Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 7, 2016

So this week we have really been trying hard to find a new
investigator because after our last baptism we haven't had any
investigators. So this whole week was concentrated on finding.

We mostly go through our potential investigators list and OYM people
on the streets. We have had no success but that didn't stop us from
trying as hard as we could to find someone. We finally had success
Saturday and more success yesterday.

Saturday we met many people on the streets who we talked to and were
able to hand a Book of Mormon too. Many of them told us that they
would be interested to learn more and we set return appointments with
them. Yesterday however we had 3 less active families that we've been
teaching come to church and also a non member. The nonmember is a
friend of a recent convert who decided to join her friend. Her name is
Jennifer and she told us that she wants to be baptized. We were
freaking out!!!! She is now on date for the 26th of this month. We're
going to meet with her this Wednesday and teach her the restoration. I
still can't believe how ready she was for the gospel. The lord really
blesses you when you do everything you can to be a obedient

We also met a man named Carlos Palomo Saturday for the first time. His
wife is an active member who schedules the dinner calendar for us. He
however is not a member and has been taught by missionaries for 30
years now. We talked to him Saturday about his feelings towards
baptism and he said "no I'm not ready I need to know more!" Well after
30 years of being taught I knew there wasn't more to teach. He knew
all the lessons. My companion then opened in the Book of Mormon and
read the qualifications for baptism which Carlos definitely had. For
our next visit we have an awesome video to show him and we hope to be
able to find out what's been keeping him from being a member these
last 30 years. Also he is praying for the baptism date of March 19th
so we'll see how that goes.

This. next week is going to be awesome and we hope to find more people
to teach. Hope everyone is doing well

Elder Austin

Feb 29, 2016

This week was absolutely insane!!!!!!!! I'm so exhausted!!!!!!!!

Well I was transferred last Tuesday to about 2 miles south of where I
was. I'm now serving in the Mountain View 4th Ward. My new companion
is Elder Stout. He is also from Atlanta Georgia. He's actually from
the powder Springs steak. He was made a district leader and I am his
new companion and we are whitewashing the area. Whitewashing is when
both the Elders are replaced by two other Elders who know nothing and
start from scratch. It's exhausting!!!!!!

We literally knew no one when we came here. However we worked
extremely hard and we're starting to get the hang of it. We know the
area pretty well now and are starting to get to know the members more.
Our Ward mission leader is Hermano Razo and he is the best mission
leader I have ever seen on the mission. He always puts his calling
first no mater what and is always helping us whether it's moving in or
just visiting people. He's amazing!

So this week was mostly meetings. We only had one normal morning. This
weeks looks just as crazy.

This Saturday we woke up at 6:00 to get on the trax and head downtown
to the university of Utah. There we helped translate for a dental
service project where anyone could get free dental service for this
day. Almost everyone there was Hispanic so we had a lot of work to do.
I even got to help fill in a cavity at one point. It was awesome!!!!!
Later that day we had our second baptism. His name is Carlos Castillo.
He was completely solid when I arrived and knew absolutely everything.
I had the opportunity to play piano at his baptism. I started prelude
at about 6:30 so only 30 minutes before we were suppose to start. It
was then 7:45 and he still wasn't there. I was running out of songs to
play right when he showed up. He said that his GPS took him the Salt
Lake airport and that it was Satan that was trying to keep him from
being baptized. So we started at 8:00 and it was the best baptism I've
ever seen. I was able to teach the restoration and also about the Holy
Spirit there. And so now we don't have any investigators. He was our
only one. So this next week we're hoping to find many people to teach.
I am very excited.

Well that's pretty much everything. Hope everyone has a great week.

Elder Austin

Feb 22, 2016

So today is the day we find out about transfers. Hopefully I'll be
staying here and hopefully I won't be getting a new companion. I like
the way things are now. I should find out around lunch time here so
I'll send another email with the update.

This week had a lot of us and downs,

Rashid is our Muslim investigator who believes the church is true but
he has a smoking problem. Rule is that they have to wait a week not
smoking before their baptized. President chambers called us and old us
to wait 2 weeks with Rashid. We told Rashid and he wasn't happy about
having to wait longer but that day he also crushed up his pack of
cigarets and threw them away. He called it "braking up with his 10
year girlfriend." He went 4 days until on of his friends got him to
smoke again. We told him that his friend is stupid and that he
shouldn't be around people that bring him down like that. But he's one
of Rashid's only friends here that speaks his native Tongue. He felt
really frustrated that he could only go 4 days without smoking but we
explained that repentance is a process and that he should be happy
with 4 days. Now we're going to try to go 5 without smoking and if he
can do it then we're going to celebrate with him.

Right now we're spending most of our time visiting members of the
relief society that haven't been to church in a while to possibly find
less actives or non members to teach and also to help out our relief
society president sister Luque who does so much for us. Well cleaned
up most of the list and we did find many people who are ready to be
taught. The only problem is that they live in the sisters area (our
Ward is split between us and some sister missionaries) so we had to
give them all to the sisters. But I hear that the sisters are having a
lot of success with the people we found so it still was a very good
project. Also sister Luque is very happy that we did this for her and
we're happy to help.

We taught a couple yesterday night named Daniel and Genesis. They are
completely ready to learn and I know that they would join the church
soon. However they live outside of the mission. We found them at the
house of our young men's president. They told us they live in the wood
gate apartments. The apartments are split into 3 sections. 2 of those
sections are in our mission. The other is in the West mission. I could
hit their house with a rock thrown from my area! So we're going to try
to get special permission to teach them. They already told us that
they want to continue going to the Spanish Ward with the young men's
president and wouldn't go anywhere else. So we're pretty confident
that we will be able to teach them.

Other than that we've found a lot of Hispanics on the streets and just
testified of the gospel right them and their. It's still really hard
to make sense in Spanish but we're told in Preach My Gospel to open
our mouths and just start making words even if you don't know what
your going to say before hand. If we do this we're promised the help
of the Lord and that our mouths will be filled. I've never had a bad
experience yet talking to people on the street in Spanish and that's
because the Lord keeps his promises. D&C 33:8-10

Hope everyone is doing well,

Elder Austin

Feb 15, 2016

Hola y buenas días,

Yo sé que vive mi señor. Este semana fue el mejor. Cada día teníamos
una lección con un investigador y también todos los lecciones que
teníamos fueron perfecto.

So this week was amazing. Every day was a blessing and we had
wonderful lessons with all of our investigators. We had about 5
lessons with Rashid, our Muslim, who is scheduled to be baptized this
upcoming Saturday. He was going to be baptized last Saturday but we
had to move it because we still had a lot to teach him and not enough
time to do it. Also he's having struggles with wanting to follow all
of the commandments because following them means that he would have to
change from a lifestyle that he's comfortable with to one that he's
never lived before. But he still has a desire to be baptized and next
time we see him we're going to reteach him the plan of salvation so
we'll see how that goes.

We're still teaching the Medinas who are a Venezuelan couple. (Just so
you know Venezuelans are extremely hard to understand. Their Spanish
is all over the place!) so the husband (Ronan) is a wonderful guy who
is really open to the gospel and is doing everything he needs to be to
gain a testimony of it. We had some amazing lessons with him and he is
so close. He has a baptism date scheduled for the 27th of this month.
His wife (Elba) is a staunch Catholic that doesn't want to give up her
childhood beliefs. She still meets with us and will listen to the
lessons but she rarely does anything else like read her scriptures,
come to church, or pray. However yesterday we had an awesome lesson
with them where we just read the Book of Mormon. The chapter we read
was 1 Nephi 15. After we read we just talked about what it said. They
both really opened up to us and we were happy to see that Elba enjoyed
it. We have a lesson with them this Wednesday and hope that we can
extend a date to Elba.

We also picked up a new investigator yesterday named Juliana. She is a
Colombian exchange student who was taught a little by the missionaries
before but she moved before they could finish. She just so happened to
move into the house of the second counselor of the stake presidency
and he speaks perfect Spanish. So we picked her up as a new
investigator yesterday and taught her the restoration. She said yes to
all of the commitments we gave her which were got church, read the
Book of Mormon, pray, and be baptized. However she has a lot of school
and never any time so we don't know if she'll be able to do any of
these. But next time we meet with her we'll extend a date for the 5th
or 12th of next month.

Me and my companion are getting along great! I'm at the point where I
can talk to my companion all day in Spanish and we've been working
really hard to learn more vocabulary and to also get rid of our
accents. I'm getting pretty comfortable talking to people in Spanish.
I can understand about 90% of what's being said and it's just words
that I don't know yet that throw me off. With speaking my verb
conjugations are the worst. Past tense is what gets me the most.
People keep,telling me that English is so hard to learn but it's
really not. Speaking is actually really easy it's just reading English
that's really hard because none of the words sound like how they're
spelled. This is the difference between English and Spanish.

The verb to be in past tense:

Ser (to be) past To be (English) past
I fui We fuimos I was We were
You (informal) fuiste You were They were
You (formal) fue
They fueron

It's pretty insane! But I am getting better. Here are some pictures:

Elder Olson on the right who we saw at the temple.

Have a great week!

Elder Austin

Feb 8, 2016

This week was Cary!

So because my companion is the district leader, we have to do
exchanges with every elder companionship in our district and with the
zone leaders. An exchanges is when I switch companions for 24 hours
and the goal is to learn from a different perspective. I had 3 days
strait of exchanges this week. One of them I was working in an English
area and the other was my area. I've gotten so used to talking in
Spanish that testifying in English was really hard for me. We ran in
to a less active who used to be a golden member. He invited us in and
we shared a really good message with him. His name is Don. After the
message he said,"I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you."
He then talk about how he "knows" that God doesn't exist and that he's
happier for it. But to me he didn't look happy at all. He then started
sharing all of the problems he had with religion that I think ended up
ruining his testimony. All of the things he told me however I've
already heard before and have already struggled with. Now I have
answers for them and when I heard this man talking to me I just felt
sad for him. Instead of praying about these problems he let his doubt
take over and now he has no more faith. All I could do was share my
testimony and let him know that all of the things he was telling me
had no effect on my beliefs. We left as soon as we can and decided
that it was best that we didn't argue with him. It's really hard when
you want to share something that you know will help someone but there
really isn't anything you do if that person refuses to listen. However
that doesn't mean that you're a failure. Everyone has there agency and
all that matters is how you use yours.

The second exchange I had was in my own area with Elder Pagnin who is
from Italy. He was called her to serve English speaking so I was the
only one who could speak Spanish. All we did that day was visit
members and invite them to the event me and my companion have been
organizing, Noche de Ammon. This really helped my Spanish and without
my companion I was able to see how far I've really gotten with
learning Spanish. We also talked to a potential investigator named
Cubé. He came outside and told us that he thought about it, talked to
his wife, and decided that he's happy being Catholic and does t want
to change. It was sad and was about to leave but I remembered
something that President Chambers wants us to do with everyone that we
talk to. It's called "3 no's before you go." So I had to invite him 3
times before I was allowed to leave. So I talked about everything I
could with him. I talked about Christ and prayers and faith. I talked
about how there is only one true church on the earth and that the Book
of Mormon is the work of God. I wish I could say that something came
out of this but he gave me my 3 no's. I ended with bearing my
testimony, inviting him to read the Book of Mormon, and wishing him a
good night. Sometimes 3 no's before you go works and a person will end
up becoming an investigator. But most of the time you get your 3 no's
and end up leaving. But I also thing that the testimonies that you
bear during that time are also important even if they keep saying no.
I've heard many stories of people saying no at first but eventually
something would pass in their lives to remind them of the words said
by that missionary or member that would be the catalyst of their
eventual conversion. I'm certain that Cubé will eventually be reminded
of the things we talked about because this message really is true and
God wants all of his children to know that.

I am very excited that the snow is finally melting. I've decided that
snow is only good for skiing on. Other than that it's good for
nothing. It should be getting up to the 50s this week for the first
time in almost 2 months. I'm going to love every second of it.

My Spanish has really Improved in the 4 weeks that I've been here. We
started having our language study with the members in stead of by
ourselves. What we'll do with the members is we'll read the Book of
Mormon with them and then, since my companion already knows Spanish,
I'll either teach them a lesson in Spanish or tell them a story. They
will correct me on any word I pronounce wrong or tell me a better way
to phrase a sentence. It's really helped me improve and now I finally
feel completely comfortable sharing an entire lesson alone in Spanish.

Other exciting news is that last Monday we went into a letter shop
because my companion wants to buy a pair of moccasins because he says
its like walking barefoot. We go inside and the owner is a member and
offered us a huge discount and the opportunity to make our own fully
customized with whatever type of leather he owns. Things like this
only happen in Utah. I love my mission.

I must say that the best part of the mission so far is when you're in
a lesson of any kind and you just open your mouth to share what you
know to be true. Sometimes what come out isn't your words at all. You
just start taking and realize that what you are saying is from the
Spirit and is exactly what they needed to hear. The feeling that comes
during and after is amazing. There's really nothing like it.

8 Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even
as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.

9 Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with
sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.

10 Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent,
repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths
straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; (D&C 33)

That's pretty much everything that happened this week. I hope that
everyone is doing well!

Elder Austin

Feb 1, 2016

This week has been really stressful.

Bishop has put me in charge of what is now a missionary event called
"Noche de Ammon." It's kind of like a family home evening but with the
entire Ward and our investigators. Our goal is to be able to get less
actives to participate and also to meet more members. I'm expecting 60
to be there but bishop wants at least 230. Also I'm in charge of
everything which is extremely hard because I barely have enough time
as it is. However I only have to delegate a few more things to the
auxiliary leaders and today I'm going to be buying everything else. I
was able to pass out fliers to everyone yesterday and I told them to
bring their friends.

In other news I was able to go back to Sandy to see one of my old investigators be baptized. Her name is Valerie Rodriguez. When I got there it was about 10 minutes till the baptism was scheduled to start and the man who was suppose to baptize her never came. So she asked me to do it. Needless to say I was terrified but I accepted. So I changed and I baptized her. They filled the font about half way so it was really difficult to keep her whole body under and then back up again. But I managed to do it on the second try. Her husband will also get baptized in like 2 weeks and I'll be able to get to see that one as well. I'm pretty sure the daughter will be ready by then. I don't have the pictures wit me but I'll send them later.

Also on the same day we took Rashid to Salt Lake to see the temple. It was amazing but we also learned that Rashid has a smoking addiction which means that he won't be baptized on the 13th. But the temple was really cool. 

Last Sunday Bishop hounded everyone in the Ward to encourage them to do their tithing. Bishop Alverez is an amazing man. He is about 78 years old. He has been a Branch President, Stake President, Area Seventy, and now is a Bishop of the strongest Ward in the valley. He can scare me sometimes but he really is nice. He's one of the funnier Bishops I've met. He just knows how to get everyone to work together. His goal is to have all the parents have temple recommends and to be using them regularly. He also wants to help everyone get to know each other with "Noche de Ammon." We've been helping him by visiting members and less-actives. It's really helped us get to know people and also find people to teach.

Well that's pretty much everything. Have a great week

Elder Austin

Jan 25, 2016

Well this was an interesting week.

The week started off really slow. We spent most of our time trying to
find a new investigator. 

We found one Friday who's name is Cubé. We
talked to him on his porch and taught him parts of the restoration.
Then we invited him to be baptized and he accepted. He isn't solid but
he told us to come back in a week so we'll see what happens next

We also have a less active that we're working with named Moroni.
Moroni is near and dear to us and we do everything we can to keep him
out of trouble but he had a pretty bad week. Just a little background
on Moroni. Moroni started his first job as a hardcore drug dealer when
he was 9 years old. He became addicted to ummm a certain drug (I
probably shouldn't tell which one) when he was 14. Moroni was clean
for 5 months when I came into the area. Last Tuesday he relapsed and
spent the entire day with us. I barely knew Moroni when it happened
but my companion was devastated. We looked up a location of an
addiction recovery program and took him to one that day. We're going
to keep taking him until he can do the steps on his own. If anyone
doesn't know the 12 steps of addiction recovery then they should look
them up on the addiction recovery website. The 12 steps encompass
repentance completely and everyone could benefit through the 12 step
program whether they're an addict or not. 

In other news yesterday was my 20th birthday and it just so happened
to be the best day of the mission yet!

Yesterday morning was pretty terrible. I was just tired and not
feeling it that day. This kind of lasted until after lunch. Around
that time I was scheduled to have a meeting with President Chambers.
The meeting helped a lot to cheer me up and I came out of that meeting
better than ever. After that we went to church. My companion needed to
leave because the stake president was doing youth meetings and wanted
the missionaries to come and talk about missionary work. Elder
Montgomery was going but he wanted me to stay so I could get to know
the members better. During church our investigator Rashid wasn't
feeling good. He said he just wanted to be alone so after sacrament
meeting he left to go home and sleep. However we had 5 non-members
just decide to come to our church. Why? No idea. But I talked to all
of them in Spanish! 4 of them live in Kearns which is outside of the
mission but one of them lived across the street. So I asked him if we
could come over and now we have an appointment with him today at 6:00!
After church we stopped by Rashid to see how he was doing. This is
what I told president min my letter to him yesterday:

Some exciting news. We have an investigator named Rashid. He is Muslum
so he doesn't know much about Christ. So we've been really emphasizing
prayer and revelation and how he can know that Jesus was the Son of
God. He really liked the idea of personal revelation and in fact he
knew that he would receive an answer. However he wanted a dream to be
his answer. At first I was skeptical but after I prayed about it I
somehow knew that a dream would be his answer. Another thing, I have
never seen anyone with so much faith as Rashid. He has complete trust
in God. Well today after church he wanted to leave because he wanted
to be alone. He went to a restaurant to eat and then planned to go
home and sleep. He was waiting for his food when he fell asleep. He
woke up,and was very excited. We saw him after church at 4:15 at his
house when he told us his dream. In his dream he saw his grandfather,
father, aunt, and brother who are all dead. His grandfather told him
that God loved him very much and that he didn't answer his prayer
immediately because it was the first time God was able to hear his
voice and God wanted to hear his voice more and allow himself to
become closer to him before he answered his prayers. He then told him
that he needed to be baptized and that the man who gave the powerful
talk in sacrament meeting needs to be the one to baptize you.

I was pretty shocked. This is the first time I've seen someone get
their answer through a dream. Now Rashid wants to be baptized and the
man who has to do it is apparently named Hermano Bravo. If it were up
to Rashid he would be baptized tomorrow but we still have a lot to
teach him. The only thing we have taught him is the plan of salvation.
So we are meeting with him today, tomorrow, and Friday every week so
we can teach him everything. He will probably be my first baptism. 

After that we had dinner with a family I don't know that well. At 6:00
we went to the Riveras for the birthday of their son that we were
invited to. When we got there I found out that the celebration was for
my birthday as well. They even had one of my favorite families from
Sandy visiting which was really nice. Hispanics make really amazing
cake so I had a very good time. Afterwards we went to a less active
named Hermana Veronica who gave me another cake and some ice cream. I
had eaten so much that I wanted to throw up but it's rude not to
finish food in Hispanic culture so I finished absolutely everything.

So that was my week. Hope everyone is doing great!

Elder Austin

Jan 18, 2016

How are still in the hospital. I though it was only going to take a
few weeks? Was there something else wrong?

I'm doing fine but I did get transferred. I'm in West Jordan right
now. I'm in the best Ward in the mission according to everyone and
I've seen a huge difference between this Ward and the Galena Branch.
All the members are so willing to help us work and everyone is so nice
here. However I replaced Elder Creig who was completely loved here so
everyone is comparing me to him but that's okay. I'm doing my best and
they recognize that.

My new companion is Elder Montgomery and he is the first companion
that I've had who is willing to help me with my Spanish. He is younger
than me but is about to go home in 4 months. He's the first companion
who has been younger than me so it's kind of weird. He's a great guy
though. He's very outgoing and friendly. He's the best companion I've
had yet.

So during the week we've been teaching many less-actives and 2
investigators. We just picked up a new investigator yesterday who is
an exchange student from Qatar. Yes he is Muslin and yes he is
completely awesome!!!! He's probably going to be baptized on the 13th
of next month. He also has religious freedom in Qatar so he won't be
punished for switching religions which is good.

Well my absolute favorite chapter in preach my gospel right now is
chapter 6: How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes? Right now I'm
working on the attribute of diligence and afterwards I'm going to
study on faith. It's really change how I teach and how I work every
day. I can see myself getting better. It's really a,along how much the
Gospel changes you on the mission.

Also something I forgot to mention is that Elder Montgomery is from
Atlanta as well. He lives on the North East side so I never met him
before the mission but I just thought it was cool nonetheless.

Well that's pretty much everything. I hope you and Mikelle will be
home soon. Have a good week

Elder Austin

Jan 11, 2016

Well it's been a crazy week. My family's new home is the hospital and
I hate it but hopefully it'll go back to normal soon enough.

This week we were mainly planning for a wedding for one of our
investigators. Her name is Valerie and she's been an investigator for
a while. The day of the wedding we arrived at the church building at
8:30 with the cake and started setting up. By 9:20 we had everything
ready and we were just waiting for people to show up. We had about 25
people at their wedding which was more than I expected and even some
people who weren't members showed up. I played the piano for them
before, during, and after the ceremony. This is them:

The girl on the far right is not part of their family and they have one more daughter who is 12 who is not in the picture. The parents and the 12 year old daughter are all on date to be baptized on the 30th of this month. They will join the church as a family. 

Other exciting news is that I found a better way to fellowship less actives back into the Branch. We're going to call it "noche de jugar." The first one will be on the 18th of February. It's pretty much like a huge family home evening. So right now I'm focusing on finding all of the less actives in the area and inviting them to this event on the 18th. I'm also giving them food assignments to help encourage them to show up. What's go to happen there is that we're going to have music and games for the first part and then we'll end with a spiritual thought. It will probably be the plan of salvation. We're going to try to make this a monthly event or maybe even weekly but I've only heard good things about events like this. The sister missionaries in our district have something similar which is their Book of Mormon Club. It's pretty much just a fun night with food and friends and the Book of Mormon and they've been having more success than anyone! So hopefully my "noche de jugar" will be just as successful. 

Yesterday at church we had Valerie and her daughter Kimberly at church. We also had 2 less active families return to the branch. One of them was be jade we visited them and invited them to come back. This is pretty big for the branch because I was talking to the Young men and Young women presidents yesterday and they told me that the leadership in the branch are drowning in work. There aren't enough people willing to do their callings because of work and too many people in the branch to work for. So now that we're deactivating members, they can receive callings and help the struggling leadership. This is what needs to happen before we start getting non members into the branch otherwise we would just be baptizing people into a branch that doesn't want them. It's sad but it's what I was told by quite a few of the leadership. So I'm really hoping this "noche de jugar" will help with fellowship ping the less actives back to church. 

Well that's pretty much everything with me. Hope everyone is doing well. 

Elder Austin

Dec 28, 2015

Well this week had a lot of ups and downs. My favorite part was the
Christmas calls of course. I was finally able to talk to my family
which was great! The worst part was that my landlord decided that he
didn't want missionaries living in his house anymore. So we had to
move all of our stuff yesterday. Right now we're living with the zone
leaders which is terrible because it's 4 guys to a bathroom. Also I
learned that there is a hidden rule book other than the white
handbook. It's called the President Chamber Policies. Is there anyway
to get this book? No it doesn't exist. Only the AP's and zone leaders
know all these secret rules. Is there any way to find out the secret
rules before you break them? No of course not they're secret!!! So
that's been pretty annoying. Living with zone leaders is not fun.

I also learned that doing my personal study in Spanish has really
helped me with the language. Many people in the branch always tell my
how I have really good Spanish for someone who has only been learning
for 5 months. "I've been studying English for 9 years and I'm still
terrible at it!" That's what many of them will say as well.

Isabel is getting a schedule change at the end of this month so she
will be able to start coming to church with us. If everything works
out and she keeps her commitments then she will be able to get
baptized on the 9th of January. I'm very excited for her.

Valery is another investigator that we have who's only problem is that
she's not married to the man she is living with. This is a problem
because she can't be a member unless they either get married or they
split apart which probably won't happen because they've had 3 kids
together. We're taking a marriage specialist with us to our
appointment with her today. His name is Elder Dale but he goes by
Elder Guapo. So we'll see how that goes.

Transfers are coming up in about two weeks so we'll see if I'm going
to be in the same area for my birthday or not. It would be nice if I
stayed her but it would also be nice if I was able to go somewhere
else for a change.

Well that's about it. Hope everyone is doing well.

Elder Austin

P.s. This is something I was able to eat for the first time. They're
called sopas.

They are very good and I really really want some right now but that might be the only time I have some on my mission. Also here is my companion:

Dec 21, 2015

So this week was full of events and progress and Spanish.
First off we accomplished our Goal of 70 OYM's this week which was
great! Our goal next week is 100.

Isabel is our most solid investigator. We had a lesson with her on
Thursday this week and Hermano Sanchez (our Branch mission leader)
accompanied us. We enter the house, sit down, and Hermano Sanchez
starts talking and giving his conversion story which he always does.
Or that's what I thought. You see Hermano Sanchez and Isabel are the
two people I understand the least when it comes to their Spanish.
Sanchez because he talked so fast. Isabel because of her accent. So I
thought he was sharing his conversion story but wishing 5 minutes
Isabel was crying and I was freaking out because Sanchez is saying
something I don't understand and it's making Isabel cry. So I'm just
looking at my companion in horror waiting for him to explain what's
going on. He looks at me and says "everything's going great." Turns
out that Hermano Sanchez really got Isabel to open up and she said " I
used to turn the missionaries away because I'm Catholic but not that
things in my life are going terrible I need them in my life because
they're the only ones keeping me connected to God." So I guess the
lesson went well after all. We invited her to come to our Branch
Christmas party and she said yes and she's still on date for the 2nd
of January.

Marisa is a less active who we've been trying to meet with for a
while. On Wednesday I had exchanges. I was with Elder Schunk:

That guy and he doesn't speak any Spanish. This was also the day we met Marisa. I've met Marisa before but it's been about 2 months and I was just about to invite her to the Branch Christmas party when she started asking how my Spanish was going and if I had any investigators. At the time Isabel was our only investigator so I started talking about her. Now I usually don't divulge anything about my investigators to others but this time I decided to tell Marisa about the hard times Isabel was going through mostly because Marisa had to go through the same stuff in the last. So she better than anyone else knows what it's like. I told her that Isabel would be going to the Branch Christmas party and that I would like for them to meet. She agreed to go and said that she can't wait to meet Isabel. There's something about helping another person that can change you for the better. I'm hoping that by helping Isabel come to church that it will reactivate her as well. 

This brings us the the Branch Christmas party. We get there and Marisa is already there with one of her friends sitting just outside the gym near the front doors. I invited her to come inside the gym where the party was but she said that she wanted to wait for Isabel so they could sit together. Isabel comes and they meet. Everything was perfect. They stick together the entire night and when Marisa was leaving she old me thank you for inviting me and thank you for telling me about Isabel. She wouldn't have come to the dinner otherwise. Isabel also had a good time and next time we meet with Isabel we're going to start talking about the arrangements for her baptism. This is going to become a real thing now that the 2nd is only 12 days away. We're going to do everything we can to make sure she's ready. 

Now back to exchanges. Elder Schunk doesn't know any Spanish whatsoever. Luckily we didn't have any lessons scheduled that day but that didn't stop us from working. We were able to get 10 OYM's and we also did some tracting. One of the people we tracked into spoke Spanish. Not any English. So I started the basic "how to begin teaching" from Preach My Gospel and he invited us in. Usually they never invite us in. So at this point I was freaking out. He could tell that I didn't know Spanish well so he spoke slow using simple words which I really appreciated. The lesson actually went really well. It was the best lesson I've ever given. I taught that God is out loving Heavenly Father and that he answers prayers. I taught him how to pray and we prayed at the end. I asked if we could come again and he said that his work schedule is really unpredictable but if he's ever home then we should knock on the door and he will always let us in. We're usually around his area so we're probably going to see him again. 

We also found two new investigators named Arellano and Esperanza. We had a lesson with them the week before but a drunk Mexican named José Comacho came in uninvited and ruined the entire lesson. We were able to meet with them again without José being there and taught them the first lesson. They both accepted a baptism date on January 9th but we're still pretty skeptical. We've experienced many times where people will accept a date and act golden and then the next day tell us they're not interested and just drop us. So we didn't know what to think. 2 days later we met with Arellano and read chapter 1 of 1 Nephi with him. He doesn't read well so we gave him a CD with the first 23 chapters on it. Then he told us that he doesn't have a CD player. My companion then opened his bag and pulled out a CD player that he bought at DI for $3 and gave it to him. Then he told us he doesn't have headphones. My companion always has one of those mini speakers that you can buy at Walmart so I told my companion that if he gives Arellano the speakers that I would buy him new ones. So now I owe my companion $20. But it's all good. It's for the investigators!!! 

So yeah that was pretty much my week. Hope everyone is doing well. Merry Christmas 

Elder Austin