And week 2 of this transfer has ended. For those that are wondering why I am writing my email on Tuesday, we had a General Authority visit our mission and we met with him yesterday. So today was our Temple trip which means P-Day was moved to today. No we did not get IPads.... :( I will talk more about our visit with Elder Baxter a little bit later.
So everyone was asking about the weather here. We have received quite a bit of rain the past week. In fact, as I am writing this email, it is raining right now. We received quite a bit of rain Thursday night. It rained so hard that I couldn't sleep at all... :( Usually we leave our windows open so the room stays cold, but it was raining so hard that it woke me up. So I shut the windows and went back to bed. Well an hour later I wake up again because the wind was shaking our windows pretty loud. So I stuffed my exercise shirts into the window to try and muffle the sound. Ya Elder Brown was pretty confused waking up to a window full of shirts :P There is the LA "River" that runs through our area. I say "River" because on a regular day it looks like a canal. But on Friday morning, the water was pretty high and running pretty fast. Other missionaries got a flood warning during the night so that goes to show how much water we received. So ya that was a blessing for sure.
As for my ankle it is doing good. I went this whole week just wearing my ankle brace. I was able to get out and work the entire week which felt really good. On Friday I was really tempted to go run, but I had the thought that I needed to just rest this week and wear my brace every day. And if I did so, I would be able to get out and run this week. We didn't run yesterday because we did laundry, and today was our Temple trip. So we will see if tomorrow I can get out and run for a little bit.
A couple more answers before I get into some details. We still don't know if we will be able to Skype home or not. They are kinda holding back on that piece of detail, but for sure next week we should know. When we find out, I will probably have one of our members call home and give you all the details if I don't have all the details by Monday.
My Book of Mormon reading is going super well. Right now I am in Helaman 5, so I am a little bit behind as of right now. But I am loving it. Like mom said in her email, the Christmas story in the Book of Mormon is just as good as the Bible's. I am getting really excited to read about the signs of His coming, and then to read about His personal ministry to the Nephites. So keep reading on! The end of the year is coming, so hopefully everyone isn't too far behind.
Ok, so what happened in the Great California Long Beach Mission last week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had some super solid lessons with our Investigators Rosy and Fransisca. It was good to teach Fransisca because we hadn't seen her in more than 3 weeks. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she was understanding everything perfectly. In fact, she was answering questions before we would even ask them. We weren't able to teach her again this week, but we are hoping that this week, we will finish that lesson, and commit her to baptism. As for Rosy, we read 2 Nephi 31 with her to help her understand the Doctrine of Jesus Christ a little bit better. She made a great connection at the end of the lesson that this is the only true doctrine that will bring us eternal life. However, she said that right now she doesn't believe she can change from being Catholic. So we are going to go over all the lessons with her, and see if we can help her see what God has restored to the Earth and then go from there.
On Thursday we had our Christmas Zone Conference. We watched the First Presidency Devotional, I really liked Elder Maynes talk about Christ and His earthly family. Then President gave a training about teaching simply which was super good. I had kinda fallen away from teaching simply and by so doing, our investigators haven't been progressing as well. So it was good to talk about teaching simply and how it does help our investigators understand the doctrine and have a desire to live it. There were some other Elders who gave trainings, but the training that most effected me was Presidents training about teaching simply.
Cool experience happened on Sunday. So the mission has departure firesides for the missionaries going home at the end of every transfer. Well, because of Christmas, some Elders wanted to go home early, like today early. So the mission held a departure fireside for those who went home. Well, Elder Brown and I weren't planning on going, but at the last minute our investigator decided to go and to take us. So we went! Well I am super glad I got to go because I saw two families that I taught in Whitter, la familia Berriel y la familia Guzman! I was super happy to see la familia Guzman because I literally haven't heard from them for almost 6 months. So to see them really made me happy and grateful that our investigator decided to go. Plus we will be going to the regular departure fireside at the end of the transfer, and I will see these families again :)
Ok so the visit from Elder Baxter. First off, it was a super spiritual, full of learning, and funny conference. First, President Tew talked about the essence to missionary work: Love and Charity. Then Sister Tew talked about using family history to help recent converts and less actives see the big picture and how they play a role in helping their ancestors receive the Gospel and help their future generations maintain in the gospel. Then Sister Baxter talked about how the mission is laying a foundation for the rest of our life. I had never really thought about that until the last few weeks: that the things I am learning on the mission will effect my life forever. To be honest I totally agree with that statement, and am sure that everything that I have learned the past 18 months will have a lasting effect on my life, as well as the upcoming 6 months.
So Elder Baxter training was on finding. He focused more on talking with everyone and teaching when you find, finding when you are teaching. He really did bring in alot of good ideas to help with contacting. He shared some scriptures in D&C about opening our mouths and they shall be filled. One thing I learned was this: The Lord promises us that as we open our mouths, they shall be filled with the words to say to those we come in contact with. So the words we speak aren't our words, but His. Then we read later that the elect hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and hearken unto it. So as we just seek to open our mouths and talk with everyone, we learn to say what the Lord puts into our hearts, and then the elect and prepared will hearken unto His voice and seek to obey it. Kinda cool right?
So that was most of Elder Baxter's training. He most offered us word of encouragement to overcome any doubt, fear, or worries we might have by talking with others. It really did strengthen my faith that the Lord will work through us, but it takes faith, practice, crashing and burning, and letting the Lord lift us up when we do fall down. So that is the goal for these last 6 months: Seek to speak the words that the Lord would say, have patience while overcoming this weakness, and let the Spirit guide me to those who are ready to hearken to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
So ya that is everything. Sorry for the giant epistle, alot happened this week. Thanks for everything you guys do. Hope you all are having a Christ filled Christmas, and are seeking to have His Spirit part of your Christmas Celebration. I know this Gospel is true. I can't tell you how strong the Spirit was as Elder Baxter spoke to us. I know that the Lord has once again restored His Gospel to the Earth, and has chosen His servants to lead us. I know that we will not go astray as we heed their counsel.
I love you all! Have a good week!
p.s. I forgot to bring my camera today, so next week expect pictures of our temple trip.