May 2011 to May 2013

Monday, October 31, 2011

We won the TP Mummy Race!

This week we had Zone Conference. It was super good. Elder Koliker, of the Seventy, came to speak to us, which was really good. He talked about prayer and how important prayer is to help people learn the truth of the Gospel and to be truly converted to Christ, both for investigators and for missionaries/members. It was super good!

That night, we had a team up with a member of the Spanish Branch. He is super funny and a good guy who knows a lot about the church. But he thinks he knows too much to go to church all the time. We went to go visit a few people. We got 1 good lesson in to an investigator and a couple in to less active members. On the street, there are huge divots and he hit one of them way too fast and hit the front and back of his car on the road. We (Elder Coleman and I) were super scared and laughing super hard. He is a crazy driver; I thought we might die!

I also went on an exchange to Ceres with Elder Burnett. We had a good time. We sporadically helped someone move and talked to lots of people. Saturday night was way fun. We went to a ward activity where there were a few non-members. Elder Coleman and I got roped into a pie eating contest. It was real pie. I ate 2 pieces of pumpkin pie; I was supposed to eat 3 big pieces as fast as I could. I could not compete with President Barrios, the Branch President; he won. Then Elder Coleman and I beat all the Youth at a TP mummy race!!

Sunday night, we went on a team up with Troy (a new member, he is 25). It was super cool to see him love missionary work and love being with us. He asked if he could go out with us again the very next day. We taught 3 non-member lessons with him in 3 hours, so that was way fun!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great to Brighten Someone's Day

Last Saturday, we made a trip to Grayson and Westly, the two small towns in my area. Westly I have been to before. It is a small Mexican town of about 700 people; Grayson is a little bigger, but only has one store, period. Grayson is a bit nicer; it is kinda like a neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. It is a fun city. We found a couple of good people in Grayson and a few families who are inactive in the Spanish branch, who will become active as soon as harvest season is done.

On Saturday, we went to a Taco Bus. We ate in a bus that was decked out with like a bar on a bus. It was pretty cool.

Sunday night we were going to one of our investigators. We knew they were trying to move, but didn’t realize it was tonight until we drove to their house and saw the moving trucks pulling away.  Since we did not know where they were moving, we decided to follow them. That was a funny night. They thought we were creepers until we got out of the car dressed as missionaries.  We helped them move some big things, then we went home because it was 9 o’clock. It was a very out of the blue thing that changed up the day. But it was good we followed them so we knew where they lived.

Monday, I got my new companion, Elder Coleman, from Memphis, Tennessee. He is super cool. We have a lot in common and will get along great.  Our first day out in Patterson was a long day of riding around and not teaching anyone, but we got a lesson in at the very last part of the day. We finally found a couple of our investigators that were home. It was great. We had a good lesson with them and went home happy.

Well, Tuesday was about the same thing. People were not home, but we did get a couple of bright lights. We found an investigator that is never home. She was so glad to see us. It is great when you can brighten someone’s day by just seeing them. We then ran into a member and she told us some super cool miracles that she has seen in her life. So that was really cool.

Wednesday was cool because there was a bio about my mission president on BYU TV and I got to watch it with an investigator. It was great for the investigator because he could see that the leaders of our church are just normal people that have normal lives. Other than that is was kinda a slow day.  

Thursday, yet again, was a day where all of the appointments fell through. We had good lessons in the morning but at night there was nothing, even though we had appointments straight through the day.

Elder Coleman and I are really getting along well. He is a great guy. Missionary work is so much fun. Even when you are down, you are up; that is what is great about it.

Saturday, we had an appointment with our Tongan investigator and went to Grayson for an appointment and a dinner, then came back to Patterson for our second dinner. It was my first day on the mission with 2 dinners! It was good, but I was so full after both meals. I could not move. We drove the car for the rest of the day.

Sunday was a good Sunday. We had a couple lessons and it made up for a slow week. We had unexpected lesson, which was great!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

This week has been a really good week. So we found a new investigator. She is a single Tongan lady, Mele. I don’t know if I mentioned her in my last letter. She is really cool. She wants to be Mormon, but her family is all super Catholic, so she is scared of being disowned by her family right now because she does not have a job. She also has a sister that converted to the LDS church and she got disowned for 2 years. So ya, it is kinda hard. We taught her on Monday, so that was good. She is super nice and smart.

On the way back from District Meeting in Turlock, we carpooled with another set of Elders and the one driving tried to take a short cut. We were out in the farmlands for a good 45 min. It was definitely a long cut.

So Tuesday I had my first meal where I was like “do I really have to eat this.” It was nasty. It is a soup called Pasuli (I think is how you spell it). It has some kind of beans and then you stick a whole pig in it, bones, fat, and meat. So ya, I was eating a lot of pig fat and spitting out a lot of picked bone. It was not very good. The liquid part of the soup was not bad, but the pig part was nasty!!! You also put cabbage and onion on the top, which redeemed it a little, but it was still nasty!

Also on Tuesday, we had Daniel’s interview for baptism. He did fine. I was a little scared because he sometimes just makes up weird answers if he does not know the answer. It is kinda funny.

On Wednesday we were finalizing baptism stuff and we started teaching a family of five. The dad’s name is Raphael. They are a good family. Hopefully I get to tell you more about them later.

Thursday was a great day. Daniel was baptized and a new convert got to baptize him. He got scared and forgot what we told him to do when he got in the water, then baptized him three times. The first time Daniel did not go all the way under, then the next time, he did not say the prayer correctly again. The next time was good, but he took Daniel in face first, not backwards like normal. It worked, but it was just the first time I have ever seen that.

On Thursday, we also had a great lesson with an old Mexican man who loves the word in English "shut up." It is kinda of funny. He can speak English too, but he just likes that word. He is excited to learn more about the Church and asks lots of questions. He is trying to find the true church he says.

Friday we taught Mele again and taught a less active family and talked with Yolanda. Yolanda loves having us come over, the Pan (bread) dealer came by and she bought us some sweat bread, which was way nice!  Yolanda is one of our really good investigators.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Teaching Sunday School in Spanish

Well, last Monday we had a deep clean of the apartment because it was dirty and my companion likes things clean. So I thought he and I could clean the apartment real well. Come to find out, he likes things clean, but does not really know how to really clean. So I cleaned most of the apartment, but o well. It was fun and it made me feel good after doing it. It was nice to be in a clean apartment.

On Monday, we also ran into Antonio's brother, Eric. He is just as cool as Antonio. They both want to be taught; the hard part is finding them at home. They are always working or out doing something.

Daniel is well along his way to baptism. We have taught him everything he needs and his baptism is on Thursday, right before transfers on Monday.

Tuesday night in rained, so our Wednesday morning run felt just like Portland, a humid chilly day with puddles and clouds and all. It was kinda weird that whole day. It was raining on and off, just like Portland. It was like I was back home with the same exact weather. During one of the good dump downs, we found a new investigator because he let us into his house, because he felt bad leaving us in the rain. It is funny how God works in bringing people to the truth. His name is Pedro. We have only taught him once. He was not there for our appointment, so we are going to check his house later this week.  

Elder Roestenburg and I have been able to start reactivating the Spanish Branch. We are working on 3 families and they were all at church this last Sunday; so that was really good. On Saturday, we got a referral to Mele, a Tongan girl who wants to come to church, but she just moved. She knows the missionaries in the bay area, but then have not really started teaching her ,so we are going to start teaching her. She is living at her brother’s house. He is really Catholic.

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity of teaching Sunday school in Spanish and giving a talk in Spanish; both went very well. During the lesson, I know mostly what was going on, but I can tell you that it is very hard to teach a lesson in a language you barely know. And my talk was about what I learned at General Conference, which was very good. I focused on the talks about prayer and personal revelation.

I had my first new food on my mission, but it really was not that interesting, just artichoke. I had it Sunday dinner. I was surprised when I started to eat it and realized I did not know how to eat it because I had never had it. Funny. You think that somewhere in my life I would have had artichoke. But no. It was good. It just took a lot of work to get to the good part.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Experiences of Testimony

It has been a good week in California once again. I got a letter from Ryan and he is in the ghetto part of LA, while I am in the farm land of Modesto, two completely different worlds and yet we are in the same state, and doing the same thing. It is kinda funny.

Well, a week ago I was sending a voice message to the zone leaders and I am so glad that they spoke Spanish because I could not for the life of me remember the word for card in English. All I could remember was tarjeta, the Spanish word for card. The same thing happened for the word pamphlet.

This week I had an exchange with Elder Carasco from Mexico. It was really cool to be with a native speaker and he knew how to bring the Spirit with his testimony so well. It was a great example to me.

Wednesday night was a very interesting night. At about 6pm, we went to go set up for a surprise birthday party for the Branch President. We had to leave before the food was served, so we did not get dinner that night. But that was alright, we were off to a Bible study with one of our investigators. It was so interesting to go. But I got super bored about half way through when they were discussing if the Holy Spirit is in everyone and how people can be perfect because they don’t have the Holy Spirit and how can they never sin. We were reading in 1 John, the end of Chapter 2 and beginning 3. It was interesting to see how much a modern-day prophet helps out and makes thing clear! I am so glad we have a modern prophet today and we had the opportunity to listen to him this last weekend.

Well, we had our first ATM (awake the members/missionaries) lesson. These are lessons to members about having them become friends to more people and eventually leading them to baptism.  It went pretty well. It is an interesting program our mission president instituted. 

This week I figured out that the Book of Mormon is pretty much the only way anyone gains a testimony of the Church. I have now seen both ways. One person does not have a testimony of anything and is confused. She does not read the Book of Mormon. We are getting her to read and gain a testimony for herself. Another lady who does not read very well and can’t understand what she reads had a powerful experience this week. She read 4 pages in the Book of Mormon and did not understand a thing. So she read some in the Bible and still did not understand a thing. So she prayed to Heavenly Father and asked Him if He could help her understand the scriptures. God answered her prayer. A few minutes after her prayer, she picked up the Bible and understood every word! And she said it was great; the words of God were wonderful. It strengthened my testimony in the Book of Mormon. 

Saturday and Sunday I spent mostly watching conference. It was great. It was also interesting to see how when your life changes, all the talks still apply to you, just in a changed way. It was cool to see. I also went up to this rich little community called Diablo Grande. It was really cool. We had dinner with a member up there in the Goldern, aka brown hills.

Ya, so it has been a good week. Have fun. Don’t miss a moment because you will never get it back.