Saturday, March 4, 2017

Esperame!! 2/27/17

Hey everyone!

So we had some pretty interesting stuff happen this week. Since there is a new companionship of Elders with us in our area, we had to cram all of our dinners with four sets of missionaries.

We went to the southernmost part of Stockton to try and find former investigators and one of the guys we met said he would love for us to teach him. When we left and were walking away, the grandma came out shouting “¡Esperame!” which means "wait!" We were a little disappointed because that is usually when the protective Catholic parent tells the missionaries not to come back. She approached us and asked us... to teach her 7 year-old grandson! We gladly said yes and scheduled a return appointment.

While we were visiting a prospective Elder, he was telling us about his crazy life before he was baptized. My companion and I have been praying a lot about what we could do to help him get the priesthood and become an Elder and we haven't been getting an answer. When we visited him and were talking about it, he told us in passing that he would occasionally smoke or drink, "but for the most part he was good". We told our ward mission leader and he laughed (probably out of astonishment) and told us he would start working with the Bishop on it. That pretty much answered our question as to why we didn't feel right about any date we set for him!

Anyway, that's about it for this week. Spring is starting to hit so it looks beautiful outside (and my missionary collar tan looks pretty good).

Have a great week!

The One With Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes 2/20/17

Last Tuesday, a new set of Spanish Elders were called to reign South Stockton with us! One is from Utah and came in with me and my companion, making three new white Spanish-speaking Elders in Stockton.  And the Elder he is training is from Texas (but his parents are from Argentina), so the amount of native speakers in our zone is now three!

We did a lot of street contacting this week, and gave a blessing to a member with chicken pox.  We also almost got run over by a lady who saw us on our bikes and decided to pull over to talk to the missionaries! She's an investigator now so it's ok. We were planning on visiting our investigators from Honduras and having them really commit to being baptized, but we had to rescue some of the English Elders who didn't have a car. So we asked the other Elders to visit them and they ended up setting a baptismal date!! We are super excited for them!
We had a member take us out to dinner the other day at a super authentic Mexican place (El Pollo Loco). This member is from Oaxaca, which is a state in Mexico where the people are a little... darker. Anyway we were eating and he was telling us about how he just shaved his head- more exciting than it sounds- and this guy walked by and said to his friend, "Why are those white guys talking to that black guy?" Haha, it made things a little awkward for him because all three of us looked at him and his face turned completely red!

This morning we had to drive an hour for a check-up at the doctor's office and we passed by fields of apricot trees so we started singing "Popcorn Popping," in the rain. We looked like straight G's.

Love you all!

The One With Two Exchanges 2/13/17

Hey everyone!

We had a pretty busy week!

On Monday, my companion and I bought a habenero pepper and made a salsa out of it (we call it the ex-wife). Later, I went on exchanges with Elder Sirstins, our district leader and the next day I went with his trainee, Elder Miller. Two days in a row with exchanges are pretty hectic! We had our transfer calls last night- and it looks like the Lord wants me to stay in Stockton with Elder Nelson for some more time. Haha I hit six months as a missionary three days ago- but I still consider myself to have 24 months left (just in case there was any confusion).

Last night, we had a lesson with Nelson and Ruby, some of our investigators. He was telling us how it was hard to drive from here to San Jose and we shared Alma 7 with them and he gave the closing prayer. They are so close to being baptized!!

Love you all! Have a great week!

This is me and our ward mission leader

The One with Snoop Dogg 2/6/17

Hey everyone! This week was a great one. We had interviews with President Palmer during the week, and he always has really good advice to give.

After interviews, we had a lesson with one of our investigators from Honduras. She has been keeping her commitments and really she just needs to go to church because she really likes the Book of Mormon. We've seen some cool miracles already with teaching that family.

We contacted a referral the other day and it turns out he was taught before. He's this really cool guy named Pedro and he's from a little beach town in Mexico. He showed us an African parrot he has as a pet that speaks Spanish and is hilarious! He (Pedro, not the bird) told us that he's been reading the book of Moses from the triple combination the other Elders gave him and he told us that when he receives a confirmation, he would want to get baptized! Haha pretty cool.

The rest of the week we spent trying to talk to people.  It's a little hard sometimes because most of the people won't even look at us because they think we're ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).  So there's a little discrimination going on but the people that recognize us as missionaries are super nice to us, so it's kind of a weird balance.

When we were walking to an investigator's house, who at first we thought was Snoop Dogg, he was actually playing Snoop Dogg on his speaker, asked us how many wives we had. We told him we don't practice polygamy and he seemed disappointed! He told us it was a shame that we couldn't have more than one wife because we look like players!  

I loved my birthday package!  I really love the binder with the talks in it also! (Joseph received a binder with his extended family’s favorite General Conference printed talks) It's kind of funny because some of those talks were some of my favorites before (namely “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane”, and “Good, Better, Best”). I absolutely loved it and am so grateful for you guys. For my birthday we had a zone training, ate lunch and proselytized. I treated myself to Tepa Taceria (the best tacos in San Joaquin) for dinner and President and Sister Palmer called to wish me a happy birthday.  And then my companion got wise and started calling the missionaries here and told them it was my birthday!!!! Haha pretty fun day.

Love you all, have a good week!!

The Return of the Crazy Jewish Wheelchair Guy 1/30/17

Hey everyone! So this week was an adventure! We had to go down to Modesto for a conference with all the missionaries. We gave some other Elders in Stockton a ride because they don't have a car.  But since we thought we knew where we were going and don't have GPS, we got lost! We showed up 2 minutes before the program started and drove about 100 miles that day (we only get 750 total miles a month, so whoops!).

We did a lot of finding this week and a lot of walking; it's a little hard for us to find now because a lot of the people here think we are deportation police, but we're working it out.

Saturday was by far the best day. We taught a really good lesson to one of our investigators who can't read or drive. He has to catch a ride to church, and we have to read passages to him, but he is really excited about the Gospel! While we were walking away from that lesson, we saw a guy on a wheelchair coming towards us- that's right- it was the Jewish Wheelchair guy! This time he was holding a bag of potato chips (which is really impressive because he doesn't have hands). He tried to prophesy a little more about the end of the world and when he rolled away he shouted, "The world's ending! Prepare! These are my chips!" haha it was pretty funny.

This week we also had some really good lessons with our dinner appointments. One of my favorite scriptures now is Revelations 3:20-21 which says:

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Love you guys, have a great week!