Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 24, 2011 Keizer, Oregon

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm staying here for another transfer with my boy Elder White. Transfers are today but no one got changed in our district! I'm glad you liked my journal I sent home. I tried to keep the excerpts in each Journal entry as real as possible. I did this so when my kids look back at it one day, they will see that their old man was a G. I'm starting a new Journal now and haven't missed a day in the mission yet so I’ll be sending that one to you in like a couple months when I fill the pages. Anyway, this week has been great and tough at the same time. You will probably read what I have written and be like, that's not tough. But it was tough for me so let me just give you the scoop on what happened.

Last Sunday we had like 8 investigators come to church and it was nuts. It was so awesome to see them all in the house of the Lord. This week was a different story and none of our investigators made it to church. I was feeling a little down and thinking, what did I do, is there something I could have done better. But then I realized, I don't need to feel like this! This is how Satan would want me to feel, down and low about what’s happening. But then I looked around and realized that I need to put those feelings away because that's weak! I looked around and realized all the good that has happened and let me fill you in. That Sunday that none of the investigators came to church, Tiffany got confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Godofredo and Charlie our recent converts were all at church with their families and living it up. So I can’t be ungrateful or look at the negative, because there's just too much good! I also turned to the scriptures and Heavenly Father and as always I felt comforted by the Spirit.

Then after church I decided to see what happened to our investigators. We stopped by Antonio's house and he was a little baracho (drunk). He told us that he has been feeling pretty depressed because he has a court date coming up and his daughter that lives with his ex-girlfriend hasn't called him in a while. It was sad to see my boy Antonio like that and most of all, the reason why he is in the situation he is in is because of Alcohol. It’s sad because the thing that has messed up his life right now is what he is turning to, to get away from his problems. I testified to him that we weren't there anymore just to try to get him to church or activities, but in all reality, this gospel and the book of Mormon is what he needs right now in his life. I testified to him that this is the change he has been looking for and the only way he can truly be happy is through Jesus Christ. We left his place after challenging him to read the Book of Mormon and telling him that the answers to his problems would be within the pages. I really hope he reads it and is willing to make the change needed to get his life back on track!

This week has been a little hard on me because we have just run into some road blocks with investigators. All this week I have been like, man why is this hard. Then it hit me one day while I was driving, MISSIONS ARE HARD. And I was like, wow, that's the answer. Because I remembered at the MTC and other people would say that they had hard times in their missions. And before now, I would be like, what do you mean hard times. Do you get beat up? Do you get shot at or something along the lines of physical punishment? Now I realize it’s not so much physically hard, it’s mentally and spiritually hard. After realizing that this wasn't just a cake walk I started to think why it is hard. My first transfer we were teaching a bunch of amazing people that I loved. Now they have all dipped out or fallen away. It has been hard to see the people that I have loved, deny what I know they felt. That's what has been hard. Also, people having the right questions but not wanting to hear the right answers. Anyway, that's what has been tough and now I can see what people mean, and now I am asking the Lord for his help, and he has answered my prayers. I am no longer sad or upset but more willing and have a harder drive to bring the gospel to people just because I know there is an opposite force working on these people and it is my calling to help them come unto Christ.

I told you how we are trying to think of more activities to get going on at the branch, well I brain stormed for a little bit and thought of some pretty sweet ideas. We ran them by Presidente Andrade, and he approved them so now we just have to get them organized and set up. Some of these ideas include: Bible study, Movie Night, Conversion Story Night, Karaoke Night, Sports Night, Branch Service Day, and Cook off Challenge. I feel like these activities will get the branch more unified and get them to bring their friends to church as well! I don't know if I told you guys but we set up Noche de Jugar or Sport night. It was a huge success as about 30 members showed up. It was so fun playing with everyone and having a good time. We had two investigators show up, Antonio and Lorena and two of her kids. Everyone was getting into it and it got pretty crazy. When I offered to play some Mormon tabernacle Choir on a radio that I brought, one of the members named Hugo shouted," No estamos aqui para Bailar!"( hey man, we aren't here to Dance!) it was pretty funny! The relief society even got into it by bringing in Pan dulce and Lechera, so people could eat it after they got done playing. it was a pretty good success and we are going to have another night come up pretty soon!

We met this sweet investigator named Tony knocking and one night we decided to go stop by and see him. When we stopped at his place, he was on his way to a bible study with some people of the apostolic faith. He invited us to go and we decided to check it out. There were a ton of people at the bible study and it was pretty interesting. We didn't get attacked too much by the Preacher but just listened to what he said. I'm not going to hate on the guy cause that's not how I roll, but I did think it was a good idea to start to have a Bible study during the week for our investigators. We will see how that goes and see if any new investigators come to study with us!

I ate dinner with Sister Robinson’s sister and it was so good! Her name is Sister Cowan and she is so awesome! Just had to let you know about that! I also got a letter from Brother Huntington and it was pretty sweet as he really helped me out to stay positive.

Good News Everyone, Maria Ceja is back from Mexico!!!! You remember the grandma that was rambling on about her neighbor’s pets and I couldn't understand her very well a month ago. Well we decided to stop by her house last night and when we pulled up at like 6 at night, she was hanging out in her driveway. We talked to her for a little bit and it was the best. Now I can understand everything she is saying and she is awesome. We are going to start teaching her again and she is cool! I can’t wait to hear what she has to say next!

Peace out!

Elder Dolor