You asked for package requests, so before I forget:
1. I need Pilot G2 size 7 pens (or size 5 if you want, just not size 10!), feel free to send a pack of those.
2. I need PICTURES! Of anything. Socks, Pebs, Josie, the new (to me) plasma TV, everyone sitting on the couch with their macbooks. Whatever. Anything. I love pictures more than anything else.
I think that's all. There are a lot of great missionary resources that I've unfortunately only thought of late in the mission, and with only ten weeks left I don't feel like it's worth it to send them. Rather, I'm just telling my companions, (who, for the last 9 months, have been new missionaries in their first few transfers) about these things so they can use them throughout their missions. I'm happy enough about that. They take my ideas and improve upon them and get really excited so I suppose I'm happy to help. Makes me excited to help my kids get ready for their missions.
Thank you for putting money in my account to buy shoes. Which I did, on transfer day last week. I was a very careful shopper and didn't give up after one or two stores. I went all over the mall and my perseverance paid off. I found a great slip-on shoe for R$60 ($25 American). Quality shoe, really. I was so excited I wore them right out of the store! I left the old shoes there. They even brought out a box of trash for me to throw them away in. Elder Brown was so impressed by what we'd found he bought a pair too. We took pictures with everyone at the store.
I imagine I'll have some money left over from what you put in my account so I plan on using that soon to send home a box or two of things I don't have room for in my backpack, like letters and a few books. I think I'll check the weight at the post office here and then let you know the price just to be sure.
I don't have much time this week because I have a bunch of letters to write to people back at the house but I wanted to share one story.
Last night I was telling Elder Brown how ever since Mom and I had the opportunity to do the sealing for Bam and her husband in the Temple, I've always wanted very much to have some kind of spiritual confirmation that the sealing was accepted and that they were indeed now sealed together. We went on talking about the Temple and eventually our conversation turned toward patriarchal blessings. He told me something that his patriarch grandfather taught him. He said that any father's blessing, whether it is before or after, is a continuation of your patriarchal blessing. A father is endowed with the same patriarchal authority over his family, even if he is not ordained to the office of a Patriarch in the priesthood. So as we went on talking my mind started sifting through the priesthood blessings that you, Dad, have given me. Then I remembered the blessing I received from you a little while before going on the mission, when you mentioned that there were ancestors of ours on the other side who were proud of me for the decision I was making, and who where helping me. I remembered how at that moment I thought of Grandma Bam. For some reason, I didn't take that as anything special at the time. Only last night, nearly two years later, as my companion taught me about the power of a father's priesthood blessing, I realize that I had received a spiritual confirmation at that time that the sealing had been accepted. Now I know why I thought of Grandma Bam at that moment, now I know that her sealing to her husband has been accepted and they are together forever!
We ought to go to the Temple the day after I get back if possible.
One last thing---a few weeks ago I wrote a letter to Gma and Gpa Hoon about the Book of Mormon. I'm not sure if they've received it yet, but let me know if they say anything to you regarding it soon.
I love you and miss you more than ever!
ps: I'm glad your talks were such a hit! I'll go back and read that story about Pres. Aidukaitis' Dad again. He told me that story in an interview once, it really is great. I'd like to find the father of a future general authority here in Aguas Claras! Pray for us.