Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16

Los Elderes y Hermanas, or Soon-to-bes, or Have-beens, et cetera,

This week has been exquisite in the work of the Lord.

Monday: We visited two new investigators: Dennis and Michael/Kevin.  They are Irish brothers, which explains why Dennis was a little buzzed that night.  Thankfully, Michael/Kevin was sober.  Both were pretty smart and liked to read.  I finally placed my Book of Mormon from Stake Mission Prep class with my testimony inside since we didn't have one for both of them.  They are prepared to receive the gospel and have been reading since.

Tuesday: The morning started getting colder, which makes for good running on the high school track.  We taught the Word of Wisdom to Lisa at Gramma Jackie's, which went well despite the legions of children Gramma Jackie adopts each week from the streets into her progressively crowded house because of her blessed Christlike heart.  There are seriously new people she screams at for being loud every time we visit her house.  Lisa's commitment to learn from the missionaries is slowly reactivating Gramma Jackie.

El dia de cuandos: We mowed the Pesantez family's lawn-forest.  There was dog poop all over the concrete, so we stepped onto the lawn, which, surprisingly, also had dog poop hidden amongst the tall grass.  We returned Sis. Teagno's electric lawn mower and taught her a lesson.  Her friend, Lynn, in New York was a solid investigator who missed her baptismal date due to some issues with the Word of Wisdom.  Lynn is an active non-baptized latter-day saint to this day (she has an assignment in Sunday school even though she is not officially a member).  She enjoys the blessings of the church because Sis. Teagno referred her to the missionaries in New York.

Thor's day (car fast day): We planned for the whole week.  Then we visited Sis. Roa with Carmine and ate spectacular burgers and this wheel pasta butter dish stuff.  We are encouraging both of them and their families to do their own missionary work and to become self-sufficient in the gospel.

El dia de fritar/Friday the 13th: We found a new investigator, Ma Zhi, or Lunafel Solorchis, or Jerry.  He is an atheist with a Christian Chinese mother.  He was very interested in the Plan of Salvation of the Mormons.  We taught him with Hermano Vallejo.  Oh.  And my companero for that dia was Elder Sandoval, a Brazilian-Chileno from Texas who speaks 3 languages.  He taught really well in English despite his complaints that his English was not good enough.  We taught Betty, Roger Jr., and his brother (what was his name?) and his brother's friend, Raoul in Spanish/English, not Spanglish.  Hispanics talk a lot, so we came home late as a result, with Brazilian flan.  Betty is awesome!

Saturday, we moved the Medinas in the morning.  I took a picture with Jesus Medina.  I'll figure out the picture situation later on....  Sorry!  We helped teach about the church at the open house without proselyting, which was hard since that's what missionaries do.

At church on Sundae, we were combined with the Portuguese branch just for that day because of the dedication.  Beautiful testimonies and beautiful talks were given by the power of the Holy Ghost.  We visited the Hernandez family and encouraged them to do missionary work.  Ju-ju was hyper and kept yelling, "Thomas.  Choo-choo!!!" as he played with his toy truck.  We went to the dedication of the Newark church and listened to the choir singing in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.  The dedication and last hymn were sources of inspiration never to be forgotten.  What a beautiful church we have!  Like President Ure said in the dedication prayer, we are the church.

Keep in touch!  Love you all!  I love hearing about your weeks!

Love,
Elder deJesus

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9

Hi-ho.

15 minutes this time!

So a few weeks ago, we were on exchanges with North Newark Spanish Walking.  I was with Elder Guijarro and we got lost a lot since it was only the second time that I had ever driven in our area.  At our last appointment, we had found what appeared to be a parking spot.  It turned out to be a driveway concealed in some underbrush and we received a fat 50-dollar ticket.

3 weeks ago, my companion and I reached the due date for paying the ticket.  We had to pay it that day.  We went to the ticket-paying place.  It closed 10 minutes before we arrived.  We found out that we can pay it online.  The library was closed due to some citywide holiday that nobody celebrated.  So we turned to Yolish, the purple frozen yogurt place with a disco ball and iPads.  When we arrived at the door, the loud radio started playing Ke$ha for us.  But we were able to pay the ticket on time.

That was the worst that our experiences have gotten here in the quiet town of Kearny, NJ.

Last week's email was called "Transfers" or something not because I was transferred, but because it was the end of the transfer period.  That's when they switch around missionaries and you might or might not be transferred to a new area.  Our apartment's beloved Elder Nuckolls was transferred to East Brunswick.  They're "threatening" to put sisters here in our area to replace us, so we might get doubled out, meaning both of us might get transferred out of our beloved area.

Uhmm...not much has been going on though.  We're trying new planning methods every day, and things turn out really well.  We don't forget to acknowledge the Lord's hand in all things, especially our planning.

My comp and I are becoming pretty good friends and unified teachers.  It's amazing how the Lord makes big things happen from small ones.

I shouldn't have taken that much time typing those first two paragraphs, nor this one.  Now I have 5 minutes :P

Lisa is now a regular church-goer, thanks to her fellowshipper, Gramma Jackie.  She is on her way to her baptism on the 22nd!  And she's down from 2 packs/day to 3 cigarettes!!!  What faith!  What repentance!  What a miracle!  Anything's possible with Heavenly Father's help!  And Betty and Roger and Alyah are progressing well in the gospel.  I can't wait for them to receive their ordinances and be able to receive the full blessings of living the fulness of the gospel!!!

Actually, not much has happened.  This week was a wreck after transfers.  We weren't able to plan for our week so we didn't accomplish much.  Preparation for anything is worth it!  Take your time to prepare!

This week should be good though.

Oh!  And the branch had a barbecue on Saturday.  And one of our less-actives had one on Sunday.  We ate a lot of food.  We are sooo chancho.  Our fridge is now full of members' pasta and various meats, including blood sausage.

Anyway, I love you all!  Keep in touch!  I love hearing about your weeks!

Love,
Elder deJesus

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 3

Dear,

2 minutes.  For P-day yesterday, we went bowling instead of the usual weightlifting.  Not much to do here in our bro-zone (there are no sisters in our zone).  Also, miracles happen when you act in faith and diligence.  Two weeks ago, we were working so hard to find new investigators, but with no results.  Last week, our 3 new investigators contacted us!  One of them even has a baptismal date!  Be diligent and faithful and you will reap your reward.

Love you all!  Keep in touch!
Love,

Elder deJesus

August 26

Holas a ustedes, ay ay ay!

In order to lessen the lousiness of the previous emails, I will repent by reserving 30 minutes for this email and updating you on the past couple of weeks.

Just as a background: It's sunny/rainy.  I'm hearing all sorts of languages and eating two sorts of food.  My comp and I are getting along.  The interview with President and Sister Jeppson went well.  The area book is organized.  More people came to church yesterday than any Sunday that I've been here.  The work is progressing.

Two weeks ago, we had the privilege of extending our first two baptismal dates for Lisa and Sean.  Lisa is a single mom in her late 40s and has recently lost her job and is in the process of losing her apartment.  She had been visited by missionaries before and had a baptismal date, but that fell through.  After months of job-finding with no fruition, she decided to meet again with the missionaries, and has attended church twice already, read her assigned Book of Mormon readings, and accepted an invitation to be baptized in two weeks.  We might have to extend that due to some circumstances.  Sean is a self-proclaimed atheist in college.  He plays Quidditch on the weekends and is struggling with the concept of faith.  We haven't seen Lisa or Sean this past week and we could tell that the adversary is working really hard on people who are close to setting a major milestone toward their salvation through Jesus Christ.  But we also know that the Lord will not let His children be led astray.  His work is progressing, no matter what the devil does!

We recently found a new investigator who lives on our street.  Her name is Marina From Brazil.  She was being prepared so well by the Lord.  She used to be Catholic and has often wondered why there aren't any prophets anymore or how only Jerusalem had the gospel but not the rest of the world.  Then BOOM!  We showed her the Book of Mormon and she accepted an invitation to be baptized.  We are so excited for her!

We visited the Pesantez family with the Spanish elders again.  Their house reminds me of mine in the Philippines.  There is a grandma who takes care of the kids while the parents are working.  Her name is Sis. Bazaan and she says the most ridiculous things in Spanish.  She teaches us little Spanish phrases like "Dale chevoz, Elders," then folds her arms and purses her lips.  She is a funny lady.  I also had the pleasure of laying my hands on her head to assist in blessing her in her current troubles.  I've had that opportunity again when a young man from the branch wanted me to bless him when he was sick.

The members here are waaay different from members in Utah.  Come to think of it, the members here are different from other members here.  It's so diverse in New Jersey!  It's hard to describe in one sentence how the food is, how the weather is, or how dirty the roads are because it just depends on where you are!  I love it!  Generally, though, the members here are amazing, and I'll leave it at that.

Oh!  And we also got a flat tire so we had the privilege of driving to (aka getting lost in) Jersey City, first at one end of the city and then to the other because the first store didn't have the tire in stock.  That flat tire cost us two mornings.  But it was good.  We found some time to find investigators in the train stations and eat at Popeye's Louisiana Cuisine while the car was being fixed.  Many of the people that we talked to during that trip and during others have been the result of Elder Thompson or Elder deJesus or other people listening to the Spirit, so listen to Him every second and make it count!

There is nothing that will stop this work from progressing!  God lives and loves His children.  These are the last days, or the last chance that people will have to experience earth life before our Savior comes again.  Make the best of it, listen to the Spirit, and invite others to come unto Christ.

And let me know how you're doing!!!  Thank you all for your prayers.  I have been strengthened and encouraged by them.

Love,

Elder deJesus

August 19

Hola!

Sooo...the other elders want to leave the library now even if we have 10 more minutes so this email may be rushed as well.  I'm basically sending a mass email to everyone who I got an email from in the MTC, so if you feel like you are receiving this email in error, let me know!  Also, I will figure out how to send pictures next week, promise.

The work here is progressing slowly.  We do have two baptismal dates set to two very prepared people.  We were interviewed by the president, and we all passed.  Elder Thompson is boss.  We are planning so well right now, and I am loving the experience so far.

Amen.

Love,

Elder deJesus

August 12

Herro.

With 4 minutes to write this email and counting down, here is a quick run-down of our weekly highlights.

I love exchanges.  We ate the Peruvian papas en papas or something like that, spoke Spanish, et cetera.  Hispanics are amazing.  I was the senior companion with Elder Guijarro (Elder Pebble en ingles) from Mexico City for a day, which was not as effective as it sounds, and it doesn't sound effective at all.  Pretty much it means that we got lost, and we used up 2 miles more than we were supposed to drive that day because we kept making U-turns and driving around one block at a time...if that makes sense.  Anyway, I actually got to drive/avoid crazy drivers that day.

Uhmm...This 5-year-old Hispanic girl likes to give us names.  For example, Elder Loco is my companion and I'm Elder Fish Tank....  Her family is awesome, though.  They are strong in the gospel.

We need more people like that to be involved.  Everyone has friends that they can share the gospel with; they're just too afraid to do it sometimes.  But with faith being the opposite of fear, and the knowledge of the sweetness of the fruit that Jesus Christ invites all of Heavenly Father's children to partake, what are you going to do to share the gospel?  Every member is a missionary and ambassador of Jesus Christ in thoughts, in words, and in deeds.

The work is still slow, but we are hopeful.  The Church is true, after all.  Whenever President Jeppson tells us to trust in the Lord, I always think about the Joseph Smith movie when the Prophet says, "Remember, brethren: we are not just building a temple; the Lord is building us," or something like that.

Further details are forthcoming.  Hopefully, this email will not offend any general authority, Arielle.

I love hearing about your lives!  Keep it coming.  Talk to you soon.

Love,
Elder deJesus