Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dallin Email - FASTING is GREAT

September 26, 2011
Hello everyone,

Shoutout to the newest October Ensign!!! The Book of Mormon is awesome! I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that is true and it testifies that Jesus is our Savior and the Redeemer of the  world.

This week we had some good stuff happen. BUT...of course with all of the good stuff, there has to be some opposition as well! One example being that one day this week we tracted into a man who wasnt the nicest fella alive. He immediately called us all sorts of names and said some stuff that I was pretty confused about. Apparently us missionaries are only here to get out of military service! Mom and dad, why didnt you tell me earlier what I was getting out of?! No, I'm just kidding. Even though there are some party poopers every now and then, the good things that happen always outweigh the negative! 

One cool thing has to do with one of our investigators, Juanito. He is an 18 flaite (gangster or thug) His sister just got baptized last week and he wants to follow her example but we havent been able to find him or teach him still. So one day me and my companion were walking downtown in Santa Barbara and I said "man, I want to find Juanito so we can teach him something" and right then we go around a corner and there he is walking toward us with his friend! Wow! Ha ha. I was thought *not coincedence*  Then a few days later, we went to Juanito's uncle's house, who is a member, and we asked him when he thought a good time to have a lesson with him, Juanito and Ismael would be. (Ismael is another investigator) He said that he can whenever but we just need to talk to Juanito. But he said Juanito is out in his house in the country and he wouldnt come until the weekend....but right then, Juanito walked in front of his house with Ismael! Ha ha. *Not coincedence* went through my mind again! I know that the Lord is part of this work. We were able to talk to Juanito and help him make a plan to stop some of his vices to start preparing for baptism. 

We had some good lessons with Daniela this week. We taught her the law of chastity which was great. She commited to live it and she is excited about general conference this weekend. Her baptismal date is for the 8th of October. We told her to bring whatever question she has to the conference and we promised her that it will be answered. I also invite any of you who would like to do the same.

Our investigator Margaret has had a little trouble with being able to come to church. She has only come once because of the difficult circumstances of having to take care of her old sick grandpa and this week she was for sure going to come and then her godfather died! She knows the gospel is true and wants to get baptized so much but its been hard for her to come. I think its because we didnt sing "Saturday is a special day" to her this week like I said we would....just kidding. We will continue praying for her and trying to help her get to church. 

One of our investigators, Mitsy, has been having some really tough challenges. She has a lot of sicknesses and she is struggling right now in her family life as well. Not with Patricio, her partner, but with other family members. We have been trying really hard to help her and Patricio (member) to get married so they can live the law of chastity and so Mitsy can get married. One of the sicknesses that Mitsy has is keeping them from being intimately close because it is contageous. She doesnt want to give the disease to Patricio...so she has prayed a lot so that the disease can go away and they can be like a normal couple again....but....it made me think, can we really ask God to cure us or make us stronger so that we can CONTINUE sinning? I dont know if you are catching my drift? She wants to be cured so that she can keep breaking the law of chastity. Its like asking God if he can make us strong so we can go beat someone up or something. It doesnt make sense. I hope she gets better, but I hope she can understand that God wants her to get MARRIED after that! 

OH! I have some great news! We are no longer the counselors to the branch president! YAAYYY! We are so stoked. We have been praying and working for this day. And it has come! The branch is growing and we are seeing miracles. I love this work and I love the fruit of this work. The fruit of the tree of life that is exceedingly delicious and satisfying! (the love of God) and what I love the most is when others come to taste the fruit also. 

This week we had a miracle...we have been struggling to find more investigators, so we fasted on Saturday and invited all of the branch to fast with us for those who do not know God (Alma 6:6) For the inactive members, for everyone here... Well, just a few hours into the fast, me and my companion felt like we should visit a certain man who we contacted last week, Pablo. So we went to his house (right in front of the church) He let us in and he started conversing with us about his live. He has felt really alone the last couple years...and he has had a lot of challenges. He is searching for something but he doesnt really know what. We kept talking to him, feeling like there was more to it that just that, and finally we gained his confidence and he finally said that his wife died two years ago and right afterward he lost his job. It was extremely hard for him and he was left with three kids and jobless. He got another job, but the hole caused by the death of his wife continues to be a huge challenge for him. We talked about the resurrection and he really struggles to believe in the resurrection now. We read from 1 Corinthians 15 to him about the resurrection, especially v. 14 I think and v. 22 I think....that yes, we will live again. He still was a little doubtful. BUT, then we pulled out the Book of Mormon. We opened up to Alma 11:42-45. *By the mouth of two or three witnesses my word shall be established* By this second witness he was really touched. The whole time the spirit was so strong and he was just so shocked by us....by these two teenagers filling a hole in his life with joy and hope that he never thought would be filled. The Spirit was so powerful in the house. I know that we dont teach anything, the Spirit does. He said that he knows that the resurrection is real now. And we left the Book of Mormon with him and he is going to read it and pray and come to church. We finished the visit by singing "I know that my Reedemer Lives" and the Spirit was indescribable! I love the gospel and I know that fasting is a real and true principle of the gospel! 

One Saturday we played futbol with all of the little kids in the town and after we had english class. The English class turned more into us teaching them about faith and prayer. We taught that faith means that we believe strongly in something....so we WORK towards that. Like a soccer game...we have faith we can win so we PRACTICE! We also commited every one of them to pray every day. It was great!

Funny story- There is a funny man here, he is about 55 or 60 years old and he is a stay-at-home-dad who plays video games all day. He only has one game though, Gran Turismo 4, which he has played all day, every day, for the whole year. He invented a whole system to play the game in the most comfortable way possible. He is the nicest guy! One of his sons is actually a member, so hopefully something can spark in him. His name is Fidel.

Tender Mercy- The blessings we receive from following the commandments. They are always in abundance! Share with someone...anyone, a friend, family member, etc. that "if they keep the commandments, they will PROSPER in the land!" Finding Pablo and his family was a huge tender mercy for us. Fasting is great. 

Love you all, 
Elder Gomez

photos
-Welcome to Quilaco, one of the little towns outside of Santa Barbara.
-On the bridge to Quilaco, with the beautiful Chilean landscape behind.
-Quilaco bridge
-Me and Fidel, our video game friend.
-Me with our investigator Rodrigo and his family. He is learning English and has become one of my really good friends here. 
-Elder Barton with Fidel.
 





 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DOUBLE WEEK

Hello everyone!

Shout out to TALI....Ms. Homecoming Queen you! and......HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEEEEEEEEVVVVIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I hope you are able to eat a lot of cake) :) Wow! 10 years old!! You are old now! Just slow down a little bit and wait until I get home to grow more!

It's been a while since I have been able to write you all. Here are some of the things that have been happening:
First off, I have been really focusing on my personal study lately and how I can study better. I remembered something that the old mission president's wife, Sister Swenson, told us. She said that a its not studying unless you have a pen/pencil and paper. Its true. A lot of the time I would just read the scriptures or Preach My Gospel, but I have started writing down thoughts, impressions, etc. more so that in the future I can receive those same feelings again...maybe when I need them even more. I am glad, however, that I have not missed my journal writing. I know that keeping a journal is so important. Think about it, what if the prophets in the scriptures wouldnt have kept journals? We wouldn't have the scriptures! I have been very blessed to be able to read back in my journal and see things in a different perspective and with different challenges at the time.

Another thing that I have pondered about is my mission...what my mission is. Even though I talk to people every day, it can still be a little nerve wracking. The other week I was praying about it and talking to my companion about it. And I had the spirit teach me that I gave my life to God for two years. That means that I need to open my mouth all the time and preach the gospel, and never close it. NEVER! I am here to tell as many people as I can about the restoration of the gospel. It doesn't matter if its uncomfortable to me, or if I am scared, I just have to do it. I will never regret it. Whether the person lets me in their house or slams the door in my face it doesn't change the fact that I was in the place the Lord wanted me to be, and that's all I needed to do. It was such a comforting feeling to realize that I gave myself to my Heavenly Father completely....and then I thought about and felt the blessings from giving him myself. He will take care of me for the rest of my life if I am faithful. He took my investment, and if I let Him, He will duplicate that by a hundred! Its so amazing what the gospel does for us! I am so so so so blessed.

We had a baptism this weekend. Carol (16) got baptised. She had a strong desire to follow Jesus Christ and get baptised. Her decision has helped her family a lot. Her mom is the only member in her immediate family and she has been inactive for 10 years or so, but her baptism has helped her start the way back to church. Also, her brother Juan (18) has decided to take the step of baptism as well :) In his exact words...(he came up to Carol and said) "Carol, I had hope that if you never got baptised we would be in hell together. But now that you are baptised you are leaving me alone with dad! I want to be with you and mom!" Ha ha. I dont think that's exactly how it works :D but it was good that he has made the decision to learn about the gospel to prepare for baptism. We are going to start teaching him so that he can drop his bad habits and get baptised.

At the end of last week, on Sunday, we were very tired from the weeklong work that we had done. We had knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people but without much luck at all. We kept going and at the VERY end of the week, the night of Sunday, September 11th to be exact, Rodrigo (15) let us in and we shared with him about the Book of Mormon. His mom, Maritza walked in the house after a few minutes and she looked so...sad. They were both very quiet and it looked like Maritza had some problems with a few commandments. We introduced the Book or Mormon and answered many of their questions and it turns out that Maritza has a brother who is a bishop in Talcahuano. By the end of the visit they were feeling a lot better and they were excited to read the Book of Mormon. I asked them if they ever feel like they are imprisoned in their life (emotionally or spiritually) it's kind of a weird question, but I know that it was the Holy Ghost that helped me ask it. Maritza right away said "yes, I do" and we explained how the gospel will help them escape these feelings.  Again, I know that good things happen to those who wait and are diligent to the end. We wouldn't have found these two if we weren't diligent. Ether 12:6. AFTER the trial of our faith. Patience truly is a virtue.

We have been working a lot with Daniela (19), girlfriend of the branch president's son. She is progressing a lot, and she is to the point that she is praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if she should get baptised on the 1st of October. We asked her if she would be willing to be baptised on the 1st if she received an answer from the Holy Spirit that these things were true and she accepted. I know that she will receive an answer because she has shown her "real intention" to God. Its so rare to find someone here who is willing to follow the Lord whichever way he directs them. Daniela is awesome! Pray for her that she can get an answer!

Margaret (24) is going to get baptised on October 7th now. He baptismal date keeps moving forward because she isn't able to come to church. She managed to come church and I think that if she prays and thinks about it she can find a way to make it. She knows the church is true and is willing to keep all of the commandments and laws of the gospel, and she wants to come to church so bad but she has to take care of her old old grandpa. She feeds him and gives him medicine, etc. She also has two little boys who make it harder also. She does everything alone because she is a single mom. But we challenged her to maybe prepare all of the things on Saturday night to get ready for Sunday so she can come. She will come this week I know it! She committed to it!!
HEY!! I just realized that there is a song about this....."♫♪ Saturday is a special day. It's the day we get ready for Sunday ♪♫" We are so going to sing this for her this week.

The next major thing to talk about is the 18th of September!!!!! It's only the biggest holiday of the year here! It is the equivalent to our 4th of July...but they take it to another level! It's a four day thing, from the 16th to the 19th, and they pass it partying and making empanadas, barbequing....etc. We had a ward activity and it was really good. The branch president came and for the first time in a long time he was really impressed with the excitement of the branch. The branch is growing! People are humbling themselves again and coming back to church which makes us so happy! The Lord is helping us have the wisdom to know what to do and where to go. One crazy thing that happened was that as we were getting ready for some games behind the court, all of the sudden this glass beer bottle fell onto the ground right next to my companion. He had just BARELY taken one step away for some reason...because the bottle would have nailed his head. It broke all over the soccer court....then all of the sudden three or four more came flying over and almost hit people. It was intense! But we were all ok. What party crashers!

Crazy story- We were almost asleep one night when all of the sudden the whole pitch black bed room lit up like day time. It was a strike of lightning. A couple seconds later thunder came and shook everything. This wasnt like any thunder I had ever heard before! It was so powerful. This thunder lasted about ten seconds and it shook everything! We were so confused what had just happened and then we finally just decided that it was just a lightning strike. A few minutes later it happened again and the same thing happened! I guess that is just the normal thunder here! Heh.

Something happened this week that I have been waiting for for a year now! We found a man that randomly lives in Australia. He is 65 years old and moved to Australia 35 years ago. His English was good but he still has a heavy Spanish accent. He was impressed by our Spanish and what we do. He has known a lot of Mormons in his life and he told us how good of people they are. He asked how long we have spoken spanish and we told him and he was just so shocked. He asked how we have learned it and so we told him that we pray every single day for the gift of tongues and God helps us a lot. He asked us about our religion and how it started and He said "you have so much faith! People in your church are so much better off that those in my church! In my church, we just go to church, leave, and forget God completely until the next week...and that's an ACTIVE member of our church! But in your church you guys are actually good people and remember God all the time!" Our examples go a long way.
And the thing that I have hoped for...the man told me as I was explaining the restoration "your Spanish is completely perfect! After one year in Australia I was still mute!" I was like yeeeeesss! :D Thank you Heavenly Father for helping me. (by the way I am far from perfect in Spanish, but I am glad that whatever I said sounded good! ha ha)

Yesterday for p-day we went into the country to find dihueñes. They are a type of fungus that grows on a certain type of trees. They are little whiteish balls, and you make salad with them. They are really good. We wandered all over the hills of Chile. It was a blast. Pictures of the experience are attached.

President Martinez and Sister Martinez have been raising the bar a lot here in the mission. It is really neat to see the change in all of us missionaries. We had the internet fast last week to help purify and santify us to have the spirit. We have been focusing on that a lot. We are striving to become real men (and women) of God.

Love you all,
Elder Gomez

Tender Mercy-
There have been many experiences recently when I have been in a lesson and I think about a certain scripture...but the only problem is that I have no idea where it is. So I open the scriptures hoping and praying that I can find it and sure enough within a few seconds there it is. The guidance of the Holy Ghost is important. I know that it can guide us in EVERYTHING if we let it.
The other thing I have thought of this week (because I have to have two tender mercies this week because I missed one) is just how Heavenly Father helps me every day to become a good teacher. I also teach the Sunday school classes in the ward and I am a horrible teacher! The first class was a little risky but the last two classes have gone smoothly. I have hope that my weaknesses will one day because strengths, like it says in Ether 12:27. We just have to be humble and come unto him. I know its true.

Pictures
-me with "chancho", a dog of some members here who always sleeps on top of their car :D
-me with a chancho....(chancho means pig :D) A member family killed this pig and we had a barbeque after Carol's baptism.
-Baptism of Carol! Her mom's families are all members. She is awesome. She had such a big desire to get baptized it was neat! Now, her example is rubbing off to her brother. He is going to be baptized on October 8th.
-Carol with her mom, Elder Cottrell, her brother Juanito (who is going to get baptized) and Xander, her cousin.
-Happy baptism cake!
-Our investigator, Daniela, at the ward activity. She helped cook the meat!
-Us after one of the games we played for the ward activity.
-ward bbq
-They have a lot of patriotism which I like a lot!
-Searching for dihueñes....Patricio and his crazy tree climbing skills.
-Me and my greenie in the greenie Chilean country side! (get it ha ha)
-Making a long pole to knock down the dihuenes (the fungus' that grow on the trees. They are tastey)
-So beautiful it hurts!
-Chilean landscape!
-DIHUEÑES!!!! Those are the little things we are trying to get!
-Me and my stick
-My attempt at climbing a tree :D
















Monday, September 5, 2011

Dallin's Email September 5, 2011

September 5, 2011

Hey family and friends! First off, just so you know, next week, I will not be writing an email. We are going to do a mission "internet fast"...so when I dont write dont worry....I will write a hand-written letter.

This week was amazing. I went to Concepcion and we all went to the mission home and I found out who my new companion is. His hame is Elder Mitchell Barton from Provo, Utah. He is way awesome! He is studying art at BYU so finally I may learn how to draw! 
One of the first lessons we had together was with Adrea, the friend of our investigator Margaret. We actually taught both of them together. We started talking about the Holy Ghost, and how that is the goal in this life...because through the Holy Ghost, we are able to have the peace that we need and when we have the spirit, everything else fits into place. We asked Margaret how she has felt in the last 3 or 4 weeks of knowing us and sharing with us. She said it has been a complete change for the better. She has basically changed all of the bad aspects of her personality around. She has really put Ether 12:27 into action. We asked Andrea (her 20 year old lonely depressed single-mom friend) if she has noted a difference in Margaret in the last few weeks and she said "wheewww!! yeah! complete turn around!" and then we asked how SHE has felt since she has talked to us every now and then. She started bawling and bawling and she said that she feels really good. She feels like when we are there all of her problems just go away and she doesnt have any worries. We asked her if she would like to have that forever through baptism, and receiving the constant companionship of the holy ghost and she said yes. She will. And same with Margaret. (when we planned the lesson, we planned that I would indicate to my new companion when he should extend the baptismal invitation) so I nudged my companion who didnt understand anything in the conversation and in his broken spanish he invited them to be baptized. They both commited to. Margaret on the 24th and Andrea hopefully in the first part of October. After we talked a little bit about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and my companion bore his testimony about how important Jesus Christ is to him in his life and as he did so he started choking up and he started crying. It was awesome. A lot of action going on in his very lesson ever! He makes someone cry, he cries, he invites someone to be baptized and they accept, AND after that lesson, we helped them paint the house a little bit and they gave us completos (hotdogs with tomatoes, avocado, and mayo) and cheese and meat empanadas. It was really neat for him to have all of these experiences happen in his first lesson. Welcome to missionary work! :)
We also have taught Daniela, an investigator who is the girlfriend of one of the branch president's sons. She has been changing a lot for the good...as in, she has softened up a lot! At first she had so many doubts about everything (which isnt a bad thing) And through the Holy Ghost she has come to feel that this gospel is right. I know that that is the real way we know all truths. When I see examples such as Andrea and Margaret and Daniela, I gain an even stronger testimony that the Holy Ghost is real. It really can come and dwell within people and change hearts....if you just let it.
Satan does a really good job of helping us forget when we have had very real spiritual experiences...but I hope everyone remembers back to the moments that they knew without a doubt that God was there...that the gospel was true. 
It has been pretty cold here. It cracks me up because my companion left the united states in the middle of summer and heat...and he gets here in santa barbara and its freeeeeezing cold. with tons of rain and even hail. :D
Here in Chile the biggest news is that an airplane with 21 people on it was lost before it landed at its destination (Fernandez Island) in southern chile. Among the 21 people were celbreties who people loved and admired and many important people economically. These thinks make you think about where we are going to go when we die. I know that we will live after this life. That is why Christ resurrected. 
We were tracting yesterday and we met these two religious men who had a lot of questions about our church. We taught the restoration to them and in the end, I asked if they knew people who need help of some sort....maybe a recent death in the family or a new baby.....the older of the two men, Luis, started crying...and his son Jorge told us that Luis' (his dad in law) wife just died 15 days ago. We asked if we could come in to say a prayer of peace for them and they let us and after we prayed the spirit was so strong in the house, and we left the peace he needed in the house. It was a really neat experience.

Well, goodbye for two weeks. Pray for the families of the 21 tragic deaths. The gospel is true. 

Tender Mercy- I realized that shortly after I was made senior companion this week.... I could understand everything that everyone says. I know that this is a miracle and that the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues is real. I also was reminded of something that my mom told me about two of my uncles who told her that the moment they became COMPLETELY fluent on their missions was the moment they were made senior companion. (because my mom asked them how long until they were fluent on their missions) and now you can add this story to it as well....the gifts of the spirit are real. Our capacity is expanded when we need it, if we are keeping the commandments of the Lord.

I am going to complete a year this week.....aaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Bye everyone :)

Elder Gomez 

photos:
-Me and my old companion, Elder Cottrell, and Margaret with her two boys.
-Us with Patricio and Alejandra and Luz and Pancho. A really awesome family here who have done so much for us and we have seen many miracles happen in their lives since we got here (we got them married! they have reactivated completely!)
-Another great family, the Figueroas. They are one of the strong families here in Santa Barbara. Their two kids, Monica and Jose and Monica's son Ignacio have reactivated since we have been here.
-Me with my son and my parents (in the mission) :D Meet Elder Barton (awesome). With President Martinez (amazing) and his wife (amazing)