Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weird Week

Pacquiao for life!

Well, this week was weird but enjoyable.  I received the most personal revelation and made the most changes than I have had in any week of my life!

Disclaimer: if you're not familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you might not understand a lot of the words I use.  I apologize, but it's the only way to explain it!  We worked a lot with the members of the Church here this week.

On Monday, we finished painting Sis. Hill's house for sale.  We are grateful for the Harrison elders', Elders Comish and Anding's (Comandishing's), help.  We might hang around them more often because this coming transfer, the Spanish elders, Elders Dabell and Sandoval, are getting doubled out of their area and our apartment!!!  That means that sisters are coming!  The sisters are coming!  They will be the first sisters in the Newark zone since many years ago, due to the dangerous environment.  The Lord must trust them a lot to be transferred here to the hood.

Next, we "visited the Roa family."  The quotation marks are there because we scheduled to visit them to have dinner but Bro. Roa suddenly drove us outside of our assigned area to visit the Almeida family.  President Almeida of the stake presidency gave us some news regarding the missionary work in the Scotch Plains Stake of New Jersey.  It is accelerating!  Prophecies are being fulfilled!

And then we ate pizza from La Pizza, you know, the pizza restaurant, La Pizza?  Not the other restaurant called La Pizza, but the pizza restaurant, La Pizza, from which we ate pizza.  Thanks, Bro. Roa, por la pizza de La Pizza!

We also discussed with Bro. Roa how people walk so slowly to cross streets.  He said, referring to the pedestrians, "Your pride will not stop my car."  That was Monday.  And we also made brownies before bed.

Tuesday was a surprise.  I wasn't ready to do an in-zone transfer, but went along with it.  That day was personally spiritual for me.  After going to regular meetings, the zone leaders announced that I was assigned to my area with Elder Guijarro, my favorite Mexican missionary.  Paisano!  Kababayan, haha!  We visited a couple of members, then went to North Newark, his area, so he can help one of their investigators make tacos.  We ended up just eating Peruvian green spaghetti with the investigators and Elders Packer and Noxon.  That was Elder Noxon's last hurrah, speaking Spanish, so I played some Banana Pancakes for him on the investigators' daughter's guitar.

That appointment was revelatory for me since I remembered all the times that I did exchanges into the Kearny and North Newark Spanish areas and the Spirit that I felt there.  The influence of the Holy Ghost was stronger there than it ever was in my English area.  I felt prompted to tell President Jeppson that I needed to be transferred to Spanish next transfer.  I also felt that I needed to prepare in English first.  I LOVE HISPANICS and green spaghetti!

We finished another project that Sis. Hill gave us on Wednesday morning.  Then we visited Kevin, who visits his fiancee every day in the same hospital that Bernadette was at.  Before we left, he wanted to pray with the people at the front desk.  They said that it was fine.  After the prayer, they said that they liked it and felt prompted to say their prayers more often.  Get that!  They are not members of our Church, but they believed in repenting to become more like Jesus Christ by praying more!

After that, we helped out the Harrison elders.  We drove them to their appointment, who cancelled, so they went to Burger King instead.  Rahameen was with them, that's why they went to Burger King.  He is a big guy.

On Thursday, we planned for the next week all day.  Then the Roas fed us roast beef.  Because of that, we missed correlation, but we found this awesome license plate on the sidewalk.

God filled our Friday with 5 appointments!

On Saturday, we moved in the Kearny sisters' furniture, but not after we witnessed the baptism of Nalleli, a 14-year-old girl who has been waiting for the longest time to be baptized into the Church.  She bore her testimony of the Church and baptism and her smile was so wide!  This is Jesus Christ's true Church!

We drove to the Portuguese apartment to take care of Elder Ramos, who was sick.  We took turns for a couple of hours watching him.  Elder Walker was the first to go out with the Ports, as we call them, then me.  When I went with them, we went to Tops Diner, which is a shiny building.  Tira misu is delicious.  I got to know Moche, who is a Jew-Mormon, and the Harrison elders better.

Yesterday, we had a linger-longer, which is just a fancy name for a potluck after church.  We took home a lot of turkey and Thanksgiving stuff.  Then we made potstickers at the Beacham's house with the Gaileys and Sis. Gailey's brother.

Anyway, I'm excited for Thanksgiving and the coming transfer.  My time is out!  Peace.  Keep in touch.

Elder deJesus

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

22 Lessons

Amados Hermanos Mios,

What an exhausting but quick week!  Here's the lowdown:

Monday, we went to teach people.  Bernadette was preparing to move to Newark.  It still befuddles me why anyone would want to move to Newark, but to each his own.  She described herself as a hood rat anyway.  She'll be fine.  Or will she?  I miss her already!!!  The Central Newark elders better take care of her!

Tuesday was fun.  We went to district meeting.  After teaching Bernadette, we went home.  I walked downstairs and laid on the couch to sleep for four hours.  I was sick as a hood rat.  After waking up, I walked upstairs into our bedroom and slept for years.  It felt good, though.  And Elder Walker was productive and didn't make rockets using empty plastic bottles, a lighter, and 91% rubbing alcohol while I slept, at all.  Just kidding.  The whole apartment still smells like alcohol.  Don't try that at home.

On Wednesday, we painted another house, this time, Sis. Hill's, instead of Bro. Pepe's.  Come to think of it, those two and the Dzikowicz's were offended by perhaps the same missionary.  Before this transfer, they didn't even want to be in contact with branch members.  Please be civil when interacting with anyone, including less-active members.

On Thursday, we said goodbye to Bernadette.  We also started teaching two separate lessons at Gma. Jackie's house.  Aunt Dawn likes me!

Adam from Jersey City came with us to Ma Ji's house early on Friday mormon.  He was a boss wizard.  He practically taught the whole lesson and we were there as members just helping out.  It was a bittersweet lesson since, although the Spirit was strongly present, we dropped Ma Ji from our teaching pool.  Elder Dabell later said that this coming week will be full of new investigator miracles.  Also on Friday, we were able to find three new investigators, Dave and Ernie and Ching.  Dave had always known the missionaries in Kearny and is being prepared by the Lord well, coming from a Catholic-atheist background.  Ernie and Ching are from the Philippines and are Methodist and Catholic, respectively.  Elder Walker loves Filipinos and says that he has never met a Filipino he doesn't like.

We helped Sis. Hill paint again on Saturday.  Her house looks sellable!  Also, we attended a baptismal service for Reynaldo, a Hispanic man of 65.  We talked with Nayeli, who will be baptized by the Kearny Spanish missionaries into the Lord's Church.  She has met with the missionaries for 2 years!  We finished the day with 7 lessons!  That never happens in the English program!

On Sunday, we were met by the miracle of all the Pesanteses, Dave, Sis. Basan, Gma. Jackie, Diamond, Eddy, and other people coming to church!  Dave especially liked how different our church is from the Catholic church.  He said that our church makes sense.  The lessons were perfectly tailored for him as well!

We finished the week by teaching 22 lessons, two weeks in a row!  We overexceeded mission standards!

We got to share this scripture many times this week: Mosiah 2:43, which says, "Consider the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God."

Also, I have been praying about asking President Jeppson to transfer me into the Spanish program.

It's good to hear about things back home, especially about people enlisting in the Lord's work!  Deciding about going on a mission will definitely change your life for the better!  I know because it has changed my life already.

Elder deJesus

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

Well, hello.

The greeting on the subject line of this email may be outdated now, but whatever day it is, celebrate it!  2 Nephi 2:25.

First of all, may the people affected by typhoon Haiyan rest in peace.  Both the living and the dead can thankfully rest in peace because of what Jesus Christ has done.  The promise that the Book of Mormon makes in the introduction is that through Jesus Christ, people can find greater joy and peace both in this life and in the life to come.  What good news!  Things will work out.

I apologize if I have not responded to your emails.  We only have two hours here on these public computers, which is not enough for responding to 84 emails/preparation day!  I would prefer to write my family via email, including my extended family, and everyone else via regular paper mail.  Thank you!

This week was a blast of wind.  It went by fast but powerfully, and physical wind literally blew outside.  It was cold.  It even snowed today!

On Monday, we were able to play Settlers of Catan, expanded and timed, in our apartment.  It yielded the most stress I have ever felt in my life.

Tuesday was interviews.  I was able to talk with President and Sister Jeppson about my spiritual and physical health.  I received a priesthood blessing from him.  My mission president is going to be a general authority!  Also, we were able to go with a member to visit some families.

After interviews, Elder Dabell went with me in our area to visit an investigator and some members who I have never met before.  It was a privilege to have entered their homes and brought the Spirit into our lessons.

On Wednesday, we visited Bernadette and the Roa family.  Bernadette still has her baptismal date in her sights but is not willing to quit smoking!  She has lung problems already and she knows that the Word of Wisdom is true, but she wants to "wait for God to take the smoking away!"  AAAAHHH!!!  But the Roas' burritos were good.  Good thing they're Hispanic or they would never have fed us!

Thursday's zone training was fantastic.  We learned how to focus ourselves on praying with sincere purpose and real intent, accounting to God at the end of our day and PLEADING with him at the beginning.  My tongue in this strange, foreign English language has certainly been more loosed and inviting of the Spirit since I've started praying like that.  One example is when I went on an exchange into Elder Packer's Spanish-speaking area.  I spoke Spanish there more than any of my dreams can ever dream of dreaming a dream of speaking Spanish!  I definitely had to rely fully upon the Holy Ghost to understand anything my companion or their investigators are saying, and I am glad that I prayed with Elder Packer before we went out that His Spirit may be with us.

By the way, Spanish is not his native language and he has been on the mission field 3 months, but his Spanish was excellent!  It is a miracle to see the growth that going on a mission provides if we are prayerful!

On Friday, we taught Ma Ji with Hermano Vallejo and it was the best lesson that we have ever taught him, and there is no way that he could not have felt the Holy Ghost.  Also Hno. Vallejo's sandwiches were superb, as always.

We visited Don on Saturday!  What!!  He committed to coming to church, and....

He came to church on Sunday!  Also at church was Betty; Roger, Jr.; and Jose!  They came to the English branch because Betty had to work during the Spanish services.  But she and Roger are progressing towards the temple to be sealed together in a year!  Later, we were able to see Xin Shan, Ma Ji's roommate as well as the Roas again (no burritos though)!

But!  Saturday was full of miracles for us.  I am speaking specifically about the middle of the day, when Bernadette called us and told us that God worked things out for her living situation.  That call was followed by another call from Don, who hasn't seen missionaries in one month due to his lack of desire to progress.  Then, Elder Walker was transferred somehow to our voicemail, which said, "Miracles are happening."  We finished Saturday by watching Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with Brother Denning and Brother Crowell.

What a week!

Anyway, please stay in touch, all of you!  I do love you!  I just can't respond to you all at once!

Elder deJesus

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

This week, I learned the importance of backing up your pictures.  We visited a special needs boy who loved taking pictures.  I gave him my camera so that he can shoot a few.  Unfortunately, he also shot my heart when all of my pictures--from my setting apart to last week--were deleted ):  I still love him though.  So there will be no pictures this week.
Monday, we went to the gym and got yoked.
Tuesday, we visited Bro. Pepe's house to help him and his wife paint.  They are so fun!!!  It's always sad to see people who are Church-active in their hearts but turned off by a member--in this case, a missionary long ago.  We also picked up 3 new investigators!
Odin's Day, we kept painting the Pepe's home and mooched off Italian food.  Chicken parm all the way.  Also, we had to be home earlier, like at 6, because we didn't want to be involved in any gang initiation rites.  Those are so boring.
Thor's Day, we celebrated Halloween with Settlers of Catan for the second night in a row.  It was Elder Walker's first Halloween here, although he had been on his mission for 22 months already!  Dag Hurricane Sandy!  Earlier in the day and against logical chronology since these elders are famished and it's distracting, we also taught Bernadette with Dr. Thomas.  Correction: Dr. Thomas taught Bernadette and brought us along.  He knows the scriptures so well and grills us about them!
Dia de Fritar was the branch party.  We ate chili and pie.
On Saturn's Day, I went with the other Filipino in our zone, Elder Rodriguez, and Rahameen, to visit Sis. Baxter in Newark (pronounced "nork").  Then we visited Bernadette.  She is always in a bad mood!  It's hard to teach her.  It's great to see, however, the change that the gospel brings to her.  After every visit, she tells us, "That lifted me."  That's what it's all about!
And Betty and Roger were confirmed on Sunday.  I also saw Emilce!  Too bad she's not in our area anymore....
Until next week.
Élder deJesús