Buenos tardes familia!
Oh my gosh it has been a wild/crazy/absolutely awesome week!!! There has been so much that has happened in the past seven days, I don't even know where to start.
Well, first off, we went knocking doors (tocando puertos) last p-day at about 7 at night for the first time, and I was scared to death because A: I don't know spanish, and B: because people speak so fast! Haha I'm hoping that with time, it will get better, and I'll be able to better understand what people are saying.
Here's the amazing story for the week though... Wednesday morning, we decided to go knocking doors in an apartment complex in Keizer, and we knocked into a lady named Silvia. I started by asking her a few basic questions, and it has been incredibly cold the last week, so she decided to let us in and teach her more after talking to her for about five minutes. We ended up teaching her the entire first lesson, in which she ended up crying. Yeah, absolutely crazy! Right after the opening prayer, she just broke down. I guess as missionaries, we're used to having the spirit with us all the time, but it really touched her heart. After we finished the lesson, we committed her to read the book of mormon and pray to know if it was true and if joseph smith was a prophet. Amazingly enough, we were at a dinner that night, and SHE called US saying that she AND her daughter Guadalupe had both read, prayed, and felt that it was true! I couldn't believe it!
The next day, we went over again and her husband Salvador was there along with their daughter, and we went over the restoration one more time to make sure they all got it, and during the lesson, her daughter was really touched by the message as well, it was amazing. We gave them a few more scriptures to read, and they kept their commitment again!
After that, we came a third time, shared a short message, and asked them to attend church on sunday. They did. It was absolutely golden too because it was fast sunday, so they got to hear the testimonies of all the members of the branch, it was great. Oh, another cool thing I failed to mention, they agreed to a "suave" (swaw-vay) compromiso de bautizmo or a soft baptismal date, which is when we ask them when they find out that these things are true, if they will be baptized, and Silvia and Guadalupe said yes!
I'm trying to think what else happened this week... Oh! I found out I can email people other than just family, which is nice, so any of you that want to send me emails, feel free, just understand if I'm a little slow in responding, okay? Missionary work is crazy busy all the time, especailly when there are only two spanish elders covering all of Keizer and half of Salem. Seriously, our normal schedule is something like this:
6:30: Wake up, exercise 30 minutes
8:00: personal study
9:00: companionship study
10:00: Language study
12:00-6:00: Knock doors/teach lessons
6:00: dinner with members
7:00-9:00: knock doors/teach lessons
then CRASH, and repeat haha.
It's been crazy though, seriously, like this last friday was absolute insanity. We have enough investigators now, that we almost dont have any time to knock doors. We had SEVEN teaching appointments in a day, and we pushed some to other days because we didn't have time. Seven doesn't sound like a whole lot, but usually they end up being about an hour a piece, so that's seven hours of teaching in a day! I feel pretty worthless when I try teaching in comparison to elder Smithee, but he's teaching me a TON, and I'm getting more and more comfortable with spanish every day.
It's kind of funny, Smithee is basically a scriptorian because of how much he has studied the bible and book of mormon while he's been out here on his mission, and so whenever he runs into someone who likes to bash on the LDS church, he is a fuhreaking MACHINE! I actually gave him a nicname after this last experience because he thoroughly destroyed the points she was trying to trash about the mormon church... I've decided his new nicname is 'Master Mahan' haha. I don't want to get into details of it, but it was just really funny because every point she brought up, he totally trucked her...with her own bible! If you ever run into someone who says that they they don't believe we need prophets, check out Amos 3:7, or Ephesians chapter 4... they're awesome. Oh, and look up a man by the name of Barnabas... he was a prophet after Christ left the earth. Oh, and if anyone tries to say that God no longer talks to men, or that there can be no more scripture written because of what it says in the end of the book of revelations, check the chronological order of when the books in the bible were written... Revelations isnt even the last book! Plus, read Mormon 9:6-9, it's one of my favorite scriptures right now.
One point I need to make here... we aren't out here looking to bash all the other churches and trash their faith or anything of that nature, or even contend with people who "started it first". One rule Smithee gave me on when to "bajar la cana" (lay down the law), is be courteous and polite and all that until they attack the restoration of the gospel... I'm not too worried about it anyways because I can barely speak Spanish, much less argue in it haha.
On a different note, I'm absolutely loving the food here! Oh my goodness, it's like having Red Iguana every day, but better! Like seriously, you all know that I love tacos Don Ramon, but since I've gotten here, I've come to realize that that's just how home cooked mexican food is...Delicious! Oh my goodness it's a good thing we get to exercise in the mornings, or I'd probably get fat haha. Seriously though, it's awesome to have such great members in the branch here in Keizer, because we never have to cook! Smithee and I are kind of in a rhythm of just having a little cereal for breakfast, and then kind of starving ourselves until dinnertime because the members feed us so well haha. They'll lay down a plate of taquitos in front of you, and as you're filling up and finish one plate, BAM here comes another plate, until you just have to give up haha there is just so much food and it's so good you don't want to stop! Once you're full and you say "estoy lleno", then they break out the mexican hot chocolate and bread. Oh my goodness you guys have got to try this stuff it's amazing! I'm seriously gonna get the recipe of one hermana's hot chocolate because it's amazing. It has cinnamon and I can't tell what else in it, but oh my goodness it's just so creamy and good! anyways, I've gotta stop writing about this or I'll get hungry haha.
On a spiritual note, I have been loving my personal study time, it's been great. I'm actually going to invite you guys to follow along with me if you like. So far, I've been studying things strictly pertaining to lessons, but since I've gotten here, I've come to realize there are some basic doctrinal questions, as well as some that I've just never thought about that other religions bring up that you have to be able to answer, like what is the nature of the Godhead? What is grace? Who is Jehovah? What is priesthood authority? Why did Adam and Eve start out in the garden of Eden at all, instead of being put directly on earth? Some of these are pretty heavy questions, but they get asked pretty often, so I've been studying them. For my personal study this week, I want to be able to answer the question, what is priesthood authority and where did it come from? In my next email, I'll include some of the cool stuff I find, all right?
Well, this is turning into quite a lengthy email, and I apologize to everyone who is going to read it haha, but I love you all, Mom, Dad, Katie, Michelle, Josh, I hope you all have an awesome week, and I hope you know I'm thinking about you, and praying for you.
All my love,