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.

The One With the Correct Answer 7/10/17

Hey everyone!

So this past week was super hot- over 100 degrees for most of it. We have been trying to get an appointment all this week and last week with this guy under house arrest. We can't wait until his step-dad gets out of jail sometime this month so we can teach them as a family. The dad was apparently learning from the missionaries right before he was put in jail, so we'll have to start from lesson 1 with all of them. They are a super nice family and they accepted the Book of Mormon instantly. We are pretty excited to meet with them more.

Last Friday, we went way down to the rural part of Tracy to visit a less active member we are working with. When we went down there, he was working on a car, which he apparently does as a side business. He told us he has a Mercedez he's going to work on later this week and if we wanted to come, we could help him fix it. He topped the offer off by saying he would feed us tacos. We both said yes as soon as he said "tacos".

The family we have been working with has had a hard time understanding Priesthood authority, so we showed them the Restoration video. They loved it! We asked them if they had any questions and the kids started asking about really deep stuff (mostly about marriage). Then the mom was like "oh yeah, my husband wanted me to ask you guys something". We were waiting for some crazy deep question when she asked if they could take us out to dinner. "Yes!" I think we gave the correct answer.

Earlier this week, we had a mission conference where I saw my old companion that I was with for six months, and a lot of the other missionaries I got really close with Back in Stockton. It was really good to see them. My companion saw one of the missionaries he trained, which was pretty cool.

One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

It makes me wonder just how much power the Lord has given and gives us.

Love you all! Hope you had a great 4th

The One Where I Almost Got Run Over 7/3/17

Hey everyone!

So this past week my companion and I were focusing on potential investigators that never got followed up with. We knocked on the door of one woman and asked if Maria was there. She gave us a weird look so we introduced ourselves. "I know who you are," she replied "you can come back Friday morning.” We were a little scared because people who usually act like that try to bash with us- but we came back. We got to know her and found out that the missionaries who found her three years ago set a baptismal date, but her boyfriend who she has been living with for about 20 years is Catholic and refuses to marry her. They have children and she takes care of the grandchildren while everyone is working during the day. She still wants to get baptized and more than anything wants to go inside the temple, but her boyfriend just doesn't like the church so we're going to try and meet with him sometime this week.

A less active family that we have been working with since I got here finally went to church on Sunday! Along with some other less active members and investigators we are working with.

While we were walking down the street the other day, we saw this really nice Camaro ahead of us. He was stopped at the entrance of the parking lot, just in front of the sidewalk and facing a street. The guy was looking down so I pulled out a pass along card to give him and when we got right up to the car, it lurched forward! The guy was laughing pretty hard and then took off, just barely missing my leg! My companion and I decided he did not want the pass along card, so we'll have to catch him next time.

Have a great 4th of July!

dinner on Saturday 

! Mexican soda that was super good an investigator gave us!

           trying a charcoal mask

By faith all things are fulfilled 6/26/17

Hello everyone!

Last week went by pretty slow, we just had a lot of meetings and tried to get lessons with people. We had a lesson with some of our investigators on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed them to pray about it. It was a really short lesson so we're going to catch up later this week.

We also felt like we should stop by one of our eternal investigators. An older couple from Mexico that we haven't been able to teach for a long time. We walked over to them in the backyard of their trailer and they invited us in. The husband greeted us with probably the most awkward hug I have ever received in my life. He told us he saw us when we were biking the other day when it was 105 degrees outside and told us we must really believe what we teach to be out in weather like that. Especially when few people are likely to open their doors. We told him we were happy to see him and when we asked to share a message, we felt prompted to testify of the Book of Mormon. We went through a little background of the Book of Mormon and explained how it helps us understand doctrine. Undoubtedly, they have received this lesson many times from many missionaries, but this time it felt different for all of us. We felt the Spirit working with us and they apologized for not taking their commitments seriously in the past. They then committed to read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon every day for the next week. It's really amazing how the Spirit helps people understand what we are trying to teach.

Just another quick story from this last week. My companion and I have been talking a lot about tender mercies for the past few weeks. Little demonstrations that the Lord loves both of us, and knows our hearts, thoughts and desires. Through my childish and hyperactive imagination, I compared tender mercies to a giraffe. When we stopped by the Bishop's house later that night, right next to a picture of the Savior in his house, we saw a statue of a giraffe that neither of us have noticed before. We of course talked about tender mercies with the Bishop and on the way out, next to the door, is an even bigger statue of a giraffe that for that family was just a nice decoration, but for me was a sign that the Lord both loves me and knows my thoughts- enough to send a small message that meant a lot to me. This example seems insignificant, or even coincidental, but it just added to my testimony that the Lord and his work is very real.

Love you all, have a great week!!

The One With the Lamb Tacos 6/19/17

Good morning!

This week has probably been the hottest of my mission. I think it hit under 90 a few times at night but for the most part it hovers around 100 degrees this time of year. My companion and I walked a lot, which was pretty cool because a lot of people offered us water. One guy pulled over and actually asked if we were crazy. We went on exchanges with the zone leaders this week, which is always really fun. The Elder I was with went with me to dinner and a couple appointments. He doesn't speak any Spanish so when we shared messages I had to translate his testimony when I asked him to give it. It was really interesting.

Yesterday we decided to go visit a less active member who lives way out in the rural part of Tracy. The day before we tried to visit him, but when we stopped by, he and his friends were cleaning out a lamb they just killed! Everyone was messy and when we tried to talk to our member he gave us the classic "this is a bad time" look on his face. So we stopped by yesterday and he and the other neighbors in the trailer park were having a party. They invited us in and offered us food. I had never had lamb tacos until yesterday but they were fantastic! We had a really powerful message with him about the tender mercies of the Lord (1 Nephi 1:20).

We got transfer calls last night. It looks like I will remain in Tracy with Elder Gifford as a district leader.

Love you all!

Here's me in a tractor at the less active member's trailer park

The One With the Raccoons 6/12/17


This week we had a chance encounter. We invited some of our investigators to a ward party and it turns out that one of the ladies in our ward is the supervisor of our investigator's supervisor. They sort of recognized each other and are friends now. It was really good to see them go to the party because when they went to sacrament meeting, they had friends to sit with!

We tried to visit one of our investigators yesterday so we went to his trailer and knocked on the door and asked him how he was doing. He was only a little drunk this time but told us he didn't have time because it was cold outside and he didn't want to get his jacket on... We're going to try him when it's a little warmer outside.

When we were going away from a less active member's house we saw something fly across the street. We stopped and were looking around to see where it went, then my companion looked in the rain gutter and found a family of raccoons! Just looking at us. We tried our best raccoon impression to get them closer so we could pet them but it didn't work, but we'll keep practicing.

Not too much else happened this week- we get transfer calls next Sunday so I'll keep you all posted.

Love you all!!