Monday, April 22, 2013

April 15, 2013, Plainfield, NJ

Dear EVERYONE that I love,

I'm going to start off this week's letter with a cool miracle story:
We were walking down the big main street in Plainfield and it was warm
outside. We had been walking for about 1 hour, coming from the church
building to go pick up a Dominican member to come out and teach with us. I
was sweating and a little uncomfortable. But HEY when you crash a car,
that's what you get: you have to walk when it's hot outside. Anyway, as we
are walking, a red jeep passes by and a Hispanic guy pokes his head out the
window, yells "hola", honks, and drives past. I waved cheerily back. Elder
Leon asked me if I knew him and I said no. I just assumed it was an
inactive member that we had never met before. We saw the red jeep, now 300
yards ahead of us, flip around in the middle of traffic, and come back for
us. Sweet. Ride.
The guy asked us if we wanted a ride. We said sure. We got in and sat next
to a young girl. I looked in the back and saw there were two little boys. I
was smiling and stoked to be there, with the AC blowing in my face. We
asked the guy if he was a member. He got a little confused a said he had
only known Christ for 8 months, him AND his family, but they told us that
it was the best 8 months of their entire lives. He then told us that they
were at the bank and his wife saw us and told her husband that we looked
like "men of God". So they all hurriedly piled in the car and chased us
down just to give us a ride. I am humbled and grateful to say that there
are still Christ-like people in this world and often times THEY will be the
ones to find US if we are being obedient to the commandments of the Lord.
We got their contact information and we plan on having a discussion and
breakfast with them on Saturday.

That happened on Saturday. Other awesome events/lessons that happened this
1. We had a family home evening with our new family (finally found out
their last name: Familia Manzano) and the Pineda family. Hno. Pineda is the
2nd counselor in the presidency of the branch (26 year old Salvadorian guy
that is always smiling, is incredibly intelligent and learned in the Bible
and Book of Mormon, and when he laughs this low nasally vibration comes
out. He's amazing.) We taught them the Plan Of Salvation and they really
loved and understood it. The mother and father are still not married but
we're working with them on that. And THEN the mother, Guillermina gave us
Mexican food from PUEBLA. MY FAVORITE! I haven't had comida poblana since I
left Perth Amboy. I realized how much I missed it. And then, Hno Pineda
told us yesterday that after we left, they stayed there for like an hour
longer just chatting and hanging out with them. YES! Love fellowshippers.
2. Elder Key and I have been chatting lately and he accuses me for HATING
him when he was in the 21st ward. (shout out!) Wait a minute here. We ALL
know that everyone worshiped him when he was in our ward. He was the only
Polynesian, he played football like a madman, he was bigger than everyone
else. What more could you want? Anyway, Kent and Jaezo: you guys need to
back me up on this. He keeps saying things like, "I mean yeah, this one
time I came late to the camp-out to the sand-dunes and everyone was all
chilling and laughing and eating marshmellows by the campfire. And so I
come up saying "Twenty first ward RULES!" and they all stop talking and
look at me. And then they all just went into their tents! They all left me
ALONE by the fire!" Such a liar. He knows we all loved him.
3. Elder Leon is doing super good. He's getting more and more bold with his
teaching and commitments. He's working on remembering the material that we
teach and in what order we teach which bullet points but he's still doing
AWESOME. I love training him. Who WOULDN'T want a cool Hondurian soccer
player as their trainee. He calls me Pai or Apai, which means dad in
Portugese, so he says. And when he shrieks (because Elder Key is constantly
beating everyone up; examples: towel whipping, wrestling, boxing, sitting
on/smashing, etc) he sounds like an 85 year old Hispanic grandma. It KILLS
me how hilarious it is.. Also, our comp unity is getting so unreal. We
teach really well together. I feel so inadequate sometimes.. I feel like
there were SO MANY things I wanted to do "when I trained" but I've
forgotten everything and I just try to listen to the spirit in moments of
trial or confusion. And all the time, frankly.
4. WE GOT BIKE HELMETS. But the one bike I wanted to ride (it's an old
Nishiki) is a piece of junk and has TONS of problems, including bent parts,
a chunkily greasy chain, and ancient tires. I'll see what I can do with it.
Sometimes I just get MAD, thinking about how most missionaries are garbage
when it comes to taking care of bikes. They don't even lock them up and
they leave them out in the rain and snow. Pfffff... still love them..
5. ZONE CONFERENCE was on Wednesday. President Jeppson gave an awesome
training on the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation and the Doctrine of
Christ. It was incredible. I trust that man so much. Afterwards he
interviewed me (because I needed another temple recommend due to my lost
wallet) and after the interview told me that he KNEW we had been preserved
by the hand of Lord. After looking at the pictures of our demolished car
and the accident scene and everything, he told us, that we should have been
killed on impact. I literally had a sore back for 1 day and nothing more.
The Lord watches out for his servants. He loves them and he will preserve
6. We're still focusing on teaching our less-actives and strengthening the
faith of our members. It's really great to be able to work with the ward
and truly try to help them come unto Christ with full purpose of heart.
7. I have noticed another small change in myself. I am still loud,
exuberant, somewhat obnoxious, colorful, and crazy. But I have learned the
gift of listening. I never thought I would. (Hayley! remember constantly
talking at the same time in your car, ALWAYS interrupting each other...?
We'll see if that happens again). The other day, I kept wanting to speak,
as we taught a less-active member and his woman (I say that because they're
not married yet). But the spirit kept restraining me. I literally said 3
sentences the whole lesson, and those sentences were clear and powerful
because they were as directed by the spirit.

Other than those things, this week has been really good. We are working
really really hard to get more investigators, to see our members, and to
really help this area grow. I don't know if I told any of you: this area
was a total bum area that NOBODY wanted to go to. Not even me. When I got
the call to come here, I was stoked and I didn't even know why. All I know
is that we are here now and it's one of the greatest, fastest-growing areas
in the whole mission. HARD WORK. That's all it takes. That and faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ. I love my mission and I know the church is true.


Photo the car I was driving.

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