Monday, June 29, 2015

Adios Ashtons! Hello Halls!

Gloria's baptism and the old dream team!
Me, Elder Leszynski, and my boy Benjamin on our road trip!
Me and my Argentine, Elder Leszynski
Biking selfie
Galveston sunset
So the Ashton's leave today.  Well, actually I don't know when they leave but I know that the Halls take over the second they land in Houston at 1pm.  We aren't allowed to talk to him until we meet him on Wednesday... Should be sweet!  I'll take a selfie with him and send it your way!

Last P-day, we found a donut place here where you can get a dozen donuts for 4 dollars... I don't think I could even invent a greater tender mercy of the Lord, haha!  It will be good for me too because all the members here are just baffled that I am somehow skinnier than when I was here the first time... Hopefully the donuts will help, probably not...

This week we also had the farewell zone conferences for the Ashton's.  It was super cool!  They talked all about having visions for our future and then shared their personal visions along the way.  It was super funny because they were super personal about it all and about how they met and when they were starting their family, haha.  Then President gave us his life commitments.  He told us that all we need to do is be in the scriptures for no less than 30 minutes a day, deny ourselves of ungodliness, and follow every prompting of the spirit, and there is no way that we won't make it in life. ...Sounds easy enough, haha.  And then when we said our personal good byes, President told me to come over on Sundays for dinner!  Stoked!  I hope they understand that now I will probably be there every Sunday, haha.

And this week we have focused on building our relationships with the people here.  We went to some semi-actives, the Luevanos, and we arrived when they were making a bunch of food for customers.  (They sell food from their house to people going to and from work). And because they were focused on that, there was no way we were going to teach.  I told her that one day, I needed to learn how to cook Mexican food and when she said she will teach me, I took it as she could teach me right then.  So I asked her to teach me how to make gorditas (a homemade tortilla that is cut open and filled with meat or beans or cheese).  So turns out I am terrible at making them. You have to flip the tortilla back and forth in your hands to make it flatten out into a thick circle, but I just could never get it down.  Mine was flying all over the place.  But it was good because the Luevanos were able just to laugh at me the whole time and they loved it. So now we are good friends with them.  Last night we even got him to open up to us about why he isn't the most active and it was super cool!

And then yesterday after church, someone I taught in H4 got baptized.  Her name is Gloria.  I probably didn't talk all about her but she came to the Father's day activity and she is friends with Eva, whose house flooded. Well she got baptized and we got to go up and see it.  A member named Benjamin drove us up and he is a stud too!  But anyways, after the baptism, I got to talk with a bunch of the members in H4 again, and some of them said they are going to come find me in Galveston and take us out to lunch!  Members are the best!

But we saw the coolest miracles week!  We had a lesson with Sergio and when we asked him about his reading and prayers, he said that he felt a "strange but good feeling" and it felt like there was someone in the room with him.  We explained that it was the Holy Ghost and he loved it.  Then he came to church yesterday and everything he learned about just makes since to him.  He used to have a bunch of questions, but now he doesn't. The Holy Ghost is awesome!  And they announced his baptism in Sacrament Meeting for after church next Sunday and he is super excited! So now we are going to have to bust our tails off this week because he still needs to be taught a lot and get his interview...   But it’s all going to work out! 

Also, we started teaching the Reyes family again.  Raul, Reina, and Kaleigh Reyes.  Me and Elder Bilal found them when I was first here and they have been taught on and off for the past year and a half.  So we taught the whole family on Wednesday and it was alright, but we taught just Kaleigh on Saturday and it was a super strong lesson!  During the first vision she felt the Holy Ghost super strong and described it as feelings of love and also being taken back... Well now she believes that it was the Holy Ghost telling her to keep learning from us and find out if it’s all true! Sadly she couldn't come to church because she had to go with a friend to San Antonio, but she took the Book of Mormon with her and said she was going to read it in the car.  So we are going to text her today and see how it went.  But hopefully this week we can get her to church and accept a baptismal date!

Miracles are happening everywhere!  I hope y'all have a great week!

Love, Elder Lund 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Back to Galveston and Tropical Storm Bill

The last few pics in H4
So long companionship!
So I got transferred... I guess President can't make up his mind, because I'm back in Galveston!  Hopefully I will be able to start and end in the same area.  And now, I live and do most of the work here on the island and my old mainland area is part of this one so we work there too.  This area is huge!!

Did y'all hear about tropical storm Bill?  Well President told the whole mission on Monday to prepare for it and he had a big long list of things we had to do.  Well when we have a companionship of 3 Eagle scouts, we already had almost everything, haha.  All except we each needed a gallon of water.  So we went to the first store... all the water was cleared out... went to the second store... same thing.  Finally at the third store, we bought the last 3 gallons of distilled water because everything else was gone... Man, Houston doesn't joke around with their storm warnings anymore. It was pretty crazy to see shelves just empty.

And then Tuesday morning, President told everyone that Bill was getting pretty big off the coast and coming straight for us, so he told us we all had to stay inside all day so that we didn't get caught out in it.  So we did all our studies, cleaned, did family history at our complex lobby, and then hung out with the other Elders in the complex.  During the whole time, I think it maybe sprinkled twice... So much for Bill!  So President let us go out at 4 and we ran around and taught as many people as possible and in-between I said a few goodbyes.

But the next morning, transfer day, I think Bill finally came through a little. We got a good amount of rain for Texas, but still a lot less than we did when we had the tornado and flooding.  And that morning, we went to the Sierras to see the kids and we all made breakfast together.  It was super fun!  I'll send a picture.

So then transfers... it’s pretty much as exciting as the super bowl, but for missionaries... no big deal.  And because I came out to the island, it took us forever to get out here.  We only had enough time to bike around and visit a couple people.  Oh yeah, Galveston is a bike area, we go hard!  But we got to talk to the nicest old lady ever.  And she was Jehovah's Witness so she wouldn't let us teach her but she kept trying to give us money.  Well we wouldn't let her, so instead she gave us 4 pens each... and each an umbrella...  I have neither been given multiple pens nor an umbrella on my mission.  And they were huge too!  Me and my companion, Elder Lesynski, just jousted with them on the way home, haha.

We had a mainland day and I got to see all my original friends again!  It was funny to see the ones that remembered me and the ones who didn't, haha.  Good thing almost all of them did!  But we ate with the Agiurres, saw my convert Mayra Sadler, who we need to re activate now..., we also saw a lot of less actives and a few investigators that I had taught before. And we taught Sergio.  Sergio is a kid that I met when I was first here and we would go visit a less active named Jessica and her 4 little kids.  Well Sergio is her little cousin, he is 17, so I saw him a few times.  Well turns out, he is the boyfriend of a member and so the missionaries have been teaching him for a few weeks now.  It was super fun to surprisingly see him again and get to teach him.  He also came to church yesterday and said he wants to come back!  He has a date for July 5!  It’s going to be hard to get him ready for that day because we don't have the miles to go see him a bunch, but we are going to make it work!  Probably we will call him a lot and beg members to drive us to the mainland.

Also this week, we ended up have a few huge bike days in which we had to go to the other side of the Island to give blessings at UTMB hospital or do service in the sisters area, so we would bike from our house on 69th all the way to 1st, cruise around up there, and then come back.  It’s a super long ways to bike, 70 blocks without stopping, but super fun!  And being on the Island reminds me a lot of little southern Californian beach cities, especially when we biked along the seawall.  Pretty much it’s the Galveston version of PCH.

P.S. Texas City now has an even bigger Buc-cees than Port Lavaca did. It’s the biggest gas station in the whole world I am pretty sure... And while there, I met the Lund family!  First time that I have ever met Lunds that weren't my immediate family.  It was pretty cool.  I probably should have taken a picture!

And Mexican tamales are the best!  I haven't had them in sooo long.  We had them with a member and I ate 14... #thisiswhyimfat #somehowimstillskinnierthanever...

Love y'all!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Last of the Service & Being Transferred!

Soccer with the Comps
Ice Cream!
Performing Service
Typical mold we're removing

I think that the service here is starting to wrap up.  On Monday we went and helped the Red Cross for the last time.  We got to translate for the Red Cross and also for the other organizations/charities that were there.  Best organization ever: HOPE.  It’s just a group of people that go around with their therapeutic dogs.  Pretty much they go around to disaster sites or hospitals and just let people play with their dogs to relieve stress.  So pretty much whenever I wasn't translating I was with the dogs!  It was pretty fun, haha.

We also saw Alexis for the last time before we both left.  Oh yeah, BTW I am getting transferred on Wednesday...  We got to teach him and then his mom invited us to eat with them!  She made us super good chicken and rice and beans.  So typical, haha but so good!  And it was cool because we got to talk a lot with his mom and his siblings.  They invited us to his sisters’ quinceñera down in Monterrey Mexico.  Too bad only Elder Tate will be home for it.  And Monterrey is super dangerous and so he probably won't be going down there any time soon.

We got to teach Sami and his wife Hilda.  It was the coolest lesson because the Sierras taught the whole thing!  We decided to read “The Family: A Proclamation To The World” and we took turns reading and then the Sierras just did all the explaining and teaching.  It was so cool!  They are super good missionaries.

Then I finally made it to the city!  I did an exchange with Elder McDonald (my Kemah roommate) in Houston 2, right were all the floods happened. So all day we did service.  And it was just the normal taking out sheet rock, but we also got to paint with this special mold-killing paint so that was super fun!  And we were able to get a bunch of our youth from H4 to come and serve with us.  That was super fun because we got them out serving others and we could get close to them and talk about missionary work a lot.  And then we went around the city and the complexes and teach a few lessons.

On Saturday we had the Father's day activity in the ward.  We had a bunch of people come to it!  We had a lunch of tacos and then a bunch of activities and we finished by having a huge soccer game.  It rained during the whole thing so we were all soaked and sliding all over the place.  And a member brought two of her friends!  They are super legit and came to church as well!  Well, turns out one of the friends, Eva, had her house flooded and she hadn't taken anything out.  She was still trying to live there with all the mold.  So we ran over there with another companionship and a member and started ripping out the carpet, flooring, sheetrock, cabinets...  We did work on that house!  We worked Saturday and Sunday and in one more day we will be able to finish the whole house.  But at church, both the friends took notes on all their questions and then we answered them all when we went over to work.  So tonight we are going to teach them again and invite them to be baptized at the end of this month. They are super accepting and super ready.  Lets pray it all works out.  Too bad I won't be here for the baptism...

Love you all!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

I Love Service Work!

The Clean Up Crew
At the Temple!

This is what we did everyday

The water they gave us was in cans

This week was a lot like last week. We did a lot of service in our companionship, like 80+ hours combined! This week we focused mainly on going around and helping people rip out floors and sheetrock.  In most places, everything that was touched by water had to be removed and then all the sheetrock up to 3 feet high had to be pulled out as well.   Because some of the poor people were going around and taking ruined furniture from waste piles, we were told to destroy everything.  So we got to break a lot of things this week.  Pretty much like in wrestling when they hit someone with the chair and the pieces go flying... well we did that, just our main purpose was not to hurt people, haha.

We are leaving in a few minutes to go help the Red Cross translate for all the people coming to get supplies.  Working for the Red Cross is probably the most cush service in the whole mission right now.  We just sit, speak Spanish, make people happy, and eat snacks.  It seems like we don't do anything, but without us everything at the Red Cross would take at least 3 times as long, so it’s nice.

This week we found out that Alexis is going to Mexico for the entire summer.  He leaves on Wednesday and won't be back until the end of August.  So pretty much, Alexis might get back and find completely new missionaries here.  But he is such a stud!  He already had plans to read and pray every day and to find the church by his house.  So we gave him a little bit of help and got him the address to the church, the bishop’s number, the address to the temple in Monterrey, and today we are going to work on getting him the number to the missionaries down there so they can watch over him and help with whatever he needs.  Plus, we are going to get permission to be able to Skype him every now and again with his friend and fellowshipper Alfredo Valdez.  Should be schweet!

We also have continued to teach Maria and her little girls.  They are the cutest ever!  I'll have to try and get a picture some day.  She has 3 daughters: Mareli is 7, Yaretzi is 6, and Alejandra is 5.  During our lessons they make the funniest comments and just laugh the whole time.  They told me that I have ojos del muñeco (eyes of a doll) because I am the only one with blue eyes.  Last time we saw them, we gave them giant marshmallows that were about the size of their fists!  Haha, they loved them so much!  And then we got to go play soccer with them and volleyball with Maria and her family.  So now we should be super good friends with them so we can help them come to church.

We also started teaching a lady name Mercedes.  She is from Mexico and we met her when we talked to her husband on the street.  We have taught her a couple times and with members from the ward and she loves it so far!  She accepted to be baptized on July 11 if she finds out it is all true. And she is willing to read the Book of Mormon to find out.  She didn't come to church this weekend because everyone had a late night on Saturday, but she promised that they will be ready for next Sunday.  She is going to love it!  And hopefully we can start to also teach her husband and her children with her.

And finally, yesterday, we met a super cool old Mexican guy named Manuel.  We sat down and taught him in his garage and he told us all about how he got married in Mexico and then his wife moved here (she was already a citizen) and in order for him to get here, he had to cross the river, and then hide in a truck to get a ride up here... It was a pretty sweet story when he told it in full detail.  But he liked the restoration a lot and accepted baptism for July 4th!  Part of me thinks that he might not understand it fully because he just accepted it super easy and that doesn't usually happen, but instead of think that, I am just going to believe that he is super prepared and is going to be baptized super fast!

But that was my week and it went by way too fast!  They seem to do that now :(  But I hope that all of y'all had a great week!

Love Elder Lund