Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lots of investigators at church!

Hey Everybody,
I hope all is well.
This week has been interesting.  We had to drive up to the office twice this week to get supplies and get our car fixed.  We have taken time to do transfer reports, done a lot of service, and done weekly planning (like every week).  Because of all these things we haven't had nearly as much time for missionary work but we somehow managed to keep all our numbers up in lessons, etc and had a really successful week.
One of the biggest blessings was that we had 7 nonmembers come to church from our area this week.  Luz and Gustavo came, as well as Frederico (who's going to be baptized this week), his 12 year old aunt Brandi, a boyfriend/grandpa/dad, an aunt, and then a girl we had never met before that the family had brought named Marta.  We were really blessed and had a lot of success getting people to church yesterday.
This week I had was lucky and got to go back to Stockton to be part of Jacqueline's baptism.  It was really hard to get there though.  I had set up a ride with a member about a week before and then the day before he called me and said an appointment had come up that he had to take his wife to that was at the same time and about an hour in the other direction.  I started calling everyone in the ward and I either couldn't get a hold of people or they were busy and couldn't take me.  We went to visit Nelson, our less active friend from Costa Rica and he offered to take me and I was really happy about that.  I was almost as excited to spend 2 hours in a car with Nelson and get to know him as I was to get to the baptism.  However, the next day Nelson called me and told me he wasn't going to be able to take me because when he woke up in the morning his daughter told him he needed to drop her off with his ex-wife a few hours later than he had originally thought and it was the same time hewas planning on taking me to the baptism.  So a couple hours before the baptism I was calling members all over the Elk Grove stake that I had never met trying to find a last minute ride.  Eventually I found a member who was willing to take me.  His name is Brother Bruljan and he was a really fun guy to talk to.  He reminds me of JD because he's about the same age and a retired military guy.  Brother Bruljan grew up in the same house he lives in now so he told me all about how Sacramento has changed over the past 50 years.  He told me about his experiences in the Vietnam War and lots of really interesting things.  
The baptism and my talk on the Holy Ghost went really well.  It wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be because none of my old investigators came to the baptism and all my favorite members weren't there.  It was great though.  Brother Bruljan even took me to Golden Corral on the way home and I had steak for the first time as a missionary.  I don't think I ever really liked steak before my mission but after eating Mexican/Guatemalan food for so long it tasted really good.
Today one of our members who works at a golf course took us golfing for P-day! It was a lot of fun.  There were 6 of us that went and one of the other elders was a golfer so he was pretty good and the rest of the elders were very interesting to watch.  Elder Webster and I spent a lot of time teaching the other missionaries how to swing a golf club and they got a little bit better throughout the 9 holes.  It was a ton of fun though, even though they were all short par 3 holes.  I got really good at using a pitching wedge because that's what we would tee-off with since each hole was pretty small.  It was all good fun.
We've been helping a member out a lot renovating a house.  What he does for a living is buy houses that are in bad condition and redo the whole thing while he and his family live there and then once he's finished it they move out and sell the place.  They are working on a house right now that is really run down and my first impression when I saw it was a haunted house I had visited in Utah.  Elder Austin and I helped cut down trees that were overrunning the yard, tearing out the carpet in the house, and demolishing the shelves, etc in the kitchen so that all new carpeting and appliances can be put in.  It's looking a lot better and soon the member's family will actually be able to move in to it.
The coolest teaching experience that we had this week was with Luz and Gustavo.  Luz has been waiting on her divorce papers so that she and Gustavo can get married and baptized the same day.  Originally she thought the were coming on August 4th because that's when her 6 months of waiting is over but she went to the court this week and because the city is running our of money the law/police/court system doesn't have very much money and are laying off people.  For this reason, they told her a judge might not be able to get to her case and she will have to wait longer.  She told us she had been reading in the scriptures about signs of the second coming and was watching the news at the same time and realized a lot of those things were happening right now.  She became really upset because she was thinking about what would happen if she died before she could ever get baptized.  It was a very humbling experience for me to see how badly she wanted to be baptized and how much she's gone through but has endured it patiently.  We were able to share the story of Alvin Smith with her, who died before Joseph Smith had finished translating the Book of Mormon, established the church, and received the priesthood and revelation in order to baptize.  In section 137 of Doctrine and Covenants it talks about how Joseph saw many people in heaven, among them being his brother Alvin who had died without being baptized.  We told her about temples and baptisms for the dead and promised her that she would see the day where she could be baptized on this earth, but even if she died she would have that ordinance done for her.  It was a great lesson but it made me so happy to see how badly she wants to be baptized and how much faith she has in our Heavenly Father and her desires to choose the right.
That's about all that's happened this past week.  We get transfer calls this next Monday and Elder Austin may be leaving since he's been here 4 transfers (6 months) so I may be getting a new companion. [I think I might be getting a brand new elder named Elder Mata but that's just my guess, we'll see if I'm right (:]
Los Quiero Mucho!
-Elder Gaskill

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