Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Week in the Mission Field!

Last chance to attend the temple!
We decided to change our P day to today so that we could take one last temple trip before I leave. Man!  Ending a mission is hard...

So this week we spent a lot of time translating.  The Quorum of the 12 came out with a Sabbath Day training forever ago, but somehow it got lost in the mix and never made it to our branch.  So this week we had to find it, well actually steal it from the other ward, and then since it was in English, we had to translate all of it into Spanish.  That took for-ev-er...  Talk about hours in my companion's clerk’s office. One of us would watch the video and translate sentence-by-sentence while the other would study or make calls.  Then we would switch.  But, we got it done, and were able to use it in our PEC meeting on Sunday.  It will for sure help us to make some needed changes here.

I got to bike in the rain again!!!!!!!!!  So this whole time I have been here in Galveston it hasn't rained once... Then after leaving the church one night, it rained.  I love biking in the rain!  Well don't get me wrong, biking in the rain everyday would be terrible.  But I had so much fun.  Just waterproof all my scriptures and pamphlets and just have no cares about getting wet.  Here in this rain, being in it for 10 seconds or being in it for 10 hours makes almost no difference at all.  You end up completely wet either way, haha.  It’s always fun to get home just wet and cold and immediately take a hot shower.  So nice!

We also started a new program here called “Venid a Mi”.  It’s pretty much just home teaching, but a little bit more thought out and specific.  We have 7 companionships that will teach 7 less active or recent convert families.  And the presidency and the missionaries prepared 12 specific lessons that end with them starting their own family home evenings and setting up a temple trip!  It should be super cool!  Too bad I won't be here to see it in action, but I will just keep in contact and hear about it all.  The families that will teach are super excited!  I have never seen this branch so willing to participate in a church project!  It should be super cool!

Then for weekly planning we did something a little different.  Usually we just sit and go over who we have to teach and what they need and we usually end up getting distracted a lot.  So we decided to change things up because we weren’t having much success with what we had already.  So we picked a few key people and then prayed.  And we didn't just say a prayer, but we Prayed...for like an hour and a half.  We lost track of time. ;)  We took turns speaking and we just talked out all that we know about these people and what we think they need and what we think we can do, and just every situation possible. Then we took notes every time that we got a thought or revelation or prompting of anything. It was really neat.  Then we spent another 45 minutes just evaluating it all and making plans. So let’s see if it all works out this week...  It was a really cool experience for Elder Leszynski and me.

What else did we do...  We spent a good amount of time working with a less active named Nathely.  We never could get through to her until one day on exchanges, I just sat and talked to her for a good while, just about her.  And she started to open up about herself and even now pays more attention to what we have to say about the gospel.  And she mentioned how she is just at home alone all day and likes when we come over because its good company.  So even though it’s not the most productive time, until we help her get a good friend in the church… So, we have spent the first bit just talking about her life and more than we would do with a normal investigator.  We have found that as we spend sometimes up to 45 minutes talking first, then during the lesson she actually listens and participates. Plus, we have a lot more charity and understanding for her now than we did before.  So now we just need her to get a friend to do this for her instead of 2 Elders who are really busy.  But you can never be too kind to someone so its worth it!

Because of certain things that came up, it was really hard to have quality visits this week with our investigators.  We are going to try super hard this week and get a lot of people to church for my last Sunday! 

Love you all!  Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping me get to where I am today!  I'm so grateful for this chance I had and still have to love and serve the people of Houston!

Love Elder Lund

Monday, August 10, 2015

More Service and a Baptismal Commitment!

Spray painting Aqua's bike and sporting a new haircut 
It was super windy so we used this sign to block the wind
Pulling trailers with a lawn mower
Luis, me, Christian, Benjamin, and Elder Lesznski after playing soccer

We did a lot of service this week and it was fun! 

One day we helped a less active named Lee move.  Well, we have helped him move a lot!  He has to leave but he doesn't want to so he likes to make things that a lot longer and move a lot slower.  But this time we just took some initiative and went to town on organizing things so that it will all be easy to move when he is ready.  So we started on his back driveway/patio. It was full of trash, lawn mowers, weed-eaters, motorcycles and mopeds, tires, tools... Just everything that a home mechanic could ever want.  It took a while to put everything in its place and clean up.  Lee told us to load some things on his trailers too.  It was sweet!  We used his tuned up ride-on lawn mower to move all his trailers around.  I'll send a picture. That thing was super loud!  We also started to organize his garage and put all the parts and tools away.  It was as if a mechanic worked in his garage everyday, but never put anything back and just pushed it around to make room.  But it was super fun!  So we got nice and dirty that day :)

Then, I reunited with one of my investigators that I had like 2 years ago.  So right before I left this area before, we started teaching a girl and her sister named Aqua and Alex.  Turns out that they both got baptized 2 weeks after I left.  And we usually go see her younger brother, so when we went by this week, and she had come back from school, we got to catch up. Turns out she has been going to school in Colorado and she is still super active!  She got her Patriarchal Blessing like a month ago too!  So after we caught up she mentioned that she wanted to paint her bike.  So we took off all the chrome, sanded off all the rust, and spray painted it silver. It was super fun, and we ended the night with silver nail polish, haha.

And our last little service endeavor was when my companion, Elder Leszynski, had to do an audit in the Kemah branch. He is the stake auditor here. Well we did some exchanges and I was with one of the English Elders who knows how to work on cars.  So we went to the Reyes and helped Raul to fix his truck’s broken water pump.  Good thing Elder Hoyt, my English missionary friend, knows what he is doing!  And hopefully, as I watched, I got to learn a thing or two ;)

Other exciting events: We went to play soccer at the local Galveston Gym with a less active and two youth in our branch.  It was super fun!  And then we went to Lemon Paradise. It’s a Mexican ice cream/smoothie/snack shop that is owned by another less active here.  They make super good mango shakes!! 

Also, the Diazes came down from Sugarland and took us out to eat!  We went to Kelly's.  It’s like the most Texan food you can get.  Their food is ginormous! T hey have specially made extra big plates!  It was so good and super fun to be with the Diazes again!  They are way too nice!  And now Elder Leszynski is in love with them too! So now he will probably have to be transferred there as well.

But the best part of this week was when we tried to see Sergio. We still haven't had much luck with him because he just works a bunch!  We are just going to wait till his girlfriend gets back because she is a member.  But, we talked to his older brother Jesus Jr.  He is the coolest!  So prepared!  We taught him the restoration and he accepted a baptismal date for the 22nd!!  So that means he has 2 weeks to do it all...  But it’s ok, I have so much faith and confidence in him!  We are just going to work super hard with him these next few weeks.

Other than that, all our other children of God that we teach are still about the same.  Slowly progressing, but no one came to church this week.... :( It was crushing!  Just wait till next week when they all come!!

Love you guys! Thanks for all your prayers!

Elder Lund

Monday, August 3, 2015

Tons of Service Work Performed

Me and some missionary buddies
Inspirational grafitti

This week we did so much service!

We got to help in the community garden again.  Dana had us plant flowers and prune bushes.  But the bushes had probably 2 million bees on them so it was kinda sketchy... But we all made it out alive without any stings.

Then we helped a man from the Galveston English Ward move.  And because we had 4 Elders there, but only 2 could ride up front, 2 of us rode in the back… which is supposedly legal here in Galveston.  But it was so hot!  It was 98 but "felt like 109" said the weather report.  It broke a record here on the island.  And it was pitch black in the back, so things kept moving around and it was so scary!  We came out of there and the outside weather felt so nice and cool, haha.  Then on the next trip, his neighbor from Moldova wanted to help.  It was nice because he is this jacked 23 year old Russian and he did the heavy lifting.  Then we got to ride in his car to the new house and the whole time he wanted to blast Russian techno music.  It was a party, haha.  Then we helped some other people in the ward move for the rest of the day.

We also got to lay cement with the Aguirres.  When they called, we thought that it would just be something tiny in their backyard, but it turned out that we were laying a 15'x40' slab on his other property!  And it got real once we saw some other family members drive down the street in a full size cement truck!  So it was a fun few hours!  He gave us some big rubber boots so we could walk in the cement and camo trucker hats to wear so we didn't get burned.  It was way more intense than it should have been because they all were yelling at each other in Spanish the whole time.  If you didn't understand Spanish, you would have thought someone was dying or something... But Hermano Aguirre wanted us to learn how to do it so everyone made us do all the work and they just manned the truck pretty much.  It was super fun!  And that’s when Dr. Becker brought me my care package.  He probably was a little surprised when instead of white shirts and ties, we showed up in cement covered service clothes, haha.

Then before church we had a "special" meeting where a High Counsel member just wanted to talk about families and excite the branch a little more.  Well, we spent the whole week telling everyone, and I guess because everyone wanted to be a part of the "special" meeting, we had 20 more people than usual come to church yesterday!  We had 68 people!  We haven't had that many people for like a year.  And because they all were at the meeting, they were also on time for gospel doctrine.  (Usually that class only has like 6 people in it).

After church, we died... everywhere we went, they just fed us soooo much food.  We first ate chili dogs and a bunch of ice cream, then chicken and dumpling soup, and finally hamburgers and sausage...  So stuffed!  But it was all really good food so it wasn't too bad ;)

On a spiritual side, Kayleigh Reyes is doing super good!  She is reading the Book of Mormon whenever we tell her to (we just need her to read it daily on her own) and she almost came to church!  She told us before that she wouldn't be able to because of soccer, but when we called her she said that soccer didn't start till 3 so she would probably be able to come to church!  I was so stoked!!  They have been taught for almost 2 years now off and on and have only been to church once, so that was a big step!  And she was all ready on Sunday... and then her soccer called and said they needed her in a tournament...  Talk about crushing...:(  But she said she would come next week, so not all hope is lost!

Then the Luevano's are doing awesome!  I don't know what it is, but whenever we try super hard with them and teach them about the gospel, they kinda shut us out.  But when we just stop by every once in a while and help Adriana read or just see how they are doing, they come to church! The Holy Ghost is so cool!!  We just have to be in their house and the Spirit works on them while we do other things!  I guess what everyone says about missionaries bringing a special spirit is true!

But Sergio has kinda fallen away.  We haven't taught him a real lesson in a few weeks now.  And he is always working.. So just pray that we can see and teach him again and find out what kept him from baptism the first time. That would be great!

You guys are the best!  Thanks for all your support!  Love you!

Elder Lund

Monday, July 27, 2015

Final Temple Trip and no AC for a Night!

Our little crew of Christian soldiers!
On the ferry
The big City!

This morning we had transfer calls and I found out I'll finish my mission here... sweet!

So last P-day we decided to explore the secret parts of our area and an investigator told us that on another island there is an old military base.  So we drove to the very end of the island and parked our car and got on the ferry.  But these ferries are way different than the ones at balboa, these ones can hold like 60 cars and they have an upper deck where people can stand around the whole boat and look out.  Plus these ones are free!  So we got on the ferry and turns out its like a 30 minute ride, so we just took some pictures, watched the other boats, and fed the seagulls off the back.  And we thought the base would be super close so we didn't bring the car.  But turns out that when we got to the other side, where we thought the base was, it was way far away... :(  So instead we just walked around the jetties for a bit and caught crabs and then came back.  It was pretty fun, but next time we will have to take the car so we can explore more!

But this week, at church and other activities, attendance has doubled!... kinda.  At FHE, we had like 25 people, so after the lesson we had huge games of basketball and soccer.  And Hispanics playing basketball...  it’s pretty intense.  All rules and formalities go right out the window and people just end up tackling each other and just launching the ball towards the hoop.  It was super fun.  Same with soccer and they are all good at soccer.

Then on Wednesday, I think I had the hottest night of my life... We got home and found out that our power had been out all day.  So we lost a bunch of our food and our apartment was 84 degrees.  It was already late enough that we couldn't leave and go stay with the other Elders here.  So we tried to go to sleep but it was super hard.  Finally I got up at 12 and it was 87, so I went and took a 30 minute cold shower.  But because of the humidity and heat, right after getting out of the shower and getting clothes on, you already start to sweat.  But luckily I fell asleep for the rest of the night.  And then the next morning, we did everything at the other Elder's apartment, and by the time we got home from proselyting our power and AC was back on.  Miracle!  It made me love AC soooo much!

Also, I got to go to the departing temple trip.  Because I leave early next transfer and won't be able to go to mine, I went to this one.  I love that in this mission that we are able to have trainings in the temple from the Mission President and Temple President and their wives!  Supposedly in most places, these trainings don't happen.  We are super lucky here!  But it was cool to be with the missionaries that I have known my whole mission.  We had the temple session, then the training in the temple, and then we all went out to lunch at some pizza place!  I'll send a picture of my little crew of Christian soldiers.

And as far as the people we teach, we saw some cool progress this week.  Lately we have been spending a lot of time with Adriana Luevano to help her improve her reading ability.  Just teaching them wasn't doing much.  So when we go by, we sit down with Adriana and read a Dr. Seuss story with her.  It’s been super fun and she always has us do it in crazy voices.  And on Saturday, the grandma came up and was the most sincere I have ever seen her.  She thanked us for trying really hard to help Adriana with her reading because they didn't know how to help her.  It was really neat to see that a little thing we did was helping so much!  

And then we also got to visit with Adriana's parents this week. T hat was a miracle because they work like 100 hours a week each... But we had a good heart-to-heart and helped them to see they needed to come back to God.  Well they all showed up at church!!!!!  Adriana and her little sister, Adriana's parents, and her grandparents!!!!!!!!!  It was so cool!  After church, her mom came up and gave me a hug and told me thanks for helping them come back.  And she said that her work is going to give her a raise and change her schedule, but she is going to tell them that even more important than a raise is getting Sundays off!!!!!!!!!!!!  Hearing that from her was so awesome!

We also got to teach Kayleigh Reyes again.  She’s super prepared!   She read while we were gone! She told us she had a question about what happens after we die... for us missionaries, questions are the best things ever.  They let us know what the person actually wants to learn about and so they will gain a testimony a lot easier.  So we read Alma 40 all about the spirit world and resurrection and the judgment.  After the lesson we asked her what she will do to follow God and live in Paradise.  She told us that she is going to keep reading the Book of Mormon and come to church and eventually be baptized!  The only hold up is that she has soccer tournaments every Sunday for the next 2 weeks. Then she will be able to come and be baptized!  So we are just going to help her to read and pray everyday so that she keeps the testimony she has until she can act on it a lot more.

It was a really good week here on the island!  Hopefully this one will be even better!!!

Love you guys! Have fun!

Elder Lund