February 9, 2015, A little late, but better late than never, OH, and I kind of bled to death this week.

Hi Mom.

Thank you so much for the e-mails you write me. I love reading every one I get every day. This weeks been a lot better. 

We actually started the week with a lesson, straight off. We had a lesson last Monday at nine, so we extended preparation day an hour to make up for it. She's a referral we'd taught once before, but she's only available at nine on Monday mornings (talk about un-lucky). We were supposed to have another lesson with her today, but she fell through, so we went grocery shopping instead.

We had an exchange on Tuesday with the District Leader, Elder Rangel. He came to our area with me and Elder Gonzalez went to their area with Elder Gutierrez (I'm surrounded by natives, and most of them have names that start with 'G' Gonzalez, Gutierrez, Garcia, Guevara (the Elder That took me out on my first day.) We spent a good chunk of time finding people on the street or hunting (or in Spanish 'cazando' (the verb is 'cazar' and sounds a lot like 'casar' which is 'to marry')) for the members in our new area. Turns out the only two we hadn't run by yet have moved, so we don't need to try by again.

The next day we were going to run by J*, the referral who can only meet on Monday's, to pick up a Book of Mormon we left with her to read (she already had one but it was in the car which was in the shop) but we forgot until half way through companionship study and she wasn't there when we ran by. We then went to the other Elders apartment to exchange back, but they were running late, so we sat and cooked for a couple of minutes (their AC is broken) while we waited for them to come back. One of the things that Elder Rangel is doing is he'd trying to improve the eating habits of the missionaries under his steward ship, and Elder Gutierrez is a walking encyclopedia of how to eat and exercise well

(I'll send a picture and you'll see what I mean) so every time we go on an exchange with Elder Gutierrez we have a health goal we set. Elder Gonzales's was to watch his fat intake, so we've been counting how much fat we eat and looking at all the nutrition values on everything we eat.

The next day was Planning, That's about all we did, was plan for next week. We also ran by Hermano R*. He's a member of the precedency of the YSA branch in our stake. He's also a tailor so the elders use him for quick fixes on our broken clothing (speaking of, I have a few pants that could use some needle and thread). While we were there we talked with his step-son. He's not a member and so we invited him to listen, but mostly we just talked about his bike. (I sent a picture Dad, you should take a look. It's beautiful.) We asked them if the knew anyone we could teach, but the didn't so we tried to set up a dinner, they'll get back to us, and left to eat one for the day before we went to our lessons. 

Friday was supper fun and supper productive. We started with Zone Training Meeting. We had some really good role plays and learned how to work better with the members. We hope to improve a lot in this as a mission this year. After Zone Training Meeting we came home, had lunch, and ice cream (we bought two things last week and it was a horrible mistake, tell you why latter) and role played telling S*, you wont be baptized this upcoming week... that was a fun lesson. We then had exchanges... ok more like splits with the ayudantes, or in English the assistance to the president. One of the assistance is the Elder who trained Elder Gonzales, and they went out together. Elder Gonzales was supper pumped and nervous at the same time. He was only trained for six weeks before he was given his first trainee, so he was excited to work with Elder Lynford (the assistant) once again. I went with Elder Speth down to Hermano J*. We saw so many miracles, but I've written/am going to write them in my journal (I'm actually writing that day today along with Saturday and Sunday. I kind of got behind). The story I want to share is how I cut my finger with a card and started bleeding to death in the middle of a conversation. Yep, we stopped on the way to talk to this lady at a fruit stand (they sell fruit here like it's ice-cream) and I pulled out a card and cut my finger. I kept talking while I applied pleasure to the "wound" but I just kept on bleeding. I pulled my hand away and discovered that both hands were now covered in blood. we asked for a napkin and from that point on people were very weary to shake hands with me, especially because I cut the index finger on my right hand. I've actually got a paper cut on every exchange this week.

Saturday was slower. We had a few set lessons, but most of them fell through. and we spent all morning helping the familia S* (how ever you spell their name. I'll look it up for when I journal tonight) move. they gave us McDonalds and Obispo brought donuts, so we didn't do to good on the fat intake that day.

Sunday was also kind of slow. We were booked solid with activities, so we didn't have time for studies, but we did have a dinner with S* which was absolutely fantastic. (Muy Muy Rico.)

return and report

Spanish, super bad. 2/7

weight, even worse I gained 6 libras (pounds). I'm back at 180, and I might just kill my self. Looks like the goal is 160 by may. THIS IS WHY THE ICE CREAM WAS A BAD IDEA, I just got rid of the last of it and no more of it in my house on my mission. 

other news.

I've made a list of junk food I will eat on the mission out side of my "cheat meals" and I ask you only send me this in my packages. they are Pizza (if you can find a way to ship that I will die of shock) brownies, cookies/cookie dough (chocolate chip) Milano's/Oreo's.

Also, you want to feed me on my mission, send me a Costco card. We have a Costco in every zone here, so I can go there every preparation day, with permission, to buy food, like once a transfer, and it save a lot of money in the long run, if done right. If you can't send me a card, you could send me directions on how to get my own.

Oh, and one more thing, when you send packages, try to send them so they arrive on Thursday, we usually spend more time in the apartment on this day because we spend half the day planning.

Love

Elder Michael Blanding.

p.s. Next week I'm writing on Tuesday because it's presidents day.

 Elder Michael Blanding's zone Van Nuys. Elder Blanding is 4th from right 

Elder Michael Blanding's zone Van Nuys.
Elder Blanding is 4th from right 

 Elder Michael Blanding's zone Van Nuys "Throw it up"

Elder Michael Blanding's zone Van Nuys "Throw it up"