Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Greenies in Sparks!

Heyyyyyyy everybody!

Been a pretty good week this week! My new missionary has arrived! His name is Elder Palmer, and he's from Pencil Bluff, Arkansas! He's SUPER Mormon! Like 6th generation with 8 brothers and sisters that have all been on missions! He's also SUPER white, but he's ready to learn the language and listen to the SPIRIT!

Elder Palmer and I ready to get our grub on!

We had a good one for his first week, we found 3 new investigators, all on Sunday morning! As well, we have been teaching a Less Active & Investigator couple (Juan Carlos and Kimberly) who are going to be getting married soon so she can be baptized! We are super excited for that and to see when the date will be. Love seeing the gospel bless these families (or soon to be families)!

Outside pic of my apartment complex.

Golf course across the street. 

Got to do my first baptismal interview for some sisters in my district, so that was lit! As well I have another one today for some investigators of the Assistants! As well I am preparing for my first training on Tuesday, super excited! My district has two new missionaries in it, so we are gonna be focusing on helping them qualify for the gifts and guidance of the spirit so they can hit the ground running!

So grateful for all the awesome opportunities I have been given lately! Count your blessings everyone!

Until next week!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flabbergastingly Inspired Changes!

Firstly, how the area is doing: We had planned to find 5 new investigators this week but all of the appointments one by one fell through. But we set quite a few more for next week so the work goes on! Also, Lupita and her whole family of 4 came to church this week, yay! We are going to set them with a baptismal date very soon!  Our members are great, though! The Calderon family, who already introduced us to Lupita and her family, introduced us to Juan, their neighbor. He was in a very rough spot but just a week or two ago he decided to stop drinking. He is so ready for the gospel and has already accepted a baptismal date! Member missionary work is the best! 

Our trip to the Temple.

Now, the good stuff! We got our transfer calls last night! I am staying! But Elder Gonzalez is leaving the area, but staying in the Branch! We are opening up a new area here in the Rama Vista, so there will be three companionships here now. He will be getting double transferred, meaning neither him nor his companion have been in the area previously, so they have to start from almost nothing! But I am confident in him! Also, his companion is going to be Elder Maiava, one of my old district mates from the MTC! 

Elders Gurr, Gonzalez Torres and myself.

This is going to be a crazy transfer. Especially because I have also been called to train a new missionary! And.... be a District Leader here in Sparks Zone! In my District will be me, my new companion, then Elder Gurr and HIS new companion (because he's training!), and then Sister Nielson and Sister Hull (new STL). It's gonna be a super lit transfer this next transfer, and this Branch is going to blow up! 

A home-made shrine we ran across.

Also, I almost forgot, we went to the temple on Tuesday, it was awesome!

Hope everyone has a great week! BYE!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Another great week in Sparks!

Hola everycuerpo!

We have been seeing lots of great stuff happen here in the Rama Vista!

Pre-dinner pose with Elders Gurr, Gonzalez and Torres.

As a zone we set the goal to find 20 new investigators and we did it! 23 new investigators this week! And we were able to find 6 this week, so we are very happy! We have been seeing crazy miracles! We were able to start teaching all of Lupita's family and she really wants her kids to follow suit too if they get baptized. Now we just have to get the husband a little more excited and have her get her answer to the BoM! As well, the Calderon family are amazing member missionaries. They have a neighbor that is down on his luck because of his drinking problem, and so yesterday at church they basically told us to just meet at their house at 8 and that we would teach him! And he is super prepared! He already accepted a baptismal invitation and right after he sat there with the Book of Mormon in his hand and tears in his eyes and said that he feels this is the right path for him already! And he said once his family moves back, he will want to get them involved too!

Tons of miracles we are seeing! Also its like super hot here so that's fun.

Authentic Peruvian meal.

It was Peruvian independence day on Friday the 28th, and some Peruvian members had a huge party for it! And since I'm incredibly handsome they invited us! (It also might have been because one of the other Elders in the Branch is Peruvian). It was super good! Tons of apparently super authentic Peruvian food and what not (I would have no idea cuz I'm gringo). But it was tons of fun and there was even some investigators there!

Not much else this week. Loving the work!

Rain! Finally!

Also it rained, yay!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lining it All Up!

The work continues onward in the Rama Vista!

We found 3 more investigators this week, and we have been seeing TONS of progress in a few families!

More Dugs!

Elder Gonzalez with a new friend!

One couple (a less-active and a non-member) are planning on getting married soon so that she can be baptized!

And another family is planning on getting divorced to do the same! Divorced from a previous marrige and married into a new one, that is! In Mexican culture that happens like all the time. Mostly because Catholics look on divorce with incredible disdain while ironically under-valuing the importance of the Law of Chastity at the same time lol.

Wilfires in the area recently make it look like something out of The Walking Dead

But anyway, lots of good stuff!

We are lining this up to be a great transfer next transfer. Looks like I may get to become a Trainer! Lot's of stuff coming to fruition looks like.

Thanks for all your support and hope you all have a great Pioneer Day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zone Conference and Miracles

Lot's of stuff went on this week!

Hector's baptism with the The Chavez Family

Firstly, we found 6 new investigators, so that's lit. The work is really pickin up! Also, I got to baptize Hector finally! We have been waiting since basically the first month I got to this area to baptize him and it finally came around. And what's great is that his whole Less-Active family was there at church for his dunk and confirmation (which I got to do too lol), and they have been talking about coming back for more time now, so yay! The Gospel Blesses Families!

Also, we had Zone Conference this week. It was so awesome, lot's of things learned! Also, I got to give a little 5 minute talk about Virtue and some missionaries in our zone have been telling me they have been applying some of the things I mentioned in their own lives! If only I knew how to study like I do now in high school!

Sparks Zone Conference

Posing at Zone Conference

P-day with fellow Zone members!

Sharing a ride with Elders Gonzales, Gurr and Torres

In this branch, we have been really trying to get everyone excited about missionary work. It has taken a while but it seems to be working! An awesome family here just gave us a referral for a family that they have known for 12 years! They are super ready and we are planning on setting them with a baptismal date very soon. Member missionary work yeah! And the whole Give and Get theory with referrals continues!

Trying to stay cool with our AC and two fans.

We got 3 more this week, and two of them are already new investigators! Funny story about that, the other Elders in the branch thought it was for their area, so they went and taught them, but they are actually in our area, so now they have to give them over.. #whoops

Talk to you all next week!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Super Hot July

Espars is a great, but it's really hot!

Loving the dogs!

Speaking of heat, we are laying it down! We found 4 new investigators this week and we are having Hector's baptism on this Wednesday (the one that had to be rescheduled)!

And another dog.

Did I mention its hot here in Sparks?

As well, something I have been doing a lot in this area since I've been here is using the "Give Referrals, Get Referrals" mindset. For those who don't know, referrals are basically when someone else (often missionaries) give you a name and address/phone number of a person that they think could become an investigator. We have given away ALOT in this area since I've gotten here, but have received almost none. BUTTT... we just got word that a really solid investigator just moved into our area, and we are about to meet her tomorrow. So yay! Faith proceeds the miracle!

And one more.

Also, hope everyone had a great America day! We were gonna go watch fireworks and take lots of pictures, but by the time we finished our day, they stopped the fireworks!
It's ok God know's I love this chosen land and that's all that matters!

Trying on a a mask at a member's house.

Not much else going on but we are doing great and my Spanish is making ground!
This random Honduran guy invited us into his house for tacos and he was surprised I even spoke Spanish and then asked which one of my parents is from Mexico because I have a little bit of an accent. wutlol. But yeah, it's doing well!

Found this baby bird after it fell out of its nest.

Learning tons about faith and diligence out here, and it's so incredible to see all the progress these families and individuals are making because of living the gospel.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July and Diligence!

We had a pretty swell week this week.

Unfortunately, the baptism we had scheduled for Wednesday cancelled... on Tuesday. Hector's mom got sick and so we have postponed the baptism for next week. But he will get baptized regardless so it's alright!

Made a new friend!

Also we had to let a few investigators go this week, and a few let us go, so it has been a rough one. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel! We brought our investigator Ruben to a baptism for the YSA ward and because the baptizee is Muslim, it's kind of a big deal, so our Mission President and tons of other missionaries were there. Ruben really felt the spirit there and is progressing well toward his baptismal date on the 22nd of July. As well, we set another investigator Carlos for that same date, so we should have a great July!

As well we found a couple more investigators and have tons of appointments set for this next week with potential investigators, so if all goes well we should find a few more soon. This area is great and there is lots of work, but, like every area, it can be frustrating to see so much potential and not be able to tap it. 

Elder G and I car selfie.

Anyways, we also did a lot of biking this week, and it has been pretty fun, and is definitely helping me lose mi barriga.

Also I forgot to mention, last week was transfers but pretty much everyone around me is staying the same. Which is good, because that means I will likely be in this area for 6 months, and at least for 4.5 months.

Cool stuff: We have permission on Tuesday (the 4th) to stay out literally as late as we want as long as we are watching fireworks with members. So we are getting that hooked up and we are gonna have a lit Cuatro de Julio!

There's this scary dog that is always on guard at this one house. He's a Catholic Pitbull.

I am loving it out here and am learning a lot. Not much else to mention, but hope you all have a great week!

There's this scary dog that is always on guard at this one house. He's a Catholic Pitbull.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Jumping Beef

Pretty shweet semana! 

We finally have a baptism this week! On Wednesday our investigator (who is 9) is getting baptised! We are excited because his taking the lessons has helped strengthen his less-active/part member family! They are doing family home evening now and making a real effort to get out to church.

We committed our other investigator with a baptismal date, Ruben, to live the Word of Wisdom, and he was super down! He gave us his coffee and we dumped it, I think that's the 3rd coffee canister I have dumped on my mission, lol. He also tried to give us his really expensive alcohol but we told him we couldn't really take it, so he dumped it out on the ground! It's crazy how much people can change when they start on the right path.

Dumping a member's coffee stash

We taught another family recently, and as we were teaching them they told us that they came to the conclusion that they need to be baptised! The only problem is that they both work on Sundays, so we are working on that now. Also! We used our bikes this week! It has been a while, but it was fun. We might have to use them a bit more often, as we are starting to run short on miles for our car. It's a great time to bike. Pretty much 90's every day! (Eww)

After a day of biking in the heat.

Had some awesome food at a Peruvian members house called Lomo Saltado(Jumping Beef), it was really good, and then I made the mistake of dumping about a pound of Peruvian hot sauce on it and I proceeded to die. Probably the hottest thing I have ever had. But it was still really good so I got seconds.

Learning a lot about diligence and patience this week. When you try your hardest to get someone to make commitments and they say they are going to and then they flake out, it sucks! It makes me realize how much Heavenly Father want's us to make correct decisions and how happy he is when we do! 

Cool Harley seen in our area.

Not much else this week, Hope everyone has a good one! 

Sorry these pictures are bad, there's really not much to take pictures of in Sparks. gonna keep looking for stuff tho!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Feliz Dia De Los Padres!

Lot's of great stuff went down this week! Still reflecting back on our great trip to the Temple in Reno.

A snapshot from our recent Temple visit.

We went to a place called Texas Meltz here in Reno on Monday, it was lit. All of their sandwiches are named after cities in Texas! I was going to get the Plano (cold deli sandwich, also where I'm from), but I was in the mood for a melt, so I snagged the Austin Melt. It tasted just as liberal as it sounds! No but it was really good.

New sandwich place down the road from our apartment. The Texas city names of the sandwiches make me homesick.

Speaking of food, I have had some great Latin foods recently. I have recently had posole, arepas, carne asada, tres leches, microwave burritos, and tons of other sick authentic morreno cuisine. This diet is really hard to keep up when we get fed like crazy. Like seriously we were given about 8 pounds of tres leches cake on Friday. :/rip

But we were working really hard this week and happened to talk to alot of non-hispanic people on the street, so we ended up giving a total of 6 referrals to the English speaking Sisters in our area, and they found a couple investigators from them I believe! #theyOweUs

Pic from last weeks temple trip. It was really windy up there so I apologize for whatever the heck my hair is doing.

We recently taught a less active named Sergio about temples and told his that his time had come to start preparing for the temple, and he was like wuuuuuuuuut. But he's super pumped, and his non-member wife may be getting baptised soon! Also we were able to find 3 new investigators this week, so we were happy. Now we just need to get some of our investigators back on track so we can see them progress.

Also, I gave a talk in church this Sunday about the relationship between Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as father and son. First all-Spanish talk, yay!

But everything has been great in Sparks! Happy Father's day to everyone!

Sorry for lack of pics. not much to take pictures of in Sparks unfortunately! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Picnics, Sickness, and Temples!

Had a wonderful week this week!

Elder Gurr and myself getting ready to head out.

P-day we had an awesome picnic as a zone where we were able to play frisbee and sand volleyball. Of course I brought my a-game to volleyball, but unfortunately I was bringing so much heat that I burnt me feet (bars). No but actually the sand was so hot that I got like heat blisters so RIP my feet. Thanks everyone for paying your tithing so we get to drive a car!

A view of Reno and the mountains from Sparks.

Then the next day I unfortunately caught a missionary bug and got pretty sick. Complete with projectile vomiting! It had been a while! And I feel bad but it was obviously super contagious, because then Elder Gurr got it the next day, then my companion Elder Gonzalez got it the day after that. But luckily it's a short lasted sickness so I was able to work later that day!

Attending a Temple visit with one of my Gardnerville members as she received her endowments.

Elder Gonzalez and I at the Temple with fellow missionaries.

The Reno Temple.

THEN!!!! One of my old less actives that I was teaching in Gardnerville went to the Reno Temple to receive her endowments, and I received permission to go with her and another missionary that taught her, and it was sick! She had an incredible experience and thanked me profusely for helping her get there. It was a wonderful reminder to me that I am out here doing the Lord's work, bring happiness and peace to all who need it. I love this work! Speaking of, we set another investigator with a baptismal date this week. His name is Carlos, and he is a roommate of a recent convert. Before our lesson had even started in which we had planned to set him with a date, he asked what all he needed to do to be baptised! So that was easy! But of course there must be opposition in all things, and this week it manifested itself in that Victor and Zulma will have to put off their baptism for a little bit until we get some things figured out. But Zulma apparently had an amazing dream recently in which there was a tree that was unfortunately not growing. She was watering it and trying to help it in any way she could but nothing was working. Then, she said, we (the missionaries) came in and watered the tree, and it began to grow. She said that she believes that we are feeding her the truth so she can grow her faith. Sounds a lot like Alma 32 huh?! So they are prepared and will be baptised soon.

The Sparks Zone.

I was on exchanges with my District Leader Elder Torres on Friday, and we had a crazy cool miracle. We were just routinely visiting a former investigator, and she answers the door and they swear they both recognize each other from somewhere. Eventually Elder Torres realize that she was literally the first investigator he had ever had, and met her like his second day in the mission. She had moved from Reno (where he taught her) to Sparks like a year ago and we happened to decide to go visit her that very day. Miracles!

Nothing else really. I bought a jump rope Monday and have been using it pretty much daily along with some other band/body weight exercises. Gotta get my swole back somehow.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Que transitas por tus venitas gueras?

Everything is going great here in Espars! The work is really taking off. We found five more investigators this week! And it's great because they are all in families. It's so great to see these families increasing their faith in Christ so much. Speaking of, we have a double baptism scheduled for this weekend, a mother and son, Victor y Zulma! We are super excited for them, and they are so ready! We miiiight actually have to move it to next week purely for logistical reasons, but they are going to be baptised very soon regardless.

Los Elders.

Yesterday was fast Sunday, and it was a good way to kick start our diet. We bought about 10 pounds of chicken and 5 pounds of rice, and we pretty much cooked it all the other night and froze it, so now whenever we need a quick lunch, we can throw those in the microwave and have a good healthy cheap almuerzo. Hopefully I don't get too tired of chicken and rice tho.

All of our foods.

On Tuesday night, we were pranking some other Elders who live near us by making their bike rack lean over slightly(#prankd), and all the sudden a little Mexican flies in through my car window as I was driving away, then after all the dust settled I realized it was my papi Elder Guzman! He is those Elders' Zone Leader and they were on exchanges, so we got to talk and stuff for a while. Fun!


There is this area in our area that missionaries haven't visited for a long time because it looks like it's all industrial stuff, so there would be no houses there. Well Elder Gonzalez and I felt inspired to drive around it (since we had some extra miles), and we found a super neat-o little trailer park! And as far as trailer parks go, this one was super cool and nice, especially for a trailer park that it full of Hispanics. Since this whole area has like zero potential investigators or former investigators or even members on record, we kind of just started from ground zero and tracted/street contacted a bunch of people yesterday! We didn't even get like a fifth of the way through because we kept having awesome conversations with tons of people! We have like 3 return appointments next week for that area now, yay!

We visited some members on Thursday, and they had these freaking perrecitos (babby dugs) that were sooo adorable, like 2 weeks old or something! We tried to get a picture, but apparently whenever Elder Gonzalez gets a camera in his hand, he loses half of his brain cells, because in all the pictures it just looks like I'm holding a little black turd or something because it's so blurry.

Count the cats.

My Spanish is improving quickly and It's really exciting. Elder Gonzalez and I are setting apart certain times to only talk to each other in Spanish, and it helps a lot. As well, I made a little goofy mistake the other day at dinner. So I was reading a scripture and it said "Por tanto ..." which means like, "And behold," or, "Therefore," but I said "Por tonto," which means basically, "Because you/they are stupid." So the Argentinian family there got a good laugh out of that. But it is improving poco a poco. And I got some compliments when I bore my testimony yesterday. Maybe its just pity for the new gabacho, pero me vale.

Not much else is goin on other than the work here is amazing and I love paisanos.
#OralePues, DiosTeBendiga

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sparks is Blowin Up!

Sparks is Blowin' Up!

Hola everycuerpo! Elder Gonzalez and I have had a really great week in Espars! First off I am 20 years old now and that is really weird to say. But yeah! Also, we set 3 investigators with baptismal dates this week and I am super pumped!

Some final pics from Tahoe before making the move to Sparks.

Victor y Zulma is a son/mother and are super pineapples. Elder Gonzalez has probably written about them before, but basically Victor (22) has a really close friend who recently served his mission, so when Victor saw some missionaries walking around on the street, he just went straight up to them and told them he wanted to take the lessons! Zulma is his mother, and as well is just trying to find the truth. She has been baptised 3 times in different religions, though, so she really wants to make sure that this is true before she does it again. We recently decided to do a church tour with them, as they had been super close to choosing a baptismal date. We figured the Spirit in the chapel would be the tipping point, and we were right! Unfortunately, we were on exchanges, so the duty fell on Elder Torres and Elder Gonzalez to ask the question for them to be baptised; the 10th of June. But they did it with confidence and Victor said of course, and Zulma said yes, if she receives an answer. So we will keep at it and help her to fully know. So we are mega excited to see how they progress.

My new work area in the Sparks apartment.

Yesterday was my first time having an all Spanish church session. It was great! We had a couple investigators there, so we got to accompany them to everything and help explain what was going on, since, for one of them, it was his first time ever at church with us! It is incredible how much my Spanish has been improving. Like seriously it has boosted my testimony so much of the gift of tongues (being able to speak and understand languages extra well through the help of the Spirit), as whenever I am in a serious lesson situation where the Spirit is in abundance, my Spanish doubly increases. It’s great, and we are doing more and more in Spanish every day to remain able to receive those blessings. Also, it has been a lot of fun meeting all of the new people in this ward, and getting used to all the new faces.

Group shot from the Zone Conference in Sparks. 
My new companion Elder Gonzalez and me at Zone Conference.

Last Wednesday, we had Zone Conference, where the whole zone got to meet together and have some trainings by President Chesnut, the assistants, and some other people. It was lots of fun, and it's always great getting to see President and Sister Chesnut. This next District Meeting (Tuesday), I am going to be giving a short training on boldness, so I have been studying (and practicing) for that! Samuel The Lamanite is an inspiration to us all.

A quick bite to eat with Elder Torres and Elder Gurr. That's Elder Gonzalez and me in the foreground.

We also had some awesome exchanges with Elder Torres (my new District Leader who I knew pretty well back in the Carson Zone) and Elder Gurr. I was with Elder Gurr, which is crazy, because I hadn't spent that much time with him since the MTC. It was great to get to catch up on everything since then and see how we have both grown so much as missionaries since then. Also to see how much I've grown in the lonjas (rolls).

Speaking of, I am ending my anti-diet and starting my real diet this week. I am actually mega excited because this past week I forced myself to eat like a pig and it disgusted me (which was the plan), so now I am super excited to start running in the morning and eating much better. #16MonthsToSexy

Anyway, hope everyone had a good one. Nos vemos!