Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dallin's Email July 18, 2011

Hey family and friends,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NAOMI!!!!!!! Wow...12 years old! I cant believe it. Have a great time in young womens!

This week was transfers. We got the news that....me and Elder Cottrell are staying together in Santa Barbara! We are really excited because this week we have found a lot of new people to teach. We have one baptism date with Ishmael. He is 21 years old and his uncle just died a few weeks ago so we have really tried to help him. He is a lot different from when we first met him so that is a good sign! He is going to get baptized on the 30th of this month so we are really excited for him. He has come to church for 2 weeks in a row now and likes it a lot. I have noticed a lot lately about how the Spirit literally changes peoples' lives/hearts

One example of this mighty change of heart is with Susana, another investigator of ours, who is the mom of Susan (20) who was baptized about a year and a half ago. (Remember, Susana- mom, Susan- Daughter) Susana just told us the other day that when the missionaries were teaching Susan, she was always fine with it, but she never really felt comfortable participating much with them and her daughter. Ever since me and Elder Cottrell got there we have always talked to her and shared about the gospel with her, and something just clicked in her mind or heart or something, because she began to change all of the sudden! The last time we went over there she was trying to explain it to us....she said that before she never felt that she had a purpose in life, and now ever since we have shared with her she is happy and joyful. She said that in the last couple years when Susan has had this same change, she has grown to envy her more and more, until now she knows that she is soon going to have to do the same (referring to the amazing change that came with her conversion) Meaning that she soon wants to get baptized so she can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we were having this lesson with Susana, Susan was just sitting there in shock that her mom was saying these things. Saying that she wants to follow the same path as her daughter and get baptized. It was so cool to watch! We asked Susan what she was thinking and she basically bore her testimony so strongly to her mom!
I am really bad at telling stories...but just know that this experience was amazing! Sorry if it doesnt make very much sense. Ha ha. Moral of the story- I KNOW that the Holy Ghost is real and that it can have the biggest impact on our lives if we let it. In the 6 weeks I have been here, I have seen Susana change completely.

We also had a really neat experience with Luz and Pancho. They are a couple that are about 56 years old and they are inactive members that are reactivating slowly by slowly. In the past they were perhaps the most strong family here in Santa Barbara....with 5 children who were also members of the ward. Now a couple things have happened which pushed them away...but now they are coming back. We had an amazing lesson with them yesterday. Pancho is a really good man. He is a hard worker and he is really sensitive to things of the spirit. We taught them about becoming like Christ and perservering till the end. Because that is what we need to do. They both shared with us stories from the past when they have seen miracles or when they have been able to help other people. They know that its all thanks to this gospel that these things happened. I know that a tiny bit of faith really does move mountains.

I read a scripture the other day in Matthew- For men, this is impossible, but for God, everything is possible. That is so true. I know that for the mind of a natural man, giving up ten percent of your income is ridiculous! Giving up one day a week for the Lord to go to his church doesnt seem like it would benefit you much to a natural man. Giving up two years of your life and spending all of your hard earned money doesnt seem very smart....but that is for the natural man. For God, everything is possible. He told us that He would pour out blessings...even more than we would be able to contain. I know that is true. "If we keep the commandments, we will prosper in the land"

On Friday, I was able to do interchanges with Elder Burch. He was in my district in the MTC, so it was really cool to be able to work with him for a day! I went to the area called German Avenue (Avenida Alemania) in Los Angeles. This certain area is really really RICH..so we were basically tracting trying to get in a bunch of mansions. We actually were able to get in 4 houses! It was great. We had some really spiritual lessons and we found one specific lady who was one prepared from our Heavenly Father. She is really alone and doesnt have friends other than her husband. Toward the end of the visit she broke down and started crying and crying about how alone she is and how happy she is to talk to us....she said she feels something really special when we are talking to her. (this is someone we met like 15 minutes before!) I know that missionaries really are set apart as representatives of Christ to teach his gospel. My testimony keeps growing about how there are SO MANY PEOPLE in the world that need the gospel....they just dont know where to find it. Everyone at first tells us "I'm busy, sorry" when we knock on their door...but if we bug them enough to get in, 100% of the time we become their friend and they want us to come back. Its just about getting over that initial shock of "AHH, MORMONS!"

One regret I have from before I came here is not sharing the gospel enough when I had the chance. And now the chances are gone! Dont let these precious opportunities pass by. Dont be like me.

Tender Mercy- Answers to prayers. There have been a few times lately where I felt really tired...I mean completely-physically-wiped-
out-dead-toasted-cant-move-another-inch-or-I-will-fall-down-dead tired. In Preach My Gospel it says, "continue working until you have down everything you can, even when you are tired." And then it also advises "pray for strength."   I have put that to the test many times and somehow, miraculously, my exhaustion and tiredness disappear. "For men, this is impossible, but for God, everything is possible"

Another tender mercy is that this week, we went to Quilaco a couple times....a tiny town that is about a half an hour walk away from Santa Barbara. We got out of a lesson a little late and we barely missed the last bus for the night back to Santa Barbara, so it looked like we would just walk. The only problem is the danger of the road to walk back on and the rain and the pitch blackness and the coldness. We started walking back...and after a little while another bus came by, it was the bus to take workers up to an electrical plant that is getting built in the mountains...its not a bus that takes normal people back and forth places. And on top of that, the driver was done for the night, but he stopped and told us that he would take us back without charge. So that was a huge blessing!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I love you all...I continue praying for you. Pray for me...in this freezing cold town out in the middle of Chile! BYE!

Elder Gomez

fotos:
-Me getting ready to go hunting.
-Me with "krac"
-Me with my zone here in Los Angeles
-Chopping wood
-Chopping wood
-Go Chile!
-Ishmael and the horsie. Ishmael is our investigator who is going to get baptized on the 30th.








Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A week of action :)

July 11, 2011
HEY everyone! How is it going!?

The week started off by us welcoming in our new mission president, President Martinez! We had a conference to meet him and his family. He is a man from here in Chile, in Los Angeles, actually only about an hour away from where I am right now in Santa Barbara. He is pretty young for a mission president....only about 35-40 yearss old. His wife is amazingly nice and tender and he has three kids who are 9, 7, and 4. They are really cute and funny. I'm really excited to learn a lot from them.

In the same conference we were able to receive training from the assistants and we talked about bringing the spirit to the most important parts of the lesson, especially the first vision. One of the assistants is Elder Rubilar. He is a great example to me and has become one of my good friends..I'll attach a picture of him. He is one of the most hard working missionaries I know...if not THE hardest working! He called me this week to ask if I would share something at the conference about obedience...one thing that I have been obedient to in the mission and that has blessed me. It was a cool experience.

As part of almost every conference, we hear the testimonies of the missionaries that are leaving. Elder Rubilar is leaving but he didnt get up...I didnt know why, so at the VERY end of the conference I said, "Hey, what about you Elder Rubilar?! How about your farewell speech?!" And everyone said, "yeah!" So he got up stubbornly and shared probably one of the strongest and firmest testimonies that I have ever heard in my life! It was very short and very strong! He is so sad to be leaving. He thanked me afterward for getting him to do it. He said he knew he had to do it but he didnt want to. I think he's like in denial that he's leaving the mission so soon! Ha ha. But his example will always stick with me as someone who has given EVERYTHING to the mission and is working until the very end. He loves this work so much and he loves the Savior.

This week was action packed. It was one of the best weeks of my mission. I dont know how to explain it really. Nothing really SUPER interesting happened...its just that me and my companion got so lost in the work it was great. Santa Barbara needs a lot of work so there is plenty to do. We did a bunch of service projects this week from painting cars, chopping wood, to tilling gardens. It was really neat to have that opportunity to grow to love people more through service! We also taught a lot of lessons! One of the men who we helped is named Ernest who we found yesterday. He is an old man who I saw working in the yard who looked way too old to be doing what he was doing, so I stopped and yelled to him and asked if we could help him. He said "no, no, thats alright." I said..."no, I'm serious! We are here to help you. We would love you help you with your yard right now." "no, no" "but really! We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are here to serve you. Please let us come in there and help out!" "no, no, you can keep doing whatever it is you guys do." "PERFECT! This is what we do! We serve!"......it went on like that for a couple minutes....he was so stubborn. I have found that the key to reaching most stubborn people is to...be MORE stubborn! So he finally let us in and he put us right to work with a shovel and a hoe. We tilled a giant piece of land and during it I was able to get to know him and I found out that he has heart problems and he is in pain all over his body. His doctor told him not to work anymore. We actually came in a moment very precise to help him because he didnt know how he was going to be able to finish all of the tilling. His wife had made us a small supper by the time we were finished and we went in and we had a great visit with them. We gave them a picture of Jesus Christ and taught a little lesson and prayed with them and gave them our phone number and we made sure that he understood that whenEVER he needs help he has to call us and not try to do it on his own.
It just makes me so sad that there are people like him that have no choice but to work....even when they shouldnt be.

So like I was saying, this week was great. We found many new investigators and they are all great! One of our goals this week for me and my companion was to follow the schedule exactly. It paid off and we were happy. We had SEVEN inactive members come back to church which was just great :) We hope to keep that up. There have been so many miracles that have happened. Many times when we were guided by the spirit literally-

As soon as we left the house one morning, we headed straight over to one inactive member's house (Rafael) because not everyone in his family are members of the church. We got to what we thought was his house, and we knocked, and another guy came out, Patricio. Patricio is actually Rafael's brother. So we knocked on the wrong house. Rafael lives on the same street but a few more houses down. Anyway, It was definitely a mistake guided by the spirit, because right off the bad Patricio started talking about how him and his wife Alejandra were thinking about coming back to church this Sunday (for the first time in years) and they wanted to talk to us. And they also want to start preparing to go to the temple to be sealed AND they had a golden reference for us, Ismael. Ismael is Patricio's best friend whose brother just commited suicide this week, and he wants to come to church and prepare to be baptized. We set up an appointment to meet with him and Ismael later that day and we did, and we had a lesson with them both and yesterday (Sunday) they all came to church! (Patricio 27, Alejandra 25, their little boy Xander 6, and Ismael 21!...and also Rafael 40, and his sons, Camilo 18 and Alan 11) Alan is not a member but he is going to get baptized now on the 30th of this month! It was a huge blessing to see them all in church.

Right after we found Patricio, we felt like we should knock the doors on a certain street, and the first house we knocked on, Yislen opened the door. She was cleaning the house, but she told us that we could come back in about 20 minutes and she would talk to us. So we came back 20 minutes later and taught her all about the restoration and the first vision and the Book of Mormon. We answered a lot of her questions because her dad is an Adventist, her mom is Evangelical, and her boyfriend is Catholic. She is just kind of in the middle. We asked her to close her eyes and picture everything that we were going to describe with the first vision. She did it and it was incredible. The spirit was there and she was touched. When we gave her the Book of Mormon and invited her to read 3 Nephi 11. She is excited for us to come back so she we can talk about how the chapter was.
AND, the coolest part about all of this is that on Saturday night we found out that Yislen is our investigator, Mitsi's SISTER! Mitsi is our investigator who wants to get baptized already, and now we randomly found her sister! We were so shocked but excited when we found out. Yislen doesnt know that her sister is going to get baptized or even that we have ever talked to her sister, so we are excited to tell her! I know that we were led by the spirit to knock on that certain street.

We were also helped this week on about three different nights, when we were walking back to our apartment in the dark and we felt very strongly not to go certain ways...ways that we normally use. I know we were protected.

Cool random fact: We called Mitsi and her almost-husband, Patricio on Saturday and it turns out that they were going to be out of town for Sunday because they were visiting Patricio's old town and ward, O'Higgins. So they would go to church over there. It just turns out that that is Elder Ryley Boman's ward, so I called him and told him that they would be coming, and to watch out for them and welcome Mitsi really warmly. He called me back and told me that they came and it was great. Awesome!

One day this week was pretty crappy.... I stepped in dog poop three times!

Funny story- We tracked into an older lady who thought us mormon missionaries do black magic because one time years ago she talked to missionaries and a blonde American missionary did a coin trick for her....(like made it disappear out of his hand or pulled it out of her ear or something) and she believed that it was real magic! Then later that night she said that a blonde dog came into her room and ripped out her soul and took off with it. Supposedly it was because of the missionary's trick earlier on that day. Anyway.....it is kind of a funny story but at the same time it strengthen my testimony of all of these little tiny mission rules that sometimes we don't think people will notice, but in reality they are important!
What happened with the lady is we actually ended up getting into her house because we told her that we are representatives of Christ and we wanted to say a prayer with her and give her a nice picture of Jesus Christ. We got in and we shared for a few minutes with her and her family and I think she feels better now about mormons. Hopefully :)

Tender Mercy- The blessings of service. It can change lives. You can be a tender mercy for people who you may not even imagine. If you ever have a thought or feeling to help someone in any way, do it! Because its the Holy Ghost telling you to because that person needs you. For real.

I love you all! Have a great week.

Elder Dallin Gomez :)

Pictures:
-Elder Cottrell with Yislen, our new investigator. He saw that she had a sega dreamcast and he was way excited so he had to get a picture. Ha ha.
-Me...with a giant hotdog.
-A dog taking a sun bath.
-Me learning the art of car painting...obviously facing the sun.
-Me and Elder Rubilar, an incredible missionary!
-Statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, a very very important man in Chile's history. He was an important man for Chile to gain their independence.





Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NINETEEN


July 4, 2011









Hey everyone, today is a great day! It is INDEPENDENCE DAY! Whooh. It is also the birthday of the town that I am in right now, Santa Barbara. It was born in 1758! Because its birthday is the 4th of July, there is a street here called "4 de Julio" ("4h of July") Dont worry, I took a picture with it! I will attach it. There are about 13 thousand people that live here by the way. Also, here is a really weird and awesome story: so this morning I was reading the Book of Mormon and randomly, I was in Alma 10:6....and what do you know?!, it talks about the 4th of July!!! Also, happy birthday Bronwyn!

For those of you who know Matthew Layton- he was in this very town, Santa Barbara about a year ago. There are still a lot of people who talk about him, he did good things here! One of the ladies who he found a year ago, Angelica, was baptized just this last month. Go Elder Layton! It is also a testimony to me of how we plant seeds when we dont even know it. Angelica told us the story of when the missionaries found her. She was having a REALLY rough time in her life...I mean really really bad time. She had just gone through some extremely hard challenges and she didnt know what to do.. She stayed in the house for a week and a half straight without leaving, changing clothes or even showering! She didnt eat or anything...just drank water. She had a crazy panic stress attack or something. After about 10 days of being in the house in her bed.....someone knocked on the door....and she had ignored the door for the last ten days, but this time she just felt like going and answering it. She creeked the door open a little bit and it was two Americans dressed in a white shirt and tie....(Elder Matthew Layton and his comp! Ha ha) She asked if they could come back in like half an hour. She took a shower, got dressed, and they came back and her life in that moment was changed forever!!! I love the gospel!

Just barely we came from a barbeque for the 4th of July that my zone did, because we are almost all Americans (minus one missionary from Uruguay and one from New Zealand) It was a great party. It makes me think a lot about how our country was founded...and upon which principles.

I love that the pledge of allegance mentions, "one nation, under God" because THAT was how this nation was founded. That was what made this country special. And now....it is changing, because people are getting worse and worse...they are believing less and less. Sinning more and MORE! I love what 2 Timothy 3:1-7 says about these last days.....and especially verse 7 says excellently what has happened to all of the so-called "geniuses" of our time. All of this bad stuff that is happening should be enough to wake some people up that the time truly is getting close when the Savior Himself will come down and reign on the earth. There is also a lot of good on the earth, temples being built all over the world, more and more converts being baptized in the world, all because the Holy Spirit touched them and testified to them that the gospel is true. It is getting more and more vital to be on the correct side of the battle. I would invite all of you just like I invite everyone who I meet here to choose the side of Christ now. Because now is the time of our probation. If you are unsure, then pray and ask and read the scriptures to find out if it is true. You don't have anything to lose, but you have so much to gain.

This week when we got back from the farewell conference we got a call that a sister in the branch died, Marina. It wasnt unexpected so that was good. Us being in the branch presidency had the responsibility to plan her viewing and funeral very suddenly, so that occupied a lot of time this week. We were able to do a lot of missionary work with the non-member friends and family of Marina. Her son Victor and his wife Miriam are some of the strong active members here, and they bore great testimonies at the funeral of the reality of the plan of salvation and the power of the ressurrection of Jesus Christ. Victor also said something that was a little strange for us to hear but kind of cool haha...he told everyone in his talk how he knows that me and Elder Cottrell are the most holy men in Santa Barbara and that everyone should take the time to talk to us and hear our message. That's a big reputation! So we are trying to live up to it! Ha ha.

I am so happy and grateful for my opportunity to represent the Lord here in Chileby preaching the gospel. It has brought so many blessing to my life that I cant even describe it. Really like it says in Mosiah 2:41, "those who keep the commandments of God are blessed in all things, spiritually and temporally" For this scripture the example of tithing is perfect. In our church we are supposed to pay 10% of our income! That is a LOT OF MONEY!! But its funny because a lot of people here have the idea that Mormons are RICH!!! Ha ha. They have the idea that we make a lot of cash by being here and that all of the members must get paid or something. When they find out that we actually pay 10% for tithing and all of the work that we do is service, they are shocked and often times dont even believe it. It doesnt make sense to the wordly mind how GIVING away your money could BLESS you and HELP you....but if you humble your prideful little mind for a couple of second and test it out, you will find that God keeps his promises, and somehow or another, you will be blessed ABUNDANTLY for paying tithing. (and for obeying every other commandment as well)

The title of the email is 19 because we went up in church attendance this week! We went from 11 last week to 19 this week! We were really excited to see a lot of people enter the church to partake of the sacrament. One of our investigators, Mitsi, is going to get baptized. We are going to set the date this week with her. She is the wife of a member who just reactivated. He bore his testimony yesterday and it was powerful.

We are having a little struggle with one of our investigators, Pilar, because she wants to come to church and prepare for her baptism, but she can never come on Sunday to church because her mom is getting really old and she is sick, so she has to take care of her 24/7. Her mom was baptized about 8 years ago and would love to come to church, but her health doesnt allow it. The reason is because it is the winter time here and in the morning time it is FREEEEEEZING COLD! If you'd like, it would help a ton to pray for her so that in some way or another her and her mom will be able to come to church. Their names are Pilar and Catalina.

Well, I still love you all and I hope that you have a great day and week. And remember for tonight-

BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE!!!!!

Tender Mercy- I know that our loving Father in Heaven helps young kids who suffer a lot in their lives. There are a LOT of families these days with parents who are just....idiots, to say it nicely. But I know that our loving Father helps them endure it. I have met so many young children and teenagers who are so strong, even though their parents are bad examples to them. "Come unto me even as a little child, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"


Love, Elder Gomez!

PHOTOS
-My zone, 4th of July BBQ
-Me and Elder Cottrell....oviously a little out of it after traveling all over Chile when we had to go to the conference to bid farewell to our dear mission president and his wife :'( We were on the bus for a good 8 hours.
-4 de Julio...(there is a street in Santa Barbara called the 4th of July!!)
-Me cooking brownies and rice crispy treats :)
-Maria and Pancho at Maria's baptism. Maria was the awesome lady who got baptized from my last area, Independencia. She was awesome and made a lot of great changes in her life. Her son Pancho baptized her. He was baptized about 3 years ago and is going to leave on his mission soon.
-Norma baptism. She was an investigator of me and Elder Hickman in Bio Bio that almost got baptized the last Saturday I was there, but a family emergency came up, so she got baptized after I left. She has an amazing love for the Savior and was baptized regardless of all of the people in her family who were against it.
-My companion with my cousin in the MTC!!!
-Another lovely lovely picture of us.
-Angelica, the lady who Elder Matthew Layton found a year ago

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