Thursday, September 1, 2011

July Letters

July 4
This past week we made a huge push to get members with us at our lessons. It was like pulling teeth just cause people are so dang busy! A lot of these dads are just working long days and come home exhausted. It was kind of frustrating too because we don't have the biggest branch and so when we'd get a return appointment we would literally go through the whole branch and not be able to bring somebody with us. But we ended up the week with over 50% of our lessons with members and this week we set 2 baptismal dates which was the real relief. It was so nice to finally see some fruits of our efforts. I mean it, i am soo exhausted. We get lights out by 10:30 and we are OUT! It was so funny the other night, me and elder alderman were getting ready for bed and i was like man i have so much energy, let's stay up and talk for a bit, and we got all excited but after our prayers we layed down and boom...wer'e out cold haha. That's just how it is. There's a lot to stress about with our area, new president, zone, 4th of july bbqs and just lots of stuff. So i think it's more of a mental drain than anything, but i really am just tired! It's getting super hot too haha and honestly we did a ton of finding this past week! Which i really do enjoy when we are talking to a lot of people because we've gotten really good at just teaching as we find and getting people to trust us. The only catch again, is that its scorching. But then i feel humbled when i think of my buddies in mexico or ellen or katie and how it must've been in ecuador and the d.r. We are really working diligently though. I love elder Alderman soo much. We get along so well and while he is a really good teacher and leader, he is realyl humble and is always asking how he can be better and teach better and speak better and stuff, it's pretty awesome and we are having a blast together. For real, inside of missionary work and outside, we are clicking really well, he is a really talented missionary. We saw a ton of miracles this week too.

The night before, we decided to go tracting one day. We show up at the trailer park and for some reason just didn't have a good feeling about it and so we left to do our back up plans and while we are driving, Elder Alderman says "stop". So we pull over and go knock on this random house that we were driving by. The lady opens up and is soo nice. She told us how she was really interested in mormonism because of the family values and how she wanted her husband to learn more about it and her kids. We were dumbstruck! haha it was soo awesome and so inspired, and so we are gonna go on exchanges and visit them this week when they come back from vacation. Then another day we came home at the end of the night and two guys contact us, and say they want to meet with us. haha we handed them off to the guys we are living with. Another day we did a quick tour of an apartment to move into, and as we leave i asked this lady if we could help her move things from her car, and she says "oh my goodness just my luck, i've been interested in converting and here are 4 missionaries to help me move my stuff". Once again i am struck dumb in shock haha. We handed her off to the sisters. It was cool because as we were working diligently and beginning to see success in our own area, we were able to help in little ways, the rest of the zone and it was just awesome. We felt very spirit led this week and i think it shows in the miracles we saw.

Another cool experience we had was with this kid named german. He's like 15 and way cool from guatemala. We taught him the first lesson the other day and he was pretty skeptical but at the end we talked about how if for some reason, all this really was true, wouldn't you really want to find out? And he was like yeah how could i say no. So we invited him to be baptized and he said yes and that he would read the book of mormon and pray about it. We left him a little question to answer after reading 3 nefi 11 too. So he goes out of town to work and in the middle of the week. we get a text from him saying, "hey guys i have to give your book back. My step dad found out that i accepted it from you and he got mad at me and doesn't want you to come over anymore"....My heart sank. I was soo bummed and just frustrated at how good things were going and then to see them drop. So he comes home on friday and says hey guys i'm home can you come over for a few minutes. So we went and saw him and he comes out to talk with us. we just kind of kicked it for a sec and then we asked about the book and if he had read and prayed. He said he read it all, and he answered the question we left him and he said how he loved when the Savior came down and talked to Nephi. He loved how when Nephi bent down to kiss his feet, the Savior told him to stand and spoke with him and then gave him the authority that he had to baptize and do miracles like He had done. It was soo cool how excited he was about it and how much he knew in detail and everything! Then we asked about his prayer. He said it didn't go great but then after he said amen, right away, images of his grandparents came to his mind and thye had played a huge role in what he believed before. His grandpa whispered to him "hijo mio" meaning my son, and then he said i couldn't hear what he said after that. His grandparents are past away too.But he said it couldn't have been a coincidence and that he really felt the book of mormon was the word of God. It was funny cause he was like,"yeah i would even consider it like the bible" and then he kind of surprised himself when he said that haha. But he said here, i can't have it. We declined of course to take it back and told him that that book meant more to us than anything and that it can bring him so much happiness, that it would be unfair for us to take it back. He said he would keep it and hide it, and that he would keep reading it, even if he had to read the same chapter over and over. It was soo sweet! But soo sad. Man we left there and i was soo mad and frustrated at his step dad. Man i wanted to scream and cry and throw stuff haha i felt like a little kid and yet at the same time, i felt really good inside knowing that the spirit had truly touched german and that one day, he will choose to accept the gospel. It was really reassuring and comforting and allowed us to keep working to have more experiences like that. I don't think we have used the book of mormon nearly enough in our teaching. In preach my gospel it says over and over that the Book of mormon combined with the spirit is our most powerful teaching tool. It was a really cool experience though and i hope good things happen with german even though we can't see him and he is going out of town to work till september.
July 13
We also foud a guy named gabriel who we taught and actualyl had a cool little miracle with him. We weren't sure how solid he would be but we got a chance to sit down with him and teach. It was going really well and we get to the part of joseph smith, the first vision, THE MOST SPECIAL PART!, elder alderman stops and says, "hey we'd love to leave you with a pamphlet that explains moer about all this..." and i look and go along with it, just praying that he had some spiritual impression. Well we end up leaving it right there and i'm like what the heck dude!? He says i don't know why but i really felt prompted to just stop and leave him with a pamphlet. So i said okay, i trust you. We leave and go back yesterday and talk with him. Gabriel says "oh man i'm sorry i didn't get a chance to read, my mother in law, picked it up and read about joseph smith and asked if she could take it home with her so she could learn more." We look at each other and are like haha sweet!! The spirit is smarter than we are. So we left him with another pamphlet and are going back on thursday. That was a pretty cool experience. We have some cool people to teach and are hoping to help them progress faster towards baptism by setting some dates with them. This week will be a big week.

Kind of a funny story...We got to dinner last week with the Rojas family who is awesome. We are talking with the kids who are 13, 12, and 5. The girl is 12 and she has some yogurt danimals thing in her hand. The kind that you drink. Then she shakes the top at me to pretend to be mad at me or something and the yogurt from the top flashes all over my suit in this big streak straight across my chest haha. Then a few days later we go to carlos and anahi's house and they have a little boy who has a gogurt in his hands. He keeps running up and hitting me with the gogurt thing and i already know at this point it's gonna end badly. But he holds it from the bottom and comes up and slaps it on my lap and then yogurt spills out all over my lap hahaha it was way funny and at that point i just had to laugh. It was pertty fun.

We are really tired today. I think the whole wednesday p-day thing threw us off a little bit and while monday was good, we had a rough day yesterday. We literally had a full days worth of people to see and they all flaked. We did get to see Kelly and the camacho family which was awesome because they had been MIA forever! They were glad to see us though and hopefully we can get them back to church. I will not give up hope with them haha. Anyways, it was so good to hear frmo everybody! You all just seem soo happy! I love hearing your experiences from pageant and missionary work, it is soo amazing! We are all engaged in the same work!
July 20
on sunday morning, we had a miracle of course. We are driving to church after having talked to all our solid investigators who just didn't want in, and we get a call from an unknown number. I couldn't even understand his voice or the name he said but he told me he was waiting for us on "stewart road" which is on the way to church. I really couldn't understand him well buit i said, "okay well meet you there and you can follow us to church" and he agreed. hahah so we are liek "what the heck!@!! who is this guy?! hahah" we were laughing and at the same time feeling kind of chastized from Heavenly Father because we were such downers after nobody said they were coming to church. And then we see who it is and it is a young couple, unmarried (unfortunatly), taht we had taught on friday. We invited them to church then too and they agreed if they didn't have naything going on, they would come. We tried to remind them on saturday but couldn't get a hold of them and they weren't home so we kind of gave up hope. But when we saw them waiting for us in another church parking lot haha (ironic), our hearts filled with joy and we were so pumped! They are such an awesome couple too and live right next to some recent converts from january, the ibarra family. the couple is sweet though and we taught them about baptism on friday how it's like a ferrari. When we drive it all over town and through pot holes and unpaved roads, it gets soo dirty! So we need a car wash! Then we talked about how the holy ghost was like a little copilot that knows the streets back and forth and can help us avoid the pot holes and the muddy paths. We were laughing and enjoying it but they understoof really well. When we were teaching them, we asked them what color would their ferrari be and so now they call us "red" and "blue" cause those were the colors we chose haha. It's funny and they ended up enjoying church a lot! They have a little 2 year old boy named Abel who did really well in nursery which was a blessing because they will feel comfortable coming back and leaving him there. Please pray for miracles with them. Honestly as of right now, they are the only solid people we have. Which is kind of sad, but at the same time, it doesn't matter. We are working our tails off and trying to work by the spirit. We know we are growing spiritually and mentally and we are having fun. I love working with Elder Alderman, he is a champ! Today is his birthday and so we are going to 7-11 to get free slurpies cause it's 7/11 today :)
July 25
Last night, we had a really sad experience. We went and taught this guy named david. He is living with a member who is a senior in highschool, just had her second kid, but is active in the church. They are bf and gf and she wants him to get baptized and come to church, but he is strictly catholic. We had another "throw down" lesson where honestly i felt like i loved him but i felt so sad that he just wasn't seeing what was right, and what was wrong. He is waiting for God to open every door for him and spoon feed him spiritually. It is pretty frustrating. He won't ever read, and he rarely prays, we have been so frustrated. THis pasta week though he did pray half of the week with his family. IMPROVEMENT! We went last night and taught and invited him to be baptized. He declined and even knew that what he was saying wasn't true. We talked about all these things about how good and how many blessings he would receive even if he just TRIED to find out if this was all true, and when we asked him if he was willing to "open this door" and do what it takes to find out, he said "no". It was heartbreaking for us but what made it worst, was when we turned to his gf and said "cely, do you have anything to add?" and she looks down at her phone and says, " just makes me sad". and she just started crying. She was trying so hard to hide it and David didn't even see until we asked him to pray and he looked over at cely and things just went quiet, and then he said the prayer as she hid her face behing a little pillow and couldn't look us or him in the eye. Ah man it was sooo sadd! I can't tell you how horrible and just heart broken we felt. My testimony has grown so much too of how Heavenly Father really does feel what we feel, and his emotions are even amplified because His love is perfect. I knew that he was soo sad, not only for cely who unfortunatly has made some "oops" decisions but also for His son David, who just rejected the one way that would bring him back to Heavenly Father's presence. Man we left feeling pretty down but also knowing that we had taught powerfully and even felt the spirit during David's closing prayer. He is just not opening his heart.

We had a cool luau to go to on saturday night though that was a blast! We got to help out and give service there but a ton of people came and there were a lot of spanish people there that we saw and met and it was just a cool environment and we made a splash in the community because we essentially talked to everyone there whether it was about the church or not, we got face time with everyone. It was a pretty fun thing and the guy in charge of the whole thing is a member and put on a cool little show where they danced with fire and stuff. it was fun

We went on exchanges last wednesday too and taught an awesome lesson. It was fun to teach in english for a little while and it was a unique experience because i could say things exactly how i wanted to haha. In spanish, i can teach pretty good, but certain things i don't even think about saying cause i don't know how haha so it was fun to teachi in english for a little while.

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