Friday, April 29, 2011

April 25

Thanks, Mom, for sending the Easter eggs like this. We tried to use them with one big family on Good Friday, but they weren't available, so it didn't work out. That was a little disappointing

On Easter we pretty much just did the usual. Nothing really different. The talks at church were on Easter topics and the choir from the 6th Ward came and sang a few pieces, but other than that, just a normal day. Attendance? Big change from last week. Turns out where as in English culture Easter Sunday is when everyone goes to church, in Hispanic culture it is the Sunday that nobody goes to church. We were down in attendance, but not as badly as anticipated. After church we ate at the Radillo family's house. They made us sopes which were so good. I love sopes.

Youth in the branch? We have a pretty good amount, actually. We actually played soccer with most of them and some investigators a couple days ago. It was super fun and they are way more comfortable with us after that...not that they weren't before. My team won 15-14. Super good time.

Next week is transfers. I don’t know if I will move or my comp will. My preference? Go to Tahoe for the summer!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 18

So, this week we went to a place called Middle Gate. There is nothing for miles around except a naval air bombing field where they often have full on fake warfare. Dogfights with blanks, bombs being dropped, flairs being fired from C130s, everything (the other elders got to watch one night...jealous). A member took us for his birthday. It is a restaurant in the middle of nowhere that has a giant burger eating challenge. It’s 3 pounds of food. If you finish it then you get a free T-shirt that says "I ate the monster." Tons of missionaries know about this place and everyone talks about it. Everyone wants to try to eat the monster. Fortunately for me and my companion, every night at dinner is pretty much a food eating competition because we get so much food. We drove on down and there really is nothing there. Just a few trailers around the restaurant and a few motel rooms that look like they were built in the 1800s. By the way, the bread is sourdough.

Our lesson with Jalena yesterday was definitely the most spiritual experience of the week. We asked her about the Book of Mormon and how she felt about it. She felt awkward answering, but the Spirit really testified through her. It was super cool. She is so strong. She really got a good grasp on the plan of salvation. She stopped us to ask questions...which we always want people to do, but they never actually do, and we were able to make sure she understood everything. She is learning a lot and growing. It’s pretty cool to see.

Church was pretty good yesterday. There was a family there that has been helping us with some missionary work but hasn’t been able to go for a while because they've all been sick. That was good. We had 8 investigators there! Kind of funny, 7 of them were kids. 6 of them are between 8-10. We are teaching a group of around 5 almost all from the same family. The kids just hang out with this member family all of the time and now are going to church with them. Things are looking a lot better. The members are really starting to step it up and the new leadership is starting to put together some very good things. The branch is really turning around now. One baptism will really get the branch to just take off. It’s looking good. We are also starting to get some referrals which will hopefully pan out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 11

Well we had one crazy day this week. On Friday, we were in our car leaving our apartment when somebody backed into our car. [The photo really isn't our car, but it gives you the idea.] The guy had a large truck so despite his super slow speeds, my door is now dented in enough that I can’t get in. So Elder Bowe is now my chauffeur. I climb into the back and he immediately says, "Where to sir?" every time. It’s pretty funny. Then I say something along the lines of. "To the Ugalde home, if you will, Alfred." Good times. Except that it’s really, really awkward every time I get in or out of the car and people look at me like, "why is he in the back?" That’s weird. So we headed up to Reno on Saturday to get an estimate and we will head back up there later this week to get the car fixed. So a couple road trips. That’s always fun.

Then that night after we got home, we went to an appointment with this lady who the sisters referred back to us. She is pretty eccentric. That night she had a friend over and they were arguing about religion like crazy. It was nuts. They were like yelling at each other and tearing each other down like crazy. The cool part was that the other guy was Jamaican, so every time he spoke (which was a lot) it sounded awesome. hahaha. His accent was sick. Turns out that he dwells on facts like crazy. Guy has a photographic memory but such a ridiculous personality that he is never really getting anywhere with it. He can name off every world cup match up for the last 100 years, who played, who won, who the captains were, who scored famous goals, etc. He can also name you almost any opera ever written, who wrote it, and what its about. Plus any tennis major for the last 100 years, who won, where it was, etc. Its ridiculous. He remembers everything. History like crazy. But that just means he doesn’t listen to anything but historical fact, so when the lady tried to talk about belief he would tear her down with historical questions she didn’t know. It was nuts. We told him it didn’t matter, and told her to not let him get her riled up and got things calmed down a bit, and left. It was pretty funny though. Good times.

We now go around and fix computers for all of our members so that they love us more, haha. Pretty much every computer owned by a Mexican family has tons of viruses and bad stuff on them that slow them up, so we fix them for them so they can actually get to and without waiting the hour that it took before. So far I think we've done like 4. It’s going pretty well. We've overcome some monster viruses and even done a little internal hardware work. I feel pretty legit. haha. And now our members are starting to get onto the church websites and watch videos like crazy. It’s pretty chill.

Did I get the tennis rackets? Yes! Oh my goodness. I miss tennis. My serve is actually really solid. It’s firing pretty good. It just felt so fantastic to be on a court again with my racquet in my hand.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 4, 2011

We had dinner at the home of the new branch president last night. He’s good. The branch presidency is working hard to see every single less active family and figure out how to get them back. That’s very good. Our branch mission leader was in Salt Lake City for General Conference so we will have our first meeting next week.

We actually had a few branch members get to go to Salt Lake to attend conference live at Temple Square, which is cool. We watched at church. I loved the talk about the “to do” list and the “to be” list. That was a sick talk. Probably my favorite.

This week we taught Irma and a whole bunch of her family. We showed up and there was an extra car outside so we just told ourselves we would set up an appointment since they had company, but they invited us right in and asked us what we were going to talk about, so we got to teach 5 (turned into 7 by the end) adults at the same time. That was pretty fun. One of the guys said that he was Catholic, they had some family that were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we were Mormon, so which one is right? So we taught them about the restoration. Life’s a little better when people actually have the questions you are going to answer.

Mom asked, “Well, you have 2 out of the 4 General Conferences down -- just 2 to go... how does that feel?” Hahaha, ya I was thinkin’ about that. The last mark before I hit a year is next month's Mothers Day call. Weird. Things move pretty fast.