Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lots of work in Lodi and Galt

Hello Everyone!

This past week in Lodi has been great! Elder Martinez and I are having a lot of fun.  Missionary work becomes a lot more fun when your companion is also a really good friend.  The Lodi area is awesome too! It's a lot more like Stockton than Elk Grove.  There are a ton of Hispanic people here and there are some white people too but hardly any other cultural groups.  Galt is almost completely Hispanic or white as well.  The branch here is awesome and loves missionary work.  Ironically it is bigger than both the wards in Stockton and Elk Grove that I have been in but still considered a branch.

We have done a lot of great work and seen a lot of success.  We have 2 investigators that are going to be baptized this week that we are really excited about! Jovita is pretty much a member already, she knows everything and comes to every activity and is awesome.  Her husband, Juan is just as awesome but wasn't sure if he wanted to get baptized this week.  On Saturday we went over to their house and did a lot of service, had lunch with them, and then taught them.  We went over all the baptismal questions with them to make sure they were ready.  When the husband told us he still wasn't sure, I asked him if he believed that Joseph Smith restored the church and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the earth today.  He told me he had a testimony of both of these things and we helped him realized that his testimony of everything else stems from these two beliefs.  Right now his only problem is leaving behind the idols that Catholics love but we told him that he would be able to do it and that he is prepared and ready for baptism.  He told us he would give us an answer the next day, and on Sunday at church we asked him and he told us he wanted to be baptized! We were really excited for that and he and his wife will get baptized this weekend.

Yesterday was a really great but busy day.  We had 8 investigators come to church and we had our hands full with them.  Our two investigators that are getting baptized this weekend came (Jovita and Juan), the family of a recent convert family came, an investigator from Galt came, and a new guy we had never met before.  The investigator from Galt's wife is a member, and has a few kids who are members, one of which is serving a mission in Oaxaca, Mexico right now.  This is his second time to church and I think he will get baptized soon.  The other investigator was the nephew of a member who is here in the states for his first time and is on vacation for about a month before he goes back to Mexico.  There was a baptism last night for 3 eight year olds in the ward.  There were just as many people there as there were in church that day; it was amazing! Jovita brought her brother and his family to the baptism, a few of our other investigators came, and the members brought two new families (their neighbors) that we had never met before.  We had our hands full trying to get to know them all and set up a time to come over and teach them.  It was the best!  Those are the best moments for a missionary.

Our area here is really big so we have a lot of work to do.  The mission is low on Spanish speaking missionaries so they had to combine a lot of areas.  One of those areas was Galt and Lodi.  Elder Martinez and I are both learning the Galt area since we have never served before but Elder Martinez is teaching me the Lodi area since he's already been here for 2 transfers.  We have more work to do than we have time or resources to accomplish but it will be great.  Hopefully a lot of new Spanish speaking missionaries will come  in December so they can separate the two areas again but for now we'll be working all day from sun up to sun down.

I'm really looking forward to this transfer and I'm learning a lot each day.  I think my Spanish accent is just about there because yesterday the 2nd counselor in the bishopric introduced me to the priesthood quorums and told them I was from Jalisco, Mexico and a lot of members were excited to talk to me about "our hometown" of Jalisco afterwards.  So my Spanish must have been good enough that it was believable.  One of the bonuses of having native speaking companions is they can teach me a lot about the language and I can master the accent by mimicking theirs'.

Well the work keeps going.  I can't believe 2012 is coming to a close already.  One of these days I'm going to wake up and be getting on a plane coming home.  It's going to come a lot sooner than I want it to but the time just goes by way too fast out here.  I love Lodi and Galt and it's going to make the time go by even faster.
I hope all is well at home!

Les Quiero,
Elder Gaskill

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