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Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm sorry about last week's email.

I'm sorry about last week's email.
I wanted to write more but I couldn't. I felt super bad about how short the letter was but I really didn't have a choice. 
Thanks for the awesome package. I love it.
Thanks to all for the great letters and emails. I love hearing from all of you. To those who I haven't written in a while, or yet. I'm super duper sorry. Eventually.... maybe.... I haven't forgotten.
These past two weeks have been such growing experiences and soooo much fun. 3packs are the besttttt. We have a blast. 

I don't have too much time sorry!!!!
So this week --
MONDAY! We had a good meeting with Martha. She again said she wants to be baptized. So we are super excited for her. She has made so much progress since she started investigating. She now says that she will definitely get baptized but she just won’t commit to a specific date any time soon. She wants to do it in November which is cool because her family will be here but she is ready now. So we'll see. We are so happy for her. The secret to her conversion was church. She started coming and she's loved it. And she's recognized our patience and she's willing to continue working towards it. That was pretty much the highlight of the day.

TUESDAY!  We had a cool lesson about the Book of Mormon today which was good. We also had some good street contacts. Those simple short moments are some of my favorite. Street contacting is like trying to teach a powerful lesson in a minute but it’s a make or break. If they don’t like it or don’t feel the Spirit they won’t let you back. If they do, they will. It’s just like a new challenge every few minutes. So bomb. Then the highlight of the day was our lesson with the A family. They are set for baptism July 13th!!!!!!! It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever been in. The Spirit was practically tangible. We went in wanting to talk about baptism. By a fluke they had read 3Nephi11-12. And they had said they felt the Spirit while reading about baptism. Then they started to practically teach us about it. We planned on "hard setting" them but a kid kept distracting Sister A right before Elder Reiley could invite them. She would have to step out right before we'd ask. But Finally we asked and they said yes! Brother A actually came out and said, yeah, I know I need it because my baptism wasn’t valid. Pretty sick!!! They get it. They really understand the Restoration and they have the fire. It makes me think about the broadcast. Sharing the Restoration is the easiest and the most powerful, any member with a testimony of it can share their testimony and spark the interest of a non member. AHHH!! It's so cool. That lesson was incredible. I don’t have time to elaborate on it more. Sister A was crying when she said she wanted to. She said that if she felt ready she'd do it tomorrow. Then she also asked, “What happens when we get baptized?” We started to explain about the gift of the Holy Ghost and stuff but she said, “No, to you all and us?” We said, “Oh, we'll keep coming by,” and she fist pumped really quick and said, “Yes”, super excited. It warmed my heart. :)

WEDNESDAY! We had a sick lesson with a member's friend over some amazing tamales. The nonmember loved the lesson and wants to learn more, she's just scared about what her husband will think. More about her later. When we talked about prophets and eternal families she started to tear up. A little later we had a lesson with the A's children. It was good. Then later we went to a less active's house and gave her and all her children blessings. Hearing her talk about blessings and the importance of faith to her kids made me sad. She has a testimony but she is letting unimportant things hold her back from complete happiness. We did some street contacting a little later. 

THURSDAY! District Meeting was pretty good, probably the best so far. Sister Neider came to it! Then she invited us to her house for lunch! That was fun. And cool. She makes really good food. We sat around her table just giving compliments for an hour. We didn't really get too much done after that but laughed sooo much. 

FRIDAY! Great day. We had a really good planning session. We had a miracle lesson with a former and he opened up and it was super good for him. Not a super eventful day but at night we started exchanges, I got to be with Elder Slik! He's the best. 

SATURDAY! Today was incredible. Elder Slik is like the best. He's taught me so much. He continues to be an amazing example of consecration, faith and great attitude. We had a lesson with a family of people who called us in off the street to teach them about the Book of Mormon. They were super excited. SO were we!!! ES and I talked all day and really caught up bc we've been so busy and haven’t really had time to talk. We had a lot of good street contacts and 2 of them were super interested (English) and the other elders just told me that the lessons we set up went really well!

SUNDAY! We had church which was great as always. Then we did our studies and then we went to the broadcast. It was soooo good. I want to watch it again. And again. Please everyone watch it and study it and learn from it. The Lord needs all of us to step up and work together. There are miracles waiting to be performed if we will just improve our performance. At night I got to interview a woman for baptism, her and her children. We talked for 45 minutes about repentance and forgiveness. It was such a spiritual time. I love meeting with such humble people who really want to make a change, who have come to knowledge of their Father in Heaven and their Redeemer and want to make a covenant of obedience. It strengthens my faith and devotion. I love it.

So that's the bare bones of the week. Sorry I don't have a lot of time.
You are all the best.
Thanks for all the prayers and love and support.
I love you all so much,
Sam

Monday, June 17, 2013

no time! HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Dear Everyone!
This was a great week. It's such a blessing to be a missionary. Life is wonderful.
I'll have to fill in all the blanks later.

Monday was awesome. We had a miracle lesson with a new couple of investigators. They asked great questions.

TUESDAY! I traded the fabulous Elder Johnson for the incredible Elder Ledezma! Elder Ledema is from Chihuahua Mexico. He's a stud. He's been in the mission for 16 months and has a great attitude. He's always smiling, always joking. Super funny, super awesome. He's a really good guy and he loves to draw. He's so good at it too. WE HAD THE SICKEST LESSON WITH THE A FAMILY!!!! AHHH! So we planned on talking about the Plan of Salvation. We had a dope lesson planned but before we could start Sister A said she wanted to tell us about an experience. She said that one day she was feeling really sad, depressed and didn't know what to do. So she decided to go and watch TV but a voice told her to "go read the Book of Mormon." She ignored it for a moment but then went and did so. As she began to read she said that all her bad feelings were washed away and she felt peace. Then she prayed and felt super happy. She got emotional telling us. Then Brother A said, "Yeah she told me, and I was like yeah right.  I'm sure there's a logical explanation." But he decided to read and pray too.  He said that once he really started reading and pondering he felt something. He said it felt like a fire in his chest. He said he tried to find a logical explanation for it by continuing to read. It didn't go away. He tried to read other books and he didn't feel the same thing. He told us no matter what happens after if anyone asks him about the Book of Mormon he will say, I read it and I felt something the first time. It was suppppper awesome. Read, Ponder, and Pray and you'll feel it. That's a promise from God. 

WEDNESDAY! I picked up Elder Reiley, - he's a spiritual beast. 

Thursday we had awesome trainings.

Friday planning and a lesson with Martha when she said she for sure wants to get baptized.

Sorry. No more time.
Awesome week.
I love you all so much.
Sam

Monday, June 10, 2013

GREAT WEEK. NO TIME. SO SORRY.

So here's the transfer doctrine:
I'm staying. Elder Johnson is leaving. It was a painfully short transfer. He's the best. I will be with Elder Ledezma tomorrow! He is an older elder in the mission and I don’t know too much about him. I'm excited to have the new chance to serve and love and grow. AND! We will be 3 packin'. I will be training a new missionary! Idk anything about him. He gets here Wednesday. And I'm still district leader. It's going to be another 6 weeks of intense growth. I love getting better. 
Man it's been a crazy, crazy week. Black and white couldn't do it justice and I didn't take any pictures. So... 
I'm not going to write anything.
Jk

MONDAY! We played bball for the 1st time on my mission (I think) and it was fun. I played on a team with the other 3 elders in my district and we dominated. They are the best. I'm so lucky to have them. Monday afternoon we got invited to eat with a Hawaiian family. We ate this awesome meal but I don’t remember what it is called. It was basically like personal Benihana’s with this awesome meat and sauce. That night all our lessons flaked but I started an exchange with Elder Andrews. He is in one of the other districts but his companion needed some practice in his Spanish so I sent him to Desert Bloom with Elder Johnson. He and I have served around each other before but never really gotten to know each other so we had a nice long talk and got pretty close. He's awesome.

TUESDAY! I got to spend the day on bike, in the heat in English! What a blessing. We biked like crazzzy. Over the course of the day Elder Andrews fed me a ridic amount of food. Like sooo much. He made me bfast and lunch and all these members fed us. I felt like I was wearing a backpack over my stomach! We met some really cool people. One was a couple who were converts of about 20 years. They had married in the temple and sent children on missions and were getting their life in order to become temple workers. They are awesome missionaries. They are always sharing the gospel and fellowshipping and doing everything they can to get others to be happier. They told us their awesome conversion story. I can’t tell it all bc of lack of time. But basically the man opened the door one afternoon and the elders were standing there and he felt something saying to him, “Invite them in, what they say is true.” So he did. And he listened. And then got baptized. Long story short - his life in the church was then dotted with miracles. They told us that they contacted the 8 missionaries that taught the two of them -- all inactive. They were devastated. It was such a happy story to hear but so sad to hear about the missionaries. They did so much good for this family but they lost it :/. Life's hard sometimes. Dinner was ground beef tacos. Eating them I thought how I really don’t ever want to eat faux Mexican food again. It's just not nearly as good. Not worth it. Then we had a sickkkkk lesson with an investigator. We said a prayer to start but then the member and him started talking about work for a few minutes and the investigator said, “Alright alright, let’s start again. Can we say another prayer?”  So sick. Then when we were talking about the Atonement he got a little emotional. It was such a powerful experience to teach someone with such real intent and such a testimony of the Savior’s love. He'd lived a hard life. More on that in 2 years. That was defff the highlight of the day.

WEDNESDAY! We got a free lunch! Then we had a lesson with Martha (the eternigator). She said she'd been pondering since the lesson on Sunday (about baptism) and she wants to get baptized! That threw us off. She said some other weird stuff but the desire to be baptized was a new thing!! We later went to a members house which was cool too. Members love us which rocks. We visited a family of recent converts and when we asked what we could do to help they said, “Stay safe, find people who need you, and come back soon.” Warmed my heart. That night we had the craziest night with a LA [less active]. We sat in the complete dark talking. Sounds weird but it wasn’t the first time I've done it on my mission. It's odd. But I guess people are comfortable doing it. 

THURSDAY! We had 3 lessons set up but all fell through. People are hard to catch here. Then out of nowhere the ZLs called and asked us to do an emergency exchange with Elder Fahina (who I look up to a lot. He's a great missionary with a great attitude and he works hard and is very Christ-like) We had a miraculous day. It was soooo good. We had an amazing experience at dinner. The sister who fed us was a single mom of 5 (2 sets of twins!) and really struggling with a lot of things. Her kids don’t respect her and she is trying to get herself active in the church and everything. We read some of the Book of Mormon with her and she started crying and really opened up to us. She said something like, “I've got one foot in and one foot out and it's tearing me in half.” We testified of the scriptures and their power and it was such a spiritual experience. Nights like that are the reason I’m here. When you want to talk to God, pray. When you want to hear His voice, read the scriptures. I love the scriptures. We had a great night and I learned a lot from Elder Fahina.

FRIDAY! We had a District Leader training meeting and a Zone Training Meeting. Both were super good and I learned a lot of things I can do to improve.  I always want to be better. Then we continued our exchange, Elder Fahina and I. We visited a bunch of LA and had a really good night. With a PMF [part member family]we had an awesome lesson about the Book of Mormon. Want to have a good lesson? Teach the Book of Mormon! It's the best! I love it. It was a great day.

SATURDAY! We found out the transfer doctrine, Elder Johnson to Green Valley and me here in the 3pack. I’m excited. I've served in sooo many 3packs it’s kinda funny. We got a free box of donuts for trading in an ugly tie. We had a couple great street contacts. 

SUNDAY! Great day. A bunch of people at church. The A. family (our golden family) are being so well integrated. They have a group of friends and a support group and are progressing really well. We went out with a recent convert at night and talked with formers and stuff. It was a good experience but we didn’t get in anywhere. Just as we were about to call it a night we knocked on one more door that we already knocked on. The person we were looking for didn’t live there but a PMF did! Cool! They were super interested and we are going back soon.

We see so many miracles here.
The church is true. I know it.
I'm going to miss Elder Johnson but I'm pumped for a new chance to learn and grow.
I love you all so much
Sam

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Josiah's deutoronomuic reform of the temple

Wassup! 
I love you guys all so much. Thanks for being the best.
This has been a great week. I'm so tired, but so happy. 

MONDAY! We had a sick LESSON of the RESTORATION with a new FAMILY of INVESTIGATORS! How SICK is that? (Maybe I'll type like this for increased skimmability). They were SUPER INTERESTED and asked a lot of GREAT QUESTIONS. It was really hopeful. They have gone to CHURCH twice before this and are super solid. It is a family from Mexico, a young couple with their three kids. They are all SO NICE. They are the really close friends of a MEMBER in our ward. It was pretty cool because the member family was super excited to give us the "referral" so that was neat to see. And the lesson went so well. After the lesson we stopped in on a member to see how they were doing and they said, “ oh wow we were just thinking how we probably should have done family home evening and then you showed up!” So they made us read a scripture and then they made us helote (corn on the cob with all sorts of toppings) and crepes. Pretty good trade if you ask me, I get to read the scriptures AND eat? Nice. The members love us and its super cool. I try hard to be likeable and not a jerk but I don’t deserve the treatment. Not complaining!
Again lemme stress how great life is here. I've never had so much fun, and worked so hard, and given so much and gained so much. It's dope.

TUESDAY! Another great day. Like the 200th in a row or something. We had interviews with President Neider! While we waited for out turn, Sister Neider trained us on how to give the first lesson. The best part for me was this: “Think about you and a friend coming home after a long day of rabbit hunting. You meet up with a group of friends and sit on the couch and someone asks you how it went. Are you going to sit and be bored and boring? NO! You're going to be excited and happy and engaging.”  I thought about that for a long time. Because I definitely love the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and all this stuff more than I like killing innocent rabbits all day. So I should be at least that excited! It’s hard to explain. But I think you all get the point. I don’t think I'm a boring teacher but I could maybe be more energetic. My interview with President was great too. Later that day we taught a lesson to an old woman who doesn’t have a ride to church and is always busy but reads the scriptures a lot. She was so sweet and talked about her studies with us. Later in the night we visited a member who had just had a stroke a few days earlier but seems totally fine now. The doctor couldn't explain why he was so healthy. We had a cool time with him talking about that and we taught him how to consecrate oil and give blessings. He was so grateful to us. He has had the oil and the priesthood and hasn't been able to give his family blessings until now.

WEDNESDAY! We had DM[district meeting]. It was pretty good. It was about planning and I did a better job than last week, but not as good as I want to do this week. It’s really tough to train. It’s hard to explain over email but it’s difficult to give a good 'training'. It's not like giving a talk because it’s based around practicing the skill to use. AP [Assistant to the President] Elder Fisher was there and gave me some critiques and some compliments which I liked a lot. He's an awesome missionary. I'd love to be his companion and just soak up his vast amount of missionary skills and knowledge. We had a lesson which flaked so we had some time to talk to a bunch of people which I loved. Just as we were about to peace out we saw a family moving and we jumped in to help. 1st move of the week. They were super grateful and we were able to share the gospel a little bit too. But it was most awesome because I don't know how they were planning on carrying a lot of their stuff without Elder Johnson's muscles. I love helping people. Later after dinner the member told us how tired she was so we convinced her to let us do the dishes really quick. That made her pretty happy. Then we taught a lesson to a recent convert family. It was super cool. We just talked about the conversion process and they shared cool stories with us. We also got to hear about how they met in Mexico which was pretty cute. Long story short - Love at first sight at a huge communion party. Didn't get a chance to talk. Found each other again later by accident. Got married at the same place they 1st saw each other - still in love more than 40 years later. Awwwww. Anyway. Then we taught a sick lesson about the Word of Wisdom to Carolina (the super solid investigator) that went super well. She committed herself to going to church which was the only thing holding her back from baptism. She'd been hit by "anti" stuff a bunch since she started telling everyone about her baptism but she was fine. 

THURSDAY! It rocked too! We were talking to people and saw a family moving and we helped them and just as we gave them the information of the English missionaries, a member of the ward called and asked for our help in helping him move out too! 2nd and 3rd moves of the week. It was good. There were a bunch of members there to help and it was a good time with the ward. They tried to pay us like 50 bucks. I don’t like getting offered money. I also don’t like when people ask for our papers to sign. I'm doing this because I love you and want to help you! But oh well. We had some really good visits with members that day and then had another lessons with our SICK AWESOME FAMILY OF PEOPLE THAT WANT TO GET BAPTIZED! It was a good lesson focused on the Book of Mormon.

FRIDAY! Another great day. It was our planning day but for some reason we felt that we should go out for a little bit before we planned. We walked outside and there was a family packing up and moving. So we stopped to help them. The woman was so, so, so happy. When she saw us she said "Oh! The Mormons ain’t so bad after all!" We worked hard and fast and kept a good attitude and by the end she opened up a lot to us. She was telling us that she thought we were bad people and stuff like that but now she has completely changed her mind. She told us about her struggles with racism here in Vegas (she's black) and all the threats and things. She was having a horrible day and was really depressed and didn't know how to keep going on. But then we showed up! We were an answer to her prayers. She like praised the goodness of God for like 5 minutes with us which was pretty cool. She said "I want you to know that you are doing God's work and you are his angels." It was bomb! I thought she was going to hug and kiss us which kinda freaked me out. Then when we rejected the money I thought she was going to have a heart attack! She said, “You know what? When I get to California, I'm going to the Mormon church.”  She asked for our card and number and stuff. We helped her not only be happy but to have a huge change of heart. 4th move of the week. We taught a lesson to a PMF [part member family]which was pretty good. They opened up to us a lot when we told them that we didn't want to push him in the font.  We are there to first help him build his faith in Jesus Christ. They told us some good stories and he ended by saying that when he’s ready he'll get baptized. Worst part of the day? Carolina dropped us over text. Like I mentioned earlier she'd been getting antied hard core. Like all her friends trying to convince her not to go and sending her to crazy sites on the internet. So she got fed up with all the mess and texted us and said that she doesn’t want to get baptized. It was horrible. She texted us one of the links she visited and we had a member go on it for us. It's just some mean, mean, not true stuff. It’s sad. She was sad. We were sad. BUT! We haven't given up on her. She'll come back eventually. We know that she knows it’s true. She's just confused with all the crap she's been hearing.

SATURDAY! We did our planning today. Then we taught a lesson about The Book of Mormon which was sick. Then we went to a baptism in LOS FELIZ FOR JUAN PABLO!!!! I got to see all missionaries from back there. That rocked. But most important JP got baptized:) :) :) I was so happy. I also got to see the ward leaders which was cool too.

SUNDAY! Great fast and testimony. Great lessons at church. Then we helped another family move. 5th of the week!!!! We were sooo exhausted by then also bc we were fasting. Then we went to a Spanish fireside and our AWESOME family went!

Such a good week!@!!!!! 
:) 
I love you all so much.
Sam