Hello dearest familia.
Way to go Kate! Cougars 4lyfe! I hope you have as much fun as I did and you work even harder.
Attached is the picture from GISSEL'S BAPTISM!!!!! SO AWESOME.
In the pic from left to right - me, Kiwi (or Christopher) Sebastian (not the priest that comes out to lessons with us) Gissel, Sofia (Luis' daughter) Luis, Sierra, Amelia, Arseli (Luis' other daughter), Leo, and Elder Ledezma. I love that family so much. Luis and Sierra have the 2 little girls. Everyone thinks they are Gissel's because she always is taking care of them but she's just "auntie"
|Sam, Gissel, and Elder Ledezma|
I think most of this email might just be quotes from George. He is so funny and so awesome.
MONDAY! I had that AP exchange like I told you about. It went really well. The APs are really good missionaries, great examples of devoted service. Elder Clawson and I went to work the Bermuda ward and Elder Ledezma and Elder Fischer worked Desert Bloom 2. We started the evening out going to their bishop's house to teach one of their investigators who didn't show up so we just taught the bishop's family instead. It was a good lesson. Just as we were leaving, the investigator showed up, but we had another lesson to get to so he went in to chat with the family and we said we'd come back really fast. The next family wasn’t there but we had some really good street contacts. One family used to go to church but had lost contact a few years ago. She had a glass of wine in her hand and when we started talking to her she was so embarrassed. She kept saying “sorry” and that she know she shouldn't and a bunch of stuff like that. I thought she was going to like start crying. I've never had something like that happen to me before. Then we ran back to the bishop's house and had the lesson with that investigator. It was really good. The bishop of their ward is a really powerful and exciting teacher, personable and sincere too and a little aggressive, but just enough to let you know that this meant everything to him. I want to teach more like him. When he talked about the First Vision he got so into it. He was using his hands and stuff like pretending they were Heavenly Father and Christ. He said maybe 3 times, "God the Father and Jesus Christ came down to him. Can you imagine that? The Almighty God and his Son appeared to a young boy, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, both talking to a 14 year old." But he said it with so much emotion the Spirit was so strong. I was captivated even though I tell that story all the time. Anyway. We then ran to another place and taught a 15 minute lesson to a young mother and her son. Pretty straight forward. She thanked us so many times. Quote from the journal, "There are so many good people who are searching for the truth but they just don’t know where it is. They are blinded by the lights and fads and attitudes of the world." (see D&C 123:12). We had the most incredible contact with a young woman crying on the stairs. After talking with her she said it was no accident that we came when we did. She said she didn't know if she could even be forgiven for the things she had done. She said that she's messed up too much. You could tell that her soul was hungering and thirsting after righteousness, she just needed guidance. We testified of the Atonement and of the hope and faith she could gain from reading the Book of Mormon. She took it from us and clutched it to her chest. All three of us walked away beaming. Then Elder Clawson and I evaluated our exchange and I got some good suggestions for areas of improvement. He has a great way of telling you what you need to work on but doing it in a way where you feel like you can do it and be better. It almost feels good, like another weakness to conquer and not something that is holding you back, if that makes sense. Basically when he tells you weak spots you get excited to improve and not sad that you're not perfect. Idk if that makes sense. Meanwhile George was saying the following in a lesson with EL and EF - "I'm really sad right now. I was telling all my friends at work that they needed to come over at 7 to listen to you guys but none of them came! It’s too bad they didn't come tonight." Apparently he was preaching to his fellow coworkers all day about the Restoration. One of them turned out to be a member and he rebuked her saying, "You are a member? How come you haven't told us about this stuff before? It's not fair that you know these things and don't tell everyone about them!" Can you imagine? Getting rebuked by an investigator for not fulfilling your baptismal covenant? The Lord is hastening his work.
TUESDAY! In the morning we taught Gissel about the gift of the Holy Ghost and then Amelia made us lunch. She is so nice. We stopped in on the D. family and had a really good visit with them. Their daughter is struggling because she thinks the world is a horrible place. She says she hates God right now because of all the horrible things He is causing to happen or allowing to happen on the earth. It’s tough when people get like that because they sometimes get to a point where they won’t listen and then consign themselves to sadness, almost like they want to be. It’s too bad that the "mysteries of god" were lost for so long. Society could be so much better if everyone had a proper understanding of deity. Imagine if everyone knew they were children of God and that He loves them! The world would change. But anyway. That night we went to do splits, but one member cancelled so we had to cancel like 3 lessons which was brutallll. But we went to the A's and had an amazing lesson. We taught them the plan of salvation again to review before their baptism. Afterwards he looked at me and said - "It's perfect, it’s a perfect plan." I wanted to cry. Then their son came home from soccer or something and Sister A taught him the plan using the visuals they brought. They are so excited for their baptism. It’s incredible. :) :) :) It warmed my heart. Then that night we started exchanges with Elder Beyer and Elder Andrews. I was with Elder Beyer in the Silverado area.
WEDNESDAY! Our day was totally screwed up because Elder Beyer's bike broke and we had to walk because we couldn’t find another one to use. Their area is very spread out and it was hot, hot, hot so I got a sunburn, but just a little one. We had a couple cool street contacts though. We taught one guy almost the whole plan of salvation right there in a gas station parking lot and another guy the Restoration as he walked to work. So those were two blessings of using our "shubarus, lambrafeetis, and our chevrolegs." At the end of the night we visited a PMF [part member family] and it was so fun. The husband is a non-member and is a really cool guy. He is just trying to get his life in order. He was telling us about this salsa he bought, "mango habanero" and how it is like a "piece of hell in your mouth." I told him how I used to love mango habanero salsa and that it was my favorite at "Maria's Comida" his eyes lit up and next thing I knew there was a whole bowl of it for "the tough guy." He was smack talking so I was eating it with chips and making a show and everything. Finally he says "Well! If you were a real man..." before he could finish what I knew he was going to say I grabbed the bowl and started drinking it! His eyes about popped out of his head. It was pretty spicy. Thursday morning was a tough one. We taught a lesson about prayer and the scriptures. The Spirit was really strong as he bore his testimony of how both had helped him to cut back on his addictions.
THURSDAY! DM [district meeting] was pretty good. It was about the power of the Spirit in conversion and how to begin teaching. We set a goal after DM to find a new person to teach and we went out to find him. The first house we tried a man opened the door and said something to the effect of "I've been looking for you guys!" That was cool. Then we were going to go to visit a less active family but we decided to change plans at the last minute. We left and then saw a guy who needed his car pushed right outside the apartment complex. We pushed him in and then went to get that LA [less active] to help him with his car! It was kinda cool. That night we did splits and I got to teach George. We talked about the apostasy and baptism and he loved it. He and Cynthia are set for the 7th of September and they are excited. It was a powerhouse lesson. That night we taught Amelia and Leo about faith and repentance. Brother Taylor (the member who was with me) is so cool. He is one of those members that has really helped me to be a better missionary.
FRIDAY! I watched a cool Elder Holland talk in the morning that was super bomb. It was like "Feed my sheep" but it was given in the MTC. Then we went to Amelia and Leo’s and they made us lunch and in return we cleaned part of their carpet. They are super nice. We did a little weekly planning and then went to make the baptismal programs for Saturday. They were pretty clutch. When we taught George that night he was using phrases such as "When I’m a senior couple" and "I wish I could be a missionary" and "I was telling her she should go! Her friends will be here when she gets back!" That was cool. That member at work is like 20 and she doesn’t want to go on a mission because of "friends." George wasn't having that as an excuse. Then at night we taught about forgiveness to Amelia and Leo - Gissel and Kiwi took a big role in testifying. Little by little Kiwi is changing so that's pretty cool.
SATURDAY! BAPTISM! In the morning we discussed Sister Dalton’s talk from this year’s Young Woman’s Conference. It’s a bomb one if you haven’t read it. Brother Rojas was there and he is another one of my favorite members. He was testifying the whole time. He converted when he was 19 and his whole family disowned him. He went on a mission and no one wrote him. And now he's 29 with a family and super happy. Not to mention he's one of if not the youngest high priests I’ve ever met. Then we taught George about prayer and receiving answers by reading the first half of Enos with him. Then we did a little weekly planning. Then we had Gissel's baptism!!!! It was so awesome. She invited a lot of her friends. After the ordinance, in her testimony, she said she was excited to come out and teach others with the missionaries and help them to get baptized. That was a really cool moment. That night we saw Edwin! He'd been in Cali for like forever. But we went by and he's doing well, recovering from surgery but still the same ole good kid. His hand looks super nasty. Skin grafts are gross.
SUNDAY! CONFIRMATION! We had 10 investigators at church to witness Gissel's confirmation. That was cool. George didn’t make it to sacrament meeting so that was sad but he showed up with his family during Gospel Principles and he and his wife loved church again. The kids had a good time too. He made some great comments in elder’s quorum and so did Hermano A. Both talked about how they have felt their hearts change as they have unified more with their family and with God. After church we had lunch with a member, the sisters, and George and his family. It was an awesome fellowship experience. Almost randomly he said this, "Apostasy is like this. I tell you a secret and then you tell him and he tells her and she tells them and by the time it gets back to me, it’s totally wrong! That's what happened with the apostles. Plus! They got killed. So then no one knew what was happening. That’s why we needed Joseph Smith." Everybody's jaw dropped. He is so cool.
That just summed up the week. A week of miracles.
Life is good peeps. Real good.
I love you all so much