Headed to Corvallis today!Monday was a short P-Day. President Russell likes to cut our P-Days short which really sucks. So we did our laundry, hung out with Elder Workman and the new Elder in the area, Elder Howard who is from Southern California. He's a super cool kid and him and I get along really well because he's from California. Haha. We actually have lots of stuff to talk about. I guess his dad invented and owns "Dragon". It's snowboarding goggles, sunglasses etc... He has like all these different cars back home that he owns and all this cool stuff. We did our shopping and a guy that bought us candy at Ross
about 2 weeks ago offered us both 20 dollars. We told him we couldn't take his money but we were tempted haha. He's a super cool guy. Not a member but just loves what the missionaries do. That's the second time we've seen him haha. Later in the day we had a great lesson with a guy named Miguel Sanchez. He has met with missionaries before so it kind of made it easier to talk to him. We had a good talk with him and then showed him the Christmas video, he is the gift. He told us after we taught him about remembering Christ this Christmas that his family and him never knew why we celebrated Christmas. That was a huge shock to us. We were like, "What??????". How do you not know why we celebrate Christmas but I guess that's why we are here teaching people. I just thought that was crazy. Then we had an amazing dinner with the Clantons. They also invited us to go see a live nativity which of course we were totally down for that so we went. Turned out to the the old Jacksonville wards bishops farm. We rode on a hayride to get out to the nativity after we parked our car which was sweet! I felt like a little kid again haha. Then they had a legit set up with real people and real animals in the nativity in a barn. It felt so real. Super cool! We sang songs and then someone read the nativity story. They even had these cute little baby lambs. Haha. Then on our way out our car was trapped by other cars so we were trying to maneuver out which wasn't working really well. Then an owner of one of the cars showed up and let us out. That was fun haha. We then went to teach Felipe and Doris. I guess Felipe broke his foot the night before just walking. Which isn't good so he was in a lot of pain so we gave him a blessing, then also Andrea the 9 year old daughter is sick so we gave her a blessing. It was a really cool experience to be able to exercise my priesthood and give these two people blessings.
Okay also really really really cool testimony builder happened as well. I got a call this night from Bella a member in the branch. About 5 weeks ago Elder Thacker, Bella and I went to the hospital to see a young man in his early 20's who was in a serious car accident. He got T-Boned by someone going 90 running from the cops. He was in critical condition and was in a coma. Bella some how knew his parents who let us give him a blessing in the hospital. The nurse there who was the only Mormon nurse told us that he was in such bad shape that most likely he wouldn't last much longer. 2 days after we gave him a blessing he got the breathing tube out of him and was breathing on his own and was doing way better and was on the road to recovery. So Bella called me and told me that this young man in his early 20's was on his way home from the hospital this night, walking, talking, and back to normal. What was weird was I was actually thinking about this young man today and wondered how he was doing. The power of the Priesthood is real and I now have a testimony of that. Heavenly Father does listen when you bless someone. That was just an amazing experience! I'm glad I was able to be an instrument in the hands of God to help this young man. (What a cool experience and testimony builder for him. I love that he loves to exercise his Priesthood power and see it in action.)
Tuesday was another great day. Played basketball with Elder Unker and Wright for a couple hours with some of their members and some of our members. Hermano Torres showed up and so did Jose Fuentes. I broke Hermano Torres ankles haha. That was a blast. I was schooling them haha. We also had a zone lunch at the Henderson farm. Put he same place as the live nativity. Lunch was really good but wasn't enough food. When you have like 18 elders and 6 sisters you need to have a lot of food because missionaries are always hungry haha. So later in the day as I was sitting on the couch thinking about how no one has sent me a text yet about my bike, I got a text asking if it was still for sell. (What? I didn't even know he was thinking of selling his bike.) I said of course and cleaned it up and met Anita, who is a secretary for RVMC. One look at the bike and she loved it. I didn't have to really do to much sweet talking. She bought it, with the fenders and seat cushion! Miracle! Now I have money that I'm going to save and put away haha. I can't believe that my bike was sold that easily. Awesome! The rest of the day we stopped by less actives and gave them some Christmas cards inviting them to come back to church. We had a really good talk with Hermano Solorio. Really cool guy that just needs to come back to church. We also had dinner with the Barajas family. They are a sweet family. The older sons Mario and Adrain were there as well. The mom and older sister got lucky and are in Michoacan. Hermano Barajas hooked us up with some Amy's pizzas and pasta. Free lunch! I love it.
Wednesday was Christmas Eve. We worked at St. Vinnys in the morning with Nadine. Then for lunch we went to the Gitzens. They fed us a ton of good food. I was stuffed. The Gitzens are a great family.
After that we got ready for the day. We made a plate of cookies to give Felipe and Doris. Felipe seems to be doing better. We stopped through Ashland so Elder Allen could get a drink of the yummy Lithia water, then we headed on our journey to Klamath Falls. It wasn't too bad when we started but then it got really snowy. There was probably 6 to 10 inches of snow on the road. Nothing was going to stop us. We said a prayer and started our mission with Faith. The baptism of Juan Carlos Sanchez and Pablo Galindo was super awesome. At the last minute Elder Barton and Elder Blackwelder told us that they wanted us to do the half time show. Of course we did it even though I wanted to say NO because they gave us no advanced notice. The Baptism was another great experience to be a part of. It was good seeing all the Members from Klamath Falls. We put a bunch of snow on the back of the
car to take home so we have a little bit after the trip. It was a nice white Christmas Eve with two Baptisms and lots of white snow! With the help and guidance from our guardian angels we made it home safely. Also got to open my awesome PJ's tonight. (It's tradition that every kid gets a set of PJs on Christmas Eve.) Nice sweats with a black T. I think mom thinks I'm fat with large sweats haha.
Thursday was CHRISTmas!!! We woke up at 4:30 to go play basketball at 5 with all the Elders from my zone. That was a blast. We then got to open all my presents. I got a sweet raiders blanket, new scriptures, beany, gloves, scarf, hover soccerball, calendar, socks, a soccer tie, and more. I also got a McDonald's card from the Perrine's and an $100 gift card from the Hughes. It was a great Christmas but it's not about the gifts. This morning Elder Allen and I got a goodie bag full of fruit, sweets, etc and took it to a homeless guy down the street that we always pass by. He was grateful for the food. His name is Westly. On our way back to the car a guy named Roberto stopped us and asked if we could talk to a bishop for him to get him some gas money so he can get to Modesto. He told us his whole life story about how he use to be a member, how his wife and him are splitting up, how his kids are in jail, some were killed, and lots more crazy stuff. We didn't want to bug a bishop on Christmas so Elder Allen and I thought it was our duty to help this guy out. We gave him $30 to get gas for his car. He was extremely grateful. We said a prayer with him as well to send him on his journey for a better life. We knew he was placed before us so that we could help him out. Those two things were our Christmas miracles. I love helping people out. We then ate breakfast at the Escobars. Awesome family! They let us use their skype to call home. It was so weird talking to my family. I feel like I haven't seem them in forever. It was nice talking with them and seeing them again. The time flew by way to fast though. After that we rushed over to the Stake Center to watch How to Train a Dragon 2. That movie was AWESOME! It was so intense! It was pretty sad at some parts but just an amazing movie! We ate over at the Cooka and Franks house. Hermana Gitzens son. Bomb food. After that we were tired so we took an hour nap back home. I passed out and couldn't get back out of bed. We ate dinner at the Rojas family. Had tamales! Yum! Then we sang them our song. I think we did a pretty good job.
We exchanged presents and tricked Hermana Rojas and Amy with the Duck stuff (Oregon Ducks). Amy liked the scarf I got her. The Rojas family bought us matching gray scarfs and matching black sweaters. They are so nice! And of course they had to add Beavers stuff in there so they gave us beaver chocolate. We then drove through Greystone court which was decked out with lights. Pretty nice but nothing like Dove court back home. It's been a crazy long day but a great one!
Friday was a good day. We were calling less active people that we didn't know and one lady answered, obviously white and said she was actually a less active member from Medford 6th ward and turns out she actually lives in the same apartment complex as us. She invited us over to talk with her. She's kind of weird but really nice. She kept saying that I have a very pretty face... Hahahaha. Soooo funny! After this we went to Round Table pizza Buffett with Elder Workman and Elder Howard. Then went on exchanges with Elder Johanson in his area. We did a lot of walking and talking. He is a good guy. Ate dinner at DQ and just sat there and talked for a while. Talked to Grandma Reed, a less active member and I guess she has family who speaks Spanish so she just talked to me forever about that. We also got transfer calls and I'm now going to Corvalis to do Zebra work with Elder Lucas. I'm pretty upset since now I won't be able to see Felipe and Doris be baptized but at least I got them ready for baptism. (He gets transferred Monday and the baptism is Friday. Poor guy. He is so disappointed.)
Saturday Elder Johanson and I just walked all over the place in the morning trying to talk to people but no one was home. We switched back companions around noonish and got back to work doing Spanish.
We taught Carolina Hernandez who is a new lady is interested and had a lot of questions which is good! We had dinner as a big group at Red Robin. (A lot of eating out this week. ??) It was a party. Elders Workman, Howard, Johanson, Sorenson, Batt, Kunz, Allen, and I went. It was nice hanging with all the guys one last time before transfers. We also had Felipe and Doris Baptism interviews tonight. They went really well and they are totally ready for next week. A. still doesn't want to be baptized but I'm hoping she will change her mind. I think she is just scared. Then I went home and packed the rest of the night. I hate packing!
Sunday was my last Sunday in this area. There were so many people at Church today. It was awesome. The branch has grown so much since I've been here. I said my goodbyes and took pictures with the members. I'm going to miss this branch but who knows maybe I'll return for the third time haha. They were all sad to see me go, but it's the will of God. I just wish I didn't have to leave before
Felipe and Doris baptism... Ahhhhh! Had dinner with the Rojas family. I'm going to miss them as well. We had a good night with them and just talked and messed around. Then I went home and packed some more. It's so depressing when you have to pack.. Haha.
In my studies today I really pondered this scripture...
27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you,
even as I am. (3 Nephi 27)
This scripture is a simple but powerful one. The simple question of, what manner of men ought ye to be?, is so powerful but has a simple answer, Verily I say unto you, even as I am. We should always strive to be like our Savior Jesus Christ in all that we do.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2)
Christ set us an example and we need to follow in his foot steps. Everyday is a new day to improve ourselves. Especially in this time of New Years what better goal than to work on improving ourselves by setting a goal to read the scriptures more often, strengthen our testimony by sharing it more, and increasing in our faith. It's a prefect time.
I mailed the package so you guys should get it by the 31st or so. Hope you like it!
Love you all!!!
Headed to Klammath Falls in a small car and no chains in 6 inches of snow. ?!?!?!
Juan Carlos Sanchez baptism
PJ's too big?
Awesome Rojas Family!
The Suarez Family (baptism that Kevin is missing)