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Monday, December 16, 2013

It’s been a really busy week

So. People love us.
That's like the root of anything I could say/ it's borderline weird. Both of our wards think we are the greatest things since the Book of Mormon. Members are always asking us what they can do to help or what they can get for us. I'm always taken back by the love and generosity. People who we haven't even directly served tell us how great we are and both of us just walk away like.... what? I can't describe the experience. It's nice to feel so loved. I don't think I've ever felt this way before in my whole life, loved definitely, but not like in such a general or personal sense. I hope I don't sound whiney or anything. Moving on.

Life is good. This week was awesome, especially good. So, so much has happened andddd regrettably my journal keeping slacked, hard this week. It's crazy how tired we always are when we get home, planning, area book and then bed. I feel like this has been one of the best weeks of my mission, I just can't remember why hahaha.

MONDAY! The big event was teaching Robert. He's such a good guy. I really like him a lot. So we went over and the Mag's bought us dinner - Thai food. I love Thai food and it'd been the longest time since I had had it. Delish, but, to the more important - we taught Robert the Plan of Salvation. It went really well. I've gotten way better at teaching it as my mission has gone on. As well my understanding of it has increased dramatically. I really enjoyed it. The lessons are pretty low key. It's us and Brother and Sister Magdaluyo and we sit in their living room and discuss. The Spirit is always very strong. I realize that, that is the way the lessons are supposed to go in the comfort of the member's homes. It makes a big difference. Robert does have some health issues which makes it hard him to be real active. He's really seeking for answers. I like the guy a lot. Brother Mag also has a lot of really cool mission stories that he shares.

TUESDAY! We had district meeting which was really good. Then we ate with Severina. Whenever I talk to her I am always so humbled. She is such a talented woman with such a love for God. I want to be more like her. Then we had a lesson with Patrick, the guy who showed up to church last week. It went pretty well. We talked about the Book of Mormon and shared with him the message of the Restoration. When we were giving an overview we said something like "the church Jesus Christ established was lost after he was killed, but now it has been restored through a living prophet." He said, “Woah, woah, woah wait. That's a lot to think about. Can you say that again?” So we talked about that for a while. He's going through a lot but he definitely wants to learn more and feel more of the spirit that he felt at church. Then we went to Gloria's house to teach her and Kimberly. It went really well. We talked about the Restoration and baptism. Both felt the Spirit very strongly. Gloria is a very humble woman. She's a breast cancer survivor too. When we talked about baptism Kimberly was asking if she could get baptized again. That was cool. I dunno. Both of them don't really have super strong Christian backgrounds but they are very open to learning more. Then we saw Stephanie. Man. That woman is going through hell. I'll try to briefly explain the situation. She has no job. She's really, really sick. Her son lost his job. He's sick and he has pink eye on top of that. He also has a warrant out for his arrest because of traffic tickets. Because of that, when his crazy baby momma came to steal his son (who she's not even allowed to have custody over) he couldn't deny her because she called the cops. It's crazy. And more bad is happening too. That's just the surface. But Stephanie, she's great. As missionaries we always talk about the importance of reading the scriptures and praying and we promise (as do the prophets and scriptures) a host of blessings. Stephanie is a great example of that. Her life is like falling down around her shoulders but she reads and prays everyday and she is just so happy, big huge smile and so much faith. You like being around her because she is so lively. And she tells us it's because she's reading the Book of Mormon. She's in Ether.... It's awesome. She really just loves the Book of Mormon, me too. It's brought her so much happiness in this hard time in her life. And Sister Justice has as well. She is the perfect example of member fellowship. We brought her to a lesson, and Sister Justice invited Stephanie into her life and family. She takes her places (like for example this week to the temple. Stephanie lovvved it soooo much.) and she helps her with things. They are friends. Whether Stephanie gets baptized or not this month, S. Justice has changed her life forever. It's amazing to see. I want to be a Christ-like friend like Sister Justice. But in this lesson Stephanie called us her angels which made me feel really good. It's things like that remind of me of the instantaneous good that we can do as missionaries. Reading the scriptures makes us happy. That night we went to a meeting with the stake about the Christmas open house. I loved it. I just loved counseling and talking and taking notes on how we can improve for next time. It was a really cool experience and I'm so grateful to have had that privilege. I feel like that with the whole mission. So many cool things I've gotten to do and see and be a part of. What a blessing. 

WEDNESDAY! A tonnnn of our appointments fell through. That was tough. It's interesting how it happens like that. We visited some people in the morning, some new members of the ward. Then we sat in on one of Vicki's new member lessons with the Egan's. It was good. I love her and Sister Marx a lot. They are like a power team in my mind. We had a great lesson and then Sister Marx bought us lunch. Vicki is such a good woman. She just has such a strong spirit about her. She's always so happy too. I always want to surround myself with people who are happy and excited; life is happier and more exciting that way. We saw Toni later and she told us all about her baptism and how she felt clean for days after the ordinance. It was interesting to hear her testimony like that. Then we went to eat at the Iverson’s. They are the best. They've done a great job in welcoming us into their family and it feels good. Then we went to see Stephanie which went good too.
Okay I'm running out of time. I’m just going to hit some experiences sorry.
We taught Johnathon and Fabiola, a couple who we had the blessing of contacting a while ago. We felt prompted to go there when we hadn't originally planned to and we knocked right in the middle of a huge argument they were having about the future of their family. We came in and taught the Restoration and the Spirit was really strong. Both of them felt it. When we were sharing the BOM with them, Fabiola said, "I have to read it" and she asked to keep my picture of the first vision that I showed them. That was my last one... but I was happy to give it to them. Then Johnathon said his first prayer ever and it was really, really sincere. He was just humbly pleading with God for the things he needed.

On Thursday I was on exchanges in Montebello West again! I love it the most. There are so many people and so many prepared families. I want to serve in that area again before the end of my mission. I still have two years to go so chances are high.... but it was a really good day. We talked with a lot of people and saw a lot of investigators. It was the birthday of the virgin of Guadalupe or something like that so there were tons of parties in the streets which was pretty crazy. I learned a lot about communication on the exchange that I went on. The elders in the area are doing very, very well in their indicators, but they aren't happy. And we know it's completely because they aren’t communicating. They don’t talk to each other about their feelings. They hold in their anger and frustration and then get even more mad at each other because they continue to do the things that the other doesn’t like! It's sad. I've been blessed to communicate fairly well with all of my companions but my skills have grown a lot in my time in the mission and especially with Elder Slik. Transparency is important. We don't always agree, but we always get along. We are different people, so we think differently but we don't let it get between us. We talk and that solves everything. Unity, it goes a long way.

Friday we had a lesson with Norma that went really well. Norma is our referral from Gladys Knight. She's not progressing very quickly, but she is really, really cool. She wants to learn, but she's not sure yet if she's committed to act on the knowledge. During the lesson she was asking lots of good questions like, "How do I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet?" and other things like that. I like having lessons with her a lot because she is thinking and that makes us think more. They are a little more scattered than other lessons because she is alllll over the place. Anyway. She's cool. She's only 26  too which is weird to think about sometimes because she's so young. Oh man. Then we had the sickest experience with Gloria. One of her granddaughters was visiting and got delayed. She said that she knew that she was going to not be able to leave because Gloria told her we were coming. She's being going through a inner spiritual battle recently. We taught our lesson about the BoM and then we were reading a part of Alma 7 and she was really feeling the Spirit. When she had to go she asked us to take down her information and she told us, "I'm taking this with me" referring to the Book of Mormon. That was cool. Powerful experiences all over the place this week. Friday night we also had a great lesson with Stephanie in which we mostly focused on Andre. He's an amazing man but as he's said before he said again, “I'm not ready to stop running from God yet.” He will soon though. He's opened up a ton.

Saturday! We had our stake president’s breakfast which went well. Then for the afternoon we delivered Christmas cards to the ward members. It made me feel good. A lot of people told us how much they liked them which made me feel good. I love these two wards so much. Such incredible people that I’ve gotten so close with. That afternoon we had a lesson with Susana. It was good, but tough because she believes in God but has never really felt him in her life before. So that's our new focus with her, helping her to feel and then recognize the Spirit. Then that night Brother Cotner took us to Outback Steakhouse. Man. I've never eaten like that before in my life. Sooo much food. Sooo good.

Sunday was pretty bomb too. Patrick walked to church. He told me after sacrament meeting that he had to leave because it was his daughter's birthday but he wanted to make sure he came but that he'd be there all of next weeks. Man I was floored by that. Tyrone invites the guy to church to help him feel better and he feels the Spirit so strong that he commits to coming back every week. The Spirit. Stephanie loved our gospel principles lesson on exaltation and Gloria just loved church so much. :) Man I love it when our investigators are happy. It makes me happy. Then we took the sacrament after FH to a family that can’t come to church because of the husband’s back problems. We had another powerful experience there. In our short message she told us that for the first time she understood the point of church, religion, and everything. That was cool to talk to her about. Then we had dinner with the Martinez family. Man. They are the coolest. There are like seven or so families that are all just neck and neck for greatest families I've ever met and they are one of them. Just incredible people. I love them a ton. Then we visited a part member family and that went super well. Return apt and dinner for next week. Things are happening here in central. I love it. Elder Slik is like my hero. I'll be grateful forever for the things he's taught me and the great example he's been. 
Life, my brothers and sisters, is good.
I love you all so much!
Merry Christmas
Sam

PS. To the ward, thanks for writing me all the cards, I loved them!


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