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Monday, September 2, 2013

Uhoh

So... I have like a million and 7 things to tell you all and I don't know where to start. and I don't have time to type all that. 
First and foremost. God lives. He loves us. We are His children and life is good. So good.
I'M GOING TO CENTRAL AGAIN! It's going to be awesome, I love the central zone and I know a lot more know than I did last time I was there.
THE A'S GOT BAPTIZED! I wanted to weep with joy.
I'M GOING TO BE COMPANIONS WITH ELDER SLIK! I can't even believe it!
Its been a bomb week. Those are just the three most exciting pieces of news.
It's been a good transfer. I was doing the totals last night and doing all my district leader number duties. Elder Ledezma and I averaged 19.3 lessons with members a week this transfer. I'm pretty happy about that. 
My time time in Desert Bloom has really changed me.  For my first three transfers the Lord taught me the doctrine that I didn't know before my mission (I was pretty ignorant). For my next three transfers the Lord taught me Christlike attributes (I was pretty selfish). And for these last three He has taught me how to be an effective missionary. I don't know everything (or hardly anything) but I know a lot more than I used to. I feel like as if I have learned the skills that I need as a missionary to be successful.  I have grown closer to the Savior. Its not a coincidence. 

Being with Elder Slik means that I'm a zone leader. I am super scared. This is where Elder Nonu was when he was my zone leader. I am going to be in like the same spot that he was. It's weird to think about. I don't think I could ever live up to how I saw him. He was such a good example to me. Now I've gotta be that. It's a lot of responsibility. Zone leaders have always had a big influence on my mission and now I have to be one. Yikes. I was really scared until I prayed about it. If I do my best I'll accomplish all that the Lord wants me to.

So the week went like this. 
MONDAY! - I went with the APs to get hair cuts, from the pics you can see that there wasn't time for me to get one. But I loved being with them and talking about the work. Elder Fischer gave me a like 10 minute talk on how I can be a better steward. I loved it. There I was taking notes in the hair salon. It was kinda cool over there I got to have a good gospel discussion with a woman that was getting her hair dyed. And then one of their machines broke and I got to help them fix it! That was fun. I like helping people. We went to the A's that night and had such a good time talking and helping them get 100% ready for their baptism. They are/were ready. They are really super special to me. They are such examples of faith. Hno A is kinda like a chiropractor and showed me that one of my legs is like 1.5 inches longer than the other. He said its because my vertebrae is out of balance because of stress. I was pretty freaked out. I laughed super hard when he showed me. Then we went to Amelia and Leo's. Kiwi was asking a lot of questions. Sometimes I get super excited and think that he is going to "experiment on the word" and then he shuts it all down and says "I can't believe that. I know too much science."  He's 18. The time with the A's though was really special. I'll always remember it. 

TUESDAY! In the morning we went to the Toyota dealership and got our car all fixed up. It took like two hours which was supppper long but it gave me a lot of time to catch up on my Book of Mormon reading. We went to lunch at the free gas station and we sat down and picked up a conversation with an excommunicated member. He was talking about all his plans to come back to church. He's been out of the church for 10 years. "These last ten years have been hell." It was interesting to hear him talk about being out of the church. He said a bunch of really interesting things. One that really struck me was how he described feeling the Spirit. He said that he can feel the difference everyday. Now it takes a lot of effort to feel the Spirit and when he does, it's like there is a bag covering it. He just feels like the shape of it. Interesting description. He kept saying "I can't wait to get the Gift of the Holy Ghost again." He talked a lot about taking it for granted. One other thing he said was this country needs something to unite around. All the Christians spend too much time fighting and arguing with each other when they really should be speaking out against sin and immorality. Then he said this - "Our country needs a Captain Moroni. A title of liberty to rally around." Really quick after lunch we made programs for the As baptism. We actually had a pretty miraculous day. We got like three return appointments from pretty unexpected people. It was awesome. We went to see Andres really quick and set up another appointment for the next day. We went to the baptism and Elder Johnson was there. I love that elder so much. He's bomb. He's district leader and doing a great job. He has really turned his new area around. A lot of branch members came to the baptism which was nice to have the support. The baptism was a spiritual feast. There weren't too many dry eyes in the room. Especially when they bore their testimonies. Oh man. It was incredible.
Sam, Elder Johnson, A family, Elder Ledezma

Sam, Elder Johnson, A family, Elder Ledezma
Sam, Elder Johnson, A's, Elder Ledezma
 After the service we went to George's and Gissel bore incredible testimony of repentance and prayer. 

WEDNESDAY! - Good day.  We helped Brother Rojas prepare to move out to Utah. We moved a ton of boxes down into his garage. I really like Brother Rojas. He is such a good example to me. Good guy, funny, loving, spiritual and a good missionary. He taught me a lot. We saw a bunch of formers that afternoon which was good. Most weren't interested at all which is too bad. We went to Martha's and she fed us a bunch of carne asada which was bomb. I love carne asada. When we went to Andres' house. Okay this was one of the toughest moments of my mission. Andres' dad came out and laid into me, just yelling at me for like 10 minutes. He called me stupid and irresponsible and all these other mean things. It was harsh. I wanted to flip out on him so bad. I'm not perfect but a lot of the things he was getting on my case about was his own lack of communication with his wife and other problems he's caused. It's a long and complicated situation but basically I took a 10 min whooping for stuff I didn't do. After that we went to Amelia and Leo's. They weren't there but Amelia's friend was and we taught her a lesson about the Book of Mormon. She said she'd read it and said that if I don't get transferred she'd let me baptize her. I knew she was mostly joking but, it was a huge turn around from being formerly church adverse. We went to George's that night and taught the Restoration again to him and his wife, focusing on revelation. George has already told his parents that he's going to be baptized and they were fine with it. He was super surprised about how easily his dad took the news. 

THURSDAY! - Super fast. We visited some members. I love the members here. We had a bomb lesson with a former investigator. He committed to be baptized! That's my new goal, invite everyone in the 1st lesson. It's what the Brethren want and its what I'm gonna do. Gissel again in a lesson was bearing super strong testimony and  I wanted to just cry. At Amelia and Leo's I seeded a bunch of chiles and then at public request licked my fingers. I thought my tongue was squirting blood it hurt soooo bad. I knew it would but I still did it anyway. Insanity I know. 

FRIDAY! - We had zone training meeting. It was really powerful. I love training and being trained. I ate some questionable curry afterwards and then paid for it that night. Bad. We finished helping Hno Rojas move. Then we ran to a lesson with Andres. On Wednesday we set up a lesson with the dad and he said, "I will make sure that we are home at this time." (This is after he rebuked me). They weren't there when they said they'd be. No call. No note. We taught some other good lessons that night though.

SATURDAY! - We taught a good lesson to Percy. He wants to get baptized. I think it'll be soon. He just needs to come to church. He has decent excuses but excuses wont cut it. Basically the best part was that I get to go BACK TO CENTRAL TO BE WITH ELDER SLIK!!!! I am sooo, sooo, soo excited. He is like the best. Everyone is talking to me about how lucky I am and I know it. :) I don't have words. Its like being comps with Elder Mayo. We visited a lot of members and it was nice because I got to see people who I had a legit connection with. I feel like I have a real relationship with the people here more than before when it was just that I was a missionary. Moving on.

SUNDAY! - Great day. Lots of people came to church. I translated for 2 hours straight which gave me a headache. It's fun but hard. We visited a few more people. At night Amelia and Leo threw me a going away party, it was soo, soo sweet. George and Cynthia were there too so it was cool. I love them all so much. Leo pulled me aside and talked to me for like 40 minutes really seriously. I love him so much. He has grown an incredible amount since we've met him. I cant even describe it. He told me all these things that have happened to him in his crazy life. Its incredible. He is really special. He said like three times, "I should have been dead by now, but God gave me a second chance." Leo took it and says that now he is happy for the first time ever. I'm so happy too. 



I'm so happy. 
I love you all and thank you for your thoughts letters and prayers.
SLIK/ANDERSON 2013!
Elder Slik and Elder Anderson - get to be companions together in Central
I'm pumped. Elder Slik is going to push me to be the elder I've always wanted to be.
Love again,
Sam

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