September 15, 2014
Hi family and friends! My first full week in the mission field has been really amazing!!
It has been raining a lot this past week. As a result, the mobile homes that we were planning to tract at on Tuesday were completely flooded. The water was high enough to cover the wheels of cars on the street. It honestly looked like a hurricane had gone through the mobile home park. Elder Remund and I decided that we wanted to go see a potential investigator anyway so we put on our boots, rolled up our pants and walked through the water to the house. The water ended up being knee deep all the way, and the investigator ended up not being at their house but it still ended up being an awesome experience.
The Spanish hermanas in our district that cover middle Newport News had a baptism on Tuesday. They baptized this sweet old lady from Guatemala. Even though the baptism wasn't for one of my investigators, it was still a really cool experience to see a convert baptism for the first time.
On Wednesday, Elder Remund and I taught Valerio, a less active member from Guatemala. The spirit was so strong in the lesson as we taught him the importance of going to church. We told him that we wanted to visit with him because we loved him and the branch members loved him. I could see that he definitely felt the spirit so hopefully that will help him decide to go to church again.
On Thursday, my companion and I met with Jeff again. Elder Remund and I had fasted on Sunday for Jeff that he would receive an answer to his prayer about whether the Book of Mormon is true. The spirit was so strong during the lesson. We asked him if he would pray right then and ask if the Book of Mormon was true. He did, and afterwards he said that he had this warm feeling inside him. I then asked Jeff to be baptized and he said yes! Now Elder Remund and I just need to help him overcome his Word of Wisdom problems. In order to support him, both my companion and I are both giving up something we like. Elder Remund is giving up Oreo cookies and I am going to give up diet soda. It’s going to be hard but it is going to be worth it when Jeff is able to get baptized. We also gave him a priesthood blessing, which he asked me to give to him, and that was amazing. I remember Dad saying that he hadn't given a blessing until a year into his mission. I feel blessed to have already participated in 6 blessings, three of them in which I was able to pronounce the blessing.
We went to Edwin and Miriam's home and they served us paposes, a dish from El Salvador. I really like eating paposes, even though they do have beans in them!
On Friday, I went on my first exchanges with our zone leaders. It was a lot of fun because we taught a lot of lessons to investigators I hadn't met and they were all English speaking. It was a relief to take a break from Spanish. We also went to the CNU college campus and talked to a lot of people on campus. We set a goal to talk to everyone and I think we did a good job of talking to everyone that we saw.
On Saturday afternoon, we met with Francisco. He is from the Dominican Republic and will be in the U.S. for only 6 months. He is visiting his daughters here, both of which are members in our Spanish branch. His daughters asked us last Sunday if we could help him stop smoking, as he has been addicted to smoking for over 50 years and has tried to stop before but wasn't able to. So we went over to his home and talked to him about how the Atonement of Christ can help us overcome temptation because he not only suffered for our sins but also for every pain we would feel and for every temptation we would experience (Alma 7:11-13). We also gave him a blessing, which Elder Remund gave in Spanish.
On Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference. The focus of this meeting was Hastening the Work and the importance of members in missionary work. I would encourage everyone back home to be involved as a member missionary and tell everyone about Jesus Christ and his restored church!
Yesterday I learned why its kind of stinks to be a Spanish missionary in the U.S. Elder Remund and I were tracting yesterday in Hampton where we met two African American women. The first one was super friendly. She was interested in our church and after talking to her for a long time; we gave her a Book of Mormon. She told us that she was going to read the Book of Mormon to her kids that very night. The other woman was from Haiti. She said that she wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon, too. We told her we could get her a copy in the Creole language, which is the language they speak in Haiti. She seemed really excited about that. The sad thing about these two solid potential investigators is that since they don't speak any Spanish at all we had to hand them over to the English speaking missionaries, which kind of stinks, but oh well. I'm still really glad I’m a Spanish speaking elder!
This morning, myself and seven other Elders went to the beach to watch the sunrise. Our mission president allows all the missionaries that are close to a beach to go to the beach every six weeks, or at every transfer, to go watch the sunrise. We aren't allowed to go into the water but it was still really awesome. It reminded me of when I watched the sunrise in Hawaii with my family in June.
Later today, after we have completed our P- day duties, we will be going to tour the historic colony of Williamsburg. There are many historical places in my area, Williamsburg, Yorktown (where the revolutionary war ended), Jamestown (the first American settlement), and the island where Jefferson Davis (the Confederate president during the civil war) was kept as a prisoner.
I'm really excited for another week in the mission field and I will talk to everyone later!
I thought this was pretty funny. This is a building outside an apartment complex in Hampton. I wonder what the people who live across this building think when we say that Joseph Smith restored the church. "WHO? Joseph Smith? You mean that attorney across the street??" hahah :)
Here is a flooded trailer park that we tracted in.
Here I am in the flooded trailer park up to my knees in water.
In the middle of Newport News there is this big foresty area similar to Central park in NYC. The whole area around here is forested, which is a relief compared to the desert in Arizona that I'm used to.
Sunrise at the beach on Pday
Pupusas from El Salvador