Yep! That's right! Selvin Ramirez (we call him Jose Smith) has been baptized and confirmed a member of the Church! Woooooooooo! So great! It was amazing!!! I love the Ramirez family so much! They have changed more than you could imagine! Lucy has given up coffee and Jose (Lucy's husband) and Laura are working on giving it up as well! They're amazing. Anyways, I'll tell you about them later. So for an overview of my week. Monday we visited this lady named Gladys Webb who we thought was less active. Turns out she's just to old to go to church and the Priests give her the sacrament every Sunday. We talked about the Book of Mormon with her and she told us about a theory that Joseph Smith saw aliens instead of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The aliens were sent by God though. She then went off about how there's a part in Genesis that says that the sons of God could be aliens. "Read your Genesis!" she said. It was interesting. I hadn't heard that one before. Tuesday I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders Elder Larman and Elder Stucki. Elder Larman came to my area. We had to drive down to the valley to Reseda that morning to get an estimate on how much it would cost to repair the car we're driving. Our car is the oldest car in the mission the 2010 Pontiac Vibe and its had some rough times. It runs great though! Don't worry, I don't have to pay for any of it. It was fun to get to see the valley. I've only been down there like 3 times. I kind of hope I get to go somewhere down there next transfer. The exchange was great. Elder Larman is a good missionary. We taught the Ramirez family that night and Elder Larman interviewed Selvin for baptism. We taught them about tithing and they all committed to pay. It was great. Wednesday I went on another exchange with Elder Bulger in the Copperhill ward. We knocked doors all day and it was looooooooong! It got up to 89 degrees that day! It sucked! You all probably hate me for saying that, but you would say the same thing if you got absolutely no weather variation for 5 months. We had a good time though! We knocked into some pretty crazy people. One guy let us in and we tried to teach him, but he just wanted to tell us about how much he's studied the Bible. He talked about the millennium for like 30 minutes! The weird thing was, he had everything right! he's like translating the bible or something, but he beleves that all prophecy ended with Christ. He wouldn't read the book of Mormon, and ya... It felt like a waste of time, but I knew that we needed to be there for some reason. He'll figure it out one day. We did end up finding a new investigator though! It was the sister of one their new investigators they found last week. We taught her a doorstep lesson and it was really cool! We also taught this amazing less active family that they have been teaching for quite a while. We taught them the Restoration and it was one of the most powerful lessons of my mission so far. The daughter has recently started going to the singles ward and they're working with the dad on getting him to come back to church. We talked about the blessings of the gospel in families a whole ton and about the priesthood and how he can bless his family by going to church and eventually receiving the Melchezidek Priesthood. It was sweet! My comp. and Elder Patterson were in the Seco Canyon ward. They taught Chad, and apparently it was a great lesson. Chad told them that he had relapsed on everything under the sun--weed, cocaine, prescription, smoking, heroine, you name it. He told them that he feels completely unworthy to even pray and that God shouldn't love him. The Elders said that they just read the scriptures with him and that it was super powerful. He told them that what they taught him was exactly what he needed to hear. Anyways, it'll be quite a while before he gets baptized now. Thursday we had weekly planning and went on another exchange with the other Copper hill elders. Elder Coles came to my area. We knocked and tried to stop by less actives, but no one answered. We found a couple potentials so that was good. The next morning we knocked into this kid named Philip. He's 16 years old and he's been moving around schools a lot because of bullying. He's a super nice kid and we taught him the Restoration on the doorstep. He told us that this was exactly what he needed to hear and we set up an appointment with him for next Saturday. It was awesome! Right after that, we knocked into this super depressing guy who wanted to bible bash, but we didn't let him. We just taught, testified and left. It was good. We went to Selvin's that night and answered questions. Saturday we baptized Selvin! it was such a good baptism. His mom and grandma were bawling! It was so cool! Lucy is supposed to get baptized Feb. 8th, but she told us at the baptism that she wants to be baptized with Jose on the same day! Jose is really progressing and he told us that he felt so good when Selvin was baptized. He said that he felt like it was his "spiritual birthday!" It was great. The Bishop had them and a whole ton of people over for food afterwards. They talked to the Bishop the whole time. They loved it so much and they all came to church the next day to see Selvin get confirmed. Elder Davidson baptized him and I confirmed him. I was nervous as all get out to do it, but it was a really good experience. His Grandma and mom were bawling afterwards too. We're teaching them 3 times this coming week so it should be good. Well, that's my week for ya! It was awesome! I love hearing from all of you guys and I love you all!
Well, another good week's gone by! It was so good! Last Monday night we taught Anamarie Nannie and her husband Nathan. We taught the restoration and committed her to baptism! It was awesome! There is one hold up though. They are going to Columbia next week to visit her family for a month and a half, so we couldn't pick a date yet. We're going to work it out tonight. I'm willing to bet that they'll get in touch with the missionaries in Columbia and the whole family will get baptized! I'd be ok with that! Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Coles in the Copper hill ward. He's from Georgia. We had district meeting that morning and I gave part of the training. Since Elder Davidson used to be a zone leader, he hates giving trainings by himself, so he's been having me train with him every district meeting. It's been a lot of fun and I've learned so much from preparing trainings with him. I think we work pretty well together. We have district meeting every Tuesday morning, (Wednesday morning on transfer week) and I love it. I get so much out of it! After district meeting we spent 3 hours in urgent care because Elder Coles wiped out on his bike on Monday. He landed on his elbow and wasn't able to move his arm, and he didn't end up calling the medical people until after district meeting. They told him to go to urgent care. Turns out he fractured his radial head so he's in a sling now. Since he can't ride a bike, we walked all day. The other Elders had a ton of miracles happen in the area while I was gone! Everything always happens when I'm gone! They taught Selvin, Lucy, Laura, and Jose Ramirez. Yep, the grandpa finally joined a lesson. He told them that he's noticed a change in Selvin and Lucy and Laura. He's also been reading the Book of Mormon with them and he said that once Lucy gets baptized that he will probably also. I was so mad I couldn't be there! We went on another exchange on Wednesday, and this time I got to stay in the area. Elder Sung came with me and we found a new investigator named Claudia! She was a potential Elder Davidson and I found last week. We taught her the restoration and it went pretty well. She told us that everything made sense and that she would come to church on the 19th. Solid. Thursday we did weekly planning and worked all day trying to find people to teach. Friday we taught the Ramirez family the Word of Wisdom. The Spanish elders have been going over there weekly for the past 2 or three weeks, and they went over on Thursday and taught the Word of Wisdom as well. Before we started teaching, the family told us that they decided that they would go to our ward from now on because they wanted to go as a family. They felt bad about dropping the Spanish Elders, but I was so happy! Now we can baptize the whole family Mwahahaha! I really did feel a little bit bad for the Spanish elders though. But I'm so excited! We retaught them the Word of Wisdom and they all have a problem with coffee except for Selvin. They've set goals to quit. Lucy also told us that she had been praying about her baptismal date for February 8th. She told us she wants to be baptized! Woooooooooo! So awesome! Saturday was full of contacting potential investigators. None of them were really solid, but we did teach this Hindu guy and it was the weirdest thing ever! His name was Sid and we tracted into him about 3 weeks ago. We stopped by Saturday night and his wife, Ashrini, let us in. She sat us down on the couch and gave us some delicious pie. She then went into the kitchen and had us wait on the couch for about 20 minutes. Sid finally showed up and we got to know him and tried to teach him. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and about the Plan of Salvation. After every statement that we said, he would compare it with Hinduism and tell us what Hindu's believe. It was interestingly weird. He told us about evolution and how Noah had a boat that was pulled by a fish and what not. He ended up giving us a Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu bible. It was interesting and when we invited him to church and said a prayer with him, he invited us to come to his temple in Northridge. Anyways, it was interesting. Sunday was amazing!!! We had 5 investigators at church and the whole Ramirez family showed up. They brought Selvin's little brothers as well. Chris is 13 and James is 9. Hopefully they sit in on our lessons this week. The Nannies came to church too. It was awesome! They loved it and Jose stayed for all three hours! It was crazy! Church is stressful when you have investigators come. The sisters had their investigators come too! We had 9 nomembers at church this week. Another highlight of this week was when we knocked into this guy named Harold Hicks. He's this 81 year old guy who told us he loves history. We told him that we loved history too and he asked us if we had a couple minutes. We told him we did and he said meet me in my garage. He opened his garage and it was filled with old guns, swords, pictures, and history stuff up the wazoo. He gave us a tour of his garage and come to find out, he's a drummer! We both connected with him so well because my comp. loves guns and I love drums. It was awesome. He was interested in family history and we told him about the church and family history and such. it was really cool. His garage probably had well over $100,000 worth of historic artifacts and guns. Chad our investigator with a baptismal date seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. We haven't been able to get in contact with him at all, and we've tried by his house every day. He won't answer the door or the phone. Hopefully we get in contact with him this week or we'll probably drop him. We haven't been able to get in contact with the Palomino's either, and we haven't taught them for almost a month. If we don't teach them this week, we will probably end up dropping them as well. All well. The work is moving forward in the Seco Canyon Ward! Also we went without a phone this week until Friday. It was interesting haha, but we got by. Our phone broke on Monday morning and the mission office didn't have a replacement so they had to order a new one. Oh ya I almost forgot! If you haven't figured it out yet I'm not getting transferred! I'm staying! Yaaaay! Now I get to see Selvin and Lucy get baptized, and hopefully the rest of the family! Well those were the highlights from this week! It was a great week and we're going to start baptizing soon! I love you all and I love hearing from you! Keep writing!
Hey another good week has gone by! Last Monday night was super awesome! We've started trying to work with less-actives more and we were going through the ward list to see who to visit. We came across a name Nathan Nannie. We decided to visit him and he invited us in and introduced us to his non-member wife Anamaria from Columbia. We ended up teaching them the restoration and she was super open to everything we had to say. It was awesome. We're teaching them again tonight and hopefully they come to church next week. We haven't been able to teach the Palomino's for about a month now and they haven't been coming to church. Next lesson we have with them we will probably be dropping them. I hope not, but the whole time I have been teaching them they haven't been keeping their commitments. We'll see what happens. We did a lot of finding this week as usual. We ended up getting three new investigators which is good, especially for Valencia. On Friday we went on an exchange with the assistants, Elder Wright and Elder Schick because they are in our district. I went into the Assistants area with Elder Schick. He is from Riverton and has been out for 16 months I think. I love going on exchanges with the assistants because I always learn so much from them. Elder Schick and I found a new investigator and we got some really solid potentials. We were walking around in this apartment complex talking to people and visiting some potential and former investigators when we met this lady named Ashley. She had her dog with her and we went up and talked to her. We talked to her about prayer and she just opened up to us. It was crazy. She just started telling us all the problems that she has in her life right now. She is super attatched to her dog "Georgia" who is super sick. She has a boyfriend named Ed who Elder Wright and Schick have talked to before. She wouldn't stop talking for like 20 minutes and she just broke down crying. We said a prayer with her to be comforted and she said she felt a ton better after that. She set up an appointment with us for Tuesday. It was cool. She was solid and I hope that the appointment doesn't fall through. We ended up getting a couple other potentials throughout the day. At one point we were walking around a different complex. While we were walking around, we saw this big black guy riding up to us on this super small glittery pink scooter with streamers. Turns out the guy was Damien, one of the Assistants investigators. It was hilarious. We were supposed to teach him and his girlfriend Saturday morning, but they canceled. Anyways, it was a good exchange. The Assistants also have a racquetball court in their complex, so we played racquetball for exercise in the morning too. It was great! Elder Davidson and Elder Wright did some crazy work in our area! They found 2 new investigators and got to teach Chad, Selvin lucy and Laura, and Janice! I kind of wish I could have stayed in my own area. Elder Wright said the lesson with Selvin and his family was the most spiritual and legit Plan of Salvation lesson of his mission. They asked Lucy to be baptized on February 8th and she just broke down crying. She told them that she wants to, but that she has to pray about it first! I was so happy to hear that! I just hope I don't get transferred next week because I want to see that whole family get baptized. They are solid! Things with Chad are kind of going downhill a little bit. Elder Wright and Davidson taught him Saturday morning and he told them that he doesn't really want to quit smoking and chewing tobacco anymore. They reviewed the restoration with him because he's already been taught everything. He's reading the Bof M, but hasn't been coming to church. They moved his baptismal date back. I really hope he's not losing the desire he once had. Desire is everything. The 2 new investigators they found were from knocking. They were two 16 and 17 year old kids. They told them that they would come to church, but they didn't show. Anyways, I don't have much more time, but we did meet a crazy lady this week. Elder Wright and Davidson got a referral from a member on Friday. Elder Davidson and I tried to make contact on Saturday. The referral was for an Emily Bible. We knocked on the door and this lady answers. She talked to us for 20 minutes about how the Holy Ghost is a woman. She reffered to the spirit as "her" and she kept asking us, "do you know about her." She went on and on about how Christ was literally married to Israel and she showed us pictures of vision that she had of Christ in this book (It was a scrap book) that "she" was having her write. It was a picture of a guy in the ocean and the back of a half naked man. After 20 minutes had gone by, her dog ran out of the house and she ran down the street chasing after it. We just ran off back to our car and had a good laugh. It turns out the referral is solid though. The Copper hill elders know her and she is best friends and has been to church with a family in their ward. We're going to try and work with them on teaching her. So ya this week was great! I'm glad to hear that all is well at home! I love you all!