Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011 from Keizer, Oregon

Yo Mom and Dad,

I'm extremely tired right now! I just got done playing basketball with some of my friends from the Keizer Branch, Henry Valenzuela, Juan Carlos Deloya, and Lester McBride for a couple hours. It got pretty intense and now it’s hard for me to think because I'm exhausted! But I'm going to try to remember what happened this week and I definitely should as it has been the best week in my mission so far!
We had FHE with Mario Papa and it was sweet. We taught about the power of prayer and the spirit was pretty strong as each member shared an experience or their testimony! Mario Papa is the man and after our lesson we played a game called Santa La China, Que la Tendra, or something like that. It was pretty fun and basically if you were it you had to dance or sing. We saw some of Mario Papas dance moves as he salsa danced across the room. We then topped the night off with some Abuelita hot chocolate and Pan Dulce.

This week I had to set up the activity for the branch Noche de Jugar or Noche Deportiva( Sport Night). I made little fliers and had Presidente Andrade sign the document to make it official. It is this Tuesday at 7:00 and I hope a lot of people show up. It kind of feels like most of the people in the branch treat each other like family so hopefully they will all come out to play some Volleyball.

I had an interview with President Dyches last Thursday and it was sweet. He is such an awesome guy and always answers any questions you have. I was able to tell him how I was doing and he really does have my back. Did you know he was a Seventy?  He like knows everything doctrinal wise. Anyway, we use planners out here so we can make the best use of our time and he gave me a grade on how my planner looks. He gave me an A+, Chyeah. Planning is so important because it helps you make more of your time and better use of your day! I think it would be a good idea to keep a planner after the mission but at the same time I never know what I'm going to do and I just seem to go with the flow, but for missionary work you have to plan things out so you don't waste your time.

Amancio is the Man, how did you like that picture I sent you? Amancio has been on a vacation for like 2 weeks and got back two days ago. He has a baptismal date set for the 28th of January. So we stopped by his house last night and wanted to see how he was doing. When we asked him if he still wanted to be baptized, he said, Yo Creo que no!" Which means I don't think so. Then I was like why not Amancio, you have a baptismal date. Then he said, “Yo necesito saber las reglas!" Which means I need to know the rules first. I laughed a little and then said Amancio, after we teach you the rules, then will you be baptized? He said," Claro! Yo creo que si!" This means of course! I was like ha-ha all right, good, we will stop by to teach you tomorrow. The reason I think this is so funny is because we have had this talk with Amancio once a week for some time now. He has desires to go to church and be baptized and then we teach him. Then one day he forgets it all and we have to start over and it’s crazy! Anyway, I hope things pick up with Amancio because he is a G!!!!!

We  had the baptism of Tiffani Ramirez yesterday and it was amazing. After her father baptized her she started crying and the spirit in the room was so strong. It feels weird because I feel like we just started teaching her yesterday even though it’s been a while. It is truly a miracle that two missionaries that are not fluent in the language can be guided by the spirit to help teach a girl from Mexico like Tiffani that doesn't know any English. It also strengthens my testimony that God truly does answer our prayers as I prayed to know what date to set for her baptism about a month ago. Everything went smooth and she was baptized on the day that the Lord told me.  I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to teach her and be a part of this awesome experience in her life! The Lord has been helping us to find the people that he wants us to teach and yesterday at church was amazing. We had 8 investigators at church this week and that is the most I've had my whole mission. It was truly a blessing to get that many people to church as it is usually pretty difficult. I know that I really didn't have anything to do with that many people coming to church and I give all the credit to the Lord. I'm just so glad the Lord has blessed me with the experiences that I am having every week on my mission. Our investigator Lazaro and his family came to church. They liked it and I think it was a bit of a change from the church that they currently attend. Lorena and her Mother came to church as well. Lorena has been inactive and we found her knocking and she expressed to us that she wants to come back to church. Antonio came to church and has been showing a lot of desire to attend the activities the church has like FHE and Institute.

We have also been trying to work hard with the inactive people in the branch and part member families. We had like 4 baptismal dates a couple weeks ago, it’s just that most of the investigators that had baptismal dates are not keeping up with their commitments and it’s sad. It is so crazy to look back and see who we have taught, and see that the work is never ending as there is always someone new to share the gospel with. I guess it is all about timing in people’s lives and when they realize that this is the path to finding true happiness. We are having so much success as I have been depending on the Lord. Like you said in the last letter Dad, people can come to church because they like your personality, but in the end, when you leave, so will they. So I haven't been to worried about numbers or how many people come to church or get baptized, because if I try my best, the Lord will put the people in my path that he needs me to teach! Chyeah!

A funny thing that happened this week is that I had exchanges with Elder Rangel.  We knocked on the door of an inactive Sister in the Branch.  While I was knocking on the door Elder Rangel looked through the window and said, “Uh oh, I just made eye contact with her!" And I was like," Is she coming to answer the door?" He answered with a no. ha-ha I was then like let me get a look and I saw the lady staring at us through the window. I waved but she didn't return my gesture. We stood there for a while but then realized that she wasn't going to answer the door. We walked away feeling defeated but stuff just happens like that. I just thought it was funny because I made straight eye contact with her and even waved, but she didn't budge, she was not going to answer the door! Elder Rangel and I just click so we did some pretty good teaching that day. Exchanges are good as they give you a taste of other peoples teaching skills. Anyway, that day was pretty fun and we learned some pretty good lessons. I also traded Elder Rangel one of my Alpaca hats that I have bought while I have been out here for 2 suits. One is a pretty awesome suit that Elder Rangel got from Elder Mooney when they were companions. It is a three piece suit and I wore it to Tiffani's baptism so you will see what it looks like when I send you some pictures. It’s just pretty funny that as a missionary, suits get tossed around when they don't fit anymore or no one wants them. I have 5 suits right now and they all fit great. Elder Mooney's old suit fits perfect except the legs are a little long so I have to roll them up but it’s all good! It’s all about making trades and bargaining.
My new tag came in the mail last week as I lost my other one. It says on the name tag, Elder Payne-Dolor. Chyeah! It’s the best thing ever! Everyone in the branch calls me Elder Dolor (Elder Pain)  anyway, so when they saw my name tag at church yesterday they all thought it was legit. I just had to let you know that because I think it’s pretty sweet!  The Lord is blessing me 100% because I know I'm not doing anything. I'm not even fluent in the language yet so it can’t be me, I'm just an instrument in the Lords hands and it is amazing!

I love you guys!

Keep it real,

Elder Dolor