August 27-Sept 2

Looking back, this week felt really long. Nothing happened monday besides Ritchie’s dentist appointment and football. Tuesday I was in my area with my dl Schnitzius for exchanges. We had an awesome day. We met some interesting people. We pulled up to a potential from a long time ago, before I was here, and I said “okay lets go”. Then Schnitzius said “alright gabriel”. That was the name of the person we were about to see, and I had never told him her name or anything. That was crazy.

We also went up to a referal’s house and even before we introduced ourselves, he told us to come in and sit down. He wasnt even the one that the other missionaries talked with, and he had never talked with missionaries before. He has been through a lot, has Cerebral Palsy, is handicapped, has had siblings die, and has a lot of doubt about life. We will fix that. We also sat outside of Joselio’s taco truck and talked to people for a while. We met a weird guy who talked about weird stuff and has been in jail for drugs. Fun times. Wednesday we had a good district meeting then went out to eat at a chinese buffet. Some of us did not have money and were going to borrow from other Elders. But a man came up to us and said he would pay for all 6 of us. That was a blessing. That night we taught the plan of salvation to crystal, who now has a baptismal date. She has a lot of her own beliefs that do not coincide with the bible, but is very open to learning, and what we teach fills in a lot of gaps in her understanding and helps he realize the truth.

Thursday was an awesome day. We had a couple who only got baptized 3 years ago come with us to 2 lessons. One with that family that we started teaching 6 or so weeks ago, and to that eternigator cruz. Both lessons were awesome and having members to lessons really boosts the efficacy and spirit (same thing). Friday we saw Paloma for the first time in a long time. She seems to have gotten better. She seems a little more happy, but still Paloma. Her crazy daughter that drives her nuts in calming down a bit. We also weekly planned then had another lesson with crystal. That one didnt go too hot. We started off just wanting to go over the creation story, she didnt know it for some reason( genesis 1 and 2). That turned into going over the 10 commandments, which… is sensitive. Which turned into some guilt for the less active members present and talking about praying to maria. Not good times.

Saturday we did some service and pulled out a lesson or two here and there. Sunday was legit. We got an awesome less active, and an investigator to come to church. That was the first one in like 2 transfers. Plus it was testimony meeting, and the class was good. We taught the young men third hour about missionary work. We also had 2 lessons, one of which was with Alberto who is awesome and living the Word of wisdom.

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Labor Day

This are picking up. we had a solid week. We just got back from golfing. We are going to go grill some fish then hang out with a member who use to be a boxer. Hopefully he will “show us the ropes”. Transfers are next week so you will know by monday, or if the cooks tell you before.

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August 20-26

Monday both of our lessons canceled. No fun. Tuesday was a pretty good day. We had 2 really good lessons with luis and rocky. We stopped by hugo and nayeli but they didn’t answer the door even though they were home. Bummer. Wednesday was 1/2 mission tour. We went down south to gridley at 8. Elder Cardon from the 70 and our mission president spoke to us. Also all of the elders that will not be here for the next conference bore their testimonies. The meeting lasted till 4. Our dinner also didn’t happen that night so we got to feed ourselves again. We did get to have a good lesson with an eternigator that night. He promised he would come to church. We also visited aunt and uncle afterwards.

Thursday we talked with jesus and had burritos with him. We stopped by a less active family that night. One of them has a new girlfriend who isnt a member. She is interested in learning, so we started teaching her. It was a good lesson, then afterwards we did family home evening with them. They really enjoyed that. Friday we weekly planned and English class canceled again. Our lesson afterwards also canceled. We had dinner that night with an english member that speaks spanish and use to come to the branch. We had another lesson with the girlfriend of the less active afterwards. Saturday English class canceled again. We went around trying to visit some people I use to teach, but none were home.

The 4th ward here had a Luau and we were invited for the food. I ended up speaking with some spanish people the whole time. One of them, who is not a member, knows the guy that we are teaching that has the Taco truck. We had a good time. That night, we saw the eternigator again and he reassured us that he would be coming to church. He didnt. We had a great lesson with that family before church. We got a family to come with us and they got along quite well. Church was awesome. Bro cook bestowed upon all of us, individually as families, a blessing and gave thanks. The branch is awesome. Both classes were really fun. We did a teaching activity as a competitive challenge between 2 different presidencies. This week we have a lot of stuff set up and we are looking forward to a lot of work.

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August 6-19

This week was a plain and simple service week. We had a lot of lessons fall through. Luckily, we filled them all up with service. Tuesday we helped the elderly neighbor of our branch president. We helped him dig a few small trenches, trim hedges, uproot some cement posts, and such. He then asked us if we would like a punching bag and a weight bench. The other elders we were with have been looking for a bag, and I have wanted a bench. We didn’t have time to get them that day, so he said we would get them the next time we come back to finish up (tomorrow). Wednesday we had exchanges. I had elder Casteel, the new one in the district. He is a spunky little guy. We did some service for a less active and then had to get the car serviced. Then we had dinner with a family all the way out in Corning, which is like a 25 min drive. Casteel does not speak Spanish, and the sister does not speak English. We loved the food, and we made him give the dinner thought. He read a few scriptures in Spanish and I translated the thought for him. He did a good job.

Thursday we help a less active in another ward pretty much all day. We went over and did a lot of trimming and cutting and such. She also had 10 other garbage bags of stuff to get rid of. So we went to the apartment and had lunch while we waited for him to call us. He took longer than he said he would. But we then went over and loaded up the truck and headed out to dump it. Both green dumps were closed already so the plan was to take them out in the middle of no where and dump. After heading out, he noticed he was low on gas and that he had an appointment to fix a guys truck. We headed back and waited around while he worked on a truck. Eventually, we made our way up the mountain and did some off roading to dump it all. We were a little late for dinner and showed up in our service clothes. Friday we had weekly planning and a lesson with luis. Saturday was the big day. We got up early to work out. Then we were going to play soccer with some investigators, but they didn’t play due to the olympics. So we decided to search for some moving vans to help out with. Quite early on, we found a family that had just started their move. They were really awesome and even right from the start, I felt like I had already known them. They had some other families there helping from their Bible study, but managed to take over most of the lifting. We went back and forth between their houses loading and everything. We spent all day until dinner helping them move. They were so grateful that we even went back over after dinner to help them with one last thing. Hopefully we will stay in contact and get to help them later. Dinner that night was at the reception for a member’s son. We had nachos. Sunday, Ritchie did not feel well so we left after Sacrament. I got some extra study time. Monday we played golf, basketball, and dodgeball, the real way. We had southern food for dinner with the Jones and did some service with some other elders.

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August 6th Update

After pday monday, we had a farewell dinner at the cooks. We (including her daughter) told sister cook that I was leaving. She bought ribs again. Which meant I had to grill. She found out before we got there that I wasnt actually moving because Mulleneaux told her. But, another Spanish elder, Erekson, was actually leaving. So we celebrated his departure instead.

Tuesday we helped unpack the new Zone leader. He is the 3rd one that I have helped move in. Afterwards, we stopped by a few formers that I havn’t seen since Mulleneaux. We drove by ones house but he had just gotten out of his car, so we kept driving. But as I thought about it, I got a sharp pain in my chest. So I decided we should go talk to him. He was happy to see us and we even set up a time to come back and see him. After dinner, we stopped by to meet another new guy in the zone. Afterwards, we checked on our semi investigator that we never get to teach because he works all day, and when hes not working, he is helping out handicapped people. We talked to him at his truck and said that it would actually be a good time to stop by and talk regularly.

Wednesday we tracted some. Nothing special. Before we even said anything, this one guy said he was not interested. So we asked him “interested in what?” He said he used to live in Salt Lake City and is not interested. And we met a girl named Dusty. We actually had a member come with us to two lessons that night. They were both awesome. Then we actually had dinner with aunt and uncle, as we call them. We still stop by and see Mulleneaux’s aunt and uncle and we are kinda adopted into it. So we had fun, at pasta, and actually talked alittle bit about the Book of Mormon (they are not members that play in a Christian band).

Thursday morning we stopped by a dentist. Ritchie has been having some headaches that he thinks might be related to his teeth. They only took xrays and we have to go back later. After district meeting, we all went to a chinese buffet. Pretty much everyone got torn up by it, except me. I sort of had… the opposite reaction. I was even hungry that night. A member that sometimes comes to the branch because she speaks spanish gave us a lot of canned food and such. Oh it was great. We got a lot of fruit, stew, veggies, and even olives. We are pretty much set for the month. Two lessons fell through, but the one that did happen was amazing. The branch President came with us again to Rocky. He is a great guy, and has been through a lot, so kinda likes to talk. Once we finally got to the teaching part, we taught him about the Book of Mormon and its role in everything we teach and in ours lives. He works a lot and has a hard time sitting down and reading, but is interested in showing his faith, and learning about the scripture.

Friday not much happened beside teaching Bible stories in our English class. Saturday was a day that we went out and looked for service. We found some opportunities to help some members and a less active. But first we had to drive around for a while looking for moving trucks. We found some, but they were always done already. We had short lesson with a referal and set up a time to see him the next day. That night the branch had a baptism of the woman that got married last week. Erekson even got to come back and baptize her. It was the first convert baptism in the branch in a very long time. Sunday the first lesson that we set up didnt happen. But the family we usually teach on Sunday morning was definitely there… After beginning to explain how trials in life can be blessings, and bringing up adam and eve, they vented to us a problem they are having with one of their daughters. Needless to say, it was above our pay grade and all the help that we had to offer, which is really all they need, was assurance that the gospel and jesus can help with everything. Church was just a plain good day at church. Bearing your testimony does that. We saw the guy that we talked with yesterday. We were teaching about prayer and one of the investigators of the english elders sat in on the lesson. We had her bear her testimony, and we translated. She is an eastern star, the female version of the masons. It was quite an interesting lesson.

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Update July 23rd 2012

Monday after pday we had dinner with the Jaimes. Sis jaime usually utilizes missionary dinners as an opportunity to experiment with cooking. Luckily, the stirfry was a sucess. Afterwards, we actually had a lesson with Cruz, the guy who we have had miracle lessons with that still doesn’t act upon anything. We reviewed a little bit of the Book of Mormon and set up a return for today. He has a kitten with 7 toes on his front two feet. Tuesday we went to an appartment complex to contact a referal and do some tracting. We set up a few return appointments for another set of Elders, but no Spanish speakers. We did however meet a Buddhist guy. He has served several years in the medical field and in a few wars, he still smokes, and bikes everywhere. He was an interesting guy, but not interested in truth.

We then went to a few more referals and had no success either. But we had like a 15 min chat with some super catholics. They talked really fast and barely gave us any room to talk. But we just listened and agreed on a few things. Then I asked her how much she believed in the Bible. She said it was the word of God. I asked if she believed it all, including prophets. She agreed. So I asked how great it would be to have a living day prophet in this time, and that there is one. She said that would be nice but believes there are a bunch of false ones like the Bible says. I then asked her how she would like to know for sure for her self that there is one here today called of God. She kinda stumbled in speach and got caught. She said that would be nice but she doubts it. I said she could know through pray and letting us meet with her but she acted like she was in a hurry to leave because she was confounded. But we gave her our number.

We also met with a less active return missionary. We use to visit him to teach his cousin. So we are going over there almost every day to do some scripture studies. Wednesday we had plans but appearantly nothing happened. Thursday we had an awesome district meeting about Book of Mormon anwsers to questions of the soul. We then went to a pizza place for buffet. I had 13 slices of pizza, but my comp and another elder had 26 each. They basically we incompacitated for the next few hours, so we had an exchange and I drove again. It was pretty fun. We went and visited some of his less actives, had a steak dinner, and had a sweet member present lesson with Rocky. We answered some of his questions and really taught him according to his needs instead of what we planned on teaching.

Then came the excitement. With only 44 miles of gas, we decided to drive up to an area that has always been too far for the other elders to bike. The sign said it was only 14 miles away. But we didn’t realize how steep it was going up. We got to low fuel at about half way there. So we were slightly freaking out some. It was also dark. I can’t really explain the car ride, but it was just a lot of fun. We were in nuetral pretty much the whole way back. Though we were stuck behind a lame driver who had his brakes on around every little corner going like 40 mph even though it was to go 50, we got up to 60 mph. We almost passed him in nuetral. Good times. Friday we weekly planned and met with Jesus, the less active. But we had exchanges with the other Spanish elders, so we left half way through. I returned with Reynolds and had some brownies his wifed cooked. We then talked for awhile about his mission and stuff he learned and his situation. Saturday was a pretty solid day. We had a lesson with luis, jesus, the family that we teach english, and Mulleneaux’s aunt and uncle. We went over there to help move some stuff from their upstairs and chat. They made us some scones. We exchanged back that night at a party for pioneers day.

Sunday Jesus gave a talk ( that only happens in the Spanish branch!). It was really cool to see him back at church. After dinner with the senior missionary couple, we had a lesson with Alberto and Aurora. It is always cool to meet with them. It was a pretty good week.

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Update July 16th 2012

I’m going to start doing updates in their own separate subject to keep tract of them better. I think I will use them in the future.

Overall, this week was good. Monday we returned to a house we visited once before that we gave a Spanish Book of Mormon to and said they would prefer an English. She is really nice but doesn’t seem too interested yet. Tuesday we had a training meeting as a zone. We learned more about weekly planning and setting goals. About a week before hand, the zone leaders sent a voice-mail saying that we were getting ipads, and that we were having this training to learn how to use them. But it didn’t happen. Everyone was quite disappointed. Afterwards we filled out the biannual questionnaire about Preach my Gospel (I have now filled out 2). We stopped by a few potential’s houses but they weren’t there.

Dinner with the Jones! We always look forward to those. This time was just eclectic though, no certain theme. But we watched the trek video from the week before. Another set of elders called us and gave their phone to a Latino. So I talked to him and set up a return appointment. Wednesday we had interviews with President. That was a booster to morale and motivation. We talked about a lot of stuff like opening a new city that seems to be highly populated by Latinos that is in the zone, setting up a Mormon booth at the Thursday market down town, and setting up an English class out in Hamilton City. He also wanted to meet Hugo and Nayeli, but they weren’t home that night. We had dinner with a less active family that we forgot to go eat with last week. They told us we would have to eat double, but I didn’t even get full. We had exchanges that night. The district leader came over to my area and I got to drive. That was a very eventful day. I played around the world with 2 other elders during a district/zone leader meeting. Then we went tracting in a middle class white area. So I could actually understand everything they were saying. We met some pretty interesting people, though none were interested. But the one person that said we could come back later, was a Spanish person. One guy did let us in and showed us some of his daughter’s art. We then had dinner with the Branch President. Nothing special, just some really good salsa.

The lesson with Rocky was awesome, he recommitted to baptism once he feels ready. Friday we had some lessons cancel, but we had a really good one with Luis about following the prophet and taught some Bible stories in English class. We didn’t have a dinner set so we kind of jokingly asked some other elders if we could go with them. They called her and said sure. So we had dinner with the Hmong and 1st ward elders. The member is actually a friend of the family that owns a taco truck and restaurant that we are working with. So we got to talk to her and learn some useful stuff about him.

Saturday we cleaned the church again. Then we finally had a lesson with that family that we have been trying to see on Sunday for the past 10 weeks. It went better than expected, they even gave us some tamales. The Hmong elders have been asking for some so we gave them to them. English class canceled but we managed to get a lesson in with a family that we didn’t get to see on Wednesday. That guy that I set an appointment with over the phone wasn’t home so we ate burritos. The lesson with Hugo and Nayeli was great. We read some scriptures from the Bible about the Apostacy and then rewatched the Restoration video. Sunday was the usual. We had a fireside that night for recent converts, investigators, and less actives. No one that we invited came, but Ritchie sang. It was cool to hear from everyone’s recent converts and see their investigators.

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July 9th 2012

This week was odd. We started Monday off well with volleyball and a lesson. But Tuesday and Wednesday we had none. Tuesday, we couldn’t get a hold of anyone, and Wednesday was the 4th, so no one was available, and we avoided tracting because holidays are crazy here. So we stopped by the Family history center and talked to one of the workers, learned some new stuff, and worked a little on After district meeting, we all went to an investigator’s restaurant, but we went in and no one was there. So we went over to his taco truck and he said they were closed. He gave us the keys and we went over and locked his restaurant for him then ate at the truck. Besides that, Wednesday, all we did was have dinner with the Ellers and visited a missionary who hurt his ankle.

Thursday we moved a family with some english elders. I was in charge of the stacking and packing in the truck. It was one of my most solid games of tetris to date. Then we had dinner with the Jones again. This time it was Japan. We had sushi, calamari (not fried, yum) all the sauces, soy beans, buck wheat noodles, kelp to make our own sushi rolls, fried shrimp, and fruit. It was awesome. We then rushed over to have a lesson with Rocky. He is pretty interesting, with his past, and his view on life right now. We committed him to be baptized once he knows that this is all true, after teaching him about the gospel of Christ and proper baptism. He said he wants to learn more first.

Friday was the day of the branch party. But before the party, we had a lesson with Paloma. But Elder Ritchie distracted her hyper child while I taught her about prayer. It went pretty well until I noticed how swollen her daughter’s knee was. She said it didn’t hurt, but there were two small bites close to each other and Paloma freaked out. So we cut it short and she took her to the doctor. (Called yesterday and she said she is all fine). While driving through town I decided to call someone we met in Hardee’s awhile back because I thought I saw him texting outside the building. He didn’t answer.

The party was fun. Mulleneaux, my trainer who went home already, came back with another return missionary that served here and another member. They are all going to BYU together right now. So I got to see my only other companion, who has already gone home, which doesn’t happen much. I played some basketball, soccer, and horse shoes with some members and one of our investigators. Nayeli also came with Sofia and we talked for awhile. We might play tennis together soon. Mulleneaux’s aunt and uncle, who we have taught a few times, came. They are a hoot. I played all those sports in shirt and tie.
Saturday we cleaned the church. One of the members who used to be a cowboy (Mexican style) came up to us after cleaning out the spider webs, and pulled a huge black widow out of his pocket. He held it in his hand and let it crawl over him. We also had a lesson with Luis, the investigator that came to the party. It was a short simple one about the Sabbath day. We had to drive all the way up to Corning (35 mins) for dinner. But it was amazing. She made hard tacos, except they are tortillas fried together in the folded shape. Not like the lame hard tacos that I never eat. I had 10 of them. We also finally had english class.

SUNDAY. Crazy stories: #1 We had the usual lesson with that family before church. Except the mother didn’t talk or look us in the eyes the whole lesson, but the husband did, and talked more than normal. Church was normal, except we had two return missionaries. Afterwards, we go to see a family that we have been trying to see on Sundays every week since Ritchie got here. They said we can come over at 4 (usually 8) because they would definitely be there. They were, and so were their friends. So they still let us in, but we decided to just have a prayer with them since friends were there. But when we said we were going to pray, their friends stood up and said they will go stand outside for it. We said that its alright, they can stay and we can pray for them too, but they just walked out. After we prayed, before leaving, we asked the family what was up with their friends. They are Jehovah’s witnesses… The funniest thing is though, as we were walking up to the door earlier, Ritchie whispered Jehovah witness, out of no where. So when we walked away, I asked him how he knew. He didn’t know what I was talking about, and said he didn’t even know he said that.

#2. We were suppose to have dinner with a member. She is female so I said in order to eat with you, we need to eat outside, and she said fine. When it was about 30 mins till we were suppose to be there, she called and asked us where we wanted to eat. I said, you said we could eat outside, because you couldn’t find a friend. She said, yes, where do you want to eat. (all in spanish, I wasnt sure If I just wasnt understanding her correctly, so I gave the phone to Ritchie.) Same thing, he says we will meet her at her place, because she is picking up a friend. We get there, and she shows up with one of our investigators, Rocky. She say, do you want to ride with us or follow… I say, follow you….where? TO A RESTAURANT! So we say ok we will follow. We are freaking out in the car the whole time trying to figure out what to do. Its Sunday, we are missionaries, a member wants to take us to a restaurant, and she has an investigator with her. We called the district leaders, zone leaders, APs and even the president. No one answered. Luckily, when we pulled up the the restaurant, it was closed. So we told her we had an appointment soon and we will just have to eat with her another time. So we went to the Cooks and they gave us some pasta to cook.

Today I am going to try and write letters and catch up on journals.

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June 25th – July 1st 2012

Thursday we had exchanges. I was on a bike in the english area again. We taught one of their new members and went tracking for awhile. We found a few people that said we could come back as well as someone who said she is related to Brigham Young, isnt a member, but her family is, and has been a Jehovah’s witness witness for awhile, but had a mental break down and stopped. We also had a really long lesson with a really cool guy. We explained pretty much the whole importance of our church, how to find answers, the role of the gospel in our trials, and talked about our personal lives. He has been through a lot and was pretty open to listening, as well as talking about his past. He trained with a hall of fame fighter from the UFC and had pictures with him, and is a part of his gym. We also got dropped by one of their investigators. So that was the first time I have been dropped, but at least it wasn’t one of mine. Everything canceled Friday again. We tried to stop by a few more potential families but they weren’t home. I bought some old fashion suit cases from a second hand store for really cheap. Thrift shopping is amazing as a missionary. We had dinner with the Arevalos and got a referral.

Saturday we checked on that referral, but she said to come back when her husband is home. English class canceled again. We had dinner with the Cooks after we couldn’t find any success. Then Nayeli says that Sofia is okay and that we can come over. But we got there and knocked the door and no one answered, so we left a family history pamphlet and left. But right as we drove out of the neighborhood, she calls and says to come back, they didn’t hear us knock. So we went back and taught a little about family history and how important it is. It was the first time either of us taught that lesson, but it was awesome and they gave us some amazing comments. Sunday we had a good lesson in the morning before church with the new family. They are a little slower to understand and less active in the lessons, but still made a few good comments. Everything canceled after church as well. But we did have some amazing hamburgers with a member.
That was the rest of the week of 6/25- 7/1

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