Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fire fire!

October 24, 2011 
Hello hello, 

This week was crazy! It started off with a Family home evening with one of the families of members here, The Figueroas. Sister Figueroa is the relief society president and Brother Figueroa is an active member but he has a problem with the word of wisdom. He falls sometimes to alcohol. He hasnt taken the sacrament for a long time because of it. They also have 3 kids- 29 years old, 17, and 11 who were with us. We went to their house and for the lesson we read in Alma 50:1-6. (this scripture talks about the defenses that Moroni made to the city to protect themselves from the Lamanites) We discussed how it related to us today because we are also in a war...a different type of war. A spiritual war of morality and standards and principles of the gospel that are being changed drastically. Satan is trying to get to us in any possible way, and for that reason we have to build our fortifications, our defenses. I would recommend everyone to read those 6 verses. Look how many things they built to protect themselves. Just like them, we must build our defenses up or the adversary WILL be able to enter. At the end of the lesson we challenged each of them to choose one "fortification" which they lack that they are going to build up/start doing better. Among the answers were: scripture study EVERY DAY, leaving bad friends with a negative influence, going to church every week, praying every day, obeying parents. Sounds good to me!

In our district meeting we talked a lot about our vision as missionaries to baptize and we refocused ourselves on the remission of sins through baptism by water and by the spirit for the remission of sins. Really, we dont have any hope in this world without that miraculous truth. The truth of repentance, and receiving the Holy Ghost through baptism and/or taking the sacrament. The truth is that we cant be completely happy in this life without the gospel. We will always have a hole that cant be filled. A hole that comes from sin, when we separate ourselves from our Heavenly Father. Not to mention, it is impossible to return to live with Him and be saved in His kingdom unless we repent and keep His commandments. And since He loves us so much and wants to bless us with all that He has, He WILL if we just come unto him. He cant abuse our gift of agency. But He WILL bless us abundantly if we come unto Him. I know that for a fact because I have seen it in action many many times here in the last year and in my own life. That is why baptism by water and by fire for the remission of sins is so important. 

We had a lesson with Daniela this week with the Contreras family like always. She is doing great after her baptism. We watched Legacy with them. This movie inspires me every time I watch it. I thought a lot about the sacrifice of the pioneers as I watched it and realized that there is NO excuse whatsoever why I cant endure to the end! It was really good for Daniela to watch also. She liked it a lot and the entire family recommitted to living the gospel more fully. This may sound funny but I realized also during the movie that the pioneers are real! They really lived and they really sacrificed everything and walked across the country and were persecuted even unto DEATH! But....I ask myself....WHY? I have come up with a few answers, but I would love to hear all of your answers. Whoever would like should send me an email back with their answers to that question. Why did they do what they did?

One day this week, I believe it was Thursday, we were walking around the whole town talking to people and trying to find people who we had previously contacted. It was blazing hot and we were tired, and NOBODY was home! We had no luck, but something said to just keep going. We ended up down on the main street in the town and so we knocked on the door of a recent convert, Angelica, who has been having lots of family problems (her daughter, Fernanda 16, left the house leaving her two younger children to the house). Her son Patricio answered the door and let us in. At one point, Patricio and his older sister were close to getting baptized but his older sister ended up not wanting to because of negative peer pressure, and so because of that Patricio followed her example and didnt either. Anyway, we talked to Patricio and he told us that he wants to get baptized and repent and confess his sins because he has been sinning pretty badly. (He's only 10 years-old!) We read in the Book of Mormon about forgiveness and repentance and then the remission of sins through baptism. We explained that Jesus Christ suffered for all of what we suffer, and we can be relieved of our pain when we repent and are baptized. He started crying and told us how much he missed Fernanda and how he wants to erase the past and he wants to erase his sins and have the spirit in his life. It was a big testimony builder for me that even someone so young can feel such strong feelings and be able to repent and receive the blessings of the atonement. We set a baptismal date with him and he is very anxious for the day.

Directly after this lesson we felt like going to another part of Santa Barbara and the first people we talked to were a family who let us in and said they would love to come to church. One of them has come a few years ago and she was telling the others how great it was. So they all commited to go. Where did these blessings come from?! Finding so many new people all at once...when just a couple hours before we had absolutely no luck with anybody! And for the last month or so we have struggled with finding new investigators! I know the guidance of the spirit is real. Patricio and the whole family who we found did end up coming to church on Sunday! :)

On Saturday we were eating lunch with a member (a young couple. The husband isnt a member. Also, the Wife's mom was there who is a member also) and all of the sudden I saw smoke out the window and it got thicker and thicker and I  said "What is that smoke from?" and so we all stood up to investigate and it was fire! The attic was catching on fire from the chimney of the fireplace! I called the firefighters (bomberos) told them we needed help! Ha ha. We went outside and the whole roof was smoking and the neighbors started to come over to see and help. The house sits right next to the highway too. Patricio, the non member husband (yes yes, I know, there are a lot of "Patricio"s here! :D) knocked the chimney out of the ceiling and there was a blaze up there so he filled up a pot and started throwing water onto the fire. It didnt do much because the fire was already spread a lot. We tried to put it out as much as we could and get important things out of the house. It was crazy! The bomberos finally got there and they got up on the house and put it out pretty good. In the end the house was left a mess but luckily everyone was ok and only a part of the roof was destroyed. We got to it really fast which was good or it would have been a lot worse. We stayed and helped clean up for a while and then came back in the afternoon and helped take off the broken roof and then with some ward members we came back on Sunday to help build to roof again. 

One day this week the missionaries from another area called us and had a great reference for us, Juakin. He's a 20 year old guy who lives here in Santa Barbara but went to church in another area with his friend for a religion class. He really liked it and wanted to know more and we were able to teach him this week about the restoration and he is excited to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it all.

We found Guadelupe (mom) and Pedro (son 21) and they let us in and we shared the restoration and gave them the Book of Mormon and invited them to church. At first Guadelupe was hesitant to accepting the invitation to come to church....because one time she went to another church that wasnt Catholic and it scared her really bad! The way they talked and did crazy stuff and sang, etc. And so we sang "I know that my Redeemer lives" at the end to show her how our hymns are. Afterward she said "Wow! That is so pretty! Yeah, I will come sometime!" Our hymns truly are inspired and carry the spirit with them.

In church, 32 people came! That is the most ever that I have seen her besides the 50 person ward conference we had, when many stake members came. I was so happy to see so many people. We had several investigators come and the ward members were great with welcoming them. The ward is showing a lot more unity than ever and I'm excited. They rallied together about the fire also and then in the afternoon several members went to help them. They were so grateful. It reminds me of something I have heard before:
In Oklahoma City some years ago when tornadoes struck and destroyed many buildings and homes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of the first to send both supplies and people to the disaster area.
After some days, a local news reporting agency questioned inhabitants of the disaster area, as to where and who most of their assistance came from. One woman responded that there were two agencies that gave the most assistance. The first was the "Mormons;" and the other was the "Latter-day Saints."

Yesterday night we were able to finish the week off good by teaching Teresa 18 with the Contreras family (members) We watched the Restration video and talked about the importance of the restoration. Especially the importance of knowing if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Her whole life she has been really involved in a different church and its very different for her to hear about a prophet and especially the Book of Mormon. 2 Nefi 29:6-9 says it all very good. 

Tender Mercy- Strength that comes from living the gospel. It truly can give us the strength and ability to accomplish many good things. 

I love you all and miss you,

Elder Gomez

-family home evening with Figueroas
-with Patricio
-Inside right after the fire.
-poor roof
-I knew my construction skills would come in handy! (bad angle, sorry)
-After we took the burnt roof off.
-Brother Jaque, one of the faithful members in the ward, drinking mate!! Ha ha. I love this picture.
-I dont know why I like these pictures so much! Brother Jaque is awesome. 
-Ester, Paloma 4, Ania (they were the members who's house burned)


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

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