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Monday, September 9, 2013

DREAM TEAM!

Proof it's for real
drrrrrream team!
Just so you all know - this has been one of the best weeks of my whole life. 
I feel like I could write a discourse on the blessings of unity in the companionship. That is honestly my overarching feeling. I love being with a companion who is more focused and dedicated and consecrated than I am. It's awesome. IT’S SICK! It’s really been such a blessing. I’m not going to complain about my companions but I feel that a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. It’s liberating.
Elder Slik is such a good missionary, one of, if not, my favorite. For those of you who are late to the party, Elder Slik has been a huge example and influence for me throughout most of my mission. Being his companion is a huge blessing and also an invitation to step up to his level. 
Being a zone leader is also super intimidating but I’m glad Elder Slik is showing me how it’s done. He has such a love for everyone in the zone and such a desire for the work to progress that it makes it easy to do what is right.
Elder Slik and Elder Anderson in sombreros and lava lavas
We have had a week full of miracles. We've been pretty tired because we wake up so early and go to bed so late but it’s all worth it when we hear that people are doing well and being successful. 
I guess I'll run through the week and try to remember everything that happened. 

MONDAY! (I was still in Warm Springs at this point) That night we saw the As. They are awesome. I really am going to miss them and I can’t wait to see them and talk to them again. They have a real special place in my heart. They fed us pizza and Brother A did a spine alignment for me. Basically he cracked my neck and it made my legs be the same length again. It was like straight brujeria but it wasn’t a big deal. Then we went to George's and Amelia and Leo were there. Cynthia made us some Peruvian food that rocked. It was sad to go. 

TUESDAY! Transfers. I was super sad to leave. I loved Desert Bloom. I would have been pretty eaten up to leave except that I came to Central to be with Elder Slik!!! On the way I got to drive with Elder Cuevas which made me happy. The Elder formerly known as Ruiz. He is so humble and so dedicated. I look up to him a lot. That day Elder Slik and I started the transfer off by setting some goals and expectations. It was good. I really felt the Spirit confirm that this companionship is inspired and not just put in place because Elder Slik and I wanted it. Really wanted it. On that note - everyone has been talking to us about how lucky we are and how it’s crazy that we are companions. I think the whole mission knows how bad we wanted to be companions. We met Clara on Tuesday, She is an old (super rich but she doesn’t care about money at all) black woman who was married to a boxer until he very recently passed away. She is one of the sweetest people ever. Real quick because I’m scatterbrained without my journal, I am in two really, really small wards, Bonanza View and Frenchmen Hills. They are both awesome. BV is fairly ghetto and FH is up on the hill by the temple and is super nice. That afternoon we also saw Sabrina. She is one of the elect. She is Filipino and hardly speaks English but we are teaching her the gospel with the help of other Tagalog speaking members of the ward. She wants to be baptized so, so bad. It’s cool to see and feel how prepared she is. She has fed us every time we have gone over there and is always so gracious to us. It’s crazy. She loves us so much. That's pretty much the highlights of that day.

WEDNESDAY! We went to District meeting with the English district. It was odd. It was really nice to receive training on a district level for the first time in a while. Elder Slik was actually the last one, he was my last DL. Its kinda weird to think about. He's the best. Did I already mention that? We visited Sabrina again and taught her a good lesson. We teach her almost every day and she is going to get baptized in like 3 weeks. The whole process is going to take like a month with her. She's gold. That afternoon we met and started teaching a really awesome family. The T family is awesome. They are from Arkansas and are a family of seven and are  Pentecostals. They are pretty interested in learning more. Elder Slik and I were a little scared because like the first time we walked in to meet with their whole family there was a big and very well used bible sitting on the couch and I was pretty sure we were going to get bashed on. But thankfully she just wanted to study with us! :) Blessings. That night we met some other people too. It’s super hard to keep my thoughts straight. 

THURSDAY! We went to the Montebello District Meeting. That brought back so many memories. It’s weird but good to be back. We taught 5 lessons Thursday which was cool because they were all pretty good. Super funny story. -- So we are teaching the T Family. We watch the Restoration and Brother and Sister T compare the experience of Joseph Smith to their own lives and their own experiences. Elder Slik and I begin to testify of the Restoration and of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is super strong. Sister T shared a really cool story about the Book of Mormon. She had read a little the night before and shared this with us. I’ll butcher/paraphrase. "This all felt really familiar to me. As I was reading it reminded me of things my grandma used to talk about." Basically her Grandmother used to live on an Indian reservation and so she had a lot of contact with the Native Americans. In Arkansas there are a lot of caves with a lot of cave drawings. She said that her grandmother got to see the parts that were roped off. One of the drawings always stuck with her. It was of a man in a white robe with his hands outstretched and his palms were bleeding. These paintings are super, super old too. She said that she knew that the Native American people knew of Jesus Christ and that he visited them. It was incredible. The Spirit was testifying so strong of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the hastening of the work. Elder Slik kind of "passed me the ball" so I could invite them to be baptized and in the moment before I started talking our member chimes in and says this, "I know this is totally off topic but have y'all seen ‘Church Ball?’" It was soooo funny. Like the Spirit was practically tangible and then the member totally killed the moment. Spirit was still present, but it wasn’t the right time anymore. We love that member so much. He is such a blessing to have with us. Elder Slik and I are still laughing about that. 

FRIDAY! We had awesome weekly planning. We taught Sabrina and Clara. We really talked for a long time about our stewardship in the zone during WP. I loved it. I really like having our days and time focused on serving others. That’s one thing that Elder Slik is really good at. He loves and serves all the time. His every moment is to bless others. I want to be more like him.

SATURDAY! I got to go on an exchange with Elder Harper. He is a really good elder. It was an intense day of training. We worked on a lot of principles and things they can apply in their area. He is my mission nephew. He was trained by Elder Bennett’s other trainee. He is really, really humble and that's something I’m trying to work on. I loved being there with them. It was the area of my first area but in English. We had dinner though with a Mexican woman and I lovvvvved that. True it’s been only a few days but I loved the Spanish food and the chance to speak it too.

SUNDAY! So. I went to the two new wards. In the first I was asked to pass the sacrament and then the stake presidency member who was supposed to speak didn’t show up so they asked me to speak. I about peed my pants. I had to finish the meeting. I spoke for about 20 minutes. It was nuts. I did a pretty good job, but I would have liked to have a couple minutes to prepare. A lot of people told me they liked what I said and it was mentioned in the other classes. That was the big part of Sunday. There was also a fireside that we were in charge of that night: Spanish Why I Believe. I got to see a ton of missionaries and a ton of old members and stuff. It was cool especially because Elder Slik and I are companions and a lot of the Los Feliz members were laughing that we were. They all thought we were joking. I still think that it’s a joke sometimes.
Sorry for the lackluster writing. I didn’t have time to write in my journal. I’m going to do better this week.
I want you all to know how important what I am doing is to me. 
I love being a missionary. I have never been so happy in my whole life. Life is good. God loves us. 
:)
I love you all so much.
Sam
The bottom of Sam's shoe

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