Monday, January 20, 2014

20 January 2014

Well, this was the best first week of a transfer that I have ever had that wasn't a quadpanionship. We taught 20 lessons with members present, have five people progressing towards baptism, and found a ton of new investigators. We're trying to figure out how to raise the vision of the zone because it isn't high enough right now.
I think expectations play a huge role. On a daily basis, Elder Diaz and I expect to have fun. We expect to see miracles. We expect to teach a ton of lessons. We expect to meet people. And we do. It all works because we do everything we can to make it work. Life lesson learned.

Here's our new address: 950 W Obispo, Mesa AZ 85210. We moved. Again. But we didn't move where we thought they were going to move us. We moved into a members home. It is 4,200 square feet and about 1,700 of those are ours in a private apartment. It is two floor with a massive kitchen and living space. We love it. It's the nicest house in the mission and it houses the nicest members in the mission. Our first day, upon arriving, the woman said, "Elders! You're our sons now! There are fresh brownies for you on the table!" Ummm, ok, if you insist! 

Later on, the next day, we returned. "Elders! On the table is fresh homemade bread! Take as much as you'd like!"

If you insist!

Later on, "I just finished baking brownies! Come eat 'em!"

If you insist!

I guess it's time to gain the 35 pounds back that I have lost so far. Bring it on.

This past weekend Elder Diaz returned to the DMV to try to get his drivers license. The first time didn't work so well and ended with him failing the written test. He returned the second time full of confidence. And left with it all gone! hahahahahh I died.

I had a cool experience while I was sitting there, waiting for him . They kicked me out of the room since he had to be alone so I sat in the lobby and read the scriptures. A woman sat next to me. I looked up and said, "She isn't happy to be here, I'll let her sit in peace." The second I thought that, I thought about Mosiah 28:3, a scripture that I read every morning at 8:30. It says, 

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish ; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble . 

And I sat there and said, "I am not there yet if I am thinking this right now." I battled with myself for 1 minute trying to give myself a good excuse to not talk to her and I couldn't find one. Everyone there looked angry and I thought she would be too.

Well I turned to her and struck up a conversation about Elder Diaz failing the test and how I was pretty sure that he would fail it again. She laughed and said her son had failed it too. We talked about families. We talked about driving. We talked about how Elder Diaz was from Argentina and then tied it in to driving and then to missions. We talked about her Mormon friends and we talked about the Gilbert temple open house. 

In our five minutes together I was able to teach her a lesson about eternal families and temples. Elder Diaz walked out just then, having failed the test. Again.

The woman is going to take her whole family to the open house this week. Success.

Yesterday we went to eat with our recent convert and her husband who's getting baptized in three weeks.They're awesome. He's Colombian and invited us over for a Colombian dinner.
Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing. I don't even know what I ate but whatever it was was delicious. We left very, very, very satisfied. And due to bad planning on our part, we left and drove to our second dinner. We are both very sure that God blessed us with more room in our stomachs because we were able to down two dinners and not die in the process. #miracles!

After that first dinner I asked if we could leave with a prayer. Right then the member that we brought with us who was baptized a few years ago chimed in and asked if he could share a scripture. He read in DC about shaking an angels hand. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything and Elder Diaz and I were dying. We're pretty sure he opened to a random page and read the first thing he saw. It was so absolutely random and unrelated that to this moment I think of it as one of the funniest moments of my life. And yet as he bore testimony it was very powerful. But still hilarious!

Two days ago a wonderful woman was baptized. We have been teaching her for almost two months and they've read the entire Gospel Principles book and are almost in 2nd Nephi. They are devouring it all. The baptismal service was the most stressful of my life.

And this is why:

Usually the ward is in charge of making the programs. Not in a spanish ward- we almost always do that. But this time we had to put it on the ward since we needed to go to the open house of the Gilbert temple. We decided to trust our ward and ask them to fill the font, set up the chairs, and make the programs. They readily accepted the challenge. We arrived at the building twenty minutes before the baptism to find that they had hand written the baptismal programs.

not ok. So we went to the computers to make a new one. It was 5:50, ten minutes before the scheduled start time. We had told all the members that the service would start at 5:45 so that no one would be late. It worked.

So 5:50, I finish the program and the computer crashes. NO! NO! So I remake it. It's 5:58 We run to the library to make copies. At 6:05 we finish. No worries, Spanish things always start late.
No, for some reason that decided to start the program without us and without programs. Ridiculous! That also meant that we never got pictures of the woman in the white baptismal clothing. We were FUMING. We both said a prayer to calm down and it worked.

The program runs smoothly up until the baptismal ordinance. When we had entered I had checked the water temp but not the level. They only had the cold water on so I fixed that but didn't look at the depth. The water was only a foot and a half deep. Not enough. But they tried anyway. It took five times to do it correctly. We were dying.

The program continues and ends with a hymn. Now, this is a Spanish ward, keep in mind. No one plays musical instruments so we didn't have a piano. Well for the closing hymn a 12 year old decided to be the accompanist. Bad idea. She played one hand and I still don't know the notes that she played since they were random. Everyone switched between singing the melody and watever the notes were that the pianist was playing.  I almost stood up after the first verse and stopped it. I should have. After the end of the second verse the pianist tried to do a cool ending. Nope, it sounded like the Mario theme song start. ASDLKFJAS:DKLFASK:DFJASKDFJAKSLDFJALKDJFAdf.

Life lesson learned.

But the spirit was definitely there at the baptism and we could feel it. It was relieving and peaceful despite the stress and anger that we felt.
The family of four that we are teaching are getting baptized this weekend! We love them so much. They are inviting EVERYONE to the serve. We're expecting every missionary in the zone to be there (26+), President and Sister Toone, the entire ward, and all of his and her colleagues and friends and their friends' neighbors. We're excited for the biggest turnout ever.

The Gilbert Temple open house was unreal. Check out the pictures:

They started a tour every 60 seconds. The original plan was one every ten minutes. Nope, too busy. It turned into a silent tour since there were too many people. And the temple interior was loud! It was weird. 

That temple is AMAZING. It is HUGE inside. WOW. The celestial room has a chandelier that is 18 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The baptistry is unreal. There are deep deep brown woods. The tile is exactly the same as the tile piece that I have on my desk. Imported from Israel with hews of red, green, brown, silver, and gold. It is unreal.

There was a very special spirit inside. And the family that we took felt it as well. At various times in the tour, we heard them say, "This is where our daughters (5, 8) are going to get married." Later, "This is where we will get sealed."

Outside wasn't what I imagined. I was expecting a wile mob of people rushing in. it was very very organized and very well thought out.

We love that family. Tonight that invited us over to their home to have their first hosted FHE. We've had two with them in members' homes. We're stoked.

Yesterday we had the privilege of translating at the Mission President's Fireside. It was a fun experience and is getting way more fluid for me.
Last P-day I took the first nap I've taken in months. It was three hours long and was three hours of paradise. I felt so good when I woke up... Today for P-day we're playing bocci ball with the members that we live with. Victory, here I come!!

Thank you so much for the letters, Grandpa and Grandma and immediate family! It was great to hear from you!! 

I hope everyone has the best week ever!

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