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Monday, July 15, 2013

I’m so tired. But so pumped.

I so can't wait to tell you all this till the end. 
I've always been trying to be the best I can be, working hard and trying to improve, but for one reason or another, I've never had a lot of lessons. When I got assigned to Desert Bloom 2, like 3 months ago, I was kinda sad because I knew this area had like the least Hispanics in the whole mission. At least that's what everyone had told me. They all said, “It’s great, you'll love it but you won't find a lot of people to teach or baptize.” I tried hard to not let that get me down or weaken my faith. I've been praying for miracles in this area and we see them every week. But this week it has been exceptional.

Our mission standard of excellence for lessons taught with a member present is 10. I've never got it before even when I've tried and worked so hard. This week… we got 11!!!! It was sick! We taught 17 lessons this week. I'm not a number guy, but that made me so happy. 17 is wayyyy more than I've ever had in the past. We also had more investigators at church than I ever have had or heard of - 10! 10 people at church. It was incredible. The branch noticed and there was a different feeling the whole day. SICK! And the other thing is that they are with people who are progressing too. We had 8 people that have committed to be baptized on specific dates and 2 that have committed to be baptized but not yet with a date. It’s incredible. Things are moving forward. When I got here we had no investigators really and no one wanted to get baptized. The Lord has really blessed us with the opportunity to help others come unto Christ here in these last few months. 

Word on the street is "I'm out" meaning that I’ll be getting transferred next week. I really hope I get to stay. I've worked so hard here and I really want to be here in the area for when these people get baptized. But it's not my will. 

So that's all super exciting. And in other news - Idk it you guys remember that in Los Feliz we were working hard with the members, like with family mission plans and stuff.  Well apparently it took a little bit, but the work is blowing up up there! Like the members are giving referrals and coming out with the missionaries and stuff. It’s sick! I just talked to Sister Despain and she was super excited to tell me about all the cool stuff that's been happening there. The work we did there was planting the seeds but the broadcast, I guess, was the water. SICK!!!! I don't have too much time but we'll see how much of the week I'll get to talk about.
Life is bomb. I am becoming better and better each and every day. 

MONDAY! We had that super long street contact with a Muslim guy. I think I wrote about it last week though. OH! man. We had a sick experience Monday night. We sat down with a family of new investigators and they said something to the effect of, "Look I’m going to be frank with you," then talked about how he isn't very religious and stuff. We listened to what he had to say and then testified of the Restoration and the blessings it will bring to his family, which totally changed his demeanor. The Spirit was so strong and it kind of lit a light in his eyes. He then started asking questions, it was sick. At one point when the Spirit was really strong the wife said, “Wait, wait!” and we weren’t sure what was happening and she got up and turned off the TV in the other room and said, “I want to make sure I hear this.” It was incredible. I was kinda worried until I heard the reason then I was like super pumped. Later that night we taught Andres (9 yr old who wants to get baptized) and it was a bomb lesson. His cousin doesn't like me and I can’t figure out why. That night we had a lesson with Amelia and Leo and they fed us. I said to her that she didn’t need to feed us every night and she yelled at me! It was pretty funny. She said, “I HAVE TO COOK EVERY NIGHT. I’M GOING TO COOK FOR YOU! IF YOU DON'T WANT TO EAT THAT’S FINE. BUT DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”  She was joking, mostly. 

TUESDAY! We had a giant leadership training meeting. It was kinda like a Zone conference, 8 hours of training. I learned so much. A lot was focused on commitment and attitude; things that I have been working on and learning a lot. That night we taught like 3 lessons. It was bomb. Not too much to specifically talk about. No time.

WEDNESDAY! We had another lesson with Andres. We had asked him to pray, in the last one, to know if he should be baptized. That day we asked how he felt when he prayed. He said good and so all 3 of us thought, well okay that's better than bad! but not too specific. But then after a moment he said I felt something in my chest. It was moving and it felt good. He was smiling super big and got really excited. Oh man that was awesome. It was a huge testimony builder to me to know that even little kids can feel the Spirit very strongly. Later in the lesson when we were talking about the cleansing effects of baptism he asked, “Will this feeling go away?” pointing to his chest. It was so sweet to then be able to explain that that is a feeling he can have always with the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was sickkkk. That's the highlight of the day.

THURSDAY! I was on exchanges with Elder Sullivan in his area. It was a good day. OH MAN! I ALMOST FORGOT! We had the most incredible street contact ever! An appointment fell through. We had prayed the night before to know what to do and that was one of the things we felt impressed to make sure we did. So we set it up in the am and then it got cancelled. So we decided to find out why the Lord had sent us there. So we said we'd take a walk and street contact. As we walked down the street - like 15 feet, a woman pulled into her driveway. On her super nice caddy she had an advertisement for her psychic services. Not the most likely successful contact, but we tried it anyway. She was so prepared. She started out by saying, “Wrong time – I’m not going to make a donation today.” We said, “Oh no it's not why we are here! We want to help you strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ.” She instantly opened up, talking and stuff and telling us her story. She was so happy to talk with us. She said that she wanted us to teach her children. Then she invited us in right then to have some fresh jambalaya. Sooo good. Then she told us how she knew that we were sent from God. The night before she was screaming to God and praying like never before to send her some help. And then we showed up. She said as soon as she saw us she knew we were an answer to her prayers but she couldn't believe it. It was a really cool experience. The Lord watches out for all of us. When we talked to her about the Atonement she started weeping. 

FRIDAY! We did planning. A couple apts fell through. At night I got to go on splits with a returned missionary. He taught me so much. He's one of the ones when you can just totally tell he was an incredible servant of the Lord. It was so cool to have a few hours to just learn from his example. That night we taught the Word of Wisdom to Amelia and Leo and they both committed to living it. We told Leo that next week he should try to drink only 3 beers. He said, "3? I'm only going to drink 1 and then next week None!" He was so excited, and so were we. He's changed so much. 

SATURDAY! In the morning we helped a family move. It was so hot. I was drenched in the next lesson with Martha. It was such a good lesson with her. She really took what we had been teaching to heart.  The Spirit really guided the lesson that we had with her. She was definitely feeling it. She was excited for the next lesson like never before. She will be getting baptized soon! We had a sick apt with our branch mission leader. It was bomb. He is so excited with all the good things that have been happening. We later had a cool lesson with a former who was super excited to see us and had no idea why the other missionaries stopped coming. Our lesson with Amelia and Leo was about forgiveness and it was awesome. I need to be better about forgiving others.

SUNDAY! 10 at church. It was sick. Excitement was almost tangible. We had bomb lesson with a 17 year old kid who is deep into gang stuff but wants to get out. His desires were so pure. It was cool. We had a cool lesson with Amelia's daughter and she said "I'm not going to get baptized" but then the whole lesson she was asking about what she has to do to be baptized. She came to church that day and it definitely made an impact on her. At the end of the lesson she said, "If I do get baptized, it will take a few months." It was sick.

It’s been like the best week ever.
I love life. I'm just so happy all the time.
I love you all so much.
:)
Sam

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