Written December 26, 2016
Family and Friends,
I had a really good week this week! I am going to focus on some things just like last week: Gonzalez Juana, Our mission's Christmas devotional, Manuel, Brett, and Christmas day (my favorite....maybe). This week was full of good experiences and I was able to feel the true Christmas spirit throughout the whole month and it has stayed with me today. Christ really does and should affect our lives daily. He is our Savior and Redeemer.
Gonzalez is a cool story. We went over to his house about a month ago; he had requested a Bible from headquarters. When we went over he took the Bible and asked for a bigger one. We had asked if he wanted a Book of Mormon and he was totally against it. Well... We did not make it back to his house for awhile. He finally just called headquarters again and asked for a bigger Bible. We took it to his house while we were on exchanges. While we were there he was asking a ton of questions about the Prophets in the Bible. We explained that it went Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus... Just a fly over of the Prophets. But instead of stopping there we said that we believe there is a Prophet that restored the gospel for today's generation. And he said, "Wow, tell me more about this!" So.... We did. We started talking to him and he said that he thought Christianity was just one religion. Which it is, but we explained that we have keys to salvation. He absorbed it like a sponge. We will see where it goes. We are going over there tomorrow.
Later in the week we had the opportunity to meet as a mission and have a Mission Christmas devotional. It was super good. We had a lot of musical performances. It was really spiritual. At the end of the meeting we were able to hear from President and Sister Palmer. It was super spiritual, but super funny. Sister Palmer talked about how one of her kids said they were going to start praying to Santa Clause because when you ask him for something he gives it to them. Sister Palmer said that she panicked and told her 3, almost 4, year old that Santa was not real. Haha when she said this President Palmer was behind her on the stand and he fake stabbed his heart. She then explained that Christmas is President's favorite holiday and that he was furious that she told her kid that. When he got up to give his talk he started with, "When Sister Palmer told our son that, it was the closest we ever got to divorce.... (everyone laughed) It's just wrong.." And President has a way with his jokes it was just super funny. Then he explained how Christmas is a time that we can feel the spirit of Jesus Christ more magnified when we are serving. And we should try to have this feeling year round.
So we got it approved to go to Oakdale on Friday to take Manuel to a baptism. It went super well except when we got in the car to go down there it smelled like Manuel was drinking coffee. We are going to talk to him on Wednesday to see if he is still ready for baptism. We hope he is. I love it here in Stockton, but I think Elder Lamm and I's time is running low here.
To talk about Brett, Alejandra called this week and asked if they were allowed to get married and have Brett baptized on the same day. We called the zone leaders and got it confirmed that that can happen. We called them and told them it was okay and we set a date on the phone. They will be getting married and baptized on January 11th. We are so excited for them. We have said many prayers concerning them and their family. Christmas night we asked Juan, Alejandra's Dad, to pray and he did. It was amazing. We hope this family keeps progressing.
Christmas Day was so cool. I got to SKYPE my fam. And friends. It was super cool, I thought I was going to cry or something, but I did not. It was great. Just good clean fun. Christmas is always good. No matter if you are at home or in the mission. I loved it. Brett and Alejandra got Elder Lamm and I some sweaters and beanies. We love them haha.
Spiritual thought for the week is from Luke 2. I thought this would be appropriate for Christmas and all. So reading through the chapter yesterday hit home for me more than ever. When it talks about the shepherds watching their flocks by night, it says after they received the news of Christ they left with HASTE to find the Lord. As they did we need to hastily search for the Lord at all times. The Christmas feeling we get at this time of the year can be a year round feeling. I love the quote, "Wise men still seek him." If we are wise we will search for the Lord all year round, every day, and in every moment of our lives. It sounds hard, but I invite you to have Christ in your heart year round and see how much of a difference it will make in your life. I love this gospel and I love my Savior.
I hope you all have a great week and a Happy New Years!
I love my family and cannot wait to see them on Mother's Day!
Written December 19, 2016
Family and Friends,
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I had a very good birthday and I cannot wait for Christmas. Even though it was my birthday this week it was probably one of the most stressful weeks of my mission. I am not complaining because I know that it is making me stronger. The main things I want to talk about in my letter this week are: Our ward's investigator Temple trip, Vera (I have been spelling it wrong. I thought it was Vierra), Manuel, Church on Sunday. This week was definitely a CRAZY one.
So our ward planned an investigator trip for this past weekend. Elder Lamm and I had worked really hard to invite our investigators. The problem was that our investigators that were going to go did not have cars to get to Oakland. Well... Our Ward Mission Leader had kind of put it off for awhile... I understand that he is busy and the other guy who was in charge put it off for awhile and it ended up to where we were looking for rides the 3 days before the trip. Well it came down to Friday night (the night before) and they still did not have a ride for our investigators. This was super stressful because one of these investigators, Manuel, had been looking forward to this and our Ward Mission Leader said we were out of luck and needed to tap out. We did not tap out... It came down to us calling our Mission President and trying to get council. He got pretty frustrated when he found out about the ward missionary situation that we have. I am not gonna get into that. But it turned out that we went to bed that night not knowing if Manuel or Samuel and their families would have rides. I prayed that Manuel and if possible Samuel would have rides in the morning. Well we got up that morning and started studies like usual. Well, sure enough in the middle of studies Brother Roberts called (our ward mission leader). And he told us that Bishop had offered to take Manuel and his family. We were so happy. Bishop called us and told us he would not only be able to fit Manuel in the car, but he could also take Sam and his family. We were definitely blessed. They both had a great time and we were able to enjoy our Saturday doing the Lord's work.
Well the next person I wanted to talk about is Vera. We felt like we should go to her house one morning and we hadn't set up an appointment or anything. Well she let us in and we sat down. She asked us this question, "If I want to be baptized, why are there so many strings attached?" She asks these kind of questions all the time and it's just so we can explain it to her. We explained that it is not so much strings attached, but it is preparation for covenants with God. She has a hard time coming to church. Well, ultimately we will be going over there tomorrow to set a date for baptism. We are super excited.
To expand on Manuel's progress... He is super excited to be baptized. But he wants to see a baptism before his. The next baptism in our zone is on Christmas Eve. So he will attend that and we will be moving his baptism to the 31st of December. It will be super good.
At church this week we had a ton of investigators there. I say a ton because it is more than we have ever had. We had 3! Samuel, Uncle Larry, and Brett. I know they all felt the spirit at this meeting. Uncle Larry is a hard nut to crack. He left after first hour. He has very high walls, but God will slowly chip away at it. Brett and Alejandra came to church! It was a Christmas miracle;) I made fun of them and told them that haha. They are the best. They are progressing so much and we are excited to see what happens.
My spiritual thought stems off of the lesson Brother Roberts gave in Gospel Principles. We were talking about the Second Coming and the lesson started veering into deep doctrine. Well I think this really confused some of the investigators and members of the class. The spirit directed me to stand and bear testimony that all we need to worry about is the simple things. This gospel is simple. By small and simple things great things come to pass. If we are doing what we are supposed to do when the Savior comes it will be a great day. We are so blessed to have the restored gospel. I love this mission and the work I have been doing.
I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE Y'ALL!!!!