Monday, September 27, 2010

Like Father Like Son

Monday, September 27, 2010 0
Man oh man this week has flown by. If this keeps up the next few months won't seem like a long time haha. Hopefully all of you have had a wonderful time and have enjoyed some cooler weather compared to over here. It's in the 100s now and it's freaking rediculous.

To be honest we didn't do much teaching this week but we had a ton of service opportunities that have helped us find some new people. It's way excited. Plus we have been working with a bunch of less actives and part member families, so we are on our way to building the area back up again. But the most grandest news that I want to talk about is the baptism that we were blessed to witness of Gerardo Morales. It was so great to see him enter the waters of baptism. It was one of the more interesting baptisms that I've seen, apart from the ASL baptisms, which are inevitably different. First the font wasn't filled on time so we delayed it by 15 minutes, along with President Baker and the Stake Presidency showing up, putting a ton of pressure on us to make sure everything went according to plan. Sadly it didn't. We had asked Hermana Camacho to give the talk on baptism and ended showing up late because she forgot her camera of all things haha. It's funny how things end up. Also Francisca, Gerardo's wife, showed up late and we had to wait for her because of all the people who were there she needed it the most. We have been trying to get her to a baptism for awhile now and who better to see than her husband huh? The thing that was the most interesting was the few minutes before the baptism. Gerardo asked me to baptize him a couple of days before and I went along with it, knowing that things would not end up that way because, of course, his son-Moro/Burrito-was going to baptize him. Haha. So when were getting our clothes I still played along with it and explained how things were going to down and right before we were going to change I said, "wait I have to go get something" and that is when Moro walked in and had the big surprise. It was so awesome to have his son baptize him. That is any part member families wish, to baptize others who have committed to following the gospel of Jesus Christ until the end. Moro was almost crying when it was all done, partially because he was WAY nervous (i.e. he messed up the prayer like 5 times), I would be the same in that situation. We had a party afterwards and a bunch of the family came to, hopefully, show there support. I ended up talking to a few of them, they mostly had questions and it was great to have the opportunity to explain things to them. Who knows maybe the rest of the family will tag along?! That would be way legit.

The rest of the week we did a bunch of service for the Delgado family. We had a whole day with them from 9 to 9. We did some wood flooring for them and then went up to the visitors center with them, the Morales, and the Andrades. It was way cool to have a group that big. It was also just fun to be with a family the entire day. It felt weird sometimes, probably because it reminded me of my family (miss you!) We also had President's interviews, which are always an experience. They were short but to the point. Oh and we also had a huge FHE with the youth of the ward. It was fun. We taught the lesson and had a good time afterwards. Sorry fot the short email, my head hurts. Hope all is well. Love ya all!

Elder Leavell

Gerardo's Baptism
P-day Activity: Hiking in 102 weather-not a good idea.

A not so friendly Peacock at a dinner.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Break from the Normal

Monday, September 20, 2010 0
Another week in the mission and another opportunity to be on the computer to talk with all of you. What a great day it is! Ha. Well this week has been a long week for me and I don't imagine that it is going to get any faster. Luckily I had some enjoyable times with some other missionaries and I got to think about how I have really enjoyed my mission thus far. It has truly been a blessing to be out here and learn everything that I have learned and hopefully I will continue to grow and become a better servant and representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ. How have all you been doing? I know I ask that every time but it was great to hear from all of you.

Anyways moving onto the week. Wednesday and Saturday I went on splits with Elder Apo and Elder Sung. It's crazy to think that Elder Sung is my District Leader again, just like good old times in Gardena. But before that we had the wonderful opportunity to somewhat take a break and do service for Anthony and Jenni. Since they are going to get married soon, their mom was kind and divided her house and is going to give it to them, meaning a lot of service hours for us! Woo Hoo! Love service. We painted, filled in holes, and did all the jazz, but the best thing was that I had to cook lunch for everyone one of those days. Now my parents know me well enough to know that I can't cook so whoever ended up deciding that I was going to be the cook, it back fired on them. Haha. It wasn't that bad though. I made some mashed potatoes (out of the box, of course) and cooked some fried chicken and made some orangeade (does anyone know what the difference between orangeade and orange juice is?). Later that Tuesday we had the opportunity to teach the Morales family and it was awesome! It ended up being only with the Dad but I think that in the long run it ended up being better that it was by himself so that the spirit could really testify to him that this is real and this is it. We started off by reading Mosiah 27, which is the conversion story of Alma and we didn't get that far into it when we started talking about the differences between all the churches. He said that he didn't really notice any difference between the Catholic, Christian, and LDS faith, except that the LDS faith really focuses on family relationships and unity within the church. He then asked us what we thought. As we responded, we mentioned that the main difference is that we know we have a modern day prophet and that he guides and leads His church and the entire world. We went forth sharing scriptures in the Bible, such as Acts 10, and in the Book of Mormon to explain that prophets are needed for the reason of unity. It reminded me of Ephesians 4 where it states the positions of the Church of Jesus Christ and says that it will remain until the unity of faith. We then asked him to pray right there and then to know if Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and he did. We waited for him to say something, letting the spirit touch him and then he said the coolest thing ever, "I know he is a prophet because without Jesus Christ we wouldn't have the church and everything that the church talks about is good." We were all really excited and he said that he couldn't wait for the 26th to get baptized. Gosh the spirit is amazing. It tells people things that we can't do, even as true representatives of Jesus Christ. Ahh good stuff right there. The next day was the first day that I went on splits. Not much happened, other than we walked all day looking for less actives in the Carson ward. It was really hot that day but it was good, had a lot of time to talk with Elder Apo. He is way cool, what's even funnier is that he is in the Samoan Ward now and he is related to almost half the ward haha. Friday we had a Morales day, had Posole at their house and it was really delicious. Then we reviewed the baptismal questions with him, he passed with us, unfortunately Francisca was not in the room the entire time so she didn't get to hear all of it. I don't think that she is going to get baptized this Sunday but I do know that with time she will be prepared and the Lord will reveal unto her that she knows enough and she is ready. Then onto the next day of splits. Gosh that was a terrible day, not really just wait. We had 3 dinners that day, of which 2 of them were planned and on bikes, making it the first time since I have been moved to Peninsula Zone. The first one was unexpected. We ended up going to a Samoan less active and they were preparing food, so the entire time I was trying to get out of there but Elder Sung just kept talking and we ended up having a plate set in front of us. 20 minutes later we ate dinner with the Holt family. It was great! Sister Holt is Japanese and she made us a ton of vegetable tempura with miso soup. We killed about half of it and we were stuffed but then she took out a bomb cheese cake. I had forgotten how good that stuff is, since I have been eating tortillas for most of my mission haha. Then 20 minutes after that we went to this Filipino home and ate another dinner and by this time I couldn't move. It was ridiculous. I told myself I would never do this again but now look at me. I felt so bad for the lady because we had gotten there about an hour late and she was mad, then we didn't even eat that much because, well, we were full to the max. I only had one plate and Elder Sung stuffed his face and went to the bathroom, meaning he spit it out in the bathroom. MISSIONARIES NEVER DO THAT THOUGH ;) The Sister ended up lightening up when her son, who is a return missionary, came out and we all had a great conversation. By then it was around 8:30PM and we couldn't move so we went home and made phone calls to get our peeps to church. The Morales family showed up and Francisca went to Relief Society finally. Hopefully she liked it, I didn't get the chance to talk to her about it but I know she will. Then we had a General Priesthood meeting for the stake. Gerardo came and he enjoyed it a lot. The Stake Presidency said that they would go to his baptism too! I guess Gerardo Jr. is good friends with them. Unfortunately that means we have to bring our "A" game for the baptism. No worries with the Lord on my side, I got this!

That is my week. It was great and slow at the same time, sadly. I hope that your weeks have been going well and that school isn't going to rough. Don't even want to think about that. I love you all and I hope that the Lord blesses all of you abundantly and you notice the blessings that He gives us daily. Miss you all too!

Elder Leavell

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Can I Say

Monday, September 13, 2010 0
Well I don't got much time to write all of you on this fine evening, but I have to, at least, give you all some update. Hopefully all of you are doing mighty fine because the sun is shining bright over here! Got to love California weather. Summer has past and it didn't ever feel like summer, but that could mean that it's going to be a cold winter. Not cool. At least we can wear more layers.

Once again not much was accomplished but this time it wasn't because of meetings, that randomly came up, but because of some ordeals between some that are close to me. No worries everything is fine, we just had to be up at the mission home with President Baker all of Friday and Sunday. On Tuesday, everything was closed (as I mentioned before) so we did some extra errands with Bryan Camacho, a youth from our ward. He got to see a side of missionary work that is not normally seen by members, so I'm sure that was an interesting experience for him. Haha we didn't do anything with him-work wise. Oops. Then Wednesday, we went up to the mission home to turn our car in to get the other one fixed. Another interesting story about that. Elder Hancock, the car guy, wasn't there when we got there so we went out to eat around the mission home and came back. We took an hour to give him enough time to do his things and when we returned he still wasn't there. My companion got a little frustrated but things happen like that all the time so we waited and 10 minutes later we were on our way back to the wonderful city of Wilmington. We got back around 3, right in time for an appointment with Franci. We had Stephanie meet up with us for the appointment to see if that would resolve her concern for not going up to the Visitor's Center, turns out that concern was just a cover up because she wasn't that interested as we for saw. She said that she saw us as more of a friendship and didn't want to do anything. It was sort of awkward having to drop her with Stephanie there, never done that before, but it ended well and she said that she would give us a call after her wedding, of which she invited us to. Cool huh? It's in November so we will see if I'm still here in Wilmington. Then we took some time to make a Plan of Salvation chart for the Morales, which leads me the only main lesson that we had this week. We taught the Morales family the first half of the Plan of Salvation and they enjoyed it. They were happy to know where they came from and why the fall of Adam and Eve was so important for the plan. We commited Francisca, the wife of Gerardo, to baptism on the same day as him, she accepted with the condition that we would bring more visions and teach her some more. I'm so thankful for the plan that our Heavenly Father has given us, it really helps understand the scriptures more, especially when it comes to the certain circumstances in the scriptures where things get sketchy. We should be teaching them the rest of the Plan of Salvation this coming week and I know that it will be an answer to their prayers. Then comes Thursday, meaning weekly planning day. We did it at the beach this time and I'm not going to lie I wasn't that into it because, hey, I was at the beach and it sunny this time. PLUS there were whales and dolphins popping up like crazy and spouting water up every 2 minutes. It was sick. So I got distracted. It happens sometimes, give me a break. Sadly that was my entire week. NOTHING. As missionaries we wish for these types of weeks that are laid back but let me tell everyone who is serving their missinoright now: it ain't worth it, it's not fun. I really do mean that. There is nothing worse than nothing. It's weird that I'm saying this but I guess that means that I have learned something right?

Once again sorry for the short message, got to tighten some loose ends and finish some things that need to be taken care of. Love you all and miss you bunches. For reals.

Elder Leavell

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

BAM!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 0
Well hello there everyone. It's been a might fine week this past week. Sorry I didn't let all of you know that it was labor day yesterday. Wish I could have had a day off. Haha. Nah we sort of did since it was our P-day. Hope you are doing mighty fine and that you see the Lord's blessings in your lives. Aren't they the greatest?

As far as the past week, I'll start on the big news that most of you are waiting for. I stayed. Guess the city of Wilmington still needs me haha. Can't see why. Haha. But really. Anyways I'll be here in Wilmington for another 6 weeks so we will see what progress will occur for the time being. Now for the investigators. Bad news and good news, as usual. Robert, the guy, who Elder Bennett found isn't that golden as we thought. We went over there a couple of times over the past week and he wasn't there, but one time his daughter, Vanessa, was home so we taught her lesson 1. She wasn't all that interested but, none the less, she listened to what we had to say. Sunday came and Robert didn't come to church. Ended up his wife stayed home from work and so he decided to stay at home the entire day, as well. He told us that he hadn't been reading much of what we had given him but that he would read it in the coming week until he went to church. Cool. Not. He later then told us that he didn't want us to come over until he went to church to see if it is something that he wants to get into. Oh well. Hopefully he will keep his word, since he said he promisd this coming sunday that he would. Then with Franci, things haven't been moving with her, she has read but hasn't committed to anything else. We invited her to come to the Visitor's Center and she threw a huge curve ball at us and said that the reason why she doesn't want to come is because of a trust issue. I have no idea what she meant by that till this day. I have a feeling that we are going to have to drop her pretty soon since she isn't willing to come to church and see all the blessings that coming to church will give her. Also, the Zayes family didn't come to church, no surprise there because we had set up early morning appointments and he wasn't there for any of them. Over the past few weeks I think that things have really started to sink in and/or I'm starting to really understand the importance of the gospel and how much of an impact that it has had and will continue to have in my life. Yeah it might not be easy, in fact, it's way hard; but I know that as things move on and we learn from all the things that we go through that we will be made strong enough for the things to come and that we will be able to maintain our spirits high and in order. It's great how the gospel does that sometimes. Just enlightens oneself at the most random times and somehow it is when you most need it. I guess that is all the "bad" news that I have for the time being. Onto the good news. The Morales family is doing great! I can't believe how far they have progressed and how strong they are becoming. It's amazing to see the progression in them and the desire they have now to do the things that the Lord would have them do. We had the most amazing lesson to the other day and the best part is we didn't teach anything at all, the spirit did. On Sunday we went over there to check up on how church went for them. Gerardo was the only one home and he really liked it and was really surprised how quiet the kids were that particular service, since over the past few weeks that have been way loud (got to admit). We then asked him how his prayers have been going and seeing if he had prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of the God. He said he had and then he went describing how he felt. He said that as he was praying he felt calm and not worried about anything else, like work, which he is normally always worried about; and that he felt good that there was a prophet on the earth today. At this point I was smiling like no other. He continued to describe how a particular face came into head while he was praying, the face of his cousin, who had fallen off the path at one point of his life. He went on for 10 minutes explaining the entire situation on how his cousin was in Mexico and was selling drugs and got caught but now is on the right path. We then asked him "why do you think he came into your head?" We waited there for awhile as he thought of why and he said so that we could learn from others mistakes. My smile was even bigger now. We then testified of how the good feelings that he was feeling and the peace and burning that was within him was the answer that he was looking for and that he needed to follow it. No lie we waited there for 10 minutes and waited for it to sink in that he himself had received an answer, it was so cool because the spirit was soooo strong and you could hardly move. He said ok, where do we go now? We commited him to be baptized on the 26th and he agreed. I'm so happy that I can count on the spirit to do the things that I, myself, cannot do. The best part is that we are going to be having a baptism in the coming weeks, I'm so excited for him. Even though we haven't been able to talk with the wife yet, we know that she will also commit to baptism, all she needs to do is to realize that she has received her answer, as well. It's great to see how hard work pays off with patience.

Sorry for the short email. I don't have much time. I'm so excited to be here and be a part of this great work, even that of Jesus Christ. I'm so proud and humbled to be a representative of Him and to be able to be a messanger to His children. It's truly an honor. I love you all and I know that if we look for the blessings we will find them. May the Lord be with you all. Till next week.

Elder Leavell
 
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