Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday from Dallin August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011
Bueno, firstly...
Happy birthday today Camilla! and....
Happy birthday Wes!!!
You both are awesome and I love you both. I cant believe it has been almost a year since I have seen each of you. Wes can talk and walk, what?!
well, this week was great. first off, we got news of transfers. the news is, elder cottrell is going to leave! (sorry, some capital letters arent working) he is going to leave to temuco. It will be sad to have him gone because we have become really good friends. we have had a lot of experiences here in santa barbara together. Well...my news is that I am going to get a new missionary here in santa barbara with me. I asked president martinez "what do you mean by "new?"" and he said "straight from the mtc!" Wow! I am going to train! It will be great. I am excited and a little bit nervous...considering the fact that I still feel like I am new here! but I know that if I trust in the Lord and keep doing what I am supposed to and if I have love, then everything will be fine. tomorrow I will go up to concepcion and we will all meet our newbies. I am excited to go back to the mission home...I havent been there since I started here in Chile. more information to come next week!
Ah...I figured out the upper-case. This week I have been full of pride....or....my mind has been thinking a lot about pride :D Because that is the great sin of the world. We just dont want to submit our will for God's will. But...like Mosiah 3:19 says, "the natural man is an enemy to God....unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirt and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord." This scripture talks about "yielding" which I think in this sense means listening and following...how often do we listen to and follow the Spirit? Or also...how often do we read and follow the scriptures?...how often do we listen and follow the living prophets? That is something we are trying to help some people here with. Some people have huge challenges in their lives and I know that the gospel will help them but they just keep rejecting it and they wont leave their pride! I know that we've all done this in our lives....we need something more. We are searching for something. What we need is the gospel! We need to start praying and reading our scriptures and going to church. That's what we need, believe it or not!
This week we had a baptism! Alan was baptized by his uncle Patricio. His baptism has brought a lot of miracles. His mom, who left the church years ago, came back and went to his baptism and left work to come to his confirmation also! (in sacrament meeting). We were so happy.
Funny story- for the last two Sundays no primary leaders have come to church....so I was able to teach primary this week and the last. I respect primary teachers a LOT more now :D All I know is that 1 room + 4 kids + 2 hours = crazy. HA!! But it was fun.
Here's a good story- We were in Los Angeles earlier this week and we passed a man on the street and started talking to him. He showed us his hand and it was pretty mangled. He told us that a dog bit it. He told us the story and it turns out that when it happened he was drunk. You would think this experience would be a good enough reason to stop drinking but nope, he told us that he is going to keep drinking! The blessings for keeping ALL of the the commandments are real!
Our investigators right now are: Mitsy, who I attached a picture of. We have been working a lot with her and her almost-husband to get them married so she can get baptized! she is the daughter of the branch president here. The only thing that is a little bit hard with them is that they live in Quilaco, which is a little tiny town outside of Santa Barbara, so its a long walk over there. We go there whenever we can.
Margaret, she is amazing. She is 24 years old and she is a "chosen" of the Lord that was really just waiting until a missionary found her. She has accepted everything we have taught her and is probably going to be my new companion's first baptism out here in the field because she is going to get baptized in the middle of September. I have seen a huge change with her since we found her only 3 weeks ago. The gospel really does change lives and it is the only way we can be truly successful in this life. She has two sons who are 5 and 3 years-old and they are awesome.
Daniela (19) and Rosio (13)...sisters. Daniela is in one of the pictures. She is the girlfriend of Ricardo, the branch presidents son. We randomly found Rosio, her little sister, in the street and she came to church and loved it.
Those are are main investigators. We have some more, but they arent progressing as much as these ones. Alan just got baptized...so he is no longer an investigator :)
A sad story from this week is that a man in our stake, from the town of Mulchen...died. A tree fell on top of him and he died the next day. There are sister missionaries in Mulchen and it was very hard for them. Sister Noxon and Sister Barlow. Sister Noxon has the same time as me in the mission and flew with me to Chile. And Sister Barlow is leaving tomorrow! So it was a sad thing to have happen at the very very end of your mission. The man who died was the ward mission leader in their ward and was basically the only member who really helped them. I called them the day after it happened and I told them a joke to cheer them up. I'll tell it to any of you who need a cheer-up. --
               *In a pirate accent*   What's a pirate's favorite letter?!?!    ....most people say ARRRGGG!!! ("R")      NO! It's "P"! Looks like an "R" but is missin' a leg!
But anyway, I brought this up to talk about the knowlege that we have about the plan of happiness that our Father in Heaven has for us. Not very many people know what happens when we die. But I have to tesitify to this question- When a man dies, will he live again?? The answer is YES. Yes, he will. Thanks to the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Tender Mercy- Divine help that we receive as missionaries...in the language, in having strength each day, in teaching people, in finding people. This is truly the Lord's work. He just said, give me everything you have....and I will duplicate all of that and give you 100 times more. We are TOOLS... :D If we give ourselves to the Lord, He will increase our capacities to love, to be happy, to help, to work, to grow, to do everything... "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Bye bye for now. I love you all.
Elder Gomez
-Mudshrimp soup
-Baptism of Alan, by his uncle Patricio (who reactivated and got married at the beginning of the month so he could be worthy)
-The branch president's wife (Agustina) and son (Ricardo) and Ricardo's girlfriend, Daniela, who is one of our investigators! She has great questions and wants to learn so much. 
-Us with our investigator Mitsy and her basically-husband, Patricio, who is a member. Mitsy is awesome....all they need to do is get married and she is going to get baptized.
-Me and Patricio sucking up shrimp.
-Me with all of the mud shrimp that we got.
-Patricio and Elder Cottrell suckin shrimp.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dallin Email August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Hola hola,

Time is going by so fast! It is already the end of August. That means school is starting up again, and that means that Carlos is now in high school, Naomi is now in middle school, and Tali and Siera are now the oldies of high school. What in the world? And this transfer is almost over already! Next week I will tell you whether me or Elder Cottrell is going to leave.

Right at this very moment, the word to describe me is tired. I suppose that is good, it means that we have been working...and indeed we have! We worked really hard this week with our investigators to get them progressing towards the ordinances of the gospel and we have seen some miracles. The first miracle is Margaret. I've talked about her before..she showed up a couple weeks ago and has been progressing quickly ever since. We have been able to teach her nearly every day and she keeps telling us to come back because the gospel is changing her life for the better. She feels really good. She came to church on Sunday and she loved it AND....she gave me a gift on Friday night...the rest of her last ever pack of cigarettes! She handed them to me and said, "take them!" :) :) :) One of the best gifts I have ever received! She is going to get baptized on the 10th of September.

Alan is our other investigator who has a baptismal date. He is an awesome kid. He 11 and his dad is an inactive member who has been Reactivating little by little. On Sunday we stopped by their house in the morning and they were both ready and they were just finishing up breakfast and said that they would be right behind us, so we were pretty happy....then, Sacrament meeting passes, they never showed up...We were so confused and bumbed out because they didnt come. We need to have a big lesson soon with them about honesty and the Sabbath day! Speaking of Sabbath Day, we have kept the assistance here above twenty for the last 5 or so weeks. When i got here the average assistance was 14 and now its 28 or something. We are really happy about that. Double!

This week the weather has been so tempermental! The other day it started hailing balls a little bit smaller than the size of gobstoppers. They hurt so bad! It would hail for about 5 minutes, then stop, then hail, and stop...about 5 times it did that. I mean HEAVY hailing. And then for the last few days it has been sunny.

 By the way, I dont know if I have mentioned it, but I am the ward pianist here (its actually an ancient keyboard so i guess technically the "ward keyboardist" I am basically in charge of everything that has to do with music here. President Martinez made a promise to us in the last conference. He said that whatever goal that we have in life, we can accomplish it here in the mission better than any other time, because we have the spirit. I know that is true, because i have always had the goal to be better at piano and be able to play more hymns, and all of the sudden I am able to play hymns 100% easier than before. I think its because i am trying to have a willing heart by showing God that i am willing to use all the talent i have, and hopefully, like in the parable, it will be multiplied. I have seen the truthfulness of that here.

A miracle that happened this week was with Pancho, a very long-time member. He has lived together, unmarried to another member, Luz, for YEARS. I'm talking more than 20 years. He also has a problem with the Word of Wisdom. On Sunday after church, we had lunch with him and he dropped the news on us that he has basically hit rock bottom and he has decided that he is going to change so he can prepare himself for eternal life. He is going to separate from Sister Luz! And he is going to stop drinking forever. He wants to take the sacrament so bad and he wants to be able to be a leader in the church again. he wants to go to the temple. He has been humbled a lot lately and it has finally brought him to this moment when he is going to do it all. it would be ideal for them to get married, but Luz doesnt want to because she has a little pride in her heart. So, he is going to just leave. i am so happy that he is going to start repenting!

Tender Mercy- The tender mercy for this week is one of the most amazing experiences that has ever happened to me in my life!
Me and my companion had just left a lesson and we quickly visited two inactive members to remind them for church the next morning this was Saturday night) So we get out of the second inactive member's house and the feeling was just a little weird...at this point in the night it was about 8:30, and we had a meeting in the church at 9 with the branch president...so we were pondering between three things, going to one house, going to another house, or going to the church...and i asked my companion which out of the three we should do. He was just staring straight ahead and then looked at me and said in a very serious voice (this is weird because my companion is normally pretty crazy), "something isn't right"  and at that exact moment an extremely strong terrible feeling shot through my body. One of the worst, if not the worst feelings I have ever felt in my life. It was so strong and insane and i knew something was NOT right! I told him I felt it too and asked what we should do and he said "lets go straight to the church." So we went to the church and to our surprise the branch president had arrived early anyway...I know for a fact that we were protected from SOMETHING! I dont know what, but whatever it was it wasn't good at all.

Well, I love you all, hope you have a great week.

Elder Gomez

-I may have found the end of the rainbow!
-a family home evening that we had with a really cool family. We played a game with times called "the cat and the mouse"
-A way awesome family that we found. He is native indian (pehuenche) and she is from the city (Santiago) not very often you see a couple like that! He taught us some Mapundungun (the language that the indians speak)
-The funniest sign ever... it says "beware of dog" but i think it looks like a lion! :D
-baby kitty
-Salta de Laja (the awesome waterfall)
.....and, McDonalds flying high in all parts of the world! :D

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 15th email

August 15, 2011
Dear family and friends,
First off, thank you so much for the package and letters family! It was highly appreciated. Secondly, Miracles are real! I am so glad to hear that you are alright Tali!
This week we had a conference and President Martinez talked to us about having a "willing mind and heart". We cant progress in this life...or in the gospel, if we dont have a willing mind and heart. But what does it mean to have a willing mind and heart? Firstly, it means to be humble. To be humble means to put our own wisdom aside and take counsel from others, especially from Our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we dont KNOW exactly why we do things, but we do know that they bring blessings. In all things we need to have a willing mind and heart. I have seen so many miracles this week from people having "willing minds and hearts" which I will write in a few minutes.... At the end of the conference we had some talents by some missionaries. At the last conference of our old mission president, president Swenson, he said that in one word to describe all of us sitting there....was talent. So from now on, we will have a couple talents at every conference. This conference, Elder Arnett, my old companion from the MTC, played an amazing piano piece, and another Elder (who doesnt know how to read music) played a different song on the piano. A sister missionary put her whole fist into her mouth. It was cool!
Margaret is an investigator who we found last week and we started teaching and challenged her to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. She has been accepting everything we have taught her and it has been one of the most amazing experiences to be a part of teaching her. This week we taught her about the doctrine of Christ, the restoration of the church, the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity. My favorite to teach her was the law of chastity. We actually were able to teach the law of chastity TWICE this week! The full lesson! To Margaret and to Mitsy and Patricio. I think I like this lesson so much because of how bad this world is getting and how much it needs the precious truths incorporated in the law of chastity. I know without a doubt that this commandment is a commandment that was restored to the earth in this dispensation. I have a huge testimony of the real blessings that we receive by living the law of chastity. And part of the law of chastity is pornography! In the world today, respect for others and respect for oneself are going down the drain...and its destroying individuals and families. This is all thanks to pornography! Like President Hinckley said, it's POISON. I dont know if you all have ever seen this, but.... http://combatingpornography.org/cp/eng/  Things like this website are testimonies today that this is a living church, that we have a living prophet on the earth, and that God wants to help us today just like with people in ancient times.
We also taught Margaret about the Word of Wisdom. I challenged her to never buy another pack of cigarettes again, and she commited that she wouldnt. And she hasnt! :) :) :) Something that Margaret has been saying ever since the first lesson we have had with her is how she feels. She keeps saying how good she feels as we have taught her. She said that she feels peaceful and calm and happy and she is just happy all the time now. We read her Gatations 5:22-23. We testified that this is because the spirit is testifying to her that our message is true. The best secret to stop smoking....even if its not accepted by the smart scientists of the world, is the Holy Ghost. As the Spirit comes into your life, the temptation to smoke leaves. If you dont believe try it! I have seen it time and time again. Pray that you will be able to overcome the temptation, read the scriptures, and you will be able to stop any temptation. Not by any gum or pills or anything, but the Spirit.
Alejandra and Patricio are doing good as a happily married couple. Alejandra is the only member in her family, and she has the goal to get married in the temple in a year. She is a little disappointed though because her family wont be able to be there for it. Before they got married we felt prompted to tell her that if she gets married and keeps doing everything possible that she can do to go to the temple, that miracles will happen with her family. Well....her mom came for the wedding and at first she was pretty stand-offish with the gospel. Two weeks later, (just a few days ago) when she went back to Santiago, she was a completely different person. I gave her a Book of Mormon and "The Living Christ" and she is willing to learn more about the church now. I love the blessings we receive from the gospel. The gospel is real.
Funny story- One day this week I was so tired that when we said the closing prayer at the end of a lesson I fell asleep! All of the sudden I jerked awake and said "amen!" and they laughed at me...ha ha. I guess that means we have been working hard. We have been doing everything we can here in Santa Barbara. There is no better feeling than getting home and laying down in your bed knowing that you gave your all another day :) I love the work of the Lord.
Crazy random story- The other day we contacted this guy sitting in his garage and he had some blood on his shoe and I asked him what happened and he said that they just killed a goat, so I went into the backyard and there was a goat hanging upside town skinned with his throat cut! It was pretty crazy.
Miracles- This week Mitsy (investigator) and Patricio (member) told us an amazing story. They wanted to pay tithing, so they did, and the next DAY someone called Patricio to do a job for them and they earned the exact amount that they paid in tithing. Also, Patricio told us that years ago when he was first baptized, he paid tithing for the first time, 60 dollars, and LATER THAT AFTERNOON, he did something for someone in his work that costed 25 dollars, but they said they would pay him 60 dollars instead. They insisted that they pay him 60 dollars for the job! That was the first day he ever paid tithing.
Remember that scripture?, "I will open the windows and poor out blessings....so many that you will not be able to contain them all!" Well, its true.
when I saw it...it was right when I was having a little bit of a hard time. I was a little down because of Santa Barbara and all of the inactive members. But when I saw the moon and the stars and the few clouds passing slowly in front of it in the night sky, I felt overcome with the warmth of the Holy Ghost and I knew without a doubt that God IS there and that HE CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH! There is no other even CLOSE to rational possibility about what could have happened to create this amazing universe. It didnt just "appear" one day or get "banged" into place! Just LOOK at the sky one night. Look at it! Look at the moon and the stars and the earth........how can you say there was no creator? I know that He is our Heavenly Father because I have felt it. I have felt it more strongly than any other feeling in my life. Pray and ask. Thats all you have to do.
I love you all, thanks for everything. Dont forget to read the scriptures and pray with your family each day.
photo at top:
A random family that we met on Saturday. The family is going through many problems, but we taught a little about the gospel and they want missionaries to pass by, so we gave their info to the sisters of their area (they dont live in Santa Barbara) They are awesome...even though I only knew them for about 20 minutes.

This photo is awesome! And very true! In English it says, "Children more than 7 years of age pay ride completely." How true this is with the gospel too! :)


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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dallin has never been so excited about a wedding!

August 9, 2011

Hey everyone!
A lot of stuff happened this week. I will try to blurt it all out in an orderly fashion.
First off, we had a wedding!! It was amazing. Patricio and Alejandra got married and now Patricio will be worthy to be able to baptize his nephew Alan who we have been working with. This moment when we were in the civil office as they were getting married was one of the happiest moments of my life! The spirit was so strong in there and I knew that this is what they should be doing. I love this gospel and the joy it brings to us. Patricio's mom told me that every single pair of missionaries have tried to get her son married for about 7 years now...but none of them were able to until me and Elder Cottrell got here. They said for some reason we are different from others. It was a tender mercy for me to hear that and I am glad that my testimony and faith in Christ is helping some people. I know its not anything of our own doing...its the Lord being able to work through and use us as we put ourselves in the right place.
The best part about this wedding was that it was my birthday present because my birthday was this week! There is not any way better to celebrate your birthday than this!
(ps- I'm not really 20 years old am I?)
So, to explain a little bit about this week...normally each week we have a goal to contact 140 people. This means talk to knock doors...in the street...wherever, but 140 people we invite to church and to hear the gospel and to repent and get baptized. Well, this week our new mission president talked with all of the leaders in the mission and they decided to up the goal this week....to 490! Nice. Well, at first it seemed a bit high...but we talked a lot about trusting in the Lord and having faith to follow him and just do it. The goal of this is to show the Lord that we really do care about finding the people who are prepared to be baptized into the gospel...and we know that if we show our faith and obedience then we will find those people. So me and Elder Cottrell talked to many people this week! We ended up surpassing our goal and we talked to over 600 people! It wasnt easy, but it was worth it, and I know that our mission president is an inspired man.
We found many people this week because of this and we were able to have many amazing experiences. One blessing was Margaret. One morning we found Margaret in the entrance to a cyber (a place to do internet) She works there and was standing there with another lady...and we went up and introduced ourselves and invited them to hear more about this message. The other lady rejected very fast but Margaret said yes, so we returned the next day and we found out that a few years ago Margaret's mom was doing REALLY bad. She was taking pills and she was depressed. The missionaries found her and she was converted to the gospel of Christ and she was baptized and her life changed 180 degrees. Margaret saw this change in her mom and was basically just waiting for us to come up and invite her as well! We taught her the doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, the holy Ghost...) and she accepted a baptismal date! We were so happy and overwhelmed that she was so willing. At the point in the lesson when we were teaching her about the Holy Ghost I felt prompted to read from Galations 5:22-23. As I did, I asked Margaret if she was feeling any of these feelings in this moment, and she said yes definitely. We testified that it was the Holy Ghost confirming the truth of what we were teaching her. She is going to be baptized on September 3rd, and we need to teach her more and help her start keeping some of the commandments. Finding her was certainly a tender mercy for me and my companion. I know that when we do our part, the Lord does His. (D&C 82:10)
One awesome random thing that happened this week has to do with soccer. We were passing by some teenagers playing baby soccer (soccer on a small cement court) so I walked up to them and invited them to play soccer every Saturday at the mormon church at 10:30 am. They said, "hey, do you want to play a little game right now?" We really couldnt so we said maybe another time, because we had to leave. Plus we are pretty bad at soccer. But then I asked if I could try to score a goal really quick. So they threw me the ball and one of the guys went as goalie, and I put the ball down. I went to kick it and aimed for one of the top corners. To my surprise, it went exacly where I wanted it to (I've been practicing :D) and it hit off the pole in the corner and rebounded in. I was like, "GOAAL!" And then we walked off. Ha ha. As we walked away they were like "what?! he said he wasnt good!"
Proof that miracles do happen! :D Or maybe just luck... :D Either way, it was cool, and I know that they will listen to missionaries in the future now because we have super soccer power!
There are teenagers here called "flaites" who are like the "soccer gangsters" basically, who dress uniquely and they think they are so dangerous but not really. At least not unless they are in packs. But I like becoming friends with them. Most of them are really cool kids, but when they are all together they go down in intelligence points. lol
We are trying our best to be friends with everyone we possible can here in Santa Barbara.
If you are wodering if I have grown much since I got here, this story will answer that... On my birthday, a really good friend of mine who is another missionary here called me on my birthday and said "Hey....Elder Gomez!! How does it feel to be 20 years-old........stuck in the body of a 13 year-old Mexican?" Heh.. He thinks he is funny...alright it was a little funny. And it answers your question- no, I guess I havent grown much :)
One day this week we found a girl named Rosio walking in the street, we talked to her, invited her to come to church. She said she actually has a friend who goes to church. She named off Ricardo, the son of the branch president. She said that he is the boyfriend of her sister! Her sister is Daniela, who is a slower-progressing investigator of ours. But anyway, we said, "awesome! Could we come by and share something with you and your sister?" She said that her parents didnt like our religion..so we were bumbed out for a second, but then she cut our disappointment off by saying "but that doesnt matter because I have to choose my own religion and I like yours!" We just stood there with our mouths open because its not very often at all you hear something like that...first of all that a 13 year-old is being bold when it comes to making her own important decisions even against her parents...and secondly, that she said she likes OUR religion! That is very rare! But we were excited. We invited her to come to church if she could.
Sunday came along....our little branch was all going to go to stake conference in a van. So we went to the church to wait for the van and all of the sudden guess who walks up, Ricardo, Daniela, and ROSIO! What? (its one of those moments when your joy is overflowing) There are some investigators who we have tried to get to church for ages and they never com! And Rosio just shows up! It was really cool.
Its also really neat because we would never have found Margaret or Rosio this week (and many other awesome people that I dont have time to mention) if we wouldnt have received the challenge to do 490 contacts!
I know that really, we receive the testimony AFTER the trial of our faith. We found many amazing people at the VERY end of the day! After we had worked our tails off all day without much success....and at the very end we find several people who are willing. Its not just chance, I KNOW that the Lord blesses us when we keep his commandments. Remember Ether 12:6...we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. I testify of the truthfulness of this scripture.
I tesify to you all that I am happy when I am doing what I am supposed to. When I am keeping the commandments. For real, this is an eternal principle. We cant be completely happy unless we are like Christ. (loving, humble, patient, obedient...etc.) Hopefully we all try to be more like him by repenting in the areas we need to and becoming better!
To explain the difference in weather from here and there, today we had a snowball fight with our zone and the other Los Angeles zone up in the mountains right by a volcano.
I thank you all for the birthday wishes. I love you all and pray the best for you.
Elder Gomez

-Me and my cute chow chow
-Me and Ryley Boman up in the snow by the Antuco volcano
-Me and Elder Tavernier by the freezing cold river
-The volcano is back in the fog.
-Me and my goat!
  -the wedding!

Tender Mercy- Patricio's and Alejandra's wedding. There was perhaps nothing more satisfying that has happened to me in my life than being a part of that and feeling the spirit so strongly.