door in our face. We've been rejected so much we're going to make a bingo sheet of all the excuses people use. (for example: I'm catholic, I work all week, No I can't give you a referral I don't talk to anybody, I just moved here, Oh sorry my mom's in the shower...etc..) But we're still tracting and searching a lot. Elder S and my people we meet with occasionally but they're not progressing.
I've gotten a lot better with the language. I gave a talk last week and I can understand a lot of what people are saying the tough part is knowing what to say back.

I miss Voodoo and Oregon's sketchiness...There were some trailblazer socks in the mall today and I was tempted to get them but I didn't... good job A and T!! That's so cool! I haven't got any packages but maybe sometime this week..

We also had a super Saturday here. I don't think we had one at home but it's like a youth conference. Like we showed up and helped with the service project in a grapefruit orchard for 2 hours in 100 degree weather and then all the youth had classes and devotionals and a dance. It was cool to see so many youth help out. P's cousin's son came which we were surprised because we hadn't talked about it...So we talked to him and apparently his mom found out and made him go as a punishment for something...Punishment=Blessings apparently.

What has been your biggest challenge this week? 
Biggest challenge has been the amount of time that A and N's wedding has taken. Ugh when I get married there's no way I'm planning it...

What has been your biggest concern? 
Biggest concern has been finding new investigators. Nobody really wants to accept our message or anything. 

What has been your biggest success?
So it turns out that along with the marriage, A and N's baptism was yesterday! Surprise!!! I thought it was next week but yeah that was really awesome.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? 
Favorite person is Hermana A. She's a member that has us over for FHE and she is hilarious. She wants her whole family to join the church.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?
I'm not super sunburned from the service project. Sunscreen is one of the best inventions in human existence.

What are you looking forward to this coming week? 
Movie night. the ward is having a movie night where we watch Meet the Mormons (in Spanish).

Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it. 
My goal is to get 4 new investigators. We really need it.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
D & C 18 about the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

Anyways, things here are frustrating but great! Loving it!

Love you guys,
Elder Gannon Hess

We had dinner with a family who owns a farm and Elder P killed a chicken...Crazzzzy!

Those things from Nacho Libre with the corn on a stick!? They exist!! Called elote! They're like the ice cream men of southern Texas!

Oh and the ambulances are in our apartments like 4 times a week..No idea why. 

Our dumpster was emptied this morning and it was full in like 5 minutes from our neighbors.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"They Never Put Two Greenies Together" (Week #8)

Preface for this week's email:

All kids in our ward over the age of 12 had a missionary week this past week. They were encouraged to keep the same rules that Gannon and all other missionaries are keeping right now. They also got to each have a teaching opportunity in the middle of the week. I believe it built a lot of empathy between our kids and their older brother.

He refers to a play. The school where my husband works has been presenting "Peter Pan" this past week. He took me for a performance for our Friday night date. I know....try to contain your jealousy. It's just what one does when she's the wife of a school principal, I guess. 

This is his younger brother's first year playing rugby, and their team is currently ranked #1 in the league. I think this is the hardest thing for Elder Hess to be missing out on. He is the biggest sports lover in our house....next to his dad.

He talks about "greenies." For anyone who might not know missionary lingo, a greenie is a brand new from-the-Missionary-Training-Center missionary. It is very rare to find two greenies placed together because they're both still learning the ropes and being trained on just how to be a missionary. Sounds like, in this case, things turned out pretty well.

The "Uncle Sam" he's referring to is the United States government.

The rest, I believe is self explanatory.


That's super cool that they had a missionary week! I heard from B about it and DJ but nobody else. Keep up the good missionary work! Happy Birthday BTW!! Are you finally getting older now that Q's home? Hope the play wasn't too bad... Man A is #1?! And I'm missing it?! My cleats I think are in my box. They're blue and yellow. Just good stuff to work out in. P is  afraid she'll go back to her old lifestyle... I haven't missed a day in my journal yet.

What has been your biggest challenge this week? 

Finding families. Last week everyone was super up to hear our message but now everyone either sends us away or runs inside (sometimes literally) and pretends to not be home.

What has been your biggest concern? 
Biggest concern has been my surprise exchange with Elder S we had this last Wednesday..(he's another greenie which they never put two greenies together).

What has been your biggest success?
Our exchange went amazing..Like everyone we talked to accepted our baptism commitment. It was a super fun day. He's a great guy.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? 
The entire ward. Our cake auction was incredible. We had about 15 cakes. We made $475!!! Amazing people. And Uncle Sam. He's been a bro this week. We went to McAllen to get A's ID for the marriage license. We only had 5 seats so he hid in the back for 45 minutes. And it turned out the ID would take 3 to 4 weeks to arrive. But we went to get the marriage license at the courthouse and they said since he's from Guatemala he doesn't need it! So they're getting married!

What has been your most significant tender mercy?
Our exchange for sure. 

What are you looking forward to this coming week? 
A and N's wedding. It's gonna be awesome

Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it. 
My goal is to have 6 new Investigators. We're trying to work past the last couple days where nobody wanted to talk.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
Faith without works is dead.

Love you guys!
Elder Gannon Hess

Photos of the week:
The cockroach was on the wall of the church.
The dogs followed us through the entire neighborhood...
Who knew crabs would be chillin in the middle of Texas?

Monday, April 13, 2015

"I'm a Big Boy" (Week #7)

I need to begin this email with a preface.....
First of all, this lovely photo! It's almost obligatory that missionaries take a photo by the big wall map.....Okay, maybe not obligatory, but it's a huge tradition. I'm so glad to see that Elder Hess took advantage of this for posterity's sake.
With Elder Tidwell before leaving the MTC.

Well, I learned that Elder Hess is about as far south in Texas as you can go. He's 20 miles north of the Mexican border, so my guess is he's going to be using his Spanish a whole bunch. This is ideal....to sharpen his skills.

Gannon says that his companion was AP. For those who might not know, that stands for Assistant to the President. He has been acting as the Mission President's assistant for the past six months. In the past it seemed that once a missionary is called to that position, he stays until the end of his mission. It used to be unusual to have them move back into the field. This must be QUITE the missionary. He is training for his last six weeks. I am beyond THRILLED that my son gets to spend these weeks with him. What an experience this will be!

I LOVE that soccer will be a HUGE part of Elder Hess's life in this first area. He has played soccer since he was five. I know he's going to be so happy here.

Most of what he writes is in answer to my questions. You can easily guess what I've asked by what he says here in the first few paragraphs.

It's been a long week wondering where my boy is and what he's been doing. Such a huge relief to get this email and to hear that he's doing so well. Typically, the first few months of a mission are TOUGH (understatement) for most missionaries--yours truly included.


I'm doing good! My companion is Elder P. from Indiana. This is his last transfer, and before he was an AP for 6 months. So he's an amazing missionary. Super dedicated and experienced. Really spiritual guy.

He played soccer at SVU so he's pretty good. We played soccer with the ward this last Saturday and apparently it's a tradition. It's a fairly big area but we have 4 missionaries in the ward so it's cool. 

I got both my bike and bedding and I'm well equipped. I eat almost every night with members and the food is amazing. Like tastes better than home. Had menudo yesterday I found out...(lining of cow stomach soup..) not too bad actually. 

The president and his wife are both awesome people. Amazing cooks too! 

The members are amazingly helpful(more on that later). We whitewashed this area so we spend a lot of time finding but also a ton teaching. 

It's really humid but really green. Tons of mosquitos....they're the worst. 

Thanks for the pictures! T. looks like a baller! 

I'd love to get my cleats and more shorts and t shirts for exercise. Maybe some snacks that aren't candy...I've still got a whole shoebox full...

What has been your biggest challenge this week? Our biggest challenge has been P. She's one of our investigators and she has a tough life. She lives in a trailer home (most people here do) and had an accident while crossing the border, so she can't move super well. We had her committed to baptism but at the very end she backed out. She literally said "I know what you've taught me is true and I know God wants me to be baptized but I don't know.." UGH WHAT THE FLIP!!!

What has been your biggest concern? Biggest concern is not looking like a fool, but that's been a life long goal, and we've all seen how well that's worked out...

What has been your biggest success? Biggest success is I taught this guy J., and he committed to baptism. Taught him all on my own. I'm a big boy.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? Favorite person...IDK they're all amazing here.

What has been your most significant tender mercy? Ugh! This was great but also not...We have these investigators named A. and N., and they've been going to church for 6 months but can't be baptized because they're not married and they don't have enough money to buy the documents they need (they need 105 dollars). SO we're going to have a cake auction to raise money for them. But as we were at a dinner appointment we told the family about that and they said they couldn't make it but they wanted to contribute so they handed us some money. And we didn't want to take it but they made us basically...So we got in the car and looked at it and it was 100 dollars....like there is no way that family could afford that...it's amazing that prayers are answered but also we didn't really want it to happen that way..

What are you looking forward to this coming week? I'm looking forward to getting A. and N.'s documents to get married and teaching a bunch

Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it. We have a goal to get a lot of new investigators. It's tough cause we're new but we ask for referrals from everybody.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week? "Faith without works is dead."

Love you!
Elder Hess

My comp.
We were teaching a lesson when a dumptruck dumped a ton of dirt on their driveway to redo it. so We paused the lesson and started helping out....

Joe! Our car's mascot and dancing king

Our sacrament building

It walks like a dinosaur and is really weird

There's a community of trailer houses, and they have weird animals like grackles (crows but sound like whoooooOOOOOOPPPP), alligator gar (picture an evil fish had a baby with an alligator that doesn't like people) and peacocks (in this picture but it's tough to see)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

MTC Wrap Up From the Mother (MTC Week #6)

Elder Hess has arrived in Texas. We haven't heard anything yet and probably won't until his first P-day in the field. At this point, he probably has his first companion and is busy in his first area. I'm SO looking forward to hearing of the experiences of his first week.

Missionaries can call home from the airport on their way to their missions, so we anticipated a phone call around 4:00am. He called at 5:50.

It was great to hear his voice. He sounded strong and assured.

We woke each member of the family to speak to him. He said that the hardest thing was leaving his friends, especially Elder Tidwell. They gave each other priesthood blessings the night before he left. Elder Tidwell was due to leave for Houston on Wednesday.

There were no photos this week either due to the departure on P-day, but Elder Tidwell's mom was kind enough to share some with me....

I have two crazy coincidental tender mercy stories this week....

We hung up the phone so that Gannon Elder Hess could head to the plane. About ten minutes later, while checking Facebook, I found this message waiting for me: "Such a small world. Sitting on the plane with a pleasant missionary Elder Hess!" WOAH! What?!

It was a Facebook friend who helped with a project in which we helped missionaries serving in the Philippines receive Christmas presents this last year. How AMAZING! I replied, and he wrote this: "Yes he got on and I recognized him from his picture and the name tag. I asked is your mom Julie? He said hes how did you know !...I will take care of him when we get to Houston!

How TOTALLY wonderful! When they arrived in Houston, my friend snapped this photo. 

Thanks, Frank! You're the BEST!

The second story is still in the development phase, so I can't share a whole lot yet....I'm still waiting to see how things play out. It has to do with neckties and the Philippines, but Gannon's mission is very tied to it. Crazy how things work out.

If you don't believe in the hand of God, hang around for a bit.....You'll start to see it too. Life is GOOD!

"I Need Some Craziness" (MTC Week #5)

Hey! Looks like an awesome week! Thanks for all the water and stamps and everything! Everyone loves the water bottles! I think I arrive at the airport around 5-ish our time and then my flight leaves at 8;14 and lands in houston at 12:10 and then a connecting to McAllen at 12:57. So I'll probably be able to call before my first flight!
What has been your biggest challenge this week? Probably getting ready to say goodbye to the zone and district. There's almost like a cloud hanging over. Like my last week at home with my friends. We all gotta split up eventually.

What has been your biggest concern? I haven't really had any big concerns this week besides the 10 pounds I've gained at the MTC.....

What has been your biggest success? We got Our TRC investigator to commit to baptism! It was so awesome. He didn't think he was ready but we covered the interview q's and he decided to!

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? Tidwell. He's one of my closest friends. We're always up for anything and have really grown up

What has been your most significant tender mercy? I got a email from R today! We went to the temple today and did endowments and while we were in the celestial room I was praying really hard that I could at least know he got the letter and when i got on the computer I had an email from him. It's been the best moment of my mission so far.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?  Leaving. I'm so ready to get out of here and get started. It's great here but It's the same thing everyday. I need some craziness #HessFamilyMotto

Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it. Learn as much as I can. I don't wanna get trunky for the mtc. I've still got a lot to learn.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?  1 corinthians 10:13. The lord's got my back.

Man, T has no luck with sticks... I don't do a whole lot as ZL besides take care of everyone and make sure the district's aren't killing each other. A little bit like being at home. I'm ZL until Sunday where W and S become ZL's. We a travel leader. We've never met him. Spanish is getting easier and I can somewhat have a conversation. We haven't had any GA's since Quentin L. Cook a couple weeks ago. But we'll see on Tuesday what happens. Convince N to sneak me in some Panda Express!!!!

Love you guys,
Elder Hess

Men Don't Cry (MTC Week #4)

Hey everybody!

Things are good! I haven't got a package in a while I think. I got one from B so thank her for me! and I got one from L too! Apparently she saw us walking from the temple yesterday but didn't say anything....Me and my comp are finally starting to hit our stride I think. Our TRC investigator, G, definitely has a strong testimony but he won't be baptized because he doesn't feel ready. That was the biggest challenge. But our last lesson with G was amazing. It was the first lesson we've had where we both taught equally. It was incredible. The spirit was super strong and my companion was crying and the investigator was too. I didn't but that's because I think the only time a man should cry is if he just got hit with a crowbar and can't have kids anymore. Anyways, favorite person is probably Elders W and S. They're a lot like me and Elder Tidwell and we get along super great. Goal for this week is to keep our success with G going and try to set a date.