Heeeyy! How's it going over there in the USA?
This are going great here in Los Angeles. This week was great like always, even with its challenges. I'll start off talking about Jesica. She is the mom of Abigail, the 12 year-old cousin of a member family in our ward. At first, Jesica was the one restricting Abigail from getting baptized, so me and my companion decided to focus on Jesica as well. We have had some amazing lessons with her and now SHE wants to get baptized even more than Abigail. The gospel can change your life so much. Just let it happen! Dont resist!
We stopped by the Cuevas' house. They are an inactive family who have a daughter, Francisca, who's 10 years-old, but they wont let her get baptized. They say that she is not old enough to make her own decisions. She wants to baptized a lot, but they just wont let her. We have been trying to work with the parents a lot to help them see the eternal importance of this decision, and how if they wait so much time, she's going to reach an advanced age and she wont want to be baptized anymore because Satan will have entered into her life too much. She needs the Holy Ghost right now to guide her life! Anyway, we stopped by and only Jorge was there. He is actually the parent who is supporting her a little. His wife is the one who doesnt want her too. Jorge was home alone and he was working on his thesis. He speaks fluent English and that is what he is doing his thesis on also. His family is on vacation but he stayed home to work on his thesis. We shared a little message with him and at the end of the visit we told him about priesthood blessings of comfort and counsel. He had no idea that blessings other than health blessings existed. He said he would like one because he reached a point in his thesis where he didnt know how to keep going...he was stuck, so we gave him a blessing to be able to think and write fluidly with the spirit and strength to finish it. It was amazing! The spirit was strong and he learned a lot about the priesthood power. Hopefully that will, in turn, help Francisca and his family as well.
We ate lunch with a long-time member, who is about 60 years old. Her husband, Santiago, isnt a member. We asked why he isnt a member and he said because he's catholic. We taught him the doctrine of Christ and a little bit about the restoration and we invited him to read the Book of Mormon. As I handed him the Book of Mormon with the marked reading, he asked "that's the Bible, right?" I said "no, you already know the Bible is true, right?" "yes" "Well...this is from the Book of Mormon so you can know of ITS truthfullness also!" then he said." Yeah..that is my question." That really is everyone's question! Whether the Book of Mormon is true or not. I'll tell you right now that IT IS TRUE!!!!! Just READ it, PONDER it, and PRAY about it! You will know.
This week we had an amazing experience. Spencer Villaroel, from this ward, was set apart as a full-time missionary and shipped off to Antofagasta, Chile! Best decision he could have made! We have another missionary from this ward now. There are currently 2. He is awesome. When he was set apart he started sobbing and his mom cried as well. It reminded me of when I had to leave my family. I know this work is the true work of God, spreading throughout all the world.
I want to tell you all about Brother Merino. He is a 60-ish year-old man who has been one of the strongest members in this ward for many many years. He is an example to all for his dedication and faith in the gospel. Right now he has prostate cancer and it has gotten worse and worse. It's now in the bones in his legs, which causes him an extreme amount of pain that cause him to constantly sweat. Even morphine wont stop the pain all the way! Anyway, we have had the opportunity to be with him several times this week and see his strong faith in the Lord. One day he started crying from his pain and at the same time shared his testimony about the Lord's atonement. He has complete faith and hope in the Lord. He told us, we are the owners of only ONE thing....our free agency. We must use this one possession with righteousness. He has also grown to love the pioneers of the church more.
I ask myself: What made the pioneers capable of crossing the United States in the most horrible weather conditions possible with such faith and strength. How could they do that? What made thousands and thousands of new converts from all over the world listen to the commandment from the Lord to gather in Zion and leave everything behind? They left EVERYTHING! It's because the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. That is the only reason and the only way that this gospel grew from 6 members to more than 14 million and still growing. All from a 14 year old boy. He was a true prophet. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Alright, I will tell briefly about Viviana. She is a 38 year-old investigator who just needs to get married to be baptized. She is ready and she has a desire to follow Jesus Christ. We had a lesson with her which was very special. We taught about the Sabbath Day, it was a normal lesson...nothing special. As we were finishing the lesson, she said she had a random question, nothing to do with the Sabbath Day. She asked about adopting little kids from Africa. She is seriously thinking about adopting but she has no idea where to start. She said that it hurts her to see the children in Africa suffer and die at such young ages. Viviana has one daughter and she is a great mom. Well, as she was saying that it hurts her to see them suffer, se put her head down and began to cry and cry. As she was crying she was hugging her daughter, Matilda, so tightly. She was frustrated that the adoption process is so complicated, while thousands of children are dying. She wanted to know why God allows such things to happen. In this lesson I learned a lot about how good of a heart Viviana has. She has so much pain thinking about these children. We turned to the Book of Mormon and left her Alma 14:10-11, Alma 60:13, and Moroni 8 to read. The next day we went back and she had read all of them and it helped her a lot with this question she had. I also asked if she would like if I brought some pictures from my several friends who are serving missions throughout Africa and she said yes! It helped her have peace knowing that the gospel is also spreading throughout Africa. She has a baptismal date on March 11th, the day after her marriage.
We had a conference yesterday for the zone leaders, which is why I didnt write yesterday. It was amazing. At the end, one of the assistants to the president pulled us aside and he told us that our area is leading the mission. He thanked us for the example that we have given for the mission and encouraged us to keep it up! It was neat. We were surprised!
The Gonzalez family is doing great after the three baptisms. We are now teaching two other granddaughters, Valentina 16, and Valeria 12, who havent had much contact with their mom Ana in their lives, but their family is uniting a lot thanks to the gospel. We also hope to teach the other granddaugther, 19 year-old Carol who is gothic. She will need a big miracle, but we are already seeing her heart change a lot.
Tender Mercy- Forgiveness. What a huge blessing that the Lord gave us! A blessing that can be at its fullness if we repent and are baptized by the priesthood authority. Forgivness brings joy and happiness and peace. Repent and be happy! :)
Quote of the week- "I've never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous,sickening work ethic" Will Smith
The assistants shared this quote in he conference and I really liked it.
I know that Jesus Christ lives!
Thank you for everything. I got the pillow case from the ward and friends and it is amazing! Thanks everyone!
Love, Elder Gomez
photos next week. I forgot the camera cord