[I'm going to put a few emails together since Elder Blanding wrote a few emails to the family. Hopefully I will be able to edit them in a way that makes sense. I can also tell that some of Spanish is rubbing off in his letters as he is mixing up sentence structure.]
Things his mother wanted to know:
My health is fine. One of the Elders that was in my MTC district has an amoeba and Elder Swenson has fleas but I am fine.
They actually increased the amount of money they give us a few months ago. It didn't matter to me, it will just mean that I have more left over at the end of the month (I had left overs last time).
[Now the real letter]
HI ALL!!! Boy does time fly. It feels like yesterday I was saying bye and I have already been gone for 1/4th of my mission (I only have a year and a half left). [He has only been out five months, but he is coming home in February 2015 not March 2015--that's how the math works out.]
Yes we had the baptisms (see attachment, "hay señal")!! It was amazing!! We have been working with the mom and daughter since we got to the area (literally day 2) and the young man for the last 3 weeks. It was really nice that they finally got baptized.
Also this week we had a zone conference. It is always a treat to be able to listen to the mission president train us. Every time he does I become more sure that he receives inspiration. It is just amazing. The theme was teaching with power. He basically taught us how to teach people through questions and not through giving a talk. The idea is to get them thinking and answering their own questions. Also if you do the questions right you can just tell them that they are right and move on without spending 5 min. explaining something to them that they already know. Also he told us that when someone has a doubt or difficulty we should always look for the doctrine that we can connect to the doubt or question that answers/clears it up. Another thing that he taught us is when someone has a doubt or some reason that they don't want to do something we should basically be a mirror for them and use a question to basically show them that they are not thinking very logically. One example he showed us of this was for someone who didn't want to go to church. He used the plan of salvation as the doctrine because they were teaching it at the time (real example). He asked if the sister (it was a woman) wanted to return to live with God after this life. Of course she said yes. He then asked (lovingly) why, if she wanted to live with and talk with God for the eternities, why she didn't want to be in his presence here on earth. He then told her that she can be in his presence by going to church. After he gave the example he asked one of the missionaries what the result of that lesson was. The missionary answered that she has come to church twice since that lesson, she hadn't come once in years (less active).
It is amazing the kind of insight he can give to us. He gave us a few more examples and then we had to practice it together. I always hate doing those practices because it is always hard to start cold with someone. It is easier in real life because you always have something to go off of. Either way we are trying our best to put it in to practice.
We also learned you can cook scrambled eggs in a microwave. You just put the egg in a bowl (spray "Pam" first so it doesn't stick) scramble it and then put it in the microwave (cover it with a paper towel because it will explode) for a minute and then it is ready to eat. It is not that bad actually. I have made one every morning since Wednesday (that was when the conference was). The reason they showed us how is because they want us to start eating healthier than we have been so they showed us some ways to make something really fast but healthy.
So transfers are in a week and so this will probably be my last week with Elder Swenson :( We have been together for more than 2 transfers now (2 transfers and 2 weeks) and so one of us will almost certainly have transfers. It is very rare when a trainer and trainee stay together after the training is done. I still don't know if I want to stay here or go somewhere else. I love this area and we have had a lot of success (Elder Swenson says it is his most successful area so far and he will have been out one year on Thursday). But as much as I love this area I do want to get to know another area and more people. Odds are that he will go because he has been in this zone for 6 months now (we have the same time in this area though). We won't know until Saturday so I'm not going to worry about it.