Monday, June 27, 2016

I turned my head and... BAM!

So first off I lost the sheet that I wrote down stuff on to remember
what to write home about, dang it! So gloria had a still birth this
week. She lost her baby. We don't know why it died, but we got a call on Tuesday about it, so we headed to the hospital to give her a blessing. On our way there, I was driving in downtown Charleston... Downtown is so packed with traffic, and it is literally
all one way streets with two lanes. I had missed my left turn into the hospital, and so I needed to get over to the left lane to double back. As I did so, I looked in my left mirror and then went for it, but after already starting over, I turned my head and BAM! Yes I got into an accident. I had only had driving privileges for 6 days. NOT EVEN A WEEK! Call me lame :) It is all okay though. I hit
a pick up truck owned by the state of South Carolina, and I didn't do much damage to their car. Just some bumper displacement. Our front left side of the Ford Fusion below the light and above the wheel got damaged. Hours later, I was a told I am no longer the designated driver. Always look over your shoulders before you turn!! Anyway, we finally made it to the hospital and saw Gloria and gave her a blessing. Right now she is doing well. On Saturday we went to the church to collect donations for Gloria.
The Relief Society headed up a donations thing for her on Facebook since she is very poor, and needs a lot of help. Her kids did not have beds, and in her house she had one light, in the kitchen. She has not been able to work because of her pregnancy either. The Spanish and some English members rallied around her and came up clutch! We got a sofa, kitchen table, lamps, kitchen chairs, food, 2 baby beds, clothes and some other stuff donated to her! It was so cool seeing how happy her little boy Jeffrey (picture of him in previous weekly email) was to have a bed! We did teach her this week as well, and she is understanding the gospel a little more! She came to church for her second time as well! During Sister Sorenson's talk (One of the Spanish sister missionaries who replaced the others) Gloria's son Jonathan ran up to the stand and started banging on the piano- It was kinda funny! 

In other news, we have an English class student named Biron who came to church with his wife Sayda and their little girl!! He expressed interest in coming to church with us after we taught our English class on Thursday night! We went to visit them and taught the Restorationwith the Cortez family on Saturday night! They are  on date to be baptized July 23! They are from Honduras, but look Brasilia. Speaking of Brazil, we taught the restoration to a brasilia family this week! They only spoke Portuguese so that was a toughie! We brought a member who speaks Portuguese, so without him, we would be completely lost! I have never had to focus so hard in a lesson. It was rough!! We did eat pão de queijo which in Spanish is pan de was made super different than what the latinos do, but it was good!! We are going back on thursday so that will be fun!! The companionship is going well. No problems or anything and we had a great week last week!! We got 8 new investigators and 2 of them are family members of a less active lady!

This week we got so much food from investigators! Including empanadas last night, carne asada and rice, tortillas, 5 water bottles, pasole last night as well, and tres leche. Lord is blessing us!
We had a zone conference on Friday! It was the best one yet!
President turner gave some very good trainings, and so did the
Assistants. They talked a lot about having a fire in you to go out and do missionary work, well that is what I got from that at least. President talked about the importance of using 'Preach My Gospel' more, because we need to be 'preach my gospel' meetings. The assistants also talked about priorities in methods for finding new investigators and president outlined priorities for personal study material. 1. Book of Mormon 2. Preach my Gospel 3. New Testament 4. Doctrine and Covenants 5. Pearl of great price/ Old Testament. I felt the spirit super strong and learned a lot!
As a mission we are role-playing what we call the Fort Jackson Role play- teaching the restoration in 7 minutes. What this does it help us take off the fat us missionaries naturally put in to lessons. The 7 minute restoration is pure testimony and so powerful. Now we do not teach the restoration in 7 minutes ever, but if we would ever need to we know how to. At zone conference we watched a video of President Eyring's 6 yr old grand daughter share a 5 minute restoration. It was so sweet and powerful!

Well, that's all for now! Mosquitos are killer here. I put on spray
every night and I still get attacked. They are so savage! They bite
you through your pants! Elder Finch smacked one, and a bunch of blood splattered on his arm...hopefully it wasn't my blood haha!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Maribel- the prophetess (or psychic)

So we taught a less-active named Maribel this week...she is the one
Douglas and I took a picture with eating cake. We were reading 1 nephi16, and somehow we got on the topic of what she does for a living. I already knew before hand, but elder finch being new, didn't know. She can put bones back into place or something like that, there is a name for those people in the latin countries (dad knows.. 
Its like hues- something). She also said that she can see peoples future and their present and sometimes their past. She said its like a prophet. I got scared, and I knew what was coming. She started to talk about elder finch, and then it really got real. She then looked at me, and the spirit warned me to stop her--Like the first thought that came to my mind was to raise my arm to the square and command her to stop--like A strong gut wrenching feeling I haven't felt before. My body got all warm, and I did not get out of there. Somehow I couldn't. I tapped Elder Finch's leg and said lets get out. I quickly changed the topic of conversation. She said some stuff about my future that really freaked me out. I have the gift to discern good and evil spirits. For sure, that was the power of the devil. Second time in 2 weeks I have recognized an evil spirit. I don't know if I should share with you what she said, but anyway, i was really shaken up. I prayed so hard that night, and I really read my patriarchal blessing. I felt the spirit give peace to my soul, and I have not felt disturbed by it since. I know that The spirit truly is un consolador. God knows me best, and Im so grateful I have a testimony of priesthood, and the spirit. This experience made me think hard of the role of patriarchs, and I am so grateful for the power of the melchezidek priesthood I have. I am so fine right now, so please don't get worried (especially mom haha). Love all

Well you can't just close that email and not tell us what she said lol

Well I tuned out for the first part, but what i heard was that I will
be married in 3 years, and that I will have 2 kids. She mentioned how I love my family but will put my focus on God...She said some weird stuff that I could not understand cause of a language barrier with certain vocab words but yeah

That's interesting. There are people that are born with certain spiritual gifts that are like prophetesses -- I knew one in my ward growing up. She could actually see spirits that had passed on, and communicated with them, so I do believe that women can have that special power. Did you know that Joseph smith conferred the priesthood on women? It was Brigham young that did not continue with that practice after JS died.

Interesting you felt it was of the devil. Do you think it could have been your bias and that it just went against everything you personally knew? I know it's a thin line to walk, but I do find it interesting.

As long as she didn't say you are going to die or something then that's all good. Interesting. I wish you could remember what else she said. How funny would it be if it came true. #notthedevil

Monday, June 20, 2016

New comp is my homie

So my new companion is Elder Thomas Finch from Ramona, California! We know some of the same people too! He is 20 yrs old, went to BYU-I and he is DANG fluent in Spanish. I am so glad to have him. My Spanish will get so much better. I have already learned a whole bunch more! He served in the Greenville zone with me while I was in training, so I already knew him. He's pretty cool. He has been out 15 months, the same as Elder Fife.

I got the keys for the Ford Fusion! Haha I am still the junior companion, but I asked for driving rights. It's pretty fun! I have not driven this much since I was at home! I am also leading the area right now technically, since he still doesn't know the area. By the end of next week, he should get a pretty good handle on the area though.

As of now, we have Gloria and Veronica on date, and Mauricio is now off date. We have been trying to teach Mauricio this week, but he never had time, which was unusual. We finally just stopped by last night and asked if he had read an assignment we gave him. He said no, and said that he didn't want to do this "church thing" anymore. I was like, dangit! We had a good conversation with him, and we got many concerns out of him. One of the concerns was that other church's promise blessings, but nothing ever comes to pass. He doesn't want to commit to live the commandments and do this "Mormon thing" and then find out that we could be like the other church's. I understand his concern very clearly. It would suck to be promised blessings and then get to the point where the blessings should be coming, but they never come. We talked about taking a step of faith. We reviewed the whole message of the Book of Mormon, and made it clear that he needs to to all he can to receive an answer if this book is true. Because if the book is true, and he knows its true, then all of these concerns he has will not be concerns anymore. This is the case with everybody. It all comes down to IF the Book of Mormon is true, and IF Joseph Smith was a
true prohpet of God. We asked if he was doing all he possibly could to find out for himself, and he wasn't. He didn't come to church, and he wasn't praying or reading the scriptures every day. We recommitted him to do these things, and he said he would.

On another note, Gloria will be having her baby on Wednesday, so teaching her may be hard this week! She is very poor and needs some baby stuff, so the relief society is helping her out! It is so cool! Sister Tapia is heading this, and it was her idea. She is a stud! Gloria is on date for July 16th.

We had a great lesson with Veronica and the spirit was super strong! We re-taught the restoration because she needs to understand this message super well. She understood it and we got a true reason why she wanted to be baptized! She really has real intent and wants to be baptized so bad! We went over last night and read form 1 Nefi with her family. We talked about prophets again, and she is taking it in more and more! She is on date for baptism on July 9th.

Transfers were tough! Elder Douglas and I became good friends! Elder Daynes finished his mission and now basketball in the mornings has gone down hill. The games aren't as fun hahaha.
Last Monday of ballin' with Douglas & Daynes #flex

Elder Daynes is gone too, and Elder Douglas got transferred out
This morning we saw the JW's walking around our apartment complex. I got really excited to talk to them and we were looking through the window and peep whole to see if they were coming. A guy and his 9 yr old son knocked on the door. We opened up, and he said "oh you're the mormon ministers"...We were like yes sir we are! We were super nice to him and talked about their religion and shared some basic info on ours. He is from Huntington Beach and commented on the San Diego temple right off the freeway...looking back I should have gave him a pamphlet. But we were really kind and hopefully planted a seed, since I have heard stories that missionaries bash with JWs (and I just want to be kind).

Well....that's it for now!! Till next week!

Elder McLaughlin- envió desde mi iPad

Last time with the crew at Bojangles. Saying bye to Elder Aldous #heisdead #originalcrew

Mike moved to Monk's Corner & we haven't seen him in a long time! Good to see him. He is a recent convert.

Sister Brady & Shaw got white washed--- (which means that they both left) & two new Spanish sisters came in this week.

So much luggage!!! The zone leaders & us in the car headed to transfers on Wednesday.

Just chillin- Elders Blackham & Volmar

West Columbia--- probably going to be there in the future! We were just passing through...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Staying in North Chuck

We met some sick people this week! We met a guy named Sebastian Arenas from the Canary Islands! That was so cool! We met his cousin last week. His name is Santiago Van De Loo, and he is from Holland I guess? I talked soccer with Sebastian, and he said that he used to play with a professional player! I asked him who, and he said Mauro Icardi! They hung together as middle-schoolers! Mauro is playing for Inter-Milan right now! I was trying to remember the name of the player who is nicknamed 'the flying dutchman'. His last name starts with 'van". Anyway, he saw our nametags and saw the name JESUCRISTO and asked if we were from a church for Spanish speakers. We explained the church a little, and he seemed pretty interested! We will see him at English class on Tuesday. His dad also gave us a ton of fanta! It was hot, and he said come back and knock on the door if we ever have thirst and he will give us stuff to drink!

Real quick, we were weekly planning on Saturday and got a phone call from Elder Hartman, one of the assistants (side note, we are going home together). He said that Elder Douglas has been called to be a District Leader! We were both surprised! So I am staying here in Charleston, and he is gone on Wednesday. I have learned a lot from this companionship and I hope to apply the same things I have learned these last 4 months to the next companionship!

Quick update! Jesus is off date and so is Veronica. Jesus moved to Florida, and may be avoiding his immigration court date. Veronica, she is not doing anything in her own time to progress, neither her sisters, but we are still trying to work with them. Mauricio is doing well, and he is praying every night! He will be baptized June 25th!
Yola Russo is one of less actives, and she has been doing some sick member missionary work! We did not know her daughter was a member and she referred us to her to to go and help her get back to church! she also referred a friend, named Antonio, and this guy is gold! We taught him the restoration, and after we shared the first vision, he said he believes that was true! He asked what he needed to do to be a member of our church! It was great! he was very open with us, which made it easier to teach him! He is from Chile and his Spanish is a little different! We tried putting him on date, but we could not get him to say yes for July 9th, but he will be baptized! Look forward to teaching him tonight! 

What is cool about that is that Elder Douglas and I felt strongly a few months back to visit Sister Russo. Doing so has strengthened our relationship with her and now she is consistently coming to church, and now we have gotten 3 referrals from her! it is so cool! She will be moving to Utah in the next year or so, entonces, it will be cool to see her after the mission!

We had dinner with Gloria on Monday night! She said she wanted to eat like a family it was so sweet! Her two little kids are so cool! We invited Sister Tapia to come over with us. She is on date right now as well, and her baby will be coming next week!
One last thing, we had English class graduation on Thursday and the students loved it! They all got up and shared why they were grateful for the classes! It was aweome! I got a picture and some videos.

Okay, that's all for now! Can't wait to see who my next comp is!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Best week of my mission.... again

Elder McLaughlin wrote a nice detailed letter and then his iPad had technical difficulties and it disappeared... so here are some bullet points of what is going on in South Carolina

  • Had the best week of my mission... again.
  • Hit all of our weekly goals.
  • Veronica, Jesus, & Mauricio all came to church (all are on date)
  • Mauricio brought girlfriend too
  • Every fast Sunday the group does their own meeting for testimonies- super powerful testimonies
  • Jesus introduced himself in the gospel principles and then bore his testimony. Many wet eyes. He is only 17, and has a huge testimony. I'll write more about him next week.
  • We had 5 less actives who we are working with that showed up
  • La familia Jimenez were there for the first time in 8 weeks
  • Hermano Chavez was there first time in 9 weeks (but whose counting?:)
  • Maria Cruz (and daughter Veronica, who is on a baptism date) the first time in like 7 years.
  • Tonight we have a lesson with the Cruz Family, and we are going to really figure out why Veronica wants to get baptized. Not sure if she really wants to for the right reasons. 
  • Also, it's kind of funny. Their 11 year old daughter has a crush on me-- talk about awkward hahaha.
  • Elder Douglas and I are doing well together
  • We were put together to figure out how to be a missionary. I feel like we were legit thrown together in the deep end oft he pool, and we have learned how to swim. 
  • We are hitting our goals and put up some big numbers this week.
  • Taught 26 lessons this week and that was awesome! The more practice, the better! 
  • I am grateful to have been with Elder Douglas. I have figured out who I am a little more, and what I need to work on these last 4 months. 
  • Transfer calls next Monday! Elder Douglas is probably leaving, but there is a slight chance he will stay for one more. We will be baptizing next transfer, so whatever happens, happens.
  • VERY humid right now, and I sweat just being outside for a few seconds!
  • quote of the week: "I feel like it's a sin to say my first name!"        -Elder Douglas 

Yeah we like Clemson... actually, Elder Douglas still isn't sure what he like #toomanycolleges

Listening to John Bytheway, and wondering why it was 85 degrees outside this late at night
I haven't survived yet