June 13, 2011
Hola hola family and friends,
Greetings from Santa Barbara. So, like I said last week, somehow I found myself getting transfered AGAIN! I left Independencia after only 6 weeks, and I left Bio Bio before that after just 6 weeks. But all is well, it's been a blessing to meet so many new people and wards. Speaking of wards, I have to tell you all a little bit about the ward here...well, branch. Santa Barbara is a beautiful little town an hour east of Los Angeles. Its freezing cold here and it when it rains (often) its even colder! But I love it, because I am in the mission field! :)
Some crazy things that have happened this week, first off, my companion is Elder Cottrell, he is from Layton, Utah, and he is pretty crazy! He's really cool though. He has a really cool life story. He was a gothic kid for pretty much all of his teen years, he looked like this: http://descargadirectagratis.com/imagenes/1306244653cc8aa42f470cbc6480c9e8fb671cf31d.jpg
Actually, that is a picture of what his favorite band was. He had 37 piercings in his body, and he played the drums in a band that was pretty successful actually.
When he was 18, his girlfriend at the time got hit by a drunk driver and died. That was a big turning point in his life. He took off all of his black clothes, cut his hair, took out all of his piercings, and showed up at church as a different person, and ever since then he slowly progressed to serve a mission, then, just as he almost had sent in his papers, he got in a bad car accident and almost lost his life. He broke his shoulders, legs, skull, and almost went blind. He couldnt really walk well or see well for about a year, but slowly recovered, and how he is in the mission field! Whooh! And he is an awesome missionary. He has been a missionary for about 17 months.
We are starting to do p90x every morning, so we are excited.
So the Branch is really tiny. On Sunday, yesterday, 16 people came, and that is actually a pretty good week here. Me and my companion are couselors in the branch presidency. Actually, right now I am in the chapel using the church computer because I have priveleges. hehehe. The branch in the past was a lot stronger, it was actually a ward at one point. But some things have happened over the years and almost all of the ward went inactive. We have been working a lot with the members and will continue to do so. Pray for Santa Barbara!
Earlier in the week, in the middle of the night, we all of the sudden heard some very loud pounding on our walls and roof. The owner of the house lives right in front of us, she came back to our door and we were talking about what was happening. The carabineros (policemen) were there, and we were really confused at what was going on. We didnt know if someone was trying to break in or what. So we went back to bed and the next day we found out that there was some drunk guys who were running away from the police, and somehow randomly they ended up using our house as a battlefield. The policemen were hiding behind our fence and the drunk guys were throwing cement blocks and rocks at the policemen, and they had really bad aims and were just hitting the house. So we are all right, no need to worry.
One interesting thing that happened this week, we were doing permaneced, the program to reactivate inactive members, and we went to one house where it said on our list of members and we found a whorehouse! Yikes. We talked to the branch president about it a little later and we found out that the members were two young adolescents, but they dont live there anymore, thank goodness.
In church I gave a talk (which apparently we do quite often :D) I spoke on charity. I shared the story of when Jesus came to the fishermen after he was resurrected when the apostles had returned to their boats, after Jesus had died and they were exhausted and didnt know what to do know. When he came, and after they finally realized it was Jesus, The Savior asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these things?" Peter responded, "yes, you know I do". so Jesus said "feed my sheep". And then Jesus asked again, "do you love me?" Peter said, "yes Lord, you know that I love you" so Jesus said "Feed my sheep!" And then Jesus asked again to poor Peter, "Do you love me?" And Peter was saddened and said, "yes Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you" And so Jesus said, "FEED MY SHEEP" and that is what we have to do. Leave the nets behind forever. Not just for a few years, not just on Sundays, not just three days of the week. I realized that if we just give the Lord our weekend, we just "have a religion" But if we give him everything, our whole life, then we are a disciple of Christ. And that is how we have charity, by feeding his sheep forever! And if we do that, he will bless us so much. He will give us more than we sacrificed!
I also shared a story about mom and dad, how then do so much for other people. And how they are always itching to help people, not trying to avoid it. Satan has done a good job of turning it around, so what we end up doing is try to get OUT of serving people, but that is not of Christ. We have to always be watching, waiting, and willing to help people, because they need us. People need our help so much. And we can help change lives if we just put forth a tiny little effort.
There was a miracle that happened this week. Well, many actually, but one that I am going to share. So, we were not going to have lunch on Saturday because the sister who was going to give us lunch was out of town, so on Saturday morning I called another sister in the ward to ask if she would be able to provide lunch later that day. (because she said that anytime we dont have lunch to call her) Elder Cottrell told me which person to call, so I called, and she sister said yes, sure. So, we when it came lunch time, we went to the sister's house to eat and she let us in and started getting lunch for us, and her inactive husbad just happened to be home this day! Anyway, we get a call all of the sudden, and its the sister who I called in the morning. She said, "Where are you?! Lunch is ready" We were really confused! Because we thought we were in the house of the sister who we called! The sister on the phone ended up being a sister not even from Santa Barbara, so we told her that we were the Elders from Santa Barbara and we wouldnt be able to go, she said it was alright. So, we told the sister Lucia, whose house we were in, that we were sorry for just barging in like that! We thought we had already talked to her, but apparently not. She said, "No, no Elders, stay here, its alright, we will give you lunch! its all ready" They told us that that morning they had woken up late and eaten a big breakfast and werent even planning on eating lunch, but then the husband felt like they should make some spagetti anyway, so they made spagetti and hot dogs. He realized all of the sudden the miracle that had happen, that they had randomly made a lot of spagetti when they werent even hungry, and somehow they made enough for 5 people, and it was ready just in time for us when we got there. Pancho (the husband) started crying and the spirit was there and it bore witness to him. He said that this was a very beautiful moment. I asked if he would come to church on Sunday and he said yes. And he came! Hurray for miracles. And spagetti!
Other than these things which I have written about, we have had a lot of great things happen this week. We did a lot of contacting in the street and knocking doors and we found a few good people, so we are excited for that!
Well, I have to go now. I love you all, hope to hear from you soon,
photos: (apart from the first picture of me and Elder Cottrell, all of the pictures are from my last area, Independencia. I havent taken many pictures here yet.)
-Me and Elder Cottrell
-Me with a volleyball! Whooh. This family was baptized by Elder Lamb in a different area. We went to visit them on p-day and I got to play pepper so that was cool. There names are Marcia and Catalina
-The Gimenez family
-Norma! She was an investigator in a past area, Bio Bio, that got baptized right after I left! :)
-Maria and family. Pancho, with long hair, is a 3 year convert who is really strong in the gospel, and his mom is getting baptized this week! I was sad to leave them. Maria is awesome!
-Mirta and Francisca, Francisca is a 13 year old girl who was inactive, and we helped her a lot and she is active now! She is so cool, she just needed positive friends. She is reading the Book of Mormon without fail now every day!
-Volleyball with Catalina. Woo hoo
-Me and Kote, an 18 year-old member who came with us a lot to lessons. He is going to be an awesome missionary!
Elder Dallin Dean Gomez
Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503
Elder Dallin Dean Gomez
Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 503