Mi quierida familia,
Wow, this week has been incredible. I've witnessed the Lord's hand very frequently in the past few days in this work, and more and more I am becoming convinced of how real this mission really is. Words almost can't describe...well they can, but it's almost impossible to explain what a mission is like. The best I can do is relate my experiences.
My new companion...is AWESOME. President Taylor was truly inspired to put me with Elder Chapman. I love this guy! He went to be BYU and is planning on majoring in biophysics. He is also allergic to glutten so I am forced to avoid eating flour tortillas (corn tortillas are more healthy). One of my favorite things about him is that he loves to sing (Elder Black couldn't carry a tune to save his life). He carries around a ukelalie (can't spell) and loves to sing. We've starting opening up our companionship studies with a hymn. He plays the chords and while we both sing. We actually can get some pretty good blend and harmony going. Who knows we might do a number for the upcoming branch talent show.
Elder Chapman is also very good at Spanish, which is a great strength to me because he speaks it very often so I get to practice. But one of the traits that I think I can learn from him is his ability to see a solution to a problem and make a decision and follow through without any delay. He's going to be an awesome District Leader for our district. When he gets focused, he gets focused.
It's only been a few days and I can already tell we have a good relationship, and we've been very productive these past few days as well (which is surprising since the first week of transfers usually don't yield too many results.) Another thing I like about my companion is that when I have a prompting by the Spirit or when I have an idea, he takes it very seriously and is able to reinforce my idea. For example, we were out tracting and I saw this lady out weeding her yard. We were about to hop in our truck and head out to Noche de Hogar with the Branch, but I felt the impression to go talk with her. Now, I've served with a few elders where I'd have been hesitant to share my opinion, but for some reason I told Elder Chapman about my thought. Instead of saying "Oh we're going to be late don't worry about it," he shrugged his shoulders and said "Ok, let's go talk to her." We ended up having a prayer with her and having a great contact. She lives by herself and drinks every now and then, but she has a strong belief in God. She even mentioned that she thought God told us to come and talk with her, which in a way is true. I can't deny it was the Holy Ghost that told us to go talk with her.
Another experience: just on Saturday Elder Chapman and I were debating on whether to ride our bikes or use the truck for our appointments that evening. I wanted to ride bikes so I could get a work out (not the best reasoning) and to also save miles since we're only allotted 600 miles a month. However, we both realized that since our appointments were spaced out over a large area and we had set people we needed to visit, that the truck would be more effective.
As we were walking out to our truck, we ran into a hispanic standing outside his apartment (he lives in our complex). We exchanged some hellos and than Elder Chapman started to contact him. We introduced ourselves as missionaries and said that today we were offering prayers for people and their families. He let us right in to his house and gathered his wife, two daughters and we had a kneeling prayer right there in his dining room. The Sprirt was incredibly strong, he asked us to specifically pray for the presence of God to be with them in their home. This was honestly one of the most amazing prayers we've given. Nothing special was said, but you could definately feel the Spirit testifying of our Heavenly Father. Let me say that again: you could DEFINATELY feel the Spirit TESTIFYING of our Heavenly Father. We paused after the prayer (I highly reccomend this for everyone, pause after you say a prayer allow time for the Spirit to work within you. If you just say the prayer and go on your way, you don't get the same effect.) and we set a return appointment for Tuesday. Now it's too early to say they will be baptized, but one thing I know for sure is this... we were NOT meant to ride our bikes that day. If we had chosen to ride our bikes, we never would have contacted this man and his family. Just goes to show that the Spirit does not prompt us in obvious ways.
When we are consistantly living the Gospel and keeping our covenants, the Spirit NATURALLY works through us guiding our thoughts in a seemingly effortless manner. God placed us and this man in that exact moment for a reason. Some of you reading might call this coincidence. Sure, but I can testify that it was more than that. This work is real.
An then to even add on to this experience, later that night we were driving and stopped by an old potencial investiagator Elder Black and I found back in my third week. Her name is Martina, and we had never been able to contact her since, and the one time we did contact her, she said she would have a prayer with us as long as it was with her husband. Well, after 3 weeks Elder Chapman and I found her at home with her husband and had another incredibly strong prayer with them where the Spirit was DEFINATELY TESTIFYING. It was great. We then set an appointment for the next day to come and teach the first lesson.
And again, if we had been riding our bikes, we would not have had the time to stop and visit her, and we may have lost the opportunity.
So you can see, that two families were introduced to come to Christ through the smallest decision: should we ride our bikes today? Being a missionary is soooooo incredible!
Anyways, our follow-up with Martina was equally amazing. We brought Hermano and Hermana Fabela, a married couple in our Branch, as member presents. Only Martina was home unfortunately, but we decided to teach her. The members are amazing! They are instrumental in helping break the social barrier that is sometimes created by missionaries. Hermana Fabela and Martina were very friendly and that jsut only invited the Spririt. We taught the lesson, I definately said some things I did not plan on saying (inspired questions were asked) and we were able to set a baptismal date with Martina. You could tell she felt somehting, and I could feel my words being solidified by the Holy Ghost's testimony. People feel different when you share the Gospel with them, they may not say it, but there is a different feeling.
We also got a new investigator off the visit. Martina's niece Jasmine also sat in on the visit. She was very interested as well. We asked her if her family would be interested in hearing our message, and almost without hesitation she said yes and said we could come by Tuesday night. Wow! This is a mission! I feel like a silent voice crying from the monitor of a computer screen. The Holy Ghost is real, this whole Gospel is real, not just a nice thought.
Needless to say, I am really excited for this next transfer. I have a feeling this weekend was only the beginning.
There's more I could write about concerning Branch drama, but I think I'll just dispense with the drama and call it good. Just remember to be quick to forgive and slow to anger, and if you lose a plate...don't worry too much about it:)
Anyways I've got to go, but remember the Church is True!!!!