Hello everyone! This week was a little different with transfers just happening and everything. Elder Mack is gone now, which in all seriousness, i'm super glad. He is so funny and we get along really well, but that's the problem, it's easy for us to just talk about anything, meaning sometimes we get less focused. So i'm glad he's gone and that distraction is eliminated. We did get a new missionary though, his name is elder Alderman! He's from thousand oaks california (no way! right where i was born). So that's pretty cool, he just came from the mtc and it's been nice for me cause i don't feel like the new guy that is less capable anymore.
It's cool to see how far i've come with spanish and just changed here in the field. I like having him aruond though, it's that renewed fire taht he brings from just getting out of the mtc. It's also the fact that now that i'm not the main focus of the "greenie hazing" as jimmy puts it hahah. I like talking to him thoguh and just trying to offer whatever advice i can from the little experience i have. he's awesome and will be soo good out here. That being said, this week was kind of slower. We had a huge transfer planning session on thursday that took soo long! ughh but it was really good, we needed to do it and now we have set up the transfer for success. Have like 7 people on date for baptisms and a few more that we are going to commit this week. It's kind of scary when we invite people to be baptized, just cause i'm always afraid they'll say no, but it always turns out good :) and it's never like we are forcing them to do it, it's just an invitation and when we set a baptismal date, it's just a goal for them to reach, and they almost always reach it :). But this coming week, we are going to start doing english lessons, and we are gonna get an AD in the newspaper. We are trying all sorts of things right now with our finding efforts. We have a number of people to teach but not all of them are gonna be as prepared to receive this gospel so we are trying to increase our teaching pool. We cover a big area too here in salem spanish so there are definitely people out there, we just have to find them. I'm soo excited though to start english classes and stuff it's going to be so exciting and when they did it here a couple months ago they saw some good success.
On thursday night, i had a funny thing happen thuogh. We are teaching a couple named carlos and stacy. They are like 21 i think and have two cute little girls. Anyway, they invited us to some chiropractyer thing for free pizza and soda and food i guess. So we went just because they were excited about it and wanted to maintain a good relationship with them you know? So we show up and sit down in this big room and they give us a little goodie bag and a little ticket for a drawing. We sit in on this "what to do in an accident seminar" and were like what are we doing here? but we stuck it out so we could talk with carlos and stacy when it was done. At the end though, they did a raffle drawing and picked my number hahaha! I stood up and was kind of embarrassed like uhhh i don't even want to be here but SWEET! so i won some little barbeque set with a bunch of tools and random stuff. It was wayy funny though haha. We talked with them for a little bit after and then left. In the car i was like wait what am i doing, why didn't i give this to them? I'm not gonna use it! So that night puertas and i went over and doorbell ditched it on their front porch. When we looked back to see if they got it though, one of them spotted us and so we just talked again for a while and they were really happy about it, it was sweet. They are so close to getting baptized too. We have taught them for a while it's just, they bhoth work on sunday and their boss won't change their schedule. They have had all the lsesons and want to get baptized but they told us, they don't want to get baptized and then just never come to church. As frustrating as it is, it was good to hear that because we know that they have a testimony of these things and that they take it seriously. So we are just praying for them/ looking for a new job for them hah.
Friday was sweet, we actually had an awesome district meeting. Normally right before the meetings, i'm like ugh i don't want to go, but then afterward i feel so edified and just good ha. This week's was so good and it was all about emotion in our teaching. Do we care about these people as if they were our most closest friends and family? Are we teaching them with that passion? it was a nice reflecting day for me and i wrote down a bunch of questions to reflect on during the week that will just help me adjust little things in my teaching thati'm hoping will make a big difference.
Saturday was looonnnnggg! We had to drive a ton too. We went out to willamina which is like a half hour away because puertas had to do a baptismal interview for the sisters out there (he's the district leader). A cool thing though, was that after the interview puertas had with a little 9 year old boy, he said "if jayden passed his interview i promised him that you would play and sing a song on the piano for him". I was like *gulp* and then sat down and played and sang a song hahah. It was actually pretty cool and as nervous as i get, it's always cool to see people smiling after sharing a little part of me with them. That trip was like an hour and a half maybe even longer! that was frustrating and then we came all the way back to salem to try and get people to go to a hawaiian luau party that night, then we went to independence and monmouth which is like 15 minutes away and we cover that area too. So we were all over the place and amidst our efforts we only got one investigating family to show up. It was worth it though! The family is soo awesome! They are jehova's witnesses but they are so awesome. The kids love us and just the other day we went to the park and played soccer and football with them for like an hour. So we have developed a good relationship with them and now are just trying to get them to go to church. They were all ready to come this past sunday, but then last minute they cancelled ahhh I was so mad! The luau was sick though. They had a ton of awesome food (even sushi), and they had some sweet performances. They did the slap dances and all sorts of different ones, it was way cool!
That same night we went over to a woman named shawna's house. She has 5 kids and came to church the week before general conference. But we went over there to get her to chruch agani and she was like "oh i dont know" but then all of her kids were like "please, please please mom, can we go! We can wear our new dresses and shoes and...!" ha it was so funny and she was like "uhhh well i gues we're going haha!" It was perfect, such an answer to a prayer.
Then sunday was super long too! Oh my gosh i forgot to tell you, this week the first counselor in our bishopric died and another older man in the ward. Brother morrison, the 1st counselor died of a heart attack while he was out hunting with his 13 year old and his 18 year old boys. We foudn out on friday and it was just soo sad for me. We had just eaten dinner at their house last wednesday with all of them and it was just soo sad! AH man i just thought of his wife and his little 13 year old boy. It was a "heavy sunday". Everyone got to church with and was just waiting for bishop to say something about it. It was oddly quiet and just it was an odd feeling in the meeting, i was kind of bummed out that it felt that way. There were a lot of tears and the bishop talked about the 2 people that had passed and TRIED to offer words of counsel but you could tell he was pretty affected by it since he was so close with his 1st counselor. Finally a return missionary gave his homecoming and didn't say anything about either of the two men that had passed so that was a nice break from all the sadness, and then someone from the stake presidency finished up and kept it short but uplifting. I was glad that someone finally touched more on the uplifting side of it. As sad as it was for these people to pass away, and i can't even imagine the emotions of the families affected, what a blessing it is for those taht have gone to live with their heavenly father again. I like to think of it as a calling. They were just called to serve missions in the spirit world, as they go to serve the lord even in the life after this one. As sad as it is, what a blessing it is to know that life goes on after this, that through the powers of the priesthood and special temple ordinances, we can be together FOREVER. i think sometiems we forget those things in times of difficulty or tragedy, but being a missionary helps remind me of the PERFECT plan that God has for as as we choose to follow it. There never needs to be any sadness as we realize the eternal potential that we all have, that this life is only a tiny portion of our individual books of life. Nonetheless, everyone was pretty sad on sunday. I tried to go to as many spanish meetings as possible because they didn't know about it so their meetings were normal. In spanish sacrament meeting, one of our recent converts didn't show up to give their talk, so me and elder alderman got to give mini talks/bear our testimonies in front of everyone. I was super nervous actually haha but i shared a scripture in alma 32 and then talked about it for a while. I felt really good during and after, I know that heavenly father helped me with my spanish beacuse i just felt so good up there, even if my spanish wasn't perfect i knew i got my point across and the spirit was felt which is what i was praying for. It was a sweet experience for me. After church we had a ton of meetings, which got old pretty quick but we had some investigators at church for spanish which was sweet and have a couple set up to be baptized this weekend, so let's hope that goes well. Then in the evening, we went back to Shawna's house because she didn't end up coming to church (i was super frustrated with her cause she has been super flaky!). But we go by her house when she tells us to, and what do you know, she is not there. HA but her kids were and we just were kind ofl ike "of course". But we talked to the 5 girls taht were there on the door step cause we're not allowed to go in and told them about prophets. They aer so cute ha they try so hard to answer all of our questions and stuff it's really funny. Then we had them close their eyes and think about God and prophets while we played a song. So puertas played the ukulele while i sang a song called "how can i be". It's about prophets in the book of mormon and trying to be like them, it was actually a really powerful experience. We taught there on the door step for like 25 minutes and just talked with them, got to know them better. The family is soo awesome, we are just trying to get in there with the mom home beacuse she will be the catalyst for the rest of the family. It was an awesome night.
Ahh i'm feeling good this week, it's been frustrating this past week and even the week before because i feel like we just haven't been teaching as much. We have appointments but so many people have been ditching, that is the most frustrating thing. I've been better at "OYM"s or opening your mouth". I have been praying for a little extra courage in talking to people and i found this week that the lord was helping me so much. I just had a different mind set about talking to people, trying to see them as children of god. I was trying to picture them in white on the day of their baptism, just thinking of them with the eternal potential that they have. It helped me to open my mouth and talk to them cause i knew that maybe it was MY testimony that would change their life forever. I don't want to let a person go by without having at the least, the opportunity to accept or reject this gospel. If only everyone could feel the blessings that come from this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. Ahh man this is gonna be a good transfer, i know it will be. We are all re committed to giving it our all and we are just more focused than last transfer. I am so greatful for all of your prayers and for all of your support and just the love that i feel from you guys. Don't forget to be greatful for things, i loved president Monson's talk about gratitude and he put it into action at the end of conference as he thanked everyone for all that they did. What a blessing it is to be led by a living prophet on the earth today. I love this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ and i know that he lives. I know that it is through the development of a personal relationship with him that we will be happiest in this life. I KNOW that's true. I love you guys so much and thankyou