Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It's Called Caliente Because it's Still Hot

Hey all!

It has been the absolute best week ever in the Monica ward. Such an incredible week. So much happened. It was wild.

So on the fourth we got to head up to Tehachapi to do some baptism interviews, which is where the week really started getting good. We also got to head out to a little town in the mountains called Caliente (if you can call a post office and twenty destroyed houses by the railroad tracks a town.) We had six less active members living up there in the mountains, and the members from our ward rarely make it up there, so we figured we'd head out there to see how everyone was doing. That was cool. Still hot up there. Looks kinda like Utah. More than Bakersfield does at least. 

But yeah the interviews. These two girls were so ready. Seriously. They'd been waiting for two years to be able to be baptized because of some custody trouble, and getting to see their joy in finally being able to make that covenant with God was so so cool. We got to go to their baptism on Saturday too! It was a really special one. There were so many people three they couldn't even all fit in the primary room to watch the baptism when it happened. I saw real fellowship this week- honest love for your fellow men that stirs souls and makes miracles happen. If we all loved each other like the members there loved these girls, we'd build Zion so fast.

We also got some counsel this week about our finding. President Ballard encouraged the mission presidents to have their missionaries each contact at least ten new people each day- twenty total per companionship. On paper that doesn't sound so bad, but apparently not all our finding time is used that effectively. I'm so grateful for that counsel, because it's been a little hard for me to visualize what success should be for me right now- I won't be around to see the results of a lot the invitations I extend right now. But talking to twenty new people in between the lessons we have? Sure. Sounds bomb. I can do that. We're really enthusiastic about it :) 

After church this past Sunday we had a really special lesson. Some members in our ward invited us to come over and teach their niece who has been to church a few times. We sat down and taught her the restoration and it was absolutely incredible. I think it was one of the most spiritual lessons that I've ever taught. I was about to cry when talking about the Book of Mormon. It was so cool. At the end she asked us about patriarchal blessings (they'd talked about them at church) and then we got talking about the gift of the holy ghost and baptism. She sounded like she wanted the blessings, so we invited her to be baptized and she picked out a date herself! I think her poor Aunt was surprised. We don't normally invite to a date on the first lesson anymore! It was the Spirit! The Spirit was really strong! 

And those were the best parts of the week. Gospel is true. It's great. 

Thanks for all your support! 

Shortest Week Ever

Hey all!

It's been the best week ever! We got to go to the temple! I mean technically the last email I sent was on that day, but hey. So y'all've heard most of what happened to me already. Sorry if this one's a little boring because of that. I promise stuff happened this week. I just can't remember a lot of the stuff I didn't already say.

It's been a little hectic this week. We did a bunch of service for a nonmember in our area. She's a real nice lady who was super overwhelmed with the state of her backyard, so we cleared it out for her. We actually had to come back another time with another set of missionaries to finish the job, it was pretty overgrown. It was a nice change of pace though. I even managed to even out my collar tan a little bit by getting the worst sunburn I've had on the mission. Oops.

We met a couple new people out in Arvin and Lomnt, which is cool. It's always a long drive, and something always falls through, so it's good to have more people to visit when we go there and stuff falls through. There was a really cool couple the Spanish elders had met and we're pretty excited to go visit them. 

This weekend the YSA sisters had a baptism! I did the interview, so we got to go see it. I love seeing baptisms. It's always really spiritual and I learn so much every time I see someone make that covenant. The Spirit was so strong there that I thought to myself that I wouldn't mind having to deal with all the hard bits of being a missionary, forever if I could only see that more often. It's so special because I know how much joy and peace these people who join the church are going to receive.

Thanks for all your support everyone! 
Elder Adams

Temple Trip

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week and a half ever here in Monica ward! Sorry for no email on Monday, because today is our pday- we're headed to the temple! I get to go again in two weeks, but that time it won't count as Pday. Just this time. Anyway, it's still great out here. 

We had exchanges with the zone leaders again this week! It's always cool to see how things go I. Their area, even if I can only kinda tell what's happening- I only know so much Spanish. Exchanges were cut kinda short though, because we had zone conference the next day. Another cool thing. I had to bear my testimony because I'm leaving... It's still not real! Not ready to go! 

It was another really hardworking week here too. We really had to pound some pavement to make up for the time that we missed out on at the beginning of the week. It doesn't help that it's been triple digits most of the week. Although it's not so bad, we're getting used to it. One day we were really just not feeling good--it was hot and we were tired and things just were not clicking that day. The Spirit told us to tract, so we went to a street and knocked on every door. It was actually awesome! We found two new people that seemed really cool! 

We got to teach our investigator Roberto as well. That was a good lesson, and we dug up some of his concerns that are still floating around. Hopefully he'll be baptized before I leave. He's been taught for long enough, and he wants to be. All that's left is making sure he remembers and lives everything.

I'd talk about the last two days, but just in case the rest of the week isn't as interesting, I'll save it for next week. Instead, I'll tell you about some incredible news I got! Gina, the investigator who got baptized after I left Cal City, got engaged! Which hopefully means they'll be getting sealed next year. That's the most exciting, satisfying thing. I can't stop smiling about it! 

I had a cool reminder this week of why I try to work diligently and of what the Savior's Atonement means to me. I was pondering and remembered the feelings I've had when I've really felt the forgiveness that comes from repentance. I can't really express how much it means to me to know that I can be worthy to have the Holy Ghost and come to live with God again after this life with my family. I hope all of you feel those same feelings!

Thanks for all your support! 

The Oldest Missionary in the Oldest Car

Hey all!

It's been the best week ever! Even if we didn't have a car for most of it. We walked plenty. That was tiring and warm. Still had some good results though!

On Tuesday we had to take the car back into the shop after making some visits in the morning. We were still having electrical problems. They seemed to think it would be pretty fast though, so they just sent us on our way. It has not been fast, so we've been walking around. Luckily our mission president has introduced a flexible schedule for us to use so we can meet new people and beat the heat. We can leave the apartment at around 7 in the morning and start to street contact, then do our studies and exercise later in the day. We've been able to beat the heat a little by doing that. It just makes for some really long mornings.

And so most of the week passed that way, with a lot of walking around. It was rough not being able to go to most of our area- Monica ward is spread out and covers a couple other towns. Luckily, we weren't stuck forever. We talked to the assistants, and on Friday they told us to come by the mission office to grab another car to use. They ended up giving us a corolla that was supposed to be sold soon--it was actually the one Elder McEntire had been using in his last area. Because of the lack of new cars, he had to use one that normally would have been sold already (at 50000 miles) and now he gets to ride in it again, but at 60000. It's definitely the oldest car in the mission. Driven by me, the first one in our group to get to the MTC, so now I'm also the one who's been away from home the longest. Old missionary in an old car.

Not to say that all that happened this week was car related nonsense, we still managed to get some stuff done. A guy in our ward who just got his mission call took us out to Lamont so that we could visit Lorena. She's really starting to progress and understand more, and her husband is opening up to the gospel a lot more as well. He wasn't there because he works a lot, but he's normally there when we visit on Sundays. Lorena came to church, too!

We also got to meet with Roberto on Saturday night. We just kinda showed up at his house, and he's normally opt around when we try that, but he was then. He was really glad for the visit because he's been having a rough time. We got to sit down and chat for a while, and have an incredible lesson about prayer. Then he came to church on Sunday! Yes! We were really excited to see him there, and he had a great time.

We met with a super cool part member family this week too. The dad isn't a member, and has said he doesn't intend to join, but he wants his kids raised in the gospel. The eight year old son turns nine on July 7th, and the bishop told us to just teach him all the lessons. It'll be a good chance to teach the family, too. We're super excited about helping them get more active and closer to God together.

The results of this week have been so fantastic. Every companionship in the district had such a great week and their investigators are progressing so so well. It's so satisfying to see, especially having seen and heard how much time and effort has been put into these areas and helping the people come unto Christ. The next five weeks are going to be incredibly busy. The Lord is blessing these areas and we get to be a part of it. That's so cool.

Thanks for all your support everyone! 
Elder Adams


Hey everyone!

This week has been the best week ever! Why? Transfer calls have come, and the result is that Elder McEntire and I will be staying for my last transfer! Wow. That's a weird thing to say. I've been in his position twice and it's certainly strange strange to be the elder who is almost done. Can't say I'm unhappy about it though, it's a great area with a great companion. It's like the missionary celestial kingdom here. 

At church this week someone told the story from Elder Rasband about when he helped President Eyring assign mission calls when he was a member of the 70. One thing that stick out to me was how President Eyring said he liked to imagine where the missionaries serving would end their missions. Was that something someone thought of for me? That I'd be here, in such a great place? I mean, looking back, it's obviously part of the plan. I don't think I expected it though. I'm pleasantly surprised :)

We started off this week really well! Tuesday was awesome. We worked really hard to find new npeople to teach, and it seemed like everyone was willing to listen, which was neat. We met a ton of new people. It was good we met so many people then though, because we started having some car trouble on Wednesday night, and our car would spend most of Thursday and Friday in the shop. Our area is huge and we don't even live inside it, so that made work a little challenging. We still did our best though. We kept working through the end of the week, but it wasn't too exciting. Just satisfying. 

This past week for fast Sunday I was pondering on what I'd learned on my mission so far, and what would stick with me when I go home. I realized that although I feel a need to pray now, I don't know if I would feel the same deep need to read the book of Mormon every day when I don't have time set aside for it. So I decided to fast and pray for that desire--to spiritually need the book of Mormon as much as I need to eat. And it worked! In just the past week I've really felt a great need to read it. I already was, but now I'm excited about it, like a hungry man sitting down to a meal. It's a really cool thing that God blessed me with this week, and I hope I'll be able to help others develop the same feelings over the next six weeks! 

Thanks for all your support! 
Elder Adams

Pic: Sometimes, on the really smoggy days, I like to pretend that there might be ocean beyond these hills. I mean, we can't see the mountains on the other side :P

Feeling the Heat

Hey everyone!

It's been a lit week here! Really, the best week ever, I think. 

All sorts of stuff happened this week that doesn't normally happen in a week. We had interviews with President, which was cool. Hard to believe that it was my second to last one. Agh. We also went on a short exchange with the Bakersfield first elders- Elder Jones was sick, and they had some appointments they still needed to cover, so I stayed with him while Elders Taylor and McEntire went out and did some good work. We also had district meeting, which is normal, except that the assistants came to do the training! That was cool. I actually know both of them really well, so it was fun. 

This week was our first week of the year with triple digits! Pic attached. It got up to 106 on Sunday though. Good thing we have plenty of people to teach, so we can spend plenty of time in the AC, haha. Speaking of which, we got to set Roberto with a new date for baptism! We'd hardly seen him because he was dealing with some absolutely bonkers life stuff, but now he's got time again and we can meet with him. He's super great. Hopefully he'll be getting baptized in July!

We got to meet with a lot of people who had been missing for a little while this week. We got to sit down and teach Lorena and Gerardo this week- twice! They are really cool. She wants to get baptized and join the church, but she's still unsure about a lot of things and has some misconceptions. She comes to church a lot because she feels the Spirit. When she first started meeting with missionaries, she didn't feel so comfortable asking questions, but now she is really willing to. She doesn't know very much about the Bible, so she has lots of questions about it as well. Because she talks more, Gerardo feels more comfortable talking about his concerns and questions too. We're making really good progress with them! 

Here's our cool finding miracle for the week: Sunday night we had a lesson fall through in Arvin. It was 8:20 or so, and we couldn't just head back yet. We were one person away from our finding goal for the week, so we prayed and asked where we should go to find that one last person who was willing to hear us out that week. We went to a certain potential investigator's house- she wasn't home. But her neighbor was, and he was working on his car. Said neighbor's son was there, and he was willing to hear us out! The Lord gives us what we ask for when we exercise our faith! 

Not that I'm done yet, I'm definitely not, but I've been doing a lot of introspection about my mission so far. I've learned a lot. It's been really hard at times, too! But God always helped me through, whether by helping me directly, or through others. One constant source of support has been my wonderful parents. They've unfailingly supported and encouraged me, sharing their spiritual and missionary experiences, as well as advice and motivational words whenever I needed them. They've been angels to me. I'm also really grateful for the Savior and His atonement. What a wonderful thing. To know that not only did the Savior suffer through everything that I have and will, and paid the price for my sins, but did so while suffering for everyone else. It's awe inspiring. And He pushed on, through and through, never taking a break or asking for a second to catch his breath. It motivates me more to work hard and be diligent. 

Thank you for all your support everyone! 
Elder Adams

1. There it is, the triple digits. 
2. The excitement behind our apartment complex. There was a fire like 500 yards away. Also lit. 
3 - 6. A bunch of zone and district pictures. Sorry the picture quality got murdered in a back alley somewhere. Not my fault. Pic 5 features the assistants. 

The Miracles are Non-Stop

Hey all!

This week has been incredible! I say every week has been the best week ever, but legitimately this week has actually been the nest week of my mission so far by a long shot. So much has happened this week, so get ready for a really long, spiritual email. 

So, Tuesday! We had exchanges with the zone leaders, but they didn't start until noon. We went to stop by a potential we'd heard might be around because that's just when we felt like we should stop by and we picked her up as an investigator (that was the Spirit.) Then we started exchanges. Elder McCauley and I went to contact a referral, she wasn't super interested, but we still tried. Then we decided to walk to the next appointment (it was hot. Must have been the Spirit though.) We talked to a couple of guys from Honduras in their garage and taught them the restoration. When my companion asked if they would believe a fourteen year old if he said he had a vision like that, they said absolutely. Which was pretty neat! They loved the message and asked about where and when church was! Then we kept going to where we were headed (that appointment fell through.)

But wait! There's more! We walk back to the car and right before we get in, I see a little old Latino dude. This man only speaks Spanish and I can tell, but I thought to say hi anyway. That was also the Spirit. Elder McCauley goes to talk to him, and while he isn't interested, he says his neighbor might be (who happens to pull up just as we finish talking to him.) So we talk to the neighbor, and she's actually a less active member who was baptized in Guatemala like ten years ago! Wow! She was really happy to see missionaries and get back in touch with the church. Even after being away for so long, she still remembered the elder that baptized her.

It's not the end of the Lord's work for us that day though! We hurry to the next area to try to contact someone before an appointment, but right after we parked, we see a gal carrying a bunch of ramen into her house. So we talk to her too. She spoke English, so I could help with this one! We taught her about the restoration and the wonderful blessings of purpose and peace that we have in our lives because of the Savior. My companion asked her if she'd ever wondered what her purpose was. She told us she'd just been thinking about it that very morning. She was a little down on her luck- she'd had to drop out of college and was three months pregnant, and the guy didn't want anything to do with the baby. She really needed a message to give her hope. And there we were! The Spirit. All day, we'd been in just the right places at just the right times, because we were just trying to do the right thing and be where the Lord wanted us to be.

And that's just one day of the week! 

So on Wednesday morning, Elder McCauley says a prayer. A unique one. Because of a story I told him about a past companion (shout out to Elder Simpson and his incredible faith), Elder McCauley prays that someone will contact them out of the blue that day. I don't have that kind of faith, but he does. So fifteen minutes later, a lady from San Antonio senda him a message on Facebook, saying she wants to be a missionary. Whaaaaat. So they talked some and had a video call lesson with her, before sending her info off to the elders there. It actually happened! 

Lest y'all think that only the Spanish elders get miracles, let me tell you about our Wednesday night. We have had a rough time in this own called Arvin- most of the time when we go there, everything falls through. Everything. And we don't have the miles to go out there all the time, either. So we sat down and prayed last Thursday about what day we should go. Wednesday night. So Wednesday night rolls around, and we head out there. In a period of two hours, we found four people. Holy cow. We taught a referral from the Hermanas in town and met a young man named Jose who really liked the restoration and wanted to read the Book of Mormon. Now our finding goal was two, but I said hey, let's keep trying to contact more of these people.

THAT was the Spirit. Because we go to talk to this referral that asked for a Bible, just to stop by and see if we could come next week, and Martha (that's her name) invites us into her home! We chat for a bit, then she says "before you teach anything, let me go grab my boyfriend- he needs this too." So she did. She told us how her mom has been meeting with missionaries and how much joy the Gospel has brought to her, and told us how she wanted to come back to church, but had lots of questions about stuff. Like where do we go after we die. Funny enough, we can answer that! I think that was one of the best lessons I've ever taught. They loved it and said it made a lot of sense. They committed to come to church, too!

In only the first two days of the week, I've relearned an important truth about the Spirit. The Holy Ghost speaks quietly, but if we're in tune with it, trying to do the right thing and work diligently, we might not even notice that it's the Spirit at all. God will guide us and use us without having to coerce or push. We become tools in His hands as we not only surrender our will to His, but try to let our will become His. Then the Lord can do His work through us like actual tools- we do what the Master asks.

Cool stuff happened the rest of the week, too! I've already said a lot so maybe I'll just include one or two things. On Thursday night the Tehachapi sisters called us up to tell us a cool thing that happened to them at like 8:15,and Elder McEntire told them a story about when he and another elder found two people at like 8:30 at night after a terrible day, and the sisters were like "let's go do that right now!" We get a text fifteen minutes later confirming that they did indeed find someone that late. Super cool! 

And the last bomb thing of the week: we set Martha and Jose (who we found on Wednesday) with a date for the 21st of July! I'm super excited to be able to work towards that goal with them, and they're really happy to know how to draw closer to the Savior. 

Thanks for all your support. And the birthday wishes!!! 
Elder Adams

As for pics this week, I haven't taken any. Have some old ones I just saw for the first time: