Dear Family and beloved friends,
Wow, that sounded formal. What's up? Here in The Dalles, it's been awesome. Elder Jensen and I are trying to roll with all of the crazy things happening here. First of all, Gerardo Alvarez, a native Spanish-speaker here in The Dalles, just got baptized ! Yay! He's in our ward now. We never actually taught him, because the English-speaking missionaries taught him the entire time without ever actually asking if he knew Spanish. Oh, well. He still prefers English, so we would likely have referred him to them anyway. He's still in our ward, and he can still help us immeasurably with the Spanish work here! We're pretty excited about that.
We also found Evencio again! He was preparing for baptism when I arrived, but I never got to meet him because he first disappeared and then moved. Oops. However, we found him again, and he's living in Dallesport (across the river) inside a lumber mill, where he works 16-18 hour days. Yikes.
We also found Ernesto and Iselda Aguilar, who were some really promising former investigators who moved long before I ever arrived. No one knew where they lived, but we've found them again! Yay!
Here's a day-by-day:
Monday: When we were in the store, we met Bro. and Sis. Diaz. They are members from Texas, and Bro. Diaz speaks Spanish as well as English. They just arrived, and are visiting The Dalles for a couple of months, and we feel super lucky to have them here. We had a lesson scheduled with a lady named Graciela, and while she wasn't there, we met her son, Fernando! Fernando recently got serious about his belief in Christ, and is looking for more as well as a deeper relationship with his Savior. Enter: us! Helping people with that is literally our job description. We set up a lesson with Fernando for the next day. We then knocked doors and tried to visit some former investigators.
again (he kept getting called in to work), so we went by some more people we wanted to find and knocked some more doors before finishing it all up with correlation at Brother Corey's house (the church was closed for a few weeks because they were installing a new sound system).: We started the day off right by helping Sister Rowe, a local member, to weed her garden. She then gave us delicious grilled-cheese sandwiches and fresh fruit. We then had lunch, studied, knocked doors, went by potentials, and had dinner. After dinner, we went to our lesson with Fernando, but he wasn't there
We visted Carlos morning. He lives in Dallesport. We also spent some time trying to figure out where Evencio lived, since we had pinpointed the general area. We then returned, had lunch, studied a bit, and went to Gerardo's baptism (where I played some hymns on the cello which I borrowed from Aaron Young, a less-active member of the church here. He's really nice.) We then finished our studies, knocked some more doors, and had dinner at the Mullin's house (where we met a few people who went to the English classes as well as a missionary who used to serve in this area in the Washington Yakima Mission a year or so ago with Elder Brassanini, Elder Fernandez-Pichardo). After dinner, we went up to the boonies to meet with Sister Aguirre, a less-active (and not Hispanic in any way) member. She was sick, though, so we returned and tried to find more people (talked briefly with Cassandra, a potential of ours) and knock some doors/etc.:
That's the week! Love you all! Bye!
Questions from Editor Mom
How did your week go? - Wonderfully well!
Any investigators close to baptism? - Not really, no, but we do have some great investigators!
What is the music like in your ward? Have you been able to play cello for them a few times? - The music is pretty good, actually! Sister Young is the Sacrament Meeting Conductor. She is really nice, has a really bubbly personality, is from Hawai'i, and her son married the daughter of Loren and Marlene Jensen. I've played cello once in Sacrament meeting since being here, once in Stake Conference, and once at a baptism this last Saturday for Gerardo Alvarez. He's Hispanic and bilingual, but for some reason the English Elders decided to teach him. All's well that ends well, because he's in our ward anyway. He'll still be a part of the Spanish Group, and he'll still be really key to furthering the Spanish work in this area.
What scriptures are you working on memorizing? (Sister Lewis will ask you this next time she talks to you, too.) Any new favorites? - I don't have all of the scripture references memorized, but I can tell you a few (I had to look up only a few of the references, as well as some punctuation):
- Alma - And He shall go forth, suffering pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind, and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith: He will take upon Him the pains and sicknesses of His people.
- Mosiah 28:3 - 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.
- John 15:13-14 - Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
- Matthew 11:28-30 - Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- John - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
- Romans 8:16-17 (I only have this one memorized in Spanish) - El Espiritu mismo da testimonio a nuestro espiritu de que somos hijos de Dios: y si hijos, tambien herederos; herederos de Dios, y coherederos con Cristo; si es que permanacemos juntamente con El, para que juntamente con El seamos glorificados.
And many, many, more.
Have you introduced Elder Jensen to some classical music he hasn't heard before? Did he like it? - Yes, and yes. Example: Mahler's 2nd Symphony
Do you ever sing with your companion? For church? For your investigators? For members that you visit? - Not really. Elder West, Elder Poloncic, Elder Bird, and I all sang for a lot of people the after Elder West and Elder Poloncic got here, but that was a while ago (4 months or so). Everyone really loved it, but we haven't done anything like that since.
Are you eating well? (That will help your energy levels.) - Well, I'm eating alright. I'm working on eating better. My energy has gone up a bit, but I am still pretty darn tired.
Are you secretly hoping to get to serve in any particular area in your mission? - I wouldn't mind going to Quincy next, mainly because that would mean Elder West would be my Zone Leader. I also have a secret desire to serve somewhere up by Omak, but we'll see.
Are Fuji apples still your favorite fruit? What's your favorite vegetable? - Fuji apples are still my favorites, but I really do like a good, fresh peach (or nectarine). As for veggies, I really like sweet green peas. I always have. Also corn.
OK. I know that's a lot of questions. Do you have any questions for me? Do you know what my favorite color is, for example? :-) - Not that I know of. It's blue, isn't it?
Um, no. I prefer purple or forest green.
I hope you've had a good week. - I have, thanks! I hope you had a great week as well, and hope the one to come is even better.
This tie was given to me by Bro. Grow, a member of the ward, yesterday. I just innocently complimented it, and he proceeded to utterly surprise me when he took it off from around his neck and handed it to me. It has an awesome depiction of the Portland Temple on it. I plan to get him back by giving him a fishing lure (he likes fishing) when we next have dinner with them.
Elder Jensen loves skiing, so we just had to take a picture of this bumper sticker when we saw it.