May 2011 to May 2013

Monday, August 29, 2011

Agua de Sandia

More on the story from my quick message last week: So two weeks ago I went out with one of the priests after district meeting and we went tracking. We found one guy who said, “Where is your church I want to come.” We set a date with one of Edmil's (the Priest) friends to be baptized. Both ended up falling through. The baptism was cancelled because his mom said we could not teach him, and the guy never came to church. 

We started tracking in the poor part of town with all the Hispanics. They are all welcoming us in to teach them. So that is great!! We have not had any baptisms yet, but it is great because we have found a lot of good people.

I went down to Fresno for a meeting on Aug. 19th. That was way fun. It was a meeting with all the greenies; so it was fun to see everyone again.

I have cooked a ton this past week and a half or so. Some things have ended up good, others not. French toast was not so good and Agua de Sandia was good. Other dinners were good. It has been fun too cook when I have time. The key is when I have time.

Jake finally came to church; so that was cool. He really liked it. He is getting close to be ready for baptism, if his mom gives him the go ahead. He does not want to break family bonds. We are teaching this older man, his son just got baptized and he is seeing that our church is more and more right by himself. He is a Bible scholar and open to new ideas. So that is really cool. I love visiting with him.

I have been teaching about 50% Spanish, 50% English. We rode past a Mexican wedding and the band called us out and everyone waved at us. It was kinda funny. Ya that is pretty much my week and some funny experiences. O I also got to play basketball on Saturday night with one of our investigators. That was way fun. We played with all the priests in the ward. They are all Tongan. The Tongans are way fun to play sports with; they are always cracking jokes, and goofing off, and they love the missionaries.

Hey, I have a little more time, so here is some more about what is going to happen in the week to come. We are planning on teaching our investigators, focusing more on finding in the lower class area we have been in. One guy (the brother in law of the 1st counselor of the Spanish Branch) just let us in. When we knocked, we were invited in to eat watermelon. It was way cool. His name is Alonzo. There are a lot of others in that area, the Ramirez family, Ignacio, Jounir, Verdriana, and a couple others.

The Mexican food here is soooo good. O and I have a recipe for you for Agua de Sandia (or any other fruit). So fill the container about 1/4 full of water then put sugar in the water until it is sweet. Then cut up watermelon and put it in the blender until it is water. I like it with a little bit of chucks, but it is good with no chucks too! Then make sure it is cold; it is not good warm. Hope you like it. It is super easy to make!

Hope everyone is having a great time and ready to start school.
Love, Elder TJ Melanson

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fresno Temple Visit

Hey I don't have much time. We went to the temple yesterday, so I did not get time to email and p day was moved to Wednesday, so I got 15 minutes today. This week has been a really good week. We got 2 baptism commitments, but one fell through. I will tell you about it next letter. The temple was great!! The Fresno Temple is really small but it is nice! The Celestial room is really really bright because of how they have the windows and lights and all, so that was really cool!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Zone Conference

On Tuesday, we had a zone conference. It was fun. Pres. Gelwix is such a good speaker!! I love listening to his motivational talks. Every time he talks to you, you just want to go work your hardest. He definitely still has a little bit of the rugby coach in him! Ha-ha.  It was also cool to see all the Elders in my zone and the zone next to me. I also found out that my mission is one of highest baptizing missions, but also the mission with the extensions to all the rules, like I have to have a part in my hair and no pink ties, and for now no paisley. But, I bet that will be changed with the new mission president.  I loved zone conference. Also, that next day I went on an exchange with one of the zone leaders named Elder Bassett. That was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about different ways to do things and he talks to everyone he sees, so it was good to go do that too. That is really what I like doing, going and being friends with everyone. We also taught Jake, our investigator, that night about the plan of salvation. It was a really good lesson! That next morning we taught Daniel, the investigator who came and found us last week. He loves the Book of Mormon. He was just reading a little bit in it and it answered his question. That experience strengthened my testimony in the Book of Mormon. The black lady I was talking about a few weeks ago got even more interesting, she reads the Book of Mormon, come to find out, but her beliefs are all funny, it makes me laugh.
Well I am getting so much fruit to eat that I don’t know what to do with all of it!! I love it. I love fruit!
On Friday, we went to a fireside that Pres. Gelwix was speaking at and brought Jake, our investigator. He loved it and thinks our mission president is a great cool guy. That was really cool to go!! One more story: So we met this guy named Danny Gomez. He is way cool, loves to fix up bikes, and is interested in what we have to teach. He had a couple really deep questions on our first visit yesterday.  He asked: What did God do before he made us? Why do we look the way we look? And why do people have to go through the death of loved ones, especially children? That was interesting to be asked those questions. He is a cool guy.  I am excited to talk to him on Thursday, our next appointment.
Love you and I am praying for all of you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Love This Place and the People

So this week has been a good week. It was a good first full week here in California. It has not been too hot, but just right. On Tuesday we got to meet a new investigator, Jake. He is super interested and it is great to teach him. We had a really good lesson with him and so that is good. (I don’t know days anymore and I forgot my journal that I usually write from, so it is just going to be good stories throughout the week.) So we taught Jake twice this week and we are teaching him again tomorrow. He is really cool. He is about 20, so our age, and has a Mormon girlfriend. Miguel is another investigator. He speaks Spanish. I am getting to the point that I can understand most Spanish, just it is hard to speak it. I am really slow, but I am alright. So Miguel, he is having a hard time with his family. We are teaching him about faith and trying to get him to church. I have spoken a bit of Spanish to him and he understands me, so that is good. On Wednesday, we had a meeting with the Spanish Branch and we were planning an activity for Saturday. All they could talk about is who is making the beans, what kinda of beans and how much beans; it was so funny!! Martha Solis got confirmed yesterday. She is doing great. So on Saturday, I was at the Spanish Branch party from 12-4:30, then I went on splits and went to a Tongan party (one of their family members is getting baptized). That was fun, but I had so much food. I have never eaten that much food in one day. Latino's and Tongan's know how to feed you. Ha-ha. I love this place and the people. I have not ate any weird food yet, just a lot of hot Mexican food that I love. It is good to eat spicy food again. Ya, so that has been my week, a lot of bike riding and talking to people everywhere. We have done a lot of service this week too. I put concrete between the window and the wall of the outside of a lady’s house and mowed a lawn. We got free peaches and apple pie, which was cool.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So That's My First Week!

Hey well, I finally got to California. I am up in a small town called Patterson. It is about 2 hours north of Fresno. Lots of people here commute to the bay area so I guess I am close to San Francisco. But I really don’t know. The city is small for my liking. But it is great here. There is a whole English ward that I am in, along with a Spanish branch. They are both great!! I am really excited to be here. O and Grandpa knows the bishop here, Bishop Hass. He used to live in Eureka. Kinda funny the connections here. My companion’s name is Elder Roestenburg. He is cool. He is also a district leader, so it is interesting to see what a district leader does first hand. He is from Salt Lake City. I have got to know a lot of the Spanish Branch already. The Branch President is way cool; he speaks both English and Spanish, so that is nice. O and guess what? I have already had my first baptism. How funny is that!! I was excited even though I barely know the sister. I still don’t know very many names. 

Here is what has happened the past week. I left the MTC on Wednesday. I was way excited! They then we flew to Fresno on a little puddle jumper plane. Kinda fun. We all got to Fresno and we met President and Sister Gelwix.  They drove us to the Mission office where we then got companioned with elders there. There were 20 of us coming in; so that was cool. We went out with our temporary companion and went tracting. I talked to a few people. One was a drunk Mexican. I did not understand his Spanish at all. But he was mumbling because he was drunk. I then went to go meet with President Gelwix and fill out paper work stuff. We then went out tracting some more. That night we ate at the Gelwix house. It was an etiquette dinner. I am so glad Mom has taught me good manners. We then, all 19 of us Elders, slept at the assistant’s apartment. That was a bit crowded but good.
The next morning we had a meeting, then we got our new companions. We finally drove out to our area about 2 and got to Patterson about 4. I went on splits with the bishop that night. It was fun. We went to visit an elderly member, then we picked peaches with one of his friends who is not a member. It was fun to get to know Bishop Hass better. The next day we went to his house in the morning to have breakfast and a meeting. It was good. We also went to interview the lady getting baptized. Then we went to visit a few investigators. I can understand Spanish, at least what is happening in the conversation, just I don’t know what to say back in Spanish. It is kinda frustrating but o'well. Saturday was a great day. We were out visiting investigators and I was like, “we should know these houses”. So we did. Once we locked up our bikes, the guy with tattoos everywhere said we needed to come talk to his friend. So we did. We have an appointment tonight to come back and talk to him. We also ended up knocking all the doors. All 4 houses want us to come back. One lady, Maria Rivera, said the missionaries had taught her 4 years ago and she said, “how do I get baptized”. That was a miracle. Sunday was good. I understood most of the things in Spanish. I had to give a talk my first Sunday there, in Spanish; that was scary. But it worked out. I was last and because of the baptism there was not much time so I just introduced myself and said my testimony. During the baptism, the Elders, there were 5 of us, had a lesson about families. I had to talk quite a bit in Spanish. It was good. My Spanish is coming along. Today a guy in the store came up to me and said he had been looking for us. So we are going to see him sometime. His work is crazy, so we don’t know exactly when. Ya, so that is my first week.