Friday, August 31, 2012

86: Primavera 5

A Sweet Week


Hello Family!

¡Feliz Días!  These three weeks are the feliz días, because we're in a trio with Elder Feliz right now.  More about that to come.

Let's start with Friday last week.  After writing, we went and made mole in a member's house.  I LOVE HAVING A MEXICAN COMPANION.  He cooks so well.  So we went and ate in the house of the family E.  They're actually a family in Trebol, but we're friends.  It was someone's birthday...I don't really know her name...but after cooking and eating mole, they had a cake to eat as well.  So that was a very good, relaxing P-day.  In other news, they're going to have a Cinemark in Santa Ana finally.  This city's growing up...

We also have been doing a lot of service in the area.  Friday we cleaned up a house of some recent converts/inactives.  We returned Saturday morning to finish the job...Puchica it looked so much better.  The week before we went and cut all the grass and weeds in front of the house of a member.  And we did that with pure hoes and machetes.  It looked a lot better, but apparently we accidentally cut down their chili bush and a lemon tree.  I'm not really sure about that...but it's possible.  There were so many freaking plants there.

So the zone had 18 people baptized, and 0 dates for this month.  So I went to Trebol and helped them put 2 more dates with this sweet family.  That was a hard lesson, but really cool because we got them to commit.  They're going to get baptized today in the afternoon.  I'm stoked.  This is the first time the zone had baptized 20 in one month in almost 2 years.  I'm STOKED.

Sunday was sweet.  We had a ton of people in church, only 5 of them we counted as investigators, but it was really cool.  Three of them have dates for September 9th: N, O, and M.  N is a little girl who has always been going to church.  I don't really like teaching kids, but her mom wants her to get baptized, and she can't go because of work.  We've been teaching M for a while now.  I'm excited that he's finally accepted a baptismal date.  Then there's O.  Man, this guy is awesome.  He's a youth of 17 years old.  Two years ago, he was taught by the missionaries and received an answer that these things were true.  He wanted to get baptized, but his parents didn't let them; his dad was a pastor in another church.  So they burned his Book of Mormon, hymnbook, everything he had from our church, and prohibited him from talking with the missionaries.  And who taught him?  Elder Brown, my first zone leader when I was starting the mission.  Well, a couple days ago, his mom called him and told him that she wanted him to get baptized.  His parents were away living in other parts of the they told him to get baptized.  It's awesome.  He has such a powerful testimony and is more active than most the members.  It's a miracle.

Sunday we also introduced a mission plan for the month of September: NUNCA VOY SOLO (Don't Go Alone).  We're doing it as a stake this time, and we've planned a lot for it.  The ward got pretty pumped, and has been working with us this whole week.  We've had lessons with members for three days straight: not one lesson without a member present.  Way cool.  Also, we've been able to do a lot of divisions because we have Elder Feliz with us.  Later that day, we had a meeting with the ward and stake mission leaders of our stake and introduced this plan to them too.  They are all pretty pumped.

Monday was interesting.  We had interchanges.  Elder Rodriguez went to Palmar 2, and Elder Lopez came here.  Elder Feliz is with us until the end of this change, and then he goes home, finishing his mission.  He's crazy, and a lot of fun.  These last weeks have definitely been a lot of fun. Jaja...

Wednesday, we had zone meeting.  It was good.  Everyone pretty stoked for NUNCA VOY SOLO.  Also, it was Elder Malmgren's birthday, the assistant.  So we got him a cake and baked chocolate chip cookies.  They were good, but not the same.  That and buttermilk pancakes are the foods I think I miss most...seriously.  There's just nothing close to that.

On Thursday we did a huge cleaning job in our house.  It looks really good.

So it's been really good.  We're going to end with 20 baptisms, meeting our goal, and we're starting September out with 12 dates, which is sweet.

Seriously, we've been working like crazy this week and have had a ton of fun and great results.  It's a lot of fun with Elder Feliz.  I hope everything is well back home.

Take care and feliz día,

Elder Bailey

Friday, August 24, 2012

85: Primavera 4

Hey there family!


So wow...this week has been sweet.  Seriously.  The time is passing so quickly.  But it is just so awesome being a missionary.


On Friday, we had a little zone activity and went to eat at Pizza Hut.  It was fun, and we got the pizza people to sing to Elder Nuñez.  Remember that this is like a 4.5 star restaurant here, so it was pretty sweet.  At the end of the feast, we committed all the missionaries to find a new family.  And we found 4 in the zone.  In my area, we found a family that was pretty sweet.  Actually, Elder Rodriguez has been wanting to contact that house for a long time.   We pass by it every day.  He said he had dreamed of that house before his mission, and that he wanted to contact it.  It was way cool because when we contacted them, they let us right in and gave us a whole bunch of bananas.  Oh, also they're really positive.


Saturday, we prepared a baptism.  But this was a very special baptism.  It was a re-baptism.  This guy's name is M P.  He got baptized many years ago.  All of his kids are members and are active in the church, but about 30 years ago, he did something stupid and got excommunicated.  Ever since that day, he's been trying to change and repent for his sins.  Finally, 30 years later, he was able to get baptized.  He doesn't really walk any more, and he can't really take care of himself, but his baptism was such a cool experience.  His son baptized him, and after, he gave a testimony.  He started out saying that he was grateful for the people who were present, then said, "but I want to tell you guys that this is the HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE (día mas dichosos de mi vida) because I am clean from my sins.  I feel free.  And I have never been happier."  He basically yelled that, and started banging his walker against the ground, crying.  He went on and continued talking for a while, but it was so powerful.  At the end, as I was directing the last hymn, the baptismal font finished draining the water.  As it made those loud draining noises, Brother M started waving to the disappearing water, crying, waving goodbye to those sins that he had carried with him for so much time.  It was so cool.


But that wasn't the last thing that happened on Saturday.  This next story is going to FREAK you out.  We had a freaking Tarantula in our house.  And it was freaking big!  We walked in at night and it was crawling around the patio.  So we (as in my companion) chased it around until we killed it.  Man, that thing ran fast.  Then we threw it outside.  I didn't sleep very well that night.


Sunday, we had another baptism, Hermano R.  That guy's just a stud.  His wife was baptized a long time ago, and so he completed a family.  He has dos (2) daughters who aren't baptized yet, they're a little harder.  But he's getting baptized to be an example for his family.  He really wants the best for them.  He reads the BOM every day, even though he works in San Salvador.  He's just sweet.  So on Sunday in the morning he got baptized, and confirmed right after in Sacrament meeting.  It was a cool baptism.  My companion told me that while they were changing in the bathroom after the baptism, R was celebrating by doing a little dance, saying, "Yeah, yeah I've been born again."  Yeah...he's a stud.


Sunday we also had a stake correlation meeting with President Cordon, the stake president, and all the bishops and mission leaders in the stake.  It was really cool to be able to be there with all those great leaders.  President is a genius.  He also presented them the convert packets...something I started when I was in the office.  I was kind of proud about that because I got everything going on that project.


On Monday, we had a sweet Family Home Evening with the Familia F.  They are a sweet family that got baptized like 5 months ago.  I went with Elder Alvarado 5 months ago to put that date with them... way cool.  They live right next to the stake president and his family, so they invited them too.  Then we brought the family of R (the daughters still aren't members).  It was so much fun.  A way cool FHE.  The investigators started opening up a lot.  Hermana G (R's wife) told us that her mom (who isn't a member) asked R why he got baptized.  He told her that he got baptized because out of all of the churches, there is not one church that puts more emphasis on the family than ours, and that's how he came to know that this is true.  SWEEEEEET.


Tuesday we had a multi-zone with President again.  We got to have a special number.  Sounded good, considering that no one could sing.  We also saw a pretty cool video  It's called Stay Within the Lines.  I recommend it.  Go see it.


Wednesday we had our meetings, we taught about planning in zone meeting.  We're getting a lot better at teaching in these meetings.


Yesterday we had to pick up Elder Feliz.  He's from Dominican Republic.  He's going to finish his mission in 2 weeks, but apparently something happened in his area, so President took him out of there and put him with us for a couple days.  So we do a lot of divisions.


One cool experience yesterday was this:  

We contacted a guy who raises pigeons and then sells them.  We started the lesson, the other missionaries started talking about L1...the Restoration.  When it got to my turn, we all had our scriptures open to Efesios 2:20 ready to learn about the organization of the church of Christ, when I decided to ask him a question.  I don't really remember what it was, but it opened him up completely.  Turns out he's had a lot of deaths in his family, and we asked him if he'd ever wondered where we go after this life.  Then he said:  "That's one of two questions I have always wanted to know.  Where we came from and where are we going after death.  Haha.  L2.  Just for one inspired question.  It was funny because we all closed our Bibles at the exact same time, and started talking about L2.


I also got to go to Piramidal at the end of the day to talk to some of their investigators.  We found a really cool investigator.  Very, very smart.  It was another cool lesson.


I feel like I've improved a ton in my teaching quality.  We've been having so many powerful lessons.  I've definitely learned a lot.  I love my mission.  The zone is doing well.  The mission is awesome.


Take care,

Elder Bailey

Friday, August 17, 2012

84: Primavera 3

¡Hello family!


How're ya'll doing?   That's good to hear.  


So this week has gone by so fast.  Seriously, ever since I came back to Modelo, the time has been going so fast.  I don't even understand how it's P-day again.  What in the world?  I'm trying right now to remember all that has happened.  


We've been on a ton of interchanges.  We don't really sleep very much, but I'm getting used to it now.  We are always just running.  On Saturday and Sunday, I went on interchanges with Independencia.  We found a bunch of news and worked hard.  I showed them a lot of old investigators who I had taught, and some of them were a lot more positive.  I also taught them how to work better with the members, and we received a lot of referrals.  Then on Sunday, I went to church with them.  That was really cool because I got to see all of the friends I had in Independencia.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone again.


Well, in our area we have 2 dates.  This Sunday, R is going to get baptized.  He's a stud.  He went to the temple tour that we gave, and after that just changed.  He started reading the Book of Mormon even though we don't see him all week because he works in San Salvador.  We had talked about a date for this Sunday before.  So last Sunday, when he went to church, he told Elder Rodriguez that he wanted to get baptized that day, but just a little earlier because he had to visit his family later that day.  So, he's getting baptized this Sunday.  And he's going to complete a family.  His wife is already a member.  He also has two daughters, but they don't want to get baptized yet...they're a little harder.  But R told us that he wants to be the example for the family and help them get baptized too.  So we're really excited.  They have a really cool family.


The other is a 17-year-old named M.  He's going to get baptized next Saturday.  Kind of interesting.  Last week, he started having a ton of doubts about the BOM.  We've explained to him about it about 10 times in as many ways as we could, and he still didn't get it/accept it.  Monday we went to visit him and he was sitting on the other side of the street with his friends and didn't want to come.  We went over to him and told him to come and talk, and he said that he would come.  Then another church came and told him to go with them, so while we were waiting at his house, he came over, said hi to us, put on his clothes, and left with the other church...right in front of us.  Yeah, well that stunk.  


The next day we returned and visited him.  We explained the BOM AGAIN, and this time, finally, he got it.  Well, I guess it's kind of a blessing that he went to the other church the day before, because I think he realized how much better our church is.  After that, he's been all in—reading the BOM, praying, and getting involved in the ward activities (playing soccer).  He's totally changed now.  He's way happier.  Yesterday, he had his interview.  Compare this with what happened 4 days ago:  we got to his house, and he was on the other side with his friends again.  But this time he stood up as soon as we got there and came straight to us with a smile on his face.  And do you know what was in his hands?  A Law of Chastity pamphlet.  It was freakin' sweet!  So, he's getting baptized next Saturday.


Well, what else has happened this week...  Sunday was the bishop's birthday, so [we] bought him a cake and went to celebrate in his house.  He's a pretty cool guy.  Really young—he's only 29 years old.  On Monday, we and 3 other members made tacos.  Man, my companion can cook.  Well yeah... he's a Mexican.  Those tacos were delicious...but man they were hot.  We were all crying.  He had like 7 jalapeño peppers and 3 tomatoes in his salsa.  It was really painful, but way worth it.  Later that day we ate dinner at the stake president's house and had family home evening with him.  He is awesome.  President G.  That is a really cool family.


Well, it's been a really fun week.  We've been working like crazy, so I don't even know where the week went.


Hope everything is going well back home.


Take care,

Elder Bailey

Friday, August 10, 2012

83: Primavera 2


Hello family,

Wow.  So it's been another week already.  It's way strange.  This week has just gone by super fast.  I've been pretty sleep deprived this week.  We've just always had so much to do.  It always takes forever to take numbers.  We have to plan and study, etc.  Seriously, we don't sleep.

It's pretty cool and weird being in this zone.  I already know almost all the areas here.  I know a ton of people.  It's cool.

My area is way cool.  The members are way cool and have been working a bunch with us.  We have a bunch of investigators, but they are all progressing kind of slow.  We have one date right now with a guy named M.  He's cool.  I just realized that I'm being really descriptive in my letter today.  It's cool.

On Monday, we had an activity with the whole mission where we brought our investigators to the temple and gave them a tour around the temple.  It was way cool.  I was talking in one of the stations...the garden, in front of the temple.  It was cool.  No, actually it was really hot.  I was in the sun for like 5 hours.  I got pretty burnt.  I'm peeling right now.  But it was cool.  In my station we gave them a couple minutes to meditate.  Many people received their answers in that time.  A lot of people left crying; one time a woman stood up and bore a SWEET testimony.  It was definitely cool.

On Wednesday, Elder Rodriguez and I were in charge of a 2 ½ hour meeting in our zone.  We were up until about 12:00 preparing, and all of the morning.  But it was good.  I felt like the meeting was really effective.

So it's cool.  We've done a tone of interchanges.  We're working hard.  We're going to meet our goal of 20 baptisms.  We've got 5 baptized with 13 dates right now.  It's cool.

Well, I hope everything is well back home.  Thanks for writing me.

Elder Bailey

Friday, August 3, 2012

82: Primavera 1

So we had changes week...and guess where I ended up? Right back where I started, Zona Modelo. This is my fourth area in Modelo. This time I am in the area of Primavera, and am serving as zone leader. My companion is Elder Rodriguez, a Mexican (I think I've sent pictures of him before). He's a fun companion and a really good teacher. This is definitely going to be a good change. The area is also really cool. I already know a ton of the members there, seeing as how I've already got a ton of time in this zone.

It is really weird to be back in the zone where I started. Walking around in this area reminds me of all the interchanges I did with Elder Brown when I was just a newby and couldn't even speak Spanish. Now I'm here again, but this time doing what Elder Brown did. Then we go down to the stake center and I just have all the memories from the office flood back in. It really is a weird feeling, but at the same time it's pretty cool. This is just my zone, and I'm pretty stoked to work with all of these missionaries.

On Monday and Tuesday I was able to say goodbye to the ward (America). It was fun. I'm going to miss that ward. Here are a couple pictures of that.

On Wednesday we had changes meeting where I received my new companion. I got to work in my area a little bit and get to know some of our investigators. There are a lot of people we can baptize right now. I'm pretty stoked.

Thursday we had a zone leaders' meeting. It was very long...but cool. There are a lot of new zone leaders in the mission right now. We'll see how the mission does. I definitely need to improve my teaching quality. Everyone looks up to you as an example and it's just kind of weird. We don't really sleep very much either. Between planning, getting numbers, preparing things to teach in conferences, meetings, etc., we don't really have a lot of time.

The meeting ended a little late, and we were able to teach a couple quick lessons in our area. Then we had to go pick up Elder Rabanales (who's finishing his mission) and take him to the assistants' house. But before that, we stopped by Hermana Fernandez's house to eat dinner. We met up with the assistants there. Hermana Fernandez had prepared a big cake for Elder Rabanales. Good times.

Then we took Elder Rabanales to the assistants' house. He's probably in his house by now...

Well, this week has been interesting. I definitely need to get some sleep.

Take care everyone. My P-days are Fridays again.

Elder Bailey