Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, March 28, 2011

Email from Hualpen March 28, 2011











Hola familia,
Como estan todos??
Mom, I just received the letter that included everyones letters in it,
thanks everyone :) Shout out to Elder McConnel...its his birthday today. I
talked to him this morning. And it just so happens that Elder Merrell, one
of the other missionaries who lives in my house, was Elder McConnells first
companion ever, in the MTC, so we both told him happy birthday this morning.


This week was great. The ward here in Hualpen is a good ward. (By the way,
some of the keyboards here are different from each other and I think some of
the punctuation will appear differently in English, so i just wont even
worry about any punctuation) Like I was saying, the ward here is good. Its
been around for a really long time, so theres some really great members.
Weve been working with them a lot this week to help them want to help us by
helping our investigators more. (that was a tongue twister) Such as coming
with us to lessons and giving us references of their friends and family. We
had one neat experience in particular with that yesterday. Me and my
companion went on divisions to pick up investigators for church. One of the
priests in the ward and one of the ladies in the ward came with me to pick
up Patricia and her daughter. When the door opened, the man she lived with
was standing there and he said "the doors for you" to Patricia, so she came
to the door, she looked really bad, not normal, and she said that she wasnt
going to go to church. I immediately asked what happened and she said that she
wouldnt be able to go to church today....that she couldnt go to church. She
was actually all ready to go....but something happened. She was really angry
and sad looking. I told her that we were going to pass by after church. It
wasnt a very long confrontation, but afterward, the sister who came with me,
Sister Cofre, was really touched by what happened. She felt the pain of
Patricia and wants to help her now and come with us to lessons with her.
Sister Cofre said that she wants to help her, and that she finally realized
why us missionaries really do need the members help. She said that in her
life, shes had hard times too, but shes always had the gospel and her
knowledge to endure through it. Patricia doesnt have that, and she was
really touched by that and now wants to help us! Awesome! Its a relief to
have help from the members. I share this with you all to stress the point
that every member is a missionary. I wish i would have shared the gospel
more before my mission. Dont regret not talking more to your friends or
family about the gospel when you could have...like me!

Weve had some really spiritual moments this week with people. This work
would be almost impossible if it werent for the spirit. After church on
Sunday, as I was saying earlier, we stopped by Patricia and we discovered
that she has all sorts of problems in her relationship...and she has a type
of cancer. Shes not happy right now. The spirit in the lesson was STRONG.
She kept saying how good she felt, as opposed to the morning, when she said
she was filled with hate and anger and she couldnt go to church like that.
But in the lesson she felt happy for some reason. She felt peaceful, calm,
joyful! Because those feelings are literally the SPIRIT! (Galations 5:22-23)
Throughout the scriptures, it talks about being "filled" with the spirit,
how it fills you up. And it literally does. Ive learned how REAL the gospel
is here. Its not just true, but its real! How is it that someone can be
suffering so much with a huge hole in their heart, and from night to day,
storm to sunny, they can be completely filled with happiness....all because
two dumb teenagers come in their house. Believe me, Im pretty dumb. I dont
know why I qualify to be here! But i have a testimony that missionaries
really are called from God through a living prophet who receives guidance
directly from our Heavenly Father.

Im trying to send pictures but its not working too well...Ill have to do it
some other time...again. Sorry.

As you can see....I actually did get it to work with the pictures, so just
ignore that last sentence that I wrote.

Pictures are of:
-Us reparing the floor in our house. Elder Pung, my first companion, put a
hole in it last transfer while jump roping. :D
-Random pictures from Talcahuano...including pictures of the ocean, a beware
of tsunami sign, and a pretty church building.
-An apartment building. That building is one of about 50 more just like it
that are all in our area.
-The picture with me and Elder Hickman and three girls is a picture of our
investigators who are going to get baptized on the 10th of April. Cony, who
is 14 almost 15, and her sister Francheska, who is 12. And their mom, Olga.
Olga is an inactive member that has been aways from the church for years,
but she has come back and gained her testimony. Something that is really
neat, this ward has a temple trip planned for the end of April, and Cony is
really excited to go because its going to be on her birthday! Pretty
awesome. And they are getting baptized on their little sisters birthday,
Javiera. Shes 6.
-Some more members having a birthday party.

That looks like about all for now. Enjoy conference everyone this weekend!

I love you all! Thanks for everything.

Elder Gomez





-- 
*Elder Dallin Dean Gomez*
Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503
Concepcion
Bio-Bio
Chile

Friday, March 25, 2011

A package from CHILE!!

Dallin sent us a package :)  Mostly letters for me to store for him, but also treats and a surprise for Carlos' birthday!    The treats taste like wannabe KitKats and wannabe Twix bars - -but it was a fun cultural experience to "taste" Chile!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Bio-Bio

March 21, 2011 
Hola familia!

This week has been really eventful. My last night in Labranza
was....sad. Too many tears. It`s crazy how the people here become a
part of your life! Your friends....but  now I'm here in Bio Bio with
Elder Hickman. I'm really excited for this transfer. Elder Hickman is
awesome. He's from Moses Lake, Washington. Bio Bio is really
close to Concepcion. It`s a lot different than Labranza because now
I`m in a city, which is a lot different than a little town. There are
a TON of inactive members here. We find them all the time. We have
been working a lot with the members here. We decided that we want ALL
of them to get really really excited about missionary work so they`ll
all give us a lot of references and they'll bring people to church and
everything...that would be great. Weve shared D&C 88:81. I  would
highly recommend reading it. And weve shared D&C 18:15-16. Great also.

We have 4 baptismal dates set...one for this weekend, and three for
the 10th. It should be great. I'm thinking that well have a few more
soon also. One of our investigators, Cony, is great. She`s 14 and
we`ve taught her only 3 or 4 times, but she already knows everything!
Most 14 year olds are in their own little worlds these days, but she
really understands and loves the gospel.

One day me and Elder Hickman were a little bored and tired...so I
suggested that we go tracting with Book of Mormons in hand and preach
the gospel like in the older times. But in reality...I dont think it's
that weird is it? Don't a lot of missionaries do that? I had never done
it before, but I always thought it was a normal thing to do. Well, it
ended up working really well. We got people introduced right off the
bat to the Book of Mormon, because it is the key in the restoration.
Its a good book. I would read it if I were you!

Oh, shout out to a few poeple...first off Carlos, my brother....if
he`s really 5 foot 7....but I dont think its true. I hope not at
least. I thought it would be more than six months into my mission that
he passed me in height. Im excited to play you in tennis!
To Larry Gelwix, the legendary coach to Highland High Rugby...the guy
from Forever Strong....hes going to be a mission president in Fresno,
California!!!
To BYU! Sweet 16!
To Tali...because I like it better without the "E"

I'll start getting mail faster now that I'm really close to the mission
office. It probably takes about 2-3 weeks now to get letters. It's
better than 1 to 2 months!

We had some spiritual moments this week. One investigator named
Yolanda (60) had a baptismal date for this weekend, and we had been
hoping that she had stopped smoking. We called her to see if we could
stop by and she said she was in the hospital in Concepcion and she
wouldnt get home until late. But me and my companion had a feeling to
stop by her house any way....we found her at home. We found that she
hadn't stopped smoking...and that she lied to us about being at the
hospital because she scared to get baptized now. She said she didn't
want to. She's just panicking a little bit. So we calmed her down a
little bit and helped her remember all of the reasons why she needs to
get baptized and we reminded her of when she has felt the Holy Ghost
tell her that it is true. She's also been a little empty in her heart
for a few years because her son died. We shared a scripture in Moroni
8 about the fruits of repentance is baptism, which brings the
remission of sins, and when we receive a remission of sins, we are
filled with the Holy Ghost. When we read that, she started to grab her
chest and her eyes changed a little bit...it was like she started to
daydream or something....and she started to cry. She grabbed my hand
all of the sudden and it scared me a little, because well...I don't
touch girls hands normally like that :D She finally said there was
something in her heart, she had never felt so good before. She was
completely joyful and happy for that moment. The hole in her heart
because of the death of her son was filled for a moment, and she was
only feeling joy.... After this experience the only thing she said was
that she'll feel dirty in the water when she gets baptized because of
her smoking. We talked about quitting smoking, she's going
to stop. She knows it. We're praying for her also. You could too if you
want! At the end when we told her we needed to go she said no because
she wants to keep the spirit that we bring in her house. She said we
could sleep on her couch. Ha ha. It was a neat experience.

Here`s another. We were visiting Cony, the 14 year old really cool
investigator, and her mom and sister, Francheska. Her mom is inactive
and her sister is 12 and we were hoping that we could set a baptismal
date with her also. So we started visting with them and we ended up
teaching about the Plan of Salvation. Its amazing how when people know
and feel that you are an actual representatives of Jesus Christ..The
mom, Olga, started telling us about a few experiences that she has
had. One, when her youngest daughter, Javiera, was a baby. She (the
baby) was really sick with more than 5 tumors in her head and more
throughout her body. The doctors said that she would be a vegetable
for her life. She was going through a process of treatment and was
always crying and in pain. Olga prayed and prayed, but on one ocasion,
when her baby was suffering a lot she was crying and started to pray
and asked Heavenly Father that He would either take her out of this
life or heal her so the pain would stop. A little while after that she
traveled to the doctor for an appointment, and a few doctors started
talking and asking each other things, and then they came out and said
that a miracle had happened because there were no more tumors and her
baby will be fine. Her baby is now 6 years old and is great! We talked
to her about priesthood blessings, and read James 5:14-15 with her.
Another experienced she had was one time SHE was really sick. REALLY
sick, for more than a month. Out of panic, she got baptized in a
different church, after she was already a member of this church. Like
I said, we explained priesthood blessings, and at the end of the
lesson we gave her a blessing. I also had another opportunity to give
some random older man a blessing this week. Neat experiences.

At the end of the lesson, Cony told us about how she feels when we
come. She said that every time we come she feels peace and pure
happiness. She said that when she thinks of the spirit that she felt,
it gives her courage to make good decisions throughout the day. She`s
so excited for her baptism on the 10th of April. She wants to get
baptized in a river for sure....but the only problem is that
Francheska, her sister, who is getting baptized on the same day, wants
to get baptized in the font for sure. But either way, it will be
great!!!

Other than our investigators and few new people who we found who we
will hopefully start teaching this week, people are pretty closed. We
tracted every day this week for a long time. We did more contacting in
the street and knocking on doors than I have ever before! But there
are a lot of people who are just not interested and a little awnry.

I have to go. Ill send pictures next week because I have to leave now!

Elder Gomez



-- 
*Elder Dallin Dean Gomez*
Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503
Concepcion
Bio-Bio
Chile

Sunday, March 20, 2011

RAISING THE BAR _ A PLUG FOR Family Home Evening

My 5TH Sunday lesson on FHE

http://lds.org/family/home-evening?lang=eng

On the church website it says: Change your status on facebook to
“We’re having family home evening.”
It also says: Consistency Is the Key
 
Before giving you this packet – knowing very well what happens to handouts
you bring home from Church – and where they end up.. I want to give you a
challenge.  Turn the packet into this (Show the booklet made up with all
inserts, etc.)  in the next few days…. I wish I would have had the money
to buy binders, sheet protectors and put it all together for you.. because
it is useless the way it is - -but extremely handy and wonderful when put
together! (Faith in God, Duty to God, Personal Progress, For The Strength 
of Youth, True to the Faith, The Living Christ, Family Proclamation, etc.) 
This is great FHE material for all of us – any of us… 
Marlow and Delores – whose kids are grown and gone, Brady and Tera –whose kids aren’t
teenagers yet, and Georgia who is on her own. Why? Because what’s good for
our youth is good for us.. it’s the gospel and it’s good for us all.   We
all need FHE.   And by that I mean family scriptures and family prayer as
well.
  Reading the 4th paragraph down of the letter (3rd page of packet)   it
says..  We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to
family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction and
wholesome family activities…    HOWEVER WORTHY AND APPROPRIATE OTHER
DEMANDS OR ACTIVITIES MAY BE, THEY MUST NOT BE PERMITTED TO DISPLACE THE
DIVINELY-APPOINTED DUTIES THAT ONLY PARENTS AND FAMILIES CAN ADEQUATELY
PERFORM.

   I feel that one of the most important pieces of revelation or counsel
we have ever been given through our living prophets is something that
came about in 2002 – and has not only strengthened families, but has
directly affected the amazing growth of the church throughout the
world.     It is something referred to as raising the bar for
missionaries.   By that is meant increasing the spiritual maturity of
our youth before entering the house of the Lord – or the missionfield. 
  President Hinckley emphasized it this way “this work is rigorous.  It
demands strength and vitality. It demands mental sharpness and
capacity, it demands faith, desire and consecration. It demands clean
hands and pure hearts.”
   Elder Ballard said -  we don’t expect them to be perfect, but they need
to be anxious, willing and committed to serve so that they can reach
new levels of spirituality as gospel teachers.   They need to KNOW the
message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach it
with power (here’s the awesome part!)  IN THEIR OWN WORDS under the
guiding influence of the Holy Spirit.
     Elder Bednar has talked alot about this Raising the bar…  and what
struck me was when he said – it is true that the bar has been raised
for our missionaries.. but you must know that this means the bar has
been raised for parents and leaders as well.

   I remember Elder Eyring talking about it as well and he said -  What
used to be enough is no longer enough.  We live in a day and age of
evil such that with all that our youth combats day by day, they must
come home and receive strengthening and teaching and spiritual
fortitude equal or greater to the evil coming at them constantly
everywhere else.    It may have been enough in years past to have a
casual family gettogether once a week, but that is no longer enough.
     We need to have spiritually action packed FHEs  - -with scriptures,
and atonement and restoration being at the very center – core of it
all - - and maybe more than once a week in order to be enough.
   Elder Ballard talked about being at the Provo MTC with the missionaries
a few years back and asking them what would have helped them most to
prepare for their mission.   Above all else they said they wish they
had:
• Learned the doctrine better through focused scripture study.
• Learned how to study and to pray sincerely.
• Been more disciplined and worked harder.
• Understood better what is expected.
• Had more teaching opportunities.
• And had more searching interviews by bishops and parents.

    
When our youth understand the significance of the Restoration of the
gospel and know for themselves that God is our Heavenly Father and He
loves all of His children, that Jesus is the Christ, and that together
They personally visited Joseph Smith to open this, the final dispensation
of time, they will want to help carry this message to the world. When our
youth see the Book of Mormon as tangible evidence that the message of the
Restoration is true, they will be filled with a desire to do their part in
teaching these truths to our Heavenly Father’s children.
    It is a very natural consequence  - -once they truly know the
truthfulness of the Book of Mormon they will want to tell people and share
it with others.  Once they have felt the joy of the gospel – the blessings
and power of the atonement, they will want to share it with others. It's
very natural – and they will help many progress spiritually.
   With that said – I want you to know that Medardo and I have sent three
of our 8 kids out into the world… have seen them go to the temple, into
marriage – and Dallin  on a mission.   Already we know how tough it is to
send them out into the world each sufficiently prepared with a deep and abiding
testimony and love of the gospel that they need to be great leaders
helping themselves and others progress spiritually. We haven't had all success.
  So I know how hard it is.  I know how often we as parents feel
inadequate and wonder HOW in the world it’s possible to make sure they
truly KNOW for themselves and FEEL for themselves the power and love that
comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the
gospel.    I know that we as parents all ask ourselves - - HOW can we do
this? HOW can we find the time to have FHE ? HOW can we motivate our
children to #1 be with us as a family, and  #2 invite the spirit to be
with us as a family to talk about sacred things when they are so often
consumed and suppressed and suffocated and stifled by texting and
cyperspace interactions and friends influences and video games, etc.   I
know the HOW can be so hard. 
         In all this I have said – and in all that I have prepared to send
home with you today - - my purpose  is in making the HOW a little easier
for you.   Just recently I was talking with my friend Claar about the challenge
of making it all work  for our families and not getting discouraged.  She
summed it all up with some simple but powerful wisdom that has impacted me
a lot.   She said AS THE WHY GETS STRONGER, THE HOW GETS EASIER.   So my
purpose in all this is to help strengthen the WHY of having great
spiritually charged FHEs – knowing the HOW will get easier once the WHY is
powerfully in your heart and mind. 
     Not long ago I was so frustrated with how angry and unsettled and
upset everyone seemed to always be at my house.  The lack of positive and
happy communication was overwhelming me. I thought, we just can’t do it,
we can’t get along.  But one early morning it dawned on me that the Lord
has given us this surefire promise guaranteed program of sitting down and
talking with each other as a family in a happy way called FHE.    If we
open our mouths and talk about Jesus Christ, it is a sure thing that the
Spirit will come – and it doesn’t matter what else you talk about, once
the spirit is there you will feel love and security and hope and peace.   
We need that in our families.     And then the big tall order of filling
the hearts of our children with testimony and faith  - - and of having
them love the Savior and turn to Him for help in  their own struggles and
be ready to go out into the world to teach that to others, suddenly seems
possible.   
When you think of strong youth - - I’m sure you and all of us think of the
2000 stripling warriors.  We all want our kids to be like them.  What did
they leave home with?   Summed up it’s childlike faith..  with more detail
from the scriptures we learn that they had been taught by their mothers
that if they would not doubt, God would deliver them.   (Alma56:47-48) . 
They did obey and observe to perform every command with exactness.
(57:21). They were young and their minds were firm, and they did put their
trust in God continually. (57:27) They did pour out their souls in
prayer.. were visited by the Lord with  assurances, peace, faith and hope.
    That’s exactly what I want for all of my kids.  
  I was thinking about Enos and Alma the Younger…  both of which had their
moments of conversion.   Both had the teachings of their parents come to
mind at that critical moment when the spirit bore witness to them and
empowered them.   Here is what Enos said:  “Behold I went to hunt beasts
in the forests, and the words which I had often heard my father speak
concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my
heart.”     Here is Alma’s experience: “and it came to pass that as I was
thus racked with torment, while I was  harrowed up by the memory of my
many sins, behold, I did remember also to have heard my father prophesy
the coming of one Jesus Christ, a son of God, to atone for the sins of the
world.”   And we all know that as soon as he thought of Jesus, his pains
were gone and he was infused with the desire to be good and to do good.
   
  THAT IS WHY we need to be diligent in these things.  We talk of
Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ,
so that our children will know to what source they may look for a
remission of their sins!     Once you feel that, you will be empowered
with the HOW to do it, I promise.  
 
  And the Lord has given us so many inspired helps.     These programs of
the church are awesome…    Here is For the Strength of Youth from years
past…  it is 16 pages.   Here is the new one 42 pages. Why didn’t they
just leave it with the first?  Because we now live in a 42 page world. 
This old one talks about whether or not to wear curlers in your hair at
certain occasions…  this new one is UP TO DATE with what’s happening in
the world NOW.   The Church is AWESOME!    If you want to know what the
Lord and the leaders of our church want our kids to know – learn what is
in these materials!   There’s a booklet with great stuff written just for
kids 8-11.  There’s a book for young women - - 12-18, there are pages for
boys 12-13, etc. etc.  The Church is COMPLETELY uptodate on child
development… we don’t need to consult the world to make sure it’s
appropriate for the age of our children… IT IS!!  Who knows better than
the Lord?
 He has made it simple.  If we just knew what was in them and how simply
the Lord has made it clear what He wants our youth to be focused on, and
learning --  we would realize that it’s easier than we make it – being
parents and raising these stripling warriors.    I promise as you better
understand the WHY of doing these things, the HOW will get easier!       
 We want kids who are on fire with the gospel - - who are sure for
themselves that the Church is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, that
Jesus lives and loves them and that through His atonement their lives can
be made clean and whole. We want our kids to head out, with an assurance
that on bad days they can pray and receive help from God.  We want our
kids to leave home KNOWING and FEELING these things for themselves.  
That’s the WHY.
   I found these LIVING CHRIST pages  in all different languages – and it
drove home this message to me more powerfully  - and once again lit me
up with the Why.  We don’t know where our children will go in the
world, on their missions, or to live their lives - -  we don’t know
what language they will be required to speak…   but that’s the easy
part.  Learning a language comes as they work at it. It’s the simple
part - -as long as they KNOW AND FEEL what this page says.   That they
know FIRST the Living Christ - -then I promise you they will find a way
to say it and share it with others.  The language will be the easy part
because they will be so anxious to bear their witness of Him and of His
atonement.   I have seen it in Dallin – and it is a sweet thing  - a
payday as a parent.  And we didn’t do a great job at FHE  - -but he has
figured out what drives him. It’s the truth of the restored gospel and
he is on fire with it.
 That’s the WHY.   And I bear my witness that it makes the HOW worth it,
and easier knowing that.
  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Three Bags Full :)

 I have been reminded just this morning of how well the Shepherd knows His sheep.  It started with a friend's comment (thanks Claar); part of a nursery rhyme quoted by my brother-in-law Rich to a group of people who needed a good laugh at the moment.    Medardo and I were with Con and Rich in Tiajuana where Rich was having some stem cell treatment (from sheep) to fight his cancer a month or so before he died.  It was a group setting -- with lots of sick folks hooked up to IV poles getting similar treatment all in the same room.   Rich's bladder was no longer functioning well because of his bladder cancer and so he had a urinary catheter filling bags that he had to keep emptying.   Sitting there, looking around at the quite depressing scene of patients getting this "last resort" kind of treatment,  he became his usual goofy funny self - and set out to make them laugh.   He suddenly said:  "Baaaaa....  I'm feeling sheepish -how about you?"    The patients started laughing  and anyone who knows Rich, knows that once he gets a laugh, he doesn't stop until someone drags him out of the room.    For the next couple days as we would come back across the border and again meet with that same group of patients and sit there while they were hooked up and had the sheep stem cell treatment pumped into their veins, Richard came up with all the lamb and sheep jokes he could think of.  "No worries, the shots aren't that baaaaaaaaad."   One time he stood up to empty his urine and said "Baa baa black sheep... three bags full."   I think everyone in the room wet their pants - - bags or not.  I told Rich - whose nickname had been "Moose" for a long time -- that he would have to start going by "Sheep".   
     Those few nights staying in our motorhome in San Diego with Rich and Connie are sacred to me, because it was my last time spent with Rich here on earth.   It was a mixture of serious talks about death and trials, some special priesthood blessings Medardo was able to give him for his pain, some scripture reading and prayer with them, but also the last humor I got to experience in mortality from Mr. Funny himself.      One of those evenings we were reading and Medardo and I told Rich there were some scriptures just for him - - "My sheep hear my voice..." and "The Lord knows His sheep."  We all got a good laugh out of it - - but also had a neat talk about the truth of it.  The Lord does know His sheep.  And His sheep do know His voice.  How grateful for the witness that came then, and comes again to me now, that the Lord had a plan for Rich.  That He was aware of Rich, and that Rich trusted in Him -- even as an already claustrophobic man,  cancer was causing Rich to feel very claustrophic in his own pain-ridden body.
     That time spent with Rich and Connie in Mexico under those circumstances was far from a vacation - - but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I learned in a powerful way that the Lord knows His sheep. 



      On a different note - but same truth...  the happenings of the latest natural disaster bear witness that the Lord knows His sheep and His sheep do know His voice.  That truth is one that those of us with 19 year old missionaries out in the world serving hang on to. And it's proven over and over again for us.    Sometimes more dramatically than at other times.   I received an interesting email for missionary moms... about the missionaries serving in Japan.  Terrible things do happen in life -- but the Lord is mindful of His sheep.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

We are getting a few emails from our missionaries in Japan, and I just want to share a few things with all of you from some of the missionaries.


First, all of the missionaries are now out of Sendai and Tokyo. One Elder reported: "Sendai missionaries in the southern part of the mission went to Tokyo and then were flown to Sapporo while missionaries in the northern areas were going to be bussed to the north and then ferried across to Sapparo."


One thing not reported in any media was that many missionaries all over Japan were in Mission Offices or Churches for Zone and District leader training and conferences when the earthquake hit. Many were not in their apartments nor outside, which we think helped protect so many of our missionaries. They were with groups of missionaries along with their Mission Presidents.


Elder Dowdy emailed his mom: He said on Sunday Pres. Tateoka took him and his companion, Elder Carthew, back to their apartment in Fukushima to get some things. When they got there Pres. Tateoka would not let them go up until he went and checked to make sure it was safe.


The entire apartment was trashed. The refrigerator was on its side and had moved across the room. All the dishes were broken and the windows were all blown in. He was able to get some stuff but because of all the debris and glass he was afraid to dig through it to look for some things (like his camera).


He said it was a blessing that they had been at zone conference when the earthquake struck because if they had been in Fukushima they would have been in the apartment for planning time and would have surely been injured.


He told me that they were on the second floor of the church in Koriyama when the earthquake started and that there is a warning system that sounds on the cell phones when the Earthquake gets past 6.0. All the alarms started going off and Pres. Tateoka yelled at them to get out now!


Benj said that he had to hold onto the railing to get down the stairs and that the Earthquake kept slamming him up against the wall. As soon as they got outside it started snowing heavily.


He said that he has heard many miraculous stories about how missionaries just happened to be doing things just a little differently than they normally would, or had planned to, and that is what saved them!


It was really, really difficult for them to say goodbye to members and investigators.


Some missionaries were not allowed to return to their apartments to get their clothing, etc., so they arrived with only what they were wearing. They are being taken care of. :-)



From Conan Grames, in Tokyo: March 16, 2011
 We have had quite an experience here in Japan the last few days. Cindy and
 I were in the office when the quake hit. We have experienced several of
 these during the years we have lived here, but I immediately knew this one
 was different. It was the first time I decided to get under my desk. It
 took very little encouragement from Cindy to do so. While under the desk,
 the shaking continued to grow and seemed to last forever. At that point I
 began to wonder, “How bad can this get?” Coincidentally, last week I
 had read two first-hand accounts of our missionaries who were in Japan
 during the great Kanto earthquake of 1923. I wondered if this is what would
 happen. It actually turned out to be a stronger quake up in Sendai. We
 suffered little damage here—lots of noise and things falling off shelves and
 shattered nerves.

 We have spent the time since, pretty much around the clock, looking for
 missionaries and members. All the missionaries were found alive and well,
 even those on the coast. It took us four days to find two sisters who were
 on the coast in Ishinomaki and get them out of the area. So far we have had
 no reports of serious injury among members of the church, although many have
 had to leave their homes.

 Our responsibility is communications. Much of our time has been spent
 coordinating with Diane Sawyer’s ABC news team about doing an interview
 with a missionary who experienced the tsunami. It turned out she couldn’t
 get into the area, but their 20/20 team is here and they are still seeking
 an interview. The missionary who will do the interview climbed to the
 second floor of the chapel with his companion. They watched the water come
 through the parking lot, sweep away their bikes, and flood the first floor
 of the building.

 Tuesday we sent our first team into the area since there was no
 transportation until now. They will assess needs so we can begin to send
 relief. We have met with the Red Cross and the government and have offered
 cash contributions in addition to the in-kind help. The greatest physical
 need is gasoline, diesel fuel, food and water.

 Wednesday we received instructions from church headquarters to evacuate all
 our missionaries out of eastern Japan. This was due in large part to the
 radiation threat and the fact that many of them have no food, water, and
 electricity. This is a real blow to the members who love the missionaries
 and depend on them, but they also want to feed and clothe the missionaries
 when they can’t even take care of themselves at this time.

 I am sure you have seen the devastation on TV. It really is unbelievable.
 We feel there has been much divine help in finding people. We hope we can
 be of some help to those in need.
 Conan and Cindy Grames
 Directors, Public Affairs
 Asia North Area - Tokyo



Monday, March 14, 2011

Email March 14, 2011 Bye to Labranza

 
 
Hello hello everyone,

How is everyone doing? So...the news of the week is cambios. (transfers)
"Hello....ah yah....Elder Gomez is leaving.....to where? To Bio-Bio, in
Talcahuano...his companion? Elder Hickman."
I`m LEAVING LABRANZA! But how? Why? It`ll be good to experience other parts
of the mission...but I`m sure going to miss a lot of people here. I`ve been
here for over 4 months now and I have so many friends here. I already know
Elder Hickman, who`s going to be my companion, so that`s cool. He was down
here in the south a few months ago. He actually helped me a lot when I first
got to Chile when I didn`t know what was going on. Ha ha. Right now I`m
really far south in the mission, and tomorrow I`m going to go to the VERY
farthest north part of the mission...Talcahuano. It will be fun I`m sure.
It`s been killing me saying goodbye to all of the people here. Thank
goodness for facebook. I`m convinced that facebook was an inspired invention
specifically for returned missionaries to keep in contact with the people
from their mission.

Anyway, this week was really good. We found one new lady who is really
great. I keep gaining a stronger and stronger testimony of following the
spirit. One day last week we were on a companionship interchange, and I was
thinking about what we could do and who we could go visit. So I wrote down a
plan for the day and we started working. As we were walking to a person`s
house, I had a thought to go to a lady`s house who we received as a
reference from a member a long time ago. So we went, and found her there,
Mariana, and she wasn`t busy...which is really rare! So we taught her the
first lesson and the spirit was strong and she liked it. (obviously) :D It
really made sense to her, and as we were explaining the Book of Mormon and
how she can know that it is true...she was waiting for us to tell her the
price....or what SHE had to give us or what the commitment was. It was
funny. I said, "Todo esto....por solamente 5 mil pesos" (all of this...for
only ten bucks!)  Her face went down a little in excitement and then I told
her I was just kidding. We told her that the Book of Mormon is a gift, and
the only thing that is dependent on her is her desire to read and pray. She
said the was for sure going to read and pray to ask about the Book of Mormon
and our message. We have an appointment with her tomorrow....even though
I`ll be in a different area tomorrow! Darn. I can still pray for her!

Yesterday I gave a talk in church about the Book of Mormon. I was able to
speak about whatever. At first, I was going to talk about something
completely different...and after a while, somehow I ended up going back to
the Book of Mormon and deciding I wanted to speak about that. Why do I like
the Book of Mormon so much? Good question. I think it`s because it`s
awesome. Really. And it`s a true record of the people of ancient America.
The Mayans....Aztecs....etc. I spoke about the importance of it in our day.
How Joseph Smith said that "a man will come closer to God by abiding by its
precepts more than ANY OTHER BOOK" That is a big statement for someone to
make. An IMPORTANT statement if it`s true. And the way we can know if it`s
true is to TEST it.
Like it says in Malachi 3:10 referring to tithing. "PROBADME ahora en esto",
meaning..."test me know in this"  It goes on to say "test me know in this,
if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings more than
you will be able to receive"
I have a strong testimony about tithing. The promise of God aren`t
fake...you can`t DENY when God says something that doesn`t make sense to the
knowledge of the world, and then it happens. Like giving away ten percent of
your income. How will you have more money if you give it away? They answer
is Heavenly Father. It`s how He works. It`s awesome!
Anyway...back to the Book of Mormon...really what Joseph Smith said is true!
We will come closer to God by following it`s precepts more than any other
book in existence. Que bueno! I invited everyone in the ward to read the
Book of Mormon before the end of the year....kind of renewing the invitation
from President Hinckley a few years ago. Except for he challenged us in
August I think. It`s only March, if you read a chapter a day you`ll finish
it before the end of the year. A lot of members came up to me afterward and
told me they were going to. YES! :) Or if you want, you could be really cool
like my mom and read it every month while I`m on my mission. (yes, that
means that she`s read it 6 times since I`ve left). This is Nancy: I need to interject 
- that I am not trying to be "cool", but he and I have a deal, and if it helps keep
him obedient, I'm willing to do anything!  
 
This week I had more opportunities to give priesthood blessings than ever
before. I feel so blessed for each opportunity. I learn a lot every time I
am instrument in the hand of God.

Camila, one of our recent converts who was baptized in January, went through
a rough couple of months after her baptism. She stopped going to church
completely almost immediately after her baptism. She ended up getting a
boyfriend the day after she was baptized actually. That didn`t help at
all...especially the fact that he is from another church and doesn`t like
mormons. Another problem was that one of the girls in the ward said
something dumb to her boyfriend about her or something.....and it got back
around to her and she was mad...so she stopped going to church. I`ve prayed
for her a lot, and we visited her this week and I was just praying the whole
time that somehow she would want to come back. The first good thing that
happened was that Nicol, the girl who said something dumb, talked to her
about it and apologized (I think) and they became friends again. Second, she
commited to come to church on Sunday again! And for the last few days she`s
been doing things with her good friends again and she came to church and
remembered that spirit that she felt from before. I`m so happy!

Next week I`ll let you all know how my new area is and all of that good
stuff. Chao,

Elder Gomez

Tender Mercy- The friendships you make through this gospel. The only bad
part is saying goodbye!

ps- I`ll try to send pictures later today. This computer isn`t functioning
well. Where`s Jacob when you need him? 
-- 


 Description of pictures below -  not necessarily in order: 
 


-Me with Elder Valdivia, from Chile. He trained Elder McConnell AND Elder
Boman!! :D
-Clases de Ingl├ęs! (English class!)
-Members that always cooked good food! The Henriquez family.
-restaurant with Elder Woodward. Me and him had a lot of intercambios
(companionship exchanges) because his area was a little hard, so they needed
some extra help.
-Cool soccer picture that I stole off someone´s camera
-Me and my moto. The decided to give us special vehicles in Labranza. We do
use bikes or cars or any of that sissy stuff, we go on motorcycles.
-My zone, at least part or it.
-Beto and I
-Beto and family...last visit
-Camila and family
-Me and Elder Beltran
-Me in Luis´ sleeping bag.
-A bunch of members in the ward.
-Me with two recent converts from the other missionaries in our ward. Rosa,
with the white shall thing, was baptized just a couple weeks ago. Her
brother is next to her. And the other girl is her cousin who was baptized a
few months ago.
-Me with Roberto and Caty...Roberto returned from a mission in Argentina a
couple months ago and Caty is the teacher for sunday school. She was only
baptized a year ago and is awesome! She is always so good with the
investigators who we bring to church.
*Elder Dallin Dean Gomez* Chile Concepcion South Mission O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503 Concepcion Bio-Bio Chile
 
 

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2010 Dallin Email

 
 
Hola everyone. I am going to complete 6 months in the mission tomorrow! My
oh my does the time just fly. This week was a pretty good one with some cool
things that happened. For one, I talked to Jamie (McConnell) for a while on
the phone! Ha ha. He found me! It was pretty cool. He´s doing great. I´m
guessing he´s going to change locations this transfer like me...well, I´m
not 100 percent positive but about 99. Maybe we´ll be companions?

I´m discovering that I´m becoming more and more Chilean all the time. Things
that I thought were weird when I first got here aren´t weird anymore.
There´s some stuff here called Pate...you spread it like butter...but it´s
meat. I can´t even remember if they have it in America....but I just
remember I thought it was so weird when I first got here and now I love
it...meat butter. That´s just one example of things that I´ve adapted to
pretty good. I´m also in love with soccer. Not literally, but I really like
it.

Now for more important things, this week we had a lot of success. We´ve been
trying to work in unique ways to better reach people´s needs. We´ve worked a
lot with members and they have been helping us a lot. A couple young women
here have really helped us and have participated in lessons with us, and we
have two new really great investigators because of it-- Diego and Alejandro.
They are both 15 and we have taught them a couple times. They really
understand the restoration and it´s importance, and the role of the Book of
Mormon to gain a testimony, which is fantastic. Nicol, (their member
friend) brought them to church yesterday and I think they liked it a lot!
I´ve said this before....members are a strong force in this work! Go find
someone to be friends with and I promise it will help them tremendously.

We had a great lesson with a man named Jorge. He is the father of two kids
and is married. His life is pretty good, but when we stopped by he was a
little drunk...not too much. We were still able to teach him. He expressed a
lot of deep feelings of his and how he wants to stop drinking. We read with
him in the Book of Mormon and his eyes watered up and started to cry a
little bit. It was a great lesson with the spirit and we promised him that
we would be here along the way to help him stop drinking. I have a strong
testimony about the happiness the gospel brings. We can NEVER be all the way
happy without the gospel. Jorge even stopped smoking last year and he felt
really good about that....but still he has a few problems. Only through
Jesus Christ and the covenants we make at baptism and in the temple can we
have complete happiness and security in this life.

This week we had 5 inactive members show up to church which was awesome. We
were really happy about that! It´s good to see them once again come unto
Christ and receive many blessings once again.

I don´t have a lot of time...so I just want to say that I know the gospel is
true. I know it because of the change that happens in people who come to
know Christ. The scriptures are true. They really are. They didn´t just come
out of no where really wisely written somehow. They came from God. From His
prophets on the earth. There is a reason that even our way to record time
(AD and BC) has something to do with Jesus Christ. Because
when Christ came and died for us, it was the greatest moment in the history
of the world! Please read the scriptures and be strong in the gospel. I love
you all! Thanks for all of your support. Sorry this isn´t very long. Time is
running down....

Next week I´ll tell you who my new companion is and where I´m going for
transfers.

Elder Gomez

ps- so far Grandma is winning the cool stamp contest. She send an Eleanor
Roosevelt first class stamp from over 50 years ago! :D Thanks grandma.



-- 
*Elder Dallin Dean Gomez*
Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503
Concepcion
Bio-Bio
Chile