May 2011 to May 2013

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All in All... A Good Week!

This week started by answering people’s doubts about gay people and ended with a baptism.  It has been an interesting week for sure and very full.

For Thursday and Friday I was on an exchange. I was with Modesto 6th Ward in an English area riding a bike. It was really nice to be riding a bike and I am out of shape for sure. But when I was on my exchange, I had some pretty interesting experiences. On the first morning of the exchange, we had a church tour set up and the Lady no showed. We went outside to see if anyone was waiting outside and there was no one. I saw this guy walking down the street outside the Orangeburg Chapel and invited him on a church tour. He had gone on a walk because he was mad at his aunt. We talked a bit about basketball and then I invited him on a church tour. It kinda just came out of the blue. He said ya (I think he just wanted to see the gym and play ball). It was a good time. We gave him the tour, talking about some of the pictures and the story behind them, the Sacrament room, then baptism, and got a baptism date out of him, too. It was super cool!!

The next morning, I had to talk at a funeral. Thank goodness I got to talk in English. It was very interesting because I have never actually talked at a funeral and I did not even know the guy or anyone there at all! The person who died and his family were not members. Let’s just say I have never relied on the Spirit more on a talk.  It was a very interesting experience.

Saturday was a day packed with stuff to get ready for the baptism on the next day and the zone conference on Tuesday. We did not get much real work done. I really don’t like those days.

Sunday was a great day! Cecilo was baptized. The water was cold, but there always has to be something that goes wrong at a baptism. It is just Satan throwing in his last lame punch. The work of the Lord will never be stopped though! His family enjoyed the baptism and is interested in learning more.

Elder Garcia is the new companion in our trio, with Elder Zanudo and myself.  He is from St. George, Utah and we get along great!

So, all in all, it has been a good week. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Pictures from the Mission

TJ just sent us an SD card, so we have some pictures to share of the past several months!

Elder Roestenburg and TJ - October 2011

Elder Roestenburg and TJ

Patterson, California

Patterson, California

Elder Coleman and TJ--dressed for the cold air of November 21, 2011

Zone Conference  -November 23, 2011

Patterson, California

Turkey Bowl??  How about Mud Rugby Bowl!!  Thanksgiving Day with the Patterson Ward. 

This is Elder Melanson tackling a Tongan.  Elder Melanson said it must have helped to be older!

The Muddy Crew with the Patterson Ward Bishop.
TJ is the muddy faced missionary in the top right!

Fire Hose Cleaning System

Patterson, California

Elder Coleman and Elder Melanson with the Tongan Boys

Elder Melanson saying goodbye to some favorite families  - November 30, 2011

Can you believe this is I-5?  If I headed north, I could be home!!

More favorite families in Patterson, California

Learning how to fix a washing machine!

Elder Melanson - the true missionary look!

A favorite investigator in Patterson

Making tortillas with Sister Lopez

Saying goodbye to Patterson

A real conquistador hat that a favorite investigator let me try on!

A street in Modesto that reminds TJ of home!

Elder Zanudo and TJ playing UNO with a family on New Year's Eve!

I Love It Here!

My week has been great. I love my new area. It is the best!! I don’t think I have loved an area as much as this one. It just feels like I am supposed to be here and it is home. It is a really cool feeling! O, also, we just got word that I will now be in a trio starting tomorrow. One of the elders had to go home for surgery and now he is coming back and he will be with Elder Zanudo and me.

It was kinda weird just moving to a different part of the same congregation (still in Modesto on the west side, just the "other part" of the west side). It is cool because I get to see the people I got to know over there still. But it was a weird switch because we got doubled into an area with my same companion and sisters are now in my old area. It is really kinda weird, but I like it. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were my last days in my old area. They went alright, but it was definitely an adventure. Wednesday we moved into the new apartment and it was a mess, like huge pig sty status, so we spent a while cleaning and then we unpacked some of our stuff, went to a service project, and finally, that night, got our first night in the new area. It was definitely confusing. I was super glad Elder Zanudo has a GPS or we would be getting super lost.

So we have already seen miracles in the new area. We started talking to former investigators and we were able to set a date with one of the guys on the first lesson. He was talking about how he wanted and needed to get baptized. So that was pretty nice. We also met the people who we have lined up for baptism. It is really exciting right now. We have 7 people who are getting ready for their dates to get baptized. It is super cool. One of is a family of 4, that I love already. They are so excited about learning more. You can tell they feel something they have never felt before. It is awesome to see. The branch is also 100% behind us; which is super nice.

So I had some funny experiences on Saturday. One, we met this guy who is super well read on Mormon lit. And he goes around bashing Mormons and their faith, in a nice and loving way. He has read Discourses of Brigham Young and everything. So that was pretty funny. Later that day, we met a Jewish Portuguese guy who is Catholic. How that works, I am not sure. But he was super, super Catholic, like no Mexican I have ever seen before. And Mexicans love their Catholic Church, almost more than their kids.

On Sunday we had a really exciting adventure after dinner. We got a flat tire. And pulled over in our suits to go and change it. That was super fun.

So that is my first week in my favorite area so far. All I can say is I love it here (I would never live here, but it is super cool to serve here).

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Lord Sees to the Heart

On Monday, we had a lesson with Malissa and Daisy. It was so good! It is cool to watch them come closer to Christ with their whole family.

I went out tracting on Tuesday, which we have not done all transfer. We found a couple of good people, but the problem was that the most of them spoke English, so we gave them to the English Elders. We met one guy whose name was Rishard Johnson, a black guy who loved what we were talking about. His dad is a preacher and all. It was super funny, but cool because he was interested, and we just found him walking on the street.

Also, that day, we went to go visit the family who just randomly came to church. No one invited them or anything. Come to find out, the father was a member. He was baptized 10 years ago and then went inactive. We are now teaching his family and they love church and are faithfully coming again. It is so cool to see how the Lord works.

This week I got a spiritual slap on the face. We were teaching a lesson to this guy and his girlfriend. They were dirty and older, just very unkept, and not the people at all that I would expect to get baptized. But we invited them to get baptized and they accepted. They will have to change a few habits, but that is alright. That we can do. It just shows me that the Lord sees to the heart; as men, we often just see the outside. It was definitely a good lesson to learn.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Week in Mo Town

This week has been full of funny stories and it all started on Tuesday. We went to a lesson and this lady we are teaching (who is very Catholic, she says all the time that she believes in her Virgin Mary) said that we deserved to be happy and we should go get girl friends. That is the first time in my life that girl friend = guarantied happiness. But, o well, it was definitely funny.

On Thursday we had an interesting day. At first, no one was home, then we swung it around and had 3 straight lessons before dinner. And they were all standing up; my feet heart after that, but it was alright. That night was pretty good. It just showed me if you keep pushing through, it always ends up better or at least working out.

We had another productive day on Friday, which was good because Saturday we played soccer all morning, and during the night, we could not be out because it was New Year’s Eve.

Sunday was a super cool day. For one, a family came to the church without anyone inviting them or anything, which was super cool. Then at church, one of our investigators invited us over to dedicate her house.  We said ok and went over right after church. We are welcomed by a ton of people, music, food, in other words, a party and we are super confused. But we are told to sit down and eat. So I broke my fast early and ate. The whole time I was thinking that we were invited to give a blessing on the house, not to a New Year’s party. Finally, after we are done eating and the kids start dancing, the investigator stands up, pauses the party, thanks everyone for being here for the blessing of her house!?!?! It was a party to dedicate her house!?! Mexicans make a party out of everything. Oh and this investigator is more active than most of the members. Back to the story, we gave a blessing on the house, said thanks for having us over, said bye and left. But it was super weird.

Ya, so that has been my week in Mo town.


So this Christmas was pretty good, definitely different not being at home because all the traditions change, but it was still good! I was able to go to the Temple last Tuesday which was very good. It is always good to go there and feel the spirit of the Temple. So that was fun and then two days later on Thursday we were able to have a zone conference. I got to see my old companion, which I enjoyed, and found out what was going on in my old area.

This week has been kinda a slow week on missionary work because everyone is gone. But last Wednesday, we were able to teach Jorge and his family and they seem to be all on board to learn more and join Jorge in being baptized. Jorge will be able to baptize the rest of his family. It is definitely cool to see families come together because of the Gospel.