Week #81- A Pre-Soccer Game Discussion
February 15, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
Everything is going well here in Greenville. It's been really cold lately. The lowest I saw it drop while we were still proselyting was 18 degrees without counting the wind chill. It also snowed last Thursday but only a little bit and within a day it had already melted. The forecast for the daytime temperature this week is in the 70s.
Recently we have been cycling through a lot of investigators. We are able to teach them a lesson or two and then we will lose contact with them and have to drop them. Now we finally have a few investigators that we teach regularly.
We went to contact a potential investigator a few nights ago. We happened to show up right when they were trying to set up for a party to watch a soccer game with a bunch of their friends. They let us teach them before they watched the game, and all their friends sat in with us and listened. It was a pretty cool lesson.
We had exchanges this week, and I went with our district leader. We taught one of their investigators and Elder Tortorici told her that I spoke Spanish. She turned to me and asked me in Spanish how I learned the language. She told us that she is originally from Panama, which was a surprise to us. We taught her in English but she had a few questions and I answered them in Spanish. We talked more about Joseph Smith and the spirit was super strong. She told us that she knew what we were telling her was true and that she could feel a warm feeling in her heart. We invited her to get baptized and she said yes! I'm not sure if Elder Claridge and I will be able to teach her since she speaks Spanish. I think that the English elders from the other ward will continue to teach her since she knows English really well. I guess that who teaches her is not important as long as she keeps increasing her faith in Christ and is baptized.
While we were on exchanges, Elder Claridge got into a minor car accident, nothing big at all. That is probably going to put us on bikes again in the next week or so, while the car gets fixed.
Today we had a pretty fun Preparation day. We got permission to drive to Morehead City. I got assigned to drive. It was super cold and part of our windshield froze. We had to take a detour because one of the bridges over a big river was frozen.
I hope that everyone has a great week!
Week #82- A Baptism
February 22, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
We have been really busy this past week.
This week we found Hiraldo who is originally from Mexico. We taught him twice this week. He has been studying with the Jehovah Witnesses for a year, but he is willing to learn from us too. In the Book of Mormon lesson he expressed the concern about how no one in the Bible mentioned that Jesus Christ came to the Americas. We seemed to clear up his concern with a scripture in 3 Nephi. I told him that we weren't there to convince him but rather to invite him to find out for himself by reading and praying. He asked how he would receive his answer and we had a good talk with him about the Holy Ghost. He committed to reading the Book of Mormon.
Another guy we that started teaching this week was a former Mayor in his city in Mexico for 4 years.
We taught David and Gloria and their two daughters three times this week. They haven't been reading on their own so we have gone over and read out of the Book of Mormon with them. Hopefully they will soon start reading on their own. Gloria made papusas for us on Saturday night!!! I was so happy, I haven't eaten papusas in 7 months. Papusas are the best!
At church we started a temple class for the Hispanic members of our ward because the Bishop wants them to be able to go to the temple. Brother Quieroz is teaching the class. He is from Brazil, and although he speaks pretty good Spanish, occasionally he would throw some Portuguese. If you pay attention you can understand what he was saying. We also had our priesthood class in Spanish, it was taught by Brother Rodas. While he taught, I had to translate for the entire Elders quorum while he was teaching so that they could participate. It actually ended up being a really good lesson.
I gave Elder Claridge a haircut last night. In the times I've had to cut my companion's hair, I haven't done too bad of a job. However, last night I was using the ear attachment and I'm not sure what happened but it took way more off then I thought it would. Poor Elder Claridge has a circle around his ear where his hair is cut too short. Oops.
My old companion Elder Garcia told me that Ruben, someone we taught in Norfolk together last year, is getting baptized this Saturday! Too bad that I'm too far away to go to his baptism.
I hope that everyone has a great week!
Week #83- A PhD in Religious Studies and a Transfer
February 29, 2016
Hey Family and Friends!!!
This has been a pretty crazy week. To start off, we got transfer calls. I am getting transferred after being in Greenville for 5 transfers which adds up to 7 1/2 months. I am really sad to leave Greenville. I will be leaving on Wednesday. But guess where I am getting transferred to? I am going back to Newport News where I started my mission! I was shocked when President Baker told me the news. I will be going back there as a District leader. I will have two companions, Elder Hess who has been out for 3 transfers and Elder Free who has been out for 1 transfer. Elder Hess and I will finish training Elder Free together. It is going to be awesome to go back to the branch and see everyone again. I will be able to see the first 7 people that I baptized there. Edwin & Miriam and Ramon & Belkis and their two daughters are still in Newport News. I have heard they are doing good and are still coming to church. From what I have heard, Jeff is less active, and has gone back to smoking and drinking. I will have to visit him and help him get back to church. I will be able to eat at Abuelita’s again. I am super excited to eat lunch at her home, I miss her food a lot.
In my time here in Greenville, I've experienced some natural disasters that I haven't experienced before in Arizona. First, I was in a hurricane a few months ago, and then on Wednesday, a tornado was spotted 50 miles from Greenville. As a result, our mission got shut down. Elder Claridge and I grabbed some basic supplies really quick and stuffed them in our bags and then went over to another missionary apartment nearby that is on the bottom floor. We were shut down for about 3 hours, and then we were told that we could go out, but to just be cautious.
One of the investigators that we have been teaching is named Eliana. She is a single mom from Puerto Rico and she has a son named Caleb who is 8. She originally said that she let us in to learn more about the church but she has been excited about what we have been teaching her. She still hasn't set a baptismal date because it is not a goal for her at the moment, but on Thursday we taught her the plan of salvation and we brought the Berry family with us. Eliana had some really good questions, and she instantly hit off with the Berry’s. At the end of the lesson, her son Caleb was begging to come to church on Sunday and on Sunday they came! Eliana and Sister berry are already best buddies, which is awesome. I'm pretty sad that I'm not going to be able to stick around and teach her.
On Tuesday, we dropped by the home of a potential investigator. We found out that he has a PhD in Religious Studies and that he helped write a huge report about the original apostles of Jesus Christ. He said he had read a verse in the Bible about how the wicked will go to hell and he had decided that he didn't want to go there so he completely changed his life for the better. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and he said that if the Bible changed his life, that he was definitely happy to read more scripture. He committed to read the Book of Mormon in a month, and then he asked if there was any more revelation in our days besides the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We ended up talking about the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and General Conference.
Saturday night we decided to try to visit a former investigator who we had dropped because we had lost contact with him. He was there in his trailer but his trailer didn't have any electricity, which explains why we couldn’t contact him. We ended up having a lesson with the use of flashlights. He had read halfway through the Book of Mormon and he had a lot of questions. Apparently, he had taken a college class in Mexico where they studied history. He wondered why there wasn’t more evidence that Christ had come to the Americas. It was a really good lesson.
Today, which is Preparation day, we went to a Dominican restaurant. The restaurant has a challenge where you must eat 15 pounds of nachos in 45 minutes. Elder Claridge and Elder Ferrero decided to do take the challenge. Elder Tortorici and I decided to split three pounds of nachos and to just sit back and watch them. They didn't get very far. Halfway through the owner came over and encouraged them to finish by offered them an extra hour and 200 dollars. But they couldn’t do it, it was too way too much food to eat in one sitting.
Well, everyone have a good week.
15 Pound Nacho Challenge- Elders Claridge and Ferrero
3 Pound Nachos Split in Half with Elder Tortorici
Hunkering down for a tornado in Greenville