This week went really well, very stressful but it turned out all right.
We had our baptism yesterday and it went great. It was originally planned for Saturday morning but we got a surprise call Friday night late telling us they wouldn't be able to do it then because the mom had to work. We couldn't do it Saturday night because of the stake activity for the relief society session of general conference. Eventually we got it worked out for Sunday at 12 right before church. We were really busy trying to get the interviews set up for the little girls, getting a baptismal record, and making the program but it all got going on time. I baptized my buddy Yisel (pronounced "e-sell") who is 8 and Elder Rivera baptized his buddy Aaliyah who is 9. It was really great and an awesome baptism. They got confirmed right after in church. After we did that we got to participate in a baby blessing for their old sister's baby. It was an awesome day.
We have been working a lot with a Colombian family that was referred to us by one of our members. They are really nice and we love teaching them. The mom is single right now because her husband kind of ran away to Texas. She has 3 kids: Alex (15), Andres (13), and Diana/Vivi (11). The older two boys love soccer and so we get along really well and their sister is exactly like Hannah (my little sister). They are an awesome family. They really like us and you can see it in the mom's eyes that she wants to come to church and learn a lot more but she's afraid. We're trying to figure out what's holding her back. We had a couple really good lessons this week where the Spirit was really strong, and we even got the mom to pray. It took about 10 minutes of awkward silence and then 3 minutes sitting there with our eyes closed waiting for her but she eventually prayeed and it was a great prayer. We also had a lesson with them this week where Elder Rivera taught the Plan of Salvation while I played a 1 on 1 soccer game in the street with one of the sons. It was a lot of fun for me because I was playing soccer while getting to know the kids and Elder Rivera was teaching and getting to know the mom better.
We had something called "language conference" this past week which was really cool. It was like a zone conference but with all the missionaries that speak another language besides English. They taught us things that were very specific to the people with which we work to help them more. It was really cool and it was nice to see all the Spanish Elders in the mission and see how they were all doing. We learned a good deal too.
Last Monday we went apartment shopping on P-day because our apartment is having lots of problems. We live on the back side of the complex right next to a really bad area and the only thing separating us a 5 foot high wall. Our car has been vandalized a couple times at night, the cops are always running around looking for people on the other side, our apartment always smells like smoke because of our neighbors, and we have had a bug problem the last month or so. We also live outside of our area and have to waste a lot of car miles every day. Hopefully they will be moving us to an apartment we picked out that is in the middle of our area and pretty nice too. I probably won't be living there for too long if the mission approves it but it would be really nice for a couple weeks.
This past Saturday we cleaned the chapel in the morning. Right after we left bishop called and asked me if the shoes I was wearing were the only regular shoes I had. I was wearing the pair of shoes I have with the toes that have almost ripped off and are barely holding themselves together. I told him they were and he asked me if I wanted something new. I told him only if I wasn't putting him out at all. He said "Great, we're right behind you, follow us to Costco". So we went to Costco and Bishop bought me new shoes and then bought Elder Rivera and I lunch. It was the best present ever. I love Bishop Almendariz a lot and he does so much to help us out of the goodness of his heart.
That's about all for this week. Today I turn 8 months old in the mission which means I just completed 1/3 of my time as a missionary. I'm sad about how fast the time is going by but decided to celebrate anyway by making banana bread for my apartment this morning. I'm hoping that time starts to slow down soon but I know it will be just the opposite. Before I know it I'll be where Elder Rivera is at: 22 months old with flight plans to go home already. The time goes by so fast. I'm very happy to be here and know there's no better place I could be. I love the changes I have seen in my life and those I've seen in the lives of others as they've let the true gospel restored on the earth in our days bless their lives.
Les Quiero Mucho!