Monday, May 21, 2012

Mom was Right: practice those hymns!

This last week has been great like they all are! Here are some things that happened:

We had transfers.  One of the sister missionaries that was transferred was only one who could play the piano.  So I might be playing the piano every once in a while in sacrament meeting. Mom always told me when I was young that I needed to learn to play so that when I went on my mission and nobody knew how to play the piano that I would be able to play. I always said that would never happen but it looks like I was wrong and she was right. Luckily they just installed one of those new organs that play the songs by themselves and all you have to do is press the key to give it a tempo.  It is very loud though, and you can't hear anybody singing over it so they are still looking for a pianist.   Right now I play all the songs in district meetings and stuff like that but I'm not sure that I'm ready for Sacrament Meeting yet.  I can play probably 8 hymns that I know already but I can't just sit down and play whatever hymn I want.

Last night I had to translate part of a fireside into Spanish. So that was cool.  We have lots of stake leaders that come and speak in our ward and Bishop and Elder Guzman usually do all the translating for that but last night was different.  Instead of standing at the pulpit and translating every sentence after he said it, we were out in the hall with a microphone and we had to listen to what the speaker was saying and translate it too.  Some of the members who came had headphones on and were listening to what we were saying.  It was really hard because while you are talking you also have to listen to what they're saying and translate/say it at the same time.  It was really hard but they told me I did really well.  We had 4 missionaries there taking turns translating and it went pretty well.

We  had a solar eclipse (or whichever eclipse is the one that the moon goes in between the earth and sun) here in California yesterday.  It was pretty cool because I don't think I've ever seen one before.  You can only see it if you look at the sun but obviously you can't just stare straight at the sun so a lot of people use mirrors (even though that doesn't change anything), water, or a hole in a box to see the effects.  So we all put 4 pairs of sunglasses on and then you can look at the sun because the only thing you can see through 4 pairs of sunglasses IS the sun. So that was pretty cool.  I tried to take some pictures so you will be able to see those when I send them home.

This week my companion had to go to a meeting and there was another missionary whose companion had to go to the meeting so the two of us were companions for a day and we were in my area.  However, this missionary is brand new and is an English speaking elder so doesn't speak any Spanish.  So that was interesting.  Even though I am still in my 12 week training thing I was training another elder who had only been in the mission for a day.  Also I had a lot of responsibility since he couldn't speak Spanish but I'm confident in my ability so it went really well.  We taught one lesson were I talked the whole time and it was awesome.  So that was a fun day!  I was glad to have my companion back  later in the day.

We also found out who the new sister is in our district and she's the one from Colorado Springs! So that's cool, I have no idea who she is though and we don't know any of the same people.  She lives up in Black Forest on a street named Snowman which I have no idea where that is.  I told her that one of my best friends lives off of Swan and she said it was the next street over so I guess she lives pretty close to Michael! So that was kind of cool that she probably only lives like 20 minutes away from where I live.

I  met my “Grandpa” in the mission this week!  In the mission your trainer is your "dad" and so his trainer is your "grandpa".  My Grandpa's name is Elder Chirino and he just finished his service here in the mission last week.  He was going around with his dad and visiting all his older areas and converts and when he came down to Stockton I got to meet him.  He's a really cool guy whose family is from El Salvador.  He thinks he'll probably be going to BYU soon so I'll get to see him more in a few years when I go back to BYU.

We have an awesome member here who was baptized in Honduras.  She was inactive for about 10 years after she moved here because she didn't know where any of the churches were.  We found here last transfer and she is super awesome.  This past week we had dinner with her and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law who aren't members and a family home evening after which was a lot of fun.  During dinner we found out that Jessica (the sister-in-law) and I are extremely close in age but I never would have guessed that because she has a daughter who's probably about 4 or 5 already.  She's going to school right now and studying English and she was really surprised that I had started speaking Spanish 3 months ago because she's been in English classes for about a year and doesn't speak that much. So it sounds like I'm doing pretty well with the Spanish! Understanding people a lot better these days!

Well that's about it! We're seeing lots of progress here and are really optimistic about the area and doing everything we can to find people who are "searchers" and have been prepared to hear our message. Hope everything is well with everyone at home.

Les Quiero!
-Elder Gaskill

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