Hello there people of earth.
Yo. What up. Don't know what to put here ever. So.
I have started just starring experiences in my journal that I want to share in my email, so from now on my emails might look rather scattered.
On Monday, we met with the Carranza's again, and it was amazing. You might remember that I said that they are a less-active and part-member family, and we weren't able to talk to the parents at all last week. Well on Monday, Brother Carranza was there waiting for us, and was super excited to see us. He told a bunch of different crazy experiences that he has had that have basically led him to not wanting to drink ever again, be a good example to his family, and live with them forever! As you could imagine, we were very excited about this, and having been working with them quite a bit this week. What is amazing to me is that Brother Carranza still is determined even through the struggles he's had. Since he decided to come back to the Church, his landlord told him that he was selling the trailer they are living in and they need to move by the 5th of September, and on Friday night he had to take his wife into the hospital for a very bad sore throat and didn't get out until 4 in the morning. Unfortunately that meant that they weren't able to go to the Idaho Falls Visitors' Center or to church on Sunday with us, but he still is determined.
We have also been able to work with Bryan a bit more. He has been accepting more and more, but is still trying to receive an answer about baptism. We have tried to stop by the past three nights, but he hasn't been there, so we are going to try again so that we can take him on a church tour and hopefully help him understand more how to receive an answer, and see if he has had any experiences about it.
We were able to eat dinner with members this week, and it was fantastic. It is so nice to be in members' homes and teach them a little and help them with missionary work. We have had a great time eating with both many native Idahoans and some members from the Spanish Branch! We had some amazing posole last night.
Being in Idaho has its perks. One of them being eating with members, but also everyone is pretty nice to you, and a lot of times we get meals for free. We went to Pizza Pie Cafe last week, and the cashier saw us, went to the back to talk to his manager, then came back and just gave us our cups and said it was taken care of. We've had a few experiences like that, and it's really uplifting and awesome.
On Thursday, we had exchanges and our district leader Elder Garcia just came with the two of us because he's in a trio, and it was pretty awesome. It was great to be working with another missionary and learning from his as well. In the morning for exercise time, we were tossing a frisbee, and then Elder Garcia saw some of the rabbits that live in our backyard area. Entonces, for exercise time we decided instead to catch rabbits! It was quite enjoyable. Yes, quite. We caught a rather large one with gray spots and decided to henceforth declare his name as Ralph. Ralph the Rabbit (hence the subject). Hence.
On Friday after we tried to take Bryan/Brian (I don't know) on the church tour, we weren't having great luck. We decided to go to another trailer court, but not many people wanted to talk to us there either. We tried to contact a guy that a WML (ward mission leader) knocked on to gather information on the area, but he wasn't home, and nobody else was there/didn't really want to listen to our message. But we kept going on and checked on an older woman named Kitty who is a member and lives in the park (we'll talk more about her later) and she told us that she was doing well, but we should knock on the neighbor's door. He's a less-active and might listen to you guys if you go over there she said. So we did. And he talked to us, but "didn't want to be preached to" and was set in his ways of smoking and beer. We asked for some water and he gave us some gatorade which was great, but we could tell he didn't really want to listen to us and wanted to get back to his movie, so we gave him our number on the back of a pass-along card, and left. Thought nothing of it. But later that night after planning, he called us! He asked us to give him the bishop's phone number so he could set up an appointment with him! It was really great because we hadn't had much success that day, and that really made it all feel worth it.
Okay, so Kitty. On Saturday afternoon we decided to go do some service for her by pulling weeds and such. She is in her 60's or so, wears big glasses, has two dogs and a cat, has dentures, and is a bit "off," but she is hilarious. As soon as we started talking to her on Friday, the first thing she said was (in her distinct a little elderly voice) "yeah I've been alright, a bit depressed. I've just had this bad experience with this guy. I still have my chastity and everything, but it was bad." And proceeds to tell us about the man she has been writing who is currently in prison for not the best things ever! Quite interesting indeed. But we helped her with her yard and had a good time talking and sharing a scripture.
My Sunday was as good as ever. We were able to go to the branch for Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School, which was cool. When we got there, one of the members came up and said "I'm looking for a translator for today's meetings..." I immediately stared at my companion and thankfully he took the opportunity to translate the Branch from Spanish to English for the Spanish-speaking member's families that didn't speak Spanish. Glad I dodged that bullet! But they'll probably ask me next time, so who knows what will happen. But the rest of my Sunday was pretty good. Especially the Lyman 2nd Ward's Elders Quorum lesson about the importance of marriage and family. It was super applicable to my life at this moment. Another cool experience we had on Sunday was being able to meet with the Cook family. Their son Kaden comes out with us almost every Sunday night, and we had been asked by their ward mission leader to share something related to missionary work that they could share in the 5th Sunday lesson about Missionary Work next Sunday. So we talked to them about missionary work and helped them role play some experiences and shared a passage of Preach My Gospel with them. They were an awesome family and it was just fun to interact with them and help them.
Lastly, I want to talk about the Sacrament. Elder Palacios and I also had the opportunity to prepare the Sacrament for the Branch yesterday. We got to the back room, and saw that the water trays were covered in water spots and didn't look that great. We both decided to clean them and washed them off with some water and paper towels. There were still spots, and so we grabbed a scrubber that happened to be in there and started using some soap on it. I went over it kind of quickly, and there were still a couple spots, but I thought it was good and put it on the tray. Immediately Elder Palacios grabbed it and scrubbed harder until you couldn't see a single spot. It was an incredible learning experience for me, as I have come to truly appreciate the Sacrament, but saw that I could still learn more from others' experiences. As I have learned more about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, and started inviting people to come to church, I have gained a greater understanding of the Sacrament. This ordinance is a literal renewal of the covenants we have made with God. Every week we have the opportunity to remember those covenants, and recommit ourselves to live more like Christ. It is also a time of sacred reflection; where we can look back at the week, realize the things that we could have done better, and supplicate for the Lord's help to allow us to overcome those things in the next week. I cherish this time, and invite you all to more fully use these consecrated 10 or 15 minutes (or 4 if you're in a Spanish branch of 70) to deeply consider how to become mas como Cristo cada dia.
I love you all and hope the best for you all. The Lord knows you and appreciates all efforts you put in to become better.
Peace n blessings
1-3. Our district!
4. Ralph and I at the close of the hunt.