Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello Everybody!
This past week has been great!
This past week Arturo's family came from Mexico and the day after Christmas we got to meet them.  They are all really cool.  They are really interested in joining the church and had a lot of questions for us.  Through answering their questions about the church we in essence taught them the restoration, a little of the plan of salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ (especially baptism), the word of wisdom, the law of tithing, church organization, the priesthood, and temples.  As far as missionary teaching goes the only thing we didn't teach them was the law of chastity, which happened to be the topic of gospel essentials in church on Sunday.  They loved church, went to the temple, came to the new years eve party last night, and loved everything.  They say that when they are back in Mexico they will talk about it as a family and make a decision.  I know they're going to get baptized and be very strong members of the church.  I'm sad I won't be able to be at their baptism but I really hope Arturo keeps me updated and we can get in touch with the missionaries down there. 

 Last night at the New Year's Eve party I was pretty busy and at 9:30 we were rushing to get out of the church and home on time.  I went to say goodbye to Arturo and when I said "Bye, I have to go home" he thought I meant I was leaving Lodi and wouldn't get to say bye before I left so he jumped up and ran over to me and gave me a hug.  I made sure to clarify that we would at least see each other one more time before they go back to Mexico this week but I got a little sad thinking about that fact that they're leaving soon.

This week we found an investigator named Victoria who told us she already knew the church was true. That was surprising to hear.  It turned out she had been an investigator a long time ago but she has been living with a man that she's not married to and doesn't want to get married to.  We got lucky because her "husband" is finally going back to Mexico after he has a surgery in January so she can finally be baptized.  She also wants us to teach her son and his girlfriend so that could potentially be some more good investigators to teach.

A little over a week ago a member brought a friend named Mari to church and she really liked it.  They had to leave church pretty quickly so we weren't able to get her information.  Through the member we got her number and approximately where she lived, but when she called us she said she didn't want us to come over until the following week when all the holidays were over.  We decided to stop by on Saturday even though the week wasn't over yet and surprise her.  She told us she was sick and that she was embarrassed that we caught her just out of bed, sick, and not having showered yet but she still stayed outside and talked to us for about an hour before we left.  She is really nice and is interested in learning more so we're excited to go teach her this week.

JJ's baptism was on Saturday and it was awesome!  We all squished into Jovita's car and headed down to Stockton.  I was really happy to see JJ finally getting baptized and making all of his family members of the Church.  Now we just have to teach and baptize Jovita's brother Ricardo and his family, and Jovita's parents that also live here.  It was great to see Elder Martinez again too. We talk every once in a while but it was good to joke around with him and let him know how everyone was doing here in Lodi.  There were more than double the number of people at the baptism from the Spanish Branch as there were from the young single adult branch.  Besides the people that were participating in the program there were only 3 other members that came to the baptism.  We filled all the seats though with our devoted families from Lodi and Galt.  The most important thing thought is that he got baptized and will be a strong member of the church.

On Sunday we had another miracle! There is a family in Galt that the Spanish missionaries have been teaching since May but they have not been able to get baptized because of some problem or other that comes up in the family.  The mom got mad at Elder Martinez and I and they were having a lot of problems so we just kind of dropped them for a few weeks.  After church on Sunday the mom called me and apologized and said she had figured everything out.  We went over that night and everyone seemed really happy and it really seems like she has figured everything out.  She told us the most important thing to her right now is that her kids get baptized.  She even wants us to somehow teach her 18 year old son who has been in jail and is a little hard headed.  At the very least Ana and her 2 older daughters will get baptized this month and we will have to work a little harder for the older brother and dad.

At the Branch New Year's Eve Party last night we also had a cool experience.  A less active that we were teaching brought a friend to the activity that is really interested.  I told a lot of ward member's to go say "hi" to him and now he has a lot of friends.  When our Elder's Quorum President sat down to say hi he ended up talking a lot about the gospel and we taught him the plan of salvation, and a few of the commandments in 30 minutes while there was really loud music and a lot of dancing going on around us.  It was really hard to focus while worldy music (that I miss a lot) and Spanish music (that I don't know yet but will some day) was blaring around me but I was able to focus and get a really solid investigator.  He already has a lot of the same beliefs as we do, and really wants to come to church this Sunday and listen more to the message.

Today has been awesome too.  It was hard for me to be obedient and go to bed at 10:30 last night (because New Years/Eve is one of my favorite holidays) but I did.  We were able to go to the Pulga today as well.  A lot of people that normally comes to sell or buy things didn't come today because it was a holiday but there were still plenty of people.  I always love going to the Pulga dressed in normal clothes because I can surprise people when I speak Spanish.  About 80% of the people there are Mexican while the other 20% are white/asian/black.  I look 100% American too with my blue eyes and white skin so people are always very happily surprised when I speak Spanish to them.  They always say I speak really clearly and with the native accent too so I'm guessing most Americans that learn Spanish don't speak it that well. It's always nice to get that compliment to make me feel like I'm doing a good job.

Well that was a lot but hopefully it makes up for no email last week. Hope all is well y que les vaya bien!

Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Gaskill

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