Monday, January 10, 2011

2nd Letter of 2011

January 10, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from Keizer, Oregon! The pictures you sent of the snow back home are sick! I can’t believe it snowed that hard in Atlanta and everything is closed down. I am glad you guys are staying warm and just enjoying some movies at the house.

I told you last letter how we are trying to help the members more and helping those who are less active in the Branch and it is working out pretty well. We don't just go to the member’s houses to chill, we go with a purpose. Chilin is one of those purposes though; they have to know that you can carry on a conversation in Spanish too. It has been good because it has really helped my Spanish, not to mention, trying to have small talk in Spanish is pretty tough, but I’m improving at it! Anyway, the plan is going well and we are getting many referrals now! We are showing the Branch that we are willing to work and that we will treat their friends and family with respect! The Branch is behind us and it feels pretty good if you know what I’m saying. We are also setting up activities for the branch so they can be more unified and bring their friends to experience some good clean fun! We set up sports night on the 18th and I hope the members bring their friends to play volleyball! I haven’t given up on knocking on doors yet either, we are still doing it, but our main focus is the members and their families! I have to tell you, working with the members is a lot more difficult than knocking. When you knock, you go with a purpose and if they don’t want to hear your message, you keep moving. But when you go to a member’s house, you’ve got to develop that relationship so they trust you and not stay to long. You can't be a lingerer. You know that guy who always out stays his welcome or stays to long and everyone wonders when he is going to leave. Anyway, we have to plan lessons really well for the members as well so it’s a little more difficult than knocking, but more rewarding in the end I think.

We are teaching a FHE tonight to Mario Papa and his family and we are going to try to make it the best we possibly can, because if you’re on Mario Papas good side, you know you’re doing something right! Chyeah! I'm constantly being challenged on my mission to take the higher road and be more like Jesus. There is one Sister in the Branch who is an American but served her mission in South America and married a Spanish guy. She continues to try and take me down a peg by calling my scarf gay and telling me that drinking out of my camel pack is gay. I have had to take the higher road a number of times and just say , "thank you may I have another." Or “Thank you, is there anything else." I’m kind of glad she hates on me, so I can build up my tolerance for the haters. I’m not boasting that I’m taking the higher road; I’m just letting you know that when you are on your mission, the Lord helps you to do things that you probably wouldn’t be able to do before your mission like taking someone hating on you to your face ha-ha.

I can’t even begin to explain how much the Lord is blessing me and guiding me where he needs me to be. It is so crazy but so awesome that the Lord trusts me and I am able to follow the Spirit by just following my thoughts and feelings. I entitled a little part in the back of my journal “Tender Mercies”. They happen every day and I just love writing and recognizing them to see the Lords hand in my life everyday! I'll tell you an awesome tender mercy that happened this week that blew my mind! I don’t know if you remember me talking about a guy named Lazaro before. He is a referral that we got from a member named Joel from the English Ward. Well, last transfer with Elder Hanson, we went and did some service for him in his yard! After that we didn't have a chance to go visit him again and then when Elder Hansen left I wasn't able to remember where he lived. One day this week we were driving and we were in a random neighborhood on our way to a service project. While I was driving I was like dang, this looks familiar, and I need to turn left here. Then Elder White was like “yo, what are you doing? (well he didn't say yo, but that’s what I heard in my head) anyway, I was like I got this Elder White, this feels familiar. So I took that left that was not on our course of travel because I felt the need too and at the end of that street was my Boy Lazaro’s house!!!!! After our service project and later that day we drove over to Lazaro’s house and when we pulled up and got out of the car, his neighbor Joel walked outside and was like, Hey guys, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you but I didn’t have your number. I was like o snap, that’s crazy, we just felt like we needed to come here. And Joel was like that’s awesome because Lazaro has been asking about you and I am going to his church tomorrow. Joel said that he made a deal with Lazaro that if he went to his church, Lazaro would go to ours. We went and knocked on Lazaro's door and he came outside. We talked to him outside for a while and when we showed him the Book of Mormon, he was like hold on guys and said in Spanish, “I need my family to hear this”. So we went into his house and he invited his whole family to listen, they all waltzed in and we taught them about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a great lesson and they want to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out the truth. Anyway, this was a TENDER MERCY because this kind of stuff isn't just luck! When we are in tune with the Spirit, we are guided to where the Lord needs us to be, CHYEAH! I’ll let you know what happens with my boy Lazaro and his family as we are teaching them tonight!

You asked about Julie, the girl that has a sister that is a member. Well, she just got back from a month vacation in Mexico last Thursday so we are going to start teaching her again! I’ll let you know how that goes! Our investigator, Tiffany, is getting baptized this Sunday! She is the daughter of a member of the Branch and she moved here from Mexico like a month ago. Teaching her has truly been a blessing as I have really seen her faith and testimony grow. I can't wait until Sunday and I know that she will be blessed for this decision she is making.

I have seen some pretty wonderful tender mercies in my life this week as the Lord has guided me to the people I need to teach and see. There was this lady at church Sunday that I had never seen before. I wanted to go and introduce myself to her but I didn't get the chance as when I looked for her at the end of church she was gone. But later that night Elder White and I chose one less active person to see out of a bunch of names and we chose a lady named Araceli. When we arrived at Araceli's house, it was the lady I saw at church that I wanted to meet. It was a pretty sweet experience and we asked if we could come and teach her the missionary discussions a couple times a week. She accepted and I hope we can help reactivate her. The Lord is blessing me so much for being obedient and trying my best to do his will.

There is so much to say about this week but that pretty much sums up the good stuff!

I love you guys and just know that I'm trying my best out here in the Lords Service!


Elder Dolor

Mi amigo Amancio!