This week was such a great week! I realized pretty quickly that I was in a bit of a bubble over at LSU since everyone was so young and direct, and let's just say, I am no back in the South where people are so friendly and love to talk haha :) They love their chirren and grochers. (children and groceries) Good people! I really loved serving at LSU meeting so many awesome people from all over the place studying. It was extremely hard to leave that area, but I know this is where I am needed now, and I am thrilled to serve my Heavenly Father over here. It is super cool though, because I am still in Baton Rouge so I can keep in touch with all the great people I met and was able to teach as well as the ward members. We even pick up the LSU elders on P-days and do fun things over on campus so that has been sweet! It is so weird having a vehicle though, I am used to just trekking on a bike or on foot haha. We can get places :D
My new companion Elder Arellano is from Anaheim, California and he said about 15 minutes from Disneyland. He is an awesome guy and a really hard worker, so I am excited! He is half creole and half Hispanic so he totally looks like a big polynesian haha. Everyone always asks him about it and it is pretty funny. He is a convert of about 4 years now and has such a strong testimony.
We have been super busy which is always awesome, because we still have lots of work going on with the the Spanish speaking investigators that Elder Arellano has been teaching for a while and the Spanish branch. On top of all of that, we got doubled into the BR east English area as well. It has been a blast! It has been crazy completely starting fresh and trying to find people to teach, but it has been great laying a foundation for further work. You have to start somewhere and so we have been working really closely with many of the members of the ward and going around introducing ourselves and getting some referrals :D We also volunteered with the American Red Cross this week and went around knocking on doors and installing free smoke alarms. It was about the easiest door approach ever haha! Elder A. would read off all the paperwork and I would install the two-three smoke alarms per house, it was great! Even with our white shirts and ties people were calling us Bob the builder all over the place haha.
The district we are in is all Spanish missionaries so that has been a blast too. Last week we had an instruction on praying and I was able to give the closing prayer in Espanol haha. It was definitely a start and I have been practicing praying in all of our lessons too. You have to start somewhere!
I wanted to share a few miracles this week:
We have been working with this wonderful Spanish family, the Romeros. We were able to meet with them twice this week and share a lot about the families and temples lesson. It was special for me to be able to share brief testimonies throughout the lessons. They are such a nice family and love that I am trying to learn Spanish. I think they mostly like how funny it is when I am not afraid to make a fool of myself in lessons and try and speak in Spanish. (And probably slaughter it haha). Just kidding they are so kind and friendly. The mother Claudia, the Husband Victor, and their son Michael (13), and nephew Luiz (12) (both of which speak fluent English so that really helps when I am trying to ask how to say something!) That seems to be the situation, the parents never know how to speak English, but the kids since they go to school here learn it. Either way, it is amazing to be able to share the gospel in their native tongue. They are such a humble family and have been reading the Book of Mormon and really pondering the truthfulness. When we went back on Friday night they had all kept their commitments and we had an amazing lesson with them about baptism. Although I couldn't really share much, or understand a whole lot, I could feel the spirit there and I know they felt it too. They were so excited for the chance to pray about baptism and over the date of July 8th. Please keep them in your prayers, they are such a special family and I am so excited to keep teaching them. When we went back on Sunday they were outside telling their family about the Book of Mormon!
One of the referrals that a member from the English ward gave us was a guy named Tony Parker. I thought the same thing, "wait the spurs player?" Haha unfortunately not, but a great guy nonetheless! We found out that his son had committed suicide about 3 months ago and as we knocked on his door we told him that we had a special message from Jesus Christ about being with our families forever. He invited us in and we started reading scriptures together. I was on an exchange with one of the Alexandria Zone leaders, Elder Heninger, here in BR and it was so cool. We read in Alma 7 about how Christ took upon EVERY pain for us and Helaman 5. We were able to share our testimonies of the Plan of Salvation and how his son was in a better place. His son had been going through very hard things, but we knew he would see him again. As we bore testimony of the Savior, there was no dry eye in the room. It was truly a miracle, because it had been a tougher week for me just not being able to share as much of my testimony as I would have liked since we have been doing so much spanish work. A tender mercy from the Lord.
We went back later in the week and he invited us in again. We were planning to share the restoration lesson with him, but we ended up just sharing one of the amazing easter videos about the resurrection. It was weird though, because he told us he wanted to hurry and finish the lesson because he had something to ask us "unrelated." He then asked us what made our church different and was like, "I'm not interested in converting since I am already saved, unless you have to be a Mormon to be saved then I would want you to push me but.... " He stopped himself. He started to inwardly reflect. We then shared a brief restoration lesson and he was so put back. We shared about temples and baptisms for the dead and it was just sooo cool. We are excited to go back on Wednesday with a member of the ward.
I have so much I want to share... Quickly, one other special experience this week was that the YSA were having a dance at the stake center in BR. There was a member from the Hammond ward bringing 4 of his friends (investigators) to the dance. Well, to make a long story short we met up with all four of them about 20 minutes before the dance started and got permission from the temple president to have a short lesson in the waiting room of the temple. The temple is right next to the stake center so it worked out perfectly. It was unreal. We kept it short and just shared about faith, repentance, and how special the temple is. Most spirit felt lesson ever right there!
I love y'all so much! Happy Father's day to all y'all paps out there. Words can't express the gratitude for the things you do. Have a blessed week!