This week has been great.
I don't remember if I wrote about this last week but we received a reference from Bolivia to visit this girl named Erika. We went to the address last week and ended up talking to the mom but didn't know it wasn't the right person until we were saying bye. This week I felt prompted to go by her house at a very specific time on a specific day. The referral was very specific and said come at 5:30 because that's when she gets home from work and school but we went at about 4:20. Erika was the only one home at the time and we asked for a glass of water and ended up staying about an hour and teaching her. She told us we got lucky that she was home because normally she has cross country practice and doesn't get home until 5:30 when her mom picks her up and drives her home. She decided that day though to skip practice and come home to get caught up on her summer reading that she hadn't finished. So we learned a lot about her and she'll be a good investigator. The problem is we have to figure out how to teach her either by making her mom like us more or somehow finding her when her mom isn't around.
Wednesday we had zone conference and that was awesome like they always are. We learned a lot and the talks/classes were really inspired. Every zone conference all the missionaries have to write a 5 minute talk on a topic that they give us and then we "turn them in" when we arrive and then President reads them all and picks two people to give their talks at the end of zone conference. My first zone conference I was about 80% sure for some reason that I was going to get picked and then I was really surprised when I didn't get picked. This conference I had the exact same feeling that I was going to talk except I was about 95% sure this time and I got picked to talk this time. So I got to speak in zone conference and that was fun. It was about a talk that Elder Oaks gave in 2000 called "The Challenge to Become". It was a really good talk and I suggest all of you go look it up and read it. We learned so much at zone conference. Although we were exhausted when we left at 4:30 we were so spiritually pumped the rest of the day. I felt like a native speaking Spanish and everything just went really well the rest of the day.
On Thursday I had a flashback to Stockton. There is a helicopter that flies around all the time and shines a spotlight to make sure nothing bad happens because there are a lot of bad neighborhoods around here. Right behind our apartments is one of those areas and we live on the back side and all that separates us is a 6 foot wall. When we came home Thursday night the "ghetto bird" (as the helicopter's known around here) was flying in circles and shining it's light in the corner of the apartments where we live and on the complexes right behind us. There were about 4 police officers out with flashlights looking for something but we never figured it what was going on.
Friday we went to go see our recent convert Ruben at about 8 at night and he was just leaving to walk to the 99 cent store to buy milk so we decided to walk with him. The conversation was normal but we had some interesting experiences. On the way there a homeless guy was telling us his story about he almost killed somebody with his knife because he thought the guy wanted to hurt him. When we got to the 99 cent store we waited outside while Ruben was shopping/buying. A guy in a power chair approached us and looked at me and said "let me guess, you're from Utah". I said I wasn't and we got to talking and he turned out to be a really friendly guy and said he used to give the missionaries rides places. We never found out if he was a member but we got all his information so we will go and try to visit him this week. He may be a really good investigator if he's not a member already. After he left another lady approached us and started talking to us and we got her information to go see her later this week. Finally Ruben came back out and it was about 9 o'clock so we started walking back. In Sacramento, 9:00 is when the "zorras" come at and there were lots of females roaming the streets so we let Ruben lead the way and fend all the ladies off so we wouldn't have any problems with them. Eventually we made it back to Ruben's house and taught him and then went home for the night.
This week my companion has been kind of sick and it was pretty bad on Saturday. We were in the apartment until about 3:00 when one of our investigators called us and asked us what we were doing and told us to come up to his place and eat. So we went up there and ate and taught them and spent some time with them. After that we had a dinner appointment with the Lucero family and they were throwing a party for their son turning 1 so we went out of our area to a really nice white neighborhood that reminded me of Stonebridge in Illinois and had dinner at the park with them. They invited a lot of their friends who work with them at Univision (a really big Spanish channel) and so we met a lot of nonmembers and got a lot of their information to meet them at their houses this week to teach them. It was a lot of fun. It was also really weird because almost all the people in Sacramento are Mexican or Guatemalan but the Lucero family is Argentinian and Venezuelan, and all their friends that were there with them were from south America: Argentinian, Columbian, Venezuelan, Peruvian, etc. so the people were a lot different. They were all really nice though but it was a little different experience.
We didn't get to see Zaida this week but she called us on Saturday and I talked to her on the phone about an hour and a half and taught her that way. She had been having car problems and so she was at the mechanic but she talked to me for about 90 mins until the mechanics told her they wanted to go for a ride with her in the car to see if they could figure out what was wrong by driving it around (because they couldn't find anything through their tests). She told me a lot about her past and a lot about when she used to work at a homeless shelter, things going on with her and her family, etc. She was doing 97% of the talking and all of a sudden she stopped and asked me "I've been talking this whole time and you've been listening and giving me advice that is perfect for my situation, how do you do it? Do you missionaries get some sort of training for this?". I decided to tell her that missionaries are called to specific missions to serve in specific areas at very specific times, and that I knew I had been called to serve here so that we would meet her the day that we did, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with her through the 2 elders that would be the best fit for her. Then I bore her my testimony and it was really cool. I know that Zaida is one of the people I was called to Sacramento to meet and I love teaching her and I know that in the coming months she will be baptized and will have great responsibility in the church someday.
Well that's about all this week. Sorry my email from last week didn't work. I hope everything is well at home. I know this work is the very best thing I could be doing and I know that what we share is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's church here on the Earth today. Our Heavenly Father loves us and is just waiting for us to either accept His gospel and enter into the gate by baptism or share the gospel with those who have not yet found the path.