Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello Family,
I hope everyone is well at home!  I never heard about how the summer fires ended but our Bishop went out to Idaho this past week and he said the normally crystal clear skies of Nevada and Idaho and very ashy from all the fires.  I hope everything sorted itself out and in another year and a half Colorado is back to the beautiful paradise it was when I left.
This week has been great.  Elder Rivera and I have been getting along really well and I am learning a lot from him.  I don't think I said very much about him last week so I'll tell you all a little more.  Elder Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and lived there about 8 years before moving to the United States.  He has lived all over the East Coast and for the past few years has lived in Florida. He is a big University of Utah fan like I am because he did a year of school there before coming on his mission.  He has one younger sister and his family (minus his dad) are members, converts to the church.
We have been blessed to see a lot of miracles this week.  About 2 weeks ago we found a less active part member family that had an 8 year old and 9 year old girl that really want to get baptized and they are both going to get baptized this week! They love the church and although their family had a problem with a bishop in the past they are willing to come back and are really awesome.  I'm starting to be known as the missionary that baptizes all the little kids since so far I've baptized two kids that are 10 and 12 and now two more that are 8 and 9.  
We also found another part member family called the Tapia family (shout out to Jeremy!) who were all baptized about 3 years ago and were active in the ward they live in now before it split about two years ago but moved and the ward kind of lost track of them.  However, we found them and they are really excited to come back to church and they have a 10 year old daughter that hasn't been baptized yet as well.  We are excited to get to know them better, they are a really cool family.
We have been working a lot with Luz and Gustavo a lot this week too and they are getting close to getting baptized.  We just got all their papers filled out with the help of a lawyer in our ward and they're turning them in today.  We're hoping they get the divorce certificate this week and then we can get them married and baptized the week after general conference.
We had a really interesting experience this past week when we went to go teach the Ramos family.  They live in a very very very bad street, probably the worst part of our area.  When you drive down the street what you see is every house with big metal fences around it, mattresses and furniture in the streets; people's stuff that have been thrown out of their houses because they can't afford to pay their rent, little kids running around everywhere, dogs in the streets, broken cars and glass, pretty much about the worst of things that you can imagine.  The Ramos family lives there and I took Elder Rivera there to meet the family but only Brandy and Yanira were there.  We taught them for about 45 minutes and about halfway through the Ghetto Bird (the police helicopter) started flying around in circles over our heads and began announcing that there was a missing girl so if anyone sees anything suspicious they should call 911.  As we were getting in the car we noticed the were police cars on both ends of the "L" shaped street blocking it off.  We got in the car and as we did 3 police officers with bullet proof vests and M-16s came down the street with a drug dog.  As they rounded the corner where the Ramos' live, the dog took off running towards one of the next door houses.  The police officers took off after it and ended up in a standoff with some people in a house nearby.  We watched as the police officers yelled for certain people to come out and then watched a few people come out with their hands up and get arrested.  As we drove out of the neighborhood the were cop cars parked on every street corner just waiting so we figured something big was going down but we never figured out what it was.
We had some other miracles this week as well.  We cover a lot of nicer neighborhoods where plenty of Spanish people live but it is really hard to find them.  This week Elder Rivera showed me a way to use the white pages to find people with Spanish names.  We did that for a big neighborhood; wrote down all the names of addresses of people with Spanish sounding names.  That night Elder Rivera told me to pick a name because we had a little bit of time to start the list.  There was one name that I felt like we should go see so we went to her front door. It turned out that her husbands family was all Spanish and she spoke it more or less but her family prefers English.  She was really impressed with us and what we do as missionaries and told us they had just started going to a new church that was kid oriented but she knew a lot of LDS people and was really interested in learning more about what we believe.  She prefers English so we had to pass her information on to the English elders in the area but she will be a golden investigator for those missionaries.
We also went looking for Sylvia, our less active lady that just moved here and we ended up finding her brother in law.  He had a lot of really good questions about tithing and he ended up inviting us in and we taught him a really spiritual lesson about the book of mormon and the restoration. He was really interested and is really a "searcher" looking for the truth in the world.  He also lives out of the mission so we will have to pass his information along to some other Spanish missionaries but he will get baptized soon I'm sure of it, he is definitely looking for the truth.
This week although it has been short has been laced with miracles and I am really excited for the next 5 weeks of this transfer.  We are making a lot of big changes here and started a new time in the Sacramento 10th Spanish Ward here in Sacramento.
I love you all and I hope everything is going well wherever you all are.  I always keep you in my heart and in my prayers.
Les Quiero,
Elder Gaskill

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