Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013, Passaic

Nooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmeeeee.

1. Church was cancelled because we got about 6 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday morning. Wusses, if you ask me. We went to church in Paterson, because it was held later on in the day, as the snow was starting the melt. Got my sacrament!
2. Invited Alfonso and Mari to be baptized on January 12. They said if they read and pray and feel ready by then, they will. !
3. Directed the entire Christmas program yesterday. I felt like Mr. Larsen, from Timpview High School. It went really well, actually, only a few minor slipups that were on my part. We sang 5 songs, 2 from the Hymn book, 2 from the Primary hymn book, and 1 other: This is the Christ. I conducted with TONS of energy, so much that people probably thought I was having a seizure while leading the music, as I was swaying and whipping my arms around, telling people when to come in and when to pause and cut-off. I felt HUGE, probably because I was standing on a 2 foot tall wooden stool and my music stand was on a chair in front of me. The Giant of Jersey rose again.
4. We had Jingle with the Jeppsons, which is where we go to the Mission Home, sing hymns, play hand-bells, eat a HUGE delicious, American breakfast (AMERICA!), have a spiritual discussion and reading of the Christmas story, and picture taking at the fireplace. I felt the Spirit really strong as we sat together as a zone and played a quick game, and then as we moved into the spiritual part. I felt HOME, as if the missionaries were family. I was surrounded by wonderful people, in a warm house, after eating good food. I think that's what part of heaven will be like.
5. We walked all day on Friday because of the snow (Pres asked us not to drive). My feet got wet. Dad, is there any chance you could put some money on my card so I could buy a pair of snow boots to use? I'll put them to good use. Thanks.
6. Giovanny Rosero, our favorite 19-year-old, Mormon Ecuadorian kid is starting his papers NOW. He was originally going to wait until next summer to start but he was praying earnestly the other day and he felt that he should start ASAP. Love him to death, he's going to be the most incredible missionary ever.
7. That's all folks. JESUS LIVES. I realized that yet again as I went to the temple on Friday and did a session. What an amazing chance we have to be a part of the kingdom of God. It requires pain and work and sacrifice but it's worth it.
“… The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls; Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matt. 13:45–46.)


December 9, 2013, Passaic

                                                              Half of Zone 3

Snow and rain the past two days. Only light snow but cold rain that followed which made everything icy.

Jazmin got baptized yesterday in cold water. We didn't realize the heater takes a horrendously long time to kick in if it's bitter cold outside so the water was around 55 degrees. Poor Jazmin. Just like when I baptized John Michael last October (first baptism!) she came up and let out a big breath letting everyone know how cold the water was. As she came down the back steps of the font, Vicky, who was holding her towel for her, started busting up laughing because she was shivering and exclaiming how cold it was. Jazmin's daughter, Andrea, didn't want to get baptized because she's a little afraid of the water. But after seeing her Mom get baptized, she now wants to. So we'll have another baptism in 2 weeks. Hermano Bello came up to me right before the baptism and hugged me (as I was wearing white) and said "This is why you stayed man!" Jazmin would have got baptized anyway because of her open heart and how well prepared she was, but it was a huge blessing to be able to baptize her and continue to bless the Garcia family and all their extended family. That family is doing their fair share of missionary work and it's really cool to see how many people are coming unto Christ because of Hermano and Hermana Garcia's willingness to open their mouths and tell everyone about what's made them happier than anything else in their lives.

I got nasty sick on Friday morning, the same morning I was supposed to give a training in Short Hills on "effective exchanges" to all the new District and Zone Leaders in the mission. I woke up at 5:45 feeling ok but then walked to the bathroom and hurled my guts out for the next 3 hours. Blasted Thanksgiving leftovers. I shouldn't have trusted that ham and potato salad. I still TRIED to get ready so I could give the training, but in the middle of a conversation with Elder Nielsen saying "Maybe you should give the training for me..." I booked it to the bathroom and destroyed the tub with some projectile vomit. It was orange that time, because I drank a little Sunny-D to try to get the barf-taste out of my mouth (I hope you're all picturing this by now..). So I stayed home and Elder Nielsen gave the training for me. Elder Dahl and Murray came over from Paterson and stayed the day with me. I just slept and threw up more, slept and threw up. I don't think I ate anything for about 48 hours and I lost 6-7 pounds.

Funny story: on Thursday, Elder Nielsen was DETERMINED to memorize Helaman 5:12 (poor guy really struggles with memorizing scriptures and it's our goal from Elder Carballo) in Spanish. So he locked himself in the workout room for 5 hours and swore he wouldn't leave until he had memorized it. After about 3 hours, he came storming out of the room with his hair all messed up, his tie undone, his shirt untucked, and a crazy desperate look in his eye saying, " I can't memorize this stupid thing!!!!" I made him stop and take a break. We missed an appointment. Finally after about 5 hours, he got it and was able to say it, without help
, word for word. It was pretty hilarious for me. I just cleaned the house, ate lunch, called people, organized stuff, and played hymns on the guitar.

Well that's about it for the week. The gospel is true. You know that I know it.


ps - Elder Hoyt (now Kurt) came back to Jersey and we went and visited the Bello's with him and he came to church in Passaic. He's doing great back in UT.

                                                                  Jazmin's baptism
                                                                   Jazmin's baptism
                                   Hermana Rosado and I (she makes the best MANGU ever)
                                                           Santiago Twins and I
                                                          Hermano Navarro and I
                                                         Laluz family (dominican)
                                                 Hernandez family (peruvian dominican)

December 2, 2013, Passaic

Listening to Elvis Presley's "Here Comes 'a Santa Claus" in the library. Nice X-Mas jam. It's fun still being in the states for X-Mas, even though I've practically living in Little Mexico. Instead of everything smelling like coffee and cinnamon, everything smells like tortillas and cheap beer. The good times are killing me.

THANKSGIVING was a blast. We went over the legendary Garcia family's house for Dinner, and afterwards for a 2nd dinner with the Santiago twins, Carmen and Isbeth. Also, I failed to mention that around 2:30 we had a HUGE Thanksgiving lunch with the Dunnings (Senior couple in Paterson). All the food was excellent. At the Garcia's house, we had pernil (marinated pork chunks that you eat with tortillas), salad, and a bunch of different kinds of Mexican sodas. It was delicious. I need to start snapping photos of ALL the different food I've eaten. The Santiago twins gave us something a little different, a little more traditional. They did a turkey, an amazing Panama style rice, potato salad, a fresh salsa with limes, cilantro, onion, tomato, and mango, baked ham, and for dessert: a half dark chocolate, half flan cake. Ooh. Bonus: we got to take home ALL the leftovers.

We had a PACKED week. Transfer conferences were on Tuesday (a new zone (11) was created) and a bunch of our wonderful missionaries were transferred. The delightful thing about being a zone leader is you get really close to your whole zone, and then when they leave, you MISS THEM. Sister Jorgensen (served in Passaic the entire time I've been here) left down to zone 10 (the Southern abyss, many NJMM missionares refer to it as "banishment") and she was HILARIOUS. Also, Elder Townsend, my Caldwell buddy, and 2 of the Paterson North trio left. Life goes on. Friday was Mission Leader Council. Our new monthly focus is ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM. I'm really excited for this monthly focus, as it's something I really need to work on, especially at this time of year. I am reminded of a scripture that we were to share with a less-active member in Mosiah 3. "
5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the aLord bOmnipotent who creigneth, who was, and is from all deternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a etabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty fmiracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the gblind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
6 And he shall cast out adevils, or the bevil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
7 And lo, he shall asuffer btemptations, and pain of body, chunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can dsuffer, except it be unto death; for behold, eblood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his fanguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
8 And he shall be called aJesus bChrist, the cSon of God, the dFather of heaven and earth, the eCreator of all things from the beginning; and his fmother shall be called Mary.

It is a beautiful description and profecy of Christ from the majestic King Benjamin (I think Mosiah 1-5 are some of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon). Christ came down in a "tabernacle of clay" to minister to us and to give His life for us. Don't forget Him. "Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not; fear not." D&C 6:36.

We also had lots of success with contacting on Friday evening. Although it was freezing, Elder Nielsen and I were with Giovanny running around Passaic talking to everyone. We contacted a young family from Mexico: Alfonso and Mari, and their kids Aldo and Destiny, and then we SAW and TAUGHT them yesterday. We had a wonderful discussion about the Restoration of the Gospel, and they are very positvely responsive. Missionary work is the greatest.

We will be going to the temple on the 13th. FRIDAY the 13th. 

The gospel is true. Merry X-MAS.