Reeeeeeeally wish I could just learn Spanish in a day... it’s so fun having been here 6 weeks now and still sometimes not understand when people ask where I'm from...
Well, right you are, this is transfer week. And right you are, Dad, I'm staying in Riverdale with Elder Gurrola... kinda. We had two areas covering the Buenaventura branch, with 5 missionaries. Things got reorganized a little. They yanked out one area and made it so we cover it all, and can get to know and strengthen everyone more... but we DID inherit Elder Rodriguez, who still hasn't gone to Guadalajara Mexico because his visa is still delayed. SO I'm in a threesome companionship for a transfer. Weird - my father (missionary lingo, haha), Elder Gurolla, will be training 2 sons now, so I just inherited a step-brother. Heh. Oh yeah.
SO it's been a crazy week. A good week. Lots of cool stuff happening. The Lord is blessing us. Last week I decided I wanted to give more of my all. I started the week off trying harder to speak Spanish - only Spanish. Trying to talk even if I was unsure or hesitant. Trying to be more exactly obedient. And the Lord has poured out blessings. We have been trying to stop by this one lady's house who lives on our street for about the whole transfer. She is Pati Torres, the mother of Edson Torres, who just was baptized. And a miracle happened so we could teach her! For once, she was home. Miracle. We went in. She randomly showed up to church on Sunday to see her son confirmed. She remembered all the lessons - she took NOTES! We taught. It was the best I'd ever taught. Clearly. With the Spirit guiding. She understood really well. At a certain point in my lesson, Elder Gurrola gave her a little card with a picture depicting Joseph Smith’s first vision She looked at it for 30 seconds, then looked up and said quietly but firmly, "Yo se." ("I know.") It was crazy awesome. So spiritual. She accepted a baptismal date then and there. VERY cool. Her son will be receiving the Priesthood, so he will be able to baptize her! Schweet!
OK ONE MORE MIRACLE - On Friday night we were walking home. Suddenly Elder Gurolla said hey lets go talk to this guy we're teaching before curfew. So we went. Halfway there he stopped dead, and said, no, let's just go home. So we did. And if we hadn't have stopped right then and turned around, we wouldn't have passed Zach at the exact moment he walked onto the street. "Hey! Are you Mormon missionaries?"he said to us. We walked over - 17 year old kid, just walking home. "Hey, uh, this is really weird... I mean really weird - I've had a question on my mind about what you believe about what happens after death, and like 30 seconds ago a random thought popped in my head about what it would be like to meet God after this life and what I'd feel like, and, well, then I saw you guys.... got a minute?" Yeah, heck, we had a minute... for the next 40 minutes he talked about being on drugs since the time he was 2 years old basically, and a horrible life, but how he knew God lived, and wanted to change, and was trying with all his might to be clean and pure and how he wanted to grow up, leave his past, go to college, have a good family... it was way cool.
So yeah, good week. Ok, my time is somewhat limited. haha, Mom, nice job mingling with the Hispanics in line at the post office. Next time try to communicate, hah... "Hey, como estan? Todo bien? De donde es usted, Michuacan?" Thanks for sending the package, maybe I'll get it today... sounds like the family is doing well, loosing teeth, piano recitals (there are kids in utah that speak spanish though that have asked me to teach them piano... maybe the girls could come out here... and play for all the baptisms and such so I don't have to...) And sounds like Jeff is doing well, keep up the good work and make them movies, do what’s right. I talk to a lot of kids in 10th grade, and there are a lot of messed up kids, in gangs, beating and such just to get money, just for fun... the Church is true, and we need to be the light to the world, help them see the eternal perspective - I haven't watched TV, thought about movies or normal music in about 4 months, and I really am seeing how much that is insignificant in the big scheme. Don't be distracted by the little things - follow the Spirit, seek the truth, learn who your Father in Heaven is. That is what it’s all about here on this earth. DO IT, EVERYONE.
Ok, story for the girls, cont’d:
[Here’s what the girls added: Heading south, Heidi, Holly and Amy came to a beach and a large body of water. Amy pressed the secret button in the van and POOF! This inflator raft thing, you know, came out and made the van float. Then a great white shark came up and bit it and the van started sinking. But then luckily, Holly was chewing some gum and they stuck that in the hole until (as Amy added) they could find a dolphin with some duck tape. Some fish came along and got stuck in the gum and wiggled their tails. This made the van/boat go faster! Soon a dolphin, with duck tape, came and they patched up the hole for real. The dolphin did a crazy dance and pushed them towards some land. Could it be Utah? Heidi was pretty sure that Utah didn’t have a beach. Or palm trees. They were almost to the land, when…]
They were almost to the land when... a dark shadow passed over them. They looked up, but it was too late. The giant eagle was already picking up the van, and lifted it out of the water... to its giant nest of hungry baby eagles! "HELP!" the girls cried to the dolphin below. The dolphin tried to flip up high enough, but couldn't reach them. They were flying towards the island, and on top of the giant mountain they could see the nest...
Thanks for everything, I love you all, and hope you all have a great week!
So this is how we take pictures of a whole zone, precariously balancing a million cameras...
My first zone, left to right: top row, Elder John; 2nd row, Elder Vargas, Elder Perez (ZL), Elder Gurrola, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Ramirez; 3rd row, Elder Leavitt (ZL), me, Elder Edmonds, Elder Hatch, Elder Margolies; front row, Elder Casillas, Elder Montes
Elder Rodriguez, a visa waiter for Guadalajara Mexico, our new temporary companion
The 90 year old chapel our branch meets in, Buenaventura branch