Monday, November 23, 2015

Everyone in Nevada owns a Chihuahua

So almost every household in Nevada has a Chihuahua.  They will bark at us, bite us, stare at us, and always shiver at us.  This week was pretty full of them and full of the work.  This week we committed 5 people to baptism and we are working with them to achieve that.  That has been such a blessing.  We had Zone Conference with the mission president and we learned about how important it is to use the Book of Mormon with investigators.  You can find out more about the Book of Mormon here.  This week was rather normal, if that is a thing in the mission.  Many lessons, many people hiding and not answering, many miracles.  We did tracting in a lot of trailer parks, we got thrown out of one and almost got attacked in another.  The thing attacking us was a chihuahua that we lovingly named Fluffy. Fluffy makes every dog in the area bark/try to bite us and that is always fun.  
Clearly this dog owner loves it enough to put it in a hoodie!
Elder Jarnagin says this is a Demon Chihuahua....
The view from Elder Jarnagin's apartment window.
Elder Jarnagin and his first mission 'apartment' selfie.  Clearly, he needs a little selfie training ;)
A view of the kitchen in his apartment
I think I forgot to tell the conclusion of the toe saga last week.  It hurt a ton while traveling and my first day.  I had gotten a blessing of healing for it and the blessing said nothing about healing, but about working hard.  My first day in the field I worked as hard as possible and I was pretty sad that it hadn't healed.  I woke up in the morning and the toe had re-gown the nail overnight.  Such a huge miracle that I feel bad that I forgot to share!  
   I am loving serving out here and will be sure to share many experiences next week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Up Hills and Down Hills


   The one word to describe this last week would have to be- Wow!  There have been so many let downs, but so many miracles this week as well.  To start off, I will talk about leaving the CCM.  Our last Sunday there, we said goodbye to the Hermanas in our district and the next day we had class so it was weird without them.  For our last night, we all decided to stay up until our flights,  except for Elder Davey who stayed an extra day in the CCM.  I said goodbye at around ten and then he went to bed.  Everyone in my district gradually went to take a nap until their flights and it was weird saying goodbye.  The weirdest part was leaving my casa.  Let me describe the scene... I am in a suit with all my possessions in the middle of an un-lit road with only the stars as light, companionless.  That was the weirdest part and I spent the next day completely companionless.  It was so strange. I got to reception to wait for the other person who was coming with me to the airport, but they never showed up.  One of the workers brought me to find them.  We weren't sure if they were male or female, so we couldn't enter their assigned house.  We decided to knock on the door and window, but we got no response. We decided to check the house, so we went in and found a house full of Hermanas.  That was super awkward.  Anyways I got to the airport, passed security, and went to look for my flight and realized I didn't have a gate assignment on my ticket.  I ran around the airport looking for help, with five minutes before boarding and with a destroyed toe.  My toe was a terribly painful experience, I had cut too deep in my toe and some of the skin under the toenail was super agitated. I had received a blessing for it, but it wasn't healing quite yet.  It was very painful to put pressure on it.  So In the airport now, ten minutes past boarding time, limping around, I finally find a lady who tells me the gate I am supposed to be at is on the other side of the airport, like a half-mile away (Mexico city airport is HUGE).  I speed limp over there, probably as fast as an old lady with a walker, and make it to my flight.  My flights were sleepful and sadly uneventful.  I get off the plane and immediately get a confirmation that this is Nevada.  The first thing I see is a slot machine.  The second is my mission president.  He is super cool.  We got to the mission office and had a lot of training there about every aspect of the mission, it was still weird not to have a companion. We finished at around 7p and went to meet our companions.  The meeting of our trainers was cool and each trainer meets their trainee in a different way. For example, my trainer was announced and a random Elder ran though the crowd and jumped into my arms yelling, "I'm your mission Dad!"  One of the things we do in the mission is have a mission lineage, so out here I have my mission dad, grandpa, great grandpa, and so on.  It turns out that I have`an aunt and grandma as well. Anyway, my mission Dad or trainer is Elder Franco. He is super cool and really good at Spanish.  We get a truck out here which is super cool.  My first area is Stead, which is just north of Reno. 
   Our first day was awesome, we had 7 lessons and so many miracles.  Thursday we had weekly planning and our weekly service with a catholic church giving out food to the less fortunate.   Friday we had training and we learned the parable of the bike from president Chestnut.  He told us in biking there are uphills and downhills and you have to work really hard just to get to the top with uphills and with downhills you just go down, taking a break and feeling the wind in your face.  The same is with life and missionary work.  There are going to be days that are unfruitful and hard to bear that will make you feel down and sad, but if you are giving it your all for the right reasons you will feel success.  We have felt this the last two days.  Saturday we had no success, shut down everywhere.  We asked for referrals at one house and she said no one wants to talk with us.  We came back that day exhausted and downtrodden. Sunday was the downhill.  We found so much success, miracles and blessings that day it was awesome. We committed everyone we taught to pray on what we had taught them and I think they will and they will gain a testimony because of it.  I am so grateful to be out here in Reno.  It is awesome out here and I know this is the mission for me.  I look forward to another week of service!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He made it to Reno!

Tuesday, November 10th, Elder Jarnagin traveled from Mexico City to Reno NV.  We received a hand written letter that he made it safely, though it was weird for him to travel alone, without a companion.  The mission has a website- -where we found some great pictures from his arrival-
We are assuming this is his new companion and look forward to hearing more from him tomorrow, assuming Monday is his P-day (preparation day).

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 5 (Life changing changes)

This week has been awesome!  I have felt the blessings from last week pour upon me and I am so grateful for that! We taught out first real investigator Saturday and that was so cool!  He had a baptismal date set for this Saturday!  It was so cool to feel a love for him because he was working hard to come to the truth!  I have seen blessings come as I remember that its not important what I want, what's important is what Heavenly Father wants.  As I remembered this and remembered to be humble, I saw blessings in my companionship, my relationships, feeling the Spirit, the food tastes better, every aspect of life has been improved.  I feel that even though I haven't been out here long, I have been learning life lessons that will change me and stay with me forever.  I have learned that charity blesses others through your actions and the Lord blesses you for having that mindset of thinking of others. One thing that I have been doing since the start of my mission is asking myself one question.  The question is: If I were honorably sent home today would I be happy with the way I have improved?  This question has kept me working hard so that I may be the best I can be to help bring others into the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This week was the first where I asked myself this question and the thought of returning home scared me.  It scared me because I felt I wasn't ready to be in the real world, where I wouldn't have the chance to be doing nothing but serving.  I think these feelings are good because it helps me strive to be the best I can and to make these two years life changing and the best two years of my life.  I think a similar thought process can be applied to life out in the world, a thought process of am I doing my best to do and be the best I can be? A thought process like this seems like it would bring about great changes in the life of the one who tries this.  I would challenge all who read this to ask themselves are they doing their best to serve the Lord? To do and be the best they can be? This thought process has worked for me to bring about life changing changes and I know it will work for you.  The closer I get to leaving the more excited I am to be out in the field!  I can not wait to be serving in a week from today!  I hope I will have powerful stories, spiritual stories and comical stories to share with you all when I get out there!  I know that this Gospel is true and that this work is necessary to bring others to Christ.  I love my Savior and all He has done for me and for every person on earth.  I love to serve and the blessings it brings. I am so excited to get out there and serve all of those wonderful people in Reno!

(Elder Jarnagin flies from the Mexico City MTC on Tuesday November 10th to Reno NV.  Once we hear of where he is assigned, we will post it here.)
Elders Davey and Jarnagin- Mexico City CCM companions

Elder Davey getting 'loco' on the CCM sign

Elder Jarnagin and the other Elders in his District

I think this is Elder Rodriguez(?) running faster than allowed... ;)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Week 4 (A week of humbling)

   This week has brought new trials, ones that are not so much external, as internal.  This week has been a wonderful opportunity in my life to be humbled, quite a lot and in many ways.  The first was in my Spanish. I have always been decently sure of my Spanish skill- I knew there were many words that I didn't know, but other than that I thought I was coming along well.  This thought of mine was punctured during a district prayer, before bed.  I had been asked to say the prayer and someone told me to try to not say it like a gringo.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but they pointed out that my Spanish accent is super thick and sometimes hard to understand.  I was so self conscious during the prayer that because of the fear, it was hard to speak.  Afterwards they laughed at me because of my pronunciation.  This week I have prayed and prayed to understand how to improve and be more clear in my speech. Classes have been difficult because they will usually laugh if I say anything out of the ordinary. Looking back I am so grateful for this.  Because of the ridicule I received, I felt weak and pathetic.  Because of those feelings, I had to turn to our Father in Heaven.  Because I had to turn to Heavenly Father and had sincere desire, I was blessed.  Through turning to the Lord with a humbled heart, he was able to bless me.  Just yesterday someone commented that although I still sound like an ultra gringo, my accent is improving.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to be broken, humbled, and to learn from my Father in Heaven and others and grow.    The other way I was humbled was in my work load. The schedule of our days here is pretty rigorous and it will only get worse once we get to the field.  Our teachers and leaders have repeatedly pointed to the example of the Savior and how he dealt with his hardships.  For one, his load was the heaviest out of all of us.  Second, when he was tired or sad, he didn't cry or bemoan his situation, he turned outward and helped others, not needing or expecting gratitude.  I have tried to remember this when I think I am to tired from sitting down and learning all day, that compared to the Savior my life is a walk in a park.  
Elder Jarnagin fell asleep after dinner and before class.  Photo snapped by Elder Cruz.
Long days of growing and changing.  Artistic shot by Elder Jarnagin.

   Besides these wonderful learning experiences, the week has been easy and wonderful.  The district that was older than us just left so we are now the oldest in our zone.  We had a wonderful talk by a member of the Seventy last night about how obedience keeps us safe.  We had TRC on Saturday with one of the members of the district older than us.  We spoke through the Spirit and it was something he needed to hear and he teared up and that was cool.  I love to help others through telling them what they need to hear through the power of the Holy Ghost!  This month has gone by in the blink of an eye and soon i will be in Reno!
Before the severe storms swept through Texas this week, they crossed Mexico.  Elder Jarnagin reports his suit got soaked through, even using his umbrella.
Reflection of palm trees in an after rain puddle.
Another artistic shot from Elder Jarnagin- 'There is always sunshine after the rain'.