Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Monday, April 30, 2012

great week great week

April 30, 2012
Hi everyone,
This week was greeeaaat! For lack of time I am going to have to give everyone the revised version of everything, with details only on the most important events!
This week we had 2 baptisms! Edgardo and Soledad were baptized! 
This week was also the week of miracles in our zone! I am so proud of all of the missionaries here! 
   We spent most of our time this week preparing things for the baptism and preparing our investigators for the baptism. Edgardo is a stud. He was one extemely prepared by the Lord for the gospel. He kept 100% of his commitments! There arent many people I know who keep all of the commitments they make! Edgardo is a great example of one who applies the doctrine of Christ in his life. Also, he is one who has truly been affected and CHANGED by the RESTORED gospel of Jesus Christ. Edgardo worked in the Catholic church as one who prepared couples for their wedding. He expressed to us that after all of the years that he's worked in the catholic church, it never filled him up like this wonderful true gospel. From the first time we taught him, he understood perfectly, through the Holy Ghost that was present, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who restored the church. He even understood things somehow before we would even teach him them...for example, we hadnt even taught about missionary work and he told us before his baptism that he wants to go out and help everyone find this gospel! He understands that he is going to have to work in this church! He will magnify whatever calling he receives! His grandson said that he was preparing to do his frist communion in the catholic church and he said "no!" You need to come to the church of Jesus Christ, the mormon church, and only this church! We commited to this church and we are going to follow it for our whole lives! Then a day later Vicente, this same grandson, told us..."hey, I still want to get baptized you know." We were surprised but happy by his comment and we challenged him right there to be baptized on May 12th and he accepted. We said that his grandpa could even baptize him because he will have the priesthood by then. He was stoked. We talked to his mother right there on the spot to ask her for her permission...and if she will support her son..and we took advantage of inviting her to be baptized too :) She said that the time is getting closer to when she will decide to, but that we shouldnt push her :) We left her a chapter in the Book of Mormon. She is awesome. Her name is Pilar. Edgardo's OTHER daughter, Maria Jose, is also really willing and she will be getting baptized soon too I feel.

He brought several family and friends to his baptism and at the baptism he introduced me and my companion to one of his friends saying "this is my friend and we are going to get him to come to church! We'll get him! You need to come here with me every week!"  He came out of the water amazingly happy and his confirmation was great! The older member with prostate cancer who loves fishing who has become great friends with Edgardo confirmed him. It was awesome! I think Edgardo is a tender mercy for Brother Merino as well...because there arent many members who are about 65-70 years old....so they are best friends now! It will be good because I think Brother Merino has a little time left of life. He's already lived way over the time the doctors have estimated...I hope I am wrong, but either way, he is an amazing man of faith the size of a mountain!

Soledad is good...we taught her a lot this week preparing her to make the baptismal covenant with the Lord. She is a great lady who has a very good heart. She will be a great blessing to the church in the future. I love this ward because so many people help us fellowship our investigators. We have gained a lot of trust with all of the members so they are all itching to help us in the work of the Lord. I was able to do to the baptism and confirmation of Soledad and it was a good experience. Each confirmation that I have ever done has been unique and this one was special too! 
We are following still with Valentina, Soledad's 12 year old daughter. She is so cool. I love watching people's countenances CHANGE because of the gospel! That is exactly what is happening with Valentina. When we first met her, she was shy and she looked like a zombie. Ha ha, now she is always happy! Smiling! Friendly! Cheerful! The main change happened right when she started to PRAY. We invited her to pray and each time we came by, she would say "no, I didnt pray" a little zombie-ish...then finally we came and asked the same thing and she said with more light in her eyes "yes, I did pray!" She came to the baptism and she loved it and we invited her to be baptized on the 12th as well as Vicente and she accepted! So....we have some more people who will be getting baptized. 

The mission has been struggling as a whole lately....and so this last Tuesday we talked with the zone and invited them that they can believe in miracles. We shared with them the story about when we invited Soledad to be baptized and we prayed with her right there asking if she should be baptized this weekend....and she received a confirmation from the spirit that YES, she should. So...many of the areas got pumped up and something amazing started happening....we started seeing miracles around the zone. I have never seen so many miracles simultaneously! :) We had 6 investigators as a zone with baptismal dates for the 28th of April at the start of last week...generally that means that 6 or less people will actually get baptize, because usually some of those dates fall...at least that is what the pattern has been lately in the mission. Well.....we started seeing miracle after miracle in the zone. I wish that all of you at home could just BE HERE to experience what I have been experimenting lately! It's been amazing. I want you all to meet the misionaries who I serve with! ANYWAY, many of the missionaries started doing what we had done with Soledad, that is-praying right there in the lesson asking God if they should get baptized this weekend. The first miracle, The ORTIZ family! They are an amazing family of 5 from a different area, who I have met several times. Elder Hanes, 6 foot 8 inches tall, and Elder Kuhn, my height, almost-olympic wrestler from Alta high school, are teaching them and the 3 kids wanted to get baptized this weekend. The parents havent been sure about it...as of three days before the baptism, they werent going to get baptized with their kids, but Elder Kuhn and Elder Hanes applied what we had applied and the mom prayed asking if she should get baptized the 28th...then something amazing happened! They waited FIFTEEN MINUTES on their knees in silence for the spirit! They didnt say a word....after 15 minutes, the parents were both crying and they received a confirmation from the spirit that they had to get baptized for sure with their kids. 
As soon as this happened we called all of the areas telling them of the miracle that had happened and another area told us that he same thing happened to them! They asked God in prayer and Nancy Gomez (an investigator in Yumbel!, not you, mom) received her answer that she needed to get baptized this weekend. We told everyone of that miracle as well. Then....the next day, two new missionaries in a town called Cabrero, who are awesome, called us saying that they had told the branch president that they were going to have a miracle baptism this weekend, but the branch president just laughed at them, not really believing that they could do it... We tried to excited them assuring them that they CAN do it! And Elder Ramon told me, "I know, dont worry, we will call the branch president tonight telling him that we are having a baptism this weekend and it will strenghten his faith!" so....that night, we got a call from call from Cabrero, and Elder Ramon was on the other line. I asked how they were doing and he said very good. The he started crying over the phone and said "Elder Gomez...miracles exist. We are going to have a baptism this Saturday! Alejandra is getting baptized! The spirit was there so strongly. It was even stronger than when I received my own testimony of the church!" I was so so so grateful when I heard Elder Ramon say this! I may of may not have also been screaming for joy in the house! Ha ha. Alejandra was an eternal investigator...or in other words, a person who has investigated the church for a long long time never willing to get baptized....but she did!!! Miracles DO exist! We told the assistants to president Martinez all about them and they were very happy. Our zone completed with our baptismal goal this week now, baptizing 13! Our goal was 12 :) 

I went with elder Beatty to do the baptismal interviews with the Ortiz family, and I interviewed the two parents....Ximena was the hardest one...who, even RIGHT before her baptismal interview, had a lot of doubts. We got her into the interview, and I had the most spiritual baptismal interview of my life! We said the opening prayer and the spirit flooded in the room. She said her doubts right off the bat, but she knew exactly that she needed to be baptized with the rest of her family on Saturday. Since the spirit was there, it was just testifying to her the whole time...I told her that I am just a young man...practically a teenager, but I was really called of God to judge her right now whether she is ready for baptism. I told her that when I first interviewed someone for baptism....I didnt feel like I really was someone who could do it...but that the Lord always helps me know in some way whether the person is ready or not. During the transcourse of the interview, we talked about several things...but it was cool watchng the spirit work with her. She would have some question of doubt...but then she would just answer it herself. She was receiving pure personal revelation I think! The interview ended after an hour or so...extremely long, (I'm sure the missionaries were very nervous) and at the end before we went out, she thanked me so much for all that I had done in the interview to help convince her completely to get baptized. I didnt thnk I had done anything! Her husband, Franco, was ready too! He is very ready as well. In his opening prayer of the interview he said "please bless me that tomorrow can be the MOST WONDERFUL DAY OF MY WHOLE LIFE so that we can be TOGETHER FOREVER!" Stud. Ximena said in the closing prayer, "thank you for helping me realize that miracles exist. and that we can repent and change!"  Later, just minutes before the baptism, Ximena and Franco took me aside and thanked me by telling me that I was an important part in their decision to get baptized. They thanked me for the interviews the day before and said that that is what helped them decide 100% to follow through with everything and they said they are eternally grateful. It is so crazy how TINY things that we do can make eternal differences! I know that by "small and simple things" great things are brought to pass.

The other event that happened this week was me going to Santa Barbara! That just happened today! I called and asked President Martinez if I could go visit, because I thnk this next Tuesday I am going to be transferred out of Los Angeles. He said yes. So..I went and visited. I was happy to see a lof of the people doing good!
Luz and Pancho are getting married soon! (the other couple that have lived together for 20 years. Patricio and Alejandra are good. They are now the young mens president and young womens president. Others are good too. 

Tender Mercy- Watching many other missionaries who are passing through hard times gain a testimony of prayer and faith and miracles this week. I also gained a stronger testimony of miracles but watching other missionaries have these experiences was just awesome!

Well....I love you all, talk to you soon.
photos:
-Baptism of Edgardo with his family
-Baptism of Soledad with family
-right after baptismal interviews of family ortiz
-Edgardo and Soledad alone
-Us and Edgardo STUD
-baptism of Ortiz family from another area. AWESOME! elder McConnell was at this baptism also!
-Ortiz baptism with elder Kuhn and Elder Hanes
-Soledad showing us how to cook.
-Me with Ana, Soledad's mom who ALWAYS tries to give us food.
-In Sta. Barbara with Daniela, a convert, with her HUSBAND now, Ricardo, and their daughter, who I have never met!












Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Die Whisky Die

April 23, 2012
Hello everyone,
How has everyone been doing lately? It has truly been a long time since we have seen each other! 
This was a great great week...

Starting off with a family night that we had on Tuesday evening with the Cruces family...the Cruces family are members as of a year ago who were doing really good in the church and then they hit a hard time when they inactivated :( They passed through all sorts of struggles, even to the point where Sister Cruces left to Santiago with the kids and they almost were separated (this just happened a couple months ago) The night his wife, Madeline, left, José was at his house alone with his mom and he looked really nervous.. We went over there to help him and we read the first part of Enos with him and told him that before he left for Santiago in the morning to go get his family that he should do what Enos does....kneel down and cry unto God. Jose hadnt been behaving very good...so that's why she left. But....everything is awesome now! They got back together. Jose did exactly what we invited him to do. They came back to church! And now they have not faulted for about a month! They are doing so great. The family is really amazing. So like I said at the beginning of the paragraph...we had a family night with them and we invited Viviana, our recent convert, and Soledad and Valentina, our investigators who are progressing really good. We watched the Testaments, but before we watched it, The Cruces' shared a little bit about their conversion. Why they decided to get baptized. Jose didnt believe in God and he said it was the hardest decision of his life. The day before he god baptized he received a powerful witness that God exists. Then SOLEDAD shared an experience with us that we had no idea about!

-First off, we asked Soledad after church what her favorite part of church was and she said when the men laid their hands on Felipe's head for a blessing or something (confimation)-
     So then we are sitting in this family night with the Cruces family and she told them that she hadnt even told me and my companion this yet, but that just two days before, in church, when she was sitting there during sacrament meeting and they laid their hands on Felipe's head, she felt something amazing inside her and she was just completely and powerfully filled with happiness and tears started falling. She put her head down to avoid being seen. She said it was something so special. Right then Madeline (Sister Cruces) said "THAT'S THE HOLY GHOST!!" Ha ha :) It was awesome. 

Soledad is doing awesome! We are so amazed at how she is progressing and how the Lord prepared her for this message. She lived in Spain for the last 9 years so I dont think the missionaries ever passed by while she was there. It's like she has been waiting all her life for this!

This week I went on a companionship interchange with ELDER MCCONNELL from Lake Point Utah! What do you know...winding up in the same little place on the other side of the world participating in the greatest work that's ever existed! We taught Soledad the law of chastity and she commited to live it...we had some other good lessons, but apart from those lessons it was actually a pretty hard day. We knocked a lot of doors and a did a lot of street contacts but almost everyone was grouchy! Nobody wanted anything! There was one nice elderly lady who wanted us to come in, but then her husband or son came out and said GO AWAY! He wouldnt let us in even though she wanted us to! Meanie. It was fun working with him.

We had a zone conference on Thursday and it was awesome. President Martinez was very firm declaring that we need to live the doctrine of Christ in our own lives before we can expect to teach it to others. He said very powerfully, "you cannot teach people that they have to have faith in Jesus Christ if you, yourself, dont have enough faith in Him to be obedient. You cannot call someone unto repentance if you are not repenting yourself. You cant teach anyone the doctrine of Christ unless you understand the doctrine of Christ, and the way you can know whether you understand it is if you are living it!"    So he invited us all to start living the doctrine of Christ better in our lives.

We had a family night with our other investigator, Edgardo, with the Merino family. They are an older couple in the ward, closer to Edgardo's age. It was a great family night. We taught about the word of wisdom. Edgardo and his grandson, Vicente, both commited to live the word of wisdom happily and excitedly. Toward the end of the lesson, Edgardo and Brother Merino found out that they both have a passion for fishing. It was so funny watching them make a bunch of fishing jokes and talking fishtalk together. Edgardo is AWESOME! He is completely excited for his baptism in 6 days! The next day we went to his house and we asked if he would take the whiskey in his cupboard and dump it down the drain. (he didnt have a drinking problem at all...just on random occasions he would drink a little bit of whiskey or wine) he said that it didnt bother him at all to do that, so he took his whiskey bottle and it was awesome to watch him dump it all down the drain with joy. He gets excited for every single commandment that we teach him.

One day this week, we found Maria Paz and her daughter, Javiera 8, in the street. She is a single mom of 3 kids who lives in one little room that she rents. We felt like we should talk to her as we passed her so we stopped her and introduced ourselves...she said that she is passing through a hard time in her life and that she thinks we might have been sent by God to talk to her. She said that she would gladly receive us in her house. It turns out that she is from another area, the area of the two missionaries who live with us. So we passed the referral and they went that same night to her house and she is awesome! They challenged her to prepare for baptism and she accepted along with Javiera, who is stoked to be baptized! Ha ha :) Kids rock!  She had a very personal question to ask the missionaries. She asked if God forgives sins. They said yes...and of course they sensed that she had something on her mind...she ended up telling them that years and years ago, even before Javiera was born, she had an abortion. She said that she has felt bad about it every day since it happened over a decade ago. She says that she imagines every day what he or she would look like, what they would be doing.... She has suffered a lot. I know that God lives and that if Maria Paz has faith in the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ and if she repents of all of her sins, and is baptized, that she can become clean through His infinite and eternal atonement for ALL mankind. I am so so so overjoyed that Maria Paz is going to be able to be forgiven. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry of happiness. I dont want her to suffer any more.  I feel like I can indentify with Nephi in 2 Nephi 33:3,7-9.

We are working with the Cuevas family, who are all members except their almost 11 year old daughter, Fran. Alejandra, Fran's mom, has been struggling a lot with her testimony lately, and for that reason she hasnt allowed Fran to get baptized still. Fran wants to get baptized very badly. Alejandra and Jorge have been progressing a lot lately...We have been praying for them every day that Alejandra's heart can be softened and that she can gain her testimony again and that she will let Fran get baptized and it's happening! God answers prayers! I think I wrote last email that Fran came up to us after Felipe's baptism and said that she wants to be baptized...well, I think the baptism helped Alejandra a lot too. We read Alma 32:27-28 with them...Alejandra understood it good. But she still wanted to know why she has never felt so strongly the spirit like the ladies who get up and cry in testimony meeting and stuff. She said, "are they just exaggerating or do I not have enough faith?" (GOLDEN QUESTION!!) She decided that it was her faith. So...we read verses 38-40 also and everything clicked for her. She said "I think it's because we arent being nourished!" She said "we arent doing anything. We hardly ever go to sacrament meeting, and that's all!" 
We were happy because this is what we have been trying to get them to understand for a long time! Like 6 months! Hahaha I love the gospel and I especially gain a stronger testimony of the scriptures in moments like these. We read 5 VERSES.....and it is literally going to change their lives!!! We challenged them to let Fran get baptized on the 5th of May and confirmed the 6th (her 11th birthday) I smell a miracle comin´up!

We had a ward activity...a dessert night. Everyone brought a dessert to share and it was awesome! There were so many desserts. We had a mini talent night and it was so good. The stake president's family did most of the talents. Their 10 year old son, Lucas, is a great singer, so he sang a popular love song here and everyone went crazy. ha ha. We had tons of investigators come and many inactive members so that was good. 

Sunday was a good day. We had several investigators in church and lots of inactive members came back to church, and they announced Edgardo's baptism this weekend. I had a feeling that we might end up having other people get baptized on Saturday too though...as church ended, me and Elder Beatty felt that we should go to Soledad's house and invite her to be baptized this weekend. She is definitely ready so we felt very good about it. We went there and we started off by reading Alma 7:11-15, and then afterward we told her how we felt and invited her to be baptized on Saturday, the 28th. She got a little bit nervous but it was obvious that she wanted to and that she was going to say yes. Her mom, who is from a different Evangelical church, interrupted her and said that she should wait a little while longer she thought, but we assured her that it's not good to put God's commandments on hold, and that just as when are teeth are dirty, we should brush them, that she should be baptized this week. We asked her if she believes that God can answer her prayers. She said yes. So we asked if she would kneel down and ask her Heavenly Father right there whether she should get baptized. So we all knelt down and she offered the prayer. A very simple prayer, with one simple question. We waited for a bit at the end of the prayer and the Spirit was strong. She asked, "do you want me to tell you what I feel?" "yeah" "I feel really good! I am going to get baptized this Saturday!"  So we are going to have TWO baptisms this weekend!!!!!! Yay for prayers and answers to prayers. Yay for Edgardo and Soledad!
So many blessings have come to me and Elder Beatty lately from following the promptings of the Holy Ghost!

Tender Mercy- The promise of the Lord in DyC 58:42-43.  Read it! Apply it.

Random info of the week:
-The weather has been pretty dry, getting colder and colder each morning but hot during the day. No rain still.
-We have eaten a lot of beans with spagetti noodles this week. 

Challenge of the week for everyone who reads this!: Pray TODAY that the Lord, this week, in your personal study of the Book of Mormon, will teach you something important for your life that you need right now, and then before next Monday write me what you learned!!!!

Love, Elder Gomez

photos:
-Lunch with Soledad 38 (getting baptized this week), Valentina 12, and her grandma Ana
-Birthday party of Elias Cruces 11. With 3 ward members, Mario Espinoza, José Cruces, and Brother Concha.
-Boys spraying eachother at the b-day party with spray snow.
-Me and Jon, a member who's wife, Alexa, was recently baptized. I took this picture to show his insane sound system! Haha
-Me and Elder Beatty, with his Easter package containing 4 pounds of pure chocolate! Happy Easter!
-Me and ELDER MCCONNELL on our interchange with the Espinoza's. The dad, Mario, is struggling a lot as of lately. He has been inactive lately.





Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012

Hey everyone! This week was awesome! The first reason why it was awesome is because it was CARLOS' BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You 15 year-old stud!!!
Second reason, because we had a baptism! Felipe got baptized. Felipe is our 19 year old investigator (convert now) who took a little while to get baptized, but finally he took the step. He has such a strong testimony of each individual part of the gospel. The most important part of his testimony for me is his testimony of Jesus Christ and the restoration of his church and gospel. He is awesome. 
This week went good. We have a couple AWESOME investigators! It's interesting, because both Edgardo and Soledad we found late at night, right when all you want to do is go home and sleep. I have gained a big testimony of the importance of enduring to the end...even to the end of each day. It's not alwas easy...but it is important. 
   Edgardo is 68 and he is extremely excited for his baptism. We visited him several times this week, because he is retired...which makes it a lot easier. I have gained such a testimony of what the gospel does for people! I cant explain it very good to all of you guys...it's just amazing. I beg you, please make Jesus Christ the most important thing in your life and please help your friends and family repent and learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ which was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. If you do...SO MUCH HAPPINESS is awaiting you!! There is nothing like watching people change. 
   Edgardo is just amazing. We asked him one day if he read the chapter that we had left him from the visit before and he said "yeah! I read it 2 times...and I have been praying a ton! I like what I'm reading and I understood everything and I have more and more desires to be baptized.".... One of the visits we had with him we brought a member to, Brother Arriagada. He is awesome. He is the Elders Quorum president and he shared a strong testimony with Edgardo and we taught him the plan of Salvation. He had again read another chapter we left him 2 times!
   He understands things better than ANYONE I have ever taught here! He was placed by God in our path to receive the gospel. 
Edgardo also said, I understand that once I am baptized...it's not the end...I mean, I need to go and share this with other people. He is so excited. When we left the appointment, Brother Arriagada said "wow! he is really good! You dont find people like him very often, do you?" "Nope!!" 
   The best part about Edgardo for me are his hugs! I think I mentioned this last time...but whenever he sees us, his face lights up and he gives us huge hugs!  I forgot to get a picture of him but I will try this week. He is going to get baptized on the 28th. We are stoked. He came to the baptism of Felipe and also to church and he loved it all. The members are all really happy. 

Soledad is our other awesome investigator who is preparing to be baptized. She is 38 years old and she moved here from Spain about 4 months ago. She was from Chile originally, but she lived in Spain for about 9 years. She is very interested in the gospel and has now come to church twice and she also came to Felipe's baptism. She loves all of the meetings. The members are swarming her, which is really good. They are all very loving. The coolest thing happened after church yesterday...when everyone was leaving, Viviana, our recent convert started walking toward to the door to leave, and Soledad saw her and said "Viviana!" We were confused because she hadnt met Viviana still...but Viviana flipped around and said "Soledad!" And they hugged and said hi and they started talking...turns out....they went to high school together and they were friends. (I'm talking back in 1992) and they havent seen each other since then! Only on facebook. So they were really happy to see each other and to know that their friend is following the gospel! It was perfect because Viviana still hasnt made a really good friend in the church, so to see Soledad and talk to her was awesome for us. Doesnt the gospel of Jesus Christ just bring EVERYBODY together?! Oh man, I love my mission! 
  
We stopped by Claudio, our atheist friend who is tone-deaf to faith. We visit him every now and then because it strengthens their family a lot, and his wife is a member of the church and she just had a baby. This last week we visited him one day and he got started talking about the churches from the dark ages...how the churches were made of gold and hand carved everything...and how they were huge and ridiculously rich and that all people did in them were pray...and the priests lived there. He thought it was pretty interesting how it was a little corrupt. I felt in that moment to ask him about what his comprehension of our church is. He said he really doesnt know that much...just that its a protestant religion...and that we restrict a lot of things....and Joseph Smith started it....and that was about all he knew. So we started talking about the apostasy a bit and how the church of GOD was corrupted and the authority of God was taken from the earth and men began to form religions according to the philosophies of men...and then came the Nicene Creed where the government of Rome with religious leaders decided that they would all contribute some piece of doctrine and create a common religion for everyone... starting what we know as the Roman Catholic Church. He agreed that that was ridiculous and that the REAL Christian religion found in the Bible had been corrupted for many many years. We explained how our church isnt a protestant church. That a young, pure, 14 year old farm boy was searching for the truth and had a question. He prayed, and God and Jesus Christ actually appeared to him and he was called to do a great work. He was an instrument in the hand of God to restore the church of Jesus Christ. Claudio was pretty shocked in a good way! We left him the pamphlet of the testimony of Joseph Smith. He will be a hard one! He is extremely "informed". He is very very smart. He is a great guy...but he needs to have faith. He needs to read the Book of Mormon! 
  One of the miracles that happened here is that I never bring that pamphlet with me (of the testimony of Joseph Smith)...never! But in the morning I felt like I should put one in my backpack....I felt a specific impression that I should. 

Tender Mercy-  We are working with the Cuevas family, in which a 10 year old daughter, Fran, isnt baptized...but she wants to be,. The mom, Alejandra, was catholic, and she was baptized 3 years ago into our church...she had a testimony...but since, it has faded away a little bit because she stopped coming to church and reading the scriptures. Anyway, she wont let Fran get baptized because she isnt old enough to make her own decisions responsibly. Anyway, we have been praying a ton for them and passing by sometimes, and now Alejendra is changing so much! She is awesome, she just needs to remember the testimony she once had. She told us that she wants to come back to church, but she just faults a "spark of light" to get her excited. We invited her to the baptism and they came and she looked very excited! So the Tender Mercy is watching a young girl who wants more than anything to get baptized but her mom wont let her...and now watching her mom's heart change! We are excited for the Cuevas family.

If I forgot anything, I am so sorry! Everything is going great. I see miracles every day! I am happy. God lives and we CAN change and we should all share the gospel! Be happy, 
I love you, Elder Gomez


photos:
-Baptism of Felipe, with Brother Quezada, a member in the ward, who baptized him, and with his mom, Silvia, and Nicole, his sister, who are both recent converts.
-Baptism of Juan and Sissi...Sissi was investigating the church since she was 15! They finally got married last week so they are now worthy for baptism! It was quite the adventure to get them married. These two converts are from another ward...but I have gone to visit them several times to help them prepare for baptism, so it was great to see them in white!
-Me with Felipe!, our convert, with my missionary plaque. Doesnt he look ready for his mission already!? 
-Right before the baptism
-Just us with Felipe





Monday, April 9, 2012

BOMB WEEK!!



This week was awesome! Completely awesome! It was packed with miracles and with the spirit! Our area is doing great. There are too many things to write about than the amount of time I have. So I am going to try to fit in as much as I can. 
At the beginning of the week I was surprised when we went to a member's house and Silvia and Nicole were there, (Nicole is our recent convert from February and Silvia was baptized at the end of 2011) I was so happy to see them because I didnt thnk that I was going to see them ever again...or at least for a long time because they are going up to Santiago soon and they live in a town about 40 minutes away from my area...so it was going to be complicated to see them. But we walked into a different member's house, and there they were... Nicole answered the door and had a huge smile on her face and I was so happy! I love when she smiles because when we first started teaching her she was more stubborn and she wasnt the friendliest person. She has had a 180% turn around! She literally looks like a different person completely! I was so happy when she opened the door, and then we saw Silvia her mom, too! Silvia is awesome! She has had a lot of challenges in her life but they are doing so good now! My companion was confused out of his mind because he is new to the area still so he doesnt know anyone...so he whole time he was trying to make all of the connections and remember which people were who based on what I had explained beforehand. 

So...we took advantage of sharing a little message with them...and we started with an opening prayer. We were planning on sharing a scripture in 2 Nefi 32 (the last verse)  but during the prayer, for some reason Alma 32 came to my mind. It didnt leave my mind, so when the prayer was over I said "we were planning on sharing a certain scripture, but I feel like we should share something in Alma 32." So then we all turned to Alma 32 and read 3 verses. verse 21, 27, and 28. We had Nicole read all of them and at the end of the reading..she kept her head down and I could see her eyes getting wet. Her head stayed down for about 2 minutes! A long time.. and I was just smiling and kept looking at Silvia, who was smiling really big as well. Nicole finally put her head up and she said that this was EXACTLY what she needed. She said that this week she has had some doubts...but they were completely answered! We invited her to read all of chapter 32 of Alma. She said "I WILL!" very excitedly. I felt so grateful for the impression of the Holy Ghost to read Alma 32...something so basic that we have already read with her before...but it was exactly what she needed. I WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN THAT if it wasnt for God revealing it to us through the Holy Ghost! What would have happened to her if we didnt read those exact verses? Follow the impressions of the spirit! 

Felipe is the 18 year old brother of Nicole who we have been teaching for about 5 months now. He has come to church EVERY SUNDAY since then. He is ready to be baptized! He told me that he wanted to get baptized in Santiago from his uncle who is a member of the church, so we just let that be...because we knew they would be leaving soon. I was super happy that he was going to be baptized but I was a little sad to have to see him go obviously...anyway, they all showed up to church yesterday and everything was going great like normal. After sacrament meeting, Felipe came up to me and said, "Elder Gomez, i think I'm going to get baptized this weekend before we leave to Santiago. It will be too complicated to do it up there." I said "You got it, pal!" ha ha. So the bishopric and a few of the members were all talking to him all of the sudden planning everything. SO WE'RE GONNA HAVE A BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND!!! We still had to repass some things with Felipe,so we went to a members how with him after church and taught him everything that he faulted. He went over the baptismal interview with him and he is SO READY for baptism. He is one of the most converted people I know. He is attending institute and loves it. I will try and quote my favorite part of the lesson-  (this is Felipe talking. Remember, he is 18 years old) "At first, I was nervous to get baptized because I knew that everyone would start saying that I had to go on a mission, and I didnt like the idea. Some people mentioned it..so it was one of the things keeping me from getting baptized..but now, since about a month ago, I decided that I want to get baptized...and now it's weird, because I started wanting to serve a mission. I have the desire to now." (this moment right after he said this was sooooo cool! I was SO HAPPY!! Great moment in my life, great moment.)
 
So....yeah, Felipe is good! We are stoked for this weekend. Last night we were at Brother Kiger, our ex-ward mission leader's house (he was just called to he bishopric but is still acting as ward mission leader too) and we were planning the baptism and getting everything ready. Brother Kiger is awesome! He is one of the best men I have ever met. He does so much in this ward! He was just baptized a year and 7 months ago and he shared his conversion story with us. His wife was already a member and whenever the missionaries passed by he was pretty angry with them. He was stern and wasnt convinced. He said that at the time before he met the missionaries who baptized him, he was doing BAD...him and his wife were about to get divorced...and he was making bad decisions which carried very high consequences. He said that when the missionaries got there, and they shared about the redeeming and cleansing power of Christ, and he gained a witness from the spirit in that moment that he should get baptized and he decided to do it. So...he is awesome and he has helped us so much. The baptism is already all planned!

Egdardo and Vicente are doing great! Edgardo is the 68 year old who is way excited to get baptized. I dont know how he was before now and why he hasnt already been baptized...but he is prepared to be baptized, and his grandson, Vicente, is also going to get baptized with him on April 28th. We went by one night to visit them and a lady was there. We were with Brother Quezada, one of the coolest members in the whole member, and so we started talking to Pilar, and found out she is Edgardo's daughter. She works as a manager of a school and when we started talking about how the gospel blesses families she was interested. She let us into the house and we were able to teach her full lesson before Edgardo even got home. Without even bringing it up, she mentioned going to church by saying, "I'm not completely shut off to going to church." and she kept saying stuff like that, which showed that she has a desire to learn more! She even said "I'm not opposed to listening to this message and going to church and following this religion." I think that was her way of saying "TEACH ME!" (I took it as that at least. ha ha) We have a family night with them with a member tonight so hopefully by next week she will have a baptismal date as well as her son and dad, Vicente and Edgardo! Also, Everytime we see Edgardo he gives me a huge hug, it's great! Almost all the men give hugs, but Edgardo gives an Edgardo hug!! 

We passed by the house of a lady who we found a few months ago who I have felt for a long time now that we should pass by. I dont know why we never stopped by...because when me and Elder Beatty went she was so willing to learn. Her name is Soledad and her daughter is Valentina, who is 12 years old. Until about 6 months ago, they lived in Spain for 8 years, so it's been hard for Valentina to become accustomed to Chile. She is pretty shy but at the same time not really...that doesnt clear things up at all, does it? She's hard to explain. She is very smart for her age, and understands things good, and is mature for her age, but at the same time doesnt talk very much. She doesnt have much faith in God, but we can already see that she is developing it and  "coming to the light" Literally! On Sunday we went to their house to go to church and Valentina didnt want to come because she has never stepped in a church, but her mom was all ready, so she came and loved it! Soledad and Valentina accepted to prepare to be baptized on May 5th. After church we went to their house and Soledad was able to tell her how amazing church was! So she is definitely going next week.

Alrighty, I'll tell about Luis, the OTHER Felipe's dad (the 15 year old Felipe who was baptized about 3 weeks ago) Luis is awesome! He wants to get baptized but just needs to stop smoking. We havent been able to talk to him for a couple days because his son had an accident where they had to take him to the hospital (Crisitan 8 was playing and his friend threw something with little spines on it at him and it hit his eye and he started rubbing his eye and he made the spines go into his eye more..I think things are more under control now though) So if all is going well with the cigarettes, Luis will also be baptized his weekend with Felipe. If not, then it might be the next week. Pray that Luis Fonseca can stop smoking!

The last thing to talk about happened on an interchange of companions. I was working in a different area and we went to an inactive member's home, and one of the daughters of the family, Lucia, who is in her twenties, said she's inactive. " I asked, "are you planning on coming back ever?" "no, never" she said. "why?" I asked. "Because of the people. The members. They dont ever change", she said. Hmmm.... I asked "do you still have a testimony of the gospel?" "yeah, I still live the standards of the church and everything. I'm just never going to go back to church, but I dont need to"  (that was obviously not the most intelligent thing to say so I didnt even try to contend) she said that the members of the church who she doesnt like are never going to change, so she is never going to come back. I was thinking..."that isnt the best way to face with problems..wait until everyone ELSE and everything ELSE change...without changes something yourself." We started talking about change for minute, and she said "people cant change" we assured her that yes, people can change, and yes, they do change. She said "no they cant. They wont." I felt an impression that in that moment it was VERY IMPORTANT that I testified of Jesus Christ, so I shared my testimony...It was something like this... "I know that Jesus Christ died for us. Everything that Jesus Christ did was so that we can change. So that we can be born again and have a new life. I know that people change because I have seen every single day for the last 19 months. If we werent able to repent and become better, then us missionaries would be of absolutely no value here. If we try to say that someone can never change, then we are denying the mercies of God to them and WHO ARE WE to do that? Who are we to not forgive someone? Just because YOU decide not to change, you cant say that nobody else can change either...just to justify the bad things that you're doing. Jesus Christ lives. Change is what His gospel is all about!!" We said we would come back to help her to come back to church and she softened up a little bit by the time we left, so that was good.

Tender Mercy- God's love for us...it is amazing. More specific, it is constantly a tender mercy for me watching people FEEL God's love for the first time in their life of for the first time in a long time, and then being able to see the changes they do in their lives to follow Him.

Well, I love you all, sounds like you all had a great Easter!! So did I. Hope to hear from you soon.

Elder Dallin Gomez

Sorry...I didnt take any pictures this week! We were too occupied! Next week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Conference Week!

April 3, 2012
Hey!!!
Happy anniversary Steve and Aida!! (in a few days)
This was a busy week with lots of new things. First of all, I got a new companion! Elder Strait left to the south to be a zone leader down there and I received Elder Beatty! He is from my birth state, Texas. He comes from San Antonio. He has just one transfer less than me in the mission and he is a pretty big guy. He has 5 brothers and sisters, he is the oldest. He went to BYU for a year before the mission (yay for BYU companions...they know what's good for them...he's my 5th companion going to BYU)
The first couple days were a little confusing...after being the same companion for nearly 5 months, but things are going awesome now! 

The recent converts are all doing good. Felipe, Gladis, Cristian, and Viviana all came to at least one session of general conference. Speaking of which...HOW ABOUT CONFERENCE!!! It deserved an "A" . I loved all of the messages. Felipe is awesome and has been continuing in seminary. He is almost ready for his mission! Too bad he is only 15 years old! We hope to be able to set a baptismal date with Luis, the dad of the family. He has been working about two hours away from here, so it's been hard..but... this week apparently he is going to be here the whole week! 

I will talk about Edgardo. He is a very nice grandpa who we found contacting one night. We were literally exhausted one night...on our way back to the house, and I felt, lets just contact this house. So we contacted them without much exitement, and Edgardo (68) said "adelante", or "come on in!" We were caught off surprised. It was surprising for two reasons: one, because he is an older man and normally old men here are super grouchy and set in their ways. Every now and then you will find a nicer grandpa and even more rare, a grandpa who is actually willing to hear the gospel and be taught. So this was awesome! Second, because it was at night and we were exhausted and it was almost time to go to the house...who's going to answer the door and let you in when it's so late? But...he did! Sweet.  
So...me and Elder Beatty went to teach him, and that morning we had had a very good companionship study specifically about teaching the first lesson, or, the restoration. So we taught Edgardo the restoration on Friday and it was AMAZING!! The spirit was so strong and I KNOW that the Lord helped me and my companion speak with the spirit. There is no way we could have taught with such unity and power alone, afterall, we are new as companions. But, the Spirit was there and it was amazing how well Edgardo understood what we taught. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and all of the sudden he said "I need to read it and pray to ask if it's true!" before we had even extended him that invitation! We were shocked! We were happy! We invited him to get baptized on the 26th of April when he receives his answer from the Holy Ghost that the restoration is true and he accepted. Unfortunately, his grandson, Vicente 10, who is amazing, wasnt there for this lesson. Vicente is definitely going to get baptized too, we just havent had the chance to teach them yet. They did come to general conference though. It was the first time Edgardo had ever come to church and he really liked it. We gave him a tour of the chapel after the session and he got pretty excited when we showed him the baptismal font. 

I have had many spiritual experiences this week. We had a zone leaders counsel yesterday (that's why I didnt write yesterday) and President Martinez asked me and my companion to give a short training to the other zone leaders about the doctrine of Christ. As we were preparing, we came up with many ideas of things we wanted to share. Part of what we were going to share was from Alma 29:1...when Alma says "OH that I were an angel and could have the wish of mine heart....etc" Well, we were on the bus going over it all, I was looking down at our notes and I just had a "stupor of thought" I didnt know why but I couldnt think right...it seemed like I was missing something. So I bowed my head and started to pray and I asked Heavenly Father what else we needed to do to prepare for the training...what I needed to do personally. And a strong impression came to me that I should talk to the people sitting next to me on the bus! A thought came to my mind saying, "how can you talk about the strong desire to share the gospel if you yourself arent sharing it with the people right next to you!?" So I ended the prayer quickly and contacted the person right next to me. It turns out, even though we were in Concepcion, she is from Los Angeles, two hours away. It turns out that she lives in our area!! I learned that we must ALWAYS share the gospel! That's our duty as members of the church, and obviously as a full-time missionary. 

The other neat experience that happened late at night was when we were on our way back to our house the same day as our lesson with Edgardo, and I felt that we should take a different street that we normally take to our house. so we went on this little tiny street and we passed a few random people and one guy said "Hola Elderes" and so we flipped around. We started talking to Gustavo and it turns out he is not a member, but his son is. His son was actually a missionary in Argentina. We got talking and we asked him how long he known the church...he said for a long time. He has gone many times in the past with his family. He said his wife died about two years ago, and she was also a member. He said that if he ever felt like he should become a member of the church he will talk to his son (who lives in another ward close by. I felt impressed to extend an invitation that I have never said before in my life, I invited him THAT NIGHT to kneel down and clear his mind of anything else, and imagine himself dressed in white next to his son, also dressed in white, in the baptismal font, about to be baptized. And while he is imagining this, that he pray and ask Heavenly Father If he should get baptized. He said he would. I called the other area where his son lives and asked the missionaries to talk to Gustavo's son. I know miracles happen..and I know he will get his answer. 

Well everyone, I love you all. Thanks to you all who have sent emails and letters. I appreciate them a lot. Thanks for your prayers too! I will be praying for all of you and for Hector in Mexico and all of the cousins!

Love, Elder Gomez

photos
-Rosalez family, members
-Lily, investigator
-Villaroel family, members
-Rivas family, members. He let us use their computers to talk to you guys on Christmas! Remember Panchito??
-Formal of the two of us 
-Cruces family. Inactive converts as of a year who we reactivated!! They are so awesome!
-Espinoza family. Mario, the dad, was inactive, and we helped him reactivate. They are awesome. 
-The best family ever! The Quezada family. Sister Quezada washes our clothes and they do so much for us! They help so much with our investigators. Great people!
-service for the bishop
-service painting
-JACOB ELLIS future motab member! YEAH, I saw him from Chile
-Zone leaders counsel
-balcony zl counsel
-Kiger family! Awesome family. He is our ward mission leader who was just recently called to the bishopric. He has been a member for a year and a half...when I started the mission! He was the best mission leader I have ever had!
-Bishop and his family! The Gervic family! They are awesome.....they just moved :( we helped them get their house all ready to leave. 
-With the Hermosilla Valenzuela family. They are awesome. Silvia, the mom, is a recent convert, and Nicole is one of our converts. Felipe is amazing!...he is getting baptized in two weeks...but in Santiago, where all of his family is. He'll make a great missionary. They are so great. They havent missed a single Sunday since I have been here. 
-Sister Noxon leaving!!! She came with me to Chile, we were in every single zone together, and she finished her mission! Time flew by!
-The most amazing family ever! The Fonseca Astete family! They are the golden family we found and baptized! Luis still needs to get baptized so we will be working on him this week. 
-Gonzalez family. They are awesome! We had 5 converts from their family and they are doing a lot better now.