Monday, August 28, 2017

The One With the Car Accident 8/28/17

Hey everyone!

This week we were able to find a new investigator. While we were outside, talking to her, someone driving their car pulled out from an intersection and got t-boned from a pickup truck. All of us jumped when this collision happened, so we went over and made sure that everyone was alright. When everyone involved said that they were alright our investigator looked at us and said, "Ok let's get back to what you were talking about". We are pretty sure she is interested.

We spent a lot time this week in meetings and went on exchanges, which was awesome. We were able to teach some less-active members. It was pretty good but I am very excited to find and teach these next few days.

Last night we had a member invite us over to lunch after church. This family is from Chile and fed us a huge Chilean meal called "a poor person's steak". Not sure why they call it that but they fed us so much food that we barely made it to the car. We went straight from that to the hospital to visit a member that was sick. And straight from that to a member's house for dinner. These members are from El Salvador and gave us this huge soup full of rice, potatoes, shrimp and fish. When we finished (we were just about dead), they put a massive plate of food in front of us. So we started to battle our way through the meal, trying to stay awake, and somehow we finished. Upon finishing, my clothes felt a little tighter, my heart was beating faster, and my stomach was past "maximum occupancy". I knew I was going to have to push my limits in the mission, but this mountain was just a little higher to climb than the others have been. I learned that through determination and an attitude of unapologetic zeal, no limits can hold us back, and there can be no end to our greatness.

Similarly, through the Atonement of our Savior, and humbly and obediently obeying his commandments, we can receive comfort in knowing that not only immortality is in store for us, but eternal life, which is living forever in happiness, with our very personal and very loving Eternal Father, as well with Jesus Christ.
                           My year-mark package
                         My companion and I at lunch
    A youth we helped prepare for his mission

The One with Peru, El Salvador, and the Dang Good Salsa 8/21/17

This week, we went on exchanges with some of the Elders in the English ward. The Elder I went with and I went to eat dinner with a family from El Salvador. The family we were eating with speaks English but prefers Spanish. So every time the Elder I was with tried to talk to the family, they understood the question but responded in Spanish. We would remind them that he doesn't speak Spanish and they would say something like "oh, yeah sorry", and then keep speaking Spanish. It was really funny haha and the Elder even learned a little Spanish.

Later in the week, I got a flat tire, so I went to the store and bought a new tube (the old one already had two or three patches in it). So then we took the bikes and biked a little more than thirty minutes from our apartment to an appointment. We had a lesson with one of our investigators which was super good and when we got on our bikes to go, I saw that my tire was flat again. We had patches so I put a patch on my tire. Right as we finished, this guy pulled into his driveway. We started talking to him and it turned out that his grandmother was Mormon and he used to study with the missionaries. We asked him if it would be alright if we had some missionaries stop by sometime and he told us that he would love that, and he would love for his 9 year old daughter to be taught. We would have missed him if I didn’t have that flat tire to repair. It was really cool to see things happen like that.

My companion and I felt impressed to visit a less active member that should have been about an hour bike ride away from our apartment. We got to her house in thirty minutes! When we got to her house and started talking to her she asked us if we had eaten dinner. We told her we ate dinner at the apartment and her response was "Oh, so you're hungry then." She made tacos and salsa for us. My companion and I had a thought prepared and some important questions we were going to ask her... And that was all forgotten when we had the salsa she made for us, it was probably the best salsa I've had in my life. Of course, we got over ourselves and shared a lesson with her. It was just a great night overall.

Love you all!!

The One With the Awkward High Five 8/14/17


So this week my companion and I got to go on exchanges with some of the Elders in Modesto. I was in a trio with the two of them that started serving the same time I did. While we were walking down the street and trying to contact people, we passed this older guy and asked him how he was doing. He raised his hand and said something that sounded like "hey guys". I looked at his hand up in the air and gave him a high five, when I realized that he said "not interested". Whoops. I kept walking feeling very awkward when I heard two slaps behind me as the two other missionaries behind me gave him high fives.

So my companion is really cool, he's from Peru. We met a member the other day who is also from Peru, and she offered to feed us lunch. When the day came, we were finishing tracking the street that she lived on.  On the way up, there was this guy cooking elote and chicken on his grill. So of course we started talking to him, and it turns out he is super prepared and had an awesome relationship with one of the members, so we set a time to come back and he gave us some food. We were really early for our appointment so we just sat at the street corner, eating our food, when a lady doing a yard sale across the street told us to come over. She had us sit in the couch she was trying to sell and gave us some water to go with our food. When we finished that we went to our lunch appointment and had the best Peruvian meal I have ever had. It was a pretty good day.

We have been focusing a lot on finding. We found a few new investigators this week, and one of the lessons we had was very powerful. We were teaching a lady and she told us about how she wants to change her life and have a happier personality. We were teaching about the Restoration of the gospel and how the gospel brings peace into our lives. We set a return appointment and she committed to to church on Sunday.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Tried, Tested, and Prompted 8/7/17

Hey everyone!

This week has been pretty crazy, I'm back in Stockton now and I'm having a lot of fun. We only gotten bashed once this week.  The guy was pretty funny, he tried to convince me that I wouldn't be received in Heaven because I'm white, and that my punishment after this life was going to be worse because I have blond hair, but then told me to repent... not sure how to do that but I was entertained. We went tracking down this one street and this guy got super offended that we asked for a return appointment that he yelled at us and then slammed the door.

While we were tracking on Tuesday, I felt the impression to knock on a door that I had tried, without success, many times before last time I was here. We knocked on the door and the guy answered and let us in. We sat down and started to talk about the Book or Mormon. He pulled out a copy that he had received years ago and we had a fantastic lesson. Last night we were trying to stop by an investigator's house. On the way there I felt the impression to try a house that I had also tried before many times without even an answer. We knocked on the door and the guy opened the door, and greeted us like old friends. We had an incredible lesson with him also.

When my companion and I were heading back to our apartment, there was a guy who was pushing his broken-down car. His wife was trying to push and they had a little girl in the back seat so we pulled over and helped push the car three or four blocks to the gas station. They were really grateful and accepted to have the missionaries come over and teach them.

Yesterday at church there were some people with signs outside the building trying to protest the church. Thankfully nothing turned violent and they left after a while.

Have a great week!

The One with Pat Benatar 7/31/17

Hey everyone!

So this week we had a lot of lessons set up, and all but two cancelled. The one family we have been working with for awhile now are literally an invitation away from being baptized... except now they are ignoring us so we are trying to figure out what is going on there. We worked with another investigator this week and he got his work schedule figured out so he could attend sacrament meeting- and he didn't show up! We were really excited to see him in church because we've seen the influence of the gospel already work in his life. We have an appointment with him later tonight so hopefully we can get him to come to church this Sunday.

We had exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week, which was pretty sweet. I got to go up in Lathrop where we spent the most of the day tracting. The people that even bothered to open the door showed very little interest, until it was time for us to head back we decided to knock on a few more doors. When we got to the porch of one of the last houses we were going to knock on, I didn't feel like anyone would show any interest. The car outside had a bunch of hard-rock band stickers on it, and it sounded like people were having a huge party inside. We knocked on the door and this girl answered that (no joke) looked like Pat Benatar. We explained who we were and she told us to hold on for a second. Then came out a lady that was probably her mom. We explained who we were and she told us that she needed the Savior in her life. They were going up to her father's funeral that next day but she told us to come back the following week and gave us her phone number. We told her a little about the Book of Mormon and she accepted a copy.

So we got transfer calls last night, and it looks like I am returning to Stockton. They called me to be a Zone Leader in Stockton. I wasn't a district leader for very long (I wasn't even a full district leader), but I'm pretty excited. I miss my home ward up there. Because it's such a small mission, there aren't many options of places to serve, especially for Spanish missionaries. All transfer calls are made by revelation. I'm sure that a lot of prayer and meditation went into the transfers. My companion will hit a year in Tracy by the end of this transfer. It's just where the Lord wants me to go.

Love you all!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The One With B-DUB's, J-DUB's, and White Chocolate 7/24/17

Hey everyone!!

This week we had a member take us to Buffalo Wild Wings. He looked at us both and said "Oh you guys don't eat spicy food, right?". I'm not saying I was offended or anything but I told him whatever he was getting, I wanted. So he ordered some of the medium wings to start it off. We ate them so then he ordered some of the mango habanero wings. The member started going to town on the wings so I took one and bit into it. It took a few seconds, but when I swallowed the first bite, fire started to engulf my mouth. "Elder, is it hot?" he asked, "No, hermano" I replied with  some difficulty. I ate four more wings after that. My mouth was on fire pretty much the rest of the night, but it was well worth it.

On Friday we tried to teach some of our investigators. While we were walking to the house, we passed by four or five pairs of Jehovah's Witnesses. All throughout the rest of the day we saw a lot of them, which is weird because I haven't really seen any since I got here until that day.

That night, we had sport's night where we invited our investigators and less-active members to go play sports and get acquainted with some of the members. It was mostly teenage kids that showed up and because of the difference in ethnicity, I was dubbed "White Chocolate" by some of the players. I don't think I even scored many points but it was a good turnout.

So we have been teaching this guy named Jose, who's stepdad is in jail and his mom used to investigate the church. We had a few lessons with him this week about the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. While we were teaching him his friends came over, and he asked them to wait outside until we left. We are going to try and set a baptismal date for the middle of August.

Love you all! Happy Pioneer Day!

Buffalo Wild Wings

The One With the Jar of Peaches 7/17/17

So this week was a little busy.

Last Monday, we had to leave Tracy super early to go to Turlock for a doctor appointment. On the way back up, traffic was super bad and we got lost a few times so when we got back up, we barely had any time to wash our clothes and get shopping done. That night when we were proselyting, we stopped by our investigator's house. She's a really sweet old lady who wanted to be baptized about three years ago but her boyfriend (who she has kids and grandkids with) is very Catholic and refuses to marry her, thus preventing her from being baptized. We finally met him last Monday. The lady let us in the house and the boyfriend tried to go the other room, but she made him stay and listen. We talked about faith and some of our beliefs. At first he didn't seem very interested but the more we talked, the more he started to agree with us. We finished the lesson with him saying that anytime we wanted to stop by, please do so later in the evenings when he is home. We now consider him a friend.

The next morning, when we were walking around, a guy stopped us and told us he had some questions about the church. He asked us these really deep and sometimes tricky questions. We felt the Spirit as we answered the questions honestly and after a while, I said "Now I have a question for you". He looked puzzled, I asked if he had ever read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. He said that he has read the book, but never prayed about it. My companion and I promised him that if he would read it again and pray about it, he would receive a confirmation through the Holy Ghost that it is true.

So yesterday we went teaching with the Elder's quorum president- an 83 year old Peruvian guy who converted to the gospel 2 years ago. We went to visit a less active elder. We pretty much just let President talk the whole time because he is so direct but loving (If any of you have listened to a LeGrand Richards talk, that's pretty much what he sounds like). The member opened up as to why he wasn't going to church and committed to go to church this coming Sunday. When we were walking away, he told us how much he loves teaching with the missionaries, he then said "Elders I got you a present to show my appreciation", he reaches under the seat of his car and pulls out a jar of peaches! He hands it to my companion and tops it off with "Hope you guys aren't diabetic" with a chuckle and then peels off.