Monday, November 21, 2011

Almost Thanksgiving

We spent most of the week here in Carson. On Friday I had to go to leadership training in Reno for most of the day, so my comp was on splits with some other missionaries here, and they made it to Tahoe and Gardnerville, but I only made it to Gardnerville once this week.

We had a lot of people fall into our laps this week. While on splits in Tahoe, my comp went to a member's house and 2 of their Hispanic friends were visiting who live in Carson and Gardnerville, and they wanted to learn more about the gospel, so we get to start teaching them this week. Then on Saturday we had a mini missionary (a teenager who is working with us for a bit) and we went to a recent convert’s house, and there was a guy there that asked for a Book of Mormon and if we could come by his house and start teaching his family! It was crazy! I actually thought that I misunderstood his Spanish because I was so surprised, hahaha! It was great! We also went on splits with the ZLs this week, so I was in their area for a day, but the other one and Elder Reyes taught 3 solid lessons for us. We didn’t have as much success in the ZL’s area. It’s kind of dead right now, but they’re working on it.

We will probably head up to Reno on Wednesday night and crash with some SpanAms up there. Thursday morning is the Turkey Bowl – touch football for all the missionaries in the north, so there will be somewhere around 60 of us. We will have some games as zones (were combining with Fallon zone) and then we will have games where they just split us up. Should be a good time. After that we will probably hang out for a little while with some of our friends up there until we have to be back for our first dinner down here at around 3ish. We will be going to that with the English missionaries in our ward. It will be a typical Thanksgiving dinner with a couple in the ward that we hear goes pretty big every year, so should be pretty good! After that we will go by a bunch of members’ houses that want us to go hang out and play games and stuff for a while. We'll probably hang out with the Ayala family for some games and stuff for a while. One of the kids is working on his papers for his mission and the next one is getting closer, but we're still working on him. They are all activating again after being inactive for a while (well, all the boys). It will be a fun day for us!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Tahoe trip, etc.

C. got baptized and confirmed this week. The talks were great and C. was super happy. Plus a couple of her non-member family members were there, which was great. We didn’t baptize or confirm. One of her uncles baptized and another confirmed her. It was great. Then yesterday we gave a blessing to C. uncle’s girlfriend (non-member who was at her baptism...K.) with her other uncle, Ernie. She has a hurt foot that makes it very difficult for her to walk, so we gave her a blessing for it, and she even started crying. E. is working hard to convince her that that is the spirit she was feeling, which is great! After the blessing Ernie felt prompted to ask if anyone else wanted one, and her mom said yes, so we gave her a blessing of comfort for the stress in her life, and she loved it too! K’'s whole family was there, and I guess her brother had promised my comp a lesson, so he told us he hadn’t forgotten about that and still wanted to take the lessons (only problem is he’s in college so not around that much), but it’s still a great opportunity to begin teaching the family. Before the blessings we taught them about priesthood authority and faith and the importance of both, and it went really well. It will be little by little though with the parents.

Yesterday we went to Tahoe for church with Ernie, who is one of our ward missionaries. Tahoe is sooooo beautiful, hahaha. The church is on the Cali side of things, so we drove past the Marriott that has a ski lift that goes right into it. It’s pretty great. The lake is incredibly blue, but we haven’t gotten a chance to go to the shore to throw some rocks yet, haha. The ward is very solid but fluctuates size like crazy. It’s packed in the summer and around Christmas from what I hear. All of the vacationing members with houses there. Even this week there were a few, and this has to be the most down time of the year for Tahoe. The ward is solid though even without those members. Not big, but solid. One of our Hispanic members was there with his son, which was great to see, but he told us he can only go about once a month because of work. The other family didn’t go, so we went to visit them, and they didn’t even let us in the house, so that’s not a good sign there. The ward is working on getting us a place there so we can do more work up there (stay a couple days there at a time). Hopefully it goes through. We told them that basically its going to be by referral only up there, so they have to do their work.

This year for Thanksgiving we again are limited to 2 dinners, but try telling that to Hispanics who put food in front of us any day of the week if we so much as stop by their houses, hahaha. We have one dinner with some English members with the English missionaries too, so that should be fun. Then we'll go by some other places and probably end up at the A's house for some games and stuff.

Oh, wait a minute. I just realized that I haven’t told you about the mission tour yet! That was this last week. Elder Yamashita came on Tuesday! He was great! And his wife was even more fantastic, hahaa! They have only been in the states for 3 months and his English is fantastic! Hers is ok, but she’s still working on it, haha. The crazy part is the he spoke in conference last month and you could understand him perfectly well then too! Can you say gift of tongues? He talked to us about a huge variety of subjects, but one of my favorite parts was when he talked about direction that comes down from president Monson that says we should work with the youth as much as possible! That’s exactly what I like to do, and it was awesome to hear more about that! He also talked about working with members in general, really broke down the gospel of Jesus Christ (lesson 3) with who over sees what step (like bishop/mission prez over baptism) and what the steps are after baptism and confirmation that make up "enduring to the end." It was pretty sweet. Really helped us understand better. But the fun moment of the week was when his wife got up on the stand for her chance to speak and then handed out papers and taught us all origami! It was siiiiick! hahaha, so much fun. We made the paper into mouths that could open and close because she was talking about "open your mouth," haha. It was great.

My biggest challenge of the week? Probably just be trying to get a grasp on this huge area while realizing my companion is probably leaving and that it is very likely I will be training. That’s pretty trying to say the least. (Rumor has it we are getting 7 spanAm greenies.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nov. 7

Sorry to have missed last week. We went to the Reno Temple, and didn’t really get a P-day. Meanwhile, it’s been interesting getting to know things better here. This weekend we made it up to Gardnerville for church because we have miles again, and now we will be going up there and to Tahoe most of the week. The Spanish elders here hadn’t been to Gardnerville Ward in a while when I got here cuz all the work was in Carson, but we are planning on expanding that now. Carson is definitely our main ward cuz we live here, but it will be getting more equal in the coming weeks. We have a bigger group in Gardnerville than we thought, and they are very strong. We had a Sunday School class of 12 adults including 5 male Melchizedek priesthood holders, which is a very big group. You need 7 Melchizedek priesthood holders to start a branch and if we combine the groups from Carson y Gardnerville we have around 10 active, not to mention less actives we could get back by having a branch in Spanish here, plus the 2 families in Tahoe that apparently used to go when there was a branch here in Carson a while ago. So our biggest goals right now are working on proving that a branch is needed and sustainable. There are a couple investigators we have that have gone to church and not liked it because its in English. Theres not much we can do with that. If they already had a testimony of the truth it wouldn’t matter. We are figuring it out.

Who are we teaching? Let’s see. First is C., a little girl who is getting baptized on Saturday. She is part of a reactivating part member family. She’s good to go. She’s been going to Primary and knows her stuff. She’s great. Her uncles, aunts, and grandma are the strongest members we've got here in Carson, so it’s good to see that her and her family are really getting back in. Then we have E. who is the little brother of 2 members whose parents are not members. He’s like 14 I think. He’s a cool kid and knows that its true already, but we have to convince him that you can still be cool and a member, hahaa. We had a member come with us last time who i think helped that some, but probably not as much as the baptism that our zone leaders had this week of one of the most popular guys in the high school who is very proud to get baptized. Apparently the kid kicked a field goal in a high school game that broke an NFL record. 64 yards and nailed it. Apparently it was all over ESPN and everything. He’s the famous guy in town right now, haha. That’s always helpful. Let’s see, then we have his cousin S. and her little brother who we are working with as well. Their mom showed up for the end of the last lesson we had with them, and we think she liked it, so that might lead to something there plus mean permission for the kids. Hopefully soon. Those are the most important ones at the moment.

Though we live in Carson, I’m actually DL of the Gardnerville district, not in Carson. So its us, Gardnerville, and Minden. I know both the Minden elders really well, so that’s nice. I lived with Elder Bowzer in Fallon and Elder Ferris was just in south zone with me. We also have South Lake Tahoe, but we haven’t done any work there yet. We had a brief visit when a member took us to dinner their for their birthday, but that’s it so far. We will be up there this week...despite the snow. It’s snowed twice, but just dustings, nothin on the road.

Carson City has Whole Foods and Trader Joes! It’s funny because they are all right next to each other and there is NOTHING else. Well, we’ve got Target, Best Buy, Trader Joe's, and all the smaller stores that come with those. But Carson is definitely smaller than Jeff. I didn’t know, but there’s really not much here. They don’t even have a mall as good as ours, hahaa.

October 25 (Sorry -- parents have been traveling ....)

I arrived in Carson City October 19. We were parked that week: we only get to drive the car so many miles a month, and I replaced a missionary who was going home, so he didn’t care about miles, haha. Hopefully we can get some more. We cover all of Carson zone/stake. There are only 12 missionaries in the zone. We cover Carson, Gardernville, Mindon, Dayton, and South Lake Tahoe. So far we’ve pretty much only been in Carson because of miles. I’m DL (district leader) Gardnerville district. My companion is Elder Reyes and he is from California. He moved there from Mexico when he was 10. We get along pretty well. We are still learning about each other though. We have a few people with a baptism date set now. Mostly part member families, which is great. We live in a 2-story apt with 2 bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen and living room downstairs. Its 1 1/2 bath. Not new, but pretty nice, though I hear they are trying to move us. We have cool neighbors who remind me a lot of grandma and grandpa. They go to California for the winter. Pretty great though!