Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Betty and Roger's Baptism
Well, my new companion is Elder Walker, or Elder Caminero en espanhol, which is Spanish in portuguesa, which is Portuguese in ingles, which is English in English (I love the languages here!).  He is 22 months experienced in the mission, and Kearny Only English Driving will be his last area.  He is from the Missionary Factory, in the city of Morgan.  He is a twin and likes to spin things like the stop sign in the picture attached.  My favorite thing about him is his ability to be genuinely friendly to people when I can't.
This week, we were able to mooch a dinner from one of our less-actives on Monday.  We taught our first lesson to Diamond, who is Gramma Jackie's granddaughter.  She actually liked church on Sunday, and her cousins loved the baptism of James.  That baptism happened before Betty and Roger's.  Did I tell you that they are now baptized?  Well, they are now baptized, and I am excited to hear when Betty brings family names to the temple in six weeks.  I love her and Roger!!!  I might include their picture in this email if technology cooperates.
Tuesday, we taught Gramma Jackie's daughter the Plan of Salvation because she felt down about some family issues.  It is amazing to see how the Gospel can bring peace even to nonmembers!  She said that she felt lifted after our visit.  We also visited Bernadette, and she was not happy.  She almost dropped us!  I was also on exchanges with Elder Guijarro.  He did teach me some new Mexican phrases, such as "pinche chamaco," "no manches," y "mente cochambrosa."  Good, clean fun.
On Wednesday, we taught Betty, Roger, and Valentina with the Spanish elders in our apartment.  We informed her that they will be taking care of her from then on and assured her that she will be in good hands.  I will miss teaching her!  Also, I brought Bernadette some Ecuadorian yapingacho that I made myself, so she forgave us frankly (:
Thursday was car fast day, but we drove a lot!  We went to zone conference and learned about how to keep from crashing our cars, how to wash our cars, and how to mend a sprained ankle.  We also learned how not to simply obtain referrals, but to earn them.  We had to cancel our appointment with Bernadette then go to correlation for the first time in weeks!
Then on Friday, we taught an amazing lesson to the Chinese college student about faith and received sustenance for our mortal forms in the form of sandwiches made by Hermano Vallejo.  They were delicious and satisfying.  We taught Bernadette once more and also took her shopping.
Saturday was interesting.  I had the privilege of serving in the zone leaders' area on an exchange.  Elder Barrio and I taught a lesson with ex-Elder now-Brother Packer to a former cook, and her last-minute breakfast was out of this world!  Beans and bananas with queso fresco con jalapenos.  Ay, caramba, it was good!  We also learned more about how to survive on the streets of Newark: do not look at a GPS on your lap while driving.  That's all I'll say on the subject.  It is sufficient to say that we almost died twice.
Last of all, yesterday's stake conference was a spiritual blast.  I sang in the choir in which all men were Newark zone missionaries.  We sang in four different languages.  Then a barbershop quartet favored us with "Love at Home."  President and Sister Jeppson talked, quite a few converts to the church talked, and our branch mission leader talked about missionary work.  Two talks were about temple work, and my favorite line about this Earth life in relation to eternity was that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spirit beings having a human experience."
Then, after lunch, we served a long-lost less-active, Sis. Hill, and her daughter.  It was a fantastic feeling to have been able to do that and see them smile.  They were offended by some missionaries many years back and told Elder Thompson and I to back off and never send anyone from the Church from her house again.  Elders Walker and Smith tried her again on our exchange and were able to set an appointment to serve her yesterday.  What a remarkable experience to teach by the Spirit one of Heavenly Father's lost lambs!
Needless to say, this past week was productive and plenty of lessons.  I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost!  I know that this Church is true!  I love you all!
Elder deJesus

 Elder Walker Spinning a Stop Sign

A Beautiful Sunrise in New Jersey

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 21 - Transfer 2 in NJMM

Mga kababayan ko (and non-kababayans too),

This week has been spectacular!

Monday, Elder Thompson and I helped welcome the new missionaries in the Fear Buster.  We talked to a man who insisted that Jesus is black.  Dag apostasy.  We also had dinner at the Rowes for the first and last time because our area is split!  I am now in the Kearny Only English Driving Area!  No more Harrison ):

I think I already wrote that last week since we emailed after Columbus Day, which was when the Monday above happened....  I apologize; this is only the first draft.  Please do not expect quality emails.

On Tuesday, we emailed, then ate lunch, then went to the transfer conference at Short Hills.  That was the last that I saw Elder Thompson for a while.  I did unite with the Filipino elders in the mission, however, and I might include pictures.  Also included is a picture of my apartment-mates, Elders Dabell, Thompson, and Sandoval.
Now I am the companion of our new district leader, Elder Walker.

Wednesday, we began our work as a new companionship.  We visited members, Bernadette, and Betty.  Betty, along with Roger Jr., then accepted an invitation to be baptized yesterday, with the help of the Spanish elders in our apartment and Hermana German!

Thursday, we visited Bernadette again, and that time, she had her nonmember friends with her, who asked fantastic questions regarding the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity.  We walked a lot since it was car fast day.

On Friday, we had an opportunity to serve a member unplannedly.  It is always so enjoyable to receive these opportunities from Heavenly Father.  Also, Friday was the interview of Betty and Roger at the church.  They passed!  Then they were able to be fellowshipped by the Relief Society, who were having a dinner that night.

Saturday was our miraculous finding day.  Once, we planned to see an investigator a mile away, but later felt through the Holy Ghost to turn back.  We did instantly, and we found Angel, a young boy who is friends with one of our more solid members.  He was about to go home, and we would not have been able to find him if we had not turned around the precise moment that the Spirit prompted us to.

Sunday was filled with inspiring activities.  At church, Elder Walker and I taught our first lesson as a companionship in Gospel Principles about Eternal Marriage.  It turned out okay, despite the fact that most of the people we taught were single or divorced and we weren't even married in the first place!  But the Spirit was present and we were enabled to bear our testimonies of this Church and temple work.  Bernadette, who had family troubles in the past, said that she loved church that day.

We also attended James's baptism after church, then I baptized Betty in Spanish, with Elder Sandoval baptizing Roger into the Spanish ward.  Both of them will be in good hands!  What a remarkable experience!  You've got to try this!

Then we practiced in our four-language choir and ended the day with Bro. Roa's delicious burritos.
Til we meet again.

Elder deJesus

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15, 2013

This week, we taught 20 lessons, which was our goal!!!  Also, our key indicators took a dive by 10 points ):
We expect this coming week to be full of surprises.  But that will come later.
First of all, Friday was full of miracles.  We had in-zone transfers.  I've attached pictures of my companions after our lesson with one of the Chinese college students and his fellowshipper, Hno. Vallejo.  A lot of thanks to Hna. Vallejo, who cooked us a delicious Peruvian lunch!  We set a goal to contact every person who talked to us, and, like I said, miracles ensued.  We were able to find referrals for other elders.  One miracle that happened does not seem related: We were supposed to visit Bernadette at 5 but she called us before 4, right after one of our appointments.  She said that it was one of the roughest days of her life, and she was going to wheel her wheelchair into the nasty Passaic--in short, she wanted to take her life.  We felt prompted to tell her that we would be over to her place in 15 minutes.  We came and didn't teach her what we had planned before, but by the end of the lesson, she felt lifted.  One of the roughest days of her life was turned into one of the most spiritual and sacred experiences I have ever had, as selfish as that sounds.  The Holy Ghost is real!
All week, we were preparing things for the incoming elders in the newly split Harrison English Walking Area.  Yesterday, we found out that Elder Thompson was going to be transferred.  This upcoming transfer is going to be full of surprises.  I don't know who my next companion is going to be, but I'm sure that he will be as good as Elder Thompson.  I will miss him!
Also yesterday, Elder Thompson and I visited the Rowe family for the first and last time, since they live in the new Harrison area and Elder Thompson is leaving.  Eddy and Tilmeena were there with James, who is close to his baptism.  What characters those three are!  Eddy once criticized Elder Thompson for "eating like a white boy" and commented on how he, being Puerto Rican-American, was blacker than Sis. Rowe, who is Jamaican.
Well, this week has been spent preparing for this next transfer.  I'm exhausted and sick, but it's worth it.  We might have Betty baptized this weekend, so wish us luck!
And, no matter what happens, remember to keep your heads up!
Elder deJesus

Monday, October 7, 2013

Long Live Zone 4! The Brotherly Love Zone

''Incoming Missionaries" from the Jeppson's (Mission president and his wife) blog:

October 7, 2013

Dear Addressee,
Happy General Conference Weekend!  Elder Bednar is the kung fu master who knows how to use the one leaf.
A little bit more about the culture here in New Jersey:  Last weekend, when I was on exchanges with Elder Guijarro in Newark, there was a blockage in the traffic.  From inside the car, we watched a remarkable three-way merge.  The streets here are boss.  Everyone has a mutual understanding of everyone else.  Utah should be like this.
Also, people honk immediately after the lights turn green at the idling people in front.  It used to be annoying, but now I've adopted it.  Watch out, Utah.
After the end of a long day at the beginning of this week, we were driving home.  When we turned a corner, there appeared an angry middle-aged man.  He raised a fist in our direction, along with his middle finger, for ten seconds straight.  As we passed him, a long string of loud, vulgar words ensued from his lips.  We still do not know what that was all about.
Due to Conference, we ate for the second time at Sakura Japan Teriyaki and Sushi.  Real sushi is actually good!  A few days before that, we met the Kearny Strangler.  He is actually a nice guy.
So...Monday, we met with Emilce, who was having major marriage issues.  The Spanish elders from our apartment came with us so we can go into her house and give her a blessing.  Elder Sandoval, who is from Brazil/Chile, comforted her in what I can only describe as telenovela Spanish.  It was straight from TV!  He even held her hand, which is not allowed, by the way.  I feel for her though.  Husbands better take care of their wives like the Apostles and Prophet have counseled!  Things like the things that happened to Emilce should not even happen in the first place!!!  Elder Thompson and I also helped the Spanish elders move an enormous cabinet up two flights of narrow stairs for a member.
On Tuesday, we confirmed with Betty her baptismal date.  She is so ready to make that covenant with God and begin her discipleship!  Lisa may need more time, but she is progressing very rapidly.  She is doing the Stop Smoking Program this week, which means that she will need to use cinnamon-flavored mouthwash for seven days straight.  She said that it kills, but what an example of endurance she has been!
On Wednesday, we helped move some furniture into the Harrison apartment.  Our area is getting split!  Hopefully, Elder Thompson says, they won't double in some sisters.  Oh, well.  We accomplished our missionary purpose that day, which is to help others move, jokingly speaking.
Thursday was good.  Correlation was cancelled.
Friday, we talked with Ma Zhi/Lunafel Solorchis/Jerry, one of the Chinese college students.  He taught us how to teach better, and told us to use the one leaf like a kung fu master.
Saturday, we taught Marie, a new investigator and an elderly woman at a shelter.  She had been struggling with a long depression.  The gospel will certainly help her!  Teriyaki, dumplings, and sushi after General Conference was good.  We also taught the Yambas, with a lot of help from N. Yamba. in translating from English into French for his dad.
Sunday, we met with yet another new investigator, Burnadette G.  She is waaay prepared by the Lord!  We also met with Chet D.  He was also having issues in his marriage.  People!  Seriously!!!
Anyway, General Conference gave me a spiritual boost and also something to study more in depth later.
Laters, alligators.
Oh!  And I might send pictures with this email from the past.
Elder deJesus

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 30

Familia, caballeros, y mamacitas,

It was actually two weeks ago that I ate half a chicken in one meal and I want to brag about that.  Hopefully, I haven't already mentioned it or else that would be embarrassing instead.  I love Brazilian food and Brazilians.

On Monday, we visited Emilce, who is sooo pregnant.  She is apparently sick every Sunday, which is why she didn't come to church.  Why is it so hard for pregnant women to understand that they need to partake of the sacrament weekly no matter how big an organism gets inside of their body??  Just kidding.  But she still needs to come to church.

Tuesday, we taught 4 lessons in a row.  It was a fantastic day!  We taught Alyah, Sis. Roa with the Pucha boy, Lisa at Gma. Jackie's, and Betty.  Lisa and Betty are progressing so well, but Alyah....  She needs support from her mom!

Wednesday, I was with Elder Dabell, one of the other missionaries in our apt who speaks Spanish.  I was able to speak more Spanish!  And this one baby, Benjamin, kept handing me his toys.  He would be sad when I didn't play with them.

Thor's day.  Elder Thompson and I visited with Alyah again, and it is so frustrating!!!  Parents need to teach their kids the gospel if they really love their kids!  Also they need to stop being less-active and chastize their punk sons who keep their little sisters from being baptized.

On Friday, I was on exchange with Elder Guijarro, finally outside of our apartment!  His area is North Newark Spanish walking, so I also got to ride the bus for the first time on my mission.  Three things I love about Newark: (1) every other person sports gnarly dredlocks, (2) there are people who actually (a) need canes or (b) carry canes (what we call "swag canes"), and (3) panhandlers.  Everyone there is so rude, haha!  At night, we exchanged girl stories.  Elder Guijarro dated four girls at the same time!  He is insane!!!

Saturday, we exchanged back, and the two Filipino elders in our district, Elder Rodriguez and I, sort of went on an exchange, meaning that we went to his apartment in Central Newark and I ate their food.  Then we switched back after Elder Thompson's zone/district leader meeting.  We had a rough day.

Yesterday was a miracle day.  Church was good.  We discussed parenting in Sunday school, which was funny.  But the testimonies in testimony meeting were so spiritual.  There were investigators who bore their testimonies about how the gospel has helped them.  What a great sacrament meeting!  We also visited Bro. Holzschuh, the young men leader who is not as intimidating as Elder Thompson presumed.  He gave us referrals.  We visited the Chinese people and they fed us Doritos and orange juice.

Anyway, it is a privilege to be at the front row seat of the salvation of the children of God!  We're about to leave for Walmart!


Elder deJesus

September 23

Dearest bosoms of my soul,

15 minutes.

Monday, we visited a less-active, Emilce.  One of the hardest lessons to plan for is a lesson for a less-active, especially one with a really messed-up life like Emilce.  So we didn't plan at all and decided to just rely on the Spirit for that lesson.  That lesson on Monday night was the best lesson I have ever taught.  The Spirit guided Elder Thompson and I, and we found out later in the lesson that it was the lesson that Emilce needed.  I know that Heavenly Father cares for His children through His servants.  I also had mate for the first time.  Not too shabby.  Also, we met this guy who served in our area a few years before and ended up marrying the family we were visiting.  Weird....

Tuesday, I led our area again, but with a zone leader this time.  I taught with Elder Smith and gained powerful insights that Elder Thompson and my teaching could use a lot of improvements.  He also almost slept on top of me that night.  He is a weirdo, but everyone loves him.  He even said that our 36-year-old married mother investigator is cute!  What a natural man, haha.

Wednesday.  I led the area once more, but this time with a greenie, Elder Packer.  I remember when I was that green because I still am, haha.

Thursday and Friday, we left super early to go to leadership training.  What an enormous amount of revelation rained on us those two days!  President gave us all a blessing at the end that we will recall the things that were revealed to us by the Holy Ghost and that when we applied them, miracles would happen.  They did!  This week has been fantastic!

We found 2 new investigators, both from China and studying in college here.  We met an old Romanian lady the other day and we set an appointment with a Deaf man that we hope to teach today.  We are currently teaching a single mom who wants to quit smoking, a married Hispanic mom who values her family, a 9-year-old girl who has concerns about being baptized, a half-Hispanic family that reminds me of our home in the Philippines, and other members who need strengthening in the gospel because they are so young in it.  We were prompted to give out 3 blessings to people who needed comfort and healing from God.  What a lofty responsibility from the Lord.  But even though we are weak, yet are we made strong.  Ether 12:27.  I sometimes wonder why the Lord would trust us with these souls.  We are definitely learning to come unto Him.

What a marvelous work!  If you are preparing for your mission now, use your priesthood if you have it.  Be worthy of it.  Partake of the sacrament.  Go to the temple.  If you are not preparing for your mission now, prepare for your mission.  Please!  People need your testimony no matter if you will actually leave for your mission or not.  Still prepare!  Even if other people's testimonies won't grow because of you, your testimony will, if you prepare to serve a mission.

Sorry if that didn't make sense.  We are just too excited to buy groceries from the local Walmart that I need to hurry with this email.

I love you all (which is weird since I might not know you)!  Keep in touch.

A Hungry Elder deJesus