February 7, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Everyday is something new out here in Oregon, the only problem is that it’s hard for me to write an intro for every letter so I’m just going to start out with what’s been going on and what I've learned. I’ve learned a lot too as I have felt the spirit, and when you feel the spirit, you can't deny it.
My companion Elder White and I are rocking out and getting along really well right now. It’s like what you said in your letter Dad; you have got to find that common ground. I kind of relate it to being bilingual, but to everyone’s different personalities. Like for instance, if I’m bilingual in more than one language like Russian, Spanish, English, and French, I can communicate with more people. But if you’re bilingual in the aspect that you can relate to peoples different personalities, you’re going to be able to communicate with more people as well. Like for Elder White, he’s just a quiet guy, but you’ve got to break down that wall G, then you can rock out on that common ground. It’s taken sometime but the walls are broken and now things are going better than if I didn't try to communicate at all and was content with not talking that much. I’ve learned in relating to others that you just have to break down some walls in order to communicate better. I have learned that anyone that you’re with on your mission is fine, as long as you’re both willing to work hard together.
Something we’ve been trying to do is show the investigators we have that we care about them and not just show up to their house and teach them, but find out what they’re about and what they like to do. So in that sense we’ve been doing a lot of cool stuff with our investigators and getting to know them. For instance, Amancio, the 70 year old G, loves to go on morning walks. So one day I thought it would be cool to walk with him. So during our morning walk, we walked to the local Goodwill and my boy Amancio bought a stapler ha-ha. I also got like 20 new ties for like $1.59 because it is a Goodwill store where you buy things by the pound, Chyeah! We then went and taught Amancio about the Book of Mormon. Also you know my main man Antonio, he likes going to the Pulga (Flea Market) on Saturdays and Sundays so we walked with him there. It was cool and we contacted some people there. We even got to help draw a mural on one of the walls of the flea market. I’ll send you some pictures of what I’m talking about. Showing our investigators that we care is what it’s all about. Antonio called me Sunday morning because he wanted to go to church but he didn't have a ride. We couldn't find him a ride so we just went to his house and walked with him to Church.
Things have been going pretty good here in Keizer and I’m going to let you in on what’s been going down over here. I’ll start with my main man Antonio. Antonio has been to church 4 times so far and he says he really likes it. He has had a tough life and is going through some problems now. We have explained to him many times that with the gospel of Jesus Christ he can change and be the man he wants to be. He shows desires to change as he calls us to go to church and likes going to all the Church activities. He has a problem with the word of wisdom but is trying. In my opinion I don’t feel like Antonio is ready right now to be baptized, but I do have a strong feeling that in the future, he will be ready and willing to come unto the Lord. We will continue to work with him as he likes coming to church and spending time with the members. Amancio is another awesome guy we are teaching, he has had like 3 baptismal dates so far but he keeps on forgetting because he pretty old. One day we stopped by and he asked us why there were so many different religions. We have explained it to him a couple times already but this time we told him to pray about it. So in the lesson he prayed about it and told us he felt good about Joseph Smith and the Church, we will continue to help Amancio feel the spirit and get ready for baptism. Lorena, a less active member we found knocking has shown desires to come back to church. She has 4 kids and we are going to start teaching them the lessons. We are teaching her that this gospel will bring peace back into her life and help her kids grow up in the right path. We have been working a lot with the members and the work is paying off as we are receiving referrals. The Branch members know that we are here to work and not play around. We have found a lot of new people to teach and as always we are trying to help them feel the spirit and act on their feelings. This work isn't easy, but it’s worth it, I know the Lord will bless me as I continue to try and do his will.
Last Fast Sunday was so awesome as the Spirit was so strong in the Rama. Tiffani got up and shared her testimony and so did I. Antonio told me that he felt something in Sacrament meeting and I explained to him that it was the Holy Ghost. I hope that this prompting from the Spirit can give him the drive and the push he needs to completely change. You know what’s pretty tight, when you fast with a purpose, you aren't even that hungry. I have a strong testimony of fasting and that the Lord truly will help us if we are faithful. I look forward to Fast Sundays now and the Spirit is so strong during testimony meeting. You are like more receptive to the spirit when you are fasting, it’s pretty legit.
We ate with Sister Robison’s sister, Sister Cowan and it was so good!!! Hey Mom thanks for writing me the letters in Spanish, I’ll write you back in Spanish soon, it really helps me with my Spanish too and I can understand everything in your letters. I’ve also been writing Valeria in Maipu, Chile in Spanish every Monday and she sent me a scarf, gloves, and a hat in the mail. Thanks so much for the package too!! I have been rocking out to the LDS Children’s Hymns in Spanish and it has been legit! It’s all about rolling around town with the windows rolled down, jamming to Primary songs in Spanish! It’s helped me out a lot and I’ve memorized a lot of songs like Popcorn Popping and If you had a birthday!
A lot of funny things happened this weekend. We did some service this week and we showed up in our church clothes because we didn’t have time to change. Well Polo gave us these sweet jumpsuits to wear over our suits and we looked like we were prison inmates doing community service. Something else funny that happened is that we were playing basketball with Juan Carlos Deloya (member) and he went to drive into the basket for a strong layup. Well I was playing some tough D so he wasn't able to drive in, so he had to do a fade away jump shot. As he jumped to fade away, he elbowed Elder Rangel right in the eye and Elder Rangel got the fattest black eye. It was pretty funny because now Elder Rangel is walking around with a black eye, looking like he got punched by someone for preaching the gospel. Anyway, everyday something happens and it’s pretty good!
By the way, my Spanish is getting a lot better thanks to the Lord.