Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 26

V’s baptism was great. The young women did a great job at showing up and playing a part in the program. V’s parents and brother came for both the baptism and the confirmation, so we will see in our lesson this week if that had any effect on them. Everything went super smooth.

Can’t say the same for the baptism one companionship in the ward had the next day though, hahahaa. Everything was going great when we got to the part where the actual baptisms happen and everything just stopped. We didn’t know what was going on until one of the witnesses peeks in, then turns around and says, "there’s no water." The Elders had asked those doing baptisms earlier to leave the water in the font, but they didn’t, and the missionaries/ward mission leader/ bishop never checked it!!! They were there like an hour early too! Ohhh my goodness. I couldn’t believe it. So we all four run back there and see this elder just staring at the empty font blankly and just say well, everyone is here ready to go, let’s get to work! So we hit the water and then find trash cans, serving trays, and bowls and start hauling water from every faucet in the building to the font to dump water in. We got it full enough for them to be baptized sitting down after about 40 minutes. It was nuts! Hopefully I can send some pictures, hahaha. In the end everything worked out. Only one of the 3 had to be done twice, and they were all confirmed on Sunday. Pretty fun.

Ok, last crazy part of the week. We were the temporary APs for part of the week, hahaa. The APs had to go to Reno for the week, but Visa waiters (missionaries called to serve in another country, but who can't get there because of delays in getting visas, so they are temporarily reassigned) were coming in from the MTC this week. President Black called on Monday and asked us if we would take the Silverado for the week and help him out on Thursday. Of course we said, uhhh, ya we'll take the Silverado, no problem, haha. So on Thursday we went to president's house at 8:00 and then left from there to head over to the Las Vegas International Airport!!! hahaha, that’s not something you want to do when you and your companion are about down to a total of 3 transfers left combined, but it was still pretty awesome. We got to go in and meet them at the bottom of the escalator and help them get their baggage and everything. It was super fun! Then we piled half of them and all the luggage in the Silverado and sent the rest with president and headed back to their house for breakfast and orientation. We helped do orientation and everything and then brought them over to the office to finish off their training. It was a crazy, crazy day. We got some pics of us with the new missionaries’ luggage in the airport and put them into the slideshow that’s the screensaver for all the office computers, hahaha. The office missionaries loved it. It was super funny. We had a great time.

After all of that, president came with us to a couple of lessons for the afternoon and helped us be a little bold with a guy we are teaching who needs to get divorced from a woman he hasn’t been with in about 15 years so he can actually marry his "wife" of about 12 years. I think it helped. They should be going to Cali for the divorce this coming weekend. We'll see what happens!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 19, 2012

Everyone back at home, watch this VIDEO!!! Sorry I can’t be there, but call or email my parents; you can go with them. Or just go yourself!

The most fun exciting event of the week in Nevada was when ex-elder Jeremy Bowe (just posted on Facebook a tag to an old pic of us) showed up at my door, haha. He was in town for volleyball, so he stopped by to say hey! I currently live in his first apartment on the mission, so he knew exactly where I was, haha. It was super good to see him and talk for a few minutes before he had to get back!

The second most exciting thing was stake conference, haha. Before conference there was a special meeting for all the recent converts in the stake with the stake presidency, President Anderson from the mission presidency, and Elder Webb of the 70. It was a very solid meeting and we had 5 recent converts there which was great...though we should have had more. The conference was really good as well. Of our investigators, G. and M. were at the conference, and they really enjoyed it. I think we may have been in the oldest stake center in Vegas. It’s very different. (Check this link from the ldsarchitecture blog.) It’s all white and kind of blocky, pretty cool place. The lobby looks like a temple lobby. After we got to each do a baptismal interview for one of the other companionships in the ward, which went great as well. The ward is having 3 baptisms this weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 12, 2012

We taught 12 lessons this week total. We taught G., prepping him for his baptism which was Saturday! It was Great! He was super happy and his family was too! Before the baptism we taught G. in the church and showed her the restoration and then she stayed for the baptism and loved it. She is super excited for her baptism on the 7th of April. Yesterday I confirmed G. a member, which is getting a lot easier, haha. It was great. We also taught T. again this week and she is excited to get baptized too, but she has to find new work so that she can go to church. With her faith it shouldn’t take long though. Let’s see, oh ya, also taught V.who is getting baptized on the 23rd and she and her brother and dad were all at church on Sunday, which was fantastic. We are trying to work with her brother to get him ready for baptism as well, but it’s coming a little slower than with her. We also taught a few less active families who we mostly just read with to try and establish the habit of reading in the scriptures everyday. It’s slow, but coming along decently enough. They are making progress. Oh ya, we also taught F. who believes that everything is true, but he is a drummer in a band for a non-denominational church and doesn’t want to lose that. He feels that he has a talent and that he wants to use that talent to praise God, but our church obviously doesn’t have a band for him to play in, so it’s just hard for him. He is working through it though. We talked a little about musicians in the church and will talk some more about prayer this week with him. So we had a pretty good week last week, but this one should end up better now that the zone leader training meetings (shown in the pics -- check out me and Elder Corvalan, my comp, teaching!) are out of the way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 5

Things here have been going crazy! The mission is going nuts right now. The Church has announced that changes in the boundaries of our mission and the creation of the Reno Mission, Some of the missionaries in our mission will be in the new mission. So the number of texts and calls we had through our phone the day they made the announcement about the mission was ridiculous. Everyone is freaking out because most people will get transferred by then, which will determine what mission they’ll be in. Me and my comp just told everyone we didn’t care because were going to be home, hahaha. Just messing with people.

But I’m glad to finish in this area when I do. It’s great. And we are teaching some great people.

We taught a lesson to Gl. this week which went great! She had wanted to get baptized on her birthday in May, but after church on Sunday she told us that she knew she would be ready earlier so we set her for the 7th of April, which was super exciting! She wants to be baptized badly and knows that it will be a great help in her life especially since she is having some problems with her husband right now.

We also had a great lesson with Go. on the commandments with our ward mission leader there. It went great. He is happy to keep any commandments at all and knows they will make him happier. His baptism is this Saturday and his wife and son (already members) are super excited! They are ready to be sealed in the temple as a family as soon as possible! His wife was giddy at the lesson when our ward mission leader testified of being sealed (in the temple like the one you can visit next month).

And then there are V. and her brother K. V. has been waiting for permission from her parents who just wanted her to wait a little bit longer but now feel like she is ready...and she definitely is! Her brother will be baptized soon, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 29

This week we went to the Las Vegas Temple on Monday, so I am writing on Wednesday. The temple was great! We had a special chapel session with President Black and the temple president which was pretty cool. They talked a little about working with the living in place of working with the dead and that being part of the reason that we only go to the temple once every quarter. It was very nice. Hopefully many of my friends will visit the new Kansas City Temple when it opens for public tours in April!

Afterwards, the member who drove us to the temple took us to 5 Guys before going back to the mission (the temple is on the East side of the valley; our mission covers the West side) so that some of the missionaries could try it. It was funny because the English-speaking elders who share our apartment just so happened to have the same thing happen to them. And we also ran into some missionaries from the East mission. Pretty funny experience. The missionaries from the East mission asked if we were new and we kind of just laughed and said nooo, it’s temple day! We thought it was funny cuz there were several of us and we were in their area, so of course we weren’t just new, haha. Good times.

A bit about the zone. We have the most missionaries in the mission at 25, and things are going well. We have 3 districts and all of our district leaders right now are ex-zone leaders, hahaha, so that’s pretty funny. One of them is Elder Ryan Matekal, so for the first time in my mission I see him a lot! haha, crazy how things work out like that. At the moment we have a lot of people set with a baptism date in the zone. Our district has 5-6 (3 ours) another district has around 3 and Matekals district has 18!

Our ward, the 4th Ward is the oldest of the Spanish wards in the valley. The new bishop is doing a great job. Our ward mission leader fortunately is one of the better leaders we have, so that’s helpful. He just came to a great lesson we had last night with a guy named G. who is the only one who is not a member in his family. He is set with a date for the 10th, so tonight we are teaching him again to prepare him for the baptism and everything. His wife is unbelievably happy he is getting baptized! She is super excited to get married in the temple. Our Elders quorum is also pretty good. We have one guy who just got back from his mission in the presidency and he is ready to work and is pushing to get to know all the less actives. There are 3 companionships in the ward because it covers a lot of area and a lot of Hispanics – us, Elders Cedeno and Buchovich, and Elders Farmer and Rodriguez. It’s pretty fun. One great thing the ward does is family home evenings in the church twice a month for whoever wants to come. Great opportunity for recent converts and investigators to get involved. It’s pretty nice. We are also trying to work through the basketball that they play at church too, but we'll see if that goes anywhere.

In addition to G., we are teaching around 5 investigators/households and then about another 4 less active families. We have 3 people with baptism dates right now, but one is going to be a different day because she wants to move it up! That’s always exciting. So we'll see when we set her for. Probably the last weekend in March. We will probably also pick up one more with a date this week, maybe more. We are going to need new investigators quick though because everyone is about to be baptized! hahaa, good reason to need new ones. We'll be pushing for referrals. I think we are going to do a church tour and some other activities to see what we can do to get more people involved.

As zone leaders, we spend about 80% of our time as Spanish missionaries and 20% taking care of stuff. For example, we go the mission each week to enter stats and miles and deal with miles if anybody is over, but fortunately our zone is doing incredibly well on miles and we are going to finish out the month with a bank of around 600 unused miles which is great cuz the mission goes over miles as a whole a lot, haha. And we stop by to pick up supplies or stuff for other missionaries.

So there are signs in all of the ward buildings here for something called the formal for priests and laurels (ages 16-18) and I kept wondering what it was. Just found out that they have a 10-stake priest/laurel dance on the roof of the world convention center next to the strip....the giant building right next to the outlets. That was when I realized how far from church life at home it is here, hahahaha. Oh, and speaking of the outlets, we went there today for P-day. It was pretty fun. We just found out that the other side of the outlets is the mission line there, so it’s in ours and not theirs, haha. We had a pretty good time checking things out. I almost bought a couple things but held back. I’m looking for a white pair of shoes because I’m going to have a missionary tag them for me with sharpies. We have a couple missionaries in the mission right now who are super good and make them custom to whoever wants them. Both are friends, so I’ll have to get it done before I leave!