Monday, January 28, 2013

1st week in El Dorado

This week was a great week but sad.  Tuesday night I had to say goodbye to everyone in Lodi and that was really sad.  I hate goodbyes so usually I would just avoid them and leave without saying anything but I knew some people would be mad at me.  We went to the church for mutual (youth night) and I said goodbye to most of the member.s  Then we went to say goodbye to all my converts.  We went to the Ortega's for dinner and they surprised me and somehow knew it was my birthday the next day so they made me "mole" (pronounced mole-eh) which is awesome.  It was the best I've had my whole mission.  Apparently her mom brought a big bag of ingredients from Mexico to make it so they only make it for special occasions in the family.  It was awesome and they got me the best birthday card I've ever seen with lots of monkeys and some good chocolate stuff that I had to leave.  After that we went to Jovita, Juan, and JJ's house.  We stayed there a little while and they brought out more gifts.  A few weeks back when we had to go get fingerprints done in Sacramento for Elder Hernandez they took us to the historic/visitor's side called Old Sacramento.  We went to one store that was a Peruvian store and there was a really cool jacket I liked. They went back and bought it for me for my birthday! I was very happy but I will miss them a lot.  After that we went to Galt to say bye to the Mendozas and the Guzmans.  The Guzmans weren't home, unfortunately but the Mendozas were home and we had a good chat and firmed them up to get baptized on February 23rd so I will get to go back to visit then.
The next day I took off for El Dorado! We live about 1500 ft above sea level and the highest it gets in the mission in our area is about 5000 ft above.  So it's nice to be back in the mountains! The area reminds me a lot of mountain towns like Aspen or Vail mixed with Woodland Park or Manitou Springs (before they burned).  I like it a lot.  My companion's name is Elder Fullwood.  He is a redhead from Katy, Texas! (My family lived in Katy when I was 3 until I was 5)  woohoo! He's an interesting guy for sure and we get along really well.  His family raises Border Collies and he was home-schooled.
It was a really weird birthday because I kept forgetting about it.  I was awake packing at 2am when I was born so I said happy birthday to myself but then went to bed and forgot about it the rest of the day until at about 10:15 that night when President Lewis called and wished me a happy birthday.  I got some presents a couple days later when the mail came and that was awesome! Elder Fullwood's birthday is tomorrow (the 29th) so we are really close in age.
This zone will be interesting because there are a  lot of sister missionaries here.  There used to be just 2 but now there are 6 and 4 of them are brand new. I think 2 of them are 19 and from somewhere in Texas and the other 2 are 21 and from Bountiful and somewhere else in Utah.  The sisters that are training are pretty cool too.  I've never served around sisters yet so it will be interesting, especially with the younger sisters that still act like high school girls.
The Spanish unit is also very different up here.  We are a group that meets with an English ward.  We have one family of members and one family of investigators in the group so it's very small.  The Spanish members wear headphones and we translate everything they say at the pulpit.  It's very weird.  There is a lot of room for growth and I'm excited to help the work go forth.  There aren't very many Spanish people here.  There are a few big apartment complexes and mobile home parks in each city and that's about the only place we can find them.  It will be a lot different from the rest of my mission but I am very excited and feel blessed to be here.
We met 2 really cool families this week since I got here.  The first is a family with the mom named Maria.  We were driving by and say this mom with 4 little kids walking and saw that they were Hispanic so we pulled over, asked if we could give them a card, got their address and then left.  The next day we went back and visited them and she was very interested.  She was raised Catholic and her husband Jehovah's Witness.  We taught her the Restoration and she wanted to know which church was the Church of Jesus Christ.  She felt the spirit very strongly and we are excited to go teach her again tonight.
We also met a family last night that was really awesome.  They are Catholic but don't like that everyone worships the Virgin Mary and the saints. (That made us so happy because most people don't know enough about the bible to know that they're breaking the 2nd commandment).  They were really excited to read the Book of Mormon and pray by the end of the lesson as well. We're already seeing lots of success!
That's all for this week.
Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Gaskill

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