All posts by Elder Mayo

Elephant Cement and Sweat

This has been the sweatiest week of the mission.

Brother Elephant (Chang) took us to his farm to have us help build a tower of cement for water.  Way fun.  We just sat there, mixing a pile of liquidy cement around on the ground, adding water, rocks, and stirring for about six hours in the sun.  We drank a ridiculous amount of water, then had district meeting, ate ice cream, and went back to study, then had English class.  Full day.
It was a good opportunity to talk with Chang, and to get to know each other as well.  We had a ton of fun, and a spirit of unity was there as well.  Good times.

On Saturday, we had a service project set up for the Relief Society president’s house.  We showed up at 9:00 when we were supposed to be there, and no one else showed up.  I called around, everyone said either their vehicles broke down, or for us to leave a message at the tone.  After about an hour of helping with a few things around the house, we started to help make lunch.
After about half an hour later, people started to show up.  Little by little people started to show until there were a good 9-12 people.  After we ate, we took a bunch of rubbish and loaded it in a truck along with tiles, roofing, and various other materials that looked like they were placed there at random and left.  We dumped it at a super place, what looked like an old quarry that came out of the swamps in Lord of The Rings.  Felt good.

Sunday I noticed the role of the atonement in daily life.  I was stressing like mad because of the 10+ things I was taking care of at church, before church, and for after church.  I decided to lay down for a second, and thought of The Savior.  I thought of His sacrifice, and of Him taking away my stress and worries.  I felt like exploding, but as this event was happening, I could literally feel the stress slipping away.  I was calm, at peace.  I wasn’t super awesome happy joyous or whatever, but I was at peace.    There was calm.

The Lord can take away our stress, our sins, our everything that makes us hurt.  He is the key ,and His atonement is central to happiness in this life.

We just went to go teach a man today with a member before we emailed.  He was taught a long time ago, but his mother didn’t approve.  He looks like he’s in his late 40s.  We got there, and he looked extremely sad.  The member told us that his mother just died, so we tried to talk to him about anything that could open him up.  Thankfully the spirit was with us, and words came to our minds to open up his heart.  It took about ten minutes, but he finally started saying things and told us that his mother had died, so we followed up with more about Christ.  His atonement will make him happy, his mother will be resurrected, and there is happiness in life.  He kind of was closed for a bit, but after a good long while and some scriptures he opened up to us.  We’re going back this week.  He’s a good guy.  That was a good, hard lesson.  Haven’t had that for a while.

That’s it for this week.  Thailand’s a great place.  I have an awesome district with a bunch of bros.  I’m happy.  Love you guys.
-Elder Elliot Mayo

Rejuvenation of Spirit and Hope

Organizationally, the branch almost made me cry with tears of joy. We had our first kind of branch counsel on Sunday, but before that we had an amazing branch presidency meeting. President Surat is awesome, and he’s just what we need. We had awesome ideas for the branch, and we see the issues that need to be resolved. One of which is something that both I and President Surat thought of and came up with ideas without talking about it first. Then at the meeting we both brought it up. It is that the branch members have such little knowledge of the gospel they all need to be retaught. For too long have we been teaching subjects that are unnecessary, and not focusing on the basics of the gospel. So we’ve started something new. Now that we have a couple Sunday School teachers called, we can coordinate what we will have them teach on Sunday. Now that we have Home Teaching organized, we can ask our companionships through the EQP to teach about a specific subject. In short, we have a line of communication.
So our first subject is the atonement of Christ. According to our understanding, it is the basis of all other teaching and facts. It is the center, where everything else we teach is merely an appendage to Christ and his atonement. We brought this up yesterday in Branch Counsel, and our leadership took it well. They committed to visit and teach to this subject on a What, Why, and How teaching pattern. They also gave ideas. When the members in the branch are committed to Christ, we’ll get more members. Simplicity. Mmm…
After talking about this, the members started talking about some things they can do for service projects and activities. They are way into setting up some service opportunities for members and missionaries to take part in. The BML, Brother Bank knows what we’re focusing and that we aren’t just invite-machines now. He’s on-board so to speak. In Branch Counsel, as people were talking about ways to serve, and activities to do, I started to see the branch becoming one. They were working together in unity and happiness towards serving God. I saw a lot of hope in that meeting. I didn’t have much before.
I’m very happy.

I have two transfers to do as much as I can.  In light of this time-constraint (not restraint), I think I may have my last companion with me.  Elder Smith!  Raised in Virginia, super tall, super friendly and kind, and a great friend.  He’s been out here for almost a year now, so he knows what he’s doing.  He’s very righteous, and follows the rules to the best of his ability.  He works hard, plays hard, and his love for the people is great.  He’s a great example to me.  I’m learning a lot.  I’m happy he’s the one who might kill me.
I love the district I’m in.  Outside of Elder Smith, we have a newcomer named Elder V (Or Voranaparit).  He was born in Thailand, but at age 15 he moved to Australia.  He speaks English and Thai fluently, and he’s way nice.  Then there’s my bro, Elder Bartschi.  We all break out in song and League of Legends references all day.
So happy.
Anyway, I love you all and I’ll talk to you next week.
-Elder Elliot Mayo

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802: A field we found as we were hunting for people.  😐
120: A path going up to a small bridge going over a large river.  Way fun to bike.
2439: Bikin’ up a storm in the KPP.

2461: Flying through the fields to find ourselves a house, wherein we will find a woman to sing to.  Classy.
137: More flying.  We’re not biking.  It’s called flying because we are the wind.  😐
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Goals, free time, and the week of meetings and fun

Last week was full.  Extremely full.  Like, so full I barely had time to do anything.  Except play.


That was last week’s email.  Pheh.


We had a Zone Conference after General Conference about many things, but some of the things I took from it were becoming unshakable in my faith, having goals for the future (and knowing what some of those are now), and teaching everyone at all times.
In this concept, all missionaries have had their key indicators for success changed.  These numbers (or key indicators) track how many lessons, investigators, and potential investigators we have so we can plan accordingly.
Now we’re down to five.  And daily we’re down to two.  Just Lessons with investigators, and new investigators.  We don’t get numbers for referrals, teaching new members, or anything else.  This causes us to act for the salvation of other’s souls and not just for numbers.
Anyway, I learned more about becoming unshakable.  We had the example of a cherry tree shaker rollin’ up and shakin’ cherries off a tree.  Some still stayed on the tree, unable to be shaken off.  To us, they’re annoying and we have to climb up the trees and grab ’em, but as examples they are stirring.
I wish to be even as the cherry still on the tree, unshakable and connected to the gospel forever.  To do this, I must have goals and rewards in mind all the time.
One goal: Become completely pure in thought and deed.  By utilizing the atonement, I want to change my inner desires to become a pure individual.  Eventually ridding myself of all forms of ungodliness.  Of course this will be a life-long goal.  More of a vision, really.  But now that I’ve felt the effects of the atonement, and have a firm testimony in its power, my vision can be reality.
Another goal: Obtain as much education as possible.  I have a plan.  It’s goin’ down.
A third goal: Get married.  I don’t exactly care when, as long as I do.  I’m sick of goin’ solo, yo.  I have the desire, and now I let God take care of how and when it happens.  :3  Let’s goooo!

I have more goals, but they are on a lower scale.  The Lord has blessed me over these two years to change myself.  I’m not a good man, or a great person, but I’m different and changed through the atonement of Christ.  I’m definitelytrying now.  The mission has been changing my life, but more on that in the months to come.

Transfers is this week.  The people two groups ahead of me are dying (or exiting the mission).  This means I have 3 months to work.  I feel like I just barely learned how to work, and am still trying to learn how to be diligent.  I don’t feel like I have worked that much, but I look back on it and see the progress and things that happened.  All the miracles are uncountable.

Another goal I have is to help in some way with the refugees later on in life.  I want to act on Elder Kearon’s plea for help in General Conference.  My goal is to learn some sort of middle eastern language (Probably Arabic), and go to town helping in terms of where God takes my life for work.  I feel… Almost forced to help.  I’d love it, but it feels like God really wants me to help in some way.

I have a small story to tell you.
About a month ago we met an Italian man named Egidio.  He was an interesting man, wearing a large trench coat in the middle of the Thailand heat, talking of his hate towards the Catholic fathers, and saying how he knows astrology is real.  He managed to somehow get dropped off in front of our house by a motorcycle, where he immediately started to talk to us about how his last hotel was awful and how he needs us to take him to a new one.  Oh yeah, he says he is absolutely NOT a tourist.  Nope.  Never.
He’s running.  From the Jews.
Anyway, we take him to a hotel and he sounds kind of interested in learning about and from the Book of Mormon, so we take one to him the next day.  We hear form him every now and then, asking for help, but past that nothing.  He shows up at the church on Sunday after a few weeks, and says he didn’t have a chance to read the Book of Mormon.  We asked him why and he said that it “Took up too much space, and was too heavy in (his) bag.”

Sometimes we think that God takes up too much space, or is too heavy in our lives.  This is false.  When we allow God into the travel bag of our lives, Christ will help carry our load.  God and His teachings should be the central focus of our lives, and not something we “might” add on when we have the room.  Everything else should be optional, and added into the bag after God.
This includes our scripture reading.  Sometimes we think, “When I have time, I’ll study the scriptures.”  When really we should be thinking about sacrificing some activities, or some time usage to read the scriptures.  IF your day is completely full, go to bed earlier and wake up in the morning to read!  Or sacrifice some sleep to obtain what God is trying to tell you!
If we make God the center of our lives, all others things will follow.  All good that could happen will happen.
You will be happy.

That’s all for this week.  I love you, my people!  I’ll send a good one to you next week!
-Elder Elliot Mayo

The Ways of Water and White People

Well, Songkran has just passed again for us missionaries.  Songkran is that time of year where we put our badges on a multi-colored flower shirt, wear shorts, buy a bucket, and go mad around the city, splashing people’s faces with water.  In return, we get people’s hands, girls, guys, kids, touching our faces with a tan mud saying, “Happy Songkran!”
After four o’clock, people roll out the trucks, dance in the back, play loud music and DRINK A LOT.  Eventually, after 6:00, all the peoples are drunk due to the free alcohol every 20 feet, all the peoples are slapping each other’s faces with mud, and every faraang (white person) is in danger of getting wrecked.


In the back of a truck, my arms extended in peace signs, and water hits my face dead-on, knocking my head back.  As it’s back, another water line (this time ice cold) hits me directly in the gut and face, practically paralyzing me with colder than ice salt water.  I scream, “AMERICA!” and the three cars around me scream in unison, their Thai accent changing, “YEAH, AMERICAAAA!”

Me and Elder Bartschi are walking along with a member our age named Bank.  A ridiculously big, humongous, only in your dreams could she be this fat girl runs over and grabs my arm, dragging me across the street.  I tried to pull back, but her weight destroyed my 200lb frame.  I was pulled against my will to a group of four or five similarly fatnesses who proceed to grab me, pull me, and hug me all over.  I’m on the verge of fighting hardcore, but in a last ditch attempt at escape, I reach my hand out to Elder Bartschi, screaming, “HEEEEEEEELP MEEEEEEE!  NOOOOOOOOOO!”
He continued to stand there, laughing.
My left arm was released, and instantly I book it.  All of them but one girl dispersed, and as I look back to see if they’re chasing me, I see the one girl who initially grabbed me.  Her face formed a sad, dejected look as I sprinted away.  She mouthed the words, “Come back” in English, and in return I screamed, “NO!”  I had escaped to freedom, at last.
About an hour later, we’re walking down another street where some friends of a member, Sister Eve are.  I get there, and a big, fat guy not wearing a shirt comes over with a beer in his hand.  He comes up to me saying, “HUG!”  I hug him like a bro, and he tries to hand me his beer.  I reject it, saying I don’t drink and he’s totally okay with it.  Just broin’ it up, splashin’ people with water.
After a bit, there happen to be two girls dancing next to us.  I’m avoiding them to the best of my ability, but Sister Eve thinks it would be funny if she messes with me.  She grabs my arm, takes me over to them, and throws me at them.  I’m a bit miffed, and the two girls grab me instantly.  I grab Eve’s arm, and use the leverage of her walking away to pull myself away from their grasp, launching myself into the arms of the fat guy.  He laughs in a big “HO HO HO” and pats me on the back sayin’ I’m a good dude.  Sister Eve gets left behind in the middle of the dancing twins, trying to escape.
Heheheh.Near the end, Me, Elder Hixson my companion, Elder Bartschi, and Elder Bruse and the rest of the many members are sitting in the back of a truck, rolling down the street with the most people.  We’re splashing people, people are splashing us, we’re getting mud on our faces, and we’re mudding people.  It’s all good fun.
Then a big, burly, deeply voiced, 6’6″ transvestite comes bounding over to our truck, latches on to Elder Hixson, and tries to pull him off.  A few of us grab onto him, and the trannie proceeds to rub his arms all over with his head on Elder Hixson’s shoulder.  He took it like a man, and ripped it off of him.
After that, we got off the truck so we could run away if we needed to.  This began an adventure with me and my companion.
As we walked, I counted approximately 200+ people at least that smacked our faces with mud.  I returned fire with my own barrage of Thai words that caused them to reel back in surprise.  The old people are the best.  Their smiles are so sweet.
Eventually, we got up near the front after dodging a few groups of trannies and saw a fight break out.  A man ran past us, pushing people out of the way.  He stopped a ways out from us and turned around.  He tried to reason with the men chasing him, but they weren’t taking it.  A random man comes from the side and gives one man a HUGE bowie knife, and the other a bo staff.  The guy holding the bowie knife dropped it and started running again as the cops showed up.  As the cops grabbed people and questioned them, the guy that gave the weapons took them back and snuck off.
We said, “Huh.” And continued on.  Partying as we went.

These are merely a few stories.  Songkran is possibly the most fun time, and the most boring time as a missionary.  We get one day to have fun and party, then we have to try and work the rest of the three days.  It’s slow.  So.  Slow.
But that’s okay.  We can’t really teach anyone, but we can get a lot of random stuff done that we’ve been needing to do for a long time.  Fun!

This is my update.  I love you guys.  There’s been a lot of cool things going on.  We had Zone Conference just before Songkran, too.  I’ll write about thaton Monday.  Love you guys!

-Elder Elliot Mayo

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I’m Not Counting Down

Nope.  I’m not counting.  I still have time.  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

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We had a baptism, sister Ma’am.  Story with her is that  Elder Roberts and I were on a companion exchange last transfer, and we decided to go invite some people at a festival market.  We walked up to her and her sister on a bike and asked if she wanted to learn about Jesus Christ.  Her sister declined, but Ma’am straight up said yes.  So we got her number, and left her with a pamphlet.
The next day, Elder Roberts made an appointment with her, but it just so happens that me and my companion were at the church at that time.  I thought she had just walked in on her own, and the other elder weren’t around, so we started to teach her.  When the other elders showed up, it was a bit awkward and way funny.  They just gave her to us, and it wasn’t a big deal.  I’m glad there aren’t really any competitions in missionary work in this mission.  Turns out, they had contacted a friend of one of our investigators, so we gave her to them later.
Ma’am learned very well, and had a lot of questions.  I like questions.  She read whatever we gave her, she prayed regularly, he came with extra questions, but she always said she wanted to feel ready for baptism beforehand.  We gave her time, about a month before she ended up talking to a member and thought it was time to get baptized.
Her dad is a policeman, and is really not into the idea of her being Christian.  Her mom is okay with and her sister actually likes it.  Her dad’s only complaint is, “why can’t you just be a good buddhist?  What’s so much better about Christianity?”  These questions are of course, sarcastic.  He never listens when she tries to explain.  Her mother listens, though, which gives me hope that the whole family could come together.

Emo corner report: This week I was feeling especially exhausted.  Like I’ve been running the work of three missionaries at the same time.  I’ve been taking care of almost all of our companionship’s lessons, planning, and ideas, as well as most of the branch business and training.  Within a few weeks of this, I’ve been waking up with no desire to eat, work out, or do anything but sit.  My muscle has gone down, and I’m getting exhausted pretty easily during the day.  Today I told my companion that I need help.  We had a nice long talk about using time wisely, teaching, and work loads.  If I continue to love him and encourage, not rag on or badger, I think the situation will get better.

A couple days ago I re-realized something I should never have forgotten.  In order to become a good missionary, and a good servant of God for the rest of my life, I must have His will in my thoughts at all times.  If I don’t know what to do, pray instantly, and work though it in my mind until I reach a decision that feels good.  Trust in The Lord and give Him your all.  Give Him everything you’ve got and find what you can do to help.

That’s all I’ve got for this week.  I love you all.
-Elder Elliot Mayo

Past the wall, with the wildlings

On Friday, we were to go to Chiang Mai in the north for district conference.  First, we had sports night for a couple hours before we left.  Just at the last few minutes, I dove for a frisbee, landed on sand, and hit a line of jagged rock that some silly construction people put in A SAND COURT.  There was blood, sand, and lots of “ARE YOU OKAY?  YOU’RE NOT OKAY.  OH MY GOODNESS GO TO A HOSPITAL.  OH MAN ELDER, YOU’RE GONNA DIE!”
Needless to say, it really wasn’t that bad.  Got it cleaned up, I was a little miffed, dressed it, packed up, showered, and left to the bus station.  Turns out, the only bus we could get on leaves at 1 in the morning.  So we sit down for a while, members show up, we hang out for a few hours, talk to some people, have fun.  I had the chance to get to know Elder Bartschi a little better.
At 6 in the morning, we get to Chiang Mai, and I’ve literally had less than an hour of sleep thanks to a loud and crazy bus ride.  It was a little hard to keep my spirits up, and studying was impossible, but we stayed at the ZL’s house for a while during studies, then went out and contacted for a while.  That day was long.  Very long and very silly.

The meeting was great, the Zone Leaders wanted me to translate for it, but I had a sore throat, and barely had a voice so Elder Bartschi had to do it.  On Sunday, I had the opportunity to translate with Sister Galloway, a Sister missionary from Redding California, and Elder Parish, a bro from earlier in the mission.
Translating was fun.  I realize that I actually can speak Thai, and that I’m actually progressing in something useful.  Past that, the talks were perfectly constructed for the Thai people at this time.  Our branch was mostly asleep, as they’re mostly younger, but it’s okay.  It was cute.  I love our little branch.
The talks were centered on families, and applying the gospel.  Just this morning I got on a train of thought that sent me to think about my own family.  I studied the first chapter in the red handbook, Families and the church in God’s plan.  Families really are the most important organization in this world.  I took my own family for granted for a long time.  I’ve got some righteous parents, and a super bossin’ bro.

While we were in Chiang Mai, we were showed a picture of the branch 30+ years ago back when President Johnson was a missionary there.  It was small, about 20 people or so, made up of mostly younger kids willing to break off of the traditions of their fathers.  It looked surprisingly like the way Kamphaengphet is right now, but we’re actually bigger.  I’ve been worrying so much about how nothing’s changing and the branch is stagnating that I didn’t notice just how much was changing.  When the Chiang Mai members started singing “Army of Helaman” I started tearing up.  The fact that they know that song, and they’re a large branch in an area with two branches made me have hope for Thailand.  Our branch is growing so fast.  We must help strengthen them so they may have families centered on the gospel of Christ.  Our work is big, but the pay-off is worth it.  I’m happy to be here, sharing the gospel with everyone.  Members as well as not.  I’m so happy to be a part of this big family called humanity.  I’m proud of my family, my friends, and I’m happy that I have been able to get to know my Savior Jesus Christ closely.  I feel like I’m reuniting with a friend I forgot a long time ago.  I love Him!

-Elder Elliot Mayo

Thai Dogs and Changes

Quick info about Thailand.  The dogs.  Strays here are called Soi dogs, and they’re EVERYWHERE!  Literally, just riding your bike down the street 500 meters you’ll pass about 10-15.  The country’s not allowed to get rid of them because of laws, so they just keep on gorwing, more and more until they get in packs, get mean, and bite.  A few chase us, but they know better when I cock my leg up.  Bettah watch out, I been kickin’ for 21 years!  HIYAH!

Some information in my weekly President’s letter:
To change myself and my desires, I had to rely on the Atonement of Christ. I knew this for a long time already, but the difference this time was believing that He is changing me, not that He can change me. For a long time I’ve had the thought of “Christ can change me, so why isn’t He?” Why, if I was fighting and asking for so long, why wasn’t He changing me?
I have to believe. Believe more than just Christ is there and cane help me. I must believe He is helping me. That His atonement is changing me, and that I am changing through Him, and my desires will change.
I feel the power of the atonement changing me little by little. The moment I think that Christ is the one changing me, I can feel the power happening.
My desires are different, and once I harness the power of the atonement to change me even more to become a more diligent and work-focused missionary, my home life afterwards will benefit a lot from it.

This is what I learned this week.  To trust in God.

We have a new addition to the KPP team/district.  Elder Bartschi!  He’s a half Taiwanese half white broski from Las Vegas!  He knows just about everything media-wise that I do, so the conversations take off to the next planet and beyond every time we pass each other.  Great friends already!  He’s a good worker, and driven to help.  Great guy.

Well, I had a lot of business today, so that’s it.  Talk to you guys laters.  Joop joop.

-Elder Elliot Mayo

Gettin’ Wrecked

On Tuesday me and Elder Hixson left for Chiang Mai, travel capital of the world.  It’s a city to the north of us by 5 hours.  On the way, I had a lot of time to think (and sleep. :3 ).  It was good time.  On Wednesday, we switched off with the zone leaders.  I was with Elder Hartung.  A big, beefy man who could talk forever, and loves to cut to the chase.  He works efficiently, quickly, and lovingly.  As we worked together, I was reminded of the state of mind I had not too long ago.  I was reminded of diligence.
There’s a difference between working diligently and just working.  Working diligently means you are excited about the work you do and are constantly finding new ways to improve it.  It’s almost like you’re trying to make your work more efficient as you are diligent.

D&C 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

I learned a lot about my own personal potential as a missionary, and it hit me that I don’t have much time left.  I’m skilled in the language, I’m capable, obedient, but I’m not yet diligent.  I must break past this final wall to become the ultimate missionary!  -Queue dragonball Z super saiyan music-

It hit me that I’m not doing all that I can when I noticed the Zone Leader’s numbers for one day.
I’ll let you know how much they were.

More than the rest of our zone gets in a week combined.

I think I had come to terms with the no-baptism, complacent, lack of activity missionary I was.  I was okay with it.  Now I’m not!  I must be better! This is a pattern I’ll see for the rest of my life.  I must become better and better and better all the time!  There is no time for complacency!

On the way home I had a lot of time to think, as it was day time.  I thought a lot about my own desires, my behavior as a missionary, and the Thai people.  After reading the scriptures and having an intense study, I felt a great desire for bettering the spiritual welfare of the Thai people.  As I prayed for them, I felt a kind assurance that the church would grow here.  It’s not all hopeless as I think sometimes.  The gospel will spread all across the country, but my era is just the beginning still.  It will take time, but it will happen.  I love these people.  They are helpful and chill, and they know how to have a good time!

Today is Saturday, and it’s our PDay.  This week it’s been changed thanks to transfer day being changed to this monday.  Only one of us is leaving, and we’re getting a guy from the group that came directly after me, Elder Bartschi.  Good guy!
Two days ago, one of our investigators came up and gave the four of us pictures that she drew of us.  I’ve always wanted to be a chibi!
We had a baptism last week!  Pic!  Her name is Aw!  So fun!

Aigh’t, see you guys next week.  Love you!  Stay strong, read your scriptures!  PRAY.
-Elder Elliot Mayo!

Looking Forward to the Weekend

On Saturday I was feeling angry and down because of the lack of obedience from my district.  This sounds awful, and it kind of was, but the worst part was that I was seething about it.

On Sunday everything was crazy.  Procedure mess ups everywhere and a lot of little awkward “But wait, it’s supposed to… oh never mind.” moments with the branch presidency.  After three hours, I was out.  I was pretty done emotionally and physically.  After a bit, I realized that I’m relying too much on the arm of flesh.  I rely on myself too much.  I should take my own advice I give to members and rely on the Savior more.  Even for more energy!
The pressure of taking care of multiple investigators, organizing weekly branch business, training the leadership, and trying to take care of RC and members broke me down pretty hard this week.  I was humbled to know that I cannot do it alone.  For one, I must rely on guidance from the Holy Ghost.  Two, I am human and can only take so much at this young age.
So I must allow my companion to take care of some things.
This took some moments of reality checks and humility, but my and my companion are going to try and share the load a little more.  I’ve realized I’m not superman and can’t go saving everyone and everything all the time.
I’ve also realized that with more regular prayer added in the day, I have more energy and more revelations concerning many matters.

Not much time this week.  I love you!
-Elder Elliot Mayo