c I came home December 15,2010 //

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Things are going well here in Yakima. It is really warming up but the past couple of days have been really windy which makes if very chilly at times. Other than that though, things are going really well.

"Collect the Elect" went really well, but I wish it would have gone a lot better. We found some people but we didn't find anyone that just stood out as to say "this Person is going to get baptized". But we are working with some people and trying to get them going along. We are still working with the other people still though.

Heraldo is doing well. He found a job which is really good. He is almost done with the Book of Mormon. He said that he feels it is racist because the Lamanites were cursed with brown skin. We told him that Cain was cursed with black skin for making a pact with the Devil and I think he understood that. He also said that he doesn't believe that they lived in America because their culture doesn't match up with the Mayans or Aztecs or any of those groups. We didn't really have time to answer those questions. But that is just how he is. He knows his history very well and he wants everything to line up. And we are trying to get him to feel that it is true rather then see it. Because once you feel it is true you will see it.

Jacinto is doing well. He has started the Book of Mormon from the beginning and as far as we can see, he is understanding it. He is tough to get to church like we said but hopefully we can get him to watch conference this weekend. Hopefully he can be baptized on the 17th of April. That is our goal. For Heraldo too.

We talked with Rene about church and he said he didn't really like it because he said it was too boring. He is used to churches with more music and more soul as he put it. It is frustrating when these people have been hurt by other churches and don’t understand what church is for. He is a good guy. He didn't come to church on Sunday because he was busy or something but hopefully he can watch conference and maybe be baptized on the 17th.

That’s about it for the investigators. We have done a lot of work with Less Actives. That’s pretty much how my whole mission has been. Out of the Focus 15, 7 of them are in our area. And 5 of the 7 have come to church. #6, he has never met and #7 we have only gotten into her house once. So the Lord has really blessed us that way.

That’s about all I can think of for now. Time is going by way too fast. We are already half way done with the transfer again. It is crazy. I hope and pray you all have a great week

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Collect the Elect" (03/23/2010)

Well Hello again. Another week down in the great city of Yakima Washington. I hope everything is going well for all of you. The weather has been really nice of late with the temps. being in the mid 60's during the day while dropping down to the low 30's at night. It has been quite nice.

Things have been going well here of late. We have started a new program here for the next month that I talked about in my last e-mail called Collect the Elect. What it is is we are trying to find all of the people that are ready for the gospel and have a mission-wide baptism on the 17th of April. The goal is to have a whole bucket-load of people being baptized on that date. The way we are going to do that is by Collecting the Elect. Today, Thursday and Saturday, we are going to tract form 6-9 at night, on double exchanges. We are just going to tract and find as many as possible this week. And then the next 3 weeks, we are to make contact with as many as we can every day and try to get as many committed for baptism for the 17th of April. It should be really fun. I will let you know next week on how many people we were able to find.

The people we are teaching are doing well. We did however, have to drop Jorge. He is a great guy, but he has been taught since September and has yet to come to church. Hopefully he can have another run with the church.

Jacinto is doing well. He didn't come to church, which is frustrating. He did though, pray and read the Book of Mormon and he didn't get a distinct answer other than he needs to keep studying. He is an awesome guy. We asked him if he would be baptized on the 17th of April and he said that would awesome but he didn't know for sure yet. We will keep working with him though.

Heraldo is still doing well. He is a little bummed out though because he has yet to find a job. He had to sell his car the other day for a little money. I imagine that would be tough. He is still doing well though.

La Familia Almanza and Rene came to church as well on Sunday. That was really good. The Almanza family hadn't been to church in about 2 years and Rene is Sister Almanza’s Brother. He is a good guy. Their original plan was to only go for Sacrament meeting. Then after that was over they decided to stay for Sunday School as well and then go home, and then once that rolled around, they just stayed for all of it which is a really good sign. They are an awesome family who has a great testimony. Hopefully, we can get them back into the habit of coming to church.

That’s really about it for this week. Hopefully we have a lot more people to talk about next week with Collect the Elect being in full swing. I hope and pray all is well with you. Have a great week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There were a lot of "other" activities this week (03/16/2010)

Well this week has been interesting. We still got our teaching in but we have had to do some other things as well. We did some service and we had two conferences, one for the branch and one for the mission.

First an update on the investigators-

Jasinto-He is still doing really well, he didn't come to church this week but he did read 3 Nephi 11 and understood it very well. We haven’t asked him if he wants to be baptized yet but he has a strong interest in coming to church. He is also going through some tough times right now because his brother back in Mexico is having a child out of wedlock and his mother doesn't know what to do with him. He said he won’t listen to anyone so he is having struggles with that. But he is a great guy and reads very well. We left 2 Nephi 31 so he can understand why we get baptized and who gave us this example.

Carlos- He is still doing well. We went over on Saturday night and told him to just put everything aside and find out if this church is true, because if it is, that means everything else we have talked about is true. He said he would pray that night if the Book of Mormon was true and if the Church was true. He didn't come to church because he had to work and he was unable to meet with us yesterday but we are going to meet with him tomorrow so we will see how that goes.

Jorge is still doing well. We asked him if he would be baptized on the 17th of April and he said he would be yet he still didn't come to church on Sunday. It is really frustrating trying to help someone you love when they won’t put in their part.

Heraldo- We were able to meet with him on Sunday night. He called up and asked if we could meet with him. It was a really good lesson. He finally asked some of his doubts. He wanted to know how he could get closer to God and we told him he had to pray and ask questions and feel things and that will get him closer than anything. Well he said I can't tell the difference from when it is just a good feeling or actually the Holy Ghost. So we worked with him on that and he came with a better understanding I hope. He is also a good guy and so hopefully he can start feeling the Holy Ghost.

Well that’s about all we have for investigators but last week we were able to help a member family tile their bathroom. That was really fun. We just plastered it and stuck the tiles on. It looks really good from what I could tell. They seemed to like it, they asked us to come back again so that is a good sign.

Also on Saturday we had Hispanic conference that was for all of the branches in the whole southeast part of Washington. It was really fun. I got to see a bunch of families from my old areas. It was fun. One interesting thing was they asked me to play the piano for the Primary kids. Those songs are really hard. Probably because I had never practiced them. But I did and I realized they are hard because they are so pretty. I never realized how beautiful primary songs are. Probably because I haven’t sung them in about 9 years. I also had to play the piano in Sacrament meeting on Sunday with one song I had never played before and was unable to practice. I stumbled a little bit but it wasn't that bad. I was grateful the Lord helped me out or else it would've been bad.

Yesterday we had a Zone Conference. (FYI mom they had rice with a kind of a sweet n' sour sauce with meatballs, it was good so maybe another idea). It was a good one. We are having this program where we are going to work extremely hard this transfer and on the 17th of April, have a mission wide baptism where we are going to have just one big baptismal service in our stakes and invite everyone to be baptized, who has been taught of course. It should be really fun and rewarding.

Well that’s about all I have. The other day I was talking with Elder Urbina about SD, I can't believe you guys go again in a few months....that’s only 3 transfers, anyway, I was telling him how you go to the temple and my whole life I always thought it was weird that you went to the temple while we were on vacation. Well now, since I have gone through on my own, and realized that you never get to go together with everyone like that, any other time. It made sense to me. I thought I would just throw that in. And Mom, you would have a lot of fun with Elder Urbina, he gets startled very easily. You and I would be dying laughing at some points.

Well I better get going. Have a great week

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Questionaire (03/09/2010)

We recently sent Matthew a questionnaire (in bold). His responses are italicized.

Do you have many opportunities to play the piano? Just in district meeting once a week.
Now that you serve only in the Spanish branch, do you spend most of your day speaking Spanish? Yeah pretty much. I only speak English with my companion sometimes.
What do you do for service? Actually not much. We are always asking but Hispanics don’t like to accept help. So just randomly we will do things.
What is your favorite thing about your mission so far? My favorite would probably be when people start asking us questions because you know the Lord has put us in their path and they need to hear something about the gospel.
Do you give talks or teach lessons at Church fairly regularly? Not really. This branch is really good. I have had to bare my testimony once and teach gospel principles once. That’s it.
Do you ever need to do any cooking or do you have dinner appointments regularly? We only cook for lunch. The rest are just dinner appointments.
You mentioned that you do a lot of talking on the streets. How does that work? It works fairly well. You never know who is ready for the gospel, so you have to talk to everyone.
How big is the city of Yakima? I would say about the size of Glendale’s population-wise. Maybe a little smaller, but a lot more condensed. (Look here to see what the population is.)
Is Yakima a farming area or is there another industry there? It is all fruit orchards. There are a lot of apple trees.
How often do you end up tracting? We normally only tract for about 5-10 minute increments. Only if the first plan we had falls through as well as the second, then we tract.
What is different now that you are the senior companion? Not much, I drive and I am responsible for pretty much everything that happens.
How many members are in your ward, or is it a branch? There are about 130 that come to the branch.
How big is the ward area? It covers all of Yakima and surrounding areas.
Do you spend every P-day with the other Elders in your District? Yes
Do you play basketball at the church? Yes
How many Spanish Elders are there now? Elders – 26, sisters - 6
You seem to have spent most of your mission in basically the same area. Is that where most of the Spanish speaking people are? Yes, this is where all of the farm land is.
Will you most likely stay in that area or are there other areas in your mission where there are Spanish speaking Elders? I will probably stay on this side, there are only two Spanish areas on the west side.
People ask me what they can send you. What is the thing that you most appreciate getting in the mail? I love letters, I don’t need anything else, just a letter in the mail.
Tell us about the person that you have taught, that you have seen the biggest change in. It is probably Jorge here in Yakima. I have seen him go from an ornery old man who thought God was never going to forgive him of his sins to a happy guy who is trying to fight through Satan’s temptations to go to church.

Things are going well (03/09/2010)

Things are going really well here in Yakima, Washington. It is even better that I get to stay for another transfer, with my companion, Elder Urbina. I really love this area. There is so much work to do and I love being submersed in the Spanish culture. This will be the longest I have been in an area, consecutively that is. The work is going really well too

We found a new investigator named Jasinto. He is a friend of a less-active member. He has a lot of questions on how to really receive forgiveness. We briefly went over the first lesson and he read the whole pamphlet. I have never met anyone that understood it so well, he literally nearly recited it back to us. He read the whole thing, it was amazing. So we went in a little bit more depth the next time we were there and challenged him to read 3 Nephi 11. We were unable to meet with him again for a lesson but we stopped by and he said he started reading it and once again, pretty much recited it to us. It was amazing. He is a great guy, but his only problem is he works on most Sundays.

Heraldo came to church this Sunday and stayed for the whole three hours which he hasn't been doing of late. He seemed to really enjoy himself so we don't know what is going on. He is a great guy but I guess he just doesn't have time to meet with us.

Jorge is still doing well, not much to report on that. He is battling with the flu right now. But he still hasn't come to church...

Rafael came to church again and is really doing well. He said he is going to come for the rest of his life now. He is one of three less-active families that we have been working with and have started to come back to church. It is awesome. At times I look at my mission and think I did more work with the less-actives then I did with investigators. I don't know why, but that is just how it ended up.

Well that is about it for this week. We are working hard and are still looking for people and finding them, but the hardest step is not meeting with them twice, is getting the third and fourth visits. That is the difficult part.

I hope you have a great week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This week went by really fast! (03/02/2010)

Hello everyone. How are things going? Things are going really well here although it was somewhat a cycle week in terms of investigators. We have found a lot of good people to start teaching but lost one at the same time...I will explain.

We did not have a chance to meet with Maria this week because she was sick (there were a lot of people sick this week) but we managed to talk to her grandma to see how she enjoyed it. Well she said her daughter Juana, Maria’s mom, (sorry this is so confusing) said on the way home, we are going to become Mormon! I thought Angelina (the grandma) was going to die laughing and with excitement. She said she has tried to get them to listen to the gospel but they have never had interest. Angelina is really excited and I think her daughter and granddaughter are also. Maria has questions about the preexistence, while Juana can't read so she is somewhat leery of that. They are both doing well though.

We are also teaching a guy named Carlos. Carlos is tough because he says he has been baptized and for what ever reason he won’t understand the whole authority principle. He is a good guy and likes to talk religion but we are still trying to figure out if he is interested in our church or if he just wants to talk religion.

Jorge is doing really well, he too was sick this week so he still has yet to come to church. The one who dropped us was Heraldo. He said he is really confused but has a lot of economic problems so he is unable to meet with us anymore. We don't really know why but every time we taught him anything he was taking it to the heart, he just wanted the facts so we were probably going to give him an ultimatum soon. He is a good guy; hopefully he can find the desire again soon.

Well I spent most of my time uploading pictures so I didn't get much time to write. I am sorry. If you have any questions just ask. I hope and pray you have a great week.